A Liberal Church, Welcoming of All, Passionately Committed to Social Justice

The Pilgrim - August 21, 2016

Sunday Celebration Notes
Lifting Up God's Love Every Sunday at 10 am

Dear Church, 

Every Sunday, each person who comes to a worship service receives a vital document filled with information, theology, poetry, a calendar, map, and directory.

What is it? The worship bulletin.

We make them every week in our offices, and they are critical to our service. Filed with prayers, lyrics, and all the administrative information that helps a person connect with the church, they are a key part of how we work on Sunday mornings. I know that I have worship bulletins from important moments in my life, and I suspect you might as well: a baptism, a favorite holiday, a time when a beautiful prayer struck you with its poetry.

Our bulletin at FCCLB is ready for a refresh ... perhaps you noticed the invitation to turn off your pagers at the top of the service? Ouch. Well, since pagers aren’t around anymore and Homecoming season is beginning September 18, the staff and I are going to put out a few experimental bulletins in the month of August. We’ve received samples from other UCC churches and are trying out a few different formats; the content will be much the same, but the paper size, font, and supporting materials are up for review.

How can you help? On Sunday, bring a colorful pen and mark up your bulletin with notes about what looks good or needs a second look. While the goal is to update the bulletin for the congregation at large, the staff and I are seeking your personal feedback ... politely worded, of course. Then drop it on the center table in the narthex where it can be gathered for review. By Homecoming, we should be ready with a fresh face on our weekly bulletin.

We sometimes underestimate the influence of little things.
     -Charles W. Chestnutt, author and early NAACP leader


The Rev. Elena Larssen


In this issue

Music This Sunday

Christian Education

Help the Citizens' Climate Lobby

First Church Walking Group

UCO Summer Snack Drive

Thank You!

A Passing

Long Beach QFilm Festival

Drop-In Center News


Church Mouse

Parish Concerns

For more information

The Pilgrim - current and past editions of the newsletter


First Church website

Contact us


Heard's Words: Music on Sunday

One of this Sunday’s music selections will be a brand new piece by Dr. Paul Boyd-Batstone. Here, in his own words, which I am calling Paul’s Scrawls, is some background information on Kyrie, Kyrie:

Kyrie eleison, translated into English as “God have mercy,” is the oldest prayer in the Christian lexicon. It even predates Christianity. The two-word Greek prayer was included in the Latin Mass, not as a translation, but as a transliteration to preserve the way the Greek sounded in the Latin text. It’s like a two-word language unto itself. If you dig below the surface, you’ll learn that “eleison” comes from the root word “eleos,” which means a healing oil. This recalls the twenty-third Psalm: “God anoints my head with oil, surely goodness and mercy will follow me....” You may also recall the choir singing “Benedictus” last year accompanied by ukulele. With this song, my hope is to continue to uncover new meaning from the Latin Mass using ukulele to accompany.  This new song from an ancient prayer begins with “Kyrie, kyrie ... a healing oil, a holy song, kyrie eleison.” May God's mercy be with you.

We’ll also get to hear Ben Bond this Sunday (rescheduled from last week). Hope to see you there!

Curtis Heard, Director of Music


In Sunday School

Theme: Faith: Breaking the Rules
Scripture: Luke 13:10-17

Adult Education
Sundays at 8:30 am in the Klar Rooms, upstairs in Pilgrim Hall




Moderator's Moment
By Tim Mountain

As everyone gets back from their summer outings with friends and family and as the new school year begins for students, I just wanted to remind everyone that the Church Council will be meeting next Tuesday, August 23 at 7 pm to conduct the business of this dynamic community of faith.

I am looking forward to next month’s Homecoming Sunday which will usher in another year of service and celebration to the wider world. Take the opportunity to participate in the activities at First Church to increase your understanding of the spiritual path you have chosen. See you in church.


The Citizens’ Climate Lobby Needs Your Help!
By Bob Kalayjian, Committee for Environmental Justice, Board of Social Justice and Outreach

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) meets every second Saturday from 9 am to noon at First Church. Edric Guise and a few of us founded the Long Beach-South Bay Chapter of CCL, and Clayton Heard and I attended the national CCL conference in Washington, DC in June of 2015. CCL is promoting legislation to address climate change. Called Carbon Fee and Dividend (CF&D), it is a simple, effective way to reduce fossil fuel use, improve the economy, and save lives. For more info on CF&D, go to http://citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-fee-and-dividend/.

The California Senate will vote, perhaps this week, to pass a resolution, called AJR 43, directed to the US Congress to address climate change and supports legislation that is essentially CCL’s carbon fee and dividend proposal.

We need as many of you as possible to call your state senator (find yours at this website: http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/) and leave the following message either to a live person or answer machine:

“Hello, my name is ____, I live in [city] and I’m a constituent of Senator _____. I would like him/her to vote YES on AJR 43. Thank you.”

As Clayton said in this past Sunday’s sermon, climate change is a social justice issue because it impacts more severely the poor and undeveloped countries. Please help, please make a call.


FCCLB Walking for Health Presents: Bolsa Chica
By Eillen Badilla

Saturday, August 27, 8 am 
842 Warner Ave, Huntington Beach, CA 92649

sneakers image


UCO Summer Snack Drive
By Alison Morales, Urban Community Outreach

Thank you, Church! Urban Community Outreach is so grateful for the nourishing summer snacks you've been donating this month. We are collecting throughout August. Suggested items are peanut butter crackers, single serving tuna/cracker sets, and protein bars. These things can be easily found at local grocery stores and places like Dollar Tree. There is a large box for donations in the narthex. We really appreciate your help!

peanut butter crackers     protein bars     tuna salad



I want to thank the Board of Social Justice and Outreach, Rev. Elena Larson, and John Forrest Douglas for awarding me the Marion Morgan Peace and Justice Award this past Sunday. This congregation has truly put me on the path that I am on today, and I am forever grateful. Thank you all for everything, and I hope I represent you well in DC!   

Clayton Heard


A Passing

We learned recently that former member Allen Morlock died August 6, 2016.

Men in Briefs

QFilm Festival: "Men in Briefs"

We’re excited to collaborate with the 2016 Long Beach QFilm Festival! On Sunday, September 11 at 12:30 pm, join us for a screening of “Men in Briefs” (men's short films) at the Art Theatre in Long Beach. Tickets on sale now at qfilmslongbeach.com!


Drop-In Center News
By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

The second Sunday in August was a hot one so our guests were glad it was cooler downstairs in Ramsay Hall. Though we had challenges with getting food prepared and moved down there, it turned out well. We had so many compliments on the delicious turkey and beef enchiladas, green salad, fruit salad, breads, and desserts. We are blessed with fantastic chefs, food donors, and volunteer staff!

More new people came to help! Our intern, Stacey Berry, started working with us. A young mother, Mindy Isaac, began work on helping to do the data entry for the Temporary Shelter details report. Of course our two new staff members, Cherry Bush and Ann Lampe, were going full steam, as were our great volunteer coordinators.

Alison Morales, Jenny Penner, and John Forrest Douglas brought the First Church Sunday School children to help. They also brought some hygiene items. Together with what they brought and what we had stored, we were able to make 70 hygiene kits complete with the Sunday School children’s handmade greeting cards inside. Thank you to everyone who participated! They were so happy to receive this gift.

Monday we took new kitchen houseware and linens to a young mother and her six-year-old son for their new home. She was so very grateful! She will get her first pay from the new job this week; however, she needs some way to get another car as she was in a car accident. I have another single mom with three children whom we are hoping to get into an apartment. We have the income necessary, First Five support, and everything we need, and just need an apartment owner willing to accept First Five before the funds run out in a couple days till October when new funds come in. We are also trying to get an apartment for a mom with a tiny baby. She works and her mom watches the baby. They live in a very overcrowded motel room with other family members.

Here we are trusting in the Lord, and daring to be optimists, but we need your prayers. Please join me in prayer for the three young women needing assistance.

Life is now! Go out and enjoy each day!

Making enchiladas


Pilgrim and Bulletin Deadline

The deadline for submitting items for inclusion in the Sunday service bulletin and for the newsletter is Tuesday at 1 p.m. The Pilgrim is emailed every Wednesday.




Church MouseThe Church Mouse has heard ...

... Martin de Jong, son of Barbara and John de Jong, married Eleanor Boothroyd on August 13. The ceremony took place in Burlingame, California and the newlyweds will love (and live) in Redwood City, California.


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Janet Waggoner; Matthew Duncan (Martha Duncan’s brother); Jerry Blum (Georgette De Bruyn’s friend’s husband); and Therese (Judy Crawford’s college roommate).

Names on the Parish Concerns lists appear in two consecutive editions of the newsletter. To share a Parish Concern or a Parish Joy, put a note on the board on the Third Street landing or contact Ruth Warkentin in the church office.

Online Calendar

Don't miss out! Check the online church calendar for details about all church events. You can use the online calendar to email invitations to friends to church events and to set up emailed reminders to yourself. Just click on any event to see more information.




To place an ad in this newsletter, please contact Ruth Warkentin in the church office.



First Congregational Church - 241 Cedar Avenue - Long Beach, California 90802
562-436-2256 - Fax: 562-436-3018 - E-mail: office@firstchurchlb.org