Examining Faith Through Feeling
December 2, 9, and 16 at 9:30am
Led by Rachel Shivers
When reflecting on faith statements in Christian circles, we've often been trained to ask "is this true," rather than "how does this feel" or "is this healthy." For three weeks, we're going to take an adventure in examining how our beliefs affect our body sensations and our emotions towards ourselves, others and the divine. We'll slow down and tune in to make observations and gain a deeper awareness about the feelings that our beliefs evoke. We'll open ourselves to the opportunity to more deeply embrace and enjoy the nourishing aspects of our faith, while we also allow ourselves to consider releasing beliefs that we find unhelpful, harmful or hurtful.
Looking for information about children's Sunday School? Click here.
Sustaining Activism for the Long Haul: Connecting to Your Deep Purpose
Friday, December 14; 5:30- 9 PM
Location: First Congregational UCC
Co-sponsors: Manhattan Mennonite Church, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
How do we connect to what is ours to do in this world? What can we hold on to while the world swirls around us? How do we stay engaged in advocating for justice for the long haul....without burning out? How might we find joy in the work?
We will engage these and other similar questions at this gathering. We begin the evening with a simple supper and use group work and individual reflection to help each participant connect to their sense of deep purpose. The evening will also include an opportunity for brief guided or silent meditation, qigong, community acupuncture, or learning about spiritual direction.
This event is appropriate for people of all faiths and for those who do not claim a faith. If you need childcare or have any dietary restrictions, please let us know. Questions? Contact Revs. Barbara Krehbiel Gerhring, Jonalu Johnstone, or Caela Simmons Wood.
On November 4, we join with Christians around the globe in remembering our saints on All Saints Day. We invite you to remember the saints in your own life by bringing along an item that represents the person you wish to honor. We will have a table set up in Pioneer-Blachly for your items. Your saint might be a relative or friend. They might be someone famous that you've never met. A saint is simply someone who has gone before us and has showed us how to live. We remember their lives and honor them the first Sunday in November. You may want to bring a photograph, keepsake, newspaper article, or some other memento. We'll have cards available for you to write the saint's name and we can all browse the items during Fellowship Hour.
Welcoming Dinner – On Saturday, November 3 we will gather together people who are new and new-ish to the church for a Welcoming Dinner. This is a lovely evening of breaking bread and getting to know each other. Those who attend will be given an opportunity to ask questions about First Congregational and meet some of our long-time members. If you are new to the church and want an invitation to the dinner, please e-mail Pastor Caela (email@example.com). If you are interested in helping cook, serve, or clean, please contact Deacons Carrie Lewis or Gina Davidson.
Shining Light Yoga MHK was born in the spring of 2018 while Pastor Caela was supposed to be quieting her mind during savansana (that time in yoga where you lay down quietly and rest). Instead of focusing on her breathing, she was thinking about how thankful she was for the practice of yoga and how it had helped her immensely with finding calm in the midst of a very hectic (and sometimes downright scary!) world.
Caela knew there were a lot of people who are a part of First Congregational UCC and also practice yoga regularly. She started wondering if any of them would be interested in starting a kids' yoga program here in Manhattan. If the world is stressful and scary for adults, imagine what it must feel like to young kids! If we could find a way to help kids honor their bodies, get in touch with their spirits, and learn self-confidence and calming techniques....all while having fun? That would be AWESOME.
So we wrote a grant and submitted it to our denomination, the United Church of Christ. We said that we would like to "Improve the overall mental, spiritual, and physical health of children in our community by helping them
learn to manage emotions, care for and connect to their bodies. We hope to help the children learn skills
for living peacefully and cultivate a commitment to non-violence in a violent world."
We received the grant and in the summer of 2018, eight of us were trained to become kids' yoga teachers (seven of us were trained through Om Slice in Chicago and one of us through YogaKids online). We worked with SEG Media Collective here in Manhattan to spread the word about our new program.
And now....it's happening! We host a Yoga+Donuts program the first Sunday of every month at 9:30am. You can learn about our upcoming events by following us on Facebook or signing up for our e-mail list.
FAQs about Shining Light
Why Sunday morning? Well, that's a time when we already have a group of kids at our church who are used to participating in activities (we have Sunday School the other weeks of the month). And we know that lots of families aren't busy on Sunday morning, so it seemed like a great time to invite people to join us.
This is in a church....are you going to be teaching the Bible to my kids? We are just doing yoga at these events. Yoga is, of course, inherently spiritual in nature and it is a goal of ours to help your child get in touch with their own spirit. But these classes are meant for people of all faiths or no faith at all. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, Buddhist, Wiccan, atheist....you are welcome! It's probably a good time to mention that we believe there are lots of ways to experience the Holy and be a good person. We don't think Jesus is the only way to do that. Of course, if you do happen to be looking for a Christian faith community, we'd love to have you join us....but that is totally optional.
How much do the classes cost? We want the classes to be accessible to everyone, so they are by donation only. We do have a few ongoing, fixed costs....the website, food, supplies for class, etc. First Congregational UCC is self-supporting and we aren't a huge church. So if you can chip in a few dollars or $5 or $10, awesome. If not, no big deal. | donate online
Do you want me to stay with my child? Totally up to you. If you'd like to enjoy some quiet time you're welcome to hang out here in a different room or go grab a cup of coffee or take a quiet stroll through downtown MHK. If you want to stay and join in the fun, great! If you're interested in doing church-y stuff, we have classes for adults that meet at 9:30am every Sunday, too. We would like to have you come back by 10:20 to join us for snacks. One of our goals is to help parents get to know each other and develop a sense of community. We ask that kids be picked up no later than 10:30am.
I have more questions. No worries. We've got you covered. Send us an e-mail and we'd love to be in touch.
Join others on the journey for fellowship, meditation and renewal while viewing the Center for Action and Contemplation "Conspire 2018" webcast. It will be a weekend of contemplative teachings, practices, reflection, and conversation with Richard Rohr, Barbara Holmes, Brian McLaren, Barbara Brown Taylor, and Mirabai Starr. We'll inhale and exhale, listen and share, let go and receive while in the beautiful surroundings of WMC at the Council Grove Reservoir. Accommodations for two overnights, all meals and the webcast provided with your $65 registration fee. Proceeds from the weekend retreat will benefit Ecumenical Campus Ministry (ECM) at K-State.
Follow the Facebook event for updates
We are so excited about our new children's yoga program that will launch this fall! Beginning in September, the whole MHK community will be invited to join us on the first Sunday of each month at 9:30am for Yoga + Donuts. Kids aged 3 through 6th grade will participate in a lively yoga class led by our trained volunteers and then enjoy yummy donuts and conversation.
On Saturday, August 25 we invite kids AND their adult caregivers to join us at the Manhattan Public Library at 10:00am for a Family Yoga class led by Pastor Caela. This will be a great way to preview our new yoga program and we hope you can join us! Storytime at the library will follow at 11:00am.
A note from Linda Thurston, one of our Second Helping coordinators, written in July, 2018:
Last Sunday Pastor Caela talked about the Mutuality of Hospitality. Second Helping, the community meals we plan, prepare, and serve every Sunday in Pioneer-Blachly provide hot meals for those in the community who need food and conversation. Second Helping also blesses us with the opportunity to visit with guests and volunteers and an opportunity to serve God’s children. Did you know?
Second Helping serves 100-150 hot meals every month. We also provide sack breakfast/lunches for all our guests. What does it take to provide up to 300 meals a month:
Volunteers: cooks, kitchen crews, church hosts, and coordinators who plan meals, order food, and pick up groceries and supplies. That’s a minimum of 10 people a week! (and about 27-30 hours a week!)
Supplies: the church budget provides most of our supplies and paper products. We use over 100 sandwich bags a week, which we fill with sandwiches, cookies, and carrots and celery.
Food: During the school year, we often receive food recovered from the K-State training table, which is frozen for use to store and use as needed. We also receive some commodities, such as ground beef, noodles, rice, and canned fruit and vegetables. We purchase needed weekly groceries at Hy-Vee at a discount. We often need to buy:
• 4 loaves a bread a week
• 35 breakfast bars a week
• 70 – 105 cookies a week
• 70 packages of instant oatmeal a week
• 35 packaged peanut butter or cheese crackers a week
• dinner rolls (about 4 dozen)
Donations: On the first Sunday of every month, we collect food items and cash donations that go to providing our meals. Church volunteers sometimes bring dessert for our Sunday meals. Others bring produce or extra food and beverages from catered events.
Wondering how you can be a part of Second Helping?
Volunteer to be a church host (training provided).
Volunteer to cook or be part of the kitchen crew (training provided).
Sign up to provide dessert for 35-40 on Sunday evening.
Give a cash donation.
Include our guests and volunteers in your prayers.
Donate food: breakfast bars, packaged cookies (Oreos are very popular), instant oatmeal packet, packaged cheese crackers,
And our guests appreciate fresh produce, fruit and home-made goodies. Last year we put out donated pears, tomatoes and cucumbers for our guests to take when they picked up their sack lunches– a big hit!
Our guests are thankful for our efforts – some help out as we set up or clean up. Guests have handed us coins to help with expenses. Others play the piano for the group or help others with more iced tea or coffee. And we as individuals and as the church are blessed by our guests and our community of volunteers…. The mutuality of hospitality.
Orange and yellow leaves are still a long way off, but as we turn the calendar to August we switch back into “fall mode” at First Congregational. Our big “kick off” Sunday for the fall semester is August 19th. We will bless backpacks and teacher that morning in worship and party with our neighbors that evening at Feast and Festival. At 9:30 on the 19th we will also gather together as the Sunday School year begins.
I am so thankful for those who volunteer their time and energy with our robust Christian formation ministries at First Congregational. Throughout the school year we offer Sunday School for all ages from 9:30-10:30am each Sunday morning. The nursery is available for children 3 and under so that siblings and caregivers can attend classes. In recent years we have also had some small groups that meet during the week and I’m delighted that Pastor Sue will gain be leading a “chewy” theology-focused class this fall on Thursdays, probably over the noon hour.
We have a great lineup of adult Sunday School options this fall, beginning with a four-week class led by Pastor Sue on what it means to be a part of the United Church of Christ. Other classes this fall semester will include a discussion of the book Fierce: Women of the Bible and Their Stories of Violence, Mercy, Bravery, Wisdom, Sex, and Salvation (led by Sara K Kearns), a class celebrating the 20th anniversary of Second Helping (coordinated by Pastor Sue and the Board of Mission), and an Advent class on exploring faith through our feelings (led by Rachel Shivers). You can find a full calendar of upcoming adult offerings here.
This fall we also kick off a new way of doing children’s Sunday School. Each week of the month will have a different focus. The first Sunday of each month we invite the whole Manhattan community to join us for Yoga + Donuts. We will offer classes for three age groups on this Sunday (ages 3-Kindergarten, 1st-3rd grade, 4th-6th grade). Our volunteer teachers for the yoga program are Andria Anderson, Emily Brueseke, Susann Campbell, Tanya Gonzalez, Donna Keyser, Rachel Shivers, and me. On the 2nd and 3rd Sunday of each month, kids will learn about the Bible with Tracey Weston and Paulicia Williams using curriculum from Seasons of the Spirit. Fourth Sundays will be a children’s choir, led by Andria Anderson. And on fifth Sundays we will engage the kids in service projects. | READ THE FULL CHILDREN'S BROCHURE FOR FALL 2018 HERE
It’s a wonderfully fulfilling thing to be able to ask questions and grow together. We look forward to seeing you at one (or more!) of our faith formation activities this fall.