Advent Anti-Gun Violence March and Vigil December 14
The Rev. Elena Larssen, Cantor Sara Hass (Temple Israel), and Tarek Mohamed (President, Long Beach Islamic Center) at the rally in support of the mosque December 17
Sanctuary Choir singing Vivaldi's Gloria on the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 18
Christmas Day Lessons and Carols
(Photos courtesy of Jim "Woody" Woods)
Heard's Words: Music on Sunday
One of the overarching themes of the Christmas story is searching. Mary and Joseph search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. The Magi searching for the meaning of the star that they follow. The shepherds searching for the baby announced to them by the angels. In Mexico and in much of Latin America, there is a tradition called “Las Posadas” (The Inns) in which a group of people representing Mary and Joseph go from house to house asking if there is room for them. Eventually they are welcomed in and there is a big fiesta. In “The Shepherds and the Inn,” this Sunday’s anthem, the innkeepers welcome a roving band referred to as shepherds, but who are actually the wise men, following a star.
We at First Church like to think of ourselves as searchers. We seek a truth that will lead to justice and peace. Fortunately for us, our sanctuary is the inn that welcomes all, and we have a fiesta every Sunday! Our search this week also includes the question (sung by Carver Cossey), “Why Do the Nations Rage?” (from Handel’s Messiah).
If you haven’t come up with a good New Year’s resolution, here’s a suggestion: Join the choir! We rehearse on Thursday nights from 7:30 to 9. Hope to see you there soon!
Curtis Heard, Director of Music
Capital Campaign Lunch This Sunday after Church
All members and friends are invited to a complimentary lunch, celebrating our successful Capital Campaign on Epiphany Sunday, January 8, in Patterson Hall immediately after the service.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade - 10:30 AM, Saturday, January 14
By Bob Kalayjian, Board of Social Justice and Outreach
The 29th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade a week from Saturday needs our presence, support, and energy as in so many years past. The theme this year is “Love and Forgiveness.” We will be meeting in our usual place at the head of the parade near MLK Blvd and Anaheim. You can park at the LB City College PCH campus and walk down or shuttle down to our location. Join us on the street at 9 AM to help decorate our entry, gather signs, and build our balloon rainbow. If you have children, bring them along, as it is a short parade route.
Memorial Service for Billie Pownall - January 15
There will be a memorial service for Billie Pownall on Sunday, January 15 at 12:15 pm, preceded by a coffee hour hosted by her daughter, Judy Karinen, after the morning service.
Associate Minister Education
The Rev. John Forrest Douglas is enrolled in the Next Generation Leadership Institute and is attending mandatory classes this week. He will be back in the office on Tuesday, January 10.
Drop-In Center News
By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director
The new year is here! A friend recently sent a quote to me from “The Broken Way”: “Maybe wholeness is embracing brokenness as part of your life?” People come to us at our UCO Drop-In-Center each Sunday, and throughout the week we work with them. They have fear of the future, poverty, and suffering. Most have endured unkindness, failure, and disappointments. We try to help them leave it all behind and go forward expecting good things to happen if they work with us and our community partners. We lack enough apartments to help them all into that new life, but we do all we can. Wholeness is never letting one day go by without reaching out an arm of love to at least one outside of your home. It can be a smile of acceptance, a listening ear, a note, a visit, or resources. It raises their spirits just to know you care. Without a blessing of caring, loving, energy from others, people go deeper and deeper into entropy. We continue to fight back the tide of entropy, showing love, providing resources, and giving information.
We provided a good hot enchilada meal and also the second meal of Westin brunch foods, gave out clothing, hygiene items, and toys. Nurse Ann Herzog came and provided her healthcare services, free phones were given out, and our case managers talked one on one with individuals and families. Little Xander Bell from First Church came and donated a portion of his allowance and recycling money he earned. Such love and giving from the community! Because of this we were able to provide motel stays for three families while we work with them, money for a credit check for an apartment for another family, and helped a young couple go back home to Utah, because all else here had failed.
People are needed to help with the Long Beach homeless count on January 26. Can you help so we know how many are in our streets and it makes us more able to apply for grants? To participate, or for more information, contact Elsa Ramos, Multi-Service Center Coordinator at 562-570-4588 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. so you can attend a training and then help on the 26th.
New Year’s hope to you and yours!
No prayer requests were submitted.
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.
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.