Year in Review 1996

Report of the Moderator

Report of the Minister

Church Clerk's Report

Digest of 153rd Annual Meeting of January 17, 1996

Proposed Budget for 1997

Report of the Moderator

As I was thinking about this message, one little rhyme I taught our children kept running through my thoughts. As the Children clasped their hands, we would say: "This is the church, this is the steeple, open the door and see all the people."  This seems very appropriate for our church today even though the rhyme goes back many years.  We have a wonderful church building, a brand new steeple, and an outstanding gathering of people.

Last year at this time a committee was working on a report to present at the Annual Meeting regarding the fund raising campaign for rebuilding our steeple.  We can be very proud that the campaign was successful.  The steeple has been rebuilt and back where it should be, atop our church.  A job well done!  This could only be done with generous and caring church members.

The past year has been very challenging, interesting and busy.  We can look back and be very proud of our accomplishments.  Every board and committee has been hard at work with their respective duties.  The Board of Education implemented a new Sunday School curriculum.  The Board of Trustees has been very busy with the renovation of the Social Hall.  The new windows are in and the wall radiators are out and new baseboard heating has been installed.  The rest of the work; wall and window treatment, ceiling replacement, new lights will be completed in 1997.  They have replaced the fire alarm system and installed a new building security system and our computers have been updated.  The Board of Stewardship had a successful campaign.  The Board of Fellowship keeps putting together new ideas for us to "Taste" and all or our food and fellowship events are growing more popular each month.

The Board of Deacons was given a real workout with all the baptisms this year and will be conducting a survey on possible time changes for worship services.  The Board of Congregational Care is continuing to take "good care" of our many caring needs.  The Board of Benevolences continued its work of investigating where our funds should be spent.  They also gave funds and supplies to our Honduran Mission Team.  The Church Council approved a new financial plan that will enable us to establish a Heritage Endowment Fund, a Program Development Fund and a Facilities Renewal Fund.

We have had a couple of "firsts" this year.  It was the first full year for Rev. Lonnie Richardson and Rev. Dr. Steven Peay to be with our church.  What a wonderful team we have working with us and for us.  It was the first time that a group of church members has gone to one of our missions and given them "hands-on" help. It was a great learning experience for all of us, and we thank you all very much!

Rev. Chris Rygh

We have added two new people to our staff: Chris Rygh, ministerial intern, and Roy Brouwer, our new building superintendent.  The rest of our staff remains the same, a caring and faithful group of people.  They all have been a pleasure to work with.

As I said at the beginning, here is the church and here is the steeple and we open the door and see all the people.  You are all so very special and it has been my sincere pleasure to serve you this past year.  God bless each of you and thank you!

Marion Petersen, Moderator, 1996

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Report of the Minister for 1996

Rev. Lonnie A. Richardson

January 19, 1997

Our task is to help people connect to God. with this before us as our definitive focus we are meeting the challenges of the future. Faith, Freedom and fellowship have been the arms of the connection. Stretching high to the renovated steeple, expanding throughout active facilities and reaching beyond to the foreign mission field of Honduras, we have truly been connected to the Master's hand.

Statistically speaking, every time our doors were open on Sunday morning someone joined and was baptized. We baptized 52 and received 54 new members. 1996 ended with another increase in average attendance at 379. My target for average worship attendance is 500 which is a healthy number for our facilities. We will reach this goal in five years.

total pledge income increased 10% as well as the number of pledges. While this is encouraging, our financial challenge lies in making up the loss of income from the increasing number of strong supporters who have died. As the church continues to meet the needs of people and is faithful to the faith, this will not be a future issue for us.

This will be a year to focus on children and young adult ministries. You will learn more about our new Growth and Development Family of funds which give us options to invest in the future of the church. We will also have our Internet web site constructed.

first Congregational is a wonderful place and you are a wonderful people. I am blessed to be your senior minister and thank you for your trust in my leadership and your encouragement. Remember, there is no limit to what a church can do that does not place a limit on God.


Rev. Lonnie Richardson

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Church Clerk's Report

Membership as of December 31, 1995

Members deceased

Members transferred or removed by request

Total removed
- 46

New Members
Covenant Class 11
3/96 Class 13
5/96 Class 10
10/20 Class 18
Reinstated 2
Total New Members + 54

Total Membership as of December 31, 1996

Ministerial Services

Baptisms, 52
Marriages, 12
Funerals and Memorial Services
Members, 17
Non-members, 6

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Digest of 153rd Annual Meeting of January 17, 1996

Rev. Dr. Steven Peay gave the Invocation. following dinner, our choir Quartet presented a short program. Moderator Mary York called meeting to order. Motion made, seconded to accept the 152nd annual Meeting Minutes. Mary recalled 1995 points of interest; including arrivals of Reverends Richardson and Peay. Plans are to rebuild our steeple and refurbish the Social Hall, under the "Restore Our Heritage" Campaign.

Minister's Report: Lonnie Richardson announced a church-wide event, giving members an opportunity to assess our ministry and design our future. Steven Peay wants to become a Congregational minister; a Vicinage Council will be held.

Music Director, Lee Jacobi, commended soloists, Patty Kostreva, Dulcy Miller, roger Jacobi, Gary Back, and back-up organist, Ralph Ehlert. Nancy Hayes presented each with a special gift from the congregation.

A quorum was declared by Mary York.

Treasurer's Report: discussion centered on the amount taken from The Growth and Development Fund, approved at 5.1% by the church Council. Motion made, seconded to accept Treasurer's Report. Joe Berte is now "retiring". Marion Petersen presented the Proposed 1996 Budget. Many budget requests were reduced. Interest of $15,000 is included from Growth and Development. following discussion, a motion was made, seconded to accept the budget.

Congregational Home: Burleigh Jacobs reported a successful 1995 with 95% residency. A survey showed C.H. to be near the top in care, quality and excellence. Call sally Wells to volunteer time and talents. C.H. supplied 340 meals in the Mobile Meals program. Short term respite care is offered by C.H.

"Restore Our Heritage" Campaign: Doug Jacobson gave a brief history of the steeple built in 1919 and the Social Hall, in 1859. At a Congregational Meeting, a projected cost of $440,000 was presented to rebuild the steeple and renovate the Social Hall. The congregation voted to take $150,000 from Growth and development Fund, leaving a balance of $290,000 to be raised by the congregation. Merrill York released helium-filled balloons in celebration of raising $301,095.

Stew Davis discussed "The Proposed by-Law Change," to call an "Associate or Assistant Minister." Article II,E. "The Active Members may authorize any number of Associate or Assistant Minister Positions. Approval by the Active Members of a budget containing compensation for any such positions shall constitute authorization by the Active Members of such Positions. Upon authorization of such positions by the Active Members, the Council may select and call Associate or Assistant Ministers upon terms fixed by written agreement, subject to all other provisions of these By-Laws." Motion made, seconded, passed.

Retiring officers, board and committee members were recognized. Jeff Saeger, Nominating Committee Chair, read 1996 late of officers. Motion to accept passed.

Old Business: Explanatory sheet on "Policies of the Congregational aid fund" is available

In-Care Voted to continue Wendy Sue Earle and John Moore "in-care" of the church.

New Moderator Marion Petersen thanked Mary York for her outstanding job as Moderator during a transition year; 1996 will also be one of change; more so in the physical aspect of the church.

New business: Ed Probst moved : "The Stewardship Committee investigate the possibility of the membership determining the benevolence budget by splitting pledge amounts into benevolences and general operating funds." Jim Benz advised motion be "advisory" in presentation. Motion seconded, passed. Meeting adjourned at 9:45 with singing of "Blest Be the Tie That Binds." Julie Strandt, board of Deacons Chair, gave benediction.

Respectfully submitted, Betsy Isenberg, Church Clerk

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Trustees $90,725 $85,195
Deacons 3,475 3,443
Congregational Care 900 476
Christian Fellowship 2,500 1,855
Christian Education 9,000 8,070
Stewardship, regular 2,100 2,027
canvass 2,500 2,429
Communications 26,800 23,845
Music 4,735 4,673
Personnel 399,245 381,978
Council Sub-Committees 2,300 1,958
Benevolences 58,000 58,000
Expected Pledge Payments $563,630  
Other Receipts 23,650  
Interest from Heritage Endowment Fund 15,000  

Budget and Finance Committee: Peter Holtz, Chairman; Butch Boyd, Kent Granberg, Jane Jacobson, Jeff Kelling, George Nortman, Char Schweitzer, Barbara Zaiser

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