July 28 - August 4, 2023

"I will put my teaching in their minds and write it on their hearts..."
Jeremiah 31:33

Calendar of Upcoming Events

Below are weekly programs. You can find brief descriptions of these weekly programs on our website:

SUNDAY Morning Worship, 10 am in person and via Zoom

https://zoom.us/j/97010988439 Password: betogether

SUNDAY , 11:30 a.m. Bible Study in person and on Zoom


MONDAY - FRIDAY, 8 am Morning Devotion


WEDNESDAY Eve., 6:30 pm Midweek Inhale Spiritual Practices


Below are the upcoming non-weekly events on the calendar happening at McFarland UCC for about the next month. All events are on the McFarland UCC calendar with Zoom links and additional information in the details/description area. Click the event on the McFarland UCC calendar to see the details.

Tuesday, August 1, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Racial Justice Team Monthly Meeting (In person & Online)- Multipurpose Room

Sunday, August 6, 5:30 - 7:00 pm, Teen Youth Monthly Meeting

Thursday, August 10, 6:00 – 8:00 pm, SaLT Monthly Meeting (In person & Online) - Multipurpose Room

Tuesday, August 15, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, Ecojustice/Green Team Monthly Meeting (In person & Online)- Multipurpose Room

Thursday, August 17, 6:30 – 8:00 pm, NION Monthly Meeting (Online only)

Sunday, August 20, 10:00 am, Outdoor Worship Service (In person & Online) Indoors if inclement weather.

News at McFarland UCC

Sunday Morning Ministries – Kitchen/Hospitality and Ushers

Here’s your opportunity to get involved and support some of the activities for Sunday morning – helping in the kitchen or being an usher.

Kitchen/Hospitality Ministry Team

Team members are responsible for preparing beverages and snacks to be served prior to and after each worship service. This includes set up and clean up. The time commitment is from 9:15 am to about 11:45 am. The goal is to have a minimum of two individuals assigned each Sunday.

On the first Sunday, in addition to the usual beverage duties, the Kitchen Team is responsible for setting up and serving cake for our monthly birthday celebration. 

Link for Kitchen/Hospitality - For more information contact Joan Jacobsen at treasurer@mcfarlanducc.org

Ushers Ministry Team

The ministry of ushering is an important part of worship. Ushers assist the congregation and pastor by greeting and welcoming all members and guests. They serve a role in ensuring the worship service runs smoothly and the sanctuary offers a place conducive for worship. Ushers also respond to requests and any special needs or accommodations. Ushers serve from 9:30-11:15; preference is for 2 persons to greet and usher together.

Link for Usher -For more information contact Becky Cohen (usher) at cohenrw@yahoo.com.

Update On Tcheki, Jeffrey, and Jefferson's Being With Us

As most of you know, we have been blessed as a congregation to help our Haitian friends Tcheki, Jeffrey, and Jefferson begin their life here in Wisconsin. Thanks so much to all the people who have offered hospitality and support and lots of love to this beautiful young family. And thanks to Tcheki, Jeffrey, and Jefferson for being such a blessing to us already.

NION (and Aliados, a subgroup of NION that offers support to local immigrants) will provide a more specific update regarding this family's progress and challenges in a few weeks. Tcheki and Jeffrey are excited to share the story of their coming to us in a program after worship sometime in August (Probably Sunday, August 2oth or 27th). It's quite a story! This meeting will be available on zoom as well as in person, and rumor has it that Tcheki and Jeffrey may cook a Haitian meal for us to share together afterwards (zoom people we'll have to describe how delicous it is to you!).

Right now, in addition to having been lovingly welcomed in all the ways they have been, the most important thing is for the family to meet with immigration attorneys and determine their status and next steps. This has been much more complicated than any of us could have anticipated, but we are making progress. We have one more meeting this coming week with Jewish Social Services, and after that we will have a clearer sense of where things stand. The other very important things have been to figure out how the couple will have access to basic healthcare, and how they can become eligible to seek employment.

We will share more information with the entire congregation as soon as NION has a chance to meet, share all the things we're learning with each other, and organize our next steps.

Thanks so much to Judy and Mark Emmerich for providing a home and lots of love for Tcheki, Jeffrey, and Jefferson. I won't begin to mention others by name who have given a great deal of time and energy and extpertise in order to help Tcheki and Jeffrey find their bearings, but we all know who you/we are. I just wouldn't want to leave anyone's name out! You all have been fantastic expressions of Christ-centered compassion, generosity, and advocacy, and I am so proud of you and grateful for you.

Pastor Bryan

Stuff the Bus

Kicks into High Gear

This weekend (July 29-30), the 2023 McFarland Stuff the Bus campaign kicks into high gear.


At the conclusion of the drive (Aug. 13), the backpacks with school supplies will be organized to be given to children of families served by the McFarland Community Food Pantry.   


If you wish to donate backpacks or school supplies, you can drop them off at the donation box in the lobby of the church, or at the village municipal center. Or you can send a check donation to the McFarland Community Food Pantry (specify 'Stuff the Bus' on the memo line of your check),

PO Box 101, McFarland WI 53558 (or give the check to McFarland Food Pantry Manager Judy Taber at church, and save a stamp!), or donate online using PayPal or Venmo and specify 'Stuff the Bus' in a comment. 

School supplies needed: themed backpacks (grades K-5); sturdy backpacks (grades 6-12); Kleenex; black Expo dry erase FINE markers; Notebooks (college-ruled, 1-subject); #2 wood pencils (sharpened); binder dividers; whiteboard erasers; white 1-inch 3-ring binders; yellow highlighters; yellow Post-It notes; composition notebooks (wide-ruled); felt-tip pens; pocket calculators; and Ziploc bags (gallon size).

Last year, Mrs. Wisconsin 2022 (Samantha Richards) stopped by McFarland High School to donate some school supplies to our Stuff the Bus campaign! In the photo above, she is seen with Lioness Lion Jackie Voight.

Love Has the Final Word Support Group Announcement

There is a support group for adults that have been estranged from family members that will begin this fall.

Being estranged from a family member means that the relationship has been cut off or lost for whatever reason. This experience can be lonely and painful and is oftentimes similar to the grief experienced after the death of a loved one. 

We seek to bring those suffering from estrangement together to offer a safe and confidential environment where people can come share their stories, and connect with others who have experienced similar loss. Through this sharing we hope that attendees will find a path to peace and healing.

Sessions will be held the second Saturday of September, October and November here at MUCC at 10am. (Sat Sept 9, Sat Oct 14, Sat Nov 11)

Please connect with Trish Kalhagen or Araceli Wehr by either finding our contact information in the church directory if you or a friend should be interested, talk with either of us after worship, or send an email to Trish at chmusiclvr59@yahoo.com.

SaLT Spot

At the SaLT meeting on July 13, 2023, we discussed the SaLT Spot and how to submit updates without repeating what other committees are doing. It was decided we only submit decisions made, but that there would be a note that other topics are discussed and reviewed:

Decision made at the July 13th SaLT meeting:  MUCC will keep a minimum of three months and a maximum of 4 months of operating budget funds on reserve.

A Few Words From Pastor Bryan

...and Diana Butler Bass & Brian McLaren

I was listening to a conversation between authors Diana Butler Bass and Brian McLaren last night (thanks Trish Kalhagen for sending that to me!), and Diana said something very simple that struck me profoundly. They were talking about our society and the divisions and about what may be needed if we are going to have a chance of dealing with our most urgent social issues such as climate change. At some point Diana simply said;

"We are all going to need to learn how to spend more time with people we don't like very much."

Wow. That statement has been bouncing around my mind and heart ever since, and I could riff on it for a long time. As I've said several times in sermons, just about every group of people I've ever been a part of, and especially churches and other progressive leaning non-profit organizations, all which had wonderful intentions and important missions--have imploded because the people in them could not get along with each other. Some of them fell apart altogether. Some of them were knocked off the center of their call and purpose for years because of conflicts from within. It often came down to differences of personality and style of working, and the more passionately convinced people were of being "right" about how things should go, the less likely they were to be humble and open enough to leave space and opportunity for others to offer their opinions or gifts or energy or approach to the organization. In other words, it was usually the inability on the part of people to be self-aware (hence the importance of tools like the Enneagram), or to do their own personal ego work that often made it almost impossible for the organization to flourish.

You know one of the things that I find most attractive about Jesus is that he never stopped spending time with people he KNEW did not understand, agree with, or trust him. Let alone like him. We find him accepting invitations to dinner with the Pharisees for example, even when he knew full well that they were conspiring against him. Or we find him deliberately spending time with people who had sold out in one way or another and pretty much lost touch with who they truly were.

Jesus had this amazing capacity to always look past what was "not likeable" about someone, and see who that person was at their core--a beloved child of God with their own life stories and wounds and experiences. It wasn't just a matter of seeing the good in other people, or looking past another person's faults. That kind of "tolerance" can often be more condescending than anything. Instead, Jesus loved people, no matter who they were or how alienated they were from the better angels of their own nature, and his love for them somehow reminded them (if they were the least bit open to it) of who they truly were. They found their own goodness and beauty in the space his love for them created. He saw others, no matter who they were or what they'd done, as people who were capable of waking up to the best within themselves and who could change and evolve and grow. He saw their inner, God-given goodness as humans made in God's image. He loved them as they were--and that often gave others the space they needed to love themselves and to change their own behavior in some very radical ways.

Oh it didn't always "work." People are free NOT to change, and loving someone just to change them isn't love. But if we have a role in helping others change at all, it is love that "does the work." Not our attempts to manipulate or control or get others to do and be what we want to see happen or who we want them to be.

And of course Jesus always asks us to take a good look at ourselves before we put much time and energy into focusing on what we don't like about others. That teaching about "removing the log in our own eyes before we try to remove specks in the eyes of others" is his way of instructing us to do our own ego work rather than to project or focus on what we find unlikable in others. That means that when we find ourselves not liking how someone else is doing things that we first take a good look at our own way of processing things or expressing ourselves or moving forward. And the more we are convinced that our way is right or best, the more important it is to simply remind ourselves that we could be wrong (imagine such a thing!), or maybe partially right, and ask ourselves whether or not we're leaving space for others to have a different perspective and to be genuinely heard and respected.

Yeah all of this is easier said than done. But that's why we need God's Spirit of love and grace to be flowing within us and among us. God will do the loving in and through us. That's how this kind of Love is possible.

Diana is right. If we're going to ever solve the problems in our world, or work effectively together when it comes to hard decisions and complex tasks, we're going to need to get out of our own safe circles of people who see things the same way we do--and out of our various echo chambers--and learn how to work with people we may not like very much at all. Or who may not like us! We need to choose to love people more the way Jesus did, and the only way to do that is to be filled with the same Holy Spirit that enabled Jesus to love and live as he did. And to remember that God loves us all that way when we are not particularly likable ourselves.

"We are all going to need to learn how to spend more time with people we don't like very much." So simple. So deeply true. So desperately needed.

Let's be a church in which people love each other deeply even when we don't like each other at times. Gratefully, most of us like each other, or maybe we're all doing a pretty decent job with God's help of living this stuff out together! But we'll have plenty of chances to ask God for the Grace and Power to put what I'm talking about into practice. Every group of humans does!

So next time I say or do something that causes you not to like me too much, thanks for loving me anyway! If that hasn't happened yet, oh, give it time! We're all humans in the flawed glory and mess and beauty of what that means. Thank God!

In the relentless, extravagant, unconditional Love of God for us all,

Pastor Bryan

5710 Anthony St.
McFarland WI 53558
Pastor Bryan Sirchio
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