Adult Ministries News

June 9–11
Green Lake Conference Center

If you’ve ever been interested in representing First Congo, we have a great opportunity for you.

The Wisconsin Conference’s annual meeting also offers the opportunity to be a delegate or volunteer. The theme of the June 9–11 conference is “SHIFT: Our Unfolding Story.”

Learn more about the WCUCC’s annual meeting at wcucc.org/annualmeeting.

Wednesday, April 5, police escorted 70 Pokot women to Liter Centre in Kerio Valley, Kenya, reported Mildred Chepkonga. These women shared the same hope: that they might negotiate an end to recent tribal fighting between the Pokot and Marakwet people.

Many of the Pokot women had lived in grass-thatched houses, rather than permanent, iron-sheet homes. Fearing that their temporary shelters might be set on fire as a result of the recent violence, they opted to instead sleep in caves, despite the threat of snakes, Mildred explained.

The effect of the tribal fighting in the area goes beyond violence: a number of the women’s children and older relatives have died in recent weeks as families avoid traveling to Liter Dispensary and other health centers in Marakwet land.

Famine also has taken the lives of children and the elderly as fear of violence keeps families from farming. As a result, Mildred said, these families do not have enough food to eat.

Our Mission and Service team is sending $2,500 for maize, which will be distributed to starving families by our partner churches in Kenya. The Mission and Service team is accepting donations for maize and asks that you hold our Kenyan friends in your daily prayers.

Does it bother you when you throw away your apple cores, carrot trimmings or potato peels?

Sustainability means that everything responsible for our well-being comes from our environment. If millions of people throw away materials that can be used again in another form, it is as unsatisfactory as leaving on a faucet or light bulb indefinitely. It is wasteful.

Gardeners love compost because it completes the natural cycle of renewal.  Living things grow, reproduce, die.  Nature reclaims these materials and repurposes them to allow new growth and reproduction. Composting is completely free—part of our environment’s bevy of free services. 

You could spend $400 to get a fancy composter, but there’s no need to splurge—a bin can be as simple as a ring of chicken wire held by zip ties. Another great way to begin composting with little to no investment is to check out our display today in the Narthex. Learn how the composting process works and add your name to our new composting bin giveaway.

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.

  • A single mom with three kids recently moved into her own apartment and is in need of plates and bowls.
  • A mother of an 8-year-old and baby due this month is low income. She is need of a kitchen table/chairs and dresser.
  • Parents with four children, one a 15-year-old pregnant daughter, are in need of a stroller, bottles and newborn clothes.
  • Parents of two children are in need of a microwave.
  • A mother of two is in need of a kitchen table and chair.
  • Parents with six children recently lost their housing and were staying with relatives. During that time they placed their belongings in a shed, which leaked and ruined the furniture. They now have their own place and are in need of dressers.

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

Are you graduating from high school, college, technical school, or another type of professional or educational program? We want to honor your achievements!

We’ll be celebrating grads from our congregation on May 14. We’ll recognize you in our 8:45 AM service and enjoy a cake reception between services in the Narthex.

If you have recently graduated or will graduate soon, please RSVP by April 30 to Jennifer DeWitt, our CYF Coordinator, at 920-733-7393, ext. 235.

First Congo will once again participate in a project to allow members to prepare food in their own home for Homeless Connections. Empty pans will be distributed to willing churchgoers. The pans will contain the recipe and shopping list to prepare and fill the empty pan with lasagna or a comparable dish.

It’s simple:

  1. Pick up an empty pan on Sunday, April 30.
  2. Follow the simple grocery list and purchase the ingredients to make the dish (approximately $13).
  3. During the week, prepare the simple recipe and fill the pan (it’s so simple—no cooking noodles required).
  4. Place the prepared pan in your freezer if possible (the refrigerator is OK too).
  5. Bring the prepared pan to church on Sunday, May 7.
  6. Enjoy the great feeling of using your gifts to nourish others!

Note: If you’re unable to bring the pan back on May 7, please try to bring it the week before. It can be placed in the lower-level kitchen freezer. This makes transport and storage more convenient.

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.

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.

RSVP deadline: Monday, May 1
Event: Friday, May 5
Registration: 9:00 AM, Program: 10:00 AM, Lunch ($8): 11:00 AM
Immanuel United Church of Christ, 510 Sullivan Ave., Kaukauna

Church Women United in Outagamie County invites you to celebrate May Friendship Day! The event will feature a speaker from CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children). Church Women United will accept donations of ground coffee, powdered coffee creamer, sugar packets and paper towels for Least Coin, local and state CWU units and the Fox Valley Warming Shelter.

To reserve your seat, please contact Marilyn at mdvofkau@new.rr.com or (920) 788-5850 or Jayne at plainjayne37@gmail.com or (920) 246-8529 by May 1.