Mission and Service News

Making the world a better place in the name of God can be tough work. We need your help to accomplish this goal! We’re searching for volunteers to help with the following projects:

Project NOAHH blankets: We have enough materials left over from Service Sunday to make 11 more fleece blankets for Project NOAHH. If you would like to help, please come to the church office to pick up your materials.

Tech fans needed: This summer, our office needs to transfer archived documents from the project management tool Basecamp to our new church software, Realm. If you are interested in helping, 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 Karen.aspenson@mosaicfamilyhealth.org.

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

Nine months ago, the members of First Congregational United Church of Christ entrusted the Search Committee with the responsibility of prayerfully selecting for your approval a candidate to be our Pastor for Congregational Care and Missions. We gathered input from many of you as we assembled our Local Church Profile which addresses who we are now as a community of faith, who we are called to become, who our neighbors are and who we seek to join us on our faith’s journey. We carefully reviewed Ministerial Profiles of 20 candidates; we interviewed three via Skype, arranged to hear two of them preach and, after checking references, invited those two to visit in Appleton with us and, separately, with Pastors Steve and Nick.

After prayerful reflection, we then unanimously and unreservedly agreed to recommend Reverend Kathryn Kuhn as our candidate as Pastor for Congregational Care and Missions. Kathryn has enthusiastically accepted our nomination.

Here is what Kathryn had to say:

Grace and peace to you! I am looking forward to meeting all of you in a few days. I feel so blessed to be considered for this position. It truly feels like my 20 years in ministry have been preparing me to serve in this role. My undergraduate degree is from Miami University. After a brief detour to law school at William and Mary in Virginia, I found my way to Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. I was ordained via a four-way covenant with an HIV/AIDS ministry in Milwaukee. I have pastored three different congregations along the way. Most recently, I have served as the Director of Mission and Ministry for Cedar Community in West Bend — a senior living community affiliated with the United Church of Christ. Providing oversight for spiritual care among our 950 residents and 650 staff team members has helped me grow as a pastoral caregiver and colleague alongside the administrative team.

I live in Kiel, Wisconsin along with my family. I enjoy cooking, CrossFit, running, hiking, reading, listening to music of all kinds and spending time with family and friends. My husband, Rev. Dr. Karl Kuhn, serves as Professor of Religion at Lakeland University. He is passionate about making connections between the world of theological studies and the local church. When he isn’t teaching at Lakeland or speaking out in the community, he can usually be found tending our 30-acre wooded property, or perhaps hunting deer, elk or turkey to fill our freezer. Our son, Joshua (19) just completed his first year at Carroll University in Waukesha where he studies exercise science. Clare (15) will be a sophomore at Kiel High School this fall. She loves horses, though we do not own one. I am hopeful all or most of my family will be present on June 25, though beyond that date they would likely divide their worship time between First Congregational and our current church home at Grace Congregational UCC in Two Rivers.

Again, I look forward to meeting you, and listening together for God’s call on our shared future!

—Rev. Kathryn Kuhn

Kathryn will bring many gifts to our church. She is wise, mature, energetic, thoughtful and compassionate. She believes in faith in action and has ministered joyfully to older adults since childhood. She is an experienced minister who has served other churches and large organizations, and she has worked collaboratively as a member of a leadership team.

Comments from Kathryn’s references include:

She makes immediate connections with people; her heart is in pastoral care; she is one of the best listeners I have ever met.

In worship, Kathryn has a spirited voice and communicates information that is thoughtful and fresh. She clearly loves the church and the Word of God.

I always sense her to be authentic, sincere and passionate. She has a passion for teaching all of us to really live our lives and live our faith.

She will approach missions with enthusiasm and joy; she is able to think outside the box.

The church of Jesus Christ is blessed by Kathryn’s ability to teach, preach, pray and think through challenging situations.

We hope you will make every effort to attend an Ice Cream Social and Open House in our East Parking Lot on Saturday, June 24 from 2:00–4:00 PM. Kathryn will be a pastor to our whole congregation so we encourage congregation members and friends of all ages to come meet her in this informal setting.

Then, we invite you to attend our Sunday morning, June 25, 9:30 AM worship service. Kathryn will lead the worship service and offer the sermon. Following the service, a congregational meeting will be held to hear a detailed report from the Search Committee and vote on the recommendation to call Kathryn Kuhn as our new Pastor for Congregational Care and Missions. Assuming a positive vote, it is our hope that Kathryn will start with us in August.

We believe that God has led us to this exciting moment in the ministry of our church . . . and so does Kathryn. We look forward to growing together as a faith community, serving others and proclaiming the good news of God’s love.

Thank you for your support on this gratifying journey to call our new pastor.

Sincerely,

Members of the Search Committee
 
Barb Armstrong; Chris Danz; Sue Detienne, Chairperson; Mark Shropshire; Al Bellg; Mary Dees; Sam Mast; Wanda Van De Hey

September 23–30
Rainelle, West Virginia

“Warmer. Safer. Drier.” That is the mission of the Appalachian Service Project. This will be our fourth rebuilding trip with ASP. We will be returning to Rainelle, West Virginia, an area hit with devastating floods in June 2016. Each service trip has been an amazing experience for all of us participating; we do our part and turn the project over to the next arriving crew. Amazing work gets done!

This year, our job will be to frame a new house. What an undertaking! If we bring a willingness to work hard and a desire to connect with the families with whom we work and with each other, lives are transformed. Please prayfully consider the role you might play in this service opportunity.

You can now sign up in the Narthex to participate in the trip. Please call or email Valerie Schultz with questions regarding the trip: (920) 915-8008. Learn more about the Appalachia Service Project at www.asphome.org.

Thank you to all from First Congo who volunteered with Back Bay Mission this year. To celebrate, we’ve posted photos from the trip to our Facebook page. You can find them at www.facebook.com/1stCongo.

Back Bay Mission also sent a note of thanks for our church’s monetary and volunteer support:

Members of First Congregational Church,

Thank you for supporting Back Bay Mission! Every day, people in need walk through our doors looking for help. Thanks to you, we can make sure they get what they need. From Mississippi’s only client-choice food pantry to the best housing rehabilitation ministry on the Gulf Coast, we’re transforming lives because you’re behind us. As a member of the Board of Directors, I wanted to let you know how much your support means to me personally and to the people we serve.

Thank you!

Grace and peace,
Carol Merriman

You can see this thank you note in person on the Mission and Service bulletin board in the Narthex.

October 1–8, 2016

Assembling a wheelchair ramp in Jonesville, Virginia“Warmer, Safer, Drier.” That is the mission of the Appalachia Service Project. Their goal is to help families in need to improve the condition of their homes.

We are planning our third service trip to Jonesville, VA for October. You need no specific carpentry skills to participate, just a willingness to work and a desire to connect with the families we meet.

The cost of the trip is $325 plus travel expenses. The $325 covers lodging and meals and helps fund the service projects. The first year we helped build a wheelchair ramp for a woman who had been confined to her home because of its inaccessibility. Last year, we replaced a living room floor and the underlying supports. Both years we had wonderful experiences with the families we served.

This year, we also have the option of staying a day longer and stopping at the famous National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.

Please sign up in the Narthex if you would like to come. You may call or email Valerie Schultz with any questions regarding the trip. You can also go to the Appalachia Service Project website for more information.

Over 180 people participated in Service Sunday last week! Thank you all for making the day brighter for many others!

  • Making fleece blankets on Service Sunday.Made 26 fleece blankets to deliver with our Project NOAHH bunkbeds (Neighbors Offering a Helping Hand).
  • Baked 30-dozen chocolate-chip cookies, with 12 plates of 2-dozen cookies delivered into the community as “random acts of kindness.” Some recipients were the Appleton Police and Fire departments, Kaukauna Recreation Department staff, Kimberly Area School District summer school staff, and Appleton City Hall at Baking cookies on Service Sunday.Plant-a-Row many plants and seeds were planted and yards of irrigation hose laid.
  • Butterfly and bird houses are adorning yards and bringing smiles to many faces.
  • Spread lots of mulch and pulled weeds in the Labyrinth garden.
  • Cut buckthorn and overgrowth in the ravine.
  • Handed out 40 “Have a Wash on Us” bags containing detergent and quarters at local laundromats, as well as quarters for dryers.
  • Spreading mulch on Service Sunday.A multitude of voices shared lovely music with residents at Brewster Village, brightening many faces and souls.
  • 2-dozen bags adorned with artistry and inspirational words will welcome refugees coming to Appleton in the next months.