Dear Friends,

Peace to you on this gorgeous day in Chicagoland. I can't remember experiencing such a mild December day. I hope you have a chance to enjoy the sunshine.

I wonder, where are your best prayers taking you today? I think that's a question Frederick Buechner, the Presbyterian preacher, once asked, and it's on my mind. We all have many things we're holding in prayer right now - our families and friends, our church and neighborhood, the poor, the sick, those infected with COVID (and the 290,000 who've died in the U.S.) and the health care workers caring for them, those fleeing violence or engaging in self-harm. The list goes on.

These days my best prayers are coming by listening to sacred music. I've spent a lot of time with recordings of Handel's Messiah (this has been a favorite), and various Advent and Christmas playlists on Spotify. Here at fpcw my favorite parts of the worship services are the music, especially the wonderful offerings from last week's Lessons and Carols service - as you can imagine, it's a little odd to watch yourself preach on YouTube! :)

I would love to hear where your best prayers are taking you, friends. Hang in there. You are loved and never alone!

Below you'll see a few updates from our community of faith. Thanks for your support of the life and ministry of fpcw.

Grateful to be with you on the journey of faith,
Pastor Jeff
Congratulations, Sue! For the past two years, Sue Sklansky, our indefatigable Director of Congregational Care and Engagement, has been enrolled in the Spiritual Director training program at Siena Retreat Center in Racine, Wisconsin.

A few weeks ago, she completed her final retreat and has now graduated! We are proud of Sue for pursuing this degree and developing expertise in the art of spiritual direction. Send her an email to congratulate her on this accomplishment!

Click on the video link below to listen to an interview with Sue reflecting on her experience. Our gift to Sue to celebrate her accomplishment is a one-year Book of the Month subscription! As a voracious reader and lifelong learner, we think this is the perfect gift for her.
2021 Stewardship Update. Thank you for your generosity and commitment to the life and ministry of our church! As of today, we have received 94 pledges for a total of $729,153.

Thanks to all of you who have submitted a pledge already! If you haven't yet pledged, we would greatly appreciate hearing from you in the coming days. You can either mail your pledge card to the church office or pledge online here. We have about 30 families we're reaching out to and still expect to hear from. Every gift of every size matters and enables us to do what God has called us to do in the year ahead. Thank you for your partnership! We are deeply grateful.
Advent and Christmas Worship Schedule

December 13 - Virtual Worship, Communion and Advent 3

December 20 - Virtual Worship, Christmas Pageant and Advent 4

December 21 - Longest Night Service, Zoom service, 7pm

December 24 - Virtual Worship and Two Outdoor Services in the Fellowship Garden at 4pm and 9pm (these services will last 20-30 minutes and include carols, prayers, a reading of Luke 2, ending with lighting candles and Silent Night)

December 27 - Virtual Worship over Zoom at 10am
If you haven't been tuning into the virtual Advent Devotionals coming out each morning, take a moment to catch up here. The first week features church members reflecting on the Advent theme of hope. This week the devotions have dwelled on peace. Next week it will be joy and the final week will round out with love. Thank you for the insight and vulnerability you have shared as we together experience this Advent like no other together.