Our annual adult retreat to Pilgrim Park Church Camp will be held on February 10th and 11th. This is a refreshing winter get-away weekend. The plan is to leave Elgin about 5:30 p.m. on Friday evening and return late on Saturday afternoon. 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 will be $85.00, which will include one night of accommodations, meals and meeting space. You'll be asked to bring a snack to share. Watch for a brochure with registration information and more details. However, please mark the date on your calendar now so that you can participate. You may turn in a deposit of $50 now to reserve your space. This will assure that you will get one of the nicest rooms in the retreat facility. Please make the checks 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.
Let's enjoy the holidays this year by bringing some holiday cheer to some of our older members. We will gather as a church family on Sunday afternoon, December 18th at 4:00 p.m. This tradition has become a favorite of both young and old (and not so old) as we all get in the Christmas spirit. We will carpool around Elgin, stopping at the homes of many of our long-time members to sing a few carols and then we will return to the church between 6:30 and 7:00 for some hot chocolate, a warm sandwich and some Christmas cookies. Please use the sign-up sheet on the insert in this issue of Church Life to let us know that you will be joining us.
Join us for a hot soup and bread luncheon following church on December 4th sponsored by the Mission Trip group. This luncheon will cost $5 and will include a variety of homemade soups and breads as well as yummy desserts. Please come for lunch and support our mission trip group=s efforts to raise funds for the Summer 2006 trip. Make your reservations using the form in this newsletter.
From November 27th through December 18th adults at First Congregational Church UCC will 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.
The Christmas Story -
Of Course I Know It!
Most of us know the Christmas story, the story of Jesus' birth - how Mary and Joseph traveled, how they found the inn was full, how they went to the stable, the shepherds, the three kings, and many other details of that great night for Christians.
But!! There is more to the story - in fact there are several somewhat different stories - that's right, two of the four gospels do not even have the Christmas story, the story of our savior's birth. Soooo, what is the deal here? Why is there a Christmas story that is not in the Bible? How are the stories different from each other? What do experts say about these different stories? During the four weeks of this Advent adult education program, we will review and discuss several different stories. Finally, we can decide for ourselves what our Christmas story can be. Join us for a great Advent time-getting ready to celebrate Jesus' birth on Christmas day in worship. There will be study materials for the stories at each session.
Facilitator: John Kauffman
Footsteps of Peter and Paul:
An In-depth Study of the Book of Acts
We continue to look at the early church as a guide for how to - and how not to - live as Christians in the 21st century. No biblical expertise is necessary, and it doesn't matter if you haven't been in the class previously. Come join us for a close examination of a
church filled with less than saintly saints and not-quite-unredeemable sinners. Chances are you will find plenty of familiar faces.
Facilitator: Paris Donehoo
Coming in January...
Telling a Story Through Photography II
Footsteps of Peter and Paul: A Study of the book of Acts (continued)
Note there will be no Adult Education on December 25 or January 1.
12-01 Ellie MacKinney
12-01 Marissa Lewellyn
12-04 David Duncan
12-05 Lisa Boan
12-06 Caitlin Iverson
12-08 Katie Sharf
12-08 Mateo Castillo
12-11 Betty Ells
12-11 Brailey Kerber
12-17 Ruth Hanchette
12-17 Anne Marie Mitchell
12-18 Tim Bayler
12-20 Mark Hartwig
12-21 James Jocius
12-21 Dorothy Schock
12-21 Kelcey Evans
12-24 JoAnn Brictson
12-25 Jeff Iverson
12-25 Katelyn Hargrave
12-26 Hanna Brictson
12-26 Rachel Turner
12-28 Judy Steffen
12-28 Erin Powell
12-29 Ben Brictson
12-30 Gail Yauch
12-31 Nike Stackowiak
- Betty Jones has been transferred from St. Joseph Hospital to Sherman West Court.
- Blanch Dieringer, Roger Dieringer's mother and Kirsten Zoerhoff's grandmother, was hospitalized with a slipped disk and heart trouble.
- Betty Butler's brother-in-law passed away on October 22.
- Mary Bidwell Clifford Flood, Mike Flood's mother, passed away on October 26. His father, Jim, is now facing difficult decisions regarding his living arrangements.
- Gerald Lyman, Dale Ells' cousin, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Also, Dale's friend, Jim Elsing, recently lost his 98-year-old mother.
There will be an informational meeting about the 2006 mission trip on Sunday, November 20th in the library immediately following church. Come and hear about the plans for our trip which is scheduled for July 7th B July 17th. Registrations and a non-refundable deposit of $75 are due by January 22nd.
Sister to Sister and Damaris
Sister to Sister and Damaris invite all of the women of the church to join them for a wonderful holiday evening on Thursday, December 8th at 6:30 pm. Our Christmas Celebration of Women will begin with a pizza dinner (Danny's Pizza) in Fellowship Hall and be followed by entertainment and dessert. ($6.00 per person will cover the cost of the pizza). We are very excited that our entertainment for the evening will be Beth Iverson and Sisters singing Christmas tunes. Come join the fun.
Sunday School 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 October: Grace Anne Aldred, Drew Rantz, Cassidy Sell, Max Aldred, Nicole Lewellyn, Eric Turnquist, Marissa Lewellyn, Brad Rantz, Dennis Turnquist, and Stacie Widder. Congratulations! We hope that more children will try to be present each week. We will be recognizing perfect attendance for November in the next newsletter.
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 20th 6:00- 8:30 p.m. The payment of $15.00 for the winter sessions (Jan. Feb. and Mar.) will be due at that time. The cost includes dinner, craft, story, and games.
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!
On November 6 these new members were welcomed into our church family:
Sponsor: Helen McClure
Mateo was born in 1987 in Elgin and baptized at Saint Joseph Church here in town, but he has been attending FCC all his life. Currently he is a senior at Larkin High School where he is on the wrestling team. Hobbies include sports and music. Mateo says he is looking forward to being an active member of the church.
Sponsor: Brian Stark
Kyle grew up in Indiana and recently graduated from Judson College with a double major in Biology and Chemistry. He is currently employed at Judson as a lab assistant for the Biology Department while exploring graduate programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Kyle enjoys music (especially the classical variety), as well as reading, traveling, and coin collecting. He is also a confessed Star Trek fan. "The very first time I attended here," says Kyle, "I was welcomed by people who seemed genuinely glad I was there, and that friendliness has only increased since then."
Steve Stauffacher and Colleen Jennings
Sponsors: Ron and Connie Reuter
Steve was raised in Wisconsin and has lived in Illinois ever since finishing a Music Education degree at DePaul University. He also did graduate study at Northern Illinois University. Currently he works for the Actuate Corporation, training sales people and customers in how technology works. Steve has one son, Kyle (9). He enjoys reading, working on the house, playing Xbox with Kyle, and watching movies in their in-home movie theater.
Colleen was born in Montana and raised in Wyoming. She graduated from the University of Wyoming and the Denver Paralegal Institute. She is currently seeking employment in the Elgin area. She enjoys reading, sewing, hand crafts, and exploring with her dog, Barley.
Sponsor: Ann Schneck
Sue was born in Chicago and raised in Roselle. She is retired and has 4 adult children who live in Wisconsin, Missouri, and Oak Park, IL, as well as 3 grandchildren and one great-grandson. She enjoys reading, walking, and gardening.
Robert and Elizabeth Taylor
Sponsors: Mike and Lori Kemmler
FOOTSTEPS OF PAUL
Paris and Penny Donehoo are hosting a trip to Greece and Turkey and would like for you to go along. You will walk the places where the apostle Paul once trod and visit some other sites important to the early church. Athens, Corinth, Philippi, and more - you will see them all. You 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 your tour in Istanbul; i.e., ancient Constantinople. Tour price of $3749.00 includes round trip air, 3 day cruise, overnights at 3 & 4 star hotels, entrance to all sites, fully qualified guides, air-conditioned motorcoaches, and many meals. The trip of a lifetime! See Paris or Penny for details and to sign up.
Please don't forget that Church Life will be going out one week early due to the Christmas Holiday. So please have your articles in the office by Noon, December 9th.
Volunteers are needed
On Saturday, Dec. 12th we need gift wrappers at Spring Hill Mall from 8:30 am until 10:00 pm. All proceeds will go to Back Bay Missions. If you have any questions please call Bob Bayler
Lois Bucher's sister was caught in the hurricane that recently hit Cancun, Mexico. Fortunately, she is OK. Amen!
Pat Lindquist is in need of an affordable automobile. If you have information or connections regarding one, please call Paris or Lois.
Former members Steve & LaDonna Hart report that they are settling into their new home. They miss their FCC family but are searching for a new church in their area.
The Light at Rosewood
The following poem was written by Pat Yauch on the occasion of Jeanne Stettner's death. She read it at the memorial service on October 29.
Now that her light at Rosewood has gone out
It's time to reflect on the many ways Jeanne was devout
Above all she was devoted to God, and gave him due
As she sat proudly each Sunday in her pew
Greeted by friends and admirers across the aisles
She received hugs and kisses -returning many smiles
In Fellowship hall she always held court
So friends could tell tales, long and short.
Devotion to family, as a priority was on top
She reminisced about her years with Bert a lot
She loved having Gail visit, anticipating her coming
Especially if beloved Frank was along to fix the plumbing
Bob often handled finances, furnaces or drains
Meeting Norm ... or even taking time to see model trains
Jeanne bragged about him to friends all around
And was pleased when Alice joined him in town
Grant and Meredith stories were told, as she avowed
The joy of their accomplishments, of which she was so proud
She also loved visits with Shirley here and again
And enjoyed time spent with the rest of the clan
Enriching the last years of her life
Virginia, Asta and Vida removed much of the strife
With loving care they provided many things
To ensure she had comfort ... and didn't lose her rings.
Virginia has been a very powerful force
Helping Jeanne, along with many others, of course
Assisting with therapy work and then play
She engaged Jeanne in adventures each and every day
Jeanne and I enjoyed reading books together
And I guess I thought that would go on forever
She'd sit with anticipation and rapt attention
As I read to her with drama, gestures, and inflection.
She was anxious to get to the end of each story
Closely following tales of loss, love and glory .
Why I hesitated to finish our recent novel, I didn't know
But we completed that book two weeks ago.
No time to start another one in this earthly place
Because now Jeanne has gone on to heavenly grace
As I pass by Rosewood ... or drive down Wing Park
I'll have fond memories on my mind and a hole in my heart.
Sam, Nancy, George, Sue or Paul?
I certainly know YOU, and you know ME
But WHOM does a visitor to our church know?
Quite often they do not know any of us,
Except when we tell them we are "so and so."
A visitor can recall only so many names
Of people they meet in the fellowship hall.
We can remember a name or two with ease,
A visitor's not sure if we are Sue, Sam or Paul.
Let us make it easier for those who visit.
We do have a method that's tried and true.
All we need to do as we enter the church
Is to put on our NAME TAG?
We will. Will you?
-by Walt Kilmanas
If you purchase items for the church for which you wish to be reimbursed you MUST fill out a reimbursement form completely.
The forms are located on the upper cabinet as you enter the office.
Children's Christmas Program
We are beginning to make plans for our annual Sunday School Christmas Program on Sunday, December 18th. We want all of the children to participate so please mark this date on your calendar now before it fills with other holiday activities.
This year's program is called "Santa Gives back Christmas." This light-hearted comedy includes traditional Christmas Carols as well as some secular Christmas songs. We need parents to start singing these songs with their children to help them be prepared for the program. Here's a list for your singing pleasure: Away in a Manger, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Deck the Halls, O Little Town of Bethlehem, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Silent Night. We plan to distribute song sheets so that families can practice these during the week, so watch for them to come home from Sunday School.
It is really important that your child be here each week to practice. Parts will be assigned during the next couple of Sundays. We will have a practice after church on Sunday, December 11th for an hour and on Saturday, December 17th 10:00a.m. B 12:00 noon. If you have any questions, or can volunteer to help, please call Deb Sell or Lois.
Christmas Cookies for Shut-ins
When you are doing your baking this year for the holidays, please consider making a couple of dozen homemade cookies/bars (of one kind) for the church to deliver to those homes we visit when we go caroling? We will make plates of assorted cookies from the variety that we receive.
If you don't have time to bake the cookies before December 18th, the Confirmation class and anyone else willing to help us) will be meeting at 1:00 to make cookies. We need donations of cookie dough for this project. Please consider mixing up a batch of cookies and sending the dough and directions to church on Sunday morning, December 18th.
The winter Youth Retreat is planned for Martin Luther King weekend, January 13-15, 2005 at Pilgrim Park. We will leave Elgin at 5:30p.m., and return late Sunday afternoon (no school on Monday!). Details and information will be mailed home in early December, so watch for them. This will be a great weekend of fellowship, fun and food. Save the date now!
12-04 Alex Halfpenny & Samantha Kottmeier
12-11 Maggie Powers & Dennis Turnquist
12-18 Keaton Fahnestock & Phillip Brictson
12-25 Emerson Lewis & Taylor Powers
WOW! Our ChristCare groups are really moving along. What are your interests in community for caring? Whether it is Movie Maniacs, Crafty Christians, Cross I'd Players, Writers in the Storm, Pray it isn't so, Exploring our Path, Opening Doors (to the Bible), "Son"shine readers, Beginnings (an overview of ChristCare), or (take a deep breath) Quiet Moments - ChristCare is here for you. Pick up a ChristCare brochure and contact any of the leaders. Check out this issue for some reviews by the leaders, too. There are many opportunities to enrich yourself while enriching our community of believers in Jesus Christ through these avenues. How do we say that? "God is still speaking . . . Our church is a Christian covenant community exclusively devoted to Jesus Christ and inclusively committed to God's unconditional grace. In joy and gratitude we live out the call of Christ to worship God, make disciples, support one another, and share God's extravagant welcome. Is that right?"
Christmas Fund Offering
Each year the Christmas Fund, formerly known as Veterans of the Cross, is one of four special offerings we participate in with the UCC. As you know, we can all do more than one of us, so the churches in the United Church of Christ conduct this special Christmas Fund offering for those retired UCC pastors in need. The offerings help to provide pension and health premium supplementation to low income retirees, emergency assistance to the families of clergy and lay employees and Christmas Gift Checks to hundreds of annuitants. There are increasing needs within low-income retirees, as their annuity income has fallen over time, and living costs are constantly rising. These retired pastors have served the UCC well, and we can give thanks with our gifts to the Christmas Fund. Here is a quote from a recipient: "May the blessings of Christ attend you. Thank you for the generous response from the Christmas Fund Offering of the United Church of Christ. The congregations I have served over these twenty-three years have always supported this Offering. I did not imagine that I would need to call upon such assistance, but our circumstances in life do change. My children and I are very grateful for the gift. . . . God's grace in caring for us comes in many ways. This gift is a sign of that grace." We have this one time a year chance to add to the gifts on December 18 or any other time in December that you care to support our pastors in need.
As you may know, this small but busy group meets every Wednesday morning to make cancer pads to be distributed by visiting nurses.
Presently we need clean, used sheets, mattress pads, quilts, towels, blankets (including electric), fabric and yarn for our knitters. Thanks to those of you that have contributed in the past.
We'll surely welcome extra hands to sew pads. Any questions? Contact Margarete Schmoldt
Quiet Moments, the Christ Care Spirituality Group, will meet for six weeks During Lent. We will begin on Wednesday March 8 through Wednesday April 12, 2006. We will meet from 7:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. in the church library. Any questions call Pat Lindquist.
A Christ Care Small Group
This prayer group is currently meeting on the first Friday of the month from 11:30-1 pm in our church library. Our next scheduled meeting is December 2. All are welcome to attend! Bring your lunch and enjoy it during our social time and we will pray after that. If you have prayer concerns and would like this group to pray about them, feel free to send them to Janet@JQDesigns.com.
CROP Walk (Church World Services walk for hunger)
First Congregational Church had 10 walkers in the local Crop Walk to end Hunger. Two walkers (Mary Hewitt and John Kauffmann) raised over two hundred dollars each. The Church total was $1092.00. Almost 200 walkers participated in the citywide event which raised an estimated $15,400 to help alleviate world hunger. Twenty-five percent of the total will stay in the community to support two local food banks. On behalf of the world's hungry, Church World Services and the Local Crop Walk Committee wishes to extend their gratitude to everyone in the congregation who either walked or sponsored a walker.
You're Invited to: A Greater Gift Sale
Our sale will feature handcrafted items made by artisans and farmers in low income regions of the world. The sale of these items helps the people who made them afford necessities such as food, medicine and education for their children.
WHEN: December 3 & 11, 2005
TIME: 9:00 am - 12:30 pm
WHERE: First Congregational Church - Fellowship Hall
CONTACT: Dodie Williams
SPONSORED BY: Missions
Yiga Hadija is a basket weaver in Uganda. Her father passed away when she was young, forcing her to quit school and support herself by selling crafts.
Hadija, now 41 years old, sells her baskets through A Greater Gift, a nonprofit program of SERRV International that markets fairly traded handcrafts and foods from low income regions of the world.
The steady work Hadija receives from A Greater Gift allows her and her husband to send their children to school and helped them build a new house. When you purchase items from A Greater Gift Sale, you give hope to artisans like Hadija and their families.