Pastor Connection
April 15, 2021

                        “Instructions for Living a Life”
                                                         Pay attention.
                                                        Be astonished.
                                                          Tell about it.
                                                                       from "Sometimes" by Mary Oliver,
in Redbird

           In other words, witness. The Season of Easter is a span of 50 days of witness to the Resurrection that lead to Pentecost and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on all people. During this season we share stories of the disciples encountering Jesus in the midst of their grief, fear, and emptiness. Last week in the story of Thomas we witnessed a coming to belief in presence and breath of the Spirit. This week we meet two disciples on their way to Emmaus, still dazed at what has occurred in and since crucifixion, trying to make sense of it all, when Jesus comes alongside them.

           Again and again we learn how important it is to experience Christ’s presence in one another and in creation around us, and further to share that with one another. We too long for, hope for, an encounter and sense of presence of the Living Christ in order that we too can proclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and My God!” and to experience with the disciples our eyes opening in recognition of God’s presence.

           Poetry is a doorway to witness and proclamation. I return again and again to the words of Mary Oliver who so artfully brings together the witness of life in creation and one another. In her poem “Messenger” she writes:

                       My work is loving the world.
                       Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird
                                   equal seekers of sweetness….

                       Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
                       Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
                                   keep my mind on what matters,
                       which is my work,

                       which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished….

                       which is gratitude to be given a mind and a heart ..

                       telling them all, over and over, how it is
                                   that we live forever ….

           Pay attention; be astonished; tell about it! Join us in worship this week!
                                                                                                  Pastor Pat

Summer Camp at Lake Okoboji

We are happy to announce that Lakeshore Center at Okoboji is having summer camp this year! The theme for this summer is "Leap into Adventure". There are camping options for children, youth, and families. The Christian Nurture and Fellowship Team will help defer the costs for those who wish to attend. You can find more information about their different camping programs by visiting the following website: There is also information in the church office. Please contact the church if you or your family plans to participate.
Florence Warnock Scholarship Recipient Chosen

The Florence Warnock Scholarship committee is pleased to announce the 2021 recipient-
Laura Hepworth. Laura will graduate from Waterloo West High School and is a member of St. Edward's Catholic Church. She plans to attend Iowa State University in the fall and pursue a degree in integrated studio arts.
One Great Hour of Sharing

Thank you to all those who contributed to the One Great Hour of Sharing Offering! Together we contributed $1,280.00 towards this effort! Each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing supports efforts to relieve hunger through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, promote development through the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, and assist in areas of disaster through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. We are grateful for your generosity contributing to those in need.

Welcome Amber Gilles!

We are very happy to announce that we have hired a new office manager, Amber Gilles. She started on Monday, April 5th. Amber brings a wealth of skills to our church along with a positive energy. Be sure to welcome her! With this new addition to our staff, the church office hours will return to Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Amber now has email! If you have questions, feel free to reach out to her at
Saying Good-Bye to Dakota Andersen

Dakota Andersen, our church sanctuary choir director, recently accepted an offer of admission from the University of North Texas, to start an M.M. degree in jazz voice performance in the fall.

While we are very excited for his new opportunity, we will be sad to see him go. Dakota's musical gifts, his positive attitude, and his genuine care for our church members have been blessings.

Per Dakota:
I feel so blessed to have been with this congregation for the last two and a half years! The people here are kind, down-to-earth, and some of the most welcoming people I have ever met. It has been such a pleasure to work with the Sanctuary Choir in particular. They gave me so much grace as I grew into my role as their choir director, and I am so proud to have seen individual and collective growth in all of them. I am forever grateful for them and for everyone at First Presbyterian - I will miss everyone so much!

Fortunately Dakota will be with us through the end of June. Please be looking for upcoming information as to how we will show our appreciation and bid him good-bye.
Presbyterian Women Will Meet in April!

We are excited to announce that the PW will meet Wednesday, April 21st, 2021, at 9:30 am in Calvin Hall. We will continue our 2019-2020 Horizons Bible Study, "Love Carved in Stone", with Lesson 6. Masks and social distancing will be required.
Tuesday Morning Bible Study

We are taking a break from this Bible Study for the next several weeks. We hope to gather again towards late spring. Keep an eye on the connection for updates. Thank you to all who have diligently attended and learned together.
Church Prayer List

With Our Sympathies:
We continue to pray for the Cutsforth family as they continue to grieve the loss of Bob. Bob Cutsforth's funeral service is Saturday, April 17th at 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church. Public visitation from 5-7 p.m. Friday, April 16th at Hagarty-Waychoff-Grarup Funeral Service, 400 South Street. Visitation also one hour prior to services at the church. 

Bill Davis passed away on Tuesday evening, April 6th following an accident over the weekend. We pray for Sally and their family as they grieve. We also pray for Sally as she continues to recover from back surgery a few weeks ago.

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:
Terry Sage's brother-in-law, Rob Sassy, has COVID-19 and pneumonia; Angie (Kim Swallow's friend) who works at the Anamosa State Penitentiary; Karen Hahn recovering from surgery; Dorothy Hummel recovering from surgery; Barbara Benskin recovering from injuries from a fall; Pat Stanhope fell and sprained her arm/shoulder; Diane Ernster is dealing with back pain/sciatic nerve problems; Florence Ramsell at Northcrest, Steve Miller recovering from surgery at home, prayers of safety for Barbara Benskin's son who is a trucker; Neva Kerr, New Aldaya (Hospice); Paul Holtz, Hospice Care

Add to the Prayer List
Click HERE to submit a prayer request online. Our pastors will be praying for you and sharing concerns with the congregation as requested.
Church Family Birthdays

We celebrate our members with birthdays in April. If you get a chance, please join us in wishing them a very happy birthday!

2 Bradley Mananga
3 Tommy Roberts
4 Paul Kabel
7 Jim Christensen
8 Cathy Bowers
9 Diane Ernster, John Wiles
10 Nicky Newhoff
11 Jo Beaver, Brian Powell
19 Abby McClain
22 Bob Reisinger, Thomas Wiles
24 Karen Dew
25 Tye Schellhorn
27 David Schwab
29 Jim Clarke

First Presbyterian Church | Waterloo, IA | 319-233-6145 |