Christmas giving opportunities 2019

Our annual Christmas giving drive starts now. Christmas is coming fast, so don’t delay!

You can make the holidays brighter for elders in long-term care, neighbors in need of food, kids in need of warm clothing, and LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.

Check out the details below, and please give generously!


Christmas gifts for seniors

We’re collecting money and gift cards to help purchase gifts for seniors at Lyngblomsten Care Center. The Lyngblomsten staff will use your donations to buy gifts for their residents. Suggested cards include Amazon, Target, JC Penney, Visa and Kohl’s, and can be purchased at the Scrip table during coffee hour. Please make checks payable to Lyngblomsten Foundation. Leave donations in the designated box in the church lobby. Donations and cards will be taken to Lyngblomsten on Dec. 8.

Hats and mittens for kids

FHC will again collect warm hats and mittens for children and youth, to be distributed by the Department of Indian Work at Interfaith Action in St. Paul.

Hang your gifts on the hat and mitten tree in the lobby by Sunday, Dec. 15.


Buy a blossom to restock the food shelves

Help our neighbors in need by purchasing a silk poinsettia blossom for our Gathering Room Christmas tree. All proceeds will go to restock the Keystone Community Services food shelves. Checks can be made out to Falcon Heights Church. Please buy your blossom by Sunday, Dec. 22, or get your check to the office by Monday, the 23rd.

Support homeless youth

For 25 years, Avenues for Homeless Youth has supported its clients ages 16-24 including LGBTQI+ individuals. Whether a young person needs someplace to stay for just one night, or a year and a half, Avenues empowers youth to find their path out of homelessness. Their team of professionals do that by providing a stable home, building trusting relationships, and navigating the youth’s education, career, health and wellness and housing goals.

Supporting Avenues through Christmas giving can help to make the season so much brighter for the young people who are served through their programs. Either an offering-plate monetary donation or an item from the Avenues Holiday Wish List will be welcomed.

A decorated donation box will be in the church entrance Dec. 1-22 for unwrapped gifts you would like to purchase and bring to church.



Christmas gifts for seniors

We are collecting money and gift cards to purchase gifts for seniors at Lyngblomsten Care Center. The Lyngblomsten staff will use your donations to buy gifts for their residents.

Suggested cards include Amazon, Target, JC Penney, Visa and Kohl’s. They can be purchased at the Scrip table during coffee hour.

Please make checks payable to Lyngblomsten Foundation. Leave donations and cards in the designated box in the church lobby. Deadline: Dec. 8.

Advent musical offerings at FHC

Don’t miss our advent musical offerings in December. They’re free and open to all ages.

  • Be sure to invite friends and family to worship on Dec. 8, when our choir and a professional orchestra will present Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” under the direction of Joel Johnson.
  • On Sunday, Dec. 15, our annual children’s pageant will be presented in worship. Margot Olsen directs “‘Buon Natale’ from Circo Piccolo,” with accompaniment by Patti Holmes.

Connecting through our church building

The Crossroads Team has heard from the congregation that our church building (and parking lot) could be a great asset to the community. People have proposed ideas for sharing a portion of our space with another organization.

We’re hearing from other churches that moving beyond a single use for church buildings is a trend that bears examining–whether it’s sharing space with a community service organization, an educational institution, another church or something else. Sharing space, done wisely, could increase our impact in the community while also providing additional financial security for our future.

One of the areas the Crossroads team has been exploring throughout the year has been ways we can serve the larger community of which we are a member. Last week, we asked you to share any ideas you might have about partnerships we could start or expand in the community, and we still need more of them.

What do you think? Please share your thoughts or ideas about sharing our space with the Crossroads team, including Cor Wilson, Carol Holm, Rev. Rick King, Conee Biggs, Margee Fabyanske, Mary Gaasch, Brian Knapp and Larry Schumacher.

Results are in!

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with their votes on the ideas and suggestions offered by fellow congregation members as experiments to improve our relationships with each other and with the community.

After collecting all the votes, a few things became clear: there is a strong desire to reconnect on an intimate level with each other; a strong desire to connect our children to the life of the congregation; and a strong desire to connect with the broader community in meaningful ways, using our facilities as an asset.

The top goals identified by those who cast their votes were:

  • Dinner for Eight: intimate meals with small groups of the congregation
  • Hiring a faith formation staff member
  • Conducting small group conversations on faith experiences
  • Sing-alongs for all ages
  • Making more use of our patio to connect with the neighborhood
  • A collection of other ideas revolving around the use of our building to serve the community

All the responses – not only those identified above – will be collected and used to help design our congregational road map to guide future decisions about small experiments and large strategic decisions the congregation may make.

In the near term, our Crossroads Team will meet with our multi-congregational cohort on Nov. 4 to share our results and plan next steps.

Small experiments

Churches progress through small experiments, author says

“Churches often assume that trying something once means they have to get it perfect,” writes Dwight J. Zscheile in his book “The Agile Church.”

“If they fail, the whole endeavor (new ministry initiative, worship service, program, etc.) often just quietly disappears, without seeking to learn what changes might be made in the next round. Often, there is no next round. Churches tend to have unrealistic expectations of success. Innovators make clear that you have to try things out again and again, while making small modifications, to see what works. That is the value of small experiments.”

Intrigued by this idea of small experiments? Please join us this fall to discuss “The Agile Church” as it relates to our journey as a congregation.

And check out this short video about experimentation, “Learn from Failure,” that may relate to our efforts:

Choose one of two book discussion groups:

  • Sundays, Sept. 8, 15 and 22, at First Hour, 9:15 a.m.
  • Wednesdays, Sept. 11, 18 and 25, at 6:15 p.m.

We hope you’ll join us for the “adventure of God’s mission.” Sign up for one of the book discussions on the clipboard in the lobby, or sign up online.

Carillon rings again

The FHC carillon rings again! Thanks to a gift from the estate of Sue Reitan, the church’s carillon is restored and ringing again.

The original carillon, running with cassette tapes and belt-driven players, was a gift decades ago from Evylyn and Jerry Palmer. Parts were no longer available. The three loudspeakers on the roof were originally mounted on a wooden sawhorse that rotted out and collapsed. That caused one of the speakers to fill with water!

A new iPad-driven system has replaced the cassette tape unit. Now we have hundreds of new musical options. We removed the speakers earlier this month and Metro Sound & Lighting restored them to original specs. Simultaneously, Alex Olsen fabricated a custom steel hanger to mount the speakers that allows them to be aimed more broadly than before.

Currently the carillon rings at 8 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. As we move through the liturgical year, we’ll add music (e.g., a Fourth of July concert and a Christmas Eve ringing).

FoodShare drive exceeds goals

Church donors’ generosity during our Minnesota FoodShare drive will feed hungry people with more than a ton and a half of food and $840 in cash, thanks to multiple matches.

Falcon Heights Church contributed nearly 750 pounds of food for the Department of Indian Work food shelf at Interfaith Action in St. Paul.

That was matched by an anonymous donor at FHC, who got so excited about our congregation’s efforts that they increased their match to 1,000 pounds.

The FoodShare organization is matching the donations again, for a grand total of 3,500 pounds of food–roughly the weight of a compact SUV.

Thanks to all who made this a successful campaign!

Food donations

New group aims to support immigrants

Want to help your immigrant neighbors? Want to find out how to increase our church members’ involvement in helping immigrant neighbors?

From 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, Falcon Heights Church is hosting the inaugural meeting of CAN, the Coalition to Accompany (Immigrant) Neighbors. We will be activating a group of concerned neighbors to provide support to immigrant families in our community facing issues today. Come and find out what it’s all about and how you can get involved!

Meeting agenda:

6:00 — Welcome and introduction to CAN

6:10 — Individual introductions: Name, where you live, what community of faith you are connected to

6:25  — CAN: immediate needs vs long-term goals

  • Immediate needs: equip a small group of people to provide support to immigrant neighbors as an extension of Ana’s ministry
  • Long-term goals: engage congregations in the IDI (Intercultural Development Inventory), have quarterly meetings for CAN group to gain support, insight, education, expand partnership by building relationships with other nonprofits, advocacy groups, and community organizations.
  • Tonight we are focusing on the immediate need of activating a group of concerned neighbors to provide support to immigrant families in our community facing issues today.

6:45 — Current situation and urgent needs: Describing the current situation and needs, explaining desired form of communication between her, families, and CAN members, ways that CAN members can accompany families.

7:20 — Accompaniment vs. “saving”

7:35 — Note on confidentiality and privacy

7:45 — Group inventory – interests, availability

8:00 — Closing prayer

What is God calling us to do now?

What is God calling us to do and be. . . TODAY?

Did you read the recent Star Tribune series of articles on organized religion? We watch and hear of declining attendance, financial struggles, and closing churches. And we know that profound societal shifts are demanding that churches change in response to them, or die. As a matter of faithfulness to God, we all must ask what God is calling us to do and be…TODAY.

To help us find our calling, the Minnesota Conference UCC has invited our congregation to be part of a new program called Crossroads. This program builds on the work of our Discovery Team and pastoral search process. As part of a consortium of other UCC Minnesota churches, Crossroads will help help us answer this vital question.

We will work with Vibrant Faith, a Christian research-based organization that provides training and coaching. Eight members of Falcon Heights Church have volunteered to undertake this exciting one-year journey.  We will be “looking inward” at who we are and also at how we can “turn outward.” We will consider what dreams we have for the future, and where we go from here.

Vibrant Faith will prepare participants in the Crossroads program to develop new forms of ministry and leadership. We need to respond to the changing ways people approach faith and religion in our society. We can expect coaching on ministry models, leadership skills and supportive learning communities.