February 26,  2020
"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you...for the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him." 
~Isaiah 30:18
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First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette
600 Ninth Street
Wilmette, IL 60091-2779


Dear Friends, 

This morning, I showed up at the Wilmette Metra station bright and early and tried "Ashes to Go" again. I bundled up, put on my clergy collar, filled a little Tupperware container with ashes and held up my handmade "Ashes to Go" sign. I greeted a number of people, prayed for our community, and offered ashes to about a half dozen commuters. I saw a few church members and met some new neighbors, offering them ashes, too. One person said, "Really? Can we have ashes right here?" "Sure!" I said. Another remarked: "But I'm not Catholic. Is this ok?" I assured her, "Yes, it's fine! I'm not Catholic, either." Later that morning, I walked over to Panera to work on my evening Ash Wednesday meditation and offered ashes to a couple more people.

It's such a privilege to be on this side of the ancient ritual - to dip my pointer finger into the ashes and place the sign of cross on a person's forehead, saying with as much gravity and hope as I can muster, "Remember, you are dust and to dust you shall return. God goes with you." These are not hollow words, but words that speak directly into our lives, to the paradox of our lives - we will not be here forever, our time is limited, and yet God loves us, God goes with us, through all of it.

If you're free tonight, please do join us for Ash Wednesday worship at fpcw . Family service in the Chapel at 5:15 pm. Simple soup supper at 6 pm in Wallace Moore. Evening service with choir, communion and ashes at 7 pm in the Chapel. 

If you can't make it, I encourage you to read the three lectionary  Scripture texts for evening devotions at home: Psalm 51:1-4, 10-12 , Joel 2:12-15  and  Matthew 4:1-11 . Or read T.S. Eliot's elegant poem, Ash Wednesday. Or listen to the stirring anthem, Call to Remembrance, by Richard Farrant , which our choir will sing tonight. 

Friends, I'm grateful to be on the Lenten journey with you. 40 days of hope. 40 days of grit. 40 days of reflection. 40 days of preparation. 40 days of light.

With gratitude and love in Christ,
Pastor Jeff
Sunday, March 1, 2020
1st Sunday in Lent
Annual Meeting
8:45 am
Adult Study
Sunday School
Club 56
Confirmation Class
10:00 am
11:00 am
Annual Meeting
11:15 am
Fellowship Hour
5:00 pm
Tower Youth

Sunday Sermon Series
During the 2020 program year the weekly sermons are following themes from the book, "We Make the Road by Walking." Each week we will highlight in the
E-News the theme for several Sunday ahead.
  • March 1 - A New Identity (Lent 1)
  • March 8 - A New Path to Aliveness
  • March 15 - Your Secret Life
Please note: Sunday school classes begin at 8:45 am and at 10 am children join their families for worship. Please click here if you would like to review the letter Jeff sent explaining the new schedule and 
Lindley Traynor, Director of Children's Ministry, created suggestions on worshiping with children.Please click here to access this informative guideline.

Annual Meeting this Sunday, March 1, 2020
The Session of  fpcw has called our Annual Meeting to be held on Sunday, March 1, in the Sanctuary, immediately following worship, for the purpose of receiving the Annual Report, receiving the 2020 Annual Budget and approving the Terms of Call for our installed pastors (Jeff Lehn and Erin Raska). Please join us as we celebrate what God did among us in 2019 and look forward to all that 2020 will bring! 

A Note from the Personnel Committee:
Pastor Erin's Upcoming Sabbatical
Our Personnel Policy at fpcw supports a three-month sabbatical for our pastors after a certain number of years of service. This upcoming summer, the Personnel Committee and Session are excited to share they have approved a sabbatical for Pastor Erin. (She has been eligible for one since 2016.) The sabbatical will begin in mid-May and end in mid-August. Drawing on the biblical concept of Sabbath, our policy describes a sabbatical as a "period of time...to reflect, refresh, renew, retool, and revitalize, and restore the wholeness of one's being." It's an opportunity to step back, learn, and be nourished for the long road of pastoral ministry. Erin has laid out three goals for her sabbatical: (1) visit other churches and talk with faith leaders in order to gain perspective and insight about the changing landscape of the church; (2) experience a time of renewal with family in Washington state; and (3) spend time with and learn from refugee families in the North Ridge neighborhood (where Stock the Shelves takes place). We are looking forward to her return in August! The Personnel Committee and Session are working on logistics of this time away, ensuring support for pastoral care coverage and worship leadership. They will share more details soon. 

Mosaic of Peace: A Holy Land Pilgrimage        
With a grant from the Presbytery of Chicago, Jeff and Arianne Lehn will be traveling on the Mosaic of Peace pilgrimage to the Holy Land from March 16-27. Sponsored by the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, they will experience this remarkable region with 40 other Presbyterians from around the country, encounter its diverse people, explore its rich history and complicated current situation, and engage with those who seek its peace. They will meet with Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders, experiencing contextual theology and studying peacemaking practices on the ground today in Israel and Palestine. Please keep them in your prayers as they travel, study and witness in this sacred land. 
Faith & Fellowship 

Nominating Committee 2020:
A New Path to Aliveness Taking a lesson from We Make the Road by Walking , in chapter 28, we look to the path that Jesus set forth for us to follow. As a Nominating Committee, and as a congregation, we are charged with bringing fpcw into the future boldly.  Walking boldly involves risk and pushing the limits of our faith. What better way than to join the leadership of the church, where important decisions are made, lives are altered, and new initiatives begin as the church is moving into the future boldly! Please nominate yourself or a friend and ballots for deacon or elder are available in the church office  
The 2020 Nominating Committee: Rick Baer, Carolyn Jevelian, Bill Sharp, Paul Traynor, Cynthia Milne, and
Sue Sklansky.

Adult Faith Formation A New Path to Aliveness: Going Deeper in the Sermon on the Mount (using Brian McLaren's book, "We Make the Road by Walking")
During the season of Lent at fpcw, we're going to be wrestling with the Sermon on the Mount together (Matthew 5-7). In this most demanding and rewarding sermon from Jesus, we're going to wonder together about this "New Path to Aliveness" God is calling us to embrace. What do we need to take on? What do we need to let go of? Join us for this adult faith formation opportunity as we go deeper into this sermon together! The class meets on Sundays, 8:45-9:45 am in the Upper Room, and will run for six weeks (March 1 - April 5). 

NEW BOOK! Join us Thursday, March 5th as we crack the spine on Brennan Manning's Ragamuffin Gospel, a fantastic book about radical Grace: 
"Most of us believe in God's grace-in theory. But somehow we can't seem to apply it in our daily lives. We continue to see Him as a small-minded bookkeeper, tallying our failures and successes on a score sheet. Yet God gives us His grace, willingly, no matter what we've done. We come to Him as ragamuffins-dirty, bedraggled, and beat-up. And when we sit at His feet, He smiles upon us, the chosen objects of His 'furious love.'" 

Men's Hour meets weekly, and is always on a "drop-in" basis. No commitment, no homework, and no pressure. Newcomers and guests always welcome.

Practice Resurrection 
A Study of the Letter to the Ephesians
(using Eugene Peterson's book), April 19 - May 31, 7 weeks. This class will wrestle with what it means to actually "practice resurrection," to grow and become mature in our faith. Using the apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians as our guide, we'll digest its six chapters over the course of the season of Easter. We'd love to have you join us! Sundays at 8:45 am in the Upper Room.

2020 Stewardship/Budget Update
Thank to your generosity and commitment the Giving Team has now wrapped up our 2020 stewardship campaign. We received 130 pledges for a total of $833,822! Many families increased their pledge from last year and we received several new pledges as well. We are deeply grateful for your financial commitment to the life and ministry of fpcw in the year ahead. Thanks be to God. Again, thank you for your generosity! At the Session retreat on Saturday, February 8, we approved a balanced budget for 2020. We look forward to sharing more details at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 1. Again, thank you for your generosity! 

New Member's Exploration Class
If you are a new or regular visitor, we would love to get to know you better!  Please attend a New Member's Exploration Class offered on Sunday, March 8, 11:15-1:00 pm, in the lounge and it includes lunch. The class explores all things fpcw and what it means to be Presbyterian. Attending is not a commitment to join the church. Please RSVP to Sue Sklansky.
Joyful Music Sharing Experience
Our Music Meditation experience has been an inspiring addition to our faith journey and sharing the music each day has been a remind that our faith can be strengthened, renewed and perhaps transformed through music. Whether we just listen or sing along, music can activate parts of who we are and helps us reconnect with God. Thank you to all who participated, it has been a meaningful experience.

Join us as we prepare Robert Ray's Gospel Mass for worship on March 15. Be a part of this moving choral work set in gospel style accompanied by piano, bass and drums. 

Greeters Needed!
The new year is a wonderful time to greet new visitors and old friends.  Please consider sharing 10 minutes of your time on Sundays to welcome all who join us for worship! Click here to  access  the SignUpGenius link and be a greeter to welcome those who join us on Sundays.

fpcw Children and Family Ministries

We're about six weeks into our "Grow Together, Worship Together" experiment of having Christian education for all ages at 8:45 am, and worship for all ages at 10:00 am. If you have feedback you'd like to share, please email Pastor Jeff, Pastor Erin, or Lindley Traynor. Thank you!
fpcw Youth News 

Tower Benefit Dinner 
Tower is hosting the annual benefit dinner on Sunday, March 15 to help raise money for their work trip. This year the high school students are going to Hazard, KY to help repair and rebuild houses for the less fortunate. The tower youth will be hosting the evening full of games, prizes, and fun which also includes delicious lasagna dinner and a silent auction. Please save the date because you all are invited! Tickets will be available for purchase at the door.
Donations requested
We are asking for donations for the silent auction. Anything will work as a donation, including tickets to events, a weekend at a vacation home, a gift basket, or even any services you may be able to provide. If you have something you would like to donate, please email Scott McElhenie at youth@fpcw.org with a short description of your item. Thank you
Club 56/ Confirmation/ Tower
Please  click this link to learn what's happenings with our youth. Our youth program which includes grades 5th - 12th has a very busy year ahead filled with events, activities, dinners, outings as well as opportunities to gather for worship and meaningful conversations.

Mission - Transform Lives

Mission Movie Series Continues
Join us on Sunday, March 8 at 11:30 in the Lounge for the compelling documentary, "Jail or Yale: Young, Black and Out of Options." This film explores the barriers in education that hold young black males from progressing through life. This film is produced by Family Matters,
one of
fpcw's mission partners. A light lunch will be served.
April is Mission Month
Being "Fully Alive in Christ" can take lots of different forms. During the month of April, our focus will center around being fully alive through mission. Stay tuned for more opportunities but here are just a few:
  •  Volunteer at Stock the Shelves
  •  Volunteer at the Produce Mobile
  •  Listen to James and Natallie Crockett from C24/7 and learn more about their ministry in Rogers Park.
  •  Attend "No Small Matters," a documentary on early childhood education, at the Wilmette Theatre
Is a year-round, once-monthly resource, providing nearly 500 Chicago area refugees and families with 15 household and hygiene supplies that are not provided by food stamps: laundry detergent, hand soap, dish soap, body soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, household cleaner, deodorant, razors, shaving cream, diapers, feminine hygiene pads (no tampons), shampoo, lotion and toilet paper. To donate, visit stocktheshelves.org , or drop off your donation at fpcw . To volunteer at a distribution event (fourth Wednesday from 8 - 10:30 am) or help load the truck (fourth Tuesday from 7 - 8 pm) sign up and learn more at stocktheshelves.org .  

Wilmette Food Pantry
fpcw contributes food and non-food items to the Wilmette Food Pantry. Donations may be left in the containers located in the fpcw parking lot lobby.

Need some glad tidings? 
More activities, inspiration, and cheer 
available on our