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FCUCC to do 125 Acts of Kindness

The Rev. Martin Nussbaum prepares trim for painting while Viola "Ole" Trautman watches. Submitted photo

As First Congregational United Church of Christ celebrates its 125th year in Jamestown, the congregation is committing itself to doing 125 Acts Of Kindness (A-OK) in the 125 days leading up to the 125th anniversary celebration on August 9 and 10.

Sally Albin, the chair of the anniversary committee, came up with the idea of doing 125 Acts of Kindness.

“I was watching the TV one night and saw an organization that did this for their 90th anniversary, and I said, ‘We can do that!’” Albin said, “It was DJ (Gahner)’s idea to call it ‘A-OK.’”

This project is consistent with the core values of a church that is committed to doing justice in the world.

“The United Church of Christ has always been committed to the idea that being a Christian ought to be expressed as much in our actions as in our beliefs,” said the Rev. Martin Nussbaum. “Sally is a perfect expression of our church. She is a tireless worker, involved in every activity and visiting people in the nursing homes and hospitals and committed to a Godly sense of righteousness and justice.”

The United Church of Christ is a denomination known for its historical involvement in justice issues.

Some of the most prominent abolitionists come from the United Church of Christ including Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, James O’Kelly and Antoinette Brown, who was the first ordained woman in modern times.

First Congregational in Jamestown affirms that tradition of justice by being the first congregation in North Dakota to be open and affirming to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

“One of the older members of the church asked if we could do 125 acts of kindness in one summer and I told them that we cannot only do 125 acts of kindness, but each one of us can do 125 acts or we should stop calling ourselves Christian. Jesus did not just walk down the road and preach, but he stopped to heal the beggar, to welcome the prostitute, to love their enemies the Romans. To follow in the footsteps of Christ is to engage daily in Acts of Kindness,” Nussbaum said.

The church will celebrate the 125th anniversary with an open house and a catered banquet Aug. 9. Then on Aug. 10, the congregation will have a special worship service with former pastor Rev. Fred Kirschenmann returning to speak.

Students from the University of Jamestown are currently working on a documentary about the 125 years of spiritual leadership the church has provided the community of Jamestown.

“What Acts of Kindness will I be doing?” said Nussbaum, “Probably many. But I am going to start by painting Ole Trautman’s porch. Ole is a lady who has hosted our Bible studies in Medina, but has trouble getting around. Last summer, she told me that she was going to paint the trim on her house, and I told her that I would paint it for her. We didn’t get it done last summer, so as soon as it warms up this spring, I will be painting her house for her.”