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
Our Worship Ministry works with volunteers to coordinate special artistic installations and sanctuary decorations during the liturgical seasons.
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 Hogue. 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! The namesake of our meal is Mary of Bethany. Along with her sister Martha, they opened their home to Jesus for a meal and conversation (Luke 10:38-42).
Dates for 2014-2015: Begins Tuesday, September 9, 6:30pm, at the home of Cathy Skala; October 14 at the home of Melanie Mallin; and November 11, December 9, January 13, February 10, March 10, April 14, and May 12 with locations 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 2014-2015: September 15, October 20, November 17, No December Meeting, January 26, February 16, March 16, April 20, May 18
Community and Celebration
We all need times to join in conversation, fun, and relaxation as a church family. Join us for these times.
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 occasional Sundays.
Sundays: September 7, November 2, December 14, February 1, March 11 and May 3.
Hanging of the Greens, Friday, December 5, 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 14
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.
Dinner & Mission Trip Fundraiser, Saturday Evening, March 14, Time TBD
Enjoy dinner 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: 6:00pm
Wednesdays: October 1, November 5, December 3, January 7, February 4, March 4, (no meeting April 1 due to Holy Week/Spring Break), May 7.
On First Wednesdays of the month, Children, Youth, and Adults gather for a monthly night of service, followed by a shared meal. Our hands-on projects include those provided through The Kindness Connection-- learn more at www.thekindnessconnection.org . This year we will also undertake projects on behalf of the elders on our care list here at FCCW, and on behalf of other agencies served through our Mission Ministry.
- Jr. and Sr. High youth groups participate in Service Nights on these Wednesdays
Wilmette Food Pantry Donations on Communion Sundays (first Sundays of the month)
On Communion Sundays, please bring your donations for the Wilmette Pantry housed at our neighboring church, Trinity United Methodist. FCCW is a primary supporter of the pantry and those served rely on our donations. Needed items are featured in church bulletins and email newsletters each week.
Rally Month Sweatshirt/Sweatpant Drive, Sunday, September 7, 2014 and throughout September: bring new adult sized sweatshirts and sweatpants for men or women, to contribute to our Rally Month Drive benefitting Connections for the Homeless.
Connections for the Homeless & Hilda’s Place Shelter in Evanston
Volunteer to serve a meal at Hilda’s Place Shelter housed at Lake Street Church in Evanston on select Tuesdays of each month.
For many years, FCCW volunteers have served as monthly dinner providers and servers at Hilda's Place Shelter, an outreach of Connections for the Homeless. Connections for the Homeless provides overnight shelter and evening meals through Hilda's Place, along with job counseling, support, and longer-term shelter, all in an effort to help people make the transition from homelessness to settled housing. The FCCW Mission Ministry has supported Connections for the Homeless through our annual mission budget for over a decade.
To learn more about volunteering to serve a meal & available dates to serve at Hilda's Place Shelter in Evanston, please contact Tom Hirsh.
Iglesia San Lucas United Church of Christ
We partner with Iglesia San Lucas UCC in Chicago’s Humboldt Park Neighborhood for:
- Community Thanksgiving Meal—a volunteer crew from FCCW will serve at the San Lucas Thanksgiving Feast on Tuesday, November 25, 12:00 Noon-5:00pm.
- Donations of Toiletries—bring your hotel sized soap, shampoo, and toothpaste to the donation basket in Pilgrim Hall.
- Health Kits—at Intergenerational Service Night we will assemble toiletry kits for the homeless each fall.
- Christmas Collection of Gifts for children at San Lucas UCC, ages preschool-12th grade. Bring a wrapped gift, marked with the age and gender of the designated recipient, to our Advent Worship Services. Appropriate gifts include: hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, flannel PJ pants (large sizes), art supplies, backpacks, and children’s books.
Souper Bowl of Caring, Sunday, February 1
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 1 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.
Outreach and Service Work on Edisto Island, South Carolina
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 for 2015 to be announced.