Sanctuary Re-Dedication Sunday!!🎶🙏

 TWO Services this Sunday ~
September 17 at 8:45 am & 11 am ~
Sanctuary Rededication Sunday

We will bless the new tiles, begin to break in the new pew cushions, and sing out for ALL Sarasota to hear as we enter our sanctuary to worship God.

8:45 am ~ in the sanctuary ~  Be the VERY first worship service in our renewed worship space.  Pastor Wes will preach on 2 Samuel 6 ~ David dancing before God. 

11 a.m. ~ in the sanctuary and online ~  Our amazing Chancel Choir will help us bless our renewed worship space.  Pastor Wes will preach on 2 Samuel 6 ~ David dancing before God.

Noon ~ Fellowship Picnic ~ Thank you to Peace and Justice and Fellowship Teams for hosting ~ see below for an invitation.  

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.


Sunday, September 17 ~ Dedication Sunday Picnic Celebration after 11 am worship ~ Fried chicken (ordered from Publix), drinks, and dessert will be provided.  YOU are invited to bring a side dish (potato salad, macaroni salad, cole slaw, baked beans, or any appropriate “picnic” side dished…) Home-made and store bought are equally great.  


Core Values update

In 2024, we begin our 70th year of ministry.  Beginning at the leadership retreat in January 2023, we began looking at our Core Values, which are now 10 years old.  Each of our Teams and Covenant Groups reviewed the current core values and made suggestions.  In April, we hosted an after church conversation about core values led by Jim Butterworth.  Over the summer, a diverse group worked to incorporate the feedback we received.  On Sunday, September 10th, Pastor Wes invited us to think of our Core Values as words that grow within us and among us like a vine.  You are invited this week to ponder prayerfully the words below.  You may want to think about how you witness these words blooming/blossoming at our church.  You may ask how might we embrace and embody these words in new ways?  If you would like to talk more please reach out to Pastor Wes, Harold Mezile (vice moderator), Jim Butterworth (past moderator), or Nancy Morris (current moderator)

Please pray for family and friends of Keith Johnson who passed away yesterday.  This is especially difficult, because Gail passed away in June.  May God’s comfort and love enfold the family and friends.  

Prayers for Gregg Matthews on the passing of Lorraine.  A service to celebrate Lorraine’s life will be held at a date to be determined.

A service to celebrate the life of God’s beloved, Myron Robinson, will be held on Saturday, October 14th.  Fraternity tributes are at 10 am; the service begins at 11 am; and lunch to follow.  

We pray for our world: Sudan, Morocco, Haiti, Hawaii, Ukraine, all places where there is hungering and hurting.  

Millie Small, Nancy Gillum, and Wes Curry on hospice care. 

Prayers for Eddie Brickner, Gib Mitchell, Gordon Quimby, Pam Ganch-Boyth, Chuck Shipman, Sue LaRosa, Nydia Muniz-Smith, Maria Duprez, Chuck Shipman’s granddaughter (Barbara), Julia Detoff, Dick Sparrow, Kitty Miller, Jon Metzger, 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


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

September 13: “The Urgency of Intersectionality” – TED Talks by Kimberle’ Crenshaw 
September 27: “We Need to Talk about an Injustice” – TED Talks by Bryan Stevenson 

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


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!


 Monday, September 18th, at 6 p.m. at First Congregational United Church of Christ. We will hold our kickoff as well as a meet and greet with Mackenzie Grimes as the new lead organizer.  

First Congregational UCC will host our annual House Meeting after both services on Sunday, October 15 in Syster Hall.  Mackenzie is planning to participate with us this day.


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:
•    David Wilkins, Esq and President, Manasota branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) 
•    Jill Lewis Spector, 2nd Vice President, League of Women Voters of Florida Chair, LWV-FL & LWV-SRQ Education Action Teams 
•    Sharon Preston-Folta, Sr. Account Executive with WUSF Public Media in Tampa and Volunteer Programmer at WSLR 96.5 FM, Sarasota 
•    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.


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–fees, fines, court costs, probation payments, mandatory classes, and non-payment penalties–affect 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 ‘98, 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.

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.


DO YOU ENJOY KNITTING?  Lindsey Huddleston and Carol Hagglund are hosting a Prayer Shawl Ministry group where knitters will gather in people’s homes once a month to socialize, share knitting information and knit prayer shawls. These shawls will be available  for anyone for both happy and sad occasions.  The first meeting will be Friday, September 22nd from 2-3:30 pm.  Text or call Lindsey Huddleston (630-338-9294) or Carol Hagglund (813-767-3782) for the location or more information.



Wednesday, September 12
Bible Study, 11 am, Oasis Center and Zoom
Sacred Conversations on Race, 3 pm, Oasis Center and Zoom
Church Choir, 7 pm, Chapel ~ new members always welcome

Thursday, September 13
Budget, Finance, and Stewardship, 3 pm, Zoom 

Sunday, September 17 ~ Rededication Sunday!! TWO Services
Early Worship, 8:45 am, sanctuary
Sunday Worship, 11 am, sanctuary and online
Celebration Picnic, noon, Syster Hall

Monday, September 18
SURE Kick Off, 6 pm, First Congregation UCC

Tuesday, September 19
Drumming as a Spiritual Practice, 3 pm, Chapel
Church Council, 6:30 pm, Zoom






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