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Sharing Our Stories

Our members and friends share heartfelt memories
about our church.

We hope you will join us in-person for worship this Sunday!
If you prefer to join us online, the Sunday bulletin will be available for download at
tinyurl.com/uccbrainerdbulletins on Sunday morning.

Scripture: Matthew 25:35-40                  Liturgist: Pat Scott


Pastor Leslie’s Renewal Time

Pastor Leslie will be “out of the office” beginning August 22nd through September 27th. She will begin her renewal leave on August 31st through September 28th. 

What will happen at church while Pastor Leslie is gone? A lot of the same stuff that happens while she is here - engaging worship, committee meetings, group gatherings, pastoral care, adult forums… Here’s what you need to know…

Timeframe: Monday August 22 – Tuesday September 27.
(Mondays and Tuesdays are my normal days off)

First Day Back: Wednesday September 28.

Who’s leading worship
September 18: "Sharing Our Stories". People will be encouraged to write and share their church memories, be they heartfelt or humorous. Sharon Carlson and Sue Hadland will lead worship.
September 25 – Matt Karlgaard and Marina Grabowski will lead service. The Worship Band is playing music with joyful noise. Matt Karlgaard, Izzy Arstrong, Shon Boman.


Pastoral Care and Schedule
If you need pastoral care while I am away, Rev. Lilja Behr and Rev. Rory Swanson (from Park United Methodist) will be available for you. See the schedule and contact information below. You might consider cutting this out and putting it on your fridge or somewhere else visible.

         September 9 - 20:                 Rev. Rory Swanson at 218-330-7367

         September 21 – 27:               Rev. Lilja Behr at 218-829-0763


Hosts, Ushers, Greeters, Scripture readers
Sign up on the clipboard in the narthex or click here to go to signupgenius.com

H.U.G.S. this Sunday September 18
Host: Sue Hadland
Greeter/Ushers: Pat Scott, Chris Yager & Gary Whiteman
Counters: Cynthia Janes & Sarah Jo Armstrong

H.U.G.S. next Sunday September 25
Host: Sharon Carlson
Greeter: Marina Grabowski
Ushers: Barb Stokke, Shon Boman &  Gary Whiteman
Counters: Ryan Kelly & Marcia Ferris or Judy Whiteman

Liturgist: Sunday, September 18 - Pat Scott
Liturgist: Sunday, September 25 - Sue Hadland


This Week
**Unless specified otherwise, all church Zoom Gatherings use this link: 
If the Zoom meeting window does not automatically launch, click "Launch Meeting"
By phone: dial 1 312 626 6799, Meeting ID: 645 235 0419, password: 56401

Friday,  September 16
10:30 am - Book Study via Zoom

Sunday, September 18
10:00 am - Worship Service in-person and Facebook
Sharon Carlson & Sue Hadland leading service
11:15 am - Fellowship Hour in Fellowship Hall
11:30 am - Adult Forum: Death Cafe

Wednesday, September 21
10:00 am - Prayer Circle in-person
12:00 pm - Men's Fellowship meet at Dunmire's on the Lakes

Friday,  September 23
10:30 am - Book Study via Zoom


Hosts, Ushers, Greeters, Scripture-readers

Sunday morning greeters/ushers and coffee hosts play an important part in making our church a warm and welcoming place for all. Here’s a secret; it’s FUN!! If each household committed to 3 Sundays a year as greeter/ushers and/or coffee hosts we would have a full complement of participants. For instance, I plan to take 2 Sundays in August to greet/usher and 2 Sundays in February to Host Coffee.
The Christian Ministry Committee is working on simplified instructions for these duties and one of us will be available to guide you through your first go if needed. Are you ready to take the leap into RADICAL HOSPITALITY? Give it a go and signup below for your first Sunday as the face of the church!


Men's Fellowship

Join the guys for a casual fellowship gathering each Wednesday at various location in the Brainerd Lakes area. Weekly rotating schedule below.

First Wednesday: B-Merri - 19624 Co. Rd. 3 Brainerd
Second Wednesday: Yesterday's Gone - 219 So. 9th St. Brainerd
Third Wednesday: Dunmire's on the Lakes - 19090 MN 371 Brainerd
Fourth Wednesday: Dennis Drummond Wine Co. - 11919 Thiesse Rd. Brainerd
Fifth Wednesday: El Tequila Mexican Restaurant - 7399 Garrison Rd. Baxter

Book Group - Fridays at 10:30 am via Zoom

We are reading "Susan Orlean, On Animals" (about the interaction between animals and humans).  Warm and Witty collection of essays. 

September/October Adult Forum
11:30 am After Worship
September 18th: "Death Cafe" - A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes. It is a discussion group rather than a grief support or counseling session. The Death Cafe model was developed by Jon Underwood and Sue Barsky Reid of London, England, based on the ideas of Bernard Crettaz. They have spread in popularity around Europe and the United States and are now taking place in over 81 counties. Please join Ellie Burkett on September 18th at 11:30 AM in a safe space to talk about death and dying, sharing ideas and listening to make the most of our finite lives.

September 25th: "Fall Stewardship Kick-off" - The fall Stewardship kick off begins the last Sunday of the month. Join the Stewardship committee after worship and learn how you can help the 2023 pledge drive be more successful. We will have handouts explaining the process and we will answer questions.
We will also talk about leaving a Legacy, which has been so important to the financial viability of this church.  Stewardship includes your financial contributions and the gift of your time and talents to keep this church healthy. 


October 2nd: "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning" -  Swedish author Margareta Magnusson, aged somewhere "between 90 and 100," describes Swedish death cleaning as "going through all my belongs and deciding how to get rid of the things I do not want anymore." But even more difficult is getting rid of things you can't part with! Sharon Carlson will share some great ideas of how to get organized and downsize your "treasures."

Do you have ideas for topics or connections with people who might be willing to lead Adult Forums? If so contact Lowell Johnson at 218-820-5290 or johnsonlowells@gmail.com
Let's see if they can be organized and scheduled.

UCC TheShop Meal Effort Needs Volunteers! 
Unless we get more volunteers, our last meal will be Wednesday, September 21st at 3:45 pm

For the last several years, UCC volunteers have provided a meal to the youth at TheShop -  Brainerd Baxter Youth Drop-in Center. On the third Wednesday of the month, 3-4 youth from TheShop come over to our kitchen and help prepare a delicious meal that is then brought back to TheShop for the hungry and appreciative teens there.
If you are interested about joining this effort, contact Sharon Carlson 218-828-1581or Lowell Johnson 218-820-5290 or johnsonlowells@gmail.com


Special Offering - September 25th UCC Missions - Neighbors In Need
 Neighbors in Need (NIN) is a special mission offering of the United Church of Christ that supports ministries of justice and compassion in the United States. In 2022, the Neighbors in Need “BEHOLD!” offering focuses on an economic justice. 

Please send your donation to First Congregational UCC, 415 Juniper St. Brainerd, MN 56401. Make sure to note on your offering: Special Offering/NIN.
Or for your convenience use our Paypal account at: paypal.me/uccbrainerd
Be sure to note Special Offering/NIN in the comments.
Thank you!


Garden Gleaning
Gardeners and plant people bring to the church your “gleanings” to share . This ranges from rhubarb in the spring to daffodil bulbs in the fall. A table, poster and donation basket are in Narthex entrance. Enjoy the fruits of our labors! All are welcome to help themselves – no charge! All monetary donations are given to the Food Shelf. Using our resources, recycling, re-purposing, and not wasting our food are all acts of Creation Care and Justice. Garden Gleaning is an Easy-Peasy way to put words into action.







Outdoor Ministry Launches Monthly Newsletter

Check out the first edition of Outdoor Ministry's monthly newsletter HERE!

Bridges of Hope Warming Shelter Update!
The Warming Shelter will be re-opening soon!
Volunteers are needed for 3 ½ hour shifts, (no overnight shift).
Please call Chris Yager (temporary point person for First Congregational UCC Brainerd)  at 425-286-5456, if you would like to volunteer.
For more information visit





















We are in the throes of our annual Coats for Kids drive and are looking for event volunteers. We especially need help setting up the week before the event and have volunteer shifts between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. On our website, there is a link to sign up for volunteer shifts.
Thank you so much for your support!
Amy Gray
Executive Director
218.454.8013 (o) | 218.838.0368 (m)


Are You Called to the Jail?
Over the last 10 years or so, A number of UCC and other community folks have been volunteering in the Crow Wing County Jail. Covid shut down this programming. There is an effort now to bring back valuable programming to the residents of the jail.
If you have any interest in this effort, contact Lowell Johnson 218-820-5290 for more information on the wide range of volunteer opportunities there.


Crisis Services
All are available 24-hours, FREE and confidential

Bridges of Hope: 218-825-4357 or 1-800-462-7682
Crisis Line & Referral Service: 218-828-4357, 218-828-HELP or 1-800-462-5525
CRISIS: from cell phone call CRISIS (274747)
Crisis Nursery-Crow Wing County: 218-692-2859
Crisis Text Line: Text “MN” or HopeLine” to 741741
Minnesota 1st Call for Help: 211
Minnesota Farm & Rural Helpline: 833-600-2670
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Poison Control Center: 1-800-222-1222
Suicide & Mental Illness: 1-800-462-5525
Teen Crisis Line: 310-855-4673
The Trevor Project (LGBTQ Crisis & Suicide Hotline – Youth under 25): 866-488-7386
Trans Lifeline: 877-565-8860
Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 – press 1
WARMLINE: Speak with peers who are there to listen and support adults experiencing emotional distress. 1-844-739-6369 from 5:00pm -7:00am.





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