July 28, 2020

Cross in flowers
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them.
~ 1 John 4:16

Our Common Life
During this unprecedented time fpcw is continuing to gather, support and care for each other in new an different ways. Please click this link to learn more about the unique opportunities available each week.

Dilys Warning
A service for Dilys has been  set for Saturday, August 1st, at 2 pm in the Chapel Garden. Please know the family welcomes all who wish to attend.

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First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette
600 Ninth Street
Wilmette, IL 60091-2779


When Your BFF is a Pastor

"When God gives you a best friend, amazing things start to happen. You've been gifted with this other person to help fill up your days with light. Your life becomes that much better, that much richer. You have this amazing bond you didn't realize was possible until that person came into your life. And each best friend brings new meaning and new perspective."

I am quite certain that God has made us to be in relationships. It all started with Adam and Eve--God put them together to love and care for one another and the earth, and to be in relationship with him. He so desperately wants to know each of us, and for us to know him as well. God sent his son to show us how he wanted us to love each other. He did not send Jesus to show us an example of a devoted husband, or a loving father. Jesus was a BFF to a ragtag group of disciples, whom he loved with all his heart. We are meant to be in relationship with each other in deep and meaningful ways, and that is what a church community is about too. I believe that God puts us in the path of people who will help form us and help us grow into his deepest desires for our lives.

So roughly nine years ago, God (and fpcw) sent me on a plane to New York City! An adventure in the Big Apple! I had the privilege to hear the very first of what would be many amazing sermons from this vibrant young woman with red curly hair. She had an infectious smile, a big heart and an authenticity that was so appealing. It was abundantly clear that she would bring to fpcw so many new and exciting gifts. I did not know then that she would also become a BFF that God put in my path, to love and be loved.

I think one of the ways God helps us to be in relationships is through our stories. Luckily, you too have gotten to know Pastor Erin through her many stories and sermons. You know that she loves basketball, that she is a fierce tiger mama, that she has a heart big enough for Malawians, refugees and the homeless. You know that she has a deep abiding love for her husband, is adored by her mom and dad, and loves her Granny with a red cowboy boot tattoo. That she has climbed mountains, lived in Africa, is the craziest one on work trips, is highly competitive, and is worried she may someday say a swear word in a sermon. You know her friendship and love as a pastor because she has shared with you fully who she is through her story. One of authenticity, kindness, vulnerability, boldness, and faithfulness. She has show us how God intended us to be in relationship with one another, to love each other like Jesus loved and cherished his disciples, with all our warts and shortcomings.

God gifted us with friendship. Of course, we love our family, our mothers/fathers, our siblings, our children. But in friends, God gives us people who are not just like us, but may look different, are in different ages and stages, and have different backgrounds. He puts people in our path to teach us the way of Jesus. To love one another, to be accepting of our differences, and to understand one another through our stories. Erin has been my BFF and a gift that God has given me. I will miss her as a coworker and as my pastor, beyond what words can express. But I am so happy for her next adventure and so excited that a whole new congregation will know her stories, and her love for God and for each other. Who has God put in your path to love and cherish? Thanks God for them today.

Boundless blessings in Christ Jesus,
Sue Sklansky


Cecilia Chow Moving to Toronto
A couple of weeks ago, Cecilia shared the news that she will be moving to Toronto in the middle of August to pursue an artist's diploma at the Royal Conservatory of Music. It's been a blessing to have Cecilia on our staff this past year, working with our chancel choir, singer and ringers, and recording postludes, etc. We will thank and acknowledge her at our outdoor and virtual worship services on August 9 (her last Sunday with us). Please keep her in your prayers as she embraces this new chapter!

Cecilia writes, "Although I am saddened to depart fpcw so soon, I will carry everything I have learned and the memories I have made wherever I go. I could not have asked for a better opportunity...I consider many of you to be my mentors and this is the best job I could have ever asked for...I am excited to see fpcw continue to thrive in the coming years and when I find myself back in the Chicago-land area, I'll stop in for a visit."

Outdoor Worship
This Sunday, August 2nd will be our first
in-person outdoor worship service. We're so pleased to have the opportunity for us to worship together.

Just a remind, you will need to pre-register if you plan to attend the service. A SignUpGenius link has been created for you to register your attendance. Please click here to easily access the link. We appreciate everyone's cooperation with this request. See you this Sunday!

Current Mision Needs and Opportunities
 Mission Ministry Group will be  sponsoring the summer backpack project to provide much needed backpacks and supplies for 60 students from  our sister church, First Presbyterian Church in Rogers Park. By contributing $25 you're ensuring a child will have the supplies they need to begin the school year. You can mail a check for $25 (memo line "Backpack Project") to the church or you can make a donation to the Backpack Project using our app.  Questions? Please reach out to Kara Hughes  and  Jennifer Christensen

Interfaith Action is looking for volunteers to help with the Greater Chicago Food Depository's Producemobile which takes place every second Tuesday of the month, (August 11th) at the Levy Center Parking Lot at 300 Dodge St, Evanston.

Approximately 30-35 volunteers are needed each month to unload produce from trucks, sort and bag food items, and then serve it to our guests.  To be elgible to volunteer for Producemobile you must meet the following guidelines: 
  • Cannot have been exposed to COVID-19 in the 14 days before June 9
  • Can have no COVID-19 symptoms; no fever, cough, nor shortness of breath
  • Must be age 18 - 59
 If you'd like to make breakfast sandwiches for Connections for the Homeless please click this link to sign up. 

Our mission partner and friends at C24/7 have set up a free store to serve those in their neighborhood who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Let's help stock their store! Here's what they need:

Hand and dish soap, deodorant, toothpaste, paper towels, toilet paper, spaghetti, pasta sauce, cereal, cooking oil, diapers, wipes, laundry detergent. 

Please put donations in the black box, labeled C247, outside the parking lot door at fpcw.

C24/7 hosted a zoom gathering for an in-depth and meaningful opportunity to share insight and experience around racial reconciliation. This gathering was recorded and took place on June 12th. Please click the link below to watch the  Racial Reconciliation Town Hall.

Update from the Racial Justice Task Force
The Task Force consists of Mary Watt, Greg Michel, Laura Lyman, Bob Bobesink, Bob Wolf, Bill Bishop and Pastor Jeff. We have been meeting weekly since the first of July - praying, learning and organizing ourselves. Right now, we are reading the book, "Color of Compromise," by Jemar Tisby, the summer book read selection from last year. We are grateful for your prayers and the support of Session as we grow in our understanding of racial injustice and how we might be part of dismantling the sin of racism. For now, we direct you a page on our church website where a resource was put together last summer (from Tisby's book) using the acronym ARC (awareness, relationship, commitment). Stay tuned for ways in the near future for all of us to engage in this holy and challenging work.

Summer Book Study
Join us this summer as we read the 2014 book by Christopher Smith and John Pattison, Slow Church: Cultivating Community in the Patient Way of Jesus.  The authors invite us to engage in nine spiritual practices that deepen community and help us to love our neighbors in fresh and authentic ways: terroir , stability, patience, wholeness, work, Sabbath, abundance, gratitude and hospitality. We'll discuss a chapter per week at 9:15 am on Sundays over Zoom (until further notice). Here is the Zoom link , Meeting ID (571 764 4007) and Password (1225) to join the call. Please purchase a copy online or from your local bookstore. Let Irris Boaz ( iboaz@ameritech.net ) know if you need help doing so!

Virtual Vacation Bible School is coming! Each week in July we'll be sending families a link to an at-home VBS experience, including videos of music, storytelling, and craft and activity ideas. You'll have the flexibility to enjoy the materials however and whenever suits your family!  
Children and Family Ministry will be sending a weekly text this summer to inspire thoughtful spiritual
conversation with your children, or.your own personal meditation. We use the Remind app, so your phone number will remain private. If you'd like to receive this weekly encouragement, please email Lindley Traynor.  
Week of July 26th, Zoom meetings

Wednesday, July 29
     Slowing Time Women's Group 7:30 pm    
Thursday, July 30
      Bible Study, 10:00 am
Sunday, August 2
    Summer Book Group 9:00 am

If you are interested in learning more about these Zoom meetings please contact Madeline Weston.

If you need to reach a staff member please do so.
Staff email addresses and cell phone numbers
Pastor Jeff
jlehn@fpcw.org   260-740-4162 
Pastor Erin
revraska@fpcw.org   847-858-0925 
Peggy Massello
pmassello@fpcw.org   847-226-2614
Lindley Traynor
ltraynor@fpcw.org   224-522-2243 
Sue Sklansky
suesklansky@gmail.com  312-608-4909
Scott McElhenie
youth@fpcw.org   847-284-0946
Madeline Weston
office@fpcw.org  847-707-3745
Marvin Behm
finmanager@fpcw.org   773-715-5649