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Church Life in PDF format – October 2017

The Congregational Church – Rochester, MN


Sunday, October 1 at 10:00 am –
1:00 pm – Blessing of the Animals

Sunday, October 8 at 10:00 am –
Building and Grounds Recognition
Special Offering: Neighbors in Need
Chancel Choir

Sunday, October 15 at 10:00 am –
Chancel Choir

Sunday, October 22 at 10:00 am –
Bell Choir
Combined Sunday School

Sunday, October 29 at 10:00 am –
Reformation Service
Children’s Choir and Youth Bell Choir
Fall Carnival and Potluck



9:00 am – Youth Group:  Oct. 1, 15, 29
9:15 am – Children’s Choir: no rehearsal Oct. 1
9:45 am – Chancel Choir: warm up in Chapel when singing on Sunday
10:15 am – Sunday School
11:15 am – Youth Bell Choir: no rehearsal Oct. 1, 22


~Rev. Garth Schumacher

Then after breakfast, Jesus said it a third time: “Simon Peter, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”          John 21: 17-19

The Dalai Lama teaches us, “If you want to make others happy, practice compassion. And if you want to make yourself happy, practice compassion.”

September was a good month.  As the liturgical cloth behind the communion table reminded us, a relationship with God through service brings us “Joy!”  And that sense of joy encourages us to continue to serve.  It’s a mutually reinforcing cycle, also known as a virtuous circle.

On Sunday, September 17, members of our church leveraged the great generosity of our congregation to fill 38 5-gallon buckets with cleaning supplies intended for poor families recovering from hurricanes and floods.  I’ve never seen so many smiling faces!  But it wasn’t just the good feelings we experienced that pleased us; it was our impulse of service pushing out into the world.  Incidentally, our mission activity may become an attractant for future visitors and members. (See local news releases1 below)  It says to the world, “We’re here and we’re making a difference in our world.”

And that’s who we are.  The Congregational Church, United Church of Christ is a congregation making a difference for the better.  What’s our clue that this servant impulse is key to who we are? Simply, that we’ve been the happiest as a congregation when we’ve been on a mission to serve.

This month we celebrate the 500th year of the Reformation, a transition from hierarchical “top down” church leadership towards the egalitarian “priesthood of the believer.”  I’ll be leading us through the 4 primary denominations that make up our United Church of Christ:  Evangelical, Reformed, Christian, and Congregational…each expressing their Christian service in a different way.

May we find more paths in our individual and communal lives to express our own service to the world.  For all it takes are, as Mother Theresa described, “doing little things with great love.”  Let us feed God’s sheep and show our great love together.




Together, The Congregational Church raised $3,400 to help fill up to 38 clean-up buckets going to Church World Service.  They’ll be distributing our buckets to people struggling to recover from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and whatever other disaster strikes.  During our service on September 17, kids were the first to put items into the buckets and then we sang hymns while working together for this great cause.  Photos courtesy of Bliss Photography and Rochester Post Bulletin: “Bucket Brigade: Disaster Response is More Than a Drop in the Bucket” by Taylor Nachtigal.

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Please join us on Sunday, October 1 at 1:00 pm for the Blessing of the Animals.  All and any-legged beloved companions are welcome!



The final day to order pecans is October 3.  Place your order on the Narthex bulletin board, or call Cindy Sawyer (289-7617) and leave a message, or email at

Mascot pecans are mammoth halves and grown in Georgia.  They are harvested in October and will arrive here early to mid-November just in time for holiday baking, snacking and gift giving.  The pecans will be their freshest and not the cold storage pecans sold on grocery shelves.  Our supplier will set their price after harvest and will be announced in the bulletin.


Sunday, October 8

Over the years the Building and Grounds Ministry Team has gone above and beyond to provide up-keep to our church facility.  They manage the care of our building, roof, ground repairs, and maintenance.  In the past, they have remodeled the bathrooms, installed the security system, fixed the boiler, and the list could go on and on.  Additionally, many of their members serve on the Church Use Committee that assisted us with the procurement of Beacon and RASA renters and preparation of their classrooms.  The Christian Education Team cannot thank them enough for their strenuous efforts to give up their time, talent, and treasure!  Sunday School would not exist without their hard work getting the classrooms ready for us after RASA moved in!

Please join us in honoring them with a worship service dedicated to recognizing them for their service.  As an expression of thanks, we would like to encourage people to bring a monetary gift for the B & G Ministry Team.  Currently, they need $300 get the materials to make two bulletin boards for Sunday School.  Show them your support on Sunday, October 8 by coming to the 10 am worship service.  Youth and children will have a fun with “building- themed” games and crafts in the Narthex during the service.  Help us celebrate this incredible team by thanking them for all they do!



The Neighbors in Need (NIN) special offering will be received on Sunday, October 8.  NIN supports the UCC’s ministries of justice and compassion throughout the United States.  Your gift will help to fund a wide array of local and national justice initiatives, advocacy efforts and direct service projects.  For example, small but essential grants are made throughout the year to congregations and organizations engaged in community organizing, public policy advocacy, and direct service.  Although grants are made to address a wide range of justice priorities, this year grants are offered in the programmatic areas of:  Rights and Freedoms of All Persons; Environmental Justice; and Economic Justice.  In addition, one-third of the offering supports the UCC’s Council for American Indian Ministries specifically providing support for 20 UCC congregations on reservations and one urban, multi-tribal UCC congregation in Minneapolis.  Stories of the transformations made possible by gifts to Neighbors in Need can be found at  How will you choose to serve your neighbors, both near and far away, in 2017?  Will you join with others throughout the UCC by making a generous gift to the Neighbors in Need offering?  To make a gift use the enclosed special offering envelope, find one in the pew racks or write Neighbors in Need on your check memo.


“When We Give, Our Faith, Church and Community Thrive!”

Psalm 16:11 – God wants you to know how to THRIVE:  “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand you will thrive forever.”

We are called to thrive and to help our community to do the same.  Our Stewardship Campaign will run from Sunday, October 22 through Sunday, November 19.  This year’s theme reflects our mission to carry out God’s will by helping to transform our community for the better.  The 2018 Plan for Ministry highlights many of the wonderful things our Ministry Teams plan to do to help our church and our community thrive.  We hope you prayerfully consider giving generously to our Stewardship Campaign.  Also, please mark your calendars for a celebration luncheon following the church service on Sunday, November 19.



 The Christian Education Team will be having their annual fall carnival on Sunday, October 29. Join us in the Fellowship Hall immediately following the worship service for a POTLUCK and carnival games.  Please bring an item to share at the potluck (according to your last name):
A- J:  Main Dish or Chips         OR       K-Z:  Side Course or Dessert

Delight the kids with “spooktacular” dishes and desserts to share!  Enjoy a fun day of carnival entertainment with your whole church family!  Don’t forget to wear your costumes to church for an opportunity to win the best costume and best group costume contest!  This year, the Christian Education Team has all NEW games, crafts, and activities!  Don’t miss out on this fun opportunity by letting us know you’re coming at



The goats came in June and ate back the Buckthorn and Honeysuckle.  Then Leon Ernster worked throughout the summer cutting Buckthorn.  (Thank you, Leon!)  Our woods are improving.  Several of us were privileged to see a pileated woodpecker on our hillside.  That wouldn’t have happened in previous years.

To keep moving forward in our Buckthorn Battle, we are planning a morning of Buckthorn removal on Saturday, October 28 at 9:00 am.  Nov. 4 will be our rain date.  Look for a signup sheet in the Narthex or contact Pat Espeset,



Wednesday Noon StudySue Evans will be coming back to Rochester to offer a brand new John Dominic Crossan series, “The Challenge of Paul.”  Crossan argues that Paul has been widely misunderstood and offers the breadth and depth of his lifetime of historic and Biblical research to help us re-evaluate this great teacher of the early church.  When the entire series is released, there will be 16 sessions on Paul, currently we have 8 sessions.

The series will begin on October 25 and continue on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday afternoons from 12:00 to 1:30 pm.  Please let the church office know if you are interested in attending this series, or If you are interested but need a different day or time.  We will attempt to find a time that works for all interested.  If you have questions, feel free to contact Sue at

Wednesday Book Group – next meeting is Wednesday, October 18 at 7:00 PM.  This month’s selection is Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker and is available through the Rochester Public Library book bag program.  All are welcome!

Thursday Morning Men’s Fellowship – Begin your morning reflecting on your faith.  Our Men’s Group welcomes you to join in this gathering of friends at 7 AM on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month.



Our next volunteer day is Saturday, October 21 from 12 – 2 PM.  All are welcome, ages 10 and above.  Sign up in the Narthex or contact Annie Kramer at

Many thanks to our volunteers on September 16:  Nancy Redman, Suzanne Krueger, Cindy Swessel-Hofer, Cathy Swessel, LuAnn and John Nicholson, David Walters, Rex and Ilomae Patton, Ellen Bolterman, Gavin Buhrow, Gabrielle Buhrow, Bob and Cheryl Roediger, Janet Bartz, Jean Glaser and Annie Kramer.

Empty Bowls Event – To all and to those who painted a bowl in August, the Channel One Empty Bowls event is Thursday, October 12 from 11 am – 8 pm at the Rochester Art Center.  For $10 (pre-purchase price) you receive a meal of soup and bread and a painted bowl as a memento of the event.  For more information, visit



For the first time, Ironwood Springs is having a Fall Summit!  Join us on October 20-22 for a retreat full of exciting activities like zip line, big games, worship, chapel, and small group activities!  Fall Summit is for youth in grades 6-12 and costs $100.  Please register by October 6th for your spot!  If we get 10 or more students to sign up, then your registration cost goes down to $85!

Registration forms are in the CE office or register online at  Please let our youth director, Felicia Faldet, know if you have any questions or need more information at  Packing info is online.



Have you ever wondered how fun the Escape Challenge is?  Now is your chance to try it!  The youth group (6th-12th grade) will doing the Escape Challenge on Friday, October 27 from 5:30- 7:30 pm.  Pick one of two challenges to solve:

  • Norwegian Job – Your mission is to find the location of the $16 million of gold, cash, and diamonds a traitor stole from your heist in Oslo, Norway before he returns.
  • Cartel Hostage Escape – Your mission is to rescue part of your team that was captured by the cartel before the guards find you.  The captured team will look for clues to help the rescue team find them.

Cost is $28 per person.  You can meet us at 5:30 pm at church for a ride, or drive yourself and meet us at 5:45 pm at the Escape Challenge located at 20 6th Street NW, Rochester.  Either way, please RSVP by October 10 to  Come join us for this unforgettable experience!



It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of our former pastor and beloved friend, Alan “Mick” McCain, who died on August 22 and was buried in Turkey.  A memorial service was at The Congregational Church UCC on September 22.  Mick faithfully served as pastor of The Congregational Church UCC from 1979–1988.  He was also heavily involved in our community as president of the Rochester Area Council of Churches.  The Minnesota Conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination this year at its Annual Meeting.  Our prayers of comfort and God’s presence are with his children, Betsy Schroeder and Andrew McCain, and wife, Evin.

Prayers of welcome and God’s blessings to Irle Gusa who joined Sunday, September 10.  Please introduce yourself and make him feel at home!



I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your prayers, concerns, and generous gifts and cards while waiting for my R1 visa to be approved.  You have been extremely supportive through this difficult time.  Without your help and prayers, I doubt I would have been able to endure the long and uncertain times.

I also want to thank the Church Moderator, Mark Klarich, to consider and make the visa process start right after I asked for help; Cheryl Roediger for her hard work to make sure all the documents were accurate; Pastors Teresa Roberts, Dick Eick, and Garth Schumacher for their prayers and support; lawyer Mr. Jeff Larson; choir members, and the church staff.

No amount of thanks and words can truly express how blessed I am.  Waiting is over and I am so happy to come back to the organ bench.  It is a blessing and honor to be here for next few years as your organist.  Thank you once again for your support!

Your organist,
Julie Kim



Hawthorne Helps - Thank you for your generosity!  We collected 209 items and $218 to assist our neighbors and school community.



With multiple changes in our church’s room usage, there is an upright piano available to any member or friend.  It is on the small side, so one might move it with 3-4 healthy people.  Check with the office if interested.


NEEDED:  High Chair, Booster Seat

Do you have a “like new” (squeaky clean and if full working order) high chair or booster seat you would be willing to donate for use in Fellowship Hall?  We are seeking donations of 2 or 3 of each.  Having sufficient numbers provides for extravagant welcome to families with young children when they attend celebrations, church events and funeral lunches.  If you have either to donate, please contact the church office and someone will be in touch with you to arrange delivery or pickup.  Thanks for your assistance.



October 9-13:  Sarah Struwe on vacation
October 16-18:  Pastor Garth & Felicia Faldet at conference


Monthly Calendar – October 2017
Sunday Volunteers – October 2017


MONTHLY OFFERING REPORT- Steve Gusa, Financial Secretary

2016 Actual 2017 Actual 2017 Budget
AUGUST Pledge $21,546 $14,457 $23,032
Non Pledge $2,149 $2,965 $2,798
Total $23,695 $17,422 $25,830
Year-to-Date Total $216,108 $191,532 $206,640

FINANCIAL SUMMARY-September 30, 2016

2016 Actual 2016 Budget
TOTAL INCOME $346,834 $423,373
Stewardship/Benev. $29,493 $23,500
Worship $3,839 $7,250
Christian Education $3,050 $2,450
Youth $287 $700
Nurture $395 $1,500
Adult Education $75 $250
Justice & Peace $353 $1,000
Staff Costs $201,447 $281,391
Administrative $25,857 $30,453
Office $12,554 $17,887
Physical Expenses $42,655 $63,443
Total Expenditures $320,004 $429,824
NET INCOME $26,831  ($6,451)