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

 “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.”

THANKSGIVING BASKET PROGRAM

October has just begun and already we are thinking about Thanksgiving! For the second year, Sunday School is sponsoring Thanksgiving Baskets for families in need at our partner school, West Elementary. This 8-week project encourages children to bring different food items each week to make a menu for a Thanksgiving dinner. This year’s goal is 5 baskets. Last year, the Christian Service Board purchased pies and delivered the baskets!  What teamwork!  The remaining schedule for this year’s Thanksgiving Basket Project is: October 20: Dessert mixes (cake, pudding, gingerbread, brownies, etc.), October 27: Boxed Potatoes (or bring real potatoes on Nov. 24), November 3: Stuffing Mixes, November 10: Turkey Gravy Mixes, November 17: Canned Yams/Sweet Potatoes, November 24: Canned Cranberries

What a fun way to fill our Sunday school rooms with colorful cans and boxes and fill our children’s lives with the joy of sharing!

TRUNK OR TREAT

Join the Christian Education Board for a fun intergenerational event on October 26th.  Adults are invited to bring a decorated car to the church parking lot on Saturday, October 26th  to provide a safe, day-time trick-or-treating opportunity for kids from our church and from around the communitySet up is at 2:00 P.M. The event runs from 3:00 P.M. – 4:30 P.M. Activities include carnival games, hot cider, cookies, “Best Decorated Car” contest, and of course—trick or treating! Please contact Janet Koostra, 727-8443 to volunteer!

FUNDRAISER RAFFLE

Janet Koostra is selling raffle tickets as a fundraiser for the Montana Association for the Blind.  First prize is a whole beef!  2nd prize is a half beef, 3rd prize is a beef hind quarter and 4th prize is a beef front quarter.  The Montana-raised beef is Black Angus and comes cut and wrappedTickets are $20.00 eachThe drawing is December 5th.  You need not be present to win.  Call Janet at 727-8443 or see her at church to buy your ticket!

FROM THE PASTOR

Be the Church: Reject Racism

racism |ˈrāˌsizəm| prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race  is superior

That’s how the dictionary on my computer defines racism. The thesaurus provides optional words:

racial discrimination, racialism, racial prejudice, xenophobia, chauvinism, bigotry, casteism

I wish understanding racism (and therefore rejecting it) were concise and clear cut. But, it’s not. Especially coming from a person who has never experienced racism directed at me. And that gets at one of the most challenging aspects of rejecting racism: privilege.

Back to the dictionary….

privilege. |ˈpriv(ə)lij| noun a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people

This is perhaps one of the hardest “Be the Church” statements for me to live into. Not because I don’t want racism to be a thing of the past. As a child of the 60’s and 70’s, I’ve known that racism has devastating effects. I know that it’s not only bad, it’s inherently evil. I’ve been intentional about reading authors of races and cultures different than mine. I’ve tried to listen to, understand, support and love others regardless of race or ethnicity. It is and will always be a work in progress. Rejecting racism is hard because it challenges me to look inside myself very deeply and recognize that, simply by who I am as a white, cisgender, straight, middle class individual, lots of doors have been opened for me, sometimes without me even knowing that there was a door. Rejecting racism means acknowledging my privilege and learning how it shapes my understanding of the world. It also challenges me to look at all of that without shame and to recognize it for what it is and challenge it when it causes harm to others (and myself).

Reject Racism. It’s an important part of Being the Church. I hope to see you on Sunday as we explore the church’s role in rejecting racism.

We can start with Paul’s claim in his letter to the church in Galatia: There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28) See you Sunday!  Rev. Lynne