What is it about the Advent Season that tugs at our heart?
I know that most of the world calls this time of year “the Christmas Season,” yet we Christians know better. We know that on the first Sunday in Advent, (November 27th this year) the church calendar flips, and we begin a “New Year.” We are just so out of step with the commercialized, consumer-driven world.
Let’s admit it: we are an awkward people.
First, we celebrate New Year’s Day an entire month before January 1. And then, we (mostly) don’t sing Christmas carols until it is Christmas Day. No matter what the radio stations might play.
Further, during this Advent Season, unlike our consumer-driven world, we do not get amnesia about the darkness of our world: families being forced out of their hometowns, immigrants fleeing oppressive regimes, children being targeted and murdered. In fact, we embrace this dark story. Each year, during Advent and Christmastide, we remind ourselves of a family back then…. which connects us to what all too frequently happens now to families in our own time.
We Christians don’t flinch from this darkness; we don’t deny this darkness; in fact, despite what our world does, we hold this darkness close because that is exactly where God chose to be born, where God’s LIGHT flickered on and began to shine. It makes no sense, but…. That is what God did and does.
God allows us to see that God is not done with our world YET- that is what hope is; next, as we honestly confess the role we play in consenting, tolerating and promoting the darkness of our world, we unexpectedly are gripped by God’s forgiving peace; as we become more honest, we see through the false promises of happiness and embrace our darkness which allows us to be surprised by God’s joy; it is then that we have a greater capacity to accept God’s love for us.
No, our Christmas story is not all happiness and presents. It is filled with unexpected twists and turns, disquieting visits and disturbing dreams which give us hope, peace, joy and love- the true gifts of Christmas.
I am glad that we are on this journey together. It is a journey of watching and waiting. This year’s Advent theme for worship is “Watch for the Light. To a darkened world, God comes.”
Save the Date! ChristCare small group leadership training
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 Ministry Advent Bags
Putting together the Children’s Ministry Advent Bags was a team effort! Thank you to our amazing volunteers! Children are welcome to come get one in the Church Lobby on Sunday!
Network 56 Fundraising Service Project
Network 56 met on Sunday to work on their fundraising service project that they will sell at the Children’s Nativity Service on December 18th!
Thank you from Jerry Ronspiez
Dear FPC Family,
Thank you for your love and prayers during Pat’s illness and passing. Your continual support meant so much to Pat and me.
The food, cards, phone calls and hugs lifted our spirit. Pat so loved her church family and being able to be a part of the staff playing music.
It isn’t too late to pledge
In the Message translation of Proverbs 11:24-25 we learn that, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.”
On October 16, seventy members and families at FPC brought forward commitments to financially bless our church and the communities that we serve, and since that day another 30 members and families have made similar commitments.
This is such a joy and I am confident that this generosity will be met with blessings to the givers as promised in Proverbs 11:24-25. If you have not yet made a commitment to financially support the important work of our church, I would like to invite you to join our fellow members and friends in making such a commitment. Pledges can be submitted online at http://www.myfpc.org/donate by clicking on our Blessed to be a Blessing campaign logo, or you can contact the church office if you prefer a paper pledge card.
Brett Cable, FPC Stewardship Elder
Advent Bible Study
It is easy to get caught up in the glitz and frenzy in the run-up to Christmas. FPC is offering you an opportunity to “come away” for an hour to ponder and savor the ever-present presence and wonder of our God. What is the meaning of this Advent for you, for me, for our church?
(Honorably Retired) Pastor Susan and I will be co-leading an Adult Bible Study during the Season of Advent. (First Sunday is November 27th) 9am sharp down in Fellowship Hall.
We will be using as our base the Daily Advent Devotional Book called The Promised One. Copies will be available. Yes, there will be coffee and treats as well.
More importantly, this will be a time to holistically grow our faith – enriching both our minds and our hearts.
We will listen to the promises of God, ponder what it means to follow the Prince of Peace, discover the Light in the midst of our darkening world and celebrate the One who comes.
As Jesus says, “Come and see.” Come as often as you are able. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Children’s Nativity Service
Hello FPC families! We need to find out how many kids are interested in participating in a Children’s Nativity Service this year. There will be opportunities to dress up in costume, parts to sing, and parts to speak if they choose! We are very excited to start working on this. Rehearsals will be during Sunday School: 9-9:50 AM on Dec. 4, 11, 18 (and it’s okay if they don’t make them all!). The Nativity Service (children’s performance) is Sunday, December 18, at 4:00 PM.
Upcoming Music in Worship
November 27 – Diane Robinson
December 4 – Choir
December 11 – Joyful Noise Brass
Coming Events | Nov. 27 – Dec. 17, 2022
LAST DAY TO SIGN UP! Dec. 4 – 12-1 PM – Family Christmas Caroling
Bring your family and give the gift of joy by singing some simple Christmas carols for seniors at Oakwood East Prairie Ridge Senior Living. We will meet in the lobby between 11:45 and 12:00 to check in. Masks and Vaccination Cards are required for entry into the facility. Then we will walk around the halls and sing to whomever we find! Simple and joyful. We will have lyric sheets available if needed! Non-singers are welcome to come and smile!
Dec. 9 – 5:45-7:30 PM – Movie and Pizza Night
Families! You are invited to watch “The Star” Christmas movie with us in the Youth Space. Pizza starts at 5:45pm and the movie starts at 6pm. Come when you can! Please add friends to your rsvp count so we order enough pizza! PJ’s, blankets, and stuffed animals are welcome!
Dec. 11 – 11 AM–3 PM – All About FPC (New Members Class)
After the service on Sunday, December 11, there will be a New Members Class held in the Conference Room. A Jimmy John’s lunch will be served.
Dec. 17 – 5–8 PM – FPC’s Live Nativity
Volunteers are needed to help us bring to life the majestic scene of Christ’s birth in this beloved FPC tradition!
Now–Dec. 18 – Christmas Giving Tree
November 13 through December 18 you will find small red envelopes for Christmas Giving Trees in our church’s gathering area as well as other Waunakee Community Churches. You are invited to take an envelope and insert a monetary donation so WEB can purchase gift cards for the families in need. Return the red envelope for the Giving Tree to our church by December 18.
This year, WEB is supporting over 120 families through this annual program sponsored by the Waunakee Ecumenical Board, a partnership of our local churches, businesses, schools and social workers working together to benefit our community.
Sundays – Now–Dec. 18 – 9:00-9:50 AM – Adult Sunday School
Adult Advent Study led by Pastor Glen and Pastor Susan called “The Promised One.” Each Sunday of Advent in Fellowship Hall.
Sundays – 9 AM – 4K thru 6th grade Sunday School
Each week we are learning about the Fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23
Come join us to learn more and have some fun together!
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Sunday School on Sunday, Nov. 27th as our volunteers take some time to be with their families.
Sundays – 9 AM – Graceland Student Ministry
7th-12th Graders, join us each week for a time of connection, Bible discussion, and prayer.
Sundays – During Service – Kingdom Kids
During the worship service kids can leave the worship service after the Children’s Moment and need to be picked up in room 202 after the service is over.
We offer Kingdom Kids for 3-year olds – kindergarten. Kingdom Kids offers a fun, unique time for children to explore their faith and form positive relationships with peers.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no Kingdom Kids on Sunday, Nov. 27 as our volunteers take some time to be with their families. There will still be a Children’s message during the Nov. 27 service.
Mondays – Now–Dec. 12 – The Light Team Meeting
The Light Team is comprised of women who want a chance to meet for fellowship and Bible study. We pray for each other and those in our church family and community. When possible, we extend ourselves in projects to help others. There is no homework and we include humor and laughter! We meet in the Gathering Place on Mondays at 1:00 – 2:30 PM. All are welcome to attend any or all of our sessions. From November 14 to December 12, the Light Team will view the video of “Christmas” by Ann Voskamp.
We will wrap up the year with Christmas celebration and fellowship on Dec. 19
Wednesdays – Now–Dec. 21 – Women’s Community Bible Study
The Wednesday Morning Women’s Bible Study Group is made up of women from the surrounding community at large. All are welcome. This fall we are exploring “12 Women of the Bible.” 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.
Wednesdays – 7:00-8:15 PM – Graceland Student Ministry
7th-12th Graders, join the fun upstairs in the Youth Room for a time of connection, games, message, meaningful small group discussion with students your same grade, and prayer.
Save the Date | More Info to come
Dec. 18 – 4-5 PM – Children’s Nativity Service
All are welcome to attend and join us for treats afterwards!
Dec. 21 – 7-8:15 PM – 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!
Dec. 24 – 4 PM – Family Christmas Eve Service
Dec. 24 – 7 PM – Candlelight Christmas Eve Service
Featuring the FPC Choir and Joyful Noise. Communion will be available in the Chapel after the service.
Dec. 25 – 10 AM – Christmas Morning Service
Please join us for a Christmas Morning service. Feel free to come in your pajamas, and everyone will get a chocolate bar!
Dec. 26–Jan. 2 – FPC Office will be closed
Jan. 8 – Bethel Bible Series Bible Study
Dear Members of FPC, we have the opportunity to offer you the Bethel Bible Series Bible Study starting on Sunday January 8th. There will also be an online opportunity starting on Saturday January 7th. Please let Adult Nurture and Spiritual Growth Elder Scott Legwold know if you would like to participate in either Bible Study (please email him at email@example.com). We are prepared to conduct the in person Bethel Bible Series Bible Study starting on January 8th in our classrooms at FPC. Thank you.
Jan. 8 – 11:30 AM-1 PM – Epiphany Potluck and Fun
FPC Children’s Ministry and MOPs are partnering to host an Epiphany Celebration – which occurs after the 12 days of Christmas. This “3 Kings Day” celebrates the “Wisemen” part of the Christmas story. We will have a potluck with 3 Kings activities and the famous “Kings Cake” – if the baby Jesus is in your piece, you will get a prize! Join us for Food and Fun!
Wednesdays – Jan. 25–Mar. 1 – 6:30-8:30 PM – ChristCare small group leadership training
In 2003, Cheryl Shult, an elder at Christ Presbyterian Church, and I drove down to St Louis to be trained as ChristCare© Small Group Leaders AND the extra bonus…..wait for it…. How to train folks to lead healthy small groups using the ChristCare© model. Since then, Cheryl has done this training many, many times.
When I became your Interim Pastor, I asked Cheryl if she would conduct a training here at FPC. She said “YES!”. So…. wait for it…. we put her and FPC’s calendar together (she’s a busy “retired” person) and came up with a plan.
We will begin training small group leaders on Wednesday January 25, 2023, 6:30-8:30 in the Gathering Place and continue for the next 5 Wednesdays (FPC Ash Wednesday Service is included)- February 1, 8, 15, 22, and March 1.
This is an unprecedented opportunity to learn from one of the best small group leader trainers. Please place this on your calendar and let me know of your interest. If the Spirit prompts you, come and learn from one of the best (and each other).
But Pastor Glen…..
I’m Not Sure I could Lead a Small Group.
When God called Moses to serve as a leader, Moses was afraid. He didn’t think he could do the job. But God said, “I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). Sometimes God calls us to ministry, and we hang back, not sure we will be able to serve well enough, or not sure we really know how to lead. The God who calls us to serve is the one who makes us able. FPC Waunakee is offering extensive training and support for small group leaders starting January 25, 2023. The training continues for the next five Wednesdays. If the Spirit calls you to serve in this way, trust God and say “YES.” Then, chat with Pastor Glen (firstname.lastname@example.org), call Alka in the office, or use the link below to sign up.
Jan. 28, 2023 – 8:30 AM–12:30 PM – Intro to Centering Prayer
Pastor Glen will be hosting “Intro to Centering Prayer” in the Gathering Place on follow-up meetings will be held from 6:30-8pm on Jan. 30, Feb. 6, Feb. 13 and Feb. 21.
Mar. 19, 2023 – 2 PM – Organ Recital
Please mark your calendars! First Presbyterian will host an organ recital on Sunday, March 19, 2023, at 2 pm featuring highly regarded organist Dr. Andrew Schaeffer, Director of Music at the Luther Memorial Church in Madison. The recital will be dedicated to the life and service of Pat Ronspiez. Pat served as organist here for 46 years. She also played piano and accordion.
Our church features an historic 1890 Schuelke organ built in Milwaukee and rebuilt by Wahl Organ Builders of Appleton in 1992.
A Chicago native, Schaeffer holds degrees from St. Olaf College, Yale University and a doctoral degree from the University of Oklahoma. Andrew’s responsibilities include playing organ for Sunday services, directing the children, youth and adult choirs, various instrumental ensembles and overseeing the general music ministry of the congregation. He has been at Luther Memorial since 2018. Schaeffer is also editor-at-large of The Diapason, a nationally published organ and church music magazine.
Opportunities to Serve
Help with the FPC Coffee Hour
Every Sunday after service FPC hosts a coffee hour for socializing and fellowship. Please consider volunteering for a shift or two, to help setup and/or take down the coffee supplies. Thank you!
Shelter From The Storm Ministries – Needs Volunteers
Shelter From The Storm Ministries, located in Sun Prairie, is currently in need of crews that can clean rooms and prepare them for their next residents. They currently have 3 rooms vacant and they are in the process of interviewing new families to move in. A crew of 4 people volunteering to clean one room usually takes 2-4 hours and they are extremely flexible on dates/times. For any questions or to sign up, please contact Pastor Kent Van Horn from Shelter From The Storm Ministries – email@example.com – (608) 535-0067.
Your FPC Mission Team
FPC Choir – I’m Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says Sing!
You’re invited to sing with the Choir for the 7 pm Christmas Eve service! We rehearse every Wednesday night from 7:00 PM-8:30PM in the Sanctuary. Upcoming rehearsals are 11/30, 12/7, 12/14 and 12/21. In addition to Christmas Eve, the Choir will also be singing on Sundays: 11/20, 12/4 and 12/18. Unsure if you are a Soprano, Alto, Tenor or Bass? No worries, we can help and welcome all ability levels including middle and high school students!! Come enjoy a great fellowship of singers! Please contact Choir Director Liz Weller with any questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joyful Noise – “Make A Joyful Noise Unto The Lord!”
The Joyful Noise is our instrumental ensemble and is preparing for the Christmas Eve service at 7 pm. If you play a wind, percussion or string instrument, no matter what age or skill level, please consider playing with us! We rehearse every other Thursday from 7-8/8:30 in the Music Room on 11/22 (Tuesday), 12/8 and 12/22. Our Brass Ensemble will play on Sunday, Dec. 11th. We also welcome middle and high school students to play with us!! Contact Sam Robinson at church: email@example.com
Calling Vocalists and Instrumentalists (Piano, too!)
If you’d like to sing or play an instrument at a Sunday service, please contact Sam Robinsonsrobinson@myfpc.org 608-949-9450. We have open dates on our music calendar for January through May. You are welcome to sing/play a special song or two, no matter what your skill level is. We have open dates when the Choir and Joyful Noise are not playing and would like to fill those with students and adults from our congregation whenever possible.
Time For Prayer | Tuesdays at 4:30 pm | Gathering Space
Do you believe in the power of prayer? Join us at Time for Prayer on Tuesdays at 4:30 PM in the Gathering Space at church. We gather to lift up concerns for this world, our country, our church and our own personal requests. All pray-ers welcome! When we don’t feel like praying out loud, we say “praying silently.”
For the past 18 years, Time for Prayer has lifted up thousands upon thousands of prayers. With Jesus in our midst, we lift up what is on our hearts, and know that our prayers are heard and will be answered. Come join us, and be blessed.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Connector comes out at 4 PM every Friday. The deadline for submissions is Noon, the Wednesday prior.