Support the Referral Center During December!

You know that it’s important to support the Referral Center throughout the year. But December is also a month when we have a special focus on supporting the Center as it helps people in our community who are struggling. If you don’t know what the Referral Center does, just take a look at this list (or read the whole brochure).

In 2017, the Referral Center:

Gave out more than 950 boxes of food, more than 1400 bread sacks, almost 1500 cereal sacks, and almost 575 gallons of milk!

Gave school supplies to almost 160 children and school clothes to almost 90 children!

Provided more than 70 instances of gas and auto repair assistance, more than 50 rent and housing payments, more than 50 utility payments, and more than 80 instances of assistance with babies (diapers, formula, wipes, etc.)!

We all know that there is a surprising amount of need in our community, and that the Referral Center is consistently there to help people who are struggling to make ends meet. Please, support the Center this month with your gifts of money and materials.

Non-perishable food and other supplies can be left under the coat rack in the entry area of the church. Monetary gifts can be made during our offering (just write ‘Referral Center’ on your check) or by dropping a check off at the office.

You can also support the Referral Center, and the people of our community, year-round by making a monthly contribution via direct debit. You can find the form on our Documents page.

Thank you for your generosity this holiday season!

November 18 is Stewardship Sunday!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about stewardship. You’ve received letters that talked about imagining what this church could do if we stemmed the tide of a decreasing budget and grew it, instead. You’ve heard stewardship moments from people who believe in, and give to, this congregation. You even heard a sermon that spoke to nurturing the seeds that were planted by people who came before us, and to planting new seeds for those who will come after us. Now, it’s time to start turning all of this talk about stewardship into action.

During the offering in worship on Sunday, November 18th, we’ll collect pledge sheets. If you’ve already turned one in, we’ll do our best to make sure it’s already in the offering plate. Mine will be there, too, with a pledge of $300 a month. I hope that you will have a pledge sheet to turn in, too. And while I don’t want you to pledge any more than God is calling you to give, I hope that you have imagined the amazing things that this congregation could do in 2019, and prayed about how you are called to support that work financially. And I hope that your pledge reflects your call and your commitment to this congregation and its future.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about stewardship. Stewardship isn’t just the work of paying bills, as important as that work is. It’s about asking how God wants us to use the gifts that we have been given. I firmly believe that God calls me and my family to use some of those gifts to support First Congregational United Church of Christ. And I hope that God is calling you to do the same. 

Together, we can do amazing things for this church and this community. See you on November 18th!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Chris

A Stewardship Moment: Family

 

On October 28, our own Chris Maricle gave a stewardship moment and talked about First Congregational United Church of Christ as his family’s DeWitt family. Please take a moment to listen to his story!

Here’s a transcript:

Good morning. I hope you will bear with me for a short story.

In 2002, Holle and I were living in Davenport and she was starting a job at Finley hospital in Dubuque. We knew that making that jaunt every day wasn’t going to be ideal so we thought it would be good to look for a home somewhere in between. And we ended up buying a house here in DeWitt. We did have friends around the Quad Cities but we did not know a single person who lived here and our families were over 100 miles away. 

It wasn’t too long after we moved here that we were expecting our first child. And what do you do when you have a child… you get them baptized. We had looked around at churches in the Quad Cities and none of them really called to us. But now we had to get serious. So since we still didn’t know too many people or too much about Dewitt yet, we asked our neighbors Kevin and Jane Jansen. They seemed to know DeWitt well and had been very good to us. Their recommendation was First Congregational United Church of Christ. So we thought we’d give it a shot. Didn’t know anything about the UCC.  Holle and I grew up Methodist and Lutheran. And to be quite honest we didn’t even know the parsonage was on the same cul-de-sac as us. 

So one Sunday morning 16 years ago, we stepped through the doors to this church and all that changed. I can’t recall who all we met that day but I do know we were met with many smiling faces and handshakes. Many “welcomes” and “good mornings”. And we knew almost immediately we didn’t need to look anywhere else.

Over the last 16 years, you and this church have seen us through a lot. You have helped raise my children. Three baptisms.  Giving them their first bibles. Supporting Rory through confirmation and Soren now. And Beck in a few years. Countless hours of Sunday School, Christmas programs, and now Faith In Motion. And what an amazing thing that has been. Around 35 kids on Wednesdays learning how to put their faith in motion on the court and in the community and at home. And reaching out beyond these walls to our community’s youth. This church hasn’t been afraid to try new things to meet everyone’s spiritual needs.

You have supported Holle and I and many others through mission trips with your prayers and support. This church stands strong when God calls us to his children far away, or to a place hit hard by natural disaster, or right here in DeWitt. First Congregational has gained a reputation as a church of action.

But maybe even more important than those things, of which I could go on and on, is that we feel as welcome now as we did when we walked through those doors for the first time. We’ve met amazing people in this place. We’ve made many friends. You are our DeWitt family. And I’ve never felt more proud to be part of this family, when in 2016 we declared to the world that everyone is welcome here. The welcome is why Holle and I give. And I hope that when you consider your pledge this year, you think of that couple that walked through those doors 16 years ago as strangers and gained a family. And you think of your own story.  And of all of those who we will welcome next. Thank you.

A Stewardship Moment: 5 Reasons to Give to First Congregational United Church of Christ

 

Way back on October 14, our own Jen Froeschle gave a stewardship moment. Channeling David Letterman, she gave her top five reasons for giving to First Congregational United Church of Christ. Whether you heard her speak during worship or not, please take a minute to listen!

Here’s a transcript:

Good Morning!! Lots of you out there know me pretty well but maybe one thing that you don’t know about me is I hate to sell anything or to ask for money.  It has made me uncomfortable since I was a Girl Scout in 3rd grade and asked to sell cookies.  I bribed my sister to sell them for me because it was second nature for her and she loved it!

Ironically though church giving and stewardship has never been something that makes me squirm.  In fact, seems like a bit of a no brainer when it comes to places to share your financial gifts and talents.  Let me explain David Letterman style in top 5 reasons to give generously to your church.

God asks us to do so! Whether you believe in the Old Testament teachings of giving a tithe a word which comes from the old English meaning of 1/10th or if you are referring to one of the the other 800 times that money is mentioned in the Bible.  Just because we are asked more than ever to give our resources to so many different places, it doesn’t make church giving any less important.  Everything that we have comes from God and it our responsibility to give a portion back to his church and for the work of the church.

Matthew 6:21 says “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

That leads us to #2. Of all the places that ask you for our donations these days, how many of them give back to you as much as being a part of a church family like this?  So many of us have our hearts here in this church community. What other place do we give money to you get so much back.  I for one am way more fulfilled by Pastor Chris’s messages, weekly conversations with so many of you, and other programming in our church than by the address labels, notepads, pens, calendars, and greeting cards that we get from other worthy organizations.

Reason #3 and the least glamorous but certainly still important. Heat, Furnaces, Water, Air, Carpet, Water, Toilet Paper, and other necessities of the church and in a roundabout way Pastor Chris’s, Heat, Furnaces, Water, Air, Carpet, Water, Toilet Paper, and other necessities. Giving our talents and time is wonderful but without these things we cannot operate and pay our leadership and staff.

Reason #4. The wider mission of our church. Giving generously to our church includes supporting other missions that we support whether that be people in need here in DeWitt, our UCC’s greater missions or in other places around the country and world that folks from our church are touching lives. If we have enough money for our operating budget and expenses, it makes giving and supporting other missions easier.

And Lastly #5. We can and should do better. We can make it easier on ourselves and our leadership. Prayerfully consider increasing your financial gifts to our church this year.  Consider joyfully giving more this year than you did last if that is something that you can’t make work maybe there is another talent or gift you can share with the church.  They say the church is the people and people are the church.  We need the church and our church need us to give so we can continue to be fulfilled spirituality and by all the awesomeness it has to offer.

Thank you!

Support the Referral Center with a Regular Donation

First Congregational United Church of Christ does a great job of supporting our local Referral Center. Four months a year, we collect goods for their food pantry; and I know that many of you give food and money at other times of the year. The Referral Center is a community effort, and my sincere thanks go out to everyone who supports it.

But we also know that the Center faces high demand. This was shown to us recently when the Center had to put out a call to fill its empty shelves. While the community responded to that call, we know that the Center needs our support every day if we’re going to make sure that people in our community who are experiencing poverty have what they need.

To help make sure that the Referral Center can meet the needs of our community, you can know set up a monthly donation through direct debit. Simply fill out the form that you can can find here, and turn it into First Central Bank!

Thank you for all that you do for the Referral Center!

Support the DeWitt Referral Center This Month

August is one of First Congregational United Church of Christ’s months to support the DeWitt Referral Center! Please help us stock the pantry by bringing non-perishable food items and leaving them by the coat rack (or where the coat rack would usually be). There is a special need for jello, pudding, peanut butter, peas, tuna, Hamburger Helper, brownie mix, and cake mix.

Thank you for supporting the DeWitt Referral Center and making sure that people in our community are getting the help they need!

The Summer Lunchbox Program is Here

It’s that time of year again: the Summer Lunchbox Program is helping minimize child hunger in our community! Bags are packed with groceries (peanut butter, jelly, tuna, snack crackers, pretzels, cereal, oatmeal, fruit cups, applesauce, mac & cheese, granola bars, etc.) and vouchers are provided for produce, bread, milk, meat, and cheese. Supporting this program is a great opportunity to reduce childhood hunger over the summer and make sure no one in our community goes hungry!

There are four ways you can help. First, you can sponsor a family for $150. That covers 13 weeks of groceries! Second, you can give money to buy food. Simply write a check payable to First Congregational United Church of Christ and write ‘summer lunchbox program’ in the memo line. We’ll put all the money together and make sure it gets to the Referral Center. Third, you can bring any of the food items listed above to the church. We’ll deliver them to the Referral Center. Fourth, you can help pack items with our friends from DeWitt’s United Methodist Church.

Contact the church office to learn more!

Support the DeWitt Referral Center This Month

June is an ‘all churches’ month for the DeWitt Referral Center, and they need our support! The Referral Center is especially in need of jello, pudding, peanut butter, peas, Hamburger Helper, and brownie and cake mix. They do not need paper products at the moment. You can bring any of those items to the church and drop them off by the coat rack. Let’s help make sure that everyone in the DeWitt area has enough to eat!

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