• First Church Staff

Updated: May 16

There is a lot of conversation about when and how we will reopen.  Currently, we are looking to July as a possible time that we will have worship in the building.   Our first rule is to "Do no harm."  I do not want to reopen the building too soon for worship and possibly cause harm to our members and members of the community. When we come back there will be changes to the way we do worship so we can gather and be safe.

The Tech Team (subteam of the Vision Team) has been charged with four priorities in this period to prepare us for re-opening and the future.

  1. Live Streaming Worship.  We will continue to provide online worship, even when we reopen the building for worship.

  2. Zoom/Google Hangout-Meetings.  Meetings and small groups will continue to meet online.  Eventually, there will be a combination of in-person and online meetings.

  3. Church Teams.  One of the areas we have been clear for years that we have had inadequate capabilities is our database.  We will be converting to a new system that will allow for coordinated communication with congregational members and guests, ministry teams, finance, and at homework by staff.

  4. Online Giving.  We have set up online giving through our Annual Conference.  Online giving can be accessed through our website, www.firstumckenosha.com

The Vision Team is reviewing plans on how to reopen.  There is a lot of information for guidelines from our state, denomination, the insurance company, and the annual conference. Pastor Justin will be spearheading the plan and process of re-opening.


Post Stay-At-Home Guidlines and informat

  • First Church Staff

Devotional May 6, 2020

A reading from the letter of Paul to the Thessalonians:

“We were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the Gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.” (1Thess 2: 7b-8)

It’s day four waiting… waiting for healing, waiting for an answer, waiting for just one or two hours of quiet, waiting for the doctor to stop, waiting on God’s grace to fill the anxious and restless spirit of my grandmother. Just when I am about to lose touch with reality, I hear the warm, strong, fierce, wise voice of Sarah, “You need to go and take a walk, get some food, and try and take slow deep breaths. I am here now, so you know Eva will be cared for, I am here so you can take a break.” All at once I feel a relaxing energy flow from the top of my head throw the bottoms of my feet. Yes, I know Eva will be cared for, because her nurse is on duty.

If you have spent any amount of time in a hospital room, you discover the giftedness, knowledge, ability to find true answers, care and compassion of nurses. Today is National Nurses Day and we read from www.nationaldayscalendar.com, “National Nurses Day is observed annually on May 6. On this day, we raise awareness of all nurse contributions and commitments and acknowledge the vital role nurses play in society. This day is also the first day of National Nurses Week and is sometimes known as National RN Recognition Day.

National Nurses Week begins May 6 and ends on May 12, which is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 – August 13, 1910). Florence Nightingale was a celebrated English, social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She became well-known while taking care of the wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. Nightingale was dubbed The Lady with the Lamp because of her habit of making rounds at night.

Today let us pause and offer our words and prayers of appreciation to the nurses, like Sarah, who are the voice of healing, comfort, hope, advocacy, wisdom, and love.

Let us pray:

Almighty, loving Lord, bless the nurses hands which you have ordained, empower them for healing, caring, strengthening, and comforting those who are suffering. Free them from any kind of adversity. My all nurses be filled with your compassion and walk daily in the healing light of your love,; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Blessing of a Nurses Hands

Each nurse extends both hands, palms up. With a small dab of oil on the thumb, the person offering the blessing makes the sign of the Cross on each palm while saying:

(Name), I anoint your hands in the name of the Father

who created, loves and sustains you,

the Son

who redeems you,

and the Holy Spirit

who empowers you.

May these hands bring comfort and healing to those they touch,

to the honor and glory of God. Amen.

  • First Church Staff

Devotion. May 5, 2020

Scripture: Read Matthew 6.25-34

Do you worry? I do. Recently I have worried about the Lily of the Valley flowers in our yard. After my Aunt June died a number of years ago and before her house was sold, I transplanted some of her flowers into our yard. They are supposed to come up out of the ground in early Spring. They are supposed to be uncontrollable ‘like weeds.’ They are supposed to be ‘hearty,’ which means nobody or anything can kill them. This Spring, my Aunt June’s Lily of the Valley flowers were not showing any hints of bursting through the ground.

Lily of the Valley flowers are my favorite. I suspect that it has something to do with how delicate and beautiful they are. I suspect it has something to do with their scent which I like. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that they grew in my maternal grandparents’ yard and in the yard of the home I grew up in. I suspect it has a whole lot more to do with the fact that they were from my Aunt June’s yard and connect me with her every Spring.

Before I worried about Spring flowers, I worried about COVID-19. Truth be told, I still do. Not so much for myself, but for all who have compromised immune systems, underlying health conditions, live in crowded conditions, don’t have the means to protect themselves or able to access health care, those who choose not to protect others, those who are employed and those who are unemployed. I am grateful for my good health, employment, the roof over my head, groceries that I can purchase, technology that connects me to others, health care that I can access, heat in our home, the ability to walk outdoors in uncrowded space and close enough to walk to the lake to enjoy its immense beauty and peace. I worry about those who do not have these things or have these things but cannot appreciate them.

I do worry about the church and each of you. When I worry about each of you, it is a pastoral worry and care that you are safe and well. I am grateful for the ways in which we stay connected. When I worry about the church, I worry about making the right decisions - when is it safe to open, how will we adapt to monumental changes that have been coming but can no longer be ignored since we have experienced this pandemic, will we be able to make the changes quick enough, will we be able to take care of our staff through this time. These are among the top of my list that I worry about.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his followers to not worry. Worrying will not add an hour to our life spans. God, Jesus says, cares for everything and immensely cares for us. Our job is not to worry but to be faithful. Jesus says that we are to be about our work for God’s kingdom and let God take care of the rest.

Yesterday, the Lily of the Valley flowers in our yard appeared. They have been hard at work in the darkness of the earth until this time. Their appearance not only brought me a chuckle at my worry, but they also brought me great joy. They reminded me that all things are in God’s time, not ours.

So, if you have been worrying…about your lives, those who are close to you, your work, Christ’s church, I hope and pray that you can put it into perspective. Breathe in the gift of the Holy Spirit. May it center and calm our worried minds as we seek to work the best we can in the hope and assurance that God brings about good through all.


God, Creator of the World, and of our Lives, we thank you for breathing into us the very breath of life. In sleepless nights or moments of worry, may we feel your protection, strength, and ultimate care of us. Amen

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