FOOTSTEPS OF PAUL
It's not too late to sign up to travel with Paris and Penny Donehoo August 7 -19 to Greece and Turkey to walk the places where the apostle Paul once trod and visit some other sites important to the early church. Athens, Corinth, Philippi, and more - we'll see them all. We will cruise the Aegean Sea and stop at places like Patmos (where John wrote the Book of Revelation), then it's on to Ephesus, Antalya, and other sites in Turkey, ending our tour in Istanbul; i.e., ancient Constantinople. Tour price of $3884.50 includes round trip air, 3 day cruise, overnights at 3 & 4 star hotels, entrance to all sites, fully qualified guides, air-conditioned motorcoaches, most meals, and all taxes. The trip of a lifetime! See Paris or Penny for details and to sign up.
Thank you for helping us get 2005 off to a good start. This is the first time we have heard of collecting food through a "scavenger hunt." It must be a good way to do it as we understand you had a "very large" donation.
May you be richly blessed and feel the satisfaction of serving others through sharing.
Thank you much for your gift of February 21, 2005.
The Pantry Board
Dear Friends at FCC,
We want to thank all of you who helped us during our recent, especially rough, couple of weeks. (Broken car, broken phone, Emerson's broken arm.)
Special thank you to Pastors Paris and Lois for their support and to Pat Calvin for her patient understanding. Thank you for the rides to and from church, the loan of a useable automobile, visits at the hospital, and all of your prayers and concerns.
Friends are God's way of taking care of us. There aren't enough thank-yous, so thank you for taking care of us.
In God's love,
Jim, Suzie, and Emerson Lewis
- Jackson Gordon Wagner was born on March 7 to parents Casey and Emily Wagner and grandparents Charles and Penny Cassell.
- Rowena Swan celebrated her 96th birthday at church on April 10 with a special cake at coffee hour after the 10:15 service.
- Also on April 10 the Turnquist family celebrated 18 years of life for Kathy due to a liver transplant in 1987.
Through May 22nd adults at First Congregational Church UCC continue to 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.
Jesus and Paul:
The Word and the Witness
Jesus and Paul - the Word and the Witness takes us back to a time and place when Christianity was a tiny movement struggling for survival and tells the story of Jesus of Nazareth and Paul the Apostle, two men of remarkable faith, iron will, and radical vision. Without them the religion we know today as Christianity would not exist. Both sacrificed everything for the belief that God had chosen them to change the world. Peter Jennings is the reporter in this three hour video presentation. He tells the story of Jesus, Paul, and Christianity in its first decades - a tiny movement that, against the odds, survived and then triumphed over all the gods and goddesses of the Roman Empire. The program includes the perspectives of a wide variety of biblical scholars - secular and religious, Christian and Jewish, liberal and conservative. This series, which began on April 3rd, will continue over the remaining weeks of the class along with in-depth discussion.
Facilitator: Paris Donehoo
That We May All Be One
April 24th, May 1st, & May 8th
These sessions focus on the past 30 years of our United Church of Christ social justice policy regarding lesbian, gay, & bisexual issues. James Deaton, Soulforce member and, until leaving to attend seminary, a recent FCC member, will facilitate three of the sessions with Sandy Taenzer who brings a UCC parents' perspective. They will share biblical as well as a wide range of other information. On April 24th Patti Scroggins will facilitate a session with several members from Immanuel UCC in Streamwood who will discuss & share information about their church's study process to become an "open & affirming" UCC church. All of these sessions will affirm our UCC covenant "that we may all be one."
Facilitators: James Deaton, Patti Scroggins, & Sandy Taenzer
Reflections and Feedback
May 15th and 22nd
Carl Flaks will facilitate two sessions when participants have the opportunity to discuss this year's Adult Education experience. Please, take some time to share and reflect on this year's topics. This is an opportunity to reflect on ideas or concepts with others. Taking time to reflect about something that we have learned or an "aha" experience is a gift we give to ourselves and to the others with whom we share it. Also, contribute your ideas for next year's experience and topics. Let us know if you have speakers that you would like to hear. The Adult Education committee would appreciate you input.
Facilitator: Carl Flaks
5/01 Maggie Powers
5/02 Alessandra Castillo
5/04 Ryan Munson
5/04 Sydney Wiese
5/07 Patrick Lile
5/08 Jeannine Burger
5/12 Leigh O'Connor
5/14 Dennis Hewitt
5/14 Karen Rothlisberger
5/15 John Kauffman
5/16 Lori Kemmler
5/16 George Bero
5/16 Cherie Murphy
5/16 Madison Erickson
5/19 Lorri Powell
5/19 Jodie Stackowiak
5/21 Jodi Peterson
5/21 Paige Turner
5/22 Margarete Schmoldt
5/25 Ron Carlson
5/25 James Deaton
5/25 Thor Powers
5/27 Mary Hewitt
5/28 Brianne Murphy
5/31 Larry Rothlisberger
5/31 Alex Halfpenny
5/31 Emerson Lewis
- Carl Flaks has been in and out of St. Joseph and Loyola hospitals over the last few weeks for heart-related tests and procedures. He is currently home and getting stronger.
- Kaden Peterson had a heart procedure performed on March 30. After a few days at Lutheran General Hospital he is home and doing fine.
- After a stay of many months in Lutheran General Hospital, Angel Tippet, daughter of Tony Tippet and Andrea Szlapinski and granddaughter of Charlotte Flanagan, came home on April 14. Welcome home!
- Stewart Crockett had surgery at Sherman Hospital to repair a valve in his heart. He is currently doing physical therapy at the hospital.
- Emerson Lewis broke her shoulder and had to be briefly hospitalized. She is home and doing fine now.
- Virginia Kellerman passed away on March 27, just a few weeks after the passing of her husband, Ray. At the family's request there was no memorial service.
- Former member Dorothy Kraebber died in Arkansas at the age of 91.
- David Duncan's brother-in-law, Glenn, has been diagnosed with stage three cancer.
- Ella Swartz, James Deaton's mother, has been diagnosed with cancer of the bone marrow.
Buy Stock in our Mission Trip
Want to buy some stock that will really increase in value?? We are selling stock to support our mission trip to Orland, Maine. Stock Certificates will be sold for $10 each. This money will help defray our travel expenses. As a stockholder you will have the opportunity to participate in the mission work we will be doing through H.O.M.E., Inc. We will be working with this organization to rehab housing and help with their variety of support activities. Following our trip we will hold a stockholders dinner in July or August (watch for further details). At this dinner we will share our video and highlight the stories of our work.
Sister to Sister
Calling ALL the women of the church. It's time for our Spring Celebration of women. Come and join us on the second Thursday in May (May 12th) for our annual spring salad supper. We'll gather at 6:30 p.m. for dinner. Bring your favorite salad to share. Entertainment is in the works. Just plan to be there for a great evening of fellowship. Please sign-up on the enclosed insert.
Our Damaris Women's Fellowship group will be meeting at Famous Dave's Barbeque in West Dundee (near Olive Garden) on Thursday, May 26th. We gather at 6:30 for an informal evening of dinner and conversation. It's a nice relaxing evening. Contact Lois for more information.
Confirmation will be held on Sunday, May 15th during the 10:15 worship service. Five young people will be confirming their faith during this service: Alessandra Castillo, Martina Preradovic, Mike Stackowiak, Chase Sund, and Mary Taylor. Please plan to be present for this special service.
Vacation Bible School
Preparations are underway for an exciting adventure with VBS this summer. Our date is a little later than usual to work around the mission trip and 4th of July so mark your calendars for July 11th - 15th 9:30 - 12:15 at Wing Park shelter #2. In case of rain we will meet at church. We'll be taking a trek to the Serengeti to learn more about our faith. This wonderful week will be just what is needed to put some excitement into the middle of your summer. So spread the word. Tell your friends that you want them to join you on an African Safari this summer. This program has something to offer all ages. Everyone will enjoy hearing Bible stories, playing games, singing those catchy songs, and making crafts. The older children will enjoy their camp-like experience which will include time for nature study, hikes, games and storytelling. Please make this week a priority for your family.
Of course we always need more volunteers so let Lois know if you are available to help with any aspect of the program.
Our Sunday School classes will end on May 22nd. We have had a wonderful year. A BIG thank you to our dedicated teaching staff. If you've had a child in Sunday School this year please take a moment to say thank you to the teachers. We will recognize all of the teacher's at a Sundae Celebration at 3p.m. on Sunday, May 22nd. Teachers please mark your calendars and watch for further details.
Perfect Attendance For March
Grace Anne Aldred
1st and 2nd
3rd and 4th
5th and 6th
NEW CHRISTCARE GROUP LEADERS
On April 17th five new ChristCare group leaders were commissioned. Soon their new small groups will be added to the exciting opportunities already available. Look over the following descriptions of these groups and decide if one of these is right for you...
Group Leader - Ron Reuter
Are you a person who smiles at the mention of the movie "Uncle Buck"? Do you find yourself quoting lines from movies like "Dirty Harry" or "The Breakfast Club"? Are movies like "Sweet November" or "Autumn in New York" more your style? Action, comedy, romance, horror, westerns? Maybe all of these and more. What's your favorite? Movie Maniacs wants to know.
Writers in the Storm
Group Leader: Gina Orazi Green
Come and share:
- The characters you have created
- Poems you have penned
- Plots that you have proofed
- Journals you have journeyed through
- Sing your sonnets and short stories
Come and bring the thoughts that you have put down on paper. We will listen, offer positive thoughts and be a sounding board for your words in our writer's workshop.
R.E.S.T. (Reduce Excess Stress and Tension)
Group Leader: Pat Lindquist
"Are you weary and heavy laden?" Exhausted? Over committed? Over-whelmed with busyness as commitments wind up for the year?
Give yourself a treat. Commit one hour a week to one of our new ChristCare groups.
No experience necessary! R.E.S.T. ? one hour a week to share fellowship, biblical equipping based on the selected passage for that week, and catch your breath.
Sundays 11:30 ? 12:30 in the library. You can pick up a cup of coffee at coffee hour and come join us. Meetings: May 15, May 22, May 29 and June 5, in the library at 11:30 am. Questions call Pat Lindquist.
The Crafty Christians
Group Leader: Marilyn Kauffman
If you think you would enjoy making something out of nothing, then The Crafty Christians is the group for you! No experience or special skills required-just a desire to enjoy the fellowship of a group while creating fun and beautiful things. I have several projects in mind and am looking forward to hearing your ideas, too.
Learning, Loving & Leaving Your Family Legacy
Group Leader: Beth Iverson
What part did your ancestors play in American History? Did they come from the farms or factories, live through the Depression or participate in World War II? What about you? What would you want your children to know if you were gone tomorrow? What are you leaving as your Family Legacy?
- Delve into the stories of the past and share them with like minds
- Brush off those old photographs and trinkets
- Create a living will, or letters to your children
What will you leave behind????
Ready, Set, Jam!
Group Leader: Beth Iverson
Music has a unique way of speaking to the soul. I heard someone say once, that there are two kinds of people: there are those who listen to music, and there are those who really hear it. It makes a connection.
If that is you, then this is were you need to be. I want to create a musical appreciation/Jam session, voices and instruments alike.
Warning! I have no formal training, I can barely read music, so don't be intimidated. Come share, sing, play, and have fun.
Who knows if we are good, maybe we can share it with the rest of the congregation from time to time.
We will be recognizing graduates on June 5th during our 10:15 worship service. Please call the church office and let us know if you have a high school, junior college, technical school, college, or advanced degree graduate in your family.
Angel Loft Tours
Do you want to go to the angel loft? Would you like to see the inside of the giant pipe organ? It has long been a "rite-of-passage" in this church that the Confirmation classes get to visit the angel loft just prior to their Confirmation. However, some people who were not confirmed here, or those that are new members, have often expressed an interest in looking into the nooks and crannies of this old church. Tom Powell has graciously volunteered to conduct tours on Wednesday evening, May 11th between 5:30 and 6:30 for any church member (must be older than confirmation age) who would like to do some exploring. To visit the angel loft you need to climb a ladder that is about 9 feet high and climb into the attic area. Wear old clothing because it is dusty. The Confirmation classes annual angel loft trip will happen that same evening at 6:30 p.m.
Outdoor Ministries Summer Camp 2005 God's Calling
Illinois Conference Camps are now accredited by the American Camping Association! Both Tower Hill and Pilgrim Park offer quality, Christian camping experiences for youth and adults.
Summer is just around the corner. Time to plan for exciting activities, fun in the sun, and learning more about God's world. Come join in the fun at Tower Hill and Pilgrim Park with our 2004 summer activities.
- Looking for family programs? Try Constellations or Grandparents and Me.
- Is this the first time away from home? Try Tenderfoot' Camp.
- Are you in confirmation class? Try our Confirmation Camp.
- Just want to have fun and meet new friends? Come spend the week at any of our camps.
- Looking for something that will stretch your boundaries and renew your sprit? Contact Renewal in the Wilderness, a program for teens, adults, and clergy that is endorsed by the Outdoor Ministries.
Pilgrim Park is near Princeton, IL. Tower Hill is near Sawyer, MI. Both camps have much to offer. Come and see why. Scholarships are available for both camps. Scholarships are dependent upon donations and require a pastor's letter.
For registration materials, contact Tara Pettee at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to purchase a tape of today's sermon or perhaps a past sermon for $2.00 each please write down your Name, Telephone number, Sermon Date or Title, Check no. or cash and put this form in the collection plate or turn in to the office. Tapes will be available anytime after noon on Tuesday in the office.
The Annual Flower and Garden Sale
The Annual Flower and Garden Sale to benefit PADS of Elgin will be at a new location this year. Messiah Lutheran Church, 500 Church Rd., Elgin (just north of I90 on Rt. 31 and Airport Rd.). Mark your calendar to join us on Saturday, May 7, 2005.
This month, as you watch your garden begin to grow, please remember we need your donations to make this year's flower and garden sale a success. Please thin and donate flowers, herbs and shrubs from your garden. Each donated plant benefits PADS' shelter for homeless men, women and children within our community.
To prepare for this year's sale, PADS also needs your time and talent. We are seeking volunteers to help us dig and pot donated plants, master gardeners to identify donations and friends to purchase annuals, hanging baskets and healthy perennials on the day of the sale.
To volunteer or to donate perennials, herbs, shrubs or plastic pots, send an email to PADS.
No From the Mission Field
If you have not been to one of the locations for our Jehle Grants, read on. I had the pleasure of visiting the Neighborhood United Methodist Church After School Tutorial Program on March 9. WOW! What a great mission this church and 26 volunteers have begun this school year with 12 of their Maywood neighborhood elementary school third graders. The program involves addressing the safety, hunger, and peaceful learning time of these low achieving children from high poverty homes in the school a few blocks from the church. The children all say a self-respect, self-esteem pledge: "I am a smart, special, valuable person. My words and actions are kind and honest. I respect myself and I respect others. I accept only the BEST from myself. I am PROUD to be me."
I observed a typical day. The children sign in and find their name tags and sit at a table, waiting to see which two will lead them in grace before their snack of hot dogs and more. The students are there from about 3:15 to 4:30. (On Saturdays the program volunteer from Joliet takes them on field trips, teaches them games such as chess and invites parents, most of whom come to see the site in action.)
Then the teaching begins with a walk to the word wall. The children sit in their chairs, quietly attentive. They raise their hands to place the new words in alphabetical order on the wall. After the child has placed the word on the wall the rest of the students are asked if that is correct. Frequently they say "no." The child who misplaced the word then sits down, and I saw that each of these children was smiling. There was no ridicule for wrong answers or placements.
After the word wall, the children went to their respective small (tutoring) groups. Each of the groups had one or two volunteers assisting, so the student/tutor was between 2 and 4 students to one. After these lessons, the children went back to their seats at the word wall and practiced some echo reading, the leader read, and the children followed the leader. Four of the 26 volunteers and the paid director are there everyday.
What are my memories of this site funded in part by the Jehle grant? The happiness of the children as they arrived, the smiles on the faces of the parents and guardians as they signed in to take the children home, the smiles as the children learned; there were no cross words, no touching or hitting, the children asked to say grace and asked to lead the respect oath.
Who knows what chance these children would have had in their classes in school without these sessions? Who knows what seeds for future successes have been planted, and who knows-but I saw and heard-the joy of the volunteers as they served these children!! What a powerful ministry is going on here! Three children from the program go to church and Sunday School because one of the volunteers has begun to bring them to Sunday School and she also will be taking them shopping for Easter dresses and shoes!! Talk about mission and outreach!
If you would like to know more, please let me know. I plan to visit some other sites to learn more about what we do with our outreach, with our blessing-those scenes will be with me forever - those 12 children, all respectful, learning, succeeding, loving and being loved, safe, fed, peaceful ? what more can we ask?
Ministry of Missions and Social Concerns
STRENGTHEN THE CHURCH
The Strengthen the Church special offering will come on May 15. This special offering is used for association and conference projects to:
- strengthen and renew existing congregations,
- provide exciting new programs for youth and young adults such as the National Youth Events
- fund leadership for new UCC congregations,
- fund leadership development for the whole church.
This offering is dedicated to "Faithfully Growing the "Body of Christ." Its mission is to start new churches where the need is great. Watch for more information.
While we are getting ready for participation in STRENGTHEN THE CHURCH special offering, let me have several of our grant recipients speak for themselves about what giving can do:
From SERVV International:
"I feel great that I am a working woman today. This opportunity has enabled me to stand on my feet, taught me to speak and inspired me to look ahead towards a better future." Kalpana Palma, embroiderer, YWCA Crafts, Centre of Dhaka, Bangladesh
From From GLOBAL MINISTRIES:
"Thank you for your generous gift of $6,000. This will be used for the House of Hope in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Zaire)." The gift will be used for the Foods Resource Bank (FRB), a cooperative venture of the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Urban congregations provide cash to rural congregations who supply land, equipment and time in FRB growing projects.
From LUTHERAN CHURCH OF THE CROSS:
"Thank you for the donation to benefit our Food Pantry!" We are serving more people this year than last, and are pleased that you are helping us with the blessing to those in need.
From ELGIN COOPERATIVEMINISTRY:
"Thank you for the $10,000 check to help our organization carry out its mission in The Elgin Community. Your gift is not only one of financial assistance but equally affirming of the work we are doing in partnership with many others in addressing the needs of the hungry in the Elgin area."
From PEACE MEMORIAL CHURCH UCC:
"Thank you very much for the generosity of your church in support of our South African missions. We hope ?to build a community center this year ?but to also construct a church for the people we serve... . . Without your prayers and financial support such ministries would not come to pass. Thank you!"
From FOX VALLEY CITIZENS FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE:
"We feel honored by your trust in us. This is the first time any group in the community has recognized our presence and chosen to help us.... it is extremely gratifying to know that your congregation shares our dedication to peace and justice... to use nonviolent activism to bring these principles into public discourse."
From NEIGHBORHOOD UNITED METHODIST CHURCH:
"The $3000 donation will go a long way in helping us in our (new) ministry of providing a safe haven, food and tutoring for twelve low - income (and low achieving) third graders in Maywood (IL)....we had a Homework/Breakfast on one day for the parents... we feel that we are truly making a positive difference in these families' lives."
How far can our grants reach? Into the very souls of those whom we serve. Wow, what more can we do? Elsewhere in this issue, you can read about the Strengthen the Church offering coming on May 15. Let us continue to reach out to those we cannot personally visit with our generosity from God's gifts to us. Continue to be great stewards of our gifts to serve others - "the least of them."
The Meanderings of the Moderator
Two Steps Forward - One Step Back
I never knew that trying to purchase a piece of property could be so frustrating. A number of months ago we entered into negotiations with Templo Calvario for the purchase of their property. Parking was our primary concern. After a number of offers, they finally accepted our bid of $550,000.
Dick Travis drew up the contract for purchasing the property with stipulations for Congregational approval, inspections of the building and soil, and financing. I signed the contract and sent the earnest money and started preparing for meetings with the congregation and the Dundee bank. The contract had a one week signing stipulation and when that period of time came and went, Dick Travis and I sent a fax asking if there were any questions about the contract - no response. Two more weeks passed and Dick and I started to wonder "why?" We then received a fax that the actual holder of the mortgage on the Templo property is the Midwest Latin American District Council of the Assemblies of God and that their representative would be in the Chicago area the middle of March and would sign the contract - things were finally looking better. We had had our meetings with First American Bank in Dundee and they had suggested an interest only mortgage for the first five years. This would allow us time to save a Capital Campaign, raise money, and then refinance with them depending on moneys raised and the remaining balance on the property - things were looking even better.
But meanwhile, back at the ranch, I mean, Church two more weeks went by and we had heard nothing about the contract of purchase. April 12th, our first congregational meeting was less than a week away. Dick Travis and I sent another fax asking if the contract was going to be signed. On Friday, April 15th, at 4:30 Dick received a fax from the Templo lawyer/real-estate agent, stating that since the mortgage held by the Midwest Latin American District Council for the Assembles of God was for more than the agreed price of $550,000 they were sorry but they were going to have to reverse their position on the sale of the property. Back to square one.
Frustrating? Yes, but having gone through the process we have gained much. The financing that would have been used on the property can be used on our renovation. We know more about Capital Gains Projects. But whether we are buying property or renovating what we already have, one thing still stands in our way - our deficit.
The projections from the Annual Meeting are right on target. The $60,000 deficit can be covered - but not forever. In meetings with Gail Yauch and Bob Baylor, we have found that if 100 pledging units would increase their pledged amount by $300 a year ? less than a dollar a day - we can cut our deficit in half the first year and in three years we could be running in the black. Two steps forward - one step back, yes, but I feel "we" - the entire church family - are better off that we were 6 months ago. We know where we are financially with the bank and we know where we can be in three years. At least, as Mary Vickers said to me, "No one can say we didn't try to improve parking."
Less than a dollar a day - ???
Thanks for all your understanding.
Still frustrated - but better for it!