Live to the Point of Tears

Rev. Glen Miles, Senior Minister


Lately, I've found myself, more often than not, moved to tears. When the tears arrive, I wonder in the back of my mind if there is something new going on in my soul. 


A few weeks ago, I was caught off guard by the powerful conclusion of Otis Moss III's sermon on April 13. His sermon was filled with moving stories, powerful quotes, and challenging ideas. When he finished, my eyes filled with tears. I was ready to take on the challenges in the church universal and the USA.


The tears have come in other less dramatic places as well. Julie and I enjoyed the film The Last Full Measure, a moving story about a hero who gave his life to save the lives of men he did not know, but he knew his actions were the ones that could save them. I enjoy movies like this, but I usually don't cry at the end. Nonetheless, tears streamed down my cheeks.


These two moments were in my mind as I prepared my sermon last Wednesday. My thoughts wandered to that moment in Jesus' life when he, too, was moved to tears. The famous two-word verse, "Jesus wept," reveals the depth of his sorrow and sadness over the death of his friend Lazarus. It is a beautiful image of love and friendship, heartache and grief. 


The poet David Whyte writes, "The French philosopher Camus used to tell himself quietly to live to the point of tears, not as a call for maudlin sentimentality, but as an invitation to the deep privilege, and the way belonging affects us, shapes us and breaks our heart at a fundamental level."


He implies that living like this can be a sign of a call to courage, courage to face the world at its worst, courage to be the person we were created to be, and courage to face the unknowns.


Is the gift of tears, in your life and mine, a sign that we are being called to give ourselves to something that matters in this world? I wonder if the Spirit isn't nudging, even pushing me, pushing us to move out of our comfort zones and work here and now for justice and love. 


I used to run away from tears, and I used to be embarrassed by them. Now, instead of running away, I'm going to try, like Jesus, to let them fall. Maybe you and I can both do this because, who knows, they may be the seeds of something new being planted in our very souls.

The Gathering is Tonight

Join First Community tonight for The Gathering. Walking tacos are on the menu. Dinner begins at 5:30 pm, followed by a brief worship service at 5:45 pm in Grace Hall at First Community North.


Following the Gathering, stick around for the Bible study Holy Mischief led by Rev. Dr. Glen Miles. Watch the video above for more information about the topic.


Both children's choirs will rehearse from 6-7 pm. Midweek Missions has wrapped for the year, so the full hour will be used to rehearse for the final performance that will take place on Sunday, May 12 at 9am and 11 am at First Community North.


We hope to see you tonight - all are welcome!

May Sermon Series

Rev. Dr. Glen Miles, Senior Minister


In her latest book, Somehow, Anne Lamont writes, “Even in the darkest and most devastating times, love is nearby if you know what to look for.”


Amidst the darkness and fear, there is a beacon of hope. More than mere emotion, love is a guiding light, urging us to take action, live life fully, and seek the convergence of love and justice. It is in this space that our faith finds its true expression.


In this transformative sermon series, we will delve into sacred scripture, draw wisdom from contemporary voices, and be guided by the profound insights of Anne Lamott. Together, we will explore ways to navigate these extraordinary times, finding solace and inspiration in the collective wisdom of these sources.

This week in Sunday school


• The K/1 classroom at North, and the K/5 classroom at South will continue to learn about Jesus’ important teachings, The Beatitudes. This week the classes will talk about the statement: Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Another way of saying this is, God blesses those who use peaceful means to work toward justice, because only justice can bring wholeness and peace to all.


• The 2nd/3rd grade Godly Play classroom at North will hear the story, Jesus, and Zacchaeus. As Jesus traveled through Jericho, the people came out to see him, including the chief tax collector, Zacchaeus. I wonder how Jesus’ kindness helped Zacchaeus change his actions.


• The 4th/5th grade class will discuss one of Jesus’ miracles and the power of the words he used. We will consider the ways our words have the power to express how we see ourselves and others.

Dick Wing, Senior Minister Emeritus

The Reverend Dr. Richard A. Wing was awarded Senior Minister Emeritus this past Sunday. If you missed the service or want to watch again, look for a special First Edition airing on Sunday, May 5, at 8 am on First Community's website and Facebook page. Please note that this broadcast will begin at 8 am rather than the usual 8:30 am to accommodate many of the service elements.

Governing Board Update

by April Howe, Governing Board Chair


Hello, Fellow First Community Members,


I'm sure many of you are like me and are looking forward to the warmer weather we will have coming up next week. I'm ready to be done with these chilly Spring temperatures in Columbus, OH! I hope you can get outside and enjoy the sunshine and warmer temperatures soon. I'm choosing to be filled with gratitude for the blessings and all the wonderful opportunities at First Community to gather and worship. 


On Saturday, April 20, I attended the Women's Guild annual spring luncheon at FC North. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with lively conversations, longtime friendships, and some new faces. We were entertained by humorist, musician, and inspirational speaker Mary Miller. She combines comedy, music, and an inspirational message about overcoming life's challenges. I'm honored to be a founding member of WG Group A. We've been meeting since the late 90s; these women were my first friends at the church! Please email me if you'd like to learn more about the Women's Guild.  


Now, down to business. The Governing Board met on April 24. We began our meeting with a lovely, heartfelt devotion and treat from Board Member Rebecca Wolfe. She honored her late husband's memory by sharing his love of ice cream and encouraged us to go for the biggest scoop or bowl! Our agenda consisted of committee updates from Finance and Personnel. I'll briefly summarize that the 1st quarter financials were reviewed, and all ministry areas and departments are doing a great job managing their budgets. The personnel report focused on the committee's review of the staff handbook to recommend language and best practices updates. Other reports submitted were Operations, highlighting recent staff leadership and professional development training. And the Senior Minister's report included goal updates. A highlight is that worship attendance has increased over last year and is moving toward pre-COVID levels! The "work" of the Board this evening was our discussion and refinement of our 2024 goals. The theme of which centers around communication and generosity. 


My focus this month is ~ how I am giving/showing thanks and appreciation to those around me. I'm interested to know who you're thankful for. Feel free to send me an email! 


Peace & Blessings,

April Howe

First Community Foundation

Seth Stearns, Director of First Community Foundation


The Foundation has been busy awarding grants that support many of the ministries and programs of First Community Church. Here are some of the recently awarded grants: 

Worship Technology IT Replacements 


  • Fund #54119 – Nelson and Emmy French Media Support Fund (Donor Advised Fund established 1996) 


  • Fund #54122 – Polly and Frank Kennard Charitable Fund (Donor Advised Fund established 2008) 

Craft Cabin Renovation at Camp Akita

  • Fund #54455 – Richard and Mary Farr Memorial Fund (Established 2023)

Akita Vehicle  

  • Fund # 51113 – Beatrice P. Shepard Memorial Endowment (Established 1972)
  • Fund # 53011 – Rand, Beth, Paul, John Endowment Fund (Established 1987)

You can participate in the vital work of the First Community Foundation and the support of the ministries of First Community by creating a fund, donating to an established fund, or remembering the Foundation in your estate planning, will, obituary, and 401(k) benefits. Planned giving is a wonderful way to support those ministries of First Community that you feel most passionate about for decades to come. Not only are your planned gifts vitally important in support of the ministries of First Community, but there may also be tax incentives available to you now and to your loved ones in the disposition of your estate.  

 

First Community Foundation was established in 1961 to support the future of First Community Church's programs and ministries. The Foundation is supported by immediate and planned gifts from those focusing on the future of First Community and leaving a family legacy. The Foundation assures donors that their legacy gift wishes will be honored and benefit the church.  

 

The impact areas supported by the First Community Foundation include:  

 

  • Camp Akita  
  • Facilities, landscape, and maintenance  
  • First Community Village  
  • Missions  
  • Worship & Arts  
  • Youth Programs  

 

Please contact Seth Stearns, Director of First Community Foundation, to explore your planned giving options. You can reach Seth by email at sstearns@FCchurch.com or (614) 488-0681.  

Mini Garage Sale

Sign-up to Volunteer

Welcome New Members

First Community received 13 new members into the congregation

on Sunday, April 7. 

Chris Day

Edward Howse

Carol Kauffman

Trudy Krisher

Madison Leibrock and Seth Miller-Emmelhainz

Lynn Temple

Not pictured: Linda Cannon, Mary Elizabeth, Jesse Lee, Lori Porschart, Melissa Will, Benjamin Zias 

Coffee With Glen

Email Kristy Glaser

Gluten Free Communion

“Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:17


First Community is always searching for ways to be more welcoming and inclusive around every corner. We use grape juice instead of wine so that ALL people can partake, like children, folks in recovery, and those who don’t drink. We are now using all gluten-free bread for Communion so that our friends with gluten sensitivities can partake in the same loaf, just as the Apostle Paul said! 


Each time we come to the table it is a vision of God’s Kingdom where all are seated together as one body, one church, one people. 


Come, for the table is ready, and ALL are welcome! Hallelujah!

Camp Akita News

Volunteers needed for Camp Akita

check-ins and returns this summer! 


Volunteer dates are available between May 28 – August 8 at First Community North. Specific dates and times are included on the sign-up link below. Each shift is approximately 1 - 1½ hours of volunteer time, with opportunities both inside and outside. 


Be a part of a fun and meaningful First Community summer ministry! Your time is very much appreciated! To sign-up to volunteer at one or more Camp Akita check-ins or returns, click HERE.  


For questions, please email Info@CampAkita.org or call (614) 488-0681 ext. 113. 

Did you know that Camp Akita has a library? We do—and it needs your help!  

Many of our books are worn, missing pages, or not current for today's camper. Camp Akita campers can choose to read books in the Craft Cabin in the afternoon, at bedtime to help settle for sleep, and Counselors read books to campers in the evening. Help us improve our library! 


For more information on how to help, including what type of books are needed and how to donate, please click here

 

For questions, please email the Camp Akita Columbus offices or call (614) 488-0681 ext. 113. 

More Information and Registration
More Information and Registration
Missions Updates

Click below to read the On a Mission! monthly news. In this month’s news you can find more information about:

  • In the Heart to Heart update this month, we explore the importance of programs supporting families with infants. We will hold a diaper drive outside worship spaces on Mother’s Day, May 12.
  • Our Refugee Ministry seeks volunteers to support the resettlement of new families this summer. They are also looking for donations: washer, dryer, cars and a lawnmower.
  • The Trading Post will be open Saturday, May 4 during Grandview’s Great Garage Sale and Monday, May 27 on Memorial Day.
  • The Monday Night Meals ministry team seeks additional volunteers on the second and fourth Mondays of the month.
  • The Share and Learn Garden volunteer group has started garden prep for this year’s produce grown for Heart to Heart food pantry. Read updates from the team.
  • Also included: quick update on grants awarded so far this year and information on the summertime meeting location change.
Click Here to Read On A Mission! Newsletter

Back Bay Mission

by Rick Greene, Mission Finance Team Member


As a United Church of Christ ministry, the Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Mississippi, draws on a national network of support. It brings a network to bear on poverty and marginalization on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Through the UCC, it draws on supporters who are invested in serving the area's people. Christian values are the basis for a loving, respectful approach to serving the poor and marginalized.


The Mission began in the 1920s and has been active in the community continuously since then. In 1962, it began hosting integrated activities. 1963 Mission staff and volunteers were arrested at the final wade-in on Biloxi's beaches. In 1963, the Mission hosted the Annual Ministerial Banquet of the Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP and was subjected to attacks for several months afterwards, including a cross burned at the Mission.


The Back Bay Mission has a simple mission:

  • strengthens neighborhoods through ministries like education and empowerment programs and housing rehabilitation programs;
  • seeks justice by helping the people they serve become more involved in their communities, educating people about the realities of poverty, and advocating on behalf of marginalized people in the community
  • transforms lives, whether they're helping a homeowner keep their home, mentoring a single mother as she plans her path out of poverty, or working with an intern who is thinking about a career in social work, it's making the lives of the people the Mission serves better.


The Mission's statement of belief captures how these values inform its services. It believes that all people, regardless of how they come to Back Bay Mission, are first and foremost the children of a loving God and, as such, they have a religious, moral, and social obligation to help the people who come to it to the best of their ability; that all people make sensible decisions given the circumstances they face and the resources that they have; that poverty is best understood as a lack of access to the things a person needs to be treated as a full member of society; and that the best course for helping people out of poverty is a three-tiered approach, involving assisting people to meet their immediate needs, intensive case management to help them meet new challenges, and peer support networks so that people can receive guidance from others who have faced similar challenges.


The Mission offers a variety of ministries that provide education and empowerment, emergency assistance, housing rehabilitation, mission trips and internships, and supportive housing. In addition, the Mission's Micah Day Center provides a safe and hospitable place for homeless residents to gather. The Mission offers homeless outreach services for people who cannot make it to the Micah Day Center. This Center is unlike homeless shelters. It is not an overnight shelter but a community resource facility with a day center for homeless individuals and families equipped with showers, laundry services, mailboxes, computer and telephone access, and other essential services. It is a center where people may find respite from the outdoors and attend to personal hygiene while connecting with vital, mainstream social services, all under one roof.


Information about the Mission's expenses, income, and client data are available at its 2022 Annual Report.


First Community Church has had a close relationship with the Back Bay Mission for over 30 years, often sending small groups to work there. Members of this congregation, including members of the Board of Directors, have usually supported this mission. The church has also sponsored Shrimp Boils for several years, raising needed funds for its operations. Members and friends of First Community have also participated in mission trips to Biloxi and contributed donations to the organization. To find more information about ways to help Back Bay's mission to the community, please see thebackbaymission.org


If you want more information about First Community Church and its other Mission programs or want to join the Mission Teams, please email us at mission@FCchurch.com.

Birthday Bags for Heart to Heart Clients

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the Midweek Mission’s Birthday bag project. Because of the generosity of our congregation, the kids put together 87 gift bags containing cake mix, frosting, candles and a disposable cake pan. The Birthday Bags were delivered to Heart to Heart food pantry where they will be offered to clients who have an upcoming birthday in their family.  

If you are looking for an opportunity to experience inspiration, motivation, and a sense of progress, consider joining a First Community Church community justice event. We gather with friends from our church to work and celebrate with members of area churches who share our commitment to reducing violence, hunger, inequity and harm to our beloved planet. The community justice team is an opportunity to practice supporting the dignity of our planet as well as our neighbors and friends.  


Recently, that has included activities like the following:  


  • We've worked with our friends at Family Missionary Baptist Church and Southside Family Farms to support their CSA model as they cultivate their community gardens, increasing the presence of fresh food available in Columbus-area food deserts.  
  • We've marched with our friends at Ministries 4 Movement to bring awareness to reducing violence and increasing support for people impacted by grief and crisis.   
  • We discussed the justice themes from our weekend with Rev. Dr. Otis Moss, III and his book Dancing in the Darkness: Spiritual Lessons for Thriving in Turbulent Times.  
  • We were invited to join a big river clean-up at Confluence Park to care for our planet and celebrate Earth Day.  
  • We partnered with our friends from 4 area churches to host a racial equity health fair - expanding awareness and access to wellness services in diverse communities in Columbus.  


We look forward to more chances to learn and practice love and justice in our community. If you would like to participate in these activities and meet new friends who are doing this work, please feel free to email Kristyn Anderson at kanderson@FCchurch.com or join our monthly meeting on May 20, 2024, at 7 pm in Grace Hall (First Community Church, North). 

Bible 101

What is the Bible? Why do we say we take it seriously, not literally? It’s true-- This 2600-year-old collection of stories, poetry, and letters is full of wisdom and teachings that have a whole lot to do with you and me in the 21st century! We just need to know how to read it and engage with it—both are meant to be done together in community! Join Rev. Mary Kate Buchanan and Judy Westman for Bible 101, Sunday mornings at 9-9:45 am before worship in Burkhart Chapel. Bring your own Bible or download the free BibleGateway app to your phone and select the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition (NRSVUE) as your default Bible. 


Advance registration is requested. Please email or call Jane Torbica jtorbica@FCchurch.com, (614) 488-0681, Ext. 235

Sally Beske Remembered

First Community and the women of Guild Group E lost an extraordinary woman this past year, Sally Beske. For nearly 25 years, Sally was the Director of Youth Choirs, enhancing our young people's faith in God and love of music as she enthusiastically shared her many talents with them. In celebration of Christmas each year, Sally wrote and produced a children's musical to the delight of the entire congregation. She was also the Associate Organist, thrilling with her musical proficiency and love of music, apparent in her radiant and wistful smile as she played. Her loving kindness, patient demeanor, positive outlook, creativity, immense talent, and steadfast faith inspired all who knew her!   

The Women's Guild, deeply moved by Sally Beske's years of sharing her extraordinary musical gifts with us at First Community, was eager to pay tribute to her. After much consideration, Lori Walls, the new Director of Youth Choirs, was approached. In a testament to the community's gratitude, the Women's Guild contributed nearly $3,000 to purchase a Smartboard, a cutting-edge teaching tool that will further enrich the youth music program . Lori, as a special guest, was invited to the luncheon to introduce and explain the functions of the Smartboard. She also accepted a plaque from Women's Guild Chair, Mary Ann Claydon, in honor of Sally's significant contributions to the musical life at First Community. While Sally's departure is a great loss, we are delighted to welcome Lori into the First Community family.

Mary Evans Child Development Center and First Community Preschool Now Enrolling

Email Leigh Anne Easterling
Email Alayna Pierce

Women's Spring Luncheon

On Saturday, April 20, 2024, approximately 65 women gathered in Grace Hall for the Women's Spring Luncheon sponsored by the Women's Guild of First Community.  


Our special guest was Mary Miller, a humorist and singer from Utica, Ohio, who entertained the assembly with funny stories, jokes, and songs. Music is clearly her heart and soul, believing that music speaks to each of us in special ways. Ms. Miller frequently performs for the residents at dementia and memory care units throughout the area. She shared instances of music's often miraculous impact on the residents, illustrating how music can bring us all awake and alive to the moment. Her strong faith leads her to look for the positive every day and celebrate the small blessings right in front of her (and all of us!). To conclude her presentation, she led the group in a rousing rendition of "This Little Light of Mine."


This year's luncheon was planned and implemented by Merci Katz and Guild Group D. Kie Seipel created colorful flower centerpieces for the occasion, providing a bright and joyful atmosphere.  As the women entered Grace Hall, they were treated to a tantalizing charcuterie board provided once again by Martha Livingston. This offering is fast becoming a special feature of the annual event. Louise Kutz took the lovely pictures of the event. Mary Kate Buchanan offered an opening prayer, and the delicious buffet, catered by Paul's on Fifth, was followed by delicious desserts from Metro Cuisine. To all those unnamed people who helped make this an enjoyable experience, we say, "Thank you!"

Wednesday Morning Fellowship Group

Elder Wisdom

Memorial Day Parade

Sign up to March

Witness Tree Ceremonies

Remember and Honor


Every day, veterans and active-duty military die from circumstances that result directly from their military service. Twenty-two warriors die daily from suicide alone. Combat, Agent Orange, burn pits, post-traumatic stress, and training incidents cause many more deaths.


To recognize Memorial Day this year, the Veterans at First Community Church will sponsor a Witness Tree Ceremony. This ceremony allows us to take a few moments and reflect on all the service members who have perished as a result of their military service. In doing so, we are honoring the service members and recognizing the loss and sacrifices that their families and loved ones have made.


The ceremony will include hanging 22 military-style identification (dog) tags on a tree in the Prayer Garden at First Community Church (South), 1320 Cambridge Blvd. People will be given the opportunity to recognize their loved ones by speaking of them and/or writing a name on one of the tags. There will be a time for prayer and time to bond. Taps will be played at the end of each ceremony.


The ceremony is open to all and will begin on Tuesday, May 21, and continue through Memorial Day (May 27). The Witness Tree Ceremony will be at 6 pm each evening from May 21 through May 26. On Memorial Day (Monday, May 27), the service will be at 9 am, with refreshments following.

Questions? Email Graham Webb

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