News

Advent calendar project will feed our neighbors

Advent calendars have long been used to count down the days before Christmas, and as we’ve done for the past several years, we will use the Advent-calendar format to gather food for the Allamakee County Food Shelf.

A typical Advent calendar includes a small window for each day of the Advent season, which is a time of spiritual preparation for the celebration of Christmas. Opening each window reveals an image, a poem, a portion of a Christmas story, or a small gift such as a toy or piece of candy.

In other words, you get something to enjoy each day of Advent.

For this outreach to our neighbors, we will use a “reverse” Advent calendar. Rather than receiving a gift each day, you are invited to give a gift each day – one food item for each day in December. The graphic on Page 5 provides your shopping list.

Place your gifts daily in a bag or box. As you do, consider saying a short prayer for the person or family who will be fed with your gift. Then, at the end of the week, bring your bag or box of food to church on Sunday. Or, contact the church office at (563) 568-2981 or fpcwaukon@gmail.com to arrange
pick-up from your home.

The Allamakee County Food Shelf is open Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1125 W. Main St. in Waukon. It provides four to five days’ worth of food to each of its clients, who are permitted one visit per month. Proof of county residency and a valid Social Security number are required. For more information, call (563) 568-3994.

A/C fund drive reaches 21% of goal

No new contributions were received last week, so the balance of our capital-fund drive to air condition the Sanctuary remains at $11,720, which is 21 percent of our $56,000 goal.

In addition to providing a cooler environment for people attending services and other events in our Sanctuary, installing air conditioning also aims to protect the six-figure investment in plaster repairs and repainting that we made last year. The project also includes installation of solar panels on the south roof of the Fellowship Hall to cover the electricity costs of running the air conditioning and reduce our overall utility expenses.

To support this project, earmark your check “AC” in the memo line or place cash in an envelope labeled “AC.” Place your offering in the collection plate during Sunday worship, drop it off at the church during the week, or mail it to the church at P.O. Box 422, Waukon, IA 52172-0422. Go to FirstPresWaukon.com and click the red “Donate Now” button to make your offering online.

Four confirm their faith

Four of our youth are confirming their faith during worship on Sunday, Dec. 11: Marissa Benda, Caden Cahoon, Ella Homewood, and Jaedyn Mcguire.

Caden has chosen Michelle Gress as his confirmation mentor, and for his confirmation commitment, he will be visiting residents at Southcrest Manor. Marissa has chosen Donna Eberhart as her confirmation mentor. For her confirmation commitment, she and Ella will help host Sunday fellowship. Ella has chosen Betty Steege as her mentor. Jaedyn Mcguire has chosen Ken Krambeer as his mentor and plans to work with Ken to select a confirmation commitment.

Please remember the confirmands and their mentors in your prayers.

Committee nominates new deacons, elders

The Nominating Committee has completed its work for this year and will present its report to the congregation at a special meeting called for Sunday, Dec. 18, at 10:45 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall.

Nominated to serve as deacons are Nancy Adam (first three-year term), Suzanne Hahn (first three-year term), Brad Krambeer (second three-year term), and Susie O’Hare (first three-year term).

Nominated to serve as elders are Bethany Ellingson (second three-year term), Mark Jones (first three-year term), Kris Rausch (first three-year term), and Dr. Bill Withers (second three-year term).

The other item on the agenda for the special congregational meeting is the annual review of the adequacy of Pastor Grant’s terms of call and to act on a recommendation from Session that he receive a 7 percent salary increase for 2023.

Updates from Session …

At their monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 8, the elders of Session  —

+ Seated member Gary Boden, in his role as city manager, with voice but without vote.

+ Designated a Reverse Advent Calendar as the special mission offering in December.

+ Called a special congregational meeting for Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, for the purposes of receiving the report of the Nominating Committee and reviewing the adequacy of the pastor’s terms of call.

+ Removed the name of Norbert Palmer from the roll of active members due to his death earlier this year.

+ Approved a motion from the Faith Formation Committee to sponsor and organize this year’s Waukon Holiday Parade on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m.

+ Approved motions from the Human Resources Committee that custodian Kay Deeny and office manager Michelle Gress receive hourly wage increases of 75 cents per hour effective Jan. 1, 2023, and that music director Betty Christianson and lead accompanist Susie O’Hare receive 7 percent salary increases effective Jan. 1, 2023.

+ Approved a recommendation from the Human Resources Committee to recommend to the congregation that Pastor Grant receive a 7 percent salary increase effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Advent starts earlier than usual for us

How might we do a better job of giving the upcoming season of Advent its due? Comparing Advent to Lent is a helpful starting point.

In the early Church, Advent, like Lent, lasted 40 days. Known as the “Nativity Fast” or “Winter Lent,” those 40 days began in early November.

Drawing on that tradition, Advent here at First Presbyterian will run for six weeks, which is two more than usual. That makes Sunday, Nov. 13, the start of our Advent.

From the pulpit, Pastor Grant will be selecting our Sunday Scripture lessons around six of the seven names for Jesus in the carol “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.” To wit, “Emmanuel,” “Son of God,” “Dayspring,” “Desire,” “Rod of Jesse,” and “Key of David.” He’ll pair each name with readings from both the Old and New testaments.

On Christmas Eve, he’ll preach on the seventh name, “Adonai,” which in Hebrew means “My Lord.”

Reminder on cancelation of worship, other activities when winter weather is bad

Severe winter weather occasionally makes it necessary to cancel Sunday worship or other weekday activities. Here’s how you can find out if worship or other activities have been cancelled:

+ Call the church at (563) 568-2981 and wait for the automated phone system to answer. If worship or activities are cancelled, we will change the greeting message to reflect the cancellation.

+ Tune in to KNEI-FM 103.5 and listen for a cancellation announcement.

+ Tune into KCRG, channel 9, or KWWL, channel 7, and watch for a cancellation announcement to scroll by on the screen.

+ Go online to FirstPresWaukon.com KneiRadio.com, Kcrg.com or Kwwl.com and look for a cancelation announcement.

+ Check our church Facebook page, Facebook.com/FirstPresbyterianWaukon.

Pastor Grant, in consultation with the Worship Committee, will make the decision to cancel worship by 7 a.m. Sunday based on information received from local and area authorities.

Even if worship isn’t canceled, please use your own sound judgment whether it is safe for you to leave the house and travel when the weather is bad or the roads are dangerous.

Announcements

The Presbyterian Women postponed their annual cookie-making to Monday, Dec. 12, at 8:30 a.m. due to winter weather on Friday. The cookie boxes will be available for pickup next Sunday in the Fellowship Hall.

Each Christmas, we take a special monetary collection as a gift for Pastor Grant and his family. To contribute, please see Elder Bill Withers or Elder Gloria Krambeer. Contributions also may be dropped off in the church office or mailed to P.O. Box 422, Waukon, IA 52172-0422.

The 46th annual Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 8 Fifth St. SW in Waukon. Local clergy, including Pastor Grant, will read the lessons, and carols will be sung by the congregation. Choral arrangements will be presented by an ecumenical choir and the St. John’s handbell choir. The public is welcome.

The elders of Session have called a special congregational meeting after worship on Sunday, Dec. 18, in the Fellowship Hall. The sole purposes of the meeting are twofold: 1) to review the adequacy of Pastor Grant’s terms of call and act on Session’s recommendation regarding his 2023 salary; 2) to act on the report of the Nominating Committee regarding the election of deacons and elders to begin serving three-year terms in 2023.

To support those who are feeling sad during the holidays, worship on the Sixth Sunday of Advent, Dec. 18, will be a “blue Christmas service.” The service will engage Scripture, prayer, carols and reflection that are honest and true to people’s inner struggles and yearnings. The service will be particularly meaningful to those for whom the approaching Christmas holiday does not bring the joy and happiness that’s advertised on television or in greeting cards.

Poinsettias in memory of family, friends and loved ones are available for $13 each. Please sign the sheet on the Fellowship Hall counter and place your payment in the envelope next to the sheet. You also can order by calling the church office, (563) 568-2981, emailing fpcwaukon@ gmail.com, or stopping by during office hours. Plants will be placed in the Sanctuary for Christmas Eve worship. You may take your plant(s) home after the Christmas Eve worship or leave them in Sanctuary for everyone to enjoy.

Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, and our only worship service that weekend is the 6 p.m. Christmas Eve service. No service will be held Sunday, Dec. 25.

Please help decorate the “Mitten Tree” in the church lobby with winter hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves. All items are given to students in need at West Elementary School in Waukon.  

Six goats will soon find a new home and start providing food security for people in developing countries thanks to your generous contributions to October’s special mission offering. Our goal was $175, which would have purchased two goats, but a total of $525 was received, which was enough to purchase six animals. Our gift through the Presbyterian Giving Catalog will help break the cycle of poverty and provide new opportunities for families. Goats enhance food security by providing milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt. These valuable foods offer nutrition to those who need it most. September’s special mission offering totaled $255 for the Allamakee County Food Shelf, and August’s offering totaled $200 for the backpack weekend nutrition program in the Waukon schools. Thank you for your generosity that loves and serves our neighbors near and far.

If you need to stop by the church during the week to drop something off or pick something up, the parking lot door is open from 10 a.m. to noon Mondays and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays.

Online giving allows you to make your tithes and offerings safely and securely from your desktop computer, tablet or smart phone. To access this new service, go to our church website, FirstPresWaukon.com, and scroll down until you see the red “Donate Now” button. Clicking that button takes you to our online giving portal, where you can make a one-time offering or set up regular weekly offerings.

A donation box to recycle old eyeglasses and hearing aids is available in the Fellowship Hall near the door to the Chapel. In partnership with the Waukon chapter of Lions Club International, the glasses and hearing aids will be recycled and distributed to people living in low- and middle-income countries who lack access to vision and hearing care. 

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