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.

Just My Thoughts – I’m Fine

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
February 24 2021

Once I worked in a big fancy office, with lots of mahogany furniture, and a corporate dress code. And every morning, everyone pranced around filling their coffee cups and tossing, “Good morning, how are you?” around like it was a pink packet of Sweet and Low. They didn’t care how I was – or how anyone was – because no one continued to engage in conversation long enough to even hear the obligatory “I’m fine” that was the required response.

That’s when I started loathing the phrase “I’m fine.”

Because – I’m guesstimating here – 95.8% of the time when someone says “I’m fine,” they are, indeed NOT fine.

You just say it as a reflex response. And most time we use the reflex because two words coming out of our mouths is so much more readily acceptable in our society than the 5,397 words of true emotions that will vomit out of us if we answered honestly.

So…

Here we are, at the nearly one-year anniversary of this historic pandemic.  And I want to know – How Are You?

Please do not say you are fine.  There is no possible way that you are actually fine.

Earlier this month, during a special Saturday morning forum on mental health in the times we are living, the Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe said, “No one alive on this planet right now is actually 100% fine.  It isn’t humanly possible.”  And she knows about these things.  She’s a mental health professional, advocate, and genuinely beautiful soul. If you haven’t already, check out her book The Lifesaving Church or watch the recording of the forum on YouTube.

Let’s just agree that we are all various levels of fine. And each one of us might just have a personal level of fine that changes every day.  Sometimes it changes multiple times a day.  Possibly it changes several times in a given hour.

Like Katie Miller so eloquently said a couple of weeks ago: “it goes in waves – some days are good and I think ‘wow I’ve got the hang of this!’ And other days I spend hours blankly staring at my phone.”  This is true for me too.  But, also true is that I can wake up feeling like I’m completely in control of the day’s destiny, and by lunch time can have such an intense case of the “I Don’t Wannas” that I have to force myself to think of something to cook for dinner so that we don’t just have cheese and a glass of merlot.

But, here’s the thing: It’s OK.  It is all absolutely, positively OK.

Please stop trying to be fine. We are not fine.

What we are is … resilient.  What we are is … tired, nay, exhausted, by this pandemic. But if you are reading this, then that means that you are still here, living out this catastrophic history.  Living it as best we can with our uncut hair and stashes of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.  Because resilience kicks in even when you desperately need a haircut.

Someone on my TV recently, who was talking about the vaccine and what it means for our lives in the coming months, said: “We’re all so OVER Covid, but Covid isn’t over us” so please don’t stop wearing your mask, socially distancing, etc.

I’m pretty sure what the talking head was implying was that even though we are tired, the virus is still very much working at full force and we need to stay vigilant.  Great point.

What I heard, however, was more along the lines of the idea that IN SPITE of our exhaustion, the virus doesn’t have to keep a choke hold on our existence.

Yes, wear a mask, get your vaccination when it is your turn, keep your distance at the grocery store.  Do all the things that have now become normal.

But also, give yourself permission to have bad days. To have afternoons of exhaustion. To have glorious mornings watching the sun rise followed by an angry outburst when the coffee pot overflows 15 minutes later.

To answer the phone and reply, “Yes, I’m fine, but…” and not allow reflex to take over.

To have cheese and – who am I kidding – a bottle of merlot for dinner.

We are all doing the best we can. We all have completely different ways of doing our best. Don’t beat yourself up for mistakes at work, for shortfalls in parenting, for feeling like a bad friend when joining that zoom social hour just feels like too much.

The super smart psychology people suggest doing or finding one thing – just ONE thing – on any given day that brings or shows you joy.  Maybe you are super creative and can make something beautiful.  Let that be your joy!  Maybe, just maybe, all you can muster today is the fact that your cup of hot tea smells glorious as it steeps.  That, my friend is joy.

Write down that joy.  Every single day, write down that ONE thing. Start keeping a list – in a tablet, on a sticky note, on the back of the power bill, doesn’t matter – just write them down.  This helps your brain better process how amazing life really is amid all of this chaos and uncertainty.

If you have more than one on any given day, congratulations!  Write them all down. Reflect on them when your head hits the pillow at night.

Just keep going.  Spring is coming, and new life will start springing forth.  Easter is upon us, with the reminder of the hope and joy in the resurrection.

If today was abysmal, eat the cheese for dinner, find some joy in doing so, and try again tomorrow.

 

If on any given day you cannot find one single thing that musters up even the brief sparkle of something joy-filled, please do not sit alone in that spot.  It is OK to not be OK. Do not let reflex take over and be “fine”.  Let me say that again: it is OK to not be OK.  Please just reach out to someone and talk things through.  You can call 800-273-8255 to talk to a live person 24 hours a day.  Or text HOME to 741 741 to reach someone via text message immediately. 


Scott’s Column: Our Best Selves

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
February 9 2021

This Epiphany season our worship has focused on the Fruits of the Spirit.  This theme has allowed us to focus attention on … More

Katie’s Musings – The Vaccine Diaries

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
February 3 2021

Last week, Scott, Jim, and I were fortunate enough to receive the vaccine.  For weeks, there’d been some confusion as to whether … More

The Lifesaving Church – Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 AM

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
January 25 2021

Recently, the diagnosis of anxiety has gone from 1 in 5 to 1 in 3 and may become 1 in 2 by … More

Gratitude: Guest Columnist Jamie Rudd

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
January 5 2021

“Adopting an Attitude of Gratitude” was the culture topic at Nebraska Medicine for the month of December. How timely. On December 23rd, … More

Scott’s Column: The Consolations of Poetry

Rev. Dr. E. Scott Jones
December 31 2020

I encountered my slogan for the year 2020 in the Selected Poems and Prose of Paul Celan: This cracked year with its … More

Advent – Guest Columnist, Fred Nielsen

Kerrie Kleppin-Winn
December 9 2020

This the first real Advent of my life. There were other Advent seasons, of course, all of them arriving precisely on schedule … More

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

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

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 … More