Christmas Poinsettias 2022

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 online following the link below. We do request a $15 donation to help cover the cost of the poinsettias. The church will order the poinsettias. The deadline is December 12th.

Order Poinsettias

The Giving Tree is now up! If you would like to participate please go up to the tree and take a tag. There is also an online sign-up list on the church website. If you receive the e-bridge there is a link included there. Once again, we ask that gifts be returned in gift bags and not wrapped (tissue paper in the gift bags is fine). If you take a tag from the tree, please remember to record it on the sign up sheet located by the tree, and use that as your gift tag. If you choose a gift from the digital list, please make sure the gift is clearly marked with the correct number, so we can properly tag it. Gifts will need to be returned by Sunday, December 11.

How to get involved?

  • Shop for Gifts
    – Check out a tag from the Christmas Giving Tree located in the Library or follow the link below.
  • – Shop for gifts
  • – Return gifts in gift bags and NOT wrapped by Sunday December 11th.
  • Sponsor a gift
    • Place your donation in the giving tree envelope found in the Bulletin on Sunday

***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!

The Leadership Circle led an activity on 09Oct22 after worship that listed out various ideas for projects, missions, ambitions, and opportunities to make a difference.  The intent was to list out current activities and propose new activities.  In addition, we looked for volunteers to lead each specific activity, and looked for volunteers to help with each activity.  The lead is responsible for further defining the activity, recruiting help to lead if necessary, recruiting volunteers as needed, coordinating with and securing funding from either the appropriate board and council if necessary.  If there is not a lead, not enough volunteers, or lack of funding – it will not happen.  We are sharing the list of activities generated. 

  • If you are interested in volunteering to help or co-lead – and if there was a lead identified, please contact the lead named for that activity.  
  • If there is no lead identified and you are interested in leading or supporting, please reach out to Russ Armstrong – 
  • If this list overlaps with something already in place (leads or volunteers), please, contact Russ Armstrong –  so that we can align.  We are certain that there are others already working on some of these activities, but those in attendance on Sunday simply did not know.
  • If there are other ideas to be added to the list, please contact Russ Armstrong – 

Explanation and Question/Answer Meeting 
Profile/Search Committee
Sunday September 25, 2022

Carol Freeman called the meeting to order and introduced Rev. Dr. Stephani Perdew.  Dr. Perdew began by telling members in attendance that UCC is resourced by Our Church’s Wider Mission which helps with search and call share profiles.  

Steps in the profile/search process include the following:

  • The profile/search committee is formed per our constitution and by-laws and should include diversity of members.  For example, the committee should consist of older members as well as younger members, long-term members and new members.  A cross-section of this nature provides differing perspectives.
  • When the committee is formed, they write the church profile which functions as our resume.  It is a Word document that can be filled out, and it reflects on our past legacies, successes and challenges.  The profile also includes who we are presently as well as statistical information that focuses on our demographic, our neighborhood, and our community along with attendance and membership trends, former pastors and with financial data.  There are also questions about any past conflicts within the congregation or former pastors.  We decide what to share, but it’s crucial to provide a realistic picture of the church.  We must also provide the names and contact information of three people who will serve as references.  Those individuals will not be a member or past pastor.
  • Once the profile is completed, we submit it to the Association and Dr. Perdew reviews and validates it then shares our search nationally.  She will receive pastoral profiles that she will share with us and walk us through that phase of the process.
  • The profiles describe strengths and weaknesses as well as self-reflection on both sides.  The pastoral profiles also have three references with contact information included.  Furthermore, the profiles will come to us with completed background checks.

At this point, Dr. Perdew opened the meeting to questions.  The first question centered on whether or not we will be able to find a worthy candidate given our financial situation.  She assured us that we are not alone in this situation and that currently candidate flow is slow.

Another member asked how long writing the profile takes and once it’s active how long does the search take.  The answer is once the profile is active it takes six to nine months to complete.  We have to remember that the candidate will need to give 90 days notice to his/her church.  She also indicated that it isn’t wise to hurry through writing the profile; it needs to be thorough and honest.

There were also questions about the demographics of potential candidates and how many responses we might expect.  The Association doesn’t have precise statistics, but Dr. Perdew explained that the pandemic saw early retirements which has altered the number of potential candidates.  On average, most churches will see 7-9 pastoral profiles.

Another member of the congregation shared that past search committees received names of potential candidates from others.  Dr. Perdew said that this is perfectly fine but if we receive a name of a pastor, we have to direct it back to the conference office.  Since we are insured through United Church of Christ, if a pastor does not fulfill recognition in the Association we are at risk.  She also explained the steps a pastor who is not from United Church of Christ or Disciples of Christ must take in order to be recognized in the Association.  Should we hire someone from outside our denomination, we pay for their course of study.

The next portion of the discussion centered on what happens when profiles come to us.

  • We must acknowledge receipt of the profile.
  • We make internal decisions on them and schedule a first interview.  These interviews are held on Zoom and usually take an hour.  The Association will provide us with a Search and Call Manual that we can use as a guide.
  • Usually there are 3 rounds of interviews with the 3rd bringing in the top 2 or 3 choices for face to face interviews.  Again, Dr. Perdew will walk us through the process.  Confidentiality is critical in this process because a candidate’s current church may not know he or she is looking for another calling.  
  • The next step is a negotiating letter of call.  The Association has one we can use as a guide.  Dr. Perdew stressed that our compensation package must be as competitive as possible.
  • The final steps are Council approval of the candidate and scheduling a candidating Sunday, a congregational meeting and vote.  We need to be looking for a high percentage consensus.  Once the congregation approves the candidate, the individual returns to his/her church and gives the 90 day notice.  The conference office will keep a copy of the letter of calling as a backup.  
  • Dr. Perdew’s last piece of advice was to strongly urge that the candidating sermon must be secure online in order to prevent someone from the other church seeing it.  She closed the meeting by letting us know that we are in her prayers.

You can download the minutes below.

Neighbors In Need Special UCC Offering

How can you give?

  • A special offering will be taken during worship on Sunday October 2nd, 2022
  • You can also give online by clicking the green “Give Online” button.
  • You can also mail in your donation to:
    First Congregational UCC
    2201 7th Avenue
    Moline, IL 61265
  • Special Neighbors In Need offering envelopes will be available on Sunday October 2nd, 2022.

What is Neighbors In Need Offering?

Neighbors in Need supports ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States, including Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM), justice and advocacy, and direct service projects supported by Justice and Local Church Ministries.

UCC Offerings

In addition to Our Church’s Wider Mission (Basic Support), the United Church of Christ has 4 Special Mission Offerings (SMOs). These offerings exist to allow congregations and individuals to meet people at points of critical need in their lives. Though many options exist for direct, individual support of these needs, the SMOs allow a common witness and make a collective positive impact. Our church has identified four areas where these critical human needs exist:

  • One Great Hour of Sharing—in places lacking health and educational resources and/or where disaster has struck;
  • Neighbors in Need—within systems of injustice which oppress daily life and opportunity;
  • Strengthen the Church—in the nurture of youth and congregations just beginning their lives of faith;
  • The Christmas Fund—in the lives of church leaders without sufficient resources to live with dignity;

We believe these SMOs collectively serve to lift people closer to the abundance and wholeness to which Jesus Christ has called us to work together to bring about. Join the other 1,000 churches that have made the decision to become 5 for 5 congregations, supporting OCWM and all four of the Special Mission Offerings.

Christmas in September!

The Spiritual Engagement Board has been thinking of Christmas, even though it is September! Unfortunately it was discovered after last year the Christmas garlands and decor have livened our sanctuary for the last season. They were tattered and torn over many years of use and it is time to purchase new Christmas decor for the sanctuary.

Please consider sponsoring new Garland, Wreaths and a Christmas tree for our Sanctuary this holiday season:

  • Sponsor 1ft of Garland for $25 (suggested amount, 4ft of garland sponsored)
  • Sponsor 1ft of Christmas tree for $185
  • Sponsor 1 Large Wreath for $250

We know in this time of uncertainty, it may be hard to plan years into the future with investment in Christmas sanctuary decorations. However, it brings a smile to our face and a twinkle to our eyes imagining the warmth of the Christmas season, beautifully lit in the FCC Sanctuary. Please consider helping bring light and warmth to our sanctuary this Holiday season.


SE Board

Cella Armstrong
Mary Curry
Pam Wendt
Marcia Renaud
Shirley Morton
Nancy Henning
Becca Peterson

Update from Outreach and Mission –  Emergency Request from World Relief!!

Due to a recent influx of refugee families arriving in the Quad Cities, World Relief as asked us to forego our annual winter coat drive in order to help them meet their current needs. 

They URGENTLY need help filling their residences with the items below (new or gently used). If you would like to donate to the families, bring items to the coat rack area in the basement and place them in marked bins. Or if you would prefer to take items directly to World Relief, contact them at 309-764-2279. 

O&M will collect items until Sunday, October 2nd.

Items needed: 

  • shower curtains
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • deodorant
  • bathroom rugs
  • lotion
  • nail clippers
  • bathroom cleaner
  • toilet cleaner
  • toilet bowl brush/holder
  • small trash can
  • plunger
  • tub brush
  • pillow (new)
  • zippered fully enclosed mattress protector
  • laundry basket
  • clothing storage
  • bedspread/quilt
  • nightstand
  • can opener
  • utensils
  • oven mitts
  • paper towels
  • cutting board
  • teakettle
  • kitchen cleaner
  • large trash can
  • large trash bags
  • bucket
  • mop
  • broom with dust pan
  • end table
  • scissors
  • pie tins
  • light bulbs
  • magnets
  • air fresheners

Summer Worship Reflections – Part 9

Here’s What Folks Are Saying!

Summer worship has been a great source of fun and fellowship.  The feedback from those attending has been overwhelmingly positive.  I think part of what folks have enjoyed is the opportunity to talk together about the scripture and how it is speaking to FCC in this moment.
On Aug 28th  the scripture was Deuteronomy 34:1-5.   Here’s what folks noted about their conversation.

What does this passage suggest about transitions in ministry?

  • We do this for others and future generations. Time to pass the torch. Drawing boundaries. Don’t always get what you see. The promise is still valid.
  • It’s the responsibility of the leader to pass pm tp descendants the current ministry.
  • TRANSITION will continue beyond our lifetime
  • God has a role in establishing leadership.
  • Moses suffered and didn’t experience final outcome – possibly unfair.
  • Transition far beyond our vision and there is more to come.
  • God knows outcome before we do.
  • The outcome may not be what everyone wants.
  • Religion and spirituality vs a mystery
  • God’s plan includes transitions
  • Moses may have been exhausted and relived to relinquish leadership.
  • Leadership is tough – lots of waiting a thankless job but necessary. 
  • Boundaries
  • We need ro leave it in the past.
  • Will leave the results to the descendants
  • We’re not always here to see the results of our work.
  • Our work is not completed by one generation but continues from generation.
  • Always moving – one location to another and is spreading, going from leader to leader.
  • When there is a transition – you (the leader) don’t get to keep going.
  • They Had a job to do, did it – Wasn’t there to celebrate But went to heaven.
  • See the whole land and path.

What wisdom does this story offer about beginnings and endings in ministry?

  • Continued Journey
  • Way to Heaven? Gives guidance for next steps.
  • Natural, indefinite, keep going, pass on to the next generation.
  • Faith that it will keep going.
  • “A new broom sweeps better” (new)
  • One ending is not necessarily the end of everything.
  • We have a chance to see our future, but it isn’t only in one person’s hands.
  • My plan may not be God’s plans.
  • Can’t always get what we want But, you do get what you need
  • Disappointment may happen if you don’t get the result you wished/prayed for.
  • Have to have faith if you aren’t there to see the end result, it will work out and be okay.
  • Ministries don’t end. They are passed on.
  • There is never an end the story continues. Look to god for guidance for when it’s time to begin or end.

What do you imagine it was like for Moses to lead for so long only to hand off his ministry before it was “completed”?  Why might God ask this of him?

  • Moses may be happy that he did his job, but upset that he doesn’t get to finish perhaps – hopeful that his work will continue beyond him. The work doesn’t belong to Moses, but to God. So it’s time for someone else.
  • Maybe others need a turn to engage or maybe another’s special talents were needed for the completion of the work. 
  • The work of Moses was done. Others will need to carry on. They might need some evangelism to bring in the non-believers.
  • God made Moses realize his humanity.
  • Moses was telling his people what to do and they may have seemed to worship Moses as a God.
  • Heroes of the Bible are all humans and make mistakes, but God still uses them – so he can use us, too!
  • He saw the future – we must have faith in ours. Don’t get too attached to one person; we all have a stake in this.
  • His ministry is not completed – time for new leadership.
  • Leader knows his role is done – Joshua there to continue ministry
  • His minority will continue through others.
  • God hoped he could do it.
  • Reward was going to Heaven. 
  • Plant the seed.

Summer Worship Reflections – Part 8

Here’s What Folks Are Saying!

Summer worship has been a great source of fun and fellowship.  The feedback from those attending has been overwhelmingly positive.  I think part of what folks have enjoyed is the opportunity to talk together about the scripture and how it is speaking to FCC in this moment.
On Aug 21st  the scripture was Luke 19:11-27.   Here’s what folks noted about their conversation.

What talents (pounds) do you feel God has given you to share with FCC?

  • Make people feel cared about, singing, organization and insite, Leadership
  • Music, Engineering, open hearts, and transparency, knowledge to use what you have.
  • Invite more music groups to use our sanctuary – Saturday- Sunday afternoons
  • Financial resources
  • Presence at worship
  • beautiful voice

What talents do you feel God has given FCC to share with the community?

  • Beautiful building, people have always been supporters and believers over the course of history.
  • Change isn’t when people GO to church – change happens when you become the church.
  • Mission projects and generous outreach to the community
  • Red wagon, gardening produce, music programs, Sunday school.
  • Craft a survey to members:
  • Could do more with our building especially the kitchen
  • Members talented in business, buildings, teaching, etc.
  • Compassionate and generous people – help make the ministries of the church happen
  • Music ministry Outreach (former choir members remember)
  • Share organ duties w/ student interns (4 of IA)
  • Essential baskets/ Christmas giving tree
  • Funeral luncheons for families

How well do you feel FCC has shared those gifts? 

  • Not as much as we could- Think we could do better
  • Our intern groups (women’s connection, senior health, and wellness
  • Do well at things we do do, but need to find other ways to share.
  • It’s not “news” that we’ve been in a financial ‘pickle’ for a long time, but ignoring it has just made it more critical.
  • Big money projects (boiler) aren’t attractive as feel good projects, so people are less willing to give support, or spend the necessary funds.
  •  Could use building better
  • Mission and outreach does more mission then outreach
  • FCC is friendlier now then when I joined 15 years ago
  • Times have changed – family commitments are different today
  • Time and energy are limited and schedules are so full for young families
  • In the opinion of older members, we remember a different time but are open to bigger ideas
  • New leadership. Willing to work to make FCC thrive in our community once again
  • Renew and refresh us, O God!

If FCC was one of the slaves in the story would it be the first, second, or third?

  • Overall, we are probably a #2. But we definitely have the full range of those who want to “hold on” to the money no matter what! And, others who want to give to others and the church, to receive God’s Blessings.
  • Overall, we are probably a #2. But we definitely have the full range of those who want to “hold on” to the money no matter what! And, others who want to give to others and the church, to receive God’s Blessings.

Summer Worship Reflections – Part 7

Here’s What Folks Are Saying!

Summer worship has been a great source of fun and fellowship.  The feedback from those attending has been overwhelmingly positive.  I think part of what folks have enjoyed is the opportunity to talk together about the scripture and how it is speaking to FCC in this moment.

On Aug 14th  the scripture was Matthew 9:14-17.   Here’s what folks noted about their conversation. 

What within FCC constitutes “old wineskins” that may need to be let go in order to make room for something new?

  • What we did 30 years ago
  • In holding on to the way things were. Old habits
  • Let go of old attitudes and some objectives that are no longer relevant. We are not John Deere’s church anymore
  • “Unusual way” of worship.
  • Process/Construction
  • Is tradition serving a purpose. Who is it serving? Need balance between tradition and evolving
  • Old wiresking (traditions) may need to be put aside 
  • Not meeting needs of people
  • old form of worship, old hymns
  • Staffing and governance models
  • Building – its use, its needs
  • Structure of pastors, no moderator, running of council
  • Location of building
  • Tendency to stay within these walls rather then reach outside of them
  • Some of what we love most cliques, comfort with friend circles
  • Structure of staff
  • Large to small congregation – thinking big when feeling small
  • Be willing to change
  • Staff
  • Membership
  • Worship
  • People came to us – we are not use to going out and looking for people

What comes to mind when you think of “new wine” being poured into FCC? 

  • New missions
  • New ways of doing things
  • New events to say to community join us
  • Do baskets more than once a year
  • Someone to lead their ideas.
  • Host big events
  • Thoughtful discernment around new staffing
  • New enthusiasm and willingness to work
  • Agreeing on what the new wine is
  • Welcome and include the new members we accept a common guest seeking God’s will
  • New music
  • Everything old is new again
  • Younger generation. Give them the tools they need
  • New ideas. New structures of worship. Need to “open up” to see what new ideas and processes can be put in places
  • New wine/ideas can compliment what we already have in place
  • Ministry is changing. Possibly share the building with other congregations
  • Paid vocalist in choir
  • New wine will be here when..Deal with our struggle To pigeon-hole people, Continue to share on small groups, openness – literally open to community more often, leadership – fresh energy needed, step up- change up the ranks
  • Let go of “thats the way we’ve always done”
  • ONA
  • New pastors
  • Youth – Families “freshness” leadership change, hope, febreeze, looking outside the congregation

What container or wineskin needs to be created to hold this new wine?

  • Get bigger congregation
  • Thick skinned, strong, stable, understanding a transition, honest, open, exposed
  • A new building? Using this one differently
  • Let people know about us
  • Small group
  • Stay open to outside groups
  • Concerts, organizations, clubs
  • Make ourselves more information to service groups.
  • Communication amongst the congregation so all can understand the direction we are going together.
  • What is our goal? Try to make sure that everyone knows the goals
  • Written processes need to be created – ie, new constitution.
  • Don’t need to be a huge church to do great things
  • Talk to other churches that have been through splits or mergers
  • New settled pastor
  • Congregation agrees on job description for new pastor and new staffing structure
  • Focus on Christ 
  • Pastor = wineskin. When pastor leaves, we need to keep going
  • Online presence needs to be strong tended
  • Flexible worship