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The Pilgrim - November 13, 2016


Sunday Celebration Notes

Lifting Up God's Love Every Sunday at 10 am

This week we will be celebrating Youth Sunday during our service of celebration. The teens of the church have planned and will lead the entire service. The prayers, hymns, liturgies, and sermon will be led by them. Charming Chimes and All Seasons Choir will provide music. Some instrumental music will even be performed by the young musicians. I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to work with our exceptional group of children and teenagers!
The theme the youth have picked for this service is “Change Is Inevitable: Don’t Lose Heart!” I can’t imagine a more appropriate message for all of us to hear in the wake of the election. Don’t Lose Heart. It’s a simple command that’s difficult to enact—especially when the future seems bleak. 
I hope you look forward to hearing words of encouragement and challenge from the teens this week. 
John Forrest

In Sunday School

Theme: Joy Begins Now
Scripture: Isaiah 65:17-25

Adult Education

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

Office Closed Friday

The church office will be closed Friday in observance of Veterans' Day.

In This Issue

Youth Sunday
Christian Education
Titanic Starts This Weekend!
Anti-Gun Vigil Planning
Advent Workshop
Interrupted by Hope - a class for Advent
Capital Campaign Update
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Commitment
Thank You
Winter Festival and Sparkling Reception
Parents' Night Out
Columbarium Commentary
Drop-In Center News
Parish Concerns
Deadline: Tuesday at 1 pm

Titanic Runs the Next Two Weekends!

Saturdays, November 12 and 19 at 8 pm
Sundays, November 13 and 20 at 5 pm
Good seats are still available online by visiting Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door prior to each performance.


Planning Meeting for the Anti-Gun Violence Vigil
Wednesday, November 16, 3 pm, at First Church

The vigil will be on Wednesday, December 14 at 5 pm.

Save the Date: Advent Workshop
Sunday, November 20, after the service


Interrupted by Hope: Conversations on Turning toward Advent

By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

We have our plans, our time, and ideas about how this holiday season should work. However, Advent changes all of that. The arrival of this season shifts our focus and gives us a greater expectation than day-in-day-out living. Advent interrupts our schedule and points us toward a new hope. It brings the blessing of an unplanned arrival. God seeks to stir within us so we may turn our faces toward something new.

Join the Rev. John Forrest Douglas in a weekly class discussion of Advent. We will view interviews with theologians, writers, and poets to guide our discussions. Classes will be offered on Sunday mornings at 8:30 and Monday evenings at 7 in the Chapel. Sunday and Monday offerings will be identical.
November 27 & 28 Advent as Wisdom
The Welcoming of a Bigger Mind – Fr. Richard Rohr
December 4 & 5 Advent as Looking
Be Still and Look – Glennon Doyle Melton
December 11 & 12 Advent as Poetic Imagination
A Womb for a Wounded World – Malcom Guite
December 18 & 20* Advent as Embodiment
Matter Matters – Barbara Brown Taylor 
*Offered on Tuesday, December 20 to allow attendance at Christmas Blues Service.

Report on "Preserving Our Legacy"

By Steve Crow
When we kicked off the major portion of the Capital Campaign last Sunday, the Capital Campaign Committee reported that as of Thursday, October 27, it had received 40 pledges totaling $748,000 from lead givers and members of the Council and Boards. This involved 64 members. It is 83% of our $900,000 goal. I call on those who have not signed a letter of intent to do so and get us over that goal. We are discovering some unexpected challenges with the terra cotta repairs, making our sizable contingency in the budget rapidly disappear. So each of you who have yet to sign a letter of intent holds in your heart and hands the ultimate success of this campaign. Please participate in one of the four remaining Commitment Sundays. Add your letter of intent to the growing pile we have received over the past few days.
Answers to This Past Sunday’s Capital Campaign Quiz

We can confer on these counts if yours differ, but Steve Crow finds:
  • 43 rounded arches on the east facade of the sanctuary building, including the east-facing tower wall;
  • 3 columned entry ways to the sanctuary building (remember the one entering from the Kilsby Courtyard);
  • 28 pilasters (columns) on the north facade of the sanctuary buiding, including the north-facing tower wall.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving and Commitment

“Building for the Future” campaign prayer, 1999,  modified
O God, we are the beneficiaries of your love in the world.
When we think of First Church, we think of how we have been welcomed, accepted, included, and how we feel safe here in this holy place.
First Church is our home, our family where we are surrounded by the unconditional, expansive love and friendship of so many people.
First Church is a voice for progressive theology, social justice and diversity.
First Church is a place of hope and a source of inspiration, enthusiasm, and joy.
O God, we are grateful for those believers who many years ago risked boldly to provide this church and its community outreach as a “tower of faith in the heart of the city." We want to preserve their legacy for the generations who come after us.
O God, we have the privilege and opportunity to support this campaign in order to assure the witness this church building makes to Long Beach by providing a place of beauty, of service, and inclusiveness to all who view it or enter its doors.
We give you thanks, O Living God, that here and now you have given us a part to play in sharing your reconciling love with all your children everywhere.
Encourage us with your love, O God,  that we may commit ourselves anew to live as people who belong to you; through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Thank You

Thank you, dear friends of First Church, for the many expressions of love for Janet. I will always treasure memories of your kindness.

Barbara Smith

Winter Festival and Sparkling Reception Are Coming! 
December 4, 4 pm

By Nancy Valencia, Executive Director, DAYS Long Beach

Save the date and mark your calendars for December 4 and First Church’s annual start to the Christmas season. Join us to celebrate the holidays with family, friends and our First Church community. Attend the CSULB Winter Festival concert in the sanctuary, followed by sparkling drinks and a festive hors d'oeuvres reception in Patterson Hall. The proceeds from your ticket will go to support DAYS Long Beach, a year-round program that offers support to children, youth, and their families in the Long Beach area. Please make your check payable to the First Church. We look forward to seeing you at our holiday extravaganza.
Tickets to the Winterfest Concert and Sparkling Reception: $60 
Date: Sunday, December 4
Time: Concert begins at 4, followed by the beautiful reception

Get your orders in early as tickets are limited. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nancy Valencia (562-234-2851) or via email

Parents' Night Out Thanks

By Tracy Halter-Balin
Another fun Friday night was had by 14 kids and some awesome grown-ups! We used our last daylight hours before turning our clocks back on Sunday by making bird feeders and jumping rope in the courtyard. The energy level is always high in Patterson Hall, and fun was had by all playing games, running fast, and eating sandwiches and fruit. Many thanks to Sam Johnson, Nancy Boyd-Batstone, Matt and Sean Balin, and first-timer Carmen Abbott. Our next event will be Parent’s DAY out on Saturday, December 17 from 9 am to 12 noon. That will be the same day as our Christmas pageant rehearsal, so stay tuned for more information in December.


Columbarium Commentary

By Bob Kalayjian
The bronze faces on the courtyard wall have undergone interesting changes over the years since we installed them. Attempts to polish them by some family members or friends, attempts to clean by our caretakers, and the effect of salt air from the ocean have left them irregular and blotchy (my choice of words). The most recent change was my first attempt to apply a patina or natural color of the bronze with a chemical treatment similar to the art of the bronze sculptor. I am confident the next formula for that treatment will bring them all to a uniform dark coloration. I would ask for your patience, and please don’t try to make any improvements.
Regarding the stainless spheres on the vines: the pigeons have done what pigeons do and we will have them clean within the next week. The top four and bottom 20 have been cleaned.

Drop-In Center News

By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

I am writing this on Election Day and I’m praying for our country. So many initiatives to vote on, not to mention candidates!

Sunday, November 6, was a morning of surprises! There was a prison escape in Orange County and one of our partner groups, Vedanta, had made lentil soup for 300 and were not able to deliver it to a Santa Ana church. Police were not letting anyone into the area. So they called us and came and donated the soup to us. We gratefully accepted it and have frozen it for next week.

Then our friends from Pastor Elena Larssen’s husband’s church, Manhattan Beach UCC, showed up with 300 lovely bagged lunches! The children had even decorated the bags. We gave them out to folks as they were leaving and they were joyfully received. A young man from the government-funded Safe Link Free Phone Program came and gave out free phones. People were happy to receive this phone link to the world! Nurse Ann Herzog came and brought a staff of nurses along with her so they were able to see a lot of people!

An elderly woman had asked us to help find a TV for her apartment a few weeks ago. Luckily one of the church members, Marion Hinze, is downsizing and donated a TV to us. Another FCC member, Dr. Bob Kalayjian, loaded it into my car. I was so excited to be able to fill our client’s need. However she didn’t have a phone and for some reason she didn’t come in the last Sunday in October. So I have been riding around with the TV in my car for a couple weeks. Well, Sunday she came in and we hooked up. My husband and another volunteer took the TV to her apartment and set it up. She was very happy! Great team effort!

We helped a young mom with gas money to get to her new job and helped two families with motel vouchers. I have a “to do list” to help advocate for another client so she can get an apartment. I need to get her connected with her previous case manager and that agency that has promised funding for the apartment.

So all in all it was a very good Sunday! We had an abundance of volunteers and great gifts from the community! Thank you to everyone who is helping with the homeless challenge!


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Joan Chambers (Cathy Chambers’ mother); James Datsko (Tina Datsko’s brother); Robert Rhyu (Tina Datsko’s friend); Julio Yery (Tina Datsko’s friend’s husband); and Marco Lomeli (Melody O’Keefe’s nephew-in-law).

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.

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