Winter Nights Shelter to begin

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Once again we are co-hosting the Winter Nights Shelter with the Lafayette United Methodist Church, 955 Moraga Rd in Lafayette.  

We provide dinner meals each night and two breakfasts on the weekend for the program on November 1st through the 5th.

Our Outreach Team Leaders are in place for the meals. We need volunteers to help prepare and serve the meal. No experience necessary! Just show up! You need to be there around 5pm to help prepare the meal and we serve at 6:30pm. After dinner the clients prepare their lunch for the next day. We just set out the food and clean up and we are done! This is a very rewarding program and a special way you can help our community.

For more information about the Winter Nights Shelter visithttps://cccwinternights.org/ or to volunteer please contact Diane Maltester at dmclarinet@comcast.net

Senior Adult Ministry Group on tour in China

Fourteen people from our Senior Adult Ministry have arrived in Beijing! They will begin today a two week tour starting and ending in Shanghai. The group leader is our own TJ Cheng. Other participants from our congregation are Ellie McDougal, Mark Cornelius, Sandy Cornelius, Philip Noel, Quin Wang and former members Bob Lester and Rome Lester.

Please hold this group in your prayers!

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FCC to Welcome XPLOR Resident

In 2014, the National Benevolent Association, the health and social services general ministry of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), created a program designed to help young adults unleash their own potential, while positively impacting their community.  The program is called XPLOR and it is a faith-based, 10-month, congregationally-hosted residency program designed for 21-30 year olds looking to explore lives of care and service.  Several houses have been set up around the country to provide opportunities for these residents to live simply in community and engage in direct service and justice work.

The Residency program offers residents an extended, residential experience during which deep spiritual reflection, communal living and hands-on service will help them explore God’s call on their lives.

Each resident is placed in Community Engagement Site, a non-profit organization that provides direct services to the community, working 30 hours a week doing hands-on ministry.

This program also “embeds” young adults within a Host Congregation that is already committed to accompanying their neighbors and already has a passion for coming alongside young adults as they consider the deep connections between the life of faith and the work of justice.  That’s where FCC, Concord comes in. 

For the second year in a row, we have been invited to serve as one of these Host Congregations to one of these residents.  While this person will not be on staff, our role is to provide this individual with a church home and welcoming community; to provide her with a place to worship, study and be a part of a faith community.  Our role will be to take this person “under our wings” and help her find her strengths.

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Starting on September 10, we will be welcoming Claire Cooley into our church community. Claire grew up in Albuquerque, NM, as a member of Monte Vista Christian Church, but moved to Eureka College in Eureka, IL, where she graduated in May, majoring in history and political science. While there, she served as both Student Body President and Vice President and participated in numerous mission trips, including Ecuador, Ghana, Togo, and Romania. She has worked at the Barrett Foundation supporting homeless women and children in their time of need.

She enjoys camping, exploring the outdoors, cooking, and reading.

Because Claire has worked effectively in non-profits that serve homeless women and children, adults with mental disabilities, and the homeless, her XPLOR internship will be with St. Mary's Center, Oakland, in their programs that focus on the needs of homeless seniors.

We hope you will help us welcome Claire and make her feel welcomed and included, just as you would any other new member in our congregation.

Save the Date: An Evening in Tuscany

Save the date
for great food & fellowship!

Come one, come all to this fun event!

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So much to do that night:

  • Enjoy a delicious 4-course, family-style Italian dinner prepared by chef Janet Hecker
  • Grab a gift card from the ever-popular Lucky Letter Wall
  • Bid during our Silent and Live Auctions
  • Sign up for fabulous member-hosted events to be held later in the year

This event will provide much-needed funds for our church ministries.  This is our primary fundraiser to help First Christian Church “make ends meet” during the last quarter of 2017.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for fellowship, sign-up event and auction bidding, and to buy your Lucky Letter!  Dinner seating will begin at 6pm in Fellowship Hall.

Tickets go on sale Sunday, September 10

$35 for adults
$20 for teens ages 13-17
$10 for children ages 4-12
($25 maximum for 3 or more children)

Be sure to get your tickets early!

Help Needed in our Media Ministry

We are looking for folks to help our with our media ministry during worship on Sunday mornings, serving as back-up for our Sound/Video Tech.  This person would run the sound board and manage the slides on the screen.  Certainly we would provide the necessary training for this position!  If this is a way you could serve the church, please contact  Russ Peterman or Scott Carlisle with interest or questions.

Baptism & Belonging Class to Begin

The Baptism & Belonging Class, prepares young people who are interested in becoming “full” members of the church by being baptized, or who just want to find out about the church and grow in their faith. 

The class will meet on Sunday mornings during the Sunday School hour (9a – 9:45a), September 10-October 29, and will be taught by Russ Peterman.  Those who are interested will then be baptized during the worship service on Sunday, November 5

Traditionally this class has been open to anyone in the 5th grade or older. Kids younger than that who are interested in participating need to have their parents meet with Russ prior to the class. 

While the Disciples traditionally baptize “believers,” we frequently have young people come to our churches that were baptized as infants, and are looking for a confirmation-like class.  We have, in the past, adjusted slightly the curriculum of this class to accommodate folks who are looking for more of a confirmation experience, and then formerly recognize them in worship.  It is our tradition as Disciples to recognize all baptisms – both by immersion and by sprinkling. 

If you have questions, or would like to sign up for the Baptism and Belonging Class, please contact the church office, 925/685-7503. Or, if you are an adult and interested in being baptized, please be in touch with Russ and we’ll create our own class and adapt it to your needs.

 “Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that… we too might walk in newness of life.”  -- Romans 6:4

Theology Tapped group to start

A new small group led by Russ Peterman that we are calling Theology Tapped will be starting on September 5.  We'll meet on Tuesday evenings at the Calicraft Taproom in Walnut Creek starting at 7:30p for a cold beverage and great conversation!

Here are the details:
•    We will meet at 7:30on Tuesday evenings, starting September 5
•    We have reserved a small area at the Taproom.
•    Each of us will be responsible for purchasing our own beverages.
•    We expect to wrap up around 9p.
•    All people are welcome.
•    All perspectives are welcome.

Please let Russ know if you have any questions.

Topics:
Sept 5:  What Is the Bible?
Sept 12:  What is ‘Faith’ all about?
Sept 19: Doubt(ing) as Faith
Sept 26: Spirituality
Oct 3: Rethinking Church
Oct 10: How (Not) to Speak of God

New Sermon Series to begin

Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, and Salvation

Women in the bible aren’t always shy or quiet; they are more than just players in a man’s story or morality tales about how to be better wives and mothers.  They’re fierce and funny and demanding. They are foremothers of the faith.  Their stories are messy, challenging and beautiful, and relevant to 21st century people.  When we pay attention to their stories, we can see not only their particular, fearsome lives but also our own.

July 23                    
Mother of All Living
Genesis 2: 4 –7, 15-23; 3: 1-20

July 30                    
Who’s Naked Now? 
Joshua 2 & 6

Aug 6                  
Who Are You Responsible For?
Ruth
Rev. Sara Steenhouse, preaching        

Aug 13        
Back-Talking God  

Matthew 15: 21-28

Aug 20        
Church Ladies

Romans 16: 1-6, 15-16

Aug 27        
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story

John 20: 1-18

Rev. Teresa Hord Owens elected

General Assembly elects Teresa Hord Owens as first African-American woman to head mainline denomination

INDIANAPOLIS – Rev. Teresa “Terri” Hord Owens was elected Sunday night to serve as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. She is the first African-American to hold this post and the second woman to lead the denomination.

Hord Owens comes to the position in a time of renewed emphasis on the issues of race, particularly in the United States. Her election comes on the 50th anniversary of the Merger Agreement uniting the African-American and largely white branches of the American-born denomination. She is currently pastor of a predominately white congregation in the Chicago area.

“We need to stop demonizing differences as deficiencies,” Hord Owens says. “We should seek to understand, to work through our differences in priorities, opinions, methods, and goals. This will not be easy, but imagine what an example this will be for the world if we can bridge the gaps in politics, identity, geography and theology.”

Hord Owens’ resume includes more than 20 years in corporate America leading diverse teams in data management before she entered seminary. For the last 15 years, she has been the dean of students at the University of Chicago Divinity School, shepherding a varied student body in both background and theology.

The election of Hord Owens follows the 12-year tenure of the Rev. Sharon E. Watkins, who was the first female to lead a mainline denomination in the United States upon her election in 2005. Hord Owens’ term is six years with an option for re-election in 2023 for an additional six-year term.

Disciples News Service

Thank You For Being So Welcoming!

At a recent church meeting, the group was quite pleased to learn of three instances where people outside our membership felt genuinely welcome. These were all quite different from each other, and they demonstrated what an impact we can make.

In one case, on May 27 we were able to provide the Sanctuary and the Plambeck Room for a Memorial Service for a family that is not a part of our community of faith.  At the close of the service, Bill Bush was approached by a woman who had attended the service and asked if he was associated with the church.  Upon his affirmative reply, she proceeded to tell him that upon entering the sanctuary, she had immediately felt safe, warm, and at ease, even though this was the first time she had been there.  Just a couple of minutes later, another woman approached Bill, and also wanted to know if he was a church member.  When he replied yes, she proceeded to also tell him that she had found the sanctuary to be an inviting and comfortable atmosphere in which she had been totally at ease. Bill felt overwhelmed by what these two strangers, who had never been to our church, had said to him.  He felt that their unsolicited feelings about the vibe they had felt in our sanctuary validated our goal of “Widening Our Welcome.”

But even more important than the physical changes to our campus are the ways we interact with people in our community.

For example, Russ recently received an e-mail from a visitor who attended one of our services.  This woman hadn't gone forward to take communion, but she genuinely appreciated that a deacon approached her where she sat and quietly asked if she would like communion brought to her.  Although she wasn’t ready to partake at that time, she considered this to be a kind and sensitive offer.

Another example of friendly and welcoming engagement with our community is our sign. As I’m sure you know, our sign is one of our most visible means of interacting with our neighborhood, and Russ is quite good at finding fun and clever ways of expressing our faith with the limited space available. We even used the sign to congratulate him when he completed his Ironman event last year, which was another way we opened ourselves up to the wider community.

Cho Nai Cheung was shopping for broccoli recently to supplement the food she and others would be taking to the homeless shelter later that day. Another shopper commented on the amount of broccoli that Cho Nai had purchased, so Cho Nai mentioned that she would be serving the shelter meal that day. The woman was interested in how she could help to take meals to the shelter, so Cho Nai told her that she could come by the church to help out, mentioning that we are the church on Willow Pass Road.  The woman asked Cho Nai excitedly if that is the church with the Ironman pastor?  When Cho Nai confirmed that it was, the woman said that she loved the messages on the sign. She said she regularly takes photos of the sign and sends it to her friends.  Her companion that was shopping with her acknowledged how much they all enjoyed the messages.

I know and appreciate the visible changes that have made our campus feel more welcoming. But we (or at least I) sometimes take for granted the little things that just seem to happen that also make our campus and our worship services more inviting. Fun, clever and inviting messages on our sign. A neat and tidy campus. Smiling faces that greet you when you walk in. Fresh coffee, tea and tasty goodies to nibble on. Kind gestures to help all feel included in communion. Friendly people in the lobby and the pews.

Those little things you all do make a big difference in how our community and especially our visitors feel about our church. Thank you very much for all the ways you find to be more welcoming!

--Scott Sumner-Moore, Moderator

Dr. Peterman to preach at First Christian Church, Mooresville, IN

July 8-12, the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will gather in Indianapolis, IN.  One of the traditions of General Assembly is for local congregations to open their sanctuaries on Sunday morning to welcome General Assembly participants to their seats and guest speakers to their pulpits.

This year, on Sunday, July 9, our Senior Minister, Rev. Dr. Russ Peterman, has been invited to preach at First Christian Church, Mooresville, IN; a suburb of Indianapolis. 

This is a great honor for Russ and we are thrilled that others will have the opportunity to hear his message of God’s inclusive love for all people.

Mexico Mission changes lives on both sides of the border

The 2017 Mexico Mission team recently returned from an amazing trip south of the border, building a house for the Melendes family who just six weeks ago lost most everything in a house fire.  Rebuilding on the same foundation, the team gave this family not only a safe place to call home, but a renewed sense of hope. 

The team's lives were changed as well, by recognizing that blessings come not to us, but through us.  

It was an amazing week filled with holy moments and sacred stories.

There will be a Mexico Mission celebration service on July 16 at 10a where the team members will lead us in worship and share their experiences.  

Mexico Mission team to build for the Melendes Paniagua family

On Saturday our Mexico Mission participants will embark on their week-long mission trip.

They just received the info about their home build assignment. AMOR gave them this site because of an urgent need request from the mayor of Tijuana. There is a group of houses in a community near the border that were burned down recently and our group, along with a few others from camp are going to be rebuilding their home and the other homes in their community. Word has it the mayor may visit one of the days.

They'll be building for the Melendes Paniagua Family. There are six of them, all adults, living off of $66/week.

Pictured is the mother, Maria, who is 76.

Please hold the Melendes Paniagua family, as well as the Mexico Mission participants, in your thoughts and prayers over the next week!

The Adventures of "Flat Jesus"

“Flat Jesus” was created from the basis of a children’s book called Flat Stanley, (written by Jeff Brown). In the book, a boy named Stanley becomes flattened and is able to be mailed to different places, having all kinds of exciting adventures. 

“Flat Jesus” is a way to keep our church family connected as we enter into the summer traveling season. Color “Flat Jesus” and take him with you as you travel…or to whatever you do this summer. Take a picture of him doing lots of different things: going out to dinner, having fun at the beach or the mountains, hanging out with friends or cousins, or whatever you are doing! It will be an amazing adventure! It is a great way to remember that Jesus is always with us, wherever we go. And it just might start up a conversation with someone about what you are doing…and why! 

HOW TO CREATE YOUR VERY OWN “FLAT JESUS”: 

1. Take a printed “Flat Jesus” from the narthex or the office, or print out the template here.

2. Decorate your “Flat Jesus.” Be creative! You can make one for yourself and one for a friend!

3. Take him with you everywhere you go. Take a picture of him doing different things (going out to dinner, vacationing, camping, and being with friends/family). 

SHARE HOW JESUS IS ON THE MOVE!
When you have taken photos of “Flat Jesus,” you can share your “Flat Jesus” pictures:

1. By emailing photos to info@concordfcc.net or texting them to Russ or Sarah (call the office for the number if you don't have it)

2. By uploading your picture directly to the church's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ConcordFCC  Share on Twitter with @ConcordFCC
Add the hashtag #FlatJesus

It will be so exciting to see where Jesus is on the move this summer as you share your adventures!  It is a great way to remember that Jesus is always with us wherever we go. And it just might start up a conversation with someone about what you are doing and why.

Join us for the Annual Gathering of the CCNC/N

163rd Annual Gathering
of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Northern California-Nevada
April 28-29
First Christian Church in Concord.
 

The theme of the Gathering is “We Come Together at the Table” and the scripture text we are using is Romans 14:1-4 from The Message
 
Our preachers are Bishop Yvette Flunder, pastor of City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland and Dr. Mary Donovan Turner, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Carl Patton Professor of Preaching at Pacific School of Religion.
 
To register for the event, click here

To sign up to volunteer to help host this event, please complete the form below.
 

Event Schedule
 

Thursday April 27
2:00–6:00pm: Regional Clergy Gathering-Meet with Regional Minister Dr. LaTaunya Bynum and other Regional Staff to discuss vision for the future of CCNC-N
Location Lafayette Christian Church, 584 Glenside Drive, Lafayette, CA 94549-5318

Friday April 28
12:00–2:30pm: Pre–session–Facilitated book discussion of Dr. William Barber’s The Third Reconstruction (Lunch Served)
Please read the book prior to attending this Pre–Session.

3:00pm: Registration at First Christian Church in Concord
Hotel Check In / Hospitality begins at FCC Concord

5:00–6:00pm: Dinner at FCC Concord

6:15pm: Gathering and Singing in Sanctuary

6:30pm: Announcements/Welcome to the Gathering in Sanctuary

7:00–8:30pm: Opening Worship in Sanctuary
Speaker: Bishop Yvette Flunder

9:00–10:30pm: Fellowship at Crowne Plaza Suites

Saturday April 29
8:00–9:00am: Breakfast at FCC Concord

9:00am: Gathering, Singing, and Announcements in Sanctuary

9:30 am: Worshipping and Working Together (Formerly known as the Business Session)
Speaker: Rev. Dr. LaTaunya Bynum, Regional Minister

12:00pm: Lunch

1:00–2:00pm: Circle of Inquiry—All Assembly
Facilitators: Member of the Justice Commission

2:00–3:30pm: Workshop Sessions

3:45pm: Gathering, Singing, and Announcements in Sanctuary

4:00–5:30pm: Closing Worship
Speaker: Rev. Dr. Mary Donovan Turner
 

I can help!

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Holy Week and Easter Services

Holy Week is one of the biggest, most important weeks of the Christian year! 

Palm Sunday
April 9, 10a

We enter as Jesus did, with songs and palms. Soon, the cheering stops and the path to the cross truly begins. Join us as we are challenged by where this path leads us today. We soon realize the true meaning of the path to the cross as we remember how it shapes our lives today.

 

Maundy Thursday
Passover Seder Dinner

April 13, 6:30p

This year to celebrate Maundy Thursday, we’ll be gathering for a Passover Seder Dinner.  The Seder is the joyful family dinner and worship service, which is held in Jewish homes on Passover and the meal that Christ shared with his Apostles at the Last Summer.

Join us for a meaningful meal that will give you new insight into the final hours of Jesus and Easter. This simple and holy meal is appropriate for all ages.  For more info, click here.

 

Good Friday Service
April 14, 12noon
St. Bonaventure Catholic Church

All are invited to gather for an ecumenical Good Friday Service on April 14 at noon at St. Bonaventure Church (5562 Clayton Rd, Concord, CA 94521).  Russ will be one of the pastors sharing a reflection on the Seven Last Words of Christ.

Easter! 
April 16, 9a & 11a

Join us as we celebrate one of the biggest days of the Christian year as we celebrate Easter!  

We'll have two services that morning, at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., with an Easter Egg Hunt between services.

They will be great music and much to celebrate.  Russ' sermon on that day will be entitled, "See What Love Can Do."  

Mark your calendars and invite your friends and family to join us as we celebrate the Risen Christ! You'll not want to miss it.  

Lenten Sermon series

Doubt:   A Sign of Faith and Life

When we think of the disciple Thomas in the gospel stories, what comes to mind?  What is he most often called? Doubting Thomas. The one who didn't believe like the others. The one who wondered; who questioned. Over and over, in countless sermons and Bible studies, Thomas is typically portrayed as the one we shouldn't be like. The one who didn't get it. The one who was right there with Jesus and still didn't believe. The one we should be cautious of becoming.

But what if Thomas had the right idea all along? What if his honesty is something to be emulated? That a better name for him is Honest Thomas?

There's a message in this simple story that needs reframing, not only for us personally but also for the wider church.  

The message that has been engrained into so many of us is that at the first sign of doubt or questions that challenge formerly held beliefs we enter into to a place of "Something must be wrong with my faith, or, more importantly, wrong with me."  But what if doubt is not the opposite of faith, but rather a very important part of it?

The philosopher Voltaire says, "Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous."  Yet, so many Christian systems rely on the false comfort of certainty and do whatever they can to buoy themselves against doubt.

But yet the giants of the faith doubted.  We all doubt.  To say different is to be inauthentic. In this Lenten series, we’ll hear from some of the most influential theological voices of our time and what they have to say how their faith has been formed and shaped through times of doubt.

Join us as we struggle with -- and grow through -- our doubts during this sacred season of Lent.

Get Connected! Small Group interest survey

At the recent congregational meeting, Russ Peterman, our pastor, laid out his ministry emphasis for our congregation in the year ahead.  One of the main elements he put forth was the call for us to find ways to engage with one another outside of the Sunday morning worship hour. 

He pointed out that people who eat chocolate together live longer than those who eat broccoli alone.  Relationships with God and with others make a huge difference in our lives.

So as we work to create small groups and activities, we want to know what interests you?  What types of things would you like to be a part of?

We’ve put together a short, online survey to see what piques people’s interests.  You can take this survey – which will only take you a few minutes to complete – by clicking here.  We’ll use the results of this survey to formulate small group options in the coming days.

Thanks so much for your willingness to be a part of a community of faith that understands that we are all a part of one another, and that our lives are better when we share it with others.