The Echo of ‘Yes’
“No wind at the window, no knock on the door; No light in the lamp stand, no foot on the floor; No dream born of tiredness, no ghost raised by fear: Just an angel and a woman and a voice in her ear.”
(No Wind at the Window- John Bell © 1992 The Iona Community)
“All of human history boils down to the acquiescence of a young woman,” someone has said.
You see, Mary said, “Yes.”
She held her breath and then she held open her hands to an unknown future.
Mary said, “Yes.” And her whole world changed.
She said yes to the process of bringing God’s life into the world.
She was going down one well-known, predictable road… wife to Joseph… mother to their children… beloved grandmother.
Quotidian commitments. Cooking for, cleaning up after, comforting, caring for and cherishing her husband- her family would have been her sole calling.
YET she said, “Yes” and was changed utterly by her encounter with our living God. What a difference her simple “Yes” has made to so many throughout our violent and weary world and to us here at FPC Waunakee.
May we find ways to say “Yes” to God during this Holy Time of the year.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
We exist as a congregation to know Jesus Christ and to make Him known:
- To proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ so all may come to know and love Him;
- To nurture His people in joyful faith, fellowship, and commitment; and
- To demonstrate His way of love in service to the world.
We use the Connector to share news of the coming week and beyond, the activities that involve a wide range of ages and interests at FPC.
News and Announcements
Light Team Quilts
Prayer quilts were presented to Bill Jones and Stan Vinge recently.
Light Team ladies and the Deacons prayed over the quilts.
Both Stan and Bill are currently having serious health issues.
Please lift them both in your prayers. Thank you.
Thank you Alexander family!
What a beautiful crèche made by Steve, Marla, and Brad Alexander!
Come view their beautiful work– and gift to FPC– in the church lobby!
November 2023 Session Meeting
Pastor’s Moment and Report (Pastor Glen):
- Met with Intruder Committee and New Horizons. Met with Pastor Leonard and others to plan Thanksgiving Ecumenical service. Noted that WEB could be more active in planning and organization of the Ecumenical service
- Led successful marriage retreat
- Visited with several members who are seriously ill
- Planned and conducted Pastor Norm’s and Penny Holum’s funeral, with deacon support for the reception
- Held Centering Prayer intro
- Organized Advent candle lighters.
- Worked with JKP Committee on Preparation for Ministry to support Ezrah Schmeelk through the process
- Distributed November Care notes for Elder signature. Offered prayer for recipients of October Care Notes.
Pastor’s Moment and Report (Pastor Ben):
- Requested prayer for Kevin Olson, Ken Spielman (recovering at The Manor) and Gordy Faust
- Continued to serve communion to homebound members
- Questioned whether the Thanksgiving Ecumenical service is providing value to the community and if we should continue it in the future
Report of the Clerk:
- Approved Roberts Rules of Orders as the parliamentary authority for congregations
- While it has been a requirement for decades that councils use Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (RRONR) as their parliamentary authority, there has been no such provision for congregations until now. An amendment enacted this summer provides that RRONR will be used (G-1.0501) unless your congregation’s own rules stipulate the use of another parliamentary authority, in which case, you may continue to use that. For congregations and councils, where there is a conflict between provisions in RRONR and the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) our constitution rules.
- Approved Steve Cable as new church treasurer, with 3-year-term starting in January, 2024.
- Approved wedding of Elder Amy Nelsestuen and George Chavez, to be held in the FPC Chapel on Saturday, June 1, 2024.
- Approved holding the 2024 Congregational Meeting on Sunday, January 28, 2024
- Review of Session minutes and practices was completed on October 28. Exceptions noted:
- Record election of commissioner to presbytery, or in our case, choice to not elect a commissioner (annual).
- Record demographic composition of Session with regard to racial ethnic members, women, men and age groups, and how this corresponds to the composition of the congregation (annual).
- Audit of financial records (annual). Even though we voted not to do an audit this year, and that was recorded in congregational meeting notes, Presbytery did not approve of FPC skipping the audit this year.
- Record that communion took place. Our authorization applies until Jesus comes, so we don’t have to record a monthly authorization.
- Record baptisms, weddings, funerals conducted by pastoral staff, whether in church or not.
- We do have a manual of operations, a sexual misconduct policy and a child protection policy. We will need to update and add some policies to use wording provided by the Presbytery.
Clerk will create a template of items to include in the minutes to be used as reference for future clerks, to ensure compliance with JKP expectations. We agreed not to elect a commissioner to JKP in this meeting.
- Note letter of thanks from WEB for $100 donation in honor of Margaret George. Note $75 sent to Presbytery’s Retire Medical Debt from Heavenly Stretch proceeds and $35 will be sent to Shelter from the Storm from Heavenly Stretch proceeds.
Report from the Deacons: Paper report was distributed:
- 40 care packages sent to college students and active-duty military
- A yarn bouquet was gifted to Lorrie Knott as a thank you
- Project Connect (Advent rideshare program) starting on 11/27
- Hammers with Halos did work for Carol Pulsfus and Jerry Ronspiez
Worship and Music: Setting up and decorating for Christmas on December 8. New sound system is working well. Members continue to express interest in a contemporary service. This will be considered and discussed with the new senior pastor.
Children’s Ministry: Continuing planning and preparation for the Children’s Nativity service for the afternoon of December 17. Resolved the conflict (parking lot/driveway) with Live Nativity. Children’s Service will go ahead with December 17 and Live Nativity will be one night only, on December 16. Good turnout for family fun day on 11/5 with 7 families and 20 kids attending. Planning Family Bingo Night for January 31.
Building and Grounds: Working on making improvements to some thermostats, doing repairs in restrooms and prepping the building for winter. Provided the full committee report that will address actions to take for active shooters. Session will be asked to take action in the December meeting. Sam Robinson and Rick Mueller will attend to review this information.
Personnel: The church business administrator role has been posted on the FPC website. A flyer will be included in the bulletin for all to pass information about the posting on to any potential candidates in their network. Shout out to Chris Drake for his work in creating a digitized online job application for FPC, which allows candidates to submit their application and resume online.
Stewardship: Continuing work for this fall’s “Walking in the Light” stewardship campaign. Weekly articles with a nudge for giving/pledging will be placed in the Connector. Barb is sending thank-you letters to each pledger. As of this date, 155 members have not pledged. The group discussed how to address this. Will provide a graphic showing progress for pledges compared to budget/planned expenses. Will also communicate with those who have not yet pledged.
Finance Report: Giving vs. pledged for the month of October is at 74% and year-to-date at 99%. General fund income vs. expense is $-47,904.33. October was a weaker giving month than expected. This was the first time in months that giving was significantly under pledged. Also, the negative balance of general fund income vs. expense continues to grow. There may be some potential to catch up with giving at the Christmas eve service. Session also talked about the possibility of taking donations at the Live Nativity. Alan noted that some had checked the box for planned giving on pledge cards. There is opportunity to get the word out that we have an endowment fund.
Student Ministry: The date for the Pres House dinner was changed to December 10, to avoid conflict with the Children’s Nativity service. Registration for the January winter retreat in Lake Geneva is open. Planning is underway for 2024 confirmation class.
Adult Nurture and Spiritual Growth: Continuing and upcoming offerings: Centering Prayer, Theology on Tap, Our Daily Bread devotionals, Advent Bible study and the Light Team. The Men’s Small Group began meeting on October 11 at 7 pm. This group meets in the Gathering Place. The Women’s Bible Study continues to meet Wednesdays at 8:30 am in the conference room, through May 28. Heavenly Stretch (yoga for Christians) wrapped up its first 8-week series on November 2. Another series may be offered in the February-March timeframe, to coincide with Lent. The marriage retreat was a great success, with 17 couples attending. There will be Advent study based on the book “Sabbath as Resistance: Saying No to the Culture of Now” led by Pastor Glen and Christa Schmeelk. Session approved that we start planning the next retreat at Green Lake Conference Center, which will be a women’s retreat, the third weekend of October 2024.
Mission: Giving trees are going up the weekend after Thanksgiving. Wycliffe Bible Translators presented at the morning service on November 19.
Fellowship: Planning coffee tasting and caroling on December 3, Epiphany potluck on January 7, bingo night on January 31, and Lenten soup suppers on February 14, 21, 28 and March 6, 13 and 20. Events are also being planned for April, May and June. There will be celebrations, with cake, for Sue Gade’s and Alka Van Haren’s retirements this winter. Tryg Knutson will offer a lefse making class and Lisa Lehrdal may offer a canning/food preserving class. The Gathering Place kitchen was thoroughly cleaned, planning to do the same for the Fellowship Hall kitchen.
New Member Outreach: Live Nativity planned for November 16.
Timeline: Budget first pass at November, serious conversation about matching budget with planned income in the December meeting, vote on budget in the January meeting, present to congregation at the January 28 congregational meeting.
We have had a faith stretch budget of $75-150k the last several years. Discussed how much of a gap the Elders feel we can accept. In December, all Elders should come in with definitive cuts to help shrink the gap.
There was also discussion about what is communicated to people when they join the church and what expectations are regarding giving to support the work of the church.
eDevotional will resume December 20
Pastor Susan is taking a well deserved vacation and will return with her weekly eDevotional on December 20. Enjoy your vacation, Pastor Susan!
We are Hiring!
Our long-time Church Business Administrator, Sue Gade, is retiring early 2024. We are currently looking for talented, faithful candidates as we look to fill this position. If you know someone skilled in bookkeeping and accounting, please share the link to our Job Opportunities webpage on the church website.
For questions, please reach out to Amy Nelsestuen,
Personnel Elder, at 608-347-3786.
FPC’s Missions Team “Giving Trees” are back!
See the FPC’s Missions Team “Giving Trees” that will continue until the 25th! Look for the WEB: The monies the WEB receives this year will be used to buy gift cards for Waunakee area school children, the names of which have been provided by the school counselors. Also, check out the other remaining mission trees we are supporting, Porchlight Men’s Homeless Shelter and Support Our Troops (letters and cards to our service men/women overseas), whose gifts/donations will be collected until December 25th. Please contact Brice Kettner/Missions Elder with any questions: email@example.com or (608) 770-9877
FPC Nursery for Ages 2 and under
Nursery Age 2 and Under – Room 200
The Nursery is available on Sundays from 10:00 – 11:00 AM, is staffed by church volunteers who love children and want to share God’s love with them.
NURSERY WILL BE CLOSED CHRISTMAS EVE AND NEW YEAR’S EVE.
3-year-olds through Kindergarten will be dismissed after the Children’s message during Sunday service.
NO KINGDOM KIDS ON CHRISTMAS EVE AND NEW YEAR’S EVE.
Sunday School – Aged 3 to 6th grade – 9AM-9:50AM
Join us at FPC of Waunakee for an incredible Sunday School experience! Our vibrant program caters to children aged 3 to 6th grade, offering engaging lessons, interactive activities, and a nurturing environment where young faith can thrive. Every Sunday, we’re dedicated to fostering faith, friendship, and fun in a way that leaves a lasting impact on your child’s spiritual journey. Don’t miss out on this enriching opportunity!
NO SUNDAY SCHOOL ON CHRISTMAS EVE AND NEW YEAR’S EVE.
Network 56 – Grades 5-6
Network 56 is a group of 5th and 6th graders who hang out together to have fun, put faith to action by serving in the community, and grow healthy, encouraging friendships.
- All 5th and 6th grade students are welcome to attend Network 56 events at any time. Interested participants are notified in advance of each event.
- All events are chaperoned by parents. There is lots of fun and room for everyone to participate.
NO NETWORK 56 ON CHRISTMAS EVE AND NEW YEAR’S EVE.
Graceland Student Ministry – Grades 7-12
Student Ministry Winter Retreat: All 7th-12th Graders are invited to spend a weekend full of games, music, connection with each other and God! Friends are always welcome. $100 per student if you sign up by Dec. 31 ($125 after.) CLICK HERE for info and registration. Scholarships available – please contact Ezrah: firstname.lastname@example.org
NO GRACELAND STUDENT MINISTRY ON CHRISTMAS EVE AND NEW YEAR’S EVE.
FPC Student Ministry exists to help students KNOW God, GROW in relationship with Him and each other, and to GO serve others in Jesus’ name.
Students can expect a welcoming environment with caring adult leaders who are there to support and encourage them on their faith journey, regardless of if they are exploring their faith for the first time, a committed follower of Jesus, or anywhere between.
All students are welcome!
Sundays | 9:00–9:50am
In the upstairs youth room
7th-12th Graders, join us for a time of connection, Bible discussion, and prayer.
Wednesdays | 7:00-8:15pm
In the upstairs youth room
7th-12th Graders, join us for a time of connection, games, musical worship, meaningful messages and small group discussions, and prayer.
Music in Worship
December 17 – FPC Choir and Ying Wang, pianist
December 24 10am– Ying Wang, pianist
December 24 4pm– Ying Wang, pianist
December 24 7pm– Choir, Joyful Noise and Ying Wang, pianist
December 31 – Ying Wang, pianist
Coming Events | Dec. 17, 2023 – Jan. 6, 2024
Saturday, December 16 from 5pm-8pm – FPC Live Nativity
Join us for a heartwarming and enchanting experience as FPC of Waunakee presents its annual Live Nativity on December 16th from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Immerse yourself in the spirit of the season as our dedicated cast members bring the story of the Nativity to life, complete with live animals and festive carolers. This beloved community tradition promises an evening of wonder and joy, perfect for families, friends, and neighbors alike. Come together with us to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. We can’t wait to share this wondrous evening with you at our Live Nativity!
Sunday, December 17 at 4PM – One Night in Bethlehem Children’s Nativity Service
Mondays thru Feb. 12 from 1PM-2:30PM – Light Team Meeting
Join us for Christmas at the Argues’ on December 18.
We will start off the new year with “You Were Made For This Moment” by Max Lucado. The five sessions will be:
Jan. 8, Jan. 22, Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and Feb. 12
Light Team is open to all women on Mondays @ 1 pm. There will be time for lots of fellowship, treats, and no homework!
Start the new year by shining your “light” with other Christian women.
Email Lynda if you’d like to join Light Team at email@example.com
Wednesdays thru May 29 at 8:30AM – Women’s Bible Study
The Wednesday Morning Women’s Bible Study Group is made up of women from the surrounding community at large. All are welcome. Meet us on Wednesdays 8:30 – 10:00 AM in the Conference Room, entering through the west side Education Wing doors. Contact Beth Stellmacher for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, December 20 from 7-8:15PM – Youth Group Christmas Party
All middle and high school students are invited to join us in the FPC Youth Space for an eveniing of fun, food, and friends. Feel free to dress festively!
Wednesdays at 7PM – FPC Men’s Ministry
FPC Men’s Ministry is a multi-generational group of men committed to exploring matters of Faith, Purpose and Connection. The group meets year round on Wednesdays from 7PM to approximately 8:30PM at the church and also plans off-site opportunities for spiritual growth, fellowship and community service. All men are welcome.
Join our Men’s Group on Wednesday evenings from 7-8:30pm in the Gathering Area at FPC (by the fireplace.) We will be going through “Life Lessons from John” by Christian author Max Lucado. We are excited to foster meaningful connections and find some service projects to work on together.
Join our Men’s Group in attending the No Regrets Conference sponsored by Elmbrook Church in Brookfield on Saturday, February 3rd. For more information and to sign up: www.noregretsconference.org. We are planning to carpool from FPC the morning of the conference. Please contact Jim Fitzgerald at email@example.com or David Sliwicki at david.sliwicki@gmail for carpooling information and to find out more about FPCs Mens Group. All men are welcome to join us!
Sunday, December 24 – Christmas Eve Worship
FPC will host three worship services on Christmas Eve on Sunday, December 24.
10AM – Sunday Worship
4PM – Family Service
7PM – Candlelight Service
Save the Date | More Info to come
Sunday, January 7 at 11AM – Epiphany Brunch Potluck
Following worship on January 7, all are invited to join the Epiphany Celebration which occurs after the 12 days of Christmas. This Three Kings Day celebrates the “Wisemen” part of the Christmas story. We will have a brunch potluck together with some Three Kings activities for kids and everyone can get a piece of the famous “Kings Cake” – if the baby Jesus is in your piece, you will get a prize! RSVP to let us know you are coming.
Monday, January 8 at 6:30PM and Saturday, January 13 at 10AM – Care for the Caregivers
Caregiving is full of stories and life experiences. Sometimes we need somebody to walk with us, someone who is experiencing the same path of caregiving. Where can one find a Christian place to tell those stories and life experiences? The Care for the Caregiver group at FPC.
The Care for Caregivers group is a small group that meets twice a month; one attends as they have time, feels the need to share, or help others walking this path. We meet in the Chapel monthly, once on the second Monday of the month at 6:30pm and once on the second Saturday of the month at 10:00am. The group is faith based and includes those who are caring or have cared for another – in person or from afar. The group is for more than the FPC family, the meeting is open to community members that are caregivers. The discussions held in the meetings are confidential so that people are able to speak freely.
Henri Nouwen wrote, “To care is the most human of all gestures; caring expresses and expands our compassion. Care draws us into profound mutuality, both in shared vulnerability and shared gifts.”
If you have questions, or if these dates and times won’t work for you, please contact Marcia Chase, firstname.lastname@example.org or call 849-5683 and leave a message during work hours.
Monday, January 8 at 6:30PM – Centering Prayer
The Centering Prayer group usually meets in the Chapel on the first Monday of each month at 6:30 PM. But due to New Year’s Day, our January meeting will take place the following Monday, January 8. Each session consists of Two 20 minute “sits”. For those who want to “learn by doing,” please come at 6 PM to get oriented. For questions, please contact Pastor Glen.
Sunday, January 21 at 3pm – MOMCo
Attention all moms, no matter what season of life you are in, join our mom community for monthly gatherings as well as social events. Contact Patricia Coley for more information!
Future MOMCo Meeting Dates:
- February 18
- March 17
- April 21
- May 19
Wednesday, January 24 at 7PM – Summer Student Mission Trip Info Meeting
Any student currently in 8th-12th grade, along with their parent(s), are invited to learn about our mission trip to Milwaukee, June 18-24, 2024. Student registration will open immediately following the meeting. Contact Ezrah with questions.
Opportunities to Serve
Last Wednesday of each month – 4-6pm – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED
Our FPC church has been given the opportunity to serve families at the Waunakee Food Pantry one time per month, starting in November. It will always be the last Wednesday of each month from 4-6:00pm. This is a great way to connect with fellow members, while serving families in the Waunakee area. If you are interested, please stop by the Mission table after church to learn more.
Stephen Ministry at FPC: Providing God’s Care to Hurting People
What is this ministry about?
Extensively trained and supervised Stephen Minister Caregivers provide high-quality, one-on-one confidential Christian care to anyone in need. They provide weekly visits and ongoing support as long as the care receiver needs. Should the care receiver have needs that are beyond the scope of a Stephen Minister Caregiver, they are referred to professional caregivers.
What kind of care is offered from a Stephen Minister?
- CRISIS CARE – For people experiencing change(s) that significantly challenge their ability to cope.
- FOLLOW-UP CARE – After the crisis event.
- CHRONIC CARE – For a person whose situation is unlikely to change.
- PREVENTIVE CARE – Providing care before a crisis occurs.
- SUPPORTIVE CARE – Care for the caregiver.
How can I find out more about this ministry?
Call the church office at 608-949-9445, or reach out to a pastor or deacon. Stephen Minister Caregivers don’t replace the care of pastors and deacons. They carry it a step further.
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Connect with the Connector!
In an effort to streamline the process for submitting requests for event announcements in the Connector or spoken during the worship service, Communications has developed this easy-to-use online form to share all of your important information.
Click the link below to check out the form and if you have any feedback or questions, please send an email to email@example.com.
The Connector is available in print at the Connection Corner in the Lobby for those who would like a printed copy.
The Connector comes out at 4 PM every Friday. The deadline for submissions is noon, the Wednesday prior.