A Liberal Church, Welcoming of All, Passionately Committed to Social Justice

The Pilgrim - June 19, 2016

From the Associate Minister

Fear. Anger. Deep sadness.

If we have not already become desensitized to these feelings, we have learned all too well how to feel them in response to mass shooting after mass shooting.

On Sunday evening I joined with many people from the Long Beach community in a prayer vigil to honor those killed. My heart was warmed as I looked around the crowd of hundreds and saw faces from our FCCLB community in every direction. This community helped to add rays of light to an otherwise dismal day. Our congregation will continue to be in conversation with one another and the wider community to consider ways that we can faithfully and forcefully respond to this epidemic of gun violence.

You can continue to support the Long Beach LGBTQ community by attending an interfaith service of healing on Thursday evening at 6:30 at Temple Israel. This service will include word, prayers, and songs from many traditions. We are honored to serve as a cohost of this event with The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach and Temple Israel. Please make plans to attend.

What: Interfaith Service of Healing

Co-hosted by Temple Israel, First Congregational Church, and The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach

When: Thursday, June 16, 6:30 pm

Where: Temple Israel
           269 Loma Ave
           Long Beach, CA 90803

Beloved Ones, as we continue to travel through the coming days, weeks, and months together, let us be gentle with one another. Let us keep singing, working, living, and loving like our lives and the lives of our communities depend on it, because they do.

John Forrest


In this issue:

Christian Education

Traveling with Flat Jesus

The Cranes of August Are Coming

Deadline for next Pilgrim

Walking for Health

Drop-In Center News

Parish Concerns

For more information

The Pilgrim - current and past editions of the newsletter


First Church website

Contact us

Summer Sunday School
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

Summer Sunday School is in full swing! This summer our kids are learning about the many facets of compassion. We are in need of Sunday School teachers and helpers for July and August. Teachers will prepare the lesson and guide the ship during the time in class, while helpers will assist children with crafts, pass out snacks, and help manage the classroom. If you’d be willing to sign up to be a teacher or a helper, please click on this link to go to the sign-up page. You may also sign up after church on Sunday.


Adult Education
Sundays at 8:30 am in the Klar Rooms, upstairs in Pilgrim Hall




Traveling with Flat Jesus
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

Flat Jesus has been traveling around Southern California lately. If you were at church this past Sunday, perhaps you saw the bulletin board with some photos posted. If you are going on a trip this summer, please consider taking Flat Jesus with you. Throughout the summer, we will be sharing the photos with the kids during the Time with the Children or Sunday School. Take a silly photo or a serious one. Click here to download and print flat Jesus. Share your photo #fcclb or email or snail-mail it to the church.

Flat Jesus on the sidewalk     Flat Jesus with a bundle

Flat Jesus goes to vote


The Cranes of August Are Coming This Sunday!
By Bob Kalayjian and Steve Schatz

Our first of four Sundays to fold cranes will be this coming Sunday. We have over 1700 to fold and need help. This year the cranes will commemorate both the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the remembrance of 9/11 on Sunday the 11th of September.

Another aspect of the cranes that will be a little different is their disposition after they come down. Traditionally they have gone to the Children’s Memorial at Hiroshima as an offering to peace and nuclear disarmament. This year our cranes will go the Todd Cancer Institute Pavilion at Memorial Medical Center to be a part of their installation of 10,000 cranes in the lobby. We are asking everyone who folds a crane to write a few words of healing for family and friends on the paper before folding.

Join us this coming Sunday during the coffee hour and fold at least one or as many as you can. Packets of paper to take home will be available as well.



Pilgrim Deadline for Next Week Is This Friday

Ruth Warkentin, the office manager, will be out of the office next week, so the deadline for submitting items for the next issue of The Pilgrim is this Friday, June 17, at 10 am.


Let’s Go for a Walk: FCCLB Walking for Health
By Eillen Badilla

Join us for a sunset walk at the beach on Saturday, June 25. We will meet at Bixby Park (Cherry Ave and Ocean Blvd)  at 6:30 pm.



Drop-In Center News
By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

I had a wonderful vacation. It was nice to be back this week, though we came in to find some harsh surprises! The gas was off and so none of our ovens or big kettle worked. We managed to cut up the turkeys and bake them faster in fewer ovens downstairs and opened just half an hour late. The turkeys from Food Finders were delicious and well received by our guests!

I also came back to find that Volunteer Coordinator Steve Leary had been talking with Justin Rudd and had accepted a huge load of clothing and shoes for our needy people. My husband and I picked that up and Sunday we sorted it in Patterson Hall before guests arrived. Bethany from Sol Foot and Ankle also brought in several boxes of shoes and stayed to help with our give away store. We were able to give it out with the help of 49 volunteers over the course of the day.

The day after I arrived home last week we joined community partners from Mental Health America, Downtown Long Beach Business Associates, the Multi-Service Center, and the Quality of Life Police in Lincoln Park doing outreach and telling people there about resources they could get to better their lives. Some of the people did come in to our Drop-In-Center Sunday to further explore how we could help the,m so I was busy!

This week I gave assistance with rent to two women, helped a man with storage fees so he wouldn’t lose all his belongings, and bought Greyhound tickets for a young couple to go back home to Bangor, Maine, as they just aren’t making a go of it here.

To others I offered information, referrals, hope and a prayer that all things could be made new in their lives.
We have young mothers struggling to get into apartments. I have one ready with a promise from First Five to help with the deposit and rent for a few months if she can just find a two-bedroom apartment for around $1100. There’s just not enough affordable housing!

I’m still interviewing for a part-time Program Manager/Chef. Send me some people.

Remember all things are connected in the universe, so influence it positively. One good tree can make a million match sticks, however, only one match stick in the wrong hands can burn a million trees. We have a choice to do good, build, and improve our world or be destructive. It’s up to all of us.

Clothes donations     Clothes donations




Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Marion Hinze; Mary Ann Johnson, upon the death of her mother; John Lashbrook; Rebecca Mellaci (Julie Ford and Eillen Badilla's friend); and Gloria Reed (Ruth Keller's mother).

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.

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.



First Congregational Church - 241 Cedar Avenue - Long Beach, California 90802
562-436-2256 - Fax: 562-436-3018 - E-mail: office@firstchurchlb.org