First Things First

A weekly eNewsletter from

The First Church in Oberlin, United Church of Christ

An open and affirming, Just Peace, Green Justice, Global Mission Congregation

No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!

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Worship Resources

Sunday, February 18th, @ 10am

First Church - Live Stream Worship via Facebook

Thank you for your donations.

Sunday's Hymns

NCH 211: Lord Jesus, Who through Forty Days

NCH 170: Your Ways Are Not Our Ways

Sunday's Hymns

Sunday's Lessons:

Romans 12:14-21

Sunday's Order of Worship

Click the button below to follow along with the plan of Sunday's service.

Order of Worship

Sermon Poetry

In my sermon on Sunday, February 11, I included three poems. Recognizing that often it takes multiple hearings/readings to take in a poem, I have included these poems for your further reflection.

Grace and Peace, David


Announcements and Events For.....

First Church, Its Mission, and Its Ministry

Report of the Visioning Task Group

Congregational Meeting, February 11, 2024

At the Congregational Meeting in January, 2023, in light of long-standing budget issues, First Church members committed to a process to determine a vision for the future of the Church. This task was undertaken by the Visioning Task Group, chaired by Anne Conway. Members of the group were Moderator Anne Sprague, Ruth Ann Clark, Bob Longsworth, John Gates and Jim Heron, with valuable input from David Hill and Jen Bertoni. Small group sessions were held in the summer and fall, and the group compiled a report, which was presented at an Adult Education session in October. 

The first result of this work is a new vision statement, designed to be short, memorable, and meaningful. The statement, as crafted by the Task Group and amended by Executive Council, reads as follows:

As followers of Jesus, we aspire to minister to one another, our community and the world.

The choice of wording is important. We are followers of Jesus, not followers of creeds and rules, not bound by traditional forms and practices, but led by love. We aspire. We know we’re not always right, but we are, as John Wesley said, moving on to perfection. We aspire to minister, to act, to practice what we preach. We aspire to care for one another in times of joy and sorrow, to serve our community, and to care for God’s creation.

Some of you may be thinking, “you did all this work, and the result is one sentence?” But it’s a sentence that can be used to measure any project or program we may consider. It helps us answer the question “why?”. It tells people who we are and what we seek to do. It has already led to discussion in the Executive council about how we might put it into practice, such as using our terrace and front yard as community gathering places. It will help us discern how to use our resources wisely to ensure the Church’s future. 

It's also important what it does not say. It doesn’t say we aspire to balance the budget, increase our investments, grow our membership, or increase our giving. These things are the “what” and “how”, and that work is yet to be done.

Our First Church community is strong, resilient, and beloved. It’s also full of ideas. The Task Group members trust that together we can chart a course for the next century of ministry.

Kairos Kolumn

from the First Church Green Team

Seeds for change?

No, the First Church Green Team is not offering seeds for your pocket change. At least not yet. But we do hope to provide seeds that can germinate and grow. The season to plant is now!

And speaking of seeds … You can reuse plastic milk jugs and other plastic containers for plant seeds that need cold stratification - https://savvygardening.com/winter-sowing/

Did you know …

that UCC ministers coined the phrase “environmental racism” and played a leading role in giving birth to the environmental justice movement in the 1980s.

During a six-week campaign of civil disobedience in 1982, a movement was born that made national headlines and introduced the world to the issue of environmental racism. Learn more about this inspiring movement in which the UCC became the driving organizational force.

Thank you for your generosity!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our Super Bowl Sunday collection. Because of your generosity, we were able to contribute $678.25 to the feeding ministries of OCS and Christ Church. Thanks to Claire and Patrick for wrangling the pots!

Thanks for supporting our youth!

Thank you to all who attended the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper! A wonderful time was had, and we collected $225 for camp scholarships for our youth. Thanks especially to the youth and their parents, who handled set-up and clean-up, and flipped pancakes for our attendees! 

Happy Birthday, Everybody!

Everybody’s Birthday Lunch is on Feb 25th after worship. Join us that Sunday for a potluck and birthday celebration. If your last name begins with A-M please bring a salad or side dish. If your last name begins with N-Z, please bring a main dish. Won’t be able to bring a dish? DO come anyway!

We also need people to “adopt a month” for this birthday celebration. Sign up to make a cake or other dessert and decorate for one of the months. Look for the colorful sheet provided on the big bulletin board on the way to the Fellowship Hall to sign up!

If you have questions, please direct them to Miranda in the office or to Alana Kelley (440) 935-2394.

Join us for Mid-day Meditation!

Need a little peace in the middle of your day? Join us for a mid-day meditation break, from 12:30-1:00 pm Mondays-Thursdays in Room 3 in the James Brand House. We invite you to join Jen for this ancient spiritual practice, and offer yourself some calm and compassion in the midst of your daily stresses! 

Another Day Older

Today is the youngest you will ever be. And on this day, you are older than you were yesterday. 

Regardless of chronological age, we are all aging. This idea of counting the number of days, months or years we have lived is a human construct. So are the attitudes we hold about the number of candles that sit on our birthday cake. 

So, why is it that so many of us tend to want to change that number when someone asks how old we are? And why are there so many products available to help us reduce the evidence of our age? 

These are some of the questions we will consider through Another Day Older conversations. We will consider our own aging process and the messages that influence our attitudes about aging. And we will look at ageism, the prejudice or discrimination on the grounds of how old someone is or is perceived to be by another. Ageism has negative consequences on individuals and society in general. Through these conversations, we will examine why recognizing ageism is important and discuss what to do to disrupt it. We internalize these views of aging from a young age and hold on to them far too long, so it is never too early or too late to join the conversation. 

Participate in the four conversations with Another Day Older on Wednesdays during Lent - and be prepared to celebrate the fact that, today, we are all another day older!  

We will meet from 5:45-7:00 pm on Wednesday, February 21 and 28, and March 6 & 13. We ask that you sign up by emailing Jen Bertoni at faith@firstchurchoberlin.org, so that we can make sure we have enough materials available for everyone. 

2024 Lent Devotional: Bend

We Are Bent, Not Destroyed

Jesus modeled flexibility: hardship and persecution bent but didn't break him. Change and challenge strengthened his ministry. Impossible situations yielded to healing and release.

How many of us could benefit – not from a hard yank but from a stretchy bend, not from stiffness but from resilience?

Bending can be scary, of course. Responding to pressure with flexibility can be counterintuitive. Who knows what our limits are? Who knows if we might crack and break?

But bending can be a source of strength: Trees bend in the wind. Bows bend in order to release their arrows. The river bends around the mountain.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;

we are perplexed, but not despairing;

we are bent, but not destroyed.

(2 Corinthians 4:8-10, adapted)

Take time in the Lent 2024 season to bend low and be renewed. From the Stillspeaking Writers' Group, the devotional Bend provides daily readings, reflections, and prayers for the Lenten season: Ash Wednesday (Feb 14) to Easter Sunday (March 31).

We have several FREE copies of this book on the Welcome Table. Donations are welcomed, but not required. For those that don't get a hard copy of the book, you are also able to purchase a PDF for $3.00 and/or hardcopy version of the book for $5.00 using the link here. If purchasing the PDF version, please purchase one PDF per reader. Upon purchase, a link will be emailed to you for downloading the PDF.

Any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to the office at office@firstchurchoberlin.org or (440)775-1711.

Do You Enjoy Singing?

We are looking for people who enjoy singing to join the Finney Choir. We meet Thursdays 6:45-8PM, and at 9AM on Sundays before the service. You don’t need to have a lot of experience or read music - there are many friendly people in the choir to help you out! If you just want to come for part of the year, like preparing for Advent or Easter, you’re very welcome to. You can write Tom at musicdirector@firstchurchoberlin.org if you have any questions.

The Wider Church


Information About Summer Camp 2024!

The Wider Community

Can you help?

We've had so many clients with babies and toddlers come through recently asking for help with diapers. Our supply is EXTREMELY limited — at the moment, we only have sizes 2 and 3. If you have the means and are looking for a way to help people struggling to keep up with the soaring costs of parenting, this is a great way. We desperately need diapers sizes 4, 5, 6, and pull-ups of all sizes. Thank you so much!

Genesis House

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Additional Links & Information
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ORSL Newsletter
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United Church of Christ
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Streams of Connection Newsletter: stay connected with the Living Water Association!
Living Water Association

If you are searching for ways to become more fully engaged in the life of the church, please contact Rev. David T. Hill by calling the church office at (440) 775-1711 or by sending an email to the church office.
First Church Anti-Racism Resources
Anti-Racism Statement
Submission information:
Deadline for articles and information is Wednesday at 10 AM.
For entire list of submission requirements, click here. Thank you.
Email information to: office@firstchurchoberlin.org

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