First Congregational UCC – Great Falls – An OPEN AND AFFIRMING church where EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

FAMILY PROMISE SUNDAY

Plan now to join us for a combined worship service at 9:30 A.M. featuring reflections about serving for Family Promise and information from DJ Lott, Family Promise Executive Director.  There will be an in-depth information and Q&A session with DJ after the service, during fellowship time. 

Family Promise is hoping to have all churches involved with the program participate in a re-covenanting ceremony.  We are anticipating joining with Christ United Methodist Church to be a combined Host Church and partner with a third congregation who will serve as the support congregation.  We will be exploring this potential further on Sunday, February 23rd.  Please be present to be a part of this important conversation

RIB FEST RETURNS

The Christian Service Board chose these two ways that we can help fulfill the needs of homeless children in our Chef David Sheryak will be serving up one of his delicious dinners from 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. on Saturday, February 22nd.  The menu is beef and pork ribs, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad and dessertCost is $15.00.  Proceeds will be donated to the Children’s Receiving Home and the newly created Youth Resource Center for homeless teenagerscommunity.  Help is needed for preparing the salads on the 21st of February.   We have three volunteers now and could use another three.  On the 22nd to get the tables and food ready and help with serving and cleaning, we have four volunteers and definitely need at least four more or so. It would be nice if we could handle the desserts by having 10 people volunteer to bake a 9×13 cake and donate it to keep expenses down.  We now have six cakes and still need four more.  If you are willing to help, please contact Lynne Weeks or Mary Fry.

EASTER BASKET PROJECT

Sunday school is sponsoring an “Easter Basket Offering Project” again this year.  Congregation members are invited to participate in donating items to fill Easter Baskets for about 3 dozen members of our congregation.  Basket items include: travel-sized tissues, lotion and hand sanitizer, lip balm, puzzle books, pencils, pens, notepads, small stuffed toys, cocoa, tea and candyChildren will be asked to bring a different item each week from February 23 – March 22.  Adults who want to help will find an Easter basket with “eggs” listing needed items.  Baskets will be ready for delivery on Palm Sunday—volunteers are also needed to help deliver the baskets! For more information, please contact Janet Koostra.  Help our Sunday school children make Easter brighter for some of our members as they take part in a fun way to be the hands of Jesus in our church!

ASH WEDNESDAY

Ash Wednesday will be on February 26th beginning with a 5:00 P.M. Stone Soup Supper followed by our 6:15 – 7:00 P.M. Ash Wednesday Service. Members of our CUMC/UCC Youth Group will be working with Rev. Lynne to offer this year’s interactive and meditative Ash Wednesday Service. Christ United Methodist Church will be serving the annual Stone Soup Supper at 5:00 P.M. The Service will begin at 6:15 in the Sanctuary and will consist of a variety of Prayer/Meditation Stations and conclude with the Imposition of Ashes. Everyone is invited and friends are always welcome.

Please note that choir rehearsals on this day only will be: 7:00 P.M. Bell Choir Rehearsal (CUMC Choir Rehearsal also) 8:15 P.M. Choir Rehearsal

WHAT’S YOUR STORY?

We all have our stories: Our birth stories; work stories; stories about our children and their antics and accomplishments; stories about our pets and their antics. We also have our faith stories: the stories about growing up in Sunday school or youth group or camp (or all three). Tales about when our faith was challenged or even destroyed and restored, or not.

We don’t spend a lot of time nurturing the art of telling our faith stories, even to ourselves. We sort of know them and hold them close but we seldom have the opportunity to sit with them and understand them. We definitely don’t have (or take) the opportunity to share them. They are deeply personal and often messy. Many of our journeys in faith include times of doubt and unbelief—things that, for some reason, we think are not allowed in church. But every time I hear someone’s heartfelt faith tale I am inspired. We should be doing this more often!

So, we’re going to try something—a time to gather, learn, and empower one another to explore our faith tales. And, if folks are okay with it, share those faith tales with one another.

This will be done through a four-week evening “Faith Tales” series, beginning on Tuesday, March 17 and continuing through April 14th. We’ll take Holy Week (April 7) off. Each session will begin at 6:00 P.M. and run until 7:30 P.M. and will take place in the church Parlor. To let me know how many to plan for, please sign up on the registration sheet on the bulletin board outside the Sanctuary or text me at 406-770-9157.

As always, friends are invited.  Rev. Lynne

FROM THE PASTOR

Lent:  It’s a Conspiracy!

In Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” I was struck by one of his comments in reference to the Holy Spirit. He points out that we don’t do life all by ourselves or even perfectly – that life will be “done unto us” as it was with Mary in bringing forth Jesus into the world. Humanity has spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how that happens. We’re still searching. It seems that many who spend a great deal of time trying to figure out “how it all happens” eventually get to the point of simply admitting they don’t know and settle into the relief of knowing simply that it does happen and then live into a new “how” question. How do I become part of the life that is done unto me? How do I engage the Christ that is in my midst? How do I walk in the mystery of love? How do I engage injustice? How do I swim in hope?

I’ve noticed that whenever I dig in and try to overcome or control the things that are ultimately not going to be overcome or controlled (think about things like aging, somebody else’s behavior, the weather…) I don’t breathe well. Once I give in to the reality that the uncontrollable is just that, I breathe. Deeply. And my perspective changes. Getting older is a given but when I stop trying to overcome it and live into the wisdom and grace of the years it’s a whole lot more meaningful. I can do something with that.

Struggling to figure out “how the unexplainable happens” isn’t helpful. Coming to accept that provides an opportunity to simply breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Eventually, we discover that we are not “breathing” alone. We are breathing with someone or something else. We are co-breathing with God. We are co-spiring with God or God is co-spiring with us!  It’s a conspiracy!

What a fun way to think about Lent! It’s a time to conspire with God! To breathe together with God. Sure, we do this all the time and have from the first time God made the big exhale into the clay and breathed life into creation. But, because breathing tends to come naturally to us, we don’t often think about it. We just do it. Because we rejoice that God is always with us, we don’t often think about that either.

Lent is the church’s time to “breathe with God.” Lent is a time to be intentional about our breathing with God. Lent is a time to let God conspire with us into new life. So breathe. Breathe. Breathe with God and see what the two of you, and all of us can do together!

See you on Sunday!  Lynne