August 2010

The Tie That Binds

First Congregational United Church of Christ

Cadillac, Michigan 




Dear Friends,


It is with great joy that I write to you for the first time as your newly installed, settled pastor.


This past Sunday was a special day, a day I will never forget. Everywhere the abundant care of the congregation was evident: from the vibrant flowers within and without to the immaculate, sparkling sanctuary and beyond to the elaborately decorated communion table to the delicious home-cooked meal (much of it gluten-free to boot!) to the choir’s beautiful, sacred voices to your many smiling faces and warm embraces to the incredible welcome that was extended to my visiting family members. Up until last Sunday afternoon, it was hard for me to imagine a happier day than the one back in mid-November when you first called me to be your pastor. Knowing you as I now do after four months in this community, it is with far deeper love and understanding that I rejoice in our renewed covenant to serve God and our broken world together, side by side, as pastor and people, ministers all. I can’t thank you enough for your many generous gifts of your selves—your time, talent, money, love and spirit. Truly you are God’s beloved people. Namaste.


And so now we prepare to move forward together into the future, not knowing exactly what it means to be this particular congregation and this particular pastor at this particular moment in the history of this church. As filled with possibility as this time is, the inherent uncertainty can’t help but be at once exciting and disconcerting…or even scary. We know intellectually that times of transition and deep discernment are like that, and yet it always bears reminding when we are in the thick of it. Let us therefore be especially gentle and kind to one another and ourselves, extending abundant grace within and without as we slowly navigate our way toward a unique and sustaining vision for our shared ministry together as Christ’s Church. Let us listen carefully to discern God’s voice in our midst. Let us choose our words carefully, speaking only what we know to be truth and then only in a spirit of love. And let us draw strength and courage from Paul’s timeless words to the early Roman church: 


For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39, NRSV)


Grace, Peace, and Continued Traveling Mercies to each one of you, who are God’s beloved,

Pastor Carol




August 1              Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, 2:18-23;                            

                            Colossians 3:1-11                                                                                                  Soul Investment

August 8              Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16                                                                                                  Living into the Promise

August 15              Isaiah 5:1-7                                                                                                                Restore Us

August 22              Isaiah 58:9b-14                                                                                                  Healing Reign

August 29              Luke 14:1, 7-14                                                                                                  Open Table




Snail Mail 

Please note that all church mail should now be addressed to our new P.O. Box 892. Thank you.



We know that some of you have experienced frustration navigating the new voicemail system when calling the church. Please know that the staff continues to work with Charter on this system with the goal of creating a friendlier, simpler interface for callers. Please also note that Mailbox 1 is Pastor Carol’s and Mailbox 2 is the Church Office, which is retrieved by Rita Meech and Penny Phelps.    




Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting Postponed

To ensure that more members are in town and able to participate, the date and time of the Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting have been changed from 9 am on August 29 to just after worship on September 26. Please adjust your calendars accordingly.


Cleaning for company                                                                                                                           Penny Phelps
I’m sure there are some people whose houses are spotless all the time, but most of us need the impetus of “company coming” to take care of clutter and dust and scuff marks and chipped paint. That was certainly the case a couple of weeks ago when many hands tackled many tasks at church. [edit] trimming the shrubs and others swept and bagged the clippings. [edit] tidied the gardens. [edit] removed the screens in the sanctuary and took them outside for a hosing. [edit] polished the cross and [edit] dusted and straightened the library. [edit]

scraped and painted a pink wall in the ladies room alcove while [edit] tackled the flaking paint just outside the men’s room, filling cracks with spackle, then priming and finally painting. [edit] changed light bulbs in Fellowship Hall, [edit] dusted windowsills, and [edit] used up yards of sticky tape going over all the pew cushions. Meanwhile, [edit] were up in the tower making repairs. Lots of others pitched in, too, and when our work-bee was over, our church home was ready for company.

By the way, our intrepid “yard man” and all-around skilled worker, [edit] has painted all the window trim around the entire building. Some windows just needed a fresh coat, some were pretty weather-beaten, and some (one of the round windows on the alley) needed serious repair. Robert really helped us with our face-lift.



Free to a Good Home: Trophy/Bookcase

Please speak to Penny Phelps or Pastor Carol if you are interested in adopting a tall, glass-doored trophy/bookcase from the church. It has been living in the Minister’s Study since ground was broken on the Faith Lift.




Worship Planning Committee

The Worship Planning Committee held its second meeting on July 20. During this meeting we spent time discussing past, present, and future traditions of our church. Out of that conversation came a proposal to initiate a church Rally Day to welcome our members and friends back from summer vacations and to celebrate the kick-off of our church programming year--the return of the choir to worship and the children to Sunday school. This year’s Rally Day will occur on September 19. During Sunday worship we will formally commission choir members and Sunday school teachers to their respective ministries of music and Christian education. In addition, we will engage in a ritual to remember and share a bit of our summer vacations with one another in a meaningful way. In preparation for that ritual, please collect a little water or a small stone from a place you have visited over the summer and bring it to worship that day. (If you are bringing a stone, please make sure it’s one you’re willing to part with.) If you have already completed your summer travels or if you did not venture far from home this year, local stones, tap, or lake water are equally worthy symbols. After worship, we will continue the reunion and celebration at a potluck church picnic [edit]. Please watch for details as they unfold over the coming month! 


If you are interested in helping to shape the worship life of our church, please join our group or speak to one of us: Pastor Carol, [edit]. Please note that our meeting time has changed. Going forward, we will gather monthly on the third Friday at 8:30 am. Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, August 20




Our Mission Targets for August: Free Clinic & Shepherd’s Table           Penny Phelps

One day last week, when we were busy in the kitchen preparing for Pastor Carol’s Installation, we had to pause twice in the span of three hours to respond to the needs of people who came to the church looking for help. One couple had been evicted from their home (and found another through the Salvation Army) and had no money for gas to get their things from one place to another. Another family had to move out of their rented home because of a serious mold problem and they were struggling to find a safe place to live.

Clearly, the problems of homelessness and unemployment continue to plague this area, and two groups most deeply involved with helping those in need are the Community Free Health Clinic and the Shepherd’s Table. Health care and access to medication are critical for families living on the edge. When the money for food runs out, what a comfort it is to know that a nutritious meal is available at the Shepherd’s Table – meals are even delivered to the homebound.

Please help us reach out – through these worthwhile programs – to those in our community who are struggling.




The deadline to sign up for the October Re-Member mission trip to Pine Ridge Reservation has now passed. I am pleased to report that we will be well represented on this mission, which will be facilitated by the Reverends Keith and Ginny Titus of the United Northern Association. At last count, 8 of the 20 confirmed participants are our own FCC Cadillac family and friends! Blessings and thanks for your willingness to serve the Lakota people of Pine Ridge with your time, talent, and love.



Our UNA sister church for August is Old Mission Congregational UCC. Please lift up the congregation and its pastor, Peter Shumar, in prayer during the coming month.  




Hearing Assistance Devices

Have you seen our wayward hearing assistance devices? 6 or 7 were originally donated to the church, and currently only 3 hang in the back of the sanctuary. If any have inadvertently made their way home with you, we would be extremely grateful if you could return them, so that we can offer hearing assistance to as many folks as possible. Thank you.    

Nametags                                                                                                                                                                                       You may have noticed that there are a number of new items hanging in the back of the sanctuary beneath the hearing assistance devices. In an effort to make our warm, friendly church even more welcoming to our visitors, newer members and friends, and to those for whom recalling names can be challenging, name tags on lanyards have been created for each active member and friend of the congregation. You are encouraged to wear your name tag in worship and at coffee hour.