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

The Pilgrim - May 29, 2016

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

Dear Church, 

This Memorial Day Sunday, we welcome the Rev. Josh Morris to our pulpit!

The Morris familyYou recently saw Josh and his spouse Beth participating in the baptism of their son, Isaac, on this past Mother’s Day. That day, I spoke about the multiple vocations that we all have in life: work, volunteerism, relationships, issues of justice, study and contemplation, our passions and pastimes. Josh was an example of multiple vocations that day: pastor, father, partner, person of faith. This Sunday, we will be blessed to see him analyze the way he has balanced his vocations as a Christian minister and an Army chaplain. Josh served in active duty in 2014. Thank you, in advance, to Josh for willingly sharing his own perspectives and experiences so that we might all more deeply understand the concerns and challenges of faith in times and places of war.

I also spoke recently about actions with CLUE, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. We had hoped to be active with their campaign for safety protocols for female housekeepers in hotels, and that campaign has gone dormant for a while, I’m sorry to say. Instead, CLUE is focusing on the strike at the Westin and their annual Giants of Justice Breakfast this Thursday morning at St. Sophia Church in Los Angeles. There are one or two seats left at the First Congregational table ($100 to FCCLB), so don’t hesitate to call the church office if you would like make a spur-of-the-moment choice to join in for this Thursday’s breakfast. Hopefully, the hotel workers safety campaign will be addressed at the breakfast.

Many of you know that my family was away this past weekend as my sister was married in our home congregation in Northern California. She is a not a “spotlight” person and so out of respect for her privacy, I don’t often mention her in sermons, but she is a person whose love and loyalty are an inspiration and I couldn’t be happier for her and her new spouse. My little almost-two-year-old son got to be the ring bearer with the help of my Mark, and charmed the congregation by settling down just in time to deliver the rings with a very serious and sober attitude. My sister incorporated poetry by Tina Datsko de Sánchez into the service which she originally read … in The Pilgrim.

The Rev. Elena Larssen


In this issue:

Music This Sunday

Christian Education

County Supervisor Candidates Forum

Congregational Meeting June 4

Hollywood Bowl Excursions

Are You Graduating?

Walk for Health

DAYS Summer in the City


In Memoriam

Drop-In Center News


June Birthdays and Anniversaries

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

Marc Dickey is on vacation for the next few weeks, so you’ll be hearing a little more piano music than usual! (Fans of the mighty Möller, do not despair - I also have some organ music planned.) This Sunday’s selections are loosely tied to Memorial Day, in the sense of looking to the past and remembering those who have passed before us. The prelude, by Claude Debussy, is titled Canope, which translates to Canopic jar, such as the jars that were used in ancient Egypt to contain the organs of mummies! The anthem, Hear the Voice and Prayer, by Thomas Tallis (1605-1685), is one of the earliest attempts at an anthem in English. Tallis composed during a tumultuous religious time in England and wrote in Latin for the Catholic and early Anglican Church, as well as in English. The offertory is a setting of the hymn tune: Old 120th, by Healey Willan. It’s likely that our Pilgrim forbears sang the Old 120th, and it still appears in some hymnals as Hail the Lord Who Comes. The postlude is a piano piece that Ron Mullens and David Clements requested that may be familiar to some of you. It’s called “Kitten on the Keys,” by Zez Confrey. David’s older sister Blanche was an organist in Gainesville, Texas, before moving to Southern California. After setting aside the piano for many years, she took it up again – and “Kitten on the Keys” was one of her favorites. I am happy to play it this Sunday in her memory! To round out the special music selections, Carver Cossey, fresh from his own vacation in Spain, will be singing the contemporary gospel standard “I Need You to Survive,” by Hezekiah Walker. So yes, it is another Sunday with a wide range of musical styles – something for every taste I hope! See you in church,

Curtis Heard, Director of Music


In Sunday School

Theme: Voice of a New Song
Scripture: Psalm 96

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




Board of Supervisors Candidates Forum at First Church

On Tuesday, May 31, at 6:30 pm, Greater Long Beach Interfaith Community Organization, First Church and other local organizations will host a candidates forum for the open Fourth District County Supervisor’s seat. The forum will be moderated by our Senior Minister, the Rev. Elena Larssen. The Supervisors direct millions of dollars for housing, health care, mental health and social services in our area. Make an informed choice on our next County Supervisor, June 7.


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.


BOCA Goes to the Hollywood Bowl - Buy Your Tickets This Sunday!
By Mario Coello

This summer come join the Board of Cultural Arts on two enchanting excursions through the world of classical music at the Hollywood Bowl. On July 21, pianist Yuja Wang plays jazzy classics by Ravel and Gershwin, conducted by Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel. The $35 ticket also will include the park and ride shuttle, a seat cushion and a boxed dinner. The shuttle leaves at 5:30 pm from the Lakewood Mall. Also mark your calendars for August 14, when Mexican guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela join the orchestra for a magical collaboration incorporating influences from the worlds of Latin, jazz, rock and heavy metal. The $40 ticket includes the park and ride shuttle, a seat cushion and a boxed dinner. The shuttle leaves the Lakewood Mall at 5 pm. Tickets for both concerts will be on sale throughout May and June in the coffee area after Sunday service.


Are You Graduating?
By Tracy Halter-Balin

We will soon be honoring our 2016 graduates from high school and college. If you or someone you know is graduating, please send information to Tracy Halter-Balin at bellgirl99@hotmail.com by this Sunday, May 29. Please include the name of the school and type of degree that's being received. For our high school students, please also include college or "next-step" plans. We love celebrating these milestone achievements! Thanks!


Time for a Walk! FCCLB Walking for Health Group
By Eillen Badilla

We will meet on Saturday, May 28 at 8:30 a.m. at Los Cerritos Park (500 W San Antonio Dr, Long Beach CA 90807). This month we are planning to explore the Dominguez Gap Wetlands, which have easy terrain over a flat distance of 2.5-3 miles. For more information please visit our Facebook group page.

colorful sneakers


It’s Time to Celebrate “Summer in the City”
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.

Summer in the City


Thanks, SCNC-UCC/Central Association, for Your Support!
By Tracy Halter-Balin

In the bigger church picture, First Church is one of many churches in the Southern California/Nevada Conference of the UCC. Our Conference is divided into four associations based on location. As part of this group, churches pay dues to each entity as per capita dues. The Association budgets an amount each year to provide scholarship help to youth for the purpose of attending summer camp and winter camps open to association youth throughout the year.

With the guidance of Karen Miller, we were informed that scholarships were available to assist youth for the upcoming National Youth Event. I am happy to share that four of our youth applied and are receiving $800 in total, which is just about how much we pay in per capita dues. Five youth from three other churches are also receiving scholarships. This is the Wider Church in action. If you are interested in learning more about the work of the association, please talk to Marion Nguli, Cynthia Snell,  Karen Miller, Ronda Holman, or John Forrest Douglas, all of whom serve on the Executive Committee or the Church and Ministry Committee of Central Association.


In Memoriam

Long-time church member Mrs. Maycie Herrington died on the morning of Tuesday, May 24. Maycie and her husband Aaron joined First Church on May 27, 1951, the first African American members. Arrangements for a service at First Church are in process; the congregation will be notified of the date when it is confirmed.


Drop-In Center News
By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

Sunday, May 22, was a special Sunday. It was different because the community, including some large manufacturers, all came together to make a difference.

Vans and New Balance provided 280 pairs of shoes. Element and Stance provided 600 pairs of socks. Board member Dr. Richard Graves donated gently used shoes, as did others in the community. Hygiene items FCC donated were also given out to our clients’ delight. Of course when the newspapers carried the story to give credit to the manufacturers for their generosity, more people heard about it and came over. Next time with something like that we’ll ask the newspapers to please thank the manufacturers after the product distribution.

However, we had two outreach workers from the Long Beach Health and Human Services come to help us reach out to the guests with helpful information. We had 106 new people come and sign in that day.

We continue to work for a better urban community. How unseeing the world goes on! Mostly people don’t understand the heartaches and troubles, the battles won, or our goals to accomplish healthy, happy, stable citizens in the inner city. Some think it is enough to just feed the poor and send them away to languish in the streets and come again the next Sunday unchanged.

Those who are not just an idle hearer, know that every troubled soul I tell you of needs us to try to help. When we do, our circle of help widens and the community pitches in the ways they can. We all become one in God’s family and build stronger, healthier lives!

It reminds me of the Lord feeding the masses with the loaves and fishes. It was not just the Lord blessing the food that fed the crowd. The disciples passing the bounty on helped work the miracle.

Speaking of “help,” our Program Manager/Chef, Roberta Enriquez, has been offered her dream job as Director of Food and Beverage for the LAX Sheraton. This means she will have to leave us with a heavy heart because she cares so much about the program and people we serve. I am looking for an organized, personable manager with some food experience to fill our part-time position on weekends. Call my cell at 562-714-1155 to apply or refer.



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.



June Birthdays

1 Lea Booth
2 Gavin Dendy, Grant Nichol
3 Jacob Adajian, Liam Dunnegan
4 Randy Brouwer, Jim Snelling
5 Rebekah Martinek, Walter Miller, Jessica Smith
7 Mike Buhrmester, Cara Varnell, Rick Wilmouth
8 Ashley Bobo, David Earl-Itoga
9 JoAnne Jennings
10 Phyllis Boucher, Greg Mausbach, David Schnur
13 Kayla Sutton
15 Karen Santa Cruz, Rico Tamayo, Nancy Valencia
16 Joan Greenwood
18 Amos Marshall
19 Mattea Fisher
20 Debra Klar Bond
21 Cathy Gruman
23 Timothy Sinclair
24 Christine DeBruyn, Chuck Durham, Jerry Kulhavy
25 David Humme
26 Roxanne Perez, Mel White
27 Bill Peck
28 Jose Sanchez-H., Darrell Sanders
29 Georgette DeBruyn
30 Christopher Bobo, James Hardeman

June Anniversaries

1 Terry and Gavin McKiernan, 14 years
8 Tim Orchard and Clifton Stewart, 13 years
9 Sam and Sue Johnson, 26 years
20 Steve and Heather Chambers, 38 years
15 Ed and Judy Allen, 46 years
15 Jim and Marilyn Miech, 58 years
16 Robert and Patricia Kalayjian, 48 years
21 Kirsten Pickus and Stephanie Fisher, 22 years
22 Veronica E. Bloomfield and Miguel Canales, 14 years
25 Kim DeVane and Michael Orlito, 27 years
26 Ruth Keller and Larelle Hendon, 17 years
26 Tim Mountain and Carver Cossey, 6 years
30 Paul and Nancy Boyd-Batstone, 32 years


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Ligia Jiménez (Eillen Badilla's friend); Jan Waggoner, and Gary Shelton.

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.



Akiko Dohi

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