The Power of the Penny

“A penny for your thoughts…”                           

“A penny saved is a penny earned…”

“A bad penny…a bad penny always turns up…”

“That must have cost a pretty penny…”

 And guess what? There are more sayings about a penny! However, I will bring them to an end now.

The puny penny is the smallest monetary unit in our currency. But what good is it? What difference does a penny make? Plenty, and it’s more than money! It can be a tremendous find for grandchildren, especially if they are not theirs! This past weekend two of our grandkids spent an overnight, and their grandmother put them on a “money hunt- a hunt for my money. They were quite successful as I sometimes tend to leave change sitting around the kitchen counter, table next to my bed or the one next to my chair. They scored big time collecting enough to buy some wonderful gift at some later date.

On Sunday, November 7th, we will take a look at the “Penny Principles” from Mark 12:38-44. As we are currently contemplating our “spending plan” for next year as a community of faith, it might be good for each of us to remember the joy when we were kids in finding a penny or other coin sitting on a sidewalk. Then we prayerfully consider what will bring us the most joy this next year as a faithful steward. Will it be the arrival of a settled pastor; a community project we are involved in; a worship experience that will speak to those in attendance. Where do you find joy in your giving to God’s vision and mission to First Congregational Church?

I can say that my joy has been overwhelming these past two years in how the congregation has adjusted and contributed to allow us to do all the ministry we have conducted during that time. I pray that each one of us will find some more joy in what we consider sharing this year to God’s work here at FCC!

Pastor Steve

FCC News & Information

November 14th Thanksgiving Brunch

If you would like to bring a baked goods, please do so. Not necessary but welcomed. Questions see Cheryl Lawrence.

Donations for Savers

Women’s Circle will still be collecting clothes and soft goods to go to Savers in early Dec.  Please bring in by Dec. 6th.  Items should be brought in on Sunday to side parking lot door.  Any questions please contact Cheryl Lawrence.

Christmas Cheer Mugs 

Friends and Family of First Congregational Church in need of a little Christmas cheer, also for residents of Deer Path of Huntley (Deer Path of Huntley is the only affordable assisted lifestyle community for adults 22 to 64 with physical disabilities in the northwest Chicago suburbs) who do not have visitors on Christmas. Sunday school will make 50. Donations are needed for hot chocolate packets, candy, Christmas mugs; leave all donations on the Sunday school table in the Fellowship Hall by the couch and toys. You can pick-up your Christmas cheer mugs to be delivered to family and friends December 12- 19. I will deliver the remainder to Deer Path of Huntley and Sue Ericson the administrator will deliver to the residents in need. This is a Sunday school project of sharing and caring. Any questions call Gwen Reed at 847-669-3259.


  • All Saints’ Day, November 1, 2021
  • Daylight-Saving Time ends, November 7, 2021
  • Veterans Day, November 11, 2021
  • Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2021
  • First Sunday of Advent, November 28, 2021
Honoring Our Veterans

Veterans Day has its roots in what was called Armistice Day, when a peace agreement ended World War I on November 11, 1918. President Wilson proclaimed that Armistice Day was to be marked with solemn pride in heroism and with gratitude for victory as well as the “opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice.” In 1954, the remembrance was renamed Veterans Day to honor all U.S. military personnel. It’s a reminder to pray for and honor all who serve and sacrifice, to support and assist their families, and to pray that God will bring peace on earth.

A Gratitude Game

Years ago, ads for a toy-store chain featured an animated kangaroo jumping on a frown to turn it upside down. That reminds me of family life, which can feel like a nonstop attempt to keep everyone happy. Busy schedules, grumpy kids and tired parents can be a bad combination.

When our family needs to turn frowns upside down, we play the thankful game. The rules are simple: We take turns sharing one thing we’re thankful for. Everyone plays. No one can pass. No repeats are allowed. Our kids, now teens, still chime in.

As we share gratitude for football, Grandma, hugs, warm brownies, coffee and more, kids tend to stop bickering, and adults get a mental reset. Try playing — and bring on lots of smiles! —Janna Firestone

A New Thanksgiving Tradition

At Thanksgiving, we give thanks for things (food, home, clothing, work) and loved ones (family, friends, pets). But if the people we name aren’t present, they may never know how precious they are to us. This November, start a new tradition by writing notes of thanks to people you appreciate.

Follow Paul’s model of starting letters with thanksgiving: “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world” (Romans 1:8, NIV). Notice how he thanks his addressees by thanking God for them. Paul is specific too, not writing, “Thanks for everything!”

Expressing genuine thanksgiving to God and another person, you might write something like this:

Dear Judy, This Thanksgiving I’m thinking about special people in my life. You are one! I thank God for our friendship, for your strong witness for Jesus and for your willingness to lend a hand as a substitute teacher. (Your chocolate cookies are icing on the cake!) I praise God for you!

Sincerely, Joan

The Journey begins at Advent

When Advent begins on November 28 this year, so does a new church year for liturgical congregations. The church seasons, which correspond to key events in Jesus’ life, begin with the four-week Advent period of preparation for our coming Savior at Christmas. After the 12-day season of Christmas is Epiphany, which begins January 6 and continues through Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. That period of preparation culminates in Holy Week, and then Easter marks the pinnacle of every church year. Forty days after the Resurrection we celebrate Ascension, and 10 days after that, the Pentecost season begins; it lasts until Advent, when the cycle begins again.

“Like a great waterwheel,” writes Joan Chittister, “the liturgical year goes on relentlessly irrigating our souls, softening the ground of our hearts, nourishing the soil of our lives until the seed of the Word of God itself begins to grow in us, comes to fruit in us, ripens in us the spiritual journey of a lifetime.”


Cornucopia, a Greek word meaning “horn of plenty,” has origins in Greek mythology. But the cornucopia became a religious symbol and was even stamped on Jewish coins. Overflowing horns, now common as Thanksgiving centerpieces, came to symbolize abundance and blessings.