First Congregational UCC
First Congregational UCC, Menomonie YouTube Channel
April 2, 2020 Coffee Chat with Pastor Kathleen
Sunday, March 29, 2020 worship service
Sunday, March 22, 2020 worship service
Written version The Works of God
Sunday, March 15, 2020 worship service
Worship Part 1: https://youtu.be/5oaN3VSZ6Hs
Worship Part 2: https://youtu.be/0_OxucxZsOM
Our COVID-19 Response
The Council met 3-17-2020 and made a number of decisions about our congregation’s response based on recommendations from public health officials and the national and state Conference bodies of the United Church of Christ. Please read the following information carefully:
Cancellations and Suspensions
- All in-person worship, choir and bell choir rehearsals and programming for children and youth is suspended immediately for an indefinite period of time. We will look carefully to public leadership for guidance about when and how these gatherings may be resumed and we will keep you informed every step of the way. We hope to gather in some fashion to celebrate Easter, but that, too, is uncertain at this time.
- The upcoming Budget Hearing and Annual Meeting have been postponed. We will set new dates once it becomes clear when and to what extent restrictions are being loosened in our area. The Council will pass a provisional budget in April. We will live within that provisional budget until those two meetings can be held.
- The Spring Arts Fest is cancelled and may be rescheduled as the timeline for lifting restrictions becomes clear.
- All church-sponsored in-person gatherings (Writers’ Group, Bible Study, etc.) are suspended for an indefinite period of time.
- All in-person meetings of committees and other church and related business are suspended as of Friday, March 20th until restrictions are lifted. Meetings deemed necessary by the participants should be held virtually, using conference call or video conference technology.
In-person activities being offered for the time being
- The building and the office will continue to be open during office hours, 9am-1pm Monday through Friday. When the building is open, people are free to visit the Sanctuary for prayer and meditation.
- We will continue to host Anonymous groups (AA, Al-Anon, NA, SA) during this time. We are asking them, if they have more than ten participants, to split into multiple groups. We are also asking them to perform specific cleaning/disinfecting processes before leaving their meetings.
- We will continue to support Thursdays Table’s efforts to feed people. (See update below for current plans.)
- Beginning the week of March 23rd, we will begin serving as a Thursday distribution point for Stepping Stones’ pre-packed boxes of food pantry items.
- Online worship opportunities are being developed this week. Former member Dave Ottman is helping us with the technology. Our March 15th second service was videotaped and can be viewed by following this link to our new YouTube page: YouTube Channel
- Watch for notifications about weekly online services. If you have any prayer requests, please email them to pastor Kathleen by Friday morning each week at email@example.com
- Mary Burkett is exploring ways to create “virtual community” opportunities for our CAFÉ youth as well as for parents and children. Mary and Pastor Kathleen will explore the possibilities for offering confirmation learning online.
- Mary Burkett is building a system for surrounding and supporting our members with phone calls and volunteer support. Over the next few days, she will be contacting many of you, mapping out neighborhood clusters and identifying with your help the names and contact information for our most vulnerable members. If you are interested in providing phone support, household chores, grocery shopping or childcare for working parents, you can let Mary know at any time: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Diane Light is offering to do home visits and mini-assessments for anyone who is uncertain whether they should be seen by a doctor or get tested for any one of the viruses currently causing illness.
- We will be learning how to do mass texting and we plan to build a “chat group” or listserve for any and all of you to communicate with one another and to share news, needs and resources.
- Because not all of our members have access to internet or other communications technologies, we will do our best to contact people by phone, as well. Please let us know if there are people we should be especially concerned about with regard to communication needs.
Pledges and Special Offerings
A number of you have asked how you should pay your pledge during this time. Thank you for asking! The ministry of the church continues during this time and our costs are likely to remain stable.
- If you already pay your pledge through automatic withdrawal/automatic payment, there is no need to change anything you’re doing.
- If you pay your pledge by cash or check, you may either mail a check to the church office or pay online through the website. There is a Give Now button on our website http://www.menomonieucc.org/home/giving/ that directs you to a secure location for paying pledges and special offerings.
- We will be collecting two special offerings during Lent: One Great Hour of Sharing and the Free Clinic. You can pay these special offerings either through the website or by check. Donations to the Free Clinic (especially needed at this time) may also be made directly to the Clinic. We will link you to that information later in the month.
Welcome to First Congregational United Church of Christ
When I first began serving here in September of 2016, I asked more than 70 members to tell me what they love about this church. The two most common responses were: “This is a welcoming, friendly, nonjudgmental community,” and “We love the unique blend of traditional worship and progressive theology.”
At First Congregational, we’re not afraid to ask questions. And we’re okay with not having all the answers. We believe that our faith calls us to the work of love and justice—even when we don’t necessarily agree on what that means. We lend each other a hand as we seek to walk in the Way of Jesus.
We take our faith seriously, but we take ourselves pretty lightly. Folks express a sense of humor and play and a willingness to try new things. There are lots of actors and musicians in the congregation, so we sing with gusto and don’t mind making fools out of ourselves once in a while. The many gardeners and visual and textile artists in our midst help to surround us in beauty, which draws us close to the heart of God.
This is a congregation of people who are willing to show up in life—whether that means showing up to shovel snow early on a Sunday morning or bring bars to an event or plan Messy Church, or whether it involves more public activities like running for City Council or attending School Board meetings or volunteering at a local food shelf.
First Congregational UCC is a place for prayer and a school for love. We embrace the call to love God and one another, understanding that call as a life-long journey towards healing, wholeness and right relationship. And we recognize that we’re all in it together.
Come for a visit; you may want to stay for a lifetime.
With blessings and gratitude,
Resources from the Blanket Exercise (click here)
Video of Blanket Exercise October 13, 2019
Mission Statement of First Congregational UCC
We are called together:
- to celebrate God’s presence;
- to help each person to grow in his or her relationship with God;
- to create a welcoming and supportive community of all God’s people, affirming the diversity of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity, social and economic status, and the differently abled;
- to observe and share life’s passages and our faith traditions;
- to reach out in love seeking justice and peace;
- and to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.