Gathering of the Waters Sept. 18

As we gather again as a congregation in the fall, we will use the gift of water to symbolize the summer journeys that have refreshed us. Are there special water places that give you rest, adventure, rejuvenation? Save some water (best kept in the freezer until September!) and bring it with you to worship Sept. 18. We will symbolically “gather the waters” into a common bowl during worship and celebrate the names of rivers, lakes, oceans and backyard hoses from far and near!

Open and Affirming educational forum Aug. 7

Our Open and Affirming working group is planning several educational forums to help us move into a more intentional welcome of the LGBT community. The first will be Sunday, Aug. 7, following worship, from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. in the Gathering Room.

Pastor Anne Swallow Gillis, Dave Hill and Rachel Flaherty will lead a session on “What does the Bible say about LGBT?” What about those Bible verses that seem so anti-gay? Come and equip yourself for those challenging conversations with family or co-workers. Find out what the Bible really has to say about issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Pastoral search expectations: what we’ve said so far

With your help and input during two Guided Conversation Sundays, the Pastoral Search Committee has truly begun the collective work towards finding our new pastor. Thank you to all who participated and have shared your thoughts and opinions. Evidence of this work is on display in the Gathering Room.

What have we said so far about what we expect in a new pastor? On June 26, we talked about expectations regarding theology, beliefs and worship. Here is a summary of the top responses:

  • Preaches a sermon that is biblically based, but relevant to our daily lives, and challenges us to do God’s work.
  • Seeks to appeal to and include all generations in faith formation activities.
  • Motivates us as church members to take a leading role in worship and faith formation activities using our unique talents.
  • Is flexible and dynamic.
  • Has a strong appreciation for music.

On July 24, we discussed our expectations about our pastor’s self-care, continuing education and personal balance. The top responses were:

  • Makes time to sit alone to listen for God’s message.
  • Makes time for study through classes, seminars, and retreats.
  • Seeks social and emotional support outside of the congregation through family, friends, and counseling.
  • Is active in the UCC Conference.
  • Meets regularly with mentors and colleagues.
  • Has excellent delegation and communication skills.
  • Is a good listener.

The third Guided Conversation Sunday on Aug. 21 will focus on what a new pastor can expect from our congregation. Watch for details in upcoming editions of the TAB, and please take a moment to read the Pastoral Search Committee’s full report (PSC update 8-4-16).

Sandwich-making for Simpson House Aug. 11

Our next “300 sandwiches” assembly line is Thursday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gathering Room. All ages are welcome to help make sandwiches and pack bag lunches for guests at the Simpson House shelter in Minneapolis. Our first Sunday special offering pays for supplies for this outreach project.

‘Migration for peace’ display of peace cranes this Sunday

Paper peace cranes that have flown in other communities torn by violence will be on display this Sunday only, July 24, in the sanctuary of Peace cranes cropFalcon Heights Church. In a nationwide “migration for peace,” the cranes have traveled to United Church of Christ churches across the country as a gesture of shared grief, love and healing following high-profile shootings and other acts of violence.

The cranes will be here in acknowledgement of the shooting death of Philando Castile on July 6. We received the cranes from Central St. Matthews UCC in New Orleans, where they were displayed following the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. (As that congregation concluded last Sunday’s worship service, they learned of three more shooting deaths, of three police officers in Baton Rouge.) From Falcon Heights, the cranes will be sent to Cathedral of Hope UCC in Dallas, where five police officers were killed.

The peace cranes tradition began in 2011 at Saron UCC in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Other places the cranes have hung include:

  • First Congregational Church of Winter Park UCC in Winter Park, Florida, following the June nightclub attack in Orlando.
  • Circular Congregational UCC in Charleston, South Carolina, near Mother Emanuel AME Church, where nine people were killed in 2015.
  • Christ the King UCC in Florissant, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014.
  • Old South Church UCC in Boston following the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
  • Newtown Congregational UCC, after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.

Join second Guided Conversation July 24 on new pastor

Plan to attend the Pastoral Search Committee’s second Guided Conversation Sunday, July 24, on our congregation’s expectations of a new pastor. Please join us and make sure your views are shared! Our worship service will go from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and will include about 45 minutes of small-group guided conversations. Kids’ program and extended childcare will be provided.

These are the questions we’ll discuss July 24:

  • Healthy congregations expect faithful pastors to respect their bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. What are your expectations of our future pastor in regards to his/her daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly self-care?
  • Healthy congregations expect faithful pastors to be learning and growing constantly. In what ways do you expect our future pastor to seek inspiration and education?
  • Healthy congregations expect faithful pastors to share a balance of servant and leader. In your opinion, our future pastor and the congregation as a whole need to talk more about . . . .

If you can’t attend, please submit your answers by email to committee co-chairs Jenica Domanico ( or Carol Holm ( or send a written document to the church office. It’s very important that we hear from every member. If you missed the June 26 Guided Conversation, you can also submit your responses to the Guided Conversations #1 questions. You can also add to your responses on the charts in the Gathering Room.

The final Guided Conversation Sunday will be Aug. 21.

Your input needed on new pastor; here’s how to participate

If you missed the first Guided Conversation Sunday with the Pastoral Search Committee on June 26, you can still share your expectations of our next pastor regarding worship, faith formation, and creativity. Hearing from you is important to the journey we are on! It’s possible you will receive an email sometime soon from one of the Pastoral Search Committee members seeking your input. Or you can email your answers to the questions in the document linked below to committee Co-chair Jenica Domanico at Or you can choose to download and print the attached form, complete it, and leave it in the church office. Your input is valued and necessary to the committee’s work!

Guided Conversations #1 questions

For those who were able to participate in the conversations on that June Sunday, after hearing others’ perspectives, or now that you’ve had time to reflect on the experience, you might have changed your priorities or want to modify what you originally wrote. We welcome you to do that! The large charts are on display in the gathering room, and you can simply add comments directly to the charts.

The Pastoral Search Committee is in the process of compiling the results from the first Guided Conversations. You’ll find an initial summary document on the bulletin board in the foyer to the church. Because we hope to receive additional input from those who were unable to participate in June, this document will be a work in progress.

–Carol Holm, Co-chair, Pastoral Search Committee

Summer Wednesdays with food and fun

Starting June 29, kids and adults of all ages are invited to join us for an early evening of summer food and fun from 6 to 7:15 p.m. We’ll enjoy a sandwich and salad bar supper, indoor and outdoor games for all ages, and a closing song and prayer. We’ll meet every other Wednesday night through Aug. 24. Our Intergenerational Ministry Team will provide supper fixings and a dessert. Bring some friends, and bring a side dish, if you like, or just come! Contact Sue Gramith or Rachelle Roecheman for more info or to help.

June 29 – Game Night and Freezies
July 13 – Campfire Night, songs and s’mores
July 27 – Water Games Night and Popsicles
Aug. 10 – Board Games Night and popcorn-with-toppings
Aug. 24 – Campfire Night, songs and ice cream sundaes

Service of Prayer and Lament July 9 for Falcon Heights shooting death

A Service of Prayer and Lament will be held at Falcon Heights Church, UCC, at 5 p.m. this Saturday, July 9, to bring the community together in prayer and witness in the police shooting of Philando Castile Wednesday. A service of music, readings, songs and ritual is planned, and community clergy will be in attendance. Everybody is welcome.

Help Holy Hammers finish this year’s house

Good progress has been made on the house at 11 E. Maryland Ave. this year. You can check out the photos at: However, due to the loss of three days because of rain and the complexity of the roof on this house, it is a bit behind schedule.

As a result, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has asked if the Holy Hammers could staff additional days the weeks of July 18 and July 25. If you might be willing to help on one or more of these days, please sign up at the special SignUp Genius site that has been created for those days. Here is the link: .