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

The Pilgrim - July 10, 2016

Sunday Celebration Notes
Lifting Up God's Love Every Sunday at 10 am

Dear Church,

This Sunday begins a Summer Sermon Mini-Series at First Church; we are looking at the prophets of the Hebrew Bible!

Why prophets? First of all, it’s easy to skip actually reading and studying the Bible, and leave a sense of ownership of the scriptures to our more right-wing Christian brothers and sisters … you can probably imagine how I feel about that! The Bible is a gift to all people of faith, and it can bring us together or tear us apart … and gaining understanding of the scriptures is one of the best ways to inform and strengthen faith, plant your activism and church activities in a bigger theological picture, and luxuriate in some of the most beautiful writing ever painted on papyrus.

Interestingly, the stories of the prophets themselves rarely show up in the regular celebrations and commemorations of the church year. Understanding of where the books came from and who these prophets were is worthy study, instead of just hearing the quotations and references that pop up in the lectionary of preaching.

Also, the prophets are often quoted in Christian scriptures, hymns, and popular culture. Phrases like “let justice roll like mighty waters,” the Advent references to the shoot springing forth from the stump of Jesse, and the imagery of God as an eagle … so often, the words of the ancient documents resonate and reappear in modern religious conversation.

Perhaps most importantly, we are a congregation that claims a prophetic role in society; we believe that part of our role is to speak out for justice, for tolerance, and for faithfulness to God’s call … even when it makes us uncomfortable. The ancient prophets and their poetry are an inspiration, a provocation, and a fun summer project for this Bible geek.


The Rev. Elena Larssen


In this issue

Christian Education

Capital Campaign Q&A Forum This Sunday

Bring Your Folded Cranes

Legacy Giving Survey

Join Us at the Band Concerts

Church Picnic


Parish Concerns

For more information

The Pilgrim - current and past editions of the newsletter


First Church website

Contact us


July 10

The Prophet Isaiah
... but those who hope in the Holy One will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

July 17

The Prophet Deborah
"I will go with you,” said Deborah. “But because of the course you are taking, the honor will not be yours, for the Holy One will deliver [the enemy] into the hands of a woman.”

July 24

The Prophet Jeremiah
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Holy One, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Summer in the Sun – “Camp Style” service in Patterson Hall and Kilsby Courtyard

July 31

The Prophet Ezekiel
I prophesied just as I was commanded. There was a great noise as I was prophesying, then a great quaking, and the bones came together, bone by bone.

Please note: Revs. Larssen and Douglas are joining forces with Rev. Mark Pettis to serve as pastors at camp this coming week with many campers and volunteers from FCCLB. If you have immediate concerns, Josh Morris will be available for pastoral care: 816-585-5112.

In Sunday School

Theme: Beyond Expectations
Scripture: Luke 10:25-37

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




Capital Campaign Question & Answer Forum This Sunday
After the service, in the Pownall Room
With Priscilla Bizer, our Capital Campaign consultant from the UCC


cranesBring Your Folded Cranes to Church This Sunday
By Bob Kalayjian and Steve Schatz

We need all the cranes that have been folded by folks at home to come back to the church this week – Sunday at the latest! The last day to fold cranes will be this Sunday, July 10.

Thanks to all who have helped get them folded and to those who will be stringing them in preparation for hanging on the weekend of July 30-31.


Please Take the Survey
From the Legacy Giving Committee

First Church is doing well because of the faithful church members in the past who left money to the church that was put into endowments. Those endowments help us now by supplementing our current pledge income. But those endowments need added money from our estates for future generations.

The Legacy Giving Committee is looking for the best ways to offer guidance in this area. If you are a church member and haven’t already taken the survey, please click here to complete the Legacy Giving Committee survey.


First Church Goes to the Municipal Band Concerts
By Sue Johnson

"Fellowshipping" for a church family is very important, and what a great way to socialize at a free community event. This event is fun for all ages! Come and join your First Church family at the Summer Long Beach Municipal Band Concerts in the park. Bring a picnic, blankets, beach chairs and friends.

El Dorado West - Studebaker and Willow
6:30 pm - come early to get good parking

July 8, 15, 22, 29, and August 5

Stay tuned for more information on other community events.


picnic imageJoin the Fun at the Church Picnic!
By Jo Anne Jennings

Sign-ups for the Church Family Picnic take place on Sunday, and you don’t want to miss the fun and friendship. It’s $8 a person or $20 for a family, along with a donation of a salad or dessert. We’ll meet at El Dorado Park after church on July 31. There’ll be great burgers (including veggie burgers) and hot dogs. We’ll make giant bubbles and play games. What could be better than a Sunday in the park with friends!?


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.




Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for the family and friends of Kenneth Verhaegen, Georgette de Bruyn's cousin, who recently died; and the campers, volunteers and staff at Pilgrim Pines.

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