First

May 27, 2001


Table of Contents

Honduran Mission Revelas Our Family

DDLines - Welcome to the Journey

Tuesday Church Softball Schedule

Notes from the Annual Election Meeting

Breakfast with the Girls Wraps Up til Fall

Confidentiality

What is Trust

Stewardship Campaign Update

In Brief/ Our Church Family


Honduran Mission Reveals Our Family

Last August I was approached by Chris Rygh and asked if I would shepherd a team of students and adults to the "Inglesia Congregacion Mission" in Honduras. I had never been to Honduras. I had never organized a mission team. I had never worked closely with students. I had never done fund raising. I had no idea what I was getting into!

After prayerful thought I agreed to take on a daunting responsibility. As the planning proceeded I was pleasantly surprised by what unfolded. I have always believed that there is almost unlimited power of a cohesive family. This belief was validated in my experience with the families that became involved in developing and supporting this team. Every one from the students, adults, and financial contributors, had incredible support from their family members. Families prepared meals; families organized Sunday school classes; families decorated the social hall for fund raising events; families participated in the dinner auction; and as a result, new families were created along the way. In Honduras we were welcomed into a community of Christian families and the Honduran team members are now an extension of my family. This humanitarian effort was not the result of individuals donating their time or money. It was a result of the potential that lives in a world community of Christian families.

On April 6th we boarded a plane bound for San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Central America with a load of medical supplies and positive attitudes. While there, we created a recreation park for the children, visited the completed church and homes that were started by other FCC mission teams. We experienced the dire needs of a very poor country and a land of God-loving people. We worked together with our Honduran brothers and sisters, sweat together, laughed together, and worshiped together. This experience will influence the lives of all the families involved as well as those who are called and impassioned to follow. My thanks to my church family for the opportunity to share this experience with you.

by Dusty Hoerz

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DLLines -

Welcome to the Journey

Dr. Douglas Lobb & wife Chris

This June, each of us will embark on a new journey. As pastor and people, we will be part of an Interim experience. It can be an exciting and creative time of fruitful ministry and restored relationships or it can be a time of standing pat and doing little while a search process takes place.

One Church diagnostician states plainly the plight of many main-line Churches of today when he states, "y'er getting what y'er getting because y'er doing what y'er doing." Whether or not that statement is true for First Church, it provides good fodder for this congregation to look carefully at itself during this interim period.

First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa has a great past; all here and most in the NACCC are well aware of that. But, if First Church is to be great today, it cannot rely on its past. Ours is the task of trying to find out, just what is the "nitch" that this Church has to fill in today's world? There is a ministry for this Church, of that we can be sure. People who make up this congregation can be instrumental in influencing the greater Milwaukee area as well as the Association of which we are a part. Together, we must search for that emphasis. Together, we must embrace a way of life that honors God, forgives and embraces people and grants to each individual the privilege of personal integrity in the search for a faith that is life motivating and life captivating. I believe that possibility exists in the Congregational Way of work
and worship.

We are a privileged people and some years ago, Dr. William Willimon of Duke University wrote a wonderful book for privileged people. That book, which was very influential in my life, is entitled, "The Gospel For The Person Who Has Everything." In this first article for the Columns, let me leave you with this quote.

"True faith, the kind to which Jesus calls us is, 'the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen' (Hebrews 11:1). It is a process, not a possession. It gives us something to chew on for the rest of our lives. Faith is certitude in the midst of doubt rather than certainty with no doubts. Faith is a journey with a compass, which points us in the right direction, not a detailed map which tells us every step to take. Faith is not being sure of where you are going but going anyway because you like the traveling companions and you know who leads the way. Faith is a journey, which you do not wait to begin until you are desperate and have nowhere else to go or until you are devastated and miserable and are forced to go; faith is going because you have heard the good news that the Guide is trustworthy and that the trip is worth the cost.

The first Christians were called, 'followers of the way.'"

Welcome fellow travelers; let's have a great journey!

 

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Tuesday

Church Softball

May 29 7:30 Whitman

June 5 8:30 Hart Park

June 12 6:30 Whitman

June 19 6:30 Hart Park

June 26 6:30 Whitman

July 10 8:30 Hart Park

July 17 7:30 Whitman

July 24 8:30 Hart Park

July 31 7:30 Whitman

Aug 7 9:30 Hart Park

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Notes from the Annual Election Meeting

The meeting began at 1:35 p.m. with an opening prayer by Rev. Kathryn Rust. Moderator Steve Hayes led those in attendance in a reading of our Covenant. All retiring Officer, Board and Committee members were recognized.

Nominating Chairperson Sandy Davis read the slate of candidates for the Officer, Board and Committee positions. These candidates were accepted, and a voice vote was unanimous.

Phil Landis was asked by David Swanson to formally introduce our candidate for Interim Minister. The vote was unanimous to accept Rev. Dr. Douglas Lobb in that position.

Charlie Nelson presented a report on The Congregational Home. The Home is full, and there are waiting lists for every area. No outside staffing has been needed during the past 14 months though staffing does remain a concern. The 25-year-old kitchen has been replaced and a grand opening is scheduled for June 17. Ddg Wakefield was introduced as the new Volunteer Coordinator.

Richard Raymond of the Trustee Board reviewed some of the areas where funds are needed. The church has received a bequest, a portion of which will be used for repairing the front steps and pillars.

Maurie Daigneau, Chairman of Stewardship, discussed the continuing budget shortfall. A 30% response was received from the second appeal sent out which asked for $400 from each pledging unit. The amount pledged from this mailing totals $27,000. (See Stewardship article on page 7.)

A review from the Budget and Finance Committee was made by Dick Koch. A public meeting will be held in September. As of now, the budget approved in January still stands.

Steve Hayes then dealt with Part 2 of the Second Petition as a vote previously taken at the March 7, 2001 meeting concerning Part 1 (1) retention of Senior Minister and (2) review of Church governance in general had been taken. Part 2 dealt with (1) Disclosure of Information as Basis for Informed Decision Making by the Congregation and (2) Attachment to petition listing ten items. Part 3 of the petition regarding the date of the special meeting was previously addressed. Discussion followed on Part 2 of the petition. A majority voice vote approved a motion to postpone indefinitely discussion on Part 2.

In Steve's outgoing comments to the members in attendance, he thanked the congregation for their support throughout the year and asked us to learn from our past, but to not dwell on it. He also thanked the church staff, Personnel and Church Council, the choirs and music program, and especially Rani Gusho, Church Administrator. Incoming Moderator, Dick Koch, congratulated Steve on a job well done.

A motion for New Business was then made. There were questions regarding the process used to choose people who serve on the Church governance. A list is being prepared of those who have expressed an interest in serving and additional suggestions are welcomed. A motion was made that the committee report directly to the congregation instead of the Church Council. After discussion a subsequent motion was made to postpone indefinitely the previous motion. A majority voice vote approved the subsequent motion.

Rev. Chris Rygh gave the Benediction and the meeting was adjourned at 3:45 p.m.

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Breakfast with the Girls Wraps Up 'til Fall

On Saturday May 5th our Breakfast "regulars" including some welcome guests spent a terrific morning with Rev. Holly Whitcomb. It was a special time of relaxing, sharing, bonding, and yes, even singing! Though it was slightly longer than usual, time flew with Holly leading us from place-to-mental place, time-to-mental time and song-to-song. It was, in short, a wonderful way to end our first whole season of First Saturdays together.

While the coffeepot is unplugged for the summer the steering committee will be working diligently to plan next year's programs as well as hatching a financial plan to keep us up and running. We'll let you know our Fall plans in a summer Columns, announcements, word of mouth, signs -- whatever it takes -- what that plan turns out to be.We hope you'll stay with us and look forward as we are to a smashing September start! Have a happy, healthy summer.

by Char Schweitzer

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Confidentiality

Your Search Committee (SearchComm) will soon begin its work to locate suitable candidates for our Senior Minister position at First Congregational Church.  Your recommendations of candidates, of any religious background, will be appreciated.  Thanks to those who have already submitted recommendation forms for our consideration. Recommendation forms are still available in the church office.  All recommended candidates whose names are submitted on these forms will be given consideration by SearchComm.

Once the actual search has begun, confidentiality must be observed; rumors, hearsay and even casual conversations regarding candidates and their status as "preliminary, secondary, finalist," or other descriptions, may delay, harm or even destroy a candidacy.

In World War II, the slogan "Loose Lips Sink Ships" was not only well-known, but appropriate. In searches, such "loose lips" might work to harm candidates (some of whom ask that their candidacy remain confidential) and your church.  We ask that you do your very best to avoid these errors; slips of the "But I didn't mean anything harmful" type, can actually eliminate outstanding candidates from consideration.

For example: once a candidate hears (usually "through the grapevine") that his or her candidacy, supposedly highly confidential, is (1) being discussed openly, (2) already hired, (3) "a final candidate,"(4) "as good as in," (5)"will be leaving his/her church soon to come to Wauwatosa" or any other similar topics, the candidate's once-secure position in his or her present congregation may become precarious.

Candidates for senior positions are entitled to 100% confidentiality and privacy, as are all senior candidacies for positions in all ethical business, religious, governmental, or other non-profit organizations.

Please don't ask SearchComm members about the status of any candidates, once the aspects of our final process have begun. SearchComm members are pledged to maintain confidentiality, to respect the privacy of any/all candidates ­preliminary or finalists ­ and to their churches and families.

Dave Swanson, Search Chairperson

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What is Trust?

The question of "Trust In Our Congregation" has recently come up.  The following is offered as food for thought.

Each Sunday we as a congregation sit in silent prayer together.  We pray for the welfare and well being of our families, friends, and each other.  Some of us carry that same prayer in our hearts and repeat it each day during the week.  Knowing that, each of us is without question spiritually uplifted and during trying times, many of us lean heavily on the knowledge of that unconditional love and fellowship.  That is TRUST.

Every time that we baptize or confirm infants, children or adults into our congregation, we affirm our love for one another.  We pledge to "make their welfare our own."  When we come to the church to celebrate a wedding of one of our own or to honor the memory of one who has departed this earth, we affirm our love and fellowship with one another.  We honor each other by being a part of life through death with each other and That is TRUST.

We recently confirmed Dr. Doug Lobb as Interim Minister of First Congregational Church.  By doing so we asked him to be our Pastor and Spiritual leader along with Rev. Kathy Rust and Rev. Chris Rygh.  We placed into their hands our spiritual lives and asked them to walk with us on our spiritual journeys.  That is TRUST.

Yet again we elected volunteers to represent us in the leadership positions of this Church.  They accepted the responsibilities of up to three-year terms knowing that we depend on them to do the best job they can.  You see, we/they are the congregation and we work for the betterment of each other not because it's mandated by our By-Laws and Constitution, but because we honor each other in our hearts.  That is TRUST.

Each of us daily place the lives and spiritual well being of our spouses, our significant others, our children, our grandchildren and ourselves in each other's hands and hearts.  This is as it has been in this church for more than 150 years.  In effect, every one of us holds the hand of everyone else that has preceded us in an unbroken chain of unconditional love and fellowship.  That is TRUST.  We, of course, do not abdicate all reason, but to say that trust does not exist within the congregation indicates a lack of understanding of the depth of love, fellowship and trust that exists and has existed at First Congregational Church through the years.  Holding hands in this manner does not mean we do not grow or change, but we do so with respect for the past as well as hope and belief in the future.

First Congregational Church has sustained itself because of this trust and we will continue to do so for years to come.  Please, let's move forward in this trust -- trust in each other and trust in God's love.  We are not perfect -- God knows -- but together we can continue to sustain the chain of hands and hearts of trust for another 150 years at least.  That is TRUST as God would want it.

By a member of First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa

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Stewardship Campaign Update

Value 2001 pledges to date: $582,142

# of Pledges to date: 390

The Stewardship Board reports that as of May 15th, the Pledge base shortfall has been reduced to $121,000.00.  The "Making Up the Shortfall" mailing has accounted for an additional $32,000.00 in pledging increases.  Per the May All-Church meeting, the congregation affirmed the budget as it was originally presented at the January meeting, and as a result, the Stewardship Board remains committed to encouraging the congregation to meet the budget.  We are very appreciative of those pledges that have been made in recent weeks and are encouraged that the congregation will continue to support the budget as it was approved.

As an additional note, the Stewardship Board has been asked to make you aware of the church's cash flow requirements from month to month.  In its simplest form, if you take the budget for the year ($775,000.00) and divide it by twelve months, the church has a month to month budget need of approximately $64,580.00.  Historically, pledge receipts tend to fall off during the late spring and summer and pick up again into and during the 4th quarter.  The unusual circumstances of this year have created a current month to month shortfall that needs to be addressed.  With this need in mind, those of you who would be able to accelerate your payment of this year's pledges would be helping reduce the shortfall immediately and would be very much appreciated for so doing.

The Stewardship Board wishes to gratefully acknowledge your gracious support of our wonderful church and to let you know that we are looking forward to working with you in the months ahead as we faithfully fulfill the mandate of our collective covenant.

Maurie Daigneau

Chairman-Board of Stewardship

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In Brief

For Focus Group Results -

Please get copies from the church office.

 

Dedication/Open House at Congregational Home

Mark your calendar for Sunday, June 17, 2:30­4:00 for the dedication of the new kitchen and dining rooms at Congregational Home.

Circle 8 will meet at 1:00 on Tuesday, June 5 at Congregational Home.  Bring a sandwich and meet in the gift shop. After lunch, play Bunco with the residents.  Bring a small prize.

Blood Pressure Clinics

will be held in the Parish Nurse's office on:

June 3 11:00

July 29 11:00

August 19 11:00

Annual Pig/Chicken Roast

will be held Wednesday, June 6 at 6:00. The Ray Neuman Big Band will play for us that evening.  They rehearse at the church on Friday mornings and are a wonderful band who you will definitely enjoy.  The cost is $8/adult and $4/child under 12.  Pre-paid reservations are required by Sunday, June 3.  Join us for this special annual event held on Ridge Court.  Bring a dessert for 8 to share. Only 150 reservations accepted.

 

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

Monday, June 11

 

 

 

 

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Congregational Columns

www.FirstChurchTosa.org

Editor, Beth Linscott

Communications Committee

Char Schweitzer - Chairperson,

De McDermott, John O'Meara, Mary York

*

Rev. Lonnie Richardson, Senior Minister

Rev. Kathryn Rust, Associate Minister

Rev. Chris Rygh, Associate Minister

Rev. Dr. Charles Goldsmith, Minister of Pastoral Care

Rani Gusho, Administrator

Lee Jacobi, Director of Music

Betty Dethmers, Organist

Michelle Jackson, Parish Nurse

Sally Boyle, Secretary

Nancy Grundle, Secretary

Anne Callen, Secretary

Charles Nelson, Administrator, Congregational Home, Inc.

Rev. Norman S. Ream, Minister Emeritus

*

Vol. 10, Issue 5