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.
LIVING ROOM WORSHIP DATES FOR FALL 2018
A casual evening of acoustic guitar, singing, prayer, and fellowship. If you are hungry to deepen your connection to God and each other, join us in the living room! Questions? Contact Kerry Priest.
All gatherings are 6:30-8:30pm on Sunday evenings
Oct. 14 at 409 Warner Park Rd., 66503
Nov. 11 at 2221 Buckner Dr., 66503
Dec. 16 at 5409 Haddon Ct., 66503
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.
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.
The Vitality and Outreach Committee invites you to join us for a Dinner Discussion with the Ministry of the Decorative Scissors on Friday, May 18 at 6pm. Come for a simple supper and great conversation with new and old friends. Members of the Ministry of the Decorative Scissors will join us to talk crafting!
Living Room Worship Night
Sunday, May 6
6:30 - 8:30 pm
A casual evening of acoustic guitar, singing, prayer, and fellowship.
If you are hungry to deepen your connection to God and each other,
join us in the living room! Location: 205 Cedar Drive, Manhattan 66502
An invitation from Pastor Caela:
Summer in a college town often marks a change of pace, even for those of us who aren’t affiliated with the university. The town empties out a bit and it’s easier to park in Aggieville, go for a stroll downtown, or simply rest in any of our beautiful natural areas near Manhattan. In the years that I’ve been at First Congregational, we’ve often focused on a communal spiritual practice each summer. In 2014, when I first arrived as your pastor, I spent the summer meeting with about 75 of you one-on-one. Together, we practiced the holy act of “holding space” as I was able to hear your stories and we started to get to know each other. In 2015, we had several social meet ups around town – going for walks, having drinks, playing at the playground. Again, we “held space” in community – laughing together and swapping stories. Last summer we focused our attention on Keeping Sabbath. Our boards and committees each took a month off and we found breathing space in our shared ministry. Additionally, I made an intentional shift in how I focused my own time, carving out more space for my own spiritual practices, big dreaming and pondering, Bible study, and more. My guess is that focus on making space for Sabbath will continue in the summer of 2018….and that the Holy Spirit is probably smiling about that.
This summer, the Deacons and I want to present two new options for your consideration. Both are very minimal and flexible time commitments. Both would be a blessing to you. Both would deepen your sense of connection with God. I hope you’ll consider participating in one of these spiritual practices with us this summer. If you have any questions, please do reach out!
- Pastor Caela
Summer Prayer Partners
Are you interested in learning to pray, deepening your faith, or connecting more intentionally with someone else at First Congregational? You are encouraged to sign up for a summer Prayer Partner. You and your partner will check in on a weekly basis in-person, via phone, or text. You can simply share prayer concerns with one another or spend time in prayer together. The Deacons will send tips as you begin your partnership so you won’t be confused. We will also host an optional kickoff event at 6pm on Wednesday, May 30 for participants. Prayer Partnerships will begin June 1 and wrap up mid-August. Sign up here or contact the church office to sign up by May 21st.
Summer Weekday Blessings
We would love to send someone from our congregation to pray with you or simply give a brief blessing at your workplace or home during the week. Beginning June 1 there will be an online sign up to reserve your time slot, or you can contact the church office. One of our pastors and/or a Deacon will visit you at the time and location you select to offer a blessing.