Pastor Connection
May 21, 2020

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A Note from Pastor Amy
This Sunday we read the story of Jesus' Ascension - Acts 1:1-11. After 40 days with the disciples post-resurrection, Jesus is taken up in a cloud to be with the Father. This is one of those theological details that we don't talk about very much. Jesus in a manger. Death on a cross. An empty tomb. These are the events more common in our Christian's vernacular. What do we do with the Ascension? Isn't this a little detail about the story that we can skip?

No! The Story of Jesus' Ascension is not just a tidy ending to explain Jesus' disappearance. Jesus' Ascension reveals a significant promise about the nature of God.

Jesus was fully human. He felt pain, joy, anger, despair....all the same feelings and experiences that we do. He knew our vulnerabilities and fears. He even tasted the sting of death. When Jesus goes to be with the Father, his humanity is taken into the very being of God. God, then, knows the intricate details of our pain, joy, anger, despair, vulnerabilities and fears. When Jesus ascends to the Father, humanity itself finds a way home with God as well.

Edmund Banyard explains it in a reflection from his anthology Turn but a Stone

Lost to sight in the clouds!
Taking off,
jet propelled like a human rocket
to return to –
where?

Is this how it was,
the Ascension?

Caught up into all the glory of God
and so here –
and everywhere,
no longer imprisoned by physical limitations:
unseen
but not
unexperienced.

One with the Father,
Jesus takes
into the Godhead
all that it means
to be human.

And so I know,
that I am known,
by the Almighty;
known,
and
understood.

The Ascension of Jesus is not a plot detail too strange for us to remember each year. The Ascension reminds us of the radical claim that we are fully known and understood by God. Each of us finds a place at home with the Father. During this time of uncertainty when each of us is dealing with complex feelings and wonderings, I pray that you rest in the assurance that God knows you and understands. Furthermore, God has drawn you to Godsself and made a place for you. You are not alone. Thanks be to God!

Peace be with you,
Pastor Amy
Honoring our Graduating Senior:
Mitchell Sage!
To celebrate the graduation of Mitchell Sage, you are invited to participate in a card shower. Please send a card to Mitchell at 107 Alta Vista Ave., Waterloo, IA 50703. We will put all the cards together and deliver them to Mitchell. All cards are due by June 5.

ALSO, join in a car caravan to the Sage Farm, 4051 Burton Avenue, Waterloo on Saturday, June 6, at 2 p.m. We will meet in the Church parking lot at 1:45 and caravan from there to the Sage Farm. We will drive through the farm and honk. We will not stop and/or get out of our vehicles. Please make signs for your cars congratulating Mitch. If you wish to participate in the caravan, please call or text Jean Seeland at 319-493-2015. A rain date for the caravan will be Sunday, June 7 at 2p.m.

We hope to have a reception sometime in the future, but we will recognize Mitchell this way for now. Help us congratulate Mitch!
NEW Resources for Devotional and Spiritual Practices
The Henri Nouwen Society a daily meditation at www.henrinouwen.org
 Podcasts, book discussion groups, and a variety of other resources are also available on the site.  Nouwen was an internationally known Catholic priest, author, and professor who wrote 39 books on spiritual life.

God Pause is a daily devotional written by Luther Seminary alumni. Sign-up is available at http://luthersem.edu/godpause/  Luther Seminary also offers commentaries and podcasts on the weekly lectionary texts at www.workingpreacher.org
Zoom Coffee Hour
We will gather over Zoom every Tuesday in the coming weeks. There will be plenty of time for fellowship and Pastor Amy will also bring a short devotional thought. You will need a computer with a camera and microphone. Most newer computers have these features already built in. Give it a try! This is open to ALL church members.

Our next coffee hour will be Tuesday, May 26, at 9:00 a.m. Click this link to join. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88566321757
UPDATE: How is FPC helping the Community?
If you missed the special update on how our church is supporting the community, you can still read it HERE . FPC continues to give in generous ways to help support organizations that our helping people during this difficult time. Thank you for continuing to give so that we can be the hands and feet of Christ in a hurting world.
Online Giving Now 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
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Prayers of Joy:
Jordan, (granddaughter of Ann Sage) who has been quarantined on the cruise ship is finally home! The ship arranged for her leave the ship.

New to the prayer list:
Bob Cutsforth, who has been diagnosed with cancer

Rev. Gary Catterson, who is having an angioplasty on Friday, May 22.

Steve Miller was in the hospital last week with a number of health issues.

For specific individuals:
The Platts' friends in Venezuela who are struggling with food and other resources; Donna Beaver, who is recovering from surgery for carpal tunnel; Karen Dew's cousins, Sherry and Holly, who have been affected by COVID-19, Joe Fernau (Marie's son), who started treatments for lymphoma; Gerald Buls, who is home after receiving treatment for his kidney; 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; Don Broadston, home; Pat Stanhope, Friendship Village; Shirley Sorensen, Friendship Village; Neva Kerr, NewAldaya (Hospice); Crystal Lorenze, recovering from back surgery; Paul Holtz, Hospice Care; Mary Davis, Ravenwood

Broader prayer concerns from the congregation:
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
teachers and students trying to adapt learning
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!
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May

23 Caleb Mananga, Alannah Roseboom
25 Sybil Whyte
28 Debbie McQuilkin
29 Helena Mananga



First Presbyterian Church | Waterloo, IA | 319-233-6145 | www.1stpresby.org