Friday, December 19, 2014

Weekly News 12-19-14

THIS SUNDAY

The Fourth Sunday of Advent is this week. The Hand Bell Choir, the Barry Robinson Chorus, and the Chancel Choir will all lead in worship this Sunday. The scripture reading for the day tells of the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary (see Luke 1:26-38). Mark will focus on Gabriel’s note about Elizabeth (Lk. 1:36) and preach under the topic “The Christmas Witness of Our Elders.”

WE WILL CONTINUE THE DAY with CAROLING

Immediately following the coffee hour this Sunday, the Membership Growth and Development Committee will host a lunch of hot soup for anyone wishing to carol. Caroling will begin right after lunch, and the plan is to return to the church by 3 or 3:30. Do you want to feel appreciated? Do you want to do something that makes a difference? Many of us can attest to the fact that Christmas caroling affords a person those gifts. Come join us!

SUNDAY SCHOOL

There is no Sunday School scheduled for this week. But Mark will hold an adult class if there are people who care to come.

ADVENT 140

We are just shy – just – of reaching our Advent goal of 140 persons in worship for the 4 Sundays of Advent. With a strong attendance this week, we can more than make it! Here is your chance to help! Commit to attend yourself, and invite someone to join you. (It doesn’t have to be a stranger; you can even connect with a church member and encourage them to attend.)

CHRISTMAS EVE

Our Christmas Eve schedule is as follows:
            7:30 PM – Worship Service with Candlelight and Communion
            11:00 PM- Worship Service with Candlelight and Communion
These services are not identical, except toward the end with the celebration of the Sacrament and the Service of Lights. Otherwise, they are different: different liturgies, different sermons, different carols. The Chancel Choir is planning to sing at the 7:30 service

DECEMBER 28

Our worship service on December 28 will be at 10:15 as usual. Mark will preach on the topic “The Gospel at Year’s End.” There will be no Sunday School classes on December 28.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Weekly News 12-12-14

DECEMBER 14

The Third Sunday of Advent is this week at Salem. We will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion and enjoy music from the Barry Robinson Chorus will sing. The Bible reading for the week is John 1:6-8, 19-28, a passage about the life and ministry of John the Baptist. Mark’s sermon will focus on this bit from that reading: “Among you stands one whom you do not know. . . . .”

CHRISTMAS PROGRAM

Our annual Christmas program will take place this Sunday afternoon, beginning at 3. The Sunday School children plus a number of adults have been hard at work preparing for their songs and parts. Please reward them with your presence, and let their wonderful ministry begin to lead you into the Christmas spirit.

CAROLING

An afternoon of Christmas caroling is being planned for Sunday, December 21. Here are the details we promised in last week’s mailing:  immediately following the coffee hour that morning, the Membership Growth and Development Committee will host a lunch of hot soup for anyone wishing to carol. Caroling will begin right after lunch, and the plan is to return to the church by 3 or 3:30. Do you want to feel appreciated? Do you want to do something that makes a difference? Many of us can attest to the fact that Christmas caroling affords a person those gifts. Come join us!

WE OVERSHOT 140!

Good for you! Last Sunday morning we surpassed our goal of having 140 persons present for worship. We were in the 150s! You’ll help us do it again this week, won’t you?

DIAPER SHOWER

The Mission Committee is hosting a diaper shower for Mary and baby Jesus to be held on the four Sundays of Advent. Please bring diapers and wipes beginning this Sunday, November 30. Place your gifts in the manger at the altar. All gifts to the newborn King will be donated in his name to the Verona Area Needs Network. Large sized diapers, especially size 5, are needed.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekly News 12-05-14

GUILD BAZAAR

The Annual Holiday Bazaar sponsored by the Women’s Guild will take place on Saturday, December 6, from 11 AM to 1 PM. Good food, good crafts and baked goods, plus good raffle prizes await you. All families of the church are asked to donate a pie, unless asked to bring a salad. Proceeds from Guild fund raisers have benefited youth SALT trips, camp scholarships, Christmas gifts to homebound members, the Southwest Wisconsin Association’s jail ministry, plus other mission causes here in Wisconsin and around the world.

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

December 7th marks the Second Sunday of Advent. Two candles on our Advent wreath will be lit. The Chancel Choir will sing, and Laura Kolden has arranged for the scripture reading to be done in a special and creative way. You will have to be here to see how we beget that. Hmm.

140

Staying with the “being here” theme for a minute, we did not quite reach our Advent goal of 140 attendees last week. Maybe we will this week. We’ll try. You’ll help, won’t you?

DIAPER SHOWER

The Mission Committee is hosting a diaper shower for Mary and baby Jesus to be held on the four Sundays of Advent. Please bring diapers and wipes beginning this Sunday, November 30. Place your gifts in the manger at the altar. All gifts to the newborn King will be donated in his name to the Verona Area Needs Network. Large sized diapers, especially size 5, are needed.

THANK YOU

Hearty thanks go out to the nearly 20 people who came last Saturday to help decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. Thanks to each one of you! There were a number of folks who commented upon how nice the church looks.

CHRISTMAS PROGRAM

Our annual Christmas program is set for Sunday afternoon, December 14, at 3 PM. Sunday School children and others are already hard at work learning their parts. Please do your part, too, and mark this date on your calendar and plan to attend.

CAROLING

An afternoon of caroling is being planned by our Membership Growth and Development Committee. Watch for further details, but the time and date are 3 PM on December 21. Do you want to feel appreciated? Do you want to do something that makes a difference? Many of us can attest to the fact that Christmas caroling affords a person those gifts. Come join us!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Salem's Liturgy of Totenfest 2014

Salem's worship service on November 23, the Sunday before the First Sunday of Advent, included the Liturgy of Totenfest, a ceremony in which we remembered those who have died over the course of the church year. This year we held the following people in sacred memory. We continue to hold their families in prayer.


http://www.ryanfuneralservice.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2370054&fh_id=10436


http://host.madison.com/news/local/obituaries/moll-ruth-jeannette-ruthie-helmeid/article_e5e2c483-601b-530c-8a1f-c5ff82d2fcb9.html

http://www.bealfuneralhomes.com/memsol.cgi?page=profile&section=info&user_id=1245205

http://www.gundersonfh.com/obituaries/obituary-listings?obId=85959#/celebrationWall


http://www.ryanfuneralservice.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2472617&fh_id=10436

http://www.ryanfuneralservice.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2724088&fh_id=10436

http://ellestadfuneralhome.com/obits/?p=1775

http://www.ryanfuneralservice.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=2816066&fh_id=10436


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weekly News 11-28-14

DECORATING SATURDAY

Your help is needed and requested for decorating our church for Advent and Christmas. We will begin at 9 AM on Saturday, November 29. That’s tomorrow! We hope to see you then.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30 is the First Sunday of Advent

Worship on the First Sunday of Advent will key on the beginning of this important season in the church’s liturgical year. We will light the first of our Advent candles, and pray – by way of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and Come, O Long-Expected Jesus – for the Advent of Jesus into our world today. We will hear Mark 13:24-27 and from another Mark, who will preach on the theme “What to Expect from Jesus When He Arrives.” Our Chancel Choir will sing.

AN ADVENT GOAL

Here’s hoping you will make attending worship every Sunday of Advent a personal goal this year. The last three years we have averaged fewer than 135 people in worship during Advent. Let’s make it to 140 this year! Set a personal attendance goal for yourself. This time aside each week will enhance your experience and appreciation of Christmas. See you Sunday.

PROUD OF SALEM

The Bible says somewhere in the Book of Proverbs that pride goes before a fall. Religious tradition names pride as one of the seven deadly sins. But we have reason to be proud of Salem. Did you look around you at the Community Thanksgiving Service? Not only did Dawn, Emily, and our choirs do a fine job, our church as a whole did a wonderful job when it came to attendance. We are not the biggest church in town, but, by one prideful pastor’s measure, we had the best attendance percentage-wise. Good for you!

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

George Adams is hosting December’s Men’s Fellowship meeting. We will gather at 7 PM on Tuesday, December 2.

HOLIDAY BAZAAR

The Annual Holiday Bazaar sponsored by the Women’s Guild will take place on Saturday, December 6, from 11 AM to 1 PM. Good food, good crafts and baked goods, plus good raffle prizes await you. All families of the church are asked to donate a pie, unless asked to bring a salad.

DIAPER SHOWER

The Mission Committee is hosting a diaper shower for Mary and baby Jesus to be held on the four Sundays of Advent. Please bring diapers and wipes beginning this Sunday, November 30. Place your gifts in the manger at the altar. All gifts to the newborn King will be donated in his name to the Verona Area Needs Network. Large sized diapers, especially size 5, are needed.

SPEAKING OF VANN

The Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry is selected for a nationwide Facebook contest to win $20,000. Your votes are needed to help VANN win. The Verona Area Needs Network (VANN) is one of only 150 food pantries nationwide to be selected to participate in Walmart’s 2014 “Food Pantry Holiday Makeover” Promotion. The contest requires that people vote for the pantry of their choice using their Facebook account between December 2 and December 12. The 75 food pantries with the most votes will receive $20,000 each. 
VOTING ELIGIBILITY: Voting is open to all legal residents of the United States of America aged 18 and older.  Voters must have Internet access and a valid Facebook account. 
HOW TO VOTE:  Vote EVERY DAY starting on Tuesday, Dec. 2 thru Friday, Dec 12.  
2. Search for us by Zip Code (53593) or name (Verona Area Needs Network)
3. Click on the “vote” button and log into your Facebook account to complete the voting process. 
Participants can vote once every 24 hours per Facebook account - voting resets twenty-four hours (24) from the time the participant last voted.  Please note that “liking” the Walmart Facebook page or clicking the “Like” button DOES NOT count as a vote. 
If VANN wins the Walmart contest, the organization will use the funds for refrigerators in the pantry store and a children's play area. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Weekly News 11-21-14

TOTENFEST THIS WEEK

This coming Sunday, which is the last Sunday in the church’s liturgical year, is the day set aside for our annual Totenfest ceremony. This special service remembers the people from our congregation who died over the last twelve months. We include, too, the names of all persons whose funerals Rev. Yurs conducted over this time. This year’s Totenfest roll includes Edna Wetternach, Ruth Moll, LaVerne Hagemann, Ferne Frederickson, Steve Larson, and Clarence Witt, Robert Gust, and Elaine Geiger. After this roll is called in worship, worshipers are invited to name aloud anyone whom they would like to remember.

HEBREWS 11:1, 8-16

This New Testament passage will be the focus of our worship service this week. Mark’s sermon, “Thoughts for an Immigrant People,” takes in cue from these words in the text: “They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth . . . seeking a homeland . . . a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” The sermon will thread together the themes of Totenfest and Thanksgiving. The Barry Robinson Chorus will offer some music and the congregation will sing some favorite hymns around the twin themes for the day. [Karen Steele promises to vouch that Mark had this sermon title in place long before the President announced he was to speak on immigration last night!]

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem, St. James, St. Christopher, and Sugar River will join in a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 25, at the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The service will begin at 7 PM. Our choirs will be participating, Dawn Lingard will do all the accompanying, and Mark will offer the Pastoral Prayer at this service.

KNOCK KNOCK RETREAT for MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

Laura Kolden and Marisa Reniero will be on the annual Knock Knock Retreat next weekend, Friday through Sunday. This retreat is sponsored by the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ and is held at Pilgrim Center, or church camp on Green Lake.

POINSETTIAS and WREATHS

Would you like to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia as part of our church’s Advent and Christmas celebration? There will be an insert in this week’s bulletin offering that opportunity. You can also sign up to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia by sending a return email to myurs@salemchurchverona.org or ksteele@salemchurchverona.org. Poinsettias are $9.50 and wreaths (a Boy Scout fundraiser) are $27.00. The first Sunday of Advent in November 30.

DECORATING

Everyone is invited to help decorate our sanctuary and fellowship hall for the Advent and Christmas seasons. The decorating will take place on Saturday, November 27, beginning at 9 AM. Please come to help!

BOOK GROUP

The Book Discussion Group will gather Monday night, November 25, to discuss Holy Ghost Girl, by Donna M. Johnson. The meeting will begin at 7 PM.

COLLEGE CARE PARTNERS

Some of us can remember around mail-time hanging out near the mailboxes on our college campus or coming back from class and seeing a letter waiting to be read. It was good to be remembered. Ways of staying connected with our church’s students who are away at college have changed. The old snail mail system is still effective, and electronic means are on the scene, too. But the reason to stay connected – and the good feeling of being remembered – have not changed. College years are a time huge life decisions are made. How good it is for the church to be present in and with love at just such a time. We will be happy to connect you with a student. If you would like to get in on this important ministry, send an email to Laura Kolden at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org or contact her at the church. She’ll be happy to set you up.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekly News 11-14-14

THANKSGIVING BAGS

This Sunday, November 16, is the last day to contribute a Thanksgiving Bag for distribution through the Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry.  The Mission Committee will be taking all the bags collected by Salem to the pantry Sunday afternoon. Our goal is 75. Can you help us reach it?

POINSETTIAS and WREATHS

Would you like to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia as part of our church’s Advent and Christmas celebration? There will be an insert in this week’s and next week’s bulletins offering that opportunity. You can also sign up to sponsor a wreath or poinsettia by sending a return email to myurs@salemchurchverona.org or ksteele@salemchurchverona.org. Poinsettias are $9.50 and wreaths (a Boy Scout fundraiser) are $27.00. The first Sunday of Advent in November 30.

KNOCK KNOCK RETREAT for MIDDLE SCHOOLERS

Laura Kolden and some of our Middle School people will be on the annual Knock Knock Retreat next weekend, Friday through Sunday. This retreat is sponsored by the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ and is held at Pilgrim Center, or church camp on Green Lake.

COLLEGE CARE PARTNERS

Some of us can remember around mail-time hanging out near the mailboxes on our college campus or coming back from class and seeing a letter waiting to be read. It was good to be remembered. Ways of staying connected with our church’s students who are away at college have changed. The old snail mail system is still effective, and electronic means are on the scene, too. But the reason to stay connected – and the good feeling of being remembered – have not changed. College years are a time huge life decisions are made. How good it is for the church to be present in and with love at just such a time. We will be happy to connect you with a student. If you would like to get in on this important ministry, send an email to Laura Kolden at lkolden@salemchurchverona.org or contact her at the church. She’ll be happy to set you up.

THANKSGIVING VOLUNTEERS

Thanks go out to those who have volunteered to help set up, take down, or usher at the Community Thanksgiving Service. It is not too late to volunteer, if you would like to help as well. Just let Mark know. (We are in place as far as ushers are concerned; helpers will still be good for set up and take down at the PAC).

THANKSGIVING SERVICE BANNERS

Hey! Have you seen those beautiful outdoor banners announcing the Community Thanksgiving Service? Those are pretty impressive, aren’t they? They are the brainchild of John Bass in particular, but with the help of the others on our Membership Growth and Development Committee.

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem, St. James, St. Christopher, and Sugar River will join in a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 25, at the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The service will begin at 7 PM. Our choirs will be participating, Dawn Lingard will do all the accompanying, and Mark will offer the Pastoral Prayer at this service.

ANNUAL REPORT BOOKLETS

Annual Report Booklets from last Sunday’s Congregational Meeting are available. If you would like to have one, please stop by the church office or send a return email.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Weekly News 11-07-14

CONGREGATIONAL MEETING THIS SUNDAY

It’s here! It’s here! The day you have been waiting for! It’s Congregational Meeting Sunday! A potluck supper will start us off at 5. The meeting is set to begin at 5:45.

MORNING WORSHIP on NOVEMBER 9

This Sunday’s service of worship will have a Congregational Meeting-y theme to it. Our hymns will be hymns about the church: The Church’s One Foundation, We Love Your Realm O Lord, and Forward Through the Ages. The Bell Choir will continue our spirit of prayer and follow The Lord’s Prayer with Precious Lord, Take My Hand. Using Acts 24:22-27, Mark will introduce us to the New Testament character Felix and speak on “Putting Off An Important Decision.” The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be celebrated.

COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING SERVICE

Salem, St. James, St. Christopher, and Sugar River will join in a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 25, at the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The service will begin at 7 PM. Helpers are needed for setting up before the service, tearing down after the service, and serving as ushers during the service. If you are able to help with one or more of these tasks, please let Mark Yurs or Dawn Lingard know at your earliest convenience. Thanks!
(Feel free to stop reading at this point to send a return email, indicating your willingness to help with set-up, take-down, or ushering at the PAC on the 25th. The rest of this weekly mailing will be here waiting for you when you get back.)

TOTENFEST SERVICE on November 23

The special worship service known as Totenfest takes place every year on the Sunday preceding the first Sunday of Advent. That means this year’s Totenfest will be held on Nov. 23. Totenfest remembers the people from our congregation who died over the last twelve months. We include, too, the names of all persons whose funerals Rev. Yurs conducted over this time. This year’s Totenfest roll includes Edna Wetternach, Ruth Moll, LaVerne Hagemann, Ferne Frederickson, Steve Larson, and Clarence Witt. After this roll is called in worship, worshipers are invited to name aloud anyone whom they would like to remember.

THANKSGIVING BASKETS

Salem’s Mission Committee continues to have grocery bags and shopping lists available for those who would like to provide a Thanksgiving basket to the Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry. Last year Salem supplied 71 bags of food! This year we are hoping for 75. A list of what to put in the grocery sack is stapled to the bag.

SALEM’S WEBSITE

The Membership Growth and Development Committee is in the process of reviewing our church’s website, evaluating it for potential changes and other upgrades. The committee would like your input! Send an email to Kelli Malueg at kellimalueg@yahoo.com to let the committee know your thoughts. Do you use our church website? If so, which parts? What do you find most useful? That sort of thing. Thanks.

INACTIVE LIST

The Church Council, in accordance with Salem’s Constitution, periodically reviews our membership roll and slides people over to an inactive or conditional membership list. Such a process is underway now. Often the people who fall into this category are the grown children of members; they are now adults and have moved away and no longer consider themselves part of Salem. Or they may be grown children who have stuck around the area but have become part of another church or are not interested in faith. If you have children or friends you think may fall into a category like this, would you mind talking with them about their continued interest in Salem and then letting the church office know? The standard set by Salem’s Constitution puts on a conditional list those who have not attended worship or contributed to the life of the congregation over a period of two years.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekly News 10-31-14

BOO!

Happy Halloween! Do you know the history of Halloween and its relationship to November 1, which is All Saints Day? “All Hallows Eve” became shortened to “Halloween.” A no longer used name for All Saints Day is All Hallows Day. All Saints Day commemorates the departed faithful (the “hallows”), especially, but not only, those who suffered martyrdom. At some point in their history, Christians began using the eve of the day celebrating the departed saints to mock and to ridicule the power of death.

FALL BACK!

Remember to set your clocks back an hour for Sunday morning! Perhaps we should not remind you. If you do not set your clock back, you will be at church in plenty of time for Sunday School!

NOVEMBER 2

“Songs for a Midnight Hour” – based on Acts 16:25 – is Mark’s sermon title for this Sunday. The text puts us in prison once again. Those early Christians were always getting into trouble, it seems. Peter was in jail in last week’s reading; Paul and Silas are in jail in Philippi in this week’s reading. Our focus verse finds them singing at midnight. What did they have to sing about? How can we sing at our separate “midnights”?

“HOW CAN WE KEEP FROM SINGING?”

As if those little rascals knew what Mark was planning to preach about this Sunday, the Children’s Choir has decided to sing “How Can We Keep from Singing?” as their anthem for this week. Julie Sundby and Gary Nechvatal will offer a piece of special music. Its title is “Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).” The congregation will have a chance to sing “Faith of the Martyrs,” “Be Now My Vision,” and bits of “We Shall Overcome.” We have a pew reserved for you!

BABY SHOWER FOR IVY GROTELUESCHEN

The fellowship committee will be hosting a baby shower  this Sunday afternoon at 2:00pm for Ivy, Heidi and Brandon Grotelueschen. Ivy Ashleigh Charlotte was born the end of September. They are in need of clothing and Pampers Swaddler diapers N and size 1. Come and welcome the newest member of Salem UCC.

YOU HAVE TO WAIT A WEEK YET FOR THIS

We know you are ever so anxious to come to Salem’s Annual Congregational Meeting. It is not until next week, though: Sunday, November 9. We will start with a potluck supper at 5 and we hope to begin the meeting at 5:45.

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

Bill Thiede will host Salem’s Men’s Fellowship at his house this Monday, November 3, at 7. All the men of the church are invited. These nights bring us much strength as we come together for conversation and comradery. Do come.

WOMEN’S GUILD

The November meeting of Salem’s Women’s Guild will take place this Thursday, November 6, at 1:30 in the afternoon. The program leader shall be Verlis Luchsinger; Anna May Rhiner and Gladean Zurbuchen will prepare the post-meeting fare of refreshments.

VOTE THIS TUESDAY

Voting is a hard-won and nearly-sacred privilege we are allowed to enjoy in this country. In some sense, exercising your right to vote is the highest act of patriotism. Please do not cast this gift aside. Vote proudly on November 4. We have many folks from our congregation who serve as poll workers. Watch for them at your polling place!

LOOKING AHEAD to Verona’s Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service

Salem, St. James, St. Christopher, and Sugar River will join in a Community Thanksgiving Service on Tuesday, November 25, at the Performing Arts Center in the High School. The service will begin at 7 PM. Helpers are needed for setting up before the service, tearing down after the service, and serving as ushers during the service. If you are able to help with one or more of these tasks, please let Mark Yurs or Dawn Lingard know at your earliest convenience. Thanks!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Salem Youth volunteers

In September, Sarah Pundt and a few of our seniors served the Sunday Night meal at the UW Crossing Campus Ministry.  If you see them in church, ask them about the great experience.





Weekly News 10-24-14

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26

You will want to be present for and participate in this Sunday’s service of worship. Here is what will be happening, in part. Mark will be preaching a sermon he is calling “God’s Help in Days of Need.” The sermon treats Acts 12:1-17 as a case study identifying how God helps us today. The Barry Robinson Chorus will lead us to God through their music. One of their selections will be “Every Time I Feel the Spirit.”

REFORMATION SUNDAY

October 26th is Reformation Sunday, a day set aside to commemorate the beginnings of the Protestant Church. We will mark Reformation Sunday at Salem in at least three ways:
The opening hymn for worship will be A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, a hymn written by Martin Luther.
Mark’s Pastoral Prayer on Sunday morning will be gathered around some of the themes of the Reformation, asking God to help us carry them through here. Some of those themes are the authority of scripture, the priesthood of the laity, and the idea of the church as present wherever the Word is rightly preached and heard and the Sacraments rightly administered.
The Adult Sunday School Class, meeting at 9 o’clock, will review the Reformation, the factors that led up to it and the outcomes of it.

THANKSGIVING BASKETS

Beginning this Sunday, Salem’s Mission Committee will have grocery bags and shopping lists available for those who would like to provide a Thanksgiving basket to the Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry. Last year Salem supplied 71 bags of food! This year we are hoping for 80. A list of what to put in the grocery sack is stapled to the bag.

BOOK GROUP

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty is up for discussion at Salem’s Book Group this month. The meeting will take place on Monday, beginning at 7 PM.

SALEM’S WEBSITE

The Membership Growth and Development Committee is in the process of reviewing our church’s website, evaluating it for potential changes and other upgrades. The committee would like your input! Send an email to Kelli Malueg at kellimalueg@yahoo.com to let the committee know your thoughts. Do you use our church website? If so, which parts? What do you find most useful? That sort of thing. Thanks.

INACTIVE LIST

The Church Council, in accordance with Salem’s Constitution, periodically reviews our membership roll and slides people over to an inactive or conditional membership list. Such a process is underway now. Often the people who fall into this category are the grown children of members; they are now adults and have moved away and no longer consider themselves part of Salem. Or they may be grown children who have stuck around the area but have become part of another church or are not interested in faith. If you have children or friends you think may fall into a category like this, would you mind talking with them about their continued interest in Salem and then letting the church office know? The standard set by Salem’s Constitution puts on a conditional list those who have not attended worship or contributed to the life of the congregation over a period of two years.

THE UCC AROUND THE WORLD

Interested in church related recaps and information of what is happening around the world? You can find pertinent information on such things as Ebola in Africa and other important topics at www.globalministries.com. This will help you know where the UCC is around the world, and what we are trying to do to help our brothers and sisters around the globe.

NOVEMBER 9

This is the night of Salem’s Annual Congregational Meeting. There will be a potluck at 5 PM to start things off, and the meeting itself will commence at 5:45. Do plan to be present and actively participate in this important event in the life of our congregation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Weekly News 10-17-14

 

OCTOBER 19

“The Gospel According to Trouble” is Mark’s sermon title this week. The message is based on Acts 11:19-26. The early Christians were in trouble in Jerusalem, and many fled to Antioch. The hand of the Lord was upon them with blessing there, and they came to a new identity. That story will set us upon our way in thinking about “The Gospel According to Trouble.” You will take the trouble to attend worship this week, won’t you? The Bell Choir will lead us to God through their music. Among their selections will be “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” a hymn based on Psalm 46, which begins “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

REFORMATION SUNDAY

The last Sunday in October is Reformation Sunday, which celebrates the beginning and the heritage of the Protestant Church. The Adult Sunday School class will focus on the Reformation that morning, thinking about what the Reformation was, who was instrumental in it, and what lasting effect it has had. Do come to learn a bit about the heritage of our church. The class meets in the Conference Room.

THANKSGIVING BASKETS

Salem’s Mission Committee will have grocery bags and shopping lists available beginning October 26 for those who would like to provide a Thanksgiving basket to the Verona Area Needs Network Food Pantry. Last year Salem supplied 71 bags of food! This year we are hoping for 80. Watch for further details coming soon!

CHOIR

Choir Directory Emily Worzalla notes you are welcome to become part of our choir! “Don’t miss out,” she says, “on the fellowship and joy of music!” There is a spot for you, even if you cannot make rehearsal every week. Chancel Choir rehearsals are at 7 PM on Wednesdays. The BRC gathers for rehearsal at 6. To help lead someone to God through music is a tremendous gift you can give to someone, and it is a powerful and blessed way to worship God yourself and in community.

NOVEMBER 9

Be saving Sunday, November 9 on your calendars. This is the night of Salem’s Annual Congregational Meeting. There will be a potluck at 5 PM to start things off, and the meeting itself will commence at 5:45. Committee chairs and other leaders are preparing their annual reports detailing what has happened over the course of the year since we last met. We will think, too, about what we want as a future for our congregation. If you were to write an annual report about your church involvement over the year, what would you say? What goals would you set for yourself next year?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Weekly News 10-10-14

OCTOBER 12

The stories in the Bible are from long ago and far away. Does the old story from the Galilean shores and the Judean hillsides matter anymore? Does it really touch lives? Has it anything to say to life in these times with our lives such as they are and the daily news such as it is? That’s our theme for this coming Sunday morning: “The Relevance of the Gospel Today.” Mark will be in the pulpit. The Chancel Choir will sing. You will be in the pew, won’t you?

ADULT MISSION TRIP MEETING SUNDAY

Have you ever found yourself envying the youth their opportunities to go on exciting mission trips? Salem’s Mission Committee is looking into the possibility of an adult (or intergenerational) mission trip to Back Bay Mission in 2015 or 2016. There will be a brief meeting about this after worship on this Sunday. If this scratches your itch at all, come to the meeting to explore the possibility further. Can’t make the meeting? Contact Laura Kolden.

BRIDAL SHOWER

There will be a bridal shower for Laura Yurs at the church on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm. It will be hosted by Lena Yurs and the Caring Friends Small Group. Laura is engaged to be married to the Rev. Christopher Ross. The ceremony will be held here at Salem in November. The couple is registered at Kohls and Pottery Barn. Lena and the women of the Caring Friends group invite women of the church to the shower on the 12th to help wish Laura and Chris a long and happy marriage.

THEMES

Have you caught on to the number of themes in use among us this fall? At least three areas of Salem’s ministry have adopted themes to guide their work this year.
Road Trip is the theme for our Youth Ministry, and it has folks thinking about the lifelong journey of faith. The youth and their leaders are relflecting on the travels of Bible characters and, in light of those journeys, where God is leading them today.
Leading People to God through Music is the theme for the Music in Worship Committee, and here the idea is that sacred music is not simply for our enjoyment – though it is for our enjoyment – but carries us, as it were, into the presence of God where we can behold something of the beauty and strength of God.
Faith under Construction is the theme for our Board of Christian Education. Here the thought is that God is at work right now in the life of every individual and household and in the church as a whole. God is at work putting something in place in us, for us, and through us.

CHOIR

Choir Directory Emily Worzalla notes you are welcome to become part of our choir! “Don’t miss out,” she says, “on the fellowship and joy of music!” There is a spot for you, even if you cannot make rehearsal every week. Chancel Choir rehearsals are at 7 PM on Wednesdays. The BRC gathers for rehearsal at 6. To help lead someone to God through music is a tremendous gift you can give to someone, and it is a powerful and blessed way to worship God yourself and in community.

TATERS

Tomorrow – October 11 – the Verona Area Needs Network will be harvesting potatoes for the food pantry. Volunteers are needed. No digging will be involved. The spuds already will be out of the ground. But helpers are needed to pick them up and put them in boxes. This will take place at West Middleton Research Garden on Mineral Point Road. The plan, weather permitting, is to begin at 8:30. Willing to help? To volunteer or for more info, please contact Karen Fletcher: jkfletcher@tds.net or 513-6481.

LOOKING AHEAD

Begin saving Sunday, November 9 on your calendars. This will be the night for Salem’s annual Congregational Meeting. Committee chairs and other leaders are preparing their annual reports detailing what has happened over the course of the year since we last met. We will think, too, about what we want as a future for our congregation. If you were to write an annual report about your church involvement over the year, what would you say? What goals would you set for yourself next year?

THE CHURCH WANTS TO STAY IN TOUCH WHILE YOU’RE IN COLLEGE

If someone in your family is away at college this little weekly mailing would love to find its way to them every 7 days so they have a letter from home. Please give Mark an email address to use and give us this opportunity to stay connected with someone we love.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Weekly News 10-03-14

 

WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY

This Sunday, October 5, marks World Communion Sunday. We will mark this special day in the church year with a service of Word, Sacrament, and music. We will hear a little bit about the Global Ministries Division of the United Church of Christ. We will sing hymns that draw from cultures other than our own. The Children’s Choir, Chancel Choir, and Barry Robinson Chorus will all help lead in worship. The service will culminate with the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

CONFERENCE MINISTER CANDIDATE

The Rev. Franz Riegert is the candidate the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ is presenting for election as Wisconsin’s new Conference Minister. Area churches – and all Salem’s people, too – are invited to a “meet and greet” with Rev. Riegert tomorrow, October 4, from 11 AM to noon. Our Women’s Guild will be serving refreshments.

YOUTH HAYRIDE

Craig Rhiner is building the bonfire and hooking up the tractor and wagon for one of his famous Youth Hayrides. The event will be this Sunday, from 5 to 9 pm. Check out the table in Fellowship Hall where you can find a signup sheet plus parental consent forms. Direct your questions to Laura Kolden.

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

The Men’s Fellowship of Salem will be meeting this Tuesday, October 7, at 7 PM, at the home of Nathan Bahr. We gather for an evening of snacks, drinks, general conversation, and Bible study. It is a light-hearted gathering of friendship and encouragement. The meetings are open to the men of the church.

NEIGHBORS IN NEED

Offering envelopes for Neighbors in Need went out with the print version of the October newsletter. That newsletter also carried a brief description of Neighbors in Need. Some of the primary beneficiaries of the NIN offering include the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries and the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries (CAIM). CAIM supports Native American UCC congregations on reservations as well as one that is in an urban setting. Justice and Witness Ministries helps the UCC respond to and think about some of the tough issues in society, such as immigration, health care, hate crimes, environmental matters, and so forth. It is a way we have being involved on important topics. To learn more, go to www.ucc.org/nin.

CONFIRMATION CLASSES

Confirmation classes for the year are underway! If you are in the 8th or the 9th grades, we have a spot ready and waiting for you. Wednesday nights. 6:30-7:15. Church Conference Room. It is edge-of-your-seat stuff.

BRIDAL SHOWER

There will be a bridal shower for Laura Yurs at the church on Sunday, October 12, at 3 pm. It will be hosted by Lena Yurs and the Caring Friends Small Group. Laura is engaged to be married to the Rev. Christopher Ross. The ceremony will be held here at Salem in November. The couple is registered at Kohls and Pottery Barn. Lena and the women of the Caring Friends group invite women of the church to the shower on the 12th to help wish Laura and Chris a long and happy marriage.

ADULT MISSION TRIP

Have you ever found yourself envying the youth their opportunities to go on exciting mission trips? Salem’s Mission Committee is looking into the possibility of an adult (or intergenerational) mission trip to Back Bay Mission in 2015 or 2016. There will be a brief meeting about this after worship on October 12. If this scratches your itch at all, come to the meeting to explore the possibility further. Can’t make the meeting? Contact Laura Kolden.

LOOKING AHEAD

Begin saving Sunday, November 9 on your calendars. This will be the night for Salem’s annual Congregational Meeting. Full details for this year’s event will follow in the coming days, but in the past we have shared a potluck supper at 5 and started the meeting around 6.

THE CHURCH WANTS TO STAY IN TOUCH WHILE YOU’RE IN COLLEGE

If someone in your family is away at college this little weekly mailing would love to find its way to them every 7 days so they have a letter from home. Please give Mark an email address to use and give us this opportunity to stay connected with someone we love.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly News 09-26-14

SUNDAY MORNING

This Sunday morning at Salem will continue with some of the favorite hymns named two weeks ago. The Barry Robinson Chorus will also sing. Mark will deliver a sermon based on Acts 9, which tells of Paul’s conversion along the Damascus Road. The sermon topic is “A Plea for the Conversion of the Already Decided.”

BAPTISM

Halle Jane Borelli, daughter of Nick and Kelly (Blake) Borelli, will be baptized in worship this week. Halle was born in March.

SAFE CONDUCT TRAINING . . . This Sunday

This Sunday, at 11:45, Angie Shaw will conduct a training session in Salem’s safe ministry guidelines and procedures. This is for anyone new to one of our ministries working with children or youth and for anyone who is interested in a refresher course.

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

By popular demand, the Mission Committee is having Karen and Dick Steele do an encore presentation on their Global Ministries sponsored trip to that region. They will present this Sunday evening, September 28, at 6:30. The Mission Committee will be serving dessert and beverage.

THE GOOD EARTH, BY PEARL S. BUCK

This classic novel set in the Far East is the book up for discussion at the next meeting of Salem’s book group. The gathering will be this Monday night, September 29, at 7.

THANK YOU!

Several people signed up last week to be helpers in the Sunday School, either as hallway shepherds or as substitute teachers. This spirit of volunteerism is wonderful to see. Thank you. If you missed the chance to sign on, or now regret that you did not sign on, there is good news! It is not too late. Julie Adams, our Sunday School coordinator will be happy to take your name.

THINK ABOUT THIS

Last Sunday two pictures from the worship service were posted on Facebook. They were in different posts by different people. As of this writing, a little line beneath one of them says it was seen by – get this! – 444 people. The sermon from last Sunday talked about Facebook (and the Internet in general) as one of the conditions that make this time now right for a new work of God. 444 people seeing something about Salem on Facebook put the proof in the pudding. We can magnify that number exponentially if more and more of our people upload similar posts. Inviting someone to church may be pushing your comfort zone a tad; so why not begin just by saying a little something about your church on Facebook or some such similar thing? There IS a hunger for this out there. People do want the gospel we have.

WISCONSIN CONFERENCE MINISTER CANDIDATE

The Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ announces that, after a year-long search, they present to the Conference a candidate for the office of Conference Minister. The candidate is The Rev. Franz Riegert, currently the pastor of our church in Grafton, WI. Salem has been selected as a site for a “meet and greet.” Area churches are invited here to meet Franz Riegert on Saturday, October 4, at 11:00 AM. All our members are welcome as well. Details of Rev. Riegert’s biography will appear in the October print newsletter.

MEAL TEAMS

Elisabeth Pankonin is now coordinating Salem’s Meal Teams. Lis notes we could use some additional team members. Being a team member meals that, on the occasions your team is asked to supply a meal to someone from our congregation, you may be asked to provide a dish, whether a casserole, a salad, or a dessert. Click “reply” and send a return email if you are interested or have questions!

EATING AGAIN, BUT IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT

Sunday night meals: Our youth fellowship gathers on Sunday evenings for a meal, worship, and activities.  We welcome members of the congregation to prepare a simple meal for the group and join us at the dinner table.  It is a great way to get to know the youth of our church family. Sign up and details are on the Youth table in Fellowship Hall.

CROP WALK

There is no longer a local committee organizing a Verona CROP Walk. Salem’s Mission Committee hopes we can field a team of walkers to participate in the Madison CROP Walk like we did in other years before we started the local one. The Madison Walk is set for October 19, with registration beginning at 12:45, with the Walk itself starting at 1:30. First Congregational Church in Madison is the point of departure. We are particularly interested in learning if anyone is interested in being our team captain this year.

HERE’S A QUESTION . . .

What do Exodus 17:1-7, Genesis 6-11, and Psalms 104 and 114 have in common? Can you guess? They are all passages to be considered this next week by one of the three adult Bible studies now happening: the Adult Sunday School class, the Searchlight on Genesis, and the BLT on Psalms. It is not too late to sit in on one or all of these. Remember: Bible study is not about gaining information, cramming it into your head; it is about meeting with God and opening your soul.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Weekly News 09-17-14

LEADING PEOPLE TO GOD THROUGH MUSIC

“Leading People to God through Music” is the theme our Music in Worship Committee has selected for its work this year. With that in view, this Sunday’s worship service will be rich with congregational singing. Most every hymn we’ll sing was identified by worshipers last week in a survey asking for a list of favorites. Our hope is that these hymns of faith and blessing you have selected, and which you will join in singing Sunday, will draw your spirit closer to God. [Hymns identified as favorites last week that we cannot get to this week will be feathered into our schedule as the seasons roll along.]

THE CONDITIONS ARE RIGHT FOR A NEW WORK OF GOD

That is Mark’s sermon title for this Sunday. The passage to be read in worship is Acts 2:1-6. Anticipating Sunday morning, read Acts 2:1-21 and imagine what right conditions you think Mark might name. He seems to think things are lining up here at Salem for a new and mighty work of God akin to Pentecost.

THIS SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE CROSSING

High School Jr. and Sr. Youth will be worshipping at the UW Crossing and serving the evening meal this Sunday, Sept. 21.  You are invited to contribute an ingredient to our “Taco Bar” dinner. To sign on, you can follow this link which Laura has organized: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0944adae23a6fa7-crossing If you have trouble with that or have further questions, please be in contact with Laura.

THIRD GRADERS TO GET BIBLES

The Women’s Guild will present Bibles to our third graders this Sunday. The third graders on our list include Riley Dahlk, Marisa Denu, Max Dingle, Kaden Nechvatal, and Blaise Westphal.

CONFIRMATION SET TO BEGIN

Confirmation classes for 2014/2015 are set to begin. We will start September 24 at 7 pm with an Orientation Session for parents and Confirmands. The session will last approximately thirty minutes. Confirmation classes are open to persons in the eighth and ninth grades.

MEAL TEAMS

Elisabeth Pankonin is now coordinating Salem’s Meal Teams. Lis notes we could use some additional team members. Being a team member meals that, on the occasions your team is asked to supply a meal to someone from our congregation, you may be asked to provide a dish, whether a casserole, a salad, or a dessert. Click “reply” and send a return email if you are interested or have questions!

ISRAEL AND PALESTINE

By popular demand, the Mission Committee is having Karen and Dick Steele do an encore presentation on their Global Ministries sponsored trip to that region. They will present on Sunday evening, September 28, at 6:30. The Mission Committee will be serving dessert and beverage.

EATING AGAIN, BUT IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT

Sunday night meals: Our youth fellowship gathers on Sunday evenings for a meal, worship, and activities.  We welcome members of the congregation to prepare a simple meal for the group and join us at the dinner table.  It is a great way to get to know the youth of our church family. Sign up and details are on the Youth table in Fellowship Hall.

CROP WALK

There is no longer a local committee organizing a Verona CROP Walk. Salem’s Mission Committee hopes we can field a team of walkers to participate in the Madison CROP Walk like we did in other years before we started the local one. The Madison Walk is set for October 19, with registration beginning at 12:45, with the Walk itself starting at 1:30. First Congregational Church in Madison is the point of departure. We are particularly interested in learning if anyone is interested in being our team captain this year.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Weekly News 09-12-14

WORSHIP THIS SUNDAY

September 14 will be a Communion Sunday for us. Prepare for worship by thinking about what it means to sit at the Table of the Lord in fellowship with your sisters and brothers in Christ. Cara Bahr will read our focus text, Acts 1:15-26, around which Mark will preach on “The Church’s Need for New Leaders.” The Chancel Choir will sing “Arise, My Soul, Arise!” Remember that our worship service is now at 10:15.

ADULT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

The Christian Education theme around here these days is Faith under Construction. There are loads of opportunities for adults to tend to the (re)building of their faith. Here are three prominent ones.
The Adult Sunday School Class: This gathering convenes in the Conference Room and we discuss one of the lectionary passages assigned for the Sunday. We are starting the season looking at the Old Testament reading, and so we are in The Book of Exodus. This week we will think of the crossing of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:19-31) and we will relate it to how God helps us when we feel caught in difficult situations. Mark leads.
The Searchlight on Genesis: This class will meet start on Monday, September 15, at 7 pm, and meet for six consecutive Mondays. We will read and discuss the Book of Genesis particularly as it relates to faith and life today. If you are attending, please have the first two chapters of Genesis read for the first session. Mark will lead.
The BLT on Psalms: This class will start on Friday, September 19, at 11:30 am, and meet for six consecutive Fridays. Over that time we will at least begin to familiarize ourselves with the Book of Psalms. “BLT” stands for “Bag Lunch and a Text” so bring a sack lunch. Mark will lead.
Don’t let that word “class” throw you. This isn’t a bit like high school or college where you have to pass some prerequisite classes before you can take these. Every single session is for beginners, as it were, because we are all beginning where we are right now. You can do it!

CONFIRMATION SET TO BEGIN

Confirmation classes for 2014/2015 are set to begin. We will start September 24 at 7 pm with an Orientation Session for parents and Confirmands. The session will last approximately thirty minutes. Confirmation classes are open to persons in the eighth and ninth grades.

LENDING A HAND WITH CONSTRUCTION

The Faith under Construction theme has a place for you. You won’t need a hard hat. Just a good heart. Our Sunday School teachers do a fantastic job, but they could use your help. We could use hallway helpers to assist with discipline, bathroom breaks, and so forth. Some extra hands are also useful with crafts from time to time. Contact Julie Adams or the church office and we will help get you connected. There is no greater way to help build a child’s faith.

AN INTERESTING STATISTIC

Commissioned Minister Lisa Hart shares this statistic which came across her desk at the Wisconsin Conference office. It is from a recent Gallup poll. 82% of the people who do not attend church say they would if someone were to invite them. Yet only 2% of Christians ever invite someone to worship.

CATALYST CONVERSATIONS

The Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ is hosting “Catalyst Conversations” at various times this fall. The Conference’s Church Development and Renewal Team is using these conversations to explore the strengths of Conference congregations, what it takes to revitalize a congregation, and how congregations in the Conference can be in ministry together toward renewal and strength. Anyone who is a member of a UCC congregation in Wisconsin is welcome to attend. The nearest Catalyst Conversations will take place October 15 at the Conference Office in DeForest from 1 to 4, and at Swiss Church New Glarus on October 16, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. Mark will be attending the Catalyst Conversation in New Glarus. Let us know in the church office if you are interested in helping strengthen our church and our Conference in this way.

SCHEDULING MEETINGS

If you schedule a meeting at the church for a group, committee, or activity, please contact the church office with the date. Our facility is used quite extensively through the week and room allotments have to be rather carefully coordinated for some of the weeknights.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Weekly News 09-05-14

THIS SUNDAY

There is much happening this week at Salem gets a new program year under way!
Our Christian Education program is taking place this year under the theme Faith under Construction. This Sunday will have the “groundbreaking” events that will get the year going.
9:00am – Enjoy donuts and juice, meet the Sunday School teachers, and tour the classrooms.  Children will also meet with Krista and Colleen to prepare music for morning worship.
10:15am – Morning worship including music from the children’s choir and commissioning of our Sunday School teachers.
4:00-6:00pm – Children of all ages are invited to join us for an evening of fun and fellowship.  We’ll enjoy music from ‘Some Assembly Required’ and yard games at our all church family BBQ potluck. Bring a dish to share. The Board of Christian Education will be providing pulled pork sandwiches. 
6:00-6:30pm – Middle School and High School Youth registration and informational meeting

MORE ON THIS WEEK’S WORSHIP SERVICE

The Chancel Choir and the Barry Robinson Chorus return this week. The introit will be offered by the Chancel Choir; the anthem and Benediction response will be given by the BRC. Mark will preach under the topic “The Church at the Start of a New Term.” Acts 1:1-14 will be the starting point for the message.

BY THE WAY

Worship is at 10:15 this week. But you knew that.

LENDING A HAND WITH CONSTRUCTION

The Faith under Construction theme has a place for you. You won’t need a hard hat. Just a good heart. Our Sunday School teachers do a fantastic job, but they could use your help. We could use hallway helpers to assist with discipline, bathroom breaks, and so forth. Some extra hands are also useful with crafts from time to time. Contact Julie Adams or the church office and we will help get you connected. There is no greater way to help build a child’s faith.

SECRETARY

Karen Steele will be on vacation September 7 through 14. If you have notes for the September 14 worship bulletin, please send them to Mark at myurs@salemchurchverona.org.

SCHEDULING MEETINGS

If you schedule a meeting at the church for a group, committee, or activity, please contact the church office with the date. Our facility is used quite extensively through the week and room allotments have to be rather carefully coordinated for some of the weeknights.

TO BEGIN IN TWO WEEKS

A Searchlight on Genesis will begin on Monday, September 15, at 7 pm. This class will meet at the same time for an hour on six consecutive Mondays. We will read and discuss the Book of Genesis particularly as it relates to faith and life today. Please have the first two chapters of Genesis read for the first session.
A BLT (Bag Lunch and a Text) on Psalms will begin on Friday, September 19, at 11:30 am. This class will meet at the same time for an hour on six consecutive Fridays. We will familiarize ourselves with the Book of Psalms. Bring a sack lunch.
Mark will lead both the Searchlight and the BLT classes. And don’t let the word “class” throw you. While we draw upon the thoughts of Bible scholars and others, these sessions are not intended to be of an academic nature and purpose. Instead, we are attempting to use the Bible responsibly to shed the light of God on life today. You can do it!

CATALYST CONVERSATIONS

The Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ is hosting “Catalyst Conversations” at various times this fall. The Conference’s Church Development and Renewal Team is using these conversations to explore the strengths of Conference congregations, what it takes to revitalize a congregation, and how congregations in the Conference can be in ministry together toward renewal and strength. Anyone who is a member of a UCC congregation in Wisconsin is welcome to attend. The nearest Catalyst Conversations will take place October 15 at the Conference Office in DeForest from 1 to 4, and at Swiss Church New Glarus on October 16, from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. Mark will be attending the Catalyst Conversation in New Glarus. Let us know in the church office if you are interested in helping strengthen our church and our Conference in this way.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly News 08-29-14

AUGUST 31

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.

FAITH UNDER CONSTRUCTION

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.

“GROUNDBREAKING”

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.

BUILDING WITH MUSIC

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.

MEN’S FELLOWSHIP

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.

WOMEN’S GUILD

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.

MEMORIALS

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.

LAST SUNDAY

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.

CONCERTS ON THE HILL

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.

VACATION

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.

MOVIE NIGHT

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.

MEAL TEAM ACTIVATOR

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!

MUM PLANTS

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.

CAMPING NEXT WEEKEND

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 WEEK

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

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.

THIS IS FOR ADULTS, TOO

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!

THANKS!

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.

MEAL TEAM ACTIVATOR

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

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.

CANOPY TENTS

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.

VBS MISSION PROJECT

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

FIERY FURNACE!

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.

VBS COOKOUT KICK-OFF

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.

CONCERTS ON THE HILL

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.

CONTAGIOUS

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.

POTLUCK AT THE FITZWILLIAMS/SHAW’S

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.

CANOPY TENTS

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.

VBS MISSION PROJECT

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.

SPEAKING OF DAIS

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.

GREAT LAKES REGIONAL YOUTH EVENT

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.

EGG CARTONS

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.

UPDATE

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

EARLY EDITION

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.)

FLAG

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.

CLOSED FRIDAY

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

SUNDAY

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.

106!

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!

VBS IS COMING

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!

THANKS!

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).