Pastor Connection
September 24, 2020
A Noted From Pastor Amy
I'm writing today's note one week before it is sent out. By the time you read it, I will be in the middle of a week of vacation leave. I'm hoping to rest so that deeper waters are allowed to seep into the well of my soul and refresh my spirit.

I hope that you also make it a priority to allow deeper waters to restore you - take a walk, play a game, take a nap, read a book, say a prayer.

Or perhaps, simply have the audacity to recite
Mary Oliver's poem -


Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word
I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.
But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move though really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors
into the temple.
Spiritual Practices for the Week
“Morning Prayer” Start your day with Morning Prayer  by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga, S.J, translated from the Spanish by Fr. Mark Stengel, O.S.B. See it HERE.

“A Healing Community” In a recent meditation Richard Rohr writes of the African American spiritual story and describes it in part as, “one of hope in the face of despair, of quiet determination in the face of myriad obstacles, of a quiet yet fierce dignity over against the denial of their very humanity. “ Read it HERE

What speaks to you or challenges you? How would you describe your spiritual story?
Change in Worship Time
The weather is staring to get a little chilly! Starting this week, September 27, we are changing our outdoor worship time to 10:00 a.m. We plan to continue our outdoor worship services until the weather gets too cold or we return to indoor worship. We will keep you updated on plans.
Supporting Presbyterian Mission Co-Workers
The Mission and Outreach Team is excited to report that we are providing financial support to 2 Presbyterian mission co-worker couples this year. Each couple received $1500. This is the second of a two part report on the couples.

The second couple is Larry and Inge Sthreshley, who have been in mission service in Africa for over 20 years. Both Larry and Inge grew up as children of missionaries in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where they are currently serving.

As a health liaison, Larry assists with the development of the health ministries of churches and their role in the health system of Congo. Larry is the chief of party of the ASSP (a French acronym that means Access to Primary Health Care) project. The project’s goal is to work with the government, churches and the community to develop a resilient health care system that provides affordable health care and preventive services to 8 million people in five provinces of the country. The project addresses issues such as health infrastructure, primary health care, malaria, water and sanitation, vaccinations, nutrition, family planning, HIV, and gender violence. It also does some limited work in agriculture.

Inge also works with the ASSP project in the areas of nutrition, home gardening, and implementing clean cook stoves. She also provides oversight to the Methodist Presbyterian Hostel (MPH), which is a mission guest house and small conference center. MPH provides a much needed service to Presbyterian and Methodist mission workers, national and international church groups, work teams and individuals traveling and working in partnership in Congo.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country roughly one-quarter the size of the United States. It is a land that has been ravaged by conflict. The havoc wrought by 40 years of dictatorship under Mobutu followed by multiple wars and continued pockets of militia fighting have kept this resource-rich country from developing its potential. The majority of Congo’s people struggle daily for survival. Despite these circumstances, the church in the DRC continues to witness to the Good News of God’s Word through their multifold ministries.

If you would like to learn more about the work that Larry and Inge are doing, you will find their letters posted at their website. Click HERE for more information.
A New Community Book Study
As we have watched the ongoing call for racial justice in our nation, many among us have wondered "What can I do? How can I help?" We don't always have a clear path forward in tackling the large systemic problems that continue to hurt our communities. However, one step is always important in moving forward: educating ourselves.

This October, our church will be participating in the Cedar Valley Community Book Read of How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi. Lots of churches and other groups will be reading the book this month, including the Cedar Valley Interfaith Council, UNI, and several different community leaders. We will be learning from the author and from each other. Please click HERE to watch a short video invitation by Laura Hoy.

Dismantling racism is a priority and will not happen without ongoing intention, prioritization, and strategic focus.  A collective reading of How to be an Antiracist can help our community by:
*creating shared vocabulary and definitions around race, racism, and antiracism.
*growing understanding through the reading and by listening to our Cedar Valley neighbors.
*building new and stronger connections with Cedar Valley neighbors. 
*forging a collective sense of urgency and value to work together as antiracists toward the vision of a more just community. 
*providing a launching pad for further discussion and strategic action.

In partnership with this effort, our church will hold its own 5 week study of the book on Mondays, every week at 12:00-12:45 starting October 5 through November 2. We will share our thoughts about the book and discuss our impressions of a weekly panel held by local community leaders who are also reading the book. This panel will include educational leaders, law enforcement leaders, religious leaders, business leaders, and government/political leaders. Pastor Amy will lead us in these discussions. If the Monday time doesn't work for you, there will be another opportunity offered on Thursday night in partnership with First Baptist Waterloo from 6:30-7:30.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Pastor Pat to sign up by September 27. We are asking that participants purchase their own books through their favored book provider. It is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. If purchasing a book is a hindrance, please let Pastor Pat know. The church can help with ordering or funds for purchases.

We hope that you prayerfully consider joining us.
Peace and Global Witness Offering
The Peace and Global Witness Offering is one of the 4 Presbyterian special offerings we collect every year. A gift to this offering enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world.

Individual congregations are encouraged to utilize 25% of the offering to connect with the global witness of Chrit's peace. This year, we will designate our portion of the offering to the House of Hope in Waterloo, which serves the needs of female head-of-household families. It is no surprise that Covid-19 has created a whole new layer of problems for the women to cope with, particularly more stress and a sense of isolation. Some of the women at the House have lost jobs or hours. While others (such as employed by Friendship Village) are considered front line providers. Fortunately no House residents, staff, or volunteers have contracted the virus.

On another positive note, the House has several new programs started this year:
• Covid-19 Rent Assistance Program. For single women with at least 1 child, who are not residents of the House.
• Financial Mentoring Program. 4 week 1:1 program focused on credit review, goal setting, and money management.
• Family Support and Wellness Program. 4 week 1:1 program focused on coping skills, crisis intervention, family skills, mental and emotional health (including the kids), picking a primary care physician and immunizations.
• Outreach. Reaches out to women on the House’s long waiting list and helps them connect with community resources and work on issues to stabilize their situation, while waiting for an opening at the House.

Covid-19 has also had an adverse impact on fundraising at the House, and our financial support is definitely needed. We hope you will be able to contribute to the Peace and Global Witness Offering and our support of the House of Hope.

This year, we will be accepting the offering between now and Sunday, October 4. There will be no special envelope. Please mark your donation as “Peace Offering”.
Changes in Staff
As we continue to search for someone to fill the office manager position, we have hired Dee Jordan to handle the financial responsibilities of church operations in an interim position. Dee is a chef for Sunday Supper, member at Westminster Presbyterian, and works in the office at Westminster. Dee has a wealth of experience with financial operations and we are grateful that she will be lending a hand.

Dee began this week on Monday. She plans to work in the office on Monday afternoons for 2-4 hours per week. Pastor Amy and Pastor Pat will still be covering the regular office hours and office needs beyond church financial responsibilities.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue in this interim time in the life of the staff.
Staff on Leave
Office Hours
Pastor Amy is on leave THIS week, September 21-27. Pastor Pat will be on call for pastoral care needs.
Remember that our church office hours are Monday through Thursday 9:00 - 2:00. Pastor Amy and Pat will be covering the office duties as they are able until a new office manager is hired. Please call before coming to ensure someone is in the building.
Zoom Bible Study
We will meet again this Tuesday at 9:00 via zoom to discuss the upcoming sermon text. Next week's passage is Matthew 21:33-46. Pastor Amy will be following the Revised Common Lectionary until Advent.
Online Giving Available
Thank you to all those who are continuing to faithfully give their pledges and offerings to the church. In an attempt to make giving easier during this time, we have initiated online giving to our church through the Presbyterian Foundation. Click on the button below to set up on account for continual giving. You may also give a one time gift. You may also continue to mail checks to the church. Please call Kelley if you have questions.

We are still engaging in meaningful ministry and your offerings make that ministry possible. Thank you for your generosity and please continue to give as you can.
In Our Thoughts and Prayers
(This week's prayer list was updated on September 20. If new prayer concerns have been added during this past week, we will update you in the next Pastor Connection. Thank you for your understanding.)

Updates and New to the List:
Jim Clark dealing with cancer
Gary Lee dealing with walking and balance issues
Marilyn Lottich dealing with health issues but recovering at home
Eric, Erwin and Kathleen Jaeger's son, who fell and fractured his heel. He will be having surgery this week.

For specific individuals:
Mary K Williams is at home and recovering well; Richard Platt at he recovers from surgery at home; Tim and Kyle, Anne Sage's son and grandson, who experienced damage to their farm due to storms; Barbara Benskin's daughter, Rochelle, and her husband have been diagnosed with Covid and they are concerned about underlying health issues; Steve Miller, home; Gerald Buls, who has been diagnosed with lymph node cancer; prayers of safety for Lorraine Baker's nephew and Barbara Benksin's son, who are both truckers; Kason (Connie Leeper's daughter-in-law's nephew, recovering from a car accident; Bob Cutsforth, who is undergoing cancer treatment; The Platts' friends in Venezuela who are struggling with food and other resources; Joe Fernau (Marie's son), who finished treatments for lymphoma; Sarah (granddaughter of Evelyn and Carl Boice) who is an RN at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester MN, and her husband, Dylan, who is an essential non-medical worker at Mayo; Megan and Emma Schellhorn as they work at Fareway; Jan and Dean Bellinger's daughters and granddaughters who are serving in hospitals and nursing care facilities; for Alexa (granddaughter of Janis Shea) who works in an essential business credit union and is subjected to the virus; Courtney Pilcher who works in health care services; Neva Kerr, NewAldaya (Hospice); Crystal Lorenze, recovering from back surgery; Paul Holtz, Hospice Care

Broader prayer concerns from the congregation:
All those affected by wildfires
All those affected by storms and hurricanes
that justice and lasting peace will come to our nation
leaders in all areas who are making decisions for people's well-being
all those living and working in nursing homes, assisted living, and retirement communities
workers at Tyson's
that all will stay well
all doctors, nurses, and health care providers along with their families
all those who are essential workers
those who are strictly quarantined for a variety of reasons

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.
Happy Birthday!
24 Craig Cose
29 Ed Halvorson

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