News and Notes

Join Realm Today!

At noon on September 17, everyone who has an email address on file with the church received an email invitation to join Realm. Please use the handout distributed during worship to activate your profile and log in. Handouts are also available on the table in the narthex.

Realm brings our congregation online in a private space only for our church. Using Realm, you can manage your personal information, donate, see your giving history, and connect easily with others in the congregation—all from a computer or mobile device. We are excited about Realm’s potential to simplify your interactions with the church and deepen our relationships with each other.

Please activate your profile and help us reach our goal of 500 people on Realm by October 8. If you do not receive an invitation email, please check your spam/junk folder. Still no email? Please contact the church office during business hours.

If you have questions or problems activating your profile, stop by the church library during one of the below times. Helpers wil be available to answer your questions.

  • Monday, September 25, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM
  • Tuesday, Septmber 26, 12:00-2:00 PM
  • Wednesday, September 27, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Thursday, September 28, 10:30 AM-1:00 PM
  • Friday, September 29, 12:30-2:30 PM

Deb Burich is retiring on October 15 after serving our congregation as Director for Mission and Service for the last 13+ years. We’re going to have a chance to celebrate her ministry and leadership among us between services on Sunday, October 1 in Fellowship Hall. In lieu of personal gifts, Deb has asked that any donations given in her honor be directed toward sponsoring a Kenyan student in a two-year professional preparatory program. This would be a wonderful way to offer a gift of thanks for Deb’s marvelous ministry among us.  Please plan on joining us in Fellowship Hall on the first of October. If you would like to send a personal greeting, card, or picture for Deb, just direct them to Carolyn Frederick in the church office.

Our next Membership Exploration class on October 7 is fast approaching. It will take place in the Upper Lounge from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM. If you are interested in attending, please contact the church office at (920) 733-7393 or sign up on the sheet in the Narthex. If you need child care, please inform the church office by noon on October 2. If advance requests are not made, child care will not be available on the day of the class.

The Membership Exploration Class is designed for people who are considering membership with First Congregational UCC. This class, led by our staff and the lay leadership of the church, explores the history and polity of the United Church of Christ, the history and programs of First Congregational UCC, the faith and theology of the church, discernment of spiritual gifts for serving God, and the meaning of church membership and opportunities to serve the church.

Our audio/visual team has helped make First Congregational worship services what they are today. If you have an interest in A/V and would like to join this team, please contact the church office at (920) 733-7393.

Have questions? Contact Technology Coordinator Jonathan Steffen at ext. 226.

Our community partner Project NOAHH is in desperate need of twin-size bedding for bunk beds. Please consider donating twin sheets, pillows, plastic mattress protectors and comforters — the sheets and pillows are the most needed.

You can drop off your donations at the Church Office.

Thank you for your help!

Learn more at our Project NOAHH page.

If you or someone you know cares for a family member with memory loss, direct, one-on-one assistance is available.

The challenges of living with and caring for someone with progressive memory loss are life changing—there’s no need to go it alone! The REACH Program provides a certified caregiver coach free of charge to educate, support and problem-solve in the caregiver’s home. For more information or to discuss your caregiving, contact certified Caregiver Coach Karen Aspenson at (920) 997-8407 or by email at

REACH is a program of Mosaic Family Health, the Fox Valley Memory Project, and in partnership with the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Family Caregiving.

We’re happy to announce that First Congregational has upgraded its WiFi network. This means you don’t have to wait to share that cute photo of your child’s baptism, you can upload church group documents on the fly, and you can download our bulletin to your smartphone—all without using data.

Our revamped network is named FCUCC-Guest and the network password is UCCWireless. Happy surfing!

First Congregational’s Facebook page is close to breaking 1,000 likes! To achieve our goal, we need your help.

Our Facebook page is a great place to keep tabs on upcoming events — both at First Congregational and in the community — as well as current mission, service, music and worship news.

If you haven’t yet done so, visit our page at and click “Like.” Consider recommending the page to your friends, family and others who you think might be interested in our church and all we do to celebrate God. 

We know that life can be hectic for parents—especially when kids are involved in a number of activities. That’s why we’ve designed calendars specially for parents of children and youth in Church School, Middle School Ministry, High School Ministry and Confirmation. Calendars can be found at the bottom of these pages. Print off the relevant calendar and never miss a CYF event!

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: Save water while gardening

Trick out your garden hose so you waste less water when you do need to use it. Add an automatic shut-off nozzle to the end of your hose. You could save 5 gallons of water per minute.

Tip: Plant natives

Native plants have evolved over thousands of years and, as such, have adapted to local conditions. They flourish without fertilizers or synthetic pesticides and rarely need watering. They provide food and habitat for wildlife, and contribute to biodiversity. You can contribute to your landscape’s health by planting native species that flourish in harmony with nature.

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

As a member of First Congregational, you’re part of our family — our really big family. With that in mind, please remember to wear your name tag during service, so that we may all great each other by name.

Additionally, please remember to sign the pew cards — even if you’re a staff member, usher, choir member or greeter. This helps us keep accurate attendance records, which means we’re able to print the right amount of bulletins each week,  record accurate data in our annual reports and much more.

Thank you for everything you do at First Congregational. We love having you as part of the family!

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

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.