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Christian Courier First Christian Church of Minneapolis (Disciples of Christ)

October 1, 2011

Watkins’ Vision for the Next Biennium

Inside the Courier: • A Look at the Brite Side, page 2 • Ministry Center Notes, page 3 • October Calendar, page 4 • Grande Sale Countdown! Page 5 • FCC Board notes, page 5 • Author Armstrong to read, page 5

On the Web: First Christian Church website Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Sharon Watkins’ blog Disciples Lectionary blog

Reconciliation Offering Oct. 2

Editor’s Note: Sharon Watkins (pictured below) was elected to her second term as General Minister and President of the Disciples of Christ at the General Assembly this summer. Below are excerpts from her address to the assembly on July 11, following her election. Note how her message ties in with messages from our pastors in this issue. and you couldn‘t tell that anybody cared? Sometimes we misHow would you know you take the nature of the are a precious child of God challenge that is bewhen you live in your car? fore us. Sometimes we Or in a mud hut? Or your slip into thinking the house just blew away altoproblem is that so gether? How would you feel many of our congregalike a beloved child of a livtions are in decline, or ing God, when you are bulwe are structured lied or abandoned or disrespoorly or our funding pected or neglected? system is broken . . . A Disciples leader from Of course all of that is the Congo named Dr. Jean real and must be faced. Bokeleale, once said to me: But: (he was making a word play in French) None of that is the fundamental instead of focusing on the salvation of challenge for us as Disciples of Chrl‘ame (the soul) we should concern ourist. selves with the salvation of l‘homme (the whole person). In English we might say: The challenge for us today is that Jesus calls us to focus less on the soul of a so many of our neighbors do not person, and more on the salvation of the know the love of God. The need of whole person. our neighbor is what needs to break our hearts and preoccupy our board We love God – wholly – with all our meetings. The people we see on the heart, soul, mind and strength. But as I street every day or on our computer John says, if we cannot love a brother or monitors, brother and sister human sister whom we have seen, we cannot love beings, do not know that they are God whom we have not seen. precious – each and every one – in The full text of President Watkins’ reGod‘s sight. marks can be found at, And how would you know, if you on Sharon’s blog under the title “My viwere hungry, diseased, teeth aching, sion for the Next Biennium.”


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October 1, 2011

A Look at the Brite Side

Pastor Bob Brite

As I‘ve mentioned several times here and there, the elders of the church are grappling with the issue of the church‘s future ministry. I want to use my column this week to talk about that a bit. FCC has always had a strong commitment to mission. We support in our church budget and special offerings a variety of causes, including: Disciples Mission Funding, regions, colleges and universities, new church starts, and anti-racism initiatives. We also support Feed My Starving Children, Community Emergency Services, Habitat for

On being a witness for Christ in the world Humanity, Groveland Food Shelf, St. Stephen‘s Human Services, Heifer International, Church World Services, the Aliveness Project, Plaster House in Tanzania, and Downtown Churches Ending Homelessness. We support street people with bus passes, and are working to get out to GLBT youth in the community that FCC is a place where they can express their spirituality safely and without judgment. All of these groups and causes get annual support and energy from us, as well as funding from special projects and emphases. We don‘t lift this up enough; it‘s something to be humbly proud of. But at the same time, is this support the mission and ministry of the church? My response to that would be: No. It‘s a small part of FCC‘s mission and ministry. Our essential mission and ministry is to be a

witness for Christ in the world; if we don‘t have that focus in our community, we don‘t have that central purpose and all the outreach we do doesn‘t mean much. Being a witness for Christ in the world means being a community of hospitality AND a community of evangelism – letting the world know that FCC is a special place where Christ lives! One of our elders in a meeting not long ago said that it had been a long time since he‘s heard FCC members tell their own faith stories. In our Unbinding the Gospel series of a couple of years ago we were supposed to learn to do just that. I would like to you think about what your faith story is and how it could impact another person. That‘s at the core of what the church‘s future ministry needs to be. I‘d like to see YOU on Sunday! Bob

In our prayers Gracious God, we lift up these persons in our prayers, asking the blessing of your Grace and outpouring of your Love upon them.

We pray for peace and wholeness around the world, and for all those who hunger, especially the starving people in Somalia; in sympathy with the families who are grieving the recent deaths of Ralph Morehouse, Dorothy Wilkins and Sharon Cackoski; in happiness that Gigi Lowy and Evelyn Lawson were back in worship and are recovering from recent health problems, and that both Mike Hesano and Caleb Callanan are healing well and having physical therapy; in joy with Nancy Curry that her son John has started new job and daughter Tara is beginning nursing program, and also in hope that her sister Marilyn will overcome health issues; in agreement with Kevin Berkey’s prayer for harmony in Congress so that government can get problems in the country fixed; for sister congregations and institutions that are struggling in this economy, especially Camp Walter Scott in Illinois facing closure; for the well-being of all our homebound members, including Elaine Glore and Elaine Moe, Amen.

Christian Courier

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Mission Notes from Pastor Sanders

In search of a Mission Statement What does First Christian mean to you? How would you describe this congregation to friends and family? As we prepare to move into the Ministry Center near 28th and Lyndale, there has been a lot of talk about how First can differentiate itself from its ecumenical partners, Salem Lutheran and Lyndale United Church of Christ. The Elders have been taking a second look at the Mission Statement and Vision Statement and discerning what congregation is all about. A small gathering of members are coming together to create an ad campaign. In each case, people are asking the same questions about our identity.

From the 1950s and through the 70s, First Christian was known for its recovery ministry and strong preaching. In the last decade or so, we‘ve been trying find out who we are now. So, over the next month I am asking members, visitors, and long time friends, to answer the questions above. What does this church mean to you and how would you describe the congregation to people you know? Your answers will help the elders and other groups fashion a new mission statement and ultimately a new identity for First Christian. Send me your answers by October 30 to my email address: or drop it off at the church office.

Ministry Center Board Notes Each month, the Ministry Center Board meets to make decisions about the construction, organization, and opening of the new Ministry Center. Each church has four representatives on the board, consisting of two members of each church‘s governing body (which in our case is the General Board), one additional member plus one clergy. Thus the full board is 12 members. FCC‘s current board members are Tom Curry, Martha Harris, Val Dunham (or Bobbie Hall) and Pastor Bob Brite. Pat Dunlop is an alternate. Any member of any of the churches can attend board meetings, but only official board members vote.

Financial issues often make up a good part of the discussion at board meetings. For example, at the September meeting, the board decided to create a separate ―operating account‖ in addition to the construction account, because the Ministry Center‘s accountant had drawn attention to the fact that a number of bills were being paid that were not in the construction budget, such as lawn care bills, boiler expenses, and accounting services. Also, the board examined a ―wish list‖ of possible construction features and decided that a wood floor in the north sanctuary and carpeting in the downstairs gathering area were priorities.

A Note of Thanks To Dennis and everyone at First Christian, Thank you so much for the backpacks and school supplies you donated to the Restoration Center at Central Lutheran Church! We get quite a few requests for these things each week! We started to give out your donations on Wednesday and they were a big hit—we‘ll continue today and then again on Monday. What a blessing to the community! Blessings, Rolf Lowenberg-DeBoer Director of Community Ministry, Central Lutheran Church

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Regular Worship Hours 8:45 Breakfast Club

October, 2011 First Christian Church

9:15 Spiritual Formation Classes 10:30 Worship 11:45 Fellowship Time in Lounge 1 9 am- Men’s Group Women’s Retreat

2 Reconciliation Offering


4 7 pm Worship Committee


6 9 am Handcrafters


8 9 am- Men’s Group

11 7 pm Property Committee

12 5:30 Finance Committee 6 pm Bible Study 6:30 Bell Choir 7:45 Chancel choir

13 9 am Handcrafters


15 9am- Men’s Group

18 9 am Mpls Retired Teachers Luncheon


20 9 am Handcrafters



26 6 pm Bible Study 6:30 Bell Choir 7:45 Chancel choir

27 9 am Handcrafters 7 pm Ministry Council


Women’s Retreat

9 Crop Walk


Carter Circle @ Val Dunham’s

Grande Sale sorting

16 Board Meeting Following worship Food Pantry Sunday 5 pm Elders Mtg



Bouler‘s Baby Shower

24 Book Club @ Creighton’s 7pm



October 2 October 9 October 16 October 23 October 30

9am—Nikkei (FH) 6:00 Lectionary Group 6:30pm Bell Choir 7:45pm Chancel Choir

9am—Nikkei (FH) 6:00 Lectionary Group 6:30pm Bell Choir 7:45pm Chancel Choir


12-7PM Grande



Worship Leader

Jay Hillestad (p) Skip Woverton (a) Val Dunham (p) Ardie Armstrong (a) Ardie Armstrong (p) Janice Brady (a) Ann Wolverton (p) Tom Curry (a) Skip Wolverton (p) Ann Wolverton (a)

Don Cain

Children’s Moment Dennis Sanders

Lu Griffin

Janice Brady

Dean Creighton

Bob Brite

Karen Kandik

Caleb Callanan

Sandy Morgan

Deb Murphy

Grande Sale

9-12p Grande

Sale 6 pm Serve St. Stephen’s Shelter meal 22 9 am- Men’s Group

29 Fall Share-theCare 9am1pm


Bus Drivers


Even Team Even Team Even Team Even Team

Mike Hesano 651-645-6758 Mike Morgan 612-926-9384 Garry Hesser 612-721-4905 Mike Hesano

Ardie Armstrong, Shirley Draine Karen Kandik

Mike Morgan

Valerie Dunham Ardie Armstrong, Shirley Draine Karen Kandik

Note: Please call drivers by Saturday for Sunday bus ride

The Christian Courier

Grande Sale countdown begins

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CROP Walk still taking sponsors Rev. Sanders and Garry Hesser will walk for ―Team First‖ on Oct. 9 in the CROP Hunger walk. The funds raised will support global needs through Church World Service as well as local needs such as helping victims of the North Minneapolis tornado, St. Stephens Human Services and Simpson Housing Services. Donations can be made online at, or by check to FCC with the words ―Crop Walk‖ in the memo line.

The final days of collecting, sorting and preparing goods for the Grande Sale are just around the corner. Donations will be collected through the first day of the sale. Please check the posted signs for donations that are not acceptable. (Drapery rods, dirty or torn clothes, mattresses, large appliances, etc.) In addition to signup sheets in the lounge, volunteers can sign up online by visiting and entering "" in the email field. Becki Whitaker reports that cashiers and floor workers are needed during the sale, as well as setup and clean-up help. We're also looking for people to provide food (main dishes, side dishes, desserts, snacks) on set up and sale days. All volunteers are invited to shop the sale early on Thursday, Oct. 13 from 3-4pm. The sale will run Thursday, 4-7pm, Friday, Oct. 14 from 127pm, and Saturday, Oct. 15 from 9am to 1pm. Author Armstrong to give readings Doug Armstrong, son of longtime member Emma Armstrong, will give two readings from the book he wrote recently about his mother‘s early life, Even Sunflowers Cast Shadows. Doug will read at Common Good Books, 165 Western Ave. St. Paul, at 7:30pm on Tuesday Oct. 4, and again at The Heathers (Emma‘s home), 3000 Douglas Ave. No, Crystal, at 3:15, Wednesday, Oct. 5. Emma is hoping to see some FCC friends who are able to attend!

Regional Assembly on October 15 A Regional Assembly of the Christian Church in the Upper Midwest is scheduled for Saturday, October 15, at West Des Moines Christian Church. This is the first Assembly under a newer, more creative regional structure, where people will be encouraged to engage in the region‘s ministry under their own areas of gifts and interests. FCC Minneapolis needs two representatives to participate. If anyone is interested, please contact Pastor Bob as soon as possible.

FCC Board Board Notes Notes The September 20 meeting of the FCC Board was another sparsely-attended meeting, with six members plus the three clergy members, but the business proceeded as usual. Highlights are as follows: The Bridge Loan was finally approved, and we received our first requested payment of $125,000 for construction expenses at the new Ministry Center. The Search Committee has begun working and consists of six members: Max Hurlocker, Kirsten Cackoski, Mike Hesano, Sandy Morgan, Dean Creighton, and Serena Carlson. Pastor Brite reported that Spirit of St. Stephens is in conversation with Minneapolis Institute of Arts about staying on after we vacate the building. SoSSCC is also interested in purchasing furniture items we don‘t need when we move. A Ministry Center committee is also working on figuring out what furniture will be needed in the new building.

Reflections on the Word

Bi-Weekly Calendar

from readings for Oct. 2, 2011

Sundays at First Christian Church Regular Worship at 10:30 am Before Worship

After Worship

Breakfast Club 8:45 am Spiritual Formation Classes 9:15

Fellowship Time 11:45

This Week at FCC

Next Week at FCC

Sunday, October 2 Reconciliation Offering

Sunday, October 9 CROP WALK Grande Sale sorting begins

Tuesday, October 4 Worship Committee

7 pm

Wednesday, October 5 Nikkei Bible Study Bell Choir Chancel Choir

9 am 6 pm 6:30 pm 7:45 pm

Thursday, October 6 Handcrafters

9 am

Saturday, October 8 Men’s Group

9 am

Monday, October 10 Carter Circle @ Val Dunham’s 7pm Tuesday, October 11 Property Committee

7 pm

Wednesday, October 12 Finance Committee Bible Study Bell Choir Chancel Choir

5:30 pm 6 pm 6:30 pm 7:45 pm

Thursday, October 13 Handcrafters GRANDE SALE

9 am 4-7 pm

Friday, October 14 GRANDE SALE

12 – 7 pm

Saturday, October 15 Men’s Group GRANDE SALE Serve St. Stephens Dinner

9 am 9 am – 1 pm 6 pm

Jesus said to them, ―Have you never read in the scriptures: ‗The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…‘?‖. –Matt. 21:42 What do the builders know, if they go and reject the stone that will become the cornerstone? Sometimes those ―in the know‖ overlook the most obvious and best solutions, because their attention is fixed too intently on a small point. Have you ever felt rejected, put off to the side, like your experience and wisdom mattered for nothing? Perhaps, like Jesus, your observations could turn out to be the key. Glorious God, keep our eyes on Jesus and our minds broadened out to the majesty of your love. Give us eyes to see when the world‘s deep need meets our deep gladness, and send us to those who can make that connection possible. Amen. --Chris Wogaman

A Thoughtful Church in the Heart of the City Ministry Team All Members of the Congregation Robert Brite, Transitional Minister Dennis Sanders, Minister of Diversity and Mission Chris Wogaman, Office Manager Jim Baumgartner, Director of Music Bryon Wilson, Organist/Pianist Rick Bowman, Building Manager Serena Carlson, Nursery Attendant Martha Harris, Courier Editor Telephone: 612.870.1868 Prayer Phone: 612.870.0984 E-mail Fax: 612.870.1860 Christian Courier is published bimonthly. Send items and ideas to church office or to Martha Harris by October 9 for next issue.


2201 1st Avenue South Minneapolis, MN 55404 Address Service Requested

First Christian Courier: October 1, 2011  

The Courier is the biweekly newsletter of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis.

First Christian Courier: October 1, 2011  

The Courier is the biweekly newsletter of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis.