Easter at First Church!
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The Pilgrim - April 16, 2017


Easter at First Church

Celebrating God's Love Every Sunday at 10 am

Dear First Church,

What are the signs of new life in a city?

It is when the rains end, and even the freeway off-ramps bloom with color? It is when the terra cotta pots of succulents on the patio suddenly seem to be bursting from their containers? Is it when the air is washed clean from smog and instead is filled with swirls of pollen: daffodil, acacia, paintbrush?

What are the signs of new life in an historic congregation?

Is it when:

… circles of members gather for prayer retreats that break down walls of past experience and allow us to experience peace, 

… planning begins to provide "supportive sanctuary" to undocumented parents of our neighborhood children, or 

… when dinner parties spring up as Serendipity Suppers and new friendships begin?

We have many opportunities to enjoy this season of renewal at First Church, and I thank you for your part if our work for justice, education, and the arts. It is my hope that you will join us at First Church for the many beautiful parts of the Easter season, making our celebrations complete and alive with the energy of new life.

Peace to you and those you love, 

The Rev. Elena Larssen, Senior Minister


9 am Continental Breakfast

9:30 Easter Egg Hunt

10 am Service of Celebration

11:15 Reception

In This Issue

Sunday Celebration Notes
Music This Sunday
Sunday School
Maundy Thursday
Decorating for Easter
Kindred Spirits
Women's Retreat
Drop-In Center News
Parish Concerns
Deadline: Tuesday at 1 pm

Heard's Words: Music This Sunday

I bicycle to work a couple of days a week, which I enjoy for many reasons. One is that my route takes me off the roads and down some bike paths, which right now are blooming with wildflowers. This morning a bunny crossed the path just in front of me. I can’t prove it, but it can’t be disproved, that the cute little critter was in fact, the Easter Bunny. This Sunday, we will celebrate the rebirth of the natural world, as long-dormant plants have sprung to life all around us, as well as a spiritual stirring in our hearts that cannot be described in words, so we instead say “alleluia.” The choir will sing two joyful pieces: an Introit titled “Jubilate” that will feature our soprano soloist, Megan O’Toole, and a glorious Handel chorus, “Let Their Celestial Concerts All Unite.”

The choir will be singing at the Maundy Thursday service, which will also include Una Voce and a solo by Carver Cossey. If you really want to get the most out of Easter, I suggest you attend the 7 pm service on Thursday – it will make Sunday’s Easter celebration even more meaningful!

Curtis Heard, Director of Music and Composer-in-Residence

In Sunday School

Theme: Yes!
Scripture: John 20:1-18

Maundy Thursday Service

The Maundy Thursday service will be April 13 at 7 pm in the sanctuary.

Preparations and Decorating for Easter

By Harold Sutherland

Members willing to come and help get the church spruced-up and ready for Easter will meet at the church at 10 am this Saturday, April 15. Please come by if you want to help.

Kindred Spirits

By Ron Ellwood

The next meeting of Kindred Spirits will be Saturday, April 22 at 4 pm at the home of Rick and David Travis Bourassa. Their address is 21207 Avalon Blvd Space #119, Carson, CA 90745. Parking is directly across the street at the clubhouse.

Please bring your favorite dish large enough to serve 8-10 people. Flatware, paper goods, cups and drinks will be provided, as well as an entrée. Please direct any questions and/or comments to Ron and Perry Ellwood: 310-850-0594 or RonEllwood1@gmail.com.

Women’s Retreat at Pilgrim Pines, April 28-30 – Register by Monday!

If you have been feeling stressed and burdened by politics, come to the politics-free zone of the Women’s Retreat. The Rev. Marlene Pomeroy of First Congregational Church of Pasadena will be leading us to restore balance through breath, chakras and spirit. There will be a sunset labyrinth walk, drum-making, drum circle, s’mores around the campfire, and rejuvenating massages (for an additional fee) in the peaceful and restorative mountains of Pilgrim Pines. The cost for the weekend will be $140, and if you would like to make payments, that would be fine. Please complete the registration form (download here) and return it to the First Church office via email or regular mail. If you are unable to participate for the whole weekend, the reduced, Saturday-only rate, which includes three meals, will be $80. The deadline for registration is April 17.

Drop-In Center News

By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

Sunday was pleasant in Pilgrim Hall. Trader Joe’s included flowers in the Food Finders delivery, and the Long Beach Community Chamber Singing Group came and sang for us some upbeat songs. We handed out hygiene items. A client shared a new sketch for one of his beautiful string art projects.

We had fewer than normal guests as the Grand Prix was going on. We had just the right amount of volunteer help. Students are back in school, and we had volunteers from Poly High, CSULB, Circle K Club, and PETRA. We managed to do some spring cleaning. Harvey helped me scrub, really hard, our sign for out front and it came out looking much better. We worked on our display board in Patterson Hall and freshened it up.

We were happy because one of our vulnerable clients received section 8 and a landlord say he will accept it. We helped her with rental assistance till paperwork can go through. We have another family with puzzle pieces coming together to make a whole picture of a happy family! PATH Rapid Rehousing is going to help with deposit and rent for them. They have found an apartment and the landlord said he’ll accept third-party checks. Two family members have been hired for additional part-time jobs, and the teenage daughter is going to Long Beach City College and working part-time. Yeah! We are excited to move them in and give them some new houseware soon!

On a sad note, we comforted a bereaved client whose young brother had passed away in the street during the night. They said the paramedics had been called because he felt ill, but didn’t make it soon enough.

This Sunday is Easter and we’ll look forward to receiving the beautiful colored eggs left over from the First Church Easter doings! The guests prize them! Easter with its renewal and hope is just what this weary world needs!  

Note from the Senior Minister

Rev. Larssen will be on vacation Easter Monday to April 21, returning for service April 23. 

Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Manny Becerra (Alison Morales' student); Camille Curtis (Jason Hudson's mother): Hans Vogelsang (Marion Hinze's friend); Delores (Ruth Keller's friend); Gail Schwandner and Libby Tigner on the death of Libby's mother Shirley Tigner; Marjie McMillin; Iris Esquivias upon the death of her mother, Mable Carter Blackard; Scott Thompson (Amy Peer's brother); and Nik Johnson (Amy Peer's friend).

Names on the Parish Concerns lists appear in two consecutive editions of the newsletter. To share a Parish Concern or a Parish Joy, put a note on the board on the Third Street landing or contact Ruth Warkentin in the church office.

Pilgrim and Bulletin Deadline

The deadline for submitting items for inclusion in the Sunday service bulletin and for the newsletter is Tuesday at 1 p.m. The Pilgrim is emailed every Wednesday.

Online Calendar

Don't miss out! Check the online church calendar for details about all church events. You can use the online calendar to email invitations to friends to church events and to set up emailed reminders to yourself. Just click on any event to see more information.

To place an ad in this newsletter, please contact Ruth Warkentin in the church office.

Copyright © 2017 First Congregational Church of Long Beach, All rights reserved.

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