Pastor Connection
May 13, 2021
A Note from Pastor Amy

I haven’t written a note for the Pastor Connection in a few weeks. I was taking time to finish up some school work and visit with my parents who came to town last weekend. Plus, I needed a bit of a break. (By the way, I appreciate your prayers as I walked through the defense of my doctoral thesis. I am happy to report that I passed! Thank you again for your loving encouragement and prayers.)

Anyhow, as I sat down to write again after a short hiatus, I couldn’t seem to think of anything to say. I came up against a severe case of writer’s block. I kept trying to find words, and yet nothing seemed to resonate in my thoughts and soul.

As I sat with this feeling for a while, I began to think about all the times when words seem to fail us. There are moments in life when none of us know what to say. They can be moments of extreme beauty, joy, or gratitude. But oftentimes, they are moments of grief, anger, or disgust. 

Perhaps, you have experienced one of those moments….perhaps, you are experiencing it now.

For those moments when words fail, especially times of struggle, I’d like to share a prayer by Ted Loder from his book Guerillas of Grace. May his words help each of us to bring our silences to God.

Listen to Me Under My Words
O God, I come to you now
as a child to my Mother,
out of the cold which numbs
into the warm who cares.
Listen to me inside,
under my words
where the shivering is,
in the fears
which freeze my living,
in the angers 
which chafe my attending
in the doubts 
which chill my hoping,
in the events 
which shrivel my thanking
in the pretenses
which stiffen my loving.

Listen to me, Lord,
as a Mother,
and hold me warm,
And forgive me.
Soften my experiences
into wisdom,
my pride 
Into acceptance,
my longing
Into trust,
and soften me
into love 
and to others
and to you.
Graduation Sunday May 16th

We will be celebrating our two graduating High School Seniors, Emma Schellhorn and Megan Wheelock, on this Sunday, May 16th, during the worship service. We hope to shower them with encouraging cards from our church members on that day. Baskets for each young woman will be available on Sunday.
Congratulations Emma and Megan!
Emma Schellhorn Class of 2021

Emma is the daughter of Michael and Michelle, sister of Megan and Tye. Grandparents are Marie Fernau and Arlan and Linda Schellhorn. She will graduate from Waterloo East High School as valedictorian and will be receiving an International Baccalaureate diploma. Her other activities include National Honor Society (president), Track (captain), Cross Country, Football cheerleader (senior year), Student Council, and Editor of yearbook (sophomore year), She has been working at Fareway in Evansdale since she was 14. She will pursue her CNA certification at Hawkeye Community College this summer. In the fall, she plans to attend the University of Iowa for a degree in Human Physiology with a minor in Spanish. In the spare time she has, she enjoys spending time with her friends and snuggling her dog Ivy.         

Megan Wheelock Class of 2021

Megan Wheelock will be graduating as Salutatorian at Valley Lutheran School. In her high school years she has achieved National Honors Society, Dance Team MVP, Choir President, Student Council President and Speech Team Leader. She's been singing & acting since she was 8 and has been in multiple musicals & plays. She has received many Division 1 ratings & this year, All State in Musical Theatre in Speech & Choir competitions. During the summer she performs at several Iowa fairs & Iowa State Fair in the Bill Riley Talent Search. She also just started to work at Pearl Tea.She plans on attending Viterbo University in the Musical Theatre 4 year program in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.     

Church Directory

If you would like an updated church directory, please contact Amber in the office, or 319-233-6145. We have a version which can be emailed, or if you would prefer a paper copy, we can send you one in the mail.
Community Volunteer Opportunities

Want to volunteer but also want to stay safe? Here are two ideas that will allow you to stay safe at home, but make a great contribution to the community:

  • Hawkeye Community College needs virtual tutoring for English Language Learners at the Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center. Help ELL students to understand and learn academic subject matter in order to become independent learners. Some training is required.
  • The Pillar of the Cedar Valley is looking for volunteers to write letters to their residents. Become a Pen Pal!

For more information, contact Jean Seeland
Vacation Bible School

First Presbyterian church would like to share an opportunity for VBS at Westminster Presbyterian with you!

Westminster is offering "Knights of North Castle Vacation Bible School"
June 21 - 25, 2021 / 9am-12pm
Ages 3 thru kids going into 5th grade
They will hold VBS outside as much as possible this year to provide a safe environment and masks will be required.

If you are interested in attending or know someone who is, please visit or call their office at 319-234-5501.
Pulpit Flower Volunteers Needed

We are once again accepting donations of flower arrangements for our Sunday Services. We currently have openings on May 30th, June 6th, June 13th, June 20th, and June 27th. If you would like to donate, please contact Amber in the office to find a date that works for you. You can call the office or email Amber directly. 319-233-6145 or Alternatively, you can let Nancy Valentine know on Sundays after service and she will relay your information to Amber. Thank you!
Annual Miracle of the Marigolds

Each year our church has helped love our neighbors through participating in Miracle of the Marigolds. Neighbors gather to plant marigolds on the corners of the Walnut Neighborhood to bring a little beauty to our community. This year we are gathering again! Saturday, May 15 10 a.m. starting at Grace Gardens at the corner of Walnut St. and 3rd St. Flowers will be provided. Feel free to bring garden tools to help with the planting.
Pentecost Special Offering

A special offering will be received in two weeks on Pentecost Sunday, May 23.
This offering unites us in a church-wide effort to support young people. A gift to the Pentecost Offering helps the church encourage, develop, and support its young people, and also address the needs of at-risk children. Forty percent of the Pentecost offering will be used to make an impact in the lives of young people within Black Hawk County. 

This year that will be donated to Youth in Transition to help celebrate the young people turning eighteen and leaving foster care. The thirteen young people graduating foster care this year will be given household necessities to help them make the transition from foster care to adulthood. Often these young people have very little support and knowing the community cares means so much. 

The remaining 60% is used to support children-at-risk, youth, and young adults through ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Piecemaker Quilters to Meet May 15

After more than a year, the Piecemaker Quilters will gather on Saturday, May 15, from 9:00-11:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall for a time of fellowship, “show and tell” and a discussion of future plans. Masks will be required and we will practice social distancing. We hope to see you there. Newcomers are always welcome.
Volunteers for Coffee Hour!

We are hoping to offer an opportunity for fellowship over coffee after the worship service very soon, but first we need some folks to help make the coffee! Are you willing to help? If so, please sign your name and contact information in the church office. You can call, 319-233-6145, email Amber,, or stop in. Thanks for your help!
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.
Church Prayer List
New to the Prayer List:
-Tom and Rita Campbell's grandson, Jason Young, died recently. He was the son of Anita. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
-Jean Preibe was in the hospital with pneumonia; she is at home now recovering.
-Donna Beaver had foot surgery and is recovering at home.
-Karen Hahn had surgery, she is now at home recovering.

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:
Marsha Platt as she recovers from knee replacement surgery; Evelyn and Carl Boice's son who is ill; Angie (Kim Swallow's friend) who works at the Anamosa State Penitentiary; Dorothy Hummel recovering from surgery; Barbara Benskin recovering from injuries from a fall; Pat Stanhope fell and sprained her arm/shoulder; 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 May. If you get a chance, please join us in wishing them a very happy birthday!

4 Deidre Shea
6 Justin Edwards
7 Neva Kerr
8 Randy Lippert, Brody Powell
11 Marshall Abbe, Kathleen Jaeger
12 Corey Wheelock
14 Jana Fairbanks                              
16 Jordan Abbe                              
19 Dee May
20 Mary Dutton, Ed Jessen
23 Caleb Mananga, Alannah Sage
25 Sybil Whyte
28 Debbie McQuilkin
29 Helena Mananga

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