For lent I was trying to see things differently.  Wanting to view and teach and preach differently.  I have tried to see God from a new and fresh perspective and through the eyes of another race, culture, belief system, or way of reasoning. 
It has been pointed out the me that being able to read and comprehend Hebrew would be a great asset.  I am told for example that literal translation of original texts, as best we have them, say in the beginning the gods created the universe including the human race.  Adam is not just one man but all humans.  God did not and does not operate in a vacuum.

God is not afraid of what we will do, but fears us doing nothing.  God transforms and wants to continue to transform us and our world.  God wants goodness, peace, hope, love, uniqueness, creativity, out of the box thinkers.  God wants more aardvarks, duck billed platypuses, bioluminescence, dreamers, medicinal plants, schemers, laughers, story tellers.   God creates us all as equals with different gifts, desires, skills, energies.   God calls each of us to be reborn into our best selves—with dreams we invest our resources in to and visions we bring to realities. 
In this spring season—Jesus bursts forth from the tomb as a chick from it’s egg.   Seeds pop open and provide the beginnings of great and fruitful plants.   Once dormant things are filled with new life, vigor and vitality.   There is a new warmth, more light, renewed hope—and perhaps more work.   The time for hibernation is past and we must work with intention to prepare for the next season of darkness and cold. 
The cycle of life is vibrant, intoxicating, interactive, never ending; and does not wait for us.   There is within us all the reality of life and death, renewal and disposal, light and twilight and darkness and glare.  God calls us to be active participants in a balanced world, a relevant spirituality, a team working in harmony to enhance life and love within the created order.
So what do I now see differently?  I see much the same, but I think I know myself and folks in this congregation more deeply from the experience. 

As a covenantal body of believers, The First Congregational United Church of Christ is committed to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as revealed in both scripture and throughout life experiences; our mission is to proclaim this relationship in all activities within the local congregation and throughout the wider community; we are called to embrace the differences among us, always and we are challenged to carry God’s vision always, never limiting what God has called us to do or be.
Council Meeting Minutes
March 19, 2018
Call to order: Heidi Ball called the meeting to order at 7:02 PM.
Roll call: Rev. Linda, Todd Dibble, Steve Studenmund, Janet Dee, Donna Althar, Heidi Ball, Bobby Massie, and John Wall
Opening Prayer and Reflections: Rev. Linda opened with a prayer.
Minutes reviewed and approved from February 17, 2018 council meeting.
The motion was made by Todd to approve these minutes as written, John seconded the motion. It carried with a unanimous approval.

Treasurer Report from Todd Dibble:  We currently have $57,982.32 in our checking account.  Our giving YTD is down. We are $1086 short as of 2/28/2018. Our expenses are behind projections by 2603, so we are $1368 to the good YTD.  
Our Capital Campaign balance is currently $46,269. Approximately $24,000 of that is earmarked for the windows project that we have already contracted for.  Speaking of Capital Campaign, we have had only $505 donated to the fund so far this year (through 2/28/18).  It was noted through discussion that the Seminary Scholarship Fund ($4000) is for seminary students only, and not for the Reverend to take continuing education classes. The classes can be covered through her discretionary fund account.  John motioned to accept the financial report. Janet seconded. It was approved unanimously.

Committee and Officer Team Reports

Missions and Visitations report from Rev. Linda:
Teenie has been visiting the homes regularly. Thank you Teenie for all of your efforts! Teenie has been delivering all of our donated gifts to the schools (Blessings in Backpacks). The Blessings in Backpacks folks have told Teenie that they are currently out of funds and food in a teary visit! Next week is spring break for Marysville School. We dropped off our current food donations and the council took in $60 of donations at this meeting. This need is something that needs our churches outreach! Not just for spring break, but for the upcoming summer break.
The council also approved Rev. Linda to use some Discretionary Funds for this outreach. We are looking in to what we can do in our community to be seen as a mission church:
Facebook: posting and pictures
Newspaper: get a story done about us?
Other social media sites: local mom’s Facebook page? Member sharing? Twitter? Instagram? Other?

Christian Education:
Sadly, I must report that we are getting very little participation here. Some weeks we have had no students show.
When we do have students, Larissa has been a great help. We have plenty of materials saved currently. We just need students. CALLING ALL: nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighbors? We have room for them all! No charge.

Trustees: A status report was given for several items:  As stated previously, our $2200 deposit has been made. We are just waiting on the weather to warm up!  Our copier lease end date snuck up on us. We had to urgently approve the leasing of a new copier (Todd motioned, and Steve 2nd with unanimous approval). We are paying just a few dollars less monthly for the machine, and our we are no longer paying a “per copy” charge for color copies. So, we will be saving money over all!
With the copier situation in mind, council has decided that we need to keep a better eye on the deadlines, and give council and the trustees more time to review. Everyone agreed. The Rev. updated our Adobe software to Adobe Pro.We are getting a donation of 6 new composite tables for the activities room downstairs. We will be getting rid of all but 2 of the old pressed wood tables currently in there.  Replacing the heat in the lobby area has hit a snag. To replace it we would have to meet new building codes which require ventilation. So, with this said, we are checking the wiring (it should be ok with recent wiring update but we are confirming that) and we are looking to see if the thermostat needs replaced. In the meantime, lobby heat will be turned on Wednesdays and off after church Sundays until further notice. Todd motioned to accept the report. John seconded. It was approved unanimously.

Deacons & Sew-n-Sews/Worship Committee: These ladies are busy!There will be 6 quilts needed for grads in 2018! These have been identified as: Rachel, Mike, Peyton, Sara, Zoe, and Kira.
PLEASE BE AWARE OF ALL OF THE SIGN UPS ON THE BULLETIN BOARD IN THE ACTIVITIES ROOM!! A lot of these needs (liturgist, coffee hour, special music, et.) are going unfilled! Please, please, please consider helping. Thank you!
The congregation is still trying to adjust to the use of only 3 ushers. We are hoping to get them trained and get the congregation on board. Any questions? Please talk to anyone on the Worship Committee (Janet, Donna, Sue, MaryAnn, or Rev. Linda).

Donations for the Foodbank can be made with the envelopes found in the pews and added to the regular collection plate offering. The finance group will sort out these funds and get them to the proper place.
Worship is looking in to hymns that are easier to sing. We have had a few challenges lately.

Voice of the congregation & Wider Church:  The film “Gensilent” about sexual orientation and the elderly will be shown by the Wider Church April 14th. Please see the Reverend for information if you would like to attend. There is a Spring Meeting of the Wider Church at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank in Grove City, Ohio on May 5th. Sue Rice is to represent us, but if you have an interest in seeing what it’s all about please see the Reverend or Sue.  FYI: Dale and Faye Neill have an anniversary coming up. Please check your calendar in your bulletin for the exact date (I’m slacking and missed it). Please consider sending a note or card to the Neill’s. You can drop them in the office and Rev. Linda will make sure they get to them.

Fellowship:  Euchre on March17th was a blast! Apparently fun was had by all (especially Todd who was a big winner along with partner Caitlyn Postle.  The Easter Party is at the church on March 24th. Please attend and bring family!

Ministry Teams

Growth and Vitality:  Patricia Forrey and Leslie Smith have done an outstanding job updating and rejuvenating the church website (not to be confused with our Facebook page). It includes both a desktop and mobile website. Please go to: and check it out.  Speaking of Facebook, for those of you on this social media site, please go to our page our page FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UCC MARYSVILLE, OHIO and join our group (the page is a closed group for posting, but all can see it). Please post pictures, post, and let your Facebook Friends see how mission oriented our church community is!  While I’m asking you to join stuff, please consider joining our group on the iPhone/Android phone app called PRAY.COM. We have a group on there for just our church community. It allows you to pray in real time with your church community. Please see: Rev. Linda, Heidi Ball, Doug Derringer, Leslie Smith, or John Wall for an invitation to the group (that makes it easier to find us). It is extremely uplifting!

We are always seeking new worth stories or ideas to put in to the newsletters. Please reach out to Lois Welch in the office, or Rev. Linda with suggestions. Larissa and Mathew Smith have been appointed to be our new Media Group. They are going to interview people to post on our Facebook page and/or website. We are also looking to create some 30-60 second videos on why you love your church community to share too. More to come.  We are actively reaching out to members that we haven’t seen in a while. If you have someone in mind, there are cards in the office that you can send them. Please take a moment and let them know they are missed!

Youth Group: Heidi and Jason are looking in to an activity around earth day. They are thinking about planting some flowers or doing a trash pick-up day in the neighborhood. Then in May they are thinking about doing a Random Acts of Kindness day in the community.

Stewardship/Pledge Drive:  We are still lagging behind in pledges for 2018. Our efforts are ongoing.

Prayer Team: Prayer services will be held the first Monday of every month at 6PM. We are still actively meeting and we are also expanding by using the phone app Pray.Com  as mentioned above under Growth and Vitality.

Pastor Parish Relations:  During the Reverend’s vacation April 8th Reverend Paul Forrey (a new member to our church) will teach Sunday school and lead worship.  Reverend Linda’s goals and objectives that are set by council are due. The trustee will be reviewing and updating these as needed. Todd is taking the lead on this.

Festifair is September 8th this year. This is the biggest fundraiser every year for the church Debbie Dee will once again be handling the bake sale. We need volunteers to handle the rummage sale.

Staff Reports
Pastor’s Report (please submit newsletter and bulletin info to Lois by 8AM Wednesday’s).  We welcomed 4 new members on March 18th . Please welcome Paul Forrey and Patricia Ross, and Joanna and Caitlyn Postle!  We have another new member class coming up where we hope to welcome Lynn Vogel, Marilyn Huffman, and the Seely family. There is still time if you are interested in becoming a member too. See Rev. Linda to join our community!  Our Lenten class “From Lovers to Fools” ended March 21st. We had a very enlightening 6 weeks together. More to come on the next study group.  

Closing Prayer and Blessing: Heidi.
Adjournment:  John called for adjourning the meeting at 8:27 PM. Janet seconded.

Minutes submitted by:  John Wall
Getting to Know Vi Hill
Vi was born in the ‘old’ Champaign County Hospital just south of Urbana, on August 26, 1930. Her parents, Quentin Leroy and Opal Fay (Gifford) Watts, had two children. Vi’s brother, Edward Quentin, was 19 months old when she was born.  When Vi was just two years old, her parent’s parted ways and she lived in her grandparent’s Indian Lake cabin before moving to Bellefontaine.  At age five Vi moved into her great grandparent’s log cabin in Woodstock, and then the next year moved in with ‘Pop’, her grandfather, who she credits with raising her.  

After a few years of school in Woodstock, two years in Marysville Schools, and then back to Woodstock, her mother remarried and took her to Waco Texas to start 7th grade. After just a few months, Vi convinced her mother to put her on a bus back home to Woodstock to live with Pop.   She graduated from Woodstock High School in 1948. Through school Vi enjoyed singing - participating in chorus, the church choir, and a sextet that entertained ladies clubs. Additionally she played softball, basketball, was a basketball cheerleader, and enjoyed making posters for school events.  

It turns out that the Giffords (her mom’s family) were pioneers - being among the first from New England to settle in Woodstock. Vi also discovered that her dad’s family (Watts/Shirk) was among the first to settle in Union County. Further, Vi’s grandfather, and Leon and Rosella’s grandmother, were siblings. And Vi’s mom and Rosella’s mom were like sisters… much the same way Vi feels about her close relationship with Rosella. 

Prior to marriage, Vi worked for two photographers. Vi was married to George Morse Hill from 1949-1972. Charles Edward was born in 1950, George Patrick in 1953 (died at 1 month), Susan Eileen in 1954, and Daniel Duane in 1956. During their marriage they lived in Columbus, Woodstock, Marysville, Milford Center, and then back to Marysville where the children all completed school. Vi’s youngest son was even baptized at 1st Congregational UCC and in 1951-1952, they lived across the street from the church.

Charlie was a carpenter and he and his family lived in Florida most of his adult life. They gave Vi 3 grandsons and 9 great grandchildren. Charlie died in January 2010. Susie lives in Tempe Arizona and has a daughter, Tiffany (24), and a son, Brandon (22).  Dan (and his fiancé, Patty) lives here in Marysville and works for Memorial Hospital. 

When her children were older, Vi worked for Mercury Cleaners, where she drove delivery trucks, clerked, and later managed the business. She managed the bar and kitchen at the Elks, but after 11 years they let her go and hired a male professional. The layoff prompted Vi to take a temporary position in postal delivery and a minimum wage position as a bakery helper at Meijer’s. She quickly worked her way up to bakery manager and after years of service, retired in 1995.

Besides tracking her family history, Vi loves to travel! In addition to frequent trips over the years to Florida and Arizona, she’s also been twice each to Hawaii, the Bahamas, and California. And more recently she’s enjoyed senior excursions to Niagara Falls and New Orleans. 

Vi joined First Congregational UCC in February 2001, along side Leon and Diana Chandler.  Over the years, she’s most enjoyed helping with church dinners and the annual rummage sale.  Vi radiates joy with her beautiful smile and welcoming hugs! 

Did you know that Moses was the first one to have a tablet connected to the Cloud?!
John Wall sent: Cleaning a toothbrush. Put in a small cup of over-the-counter hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. After rinse in water. Do this as often as every two weeks to keep a healthier brush!
REMINDER:  There are nearly 300 students in the local schools that don’t have food security if not eating at school.  Please bring donations from each grocery trip.  Blessings