Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Message from Pastor Bob Loffer

Dear Friends:

The entire New Testament was written post-Resurrection. The Christian Church came into being post-Resurrection. Our Christian Scripture stories and our experience as a Church are all impacted by the fact that we know the “rest of the story”, as Paul Harvey would say.

Our commemoration of Palm Sunday and the events of Holy Week, while calling us to remember the celebration of Palm Sunday, the anguish of Maundy Thursday, and the despair of Good Friday, are colored by our knowledge of God raising Christ from the dead. We live on the Easter side of the grave. We know that the darkness of betrayal and death lead to the light of new life.

Robert Lewis Stevenson, the Scottish novelist and poet, was fascinated as a young boy, by the village lamplighter. The lamplighter would, each evening toward dusk, carry his ladder and torch through the village. He would stop at each lamp-pole, climb this ladder and light the lamps setting them ablaze for the night.

One evening in Edinburgh, Scotland, as young Robert stood watching the lamplighter with childish fascination, his parents heard him exclaim, “Look! Look! There’s a man out there punching holes in the darkness!”

The ministry and mission of each of us and of the church is to “punch holes in the darkness.” The darkness of prejudice, hatred, racism, sexism, and failing to forgive others as well as ourselves for past failures are but a few places in which we can shed light. May God guide our personal and corporate mission and ministry as we do all we can to punch some holes in the darkness of our world.

Peace and Good Cheer,

Pastor Bob

Easter Week at Faith United Church of Christ

Easter Week is quickly approaching.  Faith United Church of Christ welcomes everyone to come celebrate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and resurrection.

Maundy Thursday Worship Service
On April 21 at 7 pm Rev. Bob Loffer will hold a Maundy Thursday Worship Service Faith UCC. It will be a service of readings, liturgy, hymns and communion.

Good Friday Meditation
On Friday, April 22, Faith UCC will be open for silent mediation. Rev. Bob Loffer will provide printed materials to facilitate your own personal silent meditation.

Easter Sunday Flowers, Breakfast & Worship
All are invited to bring spring flowers (either cut or potted) to decorate the altar for our Easter celebration. Please bring these to the church by 10 am, Saturday, April 23.

Easter Sunday will begin with a finger food breakfast at 8:45 am. Please join us for a time of fellowship and celebration. Worship will be lead by Rev. Bob Loffer at 9:30 am.

April 10th -- All Church Meeting

A people of God known as Faith United Church of Christ is invited to gather, following Sunday worship, April 10, 2011, for a time of conversation. Much has occurred within our faith community within the past weeks. We need to hear together what has happened and some of the steps that are in progress for our future.

Our shared ministry will lead worship. Our interim minister, Bob Loffer, will be with us. Let’s talk and share, listen and ask questions, contemplate and learn together. Let us share our hurts and disappointments; celebrate our achievements and rejoice in our ministry.

This time together will be one of many opportunities we will have for ongoing sharing and discussion about our mission and ministry together. Please plan to be with us and help Faith United Church of Christ discern God’s call for the future.

Faith UCC Activities in April 2011

April 2011 is a busy month at Faith United Church of Christ.  Check out these upcoming activities.  You don't want to get left out:

Sunday, April 3rd:      
9:30 AM Worship (OGHS Offering) with Rev. Loffer
10:45 AM Adult Education

Sunday, April 10th:    
9:30 AM Shared Ministry Worship
All Church Meeting Following Worship
3:00 PM Eastern Iowa Association Meeting in Bennett, IA

Monday, April 11th:
7:00 PM Workshop with Rev. Jonna Jensen, Associate Minister for the UCC Iowa Conference

Tuesday, April 12th
6:30 PM Church Council

Sunday, April 17th:    
9:00 AM  Worship with Rev. Loffer
10:45 AM Adult Education

Thursday, April 21st:
7:00 PM Maundy Thursday Worship Services

Friday, April 22nd:   
Good Friday Meditation

Saturday, April 23rd:  
Holy Saturday -- Bring Flowers for the Sanctuary

Sunday, April 24th:    
9:30 AM Easter Sunday Worship with Rev. Loffer
10:45 AM Adult Education

Tuesday, April 26th:   
6:00 PM Worship Committee

One Great Hour of Sharing

Dear Friends,

Deciding to share is tough sometimes, especially when we feel we barely have enough to get by ourselves. But compared to people whose lives have been ravaged by disaster, or who live on less than $1 a day, we have a great abundance.

This Sunday, April 3, 2011, we are invited to help people in need around the world and in communities impacted by disasters in the United States through the One Great Hour of Sharing® (OGHS) offering. As the church, we are called to help one another, even through the sharing of our own resources.

Giving changes so many things, for the receiver and the giver. Can you imagine the joy on a mother’s face, who because of your gift, can send her children to school or provide them with a meal before bed?  OGHS supports many initiatives that help women start their own businesses or learn a wage-earning skill.

By sharing our resources, combined with offerings from thousands of other congregations in eight denominations across the United States, we:
  • build homes, schools, medical clinics, and clean water and sewage facilities in villages devastated by earthquakes, floods, and poverty
  • bring safety, shelter, and food to refugees after often violent circumstances have made their hometowns uninhabitable
  • nurture stronger futures and self sufficiency through health care, education, job training, and tools for livelihoods.
We are blessed that God is able to provide when and where help is needed through us. (2 Corinthians 9:8-15) 

When you make your gift, please give generously.

One Great Hour of Sharing:  sharing resources, changing lives, bringing joy!

Peace and Good Cheer,

Rev. Bob Loffer, Interim Minister Faith United Church of Christ

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Faith UCC Welcomes Rev. Bob Loffer as our New Interim Pastor!

Members and Friends of Faith:

The Church Council of Faith UCC has voted to extend a call to Rev. Bob Loffer as Interim Pastor.   Rev. Loffer will begin an interim period with Faith UCC effective March 15, 2011.  In doing so, the Council discussed the interim process with Bob as he envisions it. The following is Bob’s intentional statement of our shared expectations of the interim process we will explore together at Faith.

David Gebhard
President Faith Council


The first segment of this interim period will provide a time for the members of Faith UCC to share their church stories of the past.  This will be time of closure regarding the loss of our pastor, the process we experienced with that departure.  We will also use this period of time to share as honestly and openly as possible how the issues that divide us have made us feel.  As we gain some perspective on our past, clear up misunderstandings, apologize to one another for the hurts we have caused and experienced, we will greatly enhance the success we can have in examining our future mission and ministry as a community of faith.

The second segment of the interim process will provide time for a number of other tasks.  Basically those tasks include:

Discovering a New Identity
Allowing Changes in Lay Leadership
Reaffirming our connections with the United Church of Christ and our local community
Committing ourselves to new directions in ministry

The first segment will include time for Rev. Loffer to hear the stories of our members and for us to gather in a series of Congregational Conversations beginning with one on Sunday, April 10, following worship.  Those conversations, both private and in groups, will continue through the spring, summer and early fall.  We will be best prepared to make better decisions about our ministry and mission once we have the stories of our past better understood.

The second segment of the interim time might well begin with Advent 2011.  Prior to beginning the second segment both Rev. Loffer and Faith UCC would review the prospect of Rev. Loffer continuing with us into this interim segment or whether a new interim should be called.

Please keep Faith UCC in your prayers as this interim period begins.  Rev. Loffer can be reached at the church office on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  His cell phone number is 319-721-0691.  Please leave a message if he does not answer and he will return your call as soon as he is able.  His e-mail address is revbob(at)mediacombb(dot)net.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Christian, Jews, & Muslims: What Similarites Do They Share?

Faith UCC junior member D'Angelo Holbrook worked on the following project during Sunday School this past fall and later shared it with the congregation during the "Time with the Youth" portion of Sunday worship.  During that Sunday School session, they looked at Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and examined some basic differences and similarities.

D'Angelo was asked to share with his Faith UCC family what he learned and he presented us with the following:

He learned that all three religions worship one God. All three consider Jerusalem to be very special and all three religions think that Abraham is a very good and wise man. And all three religions possess holy books and use important symbols.

D' did a good job of clearly presenting his information to the congregation and he was well-received. Obviously, there are many more differences the further separate the three religions, but he did an excellent job communicating the basic elements of the three.

FAITH UNITED CHURCH  OF CHRIST 1609 DeForest Avenue Iowa City, Iowa Why not join us for any or all these events?   Fa...