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

The Pilgrim - September 4, 2016

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

Do you or your family ever say a prayer before a meal? If I am invited to a dinner party or function where a prayer is appropriate, I’m almost always asked to pray. It’s an occupational hazard, but it’s also such a gift to be invited to say words of blessing and gratitude in the midst of an otherwise secular social gathering. I try to be creative with my prayers, but I almost always draw on the same form. “Thank you God for food, and thank you for all those who touched it – from the ground to our table.” A friend always adds: “May they be afforded a living wage. If not, set us to work with them for justice.”

Labor Day began—with the insistence of the labor movement—as a way to show the strength of the American workforce and provide a day of rest and recreation for workers. This holiday has evolved into a chance for an end-of-summer barbeque or camping trip. Whether you are striking up the grill, sailing over the waves, or working weekend hours, I challenge you to show gratitude for the hands that harvested your food, sewed your clothes, tightened the bolts on your car, or cleaned your hotel room. If you feel so inclined you could meditate on this prayer, written by César Chávez for the struggle of the United Farm Workers. May we work together for a society in which all workers are valued with dignity, respect, and adequate compensation.

This week I am honored to lead the service with the Rev. Mel White, a member of our congregation and a constant worker for justice—especially for the LGBTQ community. Mel will preach a sermon entitled What Good Can We Salvage from a Religion Gone Bad? I’m certain you won’t want to miss it.

The Rev. John Forrest Douglas


Heard's Words: Music on Sunday

It’s back to school for the kids, and back to choir for our singers at First Church. We have a busy few months ahead, with the 9/11 remembrance, the Homecoming Service, and Temple Israel Anniversary Concert in September, Titanic in November, and the Vivaldi Gloria in December, but singing in the Chancel Choir is such a joy that the time commitment is not an issue! If you’d like to join us, why not drop by on Thursday? Our rehearsals begin at 7:30. You can find the Choir Room downstairs across from the Ramsay Dining Room.

This Sunday’s music will be brought to you by Eddie Nazarro and Darrell Sanders, who are singing a duet, and by Madi Miranda, who will be playing a cello solo! I’ll be in San Diego with Tracy and the bell choir, but I’ll see you next week!

Curtis Heard, Director of Music


In Sunday School

Theme: Ocean Sunday
Scripture: Job 38:1-18

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


In this issue

Music This Sunday

Christian Education

Sunday School Teachers Needed

Sunday School Teacher Orientation

Homecoming Concert

Register Children for Sunday School

Youth Going Kayaking

Pool Party

Celebration Concert with Temple Israel

Congregational Care Committee

Momastery Live - A Few Tickets Left

Fall Fun for All at Pilgrim Pines

Drop-In Center News


Church Mouse

September Birthdays and Anniversaries

Parish Concerns

For more information

The Pilgrim - current and past editions of the newsletter


First Church website

Contact us




Sunday School Teachers Needed

Sunday School teachers needed


Sunday School Orientation September 11
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

A brief Sunday School teacher orientation will be held in Klar 1-2 on Sunday, September 11, at 11:30. Those who plan to teach in the fall should make plans to attend.


Homecoming Concert Celebration
Angelica Strings Quartet
Saturday, September 17, 7 pm

Come celebrate Homecoming with a wonderful concert on September 17! Sponsored by the Chuck Murphy and Al Barney Fund, this free event features the Angelica Strings quartet, a symphony-caliber group, playing Baroque favorites by Corelli, Vivaldi, and many more. The reception begins at 7 pm in the Kilsby Courtyard with beverages and desserts provided by your Board of Cultural Arts, followed by the concert at 8 pm. We hope to see all of you there for an evening of musical classics!


Register for Sunday School

Register for Sunday School

Click here to register children for Sunday School.


Youth Go Kayaking September 18

Kayaing for Youth September 18


Pool Party September 24

Youth Pool Party September 24


Celebrate Our History with Temple Israel September 25

Concert with Temple Israel September 25, 4 pm


Join the Congregational Care Committee September 25
By the Rev. John Forrest Douglas

Are you interested in making caring visits, sending cards, making phone calls, or praying for members of our congregation? If so, please plan to attend a meeting of the Congregational Care Committee on Sunday, September 25, at 8:30 in the Pownall Room.


Momastery Live
By Pam Chapin

A few tickets remain for the Momastery Live and reception event on Thursday, October 13. To order tickets,  go to Momastery.com, scroll on events and the October 13 event date, or click here to go straight to the ticketing site. We hope to see you there.


Fall Fun for All at Pilgrim Pines

This October, Pilgrim Pines Camp will once again be hosting their amazing fall event, the Fall Fun for All! Mark your calendars for October 7-9 for this all ages intergenerational camp, or come up for one day on Saturday, October 8, to enjoy Apple Pie Day! This year is an extra-special year to join us, as we will be celebrating paying off our mortgage and honoring the many contributors and volunteers who have helped to make it possible for us to continue to enjoy Pilgrim Pines Camp and our conference's Outdoor Ministries. Click here to print out a flyer and click here to register.


Drop-In Center News
By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else” – great quote by Yogi Berra! I’ve always thought this was a fun saying, but it is also true! That is why we talk with the people who come to us on Sundays and help set goals and the steps it will take to get there.

“Long Beach’s rebirth brings renter woes.” That was a headline in the August 26 Press Telegram’s Opinion page. Some say the economic shifts and development are causing a housing crisis in the city. We seem to have two crisis situations in Long Beach: homelessness, and the fact that there is just not enough affordable housing. The two issues are extreme when they happen at the same time. This makes Urban Community Outreach’s job even more difficult as we work to ultimately help people into permanent housing and a happy, more stable way of life.

So I wish I had good news that another family was placed this week, but I don’t. We’ve scrambled and talked with our community partners and property managers all week. We have two placements so close I can taste them, but not yet. We had a lot of families on Sunday who came for help. Some of them come regularly and some new ones came too.

Temple Israel volunteers came and were very helpful in preparing a delicious chicken barbeque meal and sorting and handing out of clothing, shoes, and socks. Jay Iser, in their group, brought a lot of food, clothing, toys, and books. Dale Whitney, FCC member and previous board member for Centro Shalom, also brought us several boxes of new socks as a parting gift from Centro Shalom as they have had to close their doors. This kind of resources was in abundance. People were very happy to receive them! Kids needed shoes and clothing for school.

Our new intern, Stacey Barry from CSULB, was very helpful managing the list of folks who wanted consultation. Paige Pelouis from City of HeART came over and offered to help us set up some of our guests with art opportunities. She will come next Sunday and set up a table to get sign-ups. We have some talented people who come on Sundays. We talked with a volunteer who wants to start a program to help homeless children. The beautiful little homeless children really tug at our heart strings.

Right now instead of waiting for the storm of great needs to pass, we are dancing in the rain and making the best of what resources we can offer, giving them with a warm smile of caring assurance. Thank you for your support that makes this possible!

Dale Whitney   Kitchen volunteers

Dale Whitney with socks, left; kitchen volunteers, right


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 ...

... Congratulations are due to Meghan Ramsay, who has accepted a full-time position teaching English at Caldwell High School in Idaho and is now living in Boise. Cheers on her new job and new home.


September Birthdays

1 Bryce King, Linda Kellogg
4 Kathy Young, William Purcell, John Sharpe
9 Meghan Ramsay
10 Marc Dickey, Kevin Nutt, Don Donan, Meara Dobson, Melissa Infusino
12 Ben Bond, Leslie Charles, Grace Hiller
14 Janet Rhodes, Chris Holman
15 Sookie Garrison, Richard Gordon
16 Martha Duncan
17 Sue Johnson, Brandon Solem-Kuehl
18 Jim Deaton
19 Karen Cannon, Annaliese Guthmann, Mike Roberts, Dylan Whitesell
22 Carmen Abbott
23 Ruth Keller
24 Wendy Chavis
25 Barya Hoel
26 Joe Ernst, Adreana Langston, Alwyn Loa, Roberto Flores
28 Dorothy Deatherage, Michael Earl, Casey Holman
29 Scarlett Johnson
30 Drew Wilson

September Anniversaries

1 Chuck and Mary Durham, 52 years
2 Marion and Nthenge Nguli
3 David and Marjorie McMillin, 56 years
3 Tina Datsko and Jose Sanchez-H., 22 years
5 Jerry and Alison Mitchell, 24 years
5 Ronald Mullens and David Clements, 29 years
19 Cynthia Snell and Bryn Turner, 24 years
20 Randel and Dorothy King, 30 years
22 Ester Baliscao Sagun, 32 years
27 Chuck and Georgette DeBruyn, 36 years


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Carole Crawford (Cathy Flynn and Mary Flynn's mother); Marylyle Martinson (Ruth Keller & Larella Hendon's neighbor); and Priscilla Norris (Teri Brewster's sister-in-law).

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