Pastor Connection
June 10, 2021
A Note from Pastor Amy

Sometimes, when studying a passage of Scripture, you learn a little detail that intrigues to the point of simmering in the soul. That happened this week in preparing for Tuesday’s Bible Study at the church. We looked at the passage that Rev. David Feltman has chosen for this Sunday - 2 Corinthians 5:16-21.

In verse 18, Paul says, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” It is common for Paul to speak of Christ reconciling us to himself. However, the detail that stood out for me is the second part of the verse. Paul says that acts of reconciliation are also, therefore, entrusted to us. This is the only time in Paul’s corpus where reconciliation is to be done by people. Furthermore, he wrote these words to a group of people who were questioning his authority and message. They were possibly attacking him, wounding him both in spirit and reputation. Relationships had been broken.

What brought Paul to the point of wanting to be reconciled to people behaving like that? Would you have wanted to be reconciled to them?

Reconciliation is hard work and so not always readily pursued. Perhaps that’s why Christians have often tamed its definition. In their book Reconciling All Things, Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice explain that Christians tend to focus on reconciliation in two main ways. First, they understand Christ’s reconciliation in strictly individual terms. In other words, they focus solely on the restoration of their personal relationship with God with no reference to social realities or relationships with others. Second, they redefine reconciliation as diversity alone. In other words, Christians celebrate differences but pay no attention to the injustices tied to those differences. The authors write, “Too often, ‘diversity’ becomes a cheap form of coalition building by essentially silencing difference…”(1)

Paul speaks of a different kind of work. Reconciliation as seen in Christ involves the long, slow, sometimes painful journey of mending relationships, which involves naming wrongs that have been committed, forgiving what needs to be forgiven, healing wounds, and repairing the brokenness that has resulted. Reconciliation is not for the faint of heart.

At the same time, reconciliation is where we see Christ most powerfully at work. I believe that’s why Paul so urgently reached out to the very community who hurt him. That’s why the difficult work - even with its struggle - can be life giving as well. 

Do you want to enter into that work? If so, then the first step might be to simply name and listen to brokenness. Name and listen to the brokenness in relationships, in society, in the church, in government - wherever your heart aches. Listen for Jesus’ next directions for healing trusting that Christ has gone before us to pave the way for the journey.

Peace be with you,
Pastor Amy

(1) Emmanuel Katongole and Chris Rice, Reconciling All Things (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008) 30.
A Flamboyance of Flamingos Spotted in the Wild!

Rumor has it that some First Presbyterian members have been seeing pink birds on their lawns. Obviously, these flamingos love Presbyterians and they are wonderful representations of God's love for us. If you find a flamboyance of flamingos on your lawn, enjoy for a bit and then be sure to pass the love along. The office would also love a photo of these crafty creatures making their appearances! Feel free to email a photo to
Book Club Resumes

The First Church Book Club has resumed their monthly meetings. The club will meet on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 9:30 in Calvin Hall. Please mark your calendars to join us next month!
Mark Your Calendars: Guest Speaker Rescheduled

We were planning to host a conversation with Amgad Beblawi, our presbytery's new Mission Executive this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, Amgad had a family emergency and we needed to reschedule. Amgad will come on Monday, July 12th, at 5:30 pm to share about justice work and the church's role in that work. Church members are invited and welcome to attend. We hope to see you there to join in the discussion.
Congratulations to Reverend Doctor Amy Wiles

The First Church family offers our heartfelt congratulations to Pastor Amy for her phenomenal achievement of obtaining her Doctorate of Ministry Degree in Biblical Preaching.
Presbyterian Women Meeting

The next Presbyterian Women meeting will be held Wednesday, June 16, in Calvin Hall at 9:30.
New Partners in Ministry- Hip Hop Literacy

We are thrilled to form a new partnership helping children in our community! The Hip Hop Literacy program will be hosting their summer classes in our building this year. 40 children will gather in our space Monday through Thursday from 9:00-1:00, starting June 14th and running through July 22nd.

The Hip Hop Literacy program promotes literacy skills using hip hop in creative ways. You can learn more about the program by visiting this website:
Mark Your Calendars! First Church Fellowship Gathering Planned

On Sunday, June 20th, the First Church family will be holding a Bring Your Own Picnic event at Byrnes Park. We will gather and spend time together at the shelter, immediately following worship. There is a playground for the kids to enjoy! We will also be taking time that day to honor Dakota, our choir director before he leaves for Texas. Be looking for more information on how to express your gratitude for the contributions Dakota has given to our church family.
Coffee Hour Following Worship

Please join us for coffee hour following the Worship Service in Calvin Hall. Coffee and light snacks will be provided, so please grab a cup and enjoy spending a little time together after church.
Tuesday Morning Bible Study Resumes!

Please join us this Tuesday, June 15th, at 9am in Calvin Hall. All are welcome! Coffee and snacks will be provided. We will be looking at the upcoming sermon text. We hope you can join us!
Pastors On Leave

Our pastors will be on leave the following dates:

Pastor Pat will be on leave June 4th through June 10th.
Pastor Amy will be on leave June 13th through June 19th.
Pastor Amy will be on leave July 5th through July 8th.

Rev. David Feltman will be delivering the sermon on Sunday, June 13th.
Pastor Pat will be delivering the sermon on Sunday, June 20th.
Office Closing Early

The church office will be closing early at 3:00pm on the following Tuesdays this month: June 15th, June 22nd, and June 29th. All other office hours remain the same. Thank you for your understanding.
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.
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.
Allen College ACE-SAP Free Clinic

Allen College is holding free clinics this summer for those who are uninsured or underinsured. A variety of services are offered, including free screening and assessment of chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They offer medication assistance and community referrals. The clinic offers psychiatric nurse practitioners by appointment. ACE-SAP partners with the I-Smile program to do dental assessments and fluoride applications for those who lack dental care. They may be able to assist with costs for dental problems due to receiving a grant from Delta Dental. The clinic is staffed by students in the master's program at Allen College, supervised by licensed faculty.

The clinic is open 9am to 5pm on Wednesdays through June and July at the Salvation Army, 207 Logan Avenue in Waterloo. For more detailed information, please see the letter and flyer on the bulletin board next to the church office, call or email Amber at 319-233-6145;, or visit the website,
Activity Book Drive

Impact Church needs your help! May 23rd- June 26th, 2021. Impact is collecting the following items for residents at Manor Care Health Services in Waterloo.

-Coloring books-Large print word find books-Large print crossword puzzle books-Sudoko books-Markers-

Drop donations off daily at: Impact Church, 715 E. 4th Street Waterloo

You can also donate by check, via CASHAPP at $impactchurchwloo, or on their website at

For more information please call 319-595-1015 or email
Impact Church Garage Sale

Impact Church Annual Garage Sale, 715 E. 4th Street, Waterloo.
Friday, June 18th 8AM-5:30PM
Saturday, June 19th 7:30AM-3PM

This may be held outside of the church, so feel free to stop by and shop!
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.
Pulpit Flower Volunteers Needed

We are once again accepting donations of flower arrangements for our Sunday Services. We currently have openings on July 4th, 18th, 25th, and August 1st, 15th, and 29th. 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!
Church Prayer List
With Our Sympathies:
Charles Strack, Mary Kabel's brother passed away last week. We hold the family in our prayers for comfort and peace.

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:
Joe Fernau, son of Marie Fernau, who has been diagnosed with lymphoma; Marilyn Lottich, recovering from time in the hospital; Mable, Skip and Judy Mulock's great granddaughter who is 7 months old, struggling with health issues; Donna Beaver recovering from foot surgery; Evelyn and Carl Boice's son who is ill; Angie (Kim Swallow's friend) who works at the Anamosa State Penitentiary; Steve Miller recovering from surgery at home, prayers of safety for Barbara Benskin's son who is a trucker

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 June. If you get a chance, please join us in wishing them a very happy birthday!

1 Travis Bowers
3 Drew Newhoff
4 Nancy Valentine
5 Jackson Bass, Marilyn Lottich, Samuel Smith
8 Judy Anders, Sarah Christensen, Steve Cose
9 Shirley Sorenson
11 David Kabel, Doug Newhoff
16 Teresa Ames, Jean Priebe
19 Jennifer Bass, Mark Fairbanks, Paul Mead, Kim Reisinger, Colette Shull
21 Lorraine Baker
25 Olive Whyte
26 Barbara Young
28 Kevynne Wimberley
30 Theresa Braby

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