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


                   February 14 & 21, 2016   

Our youth are joining the youth from the First UMC Pasadena for their winter camp this weekend Feb. 13-14. See article below.

Reflections on Sunday Worship ....
I Corinthians 13:1-8a
"Love is in the Air"

This Sunday we will observe the first Sunday in the season of Lent - a time set aside for discernment of our faith and preparation for Easter which comes at the end of the 40 days (not counting Sundays!). Lent is a great time to do something different... take on a practice that will nurture our faith or give up something that we want to eliminate from our life.  The first Sunday in Lent typically focuses on the temptation of Jesus which precedes his entry into public ministry. We will touch on that this Sunday as well as talk about the passage in First Corinthians which tells us about biblical love (it being Valentine's Day and all...) In speaking about spiritual gifts in chapters 12-14, Paul takes a break from his argument to remind us that "no gift of the Spirit has any value except as it is exercised in love." (from the Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible on I Corinthians) Then Paul goes on to describe what he means by love. It's a famous poem and seems fitting to look at as we begin the journey of Lent and focus on the loving life of Jesus. We inviteyou to open up your Bible and read Paul's 13th chapter in preparation for worship on Sunday. Hope to see you in church!!
-Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy

Also This Week:

About 80 of us from various UCC churches gathered for our Area UCC Ash Wednesday meal and worship at the Glendale UCC church to kick of Ash Wednesday. Many thanks to the Rev. Anne Cohen for planning the service and our Members in Discernment (local Central Association candidates for ordination) for helping to lead the service! Our MID Randy Vandeventer offered a reflection and a beautiful piece of music on piano and singing. The Rev. Carolyn Olney joined other pastors as they imposed ashes on folks
Neva and Krysty are teaching our Elementary class this Sunday. Pastor Jake will lead the youth class. NOTE: our library is under construction for the next few weeks as we upgrade it to be our new youth lounge. More details to come!!

Nina will be out of the office next week and there will be abbreviated office hours on the following days. Many thanks to the volunteers who will be staffing the office during Nina's vacation week:

Tues. Feb. 16th Kim Story 10:00-1:30
Wed. Feb. 17th Elizabeth Lanski 10:00-2:00
Thurs. Feb. 18th Lisa Gamber 11:00-2:00

Rev. Leo Lynch will be preaching on Sunday Feb. 21st. His scripture text is Luke 13:31-35 for a sermon titled "Misunderstood."

For more information visit aspireucc.org.

Worship Leaders Feb. 14:
Rev. John H. Pomeroy
Rev. Marlene W. Pomeroy
Rev. Andy Schwiebert

Worship Leaders Feb. 21:
Rev. Leo Lynch
Rev. Andy Schwiebert

Ushers Feb. 14: 
Ron White
Kathie Arscott
Sandy Biehler
Jim Maddox

Ushers Feb. 21:
Jeff Levison
Cindy Speakman
Robert Rinck
Kevin Cordova-Brookey

Liturgist Feb. 14:
Brian Brandenburg

Liturgist Feb. 21
Krysty Leckrone

Organist & Music Director
Andrew Whitenack

Church School Teachers:
Feb. 14: Elementary class with  Neva Orr/Roberta White in Room 232.  Pastor Jake will lead the youth class.

Feb. 21: Krysty Leckrone/Grace Rinck; Jeff T. will lead youth class.

Church Nursery (for infants - Pre-K):
Mrs. Irene Phillips, Jaquelyne Rodriguez and Serena Van.

Nursery opens at 9 a.m. for early birds and then everyone comes to worship at 10:00 and stays through the Children's Time and then  children return to the nursery. 

Nina Kung  

Visit us at:  uccpasadena.org 

Sermon podcast:

Abbreviated Office Hours
Next Week

Feb 16  - 10am - 1:30pm
Feb. 17 - 10am  - 2pm
Feb. 18 - 10am  - 2pm

Tel. # 626.795.0696
Fax # 626.795.0698

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Lent is Upon Us!

This Sunday we will begin the 6 weeks of Lent which culminate in Holy Week and Easter. There will be several books available for you on Sunday to help guide you through the Lenten Season and a few small group opportunities to sign up for. If you are like most people, it can be hard to sustain a practice throughout the 40 days of Lent. Why not grab a partner or join a group to help you make it through the season with intentionality? There will be a table for sign ups and books in the parlors after church on Sunday. Join us! In addition your Worship Ministry is planning some innovative worship experiences during the season . Andy Whitenack is composing a new Kyrie for the  season, and several of us will be creating an altar that represents the themes and stories of the season. Stay tuned for updates and join us in this journey of deepening our faith in preparation for Easter.

Youth Room Renovation

Our building manager Sallie McNair is overseeing the library renovation in the next two weeks. We are making it a dedicated youth room for FCC. The upstairs youth room is being used by a building partner and we are using the library to replace this room. The library will be under construction over the next few weeks and will feature: new flooring, lighting, removal of part of the bookshelves, a new smart tv for viewing movies and other events, a fresh coat of paint and some furniture moved down from our (a)Spire room in Alden. Stay tuned for the unveiling later this month.
There are many books from the library that are being moved to a room on the second floor. We need several book lovers to help us sort those books and decide which ones to keep. If you can join John Gamber Thompson and Marlene  in doing that task, please let Marlene know! We hope to do that task this month!

Visioning Forum 2/21/16

On Sunday February 21st
11:30-1PM all are invited to take part in what we hope will be our final visioning forum. 

The Vision Team has been working for months to collect feedback from the congregation that will help us craft new statements of Mission Vision and Values. These statements help focus our ministry in the coming months and years and will help us make decisions about use of resources; both human and financial.

A draft of the Vision Statement will be presented at the forum and discussion and feedback will be invited from all. It's our hope that together we can affirm those values about which we care most dearly as a community and those activities that are most important for us to take on in order to achieve our collective vision for the future.

After receiving your input, we'll make some revisions and then present final statements to the FCC Council with recommendations for further action (i.e. adopt statements, create a plan with goals & objectives, evaluate current ministries against new statements of Mission, Vision & Values).
(a)Spire Worship 2/21 at 5PM 

Next Sunday February 21st join us for worship in Room 301 3rd floor, same corner of building as Pomeroy office. We will share a meal then enjoy an interactive, conversational worship experience in the round. Talk with Barbara Klein and Anastasia Stewart about their experience last month if you are interested, and join us. Bring a pot-luck dish to share-- a vegetable or side dish. Randy and Timothy are co-leading.

Youth Winter Camp Feb 13-15

Our youth are joining youth from the First UMC Pasadena congregation for their winter camp this weekend February 13-15. We have 5 youth taking part and 3 adult leaders; Lu Burd, Jeff Tyler and Andy Schwiebert. Please pray for good weather, lots of snow (on the ground!) and a good, life-giving experience for all.

Union Station Update

As you know, our church sponsors a meal at Union Station the first Monday of each month. We have four separate teams that each take 3 months throughout the year. Many thanks to the Bravo Team which cooked and served the meal on Monday Feb. 1st .  We always need subs for this and new also need 2 new people on the Alpha team (they serve in January, May and September). If you want to be on the sub list or join the Alpha team, please speak to Jake or Marlene.

Church School Update. 

This past weekend our teachers had a planning meeting at the Islands Restaurant at Paseo (where our churchmember Jason Orr is the General Manager - thanks for tasty food Jason!). Your teachers sketched out plans for church school in the next few months and have some great things planned for our children. We will keep you upated through the Touchstone. Also, kudos to those children who were able to sing in worship this past Sunday!!! Thanks to Connie Washburn, our Children's Choir Director, who led our children in a rousing song this past Sunday. The children are scheduled to sing again on Palm Sunday which is March 20th this year.

Lamplighters Planning for 2016

Our Lamplighter Fellowship Group met this past week and organized many outings for this year. They will be highlighted through the Touchstone and include trips to various museums, sports arenas, etc. The first event will be held after worship on Sunday Feb. 28th when member Brian Brandenburg will present a forum. Details to come - save the date!! All are invited to attend any of the Lamplighter events and outings. The coordinator this year is Regina Meyers if you have any questions about upcoming events. They will be publicized in the Touchstone as dates and outings get scheduled.

Thank You from the Pomeroys
At the Annual Winter Business Meeting, over 40 people gathered to officially welome me back to ministry here after my recent medical leave. Wesly Moore, our Moderator, presented me with a bouquet of flowers as well as a "love offering." Jake and I want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all of you who donated to that offering and made us feel very very beloved this past Sunday. We are so proud to serve this church and to be your pastors. Thank you all very much!! - Marlene
Aid Africa Walk for Water, Sat/  February 27, 2016 at Montrose Community Park
Since 80% of communicable diseases are water born; because people get sick and die from drinking unclean water; because women and children bear the greatest burden of finding and carrying water; because 1 billion people in the developing world don't have clean water.....

We are having a ...

You can get all the information and forms you need at: http://www.aidafrica.net/walk-for-water/
You can walk or sponsor another walker and you'll get a t-shirt for participating. Join us!

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. 
Associate Pastor Report - Rev. Leo Lynch  February 2016

I continue to see the following FCC members monthly, approximately 48 visits this year. The conversations for me are an opportunity to share in their lives and care for the saints of God. Often in keeping with the season, they are presented with flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, and an occasional outing for a meal, as they are able, or simply a moment of fellowship.

Jackie Lonnquist more times than not, enjoys the worship opportunities on my visits. The neat thing about this is she makes sure all the residents are included. They may have been in the midst of cashing out in BINGO, but when I walk in, BINGO goes to the side. Jackie is visited regularly by her daughters and grand children. She has limited flexibility and uses a wheelchair for mobility.

Avis Hinks is confined to her home. She too has limited mobility and
uses a walker to get around out-of -doors but is able to move without it in familiar surroundings. She enjoys the bulletin from worship I bring to her, and on occasion, I go through the entire bulletin, and she will ask questions about the content of each sermon. Avis shares memories in fine details, colors and sounds. Avis has relatives that are local and she enjoys the benefit of having her grandson, whom she raised from a baby, living with her.

Emily Beery is in her 90s, residing in a convalescent facility in Eagle Rock. During our visits she enjoys sharing old memories. She speaks fondly of her time working in the church office with Nina. She is well cared for, has a daughter who she has not seen for a while, but feels grateful that she has all that she needs. Occasionally I join her for lunch in the cafeteria and she still loves to read.

Lurline Brown lives at home with a son, and friends who frequently check in with her, living only a
couple blocks over. She uses a walker for stability and from time to time, takes me up on an offer for an outing of sorts. She misses the church fellowship.

Each of these women try to face their life challenges faithfully. Getting to events, getting to doctor appointments, managing health concerns or working through endless junk mail can be difficult, yet these women are an inspiration to me and others and they welcome news from our congregation. Thanks for the opportunity to help care for these wonderful church members.

Dear Colleagues in Ministry:
In February, Retirement Housing Foundation will be celebrating our 55th Anniversary.  Our theme is Celebrating 55 Years of Changing Lives.  As part of this celebration, you and the members and friends of your congregation are invited to worship at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 241 Cedar Ave., Long Beach, on Thursday, February 18th at 7:30pm.  Preaching will be the Rev. Dr. Martin Copenhaver, President of Andover Newton Seminary.  Greetings will be brought by the Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, UCC General Minister and President, and Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva, Southern California Nevada Conference Minister.
In addition, you and your spouse or significant other are invited to dinner at the church at 5:00pm that evening.  Dr. Dorhauer will speak about his vision for the United Church of Christ.  We do need an accurate count for dinner, so please email cheryl.howell@rhf.org to let us know if you will be coming to dinner. 
If there are those who are interested in singing in the combined choir that evening, please email their names to us.  The rehearsal will be at 6:00pm that evening and, for those who want it, there will be a light supper at 5:00pm.  Please let us know if they would like a sandwich that evening and if they are vegetarian. 
Retirement Housing Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, faith-based, mission-driven, charitable organization and a recognized mission of the UCC.  RHF was formed in 1961 by three visionaries, two California UCC clergy and one layman.  At the beginning, RHF's mission was to provide dignified, affordable housing and services for the elderly.  Today RHF is one of the nation's largest nonprofits and managers of housing and services for older adults, persons with disabilities, and low-income families.  RHF provides housing for more than 20,400 people in 185 communities in 29 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.  While these communities are comprised of mostly apartments, RHF also provides housing with assisted living units, skilled nursing beds, and memory care. 
You are asked to RSVP to cheryl.howell@rhf.org or phone 562-257-5127.
FCCLB is able to offer complimentary parking in the following easily accessed locations:
1.       The  Potholder Café parking lot at Broadway and Cedar (immediately adjacent to the church)
2.       The Third and Chestnut parking lot across the street from the church and
3.       The Broadway and Cedar parking garage, one block from our main entrance at Third and Cedar (validation required).
Please do share this information with potential attendees or in any future publicity; we are working hard to make sure that parking need not be an obstacle to coming downtown for this special event.
Chris Ragon
Director of Communications
Retirement Housing Foundation
911 N. Studebaker Road
Long Beach, CA  90815
562-257-5131 (Office)
562-805-7285 (Cell)
562-430-5729 (Fax)