Sacred Moments: A Wedding, a Passing, and a Prayer
It is Sunday July 19th at about 3:37pm. I am in our sanctuary joyfully presiding at Erin and Bill Esbeck’s wedding. I have finished my homily; Bill and Erin are saying their vows; my cell phone goes off. Luckily, it is on vibrate –a mere annoying buzz in my front pants pocket. I shut it off. I have my cell on because my father-in-law, Frank Hall, has been admitted into Hospice Care during the previous week.
When my cell goes off, I quickly think, “It is one of my daughters’ calling me at a bad time.” Then I think, “No, I bet Frank has just died.” I turn my attention back to the vows.
Erin and Bill exchange rings and light the unity candle. I pray, bless, pronounce them married, and watch them process down the aisle. It is always a holy moment full of wonder to see two people walking down the aisle newly joined together. It is a moment meant to be savored and celebrated. So I do.
Then I catch the eye of the pianist and tell them that I must go. I leave the sanctuary, check my voicemail (Frank has indeed died), bid farewell to Erin and Bill, call my friend Wayne for a ride, doff my robe, grab my Presbyterian book of prayers and head out to where Frank’s body is.
Wayne and I arrive just a little behind my daughter, Caitlin, and my wife, Christine, and join the hospice nurse and my other daughter, Molly, in Frank’s room. Molly had the privilege of being with her grandpa when he died. We listen as Molly recounts the end of Frank’s life. In the stillness that overcomes us, we drift into remembrances. I remember when this faithful Roman Catholic man first met me, a prospective Presbyterian minister, and warmly greeted me. Others remember some of the more human and humorous moments. It is a comfort to be all together with Frank’s body before it is taken away by the funeral home.
Before he goes, I open up my prayer book to the section called “Prayer at the Time of Death” and we pray one of my favorites.
“Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Frank.
Acknowledge we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.
Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace and into the glorious company of the saints in light. AMEN”
Now, did you wonder about the truth to the words “the company of the saints in light”? Well, four days before he died, in the presence of Christine and the Hospice nurse, Frank, who had been silent for a day, suddenly spoke these words out loud, addressing his deceased wife: “Wow, Miriam, what a crowd!” At that moment Frank was “in between” this world and the next. Frank was seeing clearly what we are only able to see dimly- the great welcoming presence of love.
So where was God’s presence that day? God was blessing Bill and Erin’s marriage, God was welcoming Frank home, and God was with us when we sat and prayed. Those moments are a blessing to me. Thanks be to God.
“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
Children’s Nativity Service
It’s that time of year to start thinking about the Children’s Nativity Service! There will be opportunities to dress up in costume, parts to sing, and kids can have a speaking part if they choose! We will have rehearsals during Sunday School:
9-9:50am on December 3, 10, 17
(It’s okay if they don’t make them all.)
Performance/Service is December 17
at 4:00 p.m.
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.
Join the Chorus: Become Part of the FPC Choir!
The FPC Choir will soon start rehearsing for Advent and Christmas Eve! Anyone interested in joining us is more than welcome, no experience is required, just a heart for singing! Contact Jamison at email@example.com for more information. We look forward to having you!
FPC’s Missions Team “Giving Trees” are coming back!
Look for them starting Sunday, November 19th: WEB, Waunakee Neighborhood Connection, Porchlight, Shelter From The Storm, Patriot Riders and Support Our Troops. 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. In lieu of, Missions will also accept gifts, monetary donations, or store gift cards for their trees which can be mailed or dropped off at the church by Monday, December 18th. All donations should be marked Attention Missions Team. Thank you in advance!
Our Live Nativity Signup is now Open
Be a part of the wonder of the season at the FPC of Waunakee’s Live Nativity on December 16th! We’re looking for enthusiastic volunteers to join our team. This beloved community event relies on the support of dedicated individuals like you. Whether you’re interested in donning a costume, helping with setup/takedown, or preparing or serving food to our hungry volunteers, your involvement will help make this year’s Live Nativity a truly special experience. Sign up now to be a part of this meaningful tradition and share the joy of the season with all of Waunakee. Let’s create cherished memories together!
Nursery is open
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.
3-year-olds through Kindergarten will be dismissed after the Children’s message during Sunday service.
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!
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.
Graceland Student Ministry – Grades 7-12
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
November 12 – Praise Band
November 19 – FPC Choir
November 26 – Ying Wang and Mary Kay Burton
Coming Events | Nov. 12 – Dec. 2, 2023
Sunday, November 12 from 11:30AM-1PM – FPC’s Chili & Cornbread Cook-off!
We can’t wait to be with our Church Family for this fun event! Please RSVP below if you are planning to bring Chili or Cornbread. There will be judges and prizes! If you don’t have a chili or cornbread to enter – please rsvp for salad or fruit or dessert! Come to compete- or just eat!
Mondays thru Dec. 18 from 1PM-2:30PM – Light Team Meeting
We will be starting Women of the Bible on November 13!
No meetings for our fall break on November 20 and 27.
This group welcomes all ladies wishing to engage in fellowship and Christian study – with no homework!
Light Team will begin meeting at 1PM in the Gathering Place.
Email Lynda if you’d like to join Light Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, November 13 at 6:30PM – 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, email@example.com or call 849-5683 and leave a message during work hours.
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, November 15 at 11:30AM – New Horizons Lunchables
New Horizons will be getting together at the RODESIDE GRILL on November 15 at 11:30 am for a Lunchables event.
The Rodeside Grill is located just off Highway 19, just past the intersection with the Interstate highways. Its address is 6317 Rostad Circle, Windsor WI 53598.
If you plan on coming, please RSVP to the emailed announcement when you get it. Or, you can let Anne Frihart know at 608-644-9294 or 608-512-3620. Also, if you would like a ride, please let Anne know.
Hope to see everyone at the Rodeside Grill on November 15!
Wednesdays at 7PM – Men’s Group
Join our Men’s Group on Wednesday evenings from 7-8pm in the Gathering Area at FPC (by the fire place.) 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.
Sunday, November 19 from 3PM-5PM – The MOMCo Monthly Gathering
Attention all Moms!
No matter what season of life you are in, join our mom community for monthly gatherings in Fellowship Hall.
For more information contact Patricia Coley.
Sunday, November 19 at 6PM – Waunakee Community All Faith Thanksgiving Service
You are invited to join your friends and neighbors to participate in an All Faith Thanksgiving Service for God’s many blessings, sponsored by the Waunakee Ecumenical Board, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Enjoy the music of our community church choirs as they sing together at the service. The service will be on Sunday, November 19, held at 6:00pm at FPC. After the Service will be a time of fellowship with pie and coffee in the lower level. Worshippers are asked to bring an uncut pie to be served after the service.
Join us for a time of worship, thanksgiving and fellowship! This year’s service is hosted by Christian Life Assembly of God Church. Please note that the All Faith Thanksgiving Service is on the Sunday evening before Thanksgiving to accommodate busy holiday schedules and still allow our community to come together in Thanksgiving and recognize our Blessings. All are Welcome! Worshippers are invited to bring non-perishable food items to the service for the Waunakee Food Pantry.
November 27-30 from 9:30AM-4PM – Fabric Sewing and Cutting Days
Bring your sewing machine and other supplies and work on Prayer Quilts for the church, other items to be donated (cat beds, baby quilts, place mats, tote bags), or your own project. OR, leave your machine at home and come to help cut fabric into rectangles that will be used as a children’s activity on the January 2024 Mission Trip to Guatemala.
Questions? Email Anne Frihart at email@example.com
Save the Date | More Info to come
Sunday, December 3 at 3pm – Theology on Tap at Octopi Brewing
Join us for a casual gathering that is centered around food/drinks, connection, and conversation on a deep faith topic. This month’s topic: “What drives us to say yes or no?”
Contact Christa or Ezrah for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, December 4 at 7PM – Centering Prayer
The Centering Prayer group will meet in the Chapel on the first Monday of each month at 7pm for two 20 minute “sits”. For those who want to “learn by doing,” please come at 6:30 to get oriented. For questions, please contact Pastor Glen.
Wednesday, December 6 at 11:30AM – New Horizons Christmas Carols & Potluck Lunch
New Horizons will be hosting Carols in the Chapel followed by a Potluck lunch in Fellowship Hall at 11:30AM on Wednesday, December 6th.
We hope to see everyone for the fun festivities!
Friday, December 8 at 6pm – Caroling and Cocoa
Kindermusik will be hosting Christmas Caroling and Cocoa on Friday, December 8 at 6pm in Fellowship Hall.
Come one come all! in the “Decked Fellowship Hall!”
A surefire way to experience the true meaning of Christmas! Family and Friends remembering and celebrating Christ’s birth in song with cup of cocoa!
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!
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.