June 24 – July 1, 2020
We apologize for neglecting to send the following important information about our upcoming Semi-Annual Meeting on Sunday, June 28:

AGENDA
  • Call to Order and Opening Prayer
  • Ascertain Quorum
  • Approval of January Meeting Minutes
  • Finance and Stewardship Update
  • Income
  • Expenses
  • PPP Loan 
  • Election of Officers / Committee Members
  • Website and Branding Update
  • Worshiping Together Update
  • Old Business
  • New Business
  • Motion to Adjourn and Closing Prayer

HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS?
If you should have questions prior or during the meeting that you would like answered, please text the question to Meredith at 708-466-3584 and she will make sure it is addressed. 

HOW TO VOTE?
The acceptance of the January meeting minutes and the slate for the Officers and Committee Members will need your approval today.  PLEASE CLICK HERE for a link to this document.

If you  are NOT  in favor of these two items, please email  beth@wscongo.org  to communicate this.
  
QUORUM CALCULATION 
A quorum will be determined by the number of “Views” and that number will be monitored by Beth Tracy. 
Friends,
 
This Sunday we will have real-time worship from the sanctuary beginning at 9:30am. The service will be recorded and uploaded for later viewing if you can’t join us Sunday morning. The service will be about 40 minutes in length and the sermon is my annual “Ask the Pastor.” This year’s questions have come from our Confirmation class! Immediately following the service, Ann Keller, our moderator, will call our semi-annual meeting to order.
 
Two votes will be taken. The first will be to approve the minutes from the annual meeting in January, and the other will be to elect our officers and new committee/ministry members. The details are below, but we will only ask that “no” votes be cast, and will assume others are voting in the affirmative. 
 
The meeting will include a financial update from Finance Committee chair, Chris Laperuto, an update from Meredith on our new branding and website work, and a report from me on our plans and ideas for returning to in-person worship.
 
So, if able, please plan on worshipping live with us at 9:30am and being present for the semi-annual meeting. We do need a quorum to elect our new committee members.
 
Blessings and “see” you Sunday!
Miss you!
Rich
Prayer in the Fellowship Garden with Katherine
Monday, June 29

Katherine Willis Pershey will spend two hours in the Fellowship Garden on Monday, June 29th, and welcomes individuals, couples, or families to sign up for a time of brief conversation and prayer. Of course, you are always welcome to schedule a longer time for pastoral care by contacting her at katherine@wscongo.org .

PLEASE SEND US YOUR PHOTOS!

This has been a challenging time for many people, including our healthcare workers. We want to celebrate the members and friends of First Congo who are doctors, nurses, medical technicians, therapists of all stripes, and everyone called to healing vocations. While some of these workers have been on the frontlines of caring for Covid-19 patients, all healthcare workers have been affected by the changes to the medical field during this time.

We are putting together a slideshow to show our gratitude, and we need your help. Please send us a photo of yourself or your loved one along with your job title/medical speciality to Jeannette Lloyd at jeannette@wscongo.org by July 1st.
UNRAVELED:
The PODCAST

Along with our Unraveled summer sermon series, which began June 7, we're launching Unraveled: The Podcast series . New episodes will air every Wednesday throughout the summer of 2020. 

This week’s Unraveled story is Unraveling Racial Challenges, told by Janice Johnson.

We invite you to listen to all of the unique stories or reflections talking about what it has meant to be unraveled and how God was present during this time. We hope that by sharing these stories, others will find strength to carry on during difficult times and know that God is always present.  


An Invitation for WRITTEN Submissions!
Share your story!

In accordance with the summer worship theme of Unraveled , the Christian Ventures Committee would like to provide another opportunity to participate by accepting written submissions on what it means to be unraveled. These stories will be shared throughout the pandemic season in our weekly email.

We invite you to share your personal experience(s) and how God was present for you during these times. We hope these submissions continue our greater conversations on unraveling or being unraveled, and how we may see God in our lives during joyous and difficult periods.

HOW TO SUBMIT:
Submissions should be sent in a document format to Mary Lee Larsen at maryleelarsen@aol.com and by Wednesday, July 15, 2020 .

Below please find the prompts previously included in the call for audio submissions. Please consider them when writing your Unraveled story:
  • Unraveled: undo, investigate, solve or explain
  • What happens when our world falls apart? 
  • How do we press onward when our tightly-knit plans unravel into loose threads? 
  • What do we become when our identity or the path we're on comes undone? 
  • What if all of this is not the end we fear it will be? 
  • What are the results of the unraveling?
  • How is God working in the midst of unraveling?
PLEASE NOTE: The Unraveled worship series comes with materials for small group study. If you are interested in being involved in a small group this summer that will further discuss the Unraveled material, contact Jeannette@wscongo.org and she will help some groups get started.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS for FRIDAY, JUNE 26 at 6:30PM:
The JUSTICE MINISTRIES GROUP

Several of our members attended a 2-evening virtual workshop with The Rev. Dr. Jacqueline J. Lewis last week, and then discussed it on Monday evening, as we strive to learn more about what it means to be a person of color in our world. One of Dr. Lewis‘ recommendations is for us to listen to black voices, read black authors, listen to black music. In that spirit, it is also important for us to listen to black preachers. Enjoy this sermon for Dr. Lewis: https://youtu.be/414umRWKKRc

And join the First Congo Justice Ministry group to be part of the conversation! Contact Jeannette, jeanette@wscongo.org or Meredith, mereditgh@wscongo.org to learn more or be added to the group.  
You are invited to walk an outdoor rope labyrinth on the church lawn, July 7 th between 3:00PM and 7:30PM.

This walk is for Hope, Justice and Peace; a walk for clarity and healing. When words fail we walk in silence, love and humble care. We walk so hope can be born, healing can begin and hearts can be shared. In these days of uncertainty, we walk so our diverse world will recognize one human race and seek justice and peace for all. We walk alone and we walk together for we are all on this faith journey together.

The walk will be available by registration. Individuals or family groups are asked to select a time slot and register via the link or phone number below.  Face coverings will be required during the walk.


I f you have any trouble accessing the online signup form, please contact Jeannette Lloyd at 708-269-7174 or jeannette@wscongo.org .

In the case of inclement weather, we will walk on July 9 th.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY
Hello New Moms Volunteers!

I hope this email finds you well. We are grateful for our volunteers, particularly during these trying times. Like you, we paused our lives and work during Covid-19 and social unrest, shifting much of our in-person programming to virtual platforms. And as you might imagine, the families that we serve have been hardest hit. Shelter-in-place and shuttered stores have left many of our families without necessary supplies. 

To help alleviate that stress, in partnership with the City of Chicago, New Moms has been designated a City Hub for diaper, formula and baby wipes. Our Hub will serve families and smaller community-based organizations on the west side of Chicago.  I am reaching out to you because we need your help.  Beginning Tuesday, June 23 through Tuesday, July 14th, New Moms will operate as a distribution site between 11am-1:30pm. We will need approximately 10 volunteers each Tuesday from 9:30am-2:00pm at our Austin location (5317 W Chicago Ave. Chicago, IL 60651). If you can join us,  please sign up here.  

To ensure the safety of our volunteers and families, please review the following safety precautions:
  • All volunteers MUST wear a mask and gloves for the entirety of the shift. If you don’t have a mask, we will provide one to you.
  • All volunteers will be asked to follow social distancing, with six feet distance between other volunteers and community members. 
  • Everyone will receive a brief training which will include a review of safety protocols and specific assignments. 
  • If you have questions or are unable to join us for your scheduled shift, please contact me via email at volunteer@newmoms.org or via text/call at 505-310-3327

Thank you for your continued support.
Ariana Giblin
Engagement Specialist
SUMMER SUNDAY SCHOOL ADVENTURES...
Congratulations, Confirmands!
Our first round of socially distant Rite of Confirmation was held last Sunday. It was joyous beyond expression to see families in person and to celebrate such a momentous milestone with our confirmands. To view our Confirmation service, please click the image below.
Need to drop off a package at church?
Our church building remains closed, so please use our secure lockbox located outside the entrance to the Education Building on Chestnut:
BE THE CHURCH. The greatest moment in worship is when we go back out into the world to Be the Church. Click here   to discover the numerous opportunities to serve as the hands and feet of Christ in our community and beyond. 

First Congregational Church has many programs and offerings for everyone. Check out the Upcoming Events or the Congo Calendar to see what is coming up in 2019.