Pastor Connection
September 10, 2020
A Note From Pastor Amy
"When are we going back?"

Many people have asked me this question with great anticipation. I've asked it, too. A few months ago, Session set a date of September 13 to worship in-person inside the building. But by now, I'm sure you have read the congregational letter saying that our plans have been postponed again as Session discerns the path moving forward. Click HERE if you have not read their letter.

I can only imagine that the news has been met with a wide variety of emotions. Yet, among our many different opinions, one emotion is held in common: disappointment. We are all disappointed that we won't be gathering in our Sanctuary this coming Sunday. Still, I hope that you continue to worship with us either online or in person at our outdoor service. I hope that you continue to engage in the spiritual resources sent out every week. I hope you continue to serve the community, whether that involves participating in a supplies drive sponsored by our church or giving money that our Mission Team is dispersing to organizations around the Cedar Valley, country, and globe.

As we look to the future, I suppose people will begin to ask again, "When are we going back?" But, I would encourage us not to get stuck in that question. This current time is changing all of us. It is changing the church.

And that may not be all bad.

This time has forced us to evaluate the things that matter and what may need to be discarded. We are having to get creative in surprising ways. We are remembering the value of community and taking the time to reach out with intentionality. We are coming to grips with important mattes of faith which reveal hidden idols. We are discovering God in new and perhaps more authentic ways. So, even when we do gather in our beautiful sanctuary again, I don't know if we can ever just simply go back to the way things were.

With that in mind, I would like to share a blog post by Adam Mixon that has spoken to me this week. Adam is a pastor who works with Ministry Collaberative (formerly known as Macedonia Ministries). It is an organization designed to support pastors, and I have been connected to them for several years now. Click HERE to read the post.

As you read, I encourage each of you with his words.

"In this season, perhaps GOD is calling us from something and to someone? If we are saved, is it not GOD drawing us from a past of brokenness, into a new life of wholeness! But if our new life is to be joyful and productive – rather than asking “When are we going back?” perhaps we might ask “Where is GOD and to whom is GOD leading us forward?

Let’s not continue to linger and brood over the past – 2020 is one for the books for sure – but let’s get on with our lives! God has a bright and wondrous future for us – let’s lead with this hope…

But, as it is written, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9

GOD, grant us the strength and the courage to live from now on. Help us to accept the lessons from the past and always be grateful for your tremendous grace and provision. Beyond this LORD, give us the will to live faithfully, relying on Your awesome power for whatever lies ahead! Help us to walk away from anything that doesn’t please you or lend itself to the spiritual, emotional, or physical health of ourselves and others!  Grant us grace to trust you and not look back."

Peace be with you,
Pastor Amy
Resources for Spiritual Practices
Iowa PBS has made the film Speaking Grief available to stream online for a limited time for free Click HERE to watch. The film explores the many dimensions of grief in a wide variety of life situations. Speaking Grief will also air on Iowa PBS WORLD .3 Monday, September 14 at 7 p.m. and Tuesday, September 15 at 8 a.m. 

The Bible Project ( has a new series that explores “The Character of God.” Each week a different characteristic is explored in the Bible references. This week the word is “compassionate.” Click on the link for a short video that addresses the question, “What does it mean for God to call himself compassionate?” Click HERE to explore some of the content on the site.

In the podcast “OnBeing” hosted by Krista Tippett, this week’s interview is a replay of one recorded in 2015 with the celebrated poet Mary Oliver. Oliver reads several of her most famous poems, as well as shares comments about her faith. Click HERE to listen.

Participate in the “Community Read” of the book How to Be An Anti-Racist” by Ibram Kendi, sponsored by the Cedar Valley Interfaith Council. Five panel discussions will be held on Facebook Live every Thursday night in October (Oct, 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29) from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. featuring community leaders. Those leaders include our mayors, police chiefs, business, community and religious leaders. The CVIC will host its book groups following each of those Thursday night presentations from 7:00-8:00 via zoom. Multiple groups will meet at those times. Other book groups will meet at other times.
Grand Sweep Bible Study Continues!
We are continuing our journey through the Bible with the Grand Sweep Bible Study, the two year Bible study that walks through each book of the Bible. This Bible study is a combined effort between the Presbyterian Churches in the Cedar Valley led by the pastors of the different churches. The class meets via Zoom weekly on Tuesday evenings at 6:00 p.m. and lasts until 7:30 p.m. Church offices will send out the link to anyone expressing a desire to join us for our time together in God’s word. People are welcome to join the class at anytime. Please let Pastor Amy know if you'd like to join the study so you can be included in the group's emails.
School Supply Drive - THANK YOU!
Thank you to all those who helped with our church's school supply drive. Your generosity helped the students at Cunningham Elementary start the school year! Thank you again!                            
Staff on Leave
Office Hours
Pastor Amy will be on leave September 21-27. Pastor Pat will be on call for pastoral care needs. There will be no Pastor Connection that week. Please make plans accordingly.
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 20:1-16. 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
With our Sympathy:
“Hap” Spencer died on Friday, September 4. Earl “Hap” Spencer was Mavis Sommerlot’s son-in-law, married to Cindy, and father of Crystal and Wil. Hap and Cindy were members of First Presbyterian until they moved to Janesville several years ago. There will be no visitation and service, but a private family burial at Waterloo Memorial Park. 

Mona Reed, of Weaverville, North Carolina passed away on July 14, 2020 in Jupiter, Florida. She was a long time member of 1st Church before moving. She taught BIble study for the Elizabeth PW Circle.

Updates and New to the List:
Mary K Williams is at home and recovering well.

For specific individuals:
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!
12 Karen Hahn
15 Jim Reisinger
17 Joseph Swallow, Ruthie Wiles
18 Jean Seeland
19 Paige Bass

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