Book discussion: Healing the Heart of Democracy

  • 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 3, 10 and 24 (no meeting during MEA week)
  • Church Gathering Room

Join Patti Hoffman for a special three-week series as we read and discuss Parker Palmer’s “Healing the Heart of Democracy.” We suggest that you obtain and read the book before the first discussion. We’ll provide a soup and bread dinner each time.

Contact the church office at office@falconheightsucc.org or 651-646-2681 if you’d like to attend. You can still sign up if you can’t attend all three sessions (but please mention the dates you won’t be there).

“For those of us who want to see democracy survive and thrive–and we are legion–the heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten democracy as openings to new life for us and for our nation.” –From “Healing the Heart of Democracy” by Parker Palmer

Open and Affirming celebration

The 2018 Minnesota Open and Affirming Celebration will be Saturday, Oct. 13, at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. United is the first UCC-related seminary to proclaim itself ONA.

The gathering includes workshops and worship to

  • lift up the ONA presence within the Minnesota Conference UCC
  • continue learning about being more loving and inclusive
  • focus on advocacy for justice.

Workshops are at 1 p.m., with worship at 2:30 p.m.

United Theological Seminary is located at 3000 Fifth Street NW, New Brighton. The campus is fully accessible with off-street parking. Sponsor of the event is the Open and Affirming Ministry Team – Minnesota Conference UCC. Please register through their Facebook event page.

Lens on the Border photo exhibit

Three Minnesota UCC churches are hosting a photography exhibit, “Lens on the Border,” that portrays the reality of the Mexico-U.S. border region. The Sierra Club’s Borderlands Team has compiled the exhibit in collaboration with photographers and artists from the U.S. and Mexico with a wide range of backgrounds.

In the Twin Cities, you can see it at Mayflower UCC, 106 E. Diamond Lake Road, Minneapolis. Reception on Saturday, Sept. 29, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The exhibit is open Sept. 17 to Oct. 12.

Fall programs kick off Sept. 9

Fall programs at Falcon Heights Church begin Sunday, Sept. 9. We hope you’ll join us for another exciting year!

  • 9:15 a.m. — Children’s programming resumes for the fall with Registration Sunday. Between 9:15 and 10:15, families can drop into the Gathering Room and catch up with other families while completing their annual registration paperwork. We’ll provide bagels.
  • At 9:45 there will be a brief meeting for adults to learn about what’s new for Children’s Ministry in the coming year.
  • 10:30 a.m. — Sunday worship with “Gathering of the Waters” liturgy. People are bringing small samples of water from places they visited this summer. We’ll pour the waters together to celebrate our gathering together again in the fall.

Gathering of the waters

  • 11:30 a.m. — All-church potluck. Everyone is welcome!
  • 5 p.m. — Our Fall Newcomer Information Series begins with dinner and conversation. Read more or call the church office to RSVP, 651-646-2681.

Newcomer information series starts Sept. 9

Are you a newcomer to Falcon Heights Church? Or are you a member who needs a refresher course on all things UCC? Here’s your chance to learn more about our church. Rev. Rick and others will lead a newcomer information series on four Sunday evenings from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30 in the Gathering Room at the church. The group will be a mix of folks new to FHC and those who’ve been coming for longer.

Dinner is on us! Sign up online at this link — tickets are free but you must RSVP. Please let us know if you need child care, and if you have any dietary needs we should be aware of.

Fire damages Pilgrim Point Camp

A devastating July 4 fire heavily damaged the kitchen and dining facilities at Pilgrim Point Camp, the UCC camp in Alexandria, Minnesota. The camp now faces extensive rebuilding. All camps and retreats for the rest of the summer have been canceled, and leaders are  contemplating the next steps.

Robbinsdale United Church of Christ was hosting a fund-raising dinner Aug. 8, and the camp will announce work weekends soon. The camp is also seeking donations.

Pilgrim Point fire damage

Fire aftermath

Leslie Amundson, chair of the Pilgrim Point Camp Committee, published this report on the aftermath of the fire in COMMAntary, the newsletter of the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ:

“The Pilgrim Point Camp Committee had a meeting last weekend at camp. As I drove under the green canopy of trees lining the road, I immediately experienced that “sacred ground” feeling we all get as we enter the space. The fields were verdant green, the air was cool, a breeze enveloped me as I drove quickly past the blackened dining hall, not wanting to examine it too closely yet. I wanted to wait for the company of the other committee members.

“After supper and getting settled in the lodge, we walked over with Kevin and Lori. The first thing you see is the blackened side of the building, and the grill that exploded and did the damage. The building actually didn’t look that bad yet. We entered the office area cautiously, immediately smelling that wood-fired air, noting holes in the walls and ceiling of the kitchen, ruined floors from the water from the fire hoses, the devastated dish room, floors buckled, broken windows.”

Dining hall damage

“The dining hall itself – new flooring ruined and soggy under our feet, holes in the walls and rafters as the firefighters tried to determine how far the flames traveled. And that unmistakable smell of fire. There was a hush in the group as we took in the damage. After a minute or so, I knew this for certain: there is no way we could have held camps this summer, with the damage basically in the middle of the grounds. The children I know that love Pilgrim Point would be devastated to see and smell this place, and, no matter how well it was secured during construction, they might be tempted to explore. There are other good reasons, but that one came to mind first.”

The future

“As a group we rallied a bit to think about the future, what could be done to make it more hospitable, whether the kitchen could be re-built to be more efficient, how the bathrooms could be brought up to code, and access to the building improved. Maybe a deck? With screens? We got excited thinking about the possibilities. And maybe that’s what God does – bringing hope to a difficult situation, showing us the phoenix rising out of the ashes, guiding us to a spirit of renewal that helps us to move forward. I’m hoping the images of destruction will fade in my mind, replaced by something new, as, together, we build a new gathering place for ALL of us, no exceptions.”

Donate “School Tools” for students in need

Each year, we participate in the School Tools drive of Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul. We collect backpacks, calculators and other school essentials for students in need.

School Tools logo

Our donations go to children from low-income and homeless families from 10 different East Metro programs. One of these partners is the St. Paul Public Schools Title I Program for Homeless Children and Families. It serves nearly 2,000 homeless students each year.

Please bring new school supplies to church by Sunday, Aug. 19.

  • High priority supplies: Backpacks, three-ring binders, calculators, facial tissue
  • Other necessary supplies: Spiral notebooks, composition notebooks, pencils, pens, markers, folders, school boxes, erasers, highlighters, pencil sharpeners, colored pencils, rulers, glue sticks and bottles, loose-leaf paper, scissors, crayons, USB flash drives
  • Monetary donations allow the agencies to purchase needed supplies not collected at the drive. Make checks payable to Interfaith Action with “School Tools” in the memo line, and put them in the collection plate.

UCC pastoral letter on migrant families

Leaders of the United Church of Christ have issued a pastoral letter on immigration. It urges church members to pressure national leaders to keep migrant families together. Link for contacting elected officials

Condemning the unconscionable assertion that migrant children should be separated from their parents because of ‘orderly and lawful processes that protect the weak and lawful,’ — a Biblical statement used to justify U.S. immigration policies — United Church of Christ National Leadership has issued this pastoral letter, urging the people of the denomination’s almost 5,000 congregations to take action now! First, by contacting their Congressional representatives, and then by providing funds to keep families together. Money to be used to support the people sleeping in the streets at the borders of this country, or those parents and children separated upon entry!

“Still, when God saw the trouble they were in and heard their cries for help,
God remembered God’s Covenant with them, and, immense with love, took them by the hand.
God poured out God’s mercy on them while their captors looked on, amazed.”
Psalm 106:44-47 (MSG)

Friends, once again we stand at the brink of a moral precipice in our society and the question before us is will we choose to act in covenant with God on behalf of God’s people or will we sacrifice our soul. The United Church of Christ has long been a supporter of migrant families seeking refuge within our borders from intolerable and unsafe living conditions in their homelands. As people of God committed to the sacredness of all creation and the sanctity of every life, we are compelled to heed the cries of families now being violently torn apart at our borders for political expediency and profitability. Such violent acts are unnecessarily punitive and place at risk the physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and developmental stability of hundreds of families who now find themselves separated, caged, and commodified in a strange land.

All of our sacred texts, no matter the faith, identify the disregard of the humanity of the vulnerable as sin.

And God hears the cries of God’s people. The plight of black and brown migrant families whose children are ripped from their care cannot be the policy of a civilized land. We’ve been here before. Our nation’s history bears witness to a legacy of lost love. We separated the children of Native people from their families. We separated the children of enslaved people from their families. We separated the children of Japanese people from their families. Many of these families were never made whole again. This legacy of white supremacist ideology is idolatrous and leaves an indelible mark of evil that can only be redeemed by a conscious act of spiritual repentance and repair.

The United Church of Christ strongly condemns the dismantling of families, the criminalization of the quest for freedom, and the caging of those whose only crime is to seek shelter from harm. How we treat those who seek shelter in our midst is a direct reflection of how we treat God. We call upon our 5,000 member churches to write letters to your representatives in Congress as an act of worship this month. Refugee Justice Sunday is June 17, World Refugee Day is June 20. Remind Congress there is a law that supersedes partisanship and political bantering, and that is the sanctity of all people of God.

Faithfully yours,

The National Officers of the United Church of Christ

The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, General Minister and President
The Rev. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister, Justice and Witness Ministries
The Rev. James Moos, Executive Minister, Wider Church Ministries

The Council of Conference Ministers of the United Church of Christ

Leer en español

¡Mantenga a las familias unidas!

“Sin embargo, El vio su angustia
Al escuchar su clamor,
Y se acordó de Su pacto por amor a ellos,
Y se arrepintió conforme a la grandeza de Su misericordia.
Los hizo también objeto de compasión
En presencia de todos los que los tenían cautivos.
Sálvanos, oh SEÑOR, Dios nuestro,
Y reúnenos de entre las naciones,
Para dar gracias a Tu santo nombre,
Y para gloriarnos en Tu alabanza”
Salmo 106:44-47 (NBLH)

La crisis de personas y familias migrándose que ha estado creciendo durante años en nuestras comunidades y en la frontera ahora con las pólizas de este gobierno, están ardiendo violentamente fuera de control. Estamos al borde de un precipicio moral en nuestra sociedad y la pregunta que tenemos ante nosotros es que elegiremos actuar en alianza con Dios en nombre del pueblo de Dios o si sacrificaremos nuestra alma. La Iglesia Unida de Cristo ha acompañado durante mucho tiempo a las familias que buscan refugio dentro de nuestras fronteras, de las condiciones de vida intolerables e inseguras en sus países de origen. Como personas de Dios comprometidas con lo sagrado de toda la creación y la santidad de cada vida, estamos obligados a escuchar los gritos de las familias ahora violentamente desgarradas en nuestras fronteras por conveniencia política y rentabilidad y exigir cambios inmediatos. Tales hechos violentos son innecesariamente punitivos y ponen en riesgo la estabilidad física, emocional, psicológica, espiritual y de desarrollo de cientos de familias que ahora se encuentran separadas, enjauladas y mercantilizadas en una tierra extraña.

Todo nuestro texto sagrado, sin importar la fe, identifica el desprecio de la humanidad de los vulnerables como el pecado.

Y Dios escucha los gritos del pueblo de Dios. La difícil situación de las familias de inmigrantes, hijos que son arrancados de sus cuidados no puede ser la política de una tierra civilizada. Hemos estado aquí antes. La historia de nuestra nación es testigo de un legado de amor perdido. Separamos a los hijos de los indígenas de sus familias. Separamos a los hijos de las personas esclavizadas de sus familias. Separamos a los hijos de japoneses de sus familias. Muchas de estas familias nunca volvieron a estar completas. Este legado de la ideología de la supremacía blanca es idólatra y deja una marca indeleble de maldad que solo puede ser redimida por un acto consciente de arrepentimiento y reparación espiritual.

Debemos resistir el mal de la deshumanización decretada sobre los vulnerables entre nosotros. La Iglesia de Cristo Unida condena el desmantelamiento de las familias, la criminalización de la búsqueda de la libertad y el enclaustramiento de quienes buscan refugio contra el daño. Cómo tratamos a quienes buscan refugio en medio de nosotros es un reflejo directo de cómo tratamos a Dios. Pedimos a nuestras 5,000 iglesias miembros que escriban cartas a los representantes de su estado en el Congreso como un acto de adoración este fin de semana. El domingo de Justicia de Refugiados es el 17 de junio, el Día Mundial de los Refugiados es el 20 de junio. Recuérdeles que hay una ley que reemplaza el partidismo y la política, y esa es la santidad de todo el pueblo de Dios.

Fielmente suyo,

Los oficiales nacionales de la Iglesia Unida de Cristo

El Rev. John C. Dorhauer, Ministro General y Presidente

La Reverenda Traci Blackmon, Ministra Ejecutiva, Ministerios de Justicia y Testimonio

El Rev. James Moos, Ministro ejecutivo, Ministerios de la Iglesia más amplia

El Consejo de Ministros de la Conferencia de la Iglesia Unida de Cristo

We’re seeking a part-time office manager

We’re looking to hire a part-time Church Office Manager. This position is for 30 hours a week.

The Office Manager:
  • Works collaboratively with the Lead Pastor and staff to support the congregation’s vision. Our vision is to become “seekers and servants, growing in God’s transforming love.”
  • Advances the priorities and programs of Falcon Heights Church, United Church of Christ, by performing administrative and office support functions. This work strengthens us as an inclusive, intergenerational community that models progressive Christianity.
  • Reports to the Lead Pastor and works with the church staff, congregation, and general public in the church’s ministry and mission.
Additional responsibilities:
  • In addition to general office management, the position includes communications, record-keeping, and building use coordination.

If you’re interested, please contact the Rev. Rick King at revrick@falconheightsucc.org.