Adult Sunday School Continues
Adult Sunday School continues. We all need a time to check in and spend time in conversation and prayer these days. Join us Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome. We meet via Zoom | click here for login information
April 5 Taking time to talk. We will begin with 10-15 minutes of sharing our fears and frustrations, followed by guided breathing and awareness. We will end with talking about the blessings in our life. Deane Lehmann, facilitator.
April 12 Easter breakfast. Just because we can't physically eat together doesn't mean we can't virtually eat together. Let's get to see the kiddos again, show off our cooking skills (or lack thereof) and learn how to use the chat function. Yes, you can chat with individuals! Deane Lehmann, mute minder.
April 19 (TBA)
April 26, May3, May 10. We are looking for volunteers to lead a class. We have access to Work of the People videos. We have a group of people who can easily fill an hour with conversation and insights. Is there a topic you have wanted to explore but didn't want to commit to weeks of facilitating? Well, this is your opportunity!
Please contact Sue Zschoche or Deane Lehmann.
Rock and Wood - Reflection
By Steve Bishop
Board of Facilities
Over and over again, in every city I visit, I find myself looking at churches; all prove to be as unique and as individual as the people who congregate inside. I will admire the tall ceilings, stained glass windows and architectural features that seem like they have been formed by Christ him/her self. Recently I realized I’ve been looking at them all wrong. It has taken time away from our church building that has made me adjust my sights to look for the real church, the one within, behind the glass, rock and wood, the Church that exists whether or not a building is there to shelter it.
Our building is great, but it’s just rock and wood. I think Rev. Blood knew that when he started out in 1855 with only a tent, a trunk and some kegs to sit on. He wasn’t much concerned with a building yet as he knew to have a church he also had to have nails to hold it together. Those nails, he found, were in the love and spirit of the people who graced it with their presence. Without them he would have only had rock and wood. As the love grew and that spirit persisted, the evolution of our church began. Only then did he have the makings of a solid structure: the rock and the wood along with the “nails” held it together.
I say this now because it seems God has laid our congregation bare, stripping away that rock and wood exposing us and testing our strength. We have been forced away from our church, away from the safety and sanctity of our rock and wood, and yet the love (we “nails”) remain. This love is evident in our church leadership who scrambled to put together worship alternatives, their personal fears running simultaneous with the worry for their church family. They went to work immediately, made plans to shelter in place, to meet online, to regroup and take a head count and reassure us that we are all still here, safe. The nails, independent of the rock and wood remain, maybe a bit scattered for the time being but we remain, strong and steadfast with our love for one another.
The pews may very well be our couches now, and our computers stand in lieu of a pulpit. It would be easy to feel disconnected from one another but take a look outside – the sun that shines down and warms my soul is the same sun that is shining down warming yours, warming us all. The spring breeze I feel on my face is the same breeze you will feel. All of our grass is greening, our trees beginning to bud, and our early spring flowers have begun making their escape from winters grasp, all under that same sun. Nature is moving forward regardless of whether it's in my yard or yours and our church is doing the same. We all ache with uncertainty right now, perhaps just as the congregation did in our church’s beginning. Rev. Blood knew that even though a tornado tore the roof of the building off in 1859, it would not spoil the spirit of the people, they would hold together to weather many, many storms. Pastor Caela knows this too, her nails are strewn, but remain. We find us weathering this new storm, but we will do it together; through the good, the bad, the happy, and the sad, we are the nails that connect us to one another and to the Church.
We will reunite with each other soon, once again at work holding together our rock and wood. Perhaps we will sing just a bit louder and spend a bit longer passing the peace and just maybe our conversations will outlast the cookies and coffee at fellowship hour, doing what we do best: holding each other together, inside our rock and wood.
Helpful links from the announcements:
Lunch Bunch via Zoom
The first Wednesday of the month means Lunch Bunch! We are still gathering in April...just in a different way.
We hope you'll bring your own lunch to a comfy spot in your home and join us via Zoom for conversation and laughter. It will be fun to see each other's homes and perhaps meet each other's pets! Physical distancing is what we're after and that doesn't have to mean social distancing. It will be so good to talk with one another.
Join us Wednesday, April 1st at 11:30 a.m.
Click to Zoom
Dial 1-669-900-6833 from your phone. When you hear the recorded voice say, “Welcome to Zoom. Please enter your meeting ID followed by pound” you should dial 531 215 576#. That’s it!
Detailed invitation for those newer to Zoom
Zoom helpful hints
Since we would normally be supporting a local restaurant with Lunch Bunch, you are encouraged to consider buying a gift card to your favorite local restaurant from MHK Together. Every gift card we purchase from this program not only supports a local business but they also give a matching amount in a grocery card to people in our community who are being adversely affected by COVID-19.
Got questions? Let us know. Otherwise, we'll see you Wednesday for lunch!
Here's How You Can Help
Things you can do today to make a difference:
Renters Together + First Congregational Church on COVID-19An invitation to join Renters Together in advocating for those in our community who are being impacted negatively by COVID-19. Visit https://www.renterstogether.org/ to join us.
We are currently using two platforms for worship and small groups: Facebook and Zoom.
The Facebook worship is live-streamed at 10:45am and all you have to do is point your browser to the First Congregational Facebook Page and look for the little red box that says "Live" or "Premiere." You do NOT need a Facebook account to watch the worship stream. You can also come back to the page later in the day to watch it if you miss the live-stream, but we hope you'll join us at 10:45 because is is good to be TOGETHER on Sunday morning.
You can also find the weekly worship service on our YouTube page or on our website. Each week's service will typically be posted there by Sunday morning but you can worship at your own convenience.
No computer or internet? No problem. For audio only, call 1-669-900-6833 at 10:45 a.m. After the prompt, enter the meeting number: 921-954-012#. The password is 66502. Please note there may be long-distance charges for this call, as it is NOT toll free.
We are also using Zoom for interactive meetings like Sunday School, Prayer Gatherings, the Tuesday Book group, all board/committee meetings, and more. Zoom is a newer technology for most. We've put together a page of helpful tips for you but also encourage you to be in touch if you have questions.
If you have questions about any of this or need a more low-tech way to stay connected, please don't hesitate to contact the church office. We're here for you and want to make it easy for you to be a part of our congregation during this time.
New Volunteers Needed for Second Helping
Hello Friends and Members of First Congregational in Manhattan:
Through this post, I am seeking to find volunteers for the Sunday evening 2nd Helping dinners. Traditionally, many of our volunteers are more mature congregants or college students from K-State. Given the physical closure of the University and the high-risk factors associated with the Coronavirus, we are finding ourselves short on volunteers, therefore I am reaching out to ask each of you to consider your willingness to volunteer at 2nd Helping.
Currently, the meals are prepared in the church, but are distributed outside of the church in to-go containers to help minimize the risk to our outside volunteers and neighbors. There are also a number of other protocols being put into place for the purpose of safeguarding all involved with 2nd Helping.
Further, while we value anyone who is willing to volunteer, for the safety of all we ask you not to volunteer if you are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID meet any of the quarantine criteria below. We also strongly recommend that those in the high-risk category not volunteer as well.
If you are unable to volunteer at Second Helping, we still welcome your support. Monetary donations can be made via PayPal or mailed to the church (First Congregational UCC, 700 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502).
Thank you for your support of this important ministry,
Di Hinrichs-Toburen, Ph.D.
Second Helping Volunteer Coordinator
The criteria for the two categories mentioned above are as follows:
Please do NOT volunteer if you meed any of the recommendations for self-quarantine from KDHE (see updates at kdheks.gov)
We strongly recommend that you do NOT volunteer if you meet any of the high-risk criteria defined by the CDC (source)
Dear First Congregational members and friends, There is an e-mail scam targeting churches that’s been ongoing for a number of months we have also been targeted. The scammers send an e-mail that PRETENDS to be from your pastor but IS NOT. These can be very convincing. For example, the screenshot I saw earlier today appeared to be coming from my e-mail address AND included a photo of me.
The scammers typically ask for something vague like “I need your help with something, please reply.” If you make the mistake of replying they will then attempt to draw you into a scam. The most common one I’ve heard of involves the pastor pretending to need gift cards to assist someone in need, but I’m sure there are other versions.
I will not send you an e-mail asking you for money or gifts cards. I am also NOT very likely to send you a message that vaguely says "can you help with something?"
If you receive an e-mail that looks like it’s from me asking for help with something, you should:
1) open up a NEW e-mail (do NOT reply to the email in question)
2) type my e-mail address into the NEW email
3) use the NEW e-mail to ask if I contacted you
(You could also call/text/ask me in person, of course).
Please contact Sandy or me if you have any questions.