President's Message
               Winter, 2017  
                                                                
                                                         by JoAnne Riggs  
 
 
Hello from your Board President,  
 
I will briefly highlight items occurring since my last message in July.  More importantly I will talk about our current happenings for December and into February 2018.  On August 20, we held a Congregational Meeting to discuss the Board's desire to use Visioning as a tool to grow our Church.  Each Board Member talked about what they had taken away from the Visioning Retreat in June.  We also talked about our areas of responsibility on the Board.  We called for Church Members to join us in any activity listed and to tell us if they would like to add any others.  Then there was a call for Church Members to form a Vision Core group. Some answered the call.  This group now consists of Karen Jones, Roger McCool, Clemencia Nijem, Rev. Jacquelyn and me.  We meet twice a month on Wednesday afternoons.  If anyone would like to join us, we would love to have more members of the congregation participate.  It is everyone's Church!  Many thanks go to Tibby Lerner for preparing and performing an induction ceremony for the Vision Core during a Sunday service last month.  It was very lovely and much appreciated by everyone in the Vision Core group.    
 
Our Youth Sunday School is now in full swing, meeting on a regular basis every Sunday morning during service.  Many thanks go to Aikya Param, who is now leading the group, and to the fine volunteers who make this a winning venture.  Volunteers are Annette Cardin, Emily Frank, Michelle Morgan and Alex Richardson.  We give deep gratitude to Debra Ellis who initially led the group.  She is now with husband Rev. Rafe at his new ministry in Placerville.  
 
Yes, we had to say goodbye to two of our Practitioners, Debra and Rafe Ellis.  There was a ceremony in the October 29 service for Rafe, and a party for Rafe and Debra incorporated into our weekly post-service lunch.  The party was put on by Aikya Param, Guillaume Newell and Alex Richardson.  Good job, guys!  
 
Kudos go to the Prison Ministry under the leadership of Aikya Param.  Along with several volunteers, Aikya sends out over 400 inspiring Newsletters to prison inmates all over the United States.  This project is being paid for by different sponsoring CSL churches, private donors, and donors from our congregation at FCRS Vallejo.  Funds are always needed, so a few extra dollars in the offering plate designated for the Prison Ministry are always welcome.  Also within the Prison Ministry, we have a group here at FCRS who each month sends out Birthday Cards and are pen pals with some of the inmates.  This group consists of Aikya, Debbie Barmack, Guillaume Newell, Henry Hill, Louise Stancliff, Virginia Dobrei and myself.  Sorry if I left anyone out!  
 
We had our traditional Thanksgiving Potluck Feast on November 19th -- another successful party!  That brings us into December with more celebrations.  December 17th is the date of our annual Christmas Potluck Feast.  Sign-up sheets are in the Family Room.  
 
We are adopting a family for Christmas again this year.  Alex Richardson has set up baskets in the back of the Sanctuary for donations.  Each basket has a list of items for each child.  Please bring your items as soon as possible -- the drive is open until Friday, December 8th.  If you cannot get to the Church by that time, please make arrangements with Alex to get your gifts in by that date.  There is also a decorated top hat for collecting money in case you prefer to leave a donation for the kids' items rather than shop.  This effort has been set up by our own Gerry Williams who works for Families First.  Alex Richardson is in charge of collecting the gifts for the children.  Any questions, please ask Alex!  
 
On Wednesday evening, December 20th, our annual Candle-Lighting Service will be hald at 7 p.m.  This event is an integral and traditional part of Vallejo's holiday season.  It's been said by many that "it isn't Christmastime without the Candlelight Service at First Church."  Please plan to attend!  
 
At the early morning hour of 4 a.m. on Sunday, December 31st, is the annual World-wide Peace Meditation. Everyone all over the world is praying for peace at exactly the same time.  (Lucky us, we got 4 a.m.!)  Dress warm, even pajamas are OK -- just show up!  This is a nice prayer service with light continental breakfast afterward.  Then you can go back home, sleep a bit, and be back for the regular 11 a.m. service.  Please see Diane Merrick if you are interested in reading one of the prayer passages.  
 
On January 28, 2018, there will be a workshop on Relationships called "I Love You - You Drive Me Crazy!", given by Sonika Tinker, MSW and Christian Pederson, CLC of Love Works.  More information will be cioming our over the next few weeks.  
 
On February 11, 2018, we will have our next Congregational Meeting.  Remember, to vote you must be a member, so if you have not done so, see Virginia Dobrei or Rev. Jacquelyn for an application.  There will be many more reminders, and Guillaume Newell will be sending written notices to your homes.  
 
That's it for now.  Have a blessed holiday season!  
 
Until next time,  
JoAnne 
President, FCRS Board of Trustees