131 6th Avenue at Broadway: An Open & Affirming/Just Peace Church

We’re the Diaper Church

Clean and Covered, No Ifs, Ands or Butts

The Food Pantry has ways of procuring food items, cents on the dollar that any of us can provide.  Thanks to information received, one of the most pressing needs for the Baraboo Food Pantry is items that, largely, aren’t provided through government programs and the like: diapers…as well as wipes, and other infant, baby and toddler care (maybe Desitin?).  Missions & Social Concerns Board has taken this on, and figure it can’t hurt to be known as the “Diaper Church”.  Three months of the year, the Mission of the Month will emphasize these items so desperately needed. 

What Our Members Say about First Congregational UCC

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Each year, our members and friends write down the ways in which they’ve been “blessed” by being part of the First Congregational UCC community.  Here’s just a sampling of the 2017 thoughts.  Maybe you’ll find something that you’d like to ring true for YOU as a member of a church!

BLESSING BOWL 2018

I feel blessed to participate in church activities with others to help me focus on values and ideals beyond myself and for the chance to “do” and just think or intend.

I am blessed by this church its constancy in my life—my second family—reminding me every Sunday of who I want to be—and how I can be that person.

Glad we are a Just Peace church.

I am grateful for our choir members, director and the beautiful, inspiring music they share.

Christ talks of hope. We have the hope we can change our behavior for good.

I am blessed because I have found a place to serve God, have been accepted for who I am, and met so many loving and caring people.

I am blessed to be a part of a caring, spirited and renewing church congregation which sees the world as it might be and acts to attain peace and justice.

We’re blessed and called to be part of positive movement within the church.  There can be no extravagant welcome unless there’s an open door and a place to gather.  We’re blessed and called to be part of what makes God’s presence in the world known.  We’re blessed and called to join together to help manifest God’s kingdom.

I continue to be blessed by the care  and assistance so many church members for to Audrey and me.—Arthur W. “ChrisChristofersen

I’m grateful to the church for the re-focusing, grounding and centering that it provides for me each week.

Always feeling like an outcast and finding a home here in the church.

This church and its members are showing what it means to share God’s love to me, to each other, and all those that we touch.

Thankful the right to vote and express my views.

Finding guidance in faith and love and kindness through my family, friends and faith.

I thank God every day for this church that provides both grounding and wings.

I am thankful for this church and its family as it helps me raise my family and bring them up showing love, caring, giving and peace.

I am grateful for the friendships here—friends from all generations.

UCC members believe it is important to be active and good citizens—to vote, to provide leadership in the community.

I’m blessed God loves me.

We appreciate this community!

I feel God’s presence in the comforting as well as the challenge to follow Christ offered by those who come together in this place

 

 

 

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Geri Schoenoff & Greg Hollenback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are a “Just Peace” Congregation!

As of our annual Congregational Meeting on January 28, First Congregational United Church of Christ is a “Just Peace” congregation.  This follows nearly a year of conversation and study, prayer and drafting and editing covenant statements.

Here is the Just Peace covenant:

In 1985, the Fifteenth General Synod of the United Church of Christ made a landmark decision to become a Just Peace Church and called on congregations to become communities of Just Peace.  Just Peace, as used in this covenant, is our understanding of God’s will for all people and is based on the concept of peace expressed by the Hebrew word shalom, a communal well-being in which God’s creation is justly ordered and in which all aspects of God’s creation play their individual roles harmoniously for the good of the whole.

Just Peace expresses our commitment to engage in practices to resolve conflict at every level — in ourselves, in our families, in our communities, and in our world — without violence whenever possible.

Just peace is grounded in covenant relationship.  God creates and calls us into covenant: “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; and will bless them and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.”  Ezekiel 37:26.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” Matt. 5:9

We are, and shall continue to be, a Just Peace Church.

In following the non-violent example and teachings of Jesus, we will strive to learn how to resolve conflict through non-violent means and to promote a Just Peace world for the well-being of all people.

We know neither real security nor Just Peace exists without justice.  Therefore, to the extent we are able, each member of our congregation will work as a peacemaker in various ways and in many different areas to promote justice for all people.  We can start by learning to manage our own anger, providing a loving and safe family, and reaching out in our community to care for the earth and provide clean air, clean water, food, health, housing, employment, education, religious freedom, physical safety, equality, and economic justice for all.

As a Just Peace congregation, we will strive to use our time and resources to encourage, teach, and support our congregation members to be peacemakers in their personal lives, at their jobs, in the church, in the community, and in the world.  We will consider how our actions promote Just Peace.

As a Just Peace congregation, we will consider where and how we can best use our time, talent, and resources to follow the peacemaking example of Jesus in our programs, education, and worship.

We acknowledge that even as our understanding of God is ever-evolving, so too is our understanding of what it means to become a Just Peace Church.  May God guide us on the ever-changing journey as we work for peace and justice.

 

 

Done with church? Come Un-Done with Us!

Ourtreach Board members pose with the new banner and matching brochures. L to R: Bekah Stelling, Kate Fitzwilliams, Kit Eilertson and Chris Christoferson

Done with church? Come Un-Done with Us!  It’s among the banners we display outside the church to let passers-by know we’re here and maybe pique some curiosity.  But what does “Done with church? Come Un-Done with Us!” really mean?

Lots of folks have had bad experiences of church:  worship that is boring or meaningless, being pushed away by official policies around gender, sexual orientation, political persuasion, mean-spiritedness, expectations that the church is only about personal righteousness and not making a difference in real life and the world around us, denying science and trying to prove that scripture is beyond question and exploration, even being chastised and judged…from the pulpit or in public, no less!  If you’ve said, “I’ve had it!  I’m done with church!” then let’s see what we can do about that.  Maybe you’ve not even considered being part of a faith group because it seemed irrelevant or some sort of bizarrely mystic strangeness that has little or nothing to do with reality.

Here’s our welcome to you:  No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here.  Not only welcome, but affirmed and celebrated for who you are and who you wish to be.  Anything goes?  Not exactly–but if you’re convinced the Jesus way of life means to love God and love your neighbor as well as yourself– well, that’s the gist of it!  You will be warmly welcomed by a faith family with respect for individuality but also responsive to one another and the real world.  (And we like to eat well together!)

Here are two forms of welcome we use as we start our worship together and welcome one another to worship.

We’re Glad You’re Here

“No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey…”

…to new visitors and old friends…to people of all colors, cultures, classes, ages, abilities, gender, family type and sexual orientation …to all who have no church home, need strength, want to follow Christ, have doubts, or do not believe…to believers and questioners—and  questioning believers…

Welcome to this Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.

AND…

One:  In the name of Jesus Christ, and through his spirit, we bid you welcome to First Congregational Church, an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ.

One:     You are welcome here if you are married, or if you are single,
ALL:     for we will partner with you.

You are welcome here if you are a parent, or the child of one,

for we will be a family to you.

You are welcome here if you know what you believe, or if you have no idea what to

believe,

for we will share our faith.

You are welcome here if you love people whose bodies look like yours,

or if you love people whose bodies are different,

for here, we are all the body of Christ.

You are welcome here if your people are from this place, or from far away,

for our God is both here and everywhere.

You are welcome here if you are a saint, or a sinner,

for God knows we are, all of us, both.

No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life’s journey,

you are welcome here.

Welcome adapted from Rev. Quinn G. Caldwell and United Church of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC.

 

 

Worship, Sept-May, 10:15 AM Memorial Day-Labor Day 9:30 AM