Remembering Bruce L. Morris on his 100th Birthday

Bruce L Morris, former First Congregational Church Fresno moderator, Sunday School Teacher, Circle of Friends Childcare & all-around FCCF Volunteer and Fresno City College instructor would have been 100 years old on August 12th.

In honor of his service to FCCF, his love for the Sierra Nevada and devoted volunteer at Camp Tamarack we are making a special appeal for Camp Tam in cooperation with his family and the Morris Trust. Camp Tamarack is closed for this season due to Covid-19. Annual maintenance and repairs are being performed by those who believe in the Camp Tam experience as much as Bruce. Their goal and ours is to ensure a viable camp experience for future generations of Tam Campers.

Bruce may well have started his affection for his beloved Sierra Nevadas during a 2-week trek with his parents, Professor Frank R and Lotta Ray Morris to the Summit of Mt Whitney in 1930. Bruce was the 2nd youngest to sign the register at age 10.

Bruce’s parents were stalwart First Congregational members from the day the family joined when it was located at Divisadero & San Pablo. At the awkward age of 14 and needing to expand his social and spiritual experiences, the Morris family soon became pillars of FCCF.

A summary of Bruce’s Sierra Nevada experiences include:

  • Fresno State College Summer School, Huntington Lake – 1930’s -’42
  • Family Camp Freso, Dinkey Creek – 1950’s
  • Millerton Park Summer Ranger – ’50’s
  • Camp Manager, YMCA Camp Sequoia ’50s
  • Morris Cabin Shaver Lake 1960–

All donations will benefit the maintenance of Camp Tamarack or Camperships to provide the physical and spiritual experience Bruce felt while surrounded by the natural beauty of his beloved Sierras.

All who wish to donate or pledge a donation can do so by:

  • Check made out to FCCF
  • Donation made via Givelify, specify “Bruce L. Morris 100 Camp Tam”
  • In-kind donations, contact Penny Peterson in the FCCF office at [email protected] or by calling 559.227.8489

Please mark all donations: 

CAMP TAMARACK, Bruce Morris 100

Your personal notes & reflections of Bruce and Camp Tam experiences are welcome with or without a donation.

In Response to the Coronavirus…

By Kim Williams

We have fielded a number of calls and emails from our members expressing concern during this time as we are bombarded with the inescapable news of the spread of the Coronavirus. As a church, we are naturally a place of connection, however we do invite our members to politely decline from engaging in hugs and hand shakes if they are concerned about the spread of germs. There is hand sanitizer in most areas of the church, however all are reminded that hand washing is truly the best defense against the spread of viruses.
Please take a moment to read this article from the United Church of Christ regarding the Coronavirus: Church leaders urge education, caution and common sense as U.S. coronavirus cases increase.
Additionally, as is our practice as seekers of a just world for all, we invite you to read the following articles:
As we may opt to pass the Purell instead of passing the peace, we are reminded that we are called by Christ to stand against xenophobia and love our neighbor.

From Stewardship and Sustainable Growth

Over the past three months, we have been talking about our work and our future here at the Big Red Church. In July, we shared our dreams of what we might do together next year. And we dreamed big. In September, we met to talk about how those dreams might look in the form of a budget. There might have been a little sticker shock. But we didn’t say “we should stay the same,” or “let’s do less.” Because we are doing great things here.

And this month is our annual giving campaign, so we are encouraging each other to give, so that we can keep doing great things.

After the conversations in July, you might remember that all of the notes were used to make a word cloud. That’s a picture of the words that were written down most often in those notes. Look for that word cloud this month in our giving materials.

And each week this month in worship, inspired by that word cloud, we are showing off a different perspective on what we are doing here at the Big Red Church.

What are we doing here? We are welcoming anyone and everyone, no matter where you are in your journey. We are connecting with each other, especially intergenerationally. We are working for justice in our community and in our world, by serving those around us. And we are supporting the church and each other, especially by recognizing the importance of our children.

To help keep doing what we are doing here—and more—there are many ways you can give:

  • You can use the Givelify app on your phone to give weekly, monthly, or any time you feel moved—but setting up a recurring gift is easy, and you should do it. Just download the app, set up your payment information, and search for “First Congregational Church of Fresno.”
  • You can give by contacting the church office and setting up a regular bank-to-bank transfer or a credit card payment.
  • And you can give in the weekly offering.

But no matter how you give, every year we need you to help us by filling out a pledge card with the amount that you expect to give. Even if you only plan to give a few dollars, the pledge card is important. The pledge cards tell us how much giving we as a church can expect to receive in the next year. And that information helps us make plans, like building the budget that will be presented to the congregation at the annual meeting in January. The pledge cards are your way to be part of the plan. Please give, and please fill out the pledge card.

Everybody counts, and everything you give counts.

Thank you, from the Stewardship and Sustainable Growth Committee.

Annual Report, Proposed 2019 Budget, and Slate of Council Candidates

This Sunday, January 27th, is the 135th Annual Meeting of the First Congregational Church of Fresno. You are invited to join us at 11:30 in the Fellowship Hall.

If you’d like to see the reports of the various staff, officers, and ministries, as well as the proposed 2019 budget and slate of candidates for the Council, you can download the Annual Report right here.

See you on Sunday!

Congregational Meeting to Vote on Bylaw Changes set for October 14

Please plan to attend our congregational meeting after church at approximately 11:30 am on October 14th to vote on the proposed changes to our bylaws. We will remain in the Sanctuary and conduct the meeting immediately following “Go Now in Peace”.

The following is a guide to the proposed changes. You may download a pdf of the proposed bylaws here.


Late in 2017 Church Council began questioning the effectiveness of the use of Directors-At-Large to serve on council.  These positions were established in a bylaw change several years ago to relieve the ministry chairpersons from an extra meeting each month, however, the change resulted in diminished communication between each of the ministries and council – with the failure in evidence in both directions.  Council sensed a need to return once again to the old method where the ministry chairperson also served on council.  Therefore a committee of Robbyn Mosley, John Shore and Peter Wall was assigned by council to review the bylaws for changes to current needs.

After a review of the previous bylaw document, the committee noted several issues with the existing bylaw document: duplication of information in more than one section, minor spelling and grammatical errors, unnecessary capitalization and underlining, and inconsistent quantity protocol of numbers, i.e.:(three) (3).  These have all been edited to provide a more consistent document.

The Ministries of the church in Article XII are listed, however, the ministry functions and activities has been removed.  This specific information will be contained in the Policies and Procedures manual.

Three specific “Directors at Large” will still sit on the council, but will actually be “at large” positions rather than tied to any particular ministry.  

The following changes have been proposed to reflect the manner in which our church should be governed and conduct its business.

  • Article VII, Section 2, d. provides a better definition of “Associate Membership”.
  • Associate Members would be provided voting rights in Article VII, Section 6.
  • Voting rules and special voting items have been placed under one section, Article VIII, Section 8.
  • The Board of Directors, known as Council is changed to include the officers: Moderator, Vice-Moderator, Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, one leader representative for each of the five ministries, and three Directors-at-Large, a total of 12, in Article IX, Section 1.
  • In Article IX Section 2, the election and tenure of council members has been consolidated into one section.
  • In Article IX Section 4, Delegates to association and conference meetings is changed from “election” to “appointment” by council.
  • In Article X, Section 6, the Secretary may delegate duties to a staff person with council consent.
  • In Article X. Section 7, the Chief Financial Officer may delegate duties to a staff person with council consent.
  • Article X, Section 8, defines the role of the Directors-At-Large.  More specific duties would be cited in the policies and procedures manual.
  • Article XI, Section 1, changes the responsibility of the Pastor from “Administrative Head of the Church” to “Chief of Staff”.
  • Article XII, Directors-at-Large, is eliminated in its entirety.  This is now listed in Article X, Section 8.
  • Article XII lists the Ministries by name only with a referral back to Article IX for election and term information.  The purpose and function of each of the ministries is to be defined in the policies and procedures manual to be developed by each ministry with council approval.  Therefore, operational changes in the conduct of business of a ministry can be achieved without a By-Law change.
  • The various committees are likewise listed by name with a reference that their conduct will be in accordance with the policies and procedures manual.
  • The Ministries, originally defined in Article XIII have been removed but are noted in Article XII, Section 1, with the duties to be defined in the principles and operations manual to be developed after the approval of these By-Law changes by the congregation.
  • There are special committees of council whose duties are now defined in Article XIII.
  • The Committee of Elders is changed to reflect their chairperson will be elected within this group, and any new Elders will be selected by the group and announced at the annual meeting, no longer requiring council approval.
  • Article XVI Section 2 read is new and reads: The Council shall adopt, and from time to time, may amend policies and procedures to execute these bylaws. 

Respectfully Submitted,

Robbyn Mosley
John Shore
Peter Wall

Easter Visits

By Kim Leonard, Director Facilities, Technology, and Communication

One of the more subtle ministries of our church is the delivery of flowers at Christmas and Easter to members of our congregation who are unable to attend church regularly, are experiencing loss, hardship, or otherwise just need extra love and attention at this time. It goes way beyond just taking a plant to someone.

Last year, I had been in the middle of a difficult summer that had bled into an impossible autumn and was creeping into winter. I felt like I couldn’t mentally give anything or possibly put any more energy into the Christmas season than I was—and all I was doing was treading water.

You know, those are usually the times that God finds a way. It was the weekend before Christmas and I was sitting in Church when Judy Frost came up during announcements asking for people to help make visits. Every bone in my introvert’s body was saying “DON’T. DON’T DO IT. You’ll have to meet new people! You’ll have to leave your hermitage home!” God is pretty good at overriding that part of the brain when it’s for our own good, though. I told Judy I’d deliver two. 

It ended up being the brightest moment of the Advent season. I wish I had allotted more time to chat with them. I may have been the one delivering the flowers and making the visits, but meeting these two (very different) women and spending an hour or so with each of them did more for getting me into the holiday spirit than all the hot cocoa and Christmas decorations combined.

I know that I will be participating in this very special gesture of friendship and community every Christmas and Easter from here on out, and I invite you to join me—even if you’re an introvert

Delivery dates: Any time during Holy Week from Palm Sunday (flower pick-up day) to Easter Sunday. 
Expected Time Commitment: A 5 minute phone call to ask for the best time to visit, driving time, and plan for around an hour of time to visit. 

Broadway On Van Ness 2016

Broadway on Van Ness

Sunday, March 13, the next edition of the Fresno Grand Opera Chorus’ Broadway on Van Ness will be presented in collaboration with our church. Tickets are available online at (service fee involved); or ordered through their box office at 559.442.5699. Tickets also can be ordered at church during coffee hour. All gross tickets sales will be evenly split between FGO and First Congregational Church’s general fund. A pre-concert reception and silent auction, as well as post-concert dessert come as part of the ticket purchase. All proceeds from the Silent Auction go straight into our general fund- one of the primary fund-raisers to support our 2016 budget.

4:00 pm – Pre-concert reception and Silent Auction
5:00 pm – Broadway on Van Ness performance
6:15 pm – Post-concert dessert and close of Silent Auction

This year we are also asking First Congregational members and friends to help identify sponsors in underwriting this event. The “Broadways on Van Ness” planning team led by Ben Ewell have prepared forms which are available in the church office, or can be sent electronically from the church office, for use with potential sponsors. They encourage our members and friends to help in this vital aspect of
supporting this significant cultural and fund-raising event.