January 28, 2001

Table of Contents

Search Process for Senior Minister Underway

Stewardship Update

Sally Boyle & Nancy Grundle job-share secretary position

From the pastor...

Youth Movement

Meet the Search Committee

4 O'Clock concert series

Honduran Mission Update

Lenten Educational & Worship Opportunities

Mom-to-Mom sponsors marriage program

Breakfast with the Girls

In Brief/ Our Church Family

Search Process for Senior Minister Underway

Moderator Stephen Hayes has announced the formation of a Search Committee to seek candidates for the position of Senior Minister for the church. Suggestions for membership on the Search Committee were solicited and received from church members. Eleven names were submitted to the Church Council for ratification. Members are profiled on page 4 of this issue.

At its first meeting in early January, members decided that suggestions for potential candidates for the ministerial position would be open to all members of the congregation; nomination forms have now been developed for that purpose and are available at the church office.

At the second meeting, Rev. Phil Jackson,
a member of FCC and Associate Executive Secretary of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches, addressed the Search Committee on suggested procedures, expected timetables, and protocol.

Chair Dave Swanson said, "we have an outstanding committee and they are eager to get on with this challenging assignment." Asked about the possible time it may take to seek, screen, second-screen, reference-check, interview and fully check out the candidates, Dave said, "It may be as short as six months, but it may take more than two years to complete the task and get our candidate in place as our new Senior Minister. We hope to do the work very carefully and correctly, to secure the very best candidate for recommendation to the membership of First Congregational Church. Obviously, we would like these procedures to take as short a time as possible.

"However, it is far more important to do the job both thoroughly and correctly, and to protect the confidentiality of the process while doing so. In any organization, the personnel and human resources functions are necessarily private ones, inasmuch as candidates for positions usually request and require complete confidentiality of their resumés and dossiers," Dave said. "We will, of course, adhere to these principles."

The Search Committee will sponsor Focus Groups to obtain suggestions from church members. These one-hour meetings will be held at various times to accommodate members' schedules. In these meetings, which will be facilitated by one or more members of the Search Committee, we will ask for members' ideas for the traits and abilities we should be seeking for the Senior Minister position. Ideas and suggestions from the Focus Groups will later be considered by the committee when determining the specific traits and skills desired/required.

Sign-up tables for the Focus Groups will be available between services on Sunday mornings in February. Focus Group sign-up sheets will also be available in the church office during normal business hours on weekdays. *

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Stewardship Update

Value 2001 Pledges to Date: $521,132

Cards Returned: 354

The Stewardship Board would like to thank those of you who have returned pledge cards for the year 2001 campaign. Your faithfulness is an encouragement and very much appreciated. Those of you who are going to make a pledge commitment but haven't done so as yet, please do what you can to get your card to the church office as soon as possible. Though this year's campaign will not have realized its goal of $775,0000.00, the Stewardship Board believes that much has been learned from this year's effort and we are already looking forward to greater things for next year.

The campaign shortfall will undoubtedly impact the budgeting process for the year 2001. The Budget and Finance Committee will be making the recommended adjustments to be presented at the All-Church meeting on Sunday, January 21, 2001.

Maurie Daigneau, Chairman

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Sally Boyle & Nancy Grundle job-share secretary position

Sally Boyle and Nancy Grundle began sharing the secretary position open in the office this month. Sally works Mondays and Wednesdays while Nancy works Tuesdays and Thursdays and they alternate Fridays. It's a schedule which has both women very happy, as well as the rest of the office staff, who are pleased with the smooth transition to these two very capable women.

Sally isn't a stranger to many at First Congregational Church. A life-long member here, she was baptized, confirmed and married in this church. An active member, she has served on the Boards of Stewardship and Christian Education and is currently serving a term as a Deacon. Additionally, Sally has been named Church Clerk by the Church Council and will be officially voted as such at the May election meeting.

Prior to her position at the church, Sally worked in a similar clerical position for 71 years at a small business. She recently left that position. When this became available, it seemed an ideal fit.

Sally is married to Jim Boyle, a hospital administrator for the county mental health program. They have three children: Sarah - 23, Maurine - 20, and Jim - 17. Sally has been a member of the Thursday Morning Women's Group, loves to read and enjoys time at their summer home in the Eagle River area. Family has always been the most important part of her life.

Nancy, may also be a familiar face to many from her background in the broadcast
business. Recognizable to many as a weather forecaster on Channel 6, Nancy worked in the media for more than 20 years. While she remained part-time to be sure she had enough time with family, she had decided the schedule was taking too much time from her family. She left and worked in Early Childhood education briefly before beginning eight years with Boston Store in various capacities. Nancy left in 1999 to be a homemaker and care for her aunt.

Always having enjoyed working outside of the home, yet being careful not to "live work," Nancy was going to return to the workplace in another year or so when she saw the posting for this position and instantly knew it was perfect for her. She likes the mix of working and being home, loves the people, and finds a church to be the ideal setting. "I think job sharing will be the wave of the future," said Nancy.

Nancy is married to Dr. Thomas J. Grundle, a clinical psychologist. They have two daughters, Lori Ann and Melyssa Ann. Lori, who recently married at this church works as a buyer for Kohl's while Melyssa is a fashion designer, also for Kohls.

Family is also the most important aspect of Nancy's life. She is now enjoying some time for crafts, knitting, sewing, skiing, sailing, playing piano and family time especially at their cottage. *

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From the pastor...

The late comedian Jack Benny was once honored with a distinguished humanitarian award. "I don't really deserve this award," Benny said in his acceptance speech, "but then, I have arthritis, and I don't deserve that either."

There is a story told of a servant who was informed that when his benefactor died, the servant would be taken care of. The servant was pleased when he heard the arrangement, but he did not fully understand the promise.

One day, as the years continued, the benefactor died. The servant too, by this time was also old and had become sickly and weak and was unable to work for a living. The servant was almost starving when a friend suggested that he go to the bank and get some of the money the benefactor had left him. The servant responded: "But I do not know how to get it." "All you have to do is go to the bank and tell them that you want some of the money left for you," was the reply of the friend.

At the bank the servant was informed that the benefactor indeed had left ten thousand dollars in an account for him. Hesitatingly, the servant again confessed that he did not know how to go about withdrawing money from the account. To the astonishment of the servant the banker helped him write a check and to cash it. He now had five dollars in his hand and still had money in the bank.

When we learn to rise above circumstances in our lives, we discover we too have great resources in the bank of life. St. Paul wrote in the letter to the Ephesians church (3:2): Now unto Him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

We actually have all the wealth of God's resources at our disposal. However, we seemingly often, do not know how to get to them. God has limitless riches for each of us, yet, we limit ourselves to what we perceive as our meager circumstances.

How often we have explained that we are "doing the best we can, given the circumstances." Why not get above the circumstances to where the real wealth of God's gifts are to be found? Then we may draw upon the abundant resources of our faith that God provides for us.

Jack Benny was being funny, of course, but there was some truth in what he said. I may feel I "did not deserve" to have my car break down yesterday, but then, I did not "deserve" the friendship of others at that time either. It is not a question of whether I deserve these things. The important question is this: Do I recognize and appreciate the abundance of God's gifts in my life? Those gifts of grace came from God.

Rev. Dr. Charles E. Goldsmith

Minister of Pastoral Care

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Youth Movement

December was another busy month for Senior PF students. On December 17th students helped make Christmas ornaments and crafts at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission Joy House. They also presented the Christmas family worship program, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," at our church.

February and March will be filled with planning the auction/dinner and participating in the Saint Vincent Meal program.

February 16th, 17th the PF students will be attending what's called "The

Rockin' Retreat." Nastassia Richardson and Johnathan Sgarlata are spearheading this event with plans for prayer, music, volleyball and other entertainment with fellow Christian peers. First Congregational Church will send 10 to 15 students to this statewide event in Green Bay, WI.

The Annual Auction-PF Fundraiser Dinner is scheduled for Saturday March 3rd. A Gourmet Italian dinner will be prepared by John Sgarlata. Merchandise, gift certificates and services, donated by local businesses and members, will be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Last year this event helped raise over $5,000 for our youth programs, this year we hope to exceed $6,000! PF students have begun organizing and will be visiting businesses throughout January and February. These funds help support summer camp, retreats, the NAPF meeting, Honduran mission, and entertainment that unite the group in fun and faith. Please continue your support of these very important programs.

The auction list will be available prior to the event. Donations are gladly accepted, but please be sure they are new items with a value of at least $30.00 *

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Meet the Search Committee

Dave Swanson (chairperson) has been in the Personnel/ Human Resources business his entire career. He's loaded with experience in picking the right person, for the right position, in the right environment. Dave believes the extensive history of Congregationalism, our position as a landmark in the community, and the great tradition make this a very unique place. He believes keeping the Congregational tradition alive is a vital aspect of this position.

Julie Anheuser is the third generation of her family to belong to FCC. She has served on the Boards of Christian Education, Benevolences, Deacons as well as mentored for BASIC. She is currently teaching the 5th/6th grade Sunday School class. Married and the mother of two boys, Julie is also a teaching assistant in Elmbrook. With a desire to find a leader who will help the church grow spiritually as well as in numbers, Julie hopes to find a minister who will remain here for her children. In some respects, Julie is a natural pick for this committee as her father, Fred Rennebohm, served on the past two Search Committees.

Mark Boettcher and his wife Sue joined FCC in the mid '80's and both have been active. Mark was recently the chairperson of the Board of Benevolences. They have two teenage children. Mark is a principal at Management Solutions International. In the past five years, he's had the opportunity to hire more than 50 people through that position and is hoping to be able to use the lessons he's learned there to help make a good selection for this church.

Doug Jacobson has been a member since 1974. He and wife Jane have 2 children. Doug has served on the Boards of Deacons, Christian Education, and Stewardship; Steeple, Personnel, and Lower-level Renovation Committees; Council; and as Moderator. He is a part owner in an oil and chemical packaging business. Doug said this church has meant a lot to his family and the opportunity to give back and help shape the future is very compelling.

Gary Kebbekus, a member since childhood, met his wife Cathy in PF. Married in the church, they now have two teenage children. A market analyst by profession, Gary has served the church on the Boards of Christian Education, Stewardship (chair), Personnel, and is currently on Deacons. He and his wife are also leaders for the Jr. PF program and he often helps in the church office with his knowledge of computers. Having a very active and long history with the church, he said he can bring a business perspective to hiring someone for this position.

Phil Landis has been a member of FCC for nearly 40 years. He is married to Else and they have three children. A retired engineer, Phil has a thorough understanding of church doctirne and theology.

Barb Lindl and husband Ken are parents of five children. Their grandchildren are now the fourth generation at FCC. Barb has volunteered for Meals on Wheels since its inception and has been singing in the choir for more than 30 years. In addition, she has served on the Board of Benevolences, Church Council and Nominating Committee. As the church has been a central part of their lives, Barb is happy to commit her time to help ensure a positive future for the church.

Steve Russ is a financial consultant at Firstar. He and wife Michelle have been members for 10 years and have four young children. Steve has served on the Boards of Fellowship and Stewardship, the Membership and Nominating Committees, Pilgrim Choir, and softball team. Steve is interested in having an affect on the future of the church. He said he brings a value-oriented approach to life as a young father raising kids in a strong faith society.

Diane Schowalter and her husband Dan both grew up in the church. They are now parents of three children. Diane has served on the Board of Christian Education and worked with Jr. PF for the past two years. Diane is a psychologist. In searching for a new minister, Diane said that she appreciates teamwork and tends to be very analytical.

Jeff Snell is the Vice President of Development for Boys and Girls Club. He and wife Jennifer and their daughter have been attending this church for four years, members for one. Jeff is serving on the Board of Stewardship. Jeff has a formal theological education and seminary background. He is interested in working to attain the best possible leadership matching the history and composition of this church.

A realtor at Shorewest, Nancy Stevens has also been a member of this church for more than 20 years. She is currently serving on the Care Board and has chaired the Board of Trustees. Nancy is also a member of the choir, Circle 7 and Church Street Singers. She is a member of the support group for Congregational Home, involved in Heritage Garden Club and volunteers on the Board of Review for the City of Wauwatosa. Nancy has a keen interest in people and sees this opportunity as a way to help the church. "If there is going to be a change, I'd like to be a positive part of that change," said Nancy. Additionally, her knowledge of the real estate industry will provide helpful information to possible candidates.

Dick Koch and wife Carol have been active members of FCC since 1957. They have four children. One of their sons, as well as a daughter-in-law, were ordained here. Daughter Jean Reuss and family are still members of this congregation. Now retired, Dick owned a company and worked as a manufacturers' representative. Most recently, Dick has served on the Church Council, Board of Deacons, Board of Benevolences and chaired the Board of Trustees. Additionally, he has been singing in the church choir for 33 years as has Carol. An ex-officio member of the Search Committee, he is currently Vice Moderator. *

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4 O'clock concerts return

The next 4 O'Clock concert will be on February 25. The groups is Frank DeMiles & The "Cisco Kids." Frank DeMiles has been a stellar performer on the Milwaukee jazz scene for many years. Beginning at an early age on live local television broadcasts, Frank has distinguished himself through appearances at all of the major jazz venues in our city. He is a player whose fertile imagination and sure-handed technique bring new looks and sounds to the jazz repertoire. Plan on hearing the Frank DeMiles Quartet at First Church in an afternoon of Latin flavored jazz. Other members of the group include John Dominguez on bass, Andy LoDuca on drums, and Johnny Ricco on congas. *

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Honduran Mission Update

Since the December article in the Columns, Honduran mission plans continue moving forward. Students were mailed the application with a requested return date of 1/14/01. All applications will be reviewed by Doug (Dusty) Hoerz and Chris Rygh. Students should expect a response to their application no later than 1/31/01.

To date three of the five adult leadership team members have been identified and confirmed. They are Dusty Hoerz, Phil Callen and Judi Pieper. The two remaining leaders will be confirmed by 1/31/01

An application for insurance and financial assistance has been submitted to the Missionary Assistance Corps (MAC) for review. The MAC is a program of the NACCC created to guide short-term volunteers in missionary service. A response from the MAC is expected in February.

We continue to correspond with the mission in SanPedro Sula (via Mercedes Richardson). The mission is currently reviewing our project outlines, and planning for our arrival.

February will be a month of Mission team planning spearheaded by Dusty. Among items to be addressed are international travel paperwork and medical preparations (inoculations). Watch for more updates in February. *

by Terri Biloff

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Lenten Educational and Worship Opportunities

Lent is a time of devotional preparation for Easter in the Christian Church. Lent at First Congregational Church will begin with Ash Wednesday Worship on February 28, 2001 at 7:00 p.m.

Each Sunday during Lent, March 4, 11, 18, 25 and April 1, Rev. Dr. Daniel Schowalter will be teaching the Book of Acts at the 10 a.m. Adult Education hour.

Wednesday evenings during Lent will begin with a Lenten supper at 6 p.m. Then at 7 p.m., Phil Landis will be offering a Lenten evening educational class. The series is entitled, "Who do men say that I am?" (Mark 8:27) or if we wish to be more politically correct, "Who do people say that I am?" (Mark 8:27 NRSV, NIV). The course will deal with the person of Jesus (Teacher, Prophet, Savior, Messiah, Lord, Son of Man, Son of God, God, etc.) as set forth in the New Testament, or "New Testament Christology." We shall also cover some of the disagreements that arose among early church theologians owing to differing interpretations of the text.

The evening will conclude at 8:00 p.m. with a brief Evening Vesper (Worship) and Communion service officiated by Rev. Kathryn A. Rust.

Additionally, on Wednesday April 4, at 6:00 p.m., we will be offering a Passover Meal to commemorate the Jewish meal which Christ shared with his disciples before His arrest, trial, crucifixion and Easter resurrection.

During Holy Week we will have Maundy Thursday Worship at 7:00 p.m. and Good Friday Worship at 7:00 p.m.

We encourage you to participate in some, or all of these Lenten programs and Worship services as personal preparation for this very Holy time in the Christian Church. *

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Mom to Mom sponsors marriage program

Attention ALL parents of preschool-aged children...It's Valentine's month. Take time for yourself and your Valentine. Hear a speaker then enjoy a potluck lunch. The topic is Intimacy in Marriage, presented by Bob Daugherty, certified marriage and family therapist/Wisconsin.

Bob's experience as a husband, parent, contract negotiator, missionary, politician, along with 20 years as a counselor are blended with a humorous approach that make his practical tools instantly usable.

His talk will begin at 10:00 a.m., on Sat., Feb. 24, followed by a potluck. If your last name begins with letters A­M, bring a main dish, N­Z, bring dessert. Tea and coffee will
be provided.

Babysitters may be provided at church for a nominal cost. Check in upcoming publications. This event is hosted by Mom-to-Mom *

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Breakfast with the Girls captures the attention of many

On Saturday, January 6th, Breakfast With the Girls got off to a wonderful New Year start with our morning with Melodie Wilson. More than 120 women turned out in beautiful winter weather for a warm and meaningful sharing and bonding time together. As one of our "girls" said, she had never experienced so many women together in a room remaining so quiet you could hear a pin drop!

We found Melodie to be a lovely and gracious lady who, in fact, was among the last to leave as she stayed to speak to whomever wished to talk to her. The buffet table was filled with breakfast treats and once again, a thank you to all who participated. Don't forget -- if you have a breakfast goodie you'd like to share --we'd LOVE to hear from you!

Coming up on the 3rd of February is a program we are very excited about. Janet Peterson of the Acacia Theater Company will present for us, "Handmaid of the Lord," Jesus through the eyes of his mother Mary. We have heard nothing but good things about this performance and we're delighted to provide this opportunity. Please do your best to remember to sign in at the office after church or by phone -it does help a lot to have a nose count. Looking forward to seeing all of you again in February for Breakfast with the Girls". *

by Char Schweitzer

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In Brief/Our Church Family

Blood Drive

CORRECTION: The date of the blood drive is February 27, from 3 ­ 7:00 p.m.

Mom to Mom

Any moms of preschool-age children are welcome to join us on February 12 to hear speaker Pam Hanson tell her inspirational story of God's presence and support through difficult pregnancies and the premature birth of her daughter Kristianna. Discussion and dessert follows the presentation. Call Michelle Jackson, 332-1979, or Nancy Hayes, 453-5189, for further information.

Our Christmas Offering collected $4,740.00 for the School-Based Health Centers operated by Children's Hospital.

Souper Bowl of Caring

was started in 1990 as a way of helping Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries. Last year more than 11,200 congregations across the country participated, raising more than $3.1 million. Our Board of Benevolences would again like to take part in this simple program. On Sunday, January 28, we will have a few large "soup pots" in the church. Everyone who attends services on January 28 is asked to toss $1 in a kettle. All donations will be given to Tosa Food Pantry and Tosa for Kids. Let's make our "Souper Bowl Sunday" a winner!


The deadline for submitting articles for the next issue of the Columns is

Monday, February 12




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Congregational Columns

Editor, Beth Linscott

Communications Committee

Char Schweitzer - Chairperson,

De McDermott, John O'Meara, Felicia Thomas-Lynn, Mary York


Rev. Lonnie Richardson, Senior Minister

Rev. Dr. Charles Goldsmith, Minister of Pastoral Care

Kathryn Rust, Associate Minister

Rev. Chris Rygh, Associate Minister

Rani Gusho, Administrator

Lee Jacobi, Director of Music

Betty Dethmers, Organist

Michelle Jackson, Parish Nurse

Betsy Isenberg, Secretary

Anne Callen, Secretary

Charles Nelson, Administrator, Congregational Home, Inc.

Rev. Norman S. Ream, Minister Emeritus


Vol. 10, Issue 1