ANNOUNCEMENTS AND EVENTS


UPDATES COVID GUIDELINES FROM THE FIRST CHURCH RE-OPENING TASK GROUP

 

We have relaxed and significantly simplified our COVID guidelines. Please take a moment to carefully review this document.

 

Should you experience COVID symptoms please visit the website for Lorain County Public Health for information on testing and guidance regarding isolation here.

A note re: singing

 

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music continues to have masking requirements in place for group singing. While these requirements remain in place we asking congregants to continue to mask whenever they sing. An exception has been granted to the Finney Choir given the physical distance between the choir and the congregation. Masking for the choir is at the discretion of the Director of Music. We anticipate that the Conservatory will review its singing protocols in the near future. When that happens we will revisit congregational masking requirements re: singing. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.


Messy Church returns December 4th - and we need your help!

 

Jen is looking for a few folks to help with our Messy Church Advent Workshop. Our Worship experience December 4th will include a meal, as well as activities and discussion surrounding the story of the birth of John the Baptist, Jesus's cousin. A few activity leaders are needed, as well as at least one more cook. Call Jen in the church office to let her know you can help!

One of our activities will be creating a display featuring our church family. If you plan to attend virtually, we would still like to have you participate! Please print out the ornament template below, and add your name to it (you may also feel free to decorate it as you wish). Mail or bring it back to the church, and we'll make sure it gets onto the church family tree!


Thanksgiving Day and Native American Heritage Day

 

In recognition of Thanksgiving Day and Native American Heritage Day, the office will be closed on Thursday, November 24th and Friday, November 25th. The office will be open again on Monday, November 28th. Happy holidays!


David's Vacation and Pastoral Care

 

David is on vacation from November 14th through November 20th.

 

We invite you to join us on Sunday, Nov. 20 for a lay-led service of remembering the saints that have touched our lives, particularly those who have died in the past year.

 

In case of a pastoral emergency, please contact Barbara Davis on her home phone at (440)774-1660 or on her cell phone at (440)732-8610, or call the office at (440)775-1711. Pastoral care instructions are also available in the Pastor's voicemail message if you contact the office after hours.


Stewardship Campaign

 

This past Sunday we concluded our Rainbow Stewardship Campaign for 2023 by consecrating our financial commitments in worship. Thanks to everyone who has turned in their pledge for 2023. If you haven’t turned yours in yet, please do so as soon as possible. Remember 20% of all pledges turned in by December 31, 2022 will be budgeted for Outreach projects. If you need a replacement pledge card, a digital version is provided in this eNews.

 

Additionally, please join us in Fellowship Hall after worship this morning for a Fellowship Time celebrating our life together as a congregation.

 

Thank you for your faithful support of First Church with your time, your talent, and your treasure. 


Honoring and Commemorating Loved Ones this Christmas

 

The Worship Committee, responding to the increased needs in our community, is offering two ways to honor or memorialize loved ones this Advent/Christmas season. We will be ordering 30 Poinsettia plants, but will also have a “Giving Tree” where members and friends may make a $12.00 (or greater) gift and each gift will be represented by a red bow on a tree in the Meeting House. These gifts will be forwarded to the Outreach Committee for distribution to those agencies providing direct aid within the community. A digital form is provided below, please return the form along with payment to the Poinsettia Box in the Gallery or mail it to the church. The last day to order poinsettias and red bows is Sunday, December 4th.


Pumpkin Roll Time is Here!



A final reminder that the youth are making pumpkin rolls this Friday, November 18th, at 6 pm. Come help if you can! 

Pumpkin Rolls will be available for pickup after church this Sunday, November 20th. Payment of $10 is due at pickup. All proceeds will go toward the youth's purchase of gifts for the OCS Holiday Helping Hands program. Thanks for your contributions to our youth's ministry to others! 


Adult Ed. Bible Studies return!

 

Please join William Vanderbilt after church in the JFO Room on November 20th and 27th for more exploration of shorter books of the Bible!  These studies are designed to be self-contained - so no long term commitment is needed - come to as few or as many as you like.  William will be focusing on the book of Jude.on the 20th and Haggai on the 27th.


Get ready for the Christmas pageant!

 

Our Christmas pageant will take place during worship on Sunday, December 18th, and all children who wish to participate are invited to do so!  We will have rehearsals after church on the first three Sundays of Advent (November 27th, December 4th, and December 11th) which will last until noon.  We will also have a dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 17th, from 10 am until noon.  If you’d like to be part of the pageant, please let Jen know, so she knows to create a part for you!  


WE WANT YOUR INPUT!

 

Do you want to have a rain garden on the First Church property? Have you wondered if the playground will be rebuilt? Where should we put the Peace Pole? Are you happy with grassy, green space? We would like to know what shared outdoor spaces are important to you, and where you might like to see them placed.

 

Displayed in the Fellowship Hall is a property map of the First Church grounds. Also included are stickers and a key to what those stickers represent. Please place the appropriately colored stickers in the places you would like to see any of the following:

 

Playground – orange dot

Rain garden – yellow dot

Prairie garden – green dot

Meditation space – pink dot

Peace pole – star sticker

 

There are also nearby comment sheets so you can make additional comments or suggestions.

Thanks for your input!


Climate Hope Cards

 

As part of our October 30th Green Team service, the children of the church will be given the opportunity to participate in the UCC's Climate Hope Cards Contest! Between now and November 29th, every UCC person under age 18 is invited to draw, paint, or color their feelings about climate hope, environmental justice, or protecting the earth. An art worksheet will be provided to all those who attend Childrens Church on Sunday - or you can create your own at home! Upload a photo or a scan of the art here. Winners will be announced during an online award ceremony on Saturday, January 7th. The winners of the Art Contest will have their art printed on thousands of Climate Hope Cards to be collected by UCC members around the country and ultimately delivered en masse to the White House. Want more info? Click the link below.


Book Group

 

The First Church Book group meets via Zoom every Tuesday at 4 pm and ends at around 5:30 pm. To join, you just need to let the First Church Office know that you’d like to be on the list and you’ll receive an email invitation to the Zoom meeting every week. 

 

Have questions? Contact anyone in the Book Group Task Force which (roughly) organizes the meetings: Laurel Price Jones, Anne Elder, Heather Laughman, Lindsay Graves, or Linda Gates. 

 

Look ahead to see what books are being discussed. One book mentioned by Jeanne McKibben in her reflection on Sunday, October 30 - Saving Us: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing - will be read and discussed in January. See the attached schedule.


This Advent, United Church of Christ leaders are calling for renewed engagement in contemporary abolition movements. One way to take part is through a virtual Abolition Advent Calendar: daily scripture, reflections and prayers shared via email and social media.

 

The Advent calendar comes from the UCC’s Join the Movement Toward Racial Justice initiative, lead by the Rev. Velda Love, minister for racial justice.

 

For many, “abolition” conjures up images of the 19th-century movements to free enslaved Africans. But activists continue to adopt this powerful word to call for abolishing unjust and harmful systems that exist today. This especially is true for systems that are deemed to increase racial and economic disparities.

 

“In the season of Advent, where we await and prepare for the coming of transformational Love in flesh and bone, we want to invite engagement with contemporary abolition movements, from those who are working to dismantle the prison industrial complex, to those who are fighting for reproductive justice, to those who are leaning into new ways to address harm and engage conflict, and beyond,” said Love.

 

For more information and how to sign up, click the links below!


Everyone Is Worthy

Issue #1120 | October 6, 2022

Edith Rasell

 

Click the button below to read this issue of the Witness For Justice newsletter involving economic justice.


Guest Columnist: Ed Long

Public Authority and Private Behavior: Lessons from Prohibition for the Abortion Controversy

 

From time to time, we would like to feature articles and reflections from members and friends of First Church. If you have a piece you've written that you would like considered for inclusion in First Things First please email it to the Pastor at pastor@firstchurchoberlin.org.


Thank You, Donors!

 

The generosity of members in providing extra financial support to the church is a continuing blessing.

 

Jiann Lin and Pearl Lin have established an endowment fund in their name with a gift of $20,000.

Another couple have donated $40,000 to pay for sewer repairs between the Meeting House and James Brand, a generous gift for an unglamorous project.

 

Another member sent a retirement check, more than enough to cover her pledges, and donated the rest. This gift will inaugurate the First Church Enterprise Fund for unanticipated expenses.

 

There are many ways to support the church! We are thankful for donors of all kinds!


Thank you to Norm and Ann Craig!

 

First Church has been honored to receive a substantial bequest from the estate of Norm and Ann Craig. Their generosity will allow us to prepay a large portion of the debt incurred as we renovated and rejuvenated the Meeting House and the rest of the First Church facility. The interest saved will more than double the value of their gift. Through this gift, the Craigs have extended their long commitment to the ministry and mission of First Church well into the future. Thanks Ann and Norm!


There Are NEW 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!


Open and Affirming Committee Openings

 

June is Pride Month and a perfect opportunity for growth. (https://openandaffirming.org/ona/why/grow/). The Open and Affirming Committee (ONA) has openings. What is the ONA Committee you ask? It is a committee without meetings. It is a team of committed people supporting the ONA Statement of The First Church in Oberlin adopted in 1995 and amended in 2013. If you want to help make sure our congregation is living up to the welcoming and affirming spirit of the following statement, please contact Marty Buck @mbuck@oberlin.net or 440-225-7160 or a member of the Outreach and Service Committee @ outreach@firstchurchoberlin.org. Let us make the ONA Committee an ONA Team!

 

We know that as the Church we are many members but are one body in Christ. Each bringing individual pieces and gifts, only together do we find completion. With Christ we affirm that we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, and that we are called to act as agents of reconciliation and wholeness within the world and within the church itself. Recognizing the presence of ignorance, fear, and hatred in the wider church and in our culture toward specific members of Christ’s body:

We pledge to welcome people of all races, ages, genders, gender identities, gender expressions, abilities, socioeconomic levels, and sexual orientations into the full life and ministry of the church.

We seek actively to include and support those who because of fear and prejudice find themselves in exile from a spiritual community.

We commit ourselves to caring and concern for all.


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
  • Sunday Night Youth Group: Last Sunday at 6:00 PM

 

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

CALENDAR OF EVENTS