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: Mayflower Compact

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
November 11 2020

On November 11, 1620 the Mayflower floated in Provincetown Harbor (the landing at Plymouth was a month away).  The crew was grumbling.  The voyage had been delayed, they’d gotten off course, supplies were running short, and winter was coming.  They wanted the passengers gone.

And the passengers were a mixed bunch, not all of them devout Separatists.  Worried that discord would spoil the venture, the leaders drew up a compact for the settlers to sign before anyone went ashore.  It reads:

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great BritainFrance, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of EnglandFrance, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

41 male passengers signed the document.  Including three of my ancestors–John Howland, John Tilley, and Edward Tilley.  Howland was an indentured servant; he almost died on the voyage when he slipped overboard in a storm and providentially caught hold of a halyard and was saved.  The Tilley brothers would die that first winter.

The contemporary author Nick Bunker advises that we evaluate the document by the question–would an Englishman at the time have viewed the document as doing anything radically new?  And he thinks it was viewed that way.  Not only were a group of men coming together to fashion their own civil government without outside authority, the 41 signers were treated as equals in doing so, despite differences of faith, class, and status.  The indentured servants signed too.

Here’s what Bunker concludes about the Compact:

The Pilgrims drew up the agreement in a new location, at the moment of creation of a new colony.  They did so in terms that, two decades later, could be used as a rationale for outright resistance to the Crown.  This, the right of disobedience, existed within the language of the Mayflower Compact from the very start.  Most radically of all, they produced a document that nearly every man signed. . . . This was all very new indeed.

The historian Vernon Parrington, despite being no fan of the Puritans (who arrived in 1630), claimed that “Two cardinal principles–which at bottom were one–thus found their way to New England in the Mayflower: the principle of a democratic church and the principle of a democratic state.”  He added, “The new world would ultimately throw off the old-world repressions and explore the reaches of those generous idealisms that were the bequest of English Separatism.”

So, this week, let’s honor this milestone in the history of our country, our congregationalist faith, and the development of democratic ideals.  This is something to be thankful for.


Scott’s Column: Gratitude

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
November 18 2020

My sister ordered Sebastian an Advent calendar.  He knows it has arrived but hasn’t seen it yet.  The other day he asked … More

An Interview With… Barb & Bonnie

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
October 28 2020

Long time finance guru, Lou Lamberty recently stepped down from keeping the books at First Central.  He left it all in the … More

Katie’s Musings – But/And

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
October 14 2020

I’ve been thinking a lot about language and the way we use it to talk about life and each other and about … More

Tug, My “AA” Buddy

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
October 7 2020

Thank you Kathy Hoyt sharing this story of her faithful Tug at this year’s Pet Blessing! Unlike the rest of us, Tug … More

Gospel Encounters: Fall Worship Theme

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
September 1 2020

“The encounter with people who are different from others, in whose lives you can see a new intelligence about reality, a fully … More

Pandemic Stress Relief – The Labyrinth

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
August 19 2020

In the midst of a pandemic, any activity that relieves a little stress is a welcome distraction.   First Central Congregational United Church … More

Katie’s Musings – COVID Consent

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
August 12 2020

To mask or not to mask… that is the question. …. no actually, it really isn’t a question.  #WearAMask and #ListenToTheScientists Realistically, … 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

Advent Devotionals

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
October 22 2020

Advent approaches. Already. In honor of the season (and what will likely be a weird season at that) and our upcoming Advent … More

Scott’s Column: Sandhills Retreat

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
September 28 2020

Shortly after I arrived at Kamp Kaleo last week, our denomination’s campground and retreat center in Burwell, Nebraska, David Butz, the director, … More

An Interview With… Lou Lamberty

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
September 2 2020

Lou, our acting financial aficionado for years, is hanging up his clipboard after nearly two decades on the job. Before he officially … More