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The Pilgrim - February 28, 2016

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

Coloring through Lent


This Lent, you may have noticed that each week there is a coloring page included in your bulletin. These pages are for people of all ages to engage their creative side during each week’s service of celebration and the following week. Markers, colored pencils, and crayons are provided for your use during the service.

Coloring books for adults have seen a surge in popularity in the recent past. In fact, this past July six of the top twenty bestsellers on Amazon were coloring books for grown-ups. In an interview with the Huffington Post, psychologist Antoni Martínez reminds us that coloring has a long history in mental healthcare. In fact, Carl Jung would often have his patients color mandalas as part of his program of therapy.

It has been shown that coloring allows us to quiet our minds from the distractions around us, and focus more deeply. The repetitive actions of coloring can draw us into a meditative state where we can connect with ourselves and with the Divine. I hope that you will give these coloring pages a try during this Lent - either during the service with the provided supplies or later in the week. You may just find that the act of putting marker, crayon, or colored pencil to paper will become a form of prayer for you.

As I color through this season of Lent, I pray that this community may continue to respond to the spirit of creativity that continually calls the world into brilliant color and newness. 

The Rev. John Forrest Douglas


In this issue:

Music This Sunday

Christian Education

Lay Liturgist Training

Youth to Griffith Park

Faith and Film

Installation of the Rev. Libby Tigner at Los Altos UCC

Memorial Service for Rick Mills

Women's Retreat

Game Night

Poet's Notes

CLUE Event: Women in the Economy

Drop-In-Center News


Church Mouse

Parish Concerns

For more information ...

The Pilgrim on our website


First Church website

Contact us

Heard's Words: Music on Sunday

I’ll start today by saying “thank you, FCCLB” for the gift certificate to the Center Theatre Group that was presented to me at the Congregational Meeting on Sunday. I am grateful just for the opportunities that First Church provides me, but it is nice to know I am appreciated. Thanks also to everyone who stayed for the recital. I enjoyed sharing some good music with you! (I confess that I’m already thinking about what to play on my next program!

So how do you follow a Sunday like last week, which was bursting at the seams with music? How about a guest oboist? Jenna Schwarz is a UCC friend of Elena’s from Minnesota who is currently pursuing a doctorate at UCLA. She will be playing some solos this Sunday with Marc accompanying, and along with the anthem – a beautiful setting of “The Lord Is My Shepherd” by John Rutter. Also this week, as a tribute to the recently departed David Bowie, Carlos Carlos and Lisa Bode Heard will be singing “Under Pressure”! Hope to see you there!

Curtis Heard, Director of Music


In Sunday School

Topic: Praise God Completely
Scripture Reading: Psalm 63:1-8

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




Lay Liturgist Training This Sunday
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

The word "liturgy" means "the work of the people"; each week during our Service of Celebration a volunteer leads our congregation in the important work of community celebration. Would you like to volunteer to serve as a liturgist? This Sunday, right after the Service of Celebration, Rev. Douglas will lead a brief training and orientation for those who would like to volunteer to enter our rotation of lay liturgists. This training will take place in the sanctuary at 11:30. I hope to see you there! 


Adventure Day: Middle/High School Youth
Griffith Observatory and Hiking
This Sunday, February 28

Griffith Park

Depart from church: 11:30 am
Lunch at Palm's Thai Restaurant
Arrive back at church: 7 pm

Please contact Jeremy Morales for questions and to RSVP:
562-756-2166 or


Faith and Film: Last Sessions
Sunday, February 28, 8:30 a.m.; Monday, February 29, 7:30 p.m.

This class with Rev. Larssen is analyzing current, Oscar-nominated films for their theological themes and religious metaphors. The same film will be discussed on Sunday morning and Monday evening; see the movie on your own (or grab a friend from FCCLB) or if you have not, come ready to hear spoilers.

Feb 28 and 29: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights.


Service of Installation for the Rev. Libby Tigner
Los Altos UCC - This Sunday, February 28, at 3:30 PM

All are invited and welcome to attend the service of installation of the Rev. Libby Tigner at Los Altos United Church of Christ this Sunday at 3:30 pm. Libby is also Associate Conference Minister of the SoCal/Nevada Conference of the UCC, and she was formerly the Associate Minister here at First Church.

Los Altos UCC is at 5550 E Atherton, Long Beach, 90815. There is ample parking in the lot between the church and the Whaley Park Community Center on Atherton. There is also street parking in front of the church.


Memorial Service for Rick Mills

Long-time church member Rick Mills passed away this past Friday. The memorial service will be on Sunday, March 13, at 1 pm in our sanctuary.


Women's Retreat - There Are Still Spaces! Don't Miss Out!

There are still a few spaces remaining for the Women's Retreat at Pilgrim Pines, so please sign up now! Email Deb Moore at to let her know you are coming and download the registration form (available here [pdf]). Mail the form and your check for $140 to the church office or put them together in an envelope and drop them in the offering plate this Sunday.


Game Night Is Back!
By Yvonne SaMarion

Friday Night at First Church is Game Night! The adult gamesters of First Church will gather upstairs in the Pownall room on March 4 at 6:30 pm. Join us for a potluck dinner (please bring a dish that will feed four). Drinks and an evening of fun with fun people will be provided. This month is wide open as to what game will be played – we’ll have a variety available. If you have a favorite game – bring it with you. Your favorite game may win the night! Come one, come all and join in the fun. We’ll have the welcome mat out for you!



Poet's Notes
By Tina Datsko de Sánchez

As we continue our Lenten journey of hope, this week’s poem focuses on the story of Peter after Jesus is arrested. The poem uses the technique of paradox to juxtapose two seemingly incompatible ideas. One is the story of Peter’s denial of knowing Jesus. The other is the story of Jesus saying that Peter will be a rock or foundation for building a community of the followers of Jesus. Paradox is often used in teaching stories to invite the mind to hold ideas more lightly.


                        For Elena and John Forrest


Rabbi, why can’t I follow you now?
I’ll lay down my life for you.

Peter, before the rooster greets the dawn,
you will deny me three times.

Rabbi, even if I had to die with you,
I would never deny you.

You were with the Nazarene.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
He’s one of them.
I don’t know the man.
You’re from Galilee; your accent gives you away.
I swear I never laid eyes on the man.

Peter, before the rooster greets the dawn,
you will deny me three times.
Peter, you will be as a rock,
a foundation for building
a community of radical love.


CLUE Ingathering 2016 Clue Ingathering 2016


Drop-in-Center News
By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

Sunday, February 21 at the Drop-In-Center was a good day. We saw the young man we have acquired an apartment for. He had lost his phone and we were so worried that all the work we had done since September to lead up to an apartment opening for him would be down the drain, because I couldn’t get in touch with him. So you can imagine my joy when he walked through the door and we were able to take advantage of the apartment for him.

We had a visit from one of our mothers and she brought her little son along. They have both been terribly ill this winter. They both have asthma, and the bad virus going around makes them so sick. They can’t seem to shake it. The mother has been in the hospital twice and her five-year-old son was just released from the hospital too. Because of the hospital stays she didn’t get paid, so we helped her with her utility bill. To top it off someone broke into her car and stole her birth certificate and driver’s license. So I filled out the form for the birth certificate and gave her some money to go to get a new driver’s license, some canned goods, a crock pot, some curtains for her apartment, a hot meal, and some toys to lift the spirits of her dear little boy.

DICPeople are still asking for jackets for the chilly nights. The jackets that Jenny Penner collected from you friends at FCC have really been a blessing! Thank you, Alison Morales, for getting this collection rolling and thank you to all who gave us warm jackets!

Our new website, thanks to Kyle Kawakami, our IT man, is up! Board member Dr. Richard Graves and his staff person, Bethany Firmage, are adding things and updating and making it better and better! Check it out. We are so happy to have this important window to the world working!

Save the date of Saturday, April 23, for our fantastic spring fundraiser event honoring Long Beach Vice Mayor Dr. Suja Lowenthal. I promise it will be the best one yet! Prizes and silent auction items are needed, so if you have gift certificates or items you aren’t using and you want to re-gift them send them our way. There’ll be someone who thinks they are just what they’ve been looking for.

Be your best self this week and I’ll do the same. We could start something!



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 ...

... Doug Schading was recently named Assistant Vice President for Human Resources at the State University of New York College of Optometry. He has been serving as Director at the campus for 30 years and recently celebrated his 37th anniversary with the State University of New York, having been at two other campuses before the current assignment. Congratulations, Doug!


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for David Cavanaugh upon the death of his partner, Rick Mills; Marie Palza (the niece of a friend of Deb Moore); and the family and friends of Diane Bingham upon her death (a friend of Ruth Keller).

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: