December Events

November 25, 2014 in Upcoming Events

Please see our Calendar for all the latest information!

Deborah Circle ‑ 12:30 PM Tuesday, December 2nd, in the Fellowship Hall.

Choir Practice ‑ 6:30 PM Wednesday, December 3rd and 17th, in the Choir Room.

Joyful Noise Practice ‑ 7:30 PM Wednesday, December 3rd in the Sanctuary.

Women’s Christmas Tea ‑ 1:30 PM Saturday, December 6th, in the Fellowship Hall.  Hannah Circle will hostess and Deborah Circle will present the program.

Sunday School ‑ 9:00 AM every Sunday at church.  We have classes for all ages!

Worship ‑ 10:00 AM every Sunday in the Sanctuary.  On December 7th, we will celebrate Communion and an offering will be taken for the Community Christmas Dinner.

Annual Meeting Part I ‑ After worship Sunday, December 7th, in the Sanctuary.  Everyone is encouraged to stay and participate as we prepare for the coming year; only members may vote.

“Breaking Free” Women’s Bible Study ‑ 1:00 PM Monday, December 8th and 22nd, in the Fellowship Hall.

Hannah Circle ‑ 10:00 AM Wednesday, December 10th, in the Fellowship Hall.  Barb Frimark will hostess.

Prayer Group ‑ 4:30 PM Wednesday, December 10th, at the McKees’.

Diaconate ‑ 6:30 PM Wednesday, December 10th, in the Fellowship Hall.

Punch Fellowship ‑ After worship Sunday, December 14th, in the Fellowship Hall.  Hannah Circle will hostess.  Everyone is encouraged to stay for light refreshments!  Sign up on the bulletin board in the entryway if you would like to host a punch fellowship in 2015.

Yarn Ladies ‑ 9:00 AM Saturday, December 20th, at Jane Wendt’s house.  Bring your own project to work on or make hats, scarves and mittens for Back to School 2015.  Donated yarn is available in the upstairs Fellowship Hall closet.  This gathering will include a brunch; talk to Pearl Mertens or Jane Wendt if you would like to bring something to share.  Invite a friend!

Christmas Eve Candlelighting Service ‑ 7:00 PM Wednesday, December 24th, in the Sanctuary.  We invite everyone to join us as we celebrate Christ’s birth!

Community Christmas Dinner ‑ 11:00 AM ‑ 2:00 PM Thursday, December 25th, at St. Paul’s Cathedral (corner of Division and Sophia Streets).

Boxing Day ‑ Friday, December 26th.

New Year’s Eve Game Night ‑ 7:00 PM Wednesday, December 31st, in the downstairs Fellowship Hall.  Bring your favorite board game and a snack to share.  Invite a friend!

From the Pastor: True Colors

November 25, 2014 in From the Pastor

morgan winter 07

Photo by Morgan Braun

As I write this, snow is about to cover the last of the autumn leaves on the ground.  It brings to mind something I learned recently about leaves and why they change color.  During the spring and summer, they are green because of the chlorophyll in the leaf’s cells, which enable it to capture the energy of the sun and create food for the tree.  But green is not the leaf’s natural color – the green merely overshadows the natural yellow pigments (called carotenoids) present at the same time.   When winter comes, the chlorophyll pigments fade to reveal the natural color of the leaf.  We see what the leaf has been all along, even though its nature was hidden by its work.

It makes me think of how each of us has work to do, but our ultimate identity and our value is not in what we do or accomplish, but in who we truly are as God’s children.  Sometimes we can be so busy “do-ing” that we mistake our worth for what we do.  And when the season comes when we can no longer “do” the things we once did, we might be left wondering how we fit in, of what use we are.  But this is to see things backwards.  Whatever we do, whatever we work at, these are just for a season – what matters even more is who we are, our lasting identity.

There are other pigments in leaves, called anthocyanins, which make leaves red.  They appear late in the season to help the tree thrive by protecting the leaf in its last weeks.  For each of us, there may be things we look back on with regret – and yet in the love of God, we find forgiveness, healing, a new beginning, when we place these things in God’s hands.  We may come to peace with our past and take on a new identity in Christ. Read the rest of this entry →

Alternative Giving Opportunities

November 25, 2014 in Missions & Ministry

As Christmas approaches, it’s easy in our culture to become caught up in the rush to shop for “the perfect gift” for everyone on our list.  This year, consider buying gifts that support economic development in impoverished communities or help people escape modern day slavery.  Here are some ideas:

World Vision and Heifer International ‑ In addition to providing emergency relief around the world, World Vision also helps people escape poverty by investing in economic development.  A donation made in honor of someone on your Christmas list can provide lifesaving gifts like vaccines, mosquito nets and access to safe drinking water, as well as life-enhancing gifts like education, small business loans and agricultural development resources.  Heifer International focuses on agricultural development through livestock, providing people with animals and training to improve their quality of life.  A donations to either organization comes with a personalized card to send to the person in whose honor the donation is made; with some donations to World Vision, you can receive a handcrafted item to give.  World Vision and Heifer gift catalogues are available on the table in the entryway; you can also shop online at www.worldvisiongifts.org and at www.heifer.org/catalog.

Hearts ‘n’ Harvest Soap ‑ Heart for Lebanon (www.heartforlebanon.org) is a non-profit that began as a relief agency for Lebanese citizens displaced by the 2006 war and now serves Iraqi and Syrian refugees living in Lebanon.  Hearts ‘n’ Harvest Soap is made in Lebanon with locally produced olive oil, creating job opportunities and providing skill development.  For every bar of soap purchased, a bar is included in a hygiene kit for a refugee family.  If you would like to order soap for Christmas, go to www.heartsinharvest.com.

Just Fare Market ‑ Fond du Lac’s very own fair trade store is located at N7645 North Peebles Lane, Suite 2.  A non-profit run entirely by volunteers, Just Fare Market sells items from fair trade producers around the world who help people develop skills, earn a living wage, find freedom from poverty and invest in their communities.  Shop for clothing, coffee, jewelry, baskets, accessories, toys, chocolate and much more!

Missionary Profile: Mario Morales

November 25, 2014 in Missionary Profile

morales 01As a regional missionary for Iberoamerica and the Caribbean, Mario strategically works in community and sustainable development by identifying, equipping and empowering, Christ-like compassionate leaders to will minister to the victims of destitution, suffering and oppression in their local churches and communities.  Using a model of a multifaceted integral mission ministry, Mario also uses virtual systems and e-learning platforms to teach courses in self-sustainability, religion-culture and eclessio-missiology.  Mario says:

“My ministry has been characterized by interaction with the oppressed and marginalized.  I have found that it is not enough to provide material goods; they must rediscover their value as human beings made in the image of God, empowered to resist oppression and bring good news to the oppressors.  One way to do this is through the building of a house.

“The project focuses on creativity and sustainability.  We equip each house with a solar energy system, a water filtration system and a hydroponic garden.  The homeowners help with the construction, sculpting each wall out of cob—a mixture of soil, sand and straw—with their bare hands.  During the two-week building process, participants often experience internal transformations of empowerment, as they creatively construct structures that will provide not only shelter, but self-sufficiency.”

Christian Education Update

November 25, 2014 in Sunday School

December will be an exciting month for our Sunday school classes!  The preschoolers will study the birth of Jesus and why that event is important in their lives.  The elementary class, while continuing the year’s theme of getting a good foundation of Bible events from beginning to end, will spend the month with the book of Isaiah, learning about the prophesies of Christ.  Pat Olson will continue to work with the preschool and elementary classes, teaching the children Christmas songs and working with them on memorizing the books of the Bible.

In mid-November, the youth class invited adults to join them as they use videos from The Work of the People to launch discussions that often go along with Pastor Brian’s sermon texts.  The class meets in the upstairs kitchen.

The adult class will use The Cradle, Cross, and Crown by Billy Graham.  Upon taking a peek into the Foreword of the book, we note that “The real Christmas message…heralds the entrance of God into human history.  It is heaven descending to earth.  It is as though a trumpeter had taken his stand upon the turrets of time and announced to a despairing, hopeless, and frustrated world the coming of the Prince of Peace….  The Christmas message is relevant, revolutionary, and reassuring to us today.  I believe it can be summed up in three words: a cradle, a Cross, and a crown.” Read the rest of this entry →

In Our Library

November 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Have you ever been hurt by another person, by another Christian?  If so, you may be interested in reading a new addition to the church’s library entitled Wounded by God’s People, by Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy Graham.  Through the lens of Hagar’s story, Ms. Lotz shares her wounds, both at the hand of others and the wounds she herself has inflicted on others.  She has discovered that wounding is a cycle that can be broken by God’s grace.   You will find this to be an informative and uplifting journey of healing.  The book can be checked out from the church’s library.

Pat Olson

Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering

November 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

Since 1935, American Baptists have contributed to special offerings taken up in their churches for retired ABC ministers, missionaries and their widowed spouses. In 1977, American Baptist Churches USA launched the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering (RMMO) to become intentional about this long tradition of expressing thankfulness.

Today, RMMO is a tangible way the American Baptist family demonstrates its appreciation for the commitment, service, and spiritual guidance of retired ministers, missionaries, and their widowed spouses. This year’s theme is Inspiration + Community as we acknowledge that those who have served in ministry have inspired our faith walk and helped to foster a strong sense of Christian community.

The offering supports those who have devoted their lives to God’s service by providing emergency assistance in times of need and a thank you check at the end of each year. We hope that RMMO will continue to serve as a rich tradition for ABC congregations and be an inspiration for so many who have served with gladness.  Please prayerfully consider your financial giving to RMMO.  Thank you!

Volunteer Opportunities

October 24, 2014 in Missions & Ministry

The Solutions Center Warming Shelter opened on November 1st.  The Solutions Center is looking for a volunteer who can help the staff member on duty from 6:00-10:00 PM with guest sign-in, serving the evening meal, working with clients and carrying items to and from the Women’s Shelter.  Solutions Center is also seeking to hire part-time Shelter Advocates for the Men’s and Women’s Shelters.  Applications for both positions are available online at www.solutionsfdl.com.

The Salvation Army needs help this season distributing food and toys for Christmas (December 11th-17th at the Fairgrounds).  Call 923-8220 for more information.

Ruby’s Pantry needs volunteers to help with food distribution on Thursday, December 11th, at Grace Christian Church (1596 4th Street).  Registration begins at 5:00 PM.  Call Cheryl Meyer at 923-5292 if you would like to volunteer.

Youth for Chirist would like 1-2 adults to help lead an after-school group at Sabish Middle School; training and materials provided.  Contact Pastor Brian or a member of the Diaconate for more information.  YFC also needs volunteers for their Fresh Start program; talk to Mike Turk for details.

Boys and Girls’ Club is looking for volunteers to help as tutors in math and reading.  Call 924-0530 for more information.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters has a waiting list of kids who could be connected with an adult mentor.  Call 922-8200 for details.

From the Pastor

October 24, 2014 in From the Pastor

One of the many exciting parts of this year’s annual meeting of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin was the opportunity to interview folks from churches throughout the region and hear stories of how they are connecting with people in their neighborhoods and communities.  These stories will eventually be written up and shared online at www.missionalnetworking.org as a way to encourage, inspire and challenge each other as we live out God’s mission in our own areas.

Last month, we talked about the many things we are doing as well as a number of opportunities to volunteer and serve in the community in new ways.  I also challenged us to think through the things we do in terms of reach (connecting with new people outside our church and getting to know those within the congregation) and impact (being purposeful about what we do in terms of living deeper into our relationship with God and others).

It’s important to remember that our faithfulness is not measured by our busy-ness or even our effectiveness, but first and foremost humbly living as the child of God who loves us and invites us deeper into true life.  At the same time, the kind of life God gives us is one that becomes richer and more abundant as we give it away, inviting others to share in what we have received and in the mission God calls us into.

We might think, “Well, that sounds great – but how do we really make those kinds of connections?  I’m old / young / busy / tired / introverted / got my own stuff to deal with.”  Believe it or not, I can sympathize.  It’s not easy for me to find new ways to reach out and connect with people outside of the networks of “churchdom”.  One of the (many) reasons I was grateful for the time Memorial allowed me to serve at Connect Café is that it provided a natural way to get to know a wide group of people. Read the rest of this entry →

Missionary Profile: Sandy Schoeninger (retired)

October 24, 2014 in Missionary Profile

SchoeningerThis month we take a brief look into the life of another retired missionary: Sandy Schoeninger, who served in Kodiakanal, India.  She now serves International Ministries at headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, as a volunteer special assistant in Mission Finance.  She files or shreds papers as required.  She folds and mails receipts for check or credit card gifts.  She also does other clerical work for the person who does the gift entry.

During the summers, Sandy volunteers at American Baptist Assembly/Green Lake Conference Center at Green Lake, serving at the quaint Padelford Country Store in the campground area.  It features an inviting front porch with a glider.  Guests go to the store to purchase camping supplies, firewood, some grocery items, snacks, ice cream treats, and gift items.  Children love to purchase penny candy there!

Although the store is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Sandy’s time at Green Lake begins earlier and ends later, allowing her to do necessary preparations at the store before opening and to get it closed up at the end of the season.

As you pray for missionaries, please pray for retired ones, such as Sandy, who continue to serve God in various ways.  Thank you.