ADVENT VESPERS SERVICE
Everybody talks about “putting Christ back in Christmas,” but here at FCC you have the opportunity to do something about it, at least for a little while. On Sunday evening, December 2nd, the first Sunday of Advent, at 6:00 we will celebrate the real reason for the season with our fourth annual Advent Vespers service. This beautiful time of worship will present music by the Chancel Choir, the Handbell Choir, the Cherub Choir, the Joyful Noise, and the Fox River Trio. Interspersed with the music will be readings appropriate to the season. This is our opportunity to witness to our culture that Advent isn’t a time for conspicuous consumption, but is, instead, a time for reflecting on the incredible gift of God in Christ. You say you can’t spare the time to attend this service? All the more reason why you need to come. See you on the 2nd at 6:00.
ADULT CHRISTIAN FORMATION
Our offerings on Sunday morning at 9:15 are plentiful and exciting. Along with breakfast — served each week — you have these opportunities in December to learn and grow in your faith.. Childcare is available. (Please note there will be no classes on December 30).
IN-DEPTH BIBLE STUDY
(Each Sunday) – The class is examining the Gospel According to Mark. We are making slow but steady progress as we look at Mark’s treatment of Jesus’ miracles, rapid-paced ministry, and the “Messianic Secret.” Come join the always lively discussion.
(December 9) — This month’s topic will be “Coping with the Holidays.” Come to the conference room at 9:15 and get some ideas on how to navigate through all the expectations and commitments associated with the holiday season.
CONTROVERSIAL CONVERSATIONS WITH CARL
(December 23) – This month’s hot topic will be “Lowering American Dependence on Oil.” Carl says there has only been one heart attack since starting the class so he figures his record is pretty good. Come put in your two cents worth on the 23rd.
PILGRIMAGE TO ISRAEL
Paris and Penny Donehoo are hosting a trip to Israel and would like for you to go along. In Jerusalem we will visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and take communion at the Garden Tomb. In Bethlehem we will visit the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s Field where Luke says the angels announced Jesus’ birth. We will travel to Jericho where the walls came a-tumblin’ down and take a swim in the Dead Sea. We will take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and visit Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. We will also take a side trip to Petra in the country of Jordan and visit the ancient Nabatean city (remember the last scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?). Oh, and don’t forget Masada, Caesarea, Tel Aviv — we will see them all. Tour price of $2895 includes round trip air, nine nights at 3 & 4 star hotels, entrance to all sites, fully qualified guides, air-conditioned motorcoaches, two meals each day and a gala farwell dinner in Tel Aviv. This is a trip unlike any other you will ever take. See Paris or Penny for details and to sign up.
was admitted to St. Joseph Hospital with a perforated appendix. She is now out of Intensive Care and in a private room.
had surgery on November 8. She is home and recuperating well. Tom Powell
had shoulder surgery in October. He will be wearing a sling for several months while he recuperates.
’s grandmother died on October 30. Funeral services were held in Iowa.
Richard Lewis Phillips, son of Curt
and Jennifer Phillips
, was baptized on November 18.
Dreading the Holidays? Calendar overflowing with commitments? Join Stepping Stones for a discussion on Holiday How-to's, Sunday, December 9, 2007, 9:15 -10:00 in the conference room. Our discussion will be based on the work of Rev. Susan Gregg-Schroeder, "Mental Illness: Coping with the Holidays." Come and get some ideas on how to navigate through all the expectations and commitments associated with the holiday season.
ACOLYTES FOR DECEMBER
02 Grace Anne Aldred
09 Kenzie Fahnestock
16 Sunday School
23 Bailey Stark
24 Maggie Powers 5:00 pm Service
30 Christ Leberecht
We are beginning to make plans for our annual Sunday School Christmas Program on Sunday, December 16th. We want all of the children to participate so please mark this date on your calendar now before it fills with other holiday activities.
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 during Sunday School on Sunday, December 2nd and 9th and on Saturday, December 15th, 10a.m – 12:00 noon. If you have any questions, or can volunteer to help, please call Michael Blackwood, Beth Mitchell, or Lois.
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: Rachel Ruf, Ben Brictson, Emilie Kottmeier, Keaton Fahnestock, Samantha Kottmeier, and Chris Taylor. 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 18th 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.
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 16th 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.
When you are doing your baking this year for the holidays would you 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. We will not be baking any at church this year, so we really need your donations.
We hope that all of the women of the church have marked January 25th and 26th
on their calendars for our second annual women’s retreat. Last year’s retreat was such a great success that we decided to do it again. We have been busy planning a variety of activities that will nurture your soul and pamper your body. This is a refreshing winter get-away weekend on Friday evening, January 25th and all day Saturday, January 26th. It is sure to be a “sweet” weekend. We sure hope that you will plan to join us. We’re sorry if you missed last year’s event, but you surely won’t want to miss this year’s retreat. Watch your bulletins for a brochure with all the details.
THIRD GRADERS RECEIVING BIBLES
The third graders, Grace Anne Aldred, Abby Garcia, Lauren Powers, Drew Rantz, Rachel Ruf and Cassidy Sell will be receiving a Bible as a gift from their First Congregational Church family on Sunday, November 25th during the 10:15 worship service.
Thank you to all who helped to build the wall to divide the Storytelling 1 Room so that we could accommodate two classes. We really appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into this project.
Thank you to Mark Sharf and his company for donating all the new office furniture and conference table for the library. It looks great! Also thanks to everyone who worked on the moving crew!
Thank you to Kevin Jocius for his work on our web-site. Did you know that you can now hear the worship services online or download them to your mp3 players? Also, check out the updated photos.
Have you noticed the new coat of paint on the Fellowship Hall walls? Ron Banwart has been busy painting Fellowship Hall and the back stairway. Thank you for a fresh look, Ron!
Thank you to The Worship and Hospitality Team for all their wonderful meals served at the Fox Valley Association Fall Meeting.
12-02 Jennifer Phillips
12-09 Penny Donehoo
12-16 Glenna Preradovic
12-23 Karen Carlson
Shirely May Byrnes
12-30 Charlie Rantz
UPCOMING YOUTH ACTIVITIES
To celebrate the spirit of Christmas, the Junior High and Senior High youth will be shopping for holiday gifts for needy children. We are meeting after church on Sunday, Dec. 9th to go to Spring Hill Mall to shop. We ask everyone to bring $5 for lunch and also $10 to contribute toward giving tree gifts. Please RSVP to Lori Kemmler to let her know that you will be joining in this activity. January 18th – 19th
The Jr. High and Senior High youth will have a Lock-In following FROG Friday on January 18 - 19th. Youth are invited to come and help with FROG Friday and then stay for games, movies and fun. Pick up will be on Saturday morning at 9a.m. Bring a snack to share, a bottle of pop, and your sleeping bag. We’ll plan the fun!February 8th -9th
Our annual youth retreat to Pilgrim Park in Princeton, IL. This is a great winter get-away event for Jr. High and Sr. High Youth. We’ll leave church at 5:30 on Friday, February 8th and return on Sunday, February 10th about 2p.m. Mark your calendars NOW!
The Creative Fundraising committee is involved in several projects to help raise funds for the renovation. In October, Danny's Pizza sponsored a Pizza Day for us and gave us 10% of the proceeds from orders that day that indicated help for FCC. 36 units participated and we raised $75.82. Thanks to all who participated. We will run a second Pizza Day on December 11
. Pick up coupons at church and ask your friends and neighbors to participate. Remember, you need to eat and we need the money! (Thanks, Paris!)
We have been selling the old Rose Window Recipes cookbooks
for donations, and have taken in $126. Think Christmas... what great stocking stuffers. By the time this goes to print, our Fruit Sale will be over. As of Sunday November 4, we were about 70% to our goal of 100 units sold. Again, thanks to all who participated.
For the future, we are determining interest in selling items on ebay
. If you haven't indicated items you might have for sale (minimum value $10), please do so. We are also investigating a raffle calendar
for 2009. The calendars are numbered and once a week a number is drawn with the winner receiving $25. All names are returned to the drawing pool, so a number can be drawn more than once. Plans are underway to offer a theater and dinner package
at Fireside Theater for next summer. Stay tuned for more information.
Do you have ideas? Bring them to our next meeting on Monday, November 26 at 7:00 pm
in Fellowship Hall. All are welcome! Contact Jeanne Rothlisberger if you have ideas but cannot make the meeting.
The following volunteers are listed for the month of December:
12-02 Stewart Crockett
12-09 Sandy Dalton
12-16 Paul & Tracy Grote
12-23 Pat Henrys
12-30 Tom Powell
Anyone interested in calling on our First time visitors please call Ann Schneck at 847-741-5088 or the church office.
Damaris will not meet in December because of all the special Holiday activities.
See you in January 2008.
On Saturday December 8th the Worship and Hospitality Committee will be decorating the sanctuary for the holiday season. Help is always needed and appreciated to decorate our beautiful Church. We begin at 8:00 and work through the morning. Refreshments will be served. Please come and join the fun!
On Sunday, December 16, we will collect offerings for the Christmas Fund. Some information about the far reaching effects of this special offering may help to explain how we help those whom we may know, and those we may never meet. When the offering occurs, please give as you can to brighten the lives of many.
The Christmas Fund enabled the Pension Boards’ Ministerial Assistance program to benefit:
• ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED: The number of persons who received some form of Ministerial Assistance during calendar year 2006.
• EIGHT HUNDRED TWENTY-EIGHT: The number of Christmas Gift Checks to be distributed.
• TWENTY-FOUR: The number of persons over 100 years of age receiving gifts (The 828 gifts will total $228,250.)
• FIVE HUNDRED SEVENTY-EIGHT: The number of persons receiving Monthly pension supplementation, with a significant part from the Christmas Fund. (The total is $100,079 per month.)
• THREE HUNDRED SIX: The number of persons receiving quarterly health premium supplementation. (totaling $154,298 per quarter.)
• FORTY-TWO: The number of individuals/families receiving emergency grants totaling $59,560 in the first six months of 2006. It is estimated that 60-70 persons will receive an Emergency Grant by year-end.
Ministry of Mission
Dear Paris and Lois,
I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts for the Fox Valley Association meeting.
I am always in awe of your welcome and always an abundance of coffee, juice and water. But more, the warm hospitality of the good people who were there for us.
Having been to many Fox Valley events at different churches yours is always so generous and graceful.
It’s a joy to be there!!
Dear FCC Friends,
When we married 57 years ago, we surely had no idea what “in sickness and in health” really meant. This past year has been really tough, but thanks to the continued prayers of our Church family, things are looking up. We are very grateful to all of you.
God Bless you,
Bill and Margarete Schmoldt
The Ministry of the Building will be emptying out the two storage areas in the basement of the original building. Both the “coal storage area” and the small store room in the Food Pantry area will be cleaned out.
If there is anything that should be saved please mark it and notify a member of the Ministry of the Building. If you are interested please see me after church. First come, first served.
Karen’s Corner Christmas Gift Sale
The next Karen’s Corner sale will be held on Sunday, December 9th from 9 am until 1 pm in the church library. Featured items will include jewelry crafted by Ron Reuter, woodcrafts by Ron Carlson, sun catchers, lit glass block presents, holiday wreaths and floral arrangements, ornaments, baby items, and a selection of gifts for all ages. Bring your Christmas gift list and plan to attend!
All profits will again go toward buying down our church’s deficit. Thanks to the generosity of the buyers at our last sale in October, we made a profit of $254.65 which was applied to our church deficit.
Poinsettia plants available. Orders must be received by December 3, 2007.
Each plant comes in 6" pot.
Plants cost $11.00/each.
Make the check payable to First Congregational Church. We cannot accept an order without a check. You may take your plant anytime after the 11:00 pm Christmas Eve Service. Plants sent to Shut-in members will be delivered the week of December 25th.