Rev. Dr. Jennifer Little
Grace and peace to you Brothers and Sisters,
As we grow together, we are finding new ways to experience God and God’s vision for the church. As a United Church of Christ, our congregational style of leadership is so powerful in this growth. Ideas that grow from the congregation are implemented by the congregation and the staff. We have excellent congregational leadership at St. Peter’s; our new programming is a good example of shared leadership.
If you are new to St. Peter’s, or are unfamiliar with the polity (style of leadership/governance) in the United Church of Christ, let me give you a few brief examples of how it works.
The first principle of “congregational” polity is that our leaders are congregation members who are empowered to create teams and projects in communication with the Consistory and other teams in the church. The pastor is a member of the church and is also empowered to bring ideas, programs, etc., to the Consistory and the teams in shared leadership.
We have great examples of how this congregational polity works in leading the church: our new youth programming. We have two new youth Programs at St. Peter’s this fall: One Room Sunday School and SPyn.
The members of St. Peter’s voiced a desire to involve and attract more families to the church. Meeting with me, those interested, explored the gifts and challenges that we have at St. Peter’s in offering Sunday School and Youth Night. Together we found a great opportunity in the One Room Sunday School curriculum that builds on our strengths and helps us overcome our challenges. This curriculum and planning was shared with the Consistory, the team leaders were affirmed in their desire and gifts, promised support and participation. Then we began planning for implementation. Through a team effort, we are having a great time with this programming.
The One Room Sunday School (ages 3-12) takes place in the Chapel on Sundays during worship. The kids are having a good time and I think our volunteer teachers are having fun too! Please take a moment to talk to the kids and the teachers—their enthusiasm will compel you to get involved!
Interacting with our older youth and our own good experience with “youth clubs” some parents and other adults got together to renew our youth club. We asked the kids if they would want to participate and contribute to the leadership of the youth club and the church in a new program. They said, “Yeah!” The Youth Night leadership team did a lot of work and networking and asked the Consistory for help with the leadership, implementation and support of this program. The Consistory said, “Yeah!” Thus was Spyn (St. Peters Youth Night) (grades 6-12) born! We had our first meeting on Sunday, September 20th. We played intergenerational nerf football and we had a blast (there were no injuries!) The kids and adults loved playing intergenerational football outside in the fresh air and then back in for an intergenerational dinner. We did a Bible study, and a closing. Join in to support this renewal! We will meet almost every Sunday through the remainder of the school semester. Adults are invited to join us in the intergenerational dinner at 5:30 p.m.
These desires and programs began in the congregation shared with the pastor and leadership teams within the church for implementation. This is congregational polity at its best!
We continue this pattern of congregational leadership in Saturday Evening Worship: Members expressed an interest in beginning a Saturday evening worship service! I am delighted to do so! We will meet at 5:15p.m (probably in the chapel) for a casual worship service. This is a grassroots project beginning from our congregation and growing through church teamwork to see where God leads us. Check out this worship service if you enjoy casual worship. We will maintain our traditional worship service on Sunday. Come to both if you feel like it!
Congregational leadership and participation is very important in this style of church governance. We aren’t “required” to do programming that doesn’t fit our church (likewise, we aren’t told to stop doing things that do fit our church). We are in covenant with each United Church of Christ and our Association. More importantly, we are in covenant with each other—we love God and we participate in the church, sharing leadership.
If you would like to learn more about congregational polity and the United Church of Christ, consider volunteering to serve on Consistory!
Cheers for you all –
Chicken Noodle Dinner
This year’s Chicken Noodle Dinner will be Saturday, October 17 from 4-7 PM.
Sign up to volunteer on the bulletin boards across from the office.
St. Peter’s Keepsake
Check out the pewter Christmas ornaments hanging in the office window! They just arrived and are now available for purchase.
The cost of the ornament is $7.00 | Get your ornament now!
A Grateful Remembrance
St. Peter’s Remembers: Rev. Wallace “Wally” Reifsteck
Rev. Wallace “Wally” William Reifsteck, 80, of Lincoln passed away at 6:00pm on September 9, 2015 at his home surrounded by his loving family.
Wally was born January 10, 1935 in Champaign, Illinois, the son of Fred Ludwig and Hulda Marie Gerth Reifsteck. He married Tonita Mae Douglas December 18, 1955 at St. Peter’s Evangelical and Reformed Church in Champaign, Illinois. She survives in Lincoln.
Wally is also survived by his children; Douglas Paul (Carolyn) Reifsteck of Sycamore, IL; Elaine Marie (Steve) Reifsteck Aue of Lincoln, IL; David Wallace (Carol) Reifsteck of Herscher, IL; Bret William (Laurie) Reifsteck of Yorkville, IL; his sister; Grace (Walt) Kepner of Caldwell, ID, and his eight grandchildren: Rachel and Kayleigh Reifsteck, Kristan and Nathan Aue, Samuel and Reilly Reifsteck, Brendon and Joshua Reifsteck and many other nieces and nephews and friends around the world.
Wally was preceded in death by his parents, his daughter, Lucinda Kay Reifsteck, two brothers, Louis “Doc” Reifsteck and Fred Reifsteck Jr., and his sister, Catherine Fiedler.
Wally served UCC pastorates at Zion UCC (Gilman, 1960-1964); St. Peter’s (Grant Park 1964-1969); St. John UCC (Lincoln 1969-1982); St. John (Freeport 1982-1992); retiring after service First Congregational UCC (Decatur 1992-2000) ; returning as a member of St. John United Church of Christ of Lincoln. He was a Director of Church Camp; President of IL Conference 1977-1978; and representative to four national conventions of United Church of Christ; Moderator of Association and visitor of clergy for the UCC Pension Board. Wallace was Courier Citizen of Year in Lincoln for 1977; Member of Lions Clubs in Gilman and Grant Park and Rotary in Lincoln, Freeport, Grant Park and Decatur; 32nd degree Mason in Valley of Freeport. In Lincoln, he served on United Way Board, St. Clara’s Manor when it was opened (President one year) and Castle Manor Board from its beginning. He served a term of President at the Oasis Senior Center and again during the fire, relocation and dedication of new Oasis. He was co-coordinator of a Meals On Wheels route, a member of the Illinois Conference of United Church of Christ and the Eastern Association, UCC.
Reserve your tickets now for our Sesquicentennial Brunch on Sunday, November 15 at 11:15 AM in Fellowship Hall. Tickets are $32/person and there are only 125 available. Call or email the office to reserve yours now!
- John Tennyson, Growing Up at St. Peter’s
- Cabaret clips through the years
- Vegetable strata with sweet corn salsa
- Sliced, grilled sausage with cantaloupe wedges, pineapple and strawberries
- Garlic roasted potatoes
- Breakfast breads
- Coffee and hot & iced tea
Jennifer’s Office Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Typically her day off is Wednesday.
The office is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:00 a.m.—2:00 p.m.
If you are unable to reach someone via telephone, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
For Pastoral Emergencies, contact Rev. Dr. Little directly.