FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST – OUR OPEN AND AFFIRMING GREAT FALLS CHURCH WHERE EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

LOAVES & FISHES

The 18th annual Loaves & Fishes Dinner is Friday, March 9th at  Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1326 1st Ave. N. Servings are at 4:30 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. Free-will offering, reservations not needed. The Christian Service Board is sponsoring a silent auction item for the Loaves & Fishes dinner. The theme of the auction item is “Gardening Supplies”.  The basket is in the narthex if you care to donate gardening items.  Please place items in the basket by Sunday, March 4th. 

A CIVIL DIALOGUE OPPORTUNITY

Rocky Mountain College and the Yellowstone Conference of the United Methodist Church are offering a lecture series focusing on “Creating Community in Fracturing Times: Returning Civility to Civil Dialogue.” The lectures will be held on March 8th and 9th at the Taylor Auditorium in Losekamp Hall on the campus of Rocky Mountain College in Billings. Presenters include: The Rev. Dr. Gary Mason, director of “Rethinking Conflict” a conflict transformation organization in Northern Ireland, the Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto, Bishop of the Mountain Sky area of the United Methodist Church, and Rabbi Dr. Uri Barnea, retired orchestral conductor and activist from Billings.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information and to register, please visit http://rocky.edu/student-life/student-support/SpiritualLife/wheatley-lectures

BLACK HISTORY MONTH READING LIST – from Lynne

In the sermon this past Sunday, I made reference to a recommended list of books to read during February in recognition of Black History Month. Several people asked if I would publish this list in The Good News. I recommend that you focus on books about African-Americans, written by African Americans. Most of the time, if you want accurate information about the history of certain people, it’s best if you can find it told from their perspective since things seem to take on different perspectives depending on who is doing the telling. I can’t find the exact list that I have used in the past but I know there are several out there. You might want to have a look at these:

https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/black-history-month

http://www.newsweek.com/black-history-book-recommendations-reading-list-553292

http://www.readingrockets.org/booklists/favorite-books-black-history-month (has a good selection for kids)

And, you can always do what often works… simply search the internet for “Black History Month Books.”

May the learning of the history of others from their perspective be enriching and heart-opening.  Lynne

MONTANA/NORTHERN WYOMING CONFERENCE ANNUAL MEETING

June 15-17, 2018 – First Congregational United Church of Christ, Great Falls 

The Rev. John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, will be delivering a keynote address at Saturday night’s banquet and preaching in Sunday morning worship.  YOUR HELP WILL BE NEEDED for hospitality and food, and perhaps more. Watch for more information. Plan to help us make a Great Big Great Falls Welcome to our siblings in faith from across the conference.

FROM THE PASTOR

WWDWWDtheWWDit (Why We Do What We Do the Way We Do it)

Sunday mornings….

You arrive at church, park in the same spot, greet the friendly people at the door, hang your coat up (maybe on the same hanger), pick up a bulletin and have a seat… most likely in the same spot as you sat the week before. We are creatures of habit. Sometimes those habits have reasoning behind them. I once knew someone who sat in the same place every Sunday because it’s where one of their favorite people used to sit. That person is now deceased at it has become a meaningful way to connect with their memory. The “habits” don’t stop there. The order of worship itself is designed in a particular way to reflect our Protestant heritage. It has design and flow intended to reflect a process of communal gathering, hearing the Good News of God, a grateful response and then going out into the world to live out that Good News.

Without all the details, it flows like this:

Gathering – Announcements are made; the congregation is called worship; and The Holy Spirit is invited in (Prayer of Invocation). Sometimes there’s a prayer of confession to “clear the air” so that we can deepen our relationship with God without carrying the burden of guilt. It’s a time to settle into the reason we are in worship. This is when we often sing songs of praise. If there is a “Passing of the Peace” it’s to be more than simply saying “hi” to your friends and neighbors. It should be a time to literally greet one another in the welcoming, forgiving peace of Christ.

Hearing the Word – We have a children’s message so the kids can hear the word in ways appropriate for them. The Choir anthem offers a way to hear the Gospel in music; The reading of scripture and the sermon hopefully present and interpret the sacred text in ways that are relevant to our lives and the events of our time. In the Protestant tradition, Hearing the Word is often literally the center of worship.

Response – After the Good News is heard, there should be a response. We offer our prayers and present an offering of gratitude. On communion Sunday’s, our presence at the Lord’s Table is seen as both a way to experience the Gospel and respond with thanksgiving. God is offering a great feast and invites everyone.

Sending Forth – We don’t hang around in the sanctuary because the Christian faith is one that is meant to be lived out in the world, hopefully as we carry the grace and love we have felt throughout the service with us into our daily lives.

This is not the only traditional Protestant form of worship but it’s the one we use almost all the time. Like the other habits we engage on Sunday morning, it may become so familiar that we don’t stop to think about why we do what we do the way we do it. I invite you to use Lent as a time to reflect on how the habit we set forth in the order of worship can help you on your journey of life and faith. – Lynne