Multiplying our gifts: How 250 pounds of food became half a ton

Our Falcon Heights Church congregation donated just over 250 pounds of food during our March food drive, including many protein items. The food was taken to the Department of Indian Work food shelf this past week — along with an additional 250 pounds from a generous giver who matched the donations pound for pound.

The folks at DIW were astonished to see 500 pounds of food arriving at their door. “Look at all this food! This is unbelievable!” said one person who came to help unload. “This is one of our biggest donations this month.”

But that’s not the end of the story. Minnesota FoodShare matched our 500-pound donation, resulting in 1,000 pounds of food — half a TON — for the food shelf. Our Outreach Ministry Team says “Miigwech,” the Ojibwe word for thank you!

Wednesday suppers extended through April 19

We have had an overwhelming response to our Wednesday night Lenten suppers and programs so far, and are extending the meals through April 19 (including during Holy Week). Kids and adults have packed the Gathering Room and the soups, salads, homemade breads and desserts have all been delicious. Contact Sue Gramith at suegramith@hotmail.com if you can bring a hot soup. You can also bring a salad, bread or dessert to share. Or, just let us cook for you that night! Spring musical rehearsal and adult program on the “From Jesus to Christ” DVD series follow supper, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Honor someone with flowers for our Easter Chancel Garden

Honor someone special in your life by purchasing a plant ($20 each) to help us build our Easter Chancel Garden. Forms will be available in the Sunday bulletins or in the Gathering Room, or download a form below.

Please return the completed form and money to the church office no later than Friday, April 7, or you can purchase plants at the Scrip table in the Gathering Room on Sundays. Orders must be placed by Sunday, April 9.

Easter Garden order form

Generous Spirit Food Drive March 1-26

Our March food collection will benefit the Department of Indian Work food shelf at Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul. The Generous Spirit Food Drive is part of the Minnesota FoodShare March campaign. It is the time to give generously. Bring your donations of canned or dried food, especially canned protein, to our church lobby by Sunday, March 26, for timely delivery.

And this month, your generosity will be matched not once but twice!

A member/friend of FHC has offered to match food donations pound for pound between now and Monday, March 27. So two pounds donated for the Department of Indian Work will become four pounds, which will then be matched by FoodShare for a total of eight pounds of food. Checks can also be made out to FHCUCC, with “Interfaith Action” in the memo line.

Sunday morning study during Lent, “Who is this Jesus?”

Throughout the five Sundays of Lent, our First Hour adult discussion at 9:30 a.m. will focus on the question “Who is this Jesus?” by looking at a series of encounters Jesus had with different individuals. Each interaction gives us another view of how to understand who Jesus is for us today. This scripture study will be based on the passages used in that Sunday’s worship. Sessions will be led by Pastor Anne and members of the congregation. Drop in when you can for an interesting exchange of views!

Join our choir for Holy Week

Deepen your Holy Week experience by singing with our Falcon Heights Church choir and a professional brass ensemble. It’s a short-term commitment:

  • Three Wednesday rehearsals, beginning March 29 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Three Holy Week worship services: Palm Sunday, the deeply moving Maundy Thursday service and the triumphant Easter Sunday service with professional brass ensemble.

Contact Music Director Joel Johnson at joeloj@msn.com or 651-426-4505, or speak with any choir member. We’ll pair you with a friendly singer who “knows the way.”

Congregational Meeting to consider expanded Open and Affirming statement

Our congregation will meet after worship March 19 to consider a proposed expansion of our Open and Affirming statement and hear reports from the Foundation Board and the Pastoral Search Committee. This is the agenda:

1. Vote on the proposed expansion of our Open and Affirming statement. The new statement proposed by the Executive Board’s working group reads:

“As seekers and servants growing in God’s transforming love, Falcon Heights Church, United Church of Christ, joins with the 15th General Synod of the UCC in recognizin and affirming persons of any sexual orientation, gender identification, and gender expressioni as equal recipients of God’s love.

“We celebrate the proclaimed truth in Galatians 3: 26, 28: ‘In Christ Jesus we are all children of God, through faith. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female: for we are all one in Christ Jesus.’

“We pledge to covenant our four core valuies of inclusivity, love, community and spirituality as a congreation of faith to work for full inclusion of all. We commit ourselves to making justice and inclusivity a reality in this congregation and in the world.”

2. Update on the work of the Foundation Board and vote on extending the 5-year terms of current Foundation Board Trustees Bonnie Russ and Joe Vance.

3. Update on progress from the Pastoral Search Committee.

All ages welcome in spring musical, “Table for Five…THOUSAND!”

Rehearsals for our all-ages spring musical, “Table for Five…THOUSAND! The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes,” begin  Wednesday, March 8, at 6:30 p.m., following the soup supper. Performance will be at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, April 23, during worship. People of all ages are needed! Contact Margot Olsen at margot@olsenfamilycircus.com if you’re interested.

The musical tells the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. This is the only miracle, apart from the resurrection, that is reported in all four gospels. In this version of the story, we use details from all four, but particularly from the book of John. One young boy with five loaves and two fish is the catalyst for everything that follows.

Wednesday soup suppers during Lent

All ages are invited to gather at 6 p.m. Wednesdays during Lent for soup supper, provided by the Adult/Intergenerational Ministry Team. Soup and bread provided; bring a salad or dessert to share if you are able. All are welcome!  Contact Sue Gramith at suegramith@hotmail.com if you can help with making soup.

At 6:30 p.m., kids will head to the spring musical rehearsal in the Sanctuary. Adults will join Pastor Anne in viewing and discussing the PBS Frontline series, “From Jesus to Christ.”

Speaking up for our values in these times

Our Outreach Ministry Team meeting is providing opportunities for our congregation to speak up about their values and beliefs during these turbulent times by writing postcards to their elected officials.

Members of the congregation are staffing a designated table after Sunday worship where people can make their voice heard on immigration, education and other topics. During coffee hour, blank postcards, postage, talking points and contact information for elected officials will be available in the Gathering Room. You will have a chance to write your own message and voice your own opinions about how elected officials might act in these days.

Kyle Roeckeman of the Outreach Ministry Team will be hosting the table and collecting ideas for future topics. Stop by and discuss your thoughts or leave your ideas on a sheet.

You might also want to read a message from Minnesota UCC Conference Minister Shari Prestemon on we can respond as people of faith to “a time that needs us to bring our best and whole selves.”