Adult Ministries News

Thursday, March 30
Breakfast and networking at 8:00 AM • Program from 9:00 AM–4:00 PM

Bethel Lutheran Church, 312 Wisconsin Ave., Madison

ESTHER invites you to join over 800 WISDOM members and friends from across the state at the Wisconsin State Capitol to advocate and to educate legislators and departments about issues in the proposed state budget, including criminal justice reform, environmental justice, community health, education and public transit!

Cost: $25, which includes lunch, materials and bus transportation. Scholarships are available. There will be buses to/from Fox Cities locations the day of the event.

Register at esther-foxvalley.org (scroll down past the calendar). Questions: call 920-843-8083 or email office@esther-foxvalley.org.

Adult Ed Movie Screening

Friday, April 7 • 7:00 PM

Join us as we watch this 2012 profile of Tania Head, former president of the World Trade Center Survivors’ Network.  What began as a documentary on Head’s work with the network became an exposé on her fabrications surrounding her experience on 9/11.

Viewers have used this film as a springboard for discussions of trauma, survival, morality and the media.

This movie is rated TV-PG and has a runtime of 90 minutes.

Saturday, May 20 • 8:00 AM–12:00 PM

Save the date! The Environmental Justice Team of First Congregational and ESTHER are co-sponsoring an electronics recycling event and fundraiser on May 20, rain or shine, in the parking lot of First Congo.

All materials to be recycled will be kept in the U.S. Bring anything with a cord. All hard drives will be shredded/destroyed.

Most materials will be free to recycle, but there will be a fee to recycle monitors and TVs.

We have a small group of individuals at First Congo who have been working on efforts to impact the care of creation. We are going to be sharing tips on “green living” in the bulletin and through occasional displays in the Narthex. If you would like to find out more about these efforts or to share your own tips, please contact Chris Brittnacher.

Tip: Rethink your use of bottled water

Producing bottles for bottled water uses enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year. Other costs to the environment include the oil used for transportation and the low recycling rate for plastic.

Using one water pitcher filter and a reusable bottle can replace 300 16-ounce bottles of water — good for your wallet and the planet!

Tip: Eat local

Choosing local food when possible has many benefits to the environment, our local economy and our health.

  • It reduces the pollution and energy use associated with transporting, storing, and refrigerating the food.
  • It supports smaller growers whose scale and diversity allows them to use less pesticides and fertilizers than large monoculture farms.
  • Local foods taste better and are more nutritious since they are picked at their peak and haven’t been sitting in a warehouse.

Tip: Choose organic in the grocery store

Buy organic food because you will be eating food without synthetic pesticides, synthetic herbicides and hormones. You are also supporting an industry that doesn’t use petroleum-based fertilizers, which damage the environment.

Tip: Go meat-free on Mondays

Having pasta or a vegetarian soup on Mondays might not seem like a big deal, but adding one meat-free meal per week (for a family of four) has the same impact as driving a hybrid car! Raising livestock produces a large amount of greenhouse gases, so cutting back, even one night per week, makes a big difference.

Tip: Save money and the environment by reducing your food waste

Did you know that 40% of food in America is never eaten?

The average American household is throwing away $120 each month in uneaten food. Nationwide, we waste $165 billion in food. Food is the number one thing in our landfills and is a big contributor to climate pollution.

One in eight Americans struggle to put food on the table, so there are many good reasons to be conscious of food waste. Here are some tips:

  1. Plan your meals in advance and shop with a list. Only purchase what you can consume before it expires.
  2. Use leftovers and ingredients that you have on hand as inspiration for future meals. The internet is full of ideas!
  3. Freeze what you can't use up soon: berries, bananas and greens can be used for future smoothies, while onions, peppers, tomatoes and fresh herbs can be chopped up and frozen for chili, stews, etc. For more ideas, check out savethefood.com.

Our partner Re-Member is an independent, nonprofit organization that serves the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, seeking to improve the quality of reservation life. Every August since 2012, a small group from First Congo has made the trip out to Pine Ridge to work on a number of outreach projects across the Reservation. First Congregational members also donate to Re-Member through the Alternative Christmas Market, the Bunk Bed Program and other means.

We recently received a heartfelt thank you for our congregation’s support and a First Congo member’s recent generous donation. You can read this letter on the Mission and Service bulletin board in the Narthex or below:

Friends,

On behalf of the Re-Member Board, our volunteers, and the Oglala Lakota people, Thank You for your generous support of our winter utilities and Bunk Bed Program.

Our 19th season has just begun, and your support will ensure many busy hands, warm homes, and smiles in the weeks ahead.

With our unending gratitude,

Cory True, R-M.

A mother sleeps on a mattress with springs popping out. A family just moved into their home and is struggling to get on their feet again. Children share mattresses that have been soiled with urine and are no longer able to be cleaned. Another family recently got custody of their grandchildren but have no beds for them.

Help us make sure these families have safe, clean places to sleep: Consider donating or supporting Project NOAHH.

Right now, we have seven families that are looking for beds and/or mattresses. Two of those families are also looking for dressers. We especially need new sets of twin sheets and twin beds.

If you can help, please make arrangements with Pat Hauser before bringing donations to the church. Thank you for sharing with those in need!

Stephen Ministry logoThe Stephen Ministry program equips and empowers lay caregivers to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting. Stephen Ministers are there for you when you experience life changes such as bereavement, job loss or natural disasters, and when you need support for an ongoing situation such as chronic illness, single parenting or supporting an aging family member.

We recently welcomed two new Stephen Ministers into our program. Our Stephen Ministers are: Janet Steward, Ernestine Whitman, Mark Shropshire, Stephen Otto, Dianne Droster, Diane Ragus, Sharon Tuttle, Paris Wicker and Cheryl Nisler. Please take the time to thank these individuals for the care they provide our membership.

If you have questions, want to be involved, or think you might just need to talk, contact Pastor Jeannie and she will get you connected.

You can support Global Ministries by purchasing books online for First Congo small groups and courses. Please find the description for your course on this site and click on the link for your book. The purchase will be routed through a special page supporting Global Ministries.

First Congregational will no longer be placing orders for books automatically. If you do not have Internet access and cannot purchase your book locally, please contact the First Congregational office (920) 733-7393 several weeks in advance for assistance.

Amazon.com provides a special link through which all of your Amazon purchases will support Global Ministries. Please visit the Global Ministries site to learn more.

First Congregational takes the cultivation of a loving and safe environment for all of its members very seriously. Our SafeConduct™ Policy protects the safety of everyone who participates in ministries for children, youth and vulnerable adults. The Code of Conduct section within this policy is required reading for anyone applying to volunteer in these ministries. You may view the policy at www.firstcongoappleton.org/read-it-here.

If you are interested in volunteering with children, youth or vulnerable adults, we invite you to apply in advance so that you have the flexibility to jump in whenever an opportunity comes your way. Please contact the church office to get the application process started.

Household items are frequent needs for families struggling to improve their quality of life in the Fox Valley. Recently many specific, known needs have come to our attention.

  • Mother of five children is in need of two twin beds and dressers.
  • Mother with a 9-year-old is in need of a queen-size sheet and comforter as well as a twin-size sheet set and comforter.
  • Mother of an 11-year-old is in need of a vacuum and a twin mattress.
  • Mother of three teenagers is in need of two twin mattresses.
  • Family with two children and one on the way is in need of towels of all kinds, pots/pans, toaster, cookie sheets, cooking utensils and silverware.

Please make arrangements with Pat Hauser before bringing donations to the church. Thank you for sharing with those in need!