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

FAMILY PROMISE HELP NEEDED FOR JUNE

Family Promise of Great Falls needs some help during the month of June due to scheduling conflicts and maintenance issues with previously planned host churches.  The needs are broken down below:

June 16th-23rd              Our Savior’s Lutheran           meals and overnights

June 23rd-30th               Our Savior’s Lutheran            meals and overnights

June 30th-July 7th         Central Christian Church        meals and overnights

To assist Our Savior’s Lutheran, please contact Vicki Dunham at vdunham1724@charter.net

To assist Central Christian Church, please contact Christ Hunter at chris_viv26004th@msn.com

DELEGATES NEEDED

We are in need of six delegates for two different Conference events:

Specially called Zoom meeting of the Montana-Northern Wyoming Conference, July 11th, 7:00 P.M.  The purpose of this meeting is to vote on the following recommendation for the Conference Board of Directors:

  • 2019 will be a shortened Outdoor Ministry season in the MNWC to be held at Camp Mimanagish
  • The 2019 Conference Annual Meeting, August 9 -11, will be held at Camp Mimanagish and will include a celebration of Camp Mimanagish. The 2020 Outdoor Ministry season for the MNWC will take place in locations other than Camp Mimanagish
  • The MNWC will look at relinquishing the Forest Service Permit back to the Forest Service
    • The MNWC will seek to divest ourselves of the buildings and improvements at Camp Mimanagish. Options include, but are not limited to, selling the buildings to another 501c3 organization. We realize that we will need to maintain responsibility for the facilities until they change hands
  • The MNWC will hold a de-commissioning event at Camp Mimanagish late spring/early summer (May or June) 2020. Should the sale or transfer of the facilities take place before this can happen, this de-commissioning event will be included in the purchase agreement

It will be helpful if the delegates to this meeting have participated in at least one of the hearings or have made themselves familiar with the content of the hearings so they can be familiar with what has been going on in reference to the camp. Transcripts of each of the hearings will soon be available on the MNWC website.

The second event for which delegates are needed is the Conference Annual Meeting to be held August 9th – 11th at Camp Mimanagish. These delegates will be representing our church in the regular business of the Conference.

If you are interested in serving as a delegate for either or both of these events, contact Holly in the church office at 453-4316 or greatfallsucc@bresnan.net.

Note that anyone can participate in either event without being a delegate.

HYMNAL PURCHASES

We have placed our order for the New Century Hymnals in accordance with the vote that occurred at the Congregational Annual Meeting on May 5th. We have received a gift of $3,000 that will fund a little more than half the hymnals we will need. If you would like to help with the purchase of the remainder, you may do so through the end of June. Each Hymnal will be $25.00 (covers the purchase price, shipping and memorial/honorarium identification plate). Use the order form below to place your order and give us the details. Checks should be made out to First Congregational UCC and indicated “hymnal” in the memo. Extra order forms are available in the church office or on the table in the narthex. Please place your order no later than June 30th, 2019.

What will happen with the old Pilgrim Hymnals?

Since many of the Pilgrim Hymnals were given in memory or honor of individuals, we will be attempting to get ahold of the family members of those for whom the hymnals were originally given and see if they would like them. After that’s been taken care of, the remaining hymnals will be available to any church members who would like them. We will also be looking into seeing if there is a church or organization who would like them.

FROM THE PASTOR 

Watching for Aurora

        1 Kings 19:11-12 (NRSV)

God said to Elijah, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

According to the Aurora forecast on the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, the time was right. There had been a major solar storm and the solar wind was carrying the disturbance towards the earth. Certainly those of us in Northeast Wisconsin could expect a rather spectacular light show. 

I had thirty minutes in my schedule between church meetings to take my chances on seeing this thing I hadn’t witnessed since I was a child and first discovered the sky’s capacity for dancing. I put on my coat and scarf and sought a place I could walk to get away from the immediate glare of the street lights. I scanned the northern horizon. I looked and looked for the notable green glow or a faint ribbon of light above the horizon.  But none of that was to be seen from my vantage point. The city lights were too intense.

As I turned to walk back to the church and get ready for the upcoming meetings, another celestial light caught my eye: the moon. It hung low over the horizon, just above the roofline of the church. It appeared to play peek-a-boo through the thin clouds that had started to settle in over the valley. 

The moon—the gentle friend of the night. It’s a wonder all it’s own, yet so often overlooked, simply because it’s always there. We don’t wait years between sightings with great anticipation. It doesn’t take a major solar event to stir it into action. It’s always there reflecting the continual light of the sun. It brings a gentle glow to the night. Each night it takes another gliding step into something different than the night before.

Looking for the spectacular exhibits of God’s presence in our world often keeps us looking into a nighttime sky. Most of the time such seeking fills us with disappointment and let downs. Like looking into darkened skies to catch the beautiful and mysterious aurora, when we keep our gaze seeking only the spectacular activity of God, we miss the constant, gentle presence of the divine that is always there. Certainly, if and when we have the opportunity to encounter God’s great splendor we should. But when we turn away from the seemingly empty darkness, carrying the weight of disappointment on our shoulders, let us remember that the gentle light of the constant love of God is there, full of grace, open to receive all our praise, all our fears, all our joys, all our woes. 

Even though we anticipate and look for the fantastic presence of God, that very presence is always with us – gentle, calm, constant, waiting for us to take notice and respond.

Have a blessed week. See you on Sunday.  Rev. Lynne