From the Pastor’s Desk : Blessed to Be a Blessing—Hidden Treasure
During the month of October, members and friends of First Congregational UCC will be receiving a letter, a pledge card, and a “Time and Talent” survey sheet in preparation for Stewardship Sunday, November 11, when we will dedicate our pledges for 2019. I’d like to share with you the following from a stewardship devotional from the booklet “The Big Secret of Giving: Hidden Treasures in Life and Church.” I hope, in considering a pledge of time, talent and treasure for the church, you might spend time with the reading below and consider the questions provided. I know they speak to me right now with both comfort and challenge. I hope they will speak to you as well.
- Deep-sea explorers recently mined what could be the richest shipwreck in history, bringing home 17 tons of colonial-era silver and gold coins from an undisclosed site off the coast of England.
- Jesus speaks about hidden treasures of unsurpassed worth. It’s sometimes hard to find lasting value. He compares God’s powerful love to a tiny mustard seed planted beneath the soil; to a small bit of leaven hidden in three measures of flour; to a treasure buried in a field; to a rare pearl hidden among pearls of lesser value, to a great catch of fish hiding below the surface of the sea (Matthew 13:31-33, 44-49a).
- To know more completely the abundance with which God blesses us takes mining, what can be called “deep seeing”—what the poet, Theodore Roethke, calls “long looking”–“I recover my tenderness by long looking. By midnight I love everything alive.”
- We are prone instead to tunnel vision. We tend to focus on what we’ve always seen or expect to see, quickly fixating on what can’t be or shouldn’t be, rather than on what can be, and what is. “Earth’s crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God; But only the one who sees takes off their shoes—The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning).
- God may be hidden, but God is not hiding. Something divine is revealed in every moment of time and in every breath of life. Too often in the busyness of our everyday lives we fail to look again—and miss the treasure that lies not miles away from us, somewhere else, but just beneath the surface.
- Knowing all we’ve been given inspires our own giving, making us generous in return.
What are instances of “hidden treasures” in my life? in my church? What am I not seeing—what am I not appreciating—right in front of me right now?
See you in church! Pastor Doug
An Invitation for Membership Orientation/Exploration
If you have an interest in possibly joining our membership or simply learning more about First Congregational and the United Church of Christ as well as what it means to be a member, please let Pastor Doug know and we’ll make arrangements for a no-obligation membership orientation/exploration session, or talk further about your interest.
CONFIRMATION MENTORS POOL
A new confirmation class will be starting in October. And while confirmands-to-be are being strongly encouraged to think of and ask a church member of their choosing to be a mentor for them, we would like to know of those of you who might consider being a mentor, especially if a confirmand-to-be is not sure who to ask and so on. Please let Pastor Doug know if you would be open to being considered as a possible mentor and/or your questions about what that entails. Thank you!
FLOOD RELIEF CONTRIBUTIONS
To make monetary donations for flood relief in Sauk County go to www.greatersaukcountycf.org.
Habitat for Humanity Build
We are building a home at 540 White Spruce Avenue on the south side of Baraboo near many of the other homes we have built together. The foundation has been poured and work has begun in earnest. We will have regular workdays on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Our construction manager will be on site each of those days to assist volunteers and show folks “the ropes”. We are looking for volunteers to help in any way they can; experience is not necessary. There is work for every skill level. And we need lunch donations as well. So if feeding the hungry is your thing, there is a place for you. For further information or to sign up for a particular work day, call our Habitat office at (608) 448-2888 and ask for Jessica our Volunteer Coordinator.
From Our Parish Nurse By: Geri Schoenoff
Sometimes we hear a comment that just stays with you and it begins to trigger thoughts in your mind that will not leave you–ever. Such was the comment made by one of our dear parishoners during our annual picnic two years ago. To her, the picnic was special because she was witn essing the children playing made up games. To her it wasn’t the food or the other adults there but the witnessing of children playing that was bringing joy to her. She lamented to me ,”children don’t seem to know how to play games anymore.” This was a scene she had witnessed many times years ago in her childhood. From two recent articles , one from the Wi. State Journal dated Aug.8,th, “Could be doctors’s orders:Let children just play” and the other article from the Opinion section of Wi State Journal of Sept. 12, titled,’ Play is the work of the child, Protect it”,both articles strongly concurred that our children are losing the gift of time to just play.
All the values that we want for ourselves as adults e.g.decision making, creativity, conflict resolving, and other attributes can be built from play of early childhood . The source is unknown, but the comment, “Play is the work of the child” is very true, so let the games begin..
We know that school academics, digital screen time and organized sports are leaving precious time to “just play”. Play that is encouraged by loving caregivers and their peers in a child’s life promotes self-regulation, language, social-.relationships and so much more.
I’ve always felt that good old -fashioned safe play with minimal adult intrusion is to be encouraged by caring involved adults. As DR.Navsaria, an associate professor of pediatrics at U.W states “, Play is the work of the child. Protect it”
A Note from the Moderator . . . .
Three months until Christmas! Four months until the Annual Congregational Meeting! You are on your own for personal Christmas plans, but we are starting already to work toward the Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee (Kay Hallanger, Barb Alexander, Dale Sprecher) is beginning its work. I have appointed the Audit Committee (Greg Wise, Bonnie Manning, Jim Damos) that will spring into action in January. I recently appointed two ad hoc committees: Committee on Pastor Compensation (Shari Russell, Bill Dresen, Greg Hollenback) and Committee to Study Church-time Arrangements for Infants & Toddlers (Emily Olson, Bill Dresen, Gretchen Dresen, Kit Eilertson). The Infants & Toddler Committee would benefit from a few more members, so please let me know if you would like to be added to the roster. We are a busy church full of busy people!
Enjoy the season,
Fall Family Fun BINGO Night
Friday, November 2
The Christian Education Board is planning a Family Game Night for Friday, November from 5:00 – 7:30. There will be Bingo, prizes and pizza for adults and children of all ages.
Join the fun. Come when you can, stay as long as you are able. We’ll be serving pizza for all. Encourage your friends and neighbors to join us! There will be a free will offering to help cover the cost of the pizza. It will help the planners if you add your name to our sign-up sheet in the narthex or call Claudia Bavlnka at 745-2115.
The Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery-An Invitation to Study
Beginning Sunday, September 30th, during Adult Christian Education, Missions and Social Concerns along with Christian Education will be embarking on the study and understanding of the Doctrine of Discovery.
We plan to present aspects of the Doctrine with a summary and a discussion of 4 of the 10 elements of the Doctrine of Discovery on September 29th. On October 14 we will be reflecting and facilitating a discussion on Manifest Destiny. October 29th will be dedicated to the words of Chief Red Jacket and a discussion of “Religion of the White Man and the Red”.
We are in contact with Larry Littlegeorge from Ho-Cak Nation and UCC church at Indian Mission, Wisconsin. He did agree to come as a guest speaker in early November. He along with others created the study guide from which we will be gathering information.
NEIGHBORS in NEED: An Offering for Justice & Compassion
The Neighbors in Need (NIN) offering, which we will dedicate in worship on October 7, supports the UCC’s ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States. Two-thirds of the offering is used by the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts, and direct service projects.
Through UCCTakeAction.org, our national Justice and Witness Ministries office offers resources, news updates, and action alerts on a broad spectrum of justice issues. Working with members of the UCC Justice and Peace Action Network (a network of thousands of UCC justice and peace advocates), Justice and Witness continues its strong policy advocacy work on issues such as the federal budget, voting rights, immigration, health care, hate crimes, civil liberties, and environmental justice. Neighbors in Need also supports our American Indian neighbors in the UCC. One-third of the offering supports the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). Historically, forebears of the UCC established churches and worked with Lakota, Dakota, Nakota, Mandan, Hidatsa, Arickara, and Hocak in North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and northern Nebraska. Today there are 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. These churches and their pastors are supported by CAIM. CAIM is also an invaluable resource for more than 1,000 individuals from dozens of other tribes and nations who are members of other UCC congregations in the U.S.
Neighbors in Need helps make another world possible. It needs your support. Please give generously.
Special NIN offering envelopes will be available at worship through October 7. Checks can be sent to the church as well. Make checks out to First Congregational UCC with “NIN” clearly marked in the memo. Thank you
CROP WALK: Baraboo Walks With the World
Have fun and raise funds to alleviate hunger in Baraboo and around the world. CROP stands for Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty. Twenty-five percent of funds collected by walkers go to Baraboo Food Pantry, the rest to Church World Service.
Our Baraboo walk is October 14. Registration will begin at 12:30 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on 8th Street, walking by 1 pm. Two routes are planned: a short 1 mile, and a longer 3 mile walk, along residential streets from and back to St. Paul’s with stops to learn more about CROP and the needs they respond to. Help by walking, lending a hand on CROP Walk day, and/or by donations.
Sunday School Forms Crop Walk Team
The Sunday School class has formed a team to participate in this year’s Crop Walk. They will name their team and brainstorm ways to encourage others to join in the effort to feed hungry people. Current Sunday School members, Confirmands and friends are all welcome to become part of the team. On the big day, Oct. 14, they’ll be wearing our new church T-shirts and
Greeter Liturgists Ushers
- Teddy Jedry Sue Kujawa Dick Schoenoff & Carl Alexander
- Bonnie Maning & Granddaughters Earl Eckhart Earl & Janice Eckhart
- Barb Alexander Cliff Bobholz Greg & Patti Wise
28. Kristin Ellis Shari Russel Carolyn Kohlhoff & Barb Alexander