Registrations have begun to come in for our Adult winter retreat, but there are still some openings. This is a refreshing winter get-away weekend on Friday evening, February 11th - late Saturday afternoon, February 12th. We'll gather in the winter beauty at our cozy retreat facility which is in Princeton, IL. The accommodations are motel-like and very comfortable. The cost is $75 which includes one night of accommodations, meals and meeting space. You are asked to bring a snack to share. Brochures with registration information are available at church. Please turn in your deposit of $50 now to reserve your space. This will assure that you will get one of the nicest rooms in the retreat facility. Checks should be made payable to the church. Scholarships are available, so please do not let the cost keep you from participating. Please talk to Lois or Paris if you have a financial need (it will be kept confidential). Any questions???? Please feel free to talk to Lois or Paris about this retreat.
Our annual Winter Retreat is scheduled for Friday, January 14 through Sunday, January 16 at Pilgrim Park in Princeton (the UCC Church Camp). Cost is only $20 per person for the weekend. Our theme is "The Game of Life" and it should be a great weekend of games, food, and fellowship.
From January 9th to February 6th adults at First Congregational Church UCC have these opportunities for spiritual and personal growth. Each class begins at 9:15 AM & ends at 10:00 AM. Child care will be provided.
How to Listen to a Sermon
One would think listening to a sermon is pretty simple - just open your ears. However, there are nuances and subtleties to sermon construction and delivery that, when understood, enhance one's experience of a sermon and transform it into a dialogue instead of a monologue. This class is based on Paris' years of teaching in Chicago Seminary's Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program where students must involve laypersons from their churches in the process of developing and evaluating sermons. Those laypersons claim that their involvement has forever changed the way they listen to, and interact with, the sermons they hear. Paris wants FCC members to have the same opportunity. Come get a taste of what one layperson called "one of the most rewarding experiences I've ever had in the church."
Facilitator: Paris Donehoo
Current Events: The Christian Responds
What is happening in our community and the world? How does the Christian respond to current events? Can an individual or group make a difference? Discuss the important issues of this week, month, & year. Bring your own view and perspective to share. Carl brings his background as an educator, facilitator, & community service leader to this interesting series.
Facilitator: Carol Flaks
Telling a Story Through Photography
Ron brings his background as a graphic design artist & photographer to this photography workshop. He hopes that participants can use their imagination while telling a story thru pictures. The type of camera you use can be a "throw away" or any style or type of camera, as well as digital. This open workshop will be for sharing ideas and discussing ways to use creativity in image making. Please give Ron a call if you have a question before the series begins.
Facilitator: Ron Whetstone
1/1 Geneva Moody
1/2 Ron Schaaf
1/3 Angie Rea
1/8 Paul Rothlisberger
1/8 Ethan Peterson
1/10 Kaylen Bye
1/11 Abby Kottmeier
1/12 Leola Ellsworth
1/13 Nicole Steffen
1/16 William Sell
1/17 Violet Lohse
1/17 Lavon Bayler
1/17 Laura McMinn
1/17 Michael McMinn
1/21 Paul Mason
1/22 Martina Preradovic
1/24 Camille Rea
1/25 John Hopkins
1/25 Mary Barbezat
1/28 Lindsay Iverson
1/30 Dorothy Gerber
- George Hove fell at home and broke several ribs. He is currently in rehab at St. Joseph Hospital.
- Violet Lohse is in Sherman Hospital being treated for various problems.
- Diana Menke was admitted to Sherman Hospital for a few days.
- Jim Ellsworth has been in Sherman Hospital twice in recent weeks. He is now home but still undergoing tests.
- Betty Jones was admitted to St. Joseph Hospital for a few days with breathing difficulties.
- Pam Swan continues to slowly recuperate from recent surgery.
- Jennifer Green injured her back. She is gradually getting better.
- Judy Leberecht, Dennis Leberecht's mother, has had a relapse of her cancer.
- Elsie Burrichter, Lavon Bayler's mother, died on November 17.
- Pat Lindquist's mother died during Thanksgiving week.
- Angel Chippet was born on December 10 to parents Tony Chippet and Andrea Szlapinski and grandmother Charlotte Flanagan. Angel was born with numerous physical problems and was taken to the neo-natal unit at Lutheran General Hospital. Because of the serious nature of her anomalies Pastor Paris baptized her on December 13 in the hospital.
- Donald Disque, son-in-law to Geneva Moody, continues chemotherapy treatments at his home in Hartford, CT.
- Hanna McClure, Helen McClure's granddaughter continues to struggle with asthma related problems.
- Stewart Crockett has completed 38 radiation treatments for prostate cancer and some lingering side effects are being managed. Most of all he feels great, walks downtown every day, and is maintaining a varied singing schedule.
Plans are underway for the 2005 Mission Trip. We have selected the week of June 19th (probably leaving the night of June 16th and returning the night of June 26th. We will be going to H.O.M.E in Orland, Maine. Our week may include carpentry work, harvesting wood, repair of low-income housing, cooking, gardening, home construction, painting, retail craft sales, work in a bargain barn and farmwork. Registrations and non-refundable deposits of $50 are due by January 10th.
Please let Lois or Brian Stark know if you are planning to join the group this summer.
Sister to Sister
Sister to Sister will be meeting on Thursday, January 13th at 7p.m. in the library. Please plan to join us as we talk about highlights from our holidays and the new year. Bring something Anew@ (new gift, new favorite food, new picture, new??? the possibilities are endless) to share with the group. This group is very informal. All of the women of the church are invited to participate.
This dining out women's group will be meeting on the fourth Thursday to eat at Cooper's Char House in West Dundee. It is located on Rte 31 near the fire department. We will gather at 6:30 for an evening of dining and conversation. Please join us. If you have any questions talk to Lois or call Lee Ellsworth.
Sunday School B Perfect Attendance
We are encouraging the children to be present each week in Sunday School. Their regular attendance makes it easier for them to learn about our faith without gaps in their learning. We want to recognize these people for perfect attendance during the month of November: Grace Anne Aldred, Drew Rantz, Cassidy Sell, Emilie Kottmeier, Brailey Kerber, Madeline Koldos, Abby Kottmeier, Max Aldred, Andrew Duncan, Nicole Lewellyn, Marissa Lewellyn, Brad Rantz, Samantha Kottmeier, David Gerber, Marina Preradovic and Danikka Preradovic,
Congratulations! We hope that more children will try to be present each week. We will be recognizing perfect attendance for December in the next newsletter.
Some enterprising members of FCC are attempting to record our 10:15 Sunday worship services and make tapes available to shut-ins and anyone else who wants them. Here are two ways you can help?
- Make the recording on Sunday morning. It's a simple matter of dropping a blank tape into the deck in the balcony (all levels are pre-set) and pressing the "record" button. After worship you retrieve the tape and take it to the church office. If you would be willing to help, contact David Duncan or call the church office.
- Take a tape to a shut-in. For some of our folks who can't get out anymore this could be a great way to re-connect with the church. It could do wonders for you too. Call the church office if you are willing to help.
Tapes would also be available to anyone in the church who wants one at a cost of $2.00 each. An order form will be in the narthex.
Plans are underway to train a new crop of ChristCare group leaders. Because of scheduling conflicts the training dates were postponed, but now we are back on track. ChristCare Group Leader training will kickoff with a weekend retreat January 28-30 and continue with sessions each Monday night through March. Please prayerfully consider becoming a ChristCare leader. The training is intense and thorough, but you will also bond with others in ways you never dreamed. Talk to Pastors Paris or Lois if you are interested.
Jim Lewis of the Soup Kettle is in need of 5 or 6 highchairs. If anyone has a highchair they are no longer using and would like to donate please contact Jim.
Annual Church Meeting
Please mark your calendars for January 23, 2005 for our Annual Church Meeting.
All Ministry reports are due Jan. 4, 2005.
MEET THE RANTZ FAMILY
Because of deadline obligations last month we were unable to introduce our new members, Charles and Lauran Rantz.
Sponsors: Jerry and Kathy Turnquist
Charles grew up in Elgin and currently works as a roofing estimator with Topside Roofing, Inc. He enjoys fishing, playing guitar, weight training, and karaoke. "Our entire family really enjoys FCC and the family atmosphere," says Charles. Lauran is also a native of Elgin. Her primary job is "stay at home Mom," but does some daycare work at her children's school as well as part-time work at Coopers Charhouse. She is currently doing college studies to receive a teaching degree. Lauran likes to read, go to movies, and travel, and says she is happy to find a church where she feels welcome and "at home." She and Charles have to sons - Brad (4th grade) and Drew (Kindergarten).
Rob and Jodie Stackowiak celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a grand gala at the Stadium Club in Chicago. Pastor Lois led them in a reaffirmation of their vows.
Angel Oakley Kawa, granddaughter of Doug and Ellen McDonald, graduated Summa Cum Laud from Judson College on December 11.
Meals On Wheels
A very special thank you to all the folks who helped with Meals on Wheels in November.
St. Joseph Hospital
Ellie and John Hopkins
Carl and Mary Flaks
Chuck and Dolores Zimmerman
The Mitchell Family
Chuck and Dolores Zimmerman
Community 12-Hour Prayer Event
Join us in a community-wide day of prayer, sponsored by P.A.D.S. of Elgin, Inc. On Thursday, January 6, 2005, between 7 am and 7 pm, area churches and organizations will host one-hour prayer sessions in the chapel at Judson College in Elgin. As a community, we pray together for people in need, for an end to homelessness, and for protection of the poor.
The prayer event will close with a community service from 7 to 8 pm.
FCC has been scheduled for the hour from 9 -10 am. However, if this time is inconvenient for you, please feel free to come at another time during the event. A sign-up sheet will be placed on the table outside of the church office. To learn more about this effort and other ways in which you can be involved, please contact Mark Hartwig at 847-608-1731.
The Larkin Center
Reaching out in the Fox Valley since 1896
November 19, 2004
First Congregational Church
256 E Chicago St
Elgin, Illinois 60120-6509
Dear Friends of The Larkin Center,
On behalf of the Larkin Center board of directors and staff, thank you for your recent gift(s) valued at a total of $188.85. It is an honor to have your generous support.
Through the efforts of our volunteers, committee members and donors, we are continuing a 108-year tradition of serving the greater Fox Valley. In 2003, we served more than 200 individuals through our:
- Round the clock residential program for up to 52 abused and neglected
- Therapeutic Special Education school near the Elgin Sports Complex for 100
students grades 1-12. This school serves not only the local U-46 school
district, but also 24 districts from Chicago to DeKalb and from Woodstock to Aurora.
- Transitional Skills Center for young men and women with a chronic mental
illness seeking greater self-independence
- Transitional Living Program for adults with a chronic mental illness
- Family counseling program for families dealing with a troubled child or teen.
Thank you again for your support. Larkin's 195 staff members who work so hard for our child, teen and adult clients can't thank you enough for your kindness.
Dennis L. Graf
Larkin Center Executive Director
FROG (Friends Relying on God) Friday is on Christmas Holiday
Just a reminder that FROG Friday will NOT be meeting during the month of December. We will resume our FROG (Friends Relying on God) Friday program on the third Friday in January which is January 21st 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. The payment of $15.00 for the winter session (Jan., Feb., Mar.) will be due at that time. The cost is $15.00 per person for three sessions. This cost includes dinner, craft, story and games. FROGS are having a
hopping good time learning more about being faithful friends relying on God. Plan to come and invite someone new to join us too.
Soup Luncheon update
On December 5th the mission trip group held a soup luncheon after church. This luncheon was to raise funds for our trip. It looks like we made about $600. Obviously, it was a souper success. Thank you to all who made a pot of soup to share. Everyone raved about the different varieties. It was suggested that we do it again and next time offer the recipes for each soup. We really appreciate all the support being offered to our mission trip group. Thanks.
30 Hour Famine
In February we will be participating in the "30 Hour Famine" over the weekend of February 25. This is a NATION WIDE event that raises money and awareness about world hunger and poverty issues. We're hoping to make this a major event for the church and our group, so mark off that weekend and come "famine with us".
Don't Forget - Summer Mission Trip
Summer Mission Trip Deposits are due by MONDAY, JANUARY 10 to the church office. We will be traveling to Maine to work with Project H.O.M.E.. Space IS limited, so don't miss out by waiting until the last minute. The deposit is $50 per person. See Pastor Lois or Mr. Brian for details or if you have any questions.
What can I say? A big thank you! You have once more stepped up and have made this year=s campaign a true success. Not only are the pledging units up but the level of giving is up as well. Some significantly. We still have approximately 23 units that pledged last year but haven't sent in their estimates of giving yet. If we can get those 23 to give at the same level as last year (or more) we will make a huge dent in that deficit budget! It won't be a balanced budget, but with careful management of our expenses, we just may come closer than we have for years! We owe it all to you, our congregation. We asked and you came through.
The proposed budget allows for full funding of our ministries at asked for levels. It also includes minor raises for all staff. The wonderful people who work so hard in our name definitely deserve it and our undying thanks as well!
So if you haven't returned your estimate of giving card yet, please do so. It will save the Stewardship Ministry from contacting you.
With all of the excitement generated by the recent UCC ad campaign, and all of the new 1st time visitors, it truly is a great time to be a member of FCC. There is a level of anticipation that permeates the sanctuary that great things are happening here and God is calling us to even greater heights.
I thank each and every one of you for everything you do financially, and through the sharing of your time and talents. You are awesome people and I am proud to know you!
God is not only still speaking... we are listening!