Nov. 27th: Advent begins with HOPE (and decorating)
Dec. 4th: the Sunday of PEACE (and brass and cookies!)
Dec. 11th: a JOYful Christmas Pageant
Dec. 18th: Lessons & Carols (and LOVE)
Dec. 24th at 7:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Worship
Dec. 25th: Cozy Christmas Morning on ZOOM only
Jan. 1st: Christmastide Continues
The season of Christmas continues (which means one more week of Christmas carols!) on Jan. 1st. Start the New Year off right by gathering around Christ's table for Holy Communion as we give thanks for the year that's been and look forward to the year that will be.
Jan. 8th: Epiphany Sunday
Star Words will make an appearance once again at our annual Epiphany service. The use of star words, also called “star gifts,” is a prayer practice connected to Epiphany and the new year that has been growing in popularity in Protestant churches for nearly a decade now. The idea is that a list of intention words, or guiding words, are written or printed on paper stars. These paper stars are then distributed at random. Individuals are often encouraged to place their star word somewhere they will see it regularly throughout the year to allow consistent reflection on how God has moved through, around, or in connection to that word. (Description from A Sanctified Art, LLC.)
Learn more about Epiphany the Star Words here.
Wow! ECM at K-State is celebrating 101 years of ministry! Join us on Sunday, May 8th at Long's Park as we welcome guests from ECM and celebrate with them. And then on Sunday, May 15th we'll have guests from ECM with us at 9:30 a.m. (church basement or via Zoom) to share about what ECM is up to and answer our questions. We're excited to welcome these partners in campus ministry and deepen our relationship with them.
You can learn more about ECM on their website (https://www.ecmatkstate.org/) and you're encouraged to sign up for their e-mail list and/or follow them on social media.
It's time for our annual Blessing of the Animals and Worship in the Park. Join us at (shady) Long's Park on Sunday, May 8th at 10:45 a.m. for this special service. Childcare staff will be on hand to care for young kids who want to explore the playground or the rest of the park.
After worship we'll have a good ol' fashioned potluck and friends from ECM at K-State (our campus ministry) are coming to visit with us so we can help them celebrate 101 years in ministry.
Things to bring to the park:
- your own lawn chair, if you have one
- a potluck dish to share
- your own tableservice, to reduce our use of disposable dishes
- your pet (or stuffed animal!) for a blessing
***If you have any questions about accessibility at the park, please let us know.
For those worshiping at home, please use the regular Zoom link. If you have an animal you'd like blessed at home, please reach out to Pastor Caela so she can arrange a visit.
During this Lenten season the Deacons would like to offer our congregation a chance to center ourselves with prayer. We will be holding a 24 hour prayer vigil in our sanctuary. We will have 30 minute increments in which you can sign up for silent prayer beginning on April 8th at 6pm to continue until April 9th at 6pm.
Enjoy the quiet peace of our sanctuary and help us create a 24-hour period of prayer and reflection. A basket with materials to guide your time will be provided. You may want to read devotionals or scripture, draw or color, create music, or simply rest in God’s presence. Invite a friend to join you if you’d rather have company during your shift!
Sign up at uccmanhattan.org/sign-ups or contact the church office to reserve your space.
Can't make it to the building? You can still participate. We are hoping to have a Zoom room open for a portion of the vigil (we'll set up the computer in the sanctuary so you can log in to Zoom and focus your prayer time while viewing a live feed of our sanctuary). If this is something you're interested in, please reach out to Nell so we can coordinate the best time to open the Zoom room.
Here are some actions you can take to help keep everyone safe as we gather for worship and other activities:
This list was created at the end of December 2021. If you're reading it at a later time, things have almost certainly changed. You can also read our full COVID policies here. Thank you for loving like Jesus and doing everything you can to care for your neighbor.
The official name of the final UCC Denominational offering of the year is The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund. The Christmas Fund has been caring for active and retired clergy and lay employees of the United Church of Christ for over 100 years, providing emergency grants, supplementation of small annuities and health premiums, and Christmas “Thank You” gift checks each December to our lower-income retirees.
United Church of Christ congregations and members have blessed the Christmas Fund with their generosity for many years. This year, your care and compassion will be especially appreciated by those servants of the church who are facing a time of need. We will take the offering at our Christmas Eve Service on Dec. 24, but if you'll be out of town or otherwise occupied on Christmas Eve, you can send your offering donation to the church office. Thank you!
Donate via PayPal
Remembering the Victims of the Residential Schools: A Worship Service of Lament
Sunday, October 24th, 5:00 p.m. at the Leadership Studies Amphitheater (rain location: LS 126)
Choir safety update
We had sincerely hoped to bring the choir back to our Sunday morning worship, beginning in September, but the resurgence of the COVID pandemic, and the particular virulence of the Delta strain, has put a hold on that activity. While we seem to be doing okay with quiet congregational singing in the pews (one hymn a Sunday, alas!), the prospect of rehearsing and performing as a choral ensemble in an inside space is not yet a safe one. Our church’s COVID Task Force will re-evaluate the situation in October, and we’ll see if we can reassemble later this fall.
If we can’t sing, we can play handbells! We have a beautiful 3-octave set of Malmark Handbells that have been under-utilized for the past fifteen years or so, and now seems to be a great time to try to start a handbell choir. If you are middle-school aged or older, can read music reasonably well, and know your right hand from your left, this could be the musical opportunity you have been waiting for!! Please let Gretchen Lewis know if you’re interested, or if you think you could be interested, in learning to ring handbells. It’s lots of fun, and it’s a great opportunity for fellowship and music making. See Gretchen at church or email. Tentatively, I’m planning an organizational meeting and introductory rehearsal on September 12, after church at 12:15 up in the Conference Room.
How about percussion?
In early July, I attended the biennial Conference of UCC Musicians, which was held virtually from Hartford, Connecticut. The event began with a music reading session on Thursday evening July 8, and ended with a concert on Saturday afternoon. The first workshop I attended featured the amazing 80-something year-old Miriam Therese Winter, poet, song-writer, and member of the Medical Mission Sisters, who shared some of her songs with us. Other workshops I found stimulating included some huge puppets by Sue Aziz, an exploration of global hymnody in North American worship led by Patrick Evans, and my personal favorite, a presentation on the use of percussion ensembles in worship, led by Michelle Horsley. She offered very practical advice on starting a basic inter-generation percussion ensemble in the local church, and I’m mulling over the possibilities of beginning one here at First Congregational later in the fall. If you’re interested, talk to me, either at church or by email.
Gretchen Lewis, music coordinator