On Sunday October 14th we welcomed Rev. Wendy VanderHart to the pulpit.  Wendy is an Associate Conference Minister for the MA Conference of the United Church of Christ.  A significant part of her responsibilities include assisting churches in transition.  FCCR is entering such a period with Rev. Lisa Stedman's upcoming departure in November.  Lisa will be moving on to new opportunities for ministry, and the congregation will be engaging an interim pastor to work with it to discern ways to move forward. 
Wendy's opening question was this:  "WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE BRAVE?"  She recounted the ways in which First Congregational Church of Reading has been brave throughout the years of its existence.  And she invited us to pray for a way to be "all in" - to pray for boldness, because this day, in this country and in this world, lives are literally at stake. 
Lisa's last Sunday with us will be November 18th.  We are grateful for our 9 years together, and for the many ministries we have shared.
October Mission Collection:  We are pleased to be collecting school kits this month for Church World Service  These kits will be distributed to children whose lives have been adversely impacted by weather (think southern US and Indonesia), poverty or war (think too many places).  You can buy one or more items, or a complete kit for $15 - or even less!  We would love to have most of our collection in by Sunday, October 21st, although will be happy to receive thru the 28th.  The list includes these items:  One pair of blunt scissors removed from the package (rounded tip, only); Three 70-count bound notebooks or notebooks totaling 200-210 pages (no loose-leaf or filler paper); One 12” ruler; One hand-held pencil sharpener removed from the package; One large eraser (no pencil cap erasers); Six new, un-sharpened pencils with erasers, removed from the package; One box of 24 crayons (only 24). Thank you!
The Olde Redding Faire was a great success!  Thanks to all who participated in any way - as table chair, sorter, helper, mover, deliverer, shopper, baker, crafter...  We had a great time and raised money for church missions and ministries as well as for our non-profit partners.  After the Faire more non-profits benefited as we shared excess items with them.  Thank you again!
Wondering about who we are?
First Congregational Church of Reading, United Church of Christ has had a long and faithful presence in this community. As the world and our society change, the church is also changing.   Many people aren’t aware that there is a church like ours, which is both Christian and progressive – or even what some would call “socially liberal.”  We believe that all people are created and loved by God just as they are, so have declared our church “open and affirming”, meaning we “embrace people of all races, ethnicities and ages; mental, emotional and physical abilities; gender identities and sexual orientation; economic and social standings, and family and religious traditions.” And we back that up with our actions.  We are a church rooted in welcome, a deep sense of community, and a passion for justice.

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