You read that headline right!  This year is the 20th Annual Ecumenical Global Holiday Faire.  It is amazing that we have been doing this for more than half my life.  We hope to make this the best Faire ever, so we need everyone's help in making it better than ever.  The Faire takes place on Saturday, December 2, from 9-3.  We will be raising money for 16 local and global non-profit organizations.  We will have great gift items from around the world for sale benefiting organizations such as SERRV, Friends of Loma Vista Farm, Concern America and Pal Craftaid.  We are excited by the return of Bead for Life this year.  It has always been a popular table with their hand-made beaded jewelry, so this year they are "back by popular demand."  We will continue to feature Alternative Giving with Heifer International and Arbor Day Foundation.  We are happy to include Doctors without Borders in the Faire this year.  Their work after the natural disasters our planet has recently faced is amazing and we are looking forward to raising money for their efforts.  And as always, homemade lunch will be for sale and choirs and musicians will be performing all day long to add to the festive atmosphere.

There is much that you can do to help make our 20th Faire even better than last year when we raised over $13,500!  If you can volunteer at a table at the Faire (or help set up the night before starting at 6pm), please let Helen Mezzera know.  We are accepting donations of crafts, gift baskets, baked goods, and new, never opened "re-gifted" items. 

A major part of making the Faire a success is spreading the word.  The fliers - both the large (great for posting) and the small (great to hand out to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers) are already available in church and have gone out on email.  Try to think of new ways to help spread the word.  We gave out 100 fliers at Unity Day.  We have an ad in the Grapevine for two months.  We will do an ad in the Times-Herald in addition to getting a big article in the paper.  We will do an ad on craigslist.  We will be attending the Vallejo Farmers Market and Art Walk to pass out fliers.  We are using Facebook to help get the word out.  If you have an idea of a location or event to hand out fliers, go for it!  Our budget is limited, but if you can think of free places we can advertise, let me know.  As successful as we were last year (2nd most money raised in 19 years), we still had items for sale at the end of the day.  The only way to make more money for the 16 non-profits is to get more shoppers in the door.
In the upcoming weeks, look forward to a series of announcements with all the information you will need about our biggest Mission Action event of the year.

And don't forget to 'like" the Faire on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GlobalHolidayFaire

Come to Unity Day 2017

Vallejo Together and their partners GVRD, SolTrans, VibeSolano, Vallejo Happenings and Vallejo Sister City Association are hosting Unity Day 2017 which will be held on Sunday, September 10, 2017, 10am - 5pm at Vallejo City Park (Sacramento Street at Louisiana St.). Unity Day celebrates Vallejo's diversity in culture, sexual orientation, age and abilities.

There will be a Cultural and Millennium Stage, International food booths, food demonstrations and plenty of free gifts and activities for all.

This is the first year that we at First Christian Church of Vallejo will be able to participate and we are very excited to join with so many other fantastic organizations in Vallejo! We will have crafts and painting at our booth, so please come and be creative while expressing your thoughts and feelings of Unity!

Join us and celebrate Vallejo!  

Inclusion Upgrades

Devin-Norelle, a gender-fluid trans activist and writer who lives in New York, told the Daily Beast, “In general, I hate using the restroom because I’m such a feminine- or androgynous-looking person, I get a lot of looks. There was a time where I was very concerned about my own safety…I’m putting myself at risk when I’m walking into the men’s restroom and I’m putting myself at risk when I’m walking into the women’s restroom.”
These are very real concerns facing many of our LGBTQI friends.  As a result, the Administrative Council voted at the last meeting to update all the restrooms in the church to “Gender Neutral” restrooms.  This is just one small way that we can continue on our path to being a progressive and inclusive church.  By making our restrooms Gender Neutral, we are telling our building users that we accept you for who you are and you should feel free to be yourself. 
Over the next few weeks you will see the signs and there will be some minor upgrades to the restrooms themselves, however for the most part there will be no change.  The bathrooms will remain single use and will have locks on the doors for the privacy of everyone.
Sofia Nelson, an attorney practicing in Detroit, Michigan told The Daily Beast, “We’re just talking about people – who could be your child, your friend, or your co-worker – wanting to do something super basic that we all have to do: use the bathroom.”

This is all we want to do too.

CROP Hunger Walk Is Coming

For the past nine years, many congregations and individuals have walked to raise over $60,000.00 for 4 local agencies and one international agency at the CROP Hunger Walk of Vallejo (CROP is Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty).  This year the walk will be May 6th and will start and finish at the beautiful waterfront in Vallejo, CA. Registration starts at 9:30 with the 3K walk or run at 10:15am. The four local groups are; Amador Street Hope Center, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, DePaul Women’s Center and American Canyon Family Resource Center and the international agency, who is our sponsor, is Church World Service. You can check out www.cws.org to read about CWS and what they do throughout the country and overseas.  Please check out www.crophungerwalk.org/vallejoca for more information or to donate.
Throughout the month of April, four local Vallejo and American Canyon restaurants will help the hunger walk raise money. They will donate either 10 or 20% of your meal ticket to the walk when you present the flyer when you make your purchase. They are the following;
Rubio’s, 173 Plaza Drive, Vallejo Tuesday April 4 2 PM to 8 PM
The Habit 118 Plaza Drive, Vallejo Tuesday & Wednesday April 11 & 12 3 PM to 9 PM
Los Cantaros 3427 Broadway St, American Canyon Tuesday April 18 10 AM to 9 PM
China Wok 512 Sacramento St., Vallejo Tuesday April 25 11 AM to 9 PM
You can find the flyers at www.facebook.com/vallejohungerwalk .  

I hope you can help out.  If you would like to help out either by walking, donating, joining or forming a team, please let me know by calling 707-694-6274. Each step we take, we help those who are in need. Whether it's serving a meal, giving away food, helping with taxes, finding someone a job, helping with interviews, or just plain listening, the CROP Hunger Walk of Vallejo raises the funds needed to do all these and more. Please join in the fun!

CROP Walk Activities

  On Saturday, March 25th, First Christian Church of Vallejo will present the Pickle Creek String Band to help four local agencies help those in need.  All proceeds will go to these groups;  Amador Street Hope Center, Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano, DePaul Women’s Center and American Canyon Family Resource Center.  Each group works with people and families in the county and beyond. Whether it's helping with taxes or it’s distributing food or it’s serving a hot meal, each group is dedicated to help those who are less fortunate.

  The concert will start at 6:30 with the doors opening at 6:00.  Bluegrass, old time/Appalachian, Irish/Celtic, folk and American ballad are all the types of music you will be hearing.   Tickets are $10.00 min donation for adults and for students a can of food.  Refreshments will be served during the concert.  This will be the third annual concert to help us start thinking about the 10th Annual Hunger Walk of Vallejo which is on May 6th.  If you need more information on the concert, please call me at 707-694-6274.  If you would like to donate toward these agencies, please visit www.crophungerwalk.org/vallejo.

Global Holiday Faire Coming!

It is that time of year again!  The 19th Annual Ecumenical Global Holiday Faire is almost here.  The Faire will be Saturday, December 3, from 9-3 and as always will feature gift items from around the world.  This year we will once again be raising money for 17 different local and global non-profit organizations.  We are particularly excited about some of the new organizations which will be making their debut at this year's Faire.  For instance, Gifts for the Journey is an organization run by the Franciscan Peacemakers which helps get women out of prostitution and homelessness.  We will have an entire table of soaps, lotions and other bath items that are made by these remarkable women.  We also will be featuring food from the Arkansas Rice Depot to go along with the already popular coffees, chocolates, chilis, soups and other great items on the expanded food table.  Plus, there will be new items from returning organizations such as SERRV, UPAVIM Crafts and Concern America.  And as always there will be "regifted" items for sale as well as crafts, gift baskets and baked goods.  In addition to great shopping opportunities, homemade lunch will be for sale and choirs and musicians will be performing all day to add to the festive atmosphere.

For more information about the Faire, visit globalholidayfaire.org.  And remember to 'like' the Faire on Facebook!

Independence Day Parade

This year, our congregation was invited to participate in the Vallejo Independence Day Parade as part of a very large gathering of members and supporters of the local LGBT community.  Seven local organizations were represented including The Vallejo Gay Network, Solano Pride and The Solano AIDS Coalition.  Each group had its own float, decorated with balloons representing the colors of the rainbow flag.  Several of our members walked as part of the LGBT Interfaith Alliance along with members of other Vallejo Open & Affirming congregations.  Two of our members (pictured bellow) carried an interfaith flag representing our commitment to working with those of other faiths to fight for important social justice causes.  The purpose of this event was to show that we are unified in fighting the hatred and bigotry that lead to tragedies like the recent mass shooting in Orlando.

The following is a statement from the organizers of the event: "We’re going to be showing all colors of the rainbow with seven installments representing groups within Solano County and Vallejo.  From political to social to health and services we want to show how we’re part of the fabric of Vallejo and Solano County life."

It was a great event.  The weather was perfect.  We had a chance to meet new people and visit with old friends from some of the other groups involved.  And most importantly, we got to show that when it comes to our commitment to being an Open & Affirming congregation and a congregation that fights for social justice, we do not just talk the talk, but we also walk the walk.

FCCV Becomes a Green Chalice Congregation

On Sunday, April 17th, we will have a special Earth Stewardship Sunday service at First Christian Church, Vallejo. Earth Day is an annual remembrance on which events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First celebrated in 1970, it is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network, and is celebrated in 192 countries each year.

During our April 17th worship service, we will unveil the recognition that FCC-V has been given by Disciples Homeland Ministries as a “Green Chalice Congregation.” This recognizes our congregational efforts to: recycle plastic, aluminum, paper and batteries; use fair trade coffee and ceramic coffee mugs; create a community garden; and provide eco-tips in the monthly newsletter and weekly services.

We will be joining the following congregations in California which are recognized as part of “Green Chalice” ==>

All Peoples Christian Center, Los Angeles
Harbor Christian Church, Newport Beach
First Christian Church, Concord
First Christian Church, Torrance
Lakewood Christian Church, Lakewood
Walking Faith Korean-American Christian Church, Sunnyvale
University Christian Church, San Diego

And now First Christian Church, Vallejo!

CROP Hunger Walk of Vallejo Almost Here!

There will be 1,200 CROP Walks with over 116,000 participants raising more than $12,000,000 in America this year.  The CROP Hunger Walk of Vallejo may seem small in compared to those numbers, but to CROP, The American Canyon Family Resource Center, Amador Street Hope Center, the Contra Costa-Solano County Food Bank and the De Paul Women's Center, it is huge!  We hear all the time how grateful they are for the monies they receive.  We are a few weeks away from the 7th annual CROP Hunger Walk of Vallejo.  There is much to do and many ways you can participate.  You can walk and help raise donations (see Allison Mezzera for forms and register online), or you can donate (to a walker or online at www.crophungerwalk.org/vallejoca - make sure to sponsor someone from the First Christian Church team!).  The need is great, but we will take each step together and help one person at a time.  The walk starts at 10:15 am with registration at 9:30 near the ferry building on the waterfront.  We will have some special guests, so you will not want to miss it.  Thank you in advance for all that you do for this wonderful event!