T O U C H S T O N E  -  A  M i d W e e k  B u l l e t i n

10:00 a.m. FCC Worship in the  chapel


                   January 17. 2016   


"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'"
                                                 -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reflections on Sunday Worship ....
John 2:1-11  "Why Can't Jesus be Normal?"

This Sunday we will gather in our chapel to worship together as God's gifted people. Using the scripture story in John's Gospel as our guide - the story of Jesus attending a wedding with his mother and his followers and turning water into wine - we will explore what it means to be God's extraordinary people. We will ponder the miracle of the water turned into wine, and the transformations that God is doing within each of us each day!!! Jesus wasn't a regular guy... he was extraordinary! He was the embodiment of God! He was different! And we are supposed to be different as well.
We will take the time in worship to step out in faithful "different-ness" this Sunday. You will have a chance to come forward and commit to your own act of faith for 2016 and you will have a chance to be anointed for that step.
Finally, we will remember and lift up Martin Luther King Jr., an extraordinary man from Memphis, who became a preacher and lifted up the Bible's passages on love and forgiveness and grace, and made it the hallmark of his passion for civil rights for all folks. We will remember this faithful Christian in our worship on Sunday and we will observe our national holiday in his honor on Monday.  The church office will be closed and we invite you to attend an event in his honor, or an activity in his name, on Monday to keep his dream alive!

-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Also on Sunday:
Please note that we do not have University Club parking this Sunday. Plan to park in our two lots, on the street, the Fuller overhang, or over in the City Hall parking area with free Sunday metered parking. 

It will also be the final day to sign up to bring some food for Carolyn Olney's Ordination Sat. Jan. 23rd (see full article below for details!).
Church School teachers this week are: Krysty and Grace providing a combined class for all ages.
We will be serving at the Bad Weather Shelter this Saturday Jan. 16th (weather activated). Please see article below and contact John Gamber-Thompson if you can help serve! 

Our church office is closed for the holiday, Monday January 18th.

For more information visit aspireucc.org.

Worship Leaders:
Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Rev. Andy Schwiebert

Sandy Biehler
Cindy Speakman
Robert Rinck
Kevin Cordova-Brookey

Josh Ashenmiller

Organist & Music Director
Andrew Whitenack

Church School Teachers:
Combined class with Krysty Leckrone/Grace Rinck teaching in Room 232.

Church Nursery (for infants - Pre-K):
Our nursery is staffed with at least two adults every Sunday. It opens at 9 a.m. for early birds and then everyone comes to worship at 10:00 and stay through the Children's Time and then return to the nursery. The nursery is open on Christmas Eve but not staffed - it is offered as a quiet place for children and parents who do not wish to stay in worship.

Nina Kung  

Visit us at:  uccpasadena.org 

Sermon podcast:

Office Hours

Mon-Thurs  9 AM - 5:30 PM

We close for lunch
12 - 1:30 PM

Tel. # 626.795.0696
Fax # 626.795.0698

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Thank You!!

Thank you to several folks who contributed generously this past week and helped us close the gap! We are currently under $10,000 needed to finish the year in the black. We are still finalizing the details of 2015 and if you wish to help us do that, please contact Celina Thursday Jan. 14th!!  Donations dated December 31, 2015 (or earlier) can be booked for 2015 if they are received. 

Many thanks to all who continue to support our ministries with their time and talents!!
Elizabeth Lanski
Vice-Moderator and Budget Committee Chair

Volunteer Opportunity
Discipleship Ministry invites you to help us serve this year at the Bad Weather Shelter.  If the weather is cold and/or rainy we are scheduled to set out cots, blankets and cook/serve a meal at the Covenant Church just above the freeway on Lake Ave. on Saturday January 16th.  We need 12-15 persons and begin about 5PM and end with clean up by 9PM.

Please contact John Gamber Thompson, Chair of Discipleship, to let us know if you can help - his contact info is in the church directory.

FCC/Aspire Folks are Invited to go to Uganda July 2016!
We are offering trips for two FCC/(s)Spire folks to travel to Uganda with Aid Africa next summer. You will see beautiful Uganda, meet the amazing Aid Africa staff and participate in their projects in the rural communities; visit the source of the Nile, go on a safari through a national park, and enjoy scenic side trips to waterfalls and local shopping/
If you are a member of our church you are already eligible to take advantage of this great opportunity.

A short Application should be submitted by January 15, 2016. Additional information about the trip, what you'll need and other costs can be found in the Travel Brochure and the Visitors & Volunteers Tour Guide. If you have any questions about Aid Africa or this opportunity to travel to Uganda, ask Peter Keller, Irene Keller or Elizabeth Lanski. This is sponsred by the Women's Legacy Fund Aid Africa Uganda Trip Fellowship" ($2650) along with a generous donor.

Fruitful, Fun (a)Spire Retreat Created 2016 Plans

On January 9th the (a)Spire community spent time in retreat planning small groups, service events and outreach and friend-raising activities for 2016. We are expecting a fun, creative, unorthodox and life-giving year ahead. We will gather every other week in small groups (see below). We are also planning a couple of eye/mind/heart-opening experiences in the coming months; visits to local mosques and conversations with Muslim leaders to help us improve our knowledge, build relationships, and empower us to be better allies in the face of widespread Islamophobia. (a)Spire leaders are also hopeful and excited about organizing an educational trip to Israel/Palestine for (a)Spire and FCC in February 2017. 

We will gather for monthly fellowship events, shared meals, a SuperBowl party, a "Cyclavia" bike ride, a hike up Eaton Canyon and more. We decided we will gather for house-church style worship on a monthly basis on Sunday evenings in our new space-- unless it is a quarterly worship/meal the park with the homeless, in which case the worship will follow the meal at 12:30 in Memorial Park. Here's the worship schedule thru May:
  • Sunday 1/31 at 5PM, room 301
  • Sunday 2/21 at 5PM, room 301
  • Sunday 3/20 at 12:30PM, Memorial Park
  • Sunday 4/17 at 5PM, room 301
  • Sunday 5/22 at 5PM, room 301

If you have not already made a pledge in support of (a)Spire in 2016 but would like to, please see the   attached pledge form and talk with Andy Schwiebert if you have any questions. The changes to (a)Spire programming in 2016 (i.e. eliminating weekly worship and refocusing energy on small groups and service events, cutting staff) will be discussed at another opportunity as part of the 2016 FCC budget process culminating in a vote at our congregation's Winter Business meeting on February 7
"God in Music" Small Group Begins Bi-Weekly Gatherings Friday 1/15 at 6:30-8PM in Room 301 (in our building)

This Friday 1/15 begins a new "Finding God in Music" small group, co-facilitated by two Aspire folks, Jordan Pedersen and Randy VanDeventer. The group will meet every other Fridayevening from 6:30-8PM for 6 sessions: 1/15, 1/29, 2/12, 2/26, 3/11 & 3/25. Each week participants are asked to bring a song to share (ideally on a phone but CD will work) related to a particular theme. One person each week will have a few more minutes to share a song that helped him or her through a particularly difficult time in their life. PLEASE RSVP to Nina or Andy if you plan to come so we know how many people to expect.

Here's the invitation from Jordan:
I'm going to be bringing the Show and Tell song for the first week - spoiler alert: it's gonna be weird because it's me.
The theme for the first week will be a fun one: The Song that Got You Through High School. Bring a song that helped you when you were a pockmarked, hormonal mess, or alternatively, the song that soundtracked your homecoming court processional/what played when you made the game-winning catch at state. Though based on the number of Star Wars memes our congregation shares, something tells me it's not the latter.
See you guys this Friday at 6:30 in 301! 
Also this is a great thing to bring new people to! So do that!

Ordination of Carolyn Olney
Please join us on Saturday, January 23, 2016 in Carolyn's Ordination at FCC. See invitation below:

Youth Winter Camp Feb 13-15: Sign Up Soon!

Youth (and youth parents, please help) SAVE THE DATE! Our youth have joined forces with youth from the First United Methodist Church of Pasadena in the past for their winter camp (when Allison Mark was there). This year we have been invited to join their youth and adults again (sorry, no Allison Mark!) for winter camp (Camp Sky Meadows) near Big Bear over the Presidents'/Valentine's Day weekend, and with El Niņo it's likely to be a a lot of snowy fun. The cost will be $75 per youth, but we will have some scholarship funds available upon request. Let Andy know soon if you are interested, and we will get signup forms out as soon as we have them.
Dear Aid Africa Friends,

Our staff in Uganda tries to repair five broken boreholes every month. It's important to them and they've set that goal as a top priority. 

Because 80% of communicable diseases are water born. People get sick and die from drinking unclean water. 

Aid Africa is stopping that!
We need your help.

You can get all the information and forms you need at: http://www.aidafrica.net/walk-for-water/

Our event is sponsored by the Crescenta Canada Rotary Club.

You can walk or sponsor another walker and you'll get a t-shirt for participating. You can have a walk in your community. It's pretty easy. Ask us how! 

Peter Keller
Executive Director
Aid Africa
+256-788-060-602 - Uganda Cell

National Youth Event Orlando July 26-30, 2016

Registration opens January 20th for the National Youth Event happening this summer in Orlando Florida. FCC Youth are invited to go and we have some new scholarship funds available to make it affordable for all who attend. If your youth are even remotely considering, please check out this link to learn more about the agenda for the event: http://nye.uccpages.org/

There will be worship, discussion on faith and ethics, social justice activities and LOTS of fun time at one or more of the Disney parks. The group will be staying at the Coronado Springs Resort & Conference center; it'll be about 4000 youth and family members from UCC churches around the country. Please let me (Andy) know if your youth are interested and I will get you more information as it becomes available. So far youth and adults (and some families) from First Congregational Church of Long Beach, UCC and Manhattan Beach Community Church (UCC) will be going.