June 2005

First in faith, freedom, fellowship, and Wauwatosa



Table of Contents

Vacation Bible School

Minister's Musings...NACCC Many Happy Years

PF Place

Childcare Coordinator Needed

Lectionary Bible Sundays in Summer

Improving Minister Evaluation Process

Dress Up the 4th

Pioneer Club Awards Ceremony Draws Crowd

New Officers/Boards Elected

Progressive Concert to Benefit Village Green

Tosa Historical Society Tour Scheduled

Elevator Out of Service for 6 Weeks

Lectionary Readings

In Brief

VBS 2005 Ventures to Jerusalem Marketplace

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in Bible times? What did kids do for fun back then? What would you have done when you heard of Jesus’ death?

If you’d like to know the answers to questions like these and more, join us at Vacation Bible School, August 1– 5, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. “Jerusalem Marketplace” immerses learners in Bible-times culture. Children will experience new traditions, taste new foods, try new arts and crafts projects and discover Jesus’ unfailing love for each of us.

At Jerusalem Marketplace, everyone gathers for a brief time of worship at the Gathering before joining their Tribes (named after the tribes of Israel) for small group interaction. During Tribe Time, tribal families will explore traditional Jewish customs, attend Synagogue School or have fun at the village playground. Tribes will also explore the Marketplace and become apprentices in carpentry or jewelry making and sample sweet treats. Children might even encounter a tax collector or a Roman soldier. Shopkeepers will chat about the latest news about Jesus.

Kids will learn to connect their experiences in Jerusalem to their modern day lives. They’ll discuss how Jesus can be part of life today, just as he was part of everyday life in Bible times. This unique approach to hands-on learning is one the children and volunteers alike won’t soon forget. Please register early to help with planning and be sure to invite your neighbors and friends.

Vacation Bible School
August 1-5, 2005
9:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Registration Form
Complete and return to the church office by Friday, July 15
Name of child(ren)________________________________________
Phone __________________________________
Grade entering in fall of 2005_____
(children entering senior kindergarten through those entering sixth grade)
Allergies _________________________________________
Parent(s) name__________________________________________
Parent(s) phone ________________________________________
Emergency contact ______________________________________
Emergency phone ______________________________________
Cost: $20.00/first child
$10.00/each additional child
(maximum of $40.00 per family)

___Yes, I am interested in helping out during VBS. Please check areas of interest. (Childcare will be provided for those volunteers who have children not yet old enough to participate in VBS.)

___teaching ___snacks ___arts/crafts

___games ___preparation ___where needed
If you have any questions, please contact Carla or Carrie at 414-258-7375, ext. 230. Remember to invite your neighbors and friends!

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Minister’s Musings...
NACCC: Many Happy Years

“History is the means by which a society gives account to itself.” My major professor in graduate school never tired of quoting this definition by Eric Voegelin and how it describes the function of history certainly makes sense to me. This month the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches will meet for its 51st annual meeting and celebrate its 50th anniversary. Fifty years is an important milestone. For an organization like the NACCC it’s important for a number of reasons. First, though, let me give a brief overview of its history.

The NACCC was born out of a controversy over the proposed merger of the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church. The push toward a united church structure began in the 1930s and gathered momentum over the next 20 years, despite the efforts of many people to stop it, or at least slow it down. When the lawsuit filed by the Cadman Memorial Church in Brooklyn was thrown out, the way was cleared for what would eventually become the United Church of Christ. A group of concerned clergy and laity– including the Revs. Neil Swanson and John Alexander (recently deceased), and William Grede of this church– worked together to form an association of churches opposed to the merger. This meeting took place in 1955 at the Hotel Fort Shelby in Detroit, with John Alexander acting as moderator. The NACCC was voted into existence to offer an alternative to churches not interested in pursuing the mixed polity that was being proposed for the United Church. In 1956 the second annual meeting was held here at First Church and the Articles of Association were adopted and signed in our
meeting house.

The years that have followed have seen the organization grow and shrink, much as all of mainline Protestantism has done. To my mind the NACCC is facing the same sort of questions of identity, purpose and effectiveness that many of us deal with at mid-life. At the core is the question of what is an association of churches supposed to do?

The classic definition of Congrega-tionalism offered by Henry Martyn Dexter back in 1874 said that Congregationalism is an “ellipse with two foci.” Those focus points are the completeness and autonomy of the local church, and autonomous churches in fellowship with one another. I have argued in a paper to the Wisconsin Congregational Theological Society that fellowship has become the neglected focus of Congregationalism as it is practiced currently. We’ve gotten very good about being free, but forget that our freedom is for something, not from something.

That freedom to is what enables us to be authentic in following the Congregational Way. The framers of the Cambridge Platform offered six ways of churches functioning in fellowship:
1. By way of mutual care.
2. By way of consultation.
3. By way of admonition.
4. By way of participation.
5. By way of recommendation.
6. By way of need – to minister relief.

A possible seventh way is also offered by the sending out of members to gather a new church. Each of these means operationally defines the nature, the boundaries, and the tasks incumbent upon fellowship. The NACCC, indeed all of the fellowship venues of “continuing Congregation-alism,” needs to recover this understanding of what it means to be a “covenant community of covenant communities” caring and serving each other freely. It starts, however, with local churches, because there is no Congregationalism apart from the congregation.

I would hope that we here at First Congregational Church in Wauwatosa would take a long hard look at what it means for us to be in fellowship with the churches of the National Associa-tion and the Wisconsin Association and now with those in the Interna-tional Congregational Fellowship. How do we reach to them in Christian concern and make a difference for them? And, how can they make a difference for us? In recent years involvement from First Church has been somewhat limited, though we’ve always been generous in our financial support. Perhaps now is the time for us to learn from our past and garner a vision for our involvement. Associational life is not an option if we are going to truly be a Congregational Church.

Fifty years is a long time. As I approach my 51st birthday I appreciate time in a new way. I hope that the 50th anniversary of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches give us as one of the founding churches and all of the other member churches, new and old, an opportunity to look back and give account to ourselves of our past. From an honest insight into where we have been will come the ability to chart our future.
Our friends in the Christian East say, “Many years!” That’s what I’d like to say to the NACCC as it enters its 51st year: “God grant you many years! God grant you happy years! God grant you many, happy years!”

Yours for the Congregational Way,
Rev. Steven A. Peay, Ph.D.
Senior Minister

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PF Place

When this arrives in your mailbox there will only be one thing on your mind – the number of days until school is out! Many congratulations to those who will be receiving high school diplomas – Nathan Eggert, Kramer Kelling, Peter Murphy, Rachel Halvorson, Parker Hoerz, Lesley Hudson, Brian Kebbekus, Wills Quinn, Kira-Lynn Reeves, Katie Rowbottom, Thomas Schalmo, Ryan Schowalter, Laura Schultz, Andrea Wehr, and Lindsay Wittig. They will be recognized with a breakfast and introduced in worship on June 12. Please join us in honoring their accomplishments.

The summer months are full of exciting activities. Camp forms are available on the welcome table by the office. Encourage one of your PF friends to join you for a week of Bible study and discussion, fellowship, swimming, music, and campfires. Talk to the Rowbottoms, Rachel Halvorson, or Parker Hoerz for stories from last year.
Check your mailbox for other summer PF activities and get-togethers. On the agenda are movies, games, picnics and even a few surprises you will not want to miss!

Youth Calendar
5 Last meeting of the school year
12 High school seniors and families’ breakfast (9 a.m)
PF worship and senior
recognition (10 a.m.)
17-18 Senior PF overnight @ Tosa (7p.m. – 9 a.m.)

10-16 WCA Camp at Mt. Morris

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New Position Approved

Help Wanted: Childcare Coordinator
Part-time person to schedule childcare providers for church activities

The Personnel Committee recommended, and the Council approved, the new job position of Childcare Coordinator. This position affirms growth at First Church. In recent months the ministers and staff have listened to and acted on the gathered fellowship’s request for more adult programming. It is our vision to expand these offerings even further with programming for every age group of our fellowship. In many cases these opportunities for growth will be contingent on First Church’s ability to provide childcare.

This person will be responsible for maintaining a network of childcare providers, arranging and scheduling care for church activities, training childcare providers, and in the case of emergencies, providing childcare. This person is not expected to be present for every church activity but to find and schedule others to provide the care. This is a part-time (about five hours a week), paid position, which can be done from one’s home. Applications are available in the church office.

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Lectionary Bible Sundays in Summer

Lectionary Bible Study (where class members engage each of the lectionary texts used in the Sunday service) is moving for the summer– from Wednesday evenings to Sunday mornings, beginning June 12.
Join us for this Bible study at 8:45–9:45 a.m. (in the Resource Center) before the worship service at 10 a.m. Drop in—no registration required. Beginning on June 12, the class continues on Sundays through Sept. 4. (Sunday Symposiums are on summer vacation.) If you’d prefer Bible study at other times, check out our mid-week offerings.

Summer Bible Study Opportunities
Sunday 8:45 a.m.
Lectionary Bible Study beginning June 12

Tuesday 9 a.m.
Gospel of Mark

Wednesday 6:30 a.m.
Women’s Bible Study (Gospel of Mark)
Men’s Ministry (not on 5th Wed.)

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Improving Our Minister Evaluation Process

A few years ago, we introduced an appraisal instrument for the senior minister that offered members the opportunity to rate his performance in several categories, as well as to provide written comments on his strengths and opportunities for improvement. The results from the member feedback were used by the Senior Minister Evaluation Committee (Moderator, Vice Moderator, Past Moderator, and Personnel Committee Chair) in conducting his formal evaluation. We have used this instrument for the past three years, once with Rev. Lobb and twice with Rev. Peay.

Is the current process effective?
The Personnel Committee and our ministers have asked if the current evaluation process is truly effective in providing usable feedback, and if it is in alignment with the direction of the church. The current process had been modified from performance evaluations used in business, such as professional services organizations. While the process provided an opportunity for member feedback, the Personnel Committee decided it was not the best fit for use in our church today. We collectively felt the process could be improved, and also that it needed to be expanded for use with all of our church’s ministers.

A better fit without re-inventing the wheel
We turned to the Alban Institute and found a performance evaluation process designed by a minister for evaluating ministers in a manner that is appropriate for a church and its members. The evaluation process is described by Jill M. Hudson in her book When Better Isn’t Enough. The Personnel Committee has read this book and has been working to adapt Rev. Hudson’s process for use in our church, to include: member feedback, a self evaluation and a peer evaluation by the ministers, and a review by the Personnel Committee. The member feedback will be sought through small focus groups of church members, who will meet directly with each minister.

What is examined in the new process?
The new evaluation process is based upon the 12 characteristics of an effective 21st-century minister. Rev. Hudson developed these characteristics through her research, personal observations and interviews with clergy who are widely acknowledged to be effective in leading successful and strong churches into the new era of ministry involving today’s culture and values.

These characteristics are:
1. The ability to maintain personal, professional, and spiritual balance.
2. The ability to guide a transformational faith experience (conversion).
3. The ability to motivate and develop a congregation to be a "mission outpost" or an “outward purpose” (help churches reclaim their role in reaching into their communities).
4. The ability to develop and communicate a vision.
5. The ability to interpret and lead change.
6. The ability to promote and lead spiritual formation for church members.
7. The ability to provide leadership for high-quality, relevant worship experiences.
8. The ability to identify, develop, and support lay leaders.
9. The ability to build, inspire
and lead a team of both staff
and volunteers.
10. The ability to manage conflict.
11. The ability to navigate successfully the world of technology.
12. The ability to be a lifelong learner.

Her book offers written instruments to be completed by each minister and by the review committee. Both are based on the 12 characteristics of an effective 21st century minister. The evaluation of the minister also includes evaluation of the congregation’s ministry. Several copies of the book are in the church library which you can check out.

How the new process unfolds
In May, each minister prepares a self evaluation. The ministers then review the evaluations among themselves. Next, each minister goes over the evaluation with a focus group selected by the Personnel Committee for each minister. With the input from each minister’s focus group, the minister modifies his or her evaluation, and the minister and Personnel Committee discuss this in a review session. The process will be completed by July.

Your time to participate
If you would like to be a member of a focus group for a particular minister, please let the church office know. The Personnel Committee will select the three focus groups and if you are selected you will be informed of the meeting once it is scheduled. You need to sign-up by June 8, noon, so call today if you are interested.
Of course, each minister is glad to meet individually with members about any concern you might have.
— Mark Boettcher & Stew Davis
Personnel Committee Co-Chairs

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Dress up the 4th

You may have seen our steeple floating down North Avenue last July. After rubbing your eyes in wonderment, you would have realized that it was a part of Wauwatosa’s 4th of July parade. We had walkers and riders, even a clown – all dressed up in red, white and blue. This year you can get in on the colors. While watching the parade or marching, wear a First Church T-shirt which will make your neighbors say, “Tell me about your church.” Order yours on June 5 or 12 from the Pilgrim Fellowship for just $10. Adult and children’s sizes

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Awards Ceremony Draws Crowd

On Monday May 9th over 90 children and adults attended the Pioneer Club Awards ceremony held in the social hall. Families were treated to a special lasagna dinner prepared by Barb and Ruth Dunham. Barb and Ruth have been cooking dinners for the Pioneer Club all year and the food is always outstanding. After dinner the children sang some of their favorite pioneer club songs for the attentive audience and received awards such as the World Missions badge, Understanding God’s Word, Manners etc. All of the children worked very hard to earn these special awards.

Following the awards presentation the children and their parents celebrated with cake and watched a special video sent from their pen-pals in Dodji. Many thanks to all of the leaders, parent and teen helpers and all of the Pioneers for their hard work. It was a year filled with friendship, faith and fun and we look forward to seeing new and returning Pioneers in the fall.

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New officers, boards elected

Church members exercised their congregationalism on May 15 at the annual election meeting between services, gathering to elect new officers, and board and committee members, who will govern the church over the next year. More than 120 people were present in the Social Hall as Barb Holtz, who chaired the Nominating Committee, presented the slate of candidates. All were elected unanimously.

Dr. Peay proposed that the church become a member of the International Congregational Fellowship which is now open to churches as well as to individuals. We are members of a state and national association, and now have the opportunity to join an international association of those encouraging the Congregational Way. This passed unanimously.

Outgoing Moderator Bill Edens thanked all those serving the church during the past year. In a meeting normally marked by such transition, Bill also announced that the Church Street Singers, led by Betty Dethmers, will stop performing after their final concert June 7 at the Congregational Home. This music ministry of more than 20 years has provided untold hours of entertainment and inspiration to many within and beyond our congregation. Bill also noted the retirement of church clerk Sally Boyle and her years of service.

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Progressive Concert to Benefit
New Village Green

You’ve heard of a progressive dinner. Ever hear of a progressive concert? You have now, thanks to the efforts of Ralph Ehlert, who has spearheaded a creative way to raise money for the renovation of Wauwatosa’s village green.

The Mayfair Rotary Club is working to restore the triangular-shaped pocket park in the 7500 block of Harwood Ave. Helping to boost the Rotary’s fund-raising efforts, our church, Wauwatosa Avenue United Methodist Church and Saint Bernard’s Roman Catholic Church are collaborating on a progressive concert on Sunday afternoon June 5.

The concert will begin at our church at 3 p.m. with a special 20-minute segment featuring Ralph on the organ, and vocalists Jill Bruss (accompanied by Paula Foley Tillen), Kimberly Porter and Dale Porter. Then the audience will head – on foot or by car – to the Methodist church (just around the corner at 1529 Wauwatosa Ave.), where another 20-minute concert will be presented. Then everyone heads to Saint Bernard’s Church (7474 Harwood Ave.) for the final presentation and a reception at the soon-to-be-restored park. A free-will offering will be taken at each concert site which will go toward the restoration of the park, the Rotary Village Green.

Originally known as “Root Common” the park traces its existence back to the early days of Wauwatosa and reflects the influence of its original New England settlers. A common, also known as a green, was land set apart for the use of all the citizens for grazing livestock and over time became a place for meeting and celebration.
The plans for the Village Green include a small performance area, walkways, new plantings, a holiday tree, flag pole, a sculpture and, of course, the ever-popular popcorn wagon. The Rotary Club plans a “taste of Tosa” with local restaurants and is selling wristbands to support the project. Information is available at www.rotaryvillagegreen.org.

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Make Plans Now

First Church will serve as the headquarters for the Wauwatosa Historical Society tour of historic homes on Church Street, Saturday, October 1, 2005. It is appropriate for us to participate in this event as we were the first church gathered in Wauwatosa in 1842 and have been located here on Church Street since 1853. Volunteers will be needed to provide tours of our meeting house and to prepare and distribute light refreshments. Will you join in this opportunity to demonstrate our warm hospitality and to share our historic meeting house with the Wauwatosa community? If you wish to participate in this historic occasion please contact Julie Peay, event coordinator at 414-258-2986 or juliepeay@aol.com.

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Elevator Out of Service Six Weeks

The Board of Trustees has contracted for some much-needed upgrades on our elevator that will necessitate our having to shut down the equipment on Thursday, June 2 for a minimum of six weeks. This is an inconvenience for our members and staff, but the changes are necessary for us to meet safety standards and to comply with state guidelines. We will do this during the summer months when our programming tapers off and Sunday coffee hours are held in Friendship Lounge.

The work should take six weeks, unless unforeseen problems occur. Watch for publications and signage that will inform you when the elevator is back in service.

Thanks for your understanding. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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Lectionary Readings

June 5 Third Sunday after Pentecost
Old Testament Genesis 12:1–9
Psalmody Psalm 33:1–12
New Testament Romans 4:13–25
Gospel Matthew 9:9–13, 18–26

June 12 Fourth Sunday after Pentecost
Old Testament Genesis 18:1–5
Psalmody Psalm 116:1–2, 12–19
New Testament Romans 5:1–8
Gospel Matthew 9:35–10:8 (9–23)

June 19 Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Old Testament Genesis 21:8–21
Psalmody Psalm 86:1–10, 16–17
New Testament Romans 6:1b–11
Gospel Matthew 10:24–39

June 26 Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
Old Testament Genesis 22:1–14
Psalmody Psalm 13
New Testament Romans 6:12–23
Gospel Matthew 10:40–42

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In Brief

Pioneer Club Car Wash
The Pioneer Club will be holding a car wash at First Congregational Church on Saturday, June 4th, from 9 a.m. until noon. All proceeds will be sent to support the school that our pen-pals in Dodji attend.

Opeartiona Crayon
Women from the Thursday monring group packed school supplies for childrren in Iraq in conjunction with Operation Crayon. We also received $600 in donations...some from church members and even more from “strangers” who read Rick Koch’s request in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

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

Monday, June 13, noon.
Please email to Beth Linscott at ddinc@wi.rr.com or Sam Schaal at schaals@firstchurchtosa.org.
Hard copy may be brought to the church office and left in the Columns mailbox.

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Congregational Columns

Editor, Beth Linscott
Communications Committee
Mary York - Chairperson, Barb Dunham, Arlette Lindbergh,
Marilyn Auer, Tammy Bokern

Rev. Steven Peay, Ph.D., Minister

Rev. Samuel Schaal, Associate Minister

Rev. Carrie Kreps Wegenast, Associate Minister

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

Cindy Payette, Administrator

Lee Jacobi, Director of Music

Betty Dethmers, Organist

Anne Callen, Office Manager

Sharon Cook-Bahr, Secretary

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. 20, Issue 5