June 1st, 2021
The June Tower Chimes: Website Edition
-Covid and Worship Update
-Farewell First UMC
-Farewell to Pastor Dan and Julie Schwerin!
-Join us for Compassion Camp this Summer!!
-Congratulations to our Graduating High School Seniors
-2020 Plowshare Peacebuilder Award Winner
-In-Person Scripture Readers Needed
-Sign Ups and Links
-Attention Upper Room Readers!
Covid and Worship Update
Thanks be to God for our launch of a both/and worship format—and for two weeks of experimentation. Initial responses are indicating an increase in attendance because people can enjoy streaming, in-person and recorded services of worship. After two services, we continue to balance our concern for neighbor and personal freedoms.
We can celebrate that First UMC has over 200 persons who are fully vaccinated. (If you have been vaccinated and have not let the office know, please do. This will help us know more about our operating context. Call Grace Callen at 262.542.4256 or email her at email@example.com to let her know.) Since Wisconsin has less than 50% of its population vaccinated, and First UMC has made progress, we are proposing a mix of maintaining concern for other and personal freedom:
- We will continue to encourage people to get the vaccines so their neighbors can move about more freely as case levels drop.
- We will continue to ask worship participants to mask since children have not been vaccinated and we can assume a mixed vaccination context in worship.
- We will lift the sign-up mechanism for worship but continue to ask people to socially distance and for ushers to direct them to their seats.
- We will evaluate more after the June 6th service and as June continues to unfold.
Thank you for your progress as a congregation, and the neighborliness of your witness.
Farewell First UMC
‘I thank God in all my remembrance of you.’ What Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, I have been feeling in my bones. Thank you for these years of remarkable ministry. I have been moved, too, by the maturity of the congregation. There is grief and sadness for Julie and I as we prepare to move, but also feelings of loss for First UMC. Even so, I was blessed to hear people say they were choosing gratitude for 14 years of good ministry. Paul said: ‘we have this treasure in clay jars so that it may be made clear this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.’ This is one of those moments to attend to the limits of clay jars so that the power of God can be made known.
I will begin with gratitude. Thank you for your ‘yes’ with your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Thank you for the additional generosity you extended to me while I endured losses in my life. Over 14 years, one is bound to see major life changes and you have been so good to me and welcoming of Julie. Thank you. We were able to keep focused on the, mission but also care for each other.
Over 14 years, I have spoken from my own frayed edges and made mistakes. I told someone last week I felt sadness I had not visited him more. I feel sadness now that the transition is happening so fast that I cannot visit our shut-ins. I feel terrible about that. We have a great staff and circle of care but we are all clay jars. We have limits. I have some regrets that I will have to pray away. I trust on 6.27.21 we will have a litany and part of it must include a prayerful releasing of ways I let you down and ways you may have let me down. I know other staff persons in transition have asked why we should include forgiveness at such a time. I believe we are healthier when we pay attention to how we begin and end relationships—and that forgiveness reminds us all that we are human. Sometimes I wonder if we practiced forgiveness more if people might know better how to leave a congregation when they are angry or mend relationships when they are strained.
Let go and Trust
I need to remind you I am part of a covenant community of clergy. We do not belong to local churches, we belong to the clergy session of the annual conference. We agree not to impair each other’s ministry by returning and maintaining relationships that undermine the opportunities for the next clergy person to come to know you. I cannot return to do weddings and funerals. I will ask you to please release me from the wonderful lunch appointments and coffees we have enjoyed. Not because I don’t care but because I do: I cannot undermine your mission or set up the next relationships to be undermined by staying in touch. Maybe years on in retirement or down the road we might enjoy a new way of relating—but I also go to a new field of service and you know I will work as hard there as I have with you. I will tell you Dr. Bastian never once returned and did ministry here while I was here—and he was asked. Please: let’s let go and trust God will be at work through the one appointed to follow me. (But please do send Christmas cards! I love that! We will leave an address with the office when we have one!)
Let’s pray for the next clergy person appointed here. Pray for the staff who work hard here. Pray for your own sense of discernment where you may serve. Pray for Julie and I as we engage a rapid transition and life change. Pray for the next Minister of Administration who will have picked up emotional stakes and engaged grief elsewhere to be with you. Give that person a chance to grow, make mistakes like I did, ask for your help, and learn. This is a very complex ministry that became more complex through the time of pandemic.
I don’t know what is being planned, only that the aim is for it to be following services on June 27th. I hope to see you. Thank you so much for your grace and goodness and incredible ministry. It was a deep joy to be in ministry with you.
Dan & Julie Schwerin
Farewell To Pastor Dan and Julie Schwerin!
Please plan to join together to wish Pastor Dan and Julie a fond farewell and to celebrate the passion, joy and dedication they have brought to this congregation. We will be gathering outside the church on June 27th after service, around 11 AM for fellowship and refreshments, so put that on your calendars.
Please remember that, other than when eating or drinking, those who are not fully vaccinated should be wearing masks to protect our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.
See you there!
Melissa Freiberg, Chair
Sharon Bloss, Chair
Join us for Compassion Camp this Summer!!
We will be holding a modified style of VBS this summer called Compassion Camp: Changing the World with Lovingkindness. Held on FIVE select Sundays (June 13, July 11, July 25, August 8 and August 22) after worship, EVERYONE can participate in a 45 minute session which will include a bible story, craft, song and more emphasizing cultivating compassion for each other, ourselves, and the world. There is no need to sign up…. just show up. Don’t worry if you can’t attend every Sunday of camp, we will send out materials to use at home as well as provide video components for each session. This is a wonderful way to reconnect with each other and work through the many difficulties of the past year using faith and the power of lovingkindness to heal yourself and others. Please contact Elizabeth Ross for more information.
Congratulations to Our Graduating High School Seniors
Congratulations to our graduating high school seniors – Max Jungwirth, Aidan Lincicum, Jadyn Tuft and Emma Woolridge. We appreciate their contributions and presence at FUMC. Join us on Sunday, June 6 either in-person or online in worship as we celebrate their accomplishment. May God bless them on their next journeys.
Healing Hearts: 2020 Plowshare Peacebuilder Award Winner
In-Person Scripture Readers Needed
Thank you to all of you who have recorded and submitted scripture readings while we have been 100% virtual. Now as we return to limited in-person worship, consider being a scripture reader in the sanctuary! You can sign up HERE or by calling the church office. The guidelines for reading are as follows:
- Please plan on arriving no later than 9:00 am for 9:30 am worship.
- Check in right away with a tech person for a soundcheck and other directions.
- The scripture will be printed and on the lectern.
- Sit in the front pew nearest the lectern with any family members.
- Be prepared to transition quickly into place when it is time for scripture.
- The microphone will be on. You do not need to turn it on or off.
- Begin simply with "a reading from (book, chapter, and verses)" avoiding "good morning" and "from the Revised Standard Version.”
- End with "May God bless the hearing and understanding of the scripture today." or "The word of God for the people of God."
We appreciate all those who have donated Altar Flowers. They have been such a wonderful addition to the virtual worship services. Not only do they enhance the services, but they also bring joy to several homebound members who receive them after the service is filmed. If you would like to sign up to donate altar flowers please SIGN UP HERE.
Attention Upper Room Readers!
Copies of the May/June Upper Room are available. We still have copies of the past months Upper Room available as well. If you’d like a copy, please contact the Office Manager, Grace Callen. Please indicate if you’d like to make an appointment to pick up your copy at the church or if you’d like us to mail your copy.