News & Events Highlights

Here you will find information on some of the exciting things going on at FCC. Visit this page often to review featured events, ongoing opportunities, and various updates from the congregation.

Scott’s Column: Kentucky Tornado Response

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
December 21 2021

Dawson Springs, Kentucky is a town I know.  You’ve heard of Dawson Springs in the news lately because it was one of the towns that took a direct hit from the Kentucky tornado.  Reports are that two-thirds of the place, with a population of about 2,500, was leveled.

I know Dawson Springs because one of my childhood best friends moved there thirty years ago.

I met Rob Akers when we were both in sixth grade at Rockdale Elementary School in Miami, Oklahoma.  Rob’s family were new to town, his father was pastoring a local Pentecostal Holiness church.  We immediately connected as two religious boys who loved to read.  We especially bonded over The Chronicles of Narnia.  Rob lived about a mile from me, and so most days would find us riding our bikes back and forth between our houses.  This was the 1980’s and kids roaming around the neighborhood and dropping into play at friend’s houses was still a regular thing.

Sadly, Rob’s family moved only a year later, to Prescott, Arizona, but he and I kept up a regular written correspondence.  And a couple of years later when my family took the classic American road trip to California in our station wagon, we stopped in Prescott so I could see Rob.  Our parents had, of course, met, but they had not formed a friendship when both families were in Oklahoma; they did though during that visit to Arizona.  Rob’s dad Bob and my dad went golfing together and all of us went to the rodeo.  In 1990 when the Akers moved from Arizona to Kentucky they stayed with us along the way, getting snowed in for a few days as we received a foot of snow—the most I ever remember from my youth in Oklahoma—and the two families engaged in an epic snowball fight.

Once the Akers settled into Dawson Springs, we made regular visits there to see them.  I have fond adolescent memories of riding around town in Rob and Rusty’s giant used Impalas, swimming at the nearby state park, and attending a festival in the town square.  I went with them on their family to trip to Washington, D. C., and later I was one of the groomsmen in Rob’s wedding.

Our families have remained in contact over the decades and through various life changes.  That might be a surprise in America in 2021.  There are clear differences in our religious beliefs and practices.  Our politics don’t align.  Anymore such relationships seem rare to impossible.  Which is one reason I value this old and dear friendship so much.  And even better, Rob and I continue to engage in hearty political discussions, learning from each other why we approach things differently, and looking for the common ground that does exist when you respect and care for one another.

So my heart breaks to see the devastation in this town I have fond memories of and an enduring connection with.  Rob’s little brother Rusty is now the pastor of the church their father once led.  Rusty’s family and the parents remain living in Dawson Springs. I’ve been praying for Rusty as a friend and ministry colleague knowing that much is expected of him in the wake of this disaster.  Rusty wrote to me, “The need is so overwhelming right now it is catastrophic. A lot of our congregation are displaced and have lost everything and those of us who did not sustain damage have taken people into their homes.”

While their church building took some damage, it is intact and has become a distribution point for supplies in the community.  Over the weekend they had food trucks to feed people.  And the congregation is doing everything it can to help.

Of course we have many good options, including UCC Disaster Ministries, to reach out and help in the wake of this catastrophe.  But on Sunday I met with the Outreach Ministry and they agreed that because of my personal connection we have an opportunity to do something unique and special here.  Not only will we be able to get help very directly to the most impacted people, we also get to demonstrate that even at this time of American division, people can reach out across their differences and help one another in the spirit of Christ.

So, on Christmas Eve we will be taking an offering for Kentucky tornado disaster relief that we will then send to the Landmark Apostolic Holiness Church of Dawson Springs, Kentucky for them to use to help their neighbors.

I’m hoping that sometime next spring or summer I might travel there again myself to do something more to help and celebrate our over thirty years of friendship.


Advent 2021 At First Central

Katie
December 9 2021

The Reza Family

Katie
December 9 2021

A Note on the Reza Family by Melanie Naughtin After the announcement in church Sunday, November 28, regarding the decision to offer … More

Scott’s Column: Thanksgiving

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
November 8 2021

This autumn marks the 400th anniversary of the meal between the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the indigenous Wampanoags.  Often our current annual … More

An Interview With… Katie Foster

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
October 28 2021

When Sara headed off into retirement last month, there was a gaping hole in the offices downstairs. This week, we welcomed Katie … More

Scott’s Column: Neighborliness

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
October 6 2021

All through the summer, as Sebastian would walk from my house to my Mom’s apartment, he would get annoyed at the trash … More

Just My Thoughts – Out of the Darkness

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
September 22 2021

I had plenty of things to do last Saturday – projects, laundry, you know the normal weekend stuff. Instead, I put on … More

Scott’s Column – Exciting Neighborhood

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
August 11 2021

Eleven years ago, the week we moved into our new home here in Omaha, Midtown Crossing also opened.  One reason I came … More

Pandemic Spirituality

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
June 24 2020

This spring Senior Minister Scott Jones wrote a series of five essays connecting our pandemic and quarantine experiences with the spiritual wisdom … More

Katie’s Musings: COVID Time

Katie Miller
June 24 2020

I think the weirdest thing about COVID life is the passage of time.   June is almost gone.  But May was only … More

Living Well During the Pandemic: Zoom Forums

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
May 26 2020

We are living through a public health crisis with profound implications for all other aspects of human living—morality, psychology, culture, politics, economics, … More

From the Health Team

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
May 13 2020

Submitted by Bonnie Harmon, First Central Health Team   In preparation for this week’s Adult Forum on Mental and Spiritual Well Being, … More

From The Refugee Team

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
May 5 2020

We received word last month that our (current) refugee family was struggling during this time of pandemic. The bread-winner of the Khamis … More

From The Health Team – Mask Mastery

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
April 24 2020

Your mask protects me, and my mask protects you. I hope you have heard this many times by now. It is the … More

An Interview With… Sally Lewis

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
March 18 2020

Late last year, the Council – with guidance from the Health Team – asked First Central member Sally Lewis to step into … More

State of the Church 2020

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
January 27 2020

At yesterday’s Annual Meeting, Senior Minister Scott Jones delivered his annual “State of the Church” address. This being my tenth Annual Meeting … More

TAGG – One Easy Way to Give to First Central!

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
November 20 2019

TAGG, which is an acronym for “Together A Greater Good” is a non-profit organization unique to Omaha.  The phone app was launched … More

From the Health Team: Cold & Flu Season

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
November 19 2019

Here we are again, right at the onset of cold and flu season. We are all interested in things we can do … More

Education Spotlight: What’s Happening Downstairs?

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
November 6 2019

On Sunday mornings, the kids all head out of the sanctuary after the Children’s Sermon.  But then what happens? Most Sundays, the … More

Parables: Wednesday Night Bible Study

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
September 11 2019

“The parables give us access to the way Jesus re-imagined the possibility of living, of being in the world.”–Brandon Scott Our Wednesday … More

First Central Library

Cassie Williams
June 21 2019

Ever wondered what books are available in the church library? The First Central Library catalog is now online. You can access it … More

Scott’s TED Talk

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
April 2 2019

In February Scott was an invited speaker to this year’s TEDxUNO where the theme was Resilience.  His talk, “Living Open” has now … More

Epiphany at First Central

Katie
December 29 2021

Guest Columnist – Deb Kirwan: General Synod

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
September 2 2021

Having attended a UCC General Synod in the past (and loving the experience), I wondered what it would be like to be … More

Scott’s Column – Our Limitations

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
August 20 2021

A few weeks ago one of my ministry colleagues said in relation to the pandemic, “I’m f***ing tired of navigating this thing.”  … More