How We Came To Be…

A view of the art-deco style lighthouse and breakwater bordering the Port Washington Harbor

A view of the art-deco style lighthouse and breakwater bordering the Port Washington Harbor


It all started when…

In late 2017 Pastors from 5 Port Washington and Saukville were discussing different happenings in their respective communities of faith. The subject of youth programming came up and while programming for elementary youth seemed to be moving along well there were significant challenges when it came to developing programming for middle and high school youth. They began asking members of their congregations how they would feel if several churches banded together to form a collaborative youth ministry.

In the Spring of 2018, there were people interested from each of the 5 churches that meetings were held to begin talking about how a group like this might work. How it would be governed, funded, staffed, and structured. It seemed like an impossible task.

Inception and Incorporation…

Fast forward to April 2018. Multiple meetings about what this group could look like turned into selecting 2 board members from each of the 5 member churches:

We began meeting every two weeks with the goal of having something organized and and activities planned by the beginning of the 2018-2019 School Year. As a board we found it very easy to get along and we were able to move quickly to engage the assistance of an attorney to help us build articles of incorporation. We would be supported by each of the 5 member churches financially through annual contributions or dues, but the idea was to build an autonomous, self-governed organization that could eventually stand on its own. Thus we created the Port Washington-Saukville Ecumenical Youth Ministry or PWSEYM.

Divine Intervention…

Each of the board members were excited to get things moving. We discovered that much was needed to get this program from planning to reality. However, many things fell into place and progress was moving along much faster than any of us anticipated. We found a space to hold meetings in that did not require the group to split time among the church buildings. All of the board members were willing to share their time to plan and be part of activities with our youth. The looming questions still had yet to be answered. We didn’t have any staff and we all knew that the funds we had were finite. We needed to figure out how this mission would be funded now and into the Future.

Grant Applications were completed and then we started talking about fundraisers. What could we do? Then we were approached by Thrivent Financial Action Teams. The explained that there is a way for us to raise money and their members could donate to our cause as well. In addition, we could be selected as one of the programs that would qualify for matching dollars. The only catch was that we needed to hold a fundraiser on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, November 27, 2018. It was September 5, 2018 when we found out about this option and September 24, 2018 when it was confirmed. We had roughly 8 weeks to pull together a blitz of fundraisers to run throughout the entire day.

Giving Tuesday 2018…

To call this day miraculous is an understatement. In 8 weeks time and with the assistance of folks from the Thrivent Financial Action Teams we were able to pull together 3 events, a craft fair, and a silent auction. We had a breakfast and craft sale event held at Living Hope, a soup & salad luncheon with guest speakers and craft sale held at Parkside Community, and a spaghetti dinner with musical entertainment and silent auction. We set a goal of $10,000 for the day thinking it would be a success if we even got close and the matching from the Thirvent Financial Action Teams would be at $1 for every $2 raised.

This was a long, but ultimately rewarding day. All events were well attended, but none as much as the dinner. As the day progressed we were pleased and astonished by the support of our community. We exceeded our goal, actually we blew away our goal and raised an amount of money none of us dreamed possible at nearly $40,000!

We thank all of the volunteers and participants from our member churches, all of the silent auction donors and buyers, and also Limted Edition acapella choir and Bella Muzik for lending their talents for entertainment.


Photos From #GivingTuesday2018