Pastor Connection
April 23, 2020

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A Note from Pastor Amy
I've had a recurring conversation lately with friends, family, and church members. "How are you doing," I ask. "I'm fine," they say. They might even mention how they are keeping busy during COVID-19.

And then, the conversation takes a turn and they slip into describing a loss, anxiety, or frustration they are experiencing. I listen and empathize. The person on the other end of the phone or the zoom call is lamenting about the situation we are living through. But when the lament comes to a close, the person ends by saying, "But other than that, I'm fine."

Other than that, I'm fine. Have you used that phrase lately? I know that I have. I say it because I don't want people to get too worried about me or think I'm complaining to much. I don't want people to think I'm ungrateful for losing my grip on life. Maybe that's why other people use the phrase too.

And yet, it's the "other than that" that is consuming our lives right now. And so I think that the "other than that" is what matters very much to God.

Christians sometimes have the confusing notion that God doesn't want to hear our lamenting. Somewhere along the line, people have confused the need to lament with having a lack of faith. And yet, lamenting and even down right complaining to God about our loss, anxiety, frustration, anger.....you name it, is a very important part of faith.

When we name to God how we actually feel, we are simultaneously acknowledging that God cares about us. God is big enough to handle anything we need to say. God is actually affected by our lamenting and can bring something new and hopeful from it. This kind of faith is what the Israelites demonstrated in countless Psalms when the world around them was completely disoriented and there were more questions than answers.

So this week, as strange as it may sound, I encourage people to lament to God if you need to. If you need some examples of how to do it, then pick up your Bible and pick one of these Psalms: 13, 35, 74, 86, 95, 137. You don't have to be fine all the time. God cares about how you really are doing. You can be honest. God will always listen and promises to never turn away.

May the peace of Christ be with you,
Pastor Amy
Some Resources for Home
It is difficult not to feel anxious during this time. There are so many unknowns and the future seems uncertain. This workbook offers helpful insights and practices for dealing with anxiety during COVID-19. CORONAVIRUS ANXEITY WORKBOOK
Each of us is experiencing tremendous loss and the grief we feel brings up a variety of responses. This article, that Pastor Amy mentioned during Holy Week, offers a healthy perspective on grief and how to move forward through it.
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.
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, April 21. Click this link to join. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88566321757
Ways to Serve
Volunteers Needed
The Food Bank has three, two hour shifts set up for volunteers to come and pack emergency boxes, boxes for the elderly, and BackPack bags that will be distributed.  The shifts are 9-11 am, 11-1pm and 1-3pm. The sign up is at  www.northeastiowafoodbank.org  under the blue volunteer button.

One Great Hour of Sharing
One Great Hour of Sharing supports Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People - all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need. If you wish to give to this offering, you may continue to send checks to the church office through the month of April. You may also give directly online by visiting the website .
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Food Drive
We are organizing a food drive for Blackhawk-Grundy Mental Health. Needed items include:  small packages of peanut butter, cans of soup, small boxes of cereal, ramen noodles, and small boxes of crackers. Boxes to collect the items will be located at Westminster Presbyterian M-F 9-1, and Cedar Heights M-Th. Those churches will arrange to drop off the food items. The drive will last through Pentecost, May 31.  We would stress that people DO NOT make an extra trip to the grocery store for these items, and DO NOT buy in bulk.  Rather, when you go for a regular grocery store run, buy one or two extra items for the drive. We want to be considerate of other shoppers at this time.
In Our Thoughts and Prayers
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For specific individuals with health issues:
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; Stan Ernster's mother, who has been placed in Hospice Care; Jan and Dean Bellinger's daughters and granddaughters who are serving in hospitals and nursing care facilities; Jordan, (granddaughter of Ann Sage) who is quarantine on the cruise ship where she works due to a crew member’s contraction of the virus; 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; Steve Miller, home; Jennifer Lightbody, home; Donna Harman, Friendship Village (Hospice Care); Dorothy Hummel, home; Jim Polacek, Western Home.

With our sympathy
Stephanie Swensen's great Aunt Lois, who was admitted to the hospital and tested positive for COVID, passed away yesterday. Our prayers and sympathy go out to Stephanie and her family.

Broader prayer concerns from the congregation:
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

Prayers of joy from the congregation:
Thanksgiving/gratitude for all the ways our church family is reaching out with calls and notes
Appreciation for the online worship services, the sermons and music

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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April

24 Karen Dew
25 Tye Schellhorn
27 David Schwab
29 Jim Clarke

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