Two Services this Sunday ūüé∂ūüôŹ

Last Sunday, we re-dedicated our sanctuary to the glory of God.

We give a standing ovation to Bud Rives for outstanding leadership of the project.

Carol and Doug Fields for their tireless help with removing baseboards and upholstering chairs.  Thank you to Carol Fields for the beautiful new paraments that celebrate our covenants!  

Thank you to Don Hoy for his leadership and help on upholstering chairs, especially the four chairs upfront.  

Thank you to Roy Burns for his generous contribution for pew cushions and to Maggie Revere who also contributed to the cushions that keep us comfortable on Sunday mornings.  

Rob Quarles, Chris Cooper, Rich Rescigno, and the entire Facilities and Grounds Team for the untold ways they supported this project from beginning to end.  

To our amazing Women’s Association for the new pew pads that we will pass every Sunday.  

We are grateful to the design Team of Greg Chestnut, Becky Rives, Marsha Knight, Carol Fields and Bud Rives.  

And to EVERYONE, the list is too long, who came out on Saturdays over the last few weeks to wipe away layers of dust, Murphy Soap Oil pews, put in the new cushions, and so much more.

¬†One of the first hymns that we sang to the tiles and melody that soaked into the cushions was the hymn, ‚ÄúAll are welcome‚ÄĚ ¬†Pray the final verse with me:


Let us build a house where all are named, their songs and visions heard And loved and treasured, taught and claimed as words within the Word.  Built of tears and cries and laughter, prayers of faith and songs of grace.  Let this house proclaim from floor to rafter:  All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place.

On Sunday, you were invited to complete this sentence, “I’m so excited…”¬† Where are you excited about the ministry and future of our church?¬† This is our Stewardship Theme for 2024, you will hear more about this in the coming weeks.¬† Please take a moment and email Pastor Wes with where YOU are so excited about the church today.


 TWO Services this Sunday ~
September 24 at 8:45 am & 11 am ~
Both in the sanctuary

We continue to bless the new tile and pew cushions.

8:45 am ~ in the sanctuary ~  We begin a sermon series on the prophet Elijah, hearing how God provided bread from ravens (yes, ravens!) in the wilderness.

11 a.m. ~ in the sanctuary and online ~  Our amazing Chancel Choir will sing a new anthem and we will listen to the story of Elijah being fed bread by ravens!

For our online viewers, we encourage you to stream on YouTube directly.  YouTube offers a GREAT experience for participating in the service.  You are welcome to continue to watch on Facebook right now.  Please note that our website is taking the feed from YouTube, so going directly to the platform will help.

Click Here to Watch on Facebook

Pastor Wes’s morning meditations ~¬†¬†You can click here to read.



You are invited to an evening reception at the Lexow Gallery at the Unitarian¬†Universalist Church (3975 Fruitville Rd) featuring our very own, Brenda Robinson!! The evening reception is on Friday, September 22nd from 5-7 pm.¬† The Art Show is entitled, “Our Stories are in our Scars”.¬† The show runs from September 17-October 12.¬† Come and support Brenda!


SAVE THE DATE ~ Summer 2023 may well be remembered for Dangerous Floods and Deadly Wildfires, not to mention extreme heat. The scientists are telling us that the fires spread very quickly because the grasses are invasive plants rather than native. Have you ever driven north on I. 75 and seen the vast growth of kudzu, ‚Äúthe weed that ate the south,‚ÄĚ on both sides of the highway? Every tree and bush and flower are covered by this invasive plant. What is the antidote to this and other plants gobbling up our world? The First UCC Women and the Green Team have assembled an Environmental Panel: Why we must plant native flora in our gardens and be wary of invasive plants that destroy ecologies. Join us on Tuesday, October 3, 2023, 11:30 am in Fellowship Hall. Panelists: Miri Hardy, Executive Director of the Friends of Myakka; Tom Heitzman, Sweet Bay Nursery; Lee Amos, Land Stewardship Manager, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. After the program, members of our Green Team will show us the native plants on our campus. Luncheon costs $12. Sign up after either Sunday service or call the church office at 941-953-7044.

The Green Team would like to let the congregation know of a wonderful opportunity coming up December 5-6, 2023, a Tuesday and Wednesday. The largest and most exciting Eco-Summit ever in Sarasota will be happening in and near the Van Wezel. For complete information, go to this URL:

Also, a Green Living Expo will be available on December 2-3 at the Municipal Auditorium. If you purchase tickets for the Eco-Summit by September 30, you can save 25%.


Sacred Conversations on Race ~ gathers at 3 pm in the Oasis Center and on Zoom on the following date:

September 27: ‚ÄúWe Need to Talk about an Injustice‚ÄĚ – TED Talks by Bryan Stevenson¬†
October 11: ‚ÄúThe Real Story of Rosa Parks – And Why We Need to Confront Myths about Black History‚ÄĚ – TED Talk by David Ikard. ¬†October 25: ‚ÄúHow to Deconstruct Racism One Headline at a Time‚ÄĚ – TED Talk by Baratunde Thurston
Please see Jim Crumel for more information

All are welcome!  You can join either in person in the Oasis Center or on Zoom.  Please see Jim Crumel for more information.


First Congregational UCC will host our annual House Meeting after both services on Sunday, October 15 in Syster Hall.  This is an opportunity for you to connect, converse, and commit to the work of justice. This is a GREAT chance to learn more about Sarasota United for Responsibility and Equity; learn about initiatives voted on last year and continuing this year (Mental Health and Affording Housing, as well as a renewed commitment to discussing out of school suspensions).  There will be food and faithful conversation.  If you cannot attend on the 15, please let Pastor Wes as we will schedule a Zoom conversation too. 


Manasota Interracial Book Club (MIBC) fall meeting on Saturday, September 30. The meeting will take place from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at First Presbyterian Church, 2050 Oak Street, Sarasota.¬† The gather will center around the question, ¬†“What are the long term consequences of ignoring diversity, equity and inclusion in our society?”¬†

The panelists include:
‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†David Wilkins, Esq and President, Manasota branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)¬†
‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†Jill Lewis Spector, 2nd Vice President, League of Women Voters of Florida Chair, LWV-FL & LWV-SRQ Education Action Teams¬†
‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†Sharon Preston-Folta, Sr. Account Executive with WUSF Public Media in Tampa and Volunteer Programmer at WSLR 96.5 FM, Sarasota¬†
‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†Rev. Dr. Wes Bixby, Senior Pastor, First Congregational United Church of Christ, Sarasota
Renée James Gilmore, Producer & Host of Empowering Voices at ABC7-WWSB will serve as moderator of the panel.

Click here for registration information.  

October 19 Luncheon

Michael’s On East

Doors open 11:00

Program 11:30 to 1:00

A Look Behind the Scenes:

The Realities of Prisoner Reentry

Laura I. Appleman, JD, discusses the myriad ways in which criminal justice costs‚Äďfees, fines, court costs, probation payments, mandatory classes, and non-payment penalties‚Äďaffect reentering citizens and how these costs can lead to years of indebtedness.¬† Professor Appleman is a member of the faculty at the College of Law at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon where she is the Van Winkle Melton Professor of Law and a University Research Integrity Officer. She is a member of the Yale Law School Executive Committee, co-reporter for the Yale Law School class of ‚Äė98, a member of the Bar of the City of New York, and has worked with the Brennan Center for Justice on issues of indigent defense and criminal procedure.

Secure tickets early!

Click here to reserve your seats. Tickets are $40 each and include lunch.

Barbara Richards, executive director and founder of Project 180, will be in church on October 1st to discuss the program.  She will also discuss the opportunity to provide items for backpacks given to each person released from prison.  The items in the backpack are: Backpack Supplies Wish List 
·        Toothpaste and toothbrush
·        Comb  
·        Flashlight with battery 
·        Body wash (medium size)
·        Shampoo (travel size) 
·        Deodorant (regular size)
·        Hand towels (2) 
·        Wash rags (2) 
·        Rain poncho 
·        Bike lock 
·        Bike lights (for front and back of bicycle) 
·        Water bottle 
·        Razors and shaving gel (medium size gel or cream)
¬∑ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Mylar emergency ‚Äėspace blanket‚Äô¬†
·        Sunscreen (medium size)
·        Bug spray (medium size)


Food Collection For All Faith’s Food Bank
The newly established Food and Hunger Group is very pleased to be restarting the monthly collections for All Faith’s Food Bank that were stopped during Covid.  The collections will start on October 1 and take place the first Sunday of every month thereafter.

All Faiths would appreciate any items in jars and/or cans along with items that have a long shelf life like pasta, pudding, jello etc…  The old standby items of peanut butter, jelly and spaghetti sauce are also needed.   Please give what you think people will enjoy with an expiration date of mid 2024 or later.

There will be a basket in the narthex labeled ALL FAITH’S FOOD BANK. Please place your items in the basket or next to it if the basket is full.

First Congregational, UCC is a generous congregation so we thank you in advance for your donations.

World Bread Day Celebration
Sunday, October 15
After the 11:00 worship service with the SURE House Meeting!

No matter how you slice it, bread is an important part of every culture and has been a significant food source for humans since prehistoric times. October 16, World Bread Day, recognizes this important food and the creation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), created in 1945 to fight hunger worldwide, with the motto “Fiat Panis” (Let there be bread).

Please join us during Fellowship Hour as we share breads, cheeses and other accompaniments from around the world in recognition of this important day and to learn how we can work to end hunger.


The celebration of life for Myron Robinson will be Saturday, October 14 in the sanctuary and on Facebook.  Fraternity and organization honoring at 10 am.  Worship Service at 11 am, reception to follow in Syster Hall.  

Prayers for all who are grieving: Judy Amadon on the passing of Nancy Gillum,  family of Keith Johnson, Gregg Matthews, and family of Pat Myers.

Millie Small and Wes Curry on hospice care. 

Prayers for Gib Mitchell, Gordon Quimby, Pam Ganch-Boyth, Chuck Shipman, Sue LaRosa, Nydia Muniz-Smith, Maria Duprez’s daughter Yvonne, Chuck Shipman’s granddaughter (Barbara), Julia Detoff, Dick Sparrow, Kitty Miller, Jon Metzger, Melissa Hill, Michael Carone, John Hilficker, Helaine Eckstein,¬† Dr. Robert Bryant, Blaine Pool, Roger Weiss, Connie Schaefer, and who all continue to recover.¬†


90+ Wise Birthdays in September

9/1 ~    Rev. Dr. Robert Bryant
9/5 ~    Barbara Mask
9/12 ~   Guy Spencer
9/19 ~   Joann Evans



Wednesday, September 20
Bible Study, 11 am, Oasis Center and Zoom
COLLAGE Exec Team, 3 pm, Zoom

Thursday, September 21
Staffing meeting, 3 pm, Oasis Center 

Sunday, September 24 ~  TWO Services
Early Worship, 8:45 am, sanctuary
Sunday Worship, 11 am, sanctuary and online

Monday, September 25
Hunger Group meeting, 2 pm, Zoom
Pet Blessing meeting, 3 pm, Oasis Center

Tuesday, September 26
LGBTQ Grief Support Group, 6 pm, Oasis Center
Tuesday Night Bible Study, 6:30 pm, Zoom

Upcoming: Rev. John Vertigan will be in worship on October 1 and will preside at the table on World Communion Sunday with Pastor Wes.  We also welcome special guest, Barbara Richards from Project 180 to speak after worship during fellowship time.

Pastor Wes will be on vacation October 2-8.  On Sunday, October 8, Rev. Dr. Sarah Melcher will lead worship.  






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