May 25, 1997
Vol. 6, Issue 5
In This Month's Issue
Chris Rygh Becomes Part-Time Director of Student Ministries
Hans Knoff Retires After Seven Years with FCC
Staff Highlight...Roy's Married
FCC Sends Four to NAPF
What's your question?
First Congregational Church Welcomed These New Members on May 4, 1997
A word from Lonnie ...Keep the Target in Sight
Ramblings from Moderator Peter Holtz
In Brief Our Church Family
Journey to Greece March 1998
As of June 1, 1997, Chris Rygh will finish his internship with the Church and join the staff as the Director of Student Ministries. This shift of position will have a very positive impact on the youth programs. As an intern, Chris had 10 content areas on which to focus his ministry work. Now, he will focus almost exclusively on the Junior and Senior High Programs. In addition, Chris will continue his seminary studies on a half-time basis.
In preparation of moving ahead with the student ministries, Chris has already spent some time meeting with parents, the Board of Christian Education, and the Church Council to plan for the upcoming year and to set direction for the '97-98 program. Based on group consensus, Chris drafted a document entitled "Focus and Vision for Student Ministries in 1997-98."
The vision for the program is stated as follows:
A community of committed, prepared, and caring adults who are involved in serving and shepherding young adolescents towards maturity in Christ by providing students with fellowship, worship, learning, and service opportunities.
The youth ministry, guided by the values of: Care and Community Building, Prayer and Worship, Biblical Equipping, and Missional Outreach, is packed full of programs and activities based on these values.
Rygh proposes a large bi-weekly group where scripture will be presented through music, skits, slides, videos, and games. On a weekly basis (following the large groups when applicable) students will meet in small groups of 68 students with an adult leader for the purpose of Bible studies, service projects, learning activities and discussions. These small groups will also provide an opportunity for close friendships and time to pray for one another.
Rygh also hopes to gather a group of adults who will meet for the purpose of intensive prayer focusing on specific student needs, the leadership team and overall health of the ministry.
Outreach to non-Christian students is also planned through many scheduled outings such as trips to a Bucks game, Six Flags, and the Chicago Art Museum.
Other involvement opportunities include Prayer Partners, Youth Ushers, and Bible Classes. Students may also have the opportunity to contribute to special projects such as work at a Group Mission Site, our Honduran Mission, or St. Vincent DePaul.
The upcoming year is going to be an exciting, growing time for our student ministries. This is a rough draft of what is to come as dates and times are settled, more information will be published. Our congratulations to Chris as he embarks on this new programming.
After June 30, 1997, First Congregational Church will miss Hans Knoff who has worked as the second shift custodian for nearly seven years.
Hans said that while working here, he 'never met a person he didn't like,' and the feeling was mutual. Rani Gusho said that Hans was really an extension of the ministry here as he was always in contact with people from the various organizations, weddings, funerals, etc. This is quite evident in the Thank You letters the church has received over the years.
"I personally appreciated the wonderful cooperation I received from Hans!"
"The Church's custodian was very helpful and considerate of our needs."
"We want to thank Hans for providing his able assistance to ensure our success."
Hans said that his favorite part of the job was meeting people from all the different groups - he especially enjoyed all the weddings.
Roy Brouwer, who began as building superintendent less than a year ago will especially miss Hans. "His work was always far beyond expectations," said Roy, "But more than that, he has a terrific sense of humor and I'll miss the companionship of someone I've come to think of as a friend."
As for retirement, Hans and wife Ingeborg want to spend more time with their six grandchildren and four children. He also hopes to get in a little more time camping and fishing. Co-workers have also mentioned that Hans is an avid gardner and suspect he'll enjoy more time for that hobby. (They'll miss the fresh vegetables he has been known to bring.)
While there will be no official farewell party (at Hans' request) there will be a chance to say good-bye at the Pig Roast on June 4. Good luck Hans, you'll be sorely missed. *
On Friday, May 16, Roy Brouwer married Dianne Fitting at an evening service officiated by both Lonnie and Steve. Dianne's three children, Richard, Jenny & Christine and Roy's three children, Jane, Louis and Ben all took part in the beautiful ceremony. Following the ceremony, a reception was held at the Boulevard Inn. The newlyweds then planned a honeymoon in Boulder Junction for some peace and quiet.
In addition to the wedding, both Roy and Dianne are in the process of selling their houses before the closing on their new home,
May 30th. Congratulations!!
Four FCC students will attend the combined National Association of Pilgrim Fellowship (NAPF) and Heritage of Pilgrim Endeavor (HOPE) meeting at Piedmont College, Georgia in June. Jason and Leah Sawnor, Ryan Fetterolf, and Andrew Collis will serve as our ambassadors to this special conference, where they will spend four days meeting and working with students from across the country. These four will not be the only FCC tie to the conference. Our Mary Beth Rygh currently serves as NAPF Co-Director. For the last two years, Mary Beth, along with the other directors, has had the responsibility of coordinating these conferences.
For the first time ever, NAPF and HOPE will share the same conference title, "All Tied Up!" Under this theme of unity the two groups will share musical entertainment and leadership, and they will combine on one massive outreach effort in Habersham County, the northeast Georgia site of Piedmont College. NAPF and HOPE students will reach out to some 15 to 20 service organizations to provide a day of service and outreach. Some will help bring completion to the Safe Haven Orphanage, others will start building a Habitat for Humanity property recently donated at the college, while others will work at schools and shelters.
Jason, Leah, and Ryan will leave Wisconsin June 21 with students from other Congregational churches. After the conference, the Wisconsin group plans to stay in the Atlanta area for two days in order to do some sight seeing. Plans include the World of Coca-Cola, a visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Center, the CNN building, shopping at the Atlanta Underground, and a baseball game in the new stadium where the Summer Olympics were held.
Vacation Bible School will be held AUGUST 1115. Based on the Joseph story, there will be plenty of games, stories and crafts. Adult volunteers will be needed to assist with a variety of tasks. Sign-up sheets will be available soon!
Bring unused, unwanted toys in good and clean condition to church. Toys will be used in our own nursery and some will be taken to the Salvation Army Emergency Lodge, located on N. 7th St. Families with children stay at the lodge temporarily during times of homelessness. Please put your donations in a box set up in front of the Christian Ed office. (Please no stuffed toys, due to health reasons). Go ahead- toss those toys! *
The church softball team will not only be playing at Hart Park, 70th and State, but at West Field, 11400 W. Center St. Be sure to check the article each week for time and place! All games are played on Tuesday evenings.
* May 27th, at 9:30, at Hart Park vs. Trackside
* June 3rd, at 7:40, at Hart Park vs. St. Matthew's *
Rev. Richardson will be joined by Rev. Peay for a series of messages in July on our questions about the faith. What perplexing questions do you have? Note them below and return to the church office by May 28.
I don't understand this about Jesus Christ.
I don't understand this about living the Christian faith.
I don't understand this about the church.
Prudence Calligaro plans on having a much simpler signature after May 17th, when she and Dennis Stern are married. She says she is just "so happy!" to be part of the First Congregational Church, which she sees as an active, friendly ("smiling") congregation. "There is so much to get involved in."
Prudy's son, William, is married to Rube and Bev Ziehlsdorf's daughter Debi, who introduced her to our church. She grew up in the Milwaukee area with a Lutheran background, and graduated from Custer High School. Prudy has one other son, Robert. She works at the M&I Bank, and you'll usually see her at the 9:00 am services on Sunday.
Heather Caponi and her husband moved to Milwaukee from San Diego in 1995. He had been on active duty in the Marines, and now is in the Marine Reserve; his civilian occupation is in sales of materials handling equipment. Heather teaches 4th grade at Brookfield Academy. The Caponi's have a two-year-old son, Christopher.
Originally from Bangor, Maine, Heather says the Congregational Churches there are venerable institutions. Locally, Kevin and Joan Schultz introduced her to First Congregational Church in Wauwatosa, which she finds to be a friendly, family oriented church. Heather is a a marathon runner, and tries to get out to do her running early in the morning.
An accomplished violinist, Betsy Charles graduated from the renowned school of music at Indiana University. Indiana is Betsy's home state. She would like to be able to play as part of a symphony orchestra.
She now lives in Brookfield, and is employed in market research by a firm known as Market Probe. Her 26 year old son lives in Peoria IL. She sings in our choir, and will be the leader of the church's Singles Group. Asked about her interests outside of the church and work, Betsy cites sports and cultural events - especially Milwaukee's fine symphony.
Gina Grasso grew up in Milwaukee, attended Vincent High School and then Stratton Business College, where she received her degree in Medical Office Management. Gina is employed by Aetna Insurance Co.
As a child and through her early years Gina had a Lutheran background, and she often attended her mother's church, as well as other churches in Milwaukee. Her friend Prudence Calligaro was attending First Congregational, and asked Gina to come along; she liked the church and has chosen to become a member.
Gina has a 7-year-old daughter, Karissa, and is naturally interested in the children's programs offered by the church. Her fiance teaches elementary school (5th grade) in Milwaukee, and they are planning a July wedding.
Amy Hawthorne grew up Brookfield, had been living in Chicago, and is now back living in Tosa. She and her husband, Brian, were married in First Congregational Church two years ago. It was perhaps the influence of Amy's sister, Beth Sawyer, who brought her to the church. Brian and Amy are expecting their first child in July and are very much anticipating this new phase of their life. Amy enjoys gardening and reading.
Edith Heard (not pictured) has rejoined our church. Her husband, who died some time ago, was a Congregational minister in Joplin, MO. Edith had a birthday in May and turned 77. She is a very active woman and has made 30 trips to Israel. In addition, she is very involved in many projects - such as Women's Retreats and Youth Camps.
Katherine Iuli was accustomed to the Congregational ways after growing up in a Congregational Church in Connecticut. Katherine and her husband Richard, have attended many different Congregational Churches due to moving around quite a bit. Richard is a Coordinator for Academic Support Services at the Medical College. Katherine is an at home mom, with their two daughters, Sarah, who will be five in July and Emily who will be two in July.
The Iuli's especially like First Congregational Church because they are familiar with the atmosphere and the customs. They enjoy being with other young couples with children. It is important to involve their children with the other children in the church. The Iuli's said the members are friendly and they enjoy the ministers' services.
Kevin Kostick is engaged to Cynthia Buxton, and they both sing in the choir. Kevin lives in West Allis, works for Security Bank as a courier. Kevin, who also enjoys playing the piano, gives lessons. He performs not only solo, but in a trio. His favorite music is jazz. Some of his favorite hobbies include photography, traveling and reading.
Theresa (also goes by her middle name of Michele) and Toby Lange were searching for a church that would be the right fit for them. Their path to membership at FCC began with their first visit when the Youth Choir was performing under the direction of Kathy Kern. Michele says their son, Evan, became excited as he knew Ms. Kern as a music teacher at his school. Evan hadn't reacted as positively to the other churches they visited. Evan is nine years old and their daughter Heather is 15 months. Michele is a nurse at Sinai Samaritan in the neonatal intensive care unit. Toby is a designer at Briggs & Stratton.
Elizabeth and Wayne Pretschold moved back to Milwaukee after living in the Delafield area and attending Lake Country Congregational Church. They own the Pretschold Awning Company on 55th and North Avenue. Elizabeth's mother is Edith Heard and Elizabeth is so thrilled that her daughter, Stefani, after having "home schooling," wants to be a minister and has just received the President's Scholarship to Trinity University. In their spare time they enjoy skiing and biking.
Cynthia and Craig Watson were members of FCC in Beloit, moved away and came back to Milwaukee. Craig is a Director of Investor Relations at AO Smith and Cynthia is an at-home mom of three kids; Jami 20, Michael 12 and Zachery 9. The Watsons feel very comfortable at FCC. They are familiar with the services, they enjoy the people and the church, and their kids, who will be joining Sunday School, like it too.
Dean and Robin Wilson and their twin 4 year old daughters, Katie and Emily, moved to Wauwatosa from central Illinois last fall. In searching for a church, they were looking for a good mesh with each of their religious backgrounds. They felt comfortable with First Congregational. An active youth program was an additional draw. Dean is very busy in his new position as President of Wauwatosa Credit Union. Robin is taking time off from teaching and enjoys volunteering in Katie and Emily's kindergarten class and has become active in PTA.
Donald and Sarah Wohlfeil relocated to Milwaukee from Pittsburgh three years ago in order to be nearer to Donald's son and grandchildren. The process of settling in has not been an easy one and Donald suffered some health setbacks. Ironically, his son and family left Milwaukee and moved to Anitgo. But Sarah reports things are turning around for them now. Sarah loves her job as a unit secretary at Luther Manor. Donald is a machine operator and has his own painting business on the side. The Wohlfeils belonged to a Congregational church in Pittsburgh and found FCC when they saw the steeple after making a wrong turn. They feel very welcome here and are looking forward to making new friends. Sarah says the "wrong turn" was a right turn after all.
What makes some give up when they are close to accomplishing a goal? The answer to this is the same as why some stop pursuing the Christian journey and fall into a destructive path or simply allow circumstances to control them. They give up because they lose sight of their goal. I am reminded of the story of Florence Chadwick.
It was a fog shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when Florence waded into the waste off Catalina Island. She intended to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long distance swimming was not new to her, she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. The water was numbing cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit... only one-half mile from her goal. Later she said, "I'm not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land I might have made it." It wasn't the cold or fear or exhaustion that caused Florence to fail. It was the fog. She could not see the land close ahead.
Many times we too fail, not because of the peer pressure or because of anything other than the fact that we lose sight of the goal. Maybe that's why Paul said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14). Two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land. You can do the same by pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling God has for you. *
In a conversation with a fellow Church member, who had just returned from an extended vacation, she mentioned the task of sorting through the large stack of mail. In order to get caught up on Church activities she put all of the mailings in chronological order and started reading from the oldest to the present. She excitedly commented that it was just amazing as to the number of activities going on at the Church.
It was an intriguing comment, which I thought was worth looking at more closely. So using the April calendar of events, I began to count. During April alone, First Congregational Church sponsored or conducted over 80 events, excluding worship services and board and committee meetings. If those events are included the total is well over 100 activities.
These basic numbers were impressive by themselves, but a closer look revealed a wide range of activities which meet the diverse needs of our members and the community, regardless of interests, age or time of day.
What was even more interesting was by categorizing the activities one finds that about 1/3 support fellowship, spiritual, and educational needs; 1/3 support a variety of community groups (retired Men's Club, Boy Scouts, etc.) and 1/3 relate to Church and Community music activities.
The revelation for me, was not the actual numbers, but what they represent in terms of staff and member involvement and the commitment of the congregation to the community. It is a simple statistical representation of the value First Congregational Church provides to us all, and only a portion of our potential. It is a tribute to us and the works we can accomplish in our Lord's name!
Peter Holtz, Moderator
Lonnie and Mercedes will be hosting a travel/study program in Greece tracing the journeys of Paul. This is the next leg of what they are calling Travels of Faith, Fun and Understanding. Included in the program are several excellent guides and visits to such historic places as Athens, Philippi, Thessalonika, Delphi, Neapolis, and Corinth. There may also be a visit to the Greek churches supported by First Congregational Church. The theme of the program is the second missionary journey of Paul. Presentations will be on the life and work of Paul, Paul and the Roman colony of Philippi, Paul's message and ministry in Athens and southern Greece and Paul's contribution to Christianity.
Cost of the first-class, 10-day tour is only $1698 which includes round trip airfare, first class hotels, breakfast and dinner daily, deluxe motor coaches, entrance fees and much more. Departure will be March 5, 1998. An extension Greek Isle cruise is offered following the tour. Continuing education credits are available. For additional information stop at the church office at 258-7375. *
The dates of Family Camp are set for August 1518. Family Camp offers a variety of activities for adults and kids. Activities include watersports (fishing, canoeing, swimming, etc.) archery, tennis and more. There are also times for fellowship and Bible discussions.
Campers stay in cabins, 12 to a group. Camp Lucerne, near Wautoma, is the beautiful, wooded setting. If you're interested, contact the church office for more information. Organizers this year are Gary & Cathy Kebbekus and Kevin & Joan Schultz.
The Editor Thanks:
Karl Stieghorst, Joyce Orr and René Klumb for article information; Bill Edens for photography; and the office staff for their assistance.
The following people were baptized on
May 11, 1997
Sara Elizabeth Coe, daughter of Pamela Kaye Meyer Coe and Douglas Arthur Coe
Max Karl Idzikowski, son of Marjorie Ann Kaufmann Idzikowski and Dennis George Idzikowski
Matthew Scott Niederjohn, son of Susan Atwood Swenson Niederjohn and the late Russell James Niederhohn
Marion L. Dewey passed away on May 12, 1997.
1511 Church Street
Wauwatosa, WI 53213-2593
Editor, Beth Linscott
Karl Stieghorst - Chairperson,
René Klumb, Joyce Orr,
Sandy Rose, Win Williams,
Rev. Lonnie Richardson, Senior Minister
Rev. Dr. Steven A. Peay, Associate Minister/Teacher
Chris Rygh, Pastoral Intern
Rani Gusho, Financial Administrator
Debby Wakefield, Coordinator of Membership
Roy Brouwer, Building Superintendent
Lee Jacobi, Director of Music
Betty Dethmers, Organist
Betsy Isenberg, Secretary
Nancy Gross, Secretary
Rev. Norman S. Ream, Minister Emeritus
Congregational Columns (USPS 010-493) is published monthly by The First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa, 1511 Church St., Wauwatosa, WI 53213-2593, 414/258-7375. Periodical Postage Paid at Milwaukee, WI 53203-9998. Postmaster: Send address changes to Congregational Columns, 1511 Church St., Wauwatosa, WI 53213-2593.