News

Sunday morning blood drive on Palm Sunday

Interested in giving blood to help those in need? This Sunday morning opportunity (April 9 starting at 9:30 at NCF) makes it extra convenient—and perhaps frames the act in a more meaningful way, as we prayerfully consider what it means to give of ourselves during Lent.

 

Emergency Shelter Update

The Winter Men’s Emergency Shelter moved to NCF on Friday, March 17. Please be praying for this ministry. More information will follow as volunteer opportunities become available these last weeks of March. As the weather warms, the shelter will close for the season and then re-open in December at NCF.

Habitat Interfaith Build—spring dates

There are upcoming opportunities to help with the Habitat Interfaith Build of two local houses. Several NCFers participated last fall, joining more than 15 congregations. Multiple build dates have been scheduled for weekends in March and April:

– March 24 & 25
– March 31 & April 1
– April 8 & 9
– April 14
– April 21
– April 29 (Youth Day, when kids under 16 can participate)

To sign up for a date, follow the links by house:

1212 W. Hill  (registration event code: J7McTb)

1203 Beslin (registration event code: xkvwSj)

Contact Lee Ann or Jubal with questions.

Our annual auction of services is coming March 5 & 12!

Make sure you’re at the worship service March 5 if you want to get in on the Donate-and-Dine portion of our annual auction. Everyone who makes a donation of any amount will get to enjoy a wonderful themed meal with others from the congregation. The Silent Auction will take place after the worship service March 12 and will include a range of items and services to bid on, from artwork and yard work to gift certificates to local businesses. To sustain you while you bid on March 12, Laurence Mate and the NCF youths will serve baked potatoes and toppings, and ice cream sundaes.

The auction raises money for the NCF youth group and for Missions, Mercy & Justice-related travel, and it also helps connect us to each other.

Ash Wednesday Service, March 1st at 6:30pm

We hope you can join us for a simple, reflective Ash Wednesday service at NCF this evening. Ashes—made from the palm branches we celebrated with at last year’s Palm Sunday service—will be imposed for those who wish to receive them.

As we enter together the season of Lent, this blog post from Renée and this Ash Wednesday video, “Rend,” (which was shown during the February 26 worship service) may help frame the journey.

Congregational Book Study Group is Formed 

A new study and discussion group has been formed as NCF seeks to understand how to more fully welcome LGTBQ people into the life of our fellowship. We’re reading and discussing the book Bible, Gender, Sexuality: Reframing the Church’s Debate on Same-Sex Relationships. Upcoming meetings will be from 7-9 pm on Thursdays March 2 (chapters 6 & 7) and March 16 (chapters 8 & 9) in the NCF office. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven’t made it to previous meetings, and books are available through Renée.

The hope of this group is that it will help nurture a deeper relationship to the Bible through prayerful consideration of what it says about the gender, sexuality, and sexual identity. We intend to do so through reading what some ministers and scholars have had to say about the matter. All are welcome to attend the first meeting or to join in later, as more details emerge.
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Annual MLK Community-Wide Service of Celebration January 15

The Martin Luther King Community Choir performs at the 32nd Annual Dr. MLK Jr. Service of Celebration, beginning at 5pm Sunday, January 15, in the Foellinger Great Hall at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Join with other members of the NCF and broader community in celebrating and being inspired by the life and work of Dr. King. Scholarships will also be awarded at the event, which features keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak.

Congregational lunch and conversation January 8

Make plans to stay after the worship service Sunday, January 8, for lunch and fellowship! The main dish (pulled pork and macaroni and cheese) will be provided—bring a salad, side, or dessert to round out the meal, if you’re able. A brief congregational conversation will begin right after the meal. Visitors and guests are welcome to join us just for lunch, or to stay for the conversation, as well. We’re looking forward to spending time together after a busy holiday season.

Join us on Christmas Eve

All are warmly invited to join us at our Christmas Eve service, this Saturday at 5:00 pm, upstairs in the NCF sanctuary. A simple service of readings and songs will lead us from the Advent season of waiting into Christmas, the celebration of Emmanuel, God with us. (There will be no service at NCF on Christmas morning.)

Living Out Advent

As Renée wrote in a recent blog post, “Advent is the time to stay woke. To not be lulled into complacency by everyday life.” There are a variety of upcoming opportunities to “stay woke”—involved and aware—this season:

  • View the documentary film “Racial Taboo” at 6pm on Thursday December 8, at Jericho Missionary Baptist Church in Champaign.
  • Continue to pray about the possibility of NCF serving as a host for a Men’s Emergency Overnight Shelter for three winter months, if it is permitted by the city of Champaign.
  •  Plan to join the MLK Community Chorus, whose first rehearsal is 2-4 pm on Saturday, December 17 at Salem Baptist Church.

Join Us For a Thanksgiving Meal November 20, After the Worship Service

5209786530_759a02b2ba_zWhy celebrate Thanksgiving just once? We’ll be sharing a Thanksgiving meal after the worship service this Sunday, November 20! Jason will make the turkey—please bring a side dish, salad, or dessert to fill out the menu. (And if you can’t bring something, please join us anyway!)

We’ll also discuss our hopes for how we might use our building after Daily Bread moves into their new home, so please be praying and reflecting on that this week.

The Recipients of our Thanksgiving Offering 2016

Each November, NCF collects a special offering in gratitude for all the Lord does for us.

  • Bridges of Peace International, serving refugees in Lebanon, where at least one in five (and as many as one in three) persons is a refugee. This is the umbrella organization for both Beit el-Hanane (Home of Tenderness) and Spring of Life children’s center in Beirut, to which we have a connection through Evelyne Accad, a retired UI professor and longtime friend of NCF.
  • Academic Peer Education Project (APEP) at San Quentin State Prison, a college preparatory program for prisoners that is taught partly by prisoners (peer educators) and partly by volunteer teachers from the outside. (Ellen Dahlke, who was a part of the NCF community during her years in Champaign, is involved in this project.
  • CU At Home, a local organization that engages and mobilizes our community to house and support the most vulnerable homeless on their journey of healing and restoration.

Please pray for these organizations and give what you can this month to support their important work.

Sign Up For an October 27 or 28 Habitat Build Team

img_5499NCF has been asked to provide four teams (of five people each) for Thursday, October 27 and Friday, October 28. Each team will do a 3.5 hour shift (8-11:30 am or 11:30-3 pm).

These builds are a part of the Habitat Interfaith Builds project, which was kicked off on September 11, 2016, and brings together 22 local faith groups, including NCF. Please pray about taking this opportunity to show our commitment to affordable housing and standing with other faiths. There will be a sign up sheet at the welcome desk.

Worship and Lunch at Lake of the Woods (10/16)

img_3492Our annual service at Lake of the Woods will take place on Sunday, October 16th! After the worship service (which starts at our usual time, 10:30 am), we will have lunch together (the main dish will be provided—please bring sides and desserts), followed by a congregational conversation.

More information, along with maps and carpooling options, will be available at the NCF Welcome Center soon. Also note that there will NOT be a service at the NCF building that Sunday!

All are welcome at mercy/justice team meetings

The Missions, Mercy, and Justice team (MMJ) will be meeting before the worship service this Sunday, October 9th at 9:15am in the main office at NCF. All are encouraged to have a voice in our fellowship’s mercy and justice efforts by joining the team on a regular basis or just by attending meetings when you’re able. We meet the second Sunday of each month.

Habitat Interfaith Builds Project Kick-off

imgresDon’t forget to mark your calendars for this Sunday’s kickoff gathering of the Habitat Interfaith Builds project, which brings together 22 local faith groups, including NCF.

When: Sunday, September 11th
Time: 3:00-3:30pm
Location: 1212 Hill Street Urbana

Annual End-of-Summer Picnic

5857976301_0088fe43ce_zOur annual end-of-summer picnic/potluck will be after the worship service this Sunday (8/28) at Crystal Lake Park in the main pavilion.

As usual, we’ll provide some grilled items (hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, etc. as well as buns and condiments), but please bring a salad, side, or dessert to share. This is our chance to catch up with one another after a summer full of travel, and it’s also a great opportunity to invite friends and family!

Youth Group Trip Video

If you missed the slideshow/video the youth shared last Sunday about their time in Chicago (or if you want to see it again or share it with others) here you go!

Thanks to all the people who made this trip possible through your prayers, auction of services donations and purchases, and by helping shape these great kids! (And extra thanks to the four amazing adult leaders who nurtured great conversations and thought while in Chicago, and kept the kids safe!)