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Neighbors!

We become neighbors when we are willing to cross the road for one another. (...) There is a lot of road crossing to do. We are all very busy in our own circles. We have our own people to go to and our own affairs to take care of. But if we could cross the road once in awhile and pay attention to what is happening on the other side, we might indeed become neighbors.
Henri J.M. Nouwen
This quote comes from Nouwen's book Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith. The book was published in 1996, two months after his death. Although these words were written in 1996, they still ring true today. We have a tendency to get caught up in our own busy lives, or get preoccupied by our own interests and desires. Sunday, June 4, we will have the opportunity to be good neighbors in two ways. 

Posted on May 23, 2017 at 11:10 am in Featured Content.

Thanks for your generosity!

This Sunday after worship, we will be having the Annual Meeting of First Congregational. There are several items on the agenda, but one of them is voting on the new membership of the boards for the church. We will install the members of the boards, and say thank you to the many that have served on boards and have concluded their terms on the boards. 

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 10:23 am in Featured Content.

Caring For the Least Among Us: Economic Justice

Looking through the lens of faith, the purpose of economy is to provide all things people need to thrive and live in fullness of life.
~ Edie Rasell
This was the theme for our May 2017 Annual Meeting of the SW Wisconsin Association of the United Church of Christ held at St. John's UCC in Monroe. For those of you not familiar with our denominational structure, First Congregational is part of the SW Association, which is one of four Associations in the Wisconsin Conference. Beyond that, our Conference is part of General Synod - the national UCC body.

Posted on May 9, 2017 at 9:04 am in Featured Content.

First Congregational Receives Partners in Change Award from Madison-area Urban Ministry (MUM)

It was an honor and joy to accept the Partners in Change award at the MUM luncheon on Thursday, April 27th on behalf of the congregation.  Linda Ketcham, Executive Director of MUM said the Board of Directors had voted unanimously in January to give the award to a group that was a longtime friend of MUM, and a group with a relatively new relationship. The awards were given to United Way of Dane County for their work with the re-entry program, UW Health for their new relationship with Just Bakery, and First Congregational for the longtime support.

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 10:55 am in Featured Content.

Children & Youth Sunday

The Children and Youth of First Cong will be leading worship this Sunday. Sunday School Students will stay through the whole service and will lead a Call to Worship in song, Youth will read scripture and lead prayers, and the Youth Musical Survivor Babylon will be presented for the Sermon.The script of this year's Youth Musical was written by First Cong Youth Emma Bittner! 

Posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:07 am in Featured Content.

Holy Week

The events of Holy Week are the cornerstone of our Christian beliefs. The events are both horrific and promise hope for each of us, and for the world we live in today. Please join us for the services of Holy Week listed below. How might we be moved by the path of Jesus?

Posted on April 11, 2017 at 10:43 am in Featured Content.

Next Stop: Jerusalem! Are we ready to enter?

Faith in action is love, and love in action is service. By transforming that faith into living acts of love,
we put ourselves in contact with God Himself, with Jesus our Lord.
~ Mother Teresa
 
We are just days away from Jesus arriving in Jerusalem and the beginning of Holy Week. We will begin the week with Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, followed by days that will bring pain, both emotionally and physically, to Jesus and his followers. In our travels with Jesus during this Lenten season, we witnessed his baptism, including him hearing God's blessing. We also eavesdropped on his first sermon to the disciples, telling them what his ministry would look like and what he expects of his followers. His expectations should be a mirror of his own ministry.  Jesus' ministry included mourning with people, being humble, working hard for justice, showing mercy, having a pure heart, working for peace, and enduring pain for doing what is right. We also have witnessed his presence with people who have been marginalized. Jesus goes out of his way to engage with people who are beyond what we would call his "inner circle."

Posted on April 4, 2017 at 10:47 am in Featured Content.

Construction Zone Ahead! Please Read!

Construction is the art of making a meaningful whole out of many parts. Buildings are witnesses to the human ability to construct concrete things. I believe that the real core of all architectural work lies in the act of construction.
At the point in time concrete materials are assembled and erected, the architecture we have been looking for becomes part of the real world. 
~ Peter Zumthor
 
We have been talking about the renovation on the west side of the building for a very long time. Plans have been drawn and re-drawn. Bids have been submitted by contractors, and approved by the Executive Council. Over three years of work has been done by our Renovation Committee. And now . . . THE WORK HAS BEGUN! 
Many changes will need to be made by members of the congregation and outside groups who use our space. Please read the following updates about entry for all activities happening in the building:

Posted on March 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm in Featured Content.

One Great Hour of Sharing

Paul's letters remind us as members of the church, we are so closely connected, we can think of ourselves as parts of one body, as a family-brothers and sisters. Our church lives this out when someone is ill, mourning, or facing a crisis. We show up. We show that love in tangible ways, with casseroles and cards, hugs, and spoken words of prayer. These acts of kindness let our brothers and sisters in Christ know that we are present with them. They know that they are not forgotten in their times of trouble. 

Posted on March 21, 2017 at 10:54 am in Featured Content.

Is Healthcare a privilege or a right?

Our Lenten preaching series follows Jesus as he travels through his short life. We began in Bethlehem at his birth, and moved to Nazareth, where he spent much of his life. Last Sunday he was baptized in the Jordan River, and this week he will begin his ministry in Galilee. As Jesus begins his ministry, it isn't too long until we see how important good health is to Jesus. In his very short career in ministry Jesus is recorded in the Bible doing 31 healings. The healings cover a wide range of infirmities. He heals people who are blind, people with demons, a woman who had bleeding issues, a son with epilepsy, people who were ostracized with leprosy, and even someone with arthritis. Not once, in any of these healings does Jesus require those healed to give something to him. He gives the gift of health freely, without requiring anything in return.  He restores health to individuals, and by extension we also hear of healthy families.

Posted on March 14, 2017 at 12:10 pm in Featured Content.

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