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Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly News 08-29-14


This Sunday will be the last for our summer hours. Worship will be at 9 o’clock this week, but at 10:15 on September 7.


God is currently at work in the life of every individual, in the life of every family, and in the life of the church as a whole. This conviction is our starting point. God is at work in you now. With this conviction in mind, Salem’s Board of Christian Education has set as its theme for the 2014/2015 year Faith Under Construction. The aim of every Christian Education class is to use the Bible to help people young and old imagine how God is active in life today and how they can best respond and participate in that work.


The “groundbreaking” for our Faith Under Construction year will be Sunday, September 7. There will be events both in the morning and in the late afternoon.
·         On September 7, Sunday School classes will begin at 9 o’clock. There are classes for children (beginning at age 3), youth, and adults. This first Sunday gathering will include morning treats, teacher introductions, visits to the classrooms, music, and more!
·         Also on September 7, from 4 to 6, there will be a “Groundbreaking Picnic” on the church grounds. Everyone from the church is invited to this potluck style picnic as we celebrate together our excitement at discovering what God is building in and among us.


Do you love music and singing? Do you have a gift for music that you would like to share? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, it may be time for you to join one of Salem’s choirs. You are warmly invited to an “open-house-style” rehearsal on Wednesday, September 3rd: the Barry Robinson Men’s Chorus meets at 6 pm and the Chancel Choir meets at 7 pm. Drop in and see what choir is all about! Singing with our choirs means that you will put your musical gifts to use in the serve of God while experiencing a very special kind of Christian fellowship and community. If you have any questions, please talk with Emily Worzalla or email her at emilyworzalla@gmail.com.


Salem’s Men’s Fellowship will hold its September meeting on Tuesday, September 2. The gathering will take place starting at 7 pm at the home of Dick Steele.


Salem’s Women’s  Guild will hold its September meeting on Thursday, September 4. This gathering will be at the church starting at 1:30 pm. The program leader this time around is Debbie Bass, and Gladys Behnke and Carla Hageman will serve the lunch afterwards.


Two new memorials have been purchased for the church and we will make special acknowledgement of them on September 7. New Pew Bibles have been purchased in memory of Lucille Cleveland and Ruth Zurbuchen, and a new white board has been placed on the Conference Room wall in memory of Thomas Gering. Through these memorials in their names, these three people who all loved Salem and Scripture and learning will continue to be involved in the spiritual welfare and Christian growth of our congregation. We are grateful.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekly News 07-25-14

Due to the vacation noted below there will be a four-week hiatus in these weekly mailings. This is the last that will appear until August 29.


The third piece in the Concerts on the Hill series was conducted last week. It was a four-movement piece on 2 Samuel 22:47: “The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock, / and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation.” The opening measures wondered how many of us today really believe God lives. In some somber tones, it wondered if the church itself – not our church alone, but certainly our church, too – has lost sight of the Christian truth that God is a living Person.


Mark’s summer sermon series on some anthems from the Old Testament concludes this week with “An Inspirational Number Sung by Angels.” The sheet music for this is found in Isaiah 6. We will sing the hymn these verses inspired.


Mark will be on vacation July 28 through August 24. Should you or your family have pastoral needs arising during that time, please contact the church office.


Please join the Membership Growth and Development team for Marcus Theater $5 movie night this Tuesday evening. The movie we are going to see is Wish I Was Here, the story of Aidan Bloom, a struggling actor, father and husband, who at 35 is still trying to find his identity and purpose for his life. He winds up trying to home school his two children when his father can no longer pay for private education and the only available public school is on its last legs. Through teaching them about life his way, Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn’t find. Because the movie is just coming out this weekend, there are no show times listed on the theater’s website. However, we usually try to attend the 7ish movie. If you are interested in going, please contact Cari Bass.


Last week’s mailing asked for a volunteer willing to activate one of our meal teams as need arises. Lis Pankonin – already the Guild’s “Sunshine Lady” – volunteered to take this over from Donna Weis. Thank you, Lis!


Someone who inspired by the “Hanging Gardens of Babylon” that were part of our VBS set is orchestrating a project of beautifying our church yard with mum plants. Folks can donate mum plants by bringing them to the church and leaving them by the canopied entrance. If you would like to help with the planting, you can do that, too. Donations will be accepted through August 10. If you have questions, please contact Rosemarie Wieland.


Everyone is invited to camp out on the lawn here at Salem UCC, Friday, August 1st through Sunday, August 3rd. Bring your tent or camper, lawn chairs, snacks, lawn games, board games, and friends. You are welcome to stay for any length of time that works for you (if you can only stay for part of the weekend or if you would like to visit for the day). We will have access to the church for use of the bathroom, kitchen, and in case of inclement weather. We will plan meals as they come and go to Miller’s as needed. Please contact Kelli Malueg for questions.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekly News 07-18-14


Last Sunday, using the Song of Deborah, the sermon asked if anyone has confidence in God anymore, and it warned of turning away from God.  Here is a bit from that message: “Don’t you see that we are in desperate need today of recovering this kind of confidence in God? What has happened to it? Does anybody think anymore that God can step out of eternity and do something today in the real life happenings of the world? Is there any hope today that God is more than an idea, more than a subject for a Sunday morning? Is there any confidence that God is alive enough to bless lives, to stir souls, to strengthen spirits, to make the mountains tremble and the stars do a divine bidding? What has happened to faith like that? Is there any left? We need again the old confidence in God.”


This week the Concerts on the Hill series continues with “The Bible’s Signature Tune.” The focus text is 2 Samuel 22:47, part of a song from David. Ponder this verse in anticipation of Sunday morning. What does it say about God? What does it say about the individual person under God? How is this the signature tune of the Bible?

VBS . . . Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday!

Vacation Bible School, with the theme Babylon: Daniel’s Courage in Captivity begins Sunday afternoon with a kickoff cookout at 4:30. Meat and drink will be provided, and the rest will be potluck style. On the subsequent evenings, VBS will run from 6 to 8, with a light supper at 5:30.


You may have childhood VBS memories, but VBS is not alone a kid thing. Mark is running a class for adults, too, and along the same theme: Babylon: Daniel’s Courage in Captivity. Think about that theme for several solid moments. Isn’t there something in your life that seems to hold you captive? Aren’t you in search of the courage to hold up under or to break out from that captivity? That is what the adult class is about. It is not about academics – what can be known about the Bible, its history and its meaning. It is primarily about connecting with God. Come, get yourself some of this!


After last Sunday’s announcement about our tattered flag, several of our worshipers looked into it following the service. Sing the old flag was torn and wrapped around it pole, it was taken down. Richard (“Mercy”) and Gladean Zurbuchen brought a new flag over and it is now flying high! Thanks to all of you.


Donna Weis has been doing a wonderful job activating Salem’s meal teams when a need arises. Unfortunately for us, Joe and Donna are soon moving to Baraboo. That puts us in need of someone new to activate a meal team from time to time. What happens is this. We try to provide a little sign of Salem’s support by taking a simple meal to someone’s home when they return from a hospital stay. We have several meal teams, each with a “captain”, who prepare the meals. The activator calls a captain to let it be known there is a need. The captain then calls people on his or her team. Often Donna has been using these weekly mailings as her way of knowing who has been hospitalized. She would be happy to school the new volunteer in what needs to be done. So. Is there a volunteer? Let Mark know if you are interested.


Getting to 108 is easy. There are four steps. Only four. (1) Vow to be 1.  (2) Keep your vow. (3) Pray for 107 to do the same. (4) Trust God for the results.


Salem’s VBS could use some canopy tents (like the ones used for tailgating and for farmer’s market) to shape our marketplace in Babylon. Several of you were gracious enough to loan us yours last year, and it would be wonderful if we could use them again. VBS in July 21, 22, 23, and 24. See Julie Adams if you have a tent like this to offer.


Vacation Bible School adopts a mission project every year. This year VBS is supporting Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). The folks at DAIS have asked that we focus our collection efforts on new linens for use at the shelter: twin sheet sets, twin comforters, towels, pillows, and pillow cases. In addition, gift cards in any amount for stores like Copps, HyVee, Target, and Bed, Bath and Beyond would be appreciated.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Weekly News 07-11-14


This has to be the lead this week. Wednesday Sherrol Yurs was at the church most of the day making a prop for VBS. She made Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. She made it out of cardboard and construction paper. That is all. Well, Wednesday night, close to midnight, the Yurs’s phone rang, notifying them that the church fire alarm was sounding. When Mark walked through the building with fire and police personnel, all that was found was Nebuchasherrol’s “fiery” furnace! True to the biblical story, Sherrol’s Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were unharmed, nothing was singed, and not a whiff of smoke was to be found!
So you all best be getting ready for an authentic VBS! Babylon: Daniel’s Courage in Captivity, begins with a kick-off on Sunday, July 20. VBS classes begin Monday, the 21st. Mark is running a class for adults as well. Details follow on the kick-off, and later bits of news tell of other VBS needs and opportunities.


All our church members and friends are invited to our Sunday, July 20th, VBS cookout kick-off. The festivities begin at 4:30 pm. We will preview the week to come as well as have lots of food, fun and games, and, if it works out, there is a chance we will have a Royal Animal Courtyard. Folks will be able to sign up this Sunday.


The Concerts on the Hill sermon series resumes this Sunday, July 13, with “Music from a Peasant Uprising.” This piece is based on the Song of Deborah, from Judges 5. The background for this musical selection from scripture is one of the Bible’s most gruesome stories. But there are three particularly helpful notes to hear in it today. Such will be our theme as we gather for worship this weekend.


The Christian faith is highly contagious. It can be said that faith is more caught than taught. More people come to faith because they see it in action than come to faith because they are told to believe. Being one of the 108 is one of the best ways to “catch” Christianity and help others catch it, too. Whether you want to grow as a believer, grow the church, or help someone else become a person of faith, the best way to start is to be 1 of 108. You’ll become contagious.


Angie Shaw extends an invitation to the church family to attend a potluck at their home, 207 Todd Street, on Friday, July 18th at 6:00pm. This is a farewell gathering for the Young Ambassadors from Germany and the host families. The schedule did not allow them to attend Salem with their student, so they want folks who are interested in meeting her, and the others, to have the opportunity to do so at this pot luck.


Salem’s VBS could use some canopy tents (like the ones used for tailgating and for farmer’s market) to shape our marketplace in Babylon. Several of you were gracious enough to loan us yours last year, and it would be wonderful if we could use them again. VBS in July 21, 22, 23, and 24. See Julie Adams if you have a tent like this to offer.


Vacation Bible School adopts a mission project every year. This year VBS is supporting Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS). The folks at DAIS have asked that we focus our collection efforts on new linens for use at the shelter: twin sheet sets, twin comforters, towels, pillows, and pillow cases. In addition, gift cards in any amount for stores like Copps, HyVee, Target, and Bed, Bath and Beyond would be appreciated.


We do not share any of the specifics of the people we help through Salem’s partnership with DAIS. That information is kept appropriately and necessarily confidential. But you might like to know that, just yesterday, Salem was able to help a woman who asked only for tire repair. She had one leaking tire that was making transportation to and from work next to impossible. We covered the expense of tire repair. That’s all. A small thing. But how BIG a thing is that for someone in need, and who hopes to be able to trust again. Thanks for your simple, but helpful, gifts.


Twelve youth from Salem are at Lakeland College July 10 through 13 for the UCC’s Great Lakes Regional Youth Event. Our youth participants are Kevin Cashman, Elena Durnen, Ellie Fitzwilliams, Nic Graese, Katie Hart, Israel Kwilinski, Morgan Moll, Zach Nechvatal, Sawyer Quade, Marisa Reniero, Matthew Reniero, and Laura Williams. Our adult leaders are Cathy Kwilinski, Dick Steele, and Laura Kolden. And Lisa Hart has been doing grand work toward this event as a member of the staff of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, the host Conference. Both Chuck and Lisa Hart are present at GLRYE, and we claim them as ours as well! We hope all of you are there having an absolutely splendid time.


The Verona Area Needs Network thanks you for your past contributions of egg cartons to the Food Pantry, but wishes to inform us they are no longer in need of carton donations.


Well, all of these notes are supposed to be updates, aren’t they? This one is for those who are curious to know what happened as a result of the neutral pulpit for Rev. Laura Yurs. The search committee unanimously recommended her to the congregation. Further conversations will now take place between Laura and that congregation’s Church Council, and a date for a trial sermon will be set for the relatively near future.

Weekly News 07-04-14


This obviously is an early edition of the weekly mailing. It is coming to you Wednesday instead of Friday because of the next two notes. (It is still dated for the Friday just to keep filing consistent.)


Salem’s outdoor flag – at the corner of Mark Drive and Barbara Street – is tangled. Would one of you kind souls be interested in stopping by to untangle it? It would be wonderful if it could be fully unfurled for the weekend.


The church office is closed this Friday in observance of the July 4th holiday. Sunday’s bulletin will be duplicated Thursday morning.


The Great Lakes Regional Youth Event will take place July 10 through 13. Laura Kolden, some adult leaders, and several youth from Salem will be on that S.A.L.T. (Serving and Learning Together) journey to Lakeland College. We will have a brief covenanting ceremony with this group and the congregation on Sunday during worship.


We made it to 106 for a June average! While that is not the summer goal of 108, it is an improvement over June of 2013. Way to go! Or, more precisely, way to come to church! Now, let’s see what can happen in July!


Daniel is making his resolve not to eat the king’s fancy food. Nebuchadnezzar is dreaming his dreams. The fiery furnace is heating up. The lions are cleaning their den and getting ready for “guests.” All is being prepared for VBS 2014: BABYLON: Daniel’s Courage in Captivity.
·         VBS helpers are still needed. Call us at the office. Send a return email. Contact Julie Adams. There is something you can do!
·         Mark is working up a VBS class in Daniel for adults. It will be held in conjunction with the classes for younger folks. Plan to be part of this conversation. Daniel is a rich and exciting book for these times.
·         Come, learn from Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that there IS a God who can deliver us from the fiery furnaces of our lives!


Thank you for all the support shown to Laura Yurs last week. Next week’s weekly mailing should be able to announce if the search committee is going to recommend her to the congregation for a trial sermon. The committee is set to meet tonight (July 2).

Friday, June 27, 2014

Weekly News 06-27-14


Rev. Laura L. Yurs will be leading worship and preaching this Sunday. A search committee from a Wisconsin congregation thinking of calling her to be their pastor will be here to consider Laura. The theme for Laura’s sermon is “What’s in a Name?” Special music will be offered by Ellen Bass, who will sing Pia Jesu.


On Wednesday, June 25, we passed the 57th anniversary of the formation of the United Church of Christ. How many of you remember the days of the merger that brought together the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches? Salem was an E&R Church prior to the merger. Your pastor even got in prior to the merger. He was baptized a Congregationalist just a year and a week before the merger happened. You can learn more about the UCC, its background, values, and current mission by traveling the Internet to www.ucc.org.


Daily Vacation Bible School will be held at Salem on the evenings of July 21, July 22, July 23, and July 24. The theme is BABYLON: Daniel’s Courage in Captivity.
·         VBS helpers are needed. Did you get a chance to volunteer by way of the clipboard that circulated through half the sanctuary last Sunday? It’ll circulate again this week.
·         Mark is working up a VBS class in Daniel for adults. It will be held in conjunction with the classes for younger folks. Plan to be part of this conversation. Daniel is a rich and exciting book for these times.
·         VBS questions? Contact Julie Adams or call the church office.


Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior is the book up for discussion at the book group’s next meeting. The gathering will be Monday, June 30, at 7 pm.


Salem’s Men’s Fellowship will meet Tuesday, July 1 at 7 pm. We will meet at the home of Dale Yurs. Join us!


The church office will be closed Independence Day. Watch for next week’s Weekly Mailing to land in your inbox a day early.


A bit ago the Weekly Mailings asked for volunteers for candle maintenance and for chancel decorating. Mary Cutler has volunteered to take over from Gladys Behnke seeing to candle oil and such. Rosemarie Wieland volunteered to see about decorating the altar for the Concerts on the Hill summer sermon series. Thanks to both of you!


To be one of 108 is to be one of ten thousand times ten thousand.


Baseball fans and singing fans alike are invited to attend a Madison Mallard's baseball game on Wednesday, July 30th, at 7pm. Salem UCC choirs have been asked to sing the National Anthem at the start of the game, and Emily Worzalla warmly invites all interested singers to join. The more singers there are, the more rousing the Anthem will be! To prepare the National Anthem there will be one rehearsal during the week prior to the game, and singers will meet at the park at 6:30pm on game day. Tickets for the game are $27 each and checks should be made out to Salem UCC and given to Emily. Separate sign up sheets for singers and game tickets will be posted on the wall by the stairs near the main entrance, or send Emily an email: emilyworzalla@gmail.com. Hope you can make it!

SAFE CHURCH TRAINING (formerly “Safe Sanctuary”). . . July 20th

There will be a Safe Church Training after worship on Sunday, July 20. This is for any person interested in working with our children and youth, and it is a way of helping visitors know their family members are safe here and it is a way protecting our volunteers who care for children and guide youth. The training is not long, and those who have gone through the training before are welcome to attend as a kind of “refresher course.” New volunteers will be a asked to submit materials toward a background check, as will those whose most recent background check through the church is more than three years old. Safe Church is our new designation for what was previously called “Safe Sanctuary,” a title that is now copyrighted by others. (Geez!)


Our Safe Church Committee is currently in need of volunteers. We are in particular need of a woman to serve. Please see Chris Worley or Angie Shaw if you have questions or interest. Thanks!

DO – RE – MI – FA – S0 – LA – TI – DO!

Join us this summer by sharing your musical gifts! The Salem Summer Music Program welcomes all who feel led to share their musical talent. Whether you’re a solo singer, instrumentalist, or would like to gather a few friends to join you, you’re JUST the person we’re looking for.

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We witness to the word and work of Jesus
that all people may
know the welcome of God,
worship with joy,
grow as disciples,
live as servants, and
share the strength of Christian fellowship
all for the glory of God.
502 Mark Drive
P.O. Box 930125
Verona, WI 53593

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