Pastor Connection
August 13th, 2020

A Note From Pastor Amy
Do you remember the 1993 movie Groundhog Day? It's about a weatherman, played by Bill Murray, who finds himself waking up over and over on the very same day. Nothing ever changes. At first, the situation is funny, even enjoyable. But then, he begins to feel trapped and desperate to escape the endless loop of repeating days.

I've heard people liken their Covid experience to living through Groundhog Day - the same thing over and over again with little prospect of change. Even before Covid, I know that several people in our congregation might have felt the pangs of a monotonous daily routine. Are you there? Are you feeling a bit trapped and desperate to escape? Are you longing for something different and wondering if it will ever come?

The kind of monotony we face at the start of each new day can lead to feelings of despair, just like the weatherman in Groundhog Day. Despair can become its own kind of trap if we don't try to escape. In a Facebook post David Whyte, writer and poet, described despair saying:

Despair turns to depression and abstraction when we try to make it stay beyond its appointed season and start to shape our identity around its frozen disappointments. But despair can only stay beyond its appointed time through the forced artificiality of created distance, by abstracting ourselves from bodily feeling, by trapping ourselves in the disappointed mind, by convincing ourselves that the seasons have stopped and can never turn again, and perhaps, most simply and importantly, by refusing to let the body breathe by its self, fully and deeply. Despair is kept alive by freezing our sense of time and the rhythms of time; when we no longer feel imprisoned by time, and when the season is allowed to turn, despair cannot survive.

I am particularly struck by Whyte's anecdote for despair. It has made me wonder how we can "allow the season to turn." We might not know when our present Covid season will turn, but we don't have to stay frozen in time. Perhaps when we make the effort to intentionally pay attention to each day, we will discover surprises, changes, opportunities to wonder or serve, even gifts we never thought possible the day before. Perhaps we allow the season to turn by letting our bodies breathe and noticing the air blowing in and through the day we've been given.

In an attempt to help you greet today day as a new season, let me offer a suggestion that has helped me in the past. The Irish poet, John O'Donohue in To Bless the Space Between Us, suggestions pondering several questions at the end of each day. I've posted them HERE. Each question helps us recognize the poignant moments, special blessings, and purpose with each new morning. May the practice of paying attention through these questions help you embrace the truth found in Lamentations 3:22-23. "The Lord's mercies never cease; they are new every morning."

Pastor Amy
Grand Sweep Bible Study Starts Back Up Again!
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
School will be starting soon and that means it is time for our annual “Back to School Supplies” mission project. We will be collecting supplies from Monday, August 10th through Monday, August 31st. You may bring your supply donations to the church Monday through Thursday between the hours of 9 am and 2 pm, and place your donation in the box in the lobby. Or if you would like to make a monetary donation, just mark your donation “Mission/Back to School Supplies”, send it to the church and members of the Mission team will do the shopping.

Supply List

  • 5”x8” supply boxes                      
  • Wide rule loose leaf paper            
  •  #2 Ticonderoga Pencils        
  • Scissors                                       
  • 24 count Crayola Crayons             
  • Plastic 2 Pocket Folders                                         
  • Glue sticks    
  • Kleenex                                           
  • 3x3 Post -its
  • Black dry erase markers              
  • Pencil top erasers                          
  • Pink erasers
  • Wide rule 1 subject spiral notebook                                                   
  • Washable Crayola Markers                                         
Resources for Spiritual Practices
“A Blessing Exercise”
Blessing is the art of being spiritually present to others in prayer. It is asking for God to surround a particular person or situation with love, healing, and peace. A five-step exercise includes prayer for self, for a good friend, for someone you do not know very well, and someone you dislike. For the steps to follow see:

“Ritualizing Our Rites of Passage”
Rev. Cameron Trimble notes that, “Ritualizing our rites of passage helps us integrate the wisdom we have gained and let go of what holds us back. It allows us to hold the grief that comes with change and hold the hope that comes with dreams.” Since COVID took hold of lives in mid-March, much has changed in our lives. Rituals our rites can be helpful in integrating the wisdom we have gained and letting go of what is no longer applicable or possible. Trimble says, “Rituals allow us to hold the grief that comes with change and the hope that comes with dreams.”

Take time for reflection on the changes in your life and our world since COVID. Write in a diary or journal that changes that you have experienced –by choice or by necessity of the external environment. What has changed in your life? What losses have you experienced? How can you both acknowledge the grief in what has been lost/changed and at the same time celebrate the gratitude for having had that experience? What in the new adjustments that have been made, have you found to have meaning/brought pleasure?  Write out your responses and then pray over what you have written. [adapted from “Piloting Faith,” by Cameron Trimble,

“The Spiritual Work of Overcoming Racism”
The Upper Room has a list resources available at The material is listed under three categories:
            Reaching In: How are we reaching within and looking at the face of evil within ourselves? How are we complicit with the systems that keep evil in place?
           Reaching Up: How are we reaching up to God and seeking the courage and power to die to the old creation and become a part of the new creation?
           Reaching Out: How are we reaching up to God and seeking the courage and power to die to the old creation and become a part of the new creation?
Don't Forget the Congregational Survey!
Thank you to all those who have already filled out the congregational survey! If you haven't completed the survey yet, TODAY IS THE DEADLINE. Click on the following link. You only need to fill it out once and information will be kept confidential.

Staff on Leave
Office Hours
Pastor Amy will be on leave August 24 - 30. Pastor Pat will be on call for pastoral care needs and preach in worship on the 30th. There will be NO PASTOR CONNECTION THAT WEEK (August 28).

Pastor Pat will be on leave August 31 - September 6. Pastor Amy 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.
Change in the Sermon Series
We have three weeks left in the current sermon series: Unraveled - Finding God When Our Plans Fall Apart. There will be a slight change in the schedule of texts. Thanks for your understanding.

Aug 16 JOB 28:12-28  ||  Job’s Lament and Loss
Aug 23 JOHN 20:19-29  ||  Doubting Thomas
Aug 30 MARK 5:1-20  ||  Jesus Heals Legion
Zoom Bible Study

As usual, we will meet this Tuesday to discuss the upcoming Sermon Text. We meet at 9:00 a.m. for about an hour. Click the following link to join us

We will be taking a little break from the Bible study on August 25 and September 1. Please plan accordingly.
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
For specific individuals:
Dee May, who is recovering from health issues at home; Marilyn Lottich, who is recovering from health issues at home; Prayers of healing and recovery for Karen Dew's sister, Debbie, currently residing in Washington and recently diagnosed with COVID-19; Mary K Williams, recovering at home; Steve Miller, home; Gerald Buls, who has been diagnosed with lymph node cancer; Jo Beaver is recovering from knee surgery, 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; Rev. Gary Catterson, recovering from surgery at home; Bob Cutsforth, who is undergoing cancer treatment; The Platts' friends in Venezuela who are struggling with food and other resources; Karen Dew's cousins, Sherry and Holly, who have been affected by COVID-19, Joe Fernau (Marie's son), who started 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; 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:
All those affected by storms
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.
Thank you!
Gerald Buls wished to say thank you to all those who have sent cards, phone calls and prayers during this time as he undergoes cancer treatment.
Happy Birthday!
13 Larry Lightbody
14 Ryan McDowell
15 Marsha Platt
17 Connie Dawson
19 Craig Sage
20 Kevin DeSerano, Marsha Muir
21 Judy Lee
22 Mary Davis, Joann Lockard, Megan Schellhorn

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