December 21 , 2017

The mystery of the story, the familiar lyrics, the stillness of the night made all the more magical by falling snow, the fading canned lights giving way to flickering candles, the simple melody sung by young and old together:
Silent Night, Holy Night
All is calm.
All is bright. 
Each of us has a different favorite part of the Christmas Eve service. Each of our souls is drawn to worship on that special night by that element that makes our heart sing.  
For me it is the flame on the end of the candle. Light emanates.... (more) 
Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund
The 2017 theme of the Christmas Fund is Shepherding the Light. The recipients of these gifts have faithfully served the church and are now in need. We invite you to shepherd God’s light and help support this year’s offering. This Sunday, December 24 , First Congregational Church will.. . to read on
Christmas Eve services
With Christmas Eve on a Sunday this year, it will be a full day: regular Sunday morning service at 10 am, early Christmas Eve service at 5:30 pm, and late service at 10:30 pm. See you there!
This Week:
Friday 12/22: OA at 9 am, Alanon at 7:30 pm
Saturday 12/23: Saturday Meals Program at 8 am, Kindermusik at 8 am
Sunday 12/24: Worship at 10 am, Fellowship Hour at 11:15 am, Christmas Eve Celebration - Early Service at 5:30 pm, Candlelight Christmas Eve Celebration at 10:30 pm
Monday 12/25: Office Closed
Wednesday 12/27: Be Still and Know 12 Step at 4 pm
Friday 12/29: OA at 9 am, Alanon at 7:30 pm
Saturday 12/30: Saturday Meals Program at 8 am, Kindermusik at 8 am
Sunday 12/31: Worship at 10 am, Fellowship Hour at 11:15 am, Family New Years Eve - early countdown & movie at 4:00 pm, OA at 7 pm
Can’t Get To Sunday Services?  
You can watch them live Sundays at 10 a.m. on the web.  Click on the link  to go to see Sunday worship streamed live and past worship services are also available. This ministry is brought to you by the estate of Ginny Palansky, and maintained by your gifts, offerings, and pledges.    Https://
The Church Needs YOU!
We are in need of people to fill officer and committee positions on almost every committee. If you are interested in helping the church leadership, please see here for more info. or please contact Jill Tobin or JoAnne Konkle for more information on the openings. 
Volunteer Opportunity - Urgent! Nursery Shepherds needed!
Do you like to play Legos? Do you need help putting together an alphabet puzzle? Than we have the perfect volunteer opportunity for you! We need help making sure that the nursery ministry is fully staffed each Sunday morning! You'll get to play with our wonderful little ones AND build flying submarines with wheels! If your talents include driving toy cars, making voices for animals and you are safe church trained please sign up to help in the nursery. The sign up is in the Founders Room or you can contact Sylvia ( ) with your Lego credentials!
Sunday School Sign-up for 2018
Superb! Amazing! Exciting! These are all words to describe our Sunday School experience! Want to get involved in this program? You're in luck! The Sunday School Teacher/Shepherd Sign-up is ready for your name! We have the most amazing children in our Sunday School and they need your help in learning the stories of the bible! So come on down to the Founders Room and sign up to help in our super amazing, full of fun and learning classrooms!!
Disclaimer: You must be Safe church trained to participate in said amazing, superb, exciting Sunday School rooms. But don't worry, we will have training again February 18th. Put it on your calendar!
Family New Years Eve and early countdown
Join us in the Founders Room on Sunday, December 31 st for activities, food, and music starting at 4:30 pm. At 6 pm we will have a countdown, followed by a family friendly movie to test out the new screen in the Founders Room. Please RSVP to Amanda Ries at or 815.483.8458.
Annual Meeting, Town Halls, Budget, and Annual Reports   
Our Annual Meeting will be held January 21 following worship. On January 2, the proposed budget will be sent to all members as either email or US Mail (according to how you receive the Tidings). Shortly after, the full Annual Report will be available for download. Watch the Sunday bulletins, your email and your mail box for more information.
There will be two Town Hall meetings to present and discuss the 2018 Budget. Please review the budget and accompanying introduction and plan to bring your questions, concerns, suggestions, and ideas to these meetings. 
  •        January 7 in the Founders’ Room following worship
  •        January 14 in the Founders’ Room following worship
Messy Church
Messy Church will be Sunday, January 7th at 4:30 pm. Our theme is Messy Communion. Come and have a great time and grow in faith and in your love of others on the journey. Click here for flyer. We need volunteers!
4:30-5:15pm: Crafts and Stories
5:15-5:30pm: Celebration
5:30-6:00: Dinner
Positively Green Team
First Congregational’s Positively Green Team is off to a running start! Seven people attended the initial meeting, and we have lots of ideas and a commitment to making a difference. We need you, too, if the environment is one of your interests. The next meeting will be Sunday, January 7 , following worship service. Please join us!  
Hooks and Needles
Our next scheduled meeting will be on Monday, January 8 . We meet every Monday except for the first Monday of the month. Feel free to drop in anytime and join us at 7 pm in the family room off the Chapel. Because of winter weather cancellations, please call Linda Lauterbach (352-5332) or email ( lslauterbach@gmail.comto confirm we are meeting. Winter is a great time for charity knitting!
Potluck Sunday Luncheon – January 28
To welcome the New Year, please join us immediately following worship on January 28 in the dining room to share a meal and fellowship! The Ministry of Nurture will provide bread & butter, plates, utensils, and beverages. If you are able, you are invited to bring a crockpot creation or dish of your choice to add to the spread. Or just bring yourself and enjoy this special version of coffee hour.
Save the Date
The Women’s Retreat will be at Plymouth Place on February 3 rd , 2018 from 9:00 to 3:30 pm. More information to follow.
Missions Book Discussion Group
Calling all men and women of the church along with your friends and neighbors. Join us on February 5 at 7:30 pm for a discussion about "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" by Princeton University sociologist Matthew Desmond. Desmond follows eight racially diverse families in Milwaukee as they are swept up in the process of eviction. Winner of multiple awards including the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Award and the Heartland Award,."Evicted" can be found at the library, bookstores and, if you are lucky, under your Christmas tree.
All Teams Retreat
When: February 11 th from 11:30 to 3:00pm
Where: Founders’ Room
Food Pantry
In December, we're collecting holiday meal fixings for the Second Baptist Food Pantry: canned sweet potatoes or yams, brown sugar, pecans, canned green beans, corn, or pumpkin, boxed stuffing mix, Jell-O, etc. As always, donations of any nonperishable food are appreciated.

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  Prayer is at the heart of our relationship with God. Please lift these friends, family, and members in your prayers.
Thank you from Ojo Adedji, whose request for asylum was granted.
Prayers for Jeffrey Arnold as he recovers from surgery.
Prayers for Charlene Tobin’s sister, Ardell Arthur, who needs healing and comfort.
Emil and Maria Balz.
Fred Bell, who is recovering from leukemia.
Prayers for Bonnie Day’s granddaughter Ashley Albers who is dealing with health issues.
Karl Fresa at the loss of his brother.
Prayers for Barbara Hultman as she recovers from hip surgery.
Prayers for Ken Little, Mary Cooper’s father, who passed away.
Genesis Matthiesen’s friend Vincent Franco, who has lost his way.
Renee Meier, who is dealing with cancer.
Adrienne O’Toole, as she heals after having a liver transplant.
Petra Palmer’s granddaughter’s friend Summer who is having chemotherapy for leukemia.
Prayers for Tom Pitman, who is living with cancer.
Nancy Coleman’s friend Sharon Veltre, who continues to fight her battle against cancer.
Prayers for Vera Weiss, who has pneumonia and other challenges along with cancer.
Those living in fear and without hope, and those who use fear to control others.