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

The Pilgrim - October 16, 2016

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

Children’s Sabbath

Dear Church,

This week we will join thousands of faith communities across the United States in our observance of the National Children’s Sabbath. This is the 25th National Children’s Sabbath sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund. The Children’s Defense Fund, started by Marian Wright Edelman, exists to shine light on the plight of children in our country—especially those who are poor. They advocate for reforms that will change our society for the sake of children.

In her letter to those observing this day, Edelman writes:

Our promise at the Children’s Defense Fund is to work tirelessly to Leave No Child Behind® and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Our promise is to provide a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. We promise to pay special attention to the needs of poor children, children of color and those with disabilities, and encourage preventive investments in children before they get sick, drop out of school, get into trouble or suffer family breakdown.

Since inception, we have partnered with the religious community to put faith into action with and for children. For the past quarter-century, we have been blessed to join places of worship across our nation in the National Observance of Children’s Sabbath. Places of worship have rich understandings of promise — including the promises made to that which is holy, to each other, and to the children with whom we have been blessed.

On this 25th annual Children’s Sabbath weekend and in the year and years to come, what will your promise be?

This week, our children will join the rest of the congregation in the service as we celebrate the gift of childhood and recommit ourselves to working for a world that is just and kind for all of God’s children.

See you Sunday!

John Forrest


In this issue

Music This Sunday

Christian Education

Momastery Sold Out!

Forum on Ballot Propositions on Sunday

Mental Health First Aid Workshop

CROP Walk October 23

Book Discussion: The New Jim Crow October 23

Undies for Everyone!

Drop-In Center News


Parish Joys & Concerns

For more information

The Pilgrim - current and past editions of the newsletter


First Church website

Contact us

Heard's Words: Music on Sunday

This Sunday is recognized in our denomination as Children’s Sabbath, a special Sunday that will be reflected in the music. Our All Seasons Choir, directed by Tracy Halter-Balin, will be singing “This Little Light of Mine,” and the Charming Chimes, led by Tracy’s husband Matt, will be playing “Simple Gifts.” The Sanctuary Choir will be singing “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a song that fits the Children’s Sabbath and our ongoing theme of “Imagine.”

Carver CosseyLast week I wrote about Leeav leaving us as our bass soloist. This week I’d like to introduce our new bass soloist. I didn’t have to look very far to find him! I am pleased to announce that Carver Cossey will be taking over as our new bass soloist and section leader. Carver has over 40 years experience as a singer, conductor, and educator. He has led gospel choirs at UC Irvine, Saddleback College, and Cypress College, and appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, Pacific Chorale, Roger Wagner Chorale, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Los Angeles Opera, and the LA Jubilee Singers, and toured internationally and throughout the United States. He has also been featured on recordings with the Pacific Chorale, John Alexander Singers, and several song cycles and chamber opera projects by noted California composer Mark Abel. I am thrilled to welcome him to our music staff, and look forward to getting to hear him sing for us more frequently!

Curtis Heard, Director of Music


In Sunday School

Theme: A Voice for Justice
Scripture: Luke 18:1-8

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




Momastery Sold Out!

Thursday night's special event featuring notes blogger and New York Times bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton is sold out! Many thanks to the Board of Cultural Arts and Rev. Katy Hyman, event chair, for bringing Momastery to First Church in collaboration with with Bayshore UCC and Manhattan Beach UCC. Looking for a seat? We have reserved two tickets ($63 per ticket for book, reception and lecture) for last-minute purchase by a church member only. Contact elarssen@firstchurchlb.org


ICO LogoGather Our Wits about Us for November 8
By Gary Shelton

All those California propositions … want to know more?

Maybe they’re all a mystery, or some still just a big question mark? Gain the vocabulary and insight needed to enter the voting booth on Election Day confident of knowing what you’re about to vote for! Long Beach Interfaith Organization (ICO) is partnering with the Board of Social Justice and Outreach invites all to an informative Gathering of Wits.

This Sunday, October 16 at 11:30 (following fellowship)


Mental Health First Aid Workshop – Sign-up Deadline Is October 21
By Miriam Seneviratne, for the Board of Social Justice and Outreach

The Mental Health First Aid workshop will be taught by the LA County Department of Mental Health at First Congregational Church and is free of charge. The 8-hour workshop is being taught November 5 from 8:30 am to 12 noon and November 6 from 1 pm to 5 pm. Interested participants are asked to give their name to Ruth Warkentin in the church office. The workshop size is limited, and the sign-up deadline is Friday, October 21. Please don’t delay!

Mental Health First Aid was created in Australia in 2001 by Professor Tony Jorm, a respected mental health literacy professor, and Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education.
The course teaches adults how to assist other adults who are experiencing a mental health crisis or developing a mental health problem. Some specifics of what participants learn:

  • The potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, substance abuse disorders, and self injury;
  • An understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the US and the need for reduced stigma in our communities;
  • A 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional care;
  • The evidence-bases professional, peer, social and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem.

Mental Health First Aid has been replicated in 14 countries, including England, Scotland, Finland, Canada, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Ireland, Wales, and Singapore.


CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, October 23
By Tracy Halter-Balin

The Youth of FCC are joining in the fun of the annual 5K CROP Walk on Sunday, October 23, and we want everyone to join us! Our church has participated in this event for decades, and we’re keeping the tradition going. It’s easy to sign up - just go here on the CROP Walk website and join the FCC team!

I’ll be walking again to honor my dad, Bob Halter, who walked in every CROP Walk. We’re hoping to have a surprise at the end of the walk, so stay tuned for more information.

For any questions you may have, see Dale Whitney, John Forrest Douglas, or me. And if you are unable to join us for the walk, you are lovingly invited to sponsor one of our walkers. Just go to the above website and you’ll see how easy it is to provide your support in this way.


Book Discussion on Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness: October 23
By Christopher Bobo and the Board of Social Justice and Outreach

Copies of Michelle’s Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow are still available for purchase. Copies can be purchased for $15 from the church office during the week and on Sunday in the narthex before church and on the patio after church. As Forbes magazine said, The New Jim Crow is a “devastating account of a legal system doing its job perfectly well,” and which, as the Daily Kos described it, lays bare “the labyrinth of propaganda, discrimination, and racist policies masquerading under other names that comprises what we call justice in America.”

Please plan to join other members of the congregation after church on October 23 in a discussion of this book and the light it sheds on how the United States became the world’s leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people, mostly of color, currently in the nation’s prisons and jails—a 500% increase over the last forty years.


Undies for everyone!“Undies for Everyone” in October
By Alison Morales, Urban Community Outreach

Greetings Church! Urban Community Outreach is hoping you’ll help us gather up new underwear and diapers for our weekly guests at the Drop-in Center. We’ll be collecting and distributing these items every Sunday in October. We are most in need of mens/womens/childrens underwear, baby diapers of any size, and XL adult diapers. You’ll easily spot a UCO box in the Donation Center on the Third Street landing. Please refrain from donating other items in this box, as we aren't set up for storage. We really appreciate your help. Together, we can help our beloved community feel fresher and happier!


Drop-In Center News
By Arlene Mercer, Executive Director

On Sunday, October 9, Israel Rodriquez brought a team of 11 volunteers from Molina Healthcare to help out. They started early in the morning. As some of them had to leave later in the day, we had scheduled 10 CSULB Med-life students to come and give of their time. That worked well.

Nurse Ann Herzog spent the afternoon seeing many patients. The line seemed to be endless. We helped a couple of families with motel vouchers and gave out some food from our pantry. Our pantry has been well stocked since your donations came in from the 60th Anniversary Celebration we shared with Temple Israel.

It was a full weekend as we had moved furniture on Saturday for a family so the children wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor. We rented a small truck and picked up some of the furniture from a Long Beach donor. Then we went to our storage unit in Southgate and picked up more furniture and household goods for them. The mom was going to ride along and choose what she wanted from our storage unit, but became too sick with stomach flu to go. However, they were very grateful for the things we brought!

We got the go-ahead to provide a full application and back-up information for an apartment for another family. I surely hope they will get the apartment! I’m setting up an appointment with a realtor this week to help a woman who just inherited some money to hopefully buy a condo as her apartment has been sold.

We have an elderly woman who dearly wants a small TV. If anyone has one they want to donate she’ll be thrilled.

Today is our last planned outreach in Lincoln Park before they close it at the end of this month. We are attending lots of meetings on the topic of homelessness and are also working on a Homeless Summit to be held in February or March. So our minds, hearts, and bodies are busy trying to advocate for, and also address, the needs of folks who are homeless in our neighborhood.

One way you can join us in the effort is UCO has been chosen as one of the recipients of the proceeds of the Crop/Hunger Walk on October 23, at 2:30 pm. It’s a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) chance to support Church World Service for international hunger and also local hunger fighting organizations. Find out about how it works at www.crophungerwalk.org/longbeachca. Have a healthy, happy week!

Donations  Volunteers


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.




Parish Joys

Donna Hutt Stampfer Bell and her family ask for your prayers for their unknown daughter, as they begin the process of a second adoption.

Christine DeBruyn, Chuck and Georgette DeBruyn's daughter, became engaged to Ethan Velfre on October 1.


Parish Concerns

Your thoughts and prayers are requested for Robert Stapp; Nik Johnson (Amy Peer's nephes); Kim Sutherland (Harold Sutherland's brother); Kathy Volk (Tammy McMaster's friend); John Glessner (Joe Ernst's brother-in-law); and Jan Waggoner.

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