Traffic Update

7th Avenue Closure

Traffic Update: 7th Ave. to close MONDAY – September 16th

“Beginning the week of September 16, weather permitting, 7th Avenue will be closed in both directions between 19th Street and 23rd Street. Contractors will be working on the retaining all and overhead viaduct for the new I-74 bridge. Motorists are encouraged to use 4th Avenue, 6th Avenue or River Drive.

6th Avenue will reopen before 7th Avenue closes.

Until construction is completed, access to our parking lot will be via 6th Avenue and 22nd Street (see map).

To view the official traffic announcement and future updates from the I-74 River Bridge site click here.

EASTBOUND 7TH AVENUE DETOUR: Take northbound 19th Street to eastbound 6th Avenue to southbound 23rd Street to 7th Avenue.

WESTBOUND 7TH AVENUE DETOUR: Take northbound 23rd Street to westbound 4th Avenue to southbound 19th Street to 7th Avenue.

RAMP ACCESS: Eastbound I-74 on- and off-ramps will be open.

On Saturday, October 5th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am we will host a “mobile food pantry” in our north parking lot. Shoppers will be families in our neighborhood, and families who use food pantries. The food will come from River Bend Food Bank. (We may have donated some of it.) The workers will come from our congregation. Forty people are needed to unload the truck, assist shoppers and load food into cars. Please join us! This is a chance to reach out (connect with shoppers), to work out (lifting, walking, pulling wagons) and to live out our faith. Children are welcome to participate!

You and your family may participate by helping with set-up, distribution, or clean-up, or help with all three tasks:

9:30 am – 10:00 am   Set-up

10:00 am – 11:00 am  Distribution

11:00 am – 12:00 pm Clean-up


September 28th | 4 pm – 8 pm

Join us for our first ever Oktoberfest.

  • Free food for kids 10 and under.
  • Brats, German Potato Salad, Desserts, and more.
  • Bent River Beer and Wine.
  • “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!

September 21st| Vets Memorial Park, Bettendorf

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is having their annual 5K Walk to raise awareness about mental illness in the community and funds for ongoing programs in support of those with mental challenges and their families. Those who wish to walk should be at Vets Memorial Park in Bettendorf at 9 am. Step off is at 9:30 am.  If you are unable to participate in the walk but would like to donate, you may do so by making a check to First Congregational Church and add in the memo “NAMI” or you can donate online.

Contact Steve Schippers to join our team of walkers!

Dear First Congregational Members:

Your church council is dedicated to communicating with our members to the best of our ability.   We want you to be as informed as possible and to also make sure there is transparency in what is discussed and covered at each monthly meeting.  It is our hope this effort will help to eliminate possible misunderstandings, while promoting a sense of inclusion by keeping you updated in decisions and activities.  Consequently, it is our intention to provide the congregation with highlights of our meetings and to offer that information in a timely manner after each meeting. 

Highlights from August’s meeting were:

  • The upcoming church calendar for the remainder of this year and in to 2020 was reviewed.  A vibrant and well-structured calendar is in place. Our church staff’s contribution was recognized and appreciated.
  • Our year-to-date pledge income is down from budgeted projections, however so are expenses.
  • Council in the process of forming a current nominating committee, as well as a sabbatical committee.  Pastor Craig will be taking his sabbatical during the summer of 2020. The sabbatical committee will be formed to make his time away from us run smoothly, and to anticipate the church’s needs ahead of time.
  • Two policies were approved, one defining the role of BF with changes to church property, one defining Financial Processing of deposits and disbursements of funds.  
  • The budget process used over the past several years was reviewed and discussed, and the Council invited the BF board to play a stronger role in the process this year.
  • A capital appeal committee has been formed and has met.  This committee is working on a theme and calendar.
  • Oktoberfest activity plans are well underway.  This event is scheduled to take place September 28th from 4:00pm to 8:00pm.  There will be live entertainment, along with food and drink.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact any of the FCC Council members.

Mary Newcomb, Moderator | Wes Llewellyn, Vice-Moderator | Heather Carlson, Clerk | Audra Bailey, At-Large | Desiree Grace, At-Large | Joshua Dyer, Building & Finance | Sara Wynn, Outreach & Mission |Amanda Beck, Christian Education | Nancy Lackey, Spiritual Engagement

Kick Off Sunday | September 8th, 2018

Press play to hear Becca’s invitation to Bix Sunday!

Sunday Schedule:
9 am Christian Education Hour
10 am Worship
11 am Cookout Party!

Join us in celebration as we begin another Christian Education, Music, and Fellowship year on Sunday September 8th! There is so much to be excited about at FCC…

Sunday School at 9am will continue the “Rotation Model,” as FCC Kids will study the Bible through cooking, art, science, and dramatic play…what fun! Worship will include the joyful sounds of The Mossman Quintet, and the annual Kick Off cookout party will follow with games, face painting, and the Kona Ice truck! Don’t miss any of the fun!

Worship will include the joyful sounds of The Mossman Quintet. 

Annual Kick Off Cookout and Party will follow at 11am.

Rev. Michael Swartz
First Congregational UCC
Proper 15 yr C; 8/18/2109
Link to Texts | Bulletin

The lectionary today places us on the second Sunday of a four-week reading from Hebrews.  What we are reading is essentially a classic early sermon.

Last week we began with the famous definition: “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Today’s reading concludes with “so since we are surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight … and run the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfector of our faith.”  Today’s reading is often also used on All Saints Sunday, when we remember and celebrate all those Christians who have gone before us.

So what we have today is essentially a sermon on a sermon.  The point of the sermon that is here in Hebrews is how we appropriate the legacy of earlier generations of those who followed God in what we call the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures.  And how do we understand those scriptures in the light of Christ?

The writer interprets the earlier tradition using some words, some categories from the Greek language, the language of the New Testament, the Christian Scriptures.  I want to lift up two of those words, faith and perfect, pistis and teleia. 

Teleia is the word for perfect.  You have probably heard most of this before.  The English word “perfect” often means without blemish, (Think of the lyric:  I saw a werewolf drinking a piña colada at Trader Vic’s; And his hair was perfect), while the Greek word is more like mature, ripe, complete.  We use perfect in this way when we talk about “perfecting a motion” on the floor.  Bringing it into its final form.  We recognize the “tele” part from tele-vision, tele-type, tele-pathy.  There is a projecting forward quality in all of these.  Jesus perfects, completes, matures, ripens the faith that had gone before.  And this is not simply by bringing a right understanding, though this he does, but also through being and action that completes or matures the Hebrew legacy.  He completes it through the Cross and obedient, loving, faithful action.

The action part brings us to “pistis.”   In Greek mythology, Pistis was the personification of good faith, trust and reliability. In Christianity and in the New Testament, pistis is the word for “faith”.  Faith, along with hope and love, is a key Christian virtue.  The word pistis is sometimes translated belief, as in “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”  But to understand this as intellectual assent alone is a little shallow.  Intellectual assent is a part of it, but that assent is followed by faithful action.  What we do matters.  It is not simply as sign of our faith, but an integral part of it.  (Our English word faith derives from Latin, fides, from which we get Fido as a name for dogs.  Clearly, a dog’s intellectual assent is not what we value.)

The preacher in Hebrews gets on something of a roll:

Others (through faith) suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented … They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

+ + +

And herein lies the sermon:  though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, … so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

How do we complete, mature, perfect the faith of our immigrant ancestors who have gone before?

Sometimes memory can be a curse as well as a blessing.  I remember an argument that my dad was having with my sister about money for college tuition.  Dad said that college for women was not so important because they would simply get married.  Yikes!

Some time later, on the day my sister Gloria graduated from Cal State Northridge, first person in our family to graduate, dad was actually pretty proud.  And then he said, “I’m sorry my mother did not live to see this day, she would have been so proud.”  Well, dad got better.  But the notion that stuck in my mind was that Gloria had done something that made my grandmother’s humble life more complete.  Grandma (Martha Taylor Swartz) had been a cleaning lady in a downtown Indianapolis office building, a single mom supporting five kids.

We have a generational contract to do our best, to accomplish worthwhile things and to live well.  And this is not only for our posterity.  It is also for our ancestors.  We perfect, we give added value to their sacrifices, their work, their suffering.  They did their part  not only for themselves, but for us too.  And we can bring them to greater perfection.  Gloria glorified grandma in dad’s mind.

+ + +

So this week my mind has been dwelling on my Great-Great grandmother from another branch of the family; Sophia Christine Schmidt.  She arrived on a sailing ship, a barque named the Helene from Bremen, Germany, at the battery in New York on June 2, 1853. The arrival point facility was called Castle Garden. This was some 40 years before Ellis Island.  She was then a 52 year old widow, along with four children, Carl 19, Sophia, 13 – (my great grandmother), Heinrich, 12, and August age 9.  She ended up in Ohio, where she may have had family before – or at least people from her area of Nassau, Germany.  (Near Frankfort.)

It is difficult for me to believe that a 52-year-old woman with four kids could do this without some significant assistance from someone.  She certainly did not hit the ground of New York self-sufficient.  She and her children were in steerage on the ship, along with some 290 other souls.  She had no occupation listed.

She was part of some 4 million Germans who migrated to the United States.  There were 150,000 German migrants in 1853; 240,000 in 1854.  She was part of the same wave of migrants from Germany who came to Davenport; not all of the 48’ers arrived in 1848 alone.  These were folks fleeing political instability in Europe and seeking economic gain. Some 100 million persons in the United States today have some German ancestors who migrated to this golden door.  I share a German heritage with the Bush family and the Trumph family – and 100 million others.

The arrival of the Germans stimulated a period of Nativism. 

How do we honor the legacy of our immigrant families that came before us?  How do we perfect their existence?  How do we perfect their faith?  Their yearning to breath free?  Would they be honored and proud of us today?  How would they react to our words about current migrants?

Last summer I finally read Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.  And the German families in that novel were the objects of Christian charity from the March family.  They were in need.  Cold, sick and hungry; in the novel the baby dies. Does that echo my great-great grandmother’s experience?  No one wants to be the object of anyone’s Christian charity.  But better love than disdain.  Better love than nativism.

One of the Ten Commandments states:  Honor thy father and thy mother that you may live long on the land the Lord has provided to you.


The final image of the Hebrews reading is of a amphitheater filled with the blessed dead who have gone before, cheering us onward as we run our race on their behalf.  Would our ancestors, would Sophie Christine Schmidt, be cheering what we are doing today?

In a little church south of Indianapolis there is a window with the name of Sophie’s daughter, my great-grandmother Sophia and her husband, Frederick Swartz painted on a window.  I saw that in one of my visits.  Clearly those earlier generations sought to honor their ancestors who had gone before.

Amen and Amen.

Parlor Remodel

Remodel Schedule:
September 9th – 30th
Grand Re-Opening: October 6th

Please contact the office for questions about room usage throughout the remodel.

Our Colonial Parlor has long been in need of an update, so in May we got together to spruce it up. We painted and reupholstered and repaired furniture. We pulled up the carpet and uncovered beautiful hardwood floors. The more we worked on this project, the more we discovered the long-hidden beauty of the space was in keeping with its original purpose–an elegant gathering place for our congregation to meet and celebrate our lives together.

Thanks to contributions of time and money, we have already purchased new furniture, window coverings, rugs, artwork and more.  With your help, in September the hardwood floors will be refinished and we will then be ready to celebrate a grand re-opening of the Parlor with hope that the renewal of this space will contribute to the life of our congregation.

We are three-quarters of the way to our fundraising goal of $10,000 and we invite you to help complete the project with your contribution. Contributions by check may be made by designating “Parlor Remodel,” or on-line by clicking the donate button below.

We are thankful for the opportunity to update this space for the benefit of our congregation and grateful to those who have already supported this effort. Please join us as we look to restore and renew this beautiful space for our congregation to meet and celebrate our lives together.

Yours in Service,
Parlor Remodel Committee
Nancy Keller (Chair), Sunny Moorhusen, Mary Curry, Leanne Satterthwaite, Nancy Lackey (Spiritual Engagement Ministry Board Chair)

Have you noticed the LOVE billboards sprinkled throughout the Illinois Quad Cities with our church name and logo attached?  

The billboards were given as a gift to the community from a friend of Susi and Wes Llewlyn who wished  to honor her mother and share a positive message in a world too often focused on hatred and negativity. When Church Council was presented with the idea of sponsoring the billboards at no cost, it seemed too good to be true.  

Our church name and logo was added as a thank you to the Llewellyns and to the congregation who nurtures them.  We are grateful to the Llewellyns for their faithfulness and to their friend for her generosity, and we hope the good news shared in these billboards will attract our QCA neighbors to the love and hope and joy of our congregation.  

Community Resource & Learning Center | Donations Needed throughout August

Who’s ready to go back to school? This August the Outreach & Missions board is partnering with the Community Resource and Learning Center to collect supplies for the upcoming school year. While you’re out school shopping (or grocery shopping if you’re little ones are out of the house) pick up an item for the Learning Center! Drop off in the red bins outside of the church office August 4th – 25th.

Supplies Needed:

  • 3 ring 1″ Binders
  • Crayola Regular Markers
  • Washable Markers
  • Crayons
  • Multiplication/division flash cards
  • 5 x 7 Index Cards 
  • Colored Copy Paper (8 1/2 x 11)
  • Colored Card Stock 
  • Construction Paper
  • Electric Pencil Sharpener 
  • Baby Wipes
  • Clorox Wipes
  • Glue Sticks
  • Elmer’s Glue 
  • Glitter Glue
  • Stickers – all kinds and seasonal
  • Craft Paint – any color
  • Paint Aprons

What is the Community Resource & Learning Center?

The Learning Center was established in 2007. It provides 5 components of Family  Literacy: adult education, children’s education, parenting education, library, and parent-and-child-together time.

The Community Resource and Learning Center, Inc. (The Learning Center) serves families in need living in Moline, IL, and its surrounding communities. Adult students participate with their children. Our families come from around the world.

Our goal is to assist participants to gain personal and academic growth, to become more job-ready, and to help their children in school.

The Learning Center provides educational, social, and emotional support to participants through a series of well designed programs. These are provided in a strong family-based setting. Among the programs offered are English as a Second Language and Adult Basic Education for adults and developmental child care for their children.

Partners Include:

Bethel Wesley UMC | First Congregation UCC | Moline Schools Lights On! for Learning JDMS | Thrivent Financial Choice | The Moline Foundation | Black Hawk College | Birdies for Charity John Deer Classic | Bi-State Literacy Council | Illinois Great Rivers Conference UMC | Hubbell-Waterman Foundation | Amazon Smile | University of Illinois Extension | WQPT Public Television | Thomas Jefferson Early Childhood Center | Moline Public Library | Donors like YOU