Pastor Connection
March 27, 2020
A Note From Pastor Pat
In the Wilderness...

Hope and despair. Fear and courage. Desolation and beauty. Presence and absence.Test and temptation. Peace and turmoil. The wilderness is a mix of all this and more. Writers have described it as a “thin place,” a place of vulnerability. The Bible presents the wilderness as a place into which God speaks. In fact, the wilderness or the desert is mentioned over 300 times.

We recall God’s journey with the Israelites as they journeyed for 40 years in the desert, God’s “still small voice” to Elijah in a cave on a mountain, and God’s presence with Jesus in his 40 days of trial and temptation in the desert. Indeed, God is with us in all times and places, and Jesus reminds us, “I am with you even to the end of the age.”

The thing about the wilderness is its wildness! We don’t have control. Wildness is its very essence! That is what makes our contemporary situation so uncomfortable. We don’t have control. We have lost the control we thought we had, and it has upset our routines and turned our lives upside down. Where do we find our peace now?

In the poem “The Peace of Wild Things” Wendell Berry writes:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Berry names our fears, which are very real. He also names surrender, surrender to grace of creation and Creator, a grace we name God. God is with us, and we are together with one another in faith and hope.

In this time of trial we are reminded of grace, not from our ability to fix things, or control situations, but from our union and communion with God and one another. Our connections to grace are critical:

  • through prayer: alone and together,
  • with creation: a walk outside, a meditation through the window,
  • in communication by phone and letter
  • through worship via video
  • by reading Scripture

In her book Braving the Wilderness, Brene Brown writes, “Our belief in inextricable connection is one of the most renewable sources of courage in the wilderness.” We live and journey together in hope, a hope that sits in darkness and shines in the light. We are not alone, and we affirm that every time we turn to God in prayer and share the Peace of Christ with each
other. Thanks be to God.

May the Peace of Christ be with you,

Pastor Pat
Ways to Still Connect
Our church is creating a phone chain ministry in order to maintain community and relationship among members. We are asking people to reach out for a quick conversation simply to check in with people and maintain friendships.

All members are welcome to participate regardless of age or life circumstance. We hope that this will help keep people stay connected, especially those who do not have access to email or the internet. If you wish to participate please call the office or email Pastor Pat. .
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.
In our Thoughts and Prayers
Don Broadston, home; Pat Stanhope, Friendship Village; Shirley Sorensen, home; Neva Kerr, NewAldaya (Hospice); Crystal Lorenze, recovering from back surgery; Paul Holtz, Hospice Care; Mary Davis, Ravenwood; Steve Miller, home; Ruth Bowers, Rosewood; Jennifer Lightbody, home; Donna Harman, Pavilion, Friendship Village (Hospice Care); Dorothy Hummel, home .
Worship with Home
Pastor Amy will be leading worship through videos that you can watch on Sunday morning. You can watch them at any time. However, we encourage you to keep your Sunday routine. Watch at 10:00 a.m. at the same time as other church members. Check your email, Facebook, or our church website on Sunday morning to participate. Watch Pastor Amy explain more...

More Resources to Strengthen Your Faith at Home
Here are some new resources for nurturing faith at home. We challenge you to establish a routine of faith practices. Here are a few for you to consider. Simply click on the link highlighted in blue.

Amplify Channel This website houses tons of video series for Adult Christian Education, including our study for Lenten Lunch and Learn - Amy-Jill Levine's, Entering the Passion of Jesus. You can finish our study at home. Plus, browse dozens of options, click, and press play. It's free and easy!

Illustrated Ministry More and more adults are finding that coloring calms and focuses the mind. Illustrated ministry offers coloring pages with prayers to easy anxiety. During the COVID-19 crisis, they are offering free weekly resources to download. Just visit the website and sign up for their email list.

Tend to your body and not just your spirit! Yoga is a very helpful way to stretch, relax and focus. Try this beginner's video on YouTube. Don't want to sit on the ground? Try yoga in a chair.
Resources for Children and Youth
Check out Traci Smith . She has wonderful resources for families to nurture faith at home. Sign up for her weekly email list, Treasure Box Tuesdays. Order her book, Faithful Families . You won't regret it it!

Illustrated Ministry Again, sign up for their email list for new coloring pages every week!

Watch the video from Stephanie every Wednesday for a story and activity to do at home. She will be sending families a new one each week! Also, be looking for a new kids worship bulletin every week for family worship on Sunday.

Are you trying to find ways to talk to your kids about the coronavirus? Check at this article from the Courier.

Sometimes the best medicine to lift is some physical activity! Feeling cooped up and needing to move? Try kids yoga with Cosmic Kids. The instructor leads a yoga routine while telling a story that kids can follow.

Another good remedy for a troubled soul is some good old fashioned FUN! Try this easy craft that will keep people entertained for a while - spoon and popsicle catapult . Trying launching some marshmallows in a plastic cup. It is tons of fun and really tasty
Mission and Outreach
Sunday Supper Suspended Sunday Suppers until we have a stronger volunteer base and restrictions are lifted. We encourage those who feel well and have extra time to volunteer with the Cedar Valley Food Bank. 
Birthdays Coming Soon...
26 Dale Lottich
27 Cindy Trepp

2 Bradley Mananga
3 Tommy Roberts
4 Paul Kabel
A Few Details Concerning the Future
Please don't forget to give! Even though things are drastically different, we are still doing ministry. Don't forget to give your pledge and offerings. Mail checks to the office. Be looking for opportunities to give online.
Easter Flower Orders We will not be taking flower orders this year. With the uncertainty of future recommendations regarding health, we can not ensure order delivery. If we worship on Easter, we will encourage people to bring flowers to decorate the cross. Thank you for your understanding.
Help Us Connect with People! We want to make sure that we reach out to people as much as possible during this time of social distancing. Just because we are staying home does not mean people have to feel isolated! If you know of a friend or family member who is unable to receive regular emails. Or if someone without email is not receiving hard copies of the enote, please contact the office. Help us help you!

Join our Facebook Groups!

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