August 29, 1999

Table of Contents

BASIC Changes

Steinway donated in memory of Hazel Hermann

Roll out the welcome wagon

Family Camp makes a joyful noise

Care Prayer

First Church hosts mission team

Thank you for your participation

Junior choir returns

Men's ministry program expands

Report from NACCC meeting

A word from Lonnie

In Brief


Some B.A.S.I.C. changes

Some big changes are in store for the Sunday night BASIC (Brothers and Sisters in Christ) ministries this fall. Not only will there be a priority placed on fellowship, students will also be sharing their time and talents through a number of outreach and service opportunities.

"Last year we brought 45 young people through the confirmation process," says Chris Rygh, associate minister for students, "and because that was our goal, we used a programming strategy that was fairly aggressive. An investor who desires asset growth packs his portfolio with aggressive stocks, but later when he desires asset protection, he will likely adopt a different investment strategy. Well, that is similar to what we are doing this year. Whereas last year we placed our priority on discipleship or growth, this year we're working more on fellowship or nurturing the group and creating a sense of togetherness. This means that our programming strategy will necessarily be different."

This year in an effort to create more opportunities for fellowship, BASIC students will have an opportunity to share in a large group experience on Sunday evenings. They will also have a chance to participate in a small group experience on Sunday afternoons. "Because of the tight organizational structure we used last year, some of our students didn't get to know other boys and girls beyond their small group. I know that in every system there are trade-offs, but I really hope we can correct this one," added Rygh. "We're going to try very hard to offer the best of both worlds," explained Rygh. "Students who remember several years ago sharing a meeting time with fifteen or twenty others will have that kind of setting while students who are seeking a smaller group will be able to volunteer for that kind of experience as well."

Another goal for the 1999-2000 year is to involve students in more service work, putting their Christianity into action. "Last year our middle schoolers did a tremendous job of raising money for Compassion International, but many of our older students told me how frustrated they were because they were not doing more in the way of outreach," said Rygh. "Though I can't announce specifics--because much of this will be up to the students--I can say that I've blocked out times for major outreach projects this year."

Not only will there be an emphasis on large scale outreach, BASIC students will also be encouraged to employ their talents individually within the different ministries of the church. "For example," said Rygh, "we have young men and women who have a great deal to add to our music ministries, our child care ministries, even our sports ministries. We've not done a good enough job at getting our students plugged in to make their contributions. It is important to nurture the next generation of church leaders, and we do this by incorporating them one by one into the workings of the church and then by turning over responsibility little by little until the transfer is complete. But step one is matching students with their roles within the church body."

"This is all along the lines of a software upgrade," Rygh said with a smile, "We ultimately want a ministry that is more powerful and more friendly. It takes a while to get that right and then to keep it in balance."

Program specifics including fall calendars are being mailed to all families. Extra copies will be available in the main office. *


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Steinway donated in memory of
Hazel Hermann

First Congregational Church received a beautiful gift this month. Rita and Dick Wareham donated their "Model M" Steinway Parlor Grand piano in memory of Rita's mother Hazel Hermann.

The Warehams purchased the instrument in the 60's when their children (David, Laurie, Stephan and Jill) were young. Now living in the Congregational Apartments, the couple no longer had room to house the piano and Rita decided she'd like to give the instrument to the church.

"It's a wonderful instrument in great condition," said Lee Jacobi, director of music. He noted that the 5'6" piano is the perfect size for Friendship Lounge, where it is now located. "Ever since Friendship Lounge was remodeled, I've had an idea in the back of my head of using it for a concert series," said Lee.

Now, with this instrument and the added time Lee has dedicated to the music program, this concept will come to life. He is organizing a series of programs he's calling the Sunday Afternoon 4 o'clocks. Lee's vision is for the small, informal recitals, intended for 30 ­ 50 people, to present wide-ranging chamber music...vocalists, a jazz group, instrumental groups. He already has his idea in the works and hopes to present three or four recitals this year. "It will be very personal with a small group in such a warm space," envisioned Lee. He is planning for the programs to last approximately 45 minutes, followed by a reception.

Many thanks to the Warehams for their generous donation which will enhance our fellowship and bring joy to many at First Congregational. *

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Roll out the welcome wagon

In preparation for welcoming new members, a call is extended to anyone who would like to share in the ministry of hospitality. We need people from all walks of life ­ single, families with young/older children, empty nesters and those in their maturing years.

We would like this group to help with introducing new people to First Congregational Church. Time commitment will be minimal. Something as simple as an introductory phone call and a greeting on Sunday mornings may be just the thing that helps new folks feel at home. We have scheduled a meeting for Sunday, September 12 between services. Grab a cup of coffee and spend some time brainstorming about how FCC could extend hospitality to the stranger. Hebrews 13:2 says it all..."Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it."

For further information, call Debra Kent, 262-560-0520 or associate minister Kathy Rust, 258-7375. *


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Family Camp makes a joyful noise

On August 13, 59 members of our church family converged on Camp Lucerne for Family Camp 1999. Veteran and first-time campers came prepared to "make a joyful noise" which was the theme of this year's camp. The total camp experience includes sunshine, sand, swimming, boating, campfires, songs, hiking, crafts, games and sports, mosquitoes, bug spray and lots of snacks, all shared with old and new friends.

The devotional theme was set as Kathy Rust led the Friday evening campfire meditation and pointed out the peace and presence of God in the star-filled night sky. On Saturday, Lonnie Richardson reviewed the story of God's creation and our place in it as human "be-ings," unconditionally loved for who we are...not human "do-ings," loved for what we do. Worship on Sunday included the familiar story of the Good Samaritan, which underscored the value of others, of what we do and what is expected of us, because of who we are, followers of Jesus. The VanderVelde family provided craft bracelets for the children with the WWJD (What would Jesus do?) slogan, reinforcing the message.

The musical aspect of Family Camp began in earnest Saturday morning when Scott Donaldson treated campers to a rousing saxophone solo as we gathered for breakfast. Scott and Brian Kebbekus on trombone jammed during the Saturday evening corn roast performing such favorites as Yellow Submarine while the children created clouds of bubbles a la Lawrence Welk. The campfire sing-a-long officially opened to the beat of bongos and a chorus of kazoos. Ted Klumb and Lonnie Richardson lead with acoustic guitars accompanied by Michelle Russ on violin. The music was not only the theme, but for many, was a highlight of Family Camp.

All meals other than the Saturday night cookout were served in central lodge. Family groups took turns setting tables before each meal and leading the blessing. Our wonderful culinary tradition at First Church has created a certain level of expectation at mealtimes. Suffice it to say the meals at Family Camp were inspiring ­ we were all inspired to pack more snacks for next year.

The weather cooperated, and was sunny and warm every day for swimming. The storms of Sunday night cleared by Monday morning for more swimming before the campers bid farewell to Lake Lucerne until next year. *

René Klumb

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Care Prayer

One of the ways in which the Congregational Care Board responds to the needs of our church members is through the prayer ministry. Our prayer group consists of 14 members who, along with the church staff, pray for the requests written in the prayer book each week. These requests reflect the concerns of the congregation. This summer we have prayed for a 10-year-old to recover from a serious head injury, for recovery from accidents, strokes, and comas, for solace for the bereaved, strength for the families dealing with tragedy, and even for safety in performing acolyte duties. Our prayers lift up the needs and concerns of our members, their families, and their friends. Our prayers touch neighbors, as well as strangers across the country. The parents of the 10-year-old are amazed that our church in Wisconsin is praying for their son in Washington D.C.

The Care Board asks that the congregation continue to support the prayer ministry in two ways. First, we encourage you to share your prayer concerns by writing them in the prayer book that is located in the narthex each Sunday morning. During the week, this book is available in the chapel. We also encourage you to write a note when your prayers have been answered. We love to hear how God answers our prayers and we love to give thanks.

The second avenue of support is prayer. Each member of the prayer ministry receives a written list of the requests in the mail each week. Each one incorporates these requests into his/her own prayer time. In Matthew 7:7 Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." We would welcome additional askers, seekers and knockers. If you would like to become part of this rewarding ministry, please contact Claudia Rouggly, 479-9019. *

Claudia Rouggly

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First Church hosts mission team

Once again, First Church opened its doors to the nearly forty students and adults who gathered to do mission work in downtown Milwaukee. During the week of July 26, First Congregational Church joined with North Shore Congregational and two Michigan churches in sending teams of students to Community Village and to Community Baptist Church.

Some students cleaned a warehouse on the corner of North Avenue and 44th Street that is scheduled to become a medical clinic. Others helped in the clothing bank, serving meals, painting, even helping in the Church's day care.

"Despite the extraordinary heat and humidity, our students were real troopers, and I was very proud of them!" said Chris Rygh, associate minister. "Without question, the most tedious of jobs had to be cleaning up the neighborhood. We sent students out with plastic bags and gloves and an hour later they'd return with mountains of debris. Certainly not glamorous work, but a powerful Christian witness to the Washington Park area." This project was done in conjunction with a "Clean Team" ministry which is sponsored by Community Village Inc. Community Village spokesman, Mike Robertson, developed the Clean Team idea as a way of involving area children in a neighborhood clean up campaign.

"It is thrilling," said Robertson, "to see what a difference a year makes. Last year as we were just getting things off the ground, some of these very students were here clearing out an old building that has now become the headquarters for Community Village Inc. Not often in ministry is it possible to see such tangible change in such a short time." Community Village--a thirty square block enterprise zone--is the vision of Pastor Roy Nabors and Community Baptist Church. Within the last two years, Community Village has opened a credit union, a job training and placement office and a private academy. The Village Project is one of the largest financial undertakings of any local church in the history of the United States. *

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Thank you for your participation

Several weeks ago the Board of Christian Stewardship sent out an every member survey. Our hope was to get a sense of both how we as a church are doing, and what might we be doing better. We worked as quickly as we could to put it all together and get it in the mail, but we also knew with summer upon us, and folks disappearing, another piece of mail to do something about would not be greeted with joy! However, many of you did do it. You took the time to answer the questions and to give us your thoughts and opinions. Some of you even attached extra pages of ideas! We want to assure you that every one has been read and the opinions both for and against have been tallied and this information will reach the appropriate boards to aid them in their planning. The results will be published in a forthcoming Columns as well. We thank you for taking the time and making the effort. That's what First Church has always been about! *

Board of Christian Stewardship

Char Schweitzer, Chairman

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Junior choir returns

Junior choir is here again! We're pleased to let you know that Roxanne Trump-Miles has been asked to direct the junior choir this year. She volunteered last year after the departure of Kathy Kern so that the children could sing for Christmas and Palm Sunday while Lee Jacobi, director of music, searched for a new director.

Roxanne is the wife of Dave Miles and they have two children Daniel, 8 and Emily, 4. Both Roxanne and Dave sing in the choir, and Dave often plays the trumpet at church. Roxanne is teaching music at Lloyd Street Global Education School in Milwaukee. Prior to 1998, she taught in a traditional first and second grade classroom. Roxanne directed the junior choir here at First Church from 1992­1995, and directed choirs in Eau Claire and Rockland, Maine.

Lee Jacobi and Roxanne determined that the junior choir will sing five times this year. They have carefully considered holidays and school calendars when setting the schedule. The choir will sing once in October, December, February and on Palm Sunday. Lee has also asked that the children sing at the Christmas Choir Concert on December 12.

Each performance will involve four­five rehearsals. Rehearsals will take place in the junior choir room (B-5) immediately following the 8:45 service and will last approximately 30 minutes. The rehearsal immediately prior to a performance will be held in the nave so the children can hear how they sound in that large space. Ordinarily, the children will sing at the 8:45 service, but please note that on December 19 and April 16, they will sing at both services.

Any child in grades K­8 is welcome to be in junior choir. If your child is not yet reading, you may want to come to the practices and/or bring a cassette tape to practice with your child at home. Roxanne has chosen some interesting music this year which the children should enjoy.

Please encourage your children to sing. It is another form of stewardship and involvement for our Sunday School children. Rehearsals will begin September 26 following the 8:45 service. We look forward to hearing the children sing once again. *


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Men's ministry program expanding

Beginning Wednesday, October 6, the men's ministry program is expanding to include the first and third Wednesdays of the month. Rev. Lonnie Richardson will facilitate presentations on MARGIN: Prescriptions for the Pain of Overloaded Lives. The first Wednesday each month will feature a video from the series while the third will followup with discussion of our journeys through the Christian faith.

The video series is based on the popular book of the same title by Wisconsin author Richard Swenson, M.D. The objective of the series is to restore emotional, physical, financial and time reserves to overloaded lives. "Margin" is defined as the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Similar to initial meetings of the men's ministry program, the format, beginning at 6:30 a.m. and concluding at 7:45 a.m. will include breakfast, prayer and a promise.

The Men's Ministry Bible Study with Maurie Daigneau which has been meeting on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 6:30 a.m. will continue. Men are also welcome to join this group at any time.

The MARGIN series is as follows:

October 6, 1999

All Stressed Out and No Place to Go

October 20

Further Discussion

November 3

Finding Time for What Matters

November 17

Further Discussion

December 1

Prescription for Hurried Lives

December 15

Further Discussion

January 5, 2000

Charging Your Batteries

January 19

Further Discussion

February 2

Rebuilding Emotional Health

February 16

Further Discussion

March 1

Enhancing Your Physical Energy

March 15

Further Discussion

April 5

Living Within Your Harvest

April 19

Further Discussion

May 3

Margin and the Sovereignty of God

May 17

Further Discussion

We hope to see you!


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What does the lord require of you?

The theme of the 45th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches - June 26­29 in Cromwell, CT, comes from Micah chapter 6 ...and what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. These became powerful and thought-provoking words as they were revisited many times throughout the four-day event.

The first session was called to order Saturday afternoon by moderator, Rev. Dr. Mark Jensen. Following the prayer and other reports, Jim Walsh, treasurer, reported that the association has a revenue shortfall. This is due to poor stock returns and member churches not contributing to the operating budget. It was discussed that member churches are asked to contribute $7 per church member, yet 35% of our churches contribute nothing. The executive committee will be reviewing this over the next year.

In addition, we learned more about the "Roozen Report" and long-range planning. The executive committee plans to send evaluations and reviews to its member churches every four­five years. If we are to move forward as an association, we need thoughtful input from local churches.

The day ended with a communion service at South Congregational Church of Hartford. Rev. Jim Eaton presented his award-winning sermon, One Day. Ministers from the local Connecticut Fellowship Association, including our past associate minister Rev. Dr. Mark Dunn participated in worship.

Sundays activities included worship services at local churches in the morning with sight-seeing and a lobster boil in the afternoon. It ended with the first of a three-part Bible lecture by Rev. Barbara Brown Taylor, professor of religion and philosophy at Piedmont College. Copies of Rev. Taylor's thought-provoking lectures are available in our church office. Copies of her published writing are available in our resource center.

Monday and Tuesday included reports from the many divisions within the association. Ken Callahan presented a lecture on "Making Effective Churches." Rev. Dr. Steven Blackburn presented a congregational lecture. Rev. Taylor finished her presentation of Micah and we then had a chance to attend break-out sessions. A panel discussion was held on the recent "A Past with a Future" symposium which was sponsored by our church. Rev. Chris Rygh along with other recent CFTS graduates led the discussion.

Tuesday closed with the installation of new officers. Mrs. Anne Kuester, from Pilgrim Congregational Church in Green Bay, is our new moderator. Mrs. Joyce Orr presented a citation to Nancy Smart (who was unable to attend) for her work in the Association over the years. The 2000 Annual Meeting will be held in Green Bay.

Besides myself, other members of our church in attendance included Joyce Orr, Jim Walsh, Phil Jackson, Chris and Mary Beth Rygh with daughter Katie, Lonnie and Mercedes Richardson, and Kathy and Larry Russ. Greeting were extended to all of you from Wendy Sue Earle, Alice Murphy, Markham Dunn, Phil and Peggy Muth, Steve and Julie Peay as well as many others who are praying for our church. As a first time delegate, I would like to sincerely thank the members of First Church for choosing me as delegate. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our Association and the Congregational Way. *

Karen Schmidt


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A word from Lonnie...

Receive the blessing

Have you ever wanted desperately to do something in your life, and found you couldn't because there were qualifications that you couldn't meet? I read an interesting newspaper article about a man who was trying to qualify for his state's highway patrol academy. He was in excellent physical shape, had a degree in criminology, and a black belt in karate. There was only one problem - he was one inch shorter than the minimum height requirement for entrance into the academy. So he took growth hormones. He did stretching exercises. For hours each day he'd hang upside-down from a bar with weights in his hands, trying to eke out that extra inch he needed to qualify. But in the end, he never did make it. Tragically, he was excluded.

I'll tell you what's even more tragic than that - people who exclude themselves from the love of God. They see their faults and they despair. They hear about the love of God but believe it is something beyond their reach because they don't qualify.

Who qualifies for God's grace? We don't qualify. We receive the blessing! The moment you receive the blessing of the love of God, grace becomes yours. Paul said simply that, in Christ, "...all things are yours!" - - 1 Cor. 3:21. Receive the blessing of the gracious love of God. *

In Him, Lonnie


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In brief

Notice of All-Church Meeting

to be held on Sunday, September 26 at 1:00 p.m. to vote on the ordination of Kathryn Rust. Please plan to attend this important meeting.


Marriage Workshop

How and Why Love Lasts: A Marriage Workshop will be presented Friday, Sept. 24, 6:30­9:30 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 25, 8:30­noon. For couples contemplating marriage or those married 50 years. Call the church office for more information, 258-7375.

Visitation Seminar

A training program for church visitation will be offered at First Congregational Church on September 18, October 2 and October 16, from 9:00 a.m.­10:45 a.m. The course enrollment is also open to anyone looking for visitation training. Participants are asked to register with First Congregational Church by Wednesday, September 8, by calling 258-7375. Please plan to attend all three sessions.


Anna Michelle Bedalov, daughter of Kyle and Michelle Wendricks Bedalov was baptized August 15, 1999.


Ryan John Talbot and Jennifer Joan Nowicki were married August 14, 1999.

Pictoral Directories

Anyone who had a picture taken for the church directory receives a complimentary copy. If you have not yet picked up your directory, they are available at the church (and will not be mailed due to postage costs). If you would like a directory, but did not have your picture taken, they are available for $5.00.

Fish Boil / Brat Fest

Two very popular fellowship events are coming this month. Sept 1, 6:00 is the Fish Boil, call the church to reserve space today!
Sept 5, 11 a.m. is the Brat Fest. no
reservation needed.

The fund raising for the renovation of the lower level, an investment in our Music and Our Children, continues. We encourage the membership to complete their pledge card in a timely manner allowing the church to begin planning the actual start date for the renovation construction.

While a follow-up is planned for those cards not turned in, a speedy completion of pledge cards would be appreciated.

Our Music and Our Children will benefit from your generosity.

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Congregational Columns

Editor, Beth Linscott

Communications Committee

Jennifer Wakefield - Chairperson,

Mary York, Bruce Smith, John O'Meara, Char Schweitzer


Rev. Lonnie Richardson, Senior Minister

Rev. Dr. Charles Goldsmith, Minister of Pastoral Care

Kathryn Rust, Associate Minister

Rev. Chris Rygh, Associate Minister

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. 8, Issue 8