Hope United Cochrane
Letters 2021
March-April 2021
Greetings Hope members and friends,

Even though we clearly are in a difficult time, we at Hope praise God and thank Him for our many blessings. Even though it has been almost a full year since being in some form of limited contact with others, we at Hope have tried various ways to be together in worship and fellowship. We have done outdoor services. We are doing in-building services using masks and social distancing. We continue to live-stream our weekly worship services on our Hope United Church of Christ Facebook page. With the increased availability of the Covid-19 vaccine we are looking forward to some form of normalcy.

As you read through this newsletter you will see that your consistory and membership planned events for our spring. Please participate as you feel comfortable. We look forward to spring because it is easier for us to be together outdoors.

We have hosted some Open House events for people who do want to “be” in their church but not in a group setting. We will plan an Open House for Good Friday, April 2.

We are in the season of Lent. We are journeying with Jesus toward Jerusalem. We will celebrate Palm Sunday, Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the crowd cheering and waving palm branches. We will weep on Good Friday remembering Jesus’s sacrifice for us.

He bore our sins with His crucifixion. We will rejoice on Easter Sunday celebrating His resurrection! He is Alive! He lived among us, he served us, teaching us how we to serve others. He arose! His Holy Spirit abides in us! We at Hope church are encouraged for our future, more people vaccinated, more warm days making it easier to be together outdoors, more planned events for our church’s fellowship and community outreach.

We at Hope are encouraged about our future with our Shared Ministry Agreement with St. John’s UCC in Fountain City. Our joint search committee is encouraged to be working together to find a minister.

Here at Hope we celebrate our founders with respect for the strong foundation they have built for us. And we celebrate our bright future serving the Lord through our work in our church and community!

Blessings,
Marilyn Bollinger,
Lay Team Member
January-February 2021
Waiting for Update...
Letters 2020
November-December 2020
Waiting for Update...
September-October 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,

Transformation! We speak of the changing Fall colors, as the leaves turn orange and yellow and fall to the ground. There are the pumpkins maturing and used for decoration, the frost on garden plants and harvesting before the big freeze.

Fall is often a time for nostalgia, as life settles into the traditional and cyclical rhythm of shorter days, longer nights, hats and coats and hot drinks to warm our hands. Family holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner.

It would be easy to settle into the comfort of that nostalgia, and that’s OK. But what if something new is about to happen? God always has something brewing…the universe is filled with the energy of transformation.

We at Hope UCC have experienced lots of change in the past five years: Becoming a separate entity as a congregation with a half-time pastor, embracing the beauty of looking outward into our community to see where we can be of service, and changing parts of our constitution to reflect new needs in changing times. We have built an accessible entrance with additional space on both levels of our building, and anticipate great ministry taking place that will be available to all. Now when we say, “Wherever you are on your spiritual journey you are welcome here!” we don’t have to add “if you can get in!”

The next change coming on November 6 is my retirement from active ministry, which means Hope UCC will be in a transformational stage—how exciting! Personally, I will miss you. You have been inspiring and delightful in your willingness to continually adapt to what is needed in order to be faithful disciples of Christ! You are a church for all in the community, and are faithfully working to be of service. I will be following my call as an artist. Yes, I make pottery for churches, and will continue to do so, mostly selling online until conferences meet in person again. But I also will be painting (mostly watercolors) as I have done for forty-five years, but now I will have dedicated time to develop new work. I feel such an energy and spirit when I paint, and I am glad to be able to dive deeper as I enter this next chapter of life.

What does your new chapter look like? The excitement is that you don’t yet know! The consistory is working on visioning and practical steps, and will let you in on what they are thinking and doing when the time comes.

Embrace the beauty of the present moment! Enjoy the love and the power of God in everything you do. Know that I hold you all in prayer and will always be grateful for my time with you. Thank you.

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
July-August 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,

Well here we are, separate in our homes but together in spirit (and sometimes online)!

What changes are you experiencing?

Some of us have children home, all the time, even as we work from home. How are the children coping with schoolwork and one another? How are you handling your needs while parenting? Some are missing those they cannot visit, and the freedom to move about and live a “normal life”.

Some are wishing for barbers and salons to open (people are realizing how much you are needed Dottie and Rich!) and to be able to have “benediction” at the North End.

Some have deeper concerns, as they have loved ones and neighbors who are ill or have died from the virus. We mourn with you, and extend an embrace and the sure knowledge that God’s love holds us all, and extends from this world to the next.

Thanks to all of you who are being as safe as possible, listening to the guidance from the Governor and the Wisconsin Council of Churches by staying home, wearing masks, and keeping 6 feet apart when there is a need to go out.

And in the middle of this virus and uncertainty, faith is strong at Hope Church! With all ballots counted, you have decided to complete the Lifting Up Hope For All project.

Groundbreaking will occur sometime next week. We will post a video on Facebook of a ceremonial “digging the first shovelful” and let you know when the work begins.

Meanwhile, be safe, embrace your resilience and creativity, and stay in touch!

Worship is posted on Facebook and our website every Sunday morning—many of us read the order of worship and watch the video message around 10:00am. Some of us join in a Zoom chat (please let Marilyn know if you’d like to join) at 11:00am.

Look for addresses in this newsletter of those who do not have easy access to a computer—it is good to keep in touch.

I am available by email colleenzkwong@gmail.com, by phone 262.424.2818 or text.

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
May-June 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,

Descriptive phrases about the times we are living in are running thin, but these are both challenging and inviting times, aren’t they?

I have heard from many who have the luxury of not having to physically go to work but working from home, or from those who are retired and actually staying home more, that they are enjoying the freedom to just be. All of us are traveling less, or not at all. Some of us have to go to essential jobs, or to workplaces that are re-opening. But all of us have changed the way we live.

What are the changes that may be for the best? Have you decided to stop doing some of the tasks or commitments that have formerly kept you too “busy”? Have you re-evaluated your commitments and chosen new paths for your creativity and your energy? Have you taken time to “be” instead of “do”?

Even though I miss the income from selling my pottery work in person at church conferences this year, I have loved being able to be home during the beautiful month of May! My garden certainly has never looked better or been more productive because I have been home to tend it. There are bushes I have never seen bloom until this year because I was away working during their blossoming time.

What do you see as positive changes in your life because of this “stay at home” time?

The invitation is to slow your inner clock to be with the Holy. Make sacred time by not filling it with tasks, but being open to the immense love of God that has always called you in being. Claim the power of that love to help change the things that need changing in our world.

Gracious God, help us to be open and aware. Show us our spiritual path of beauty, power, and love. In Christ who knows and loves all, we pray. Amen.

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
March-April 2020
Greetings to my Friends in Christ!

Hope UCC is continuing to serve the community, grow in knowledge and faithfulness, and bridging the traditions and history of Hope Church to the future!

Look for calendar items which give you opportunities to grow in faith, reach out to the community, and bring our new building entrance into reality.

There is a new opportunity to tell “Stories of Hope” as we gather on March 18 at 6pm to tell stories of people and events of Hope UCC from years ago.

We have held a Bible study, and will offer more opportunities in the upcoming months.

We will meet at the “Transitions” study group (beginning March 3) to learn and practice how to visit our members and friends who are unable to attend worship (shut-ins), and to plan and lead funeral services as one option when dealing with the loss of our members and loved ones.

God2L, our children’s programmed ministry, continues to meet on Wednesdays after school and will have a field trip on Good Friday.

Confirmation continues to meet with three students who take turns preparing and leading adventures of learning and reflection in the community.

Lifting Up Hope for All: Information has gone out to three contractors who are asked to submit a bid by mid-March to build our new entrance which will house the accessibility lift, new stairways, and an accessible bathroom, along with the added bonus of enlarging the office, kitchen, and friendship hall. The funding is coming along very nicely, thanks to your support! We have grant requests out to several foundations, have received one grant from our own Catalyst group of the Wisconsin UCC, and continue to hold fundraising events.

Tickets for the next fundraiser are available for the March 15th dinner at the Cove in Buffalo City. See article for more details, and sign up to help out at this event as well as our general fund pizza making and sales.

Thank you for your leadership in worship, in events, in Bible study, and in serving and envisioning God’s plan for our church. Hope is living out “being the Church” in our little corner of God’s world.

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
January-February 2020
Greetings to my Friends in Christ!

Light shines in the Darkness, Peace within ourselves while chaos is all around us, Clarity of vision in times of confusion, Healing in times of brokenness... all of these are possible.

Jesus the Christ shines, bringing peace, joy, and hope while others may tell us that “all is lost.” In turbulent political and social times, we center ourselves on Christ the Light. We allow ourselves to be healed of the need to judge ourselves and others. We coach ourselves to give up the need to control everything around us. We rest in God’s love and joyfully live in peace.

We are called to discern God’s path, and follow the Christ to assist others to have life, and abundant life, just as Christ has promised us. We work hard, we rest well, and we take joy in God’s presence within us and around us.

We build a new entrance to welcome all of God’s people! We share our building with groups who need a place to meet, that they might find new life. We invite all to enjoy the blessed community of believers, and we give thanks!

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
Letters 2019
November-December 2019
Waiting for Update...
September-October 2019
For a “small” church, we sure are an active bunch! Please see the articles and calendar in the pages of the newsletter to see and make note of all we are doing, both in the church building and the community. There are activities, both enrichment and outreach in mission, for all ages.

Our big event for these Fall months is the “Lifting Up Hope for All People” capital campaign. Imagine a lift, enclosed in a new entrance, with an accessible restroom, which allows all people access to the events in our building. Imagine seeing Dorothy and Bill, Marge, sometimes Lois and others in worship again, and Sarah being able to easily bring Alex to events! Imagine yourself having access if you break a bone, or find your knees aching when you climb the stairs. This will be a blessing to so many! We will also gain some space downstairs: One area attached to the kitchen, and one area attached to the Gathering Place (Fellowship Hall). We also gain a somewhat larger office space. We say that “all are welcome” and now we will show that we mean ALL! Thank you for helping in every possible way to make the lift and the new entry a reality.

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
July-August 2019
Waiting for Update...
May-June 2019
We are alive in Christ! In this Eastertide, we celebrate the new life that the resurrection brings.

In the coming weeks, we will celebrate Noah Ehlenfeldt’s graduation from high school and his new beginnings at college; we will celebrate Jesse Bollinger’s 40th birthday (Thank you for your commitment to the church, Jesse!); we will celebrate the end of the school year with a party at God2L, and the beginning of our free summer lunch program, and we will participate in General Synod UCC. In our own lives, within the life of our families, and in our communities (Cochrane, and the global community) we have endless possibilities for renewed living.

One opportunity is in our “Lifting Up Hope” accessibility project, which honors our commitment to be a welcoming place for all people by making it possible for anyone to enter and enjoy our church. Several of our members and friends are currently finding it difficult to use the stairs, and several more see it coming in their own lives. You are invited to an informational meeting, discuss this project, and then vote on May 19. Please prayerfully consider the ministries to which we are called, and if this project fits into God’s call to us.

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
March-April 2019
Our life at Hope UCC is brimming with energy, with so many special events and on-going activities, spiritual growth, teaching and learning, outreach, and sense of community! Please read the articles in this newsletter to explore the rich life that is happening at Hope, and to discover ways that you could be called to take part or to change the work that you are doing to something different!

You can choose from Mexican cooking and our Cinco de Mayo community dinner, or assisting with the children on Wednesday, or chaperoning our field trip on Good Friday. Maybe you have seeking a deeper spiritual life, and would like to attend the Ash Wednesday service or the Soup and Stories of the Spirit gathering on March 20. Perhaps you would like to provide some food for our Easter breakfast or for our after worship gathering time on any Sunday.

Does the Lifting Up Hope accessibility project call your name? You can help by contacting Sarah Kramer or Pastor Colleen. Or have you been thinking about the bigger picture of our church’s impact in the world? Then attending either the Annual Meeting in the Dells in April or the General Synod in Milwaukee in June may be of interest.

God made you, loves you, and has given you power to be an important part of the Church in this world. Through and faith and action, we can help to change the world for all of God’s people.

What is your part?

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
January-February 2019
We celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ into our lives in new ways, as Scripture and songs speak to our hearts! We continue to look forward to living out our call as Christians to care for those who are in need of friends, food, shelter, and love. All of us are in that boat from time to time. We have opportunities to serve God by serving those in our congregation, our families, our community, and by extension all that are in need in the world.

Six members of our congregation have chosen to deepen their knowledge of scripture and how it applies to our lives by registering for an online course through the Damascus Project “Returning to Sacred Texts: Finding Stories We Can Live In.”

Many in our congregation participate in assisting the children to find faith and hope through God2L, through providing gifts at Christmas, and food during the Summer.

Many assist in worship, as we call one another to experience a deeper inspiration and presence of God. Many help in a myriad of practical ways: Serving on the consistory which makes decisions on our behalf, filling the candles, emptying the trash and recyclables, vacuuming and cleaning, adorning the building, running the PowerPoint on Sunday mornings, bringing treats to share, and visioning a vital future.

Where will this new year lead us as we follow God’s voice and call?

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
Letters 2018
November-December 2018
Doors are opening to opportunities! The Church worldwide is changing, and Hope UCC is growing into a new form.

We recognize the needs in our community, and seek to address them. During the Summer and Fall, we have provided lunches to the children of the community in the park, have 21 children and young people in our children’s God2L Wednesday group, offered “Soup and Stories of the Spirit” worship gatherings, grown our congregation to over seventy members, held a Pet Blessing service, and are, of course, open to new events and offerings. Our Hope in Action group is brainstorming lots of ideas to meet the needs of the Buffalo City and Cochrane communities! What ideas do you have? As a church that seeks to grow into new possibilities, we recognize that the relationship be-tween pastors and congregations will continue to change. There are fewer clergy, and fewer congregations able to meet salaries for full time employment. The needs of the world are vast, and fewer people find church attendance meaningful in the way it was a few decades ago. There are more opportunities for “being the church” out in the community as laity (Non-Clergy) take on deeper and more meaningful roles in leading the “Church in action.”

New this year are online opportunities for learning and for building confidence in your ability to participate and lead. One such course offering is “Sacred texts -- Finding Stories You Can Live In”. This will be taught online by a New Testament professor from Bangor Theological Seminary. There is scholarship money to cover one third of the cost. Register now with the link below...

wcucc.org/the-damascus-project

The love and care in which we hold one another, our families, friends, and those around us in this hurting world is a power and light that overcomes the troubles. How will you use your gifts and energy in this time?

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
September-October 2018
Children back in school, job changes, weather changes, and focusing on the upcoming months…The Autumn brings remembrances and hope-filled plans.

At Hope UCC, we have been talking about and studying what it means to “be the Church” in our community. Hope in Action offered free lunches to all children in the community each Wednesday noon during the Summer as one response to this discussion. Another was the Sunday Social which was well attended last week—a party for the community!

During the Summer, we have been exploring Spiritual Gifts and what we each of us may be gifted with by the Spirit of God. There are “Spiritual Gifts Assessments” forms in the narthex (entryway) with explanations of the results if you are interested in finding out what your spiritual gifts might be.

We are continuing to talk about and practice “alternate leadership staffing” and what it means to be an active congregation where all pastoral, worship, and outreach needs are met while having a “half-time” pastor. Along these lines, I will be participating and presenting during the “Damascus Project” retreat in Eau Claire.This group consists of eight people from Wisconsin and Minnesota, facilitated by UCC Conference staff, who are brainstorming on the subject of what the Church will look like in the 21st Century, and how to staff churches appropriately for congregations. I will be sharing our discussions and asking for your suggestions and feedback to take back to the Damascus Project group.

Our Hope congregation is actively working on plans for the “Lifting Up Hope” project (Making our building accessible to all people) and will be having a congregational meeting in October to share the progress.

Please let me know what you are thinking, ask your questions, give your comments. We are a church family whether officially members or friends of the church.

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
March-April 2018
Love the energy that is moving among this congregation! We continually pray that we move into the Spirit of God who is already flowing among us. We pray to be faithful in loving God, loving our neighbor, growing in wisdom and courage, and to learn all we can about who we are called to be.

Thank you for all you do for God in this community, through prayer, through serving on the consistory which makes carefully considered decisions on behalf of the congregation, through volunteering with our children’s program, for the dozens of small projects that get done around the church building to keep it going, and for your continued brainstorming about new ways to do things. We look forward to including ALL in worship and activities as we explore making our building accessible to all people.

Thanks to all who shared Easter flowers in worship.

In Memory or in Honor of: Marilyn & Tom Bollinger - In honor of our grandchildren Jack, Calvin and Lylly Herendeen; Diane Bossert - One in memory of Andy and One in honor of children & grandchildren; Eija & Jay - In Memory of Eija’s father Olli Kemppainen & Jay’s grandpa Jack Paulsen Sr; Steve & Jenny Ehlenfeldt family - In Memory of Grandma Diane Dale; Lois Beseler - In memory of Roger & Jim Beseler; Dawn & Ben Holien family - In Memory of Eldeen Sedgwick, David Holien, Arlene Mayne & Jim Malanaphy; Debra & Steve Knutson - In memory of Randy Kollmann.

The color and scent of these lovely flowers added to our Easter celebration! Blessings and Courage for the work of Jesus Christ in this place!

Thank you for your faithfulness,

Blessings,
Pastor Colleen
Let us know if you have any questions or comments. We are happy to provide more details. Please email us 24/7 or call us to learn more.

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