The summer air has been filled with the noise of hammers, saws, and heavy machinery, but it’s all been worth it as we’ve watched our new classrooms and rest rooms and completely new exterior take shape. On September 13, along with the resumption of regular programs and activities, we will be rededicating the building to God’s glory and service. We will also be opening the time capsule discovered behind the 1961 cornerstone on the building. Truly, this will be a Rally Day to remember!
RENOVATION REVIVAL RETREAT
A pilot flying somewhere out over the Pacific Ocean radioed to headquarters with this message: “I’m lost, but I’m making record time!” God forbid that should be our message here at FCC. Just knowing that we are going somewhere is not enough. We have to have a sense of where God is leading us.
Therefore, on Saturday, September 26, you are invited by both pastors, the music director, both congregational associates, the moderator, and the vice-moderator to attend an all-day event we are calling a “Renovation Revival Retreat.” We will draw on our collective sense of God’s leading in our church, as well as our individual faith journeys, to try and sum up the purpose of our church in one brief sentence. Then, based on that stated purpose, we will draw up three large goals which will guide our church life for the next five years. Your input, and your discernment of God’s will, is crucial to this effort.
In worship the next day, September 27, we will celebrate this direction and commit ourselves to it. Perhaps the items we place in the new time capsule that day will reflect this purpose and these goals.
Class offerings begin on Rally Day, September 13. Plan now to be a part of an ongoing opportunity to grow in faith each Sunday morning at 9:15. Breakfast is served, beginning at 9:00 and childcare is available. In-depth Bible Study
(Each Sunday) – September 13, 20, and 27 we will examine together “In the Begin-ning: An Overview of the First Five Books of the Old Testament.” We will take a close look at how these books were put together and why they continue to be so important to our faith. Each Sunday you will have the chance to vote on which biblical book you would like to study in-depth for the next few months. Ask anyone who has been involved in this class in the past and they will tell you we learn a lot and have a great time. Controversial Conversations with Carl
(Sep. 27) – CCC is back this year and more controversial than ever. This month’s topic will be health care reform. With the current furor raging across the country, and Carl’s recent surgery, this should be a very lively discussion.
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Last year we had a tremendous response to our new program called FaithWalk: The Journey from Membership to Discipleship
. Approximately 45 people took one or more of the classes. Now we are gearing up for another year of informational and experiential sessions.
In a nutshell FaithWalk
is a comprehensive program designed to give you the foundations and tools you need for the journey of discipleship. Each of the three classes focuses on a different aspect of the Christian life, but they need not be taken sequentially. Dates for all sessions will be announced soon. Come be a part of any or all of these offerings…FirstSteps: What’s It All About?
This class is an examination of Christian basics from an open-minded, adult-oriented, challenging perspective. All classes will meet on Sundays from 5:30 until 7:00. At 5:00 there will be an optional gathering time over pizza for discussion and sharing of ideas. Bring your ideas, beliefs, and even your doubts as we wrestle with these topics:
· Basic Assumptions about faith
· The Bible
· God of creation and covenant
· Jesus of the incarnation and
· The continuing presence of the
· The Church at worship
· The Church in the world
· Eternal life and last things
· The Christian lifeDiscipleWay: A Christian’s Toolkit
The way to become proficient in anything – including the Christian life – is to practice, practice, practice with the tools needed to do the job. This class will introduce you to the practices of the Six Marks of Discipleship. They are the “stuff” of a deeper relationship with God and a more fulfilling life of faith. Join your fellow-travelers as you explore:
· Why Discipleship?
· Praying Daily
· Worshiping Weekly
· Reading the Bible
· Serving in the church and beyond
· Relating to others to encourage spiritual growth
· GivingLifeKeys: Discover Who You Are
This class will show you how gifted you are, how significant are your gifts, how you have just the right gifts for what God wants you to do, and how you can discover and hone your gifts. Come and discover:
· Life Gifts & Personality Type
· Spiritual Gifts
· Life Choices
After a slight delay during the summer while we switched banks, online giving is now available at FCC. You can choose to have your regular offering, or renovation pledge automatically transferred from any bank account. This service is available through the United Church of Christ and will operate just like your online bill payments. It will promote consistent giving and make it easier to forecast cash flow. FCC will have complete control over contribution information, and confidentiality will be maintained as in the past. No one will be required to participate in online giving. If you wish to give as you always have in the past you may continue to do so. However, if you wish to give electronically, you now have that option.
Here’s how it works. Click here
, then download the authorization form. Or you can pick up the form at church on Sunday. Fill out the form and return it to the church office and your budget pledge, and/or your “Transforming the Church – Brick by Brick” pledge will be automatically deducted from your checking or savings account on one or more dates each month. Just as the expenses of our church continue, so will your gift — even if you are unable to be in worship when you would normally give.
FCC will be charged twenty-five cents for every transaction. Therefore, you might want to consider raising your pledge commensurate with the cost of providing this service. For example, if you give twice each month then you could increase your giving by an additional fifty cents each month. Think of it like paying for your offering envelopes at the beginning of each year, only now you won’t have to fill one out each time you give.
In these difficult economic times it is sometimes difficult to know how to be good stewards of the gifts God has given us. Hopefully, online giving will be a helpful resource for the continuing journey of discipleship.
had prostate surgery at Loyola Medical Center on August 13th. He is home and recuperating well. David Nelson
had knee replacement surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. After a brief stay on the rehab floor he is home and recuperating fine. Mary Hartwig
fell and crushed her heel and dislocated her ankle. While still recovering she had sinus surgery. After a long period of discomfort she is home now and recuperating well.
Tests have revealed that Kathy Turnquist
’s liver is not functioning properly. She is now on a waiting list for a transplant. Dorothy Schock
was in Sherman Hospital for a week in late July and again in mid-August.
Xavier Elliott Reu was born on July 24th to parents George and Vanessa Reu and grandparents Mark
and Mary Hartwig
and Mary Lou Whetstone
are great-grandparents for the second time. Hannah Jean Whetstone was born June 29th.
was named Honored Laywoman of the year by the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ. Congratulations!
Robert Fogell and Sherry Randa
were married by Dr. Donehoo on July 30th.
and Megan Machek were married on Saturday, August 8, 2009 in Grays Lake, IL. Kris Hewitt performed their wedding ceremony.
was on Saturday, August 29th to Jeremy Petersen.
Olivia Jane Wagner, daughter of Ken and Emily Wagner, and granddaughter of Chuck
and Penny Cassell
was baptized on August 2nd.
and Betty Ells
celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on August 23rd.
August 23rd was the 40th wedding anniversary of John
and Elly Hopkins
and Pat Jocius
celebrated their 45th anniversary on August 15th.
01 Joanie Steffen
02 Helen McClure
03 Willian Schnell
04 Susan Smith
05 Kate Reuter
05 Tianna Louaillier
07 Charlotte Flanagan
07 Steve Stauffacher
07 Mary Ehret
07 Chase Sund
09 Lois Robinson
09 Delores Kagel
10 Sandra Magana
11 Jesse Vickers
11 Kerry Sund
11 Andrew Duncan
11 Abigail Garcia
12 Steve Munson
14 Clifford Hokanson
14 Paris Donehoo
16 Colleen Stauffacher
18 Dorothy Cook
20 Robert Mason
21 Eric Turnquist
26 Janet Banwart
27 Nicholas Kemmler
28 Kenia Solis
28 Andrea Fisher
29 Shirley May Byrnes
31 Nancy Bye
03 Mary Hill
03 Kirsten Pedersen
03 James Schock
03 Mari Rahn
05 Rachelle Neville
06 Dennis Leberecht
07 Susan Lewis
08 Richard Lewis Phillips
09 Curt Phillips
09 Max Aldred
09 Jordan Elizabeth Kawa
10 Bonnie Morrow
11 Robert Lohse
13 Patricia Henrys
14 Doug MacKinney
14 Sue Perrin
14 Andrew Banwart
17 Kathy Turnquist
19 Steve Aldred
19 Melissa Baus
20 Chris Mau
22 Mary Hartwig
23 Danikka Preradovic
27 Deborah Treacy
27 Dale Ells
28 Janice Embree
SUNDAY SCHOOL - FAITH FORMATION CLASSES
Our Sunday School is taking on a new look. We are very excited about our new Sunday School curriculum called Rock Solid. The lessons will be presented in a way that will make the Bible stories come to life. Each Sunday the students will hear a different Bible story and then engage in drama, crafts, exploration, or games. Classes are provided for children ages 2 – High School. For more information, or to volunteer for the program, please call Lois at 847-741-4045 extension 19.Our Sunday School is taking on a new look. We are very excited about our new Sunday School curriculum called Rock Solid. The lessons will be presented in a way that will make the Bible stories come to life. Each Sunday the students will hear a different Bible story and then engage in drama, crafts, exploration, or games. Classes are provided for children ages 2 – High School. For more information, or to volunteer for the program, please call Lois at 847-741-4045 extension 19.
Calling all children ages kindergarten – 6th grade! Hop on down to church on the third Friday night of each month - Sept 18, Oct 23*, Nov 20, Jan15, Feb 19. & Mar 10 for our FROG (Friends Relying on God) children’s youth group. (*Please note that in October we will be meeting on the 4th Friday due to a building use conflict). We begin each session at 6:00 p.m. with a pizza dinner and then follow dinner with singing, story, games and crafts. Our evening concludes at 8:30 p.m. It is a great time for the children of the church to play, learn, and grow together. It provides an opportunity for parents to go out for a nice quiet dinner. We do ask that parents volunteer one Friday night during the year. Please complete the registration form and return it to the church office so we can plan accordingly. The cost remains $15 for the fall semester (Sept., Oct. and Nov.) if paid at one time. The cost if paid on a month by month basis will be $7.00 per time. Please contact Lois if you have any questions or you’d be willing to volunteer to help with this program.
Our Confirmation classes for 8th graders will kick off on Wednesday September 30th at 7:30 in the library. This meeting is an orientation session for parents as well as students. The first regular class will be on October 7th and continue every other Wednesday night 7:30 - 9:00 p.m. In addition, Confirmands are expected to attend the Jr. High Sunday School class every week. Confirmation classes provide students with the opportunity to learn more about the Christian faith and the United Church of Christ. At the conclusion of the classes, (in the spring) Confirmands will have an opportunity to affirm their faith through the Rite of Confirmation on Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd. If you have any questions about our program please contact Lois.
TUBING ON AUGUST 29TH
To celebrate the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year to come, the youth group will be spending a day in Wisconsin tubing down the Sugar River in Albany, Wisconsin. The group will meet at the church at 9am and return to the church at 6pm. The total cost will be $12.00 per person, and to plan for drivers, we need to have your commitment as soon as possible. Each participant will need to bring a swim suit, a towel, the admission fee, a sack lunch for the ride up, and any money for snacks on the return.
We look forward to seeing everyone on this great ride down the Sugar River.
Thursday, September 24th
Damaris is a women’s group that meets on the fourth Thursday of every month to go out for dinner and conversation. Our September meeting will be on Thursday, September 24th, 6:30 p.m. at the Olive Garden, Rt. 31, Spring Hill Area. Please call Lee Ellsworth 847-888-1661 if you need directions or a ride.
Our new Sunday School program year will kick off Sunday, September 13th at the 10:15 service.. So bring the family to worship and don’t forget to invite neighbors and friends to join you at church and Sunday School this year. As in the past, children will join their parents for the beginning of the worship service and then be dismissed to Sunday School. After the worship service children and families will gather outside to kick-off our new year. The Ministry of Christian Education will be serving sundaes to celebrate another great year of Sunday School. There will be yummy fixings to make super sundaes.
Once again it is time to get in on the fun of being part of a dinner group. We have had many very successful years of Dine with Nine (or Dinners for Eight, Heaven with Eleven) Each group consists of eight or nine adults (sometimes 10 or 11). The group takes turns meeting for dinner in each other’s homes. The host/hostess decides on the menu for the evening and lets the other guests know what to bring. Following dinner there is time for games, discussion, movies or whatever. A couple of dining out groups are also available for those who do not like to cook. If you’d like to be part of a dinner group fill out the insert in this issue of Church Life. This is a great way to get to know the people you worship with each Sunday. Please sign-up by September 25th so our new groups can be up and running by mid October.
Please mark your calendars now for Elgin’s CROP walk on Sunday, October 18th. This walk benefits the hunger programs of Church World Service. Watch for more information in the next issue of Church Life, but save the date now.
The Ministry of Missions reports that a total of $2,298 was contributed by members of First Congregation UCC, Elgin, in last summer’s Strengthen the Church offering. Thanks to everyone who contributed! Our gifts helped “Spread the Love” we know here through ministries of the Illinois Conference and the national UCC. Congregations are being revitalized, youth and young adult programs strengthened and new leadership prepared – all because we shared. Thank you again!
IMAGINE! ANOTHER WORLD IS POSSIBLE
On World Wide Communion Sunday, October 4th, we will share in the third of our special 2009 Mission offerings. The theme for this year’s Neighbors In Need appeal is the title of this article.
One-third of the offering empowers the UCC Council for American Indian Ministries to work with native Americans in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and northern Nebraska. Justice and Witness Ministries use the remainder for a wide variety of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects. Watch for more information in the weeks ahead, and plan to make a generous response.
The recent Mission trip to Washington D.C. included work at SOME (So Others May Eat) and at Church of the Epiphany (an Episcopalian church and meeting place for the YSOP program). Both involved preparation and serving of meals to the homeless/hungry in the city. SOME includes facilities for medical, dental, and state of the art showers (a gift from someone). Church of the Epiphany has regularly scheduled dinners that are an enriching experience for all participants! Not only did we prepare and serve the dinner, we sat down to eat with the guests, played table games with them, and socialized to the fullest with them. Think of the story of the loaves and fishes – there was plenty of food; however, the rest of it could be considered food for the soul, and in that context, all were well fed! Ask any Mission trip participant for his/her story of that night to hear how rich and satisfying was the dinner.
I plan to incorporate ideas from both SOME and Church of the Epiphany into FCC’s Soup Kettle – so subtle you won’t notice: so obvious, you will want to be with us. We will do the dinner and socialization to make our guests feel special, to make their time with FCC richer, and to provide a common ground for all of us. 5th Wednesdays in the year will be dinner nights with exclusive participation by FCC members – those on the Mission trip have the experience to coach you – so please watch for the announced date and know that you will receive much more than you give. Please don’t hesitate to step up when asked to help with dinner, all will be well fed.
Mary Hill, lead cook
We’ve been on hiatus for the summer but are in the planning stages for the fall. We’re looking at the possibility of a group for exploring the broader context of spirituality in daily living and hope to announce more details soon. Stay tuned!
(And if you have questions, comments, or – especially – suggestions, please call Mark or Mary Hartwig 847-608-1731).
TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE?
This should be simple, right? Figure out why some people give and make that happen for others. Or, figure out why some people don’t give, and make sure that doesn’t happen for them.
To use a phrase, “If only…” The truth is, we all give – or don’t give - for varied reasons. Tonight Mary & I were trying to verbalize why we give. We believe God has provided us the abundance of a faith family at FCC. And in order for FCC to continue providing to others the ministries that have been a blessing to us, we want to do all we can to help. We try to give as much of our time, talent, and treasure as possible. We look to the Spirit for guidance in defining these amounts.
The amount of abundance that each feels is different for everyone, and the amount of time, talent, and treasure that each has to share is different for everyone. Especially in difficult times.
Maybe you can give because you feel abundance in your life, or maybe you feel abundance in your life because you can give. Or maybe a bit of both.
How can we share our abundance to continue God’s work at FCC and the larger community?
Thank you my dear Church family for your prayers, calls, and cards during the tough times my family has gone through.
You are a rock of faith in my life. I feel so blessed.
Dear Church Family,
Mark and I want to thank Paris, Lois, and the many people for their prayers, calls, visits, cards, meals, treats, and help with transportation after my accident and surgery.
I certainly have felt God’s presence and healing during this time. FCC has been like “Jesus with skin on” for me.
Dear FCC Family,
How lucky I am to have a church family that knows when support is most appreciated. Thank you to Lois and Paris for your visits and friends from the congregation for your prayers, cards, e-mail, and phone calls. You’re all important to my recovery from my recent surgery.
Just a reminder that if you need to be repaid for supplies or anything the pertains to the church please completely fill out a reimbursement form hanging on the upper cabinet as you enter the office. This will prevent delays in getting a check to you as quickly as possible.
We are down to the "minutes" of this phase of the renovation! Next week we walk through the punch list. This is where all the loose ends get addressed. The last few bigger things are: the front entrance, the fire alarm system, the communication system, and some painting. The big project for us as a congregation is the clean-up. The word of the moment is DUST, and we have a lot! We can start upstairs. I'm going to make some work schedules for each room. I'll put down what needs to be done and I'll put it in order and hang it outside the room. I'm hoping that as people have time they can come in and know where we are in the process. Then, when a task is accomplished it can be checked off and initialed. Our goal of course is to have everything done and cleaned by Sunday, September 13. We can dedicate our renovated building and open the 1961 time capsule.
Yesterday was our last regular construction meeting. I'm kind of sad. This has really been such a positive project. We have had the best people working for us and they have made things happen on time and under budget. They have all been professional and friendly. Paris is going to invite our new friends to the dedication on the 13th. I hope they come and you can meet and greet them. I'm partial to masonry and I think the guys did beautiful work. When you look at the building check out the stone and the different arches over the windows. Chuck's pick on the sign on the east side is just right. Paul (masonry estimator) got us the new 2009 date stone. Both date stones are showcased near the southeast corner.
Dave opened the back entrance and it is such a welcome change! The new asphalt, landscaping and enclosed dumpsters make this the entrance it was meant to be. I have to confess that I was shocked to look in the new back doors at the handicapped entrance only to find two steps inside. I'm sorry that got overlooked. In my mind's eye they just weren't there. In fact Lois and I talked about it on Sunday and she was right. Dave Zipoy (general contractor foreman) is going to build a wooden ramp that will fit over those stairs. It will be too steep for someone in a wheelchair to navigate themselves but with someone helping it should do the trick. It is the best solution we could think of, without digging up the floor into the sanctuary. The bigger problem is that there isn't enough length to drop the height of the two stairs within code. This little fix is not for the general public and probably only for Sundays.
We are into the last bit of this phase, the clean-up (my least favorite part). Also everyone wants to get paid. Big checks are going out. Probably in about a month we will have final closeout and numbers. I think we have done pretty well in our budgeting. I know I have allowed over $500,000 to be paid and we are not done yet. I hope you see the value in what has been done. Certainly the energy savings alone made this worthwhile. We chose to be a downtown church, we continue to do our work, and we should have pride in our home. Next we have more internal work to be done, so keep those pledges rolling in!
9-06 Cassidy Sell & Rachel Ruf
9-13 Lauren Powers & Drew Rantz
9-20 Abby Kottmeier & Emilie Kottmeier
9-27 Savannah Lile & Anna Halfpenny
9-06 Laura McMinn
9-13 Penny Donehoo
9-20 Kirsten Pedersen
9-27 Carl & Mary Ellen Flaks
9-06 Ron & Liz Schaaf
9-13 Janet Banwart & Sandy Dalton
9-20 Stewart Crockett
9-27 Paul & Tracy Grote
9-06 Curtis and Sue Perrin
9-13 Curt and Jennifer Phillips
9-20 Tom & Lorri Powell
9-27 Ethan & Jodie Peterson
9-06 Janet Banwart
9-13 Lee Ellsworth
9-20 Karen Carlson
9-27 Penny Donehoo & Linda Taylor
9-06 Jennifer Philips
9-13 Kevin Jocius
9-20 Shirley May Byrness
9-27 Steve Stauffacher
9-06 Jodie Stackowiak, Kirsten Pedersen, Laura McMinn, Cherie Murphy & Sandy Dalton
9-13 Chase Sund, Anna Mitchell, Mary Taylor & Grant Powell
9-20 Walt Kilmanas, Ron Banwart, Lorri Powell Ron & Karen Carlson
9-27 Jim Schock, Deborah Treacy, Sandy Dalton & Chuck Zimmerman