This year Christmas Eve will look a little different at First Congregational UCC. On Christmas Eve we will broadcast the same Christmas Eve Service at both 5 pm and 10 pm on Facebook Live and YouTubeLive. We are pre-recording the service to include chestnuts from last year along with new pieces from this year. 

We invite you and your family to join us, comment along in the chat, sing, read, pray, and light a candle alongside our amazing team of musicians, worship leaders, and staff. Check back Christmas week to save the links to the Christmas Eve Service! Or if you’d like to have the links sent directly to your inbox sign up for the Tower/Bridge Email list here!

Press play to hear Pastor Craig’s message about Let Light Shine Celebration!

Join us this Sunday for the Let Light Shine Celebration! Pr. Craig will kick the morning off with a tour of the window restoration, inside and outside, weather permitting. The celebration continues throughout worship with jazz music by the Mossman Quartet and celebrating the generosity of our Let Light Shine contributors. After worship make your way downstairs for a Mardi Gras jazz brunch with Jambalaya, red beans & rice, mac & cheese, corn bread, fruit, and Pineapple Upside Down Cake celebrating the last Sunday before Ash Wednesday and Lent. Thank you for your faithful generosity!

The beauty of our stained glass windows, though dimmed, adds to the richness of our worship life together.  We have grown accustomed to the dimming of the light, but we are now ready to Let Light Shine, unobstructed and brilliant. 

Capital Appeal Committee

Let Light Shine Capital Appeal Brochure

Let Light Shine Capital Appeal Letter

Ways To Contribute

Let Light Shine Capital Appeal Updates

Bovard Studio

Article in the Dispatch-Argus

September 28th | 4 pm – 8 pm

Join us for our first ever Oktoberfest.

Press play to hear Co-chair Joshua Dyer’s invitation to join us for Oktoberfest!

  • Free food for kids 10 and under.
  • Brats, German Potato Salad, Desserts, and more.
  • Bent River Beer and Wine.
    • Uncommon Stout, Oktoberfest, Mississippi Blonde, Undercurrent IPA, Daytrotter Pale Ale, Fruition:Mango Peach
  • “Squeezy” Wes Miller accordion music, magicians, FREE BOUNCE HOUSE.  

Volunteers Needed!

Help share the fun-loving joy of our congregation with our neighbors by helping to host the party (32 volunteers needed to fill 2 hour shifts) or contribute to support this important outreach to our community. Click the button below!

Wes Llewellyn, immediate past moderator, came by our church on Wednesday, December 9th to bid farewell to the technicians from Bovard Stained Glass after they installed the last two refurbished panels of windows on either side of the chancel.  “These are great guys from a great company,” said Wes, “but I hope we don’t see them again for another 40 years!”  (He had a twinkle in his eye.) 

You will recall that we began our “Let Light Shine” project to remove the plexiglas coverings of the windows which had frosted over and were occluding the light from revealing the deep beauty of the windows, and at the same time to install plate glass covering, repair any rot in the frames and generally to make sure the leaded glass panels were secure and in good shape. This is an effort to add to the beauty of the sanctuary and to offer God’s praise.  Such a project takes place about once in a generation or two.  It is a big deal and expensive.

The “Let Light Shine” project was successfully underwritten, completed and celebrated, and then we found out that we had these last two windows that needed serious attention and that there would be additional cost.  Well, this was a bit of an embarrassment to your church leadership, but Wes stepped up, took leadership and has successfully brought this project to a conclusion.  And it has been paid for.  Church members and friends have been consistently loyal and generous even in this difficult year.

“I am happy about this,” says Llewellyn, “but I am really ready to talk about something else.”

Pastor Michael
Associate Pastor

Christmas Gift

You can also link your Christmas Gift to your giving account by donating through Elexio Here.

You can also mail in a check with Christmas Gift in the memo line to:

First Congregational United Church of Christ
2201 7th Ave.
Moline, IL 61254 


In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter Long ago.

Christina Rosetti

Christmas 2020

The Christmas carol written by Christina Rosetti in 1872, In the Bleak Midwinter, has a very different feeling than the usual joy and shepherds and angels along with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.  But some Christmases are pretty cold and bleak.

December 2020 is not yet cold, but it has some bleak qualities about it.  We are being warned not to gather as usual, and the older I get the less important are the things of Christmas and the more important are the relationships and gathering and seeing family and friends.  And that, specifically, is what we are being warned against.

2020 has been difficult for your church.  We are a congregational church that has been prevented from congregating by the pandemic.  We are in a pastoral transition, we have made big efforts in mission and we are blessed to have an Intentional Interim Minister Becky David beginning just this December.

I am writing to you to ask for a special Christmas gift to your church to help us get started on a strong footing in 2021 and support Pastor Becky.  I am too old to dig and ashamed to beg, says a servant in Luke 16:3.  Well, I am too proud to beg for myself, but not too proud to beg for my church.  I am making a special Christmas offering to the church, equal to an extra month of giving, and beg you to do the same.  I am blessed to be able to do this.  Please give as you are able.

The Rosetti carol also ends with a question of giving.

What can I give Him, Poor as I am?
If I were a Shepherd I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him, Give my heart.

We have been using this in worship at the time of the offering during this Advent season.  It emphasizes our relationship of love with Christ and the church.

Thank you for remembering First Congregational Church this Christmas. Please return the enclosed Christmas Offering Envelope or give online at fccmoline.org/christmasgift. God bless you and those you love.

Michael Swartz
Associate Pastor

Q&A with Pastor Becky

The “Q&A with Pastor Becky” scheduled for this Sunday (Dec. 20th) has been rescheduled for January 3rd.  Pastor Becky lost her brother on Thursday (12/17) and we would like to give her some time with her family as they mourn.  Thank you all for your understanding.  – Audra Bailey, moderator


Sunday January 3rd, 2021 Following worship on FCCLive

Click play to hear *** rescheduled for January 3rd, 2021 *** Q&A with Pastor Becky Announcement

***Rescheduled for January 3rd, 2021***

Interim Pastor Announcement

Click play to hear Special News: December 1st, Interim Pastor Announcement!

Sundays in Advent on FCCLive

  • Sunday November 29th – Advent week 1 
    Guest Preacher Dave Geenen.
  • Sunday December 6th – Advent week 2
    Communion and special music from Ernesto Estigarribia (Viola) & Sabrina Tabby (Violin) 
  • Sunday December 13th – Advent week 3
    Guest preacher Carol Holtz-Martin with special music from Ernesto Estigarribia (Viola) & Sabrina Tabby (Violin)
  • Sunday December 20th – Advent week 4
    with special music from the Campanella Ringers Quartet! Following worship stay logged in for Q&A with Pastor Becky!
  • Christmas Eve – December 24th 2020.
    5 pm & 10 pm Christmas Eve Services will be broadcast.
    Check back for updates coming in December!

Advent begins this Sunday, November 29

Updated Friday November 27th, 2020

One of the sweet songs in the New Century Hymnal is one written in Spanish, Pues si vivimos, and translated, “In all our living, we belong to God.”  We sang it a few weeks back.  In the NCH is has two verses.  The first is:

Verse 1: In all our living we belong to God, 
and in our dying we are still with God.
For in our living and in our dying 
we belong to God, we belong to God.

Originally it had at least four verses.  This streamlining of songs is certainly not something new.  One well known Wesley hymn, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” originally had 17 verses!

Gotta be honest, I have been feeling a little down this year with trying to do church in a time of pandemic, with everyone working harder and getting less done, and what gets done is not as satisfying as usual.  A big part of the joy of church is seeing each other, and together singing God’s praises, and that is precisely what would put us in danger.  I am convinced we are doing the right thing, but it is not an easy path.

In this context please consider verse 4, which was left on the cutting room floor as the NCH was constructed.

Verse 4: ‘Til earth is over may we always know 
love never fails us, God has made it so.
Hard times will prove us, never remove us, 
we belong to God, we belong to God.

This Advent Season we will have our four Sundays of preparation for Christmas, with families lighting the candles in church and beautiful music provided by skilled musicians.  We will have two guest preachers, David Geenen and Carol Holz-Martin.  We are constructing a virtual Christmas Eve Service with Lessons and Carols.  It will all be beautiful, and at the same time not the same as usual, and we will clearly miss crowding together in the sanctuary, singing carols and lighting candles each of us.  I will miss standing at the top of the steps and ringing a bell for Salvation Army.

I am old enough to remember national tragedies that impacted us all, but in my recollection they happened and then were over, and we recovered.

The challenges of this year seem to grind on and on.  I think I need the verse four of this song:  Hard times will prove us, never remove us, we belong to God, we belong to God.

Here is to 2021.

Pastor Michael

Each year during December, in preparation for Christmas, the Giving Tree arrives in our library so together we can share the light of Christ with our neighbors. As with most things in 2020, the Giving Tree will look different this year, but the mission remains the same.  You are invited to select a name tag from the online Giving Tree form, purchase items on the tag, and return the gifts in gift bags (unwrapped) to the church. What a great way to spread the Holiday spirit!  The Giving Tree is sponsored by our Outreach and Mission Board. Click the Sign Up button below so select your name below-make sure to complete the entire sign-up process. 

Sign Up!

Delivery Drop Off Instructions:
Please return your gifts by December 8th in a gift bag (do not wrap).  Be sure to label your gift with the number, organization, and recipient name.

  • Drop off times: Sunday December 6th 11:30a-1p, Monday December 7th 11:30a-1p, 6p-7:30p, Tuesday December 8th 11:30a-1p, 6p-7:30p.
  • The office staff is currently working remotely, but you can make an appointment to drop off gifts by emailing the office here.

***New this year – please return gifts in gift bags and NOT wrapped***

The organizations have asked for safety purposes that gifts be put in gift bags and NOT wrapped (we found out many of them unwrap the gifts to see what is inside before sending home with the recipients).  If you are looking to take multiple tags, please consider taking tags of siblings-they will be marked! Thank you!

Who are we serving?
We are sponsoring 4 organizations this year:  The ARC and Active Day names are adults, Jefferson names are preschool, and Logan names are elementary aged.

Thanksgiving Essential Baskets Wrap Up-
Different, but the Same

Many things are different these days, but the generosity of the congregation at First Congregational Church is not one of them. The Outreach and Mission committee would like to thank you for the outpouring of support for this year’s Thanksgiving Essential Basket mission.  There is always need in our community and the pandemic has only increased those needs.  How wonderful that while we are still physically apart we were able to join together in the spirit of service to others.

Congregation members participated in a variety of ways.  48 members and families donated money to purchase the items included in the baskets. Outreach and Mission members helped safely purchase, transport, and organize the items in the Son Café.  The Confirmation class packed the baskets to learn the importance of mission work as part of their Christian Education.  Ten families volunteered to deliver the baskets to the community organizations we served this year.  Each and every person that participated this year, donating either time or money, gave a valuable gift.  We not only provided much essential items for people in need, we continued our tradition of service in a time of great adversity.  

150 baskets were assembled and delivered this year.  The baskets included an assortment of over 3,800 items specifically requested by each organization depending on their needs.  This year we helped:

  • Bethany for Children and Families whose mission is to keep children safe, to strengthen families, and to build healthy communities.
  • Christian Care helps to improve the lives of individuals experiencing homelessness, individuals struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, and men transitioning out of prison and veterans.
  • De La Cerda House has been providing safe, affordable housing to individuals and families that are living with HIV/AIDS in our community since 1994.
  • Healthy Families (Child Abuse Council) promotes child well-being and prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation’s children through intensive home visiting.
  • Help at Home is a home care agency committed to enhancing the quality of life for our clients and providing a viable alternative to living in a nursing home or long-term care facility.
  •  Rocky Resource Room provides Rock Island High School families with resources and essentials to improve quality of life.
  • Salvation Army whose mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.
  • UT Cares provides United Township High School families with resources and essentials to improve quality of life.
  • Winnie’s Place is a shelter program helping women, with or without children, who are homeless and/or survivors of violence, move away from their current situations towards a world of new opportunities.
  • World Relief is a not-for-profit agency providing services to refugees and immigrants in Western Illinois and Eastern Iowa.

Sara Wynn
Chair of Outreach & Mission Board

Each year during December, in preparation for Christmas, the Giving Tree arrives in our library so together we can share the light of Christ with our neighbors. As with most things in 2020, the Giving Tree will look different this year, but the mission remains the same.  You are invited to select a name tag from the online Giving Tree form, purchase items on the tag, and return the gifts in gift bags (unwrapped) to the church. What a great way to spread the Holiday spirit!  The Giving Tree is sponsored by our Outreach and Mission Board. Click the Sign Up button below so select your name below-make sure to complete the entire sign-up process. 

Sign Up!

Delivery Drop Off Instructions:
Please return your gifts by December 8th in a gift bag (do not wrap).  Be sure to label your gift with the number, organization, and recipient name.

  • Drop off times: Sunday December 6th 11:30a-1p, Monday December 7th 11:30a-1p, 6p-7:30p, Tuesday December 8th 11:30a-1p, 6p-7:30p.
  • The office staff is currently working remotely, but you can make an appointment to drop off gifts by emailing the office here.

***New this year – please return gifts in gift bags and NOT wrapped***

The organizations have asked for safety purposes that gifts be put in gift bags and NOT wrapped (we found out many of them unwrap the gifts to see what is inside before sending home with the recipients).  If you are looking to take multiple tags, please consider taking tags of siblings-they will be marked! Thank you!

Who are we serving?
We are sponsoring 4 organizations this year:  The ARC and Active Day names are adults, Jefferson names are preschool, and Logan names are elementary aged.

Christmas Poinsettias 2020

Poinsettias will again adorn our sanctuary during the month of December. If you would like to give a poinsettia in memory of or in honor of a loved one, please fill out the form below along with a $15 donation to help cover the cost of the poinsettias.  The church will order the poinsettias.  The deadline is December 14th.

This year the season of Advent and Christmas will feel a little different in the sanctuary. We will still be doing some decorating including the poinsettias. New this year we will be a special poinsettia tribute in our Christmas Eve service which will replace our traditional poinsettia “in memory of”  insert. 

We have had a good response to the Opening Doors to Faith stewardship drive, and hope to have a preliminary report soon.  If you have not yet sent in your response, please help your Church Council plan effectively by returning both your pledge card and the time and talent survey.  We appreciate the generosity of our church family and friends.


In case you missed it, on November 8th, stewardship Sunday, Tami & Christian shared their testimony! Click the “Opening Doors to Faith” button below to access the links for stewardship 2021 including Time & Talent Survey, 2021 Estimate of Giving Form, and sign up for online giving.

Click here to access 2021 Stewardship materials!