Begin the journey through Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 9th, in one of two ways. From 11:00 am until 1:00 Dr. Donehoo will be in the chapel to serve communion, pray for you, and impose ashes (if you would like to receive them). You may come by yourself, as a couple, or as a family at any time during those hours. Then at 7 pm there will be a service of worship in the chapel. This service will include communion and the imposition of ashes (if you like). Dr. Donehoo will be preaching.
Hopefully, one of these options will meet your needs on this solemn day. See you in the chapel on February 9th.
11:00 until1:00 (come any time) - Individual communion and prayer.
7:00 pm - Corporate worship with communion.
We hope that you're planning to join us for our annual adult retreat to Pilgrim Park on February 11th and 12th. Rev. Dr. Gary Hodges will be our retreat leader. Our theme for the retreat is Encountering the 'thing' in the bushes. We'll gather in the winter beauty at our cozy retreat facility in Princeton, Illinois. The accommodations are motel-like and very comfortable. The cost will be $75.00 which will include one night of accommodations, meals and meeting space. Please read the brochure located on the table in the vestibule (or call Lois or Paris) for more information and a registration form.
A big Thank you to all the Christmas Carolers at FCC. Their beautiful voices singing some of my favorite Christmas carols brought much joy, happiness and good cheer to me on the Sunday night before Christmas.
Taking time from their busy schedules and coming out on a bitterly cold and windy night was, I'm sure, appreciated by all the people they visited that night.
They are a wonderful group. The cookies were delicious too.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so very much for the lovely plate of very, very good cookies and the nice voices in song the other night at our Nursing Home. It was very beautiful and the cookies were the best ever.
Virginia & Ray Kellermann
The Son Shine Readers ChristCare group wishes to thank all of you who participated in our book drive to benefit school libraries in depressed areas. We collected 1700 books! 28 boxes were picked up by the Rotary Club of Chicago and 5 boxes of religious books were shipped to Back Bay Mission in Biloxi Mississippi.
We received the following letter from Lee Frank, Director of Donor Book Drives:
Dear Ms. Donehoo,
On behalf of Book Worm Angels, I would like to thank you, and all of the people of First Congregational Church for your contribution.
We really appreciate all the work that went into this endeavor. The 28 boxes of books will be enthusiastically received and will help build classroom libraries in the inner city schools where 70% of students are reading below grade level.
To date, we have collected almost 200,000 new or slightly used books. Thanks to you and volunteers like you we have been able to service 29 schools.
From February 13th to March 20th 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.
Study a Book of the Bible
Janet Aldred & Jennifer Green will offer another of their engaging Bible Book studies. They are promising a new twist this year. If you've ever wanted to, or have enjoyed it in the past, here is an opportunity to study a book of the Bible from start to finish. This class will be a discussion class rather than a lecture class. Some historical and theological information will be given, but there will be an opportunity for all participants to share their thoughts on how this book speaks to them. Your Bible is the only book needed. More information will be shared during the next several weeks as they complete their planning. There will be four sessions.
Facilitators: Janet Aldred and Jennifer Green
Dying to Live
The Lenten study, Dying to Live, will be loosely based on a booklet of that name by James A. Harnish. Participants will explore the meaning of Christ's death on the cross in the context that it signifies the central theme of the Gospel. As the Apostle Paul said, "Our firm decision is to work from the focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own." (2 Corinthians 5:14). There will be seven sessions that support our faith as we move toward Easter.
Facilitator: Mich Barbezat
2/01 Taylor Stark
2/04 Liz Sharf
2/09 Sandy Taenzer
2/10 Orval Volkening
2/14 Kristian Zoerhoff
2/14 Zach Brictson
2/15 Leonard Bye
2/16 Betty Butler
2/21 Kyle Breunlin
2/22 Brian Stark
2/23 Mary Stark
2/26 Gene McGinnis
2/26 Olivia Munson
2/28 Betty Jones
- George Hove is home after a few weeks of rehab care at Sherman West Court.
- Jodie Stackowiak broke her foot a few days before Christmas, but it did not stop her from traveling to France with her family for the holidays! Her injury is gradually getting better.
- Pat Lindquist had surgery on her arm at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital. The surgery was a success and the doctors are pleased with the results.
- Gracie Zimmerman was born on January 14 in California to her mother, Jill Zimmerman, and grandparents Chuck and Dolores Zimmerman.
- Angel Tippet, daughter of Tony Tippet and Andrea Szlapinski and granddaughter to Charlotte Flanagan, continues at Lutheran General Hospital. She may be allowed to come home in a few weeks if 24-hour care can be arranged.
- Paul Grote's uncle, Herb Grote, has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
- Tom Powell's mother, Betty Powell, broke her hip a few months ago and recently underwent angioplasty.
- Bernice Albers passed away in early January. Funeral services were held in Roselle, IL in the church Bernice attended for many years. Our prayers are with her daughter, Sue Smith, and all of the family.
- Curt Phillips' aunt, Virginia Howard, died on January 16. Pastor Paris lead a funeral service for the family.
- We have just received the news of the death of Lorraine Boan's father last October. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.
- Dennis Leberecht's mother, Judy Leberecht, died on January 22. Pastor Paris lead a funeral service for her in Cary, Illinois.
- Marilyn Jackson, aunt of Sandy Dalton, died in Texas on January 22.
- David Newcomer, Tracy Fahnestock's brother died on January 19.
Sister to Sister
Our Sister to Sister group will meet on February 10th at 7p.m. in the library. We hope that you will join us. Bring something that really touched your heart to share with the group (story, poem, letter, picture, etc.)
Damaris, women's fellowship group will be dining out at Emmet's in West Dundee on Thursday, February 24 at 6:30p.m. This is an informal group. We would love to have you join us for dinner and conversation. If you have any questions about this group please contact Lois.
Frog Friday, our youth group for those in kindergarten through 6th grade will be held on Friday, February 18th 6p.m. - 8:30p.m. The cost is $5 per person if you haven't already paid for the winter sessions. FROG Friday includes dinner, craft, story, music, and games. Our FROG have been having a hopping good time. Come join us and bring a friend.
COTTON PATCH GOSPEL
When Clarence Jordan of Koinonia Farm (the forerunner of Habitat for Humanity) preached he "translated" the New Testament into "Cotton Patch" vernacular - treating the events in Jesus' life as if they had happened in rural Georgia. Actor Tom Key used Jordan's work to develop a one-man play about the life of Christ, and Harry Chapin wrote the music. The result is "Cotton Patch Gospel" - the greatest story ever re-told.
If you would like to see a performance of this wonderful play, please join us on Sunday, February 27. We will leave after the second service and drive to the P.M.&L Theatre in Antioch, IL for a 2:30 presentation of "Cotton Patch Gospel" starring Bob Wang. Tickets are only $10. Call the church office to reserve tickets. For more information contact Paris or Lois.
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.
NEW MEMBER CLASSES
If you are interested in joining First Congregational Church Dr. Donehoo would like to meet with you after the 10:15 worship service on February 13 and 20 in the library. At these sessions you will get to know the pastors, meet the staff, and learn about FCC ministries and programs. Each session will last no more than an hour. We will even feed you lunch. Child care will be provided if you let us know you need it. New members will be received on February 27.
January 8, 2004
Dear Paris and Congregation,
On behalf of the staff, board of directors and guests of PADS of Elgin, I would like to relate to you the value of your gift of space during the months of November and December, 2004. During the 43days that we spent in your basement, almost 2300 people were given warm (usually), safe shelter, case management and 1 to 2 meals a day. In addition, your youth groups supplied ice cream treats and Christmas gift bags for our guests. All were greatly appreciated.
In his First Letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul explains that each member of the church serves as a part of the whole body of the church and each has gifts to give. Since the risen Christ is no longer with us in human form, it is up to the church or more accurately its members to serve as the physical body for the Holy Spirit. When we serve the world in God's name and in the spirit of Christian love, we are, in fact, serving as the hands, feet, eyes and ears of Christ. We are doing for the world as he would have done. By serving as monthly hosts for the Elgin PADS Shelter you are proving that you do live your faith. Thank you so much for once again being the Body of Christ to the area's poorest of the poor.
Dennis Hewitt Executive Director
The Coffee Talk Bible Study group continues to meet the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month at 9:30 am in our church library. Our current topic of study is the book of Micah. Join us to learn what God says through this prophet. All are Welcome!!
New Year Opportunity
How's your compassion index? The One Great Hour of Sharing enables us to help people where we do not go.
Here is an example:
"A greeting like the warmest regards as sun, to those men and women whom I don't know at all not even their name. I'm, a girl who only has mum, dad, an aunt and uncle. I lost all my relatives, I'm so alone. You all unknown guys who gave everything to me. I thank you really and hope you all can be very happy and successful in life.
Cheers, Asal Habib"
This young girl received a health kit following the earthquake in Bam, where at least 52,000 people died in December 2003. One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) supported a Church World Service airlift of medical supplies and health kits. You are a part of that type of relief effort through your gift. Watch for more information before the Dedication Sunday, March 6.
Missional Service Project
The Sonshine Readers, as their on-going missional service project,have adopted a child through Children, Incorporated of Richmond, VA.
Tania Villalba is a shy 11 year old girl for whom life has not been easy. She lives with her mother and three siblings in a small rented house in the slums of Acapulco, Mexico. Her mother is uneducated and does not work outside the home. Her father is in the military and earns $48 per month (when he gets paid). Tania also has speech difficulties which require special education.
Through our gift of $1 per person per meeting we will ensure that Tania receives much needed clothing, hygiene items and school supplies, as well a meal once daily.
We plan to write to Tania. Her birthday is in February so perhaps we will send her a gift.
Moral Obligation Scholarship Loan
Our church is pleased to be able to offer Moral Obligation Scholarship Loans to church members who are taking college classes. These are interest free loans for any age student. Students are allowed to take out a loan of up to $500 per semester. These loans are then repaid to the church after graduation (or as soon as you stop taking classes). This repayment allows funds to be available for future students. With the high cost of education, this loan may not pay for a class, but it may help to cover book costs. For more detailed information and requirements please contact Lois or Pat Calvin.
Undergraduate Scholarships are available for UCC members
These are available for the 2005-2006 Academic Year for anyone enrolled in an accredited college or university in the United States. They are for students under the age of 25 who are entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of study. Students must maintain at lease a C average or equivalent. For applications and information please contact Minister for Grants, Scholarships and Resources, United Church of Christ, 700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115
Are you thinking about attending college, but haven't made up your mind about where? Think about attending a United Church of Christ related college. There are many in the United States. One such college is Elmhurst located in Elmhurst, IL. Elmhurst ranks high among Midwest liberal arts colleges. Students who are members of the United Church of Christ may apply for a United Church of Christ Scholarship. Talk to Lois for more information.
Souper Bowl of Caring
On Sunday, February 6th our church will be participating in the Souper Bowl of caring. Our youth will be taking up a special offering for the hungry in our community. On this Super Bowl Sunday congregations across the United States gather Souper Bowl offerings to be given to local soup kitchens. Last year more than 7 million dollars was collected in just one Sunday. So bring your loose change and/or a dollar or two and we can make a difference.
Wisdom for Life's Journey
The youth went on a retreat to Pilgrim Park on January 14 - 16. Our theme for the weekend was the Game of Life. During our time together we talked about how our faith and the choices we make affect our life journey. Before we went I asked the ladies in the Sister to Sister group to share some wisdom they have learned from life that they=d like to share with the youth. Before sharing that wisdom with the youth I asked them to write some wisdom they=ve learned from their life that they=d like to share with others. Listed below are the bits and pieces of wisdom that were shared by both groups.
I'm only a teenager, so I hardly have all the answers to life. It's funny when I reflect on my past experiences and realize the differences of my actions and decisions. But, if I were to tell of my knowledge and share the wisdom that I have found throughout life I would include:
- Being yourself is more important than impressing others
- Be caring and kind to everyone. It will benefit you later.
- Enjoy life! You never know when it will end.
- Be thankful for your family. The older you get, the more you appreciate them.
- Relax, everything happens for a reason
- Age doesn't always matter.
- Smile...it's the simplest way to brighten your day.
- really listen
- try new things
Life gets tough as you are so stressed out wondering how long you'll be able to survive with everything moving at such a fast pace. Take it one day at a time. Tell yourself just for today I will make it through. Only worry about today. If you need to, this theory works with shorter increments of time, if a day seems too long to manage. 5 min. works well for minutes turn to hours, hours to days, days to weeks, weeks to months, and so on. Before you know it time will have gone by and you will have accomplished much more while maintaining a less stressed out lifestyle. Trust me it works. It aids in more fulfilling time spent.
True Wisdom is a scarcity.
Don't walk on freezing running water.
Best do things right the first time, not the second.
Friendships are valuable, you should always try to keep them.
When things can go wrong, they probably will.
If you really try your best at something you will succeed.
Don't let someone else try and make you someone or something that you aren't. Stay unique and always be yourself.
I've learned that you just have to be yourself. I know lots of people that act different or say they like something just so people think they=re cool. There=s a million people that can be the same, but you=re the only one that can be you so why try to be someone else?
If you want something, you have to work for it.
Wisdom from the Adults
Be patient and kind to others - even the ones you don't like. Eventually you may end up having to interact with them and it's easier if you don't have to eat your words first.
- Take time to enjoy life - look around at the beauty of creation - savor the little things
- Set goals and strive to achieve them.
As you journey remember your goal.
- Do something nice for someone every day. It will bring you joy.
- Keep yourself connected to God through prayer - look for God all around you.
Learn to love simple things, sunsets, butterflies, buds on trees -- waiting for buds to burst their scales. Marvel how the sun moves across the sky shedding light on all sides of a tree so it is symmetrically balanced.
Learn how your body is constructed and operates at its best. Respect your mind and follow your curiosities. Be careful to stay emotionally balanced, letting the good times get your through the bad times.
Learn to feel God's love B in the warmth of the sun, the cool of a drink of water, the marvel of music and the greeting of friends.
Wisdom does not necessarily come with age, but I am old enough and wise enough to know that a good education is absolutely essential to a well-lived life. Education should not stop when you leave school - learn about the world, the people, governments, ecology, as much as you can about everything.
Coupled with your faith in the Holy Trinity, you will lead an interesting, fulfilling life. You will learn to give of your time, your money, yourself, and will take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Give of yourself.
When I was your age I had a dream that I wanted to be a nurse. I could not afford to pay for the schooling but I was determined that I would find a way. Well when the time came World War II was on and the government paid for my training and I signed to enter the service when the training was complete. The war ended so I did not have to go to war. But it is interesting how Where there is a will, there is a way. Have a dream - Go for it - God will be your partner as he was mine. Good Luck.
If at some point in life you feel pushed, swamped or overwhelmed by too much to do - to many commitments, just stop, take a deep breath and say Dear God, please release me from being the general manager of the world and then you can get your priorities straight. You don't have to solve all of the problems of the world!
I had a father who instilled in me the knowledge that I could do anything if I wanted to strongly enough. I found he was right and I have done many things in my life. I love people and always find the good in so many of them.
I was fortunate enough to live near Trout Park and in the summer spent many days there. There I learned to spent time thinking about God and his giving us all the wonderful flowers, trees, brooks and to look up to the sky, his beautiful blue sky with its bellowing clouds. Have any of you ever laid flat on the soft green grass and looked up at the sky seeing pictures in the clouds? I hope all of you take time to do that.
Enjoy meeting different kinds of people almost everyone turns out to be interesting or fun in some way, when you get to know them.
Wisdom in Life:
I have learned that you can learn something from every person you meet. You may need to peel the onion in order to gain their wisdom.
I have learned that you need to enjoy small details in life. However you do not need to let the little things dictate your life.
I have learned that boyfriends/girlfriends come and go. However true friends can stay in your life much longer. Remember to love and cherish your friends for their strengths and weaknesses. You will not always know their strengths, but give the relationship time to grow.
I have learned that respecting your parents builds a very strong connection with them.
I have learned to love myself as much as I want others to love me.
Life is a journey for you to enjoy.
It takes three weeks to form a habit.
Winter Retreat Report
It was cold outside, but a warm, friendly time inside the main lodge at Pilgrim Park during King Weekend. 11 youth and four adults spent the weekend discussing the "Game of Life" and what it means to provide hope, love, and faith to those around us. We even made our own life gameboards! We took time for some fun, too by venturing outside (for a short time), playing some board games, and heading into town for pizza on Saturday night. We arrived home tired, but happy on Sunday. Special thanks to our chaperones: Pastor Lois, Cathy Jurgens, Kimberly Sanderson, and Mr. Brian.
Youth and Young Adults Meeting
Just a reminder that the Ministry of Y&YA meets on February 7 at 7PM.
30 Hour Famine Kickoff
The youth and friends of FCC will be launching our first "30 Hour Famine" project on Feb. 6 during Sunday School (10:45AM). Participants will receive a packet of fundraising materials and information to help us in this effort.
The Famine Weekend is Feb. 18-19 (no school on the 18th or the 21st!) and is sponsored by World Vision, a Christian relief organization that is dedicated to helping children worldwide. Participants in the famine will refrain from food for 30 hours beginning on Friday and ending on Saturday evening at 6PM. Activities and a community service project are being planned for that weekend and each participant will join in the "lock-in" on the night of the 18th. If you are interested in participating, join either the junior or senior high Sunday School classes on the 6th for info, or see Brian Stark for a packet.
OUR GOAL IS FOR EACH PARTICIPANT TO RAISE $360--enough to feed a child for a year.
Perfect Attendance for December
Madisen Erickson Benjamin Grote
Savannah Lile Abby Garcia
Lauren Powers Drew Kantz
Cassidy Sell Reese Weise
1st and 2nd Grade
Ashlyn Erickson Kenzie Fahnestock
Bailey Stark Paige Turner
3rd and 4th Grade
Andrew Duncan Chris Leberecht
Nicole Lewellyn Maggie Powers
Taylor Stark Diana Castillo
Marissa Lewellyn Emerson Lewis
Taylor Powers Brad Rantz
Sydney Weise Rachel Turner
5th and 6th Grade
Keaton Fahnestock Cameron Leberecht
A. J. Mitchell David Gerber
Sam Andreoli Chris Taylor
Nick Kemmler Anna Mitchell
Grant Powell Alessandra Castillo
Chase Sund Mary Taylor
Lindsay Iverson Mateo Castillo
Stacie Widder Erin Powell
Sept. - 20 Oct. - 11
Nov. - 16 Dec. - 43
A Look at the ChristCare Boutique
Although many have visited the ChristCare Boutique during one of its sessions (three so far), there is still a bit of mystery about the project and The Larkin Center Adult Program, to which proceeds are directed.
First, the boutique. Missional service is one of the ChristCare Group features, and as the "New Members" ChristCare group explored possibilities for service, the idea of the boutique emerged. The vision of the boutique was to go beyond being a one-time fund-raiser. The hope is that it could be a service with six or seven sessions per year. It would not only offer quality items for convenient purchase at great prices, but also generate donations that could help support The Larkin Center's Adult Program.
The Larkin Center. Many in Elgin have heard of The Larkin Center and may even be somewhat familiar with its work with children and teens. As it turns out, there's quite a bit to the agency. While it started out over 100 years ago as an orphanage, it now serves those who are suffering from a variety of emotional hurts that make staying in the child's own home undesirable and harmful. The building at 1212 Larkin Avenue which most associate with the agency, and which was the only residence for many years, became an administration facility in 1966 when the group home program was initiated. Today, there are six group homes around the city of Elgin (four for boys, and two for girls) housing up to 52 children and teens.
In addition, Larkin operates an accredited special education therapeutic day school with thirteen classrooms and a capacity of 104 students. While some of the special-needs students are from the Larkin group homes, over 80% of the students live with their families in one of the more than 20 school districts from the six Illinois counties that refer to the school.
The Larkin Center also offers family counseling to dozens of struggling families throughout the Chicago metro area. The program provides community outreach and therapy, drug education, client advocacy, information and referrals.
In 1981, Larkin founded a comprehensive adult program to help adults with mental illness and those with emotional disturbances transition to an independent lifestyle. The adult program has two main functional areas: the Transitional Skills Center and the Transitional Living Program. The Transitional Skills Center serves individuals between the ages of seventeen and twenty-one with mental disabilities by helping them become independent as they transition from school into society. The Transitional Living Program assists adults aged twenty-one and older with mental illness to pursue recovery and self-sufficiency.
The New Members ChristCare Group is happy to report that the boutique has been able to provide a total of over $700 which has been directed to the adult program. We hope that we're able to help with your gift-purchasing needs, and thank you for shopping with us!
The next ChristCare Boutique will be Sunday, February 6th from 9:00am - 12:30pm in the library. This session's selection will include Valentine gifts, and baby gifts, as well as other gift items. We hope to see you there!