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The Rock Spring News

December 2011

Vol. 07 No.12

Put a Song in Your Heart for Christmas!

This is the refrain you will hear the children sing as they leave the Sanctuary for Sunday School during Advent. It is really a wonderful theme for the music program at Rock Spring. This Advent the Sanctuary Choir will be offering a Bach Chorale each Sunday, and our Men’s section leader, Steven Sloan, and I will be bringing some Bach cantata arias to the 9:00 a.m. service. Our annual Christmas concert will be Sunday, December 11 at 4:00 p.m. We will be having a “French Christmas” this year, featuring the ethereal Poulenc Gloria, as well as some traditional French carols by the soloists and our choir. The concert is free, but we would love for you to bring a non-perishable donation for the AFAC barrels. Come, bring a friend and neighbor and celebrate: “Il est né, le divin enfant”! Traditional carols and serene reflective music will set the tone for Christmas Eve. Our traditional “family” service, now at 4:30 p.m., will feature some of our talented youth musicians and our Choristers choir. At the 9:00 p.m. service, the Sanctuary Choir will bring us choral music and carols, and at the 11:00 p.m. service, we will have more of Steven and Elizabeth bringing us solo vocal music of the season. Once again, we are fortunate to have Ed Roberts on the piano and organ, as well as Michael Jolkovski on the flute, setting the mood for both 9:00 p.m. & 11:00 p.m. services with their duets. We hope you can join us.

Let us “put a song in your heart for Christmas!”

Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ

5010 Little Falls Rd. Arlington, VA 703-209-5197



Rock Spring

You are warmly invited to celebrate Christmas at Rock Spring

The Songs of Advent and Christmas: Making the Songs Our Own

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom God favors!” Luke 2:13-14 December 3 12:30 p.m. Women’s Fellowship Christmas Party

The birth of Jesus in the Bible is surrounded by many poetic proclamations that we will be featuring during our Advent and Christmas worship services. Here is a glimpse at the “songs” the pastoral staff will be exploring in their sermons during this upcoming season.

December 4 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Open House at the parsonage December 11 4:00 p.m. Annual Christmas Concert December 18 4:00 p.m. All-Church Christmas Caroling & Chili Supper December 21 7:30 p.m. A Blue Christmas Service on Winter Solstice December 24 (Christmas Eve) 4:30 p.m. Service of Angels and Shepherds 9:00 p.m. Lessons and Carols with the Sanctuary Choir 11:00 p.m. Lessons and Carols with Candlelight and Communion

Advent 1:

Song of Anticipation

Luke 1:46-55 Zechariah’s Song

Advent 2: Song of Warning Luke 3:1-18 John the Baptist’s Song

Advent 3: Song of Rejoicing Luke 1:46-55 Mary’s Song

Advent 4: Song of Assurance Luke 2:14 The Angels’ Song Christmas Eve: Song of Love

New Year’s Day: Song of Blessing and Peace

December 25 (Christmas Day) Luke 2:28-32 Simeon’s Song 11:00 a.m. Annual Christmas Hymn Sing Inaugural Blue Christmas Service to be held on December 21 Have you ever heard of a “Blue Christmas” service? Want to find out what one is? Come to Rock Spring on Wednesday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m. A number of churches have begun offering Blue Christmas services on the winter solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year. A Blue Christmas service recognizes that for many people, the holidays are more stressful than joyful, and often evoke feelings of grief, sadness, and loneliness. Christmas can be particularly hard for those who have lost loved ones recently, gone through separation or divorce or other hard life transitions, or simply feel some discontent or discouragement in their lives. A Blue Christmas service allows us to gently honor our feelings without having to put on a happy face. It offers the hope of the turning of the solstice from the darkest night towards the gradually returning light, which Christians also recognize as the Light of Christ coming into the world. If this speaks to you, come and join us for the first Blue Christmas service at Rock Spring, and invite anyone you know, Rock Springer or not, whom you think might benefit from this service. Rock Spring News December 2011 2

Worship Notes New Worship Format in Advent We will be experimenting with a new worship format during the Advent season. This comes after a joint meeting between the Worship Task Force and the Worship Staff Team, some lively envisioning, and consultation with the Deacons. The changes are in response to several identified desires for our worship experience. We hope these changes will accomplish the following:

• Make the part of our service during which children are present more accessible to all ages and more sensitive to children’s learning styles • Create an opportunity for children to hear scripture and participate with the Lord’s Prayer • Create a seamless flow between various elements of the worship service • Maintain theological integrity with our understanding of worship. Beginning Sunday, November 27 (or Advent 1), you will notice the following changes in our worship service: 1. On non-communion Sundays, the Confession will be replaced with an “Invitation for Centering” section. This section will have a repetitive component that will be seasonally appropriate. The idea is to create a moment towards the beginning of worship that is meditative, and that becomes familiar to the congregation in the way that the Call to Offering has at the end of the service. The Invitation to Centering section will conclude with the Lord’s Prayer, so that children learn the Lord’s Prayer in worship. 2. The Call to Praise will be eliminated so we will move the passing of the peace to follow the announcements. The greeting at the beginning of worship will be eliminated and incorporated instead into the welcome. The worship service will simply begin with the Introit. 3. The first Scripture reading will come prior to the Time for Children. During Advent, this will be done in a variety of ways as we present a different “Song of Advent” each week. This scripture will be the focus of the children’s Sunday School experience as well as the sermon. 4. The Prayers of the People will remain after the sermon, and we will often include a confessional component since the Prayer of Confession is being removed from the earlier part of the service on non-communion Sundays. We hope you experience these changes as responsive to many of the ideas, desires, and needs of the congregation. We look forward to hearing about your experience in worship as we experiment with these adaptations. -Kathy, Hank, Janet, Ed, and Elizabeth

Rock Spring News December 2011 3

Reflections “Transition ... is the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become. In between the letting go and the taking hold again, there is a chaotic but potentially creative “neutral zone” when things aren’t the old way, but aren’t really a new way yet either.“ “Without releasing the fruits of one season, you cannot blossom into the next.” - William Bridges

I have been thinking about transition a great deal lately.

A spirit of new beginnings, ripe with possibility, emanated throughout Rock Spring throughout most of last year. Now, after more than a year of getting to know one another and experimenting with a variety of ideas, it seems as though the congregation has entered what William Bridges would call, “the neutral zone” when things aren’t the old way, but aren’t the new way yet either. While filled with creative potential, this transition period can feel chaotic and difficult. With shifts in structure and programs and personalities, we have the challenge and opportunity to re-imagine who we are and how we do things. What does it mean for us that 5th Sundays has been so successful? What impact does our increased building use have on our space and the way we schedule events and staffing? How should we coordinate congregational fellowship with the absence of JFFAL? These are just a few of the questions we are asking. I ask for your patience and participation as we try to creatively and faithfully embrace this time. My experience is that we often feel the impact of transitions most poignantly around the holidays. Many of us associate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas with traditions. Usually, the tradition itself isn’t nearly as important as the person associated with it. When we experience a loss and have to figure out how to re-imagine our holidays without someone we love, it can be incredibly difficult. If Mom was the one who always made the traditional creamed onions or Dad always dressed up as Santa Claus, someone else doing that in their place may not feel right, but it likely won’t feel right to not have something we are so used to, either. These are our personal “neutral zones” – we know what has changed and what we have lost, but we aren’t sure who we are without that person yet. If you find yourself in such a place this holiday season, I hope you will be patient with yourself and consider attending our “Blue Christmas Service” on Winter Solstice, December 22. It is designed to honor that poignant and tender place many of us find ourselves in when facing loss. Grace and peace, -Kathy

Rock Spring News December 2011 4



Council President

For the first time in nearly a decade, I am not hosting Thanksgiving this year. It feels a little strange. As I write this, it’s mid-November. I haven’t looked at a single new turkey recipe, haven’t tested a new soup or side dish, haven’t spent even a minute trying to figure out how we can possibly squeeze everyone we have invited into our (very small) dining room. And yet, it feels good, too. We are packing up and spending the holiday with Bob’s family on Cape Cod. I’m looking forward to catching up with relatives and to the extravagant welcome that Bob’s mother always provides. Plus, I know that having a different seat at the table – guest instead of host – means that I will be able to contribute in different ways. Instead of being the Executive Chef, I can be a sous chef, enjoying all the fellowship and fun of the kitchen, without being responsible for planning the menu or doing the shopping. When we sit down for the meal, I can focus on conversation instead of worrying about whether or not we remembered to bring the rolls to the table. At Rock Spring, many of us are looking to take new seats at the table. New groups are emerging, while some long time organizations are evolving or letting go of responsibilities. Some long time leaders are nearing the ends of their current terms and looking forward to contributing in different ways, while many new people are joining the church and seeking ways to get more deeply involved. There is a seat at the table for everyone. As our Stop Hunger Now meal bagging effort so clearly showed, every person – from the youngest to the oldest – can make a contribution. By making a financial pledge, large or small; by taking on a task, large or small; by participating in a small group experience, large or small – each of us has an opportunity to be fully engaged in building our community. Please take a few minutes to think deeply about how you would like to contribute to Rock Spring in our Centennial year. Now’s the time to choose your seat! With thanksgiving, -Ashley

Rock Spring News December 2011 5

Children, Youth, & Families Almost time for “Tis the Season!” The season of Advent is almost upon us! For our Sunday School and Adult Education programs, our meeting times may change with the joyful activities of the season. For our Sunday School families (and all RS families!), check out the calendar for all of our favorite things about Christmastide. Most classes will meet through Christmas, with some notable holiday breaks: 11/27 Regular Sunday School 12/4 Advent Event for Pre-K-Youth, Carpenter Hall We’ll learn about the traditions of Christmas in the Holy Lands of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how they help us to celebrate our own traditions! 12/18 Special Practice for Angels and Shepherds (during Sunday school) All-Church Caroling Party, see article on page 7 about this annual fun event! 12/25 Christmas Carol Sing, all children and youth join in worship There are lots of other Advent gatherings, too! Check out the church calendar for all the Christmastime fun! Youth of Rock Spring (YoRS) December means we’ll be sharing in our outreach to our neighbors, friends, and loved ones. Each week we’ll gather for a joint Middle High/Senior High event, working together to spread the Spirit at Christmas! YoRS Dates: 12/4 12/11 12/17 12/18 12/25 1/1

MH & SH YoRS Chocolate Making Party, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Special Christmas Mission Outreach Event: Secret Santa Shopping SH YoRS Kids’ Day Out (see announcement below!) All-Church Christmas Caroling & Chili Supper No YoRS; Christmas Day No YoRS; New Year’s Day

Every week, updates and information on the weekly gatherings will be emailed out in the “YoRS Weekly Update.” If you’re not getting it (and you should be), please send an email to We’ll get you set up! YoRS Summer Mission Experience 2012 It’s a long way from July, but our Senior High YoRS are getting their plans together for the annual Summer Mission Experience! We will again be joining the Youth of the Potomac Association, heading back to Franklin, WV and our mission partners at Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity. This is the fourth year we’ve been working with them, and the second we will be house sponsors. Plan on joining the crew for lunch at the Annual Meeting in January! Rock Spring News December 2011 6

Children, Youth, & Families Kids’ Day Out, December 17! Do you need a day for Christmas preparations? The Senior High YoRS has a solution! Kids’ Day Out for December will take place on Saturday, December 17 from 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. It will be a time for fun, games, a Christmas movie or two—something for all our children! • We’ll help wrap presents with Donna Cartwright, bringing Christmas cheer to the homeless in our community. • We’ll spend time with Martha Jolkovski, baking bread for the holidays. • We’ll take some time to enjoy some holiday movies - Rudolph, Frosty, and Kris Kringle. • We’ll have fun with Christmas crafts and traditions, sharing our spirit with each other. • All Rock Spring families are welcome to come and share (you do not need to have taken part in KNO to join in the fun). • From 12:00-3:00, there will be activities and childcare for the regular KNO ages (infant-5th Grade). • From 3:00-6:00, there will be activities for Pre-K to 5th Grade. • Drop off for an hour, two, or the whole time.

Save the date! Annual All-Church Christmas Caroling December18

Fa La La La laaa, La La La Laaa… ‘Tis the season to carol to our church members and friends. Come one, come ALLSunday, December 18 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Meet in Carpenter Hall at 4:00. Come back from singing to a pot-luck Chili Supper (bring your crock pot best to share!). If you know someone in our Rock Spring family who would benefit from a little holiday cheer, drop a note! We always have time to add a few stops to the caroling! Questions? Contact Susan Alverson 703-533-0137, or Hank Fairman 703.538.4886,

In order to ensure our best care, please RSVP by December 12 to: or A free-will donation to the 2012 Summer Mission Experience will be taken at the door.

Rock Spring News December 2011 7

Task Force Corner Worship Task Force Imagine Worship Task Force Over the past year, this task force has endeavored to listen carefully to your desires and requests. We have begun to provide some new opportunities and to work closely with the pastoral staff and the Board of Deacons to deepen and enhance some of our worship experiences. Here are some of your requests and our responses to them: 1. Expanded worship opportunities: Provide some contemplative/meditative worship experiences. Our response: Once a month contemplative/meditative worship service on the first Friday of each month. During the winter months these with be in the style of TaizĂŠ. We held the first one of these in November. On the first Fridays of October and May we plan to offer healing services. Through the summer we hope to offer outdoor church camp style contemplative services. We will be looking for folks who have had summer church camp worship experiences to help with the services we are planning for the summer months. If you would like to be a part of that, please let the staff or Linda Carder know. A longing for children to experience and participate in worship authentically: Our re2. sponse: We will offer two such services per year at times other than Sunday mornings. These will be different each year and will focus on a part of the church year. There will also be some effort made to make sure that while the children are in worship the service is available and welcoming to them (see related article on p. #6). We also looked at the Christmas Eve services and have helped the staff and the Board of Deacons do some reshaping of those services. 3. Incorporate different media and formats: Ensure that the message or theme carries throughout the service or series of services. Our response: We have explored the use of liturgical arts as a way to deepen our worship experiences and to help unify services and seasons of the liturgical year. A Sanctuary arts committee has been formed and has begun their work. Also, staff members; Kathy, Janet, and Elizabeth and three laity attended a Worship Design led by Marcia McFee. (see related article on p. #9). We agreed that we would continue with our highquality music program and perhaps try to do more with music with small children, as well as to incorporate more multicultural music. Reach out beyond ourselves Our response: This is still under discussion. We do encourage 4. the use of guest preachers and exchanges with other churches upon occasion. We also hope that our new Candlelight Evening Prayer service will be able to reach out to the community with a new offering. Linda Carder

Rock Spring News December 2011 8

Task Force Corner Worship Design Studio Review; A look back at what happened in Tahoe The Worship Design Studio Experience “Invigorating,” “expansive,” and “inspiring” are just a few of the words the six of us who attended the Worship Design Studio in October would use to describe our experience. Our participation was an outgrowth of the Worship Task Force. While we are still processing our experience, all of us agree that it was enormously beneficial. We learned about worshipping through worshipping together. It was a privilege and joy to be able to have a group of staff and lay members do this together.

The Worship Design Studio Planning Retreat guided us through the entire liturgical year (starting with Advent 2011) in order to map out worship themes and general plans for each season. Dr. Marcia McFee, the retreat leader, is an author, worship designer and leader, professor, preacher and artist. Dr. McFee received a Master’s of Theological Studies degree at Saint Paul School of Theology with a concentration in Preaching and Worship. She earned a Ph.D. in Liturgical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union with an allied field of Ethics. She has been a guest lecturer and adjunct faculty at nine seminaries and served as the North Texas Conference (UMC) Consultant on Worship & the Arts. Marcia combines her background and experience in professional companies of music, theater, and dance with a variety of worship and preaching styles in order to bring a fresh experience of the Gospel to each worship setting. Marcia has provided worship design and leadership at numerous national and regional gatherings. We found her leadership style to be inspiring, informative, spirited, and practical. In the coming weeks, the six of us who attended the conference will be meeting with the rest of the staff and the Worship Task Force to process what we learned and experienced. We look forward to our work together impacting our worship planning process and our worship experiences in meaningful and memorable ways. We will continue to look for ways to share our experience with you. Kathy Dwyer

Rock Spring News December 2011 9

Task Force Corner 5th Sundays Review 5th Sundays October Event Exceeds Goals & Expectations

One day and one congregation contributing to one campaign:

Mission:1 - That they may all be


On October 30 the congregation participated in a day of service that began in worship and concluded with a Blessing of Letters. From the heartwarming procession of children donating food with choir members arranging it on the altar to the sounding “gong” with each 1,000 meals bagged for Stop Hunger Now, this event was full of passion, excitement, and commitment. This was the third event of its kind in 2011, and it took on a special meaning as it was not just Rock Springers giving, it was Rock Springers working to achieve targets in conjunction with the United Church of Christ’s Mission:1 campaign. Drawing inspiration from the UCC Mission: 1 campaign, Rock Spring set goals involving a series of ones including: bagging 11,111 meals, donating 111 pounds of food, and raising over $11,111 to fight hunger. Throughout the course of the day, we witnessed the momentum build as each goal, which might have seemed too great a stretch, was met or exceeded. At the end of the day, we exceeded all goals with the exception of the fixed end-point of bagging 11,111 meals. Given the enthusiasm in the room, there is no doubt that that goal could have been exceeded as well. In total, our results contributed to the overall success of Mission:1.

If you did not have a chance to witness it, imagine for a moment the second floor of Neighborhood House filled with people ranging in age from roughly 7 to 70+ wearing pinkishred hairnets working in assembly line fashion to measure and add 4 ingredients to plastic bags and passing them on to a sealing process. It was slow going at first, but the sound of a gong once the first 1,000 meals was bagged and sealed served as a huge momentum booster. From that point forward, the sound of a gong was a regular occurrence every 7-10 minutes. Thanks to the coordination and guidance from Stop Hunger Now (, we met our goal of bagging 11,111 rice-based meals in less than two hours. These meals will be distributed in the weeks ahead to fight hunger in a global region. Thanks to the genius of the EcoJustice Committee, we were sustained by the same ricebased meal that we were bagging. This was truly a hands-on, intergenerational and momentum building service project.

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Task Force Corner

We achieved our Mission:1 goals through a series of activities tied to the theme “God’s Harvest” throughout the month of October. These activities included a letter writing campaign initiated on October 9 (over 130 letters written), collection of the annual Neighbors in Need (NIN) special offering ($2,478 more than 2010), participation in the CROP Walk on October 15 (over $2,600 raised), and the activities culminating on October 30 including a Silent Auction raising $13,643 (including $263 in bead sales by Women’s Fellowship) and a food drive resulting in a whopping total of 781 lbs. of food being donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC). A 5th Sunday event would not be complete without some opportunities for education and advocacy. As such, additional activities on October 30 included opportunities to learn more about the Bread for the World Offering of Letters, AFAC, the local Grow-a-Row initiative, and D.C. Biofuels. We helped the UCC exceed its goals for donated food items (over 1,000,000) and letters to Congress (over 11,111). Our fundraising contributions represent over 10% of the total raised for NIN hunger-related ministries and over 5% of the total donated for East Africa Famine Relief. To read more about how Rock Spring made UCC Mission:1 News, please use the following link in your web browser: A huge round of applause to the congregation, staff, Eco-Justice Committee, Global Mission Task Force, Social Action & Mission Board, Christian Education Board, Worship Committee, Choir, Beads Workshop, and 5th Sundays Task Force for the collaboration and many different roles played for a hugely successful 5th Sunday.

Save the date: Sunday, January 29, 2012 for our next 5th Sunday.

We welcome any and all volunteers and/or feedback as we shape and develop our plans for future 5th Sunday events. Please contact us at Rock Spring News December 2011 11

Task Force Corner Letters to Congress Inspired by the UCC Mission:1 campaign, Rock Spring set and exceeded a goal of writing 111 letters for the Bread for the World Offering of Letters. On November 4, Howard Hjort, Megan Fletcher, and Michael Bell hand-delivered 126 letters from Rock Springers to their members of Congress as part of Mission:1’s offering of letters challenge. In the letters, Rock Spring members asked their U.S. Senators and Representatives to create a “circle of protection” around domestic and international programs that serve hungry and poor people from the threat of funding cuts. All of the congressional staffers were grateful to receive the letters and appreciative of our efforts. They were particularly excited to read the children’s letters. The Senate staffers were well aware of the faith community’s “circle of protection” call (which originated with Bread for the World). Sen. Warner and Rep. Moran’s staffers promised to reply to each of the letters received and all three staffers reiterated their members’ intent to support such programs to the extent they can in the FY2012 budget process as well as the negotiations of the joint deficit reduction committee.

How God’s Harvest Fundraising Fights Hunger Throughout the month of October, Rock Spring focused on fighting hunger in our community and around the world. We engaged in multiple activities contributing over $25,000 for hunger related programs locally and globally.

Thanks to God’s Harvest Silent Auction Donors Special thanks to the donors and bidders who contributed to the God’s Harvest Silent Auction on October 30. Thanks to your generosity, the auction far surpassed our goal of $11,111 resulting in a grand total of $13,643. We had many members and friends of the congregation donating gently used treasures as well as their talents. As a result, we were able to entice the bidders with a variety of beautiful rugs, pictures, furniture, books, vacation homes as well as highly valued services such as for gourmet meals, baked goods, tasting spirits, babysitting, music, photography, and the list goes on. Additionally, many members sought and secured donations from the community. Among the external donations, we had fitness services, accupunture services, and gift cards from local restaurants such as Lyon Hall, Pizzeria Orso and Uncle Julios to name a few.

Your generosity has resulted in a healthy donation to multiple programs that are fighting hunger both locally and globally.

Rock Spring can’t thank you enough!

Rock Spring News December 2011 12

Task Force Corner Global Mission Task Force Being Global: Exploring Mission Through Partnership The first session of the exploration series sponsored by the Global Mission Task Force took place on November 13, as we explored the shifting paradigms of mission, and began to look at the implications of accepting Global Ministries’ challenge to Be a Global Mission Church. In the next two sessions (December 4 and January 8) we will explore some actual models of mission, and then discuss in depth what would work best for Rock Spring. Even if you missed the first session, do come to the next two, particularly to consider what the idea of partnership really could mean in practice for Rock Spring in 2012 and beyond.

Reaching Out: Mission Isn’t What It Used To Be (a synopsis of Session 1). Janet Parker focused on the paradigm shift in mission, noting that mission has shifted from a missionary-centered activity, in which the “Western” church sets the agenda and gives to “them.” Instead of conversion (saving souls) the emphasis is transformation, achieving fullness of life. At the same time, congregations are looking for something more than a “pay and pray” model of support, to a more engaged form of participation. All this is taking place against a changing world in which the center of gravity of Christianity has shifted to the Global South. In this context, it is crucial to recognize that “we” should expect to receive just as much as we give. Partnership is central in today’s world. Michael Bell talked about Global Ministries, the UCC’s covenantal tie with the Disciples of Christ, which engages 270 partner organizations—religious, developmental and relief—around the world. It may not be easy to get a bird’s eye view of this diffuse model of partnership—there is no UCC missionary society. However, its great merit is that we are more likely to be connected with situations where the need is greatest and the response is tailored to the local situation—captured by the concept of Critical Presence. Congregations throughout the UCC and Disciples are being encouraged to support and engage in this work by accepting the challenge to be a Global Mission congregation. The Global Mission Task Force has been considering just how Rock Spring could respond. We are convinced that “partnership” is key. However, we have realized that there are many different forms it could take, and many challenges to be sure that the path we choose is constructive, sustainable and results in growth—spiritual or material—for all concerned.

Rock Spring News December 2011 13

Social Action & Mission regational UCC Rock Spring Cong Road 5010 Little Falls 207 Arlington, VA 22

. . . a t n a S r Dea

Secret Santa for Shaw Community and APAH

Once again the Board of Social Action and Mission is participating in Secret Santa programs for children and families in the Shaw Community Ministry (SCM) and the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH). Initially we will have 20 SCM children and 7 families from APAH. Shaw is only gathering gifts for children this year. Based on demand it may be possible to support additional families and children.

We will be accepting sign-ups after services on Sundays, November 27 and December 4. Wrapped gifts will need to be returned to the church no later than Sunday, December 10, in order to be distributed in time for the holidays. Look for more information to come about the Shaw Community Christmas Party on Sunday, December 17. If you would like to be part of the Secret Santa giving but cannot sign-up at church, please contact Martha Huelsbeck at 703.532.2308 or

Thank you for your generosity!

Rock Spring News December 2011 14

Social Justice The VOICE Corner Rock Springers Stand Up For Foreclosure Crisis Victims Eleven Rock Springers joined over 900 other members of Northern Virginia churches at a Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) action at Freedom High School in Woodbridge on October 30. At the event, VOICE’s member congregations demanded that business and political leaders help repair the damage created by the foreclosure crisis in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park. Affected homeowners spoke of bureaucratic nightmares in dealing with banks, such as being foreclosed upon after making timely payments on a modified mortgage. VOICE member congregations presented Senator Mark Warner and executives from Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase with evidence that subsidiaries of BoA and JP Morgan, along with a subsidiary of GE, were key contributors to predatory lending practices in the run-up to the local foreclosure crisis and the subsequent failure of banks to refinance mortgages on reasonable terms for both borrowers and lenders. As a result, the Prince William/Manassas area has seen over 16,000 foreclosures, with some neighborhoods experiencing foreclosure rates of up to 33%. VOICE’s demands of the three identified banks are as follows: • Fix their mortgage modification processes to permit eligible homeowners to obtain modifi cations in a timely manner; • Allocate funds for non-profit, HUD-approved housing counselors; • Reinvest funds to stabilize neighborhoods and rebuild home ownership rates by reducing loan principals, refinancing underwater mortgages, and developing affordable housing. Executives representing both banks committed to allocating special resources to initiate and complete loan modifications in the area, as well as to securing negotiations between VOICE members and CEO direct reports on VOICE’s demands. BoA also committed to fund three non-profit housing counselors in Prince William County through 2012, doubling the number of counselors in the area. Senator Warner committed to contacting JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt to request meetings with VOICE on its reinvestment agenda. For more details on VOICE’s demands and the commitments made at the action, visit VOICE’s website at Rock Spring is an exploratory member of VOICE, a coalition of 42 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations that uses community organizing to build broad-based, grassroots influence on business practices and public policy. For more information on Rock Spring’s participation in VOICE or to get involved in the next action, contact Owen Rodgers at or 571.449.7296.

Rock Spring News December 2011 15

Social Justice Eco Justice News Green Tip Wondering what to do with all the “styrofoam” and other polystyrene foam that fills your house after you’ve unwrapped your Christmas presents? Don’t throw it away! Instead, follow the suggestions in the article below, which is posted on the Sierra Club’s “The Green Life” blog: Hey Mr. Green, Is there a practical way to recycle that polystyrene foam used in packaging? The recycling center in our rural community doesn’t accept it. These aren’t the “peanut” packings, which I reuse, but rather those large sheets and formfitting blocks for shipping items like computers and TVs. —Eric in Sonoita, Arizona Of course, it’d be crazy to make a special trip to a site that accepts the stuff for the simple reason that burning the gas to get there will offset the advantages of recycling. But if you’re going to be near the recycling places anyway, then it makes sense to cart the foam along.

Another reason it’s a good idea to ship the material back to a recycler instead of the dump is because foam takes a lot of landfill space, thanks to its greatest virtue—being super light weight. About 98% of foam is air. While this plastic foam accounts for less than 1% of the weight of landfill material, its share of the volume is much higher. Plastics account for more than 12% of some 160 million tons that are buried in our bulging dumps each year. Unfortunately, only about 6% of the foam used for consumer packaging is being recycled, while the overall rate, when you include industrial foam recycling, is just 12% True, this is a far higher rate than most other plastics can claim, but surely we can do better. Finally, since expanded polystyrene is an efficient packaging material, it seems a waste to use it for food and beverage containers, as these are not easily recycled because of contamination. Worse yet, because litterbugs toss billions of these containers, it costs a huge amount of money to rake up all this plastic from our landscapes and shorelines, not to mention the harm to wild animals that swallow fragments of this plastic detritus which, by the way, is often incorrectly called Styrofoam: that’s Dow Chemical’s trade name for similar products.

You can also ship foam to locations listed at the Alliance’s site; click on “Mail-Back Recycling.” Shipping takes resources too, but there’s still a net savings over using virgin supplies.

Read more: http://sierraclub.typepad. com/greenlife/#ixzz1dpbCsKNV

For those who prefer to recycle the “peanut” plastic, the Plastic Loose Fill Council provides a list of locations (someday I’ll inquire into this apparent schism between the rigidfoam folks and the peanut people and get back to you on that).

Brought to you by Rock Spring’s EcoJustice Committee.

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Rock Spring Review Markers & Milestones Congratulations to Barb Brueggemann and Julie Hawkins on the very joyous occasion of their wedding at Rock Spring on November 11, 2011. Barb and Julie were legally married according to the laws of the District of Columbia earlier that morning on Roosevelt Island, with Janet Parker officiating. We share in their joy and wish them a very bright future together.

Centennial News Get in the Centennial Spirit

Congratulations on the baptisms of Owen Joseph Maness, son of Chris and Katherine Maness; and McKennah Leighann Steel, daughter of John and Sarah Steel; both on November 13, 2011.

Staff Notes Janet Parker will be on vacation from December 26 to January 1, followed by one week of study leave January 2 - 8. While on study leave, Janet will attend the Society of Christian Ethics, which will be in Washington, DC this year, and present a paper related to her sabbatical and book project. Hank Fairman will be on vacation from December 25 through December 31. Ellen Flores will be on Christmas vacation from December 11 through December 28. Kathy Dwyer will have limited office hours on December 28-30 but will be available by cell phone, 703.531.7078, and for all pastoral emergencies.

In recent weeks, we have been receiving great sermons on what the coming Centennial means in our spiritual growth as a faith community. The Centennial Planning Committee hopes that you will be inspired to join us as we launch into the next Rock Spring century. Many of our needs will be simple and require little time commitment – e.g., inflating balloons, devising flower arrangements, serving refreshments, helping to put the spirit into our events. We especially want to get “young” as well as “young at heart” Rock Springers involved in our planning. While we have a few major events planned, there is always room for more fun events – Centennial progressive dinner (think Jello molds) anyone? Centennial sock hops? Centennial sack races? TCM The Centennial Movies series? If you wish to volunteer or have ideas to share, let us know your interests by emailing -Gail Howell

Rock Spring News December 2011 17

News & Notes Donations for Christmas Poinsettias Continue a wonderful Rock Spring tradition this holiday season by making a donation for poinsettias to decorate the sanctuary at Christmas. There will be sign-up sheets for your donations (any amount) and dedications in the Saegmuller Room after both services on November 27, December 4, and December 11. The deadline for donations is December 14. The dedications will be printed in the worship program for the Christmas Eve services. Please make checks payable to Rock Spring Church and note “poinsettias” in the memo line. If you have questions, please contact Dick Metzger at Men’s Group Lunch The Men’s Group Lunch is on the first Friday of each month at Mylo’s Grill in Chesterbrook at noon, or a little earlier. This is an opportunity each month for the men to escape their normal routines, ponder and recharge their batteries, talk, and share. Meetings are free format with each gathering finding its own common ground. There is no requirement to bring or contribute anything but everybody finds something interesting. Each pays for his or her own lunch. For further information or to coordinate a ride, call Emory Hackman at 703 288-2941. Rock Spring Women’s Fellowship Invites You to a Christmas Party On Saturday, December 3 at 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m in Carpenter Hall Please save this time to join us in celebrating Christmas. All women are invited. Bring your sons, daughters, grandchildren, mothers, sisters and friends. We will have lunch, stories, music, children’s crafts, books, cookie decorating crafts and most importantly… joyful fellowship!


This year the Rock Spring CROP walk team had 19 participants ages 2 to 93. Together we walked 6 miles to raise awareness for local and global hunger issues. With your generous support we raised over $2,300 (and counting) to help end local and global hunger. Thank you so much for all of your support! What’s with all the blue? You may remember that the liturgical color for the season of Advent was purple. Purple was, and still is, the color used in Christian Churches for the season of Lent. Since that has traditionally been a season of sadness as we journey towards the cross, many longed for another color for the season of Advent which would signify the hope and expectancy of the season. So in recent years, many churches have begun to use blue for this season. When this idea was presented to the Board of Deacons, they voted unanimously for the color blue. Now for those of you who are expecting wreaths and swags of evergreen for the Christmas season – not to worry. They will be there. So come, in this season of Advent, expecting the coming of the Prince of Peace as well as some new, and we hope spiritually uplifting and pleasing, blue liturgical décor. Linda Carder for the Sanctuary Arts Committee and the Imagine Worship Task Force.

Rock Spring News December 2011 18

Special Events Calendar Saturday, December 3 12:30 p.m. WF Christmas Party Carpenter Hall Sunday, December 4 2:00 p.m. Open House - Parsonage 4:30 p.m. MH Chocolate Making Party 6:30 p.m. SH Chocolate Making Party Sunday, December 11 4:00 p.m. Annual Christmas Concert Sanctuary 6:30 p.m. SH Secret Santa Shopping Wednesday, December 14 12:00 p.m. Poinsettia Donation Deadline - Sign up sheet in Saegmuller Room Saturday, December 17 12:00 p.m. SH YoRS Kids Day Out Carpenter Hall Sunday, December 18 9:00 a.m. Special Angels & Shepherds Practice - Sunday School 11:00 a.m. Special Angels & Shepherds Practice - Sunday School 4:00 p.m. All - Church Christmas Caroling & Chili Supper Wednesday, December 21 7:30 pm. Blue Christmas Service Sanctuary Saturday, December 24 Christmas Eve 4:30 p.m. Service of Angels & Shepherds 9:00 p.m. Lessons & Carols with the Sanctuary Choir 11:00 p.m. Lessons & Carols with Candlelight & Communion

Rock Spring Recital Series 2012 Sunday, January 8 4:00 p.m. Sanctuary

Sunday, February 12 4:00 p.m. Sanctuary

Sunday, March 11 4:00 p.m. Sanctuary

We hope to see you there!

Sunday, December 25 Christmas Day 11:00 a.m. Annual Christmas Hym Sing

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Taizé at Rock Spring Join us First Fridays for Candlelight Evening Prayer with music in the style of Taizé

Friday, December 2 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Contemplative ~ quietly joyful ~ a new way to listen for God

Upcoming dates: January 6, February 3, March 2, April 6

Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ 5010 Little Falls Road Arlington, VA 220270

Help us Wrap Presents for the Homeless You are cordially invited to donate items and attend the “wrapping party” on Saturday, December 17, from 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. in Carpenter Hall We will sort, fold, box, and wrap donated used clothing and “survival kit” items. The survival kits are donated to the Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network (A-SPAN). We are collecting the following items in NEW condition for the survival kits: • Unisex adult size cotton sweat or athletic socks • Bottled water (12 oz or less) • Individually wrapped cracker snack packs or hard candies • Deodorant (men and women) (travel or full-size) • Razors and shaving cream • Moisturizing lotion (travel sized shaving cream (travel)

RSN December 2011  

December edition of the RSN

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