By Julie Bock, President of the Congregation, 2016-2017

As we move from our ‘traditional’ church year into our summer services, with our beautiful Flower Communion on June 4, I reflect on all the anticipation, excitement, and activity of this past year.

First Church has been filled with zest this year. We leaned in to welcome our new senior minister, Rev. Jennifer Nordstrom, enthusiastically embracing her arrival. With that we avidly incorporated the changes she helped to bring about: more presence and visibility in our Milwaukee community (especially around social justice issues) and new traditions in our worship services.

Additionally, we celebrated our 175th anniversary as a congregation. We re-told our history, picnicked, celebrated with an Irma Morter lecture by Megan Marshall on Fullness of Being: Margaret Fuller & Transcendental Self-Dependence, enjoyed beautiful music, and as a congregation we were recognized on our local and state level for our leadership on humanitarian and social justice issues for the past two centuries.

But the word zest has another meaning, in addition to the one focusing on exuberance. Zest also is when you scrap the outer, bright skin of a citrus fruit to add flavor to your cooking. I would propose that as congregants we have been ‘zest-ed’ (is this really a word? – I am making it one!) this church year as well.

The energy of this church year has been phenomenal. I am humbled by the engagement and dedication that everyone I have spoken with, in coffee hour or elsewhere, has shown. I am excited that faces and families I have not seen in a few years have made their way back to our beloved community. This added zeal only increases the vibrancy of our community, drawing us closer together. I see the sky as the limit as we move into and lead our local community in the direction of inclusion, peace, and justice. This re-invigorating leads us to live our mission: Nurture the Spirit. Engage the Mind. Inspire Action.

I cannot wait until next year! I can hardly imagine how we will continue to build on all this, but I am sure we will! Have a happy summer.

Julie Bock
Congregational President

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