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Congregational Life
  ministry of parish life worship and the arts spiritual growth fellowship opportunities to serve  

Whether your interest is small groups, Bible study, the arts or service to the community or world, First Congregational Church offers a wide variety of programs and opportunities to grow and serve. Workshops, guest speakers, and seminars along with retreats for men, women, and families are scheduled each year to enhance congregational life. All are welcome.


Ministry of Parish Life

Hosting after-church luncheons, offering rides to church, taking food to those in need, and planning our annual summer and winter retreats are just a few of the activities made possible by our Ministry of Parish Life. This ministry tends to the needs of our members and provides times of celebration and togetherness for the congregation.


Worship and the Arts

Worship at First Congregational Church is a multi-sensory experience. Throughout the seasons we incorporate dance, drama, sanctuary art, and banners, decorations, symbols, and special music to enrich our worship services.


Our music programs are open to new voices and/or ringers:

Chancel Choir rehearses Wednesday nights, 7:30pm, September thru May
Handbell Choir rehearses Thursday nights, 7:30pm, September thru May

Sanctuary Art

Our Worship Ministry works with volunteers to coordinate special artistic installations and sanctuary decorations during the liturgical seasons.  


Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Direction
Spiritual direction is a process of introspection and self-reflection to encourage Spiritual Formation. This ministry is offered by Spiritual Director in Residence Diane Stephens. Persons receiving spiritual direction generally come once a month for a 60 to 75 minute one-on-one session with Diane. A discounted fee is available to members of First Congregational Church. For more information on spiritual direction, or to set an appointment, contact Diane at DWSwriter@aol.com.


Just for Women

Mary Supper, Second Tuesdays of the Month, 6:30pm
At FCCW’s Mary Supper, women of the church gather for a light meal and spiritual conversation led by Pastor Stephanie VanSlyke. Held in member's homes, this is an open group and all women are welcome and encouraged to come as often as they can. First-timers and friends always welcome! 

This year we will be using the book Seven Whispers: A Spiritual Practice for Times Like These by Christian Baldwin.  The book is available via www.amazon.com for $10.89
Dates for 2013-2014 & Hosts: Tuesdays: October 8: host, Melanie Mallin; November 12: host, Dorie Sills; December 10: host, Ann Mathis; January 14: host, Margie Boyd; February 11: host, Paul Delehanty; March 11: host: Kathryn Bauer; April 8: host: To be Determined; May 13: host: To be Determined


Just for Men

The Men’s Group, Mondays Once a Month, 7:00pm
The Men’s group is led by Rev. David Hogue, and meets select Mondays at Hackney’s Restaurant, 1514 E. Lake Avenue in Glenview for dinner and conversation.

Dates for 2013-2014: Begins this Monday, September 16, October 21, November 18, No December Meeting, January 13, February 17,  March 17, April 21, May 19

Please RSVP to Keith Ross.  

Men's Fall Retreat
The Men's Retreat, originally scheduled this past summer, has now been rescheduled for this fall, from Friday evening, October 18 through Sunday morning, October 20 in Elkhorn, Wisconsin, a short 75 miles from Wilmette.  The retreat will be held at the home of Jeff and Ann Mathis, W5496 Lost Nation Drive on the Lauderdale chain of lakes.  Activities may include hiking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and boating, and as always, conversation from the sublime to the ridiculous. We will ponder the spirituality of football, cards, (perhaps even single malts), along with the usual check-ins and pithy discussion topics.  Capacity is somewhat limited. Please RSVP to Jeff Mathis or David Hogue.




Community and Celebration

Post-Worship Luncheons, select Sundays of the month following Worship
The joyful spirit of worship extends as we conclude worship and share a meal on the First Sundays of the month. 
Sundays: September 8, November 11, December 15, February 2, April 6 and May 4.

Women’s Retreat on Edisto Island, SC: October 10-14, 2013
Learn about the history of FCCW’ ministry with the people of Edisto Island while staying at the home of FCCW member Claudia Austin.  There are still two spots open on this trip; contact Pastor Stephanie VanSlyke for information.

Christmas Wreath Pre-Orders: begins November 3
Support our Senior High Mission Trip to Edisto Island, SC by purchasing a Christmas Wreath from us.  Various sizes are available. Pre-ordering begins Sunday, November 3 after worship.

Hanging of the Greens: Friday December 6, 6:00pm
We decorate the sanctuary, string the lights, and trim the tree.  Come prepared with clippers and work gloves.  Crafts and movies for children, pizza dinner, and festive cheer for all volunteers!

Christmas Pageant & Advent Brunch: Sunday, December 15
Our intergenerational pageant tells the story of Christmas with puppets, actors, preschool angels, camels and magi.  Following worship we join in a festive brunch.  Shop for stocking stuffers at our fair-trade bazaar.
Men’s Ski Retreat takes place January 17-20, 2014 at the home of Keith Ross in Heber City, Utah. Park City and Deer Valley ski resorts are nearby.  For information, contact Keith Ross.

St. Patrick’s Day Party & Fundraiser: Saturday, March 15, 7:00pm
Enjoy some St. Patty’s cheer and support a good cause—our Summer Youth Mission Trip. 


Opportunities to Serve

Service, caring and sharing matter. Join with other members of First Congregational Church, and with members of our community, in considering these opportunities to serve:

Intergenerational Service Nights: 1st Wednesdays of the Month 
Children, Youth and Adults are invited to gather at FCCW for a monthly night of service, followed by a shared meal.  Our monthly, hands-on projects are resourced through The Kindness Connection and benefit children, the elderly, the hungry, and the homeless in our communities. Founded in 2006, The Kindness Connection (TKC) inspires the next generation of volunteers by making meaningful service learning opportunities accessible to youth in the Chicago metropolitan area. For information contact Sandy Greiner.

North Shore Food Pantry
First Congregational Church collects food for the North Shore Food Pantry on the first Sunday of the month - Communion Sunday. Needed items include pasta, rice, beans, hamburger helper, macaroni and cheese, coffee, tea, pop-top cans of fruit and meat, cereal and infant cereal. For more information, contact Peg Kocian.

Hilda’s Place Shelter
You can volunteer to serve a meal at Hilda’s Place Shelter in Evanston on certain Tuesdays of each month. For more information, contact Tom Hirsh.

San Lucas United Church of Christ: We partner with San Lucas Church in Chicago's Humbolt Park Neighborhood by helping serve the underserved of the community.

• Toiletries. Bring your hotel-size soap, shampoo and toothpaste to the donation basket
in Pilgrim Hall.
• Health Kits. Children in Kids’ Club will assemble toiletry kits for the homeless.
• Thanksgiving Dinner for the Homeless, Tuesday, November 26. Donate a turkey or
dry goods, such as beans, rice, box potatoes, canned corn or cranberry sauce. Help
serve the meal at San Lucas. Contact Gretchen Alexander for more information.
• Christmas Gift Collection: Throughout Advent we are collecting gifts for children and teens served by San Lucas UCC Church and by the Night Ministry.  Please wrap your gift and mark the destination, age group and gender (if necessary) for the recipient. Place your gift under the sanctuary Christmas tree, particularly during worship on December 15. Items needed are:
     San Lucas UCC Church:
          Large and XL hooded sweatshirts
          Large and XL flannel PJ pants
          Hats, scarves, gloves and mittens (child and teen sizes)
          Educational toys and books (Spanish or English)

    The Night Ministry Youth Shelter Network:
          Underwear (male boxers, female briefs, teen sizes)
          Full size deodorant
          Pajama pants (teen sizes)
          Plain white t-shirts (teen sizes)
          1 day and 7 day CTA passes
          Welcome baby kits (diapers, bottles, blankets, pacifiers)

Souper Bowl of Caring: Sunday, February 2
We participate in this national effort to ‘tackle hunger,’ organized by children and teens, who invite those in their house of worship and neighborhood to donate “dollars and cans” on Super Bowl Sunday to benefit national and local hunger-relief efforts.  Bring your canned goods on Sunday, February 2 or donate to the ‘Souper Bowl’ soup pots that will be throughout the building in the weeks prior to the Super Bowl.  Learn more at www.souperbowl.org.

2014 Edisto Island Outreach Opportunities
Since 1986 our congregation has had a ministry of presence on Edisto, a sea island off the coast of South Carolina.  Our ministry of presence includes funding for annual scholarships through the Community Services of Edisto, home repair projects, and a summer day camp for island children for which we collect school supplies and children’s books. 

Summer Senior High Mission Trip for Youth entering 9th-12th grades in 2014 and College Students.
On this trip we work with island children Kindergarten-5th grade at an annual summer day camp. 

Dates To be announced.