Read the recent E-News Click here
Subscribe to E-News Click here
Job Description Director of Youth and Family Ministries
FPCW has begun an active search for a new Director of Youth and Family Ministries. The FPCW staff is a nurturing, collaborative, mission-driven, and creative team that will enthusiastically welcome another colleague’s gifts, energy, and passion for excellence in youth ministry and Christian faith formation. Under the direction and in partnership with the Associate Pastor, the DYFM will oversee and diligently work to develop and implement the FPCW mission through age-appropriate youth-ministry programming and relationship-building. The DYFM will serve as a faithful, accessible, and available resource and model of Christian faith and life for our youth and their families. Please click here to access the full job description for this position.
Immigrant and Refugee Crisis at the U.S. Border – You Can Help
Whatever our political persuasions, our Christian faith calls us to love our neighbors, to care for the needy and to welcome the stranger. We know your hearts have been heavy with the ongoing crisis at the southern border of the U.S., where families have been separated, children have been detained in squalid conditions and despair seems ubiquitous. According to Google Maps, it’s over 1,500 miles from Wilmette to El Paso, Texas. But these are children of God, our sisters and brothers in need of our action and engagement and prayer. We remember what the late Elie Wiesel used to say to audiences around the world when he spoke about surviving the Holocaust, “The eleventh commandment is ‘Thou shall not stand idly by.’”
A few of us have been brainstorming and organizing and praying about how we can best respond at fpcw. We want to give you some ways you can personally and immediately respond, and then some ways we’d like to respond as a community.
Give – We recommend three organizations. First, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is already working with organizations to help families at the border. They provide shelter when families at the border are released, help with transportation, items for the bus, medical attention. You can give here. Second, many of the children, some of them still unaccompanied, end up in Chicago. There is an organization supported by our friends in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America called AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation and Opportunities.) This organization provides one-on-one response to the children. You can give here. Finally, Immigrant Families Together is a movement that started in June 2018 to support families at the border. They pay bonds for parents in detention and work to reunite them with their children. Additionally, they support over 100 reunited families as they recover from their detention trauma and adjust to life in the U.S. while their asylum cases are adjudicated. You can give here.
Learn – the roots of the crisis at our border are complicated and go back decades, not just a few news cycles. There are many resources out there, but one we encourage you to watch is the film, “Genesis of the Exodus,” that was produced by our denomination, the PC(U.S.A.), a couple of years ago and that traces the root causes of the massive exodus from the three countries that make up the Central American Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador).
Advocate – As with many other issues that arise, we encourage you to contact the office of your Representative or Senators to express your opinion on this issue. Organizations that monitor current legislation will be able to keep you abreast of any bills moving through the Congress. Call the U.S. Capital switchboard number (202)224-3121, ask for the individual’s office you’d like to speak with and here is a potential script to use.
“Hi my name is ____. I live in _____, IL zip code _____. [I’m _(a parent/grandparent, etc.)_, so the treatment of all children and their families, no matter their nationality, is a priority for me like it is with my own _(children/grandchildren)_, and our country needs to do better.] I’m calling to urge Rep X/Senator X to end family separations at the border and to ensure that the US Customs and Border Protection and the Office of Refugee Resettlement adhere to humane standards of protection for kids, like time limits for detention and basic hygiene, like making sure kids have toothbrushes, soap, showers, and mattresses. These child protections, as well as alternatives to detention like foster care and placement with family members should be written into law.
Can I count on Rep X/Senator X to put pressure on CBP and ORR to ensure protection for kids, that families be kept together, and to work for long-term solutions by writing child protections into law?” [The bracketed piece is actually really important–telling them why you care personally is just as important as telling them what you want them to do.]
Pray – our first and last job as followers of Jesus is to pray. There is power in prayer, in listening to God, in interceding for those who are suffering. And yet we must remember “thoughts and prayers” are not something we just blithely tweet after a crisis. Authentic prayer always changes us and impels us to action. As 1 John says, we are called to love not just “in word or speech, but in truth and action.” We encourage you to pray for the migrant families, for the political leaders and government agents on both sides of the border, for non-profit and religious leaders. We invite you to find ways to talk to your children about this crisis and include their voices in your prayers.
Join Our Task Force – Finally, Pastor Erin and Mission Committee co-chair Mary Watt would like to form a fpcw task force to look into ways in which we as a congregation (and perhaps as part of a coalition of Wilmette congregations) might get more directly involved in this crisis as it is playing out in Chicagoland. This approach was how we began our involvement with the refugee crisis in 2015. Please reach out to Erin (email@example.com) or Mary (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in learning more.
Join us on Wednesday, July 24th for Picnic Movie Night. We’ll show the family-friendly Disney movie The Princess and the Frog, and we’ve invited our Rogers Park friends from C24/7. We’ll grill hot dogs and hamburgers and if you plan to attend please bring a side dish or a dessert to share. Click on the SignUpGenius link to RSVP for this family-friendly gathering. We hope you’ll join us for an evening of fun, food, and fellowship with old and new friends. Dinner at 7 pm – Movie at 8 pm. (Rain date July 25th)
A modern day retelling of the classic story The Frog Prince. The Princess and the Frog finds the lives of arrogant, carefree Prince Naveen and hardworking waitress Tiana crossing paths. Prince Naveen is transformed into a frog by a conniving voodoo magician and Tiana, following suit, upon kissing the amphibian royalty. With the help of a trumpet-playing alligator, a Cajun firefly, and an old blind lady who lives in a boat in a tree, Naveen and Tiana must race to break the spell and fulfill their dreams.
Lemonade on the Lawn
This longtime tradition each Sunday during the summer months is a great opportunity for members to connect with friends and welcome visitors. Please consider hosting one Sunday as a family, or committee or as an individual. It’s easy to do, very rewarding and always appreciated. Please click here to access the SignUpGenius link and choose a Sunday that works for you to host Lemonade on the Lawn.
Children and Family Ministry
Throughout the summer we will be sending out a short weekly text to spark meditation and encourage you in your faith, and you don’t need to have (or be) a child to sign up! We use the Remind app, so your phone number will remain private. If you’d like to receive these texts, email Lindley Traynor (email@example.com) with your cell number before 6/10.
Summer Book Study on MLK Jr and Racism in Chicago and Memphis
We’re inviting the whole church to join us in a different “Summer Book Read” this year. Our main text will be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s singular “A Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written in April 16, 1963. We will also listen to and read King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, delivered the night before he was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968. We will also read selected chapters from a recent book by Jemar Tisby, “The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism.” We have chosen this study because our Tower youth are heading to Memphis, Tennessee, at the end of July for Work Trip. Part of that experience will involve some learning of the history of Memphis, and how racism and segregation continue to impact the livelihood of so many of our African-American sisters and brothers today.
Meet on Sundays (June 16 – July 28) from 9:00 am – 9:50 am in the Lounge at fpcw
- June 30 – Statement by Alabama Clergymen, “A Call to Unity”; and MLK Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Part 1
- July 7 – “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Part 2
- July 14 – MLK Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop;” also Wikipedia entry, “Memphis Sanitation Strike”
- July 21 – Tisby, chapter 10, “Reconsidering Racial Reconciliation in the Age of Black Lives Matter,” p. 172-191
- July 28 – Tisby, chapter 11, “The Fierce Urgency of Now,” p.192-212
Read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” written April 16, 1963 – a response to eight white clergymen (include that letter as well). First published in full by The Christian Century.
Read “A Call to Unity,” the letter that preceded it from 8 white clergymen from Birmingham.
Also, study “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” the final speech King gave before his assassination on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968. It was delivered at Bishop Charles Mason Temple. He was speaking to striking sanitation workers, encouraging them to hold fast and stick to non-violence and work for their rights.
Read four chapters of Jemar Tisby’s “Color of Compromise” – pick which ones.
Study some of the racist context and segregation of Chicago and also of Memphis
Shop on Amazon, Support fpcw
fpcw is now a registered charity through the Amazon Smile program! So, next time you’re shopping on Amazon, select “First Presbyterian Church of Wilmette” as your charity of choice and we will receive 0.5% of the total order as a gift. Here’s how it works. Visit our unique link and it will automatically select our church (https://smile.amazon.com/ch/36-2284275), or visit smile.amazon.com and search for fpcw. Either way, thank you for your support of the life and mission of our church. We are grateful.
Volunteers are needed to tutor students in grades K-12. Tutor/mentors receive an orientation and on-going training and support and meet with students once a week during the academic year. Please contact Greg Korak if you have questions or wish to become a volunteer.
Stock the Shelves
Provides the what food stamps won’t and stretched incomes can’t cover by giving Chicago area refugees and their families the household and hygiene supplies they need to lead thriving lives. Despite their best efforts, many refugees strain each month to stretch their earnings to purchase the indispensable household and hygiene supplies food stamps don’t cover. Striving to close that gap, every fourth Wednesday of the month, Stock the Shelves drives a truck filled with the 15 items refugees need (and the only items we accept!) to the Indo-American Center in Rogers Park, where volunteers set up a mini-store stocked with new, unopened items. Refugees arrive early, check in, then shop the tables, choosing the items they need for the month. We do our best to supply them with as much as we can. The more donations and dollars we have for purchasing, the better able we are to meet their needs. It’s that simple and vitally important in closing the gap between what their incomes and food stamps won’t cover.
Stock the Shelves is an interfaith collaboration between fpcw, First Congregational Church of Wilmette, Sukkat Shalom, Congregation Hakafa and Temple Beth El.
Can you imagine if you had to choose between diapers for your baby or food for your family? This is the reality for thousands of refugee families in the Chicago area who were forced to leave their homes due to political and religious oppression, warfare and violence, Refugees arrive with minimal possessions of their own, but bring a passionate commitment to build new, thriving lives.
How Can You Help?
- Donate Items From Our List: Drop off a single item OR collect hundreds of items by hosting a drive with your classmates, teammates, co-workers or friends! For drive support materials and boxes email Rev. Erin Raska, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Purchase items on the Stock the Shelves Registry at Target: tgt.gifts/stocktheshelves.
- Donate Money: Each month the cost is approximately $3,000 to serve the 125 families, but every dollar makes a difference! Please make checks payable to FPCW with Stock the Shelves in the memo line and mail to FPCW, 600 9th St, Wilmette, IL 60091, or hold a fundraiser at your school, office or club. All gifts are tax deductible.
- Volunteer: Join us to sort items, load the truck and help distribute to the families. To volunteer please click here to access the SignUpGenius link.
Items Needed to Stock the Shelves:
Toilet paper, feminine pads (No tampons), diapers size 1-5, laundry detergent, basic cleaner (e.g. 409), body soap, hand soap, dish soap, deodorant, shampoo, body/hand lotion, Toothpaste and toothbrushes, razors and shaving cream. Please click this link STS Brochure to access the Stock the Shelves brochure.
In addition to donations, we need volunteers to help sort the donations and help load the truck and be a host on distribution days, at the Indo-American Center. Please consider helping with this important mission. Check out the Stock the Shelves website for ways to donate and volunteer.