ANNOUNCEMENTS AND EVENTS


If you’re wondering about the Tax Preparation Assistance with the AARP, please call (440)707-6130 for scheduling and questions.


Are You Interested in Learning More About Joining First Church?

 

Please join us for an informal Inquirer’s Gathering in the JFO Room following the worship service on March 3. Wherever you are on your faith journey, your questions are welcome, and conversation is invited. We look forward to seeing you!

 

The church will receive new members on March 24.

 

Shirley Taylor for the Witness and Membership Committee


Daylight Savings Time

 

Daylight Savings Time begins NEXT SUNDAY, March 10th. Make sure to spring your clocks an hour ahead!


Join us for Adult Ed on March 10th after worship!

 

On Sunday, March 10th, We welcome back Dr. Supriya Mahajan for a presentation in the JFO Room after worship on the ethics of end-of-life care, prognostication, and surrogate decision making. We invite you to come with your questions and join this vital discussion! 

 

Dr. Mahajan is a neurologist, born and raised in Elyria. She attended the women's college Mount Holyoke College and then returned for medical school at University of Toledo and did my neurology and behavioral neurology training at Case. She joined her father's private practice, Neurology Center, Inc, in 2017 and sees patients in Elyria and Lorain. 


Report of the Visioning Task Group

Congregational Meeting, February 11, 2024

 

At the Congregational Meeting in January, 2023, in light of long-standing budget issues, First Church members committed to a process to determine a vision for the future of the Church. This task was undertaken by the Visioning Task Group, chaired by Anne Conway. Members of the group were Moderator Anne Sprague, Ruth Ann Clark, Bob Longsworth, John Gates and Jim Heron, with valuable input from David Hill and Jen Bertoni. Small group sessions were held in the summer and fall, and the group compiled a report, which was presented at an Adult Education session in October. 



The first result of this work is a new vision statement, designed to be short, memorable, and meaningful. The statement, as crafted by the Task Group and amended by Executive Council, reads as follows:

 

As followers of Jesus, we aspire to minister to one another, our community and the world.

 

The choice of wording is important. We are followers of Jesus, not followers of creeds and rules, not bound by traditional forms and practices, but led by love. We aspire. We know we’re not always right, but we are, as John Wesley said, moving on to perfection. We aspire to minister, to act, to practice what we preach. We aspire to care for one another in times of joy and sorrow, to serve our community, and to care for God’s creation.

 

Some of you may be thinking, “you did all this work, and the result is one sentence?” But it’s a sentence that can be used to measure any project or program we may consider. It helps us answer the question “why?”. It tells people who we are and what we seek to do. It has already led to discussion in the Executive council about how we might put it into practice, such as using our terrace and front yard as community gathering places. It will help us discern how to use our resources wisely to ensure the Church’s future. 

 

It's also important what it does not say. It doesn’t say we aspire to balance the budget, increase our investments, grow our membership, or increase our giving. These things are the “what” and “how”, and that work is yet to be done.

 

Our First Church community is strong, resilient, and beloved. It’s also full of ideas. The Task Group members trust that together we can chart a course for the next century of ministry.


Thank you for your generosity!

 

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our Super Bowl Sunday collection. Because of your generosity, we were able to contribute $678.25 to the feeding ministries of OCS and Christ Church. Thanks to Claire and Patrick for wrangling the pots!


Thanks for supporting our youth!

 

Thank you to all who attended the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper! A wonderful time was had, and we collected $225 for camp scholarships for our youth. Thanks especially to the youth and their parents, who handled set-up and clean-up, and flipped pancakes for our attendees! 


Another Day Older

 

Today is the youngest you will ever be. And on this day, you are older than you were yesterday. 

 

Regardless of chronological age, we are all aging. This idea of counting the number of days, months or years we have lived is a human construct. So are the attitudes we hold about the number of candles that sit on our birthday cake. 

 

So, why is it that so many of us tend to want to change that number when someone asks how old we are? And why are there so many products available to help us reduce the evidence of our age? 

 

These are some of the questions we will consider through Another Day Older conversations. We will consider our own aging process and the messages that influence our attitudes about aging. And we will look at ageism, the prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of how old someone is or is perceived to be by another. Ageism has negative consequences on individuals and society in general. Through these conversations, we will examine why recognizing ageism is important and discuss what to do to disrupt it. We internalize these views of aging from a young age and hold on to them far too long, so it is never too early or too late to join the conversation. 

 

Participate in the four conversations with Another Day Older on Wednesdays during Lent - and be prepared to celebrate the fact that, today, we are all another day older!  

 

We will meet from 5:45-7:00 pm on Wednesday, February 21 and 28, and March 6 & 13. We ask that you sign up by emailing Jen Bertoni at faith@firstchurchoberlin.org, so that we can make sure we have enough materials available for everyone. 


Kairos Kolumn

from the First Church Green Team

 

Advice for Lent from the Creation Justice Ministries

Reduce shellfish consumption. Microplastics that end up in the ocean are ingested by bottom-feeding shellfish. When you consume the shellfish, the microplastics are then ingested by you. Reducing or avoiding your consumption of shellfish can help cut down on the amount of microplastics that get into your system. Resolve to do it today!

 

And speaking of shellfish … there are ethical and environmental considerations. Check out both of these links here and here!

 

Did you know...

In 2013, the UCC was the first denomination to pass a resolution calling for divestment from fossil fuel companies. In 2019, the UCC was the first Christian denomination to endorse the Green New Deal. In 2021, the UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to publicly affirm and proclaim that nature has rights.

 

The First Church Green Team meets via Zoom on the first Wednesday of every month @ 5 pm. Contact Martin Buck at mbuck@oberlin.net for an invitation and link.


Join us for Mid-day Meditation!

 

Need a little peace in the middle of your day? Join us for a mid-day meditation break, from 12:30-1:00 pm Mondays-Thursdays in Room 3 in the James Brand House. We invite you to join Jen for this ancient spiritual practice, and offer yourself some calm and compassion in the midst of your daily stresses! 


One Great Hour of Sharing,

Collected on Easter, March 31st!

 

One Great Hour of Sharing is one of four special mission offerings of the United Church of Christ. This Lenten Offering supports the disaster, refugee, and development ministries of the United Church of Christ within Wider Church Ministries. This year, the special offering's theme is sharing our light!

 

We can make a difference. We do make a difference. Your generosity makes all the difference. Your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing provide immediate aid and long-term support to people experiencing hunger, thirst, disaster, or crisis around the world. 

 

"You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world."

-Matthew 5:14-15 (The Message)

 

The 2024 offering will be collected on Easter, March 31st. It is possible to contribute in one of three ways: 

 

  1. By mailing a check made out to The First Church in Oberlin with “OGHS” in the memo line to the church office, 
  2. By using the offering envelopes on the Welcome Table and depositing your donation in the wooden donation box in the Narthex at the top of the steps leading to the Gallery, 
  3. Or, by going to our First Church website, scrolling down and clicking on "Donate Online" and then going to the “One Great Hour of Sharing” section. Alternatively, click here and it’ll bring you to the page.

 

Please see below for the Mission Moment for this week, the bulletin insert for this year's offering, and intergenerational activities meant to help us think about and plan how we can share our gifts with others. More information can also be found on the UCC website. 

Let your gift help to put prayer into action. The need has never been greater. The opportunity is now. It’s time to share.

"This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine..."


2024 Lent Devotional: Bend

 

We Are Bent, Not Destroyed

 

Jesus modeled flexibility: hardship and persecution bent but didn't break him. Change and challenge strengthened his ministry. Impossible situations yielded to healing and release.

 

How many of us could benefit – not from a hard yank but from a stretchy bend, not from stiffness but from resilience?

 

Bending can be scary, of course. Responding to pressure with flexibility can be counterintuitive. Who knows what our limits are? Who knows if we might crack and break?

But bending can be a source of strength: Trees bend in the wind. Bows bend in order to release their arrows. The river bends around the mountain.

 

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;

we are perplexed, but not despairing;

we are bent, but not destroyed.

(2 Corinthians 4:8-10, adapted)

 

Take time in the Lent 2024 season to bend low and be renewed. From the Stillspeaking Writers' Group, the devotional Bend provides daily readings, reflections, and prayers for the Lenten season: Ash Wednesday (Feb 14) to Easter Sunday (March 31).

 

We have several FREE copies of this book on the Welcome Table. Donations are welcomed, but not required. For those that don't get a hard copy of the book, you are also able to purchase a PDF for $3.00 and/or hardcopy version of the book for $5.00 using the link here. If purchasing the PDF version, please purchase one PDF per reader. Upon purchase, a link will be emailed to you for downloading the PDF.

 

Any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the office at office@firstchurchoberlin.org or (440)775-1711.


Do You Enjoy Singing?

 

We are looking for people who enjoy singing to join the Finney Choir. We meet Thursdays 6:45-8PM, and at 9AM on Sundays before the service. You don’t need to have a lot of experience or read music - there are many friendly people in the choir to help you out! If you just want to come for part of the year, like preparing for Advent or Easter, you’re very welcome to. You can write Tom at musicdirector@firstchurchoberlin.org if you have any questions.




First Church building rental opportunities

 

The First Church buildings offer numerous opportunities for meetings, rehearsals, concerts, weddings, and family events. After long study, a reasonable rental fee schedule has been worked out to offer fair use of the facility to our members and our neighbors. Large rooms (the Meeting House, Fellowship Hall, or JFO Room) and small rooms (upstairs classrooms, Room 4, Reading Room) can be reserved by the hour or by the half day. Discounted rates for church members and community partners may be available. The city of Oberlin has limited spaces available for events, and we are happy to offer our facility to help fill that need for our neighbors.


There Are Requirements for Making Submissions to our First Things First eNews!

 

In an effort to make our eNews more readable and shorten the length, we have created new guidelines for submitting posts! The guidelines are as follows.

 

  1. As usual, the deadline for submissions for the upcoming First Things First is Wednesday prior to 10 AM.
  2. We will not be putting in any non-First Church job postings.
  3. We will not be putting in any full flyers as the submission (however, we will put in a button that links to a PDF of the flyer).
  4. There is a word limit of 100 words for the text of a submission.
  5. You may insert links into the text post for more information, either by button or hyperlink in the text.
  6. You may insert PDFs (accessible by buttons) for more information, a flyer, or anything else that would be helpful for the post, but the document must be in PDF format. Any other document format will not be included in your submission.
  7. You may send one picture that you have the rights to use (i.e. a picture that is not subject to copyright, we suggest using the site pexels.com).
  8. The submission will run for a maximum of 2 weeks in the eNews. These 2 weeks do not have to be consecutive.

 

When sending in your submission, you must have

 

  • The title of the post
  • The text of the post (maximum of 100 words)
  • Which 2 weeks you'd like for your submission to run

 

 

When sending in your submission, you could have

 

  • If you'd like, one picture
  • If you'd like, PDFs (and what you'd want the title of the button that links to it to be)
  • If you'd like, the links for spots in the text post (and which word(s) you'd like to be the hyperlink or what you'd want the title of the button to be)

 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to make our eNews experience more manageable for our readers!


RECURRING EVENTS:

  • Worship - Live Streamed and in the Meeting House on Sundays @ 10am
  • Children's Church (grades K - 5) 10:15 AM each Sunday. Will resume in the Fall
  • Summer Storytime - 10:15 AM each Sunday.
  • Sunday School (grades 5 - 12) 11:30am each Sunday (Hot Topic discussion on the 4th Sunday each month). Will resume in the Fall.
  • Friday Night Hangout (all grades) - first Friday each month from 7:00 PM - 7:45 PM via Zoom
  • Sunday Night Youth Group (grades 5 - 12) - last Sunday each month from 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • Finance Committee - 3rd Monday each month
  • Facility Committee - 1st Tuesday each month
  • Stewardship - 2nd Tuesday each month
  • Office Staff Meetings - Mondays at 10:00 AM
  • Book Group  - Tuesdays at 4pm via Zoom
  • Witness and Membership - 2nd Wednesday each month
  • Christian Education Committee - 1st Thursday each month
  • Outreach and Service Committee - 1st Monday each month
  • Executive Council - 4th Tuesday each month
  • Friday Night Hangout - 1st Friday of each month
  • Green Team - 1st Wednesday of each month

Faith Formation News!

 

  • Children's Church: 10:15 AM on Sundays resuming in the Fall
  • Sunday School: 11:30am-noon on Sundays (Hot Topic on the 4th Sunday) resuming in the Fall
  • Summer Storytime is beginning! Children are invited to join us on Sundays at 10:15 AM for a story
  • Friday Night Hangouts: First Friday at 7 pm resuming in the Fall
  • Sunday Night Youth Group: Last Sunday at 6:00 PM resuming in the Fall

 

As always, call Jen or the office to get a link for any and all of these events!

CALENDAR OF EVENTS