May 30, 2004

First in faith, freedom, fellowship, and Wauwatosa




On this Memorial Day, we remember those who have given their lives in service to our country.

Table of Contents

Thirty Years of Making a Difference – Congregational Home Celebrates

Polynesian Pig Roast Planned

Long Range Planning Progresses

Class Holds Raffle

Minister's Musings

WCA Annual Meeting Held

Moderator Elect Comments

Rod and Cathy Schmidt Serve from the Heart

Easter Offering Helps Many

Thanks from the Jubilation Ringers

Organ Renewal

Lectionary Readings

In Brief


Thirty Years of Making a Difference

On Sunday, June 13, a 30th Anniversary Celebration at Congregational Home is planned for residents, family members, friends and supporters, especially members of First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa. This special event will feature a brief look at Congregational Home’s past, present and future. An afternoon Celebration Service is planned from 3 to 4 p.m. and an Open House and tour will be held from 4 to 5 p.m.

When Congregational Home first opened its doors 30 years ago, no one had heard of the Internet, cell phones or email. In 1974 it cost just 8 cents to mail a letter and the average median household income was slightly more than $11,000. In August of 1974, President Nixon resigned the presidency, following the Watergate investigation. Much has changed in the past three decades, including life at Congregational Home.

Congregational Home has expanded its services and facilities to meet the changing needs of the community. Even its address has changed. The main entrance of the building has shifted from its original location on Burleigh Road to Lilly Road. Despite its growth and expansion during the past three decades, Congregational Home has remained committed to serving residents by offering a wide range of housing and health care options.

In the fall of 2003, Congregational Home undertook a major renovation of the original building. The original nursing station was completely renovated and an additional nursing station was added. First-floor carpeting was replaced, new handrails were added, and all 58 resident rooms were completely remodeled. The brick walls have now been recovered with drywall and attractive wallpaper. Space-saving closet organizer systems were installed, along with new vanities, medicine cabinets and roll-in showers with built-in safety features. The first floor lounges have all been enhanced and now feature lowered ceilings giving them a warmer feel, and new improved lighting. Both residents and staff have welcomed all of these enhancements that have given the facility a fresh look and improved functionality. We are excited to show Congregational Home’s new look and to personally thank everyone for their ongoing support of our facility.
Senior Minister Rev. Steven Peay, Ph.D., will be one of three guest speakers, along with Chaplain Rev. Charles Goldsmith, Ph.D., and President/COO/Administrator Charles Nelson, MSM, from Congregational Home. These gentlemen will offer their personal recollections and perspectives about the Home. We’ve also asked four generations of the Walter Davis family to be our special guests that day. As a family, they exemplify the wonderful support we’ve enjoyed from the community and members of First Congregational Church of Wauwatosa. Without their vision, volunteerism, and ongoing dedication during the past 30 years, none of this would have been possible.

As Congregational Home takes time to celebrate its 30th anniversary, the Board of Directors, the staff and administration and all of our friends and supporters remain committed to fulfilling the organization’s mission of service — eager to embark on the next 30 years of history and caring. All are invited to join us for all or part of this special anniversary celebration, as we commemorate the history and caring at Congregational Home.

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Polynesian Pig Roast Planned

First Church will be having one of its biggest All-Church dinners of the year – the Polynesian Pig Roast on June 2, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. The Hale O'Malo Polynesian Dance Performance group will perform from 6:45-7:45 p.m.

We will pre-sell tickets at $9/adult and $4/child, 3 and under are free. Tickets purchased the week before the dinner will be $10 each for adults.

Dining and the show will be held outside on Ridge Ct., weather permitting. The menu includes the pig roast, fruit salad and smoothies along with some traditional Polynesian fare. Kids’ meals will be available.

If there's one church dinner that you attend this year, this should be the one! Come welcome the warm weather at our first picnic of the season.

Last month, 75 adults and 17 children attended the dinner. The kids built "cookie pizzas" with red frosting sauce, licorice pepperoni, sprinkle spices and a whole bunch of other candies. The night was a big hit!

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Long Range Planning Progresses

The Long Range Planning Committee has completed its task of preparing the plan for the next four years. This plan was submitted to the Council on April 25th. The process from there was to get Council approval at the May meeting, and then for the boards and committees to begin their assigned actions. In January, we said that we would present the full plan at the May election meeting. Two things changed that plan: final approval and the time needed to present the plan.

In rapid summary, the plan has five categories titled Membership, Education, Outreach, Stewardship, and Efficiency. The first four directly address the results of the visioning process from last year. The last category was created to improve the record keeping within the church office with regards to membership records, administrative tasks and board continuity.

Each of the categories has goals, and each goal has objectives. For each objective, a number of actions have been defined with who will do them and when they will report or complete the action. The total plan is aimed at goals for the next four years to grow this church. It has areas for definition and it has solid needs. There are 179 distinct board-action responsibilities in the plan. In the coming month, this plan will be available for each member who wants a copy. It will be presented at coffee hours in the form of a computer based slide presentation. The purpose of having a plan is for this covenant community to have a common vision and to focus our future on increased membership, knowledge of the Word in our lives, contribution, and communication.

I want to thank Don Miesbauer, Marc Blazich, Jennifer Wareham, Sue Rowbottom, Ed Probst, Steve Peay, and Cindy Payette for their time and contribution on this committee.

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Class Holds Raffle

The exceptional 5th/6th grade class, led by Laura Taylor and Julie Lucey is finishing the year with one more mission project. The group has purchased a Children’s Chalet/Shed kit which the are building and painting. The children will then raffle if off to a lucky winner. All proceeds will benefit The Piney Woods School, an organization our church is supporting. Tickets will be 1 for $10 or 3 for $25.00 The children will be selling tickets before and after the service on Children’s Sunday, June 6. They can also be purchased from Mrs. Lucey or Mrs. Taylor through June 25, the final day of Vacation Bible School. It is not necessary to be present to win, but the drawing will be held during the social following VBS.

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Minister’s Musings

We’ve had a busy few months around First Congregational Church. I look back on the arrival of my colleagues Sam and Carrie, the good preparation of Lent followed by a lovely Easter, the wonderful Mother’s Day choral program, and, most recently, the reception of our new covenant class members with joy and gratitude. Add to all of this the opportunities to serve “the wider church” through the International Congregational Fellowship, the Wisconsin Congregational Association and the NACCC and the days and hours have just flown. We look forward to Children’s Sunday on June 6 and the thirtieth anniversary celebration of the Congregational Home on June 13. No question that it is all good, but as we come closer and closer to what one songwriter called “the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” I am reminded that “busyness” isn’t what life is about.

Jesus told his followers “Come apart and rest awhile.” I think we need to hear him and take his invitation to heart because we have a tendency in our go-go-go society to measure the success of a vacation not by the rest we’ve had, but by how much we’ve “seen” or activities we’ve packed into a few days. It might do us some good to reconsider what leisure means and the difference that it can make in our spiritual lives.

My good colleague, Rev. Dr. Charles Goldsmith, chaplain at the Congregational Home, is a psychologist, as well as a clergyman. Charles has offered this idea: leisure is the freedom to grow. I rather like that concept and think it is absolutely in line with what the early teachers of the church called “otium sanctum” – holy leisure – which was an extension of the Biblical idea of the Sabbath. If we consider the idea that the liberal arts were the things necessary to form the free person, then leisure is the freedom to learn and to grow. When God rested on the seventh day and commanded that we all do the same, the goal wasn’t the production of restrictive blue laws’ The goal was “re-creation,” a restorative rest that allowed us to return to our day-to-day tasks with a renewed sense of self and fresh creative energy. True leisure isn’t just “kicking back,” it is growing as a person – which includes growing in relationship.

I like how Richard Foster has described holy leisure in his Celebration of Discipline (this was our study book during the Lenten spirituality series): “It [holy leisure] refers to a sense of balance in the life, an ability to be at peace through the activities of the day, an ability to rest and take time to enjoy beauty, an ability to pace ourselves. With our tendency to define people in terms of what they produce, we would do well to cultivate ‘holy leisure’.” I certainly agree with Foster, because we are more than what we do. Part of holy leisure involves the freedom of accepting ourselves and understanding that we have worth not by what we do, but simply from who we are.

Leisure is an important part of building our spirituality because it is giving ourselves the freedom to rest, to simply be in God’s presence, and thus to grow. A seventeenth century spiritual writer, Jean Pierre de Cassaude, developed a concept that flows from leisure, “the sacrament of the present moment.” It’s an elegant idea that reminds us that in every moment of every day we are immediately present to God and that life itself is a sacrament, an encounter with the living God. Someone has said that spirituality can be summed up as BE HERE. BE YOU. BE NOW. That is, know yourself; be aware of the moment and fully present to it.

As the days of summer unfold, take some time for “holy leisure,” to come apart and rest in God’s presence – in nature, in those you love, and in yourself. Luxuriate in the moment, find God there, and then see just how rich, how full, how blessed life is. Somehow I get the feeling that if we take the time for “holy leisure” all of the things that need to be done will get done – probably better than if we had pushed and pushed to accomplish them. Enjoy these summer days, be careful, be safe, and rest a bit whenever you can. Be here. Be you. Be now. That’s not a bad way to approach the fleeting days of a Wisconsin summer, is it?

A part of my experience of the be here/be you/be now involves my ministry among you, which is now beginning its third year. This is a good and holy thing and I rejoice in the opportunities God gives me to serve this people in this place. So, take care and we’ll hope to see you in worship from time to time – remember it’s at 10 a.m. during the summer! Many blessings!
Yours in the Lord’s service,
Rev. Steven A. Peay, Ph.D., Minister

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WCA Annual Meeting Held

The Wisconsin Congregational Association held its annual meeting at Second Congregational Church of Beloit on May 1st. Its theme was "ALL for GOD: Faith for Churches BIG and Small.” This year the meetings were all held on one day to facilitate better participation. The business meeting was held Saturday morning with fraternal greetings being received from the NACCC, the ICF which had met this year in South Africa, by Deacon Jones of the Piney Woods School in Mississippi, and the Rev. Dr. Arvel Steece through personal note. Committee reports were given and the budget report was accepted. The Arena church was officially given a Citation of Welcome to the WCA.

New officers were elected. Bob Noble (Pilgrim, Milwaukee) is this year’s Moderator and Rev. Charles Goldsmith is Moderator-elect. The major piece of new business was a proposal for a WCA staff position of a Resource Person. This person would work at enhancing communications between the WCA member churches, create opportunities for shared ministry, work with churches that have not participated in the past, and work with churches that are thinking of joining the WCA. This is a 20 hour per week paid position proposed for one year and funded from a NACCC grant for two years. This role will be evaluated each year to assess the value and success of the position. Approval was given to initiate the grant proposal and to establish the details of this position.

Three Saturday workshop topics were held: “Helping Churches Through Trying Times” led by Rev. Kathryn Rust, “How to’s for Moderators and Others Trying to ‘Lead’ a Church” led by C. Merrill York, and “Developing Your Own Curriculum for CE” led by Suellen Mains. A worship service was led by Rev. Doug Gray and Pastor Rob Brink. Communion was served and the new officers were formally installed.
Next year's meeting will be in Arena, WI. Think about making this a part of your plans for spring 2005!

by Bill Edens, delegate

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Moderator Elect Comments

As your Moderator elect, I am humbled. Here we have a simple engineer sandwiched in this role between two lawyers, Steve Fisher and Harry Holz.

At our January meeting, as Vice-Moderator, I suggested that we need to be wicked in going beyond the reasonable and predictable limits. We need to seek exceptional quality of service and kindness. We have to go to the last degree searching for what we each can do without being asked. This world is in need of moral help and disciplined guidance.

In the long range plan of 1991, an organizational chart was presented that spoke to our polity and organization in boards and committees as an autonomous church of Jesus Christ. This chart was discussed extensively in the committee of that year. This year, the long range plan seeks to make the polity of this organization more uniform and consistent in planning, execution, and reporting. This work will aim to improve communications, guide the boards and committees in their tasks, and improve efficiency and continuity.

But in a church, the ultimate goal is not the execution of our polity. Polity is simply a mechanism that should not confuse our purpose. It is the continuing reason we have Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, United Church Christians, Congregationalists, etc. We all are followers of teachings of Jesus Christ. Polity is not what church should be about. This year, the long range plan does not change the organization of our church. This is not important for our work as a family in the circle with our Lord. With you, as your Moderator, we will manage the polity. As members in our church family, the important things that face us are drawing close in the circle of our Lord, helping each other and our boards to understand how discipleship can be presented to all those in need, and benefiting from the years of scholarship that we have in our learned staff to complete our task of drawing others into this community of believers.

We are a free church; a church free to seek meaning and purpose from the Bible and from the best scholars we meet. We are not free from responsibility. We are not divorced from the need to learn and formulate our own beliefs. We are required to love one another and to seek the greatest good in all that we do. I look forward to helping Steve, Sam, Carrie, the staff and all of you to make this a great year as a true family circle seeking the words of our Lord in our daily lives.

Please seek to adopt the Long Range Plan, work with us and let’s have fun in the process. Go forth and excel searching the “Greater Good.” Thanks for all that you have done before and let’s keep breaking
predictable limits for the
common good.

by Bill Edens

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Rod and Cathy Schmidt Serve from the Heart

On May 16, 1981, Cathy and Rod Schmidt were married in the living room of their home on Swan Boulevard in Wauwatosa. Their union brought to the First Congregational Church a unique couple with talents and energy they have shared with us for many years.

Rod is a Wauwatosa native, the son of Harold and Lohna Schmidt. He grew up in the church and was confirmed by Reverend Lee. He graduated from Wauwatosa High School in 1959 (the same class as member Barb Dunham). Cathy, on the other hand, is from the East coast and grew up in New Jersey. She was a focused and determined young woman, anxious to experience all that life had to offer. So anxious was she, that after a year of college, she decided to be a computer programmer in that fledgling industry of the 60’s and 70’s. She was able to convince Prudential Insurance that even without a degree, she could be a programmer. She got some insurance/computer experience and then moved to San Francisco, followed by Anchorage. Deciding she would rather be back in the “lower 48,” a little closer to home, she took a job with Northwestern National
in Milwaukee.

Rod was a single dad with 3 daughters, Sue (Melby), Sandra, and Karen, when he and Cathy went to a Brewers Game on their first date. When they decided to get married, Sue and Sandra were away at school, but Karen was only 12. She chose to live with them and Cathy quickly adjusted to her new role as wife and mother.
Cathy and Rod’s partnership grew when they bought the building on Harwood that now houses their business, IVAN Systems, as well as the space leased to the restaurant, Bjonda. That building has practically been a second home to them both. For 12 years, Cathy ran PC Learning, a school that trained AFDC mothers in computer, business and accounting skills. Rod and Karen ran Catherine’s Restaurant. Today, Cathy and Rod partner in their business that creates artificial Limbz (bones) for cadavers. As Rod explained, it is essential that after organ and bone donation, a body is put back together for burial or internment. Limbz helps make that possible.

As busy as they have both been, the Church has been an important part of their lives. Rod started working in the kitchen with Kay Millen for St. Vincent’s. His love for cooking has expanded ever since, until now he and Barb Dunham have taken over the kitchen food preparation, organization and activities. We also enjoy his beautiful hanging baskets, planted with flowers from his greenhouse. Additionally, Rod served several terms on the Board of Trustees and three years as an at large Council member.

While Cathy didn’t have Rod’s history with First Church, that didn’t slow her down. In 1993, after receiving a gift of life through a kidney transplant, Cathy made a personal commitment to give back in any way she could. Following much faith support from The Revs. John Strassburger and Phil Muth during the difficult times of her illness, Cathy moved into 1994 with renewed health and determination. She served the first of many terms on the then newly formed Care Board. In many ways, she was the Care Board – formulating the Bereavement Caring Committee, the Prayer Book and Committee, the Caring Corner, and Senior Communion Services. She and Rev. Kathryn Rust worked to form a Senior Visitation Group which now numbers 11 people who visit the elderly living alone or in area nursing homes. They started by identifying about 85 people and made contacts to determine who would most like a personal visit and who would benefit from a periodic phone call. This program has helped to recognize the personal needs of some of our elderly members who might otherwise become isolated from the church.

Both Cathy and Rod serve from their hearts. They give of their talents freely and unselfishly. They love what they do and we are all blessed to be recipients of their talents.
by Jennifer Wakefield
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Easter Offering Helps Many

The Benevolence Committee would like to thank the congregation for making the Lenten special offering a very successful one by raising $11,550– well past our goal of $10,000! Thank you also for bringing the words in our covenant " to reach out with compassion to those in need" and "to return to God a portion of God's Gifts" to life. 75% of the offering will stay right here in Wauwatosa by supporting the Tosa Community Food Pantry. The remaining 25% will be used by our sister church, Pilgrim Congregational, for help in their door to door ministry in the neighborhood of 50th and North. Here is an excerpt from their April/May newsletter:
The Hosea Fund: What It Is and How It Works
Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

These words from the Old Testament prophet Hosea express two things God desires of his people. He wants us to show unconditional mercy. And He wants to acknowledge God as real and present.
As Pilgrim Church’s opportunities for ministry in our neighborhood increase, showing mercy while encouraging a bold acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior are our dual guiding principles.

With every apartment secured, we offer the gospel. With every delivery of food and furniture, we provide a small group for spiritual nurture. With every child who gets an Easter basket, there is a loving Sunday School teacher leading the child to Christ. With every breakfast served on Sunday morning, we serve the bread of life.

And as this ministry grows, friends from our sister church in Wauwatosa (First Congregational) have come alongside with offers of financial and hands-on help. We welcome this partnership and we ask for the prayers of all who read this article as we forge ahead together.
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Thanks from the Jubilation Ringers

The Jubilation Ringers want to extend sincere thanks to everyone who helped with our April “road trip.” With the help of Carol Wittig, Rev. Goldsmith, Charlie Nelson, and the staff of First Congregational Church, the Jubilation Ringers were able to attend and play for the Palm Sunday service at the Congregational Home. Never having done so before, we were a bit nervous, but we enjoyed every minute of it! We played a total of nine pieces during the half-hour service. It was a blessed two-fold experience. Not only did we get to be of service to the residents of the Congregational Home, it also gave the Ringers a tremendous sense of accomplishment, togetherness, and confidence. We sincerely hope that we will have the opportunity to do this again in the future. Once again, many thanks to everyone who helped us with the performance.

We also offer many thanks to our ringing friends that will not be with us next year. This is the last year for three of our very dedicated ringers. Kathy Cohan and Beverly & Ruben Ziehlsdorf have played bells with the Ringers for fourteen and sixteen years, respectively. Thank you for your years of service, friendship, and musicianship. You will be missed.

Unfortunately, with our dear friends leaving, the Jubilation Ringers might not have the opportunity to play all of our bells next year. Unless we find some new ringers, we will be forced to play only half of the bells that have served our church so well. We have room for 3–7 new musicians next year. This would allow us to play our usual number of bells for performances. You need not know how to ring, but you must be able to read music (musical rhythms). You must also make a commitment to be at rehearsals on Thursday evenings, performing Sundays, and from September through May including the Christmas Concert.

If you are interested in playing next year, please contact one of the returning bell choir members or the church office.

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Organ Renewal

In a previous issue of The Columns, an article detailed problems with the Nave organ including controls that determine which pipes will be played and the relay system that permits rapid changes of the pipes being played. These systems contain numerous leather parts which are deteriorating. The defective leather parts can be replaced or the existing electro-mechanical system can be replaced with a solid state system. The music committee favored the latter and proposed this to the church Council, which referred the matter to the Trustees. The Trustees approved the proposal. Money from the Facilities Renewal Fund will initially fund the renewal. The Council approved this plan and directed the Music Committee to plan a fund drive. Money received will be returned to the Facilities Renewal Fund.

Detailed information will be sent to church members in a few weeks. A special Music Sunday is planned for June 13. The renovation will take place during the summer, most likely during the month of July, and cause the organ to be out of service for two weeks.

These changes will not affect the integrity of the instrument. Reliability will be improved and it will provide more flexibility for the organist in controlling the organ.

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Lectionary Readings

June 6 Trinity Sunday
First Lesson Proverbs 8: 1-4, 22–31
Psalmody: Psalm 8
Second Lesson: Romans 5: 1–5
Gospel John 16: 12–15

June 13
Old Testament: 1 Kings 21: 1–21a
Psalmody Psalm 5: 1–8
New Testament: Galatians 2: 15–21
Gospel Luke 7: 36–8:3

June 20
Old Testament: 1 Kings 19: 1–15a
Psalmody: Psalm 42
New Testament Galatians 3: 23–29
Gospel Luke 8: 26–39

June 27
Old Testament 2 Kings 2: 1–2, 6–14
Psalmody Psalm 77: 1–2, 11–20
New Testament Galatians 5: 1, 13–25
Gospel Luke 9: 51–62

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In Brief

Adult Education
June 6th, D-Day Commemoration
Phil Landis and Bruce Smith
Others are welcome to participate

June 13th
Dick Buchman
Reflections on 45 Years of Ministry, Part II

June 20th
Dan Schowalter
Report on the 7th season of Excavations at Omrit in Northern Israel

In last month’s Columns we listed some past Wauwatosa Distinguished Citizen award recipients in the Barb Lindl article. We’d also like to include Ervin Meier, father of Arlene Koch, who was the Distinguished Citizen of Wauwatosa in 1972.

Vacation Bible School Reminder
Mark your calendars for June 21–25 and join us for “Lava Lava Island Where Jesus’ Love Flows.” Registration forms are available in the church office.


Summer Soloist Schedule


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

Wednesday, June 9, 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. Carrie Kreps, 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 5