April 2007

First in faith, freedom, fellowship, and Wauwatosa


Table of Contents

Easter Offering; Local and Global Outreach

Holy Week Worship

Spring Clean Up Day - April 28

Minister's Musings

WCA Meets in Mukwanogo

Sunday Symposium

Faith and Film Flowers with 'Lilies'

Final 4 O'clock

Breakfast with the Girls

Munchkin Matters

PF Place

St. Vincent Corrdinator Needed

Wanted: New Name

Lenten Thoughts

In Brief

Lectionary Readings

Easter Offering:
Local and Global Outreach

Each year your Board of Benevolences seeks out projects so that our church continues to bless the world by reaching out to those in need. The two proposed recipients of your generosity touch the lives of many people. We hope to raise at least $12,000 (with 50 percent going to each recipient) to support the following works:

’Tosa Community Food Pantry provides food for 70 to 80 local families each month and is sponsored by 18 Wauwatosa churches.

The Congregational Churches of Myanmar (Burma) provide a new opportunity for our mission giving. Many of us heard the Rev. Elvis Sa Do preach his first sermon in English during worship in June last year. Sa Do is the head of the CCM which is growing and needs trained ministers and teachers. Our offering will support the first year of the school. Sa Do has also requested help with developing the library, so we’ll provide an opportunity in the near future for church members to purchase and dedicate books that will form the core of the new ministry training school library in Myanmar.

The Board of Benevolences
Dick Berger, Rebecca Haefner, Brain Bahr,
Lyle Dobberke, Nick Sgarlata and Jeff Snell

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Holy Week Worship

Palm/Passion Sunday April 1
8:45 and 11 a.m.

Maundy Thursday April 5
10 a.m. (Lounge)
7 p.m. (Social Hall)

Good Friday April 6
Tenebrae 7 p.m.

Easter Vigil April 7
Begins 7 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church
1717 Church Street
then proceeds to First Congregational

Easter Sunday April 8
8:45 and 11 a.m.
No classes


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Spring Clean Up Day – April 28

Can you spare a couple of hours? The annual church spring clean up day will be on Saturday, April 28. We need volunteers of all ages (including independent children) to spend all or part of the day sprucing up our church.

What can you accomplish in a couple of hours? Plenty! There are activities for any and all skill levels – inside and out. Sunday school room furniture and toys in the nursery need scrubbing. All of the woodwork in the nave needs a good cleaning and windows need washing. Furniture in the parlor, library, and lounge needs cleaning and polishing. The kitchen also needs to have cupboards and appliances cleaned.

Outdoor activities include lawn and garden work. Please bring along your lawn and garden tools, carts, and ladders. We’ll have a huge load of mulch to move and pavers to lay around the trees in the parking lot. First floor windows on the outside also need to be washed. Some painting and caulking may also need to be done.

The schedule is:
• Donuts and coffee at 8 a.m.
• Work starts anytime after that.
• Lunch will be served around Noon.
• Ending around 3 p.m.

We always need help in the afternoon to get things put away so the church is ready for worship on Sunday morning.

Childcare will be available if we know in advance. So please register for the workday event and specify the number of children requiring childcare. Sign up in the atrium April 15 and 22, or register at the church office.


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Minister's Musings

Experiencing Greater Hilarity

As I write this the first real evidences that winter is on the wane and spring just may come float through my study window: the smell of fresh air; the birds singing; the sounds of children playing. The greatest evidence that spring is coming to the Milwaukee area: the sound of a Harley on the parkway! These signs of spring take my mind to an old German Easter hymn – one we rarely, if ever, sing, “The Whole Bright World Rejoices Now.”

Two of its four verses read like this: “The whole bright world rejoices now, Hilariter, Hilariter; the birds do sing on every bough, Alleluia, Alleluia./And all you living things make praise, Hilariter, Hilariter. He guideth you on all your ways, Alleluia, Alleluia.” Hilariter means “joyfully” or “cheerfully” in Latin. I like the word because it comes from the root for our word “hilarious” and “hilarity.” Spring should bring hilarity and Easter, the Christian Pasch (Passover), brings even greater hilarity! The whole bright world rejoices and laughs a belly laugh – life reigns!

Sometimes, times like the ones we’re in, when there are so many things to depress or sadden us (the threat of terrorism, the continuing conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq, economic uncertainty, rising gas prices, more and more talk of climate change with more and more evidence of it, and the list could go on) we need to remember to rejoice, to laugh. It’s at times like these that we need to look to the little things, things like smells, sights, sounds and the ability to smell, see and hear and to just laugh that we’re alive and that living itself is good and reminds us that there is hope.

The 20th century theologian Louis Bouyer reminds us that our Christian faith doesn’t promise a panacea, doesn’t promise, as it has been accused, “pie in the sky, by and bye, when you die.” Rather, it causes us to face down evil and to deal with reality. In doing so it teaches us not to depend on ourselves, but on the Creator God who is stronger than any evil. Bouyer wrote, “Henceforth everything is changed. What was impossible to our weakness has been accomplished by the strength of God, not only for but in our weakness. We are not simply invited to escape the hostile forces: We are called upon to defeat them. The prospect reopened to us is that of a whole world regenerated in Christ, based on a humanity completely healed in body as well as soul. For the joy of Easter, the joy of faith, is not just spiritual joy; it is the joy of the whole person, body and soul, and it is a cosmic joy.”

So rejoice with the whole bright world. Experience what it means to live hilariter. The Risen One calls us to joy in believing, to hope and to love in living – hilariter, alleluia!
Our lives in the here-and-now should reflect the hope toward which we live and the joy which makes a difference. I think part of the “marketing problem” of the Christian faith over the generations is that we’ve forgotten the hilariter factor. We get so serious that we forget the reason why Christ came among us – to rejoin us with God, to fan the Divine spark within us into flame, to bring us to entheosis (literally in-God-ness). That’s the promise and the assurance that we have and our Puritan forebears (who were not so dour as Mencken and others have painted them) understood this and were serious about it, but they were joyful. Let’s see a bit more hilariter in the halls of old First Church and then let it spill out into this “bright world,” which is dimmed a bit by all the great goings-on we’re living through.

I would be less-than-honest if I said that the response to my pleadings for participation in our “Holy Conversations” was outstanding; far from it. However, those who have come have learned, talked, prayed, laughed, been honest and grown together. We’ve made it through the “who are we?” phase of the conversation and as I write this are about to begin the “what does God want?” and “who is our neighbor?” phase. It’s never too late to join the conversation, just like it’s never too late to join in the laughter. If you’ve not come, come and bring your honest thoughts as we talk about the future of our life together here on Church Street. You know, I’m just a strong enough believer to think that God will use what we’ve done and good will come of it. Paul’s words to the Romans that “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28) and our Lord’s words to Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well” keep me going. Our becoming a blessed Church is part of the Easter promise and I continue my ministry among you hilariter. Have a blessed, a hilarious Easter!

Yours in the Risen One,
Rev. Steven A. Peay, Ph.D.
Senior Minister

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WCA Meets in Mukwonago

Congregationalists are not “Lone Rangers.” We are in fellowship with sister Congregational churches. That fellowship is what makes us Congregationalists. For First Church-Wauwatosa our fellowship is regional (the Wisconsin Congregational Association), national (National Association of Congregational Christian Churches) and international (International Congregational Fellowship). The 47th Annual Meeting of the WCA will be held on April 27 and 28 at First Church-Mukwonago. The meeting is not just for clergy. It provides an opportunity to meet other followers of the Way, to learn some new things and to grow in our shared walk. If you’ve not been to a WCA meeting consider going. Registration information is on the atrium welcome table or see one of the ministers.

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Sunday Symposium

Sundays 10 a.m.
Friendship Lounge

April 1
Paul in Macedonia IV: The Jews of Boerea and Elsewhere
Dan Schowalter

April 8
Easter Sunday
No Symposium

April 15
Render Unto Caesar: The Early Church and the Roman Empire

Dan Schowalter

April 22
Spiritual Odyssey Series
How I Became a “Ger Tzedek” (Righteous Convert)

Sandra Bisciglia, Carthage College Religion Department, discusses her conversion from Roman Catholicism to Judaism

April 29
Why I Will/Won’t Join First Church

Conversations with the youth of our Covenant Class continue

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Faith and Film Flowers with ‘Lilies’

Lilies of the Field (1963)
April 20, 7:30 p.m., Lounge
This month on First Church’s big screen is the delightful classic “Lilies of the Field.” A wandering ex-GI (Sidney Poitier) encounters a desert community of five nuns headed by the strict Mother Maria (Lilia Skala) who have escaped from behind the Berlin Wall. He’s a wanderer who stops for water for his car, but Mother Maria insists God sent him to build her chapel. The movie is delightfully bright, yet theologically rich. Poitier picked up an Oscar for best actor. Filmed in glorious black and white. Come relax on the sofas in the informal atmosphere and enjoy desserts, premium coffees, premium water and popcorn.

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Final 4 O’clock

The final concert in the 2007 4 O’clock concert series is April 15 at 4 p.m. and features Milwaukee organist Karen Beaumont who brings her artful command of the instrument to First Church’s fifty-rank, three-manual Moller organ. She is the Music Director at St. James Episcopal Church in Milwaukee. She debuted at St. Thomas Church in New York City in 1999 and has returned to the city to perform each year since.

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Breakfast with the Girls

The March gathering of Breakfast With the Girls was a wonderful touch of spring – something we all needed. Melody Narr shared her gardening advice with us and we shared our ideas and experiences with each other. For just a while the snow banks seemed to fade away.

The buzz is already starting about our April 7th program which you are not going to want to miss! The Milwaukee Art Museum is full of treasures, but some of them you rarely see: the vast collection of prints, drawings, posters, maps and book arts. Today the collection represents more than 400 years of creative production and spans the history of graphic art.

Please join us as curator Mary Weaver Chapin shares slides of this dynamic collection and talks about exciting recent developments at the Museum. As you know, friends are always welcome and goodie donations are appreciated. Signing up at the office helps us with a nose count, so try to remember!


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Munchkin Matters

Sunday School Open House
Thanks to all who are planning to come to the open house, Sunday, March 25. The kids and their teachers put in a lot of work getting ready for the event. Since our Sunday School runs at the same time as services it’s easy for the people involved to feel disconnected, as if this were a babysitting program designed to keep noisy children from disturbing worship. In fact, the sacrifices these teachers make week after week ARE acts of worship, ones that many are unwilling to emulate. Sunday School open house is one chance for the larger body to recognize the hard work of these few. Thank you for valuing their effort and creativity.

Drive in Movie: Charlotte’s Web
Friday, April 27, 6 p.m.
$3 for pizza; kids 5 and under eat free

Dakota Fanning, Cedric the Entertainer, Reba McEntire, Robert Redford and John Cleese provide voices for the barnyard cast in this retelling of the classic children’s book. The future looks bleak for a piglet named Wilbur (voiced by 10-year-old Dominic Scott Kay) until he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a spider named Charlotte (Julia Roberts). Parents can check out
www.commonsensemedia.org for an in-depth movie review. Please sign up at the church office; we need a minimum of 15 by April 15.

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PF Place

Junior High Rally: April 20 & 21
The Wisconsin Congregational Association (WCA) had a hard time finding a leader for this one, so info is a bit late coming out. Generally, rallies cost $15 (less if you register early). Keep an eye on www.wiscongregational.net for more details.

Youth Sunday and Graduate Recognition: April 29
Our young people will be planning and leading worship April 29. Everything from song choice to sermon preparation will be their choice. (Which means attending meetings in the month of April is important, kids!) We will also be recognizing the hard work and dedication of our graduating seniors. Parents, please register your graduates at the church office so we know who will be attending.

Covenant Class
Confirmation: May 6

Two years of meetings. Two years of papers and lessons and questions. I was only here for the second half of their journey, but this year’s confirmation class has impressed me. They ask hard questions and they give honest answers, which is exactly what I’d hope for from a Covenant Class. The goal here is not to produce new First Church-ers; the goal is extend a warm welcome, to give them every opportunity to understand who we are and what we’re about, and to help them discern their place in that picture. It’s a level of investment we don’t make for just anyone, only our kids, because we love them, even enough to let them go. Please be present on May 6 to witness their decision.

Summer Stuff
WCA Camp
is new this year! They’ve added a component for younger kids. Jr. High and Sr. High runs July 8-14 as usual, but now kids that have completed 4th and 5th grade can attend Jr. Camp July 8-11. For more info, phone WCA resource person, Cheryl Stapleton at 608-295-1882 or 608-364-1996 or e-mail her at

International Congregational Fellowship (ICF)
is looking for a couple of young people 15-25 years of age to participate in a Youth Mission and Conference Planning Session in San Pedro, Honduras, July 13-17. They will participate in a mission trip and also help plan the 2009 ICF meeting. Registration and $50 deposit due ASAP. Scholarship money is available.

NAPF and HOPE will run June 23-27 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The NACCC website says, “We will have shuttles from the Indianapolis airport. There is also a train station 1/4 mile from the university. Don’t delay, start planning now. We will be doing some very exciting things during this time - missions day, a ‘silent auction’ like you’ve never seen, and much more.” You can get registration forms and more info at www.naccc.org.

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St. Vincent Coordinator Needed

Want an easy and rewarding way to make a difference in the lives of others? Consider being the new coordinator of our St. Vincent’s meal program.
Call Jim verDuin for more information..

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Wanted: New Name

First off, I’m officially opening a contest. Anyone may apply; only one will win. I need a new title for this column. “Youthful Reflections” just isn’t cutting it. I have to hand in next month’s articles on April 12, so that’s the cutoff. Drop off a slip of paper at the office with your name, phone number and your suggestion for a new title for my column, and you just may win the giant candy bar of your choice. Non candy-eaters can join me for Starbucks. Non-candy eating, non-mocha drinking types can come over to my place for supper. Non-candy eating, non-mocha drinking, non-supper eating types need to loosen up a bit.

On a more serious note, I’ve had a few parents approach me with questions they don’t know how to answer. “My daughter wants to know if people who don’t believe in Jesus go to hell.” “My son wants to know why God never talks back when we pray.” Here are a few key phrases. Memorize them and use them frequently.

“That’s a great question! What do you think?”
“I wonder about that too sometimes. What do you think?”
“You know, I really don’t know why that is. What do you think?”

I hope you’re beginning to see a pattern here. Kids want answers; we all want answers! But what we need is to be heard, to have a conversation. These verbal jujitsu moves should give you a little room to breathe. Listen to what they have to say, talk with them at their level if you can, and if you can’t (Some questions don’t have answers and sometimes we don’t have words.) then here’s one last phrase you might want to try.

“Let’s ask (insert trusted person here) about that.”

We all want to be wise, or at least seem wise in the eyes of our kids. But wisdom is not a prerequisite for parenthood. (Lucky for me!) We all want to know the answers. But what we need is not to feel alone when they ask the questions.

Rev. Rob Brink
Associate Minister

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Lenten Thoughts

“But by the grace of God I am what I am…” –1 Corinthians 15:10

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God…”
– Ephesians 2:8

In Paul’s letters to the churches in Corinth and Ephesus, is he expressing confidence, trust or acceptance – or is he recognizing the source of his strength and inspiration? Or all of the above?

Since Allen’s death over four years ago, I have continued to live alone in a big old house that constantly needs attention. However, I seldom feel alone – thanks to what I learned from some dear members of our church when I was living in the area. Because of their actions in my life, I now strive to become more aware of others’ feelings and needs, and ways I can support them – tools for living from the inside out to share the gifts of God’s grace – with gratitude for friends here as well, who continue to touch my life in the north woods.

I thank God daily for so many blessings – starting with the ability to recognize them! Recently I announced to family and friends that I have a new motto: “Whatever works.” I am counting on God’s gifts to make the “whatevers” workable and to celebrate whatever IS.

Loving God, may I hear your direction in “I am what I am.” Open my eyes, my heart and my hands to others’ needs as well as to their wonder and joy. In the steps of Jesus, Amen.
—Nancy Smart

“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends…And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”
–1 Corinthians 13:4-13

When I helped mount the memorial plaques in the atrium commemorating those who selflessly gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms in the service to our country, I kept thinking of these two passages. I didn’t know any of these people but have lost close friends to war, making it very difficult to read John 15:13 without tears. Following that reading with 1 Corinthians, you start to grasp the ultimate love Jesus expressed to us. In times of extreme trial, you truly do turn inward, searching for the courage to go forward. Looking inward almost always leads you back outward to those around you, especially those you trust and love, knowing they will need you for the same support when they face their times of trial. Thus the understanding of what Jesus and Paul are telling us is revealed. You don’t have to be in war or battle to understand; everyday life has its own stresses and loneliness. Opening yourself to and trusting Jesus and those around you is the beginning of that ultimate sacrifice. Loving, trusting, and believing in those around you takes the fear away, making you more complete in the process.

Dear Lord Jesus, Let me trust those around me as if their lives depended on me. Let me learn to take their burdens from them so we all trust and love as one. Make me ready to lay down my life for my friends when the need comes just as you did for us.
—Harry Collis

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In Brief

Jonathan Sgarlata and Jessica Lehtinen, married on March 10, 2007 in Duluth, MN.

Circle 13 Book Club, Collection
Join Circle 13 at 7 p.m. Tuesday April 10 for a lively discussion of Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It’s a mini-potluck event so bring a little something to share. And, cull your shelves of gently used books from you or your children to be donated to the women and children of Joyhouse.

Strwberry Luncheon
Reception - 12 noon
Luncheon Served - 12:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 17
Tickets $18, Reservations required
Congregational Home
3150 Lilly Road, Brookfield, WI 53005

Save Your Stuff
Cleaning closets, the basement, the attic
or the garage this spring? Save your
gently used, good quality items for the
First Church Rummage Sale!
Circle 13 volunteers are organizing an
all-church rummage sale to benefit the Jr.
and Sr. PF Groups. Your donations of
clothing, toys, books, sporting goods,
household items, electronics, and furniture
are needed. (No computers please)
Donations of bags and hangers
are also needed.
The Rummage Sale is scheduled for
Saturday, June 2 from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Special drop-off dates for donations will
be announced in the May Columns and
the weekly Green Sheet.
Watch for more information!
If you would like to volunteer
to help with the sale, please contact
Jennifer Wareham at 262-827-9992.

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Lectionary Readings

Texts used in Sunday worship

April 1 Palm Sunday

Processional Gospel Luke 19:28–40
Old Testament Isaiah 50:4–9
Psalmody Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29; 31:9–16
New Testament Philippians 2:5–11
Gospel Luke 23:1–49

April 5 Maundy Thursday
Old Testament Exodus 12:1–4 (5–10), 11–14
Psalmody Psalm 116:1–4, 12–19
New Testament 1 Corinthians 11:23–36
Gospel John 13:1–17, 31b–35

April 6 Good Friday
Old Testament Isaiah 52:13–53:12
Psalmody Psalm 22
New Testament Hebrews 10:16–25
Gospel John 18:1—19:42

April 8 Easter Sunday
First Lesson Acts 10:34–43
Psalmody Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24
New Testament 1 Corinthians 15:19–26
Gospel Luke 24:1–12 (13–33)

April 15 2nd Sunday of Easter
First Lesson Acts 5:27–32
Psalmody Psalm 150
New Testament Revelation 1:4–8
Gospel John20:19–31

April 22 3rd Sunday of Easter
First Lesson Acts 9:1–6 (7–20)
Psalmody Psalm 30
New Testament Revelation 5:11–14
Gospel John 21:1–19

April 29 4th Sunday of Easter
First Lesson Acts 9:36–43
Psalmody Psalm 23
New Testament Revelation 7:9–17
Gospel John 10:22–30

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

Monday, April 16, 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
Arlette Lindbergh-Chairperson, Marilyn Auer,
Sally Wells, Paige Galfano

Rev. Steven Peay, Ph.D., Senior Minister
Rev. Samuel Schaal, Associate Minister
Rev. Rob Brink, Associate Minister
Rev. Charles Goldsmith, Ph.D.,Congregational Home Chaplain
Cindy Payette, Administrator
Lee Jacobi, Director of Music
Thomas Gregory, Organist
Anne Callen, Office Manager
Sharon Cook-Bahr, Secretary
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. 22, Issue 3