October 26, 2003
First in faith, freedom, fellowship, and Wauwatosa
Table of Contents
With a Vision, People Thrive
Roll of Remembrance
What is the Cost of Our Covenant?
Sunday School Update
KISS in Action
Lectionary Readings for November
Stewardship Campaign Underway
Bowmans Begin Mission Work in Peru
Cost of Cov (revo
If They Build It, We Will Come
#Breakfast with the Girls
In Brief/Our Church Family
The Social Hall was a lively place on September 28th. By the time the afternoon was finished, a broad cross-section of First Church members had gotten to know one another a little better and taken another step in articulating a vision for our church. Following an opening devotional exercise led by Dr. Peay, which included an extended period of 'centering prayer,' the events leading up to the day were reviewed. The 80 people present were then divided into ten groups. The groups were facilitated by members of the Church Council, including our moderator Steve Fisher. The assignment for the afternoon was simple: take the information gleaned from our Lenten "visioning process" and come up with four broad goals. The goals had to flow from the Church Purpose and Covenant. In addition, the "rule of SAM" was applied goals were to be Specific/Attainable/Measurable. Once introductions were completed, the groups went right to work.
After the groups had finished their work it was time to report and begin to move to the next stage of the assignment coming up with the final four broad goals. Group after group reported, and soon it became fairly clear that there was incredible unity of thought in this diverse group. While there might be some small variance from point-to-point, the groups had come to the same conclusions. Over the next four years they wanted "life at First" to work toward the following four goals:
· Increase our current membership, better assimilate new members, and motivate renewed involvement on the part of current members.
· Broaden and strengthen our education for adults/youth/children, especially through increased small group activities and alternative worship experiences.
· Expand our community outreach, including increasing public awareness of First Church who we are and what we do.
· Motivate people to support the Church's stewardship and benevolence efforts.
Several families couldn't be present, but sent e-mails with their ideas and many of the same ideas emerged here, as well.
The next step in the process of articulating our vision now rests with the members of the Long Range Planning Committee, chaired by Bill Edens, vice-moderator. It will be their task to work with these four broad goals and come up with a specific plan of action. That plan will be brought to the whole membership of the Church at the Annual Meeting in January. The next-to-final step will be our discussion and vote on this vision and the plan for achieving it. The final step? Our working together to make the vision a reality. The Book of Proverbs is right that "where there is no vision, the people perish." However, where there is a vision, the people thrive!
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It's coming on that time of year, isn't it? As I write this the leaves of the trees along the parkway are turning from green to their festive fall colors. Slowly, ever so slowly, it grows dark earlier and light later. There's a nip in the air and that unmistakable aroma that says, "Autumn." I love it.
This is the time of year that we celebrate our heritage and our celebration takes on an even greater importance this year. On October 26th one day early we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the dedication of our original meeting house. We're blessed because that building is still an important part of our life it now serves as the Social Hall. Our celebration on that day will follow an order of worship from the nineteenth century, one that may have been followed in our worship here. During November all of our worship services will be based on historic services. Thus, our worship will be a living reminder of who we are and from where we come this month.
It is important to remember our past, not because we look to a "golden age," but because it informs our current actions. Our spiritual ancestors here at First Church have set the tone for what we should be about. Let me give some examples. In February 1848 the congregation, then just six years old and without a permanent meeting place, heard the Reverend J. M. Weed from Chicago preach on the fledgling American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. This congregation, essentially still a mission itself, gave $30 in response to Mr. Weed's appeal. It may seem small to us now, but in 1848 dollars it was a princely sum. Three years later this congregation contributed $100 toward Beloit College a school founded in the basement of the meeting house of First Church Beloit. We were the first church outside Beloit to contribute to the relatively young school. Almost from our founding we have looked beyond ourselves and sought the good of others. The need to spread the Gospel, to be of positive help to others, and to promote learning is part and parcel of who we are and has been from the beginning. These are lessons about our identity as First Congregational Church that we must never forget.
It is my second autumn back in Wauwatosa. As I reflect on my brief time as the "settled minister" of this historic church, I do so mindful of my predecessors in this position and am thankful. I am blessed with a good congregation one that has benefited from a long line of gifted and dedicated ministers and a goodly heritage. So, beloved, are we all. So, "come, ye thankful people, come" and raise a song of joyful praise for our life together, for our history, and for our future. "These to thee, our God, we owe, Source whence all our blessings flow; And for these our souls shall raise Grateful vows and solemn praise."
Yours in thankfulness and the Congregational Way,
Rev. Steven A. Peay, Ph.D.
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The Board of Deacons and the Congregational Care Board are once again gathering names of family loved ones who have passed away this year. They will be honored on All Saints Sunday, November 2, with a Roll of Remembrance. A rose will be presented in commemoration of the precious memories of that person's life. Family members are welcome to take the rose home. If you have someone whom you wish to have recognized during the service, please contact the church office at 414-258-7375.
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What is your share in our covenant? What can you do to advance our ministry? The Budget and Finance committee is asking you to look at your support of this owned ministry through your affirmation of our Covenant.
Our Covenant has five primary points that we agree on. These same points were supported by the 2003 Visioning all member meeting on the 28th of September.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we commit ourselves to share in the worship and service of God, to grow in the knowledge and expression of our faith, to reach out with compassion to those in need, to treat each other with love and understanding, and to return to God a portion of His Gifts.
So, how do we spend our budget to meet these goals? Please excuse me while we play with some numbers. These numbers are about our ministry as a Covenant Church in the 21st century. These numbers speak of a Church that seeks to live out its Covenant of love, service, sharing, education, and fellowship. Consider what it means to be a Church that seeks and follows the Word in a troubled world.
This is an active church that requests a great deal from its ministerial staff. The Personnel Committee supports the goal to restore the second associate minister position. This will assist in the growth of our church and its program activities. Also, this additional staff will allow all of the ministers to maintain a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.
Taking the five main points and a little shuffling, we have seven main categories of expense.
Worship Five hours each Sunday, the church is open for community worship with a great message and wonderful music. There is a lot of contribution to make this happen.
Pastoral Care There are travails of life that have us seek someone to talk to, to hold a hand or to share a prayer. The church is here and actively shares in our needs and the needs of others.
Education Congregationalism has always sought a "learned ministry". We must seek the meaning of the Word in our daily life. We are not told what to believe. We seek it with shared help.
Outreach The Service of God is to share our resources with others. Our staff and building provide a meeting house for more than 36 outside groups in the community.
Congregational Life Our Church does not just happen. There are more than 28 continuing meetings of fellowship and business that keep our Covenant alive.
Ministry support The business of Church requires administrative support to see that all our group efforts are meshed together into a meaningful ministry.
Heritage We share the community ownership of a $6 million dollar 150 year old facility that needs our continual support and care. The trustee's sinking fund and staff efforts are designed to amortize the major costs over the years.
The budget numbers for our Church in 2004 have been apportioned into these categories in the following pie charts. These show direct costs, and beyond these numbers we seek to provide a 10% benevolence gift for missions. It will be in the total budget, but for this discussion, each budget dollar is really $1.10.
How about the concept that all of us share in the average level of support per pledge unit? For this ministry we are each asked to contribute $32 per week as a pledge unit or $21 as an individual based on 2003 pledge unit and membership numbers.
Looking at the pledge base today we see that 37.3% of the pledge units give 13.5% of the financial support and 35% give 86.5% of the support, and yes, 27% don't give any support. Please give from your substance first and you will enjoy your excess more fully.
What can you do to help? Invite new people to come and join, or become more active members yourselves. Give money and time. Give thanks for those who support this Church to their ability and beyond these static figures. Maybe you can make a new commitment? Maybe skip a video, hamburger, or a movie and give where it counts in support of your Covenant? If you fully consider your donation to be at your limit, we truly thank you for what you are giving. We only seek to enlighten our members about our Church's cost of our ministry in the community.
The following charts show the breakdown of the budget by category. The first is the total budget:
The following chart shows the Personnel portion of the 2004 proposed budget:
The following shows the funds that do not pay personnel apportioned by category:
by Bill Edens, Budget and Finance Chairperson
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The Sunday School program is off to a great start. We have a wonderfully talented team of teachers and assistants working with the young people of our church. Each Sunday morning when walking past the classrooms one can hear the excitement and energy coming from the children as they learn about God. Each week, the teachers are diving deeper and deeper into the curriculum and helping the students make connections regarding their faith. We are so appreciative of the time and talent these volunteers are giving to the children of our church. Please make sure to thank them when you see them.
Nursery Kari Leon, Bryn Callen and Kelsey Sorum
Two Year Old Room Sarah De Young, Laura Petrie-Anderson, Lisa Hendrickson, Leslie O'Meara and McKenzie Wray
Three Year Old Room Betsi Holtz, Tim Holtz and Jessie Reddy
Four Year Old Room Julie Smith, Carol Hudson and Sara Schalmo
Five Year Old Room Troy and Robin Peterson, Paige and Tom Galfano and Erin Callen
First Grade Missy Owen and Lindsay Wittig
Second Grade Tracy Lockhart
Third Grade Margaret Brown and Stacy Reddy
Fourth Grade Nancy Harmon, Nancy VanderVelde and Lisa Mauer-Probst
Fifth and Sixth Grade Laura Taylor, Julie Lucey, Mary Wray and Heather Godfrey
11:00 Sunday School Sue Rowbottom, Mary Lou Schowalter, Leslie O'Meara, Katherine Hudson and Katie and Maggie Rowbottom
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Fulfilling God's wishes is an easy task to accomplish if you have some direction. The K.I.S.S. program was started three years ago in response to a request to have some of our youth assist the residents of the Congregational Home in getting to the chapel service on Sunday mornings. The effort put forth is minimal for the students, but the rewards are great!! The chapel service is attended by roughly 25 40 residents of the Congregational Home who sometimes need assistance in getting there. With the strong bodies of the Jr. and Sr. PF students, this has been accomplished. The service is just one half hour long and all that needs to be done is to arrive 15 minutes early find residents to take to the chapel and then return them to their rooms following the service. This is one hour of your daily life to assist those in need. Not work too difficult for the Lord!
All Jr. and Sr. PF students are welcome to join this group that goes to the Home about twice a month. Carol Wittig assists in taking the students to the Home and taking those that participate home after the service is completed. (Sometimes a stop at Murf's Ice Cream place is in order.)
The residents and staff are so thankful for the extra help, as is Rev. Charlie Goldsmith, Chaplain of Congregational Home. This type of service is a wonderful addition to your community service points when you list them on your college application or possibly scholarship applications.
Please consider "volunteering" some of your time to help others the rewards are great.
Call Carol at 414-771-6459 to find out more details.
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Lectionary Readings for November 2003
--The Scripture at worship on Sunday is chosen from what is known as "The Common Lectionary." The "Common Lectionary" is a three year cycle of Scripture readings (we're currently in year 'B') for worship. Designed by an ecumenical group of scholars, the Lectionary will cover almost the entire Bible in its three year cycle. Most Sundays we will use three of the four readings. Scripture has always been an important part of the Congregational approach to worship; we will print the readings each month so you can use them for your own private devotion and preparation for worship.
November 2 All Saints/All Souls Sunday
Old Testament Lesson Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalmody Psalm 24
New Testament Lesson Revelation 21:1-6a
Gospel Lesson John 11:32-44
November 9 22nd Sunday after Pentecost
Old Testament Lesson Ruth 1:1-18
Psalmody Psalm 146
New Testament Lesson Hebrews 9:11-14
Gospel Lesson Mark 12:28-34
November 16 23rd Sunday after Pentecost
Old Testament Lesson 1 Samuel 1:4-20; 2:1-10
Psalmody Psalm 16
New Testament Lesson Hebrews 10: 11-25
Gospel Lesson Mark 13:1-8
November 23 "Christ the King Sunday" Last Sunday after Pentecost
Old Testament Lesson 2 Samuel 23:1-7
Psalmody Psalm 93
New Testament Lesson Revelation 1:4b-8
Gospel Lesson John 18:33-37
November 27 Thanksgiving
Old Testament Lesson Joel 2:21-27
Psalmody Psalm 126
New Testament Lesson 1 Timothy 2:1-7
Gospel Lesson Matthew 6:25-33
November 30 1st Sunday of Advent (Cycle C Begins)
Old Testament Lesson Jeremiah 33:14-16
Psalmody Psalm 25:1-10
New Testament Lesson 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Gospel Lesson Luke 21:25-36
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"For where your treasure is, your heart will be also." -- Matthew 6:21
The Board of Christian Stewardship is hosting a Commitment Sunday brunch on November 2nd to celebrate our congregation's commitment to our Covenant and to the goals our members have set for our church. Recently, members should have received 2004 pledge cards in the mail. As Commitment Sunday draws near, each of us must answer the personal question of "How much should I pledge?"
The Bible is full of teachings to help us through our decision process. The 12th chapter of the book of Mark tells us: Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on."
The following is an excerpt called "Big Rocks" from Steven Covey's book First Things First. "Big Rocks" provides a lesson on prioritization that also has application as we contemplate our 2004 pledge.
In the middle of a seminar on time management, the lecturer said, "Okay, it's time for a quiz." Reaching under the table, he pulled out a wide mouthed gallon jar and set it on the table next to a platter covered with fist-sized rocks. "How many of these rocks do you think we can get in the jar?" he asked the audience.
After the students made their guesses, the seminar leader said, "Okay, let's find out."
He put one rock in the jar, then another, then another- until no more rocks would fit. Then he asked, "Is the jar full?" Everybody could see that not one more of the rocks would fit, so they said, "Yes."
"Not so fast," he cautioned. From under the table he lifted out a bucket of gravel, dumped it in the jar, and shook it. The gravel slid into all the little spaces left by the big rocks. Grinning, the seminar leader asked once more, "Is the jar full?" A little wiser by now, the students responded, "Probably not."
"Good," the teacher said. Then he reached under the table to bring up a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand in the jar. While the students watched, the sand filled in the little spaces left by the rocks and gravel. Once more he looked at the class and said, "Now, is the jar full?" "No," everyone shouted back.
"Good!" said the seminar leader, who then grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it into the jar. He got something like a quart of water into that jar before he said, "Ladies and gentlemen, the jar is now full. Can anybody tell me the lesson you can learn from this? What's my point?"
An eager participant spoke up: "Well, there are gaps in your schedule. And if you really work at it, you can always fit more into your life."
"No," the leader said. "That's not the point. The point is this: if I hadn't put those big rocks in first, I would never have gotten them in."
The big rocks represent our top priorities in life--the most important things we do. Jesus taught that our number one priority is to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. Taking time each day to talk with God and listen to him is like the big rocks--if we don't get that time in right up front, all the little, less-important things will crowd out God's space in our lives. To enjoy a happy and fulfilling life, you must put the big rocks in the jar first. When you do that, you'll be surprised at how much time is left for all the little things.
Stewardship is one of the "big rocks," too. We'd be surprised at what can happen when we put God first in our financial planning. When we get our financial priorities in line with God's vision for our lives, then we'll discover just how much we really have it's the difference between giving from our substance rather than our surplus. Our church has over 800 members who make up our 536 "pledge units." About 28 percent of the pledge units pledge zero dollars. To hit our 2004 goal, we need to count on (a) a conversion of non-pledgers into pledgers and (b) attaining an average pledge (from those who pledge) of $2250.
Jesus gave us examples of putting the big rocks in first when he said our treasure is where our heart is. He strengthened that example when he told a story about a widow who gave in spite of her poverty. We say in our Covenant that we will "return to God a portion of God's gifts." Where does that rock fit in your jar? We hope it's there among the first.
Marc Blazich, Chairperson Board of Christian Stewardship
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First Congregational Church members John and Kay Bowman recently spent nearly three weeks helping the people of Alto Cayma, Peru. Along with a team from Oak Creek Methodist Church which included physicians, nurses, lab technicians, teachers and an attorney, they aided an estimated 400-600 people needing medical attention.
The team was fortunate to get 22 suitcases of medical supplies through to the mission with them. (The last mission team lost most of their supplies which were confiscated at the airport.) By the end of their stay, they had worked their way through nearly all the supplies. They were also able to help provide a stove, water tank with solar panels, mattresses, food and clothes.
The team spent their nights in Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru. It was approximately 15 minutes travel time to Alto Cayma. Alto Cayma is a community located at the base of the mountains. The desert region, while highly populated, has dirt roads, no toilets, and no hot water; yet, it continues to attract people coming down from the mountains which has a more harsh climate with terrain very difficult to farm.
The Alto Cayma mission is run by a Catholic priest who has been there eight years. When he first arrived and asked the people what their greatest needs were, he was told that a church, daycare and help with employment were most needed. Since then, a building has been constructed for the church. They have four rooms for children who receive hot meals each day and are taught beginning at pre-school age. Prior to this, if parents were fortunate enough to have work, children and infants were left alone for the day, resulting in an alarmingly high mortality rate.
While there, John, a physician, worked in the clinic and also took a one day trip up in the mountains, setting up a make-shift clinic out of the car to reach more of the population. While the government of Peru claims it provides free healthcare, the reality is that the poor go untreated. He saw people with everything from untreated eye diseases, to diabetes, to cancer.
Kay helped in the clinic, worked with the social workers who are the "eyes and ears" of the mission, assessing the needs in the community, and even helped to dig a large trench for a foundation wall for the church (they began pouring the cement when the group was leaving). The mission team generally began their day at 7:00 a.m. and worked through until 6:30-7:00 p.m.
The mission is quite far-reaching in scope. While providing much needed help in the way of food, medical care and spiritual support, they are also training and employing people. They are teaching people to farm and cook. Those who work at the mission but have problems with alcoholism in the family are paid in clothing and food to help avoid perpetuating the problem. They provide the yarn for women who make sweaters and then sell them.
While less than 1% of the population was employed when the priest first arrived, he has a goal of a 60% employment rate. One of the largest struggles is in working to keep children in schools. Currently, to attend a public school, children must have a basic uniform and book supply. The parents must already be employed to have the money to keep their children in school. While this cost is a hardship for many of the families, the government is considering abandoning public schooling in favor of private schooling which would result in no education for the large poor population.
A mission trip of this type is truly a great commitment. "You pay your own way for accommodations that are half-class and you work...but it's well worth it," said Kay. "We have been given an incredible life and we are able to help." While there, they treated hundreds of people who were very sick, brought a six-month food supply to cover the weekend which the mission cannot provide, and provided many long-term money saving items, such as the stove. But this is just the beginning for the Bowmans. "It has been a long-term goal of ours to go on one trip every year," said Kay. "This was our first one." Those who know the Bowmans don't consider this out of character. They've been described as 'always there, quietly helping.' Now they're taking their mission abroad.
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By Terri Hoerz, Volunteer Coordinator for Junior PF Ministries
When Millard Fuller, Founder and President of Habitat for Humanity, broke ground for the first time, he may not have realized how instrumental his housing program would become in changing lives. Now, some 20 years and thousands of homes later, Millard Fuller's dream is alive and well thanks to the many volunteers involved with Habitat for Humanity.
For more than 2 decades, former US President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalyn, have led thousands of volunteers in building decent, affordable housing. From as far away as South Africa, to our own back yard of Milwaukee, Habitat for Humanity is working hard to make the American dream of owning a home possible.
Everyone deserves a place to live. I've been a long time supporter of Habitat, so when I found a way to get my group of kids involved, I jumped at it.
In November, Junior PF students will be able to tour 2 different locations, (each home in different stages of construction,) and serve lunch to the volunteers at those sites. Although students have to be at least 16 years old to work on site, they'll be able to see first hand the type of people who volunteer and what team work looks like. Because the new owners of the home are required to participate in the building of it, they may have a chance to meet the new owners as well.
It must take a great amount of team work and dedication to make a construction project like this successful. That's why I'm so grateful the Junior PF students will have an opportunity to participate.
Each year thousands of volunteers commit a month or more of their time building homes, but planning for construction takes over a year. Committees to work with local governments are formed, community leaders are contacted, sites are selected, fundraising occurs, volunteers are selected, all before an ounce of ground is removed.
Junior PF students are very involved in their church and community. They sorted food at the Hunger Task Force, served food at St. Vincent's, helped at Congregational Home, ran fundraisers at church, and now will be involved in the Habitat for Humanity program. These kids are the future leaders of our church, and while we do have fun, they know that community service is a part of involvement with this group.
We have had a 75% increase in participation in Junior PF events in the last year and I attribute that to the programming, the desire of the students to participate, and the general spirit of the students we have here at First Congregational Church.
Watch for coverage of the Junior PF trip in the upcoming Columns. If you have suggestions for community service projects, please contact Terri Hoerz through the church office, 258-7375.
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Breakfast With the Girls gathered as usual on the the first Saturday of October. We enjoyed each other as well as a wonderful time with Dr. Lallene Rector of Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, who shared her insights on Women's Spirituality with us. This is a topic that is not all that frequently addressed in layman's terms, so it was very well received by all who were there.
In addition to Dr. Rector, recent graduate Haley Moreland spoke on her Garrett experience as well as her current efforts on behalf of "Maya Works," which supports and encourages the crafts of the women of Guatemala as well as their efforts to improve their lives in general. She brought examples of their beautiful woven pieces which created quite a stir and several sales as well.
Our program for November 1st will be presented by Kathryn Wahlberg of Harry O. Schwartz Bookstores. She'll be talking about what is being currently read as well as holiday gifts. (Yes, the holidays are really coming!) This will be our last time together until FEBRUARY so come out and join us and bring a friend for some fun. Call if you can help, and try to sign up if possible. See you all in November.
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Calling all musicians. Please consider volunteering your time at the Congregational Home for their Sunday service 10:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Your musical talent will be tremendously appreciated. Favorite hymns sung in harmony, a special solo to perform on your favorite instrument? Whatever you would like to do. Please take the time to make the chapel service at the Home memorable for the residents. Call Carol Wittig 414-771-6459 for details.
Children's Christmas Workshop will be held Sunday, December 7th from 3:00 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. A pizza dinner will be served immediately following the workshop. For more information or to volunteer your time please contact Carla Cummings 774-4756.
Worship Service 9:00 a.m.
Dec. 3 All-Church English Dinner 6:00 p.m.
Dec. 6 Friendly Beast Breakfast 9:00 a.m.
Worship w/ Pageant 8:45 & 11:00 a.m.
Christmas Workshop 3:00 p.m.
Supper 5:00 p.m.
Christmas Concert 4:00 p.m.
Dec. 24 Christmas Eve Services
Family Service 4:00 p.m.
Communion Worship Service 7:00 p.m.
Candlelight Service 11:00 p.m.
The deadline for submitting articles for the next issue of the Columns is
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Editor, Beth Linscott
Mary York - Chairperson, Nancy Fisher,
Barb Dunham, Rod Schmidt, Bill Edens,
Arlette Lindbergh, Bill Edens
Rev. Steven Peay, Ph.D., Minister
Rev. Steve Godfrey, Associate Minister (Interim)
Rev. Charles Goldsmith, Ph.D., Congregational Home Chaplain
Cindy Payette, Administrator
Rani Gusho, Bookkeeper
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 10