What’s New at Sojourners

Faith Formation

Advent At Sojourners

Jesus was born into a weary world – a world hurting from oppression, poverty, political unrest, and violence. And yet, Jesus was born, bringing good news of great joy for all people.

As Advent comes again to this weary world, we ask, “How does a weary world rejoice?” This year, we will follow the stories in the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel. As we hold space for our weariness and our joy, as we acknowledge our grief and our pain, we will seek a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world.

This Advent season at Sojourners, we’ll be offering the following events and spaces for reflection alongside our 10 AM Sunday morning services. All are welcome to join us!

  • Nov. 30: 7 PM Visio Divina
  • Dec. 3: Advent Celebration & Craft Fair after worship (around 11 AM)
  • Dec. 7: 7 PM Visio Divina
  • Dec. 14: 7 PM Visio Divina
  • Dec. 17: Christmas Pageant and Carols (during our 10 AM worship service)
  • Dec. 21: 7 PM Longest Night Service
  • Dec. 24: 10 AM regular morning service & 5 PM Christmas Eve service

Advent Celebration & Craft Fair – Join us after our morning worship service on December 3 (around 11 AM) for a time of fellowship, food, crafting, and Christmas shopping! We’ll have some local artisans selling handmade gifts, as well as wreath-making and ornament-making for both children and adults, and a time to help decorate our Sojourners Christmas tree. Everyone is welcome!

Visio Divina group – Join Bethany on Thursday evenings at 7 PM during Advent for a time of contemplative reflection using the art from A Sanctified Art. A Zoom option is available, and you can find the link in our midweek update newsletter or by emailing Bethany: bethany@sojourners-ucc.org.

Longest Night Service – For some of us, it can feel especially difficult to find joy in the holiday season. We are grieving or ill or exhausted, and while this whole Advent season we are acknowledging the reality of life in a weary world, this service makes space in a special way for us to gather together in our grief and our fatigue for reflection and prayer.


Pumpkin Painting & Potluck

Last Sunday, our Faith Formation team had a blast painting pumpkins with some of the Sojourners kids and families after the service! We brought everything outside and enjoyed the beautiful fall weather (and did plenty of running around, blowing bubbles, and chatting about Halloween costumes).

Afterwards, we delivered the painted pumpkins to our friends at The Alyssa House, which provides a safe place for the families of immunocompromised children to stay while their kids are receiving medical treatment in Charlottesville, and then enjoyed a potluck lunch together.

A huge thank you to the kids and families at Sojourners who painted pumpkins with us, and to our fantastic nursery caregiver Toni for helping support this event! Keep your eyes peeled for more upcoming Faith Formation events—we’re especially excited for our intergenerational Advent gathering after church on December 3, with ornament-making, hot beverages, card-writing, and community. All are welcome!


Toiletry Drive for Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women

This Sunday we will start our annual toiletry drive for the women at Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. Every year we collect toiletry kits to be distrubuted to women in need at FCCW. Guidelines for purchasing products are below and must be followed as instructed. Completed kits can be brought to the church anytime between now and November 19th.

CHRISTMAS PROJECT-Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW) – Oct. 15-Nov. 19

Where to Buy. Most items can be bought at dollar stores. Giant, Food Lion, and Wegmans, have VO shampoos for around $1.25.

Hygiene Items. Put in a one-gallon Ziploc bag (extra bags on bulletin board):

  1. One individually wrapped toothbrush (in original container-no battery operated)
  2. One 6 oz. (or smaller) tube of toothpaste (in original container)
  3. One 2.6 oz. (or smaller) deodorant stick (no spray or roll-on)
  4. One15 oz. (or smaller) bottle of shampoo
  5. One 15-18 oz. (or smaller) bottle of lotion

Where to Place Completed Kits, Cards, Stationery Items. A collection container will be in the narthex.  Please keep hygiene kits in separate bag from cards and stationery items.

Cards and Stationery Items. (Please do not put inside bags with hygiene items.)

  1. Greeting cards for all occasions (avoid aluminum foil)
  2. Writing paper of any size
  3. Envelopes (3 5/8 x 6 ½ or 4 1/8 x 9 1/2)
  4. “Forever” postage stamps (not affixed to envelopes)
  5. Wooden pencils (unsharpened)

Money Contributions. For shortages in gift items and other needs of residents. Make checks to “GraceInside” write “FCCW Resource Fund” on memo line, mail to GraceInside, 2828 Emerywood Parkway, Richmond, VA 23294.

PLEASE! Follow instructions carefully. FCCW will only allow items described, and they must not exceed size parameters.


Continuing to Witness for Justice

On June 13th our building was vandalized with graffiti, specifically targeting our Black Lives Matter and Rainbow banners, as well as breaking a window and other graffiti. While we are saddened by the vandalism, we remain firm in our commitment to witnessing for both racial justice and LGBTQ justice. We have been heartened by the support of neighbors and the wider faith community.

This past Sunday, June 25th, we put up our new banners and blessed them during our Sunday worship. We celebrated our annual Pride Sunday celebration and shared in a fellowship picnic following the service. Local LGBTQ activist and storyteller Jason Elliott was our speaker for the morning. His words were an inspiring reminder that one of our callings as a congregation is to be a witness for justice for all. We will continue to live into that calling.


Service & Missions Project

This spring, the United Church of Christ is supporting Church World Service’s project
to provide “period packs” (menstrual hygiene kits) to support cleanliness and health
during the menstrual cycle, for those who have difficulty obtaining such supplies.
Sojourners’ goal is to assemble 40 of these kits.

Church World Service (CWS) will donate the kits to folks who are refugees, who live in
areas or situations where water use is curtailed, or who simply cannot afford or even
locate the necessary supplies. Many persons in these situations are forced to stay home
from work or school when they have their periods.

Over several years, CWS has figured out exactly what items have proven most useful.
CWS gave away 108,390 “period packs” in 2022 alone! We have created a Signup
Genius where you can read about each item that is in the kit, and you can sign up to
provide a designated quantity of the item(s). We need you to sign up so that we don’t
wind up with too many of one item and too few of something else!

Please sign up, purchase your items, and bring them to the church by
Sunday, June 4.

We will then assemble the supplies into 40 individual kits. Pastor Karen will bring our
contribution to the UCC General Synod in late June. Any extra supplies will be donated
to The Haven; any deficiencies will be remediated by SAM (Service and Missions). If
you have any questions, please email Bev Seng. Thanks so much for your support!


PACEM Hosting

We are hosting both the men and women of PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry) for two weeks beginning February 25th. We need your help to make sure our guests are fed and cared for during their stay.

To sign up to provide main dish, side dish, or desert (or all three) for a
specific date, please follow this link to Sojourners’ own meal signup
genius: CLICK HERE

(Please DO NOT use the meal signup generated by PACEM itself, because that may
cause confusion. Service and Missions (SAM) will enter completed meals into the
PACEM-generated sign-up, so that we do not conflict with other churches that may help

To sign up to help in other ways (set up and take down, or helping in the
evenings), please CLICK HERE

Thanks for serving! ~~ SAM (Service and Missions)

While we are hosting PACEM we will not be able to gather in our sanctuary, so our Worship Ministry has come up with some creative ways for us to gather.

On Sunday, February 26th we will meet during our regular 10 AM service time at The Haven in their gorgeous sanctuary. There is street parking as well as a nearby garage for parking. Two-hour parking validation is available for the Water Street garage. Ocean Aiello and Anna Mendez from The Haven will be our speakers that day. We will also livestream this service on Zoom & Facebook.

On March 5th, if weather permits, we will gather in person only at Belmont Park during our regular 10 AM service time. We will decide the Sunday before based on the projected weather forecast. Street parking is available, but you may consider parking at the church and carpooling over to the park. Bring a chair or blanket to sit. If the weather is not conducive, we will be on Zoom and Facebook live only for that day, no in person gathering.


Book Drive

Our Service and Missions Ministry (SAM) is sponsoring a book drive to benefit Abundant Life Ministry, located in the Prospect Street area. They have been tutoring elementary aged students in reading for many years. Over the years, the books have become worn, so they are seeking new or gently used copies of a specific list of books. SAM has placed a box in the Narthex, along with the list of requested books. Books will be collected through February 19.

You can read more about Abundant Life Ministry on their website.

These are the requested books:

Books for younger children
Elephant and Piggie books – Mo Willems
Flat Stanley books – Jeff Brown
Splat the Cat books – Rob Scotton
Zoe and Sassafras series – Asia Citra
I Can Read series, particularly Level 2 books about superheroes
Popular Graphic Novels
Wings of Fire graphic novel series – Tui Sutherland
Magic Tree House graphic novels
Miles Morales series – Justin Reynolds
Bailey School Kids graphic novels
I Survived graphic novels – Laura Tarsis
Simon and Chester detective series -Cale Atkinson
Dragon Kingdom series – Jordan Quinn
Bad Guys series – Aaron Blabey
Cardboard Kingdom series – Chad Sell
The Okay Witch series – Emma Steinkeller
Pizza and Taco series – Stephen Shaskin
Swim Team – Johnnie Christmas
Allergic – Megan Wagner Lloyd
Antihero – Kate Karyus Quinn
Twins – Valerie Johnson
Chapter Books
Ellray Jakes series – Sally Warner
Dyamonde Daniel series – Nikki Grimes
Jada Jones series – Kelly Lyons
Nikki and Deja series – Karen English
The Dragon Thief series – Zetta Elliott
Mia Mayhem series – Kara West
Press Start series – Thomas Flintham