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in the midst of . . . dark and light

Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness,where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”

Matthew 22:13

I will give you the treasures of darkness and riches hidden in secret places,so that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.

Isaiah 45:3


Posted on February 10, 2015 at 11:40 am in Featured Content.

Living in the Light

There are two kinds of light - the glow that illumines, and the glare that obscures.  ~ James Thurber

In next week's Tower we will unveil the Lenten worship series. A huge hint, I encourage you to read a book by Barbara Brown Taylor. But until the series is revealed, and until you have the opportunity to read the book and hear some sermons, I want you to take some time to process "living in the light."

Posted on February 3, 2015 at 11:44 am in Featured Content.

Dr. King Children and Youth Service Day

First Congregational Church was the host of a special day of service, education and community for Children and Youth to honor the life and on-going work of Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. 70 children and youth, along with 30 adult volunteers from 9 Madison area Congregations, gathered on Monday, January 19. 


Posted on January 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm in Featured Content.

First Congregational United Church of Christ Celebrates its 175th Birthday in 2015

Nine pioneers organized our church on October 4, 1840, meeting for the first time in the library of the territorial capitol. This was only four years after creation of the Wisconsin Territory, and eight years before Wisconsin statehood.  Names of our church’s charter members, seven women and two men from New England and New York, appear on the wooden plaque in the narthex, placed there during our church centennial in 1940.


Posted on January 13, 2015 at 10:45 am in Featured Content.

New Year's Resolutions 2015

When we welcome a New Year, we begin to think about what we personally want to change in our lives. Our goals mostly include resolutions to do something, or do something better. The church is no different. We must take advantage of looking at the church and asking what we can do, or do better. I happen to believe that Rev. Cameron Trimble hits a good target for the church with these New Year’s resolutions. How might we incorporate these resolutions at First Cong? What are we doing?  What more could we do?   

~ Eldonna Hazen


Posted on January 6, 2015 at 11:23 am in Featured Content.

A Pastoral Letter to White Americans

The stories of young black men being killed by white police are sparking a national conversation. However, public responses to these painful stories reveal an alarming racial divide. From an unarmed teenager killed in Ferguson, Mo.; to a 12 year-old boy shot dead in Cleveland; to a white police officer on video choking a black man to death in New York City; and a startling series of similar stories from across the country and over many decades — our reactions show great differences in white and black perspectives.


Posted on December 16, 2014 at 10:54 am in Featured Content.

Parable of the Talents

On Sunday, November 16th, the sermon was based on the Parable of Talents, from the Gospel of Matthew. The parable is about three individuals being given one, two, or five talents while the boss is out of town. When the boss returns, all must account for the talents they were given (one talent being the equivalent of 20 years of wages). At the end of the sermon, I challenged all of us to take a random envelope, holding a one, two or five dollar bill. How, if at all, would we invest? I was amazed by the investments people made with the money. The accounting of investments we received follows:


Posted on December 2, 2014 at 10:37 am in Featured Content.

'Tis the Season of Advent!

"Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present. 

~ Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac


Posted on November 26, 2014 at 11:34 am in Featured Content.

Through the eyes of....

The staff of First Cong is excited to share the theme of this year’s Advent series:  Through the eyes of  . . .  Often times we get in a rut of re-telling the story of the birth of Jesus as we have heard it told for many years. We look through the eyes of the storytellers we have heard for years. We look through the eyes of the Gospel writers, or the Older Testament writers of Isaiah. These sources of information give us great insight into the feeling of the story as it was told, but we are somewhat limited to the author’s eyes. During the four weeks of Advent and the Sunday following Advent, we hope to present the story through specific eyes, using the scripture as a guide with additional readings to enhance the text. Imagine with us, how the original characters might have experienced the time shortly before, during, or after the birth of Jesus.


Posted on November 18, 2014 at 11:53 am in Featured Content.

Is First Congregational a GFC?

We are in the strong part of the programming year in the Christian church. We are weeks away from being in Advent, a time when people think more about church, and a time when more people are “checking out” churches to see if they “fit.” During a time when Stewardship has asked us to check our vision about giving, it might be a good time for us to check our vision as a church. Thomas Rainer from Rainer Group, a church and denominational consulting firm, assembled data on what he calls GFCs  (Genuinely Friendly Churches.) He set certain parameters for GFCs; and then attempted to measure those churches guest return rates. A guest return rate is simply the percentage of guests who will return to the church for at least a second visit.


Posted on November 11, 2014 at 11:22 am in Featured Content.

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