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

The Pilgrim - June 5, 2016

Office remodel   office remodel with plans

Dear Church, 

It feels like spring cleaning as exciting remodeling is beginning at First Church! Above you see pictures of the first phase of remodeling to create our new Church Office on the ground floor of Pilgrim Hall, next to the main elevator.

The goal is to increase access between the public and the church staff during the week; often times, visitors and delivery people cannot find Ruth Warkentin on the upper level of the historic building. In the event of an emergency, we will now have staff immediately available in the courtyard area where the campus “front door” is located on Cedar. Hopefully, this will increase the utility of the campus and make us safer and more available to the congregation and campus users.

In coming weeks, the upper level (which was originally meant to be a Christian Education office but never used that way) will become an office and conference room suite for the Senior Minister, with a good meeting space in the front for the on-going projects and committees that I staff. I hope that being available to passersby will be part of creating a friendly, “open-door” environment!

After many years of offering counseling in the upper office, Jim Yandell is retiring in August; we will be sure to thank him for his many years of service to the HIV-AIDS community. And the Computer Lab on the lower level is receiving a reorganization that reflects the new, plugged-in style of computer use: desktops are now available in the CE rooms for the congregation’s children, adults, and the students of the DAYS program. For the Drop-In Center, computer work stations will be available in Patterson Hall (and stored in locked storage when not in use); at the recommendation of the DIC computer manager, they are evolving to a more secure style of programming, where a volunteer will mentor a guest one-on-one at the computer workstation. Part of the reason for this is to curtail inappropriate or illegal online behaviors, and will allow guests to progress on resume-building, communications with family, and other constructive projects.

Altogether, the usage of our space by staff, church leaders, and rent-paying campus partners is rising. The income is helpful, of course, but it also is energizing to have the campus busy with church, DAYS, UCO, and our campus partners – all positive, justice-leaning organizations that share a commitment to community and respect. The Corner of Arts and Justice is alive!

The Rev. Elena Larssen


In this issue:

Music This Sunday

Christian Education

First Church Café

Young People's Concert

Honoring Christian Education

Traveling with Jesus

Summer Sunday School Schedule

Congregational Meeting June 12

Summer in the City

Congratulations, Grads!


Church Mouse

Parish Concerns

For more information

The Pilgrim - current and past editions of the newsletter


First Church website

Contact us


Heard's Words: Music on Sunday

First of all, a correction from last week’s column: Carver Cossey was not vacationing in Spain, he was actually working as a guest singer/conductor on tour with the Prescott Chorale! Nice work if you can get it, right?

This Sunday will be another grabbag of music, with a prelude by Franz Liszt, an anthem by Gustav Holst, and a postlude by J. S. Bach. Don’t forget to stick around for the Young People’s Concert! See you on Sunday!

Curtis Heard, Director of Music


In Sunday School

Theme: Voice of the Silenced
Scripture: I Kings 17:8-16, (17-24)

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




First Church Café This Sunday

It's the first Sunday of the month - time again for First Church Café, from Karen Cannon of Stars Catering. The cost for lunch is $9 for adults and $4 for children 10 and under.

All are welcome. If you or your family need financial assistance to be able to enjoy lunch, vouchers are available. A number of our boards will meet after lunch, but lunch is not just for board members. Here is the menu:

Summer Picnic Café
Celebrate summertime with your First Church Family! Enjoy many potluck favorites
without having to pack a dish, with the Café cooks doing all the work ...

Refreshing Sub Sandwiches
Smoked turkey, turkey ham, vegan, gluten-free and Italian sandwiches
with crisp lettuce and tomatoes, with condiments on the side

Franks and beans, plus “just beans,” vegan-style

Festival of Chips
All the favorites, potato chips, tortilla chips, pita chips and veggie chips
with an assortment of fabulous dips: salsa, ranch, spinach, hummus and more

Crisp crudités, pickles, olives, and various antipasti
Fresh fruit and watermelon

Dessert Table

Iced tea, lemonade, tropical fruit punch, mocha iced coffee and water


Young People’s Concert – This Sunday, June 5
By Tracy Halter-Balin

All members and friends of FCC are cordially invited to attend our annual Young People’s Concert coming soon on Sunday, June 5 at 1:30 pm in our Sanctuary. Plan to stick around after our First Church Café and board meetings and enjoy performances by all of the youth music groups of the church as well as solo performances by many of our talented youth. After the concert, all are invited to join us for an Ice Cream Social in the Koinonia Room. 


Honoring Christian Education
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

This Sunday, we will honor those who have served as teachers, Zone Leaders, and all the other people who have made our Christian Education program awesome this year. If you have been a part of Christian Education this year, please plan to attend church this Sunday so we can say thank you!


Traveling with Jesus
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

“Surely I am with you always.” – Matthew 28:20b

This summer, as you travel near and far (both for fun and for work) take a selfie with Jesus! Click here to download and print a Jesus to take with you on your adventures. Share the photo on social media #fcclb or email or print a photo to First Congregational Church. Each week, we will share the travels of Jesus with the children during our Service of Celebration. This project is for all ages! Please contact John Forrest for more info: jfdouglas@firstchurchlb.org.

Words with the Children selfie   Traveling with Jesus


Summer Sunday School Schedule
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

This past Sunday was the first Sunday for our Summer Sunday School series. During the summer, our kids will be learning about all the many facets of compassion in a one-room Sunday School model. Two Sundays during the summer will be designated for kids to volunteer in the UCO Drop-In Center. Junior high and high school youth are invited to participate in the Service of Celebration during the summer or join the kids as a helper. If you’d like to volunteer to lead Sunday School, please sign up here. Here’s our schedule:

June 5 - Introduction to Compassion
June 12 - Faith Fair - Learning about Hinduism
June 19 - Volunteer at the Drop-In Center
June 26 - Compassion as Empathy
July 3 - Recognizing Suffering
July 10 - Hope
July 17 - Compassion in Action
July 24 - Just Like Me
July 31 - Mischievous Compassion
August 7 - Tender Compassion
August 14 - Volunteer at the Drop-In Center
August 21 - Fierce Compassion
August 28 - Compassion Review
September 4 - End of Summer Sunday Funday
September 11 - Faith Fair - Honoring Religious Diversity


Congregational Meeting
Sunday, June 12, after the service, in the Sanctuary

A Congregational Meeting will be held to gain congregational approval of the preservation plan and Capital Campaign strategy for repairs and preservation.


Celebrate “Summer in the City” This Saturday!
By Nancy Valencia, Director, DAYS Long Beach

DAYS Long Beach is pleased to announce its 47th year providing a free summer day camp to children and youth in Long Beach. DAYS Long Beach cordially invites our wonderful First Church community to our annual “Summer in the City” event on Saturday evening, June 4.

Join us Saturday, June 4
Patterson Hall
6 PM to 9 PM
Hors d’oeuvres at 6 PM, dinner follows at 6:45 PM
Entertainment by our very own DAYS campers

Tickets: $50; $375 for a table of 8

Go to www.dayslb.org to order tickets and/or make credit card payment. To pay by check mail to DAYS Long Beach, 1230 E. Wardlow Road, Long Beach, CA 90807. Please make checks payable to DAYS Long Beach.


Celebrating Our 2016 Graduates!
By Tracy Halter-Balin

This Sunday, we will take a moment to recognize our high school and college graduates during our Christian Education service. We offer our congratulations and best wishes to these fine First Church young people!

Micah Turner is graduating from Westview High School on June 10. He will be attending El Camino College beginning this summer with a focus on criminal justice.

Scarlett Johnson will be graduating from Millikan High School on June 16. She will be attending Long Beach City College in the fall. Her goal is to finish her general education classes and transfer to Chapman to become a history teacher.

Alex Dolan Balin graduated with his Associate of Arts degree in the honors program from Cypress College on May 27. He will begin his next part of the journey at Claremont McKenna College in the fall with a focus on philosophy, politics and economics.

Sydney Rebecca Wells graduated cum laude from University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in sociology with a minor in legal studies.

Martin deJong graduated from Duke Law School on May 14. His next step is to pass the bar exam!

Clayton Paul Heard received his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Chapman University. He was active in the DOC program, the University Program Board, and Fossil Free Chapman. He was the winner of the Chapman University Award for Diversity and Sustainability. He is looking forward to finding work in the non-profit sector.

Erin Kathleen O’Keefe graduated from Chapman University with her Master of Arts in Leadership Development. She is currently working at Chapman as the Development Coordinator in the College of Education.


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.



church mouseThe Church Mouse has heard ...

... Yvonne SaMarion's greatniece, Shanell Harris, has (finally!) given birth to a baby girl. After a 10-month gestation, the baby was 11 lbs, 8 oz, 23".


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Jim Deaton, upon the death of his sister; Carol Van Alsten, upon the death of her mother, Jean Simpson; and Ivy Bottini.

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