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

The Pilgrim - July 31, 2016

First Church at the UCC National Youth Event

First Church at NYE


From the Senior Minister

Dear Church, 

Stewardship … in July?!

Have you ever heard a radio pledge drive? Sometimes the announcer says, “If we raise such-and-such dollars today, we can end the campaign and resume our usual programming!” I always like hearing that – and being reminded that the goal of fundraising is to get down to making good work happen.

Because we are focusing on a capital campaign for historic preservation this fall, the congregation’s leadership decided to forgo the usual pomp and circumstance of our pledge drive, and instead make a quiet request that you renew your pledge at this time. Then we can resume our “usual programming” and focus on the upcoming program year - including the first-ever preservation of our historic landmark rose windows.

By now, you have received a letter of invitation to make a pledge to our annual budget for 2017, including a pledge card to be returned to the office. If you have not received these, materials, please contact office@firstchurchlb.org.

If you have never made an annual pledge to First Church, please do. We are a financially independent, non-profit organization that receives no government funding; the members of the church are the ones who make the life of the church happen, with their generosity and gifts of time, talents, and financial “treasure.” Mark and I are proud to be annual pledgers, and invite you to join us in supporting all the good work of First Church and our related ministries.

Thank you, dear Church, for your many forms of generosity!

The Rev. Elena Larssen


In this issue

From the Senior Minister

Music This Sunday

Christian Education

Church Picnic This Sunday

Help Hang the Cranes

Interfaith Service August 4

Momastery Live!

Preservation Project

Municipal Band Concerts

National Youth Event

So Cal/Nevada Conference Women's Retreat

Antioch University Bridge Program


August Birthdays and Anniversaries

Parish Concerns

For more information

The Pilgrim - current and past editions of the newsletter


First Church website

Contact us


Delta Rhythm BoysHeard's Words: Music on Sunday

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again? Do you ever feel so paper thin, like a house of cards, one blow from caving in? Well, the Israelites during the time of the prophet Ezekiel did, although the writer of the book of Ezekiel described them as dry bones disconnected from each other. Katy Perry’s lyrics convey a similar sentiment. In her song Firework, she goes on to say “You’ve got to ignite the light.” In the Bible, Ezekiel ignites the light by commanding the bones to rise; he commands the winds to blow into them the breath of life, and the bones become flesh! This week’s anthem tells the story in a fun way with the song Dry Bones. The arrangement is similar to the version performed by the Delta Rhythm Boys back in the 50s.

If the song breathes a little life into you on Sunday, then the choir has done its job well! You won’t hear them again until September 11, except for them singing in the pews next to you during the month of August! So enjoy the anthem this Sunday – see you then!

Curtis Heard, Director of Music


In Sunday School

Theme: Life Consists of ...
Scripture: Luke 12:13-21

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




Church Picnic This Sunday

The Church Picnic is this Sunday after the service, at El Dorado Park West. There will be burgers (veggie ones too) and hotdogs with fellowship and fun. When you pack your dessert or salad, remember to pack reusable plates, utensils, and cups or glasses to help the environment. Tickets are $8 per person or $20 for a family. We look forward to seeing you. Here's a handy map:

Map of El Dorado Park


The Cranes Are Coming!
By Bob Kalayjian

Friends, we will be hanging the cranes in the Sanctuary this coming Saturday at 1 pm. Please come help with this final stage of our offering of peace and healing to ourselves, neighbors and the planet. Many hands make light work and it is a delight to rest quietly beneath them for the very first time.



The Cranes of August
An Interfaith Service of Remembrance
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
and Reflections on Peace and War

Thursday, August 4, 7 pm

Join us beneath more than 1700 origami paper cranes, light candles in offering to peace and disarmament, listen to words from leaders of many faith traditions, and be in community with many who wish and pray for a world free of nuclear weapons and committed to peace.


Momastery Live!
By Katy Hyman

On Thursday, October 13, join us for an evening with Glennon Doyle Melton, founder of the online community at Momastery.com and author of the New York Times Bestseller Carry On, Warrior and the upcoming memoir, Love Warrior.

Admission for the event is $40 and includes a hardcover edition of Love Warrior. Doors will open at 6:15 for the 7 pm event. Additional tickets are available for $23 for an early reception with Glennon, which will begin at 5:30 pm. Tickets to this reception can be purchased on the registration page as you purchase tickets for the event.

The Board of Cultural Arts is co-sponsoring this event with Manhattan Beach Community Church and Bayshore Community Congregational Church. We have reserved 200 event tickets and 100 reception tickets for our members, and you can access the private sale here: http://conta.cc/1th3lNU.

We do expect this event to sell out, and on Monday, August 1 we will release the rest of the event and reception tickets to the general public, so get yours today before they're gone!


The Preservation Project Has Begun
By Allison King

The preservation project is excited to announce that work has started! As many of you may have noticed, there is scaffolding in the sanctuary, and some of the windows look a little plainer than they normally do. Don’t worry, they will be back again in about six months.

In addition to the rose window glass, the some of the skylights over the Koinonia Room are being taken out to address serious issues with the frames. While they are out we will be repainting the inside of the encasements to prevent rust. This should only take a few weeks. Thank you for your patience and please keep (kids) off of the scaffolding!

If you would like more information about the project and to see how things are going, please visit our blog at 3rdandcedar.wordpress.com.

window removal from outside   window removal from inside


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 29 and August 5

Stay tuned for more information on other community events.


Another Photo from the UCC National Youth Event

First Church at NYE

Southern California contingent at the UCC National Youth Event


UCC Southern California/Nevada Conference Women's Retreat

SCNC Women's Retreat


Antioch University Bridge Program Returning to First Church in the Fall

Antioch University's Bridge Program provides university-level education for students who may not otherwise have access to higher education. Each week, Bridge students attend class to begin college, to earn up to 15 transferrable units of university credit, and to study philosophy, literature, art history, writing, and urban studies – all free of charge.

More details:

1. The 2016-2017 school year is the fourteenth year for the Bridge program in Southern California.
2. Bridge is in four locations: Long Beach, Culver City, Norwalk and Boyle Heights.
3. Tuition is free to students.
4. All books, classroom materials, nightly snacks, bus tokens (when required) and field trips ... FREE.
5. Open to students whose income is less than $25,000 annually.
6. No grades - written evaluations are provided to all students.
7. There is open dialogue and non-judgemental environment for ALL students.
8. The program includes field trips to libraries, museums, Antioch University events, and more ...
9. Courses of study: English/writing, art history, philosophy, literature.
10. 12-15 units of transferable units are possible.
11. We assist students with future education planning beyond their Bridge academic year.

If you or anyone in your community would benefit from the Bridge education experience, call the Bridge office (310-578-1080 ext 300) for more information or go to the Antioch University website for an online application. You may also download a brochure (pdf).


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.



August Birthdays

1 Lisa Bode Heard, Joshua Tann
2 Kim DeVane, Katelyn Wells
4 Alexa Rhoads
5 Ilse Schottelius, Erica Strauss
6 Harold Sutherland
8 John Lashbrook
10 Spencer Charles, Dorothea Polsey
11 Maxwell Charles
12 Elizabeth Edwards
13 Paul Boyd-Batstone
14 Claire Mitchell, Grace Whitesell
15 Ivy Bottini, Kim Hendricks
16 Xander Bell, Amanda Bobo, Scot Bond, Debbie Byrne
17 Ben Rockwell
19 Owen Gardner-Orr
20 Rob Daniel, Eli Hedgpeth
21 Susan Dampf, Kailyn Kershaw-Lauderback
23 Kim Marshall
24 Patricia Benherschel, James Loeffler
25 Carol Callin, Pamela Chapin, Debbi Lauderback
26 Amy Sutton
27 Joanne Burcham
28 Charles DeBruyn II, Joanne C. Paine
29 Annie Williams
30 Zoe Gholson, Sophia Hanna, Scott Juhl, Dale Whitney
31 Eillen Badilla, Ben Nguli, Gordon Shepherd

August Anniversaries

5 Melanie and Luke Hiller, 10 years
6 Robert Stapp and Harold Sutherland, 36 years
10 Annamarie Macias and Norma Esqueda, 40 years
16 Howard and Michelle Williams, 12 years
23 David and Rick Travis Bourassa, 8 years
25 Scott and Linda Ramsay, 37 years
26 Doug and Nadine Ramsay, 32 years
28 Paul and Sandy Bogdan, 34 years
28 Joshua Tann and Richard Nehls, 11 years


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Gary Shelton; Terry Sandoval (Greg Mausbach and Jason Hudson's friend); and Patrick Malone (Larelle Hendon's brother).

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