Pastor Connection
November 19, 2020
A Note About Stewardship
I don’t know if there is a mark of healthy spirituality. But if there is such an indicator, it would have to be gratitude. Like all spiritual disciplines, gratitude is something we learn and practice. Henri Nouwen writes: “The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”[1] When we take time to thankfully and intentionally name the gifts in our lives, God’s grace and provision are recognized. 

As I have looked toward Thanksgiving, I have had to practice gratitude a little harder than usual. Maybe you have too. We've had to intentionally consider the gifts in our lives in the midst of rising Covid cases, restrictions, and schools moving back online. But every time I practice gratitude (no matter how forced), I find something - no, several somethings. I always see God's grace and provision. Thanks be to God!

Let me say, the church is consistently one of those places where I see God's grace and provision. I have been so thankful this year for so many things in our church. Faithful leaders. Adaptable church members. Encouraging words. Creative staff. Humble and selfless volunteers. New worshipers online. Supportive Colleagues. Meaningful mission work. Generous and faithful givers. I could go on and on. This has been a hard year, but we have remained the church - a faithful community who loves one another and our neighbor. God's grace remains and God continues to provide.

That is why I am so glad our Stewardship Dedication Sunday falls on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. You see, the natural outcome of gratitude is generous giving to others and to God. As Walter Brueggemann writes in one of his prayers, “In grateful giving we become our true selves, breathed in the image of Jesus.”[2] I am excited to give to the church because I can see God's grace at work. I want to respond, and I hope you do too!

This coming Sunday, November 22, we will dedicate our gifts of time, abilities, and money in the worship service. Stewardship cards were mailed to you several weeks ago. Please let the office know if you need another. Click HERE for an electronic copy. It's not too late to turn in a card.

As we give thanks for God’s overflowing generosity this season, may our generosity overflow, too. Thank you for your dedication to Christ’s ministry at First Presbyterian Church. Thank you for the ways you are giving and continue to give.

Pastor Amy

[1] Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 85-86.
[2] Walter Brueggemann, Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003), 142.
New Church Officer Elections Postponed
At their last meeting, Session decided that our church will postpone new officer elections for a year. They have observed that it is getting increasingly difficult to fill all required officer positions. Session will take the next year to research and discuss potential adjustments to our current church offices as we prepare for elections in the Fall of October 2021. Thank you for your understanding.
An Opportunity for Children and Youth
The children and youth of First Church Waterloo have been invited to join the children and youth at First Church Cedar Falls on Wednesday nights via Zoom.

The meetings will begin at 6:15 and run 30 to 45 minutes. Lessons on the Beatitudes will be led by their new SHINE leader, Betsy Thompson. The youth and kids will be meeting on alternate weeks.

Please let Pastor Amy know if you are interested in participating so that she can send your contact information to Betsy.
Office Hours
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 are taking a break from our regular Tuesday morning Bible study starting next week and lasting through the month of December. In it's place, we will start and Advent study by Adam Hamilton, Incarnation. This new study will be held on Monday's at noon, starting November 30. Be watching for more information.
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
Our Sympathy
to the family of Duane Keroff who died on Friday, November 6. Duane was the brother-in--law of Debbie Miller.

For specific individuals:
Karen Dew at Allen waiting to move to a care facility to continue recovery from Covid; Kaitlin Sittig resting at home until time for delivery of a baby; Steve Miller continues with cancer treatments; Mary Davis and Karen Hahn, at Ravenwood; Debbie Miller's brother-in-law, Duane Keroff, at MercyOne in ICU on a ventilator; Pat Narey, Kari's husband, who is dealing with a bone infection in his feet; Jan Bellinger, recovering from knee surgery at home; Neesa and Lori (the Bellinger's family) recovering from surgery; Suzanne (the Bellinger's daughter in-law) awaiting surgery; Heather Dew's Uncle Richard, recovering from heart surgery; Jim Clarke dealing with cancer; Gary Lee dealing with walking and balance issues; Marilyn Lottich dealing with health issues but recovering at home; Richard Platt as he recovers from surgery at 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; 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, New Aldaya (Hospice); Crystal Lorenze, recovering from back surgery; Paul Holtz, Hospice Care

Broader prayer concerns from the congregation:
Teachers and students moving to virual learning
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!
7 Richard Platt
8 Shirley Barnes
9 Barbara Mead
16 Don Schwab

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