September 27, 1998

Table of Contents

Not Just Another Pretty Face

If I Should Die...

Holiday Events

Interfaith Volunteers Needed

St. Vincent Guests Get Meals & More

A Word From Lonnie

Youth News

Sunday School Updates

Success That Matters

Fire Safety Day


Women's Study Group Resumes

In Brief/Our Church Family


Not Just Another Pretty Face

One of my dictionary's definitions of the word heritage is, "property that is or can be inherited." For the past couple of years, this congregation has been involved in several rebuilding and face-lifting projects that have excited us all. As the present day keepers of this church home, it has been a measure of our respect for our past and those who worked to restore this part of our heritage. It has lifted our hearts and warmed our spirits to see it all come together.

Another of the definitions of heritage is "something handed down from one's ancestors as a characteristic, a culture or tradition." In this area too, First Church is making strides. From the new and exciting BASIC program for our youth to new music ministries, ever widening mission projects and adult education, we are reaching out and growing every year. Perhaps one of the most significant endeavors on this year's agenda is the symposium, "A Past With a Future." Scheduled at First Congregational Church on November 5, 6, 7, 8, 1998, it will bring together a talented group of speakers addressing not only the past, but also the future of Congregationalism in the next millennium. This will be an important conference generating national interest. It is hoped that many members of this congregation will make it an important event in their lives, as well.

So, what do we owe this place, this tradition, this church home where we gather to celebrate, to support, to mourn, to remember, to love and to praise? I believe that with our stewardship campaign just ahead of us, we will all have the opportunity to share in sustaining our firm foundation. This will be a challenging year in which all who proudly call this church home may rest assured it is not just another pretty face. *

by Char Schweitzer,

Stewardship Board


Join us for

Worship and Brunch

Commitment Sunday

October 18, 1998

Complimentary Pancake Brunch served at 8:00 10:00 12:00

Please remember to bring your Pledge Card to church.

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"If I Should Die..."

The old nursery prayer goes like this:

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take...

For most folks in the United States at this time, death is not one of the more common topics of conversation. Death, as Jessica Mitford and others have pointed out, in America is something to be avoided. For Christians, however, death is not a point of avoidance ­ it is a point of transition. For us, eternal life has begun already and death is just the movement from one stage to the next; this is the fruit of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection.

If, as the old saying goes, the only two certain things are death and taxes, how do we prepare for the future in hope? This will be addressed in the sermons by Rev. Lonnie Richardson (September 27) and Rev. Dr. Steven Peay (October 4). On October 4 at 10:00 a.m., there will also be a class offered by Dr. Peay and Carrie Laubenheimer examining the Christian approach to death. On October 11, at 10:00 a.m., Shirley Jeffrey, noted lecturer and religious educator on grief and bereavement, will offer a class on approaching loss.

As part of our preparation, the church will offer a booklet prepared here which will outline some basic thoughts on a Christian approach to both death and the funeral. The booklet also has a pre-planning form which all our members are encouraged to prepare and have a copy on file in the church office.

It is hoped that many will take advantage of the classes and the booklet, understanding that for the Christian "life is changed, not ended." Death for us is not is a moment of hope fulfilled! *

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Holiday Events


Worship Service 10:30
Dinner 12:00
(for those who would otherwise be alone)


Dec. 5
Friendly Beast Breakfast 9:00
(for young children)

Dec. 6
Christmas Workshop 3­5:00
Supper 5:00

Dec. 13
Christmas Tea 3:00
Cookie Packing 3:00
Choir Concert 4:00

Dec. 24 Christmas Eve Services
Youth Presentation 4:00
Communion Service 7:00
Candle Light Service 11:00

This is a listing of events scheduled to-date for the holiday season to help members plan. Detailed information will follow about many of the activities in the next two issues of the Columns.

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Interfaith Volunteers Needed


Interfaith is a faith-based organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for older adults in the Milwaukee area with the support and collaboration of diverse congregations, religious groups, volunteers and other community organizations. Interfaith accomplishes its mission through direct service, advocacy and information and referral services.

Mayfair Interfaith is an organization First Congregational Church supports with three board members, volunteers and financial contributions disbursed through the Board of Benevolences. But Mayfair Interfaith has a great need for more volunteers!

The opportunities to help can vary greatly. The volunteer respite program lends a hand to care givers who are providing 24-hour care to older adults. Participants are trained with basic knowledge and skills needed for 1­2 hours care relief or "respite." This program helps families maintain equilibrium, a sense of well being and often prevents premature nursing home placement caused by the physical and/or emotional collapse of the caregiver.

Other opportunities available may be as simple as chatting with an older adult who has no one with whom to talk. What you get back is so much greater than what you give.

If you have any interest in a volunteer opportunity or if you would like more information, contact Michelle Jackson, parish nurse,
258-7375. *

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St. Vincent Guests Get Meals & More

St Vincent de Paul meal programs have been serving nutritious meals with a special philosophy since 1983. Rather than looking at the number of people in need of food, the focus is on individuals. A great deal of effort is put into providing friendship and spiritual support along with a hot meal to one person at a time. "Our goal is not simply to feed people. We believe in empowerment and providing our guests with the necessary tools to change their own lives. Every person who walks through our doors is worthy of love and respect," said Greg Hannon, director of meal programs at St. Vincent's.

Volunteers who work in the meal program are predominantly from the religious community. For ?? years, members of First Congregational have been involved not only by providing financial support to the program, but as volunteer cooks, food transporters, and servers. Area businesses, private community groups, and neighborhood residents round out the list of volunteers. In addition, several thousand elementary and high school students assist parents with such duties as pouring milk, carrying food trays, and visiting with the many guests who visit the program.

SVDP operates three programs in the Milwaukee area. Guests at the meal sites are all ages, from newborns to adults well into their nineties. A combined total of 1,200 are served each night from all three meal locations.

The two northside meal sites serve primarily the African American community while guests of the southside meal site represent approximately equal numbers of African Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians.

The offering which is collected from this year's Thanksgiving worship service will be donated to the St. Vincent de Paul meal program. There will be an opportunity to learn more about St. Vincent de Paul as well as many of the other benevolent recipients at the "Missions Night," scheduled as the program for the all-church dinner on October 7. See the "A Word from Lonnie" article for further information. If you are interested in volunteering some time with other church members to serve this program, call the church office, 258-7375. *


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A word from Lonnie...

Let's Learn From
Those Who Serve

Our rich history of mission giving is a witness that First Congregational Church has a commitment to outward service as well as inward devotion. Hundreds of thousands have been invested to benevolent enterprises over the years. As we prepare for a new millennium of missions there is an opportunity to learn more about the ministries we support.

October 7 will be one such opportunity as the "Missions Night" is designed to inform and inspire us about the opportunities we have to help people who hurt. Following the fellowship meal, benevolent recipients will share with us their visions. We will hear from representatives from the St. Vincent Meal Ministry, Milwaukee Rescue Mission and Joy House, the Tosa Community Food Pantry, Congregational Foundation for Theological Studies, Congregational Home and a status report on our mission to Honduras. A display area will help representatives tell their stories and you will have an opportunity to speak with those we help serve.

The Board of Benevolence is sponsoring this event so that we may learn of their tasks and opportunities in guiding the church benevolent concerns. Dinner will begin at 6:00 p.m. and the program will follow. Please phone your reservations to the church office, 258-7375. I look forward to seeing you there.

In Him,



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Youth News

The following group of dedicated volunteers are teaching our children this semester. This is a big commitment of time and energy for which we owe them a resounding "thank you."


Susan Lisheron 3-yr-olds

"I loved Sunday School as a child and enjoyed teaching it when I was a teenager," responded Susan when agreeing to teach Sunday School this year. Susan works part-time for Everen Securities in investments and she and husband Mark have two children, Sam, 3 and Griffith, 6.


Annie Montguire Young 4's

Annie responded that she really enjoys kids and wanted to share God's word, when asked why she was teaching this year. Last year, while considering a possible career in ministry, Annie wanted to get a taste of it before making a decision. While she decided against going into ministry, she liked the experience and agreed to return this year.


Roger Gruebling K-4

Roger is the City of Wauwatosa treasurer, pitches for the church softball team, and enjoys playing racquetball. With two older kids (Sara and Amanda), he said that last year's teaching experience with both the students and the parents was very rewarding.


Katherine Boettcher & Jonathan Sgarlata 1st grade

Katherine is a Tosa East sophomore involved in golf, softball, and band. Jonathan, a sophomore at Brookfield East is following a terrific family tradition of deep involvement in the church. While Jonathan is also currently gearing up for the bow hunting season, he and Katherine agreed that teaching Sunday School would be a good experience and fun, as well.


Amelia Hahn & Jenny Pozayt 2nd grade

A veteran team, Amelia and Jenny taught 4th and 5th grade last year. "It was a great learning experience for the kids and us and we were excited to do it again," said Amelia. Both are seniors at Wauwatosa East and very involved in BASIC.


Katie Skell 3rd grade

A Tosa East senior involved in cheerleading and National Honor Society, Katie taught 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday School last year. Because she enjoyed working with the kids, she agreed to return this year.


Laura Taylor 4th & 5th grade

"I love kids, love church, and want to grow more in God's word," said Laura about teaching this year. She is experienced not only as a Sunday School teacher, but also as a high school English teacher. Laura and husband Wade have two children, Lydia, 4 and Caleb, 2.


Carolyn Simpson 6th & 7th grade

Carolyn and Tom have three children, Matthew, age 4, Scott, grade 4, and Jenny, grade 7. Carolyn has volunteered before both as a Sunday School teacher and as a care giver in the nursery. She said that she teaches Sunday School to be more "God-connected" and to help young people know God in their daily lives.


Dean & Robin Wilson 8th grade

Dean is president of the Wauwatosa Credit Union and Robin is a 5th grade teacher. With twin first graders, Katie and Emily, the Wilsons are also very involved in PTA and school activities. This is their first year teaching Sunday School and Dean is also serving on the Board of Deacons.



Chris Mason 3-yr-olds ­ K-4

Chris is a professional painter who has recently spent much time working on the church building and decided he wanted to get more involved in the church with the people. A first-time Sunday School teacher, Chris said, "It is very exciting to see so many children in the church and I was eager to help with this exciting ministry."


Nastassia Richardson 1st­3rd grade

While only a sophomore at Brookfield Academy, Nastassia is already a third year veteran teacher in the Sunday School program. Last year she taught 4-year-olds and she has also been extremely involved with the PF/BASIC program.


Jamie Schultz & Jessica Merritt 4th & 5th grade

Jamie and Jessica are both seniors at Tosa East who became involved with First Church through PF. Jamie is considering membership here and enjoys working with the kids. "I want to use this talent of teaching to make a contribution to the church," said Jamie.

Jessica, a very active student at East, taught last year with Katie Skell and enjoyed the experience. She said that teaching this year is a way to stay involved while doing something she likes.


David Hartsuch 6th­8th grade

Returning as a second-year teacher, David has a very strong commitment of church. He enjoys spending time with his wife Christine and their young son, Matthew. *


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Sunday School Updates

Make Your Mark

The 1998­1999 Sunday School theme is "Make Your Mark." No doubt, many of you have noticed the hand print logo in recent publications as well as the numerous hand prints posted around the church. This campaign is designed to encourage our children to make their mark on the world, just as Christ made his mark on them (Phil 1:17, Eph 3:17).

On Rally Sunday, in keeping with this theme, children created clay tiles with their hand prints. Other similar projects will follow throughout the year. "We wanted to ensure that there was a unifying element of the curriculum," said Chris Rygh, director of student ministries.

Pennies from Heaven

How many pennies could fit into one five gallon jug? This year the Sunday School classes will attempt to answer this question. Each student will receive a money pouch in which to save his or her Sunday School offering. Each week as students return their bags, they will empty the contents into a large jug in each of their classrooms.

"We are trying to teach the principles of giving in a way that is very tangible for our students," said project coordinator Gary Hetzel. "Eventually this money will be divided between the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and our Honduran Mission."

Parents can assist students by helping children save coins, reminding them to use their pouches and by talking with them about the discipline of giving. *

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Success That Matters


October 14 Obstacles

November 11 Family

December 9 Spiritual Life

January 13 Calling

February 10 Life Management

March 10 Personal Growth

"Success that Matters," a new outreach of the Men's Ministry program, will kick off on October 14, 1998. The premise of this series is that a man's most innate need is his need to be significant ­ to lead a successful, happy, meaningful life. This series of programs will examine success not based on cultural norms but on Biblical values. The intent of the "Success that Matters Life Plan" is to help men build or rebuild a well-balanced, priority-based success which yields a deep sense of meaning and purpose. Set up as a step-by-step guide to help men contemplate where they are and where they want to go, it intends to optimize each man's relationship with Jesus Christ.

The chapel will be available for prayer by 5:30 a.m., breakfast served at 6:30 a.m. and the presentation by Rev. Richardson will follow, to be concluded by 7:45 a.m. (See the chart to the left for a topic schedule.) All men of the church and community are welcome. Please RSVP the church office at 258-7375. *

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Fire Safety Day - October 30

A fire safety program has been scheduled for Friday, October 30, when many schools are having a teacher inservice day. Parents should bring their children to the church by 10:30 a.m. The group will then carpool to the fire station. Pre-schoolers will tour the fire station while the children 5 years and up will attend a fire safety class which includes an instructional video about what to do in a fire. The older children then have an opportunity to practice what they've learned in the "fire safety house."

Child care will be provided for younger siblings. Volunteers are needed to help carpool to the fire station, supervise the kids, and provide child care. A hot dog lunch will also be provided for those interested. The cost for lunch is $2.00 for kids and $3.00 for adults. Contact the church office to register as a volunteer or register your kids for attendance, 258-7375. *

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The time for a "A Past With A Future: Continuing Congregationalism into the Next Millennium" is fast approaching! On November 5,6,7 and 8, Congregationalists from all across the country will be coming to Wauwatosa to engage in conversation on what it means to follow Christ in the Congregational Way and what our future is. The emphasis of this symposium is, ultimately, practical and we hope that in addition to clergy and religious professionals many committed lay people will enter into the conversation. This is a rare opportunity and we hope that the members of our church will take advantage of it ­ and the 50% discount on registration ­ and join us. A letter will be coming to members' homes sometime in the coming weeks before the symposium.

If you are willing to open your home to a visitor or to help with the symposium through assisting at a meal or social function, please contact Rev. Dr. Steven Peay, 258-7375.

Here at First Church it's obvious that the past does have a future...let's join together with our brothers and sisters in the Congregational Way to share the good news! *

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Women's Study Group Resumes

The Professional Women's Study Group will meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month beginning October 7. We will meet in the Parlor from 6:30 to about 8:00 pm. The text we are using is "Elegant Choices, Healing Choices," by Marsha Sinetar. Ms. Sinetar is an organizational psychologist, mediator, and writer who has been increasingly immersed in the study of self-actualizing adults. Books will be available for purchase in the church office.

This interactive group is designed to accommodate the working women's schedule and is facilitated by Julie Peay. The reading and discussion follows the needs of the women in the group and not a prescribed structure. If you are a working professional trying to balance your job, family obligations, and spiritual life, this group may be helpful to you.

For additional information call the church office or Julie Peay at 453-9504. *

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In Brief/Our Church Family

Mailing Help

On Thursday, October 1, at 10 am, we will be preparing our annual canvass mailing. We would welcome anyone who is able to come to the Lounge and help us. Many hands make light work and you can chat as you work.

Next Year's Family Camp

is scheduled for Fri., Aug. 13­Mon., Aug. 16. It will be at Lake Lucerne. While there is no cooking involved, you can count on swimming, games, scheduled activities, and lots of free time filled with great family fun!

October 31 Volunteer Work Day

Volunteers are needed for a wide variety of tasks around the church, both inside and out. Lunch and child care will be provided. Every bit of help is WELCOMED!

The editor thanks:

Char Schweitzer and Julie Peay for articles, Cathy Schmidt and Carla Cummings for information, René Klumb for pictures, and the staff for assistance.


September 13, 1998 -

Margot Kay Vermeylen,
daughter of Kerri Ann Jacobson Vermeylen and Filip Richard Vermeylen

Sophia Marie Sgarlata,

daughter of Sarah Dorothy Sielen Sgarlata and Michael Paul Sgarlata

Whitney Maria Hamm,

daughter of Linnae Marilyn Leeder Hamm and Hans Carl Hamm

Memorial Service

September 15, 1998


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Congregational Columns

Editor, Beth Linscott

Communications Committee

René Klumb - Chairperson,

Julie Peay, Bruce Smith, Dave Swanson, Jennifer Wakefield,

Win Williams


Rev. Lonnie Richardson, Senior Minister

Rev. Dr. Steven A. Peay, Associate Minister/Teacher

Chris Rygh, Director of Student Ministries

Rani Gusho, Financial Administrator

Roy Brouwer, Building Superintendent

Lee Jacobi, Director of Music

Betty Dethmers, Organist

Michelle Jackson, Parish Nurse

Betsy Isenberg, Secretary

Nancy Gross, Secretary

Charles Nelson, Administrator, Congregational Home, Inc.

Rev. Norman S. Ream, Minister Emeritus


Vol. 7, Issue 9