ADVENT VESPERS SERVICE
Don’t forget to start the Advent season right with FCC’s annual ADVENT VESPERS SERVICE
Sunday, November 30, 6:00 pmFeaturing:
The Chancel Choir
The Handbell Choir
Children’s Choir Ensemble
The Fox River Trio
CHRISTMAS CAROL SING-ALONG
Can’t get enough of the music of the season? Then mark your calendars now for December 21 at 5:00 for FCC’s first annual Christmas Carol Sing-Along. Modeled after a similar event sponsored by the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, this event will be a feast of Christmas songs that you get to sing. You will sing lots of your favorite tunes, and learn a few new ones, all accompanied by various acoustic instruments. We want this to be a community-wide event, so invite your family, friends, and neighbors. Half of the $10 ticket will benefit PADS of Elgin and the other half will go to our church’s renovation fund. Warm up your voice and come sing songs of good cheer!
ADULT CHRISTIAN FORMATION
Feed your faith and your tummy too every Sunday morning at 9:15. Breakfast is served every Sunday morning, and childcare is always available. Your opportunities in December are:In-Depth Bible Study (Each Sunday)
– We are slowly making our way through Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth. We are discovering a lot about the ancient world and quite a bit about ourselves. Come find out why Paul’s words to believers so long ago are still relevant to us today. As always, no biblical expertise or prior knowledge is necessary. Just bring your mind, your heart, and your desire to learn and grow. Controversial Conversations with Carl (Dec. 28)
– This month’s topic will be “Government Bailouts.” What are your thoughts on government bailouts to various sections of the economy? Are you a proponent of managed capitalism?, laissez faire?, socialism?, something else? Bring your thoughts to share with us on the last Sunday in December. A packet of readings covering the political spectrum is being prepared and will be available in mid-December. Note: Stepping Stones will not meet in December
Instead of creating New Year’s resolutions, let’s create a focal point for the year 2009! Stepping Stones focal point is meeting our church family’s needs in mental health with YOUR input. On Sunday, January 11, 2009 COME ONE COME ALL AND CHECK IT OUT! Please join us in the church library with something to say and say it about Stepping Stones. Would a quarterly meeting with a special focus, such as our November Embracing Forgiveness program be better than a monthly meeting? What topics would educate, enlighten, empower and encourage YOU? We want our attendance to increase. So few of you heard the wonderful ideas Dan Malone had on dealing with holiday stress. Please join us in the church library with something to say about what topics YOU need presented and in what format. We will be making a decision on how to proceed at this meeting, so please attend. We will be listening to your needs. As a reminder there will be no Stepping Stones meeting in December.
OUT OF THE HOSPITALMary Lou Whetstone
had cancer surgery at St. Joseph Hospital on November 11. She is recuperating well. Brian Stark
was briefly hospitalized at Sherman Hospital for pneumonia. Jackie Sanderson
had successful foot surgery on October 31 but then developed an infection. She is recuperating at home. John Kauffman
had surgery to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome on November 5, and Marilyn Kauffman
had a series of biopsies which were negative. Pat Henrys
was hospitalized briefly with diverticulitis.
David McClure, Helen McClure
’s husband has been admitted to Hospice care.
passed away on November 3. A memorial service, led by Pastors Donehoo and Bucher, was held at FCC on November 11.
On October 6 Carol Olson
’s niece, Deborah, gave birth to a baby boy, named Jay, with spina bifida and other problems
Nicolas James Calvert was born on November 9 to parents David and Karen Calvert and grandparents Larry and Jeanne Rothlisberger
Stella Juliette Smith was born on November 14 to parents Bobby and Johanna Smith, grandmother Jennifer Bero
, and great-grandmother Joy Albee
New members Brenda Zeid
and Evan Hennessey
were married at FCC on October 25. Dennis
and Sandy Dahlstrom
’s daughter, Danielle, was married to Jim Guleserean on September 30 at Villa Olivia.
We are beginning to make plans for our annual Sunday School Christmas Program on Sunday, December 21st. 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 dress rehearsal on Saturday, December 20th, 10a.m – 12:00 noon. If you have any questions, or can volunteer to help, please call Michael Blackwood, 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: Andy Carrara, Ben Brictson, Jack McCracken
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 16th 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.
Sunday School Children to Support the Food Pantry
This fall the offerings that the children bring to their Sunday School classes will be donated to our Food Pantry. With tight economic times the shelves in our food pantry are really empty. The children are asked to bring food items as well as their weekly offerings. For the month of December we are requesting comfort foods – macaroni and cheese, soups, mashed potatoes etc.) These items will be collected in the Sunday School classrooms.
Damaris will not meet in December. It’s such a busy month. We’ll look forward to seeing you in January.
Are you stumped for a unique gift for someone? Why not give that person a gift that offers 53 chances of winning $25 during 2009? Purchasing a calendar from our calendar raffle does just that. $25 buys the calendar and the stub gets put into the raffle pool. Each Sunday during 2009 and also on Christmas Day one of the stubs is pulled from the pool and the name on the stub will receive a check for $25 in the mail. Think what a nice surprise that would be to receive $25 in the mail. The stub even goes back into the pool and may be drawn again! Purchase this unique opportunity as a gift for someone or just for yourself. They are sold outside the church office between the services on Sunday and also in Fellowship Hall following the second service. All proceeds benefit the renovation effort.
The Renovation Committee recently met with our architect, Chuck Cassell and representatives from Shales McNutt Construction, John Shales and Keith York. We reviewed the progress of the construction documents and discussed items that had changed or at least needed our understanding. Nothing major cropped up in these discussions. They centered on things like having to change the direction the back sanctuary door would swing open, whether we want to seek bids on only basic materials for the bathroom floors and vanities or seek costs for ceramic tiling and different countertop materials, etc. The documents should be done the week of November 17 and by December the information should go out to contractors with bids due back in by the first part of January. Building permits should also be obtained by the first part of January and after review and selection of bids by us, work can begin as weather permits. We also looked at loan proposals from five banks and our current financial situation. The renovation IS happening and you will see some action in the near future. Please continue to support this endeavor through your prayers and giving.
SCRIP PROGRAM CONTINUES TO BE SUCCESSFUL
Our Scrip Program got off to a great start in September, and leveled off in October. We’d like to see our program generate LOTS of money for our renovation, so keep buying those gift certificates! There are only 47 shopping days left until Christmas, why not think about using our scrip program? Below are highlight from a few items and vendors this month, to help you get some ideas.
Here are some great, easy ways to use our program:
Gasoline – almost every church member puts gas in their car. If only half of our member families consistently purchased gift cards for gas each week, our church would easily make $5000 in one year! Don’t leave it to the other half…. Start participating today! (hint – gift cards for gas also make great holiday gifts for new drivers and college students!)
Kohl’s – Are you a Kohl’s shopper? If so, do you use a Kohl’s charge? If you answered yes, here is a great way to use our scrip program. Shop at Kohl’s as usual. Use your charge, because they frequently give you awesome discounts when you do. Then purchase gift cards from FCC to pay your bill! Yes… no need to purchase gift cards ahead of time, or plan your purchases ahead! (please note, this is the only retailer we know of that let’s you pay your charge card with a gift card).
American Express Gift Cards – We now can sell American Express gift cards. These are fabulous, because if you are going shopping, but not sure which stores you will find just the right item in….. you now have a choice. These are accepted at all vendors that take American Express charge cards. Some restrictions do apply.
Starbuck’s, Panera, Dunkin Donuts, Chili’s, etc – Great for stocking stuffers or holiday gift exchanges. Some come in denominations as small as $10. (hint… I’d love to find a Starbuck’s or Panera gift card in my stocking!)
THANKSGIVING SPECIAL – Thinking about doing some shopping Thanksgiving weekend? Be sure to take your gift cards along. Cards ordered on Sunday November 23, will be available for a special pickup on Wednesday, November 26!
Remember, ordering gift cards is easy… either at church or online. See Jennifer Phillips or Janet Aldred (630 715-7494) for more information. In the meantime.. we ask…
”If you’re spending the money anyway, why not let church get a donation?”
Don't Be Afraid - SHOUT!
Our joy at Christmas is a response to God's promise of new life through the birth of Jesus. It is a joy we are called to share widely, through our witness and gifts, both to loved ones and to distant neighbors.
The next opportunity we have as part of our “Five for Five” offerings in the UCC is the Christmas Fund. Our offerings will be collected on December 21. While we will be sending you more information before then, here is the story of the Christmas Fund - we have a generous history in the UCC, and in our tradition. Does that make us humbly proud to be receivers who are also generous givers?
We are commissioned to boldly proclaim Good News, that the incarnation of God in the Christ Child has happened – Good News that a new day has dawned. The church today is the incarnate presence of the Christ. We are called to be the presence of the Christ in the lives of those who have served the church so faithfully, as well as to usher in a new day for God's whole earth.
Our gifts are needed more than ever to help the growing number of retirees whose low income annuities make it difficult to meet increasing living costs. This is your opportunity to participate in God's promise of renewal by enabling this ministry of compassion and care.
The generous gifts of UCC congregations and individuals to the Christmas Fund enabled the Pension Boards’ Ministerial Assistance program to provide the following gifts:
• Some form of Ministerial Assistance will be provided to approximately 1,500 persons during 2008.
• Christmas Gift checks will be sent to approximately 900 persons in 2008. Of those who will receive checks, 20 are over 100 years of age. The oldest person is 106. One person has received Christmas checks continuously since 1976. The 900 gifts will total $247,500.
• Monthly pension supplementation is provided to 455 persons. These gifts total $97,791 per month. A significant part of annual total of $1,173,492 comes from the Christmas Fund.
• Quarterly health premium supplementation is provided to 279 families, totaling $151,132 per quarter. All of the funding for health premium supplementation is derived from the Christmas Fund
• Emergency Grants have been provided to 44 individuals and families, which totaled $58,510 in the first ten months of 2008. It is estimated that 70-80 persons will receive an Emergency Grant by year-end.
When our time comes to make an offering, let us be as prayerfully generous as we can. God provides, we give from our gratitude.
Dear Rev. Donehoo and Members of First Congregational Church:
Thank you for your support for Chicago, United and Eden Seminaries. We have recently received your gift in the amount of $1,500, and I want you to know how grateful we are for this support.
Each year we are thrilled by commencement exercises in the spring, as we send forth a new class of seminary graduates to serve the church. And then each fall, new students arrive on our seminary campuses, continuing students return, and faculty experience a renewed sense of commitment for their on-going mission and ministry. Throughout the year, faculty and students are also involved in a variety of settings beyond the seminary campuses. Through all of these times, we are reminded that theological education is both very personal and incredibly far-reaching.
Our seminaries are critical to the life of the United Church of Christ, and your support is critical to our seminaries! Your dollars provide vital support for the daily operations of our seminaries as they continue to fulfill their mission. Thank you for your support!
With deep gratitude,
Ann S. Moyer
Executive Director, Cue Seminaries
Dear First Congregational Church,
With the assistance of people and groups the All People's Inter-Faith Pantry has been providing emergency food for individuals and families who are in need since 1969. The Pantry Board thanks you very much for your contribution and we are sure the recipients of the food we distribute would thank you if they could.
As is true with virtually all pantries across the country, our task is becoming increasingly difficult. In October 2007, we served 278 families for a total of 890 individuals. This year the totals were 376 families and 1351 individuals. Since we have always limited our distribution to people who have been cleared in advance and for six visits, we know that the needs are even greater than our figures indicate.
Again we thank you very much for your contribution and if you would like to see the pantry in operation, give us a call to set up a time.
The Pantry Board
12-07 Cassidy Sell
12-14 Grace Ann Aldred
12-21 Kenzie Fahnestock
12-29 Bailey Stark
12-07 Dennis and Mary Hewitt
12-14 Jeff and Beth Iverson
12-21 James and Patricia Jocius
12-28 Kevin and Letty Jocius
12-07 Lee Ellsworth
12-14 Penny Donehoo
12-21 Janet Banwart
12-07 Liz Shaaf
12-14 Heather Arnold
12-21 Penny Donehoo
12-28 Barb Burton
12-07 Steve Stauffacher
12-14 Letty Jocius
12-21 Steve Stauffacher
12-28 Jennifer Green
12-07 Jodie Stackowiak, Kirsten Pedersen, Laura McMinn, Cherie Murphy, & Sandy Dalton
12-14 Chase Sund, Anna Mitchell, Mary Taylor, Grant Powell, & Alessandra Castillo
12-21 Walt & Carole Kilmanas, Ron Banwart, Ron & Karen Carlson
12-28 Jim Schock, Deborah Treacy, Chuck Zimmerman, Sandy Dalton
01 Ellie MacKinney
01 Marissa Lewellyn
02 Kevin Jocius
04 David Duncan
05 Lisa Boan
06 Jane Warfel
06 Caitlin Iverson
08 Katie Sharf
08 Mateo Castillo
09 Angel Tippett
11 Betty Ells
11 Brailey Kerber
17 Ruth Hanchette
17 Anna Mitchell
18 Tim Bayler
20 Mark Hartwig
21 James Jocius
21 Dorothy Schock
24 Jo Ann Brictson
25 Jeff Iverson
25 Katelyn Hargrave
26 Hanna Brictson
27 Carole Kilmanas
27 Heather Arnold
27 Brynn Kerber
28 Erin Powell
29 Ben Brictson
30 Gail Yauch
31 Nick Stackowiak