First United Methodist Church - Wausau Wisconsin
Thursday, October 06, 2022
Live and Share God's Love


Dear Wausau First UMC,

Our 50,000 sq. ft. building has been a beautiful, strong, and spacious place to gather for worship, discipleship, and mission to our community for the past sixty of our 175-year history. Looking to the future, we desire to continue ministering in and from this building and its ideal downtown location.

We have recently invested significant funds in replacing the boiler system, installing a radon abatement system, removing asbestos, replacing most of the windows, restoring and protecting the stained-glass window, rebuilding the parking lot, installing internet wiring, and improving the north entrances and appearance with new awnings, signage, and lighting. We are grateful for the generosity of our congregation in funding these important and transforming projects.

There are several more improvements needed soon. The roof over the sanctuary and other areas needs to be replaced at an estimated cost of $220,000. The eleven original bathrooms and fixtures throughout the building need to be completely remodeled and replaced, which will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars All the lighting in the sanctuary needs to be replaced due to damaged wiring, fixtures, and inefficient bulbs, costing about $100,000. The organ needs about $80,000 in repairs. To lower utility costs and be good stewards of the earth, it would be a wise investment to spend at least $50,000 for solar energy from the roof. To rent out better office and educational space, more internet wiring requiring new ceilings and lighting in the lower and upper levels would cost at least $50,000. These expenses feel overwhelming. We all feel the economic pinch that impacts our ability to give above and beyond our usual offering. If we paid for these projects with our endowment, it would be unwisely depleted and our future cut short.

After prayerfully considering the needs and opportunities of both our congregation and community, the Trustees, the Building Repurpose Team, and the Ministry Council is proposing a creative and generous way for our congregation to best improve and use our property. What if we give our building to the Community Foundation?

Our building is in a prime location to serve our community. To grow in worship and ministry in this space, make needed improvements, and reach out in mission, we are proposing this transformative partnership with the Community Foundation of Northcentral Wisconsin. There are many logistics and legalities to work out, but the major idea is that we would have a renewable 100-year free lease to ensure certain areas of the church such as the Sanctuary and space for offices, music, classes, etc. are used exclusively by our congregation.

The Community Foundation would manage the rest of the space to be used by other non-profit organizations which align with our church's social principles. Some of the common areas, such as the Parlor, Chapel, Kitchen, and Fellowship Hall, would be spaces shared by our church and the other non-profit tenants. The Community Foundation would pay for all exterior and most interior improvements and maintenance. Exceptions would be for organ repairs, and possibly the sanctuary lighting. Our congregation would pay for a portion of utilities and cleaning, but we would save at least $50,000 every year in building expenses. After researching the needs of our community, the Community Foundation would prioritize using our space for childcare. They would create a partnership with the Woodson YMCA to offer a much-needed expansion to their childcare program. Our building could be used to nurture many young lives and give their parents better means to provide for their families and serve the community.

Another need is to continue as the site for basic English Language Learning (ELL) and Cultural Orientation. New Beginnings for Refugees (sponsored by the Community Foundation) also hopes to use the kitchen and fellowship hall for weekly community dinners featuring ethnic food prepared, sold, and served by new immigrants. This would fulfill the vision depicted in our stained-glass window of people from around the world coming together because of Christ's love and teaching.

The Foundation also recognizes a need for offices, storage, and studio space for several visual- and performing-arts organizations. Many of the sunny, south-facing offices and lower-level classrooms could be ideal, and the Fellowship Hall stage could be used for performances. Our talented congregation is known for celebrating music and the arts, and this is an opportunity to continue and strengthen that tradition. Our staff would likely need to move their offices closer to the parking lot, and they are receptive to that idea.

This kind of arrangement has been done by other United Methodist Churches. Our District Superintendent is supportive of us pursuing this opportunity, and the District Board on Church Building and Location would help us follow a process to ensure the long-term strength of our congregation's mission. Along with these possibilities are likely questions, concerns, and ideas. We invite everyone in our congregation to learn more, ask questions, and discuss your thoughts about this proposal at any of these upcoming meetings:

Monday, October 17, 6:30 pm
Sunday, October 23, 9:00 am
Sunday, October 30, 11:00 am

Grace and Peace,

First UMC Ministry Council, Board of Trustees, and Building Repurpose Team

Peyton's Promise Fall FUMC Drive

Peyton's promise was started by Peyton Meddic. She was a young girl who saw a story on the news about a young boy from Indiana who did not know the words "breakfast", "lunch", and "dinner". "This needs to be changed," she said. She asked her parents if this was happening locally and they said, "Yes, it is." She wanted to make a change, so she did. She came up with "Peyton's Promise."

Peyton's Promise helps more than 50 food pantries in Marathon County. They have even helped with our Personal Needs Closet and have over 200 advocates. I have been a part of Peyton's Promise for 4.5 years and love seeing the impact of what I have done. personally know people who have been impacted by Peyton's Promise. It is important to realize that hunger affects people of all ages. It was created by kids and is still run by kids. 1 would suggest this organization to everyone. They are the middleman between food drives and organizations fighting hunger.

We will have a special offering on Sunday, November 13th with cash and food donations. This is a Thanksgiving-themed drive for foods like canned cranberries, boxed stuffing, canned green beans and non-perishable canned foods and boxed items. hope you can join us for this event. If you canno attend, you can donate money and items at our church Monday-Thursday, 9am-1pm.

Thank you, Pete Johnson

Cultural Orientation and English Language Learning for Refugees

On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays several rooms upstairs are being used to welcome dozens of new Afghan refugees. Classes are from 10-11:30 and 12:30-2 for adults, and their pre-school children enjoy playing nearby. New Beginnings for Refugees is overseeing these educational programs, with Mary Testin as the Coordinator. There are over 40 fully-vetted and trained volunteer teachers for English Language Learners (ELL). They also could use some volunteers (with back ground checks) to help with caring for and inspiring the preschoolers. Please contact Mary at 715-581-8111 if you're interested in helping.

NEW PRODUCTS-- Mission-Driven—in the UMW cabinet!

Coffees--Just in for Spring!

Organic LoveBuzz, med-dark roast whole bean ($8.00/12 oz) New!
Organic Mama Tierra light roast ground coffee from Oaxaca, Mexico ($10.00/16 oz bag) New!

We still offer 12 oz bags of ground decaf—$9.00 and regular Cafe Salvador—$8.00

Prefer Tea?

All varieties of our organic teas are $4.00/box. Try the English Breakfast for a little boost or Jasmine Green (New!). If you want a relaxing herbal cup, try Rooibos, Ginger or Peppermint (New!).

Chocolate treats for your Easter basket!

Pick your favorite organic, Fair Trade chocolate bars for $3.00 ea. in these flavors:
Dark Chocolate Lemon Ginger
Dark Chocolate Orange
Dark Chocolate Mint Crunch (New!)
Panama Extra Dark
Dark Chocolate Almond & Sea Salt (New!)
Milk Chocolate
Chocolate with Coconut Milk (vegan, soy and gluten-free) (New!)
Your purchase helps our UMW mission projects, UMCOR, and supports farmer-owned coffee cooperatives in Central America and Mexico, as well as small tea farms in India, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Thank you for shopping BY CAUSE!

Prayer Corner

We will celebrate the life and legacy of Marilyn Zahn this Friday, October 7th  in the Chapel, with visitation from 3-5pm and a service at 5pm. Our prayers are with her family.

Please Click Image below to enlarge.

The Return of the Pre-Owned Sale at FUMC

Do you like browsing through pre-owned items for your home, children's clothing, holiday items, etc.? It has been quite a few years since the last pre-owned sale at FUMC-Wausau, but it will make a return this fall, although in modified form! There will be two days of sales, set for October 28-29, 2022, in the Fellowship Hall (see flyer on next page). The format will be different from past sales, as individuals will not be setting up their own tables for their items. A number of people have already donated many items for the sale, and other items will be added to those already at the church if possible, but all proceeds will be collected by the United Women in Faith (formerly United Methodist Women) to be used in local mission work. Tables will be set up in designated areas with suggested prices, and there will possibly be an area available to choose from for a donation amount of one's choice.

It takes people to make events like this happen and help is welcome in a variety of areas. If you are interested in helping to sort items, set up displays, possibly mark some items with prices, and/or work for couple of hours on the sale days, please contact Bonnie Goertz at 715-716-0051 or It is hoped that the return of the pre-owned sale to our church will be a win for everyone involved, both the donors of the items and the new owners of those items!

Bonnie Goertz, SPRC Chair

Safe Sanctuary Program at FUMC Wausau

A number of years ago, FUMC-Wausau participated in a program called Safe Sanctuaries, which covered background checks and safety policies involving Sanctuaries volunteers with the children and youth of our church, checks on driving records of volunteers, etc. Through the years, however, continuing these policies fell by the wayside and the background checks were not renewed as they should have been, approximately every 3-4 years. The SPRC (Staff-Parish Relations Committee) is working on establishing updated policies for safety in all aspects of our church life, including protocols on dealing with an active shooter, and setting up the protocols needed to get background checks and driving record checks done soon. Anyone involved with working with our youth, working as a Sunday School teacher or shepherd, volunteering in the nursery, etc. will be required to have these safety checks done. We are in the process of working through how to do this, with the help of Church Mutual Insurance Co and its contacts. Stay tuned for further information, especially if you are already involved with our youth and would like to be involved in the near future, such as helping in the nursery, which will reopen soon.

Bonnie Goertz, SPRC Chair


On September 25th we celebrated the baptism of Adelyn Vasilina Sakharuk, daughter of Alek Sakharuk and Youn Woo Seo

Savvy Seniors will meet at 11:30am on Monday, October 3rd, at 2510 Restaurant. If there are any questions you can call Vicki Nowaczyk at 715-571-3009 or e-mail

First UMC of Wausau also offers Online Worship!

Did you know that most new church visitors have first visited us online? Offering online worship is the new "front door" to reach out to and welcome new guests and members. It also offers existing members the benefits of staying connected even if you're out of town or under the weather.

Our Sunday service is live-streamed at 10 am on our YouTube channel at this link:

By mid-afternoon on Sundays, the video is fully uploaded to watch anytime. Please be sure to click the red "Subscribe" button. It also helps us share God's grace and truth with more people when you click the "Like" button and write a comment every time you watch a worship video. Unfortunately, we don't know who is joining us online unless you comment on YouTube or keep us updated via phone or email. Please let us know how when you're virtually present. Thank you for we can spiritually support you even only able to be connecting and supporting Christ's mission together!

Random Thoughts: Display Cases

by Mike Zahn
October 2022
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Hebrews 12:1

It was wonderful to be back at First Church to reach and see you all again on Sept. 11th! While was there, noticed some great pictures and other memorabilia from the church's rich archives in the display cases. You should take the time to go look at them. The display cases are down the hallway from the Sanctuary, through the Parlor and right across from the Chapel. Andy White put the presentation together and he did an excellent job!

One of the items in that case is a Certificate of Appreciation to a Charles Gilbert for many years of service (although maybe his wife should have gotten it!). His name sounded familiar. I recalled it from a history piece from 1967 that I had read in preparing for MCCI. This is what it read:

"From 1888 to 1890, Rev. J.S. Davis was pastor, and when he came to leave, it was reported that his salary had not been fully paid. Mrs. Chas. Gilbert and Mrs. Joseph Gamble took the horse and buggy and solicited the $800 due him in about a week from the citizens. Many times the Ladies Aid helped with repairs of the church and parsonage and even with the moving expenses of the pastor.

Until this time, Mr. Gilbert had not concerned himself with the church, preferring to sit on the front step and see who went to church and who did not, but, when he saw the dedication of his wife, and noted the contributions of people who were not members of the church, he decided to dedicate himself to his church and from then on was a faithful and devoted leader in the church.'

What you do for Jesus just may be a witness to someone else to better run their race!

Display Cases




Would you like to show us your treasures in the church display case outside the office? We would love to see it!

Artwork; Collections; Antiques; Photos; anything you would like to share.

Check out the beautiful bunny collection by Andrea Anderson currently in the display cases.