News and Announcements


Special Thanks

• To Phil Stepanski and Tracy Bretl for changing our Sanctuary windows for Advent.

• To Lorraine Halls for facilitating the distribution of Advent Candles to every church member and friend. Thanks to Council members Jeanne Mantsch, Bill Bond, Marti DeMario and Mike Spalding and helpers Lynn Baierl, Joe and Bev Mueller, Peter Muehleis and Karl Pradel for delivering candles.

• To Nicki Lesnik and her family for picking out our church Christmas tree and putting it up in the Sanctuary. Nicki and family will decorate the tree in stages, just like in years past.

• To Kathy Bretl for being appointed to serve as our church Treasurer.

• To Barb Olson for her work ensuring our website is secure.

• To the over two dozen high school students who unloaded our Christmas trees (over 400!) on Tuesday, November 24. Special thanks to Ralph Perez for coordinating their participation! 

• To Joe Rychtik for directing the unloading of the Christmas trees and for organizing the lot.

• To Connor and Jodi Cowen and family for stamping, labeling, folding, stuffing and sealing the Stewardship Materials!

• To Jane Spalding for helping with our Christmas wreath bows for the tree sale.

• To everyone who helped set up our Christmas Tree Lot on November 14: Bill Bond, Mike and Judy Jaquet, Angelo and Cindy Lopez and their children Hannah, Austin and D'Angelo, Jeanne Mantsch, Ralph and Elijah Perez, Joe Rychtik, Matt Schlehein, Scott Symes and Chris Wach.

• To Peter Muehleis for putting the garbage bins at the curb each week.

• To Joe Mueller and Claude Zimmerman for conducting weekly walk-throughs of the church building and grounds.


November 25, 2020

November 4, 2020

November 1, 2020
October 21, 2020

October 14, 2020

September 30, 2020

September 23, 2020
September 16, 2020

September 9, 2020

September 2, 2020

August 26, 2020

August 18, 2020

August 5, 2020

July 22, 2020

July 8, 2020

July 1, 2020

2020 January-June

2019 July-December

2019 January-June

2018 July-December

2018 January-June

2017 July-December

2017 January-June


Our annual Stewardship Campaign is now in full swing! The Stewardship Committee invites every member and friend to make a formal pledge to support the church financially in the year to come. Receiving pledges is important for two reasons. On a spiritual level, it puts our love and faith into action. On a practical level, it helps our Church Council make financial decisions for the coming year. Please visit our Stewardship page for more information, and to fill out a pledge form. If you would like to view a copy of the budget, please email Lorraine Halls, our Financial Administrator, at

As you ponder your financial support to the church, please take a look at the following testimonials provided by members of our Stewardship Committee:
Video Testimonial on Stewardship by Jason Jacque
Video Testimonial on the Love of Neighbor by Craig Modahl
Written Testimonial on the Love of Children by Jodi Cowen Written Testimonial on the Love of Creation by Bev Mueller


We will gather via Zoom at 6:00 on the Tuesday evenings of Advent. Members and friends are invited to light candles at home as Rev. Don lights an Advent Candle in the Sanctuary and shares Scripture and other readings of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. Each gathering will last 15-20 minutes. Email Amy Gilhooly, our Communications Director, at, for the Zoom link.

December 1 - The Candle of Hope

December 8 - The Candle of Peace

December 15 - The Candle of Joy

December 22 - The Candle of Love


We celebrate that we are able to hold our annual Christmas Tree Sale this year. Not only is it our biggest fundraiser for our church, but it has also become a beloved tradition within our church and community. We are keeping things as safe as possible, having only one family volunteer during each shift, asking everyone to wear masks, and keeping a safe distance. Once again, everyone is invited to help sell trees! You may click here to sign-up for a shift or two.


Our church officially called a new settled minister to our church at the end of September, after a unanimous affirmative vote. Rev. Scott McLeod will begin serving our church on January 1, 2021. You can get to know Pastor Scott and his wife by watching a Virtual Meet and Greet. We also invite you to view the Call Sunday Church Service that Pastor Scott conducted. A warm welcome to Pastor Scott!


Rev. Don Niederfrank (one of our church members and retired UCC minister) is serving as our Interim Minister during the months of November and December. Don will conduct our virtual church services, hold a weekly meeting with our office staff, and be available for pastoral care. We appreciate Don's service and support during our continued time of transition!


Special thanks to all of the kids who decorated wooden star ornaments to give to our customers at our Christmas Tree Sale. They are a hit! All of the ornaments turned out so unique and extraordinary! You can see a few of the finished products by clicking here.


Lorraine Halls has been officially hired as our Financial Administrator. Lorraine is transitioning to this position after serving as Treasurer for almost four years. We welcome Lorraine to our office staff! Lorraine can be contacted at


Lighthouse Youth Ministry has two updates they asked that we share. First, they have hired a new Youth Director. Second, they will be meeting virtually via Zoom for the remainder of the year. As always, all middle and high school kids are invited to participate. For more information, you may click here.


As you may recall, we were hoping to offer Advent Meditation in the Sanctuary in December. After thoughtful discussion at the monthly Church Council meeting held on November 12 via Zoom, the Council has this message:
"We consider it too high of a risk to gather in the Sanctuary at this time. Our desire is to have everyone back together, but given the current high levels of COVID-19, we do not feel we could in good conscience invite people back into the Sanctuary. When the situation within the wider community becomes safer, we will certainly revisit this decision."


Harborview Cleaners in Port Washington is hosting their annual Holiday Coat Drive for the Port Washington Food Pantry. You may bring coats to the cleaners November 23 through December 14. They will clean the coats free of charge and deliver them to the Food Pantry. Harborview Cleaners is owned and operated by Barb Bahr, a member of our church.


You might interested to know that our new minister, Pastor Scott, is planning to conduct our Confirmation program the second half of the program year (January to June) for our current 8th graders. If you would like your child to participate, please email Amy Gilhooly, our Communications Director, at


Our traditional in-person church services continue to be suspended at this time. First Congregational Church will continue to provide spiritual guidance and care. During this time, we welcome you to call or email if you have any pastoral needs or questions.


Since we are not currently conducting in-person church services, we wanted to let you know that you can drop off your pledge payments by using our mail slot to the right of our Webster Street entrance. Or you can simply mail it to the church. Thank you!


Our Property Team Chair, Jim Clements, along with Joe Mueller and Claude Zimmerman, discovered considerable window frame rot on a number of our windows as well as needed repairs to the Bell Tower.

The cost of these exterior repairs is $46,200. We were able to pay over $13,500 toward the project from our Memorial Fund (with the families' permission). While dealing with the adverse effects of the pandemic, the UCC Cornerstone Fund made low interest loans available to congregations. We applied for and were approved to receive a grant of $25,000.  This first year we pay interest only and in years two and three the borrowed amount will be repaid. Funds from our checking account make up the difference. We are in the final stages of completing the repair work.


The Search Committee put in 17 months of time and work to bring our church a quality candidate who they feel is a great fit for our church. Sincere thanks and congratulations to the committee members: Joe Mueller (Chair), Kurt Blum, Brad Katzer, Doug McManus, Sarah Riemer, Shandy Roehrig, Holly Ternes and Joe and Grace Wilsnack (Youth Representatives). For your interest, the Search Committee prepared an overview of their work.


Family Promise is currently in need of the following items: paper towels, toilet paper, laundry detergent pods, deodorant for women, body wash for women, shaving cream for women, new bath towels and gas cards.

You may drop off donations in our church entryway before 3:30 during the week, or you can drop them off directly to Family Promise (136 W. Grand Avenue here in Port Washington). If you would like to make a financial donation, please send it to the church marked Family Promise


We invite you to stop by the church to make contributions of non-perishable food items so that we can continue to support the Port Washington Food Pantry. You may drop off donations in our church entryway before 3:30 during the week.

Items on their request list include: progresso soup, pudding, flour tortillas, rice-a-roni, knorr sides, mustard, ketchup, spaghetti sauce, cookie mix, vegetable oil, shampoo, bar soap and dish soap.

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