From the Pastor --2018--January, February, March. April, May, June,July, August, 2018

2017--January, February, March, April, May, June, JulyAugust, September,
November, December, 2017

2016--January, February, March, April, May, June, JulyAugust, September, October, December, 2016

2015-- December, November, October, September, August-July, June, May, April, March, February


August, 2018 (back to Top)

Dear Friends,

Summer is slipping along.  A Mark Dvorak song that comes to my mind is entitled, “I Hate to See the Summer Go”.
I like it better each year, for even though I do not like the summer weather very much, I do like the relaxed schedules
and the opportunities to do more things outside. It is nice to have a break from some of the busier schedules, meetings,
classes, etc.
In another part of this newsletter I will have a few reminders about our November 4th concert with Mark to benefit
the Shalom Center. We also have several transitions to acknowledge. Soon the pace will be picking up again. May
your summer be filled with family, fun & festivities. Be safe and don’t forget your church!

Pastor Bonnie Bell

June, July, 2018 (back to Top)

Song of Summer

Every day Mark Baden (Channel 12 Milwaukee's weatherman) has to defend himself. After the record-breaking cold
in April, people are still trying to warm up. We are actually getting closer to Spring, Summer and beyond ...every day!
The extended [10-day] forecast of May 15th had a temperature every day starting with a "7" ...finally!

Planning the June/July Messenger, it seems like things are winding down for the summer, but look at that first set of
pages to see all that we have done! The JAM musicians will take a little rest over the summer, but not hibernate or
disappear. You will see us (and hopefully join in) as solos, duets, trios, and ensembles adding special music to our
summer worship. We will look again at some of our favorite hymns. There may be summer serenades to shut-ins!
Music may grace the tables at Meals That Matter.

The Psalmist says, "Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my
God while I have being."

If you don't think of yourself as a singer, think of the many ways we could come together as a community. We need
each person to complete our church family, young and old, big and small. All creation joins in chorus to praise
our God of Love.
May it be so. Amen.

Pastor Bonnie

May, 2018 (back to Top)

The  Wealth of our Partnerships
As I write this I am focused on several of the partnerships we have that allow us to be more than we are alone. HOPE blesses us each time we see each other, worship, have fellowship times and work together. Our three congregations reflect the image of a God who loves across barriers, and transcends language, race or culture.

I was blessed to be with about 60 students and community members at Carthage College on Sunday evening April 8th as we shared religious and faith distinctives over a meal through “Amazing Faith Dinners”, a Milwaukee Interfaith-based program which is sure to continue next fall here in Kenosha. The goal is to increase understanding through conversation across religiously diverse small groups.

The Holocaust Remembrance program this year was exceptionally well done; especially the words of Survivor, Mr.. Steen Metz. The increasing importance of this observance grows as the Survivors are dying, and younger populations seem to have little understanding of the horrific events surrounding World War ll. The types of cruelty and evil are still present and our awareness can help inform future actions.

CUSH works on multiple issues of critical importance. The United Methodist Church provides mission and relief opportunities. Shalom Center and Meals that Matter feed and help care for our homeless neighbors. We are rich indeed!

Pastor Bonnie Bell

April 2018 (back to Top)

Rising Again

Hello All,
Since March and Spring weather have been soooo slow in coming, I feel certain we will start seeing more signs
of new life within and outside our church walls in April. The UMW will resume its meeting schedule, after letting
winter give them a natural break after Christmas. Our JAM group and the Bells are going to be sharing
in worship and the community several times. Special interest Sundays fill our schedule throught Pentecost on
May 20th. [Details in this issue.]

Mondays are a busy time as the Meals That Matter Soup Kitchen continues to provide a warm meal for any
that enter our doors. We are also offering an adult study at 3:00 most Mondays. A few other opportunities
include: Interfaith "Plarning", - a method of recycling old plastic bags into mats for warmth, Amazing Faith
at Carthage to engage in interfaith conversations over a meal and the preparations for the CUSH
banquet early in May. We will be emerging from a long winter into some exciting programs and plans!
Please join us!

Pastor Bonnie


March, 2018 (back to Top)

Pastor Bonnie wants you to know:       Ensure the United Methodist Church Can Keep Helping
Will you continue to give to UMCOR Sunday (formerly One Great Hour of Sharing)? Will you continue to meet t
he needs of the children, families and communities who’ve experienced devastation in the wake of disaster?
When we meet the needs of those who suffer we actually minister to Jesus, who said:
“I was hungry and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger and you
welcomed me.  I was naked and you gave me clothes to wear. I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and
you visited me.” (Mt. 25:35-36, CEB)
As we respond, we recognize Jesus in those who are reeling in the wake of disaster
Because you give, the United Methodist Church’s compassionate response to human suffering continues today:

UMCOR will be able to offer aid in Jesus’ name to those who suffer because United Methodists give through UMCOR Sunday,
(formerly One Great Hour of Sharing).  In fact, it’s your generous giving that allows us to respond when disaster strikes.

This year our UMCOR Sunday is March 11th.  It just so happens, our own Marieta Huff will be returning from her work
/mission trip to Alabama, through VIM (Volunteers in Mission).  Fresh from that experience, she will share in worship March 11th.

Pastor Bonnie

February, 2018 (back to Top)

O Love, That Will Not Let Us Go
I cannot remember a time when Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday fell on the same date. Looking at my
Daily Suggestion (calendar), which goes back as far as 1970, it looks like we have not had one since that time,
but will again in 2029 and 2040!  Easter falls on April Fool’s Day this year, too, but we’ll try not to read too
much into that, for now! I think this makes for a nice theme for our Lenten observance in 2018,
The Love That Will Not Let Us Go
. The love of God for each one of us, and all of humanity is so strong,
so fierce, so compassionate, that we can never outrun it or get beyond its borders. The third verse of the hymn
talks about Joy, that seeks us through pain. When we trace the rainbow through the rain, we find a hope-filled
tomorrow. May our patterns of devotion, sacrifice, attentive attitudes be ways of gaining union and fellowship
with God, through Jesus the Son, our companion and friend.

Pastor Bonnie

 January, 2018 (back to Top)

Christmas Past
Writing this on December 28, there is still quite a glow from Christmas 2017. Was it the way everyone
pulled together at the museum as Dick came bursting, breathless, into the warm-up room …the joy of the
women gathered at Dolores’ for their annual party,… the lighting of advent candles and readings,…
our child-centered nativity scene, complete with Sylvester, a gopher and a wandering dinosaur…
a molting angel and reluctant Wise Men?

Maybe it was the way, every time I left my office, there would be another gift or card on my desk! The bell choir was
so great, we actually performed a triple header!... Nancy being able to direct Advent Hymn on December 24th! 
O Holy Night
by Scott & I Wonder As I Wander by Jo…The Light of Christ  & Mary’s Boy Child by JAM…
Thanks to those who went caroling, provided music, fed our hungry neighbors, campaigned for better care for the homeless,
led worship, decorated the church and sang for our neighbors. For those who visited our own shut-ins, thanks…
Harold braving the snowy Christmas Eve chill to be with us…so many more moments…

From Natalie Sleeth,  “If Christmas is a feeling, bringing such good cheer…why can’t it last all year?”
May the New Year bring you happiness and peace,

Pastor Bonnie
Thank you for all these moments, and the wonderful/ thoughtful gifts I received! bb

December, 2017 (back to Top)

Hello Friends of Immanuel  

Ready …   or Not ? !
For the first time in my recent memory, I have NOT felt like a Grinch at the beginning of the Advent & Christmas seasons!
I carefully steered myself away from the early Christmas shelves in the stores. Now I’m ready for the fun & magical parts
of the holiday season. As this article is being written, “Black Friday” is winding down and, maybe it’s just me, but a lot of
that allure seems to have faded in recent years.

It’s time for us to anticipate and enjoy the special music, poetry, Scripture and activities that build up to Christmas Eve
and Christmas Day, New Year’s and Epiphany. May the anticipation build as we begin lighting candles to chase away the
doom and usher in a season of hope and light!
May the joy of this blessed season fill your hearts!

Pastor Bonnie Bell

November, 2017 (back to Top)

Hello Friends of Immanuel,       
JAM Bell Choir as Metaphor
The bell choir at church has received a huge boost, thanks to bells, tables, pads, stands and other equipment from the Aldersgate UM Church. A few of us attended a church music conference in July & received motivation & inspiration. We now have several octaves of bells, and are starting in earnest to prepare beautiful music for our worship services.
Jo Bierer, our resident Retired Clergy/Affiliated Best Friend!, has arranged simple tunes that our group [almost 100% beginners] can play….with a little help from our friends. Yesterday we worked on two songs. In each song, we play different bells. We had 2 people absent, so some people got to ring bells from a different octave, making it more challenging.
What I experienced as a member of the group was a concerted effort on the part of each ringer, and especially our director, who was trying to keep us all together! We each tried to look out for a person near us who might have a bit of a challenge with: how to ring the bell itself (not too long or short, not too loud, or the embarrassing result when you move the bell and it makes no sound at all!)
In the end, I saw us wishing success for each one, because if one note was missing, it affected the whole piece. No one could get too concerned about one note, because they might miss their next turn! To me this is a beautiful image for the church, the body of Christ. We each need each person, with unique qualities and personalities, to become one whole, functioning unit. Thanks to Jo for all her work on this, and to the ringers who are working together so beautifully. This outgrowth of JAM has made us even closer as a group.
We are planning to play on November 5th or 12th. Don’t miss it!                 

Pastor Bonnie

October, 2017 (back to Top)

October at Immanuel
We are sensing the hustle and bustle of renewed activity around the church, inside and out. One key transition is the moving of Shalom Center and discontinuing the INNS nightly sites. Now housed in their new facilities, these folks leave our building vacant in the evening hours. There are still homeless persons in our town and groups are meeting to address those needs as the weather turns cold.
A new feature and ministry taking its place is Meals That Matter, the Soup Kitchen Network, which provides a warm, nourishing meal and socialization for the poorest families in Kenosha 5 days a week. Mondays will be the night of Immanuel’s /HOPE’s  responsibility.  JAM is getting started again after a summer break. Sunday School for all ages begins September 24 (children) and October 8th (adults).
All of these internal changes are set against a backdrop of change in our country. One of the most alarming national changes is the limited status of DACA young people staying in the U.S., after being brought here as children. These “dreamers” face the possibility of being expelled from the only home they knew, unless they fill out copious forms and pay a significant renewal fee; even then they might be forced to leave.
Something that is changing, and yet, in some ways has not changed enough since the 1950s is the racial division within our country. Summer events in 2016 and 2017 (this very week in St. Louis) have reminded us that there is still much inequality in our town, in our lives, our churches, schools, government. Several of our October events emphasize ways to work at improving human equality, which God desires for all people, no exceptions!  May God’s peace fill your hearts, now and always.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

September, 2017 (back to Top)

Fall In?
As a teen, I was part of a drill team. If the team practice was supposed to start at 6:30, we would be talking & laughing until about 6:33, when all of a sudden the captain, or the adult drill master would say in a loud voice, “Fall In!”. Everybody would line up according to height and the captain would say “Mark time”. At 144 steps per minute we would mark time, and then step off at a slightly slower pace. Two hours later, the giggles and fun resumed.
As I think about the upcoming, rapidly approaching Fall schedule, I feel that I am not anxious to Fall In. I find myself thinking along the lines of my favorite singer/songwriter, Mark Dvorak, “I Hate to See the Summer Go”. As we ease our way into increased activities, Sunday School, JAM, other studies, our new ‘Meals That Matter’ Mondays, programs and classes, let us be gentle with one another and ourselves.
May we enjoy a brief respite over Labor Day weekend, and then ease our way into our fall routines. May we find time to do the things that really matter, and bless those that we are no longer able to sustain. Here’s to a safe and productive Fall!

Pastor Bonnie

July, August, 2017 (back to Top)

What Leaders Do and Why
At Annual Conference this year, most of the speaking time was devoted to Adam Hamilton,  pastor of the largest United Methodist Church in the U.S., Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City. Hamilton also has numerous books, DVDs and study guides, which are featured widely in the Cokesbury catalogs.
The lecture that I got the most from was the first one on leadership: “What Leaders Do and Why”. We were to think of leaders we remembered who were effective, and …those who were not. I had the hardest time thinking about ineffective leadership, although one awful boss finally came to mind. The listing of effective leadership qualities made me remember fondly several bosses, mentors & colleagues over the years. I have been blessed by effective and caring leaders.
My qualities list included: joyful, creative, fair, collegial, smart, allowed freedom, encouraging, fun. Added qualities from Adam Hamilton were: passion for ministry, humility, integrity, initiating conversations. My hope is to grow in these areas, and I ask your prayers in the process.
May each of us have a safe and joy-filled summer.

Pastor Bonnie

June, 2017 (back to Top)

HOPE in the time of John Wesley!
Last Sunday night our circuit, (Circuit #16) commemorated what might be the First Annual Aldersgate observance at First UMC. Aldersgate was where Wesley experienced his heart being strangely warmed while worshiping with Moravians on May 24th, 1738 . 
Each of the 6 pastors participated and we heard from John Wesley (1703-1791)  himself!  Rev. Dan Dick from the Annual Conference office came dressed as Wesley and delivered an authentic address, “Advice to Young Clergy”.  I was surprised at the relevance of so much of its content. Earlier that day, I read a prayer by St. Augustine (354-430)  during our worship, outlining some of the challenges facing persons with discouragement and darkness in their lives. Again, the contemporary feel of a document that old was amazing.
Our worship focused on music. Many hymns of John and Charles Wesley were offered. Ji Won Lee, of Kenosha Korean, played a piano piece based on “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. Justin Lowe of First UMC played several Wesleyan hymns, as well as an arrangement he prepared himself on the organ. Our JAM group sang, “A Home of Grace”, as the theme was “grace”. We also sang some fun songs during fellowship time, including “Methodist Soup”, something Nancy dug up that had a very comedic element [it maketh me whoop!]. Youth and a few adults from Principe de Paz performed a skit to contemporary Christian music, showing moving against the current (sin) and swimming upstream, with the help of God.
The best part of the event, in my opinion, was the way our three HOPE congregations supported each other, cheered for each other, participated together. We have a great thing going here- make no mistake about it! Thank God.

Pastor Bonnie

May, 2017 (back to Top)


Liturgical dance by Principe de Paz

Since Easter is a season and not just a day, we hope to see you during Eastertide. By the time these newsletters get distributed, we will be in final preparations for the Anne Hills Concert to benefit the Shalom Center.

May 21 at 7:00 p.m., we are invited to a worship and praise event for our circuit at First United Methodist Church.
We are going to have a guest appearance by "John Wesley." Music will be a prominent feature of the celebration.
Details to follow.

As the spring weather continues to surprise us, may we remember that God's love is new every morning.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

April, 2017 (back to Top)

Journey from Death to Life, Darkness to Light

In this year’s Lenten journey, we have embarked upon life transforming possibilities. One person decides on a behavior change, another adds a new discipline. We all work on our capacity to love others, especially those who appear different from ourselves. This year’s journey has been accented by the many opportunities to speak out and act on behalf of others who have been kept from equal treatment in our community and the country.
In the multiplicity of activities: studies, plays, rallies, worship, public actions, adult education, interfaith events and prayer times, we have journeyed from darkness to light, modeling Jesus’ path through the cross to his victory on Easter. May we find strength in knowing that our way has been prepared.  May the companionship of like-minded brothers and sisters fortify us for mission and ministry in these challenging days.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

March, 2017 (back to Top)

From the pilgrimage

As I prepared for the trip I took last fall with the Living Legacy Pilgrimage, I was surprised to look at a map and see that Selma was no larger than it was. I had always heard of Selma, Alabama because of  the events that occurred there in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement. Looking at the map, though, it barely had any yellow, like most major metropolitan areas do.
The current population is only about 20,000 persons. On that first march, {March 7th, 1965} , 600 persons crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge and were met by police and other troops with sticks, dogs and tear gas. By the following Tuesday, Martin Luther King’s special appeal had brought many clergy and leaders from across the nation to join in the cause,  making a symbolic statement that this problem would not be going away. By the time the full 50 mile march with the support of troopers, press, and national guardsmen commenced on March 21, there were over 25,000 people involved.

Because of the impact of those events, Selma itself has seemed larger than its modest numbers. Later in 1965 the
Civil Rights Act was passed, and within 2 months of its enactment, over 56,000 black voters were registered in 20

A group of adults from our church have been viewing the 2014 film during the education hour. We will conclude on March 12th. At the time Selma was running in theaters, a small group of us went & discussed it also. Lessons emerge as we watch and remember, listen to music and pray. The lessons learned there still impact us today. The struggle for freedom, civil rights and peace is ongoing and needs our support.
In April, there will be a program at our church, featuring persons and songs from the Civil Rights Era. Please watch for more details.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

February, 2017 (back to Top)

Voices From the Journey, continued
Viola Gregg Liuzzo

On our Pilgrimage, each person was given a card to learn about one individual who was an important person in the struggle for Civil Rights and freedom. My card had the name of Viola Liuzzo. She was a homemaker and the mother of 5 children. Having recently joined the Unitarian Universalist church in Detroit, she felt God’s call. She decided to travel to Selma after seeing images on television of beatings on the Edmund Pettis Bridge, Sunday, March 7th.  She left her family behind to do this and offered her car, her abilities at making sandwiches, and doing many other tasks needed right there at the time of the 50 mile march later that month.
While shuttling people home after the march, she was shot and killed by a carload of Klansmen, including one FBI informant. Her gravesite is alongside a gently rising area of highway; simple, but well cared for, especially in contrast to another grave site we visited of an African American young man, which constantly gets disturbed and vandalized to this day.

I recently read that Viola felt called to serve the larger “family of humanity” (leaving her own immediate family) in the search for freedom for all. In our conversations, we learned that her children also paid a price, and some have never reconciled themselves to their mother’s decision. She was beloved by those whom she came to serve, as witnessed to us by Joanne Blackmon Bland, whose story was read in church on January 15th.
At the graveside, we offered prayer, silence and a wonderful song, led by Reggie Harris.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

January, 2017 (back to Top)
Fannie Lou Hamer, Mother of Civil Rights Movement

I want to thank Immanuel Church again for the opportunity to participate in the UU Living Legacy Pilgrimage. I hope
to share several “snapshots” of persons (living or dead”) that we encountered on our trip.

Fannie Lou Hamer was the 20th and last child in her family in rural Mississippi, who started picking cotton at age 6,
and dropped out of school at 12 to work and help her family. She married Perry “Pap” Hamer in 1944 and they
continued sharecropping until 1962, when she attended a protest meeting where she was encouraged to register to
vote. Because of this daring act, she lost both her employment and home. This was a life-changing event. She then
dedicated herself to fight for civil rights, voter registration, de-segregation, and racial justice.

In two years’ time she became articulate and savvy enough to help found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party,
founded in opposition to the all-white delegation to that year’s delegation. While we visited the memorial to the one
they called the Mother of the Civil Rights movement, we listened to a recording of her speech. This speech reached
the national television audience despite tactics by Lyndon Johnson, later nominated for president. By the first time
Fannie Lou ever got to vote, her own name was on the ballot. Her activism and leadership were respected by so
many involved in the cause of freedom.

She was a soulful singer who could lift others with her renditions of many songs. “This Little Light of Mine” was a
favorite of hers. Those lyrics are included at the memorial. One of her many famous quotes as hard-working and
often arrested protester is, “I’m sick and tired of being sick…and tired.”
At her funeral Andrew Young, then delegate to the United Nations, said, “None of us would be where we are today
had she not been here then.”

Pastor Bonnie Bell

December, 2016 (back to Top)

Living Legacy Pilgrimage

A pilgrimage sometimes implies journeying over difficult terrain, stretching our own resources
and energies in order to come to some new understanding or goal. I want to thank Immanuel
Church for the opportunity to be on the Living Legacy Pilgrimage from November 12-19
in our Southern States.

Being on pilgrimage has pushed me in ways I cannot yet foresee. I met 31 wonderful people
who were passionate about social justice and willing to learn about racism from this direct
experience. The event faculty planned interviews aand presentations by at least 49 veterans of
the Civil Rights struggle in our country, especially between 1954 and 1968, with a window
toward the implications for today and tomorrow. A special component of this journey was
input about the songs of the movement, presented magnificently by Reggie Harris, who per-
formed with his wife Kim last Spring right here at Immanuel.

You will certainly be hearing more about this in the months to come!

My sincere thanks for this opportunity, and to everyone who has helped in my absence.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

October, 2016 (back to Top)


We have just completed our first (hopefully Annual!) Family Reunion for Immanuel United Methodist Church.
We were too busy in summer to observe the 162nd (164th) Anniversary that we decided to make a nice
event a bit after the fact. We wanted to invite some of our inactive members, guests, friends of IUMC and
shut-ins if at all possible to come and join us on that day (September 18th).

Many people did a great job inviting others to come on that day. We had about 15 people who would not
otherwise have been there come and join in the festivities. Highlights included special music in worship and
fun songs for downstairs, including our ukeleles, banjo, guitar, rain stick and kazooes. There were little
ones tossing balloons about and a fabulous spread of food, including items from out Soul Food cookbook.

I hope this will be just the first edition of an annual event, which we can now expand and prepare for all year.
We can make a joyful noise and reach out in love to whosoever will come!

Enthusiastically yours,

Pastor Bonnie

September, 2016 (back to Top)

Summer’s End

This is the time when the kids go back to school. Teachers, bus drivers, lunch providers and all the affiliated
workers are gearing up for the new school year. Fall programming will be starting here as well. We are trying
to see what will work for Sunday School for children, youth and adults. Before you know it, we will be
enlisting leaders in new positions and preparing for church conference! May we savor the last warm days and
prepare for cooler temperatures.

At the council meeting in August we decided to start a process that may lead toward becoming an official
Reconciling Congregation. This name refers to the way a church relates to brothers and sisters in faith who are
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered. All are invited to participate and learn what the Bible says and
ways to interpret difficult passages in their historical settings as well as today.

We are trying to discern God’s will as we move forward in faith. We just received a resource for studying racial
disparity in Wisconsin. We might meet with retired pastors of a multiethnic congregation to see how to move
forward with HOPE. There is more than enough to do! May we also focus on “being” as well as “doing.”
We will not be lacking for things to do in the months ahead. May God’s guidance and restorative healing be
present among us.

Pastor Bonnie

JulyAugust, 2016 (back to Top)

Free to be- An Op ED Piece from Pastor Bonnie

July is the time when we think of the freedoms we enjoy in our country. Because of the high value we
place on freedom, we are compelled to allow others to be free as well. Whenever the 4th of July falls on
or very near a Sunday, I try to talk about religious freedom. God gives us heads, minds and hearts, to
discern God's will and to allow freedom for those with different beliefs to co-exist with us in peace.

Recently I had occasion to re-read the story of Roger Williams, who came to America for religious
freedom, but was denied that freedom when his ideas were contrary to the Puritan ideals. He nearly
paid for his dissent with his life, but was able to escape Massachusetts in winter, founding Rhode Island
and naming Province for the way God provided his needs in that journey.

The timing of our Annual Conference and the targeted shootings in Orlando on June 12th make me less
optimistic than I have been for some time about how we deal with "difference"," diversity", and "tolerance".
I am happy that I was able to stand with others from our community in prayer over the victims. I was
pleased to hold a sign in support of Rev. Janet Ellinger, who was in danger of losing her orders as an elder
after many years of faithful and Spirit-led ministry. Please ask me about this or read in

Archbishop Desmond Tutu once talked about the African concept of Ubuntu and said, essentially, "No one is free until everyone is free" May that day come, and may it come soon.

Pastor Bonnie

June, 2016 (back to Top)

Springing Into Action

Sometimes in the home where I grew up, we might be enjoying a nice break from activity, or a meal.
Someone, usually Mom woould say, "Now it's time to spring into action!" At this point we might get up
and get something done. . .or we might just as easily stay put right where we were. It was like the
thought itself spurred us forward.

This Spring seems to me to be very slow in coming our way. The plants, trees and flowers show signs of
new life. This year the temperature is very slowly warming up. Although I don't want 90 degrees, the
upper 60s to 80s would be quite nice. I guess the weather is springing into action!
While summer can be a slower time at the church, perhaps this year we will find new ministries and avenues
of outreach that can be done well in those freer types of days. Our picnic the last Sunday of June will be a
very fine time of worship, fellowship and great eating. Maybe a soccer game or jam session will occur
afterwards...If you have ideas for summer fun and/or new ministries please let me know. We can then
Spring Into Action!

Pastor Bonnie

May, 2016 (back to Top)


Note Worthy!

It occurs to me that what we do here is note-worthy! I have been here at Immanuel UMC just a little shy of 2 years.
As of Saturday, we will have been featured in the Kenosha News three times, and, as of next Sunday, we will have
hosted 2 concerts! (it’s a different kind of note involved there). We have also seen the birth of J.A.M., and JAMmin’
with HOPE. The musical offerings they share are uplifting and fun. Within our 3 congregations, passion for music is a common value, expressed in diverse forms; classical, rock, folk, gospel and traditional. The music adds beauty to our worship.   As in so many endeavors, the end result that we see on any given Sunday morning is possible only
because others are helping behind the scenes. The church that we each enjoy has been founded and sustained by hundreds of devoted members and friends throughout the years. As we think about the things we are able to
accomplish through God’s grace, we thank and celebrate all who have helped make our church what it is today.
On that note, I will close!

Pastor Bonnie Bell

April, 2016 (back to Top)

Christ Is Risen Indeed!    (Pastor Bonnie’s Easter Reflections)

Sitting in the front of the sanctuary on Easter Sunday morning, well before anyone else but Chuck Towle & I arrived, I was reflecting for a moment or two. Soon the ukuleles would be tuning and strumming. The sunrise (Son-rise) banners with lettering in English, Spanish, German and Korean were in different areas awaiting their turn to be presented, together combining to make the full effect. The Korean choir would be warming up soon and the liturgical dancers from Principe de Paz would put on their lovely white outfits with multicolored trim. Thanks again to Judy & Marieta for the banners and the means of displaying them! Thanks to Nancy for all the music of JAM and the HOPE congregation.

…and God Bless Lillian Miller, the one brave enough, able enough and, yes, willing (!) to lead the German portion in a clear voice, starting the procession! So many people worked together to plan, prepare, set up, clean up and execute our plans. This Easter service drew upon a host of lay leaders from each congregation, which was a nice feature. We continued our exploration into each other’s languages & customs. We even learned how the German language speaks emphatically of resurrection truth.  As I sat at my usual spot, awaiting what would be a mountaintop experience of worship, I thought, “How did I get this lucky?” I am so pleased to be the pastor of our English congregation, and happy to live in Kenosha.

It has been a difficult winter, not so much for the cold & snow, but for the many challenges faced by our members. Many have done their time in radiation, rehabilitation, surgeries and now, home hospice care. Even the pastor has taken a turn with a series of back injections!

The tightly knit circle on Maundy Thursday sang with such fervor and strength, we might have sounded like 30 voices, although we were only about a dozen. Our God strengthens our efforts, uses our gifts, multiplies our meals, and deepens our love. He was even victorious over death. Alleluia! Thanks be to God!    

From your pastor,
Pastor Bonnie



March, 2016 (back to Top)

Journey with Jesus

The season of Lent is a journey following the footsteps of Jesus, in his ministry and on the road to Jerusalem.
We are invited to share the road. Each of us may have decided on a special way to observe Lent this year.

I would offer encouragement and the companionship we share as we each take those steps. Some among our
number are in the midst of heallth challenges' some are just getting by financially. We have concerns and heart-
aches with family and friends. Some are just reveling in life at this time, and that's great! We need each other
to gain perspective and appreciation. We are linked together by our faith and community.

"We share each other's woes, our mutual burdens bear; and often for each other flows the
sympathizing tear. Blest be the tie that binds us in Christian love!"
John Fawcett

May you find joy in traveling this day,
Pastor Bonnie

February, 2016 (back to Top)

Pastor’s Message                                                                                          
Leap Month

Hi Everyone,

February 16 while longer than 3/4 of our Februaries due to Leap Year, will fly by in an instant- just watch it go!
I think this month will really seem to fly, or leap, or hop along like you can't believe it. Here's why- We have
Ash Wednesday (and then Easter) just about as early as they can be. There are meetings and activities on the
calendar. Before we know it, the weather may start acting as if spring is a possibility. Soon we will be in the
midst of our Lenten routines and Easter preparations. We will be working on music and the combined worship
with our Hope brothers and sisters. New possibilities abound! ...and that is exciting. It makes the time fly!
We prepare ourselves for another season of preparing; for self reflection, sacrifice, prayer, fasting, new learnings/
experiences! As we prepare to leap forward, let's catch our breath and focus on the future.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

January, 2016 (back to Top)

Dear Friends of Immanuel,

Immanuel is contained within our church name. We hear that word a lot at this time of year. Immanuel: God With Us. God has been with us indeed! We have been richly blessed. May this Advent and Christmas Season be a time of deepening joy and blessing for each one of us.

The year 2015 has been one of excitement, growth and change. We were excited to host an event in the Spring that served our community and enlightened all who attended. Kim and Reggie Harris’ concert benefited Shalom Center and brought nearly 80 guests from CUSH congregations, musicians and neighbors from SE Wisconsin.  Our small group of hosts did a marvelous job handling all the local arrangements for a smooth event.
Another remarkable journey this year has been the formation of J.A.M. (Joyful About Music)…and Jammin’ with Hope. In March, we started with 2 ukes & a handful of willing suspects, Nancy Christiansen has developed our fledgling group into an ensemble of voices, 8 ukuleles, a banjo, guitars and now,….drums! We have grown in abilities, courage, and confidence.                                   
God was with us {Immanuel!} as we reunited with HOPE  for the picnic/ worship in June. Pastor Chacon of Principe de Paz invited us to bring guitars. The jamming after worship planted the seeds of singing together in 3 languages by each of the churches later in the fall- it takes quite a while for some of us to even mimic Korean language! There were blessings for any and all who tried.
It is my hope that each person who reads this letter finds moments of grace in this stress-filled time around the holidays. We are given opportunities and resources to have a peace-filled time. The culture in which we live sadly makes us more aware of the chaos, challenges and distractions we might experience.
It is my hope that the gift of a baby centuries ago can override that confusion with clarity, generosity, thoughtfulness and good will. May Immanuel, God With Us, be our experience as we move forward into 2016. As we remember God’s many blessings, may we feel motivated to share with our church, to make more and better disciples. May we consider offering our gifts alongside the magi so long ago. As we look toward the New Year, we pray for Christ’s peace in our hearts.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

December, 2015 (back to Top)

Dear Members and Friends,
Can you feel the pressure and stress breaking in by the second, into our somewhat normal humdrum days? What’s all the excitement about? I am not as grumpy or grouchy about the early playing of carols this year as I have been years past. I haven’t really heard much either. My new pet peeve centers around a simple phrase “Black Friday”…but, I’m going to try and set that aside, too.
At this writing, we are a few days from Thanksgiving. Families are gathering, traveling, preparing, cooking, shopping, stringing lights. Excitement will come… in  its own time and place. The church will start looking different from November 29 forward because Advent arrives that Sunday.
We will be having a special learning experience, SENT. These video/book/activity sessions will be multigenerational. We will have a special service featuring the nativity with our children, youth and volunteer adults. Before too long, things will look and seem like Christmas season around here. I encourage everyone to find time to enjoy those quiet, meaningful, significant moments as we prepare the way for the child sent to be one with us. Immanuel: God with Us!
Prepare the way of the Lord!
Pastor Bonnie
Please take a look at my invitation to Advent insert to see all the upcoming events.

November, 2015 (back to Top)

Ways to Give Thanks
As I write this, we are about to turn the page from October to November. The weather has begun to shift. Our daylight will be shortened and the evenings lengthened. Farmers are gathering in the harvest and final preparations are being made for winter. I recently re-discovered my excellent book of prayers entitled All Will Be Well. I share one with you from the section “Your Grace Has no End”.  It is by Molly Fumia:

To be joyful in the universe is a brave and reckless act. The courage for joy springs not from the certainty of human experience, but the surprise. Our astonishment at being loved, our bold willingness to love in return- these wonders promise the possibility of joyfulness, no matter how often and how harshly love seems to be lost.
Therefore, despite the world’s sorrows, we give thanks for our loves, for our joys and for the continued courage to be happily surprised.

May our joy and love be increased, even in the face of challenge and uncertainty. May we be thankful people every day we live!

Pastor Bonnie Bell


October, 2015 (back to Top)

Charged up! (super charged?)
Unlike Mary Lou Retton, the gymnast (OGM) who helped advertise batteries, we will be preparing for our own “Charge” Conference in October. The date for the conference, presided by Rev. Tim Berlew, will be November 15th, but all the information must be gathered, copied and submitted prior to that…so, October will be our month of meeting and deciding for 2016 and beyond.

October and the transformation of fall can be a time of invigoration, with a chill in the air, and the splendor of brilliant leaves. It makes me feel like I can accomplish almost anything. I pick up the pace, sometimes scurrying to beat the first freeze and flakes of winter.
May this fall be a time for us to re-tool and refresh, redoubling our efforts, our prayers, our faithfulness, our commitments. In the midst of all the activity, may we listen for God’s voice: calling, reassuring, calming.

Pastor Bonnie

September, 2015 (back to Top)

Limerick Rebuttal *                                                                             
by Pastor Bonnie Bell

There once was a church congregation
Who knew just how to do “Celebration”!
They practiced and played;
Lots of goodies they made.
Their noises and laughs caused contagion!

A year is just 365 day-times.
We’ve had lots of great … and some sad times,
with more left in store;
We might never be bored!
There will certainly be some more bad rhymes!

*in response to the limerick written by Dick Christiansen on 7/12/15

August-July, 2015 (back to Top)

Hopes and Dreams
One of my favorite posters hung on the wall at Elm Street School in Milwaukee (27th/North Ave.) when I was a teacher’s aide and student teacher.
“Hold fast to dreams; for if dreams die life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”     Langston Hughes
Where there is no vision, the people perish is from the book of Proverbs.
What are the hopes & dreams that each of you has for our church? Our Community? Your own life? Let us dream dreams together. Become part of the “dream team” at Immanuel! We Will try to expose ourselves to ideas/spiritual practices/demographic materials that can assist us in looking forward as God’s people in this place…now. The first session will be held after church on August 16th. Bring some food that will help hold you over for an hour or so. If this interests you, please let me know so we can plan where to meet.
Please be safe this summer and enjoy times away/with family & friends. Don’t forget your church when you are away!

Pastor Bonnie Bell

June, 2015 (back to Top)

First of all, thanks to everyone who participated in Pentecost Sunday, whether you helped with the readings and/or wearing of red, it was a festive day! The music group formerly known as Brainstorm is off and running,  discovering new ways to joyfully praise God & enjoy our musical gifts…look for us by our new “name”,   J.A.M. ,  in the future and see what you think these initials stand for. The Sunday of Cecelia’s baptism was a highlight for our church family as well as her own family. The Sheep Sunday music was another highlight!
Annual Conference will be the second weekend in June (12-15) and the last Sunday (6/28) will be our Annual HOPE picnic at Petrifying Springs. By the time you read this, our last call for the Ingathering will have been announced (see Marieta). We are busy with a number of things, even though the tempo might be different for summer. May God keep us safe and healthy. Please remember your church while you are away enjoying visits, travel and recreational opportunities.
Pastor Bonnie Bell

May, 2015 (back to Top)

Looking Forward!
The next few months promise some events we can anticipate with joy! We will be having
a baptism for Cecilia Marie, followed by food for all, on May 17th. Pentecost Sunday is
May 24. This great church holiday celebrates the birth of the church and the coming of
the Holy Spirit, with power and capabilities for healing and understanding.

Our picnic with HOPE churches will be on June 28 at Petrifying Springs. More details will
be in the next Messenger. In the midst of all this, our new music group (name to be
formalized soon, perhaps!) works on music for ukulele, guitar, banjo, recorder, voice, and
dulcimer. We are having fun and planning on ways to enhance worship. Annual Conference
comes the second weekend in June and we are gathering items to share across the connection
at that time. There will be a list on the bulletin board.

As the weather improves and special events/travel keep you away from worship, don’t forget
about giving- the church needs (heat, electricity, etc.) keep on going even when we are away.
I am hopeful that we can begin to dream new dreams and see visions of ways we can continue
to serve God in the church and our community.

Pastor Bonnie Bell 

April, 2015 (back to Top)

This Easter, a number of things are different here at Immanuel. It started with changing our combined worship from Palm Sunday to Easter, to allow for the study leave of Rev. & Mrs. Chacon in Costa Rica. Then, we were offered an opportunity “too good to refuse”! We are hosting a Benefit Concert for Shalom Center by Kim & Reggie Harris of Philadelphia.
Singer/ Songwriters who have dedicated much of their careers to social justice, they have recently appeared at the 50th Anniversary of crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama to win voting rights for African Americans. As I write this, preparations are being made to host a “full house” from our community and the region.
I want to thank everyone who has had a part in helping host this event. From bringing treats, attending, helping usher, being flexible, …every little thing went toward making this a great day!
As we move through Easter, more of the traditional events will be happening. This year, as in some years past, the combined worship service will be on Easter Sunday, followed by a pot luck celebration.
Eastertide continues as a season, so we don’t just spend one day observing one of our most important church festivals. My hope on Easter Sunday is to be greeted by, “Christ is risen…..He is risen indeed”. May we carry the hope of that day with us always.

A blessed Eastertide to all!         
Pastor Bonnie Bell 


March, 2015 (back to Top)

Lenten Journeys

Dear Friends at Immanuel,

Last Wednesday we commemorated the beginning of Lent with our Ash Wednesday Service.
More important than the ashes, or anointing oil for healing, or the sacrificial fasts we might
choose; are the feasts on God's Word, fellowship, learning and prayer. Each person could pick
a word or phrase that meant something personal in their faith walk. Each of us can find
opportunities to enrich our faith and faithfulness. May the time between Ash Wednesday and
Easter Sunday be a filling time. May we seek to gather with others of faith in serving, sharing
and learning. A blessed and active Lent to everyone.

Pastor Bonnie

February, 2015 (back to Top)

As I write this letter, and you read it, I am planning to be on an adventure. I’m taking a trip
to Michigan to join others with like-minded interests in singing and playing acoustic music;
lifting our songs to the rafters. I am very excited at the prospect. I hope I might meet others
who are as excited about this as I am. 
Some of us were very excited to attend a movie presented by the Kindness Week Committee
and others went to see the movie, “Selma”. Still others attended the interfaith worship service
and a few went to the lecture. In each gathering, persons who chose to come were given opportunities
to think, discuss and learn from one another the impact of racial diversity, injustice and oppression.
May we always be looking for ways to overcome the influences that can lead to inequality, violence
and disunity. May our church continue to be at the forefront of change and possibility to all who
enter our doors.
While waiting for the committees to meet about education, mission and other program ideas, I do
hope that we can keep open hearts and minds, learn from one another, continue to learn new things
and grow in our faith as disciples.

Pastor Bonnie Bell

January, 2015 (back to Top)

May 2015 Bring Focus and Hope

Hello Members and Friends,
It is my wish in this New Year that we can find a clear direction for our church (and all the
churches at 5410 Sheridan) to move forward. We have a great core of people and the hope
of connecting with others. How might we accomplish this? What resources do we have that
might serve us, both human and material? What will this New Year bring in terms of healing,
strength and mission?

At a time when the weather may be disruptive, let us join our hearts in prayer, planning,
possibility and peace. “This is a day of new beginnings: Christ goes before us to show and
share what love can do.” May we follow in faith.

Pastor Bonnie



December, 2014 (back to Top)

Dear Friends and Families,

Thanksgiving is now officially over the race begins. Before we get ready, get set &
go, I encourage each of us to stop, look, and listen. This time this Advent time, can
be for us a time of anticipation; waiting, preparing, making space so that when the
Christ child comes anew, there will be room for his coming.

For many years I have enjoyed this little poem by Madeleine L’Engle, which was
also the title line for her book, reflecting on the church year, The Irrational Season:

"This is the irrational season
Where love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason,
There’d have been no room for the child!"

As we travel the December days together until we get to the 25th, may we try to
steal quiet moments amid the chaos, stilling ourselves long enough to hear a baby’s
cry and catch the gleam of a star in the night sky.

Blessed Advent, every one!
Pastor Bonnie Bell


November, 2014 (back to Top)

Season of Thanks
From the very first day of November, we will be entering a season of giving thanks to God.
Our Church Conference can be a time of celebrating last years’ accomplishments and moving
into a new year with confidence and hope. Next Sunday, November 2, we will be adjusting to
the new time- Daylight Savings Time (don’t forget to set the clocks back an hour!),
This will also be our observance of All Saints Sunday, where we can light a candle remembering
a person we have lost, thanking God for his/her life among us.

Thanksgiving is almost as late as it can be this year, and we begin Advent that same weekend.
We will be decorating the sanctuary Sunday afternoon, November 23rd  as we remember the
Gift of God’s presence throughout the season of Advent. There is much to do, and hopefully
we will also be able to find times to enjoy God’s active presence in our lives. May we keep
this in mind as our calendars fill up with dates and events:
Prepare the Way of the Lord!

Pastor Bonnie Bell

October, 2014 (back to Top)

Dear Members and Friends,
We are just beginning to see the fall colors as I write this letter. There have been several bright sunny days in a row.
What could be more glorious than a brisk early fall day? The season invigorates me and has always been a favorite
of mine….with one possible exception. It is a challenging time in the life of the church.

We scramble and scurry to find leaders and set budgets, filling out countless forms on the way. Let’s hope we can
celebrate the life of this church, right where we are, in the coming weeks. As we talk together about possibilities for
ministry, may our hearts and minds be open to the new thing God may be doing in our midst.

Isaiah 43: 18 & 19 says, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new
thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

Please join me in prayer and meditation on this text and the possibilities for our church. Two opportunities for prayer
will be after fellowship (except on October 5th), and before most Adult study groups, 6:30pm (except October 14).
Let’s start in my office & see if we need more room!

Pastor Bonnie Bell

September, 2014 (back to Top)

Pastor's Report {Many of you will have heard this at the church council meeting on Wednesday, August 27th.}
Quite a number of years ago, the preacher from my ordination changed jobs, because he was downsized from
being an administrative coordinator of home missions to a local church pastor. At that time, he said he was as
happy as a pig in mud!

I feel happy. Happy to be living in Kenosha, a place I've mostly driven through, getting from Milwaukee to Chicago.
There is a lot to offer here, as far as I can tell. People have worked hard to make this place a nice place to live.
I am happy to be able to worship in a place where cultures meet and share space, as well as sharing burdens & joys.
I look forward to planning and participating in our joint World Communion Sunday together on October 5th.
From initial conversations, I have formulated a few plans and ideas, but I also want to learn what ideas you have.

To that end, the SPRC *(Staff Parish Relations Committee) and I are hosting 3 "PastorShare" sessions. At these
small gatherings, we can explore what interests, hopes, needs and dreams we can meet and accomplish, with God's
leading and care.
I hope you will come and share your ideas. I will share some of my thoughts, vision and hopes.
In the meantime, know that I am touched by the warmth, openness and caring I see in this fellowship, and will
continue to pray for God’s direction, strength and energy in the days and months ahead!

*SPRC members are: David Towle, chair, Audrey Olsen and Joyce Brookhouse
Pastor Bonnie Bell
Pastor’s cell # 262-424-5573                                                                                       
Address: 9022 Sheridan Rd. #101
Email address:    


August, 2014 (back to Top)

Hello Everyone!

I am Bonnie Bell (Rev. Bonnie Bell), your new pastor. I come here directly from Concord/Sullivan,
near Oconomowoc, having served 2 small parishes there for three years. Although I am still unpacking
boxes at home & in the office, I am beginning to feel settled in Kenosha, and am enjoying it very much,
for the variety of things to do & opportunities to get involved.
As I begin ministry here, I want to be available to you, to hear your concerns & hopes, as individuals and
as the body of Christ in this place. In these initial weeks, I will be trying to keep business hours at the
office on Tuesday & Thursday, from 10am-1pm. If you would like a phone call or visit, please call and I’m
sure we can work something out. I am praying for you, and I ask your prayers in return.

Your Staff Parish Relations Committee: David Towle, chair, Joyce Brookhouse and Audrey Olsen will be
working closely with me to provide a smooth transition. Hopefully we will be organizing some sort of
listening sessions or cottage meetings so that I can hear your concerns, hopes and dreams. Please be thinking
and praying for good outcomes in our times together.

I will try to be available as needed. Eventually, I will need to find another job to supplement my income. At the
present time, my plan is to have Mondays off as a Sabbath day. If you need to reach me at other times, please
call on my cell phone, or leave a message at the church.  

Your pastor,
Bonnie Bell