February 29, 2004

First in faith, freedom, fellowship, and Wauwatosa


Table of Contents

20th Century Film Tells the Story Differently

Report from the Annual Meeting

Adult Education

Minister's Musings

Congregational Home's History

Welcome These New Members

Breakfast with the Girls

Nominating Committee Needs You

In Brief


20th century film tells the story differently

Through the centuries, the Christian gospel has used the communications media of its day to tell the story of Jesus. When motion pictures began in the early 20th century, filmmakers naturally used it to tell the Gospel story. During Lent, join us for a series of movies that present the story of Christ from a variety of views, on Sundays February 29 to March 28 at 6 p.m. in the Friendship Lounge. Rev. Sam Schaal facilitates. Popcorn is provided!

The first three movies each contain examples of early, mid and late century telling of the Gospel. On February 29, we'll see King of Kings, Cecil B. DeMille's 1927 lavish production that cast early film star H.B. Warner as a gentle and sentimental Jesus. The film contains the first-ever use of Technicolor in a short sequence that surprised audiences that had only seen black-and-white. This silent picture has the original "Photophone" musical score using many familiar hymns. 1 hour, 52 minutes

From this early pious look at the life of Christ, on March 7 we fast-forward to the stark 1964 Italian movie The Gospel According to Matthew which eschews any form of Hollywood-ized reverence. Director Pier Paolo Pasolini took the script almost verbatim from the Matthew gospel and used Italian peasants instead of professional actors. Christ is portrayed as a gentle radical working against the dominant power structure (reflecting Pasolini's own Marxist view of the world). 2 hours, 16 minutes, dubbed in English.

From Pasolini's minimalist and black-and-white treatment, on March 14 we'll encounter the rich and dazzling Jesus Christ Superstar, a 1973 rock opera movie based on the Tim Rice-Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Jesus is portrayed as a countercultural hero as seen through the eyes of his disciple, Judas Iscariot. 1 hour, 47 minutes, Ted Neeley portrays Jesus.

The final two movies do not portray Jesus as such, but tell modern stories which reflect Passion themes. Each of these movies are foreign films and each contain themes that are appropriate for mature audiences only.

On March 21, we'll view an irreverent 1979 British comedy that nonetheless carries some serious theological themes. Monty Python's Life of Brian features John Cleese and a cast of noteworthy British actors. Brian is born in a manger next to Jesus and keeps getting confused with the Savior. 1 hour, 34 min. Rated R.

Our final film on March 28 takes a decidedly more serious take on Christ-like themes. In the 1989 Canadian film Jesus of Montreal, an actor portraying Jesus in a passion play begins to take on the role of Christ in his own life. French with English subtitles. 2 hours. Rated R.
--Sam Schaal

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Report from the Annual Meeting

On January 18, 115 members of First Congregational Church gathered for the 161st Annual Meeting.

With Stew Davis as Parliamentarian, the afternoon began with a report from Charlie Nelson, Administrator of Congregational Home. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the Home has undergone many renovations including a current first floor project.

This report was followed by a special music presentation by Steve Russ and Lee Jacobi. Mary York read a poem in honor of Rani Gusho, now retired from the Administrator's position, but continuing on as bookkeeper.

Steve Peay recapped his minister's report and recognized the 30 years of service each from Rani, Lee Jacobi and Betty Dethmers.

Diane Houriet announced in the
treasurer's report a net asset base now exceeding one million dollars and expenditures for the year less than budgeted.

Bill Donaldson then spoke on behalf of the Board of Benevolences, reporting at total of $37,763 raised in special offerings.
Marc Blazich's Stewardship report spoke of the information campaign presented this fall, resulting in a 10% increase in the budget.

Bill Edens presented the Budget & Finance Report, the Long Range Planning Report and the Vice Moderator's Report. He spoke of the plan to add a third minister in June and also said $35,350 has been set aside for facility deferred maintenance. The submitted budget passed with no discussion.

He then referenced the four goals for the church identified through the Long Range Planning Committee and the plan to present an outline to achieve those goals at the May election meeting. Finally, he spoke of many of the volunteer opportunities throughout the church.

New business included a suggestion to provide some emergency medical training which was well received and will be pursued by Mark Hendrickson.

Many thanks to all of the members who gave of their time to be a part of the Congregational process.

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Adult Education

March 7
We'll explore aspects of the great Lenten choral work,
"Christ Lag In Todesbanden"
by J.S. Bach
Lee Jacobi

March 14
No Adult Education
Special Coffee Hour Celebration for Betty Dethmers

March 21
"Business and the Common Good"
Marty Vander Velde

March 28
"Democracy and Theocracy:
Issues Today and Yesterday"
Rev. Daniel Schowalter

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Minister's Musings

We've been talking about worship and this month I'd like to address the Congregational Way of approaching the worship act. As we enter into the Lenten season we tend to pay a bit more attention to our spiritual lives. I hope this will hold true for us as we come to worship. So often I hear from folks that they "get nothing out of worship." My response is always the same, "What do you put into it?" I am convinced we only get out what we put in, which is why for Congregationalists worship ­p; like church membership ­p; is an intentional thing.

What follows is an examination of the Congregational Way of Worship taken from materials I put together, in collaboration with Shawn Stapleton, as a Worship Resource for Congregational Churches (published by the NACCC). I think this will give the reader a basic overview of how Congregationalists have looked at worship and how our understanding of it has developed over the years.

Congregationalists stand in the English Reformed or Puritan tradition. As such, the practice of worship in Congregational churches reflects the emphases of the Puritan movement. The Puritans, like all of those engaged in the Reformation of church and life, emphasized sola scriptura (scripture alone) and expected their worship service to reflect only what would be found in the Bible itself. At the core their desire, to use the words of John Owen, was to revive, "the old glorious, beautiful face of Christianity."

The Congregational tradition in worship is thus founded on a desire for simplicity in form and marked by a dependence upon the Bible. The proclamation and exposition of the Word was, from the outset, the hallmark of Congregational worship. The "saints" gathered to hear of God and to hear from God; nothing else would suffice. Unlike the Book of Common Prayer, there was no equivocation on the centrality of preaching the "living Word."

There was a general distrust of liturgy or "set-forms" of worship. Henry Barrow and others did not think that long-established liturgical forms gave free enough rein to the Holy Spirit. The concern was upon the immediacy of the believer's desire and heart being accessible to God; to use a Puritan phrase, "their mouths to God." The emphasis upon extemporaneous or "free" prayer did not entirely take away a concern for the "decency and order" called for in worship by the Scripture. Richard Baxter would propose a Reformed Liturgy at the Savoy Conference, but it did not garner widespread support. Over time, however, something of a standard order for worship did emerge, as evidenced by John Cotton's accounts of the morning and afternoon worship services in Boston. The order, reported in Horton Davies Worship of the American Puritans: 1629-1730
(p. 16) is as follows:
Opening Prayer of Intercession
and Thanksgiving
Reading and exposition of a
chapter of the Bible
Psalm singing
Psalm singing
Prayer (often referred to as the "long prayer")
The only deviation in the order was the monthly celebration of the Lord's Supper, inserted after the second set of Psalm singing. If a Baptism was required this was inserted in the same spot, but in the afternoon service. It is important to note the concern to follow the classical Reformed tradition of the sacrament following upon the Word.

While the Congregationalists were in line with the accepted Reformed practice of their day concerning sacraments, there was great diversity as to their administration. In many places, following the admonition of the New Testament, the Lord's Supper was celebrated weekly. The former was primarily the practice in Britain, since early on it is evident, as in the writings of John Cotton, that the sacrament was celebrated only monthly, or in "special seasons," in New England. Both sacraments were administered within the context of the regular worship of the church, as noted above.

Again, concern for the centrality of the Bible led to the practice of singing only the Psalms or canticles (Scriptural texts, e.g. Luke 1:46-55 or 2: 29-32) during worship, and these without instrumental accompaniment. Celebrations of the Lord's Supper would, happily, lead Isaac Watts to introduce the singing of hymns to the service. Watts' practice, and hymn writing, was the result of the repeated singing of two or three appropriate Psalms following communion ­p; which grew rapidly tiresome.

As with the "meeting" worship, so too with the meetinghouse. The "Lord's Barn," especially in New England, became symbolic of the Congregational Way of life and worship. The buildings "set in the convenientest place for us all" were multi-functional in design. The worship space of Sunday might host the town meeting on Monday, the mid-week lecture on Wednesday, and the militia drill on Saturday. The space itself was not sacred, the community that gathered there, dwelling in the Holy Spirit, rendered it so.

Over time the Congregational worship practice evolved and, in the process, recovered many of the items so freely discarded by the earliest "saints." The use of musical instruments, choirs, candles, cross, stained glass, the calendar of the church liturgical year, and even liturgical formulas gradually became a part of Congregational worship life in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Congregationalists in both Britain and the United States would contribute heavily to the scholarship of and progress of the liturgical movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Two names come immediately to mind, Nathaniel Micklem of Mansfield College, Oxford, and Willard Sperry of Harvard Divinity School.

While worship in any given Congregational Church on a Sunday morning may differ widely in its form, there will, or should, be a consistency in its responsiveness to the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and to the situation of the particular church. The ancient law of lex orandi lex credendi (the law of prayer is the law of belief) holds very true among Congregationalists. What is seen in the public worship of the church is reflective of the life of the gathered people who make it up. This is how it has been and how it should continue to be. To remain true to the Bible and to a desire for simplicity and the immediacy of the Divine Presence in response to God's love is to be consistent with the Congregational tradition of worship.

Next month I will look at the idea of worship and time ­p; appropriate since we'll be moving out of Lent and into Holy Week. My prayer for us, as we enter what has been called the "Lenten Spring," is that the renewal which has begun here at First Church deepens and grows. All together may we worship, learn, love, and serve together the God who draws and loves us so very much. As ever:
Yours for the Way,
Rev. Steven A. Peay, Ph.D.

Kudos are due this month:
· to those who assisted the Rev. Sam Schaal in having such a wonderful installation (names too numerous to mention But know you are appreciated!).

· to the Pilgrim Fellowship, their leaders and parents, and the Fellowship Board for a dynamite fellowship dinner in February!

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Congregational Home's History

Information for this article, including the following quotation, was taken from commentary written by Walter S. Davis, first chairman of the Board of Directors of Congregational Home. Thanks Wally.
"Certainly the inspiration for the project is attributable to Norm."
(Dr. Norman S. Ream, Senior Minister, First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa)
Pictured here is the December 1972 groundbreaking ceremony of Congregational Home sponsored by First Congregational Church. Clearly we can see the day was freezing cold, but the shivers felt by those present to witness the dream become reality were of excitement, not of cold. It's what cannot be seen in this photograph that this article offers.

For one congregation to have undertaken such a challenge is remarkable. To this day, it remains unique. The idea, born in 1966, saw its first Board of Directors appointed in 1968: Walter S. Davis, Dr. Norman S. Ream, Harold Chamberlin; Delwin Jacobus; William L. Law and Arthur L. Riemer. Wally's account of the various aspects, i.e., site procurement, building design, financing and management search reveals a lengthy and laborious expenditure of energy. It took several years to make all of the necessary decisions. Many meetings were held to answer questions raised by church members and to garner the support for the plan. Great effort, hard work and dedication coalesced into the Congregational Home we know today.

At the 1971 annual church meeting, the congregation approved a fund drive to advance the project which brought in $835,000 in cash and pledges. Even the professional fundraiser was impressed! Congregational Home continues to be blessed by the ongoing concern of those who volunteer their time and provide us with gifts.

The Board of Directors planned Congregational Home, Inc., as a non-profit, 501( c )(3) organization. Congregational Home has never sought government subsidies of any kind. The Board of Directors maintains control of its operations. Robert (Bob) Hankins was the first Administrator hired by the Board and when he retired in1996, the current Administrator/COO, Charles (Charlie) T. Nelson, was hired.

In 1974, Congregational Home opened on six acres at the corner of Lilly and Burleigh in Brookfield with residential and skilled nursing licenses from the State of Wisconsin. Capacity at that time was up to 92 residents. Congregational Home has since grown to 13.5 acres, serving approximately 135 residents daily.

In 1986 Congregational Home opened 24 apartments as Congregational Apartments ­p; A Cooperative Residence. These independent units offered an underground parking garage, dining room and availability of numerous support services. In 2002 Congregational Home brought the Apartments into its non-profit status when it dissolved the Cooperative by purchasing the last two apartments from the original owners.

Another building project of 62,000 square feet opened in February 1998. The addition houses the newly licensed 26 assisted living apartments including additional lounge and dining space for the Health Center. It provided a new beauty/barber shop, shopping nook, activity center, and therapy room. The chapel/ auditorium, made possible through many generous gifts, provides residents with a beautiful setting for religious services and special events. Also in 1998, the Specialty Care Unit was opened within the original building to serve 12 individuals with early to mid-stage Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

The Health Care Center was renovated in 1999. New furniture for the dining rooms and residents' rooms was purchased, the original nursing station remodeled, a new station was added, hallway carpeting was replaced and the cement block corridor walls were dry-walled. In 2000 the entire food service area was remodeled for greater efficiency in caring for residents' nutritional needs by creating a new kitchen and an additional dining room for residents.

At present, Congregational Home is undergoing a major renovation of the 1974 building rooms to update its décor and physical plant. The original first floor nursing station was remodeled and a new one added, in part, through a generous donation. Brick corridor walls are being dry-walled and papered and resident room closets updated with modular closet systems. Bathrooms are being remodeled and dining rooms in the Health Center are also being updated with new flooring, window treatments, lighting and enhanced décor.

We're proud of this unique relationship of church and home. In the next 3 issues of the Columns, we'll look at the past and future of the home, celebrating this achievement as we near the 30-year anniversary!

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Welcome These New Members

Peggy Fleming
Peggy resides on the east side of Milwaukee. She is a registered dietitian and tests & develops recipes. She is involved with The Gathering, an organization that cooks meals for the impoverished, and Junior League of Milwaukee. Peggy is interested in helping cook meals here at church and youth mentoring. She found out about our church through the phone book and our website.

Sharon & Steve Cindrich
Sharon and her husband Steve are residents of Wauwatosa. They have two children, Maddie and Henry. Steve is employed at Humana in the marketing area and Sharon is a stay-at-home mom. They are involved with their children's school and Sharon is a leader with the Pioneer Club. The Cindrich's found out about our church when they moved to the area.

Jane Kolberg
Jane is a resident of Milwaukee and works in Menomonee Falls at the Zoning & Inspections Dept. In her spare time, she is a first aid/CPR Instructor for the Red Cross. Jane is interested in helping with meals at St. Vincent's and assisting with seasonal clean-up and decorating here at church.

Jill & Don Schaeffer
Jill and Don are residents of Wauwatosa. They have one son, Maxwell. Jill is a Special Education Aide for the Wauwatosa Public Schools and Don is a Web Developer. They are also interested in helping at St. Vincent's and with our monthly church dinner preparations.

Jennifer & Thomas Stark
Jennifer and Tom reside in Wauwatosa and are parents of two children, Parker and Annie. Tom works as a graphic designer and Jennifer is a Pilates instructor. They are involved in fund raising for the Save Tosa Schools Committee. Jennifer and Tom found out about our church through friends at their son's school.

Tonia Vanderploeg
Tonia resides in Shorewood and is a Physical Education Teacher and Athletic Director at Catholic East Elementary School. Church member Steve Wallner introduced her to our church.

Julie & Chris Wills
Julie and Chris reside in Wauwatosa. Julie is a Speech and Language Pathologist at Aegis-Heritage Square Rehab and Chris is an English teacher at Merton Elementary School. They have two children, Jake and Casey. Julie is interested in helping at St. Vincent's and the Congregational Home. Chris is also interested in helping at St. Vincent's, mission work, and helping with the building and grounds. They found out about our church through friends.

Natalie Wysong
Natalie and her husband Ron Grass reside in Wauwatosa. They are the parents of Benny who is three years old and are expecting another child in July. Natalie is a writer/editor at American Appraisal and also does volunteer work and teaches Yoga at the YMCA. She has become involved in Circle13 here at church.

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Breakfast with the Girls

For those of you who were with us in February, aren't you glad you came? For those of you who were thinking about it but didn't make it ­p; sad for you! With the "Hat lady," Pat Borkowski, we laughed, shared and remembered the days when you went NOWHERE without your hat and probably gloves too... especially church... particularly Easter. Well, you see what I mean. Her collection of hats from all eras had us smiling and comparing and storytelling all around the room. Coming up on March 6th is a program that has become much loved. We look forward to Janet Peterson from Acacia Theater presenting her moving tale of "Mary, Mother of Jesus." If you've been with us before, I know you will want to be with us again. Bring a friend or neighbor. We're always happy to have help, so let us know if it can be you ­p; call the church office at (414) 258-7375. Please join us on March 6th for breakfast with the girls.
Char Schweitzer

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Nominating Committee Needs You!

The Nominating Committee is beginning the process of filling open positions on the Boards and the Church Council for the Election Meeting to be held on Sunday, May 16th, 2004.

If you are interested in serving on one of the Boards, the Council or Committees, please sign up at the church on Sunday, March 7 &14 at the tables in the Atrium. Or you may call the church office at (414) 258-7375 and ask to have your name given to the Committee.
Board members are elected at the Election Meeting and members of committees are appointed by the new Moderator after that person has been elected at the May 16th meeting. The office will see that the new Moderator receives the name of anyone who volunteers for committees. Most board terms are for three years and committee appointments are for one year with the possibility of extension up to six years.

You may indicate the board or committee in which you are particularly interested, but we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned to that one. It depends how many names we receive and how many people want the same position.

This is your opportunity to let us know how you want to be involved at First Congregational Church. We look forward to your letting us know your interests and your willingness to serve.

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Lectionary Readings

March 7 2nd Lent
Old Testament Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18
Psalm Psalm 27
New Testament Philippians 3:17-4:1
Gospel Luke 13:31-35

March 14 3rd Lent
Old Testament Isaiah 55:1-9
Psalm Psalm 63:1-8
New Testament I Corinthians 10:1-13
Gospel Luke 13:1-9

March 21 4th Lent
Old Testament Joshua 5:9-12
Psalm Psalm 32
New Testament 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Gospel Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32

March 28 5th Lent
Old Testament Isaiah 43:16-21
Psalm Psalm 126
New Testament Philippians 3:4b-14
Gospel John 12:1-8

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In Brief

Circle 13 Scrap & Sort on March 9, 2004, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. Bring that pile you've been avoiding or the photo album that's supposed to have pictures in it. Join us for a couple of hours to sort, chat and snack! Contact Jennifer Wareham at dwareham@wi.rr.com or (262) 827-9992 with questions.

Strengthen Your Preparation for Easter
The 40 days of Lent are traditionally a period of meditation, prayer and spiritual renewal. "Renewed for Life" is a devotional manual featuring excerpts from the works of Henri Nouwen. Each day's reading is based on a Scripture passage, a summary thought, and a prayer. These are available on Sundays in the Atrium or from the church office. Please consider a request for a modest donation, perhaps $1 per copy, to defray expenses.

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

Monday, March 15, 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. Samuel Schaal, Associate Minister

Rev. Charles Goldsmith, Ph.D., Congregational Home Chaplain
Cindy Payette, 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. 13, Issue 2