March 30, 2003

First in faith, freedom, fellowship, and Wauwatosa


Table of Contents

Child/Youth Program Keeping Busy

Minister's Musings

Balanced Budget Passed

FCC to Host State Meeting

Gifts of Hope and Music

New Members

Breakfast with the Girls

New Women's Group Combines Study and Service

A Prayerful Church

Strawberry Luncheon

Care Board Touching Many

Educational Travel Opportunity

Book Dedication

Put Your House on the Map

In Brief


Child/Youth Program Keeping Busy!

Nursery Mural and Paging System

Have you checked out the nursery lately? Next time you go by, make it a point to view the incredible mural on the wall. Artist Meg Baumgardt, a relative of members Bob & Jackie Hipke, donated her time and talent to create an animal kingdom mural. The children have given rave reviews with their squeals of delight.

Meg was an art teacher for seven years and she now has her own business, "Imagine Yours...Artistic Expressions." She spent more than three days working on the mural and her donation is greatly appreciated!

We have also added pagers in the nursery and the 2-year old room. Parents who drop off their children will receive a numbered pager which will vibrate if the parent is needed. They will be especially helpful for visiting parents and for parents who are not always in the same location. The paging system was made possible by a memorial donation.

Dorothy Jones

On Saturday, March 8th, Dorothy Jones, sister of our organist Betty Dethmers, presented a 3-hour workshop for parents and teachers. Dorothy is a world-renowned early childhood Suzuki music specialist. She founded a Suzuki school in Canada as well as a highly successful after-school intergenerational music program at her church.

Dorothy shared a lot of valuable insights and strategies for incorporating music into children's lives even before birth to promote a lifelong love of music. Her primary focus was on the importance of daily focused attention by parents and teachers at a very early age. Everyone who attended came away with valuable tools for parenting, grandparenting and teaching.

Dorothy has also agreed to send ideas and music which will be incorporated into the Sunday school Curriculum in the fall. We were blessed to have had the opportunity to learn from Dorothy.

VBS Planning Meeting

Mark your calendars. Vacation Bible School will be held August 4th through the 8th. The theme this year is "Treasures of the Nile."

If you would like to help as a part of the Vacation Bible School team, join us for an information and early planning meeting on Thursday, April 3rd, at 6:30 p.m. Childcare will be provided if needed by calling 258-7375 by April 1st.

PF Painting Project

The Senior High PF has taken on a renovation project. "We decided we would like a place to call our own," said Leslie O'Meara, "a place from our normal day to day social lives that could be a second home to us."

They are in the process of creating a PF room that will also be used as a computer center for Sunday School. Crews of teens have been working on a regular basis to patch and repair walls, scrape and prep for the Van Gogh "Starry Night" theme the room will have. "We, with the help from several adults, picked out colors and designs to use in the room. We are also finding new accessories that fit nicely in the room," said Leslie.

Additionally, they are stenciling a Bible verse and putting up a large map where they will keep track of their mission trips. They also plan on having a rummage sale in May to raise money for the room. Watch for details in the bulletin and Congregationalist. *

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The Minister's Musings

As I write this, I have the windows open in my study. The "potato-potato" of a Harley-Davidson out on the Parkway competes with the delicate songs of returning birds. Both, however, are sounds of spring in Wisconsin. It's wonderful!

By the time you read this, the Lenten spring will be almost through and we'll soon enter into the events of Holy Week. It seems so appropriate that the lateness of Lent this year really allows us to appreciate the symbolism behind the season. The cold and snow gradually giving way to the warmth and the varied sounds of a re-awakening world arouses us from our winter doldrums. As it is for nature, so it is for our spiritual lives. As we open ourselves to the warmth of God's love for us, we're able to slowly grow, and then blossom in lives of loving service to God and each other.

Our Lenten journey this year has also called us to look to our lives together as a church. The Wednesday evening sessions have made us think about who we are, from where we've come, and the direction we want to take for the future. While the participation has never been what a minister hopes for (we always hope for 100%, of course), it has been consistently good and the participation honest, forthright, and, best of all, loving. We've asked each other hard questions and have even had the courage to say that change is not something that comes easy for us ­ an admission that is not always readily forthcoming among church folk! Above all, we've learned that we care deeply for each other and believe that the work here on Church Street is just in its infancy at 150 years. Together we're discovering that there is a bright future ahead for this gathered people.

March 17 marked the one-year anniversary of my call to be your minister. I don't think I'll forget that day, or that congregational meeting, for as long as I live. In two months, on June 2, I'll celebrate one year "on the job." This year of transition has been a good one and I can honestly say that I see this church in the midst of a spring. There are signs of new life all around us and we should celebrate it. Let me list a few. We have visitors who are interested in becoming members. We have new members who not only want to come here, but they want to become involved. There are children EVERYWHERE! We have done an honest budget process and passed a balanced budget on the heels of a very successful stewardship campaign. People are looking to a bright future and are willing to take the time and do the work to plan it. All of these are signs of new life. Rejoice!

First Congregational Church is moving well through the Lenten spring and the joy of Easter should simply remind us of many reasons to rejoice. The promise of the Resurrection isn't simply something that happened two thousand years ago. Nor is it merely about life after death. Resurrection is the 'inbreaking' of God's life into our life. What we see and hear in the sounds of spring is happening in us, too. If our eyes are open to receive it.

I know I quote this a great deal, but I must close with some lines from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Aurora Leigh":

Earth's crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God.

But only he who sees takes off his shoes;

The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Those who see with the eyes of the heart know that the spiritual spring, that the resurrection is now. I invite you to go into Holy Week and Easter and beyond with eyes wide open! As ever,

Yours in the Lord's service, *


Rev. Steven A. Peay, Ph.D.


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Balanced Budget Passed!

On March 16, 2003, a Special Meeting of the Congregation was held at 1:30 p.m. in the Social Hall. The purpose of the meeting was to vote on the revised 2003 budget and on a By-Law change.

Moderator Cindy Payette explained that the By-Law change was requested by the Church Council to provide another way in which to notify members of a Special Meeting. Previously, all notifications had to be printed in the Church Newsletter or Bulletin. At times this presented a problem due to publication dates. Therefore, the Council asked to add an additional method: "a mailing of notice to all Active members by first class mail may be substituted for any, or all, publications in the Newsletter." The members of the congregation present voted unanimously to accept this change in the By-Laws.

Vice-Moderator and Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, Steve Fisher, then presented the proposed budget for 2003 as revised by the Committee. Steve was pleased to note that the revised budget was balanced. Although there were many requested budget items that Boards and Committees had to sacrifice, the revised document provides for a Benevolence and Church Relations budget of $69,777, which represents 10% of the operating budget. In recent years, the Benevolence budgets had been cut to balance the operating budget, and Steve stated that his Committee wanted to make sure that would not happen this year. The Board of Benevolences will continue to hold special offerings for specific projects, a practice that was very successful in 2002, but will have $53,277 already embedded in the Board's budget. Budget & Finance estimated that $20,000 would be raised in special offerings (last year over $45,000 was raised) and any additional funds received would be added to Benevolences.

Steve also explained the importance of a Deferred Maintenance fund for the Board of Trustees. The Church must have funds available both for emergencies and for the long-range planning for scheduled maintenance and repair. Saving for and planning ahead for roof repairs, boiler replacement, air conditioning replacement, painting and many other needs will save the Church money in the long run and assure that our beautiful facility is properly maintained.

When the question was called, a vote was taken, and the 2003 budget passed unanimously. Butch Boyd, Chair of the Stewardship Committee praised the members of the congregation for providing a good solid base of pledges. Steve Fisher said he was very pleased with the final document which will meet the Church's needs for next year. He also praised the many people involved with the pledge drive and the budget preparation who worked very hard to finalize a balanced budget. *

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First Congregational Church to Host State Meeting

On April 4 and 5, First Congregational Church, Wauwatosa, will be hosting the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Wisconsin Congregational Association. Member churches from across the state will gather in our meetinghouse to do a bit of business, but mostly do a lot of fellowship. Association meetings remind us that we're not walking the Congregational Way alone and give us an opportunity to share with our sister churches in the joys and the concerns we have.

The theme of this year's meeting is "Enhancing the Church from the Ground Up." There will be dinner (Milwaukee-style fish fry prepared by Rod Schmidt and crew) on Friday at 6 PM followed by the annual business meeting and then social time. Saturday morning there will be breakfast in the social hall at 7:30 AM followed by morning devotions. The workshop sessions will begin at 8:30 and conclude with worship at 10:45 AM. The current moderator is Sue Melby (currently of St. Jacobi Church) and the incoming moderator is Rev. Steven A. Peay, Ph.D. of First Church. Dr. Peay will lead worship and preach.

Come and support this worthy fellowship opportunity. You'll meet some wonderful people from churches across Wisconsin. You'll also learn something wonderful and new. Registration forms are available at the office and in the literature racks. Plan to help enhance this church from the ground up by being a part of our state association. *

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Gifts of Hope and Music

More Updates from the Covenant Class Seed Money Projects

Bags of Love for Hope House

by Jared Eiff

Pastor Chris had encouraged me to be a shepherd and utilize my talents for God. In November, I became familiar with Hope House through my aunt. Hope House gives shelter and help to families, especially children. My aunt had done some earlier projects for their shelter and it seemed like the right place to go to. After thinking long and hard I came up with an idea to do, something for the upcoming holiday, Valentine's Day. After visiting many different stores I found some very affordable ideas. I wanted not only to show these people were loved but also inform them about God. After looking around with my Mom, we finally found a Bible activity book at the dollar store. This was just what I wanted. Then we found little stuffed animals and crayons that we thought would go great with the activity books. After a getting help from my Mom sewing some bags together my project was nearly complete. We decided to put a couple of scriptures from the Bible to inform them more about God's word and His love. We named them Bags of Love. These bags not only gave the children gifts but also provided a place for them to keep their personal belongings.

Later, Kirk Stone from Hope House asked to meet me and Rev. Peay at First Congregational Church to learn more about our church and its missions. I hope the meeting provided a new area that our youth might be of service in the future with the children of Hope House.

Music for Children in
Namibia, Africa

by Scott Donaldson

When we first received our seed money at confirmation, I was really, really excited. It was, and is, a lot of fun to think about being able to give to others. Unfortunately though, I had a difficult time thinking about who and what to give to. When you start investigating worthy causes, it's mind-boggling how many needs there are out there -- from our own backyard to across the globe. I decided to try to find a project that I could donate to that could fill a musical need. I have a passion for music and Chris always taught us to use our gifts to honor God, so it seemed natural to try to find a way to put the money toward music. It was still surprisingly difficult to narrow the project down.

Fortunately, my Mom told me about a daughter of a friend, Nicole Beauchamp, who would be going to a children's village in Namibia, Africa to work for a few months. I asked if I could purchase some CD's or tapes or perhaps small instruments for Nicole to bring with her. Luckily, Nicole had a better idea and a really big suitcase. She asked if I could buy a portable keyboard for her to bring over. We found a portable keyboard and some musical books and markers and chalk too, which Nicole was able to deliver. I told the P.F. group about the project and we have started sending postcards to Nicole.

We learned that it is expensive for Nicole to use the internet there, but she was able to send me this thank you:

Thanks so much for your wonderful postcards. I love them and they cheer up my days when I am feeling homesick, so tell everyone who wrote them thanks so much...Kristina, who runs the shelter, loves the keyboard! She tried out all the different sounds, and said she is going to set up a schedule for the kids to practice on it, and she said thanks so much for it. I am giving out the craft supplies and things as I use them with the kids, and so far they have all been a lot of fun for them....I plan on taking some pictures of the kids with the keyboard to bring home and show you! In Jesus, Nicole

We hope that Nicole will be able to come and meet the PF and tell us about her time serving God in Mark 9:37 Children's Village in Namibia, Africa. *

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New Members

Please welcome the following new members.

Brian & Tracy Breitzmann

Brian and Tracy reside in West Allis. Brian is the brother of Kevin Breitzmann, a member of the church. Brian is a Computer Tech at Metavante and Kelly is in the staffing department at Kelly Services. They have a daughter Lexi who was born last September.

Mark & Lisa Hendrickson

Mark is a support engineer with Johnson Controls and Lisa is a homemaker. They reside in Milwaukee with their three daughters, Samantha, Olivia and Isabella. They have both volunteered with Connecting Connections, a family sponsorship program based in Honduras. They discovered our church while driving around and feel that they have been on a journey towards finding us for a long time.

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Breakfast with the Girls

The March gathering of Breakfast With the Girls was a special morning indeed. Dan and Terese Hummel of Acacia Theater entertained us with an absorbing telling of Jesus' last week in Jerusalem through the eyes of an assortment of characters so movingly portrayed they appeared before our eyes. Our group was small but very appreciative of their performance and as they stayed for a bit we were able to talk to them and thank them in person. Everyone who spoke to me would love to have them back again-we'll see what we can do.

We're all excited about our April 5th morning and Lynn Lehmann's visit with us. We'll be in the garden, and just in time, I'd say. Lynn has owned a landscape design service for 20 years and has been teaching classes for many as well. She'll cover a variety of related topics and be open for any questions too. Bring your gardening problems, hopes, ideas and, yes, even your garden memories and gather with us for coffee, cakes and a leap into spring! *

See you on the 5th.

Char Schweitzer

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New Women's Group Combines Study and Service

Last year Mary Beth Rygh started a Wednesday evening Women's Bible Study. After Mary Beth and Chris were called to serve a church in Iowa, Julie Sheridan-Smith gathered the group together with a new Bible study focus. Out of that group grew a new idea for a Saturday morning group that would both study the life of Jesus and serve the members of First Congregational Church. The group is reading a wonderful little book called "Unexpected Teachings of Jesus." It is a simple, but profound book which leads naturally to the service and ministering that is needed by so many. The group is hoping to work with the Care Board by providing the needed volunteers to cook, visit, drive, pray, plan, and generally expand the scope of what the Board is able to accomplish with their 9 members.

Anyone who is looking for a way to study with the support and fellowship of other women and would like to put the teaching of Jesus to work, is invited to join the group on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays from 8 am to 10. New thoughts and ideas are welcome. Please call Julie at 414-774-8688 if you have any questions. *

Jennifer Wakefield

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A Prayerful Church

"...for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:7

In 1996, the Care Board launched a prayer ministry under the encouragement and guidance of our then associate minister, Rev. Peay. At the moment, eighteen of your fellow church members participate regularly in this ministry for our church, though we are confident many more church members have an active prayer life. Members who sign up to participate in the prayer ministry are sent copies of the Caring Corner, which lists church members' joys and sorrows to offer to God in prayer. (The Caring Corner is posted outside of the church office and on the bulletin board at the side door entrance off of the parking lot. It is maintained and updated by the office staff and relies on information from you, our members, to be accurate and complete. Don't forget to phone in to the office if you or a loved one are in the hospital, returning home, or have other joys or sorrows to share with your fellow church members.)

Prayer team members also receive copies of the prayer requests noted in the prayer book outside the chapel. Prayer requests in the past months have included praying for church members and leaders, praying for families and friends, praying for healing, comfort, guidance and strength. In addition, a monthly list of birthdays of children of the church is sent to team members to offer up celebratory, thanksgiving or preventive prayers on behalf of our church youth.

Requests from the Prayer Team

Last November, several members of the prayer team met and a few requests came out of that meeting.

* Give us feedback

Please help your prayer team to know when prayers are answered. If you can write a brief note of thanksgiving in the prayer book, that would be so encouraging to your fellow pray-ers.

* Encourage our youth in prayer

Also, members have noted many beautiful prayer requests in the book from children of the church and asked that this practice be encouraged in the Sunday School program and the youth groups through the addition of more prayer books specifically for the youth of the church. Watch for those books to be in place very soon.

* Join us and let us know how we can help you

Jesus taught that nothing is too large or too small to bring to God in prayer. In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes: "Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Please join us in whatever ways you can. Sign on for the prayer team yourself by calling the church office or offer your prayer concerns in the prayer book. We are happy to lift your worries to the Lord. And we encourage you to be diligent in developing your prayer life, or your "connection with the Divine," as Dr. Peay puts it. If we can help you, in any way in your efforts to grow in prayer, please contact Pam Parker, the coordinator of the prayer ministry, at 414-475-0044. *

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The Friends of Congregational Home

Cordially Invite
the Women of the Church

To our annual

Spring Strawberry Luncheon

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Noon Reception

Twelve Thirty Luncheon

The luncheon is followed by

"Fashion Through the Decades"

A Goodwill Vintage Fashion Show

Featuring Clothing & Accessories

~1900 to 2003~

Reservations Accepted Starting April 10th

Fifteen Dollars

For further information

Please call (262) 781-0550

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Care Board Touching Many

The Board of Congregational Care consists of 9 members and is responsible for the souls of our church. They oversee the Prayer Ministry (see article on page 7) and the Prayer Book. Responsible for ongoing communication with those who have lost loved ones, they are also in contact with those on our 'Caring Corner" list ­ sick, hospitalized, ore extended illnesses. The Care Board continues quarterly communion services at one of the retirement residences ­ usually Harwood Place. Seniors come from the Congregational Home, Luther Manor and Hawthorne Terrace with an average attendance of 25.

The major project undertaken in 2002­2003 has been the continuation of the SVG (Senior Visitation Group). Five Care Board members, spouses, and family members make up a 16-member team. This group is responsible for the seniors in the congregation who are unable to come to church. This project has been a major success and we expect it to grow. The SVG is always looking for new members.We are now in contact with approximately 60 shut-ins and seniors.

Visitation and communion for shut-ins not living in established retirement/nursing homes began in October 2001. Flowers have been distributed to the seniors and other shut-ins if available from the Sunday services or funerals. This has been extremely well accepted.

One other large project the Care Board is working to further develop is pre-planning for funerals. Pre-planning forms have been available for years in the church office, but the congregation is either not aware of this process or is not taking advantage of it. The lack of pre-planning for death is becoming a major difficulty and one the Care Board is ready to tackle. Developing informational materials and providing speakers for the congregation will be a long-term project.

The Care Board does not spend much money, but we give a great deal of heart!

Cathy Schmidt, Chairperson

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Educational Travel Opportunity

Professor Dan Schowalter will lead a tour through Greece, Turkey and Aegean Islands, entitled "Archaeology & Religion in the Ancient Aegean," October 9­24, 2003.

Dan is a lifetime member of First Congregational Church who teaches at Carthage College and Adult Ed. here at First Church.

Tour highlights will include exploring the wonders of ancient Athens, walking the streets in Corinth and other cities of Paul, taking in the beauty of Ephesus and simply relaxing on island beaches. Tour cost is $3,400 which covers most expenses. Contact Dan Schowalter for more information: or (262) 551-5884.


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Book Dedication

The Board of Christian Education at First Church will sponsor a book dedication to benefit our own Library Media Center. The event, called "Hands to Work, Hearts to God" will be held Sunday, April 6, 2003.

The selection of books will feature Reverend Peay's "Top Twenty" ­ books specifically selected by Steve to add depth and weight to the range of titles our library currently handles. We will also offer books to complete our selection of titles from two well-known authors, C.S. Lewis and Barbara Brown Taylor.

The event will be organized in much the same way our Mother's Day book dedication was last year. You will be able to purchase books for our library and have your own dedication inscribed on a book plate placed in the front of each book. It's a wonderful way to commemorate a special person, family event, or event in the life of our church. We look forward to seeing you there! *

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Put Your House on the Map

This month we continue to celebrate 150 years of the Meeting House being on our present site. Have you noticed the bulletin board showing how some of the early members of First Congregational Church influenced the forming of Wauwatosa? Be sure to check out how these pioneers helped to put our church family on the map. Is your home on a street named after one of our early members? Is your home on land that was once owned by one of the pioneers who founded our church? YOU have the opportunity to put YOUR home on the map. You are invited to place a colorful pin (one per household) to indicate your home on the large map displayed in the Atrium. For those of you who reside past the borders of the map, you may place your pin at the margin toward the direction in which you live. This exercise will enable all of us to partake in the rich history of First Church, and be an enlightening lesson as to where we all live in relation to the Meeting House. Do you have a story about your home that is connected to the early church members? Please share it with us. *

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In Brief/ Our Church Family

The First Annual Chili Cook-Off, held in February, was a sizzling success. Above, Tom Galfano and Jennifer Wakefield tied for first place and will be able to boast top chef honors until 2004.


Marion Petersen has been named to receive the Wauwatosa Distinguished Citizen Award for 2002. The award will be presented on April 16, 2003 at a dinner at the Bluemound Country Club, cocktails at 5:30, dinner at 6:30. For tickets you may contact Linda Janis at 414-453-7873, the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce or Wauwatosa City Hall.

Gordon and Marion have been members of this church since 1968. They and their children, Scot and Susan, have been involved in many activities here. Among the positions Marion held was that of Moderator in 1996. She was also a member of Circle 7.

Marion was also very active in community organizations including being the 8th District Alderman for 16 years, a member of Wauwatosa Historical Society, and Heritage Garden Club. She was also a founder and chairman of Wauwatosa Beautification Committee, Inc. Residents of Wauwatosa for 39 years, the Petersens moved to Sun City West about a year ago and are enjoying retirement in the sun. *


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

Monday, April 14, noon



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Congregational Columns

Editor, Beth Linscott

Communications Committee

Mary York - Chairperson, Nancy Fisher,
Barb Dunham, Rod Schmidt, Bill Edens,
Arlette Lindbergh, Bill Edens


Rev. Steven Peay, Ph.D., Minister

Rev. Charles Goldsmith, Ph.D.
Congregational Home Chaplain

Rani Gusho, Administrator

Lee Jacobi, Director of Music

Betty Dethmers, Organist

Sally Boyle, Secretary

Anne Callen, Office Manager

Charles Nelson, Pres./CEO, Congregational Home, Inc.


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.

Vol. 12, Issue 3