• Clarion Music

    65511920_2463371890388363_2596660304297328640_oWe have been providing music lessons for over 4 years at First Congregational Church, and we’ve been sponsoring the Clarion Kids Community Choir for over 3 years. We recently completed our third annual music camp.  This year we added a second week of camp to accommodate nearly 100 students. We have also been providing several years of musical showcases and organ recital series. Let me share more with you about how we are sharing God’s wonderful gift of music.

    7-07-2019 Chalmer McClure  bassoonistAll of these activities come under the Clarion Music School, which is a part of the music and worship ministry of the church. The school offers students of all ages an opportunity to learn music through individual instruction, group classes, and ensemble participation. I greatly appreciated the opportunity I had in my youth to learn the trumpet, guitar, ukulele, and harmonica. I also participated in various bands and choirs in school and church. I feel I’m a better person for my musical experiences. I have a deep appreciation for music of a wide variety and I am planning to take some lessons for myself at the Clarion Music School in the years ahead. The program is designed to help everybody celebrate God’s gift of music.

    The school offers individual instruction for all ages and skill levels, and is designed to help students hone musicianship in a one-on-one setting. We currently offer piano, voice, strings, and organ. We also have relationships with a wide diversity of instructors in other instruments, and will be vetting and hiring more instructors as potential students express an interest. 

    65681148_2463371717055047_6558000742676824064_oIn the fall we will begin Music for Little Ones. This is a kinder music program offering a positive and exploratory environment for pre-K Children to begin their music education. Using games, activities, movement, singing and instruments, little children will build a musical foundation that will last throughout their lives!

    We also sponsor the very popular Clarion Kids Community Choir. This is a free choral program for children in 1st-8th grade, where they learn vocal production, 2 and 3 part harmony, blending, and performance techniques in a fun, inclusive environment. For adult performers we have the FCC Players, a group of singers, instrumentalists, and dancers who produce showcases throughout the year. Along with offering instruction of the highest quality for all skill levels, and providing 6-12-2019 Empire Wind Ensemble 3   Julio Battaopportunities to perform, we also host a variety of free musical performance events throughout the
    year. These include our Lenten Organ Series, hosting college Orchestra tours, the Empire Wind Ensemble, and many other solo and ensemble performers. We believe this adds rich educational and entertainment value to our students and to our community.

    The coordinator of our program, who interviews students (or their parents), and arranges for the assignment of students to teachers, is Dr. Ed Yarnelle. He is a pianist, organist, and popular accompanist for many vocalists throughout Southern California. He is also a popular part-time professor of psychology. We are blessed to have Ed, our instructors, and all our volunteers who are helping us to share God’s gift of music to our community and celebrate music together as a church family.

  • How can we have faith?

    How can we have faith, especially when we are young.  Alpha can help! This is the video lesson our young people will be discussion this Sunday at 10am.

  • Easter Invite

  • Day by Day with Jesus

    JXSSTRBack when I was in 7th grade, Andrew Lloyd Weber released his album musical, Jesus Christ Superstar. My older sister, Kathy, brought home the two record set, and we listened to all four sides in one sitting. We liked the music, but found the storyline somewhat contrary to the Biblical message and confusing at points. The music did, however, serve a redemptive purpose. It made us think about Jesus, and it drove us to the Bible to explore him.

    During my next year of Jr. High, my big sister brought home Godspell, by Stephen Schwartz. Several songs in that musical spoke to my heart like a message from the Holy Spirit. The song, Day by Day, was especially moving. It was a musical prayer for three things:

    GodspellTo see thee more clearly
    Love thee more dearly
    Follow thee more nearly
    Day by day

    Before ever hearing that song, I was fully baptized into the stuff of church. My mother played hymns on our family piano. She accompanied the choir on the organ at church. We listened to sacred music on the record player quite often. I even played my trumpet for some church hymns and sang in the youth choir. But those songs did not inspire me to follow Jesus, quite like that Broadway song, sung in the music of my generation. I suspect that song was still echoing in my soul the summer before my sophomore year of High School, when I gave my life to Jesus Christ as Lord.

    I was so pleased to hear Jessica Bondy sing the Godspell prayer in worship several weeks ago. Not only did it remind me of my young love for Jesus that began years ago; it beautifully introduced our 2019 Lenten theme: DAY BY DAY WITH JESUS. As we take time to read through the Gospel of John in this season before Easter, let’s do more than engage in the religious activities of church; let’s journey day by day with Jesus. Let’s allow the life and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ to daily invigorate us, or perhaps reignite our love for God. Let’s invite the music, and everything around us, to help us see Jesus more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly.

    Lenten Reading: GOSPEL of JOHN

    Wednesday    3/6/19            John 1:1-34

    Thursday       3/7/19             John 1:35-51

    Friday             3/8/19            John 2:1-25

    Saturday        3/9/19            John 3:1-36

    Sunday           3/10/19         John 13:1-16

    Monday          3/11/19           John 4:1-42

    Tuesday         3/12/19          John 4:43-54

    Wednesday    3/13/19          John 5:1-47

    Thursday       3/14/19           John 6:1-21

    Friday             3/15/19          John 6:22-59

    Saturday        3/16/19          John 6:60-71

    Sunday           3/17/19          John 14:1-31

    Monday          3/18/19         John 7:1-44

    Tuesday         3/19/19         John 7:45-8:11

    Wednesday    3/20/19        John 8:12-30

    Thursday       3/21/19         John 8:31-59

    Friday             3/22/19        John 9:1-34

    Saturday        3/23/19        John 9:35-10:6

    Sunday           3/24/19         John 15:1-27

    Monday          3/25/19         John 10:7-21

    Tuesday         3/26/19          John 10:22-42

    Wednesday    3/27/19         John 11:1-27

    Thursday       3/28/19         John 11:28-44

    Friday             3/29/19        John 11:45-57

    Saturday        3/30/19         John 12:1-19

    Sunday           3/31/19        John 16:1-33

    Monday          4/1/19           John 12:20-50

    Tuesday         4/2/19           John 13:1-20

    Wednesday    4/3/19          John 13:21-38

    Thursday       4/4/19           John 14:1-32

    Friday             4/5/19           John 15:1-27

    Saturday        4/6/19           John 16:1-33

    Sunday           4/7/19           John 17:1-26

    Monday          4/8/19          John 17:1-5

    Tuesday         4/9/19           John 17:6-19

    Wednesday    4/10/19        John 17:20-26

    Thursday       4/11/19          John 18:1-11

    Friday             4/12/19         John 18:12-14

    Saturday        4/13/19         John 18:15-18

    Sunday           4/14/19        John 12:12-19

    Monday          4/15/19        John 18:19-24

    Tuesday         4/16/19        John 18:25-40

    Wednesday    4/17/19       John 19:1-15

    Thursday       4/18/19        John 19:16-30

    Friday             4/19/19       John 19:31-37

    Saturday        4/20/19       John 19:38-42

    Sunday           4/21/19      John 20-21


  • Report from Facility Master Plan Committee – February 24

    Two and a half years ago the Board of Directors, Church Council and Pastor Steve committed to launching a comprehensive study of the short and long term facility needs of our church campus.  In July of 2016, The Facilities Master Plan Committee consisting of Monte Stuck, Suzy Morgan, Tom Cutler, Chuck Jervis, Bob Hodges, Frank Kejmar, Neal Waner, Lisa Soria and Steve Davis, began the process.

    The charge to committee was to develop a “Master Plan Concept” that provides ideas for discussing and addressing the present and future needs of our church campus in areas such as: handicapped access, ministries and programs, openness and landscaping, access and security, and most importantly, the maintenance and preservation of our place of worship and one of our community’s most revered historical assets.

    In August, the committee interviewed and hired David Keitel, Principal Architect, with domusstudios in San Diego.   This architectural design firm is highly recognized for its extensive sacred experience designing and remodeling hundreds of worship centers throughout Southern California and Southwestern United States.  ( 

    As the first step in the design process, a civil engineering firm was hired to provide a complete Topographic Study/Report of the entire church campus. This report is required for any re-designing, retrofitting and remodeling of our church grounds and buildings.  In addition, we engaged an imaging company to create a complete set of floor plans also necessary for any structural repair or modification to our buildings.

    With our architect providing a proven blueprint for developing a comprehensive master plan, the committee spent a great deal of time reviewing and discussing church program and ministry needs both currently and in the future.  Data from church membership surveys were reviewed.  Several of us visited other churches and worship centers looking at current trends where facility flexibility was a predominate theme in newer worship facilities. This process took over a year with the committee meeting on an average of twice a month.

    The final phase was developing and reviewing concept designs.  The architects took the committee’s desired components and requirements and provided several conceptual designs.  The century old buildings and elevation challenges required creativity, persistence and patience.

    The Committee’s Master Plan was completed at the end of 2017 and presented to the Board and Council in 2018.  A power point presentation has been developed by the architectural firm’s graphics department and will be presented to the congregation on Sunday, February 24th following the second service.  We hope all will attend and join the discussion on the long-range facility modernization, community outreach, ministry growth and preservation plan for our structures.