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The Pilgrim - May 1, 2016
Sunday Celebration Notes
All hail the purple one … the passing of musical artist Prince last week has caused a flurry of attention not only to his music, but to his faith and community contributions.
Having lived in Minneapolis, Prince’s beloved hometown, I can attest to the extraordinary impact that he had on his fans. He was truly community-oriented; for example, he was a huge fan of the women’s pro basketball team, the Lynx. His support for professional women’s sports – especially in a town where the NBA, NFL, men’s hockey, and University of Minnesota men’s sports are huge news – created great buzz for the team. When the Lynx won the championship, he held a big party at Paisley Park and played for the athletes and their guests.
During this Eastertide season, we are preparing ourselves for Pentecost by working through the Book of Acts. This Sunday we meet Lydia, an early disciple who was known as a businesswoman dealing in purple cloth. Lydia is an exciting feminist figure for progressive Christians, as both a key leader in the development of the early church and a woman of accomplishment. I couldn’t help but think that the gender-bending art of Prince and the gender-oppression-defying work of Lydia provide ancient and modern examples of ways people liberate themselves from gender norms to give unique leadership voices to the world.
And as we think and talk critically about gender, I’m pleased to announce that our Church Council has reaffirmed our commitment to having all-gender restrooms available throughout the campus. Those restrooms are located in the Pownall Room of the historic building and on the upper level of Pilgrim Hall near the elevator and Sacred Space. Please always feel free to use the restroom that is most comfortable for you … because no matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.
As you may know, I will be at an educational conference this week from Wednesday to Monday. I was honored to be accepted in the CREDO program of the Pensions Boards of the United Church of Christ, receiving full funding to attend this week of health and vocational guidance. I have been advised that conference attendees have little to no access to email or phone, so I’m guessing that we will be very busy! Many thanks continue to the Rev. Katy Hyman for providing pastoral coverage during my trip, and don’t hesitate to call the church office with questions about events and the campus.
I am also delighted that the Rev. Bear Ride will join Rev. Hyman to preach and lead service! Katy and Bear worked so well together in 2014 when I had family leave for the birth of Thomas that Katy said, “We’re getting the band back together!” How fun, and I hope you have a wonderful First Church First Sunday together!
Have a blessed week,
The Rev. Elena Larssen
This week’s anthem, “With a Voice of Singing,” was composed by Kenneth Jennings (1925-2015). Jennings was an alumnus of St. Olaf College and choir director there from 1953 until he retired in 1990. He took over the renowned choir from Olaf C. Christiansen (son of founder F. Melius Christiansen). Olaf C. Christiansen was the director when Frank Pooler went to St. Olaf’s, and Frank Pooler was my choir director at Long Beach State, so I guess that would make Kenneth Jennings a sort of grand-uncle of mine in the choral director’s family tree. Jennings was the first to program accompanied choral music at St. Olaf’s – I can only imagine the scandal that must have caused! (For the non-singers – accompanied means choir with other instruments.) “With a Voice of Singing” is an unaccompanied composition (meaning for choir without any instrumental accompaniment). It has a percussive feel, however - the tempo marking is “With rhythmic steadiness and vigor”! The result is truly a joyful noise!
Curtis Heard, Director of Music
Theme: Shared Ministry
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:
Chicken Chili Verde
Rancho Garden Salad
Fresh Fruit Salad
You are cordially invited to join us for our last fundraiser to help us send eight of our youth to the National Youth Event happening in Lake Buena Vista, Florida this July. If you’d like to see more information about what lies in store for these excited kids across our nation, check out this website: http://nye.uccpages.org/.
Date: Saturday, May 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm
Opportunity drawings and great entertainment including some of your favorite Disney music. Thanks for your support!
The Historic Preservation Committee is looking for a few good bricks! We need to find about 50 or so bricks for repairs to the exterior walls of the main building, and we hope to find them amongst the bricks folks "bought" years ago when the old Pilgrim Hall building was torn down, because they would have a much better chance of matching the existing bricks. If you have any of the red/pink historical bricks and would be willing to part with them, please contact anyone on the committee.
We want to thank all of you for your expressions of sympathy in the passing of Bill. Your cards, phone calls, attendance at his memorial service and your prayers, have all been a source of strength and an wonderful example of your love. You all mean so much to us and we need and appreciate you.
See you in church!
First, I want to thank everyone for their prayers, cards, and other forms of support, and especially your patience during my elongated recovery from the heel surgery I had last July. My foot is finally fully heeled! No wait, I mean healed!! For those of you in church last Sunday, you witnessed the Return of the Left Heel and Toe in a big way during the postlude, as I played Bach’s "Prelude and Fugue in c minor" with its extended pedal solos at the beginning and throughout. It felt great to give both feet that workout!
Second, I wanted to let you know that there will be a special event in the sanctuary next Tuesday, May 3, at 7:30 pm, and you are invited to attend and participate. The Long Beach American Guild of Organists chapter has asked us to host their annual installation of officers service this year. The brief installation takes place within a service of celebration, very similar to our Sunday morning service. Elena has graciously agreed to lead the service and preach, and the Sanctuary Choir, Bellisimo, and Megan O’Toole will all be performing in the service as well. We will be singing some favorite hymns (with all of the organists in Long Beach and the South Bay joining in song, so we’ll be able to raise the rafters). I will be at the organ of course, and I will also be installed in my second year as an AGO board member. Please know that you are very welcome to come and join us, and help us show the Long Beach AGO first-hand what First Church is all about.
Temple Israel's Social Action Committee invites you to a Workers Justice Passover Seder on Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. Please join Rabbi Steven Moskowitz, Cantor Sara Hass, Temple Israel's Social Action Committee, and CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) as they relate the Passover plight to freedom with the current fight for workers justice. This event is welcome to people of all ages and faiths. RSVP requested to Charmaine at email@example.com.
Over ten organizations have worked tirelessly to coordinate a march and rally to celebrate International Worker’s Day and immigrants’ rights. Please join DAYS Long Beach on Sunday afternoon, May 1, as we honor May Day.
Did you know that the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Disciples of Christ, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) have been sponsoring a Campus Pastor at CSULB for almost 50 years now? It's true, and you can find out more about this dynamic ministry by attending a special event this Sunday, May 1, from 2 to 4 pm on campus. It is called a "Housewarming Open House" and will take place at the Soroptimist House on Beach Drive just east of Bellflower Blvd.
As you drive east on Beach Dr. from Bellflower you will come to a Visitor Center kiosk - just stop there and tell them why you are there and they will tell you where to park and direct you to the Soroptimist House. There will be refreshments for you to enjoy, and I believe that there will be identical introductory presentations at 2:30, 3 and 3:30 if all goes according to plan. The admission is free of course!
DAYS Long Beach
Saturday, June 4, 6 to 9 pm
Tickets may be ordered online at www.dayslb.org. For checks: Please make checks payable to DAYS Long Beach and mail to 1230 E. Wardlow Road, Long Beach, CA 90807. For further information please feel free to contact Nancy Valencia at firstname.lastname@example.org or 562 234-2851.
Empowering Children Supporting Families Building Communities
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.
It was a time travel weekend for UCO. We went back in time to 1920s era on Saturday night with our benefit fundraiser, “Jazzy Lady.” It was an enchanted evening in a beautiful room (Ramsay Hall all dressed up) with plenty of excellent food, music, and prizes. We honored two deserving ladies and told our story. Then everyone went home and we cleaned up till 1:30 in the morning.
Sunday we had a little jet lag traveling back to now and finding that almost 400 people had come to us for help! It was the fourth Sunday of the month and many families had run out of money. There were at least 12 children to work with. Luckily our Volunteer Coordinator Katie Philipson was here to do that. We were so busy we didn’t even have time to be tired. We just moved forward with feeding, giving resources and a listening ear.
One man who comes to us each week is the son of an Olympic gold medal winner, but he himself is very vulnerable. Just recently out of a wheelchair, but still weak and with mental deficiencies, he has been targeted and beaten and robbed in the street twice now. This time he had a concussion and was sick. We called paramedics to take him for medical treatment. Some bully has discovered he has money and he is easy to handle, I guess. I’m trying hard to get him into housing and the safety it provides.
We actually set a record Sunday, needing to call the paramedics three times in one day. I was so glad Volunteer Coordinator Samantha Mouradian was here to work with the paramedics. We had two others who were in withdrawal from some substance or combination of prescription drugs and needed medical attention. One we know has a history of mental health issues and we aren’t sure about the other.
We were able to help one woman who has recently been hired by the Villages of Cabrillo and asked to get her food safety handling certificate online before reporting to work. She needed money to get it and to have gas to get to work till payday. I hope this helps her and her husband into a more stable life.
We had two single moms needing help, one with rental assistance and the other with referrals to partner programs for help in keep her apartment. We are happy to make it possible for them to stay in their homes! The streets are too rough out there when you are so vulnerable!
Thank you to all of you who came back to the 1920s with us Saturday night! The fundraisers and contributions are what enable us to continue this work.
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.
3 Barry Hill, Craig Thorsen, Gloria Vargas
5 Christi and Jeremy Gomoljak, 11 years
Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Jim Barg (Doug Schading's cousin); Therese Patsel (Judy Crawford's friend); Gary Shelton; Jan and Paul Bode (Lisa Bode Heard's parents); and Ed Zirbel (Lisa Bode Heard's best friend's father).
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.
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.
Congregational Church - 241 Cedar Avenue - Long Beach, California 90802