Council: Congregational Update

Dear Congregation,

We are temporarily suspending our Live@FCC streaming of Sunday worship services to allow us to address copyright and privacy issues. We regret the disruption of providing ways for our shut-ins, snowbirds, and travelers to join us on-line, but we agree it is vital to abide by copyright laws and are committed to honoring privacy concerns. We also recognize the potential for live streaming to serve as a source of outreach.

Council welcomes any feedback our members can provide as we consider these important matters. We will respectfully review these issues after Easter and report back to the congregation as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we seek how to honor all concerns as we move forward together as a congregation.

Church Council

Mary Newcomb, Moderator; Wes Llewellyn Vice-Moderator; Heather Carlson, Church Clerk; Audra Bailey; Desiree Grace; Sara Wynn, Outreach and Mission; Nancy Lackey, Spiritual Engagement; Amanda Beck, Christian Education; Josh Dyer, Building and Finance

Preparing for Easter: Gardening Day

Saturday April 13th | 9:00 am

Push play to hear Steve Schipper’s Message.

Have a shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, work boots and gloves? Help spread mulch on our church grounds and clean up our garden to prepare for Easter.  Help install new garden beds to provide fresh produce for our neighbors and the food pantry at World Relief. Many hands make light work. No need to RSVP, just show up at 9:00am on the 13th ready to heft and haul. Childcare provided!

But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.  –Luke 15:20b

Few images better capture our sense of God’s love and mercy–a father running out to meet his child, throwing his arms around him and kissing him, so very glad to have him back home again.

As a congregation, we want those who join us in worship to feel a warm and welcoming embrace, and there is no better time than Easter Sunday for us to look for ways to make our guests feel like they are coming home.

First, we ask all of our members to park as far away from our entrances as possible, reserving our best parking places for our guests.  Second, we invite our members to sit up front in worship, reserving our back pews for our guests.

When the time comes for us to pass the peace, we will turn to find our back pews filled with guests who join us looking for hope.  When worship concludes and the children run out to hunt for eggs, our guests will be first in line to enjoy chocolate covered strawberries and mimosas, and we will have the joy walking out of our front doors to see our plaza filled with life and joy and hope.  

The purpose of worship is to celebrate the love of God, and there is no better way for us to do this than for us to reach out as a congregation to welcome and embrace the children of God who return home to celebrate Easter.  

Coming to the Tulip Luncheon

Coats, Galore…and more! Fashion Show April 27th, 11:30 am

Fashion Show help needed!

Do you have an interesting, unusual or antique coat? We’d like to borrow it for the fun “Coats, galore…and more” style show. Please contact Mary Curry 797-9283 for details. 

Silent Auction at Tulip Luncheon

Get a jump start on your Spring cleaning!  Now is the time to go through closets, basements and attics.  Won’t you help by donating? The Women’s Connection is sponsoring a Silent Auction to coincide with the Tulip Luncheon. Please bring your good condition/gently used auction treasures to the church office. Donations will be accepted starting March 24th. The monies raised from the Auction will go to support the Women’s Connection’s programming for the coming year. Questions? Contact Kathy Reimers 309-762-5231. 

Reserve your spot!

Mark your calendars now and make your reservation! Make reservations by calling the church office, 309-762-0787 or register online below.  Guests are welcome.

    • Date: Saturday, April 27th, 2019
    • Time: 11:30 a.m.
    • Cost: $10 per person
  • Reservations by: April 24th.

Palm Sunday | April 14th | 10:00 am Worship

Holy Week begins with a grand parade–palms waving, bells ringing, congregation singing gladsome Hosannas!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!


Maundy Thursday | Thursday, April 18th | 6:00pm

Remembering the New Commandment, Maundy Thursday 19 no childcare“Love one another as I have loved you,” we celebrate Holy Communion remembering the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples. In this somber service, we strip the altar and depart in silence. 

Good Friday | Friday, April 19th | 6:00pmGood-Friday-19-web

What does the cross mean to us, those we love, and those in our world who are suffering? What does the cross say about our God? How do we find salvation in the cross?

Easter Sunday | Sunday, April 21st | 10:00am

With Easter Lilies adorning the sanctuary, with soaring music and the declarative sound of brass, we celebrate the power of life, love and hope over the forces of death, fear, and despair.  Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed!

Following Worship on the front lawn (weather  permitting): Easter Egg Hunt, Mimosas and Chocolate Covered Strawberries 🙂

Provisions: Food for Body and Soul

Push play to hear Pastor Craig’s Message.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. (Ps 51:10)

On March 2nd, 52 Mushers began the Iditarod, a 1,000 mile dogsled race across the Alaskan wilderness.  Their sleds were laden with supplies to last between checkpoints, but weeks earlier, as part of race planning, they sent ahead provisions for the journey, following strict rules to ensure fairplay:

Rule 47 — Shipping of Food and Gear: A musher must comply with shipping directions provided by Iditarod Trail Committee. Each container must be clearly marked with name and destination and must weigh no more than 50 pounds.

While mushers know they cannot plan for every contingency, they prepare as best they can to meet the demands they know they will face in the wilderness. The provisions they ship ahead will determine whether they will finish the race.

During the 40 days of Lent we provision our souls for the journey.

Lent Ash Wednesday2

We begin our Lenten journey on March 6th at 6:00pm with Ash Wednesday services, observing the ancient practice of receiving the sign of the cross, remembering our humanity as told in Genesis 3:19: “Remember, human, that you are dust, and to dust, you will return.”

Then, on the next five Wednesdays, March 13th through April 10th, we meet at 6:00pm for homemade bread and soup to feed our bodies, and then at 6:45pm for a brief service of prayer and song to feed our souls.  

In this way, we provision our bodies and souls for the journey ahead, readying ourselves for wilderness times, and preparing our hearts for Easter at our journey’s end.

Provisions updated 2


Save the Date! February 10th at 5 pm.

Once again we are setting the stage for the annual Valentine’s Dinner Theater! Plan to attend as the Youth serve you a delicious dinner, and then enjoy all the talent FCC has to offer. As usual, we will also have a 50/50 and door prize raffles. Silent Auction theme baskets will go on display during fellowship the morning of February 10th and will be open for bidding through the evening.

All proceeds from this event will go towards Youth Mission Trip & Youth Activities….if you would like to donate to FCC Youth but are unable to attend this event, please click the button below.





7th Avenue Gate

Push play to hear Pastor Craig’s Message.

Beginning on Monday, January 21st, we will begin using our 7th Ave. Gate.

parking lot map sateliteThe 7th Ave. Gate will be open on Wednesdays evenings, Sundays, and for special events. Access to the parking lot from 7th Ave. will otherwise be closed.  Access to our parking lot when the 7th Ave. Gate is closed will be from 6th Ave. and 22nd St.

The 7th Ave. Gate is essential to ensure safety caused by drive-through traffic and to decrease the costs of maintaining our parking lot. Over the last year, bridge construction and traffic rerouting has increased drive-through traffic and added the problem of heavy construction vehicles using our parking lot.  

We hope that our gate schedule will allow our members to access our lot for its intended purpose: to support the life and work of the congregation.  

The 7th Ave. Gate will be open on Wednesdays for our Bible Study Group, Book Group, Warm Fuzzies, and our Choirs.  It will be open on Sunday mornings for worship. The 7th Ave. Gate will also be open for funerals, weddings, and special events such as the monthly meeting of the Mississippi Valley Quilters.  

We will all be challenged by this change because many us enter the parking lot by 7th Ave. every time we come to church, but the cost savings and safety of our members make this change worth the trouble it may cause.

Pr. Craig

Gate Schedule:

The Gate will be open on the following days & for special events.

  • Sundays
  • Wednesday Evenings
  • Special Events

Good Luck Mason!

We have been glad to have found Mason Moss—his gift for music is a source of joy uplifting us every Sunday.  But we are not alone in recognizing Mason’s gifts.  Mason has been offered the opportunity to join the national tour of the Tony-award-winning musical, The Book of Mormon.

fcc mosstrip insert

This adventure will take Mason to Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and several other nationwide locations. January 13th will be his last Sunday with us before he leaves for his first performance.  Musicians will be scheduled to fill-in for Mason while he is on tour, beginning with Patrick Downing on January 20th.

Mason will be back after March 10th through Easter, and then head back on the road briefly, before rejoining us to again serve as Organist / Pianist.  We are very proud of Mason and wish him God’s blessing while he is away from us, and we look forward the new life and joy he will bring with him upon his return.  Mason wishes to express profound thanks to the congregation allowing him to pursue this opportunity and looks forward to coming home to be with us again.


This year there will be two Christmas Eve services at First Congregational UCC!

Christmas Services 2018

Our sanctuary is adorned with lights, our members are shopping and contributing to support our Christmas Giving Tree ministry, costumes for our little angels and shepherds and sheep are being prepared, and our Chancel Choir and Campanella Bell Choir are rehearsing to inspire us with music as we celebrate the birth of Christ.  

Christmas is coming! We hope you will join us to celebrate the coming of light into the world.

5:00 pm: Living Nativity Family Service

Our children will lead us in a dramatic telling of the Nativity Story.  We have plenty of costumes, and no rehearsal is required. All children, including family and friends visiting for Christmas, are welcome to participate.  Costuming begins at 4:30 pm in Fellowship Hall.

10:00 pm: Music and Light Service

Our 10:00pm service of Music and Lights begins with a Christmas Carol sing-along.  Music during worship features a chamber orchestra, Campanella Ringers bell choir, and the singers of Chancel Choir, offering special music and a Christmas Cantata. In sacred beauty, we sing Silent Night by candlelight, and conclude with voices raised together, singing Joy to the World!