Pastor Connection
March 18, 2021
A Note From Pastor Amy

I've heard it said that no one likes change except a wet baby! Change is difficult, even when it is good and necessary. Change requires surrender and letting go.

In our passage for this week, John 12:20-33, Jesus says that resurrection change requires losing our lives, giving them away for the sake of being reformed and transformed. In losing our live, we find a new life, a truer life.

This kind of action is described well in Sarah Are's poem, "Keep Digging." I pray that the poem prepares an openness in you for whatever newness God has in store.

Peace be with you,

I can feel change inside of me.
It’s a slow burn.
Change usually starts out hot—
Defensive and angry,
A self-righteous blanket
Of, “I am right and here’s why . . .”
I wrap it around my shoulders
Like a barricade.
I fight the temptation to lean forward,
To play the challenger,
To argue with confidence.

But in time,
Almost always,
The heat fades.
The air leaves the balloon.
The audacity of it all
Starts to wear off.
And eventually,
What I am left with
Is myself
And a big, open sky.
It’s colder here.
It’s quieter.
I can hear my thoughts.

And in this big, wide openness
I am able to say out loud,
“Maybe I wasn’t right.
Maybe I need to learn.
Maybe it’s time for change.
Maybe that’s okay.”

And if I’m quiet, and if I’m paying attention,
I can usually hear God whisper inside of me,
“Good work, my child. Now keep digging.” 

*A Sanctified Art LLC,
Religious illustration with backlit cross with golden glitter and bokeh and nature landscape background. Horizontal composition
RSVP For Our Easter Worship Service!
(we corrected the reserve online link)

We look forward to celebrating the resurrection of Christ together in our sanctuary! We know that Easter is typically a larger worship service for our church. This year, the number of available seats in our sanctuary is more limited.

Therefore to ensure that people have a place to sit on Easter, we are asking that people RSVP. Please let us know if you plan to attend and how many people will be sitting with you by March 25.

You may RSVP in one of three ways:
Email Pastor Amy
Call the office during office hours. 319-233-6145, M-Th, 9:00 - 2:00
Reserve online by clicking on the button below.

If you do not RSVP, we may not be able to ensure your seat on Easter.
We will also be providing an online worship option on Easter.

Thank you for thinking ahead and for your help in our church's planning.
Holy Week Worship Services Online

The Presbyterian Churches in the Cedar Valley are working together again to provide online worship services for you every day of Holy Week. We encourage you to take a moment and worship God as you prepare for Easter.

Monday, Mar. 29, @ Cedar Heights Community Presbyterian Church, Cedar Falls: (7:00 PM)

Tuesday, Mar. 30, @ First Presbyterian Church, Cedar Falls: (pre-recorded: available all day)

Wednesday, Mar. 31, @ Unity Presbyterian Church, Waterloo: (pre-recorded:
available all day)

Maundy Thursday, Apr. 1, @ First Presbyterian Church, Waterloo: (6:00 PM)

Good Friday. Apr. 2, @ Westminster Presbyterian Church, Waterloo: (7:00 PM) or
Maundy Thursday Worship Service In-Person

In addition to our online services, First Presbyterian Church is holding an in-person worship service on Maundy Thursday, April, 1, at 6:00 p.m. Communion will be served with safety protocols in place. Participants will be asked to sit farther apart that evening since we will be eating communion during the service. There will be no Good Friday Service this year.
One Great Hour of Sharing

Every year during Lent, the Presbyterian Church (USA) collects offerings for One Great Hour of Sharing. Each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing supports efforts to relieve hunger through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, promote development through the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People, and assist in areas of disaster through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

For example, offerings have helped to support the following ministries
  • $4.1 million granted by PDA in the United States and 57 countries in the first half of 2020
  • 94 grants impacting 20 countries given by PHP in 2019
  • 50 years of ministry for SDOP
  • over 17,000 people trained nationally and internationally by OGHS ministries
  • 5,676 PDA work team volunteers served in 2019
  • 234 certified PC(USA) Earth Care congregations helped care for creation
  • 51,000 trees planted around the world
  • over 5,000 projects in economically poor communities in the United States and around the world have had an opportunity to develop solutions to their own challenges since SDOP’s inception
  • 1,097 Presbyterian congregations purchased eco-palms for sustainable forestry and livelihoods

We hope you consider giving once again to this important offering on Palm Sunday! You may send offerings to the office or give during the in person worship service. Thank you for your generosity!
Lenten Care Drives

During the Season of Lent, our church will be collecting care items to benefit the Hospitality House and the Presbyterian Pantry located at Westminster. Starting February 21 through Palm Sunday, church members are invited to bring the following items for donation:

For Hospitality House:
heavy duty paper plates
plastic silverware
disposable razors
men's body wash
garbage bags (large kitchen size)

For the Presbyterian Pantry:
Toilet paper
Paper Towels
Feminine Products

You may bring items to the office. Boxes will also be available each Sunday for people to donate their items. Thanks for your generosity!
Lenten Devotions

Lenten Devotions are available in the church office. This year, the devotions reflect on this year's theme, Again and Again: A Lenten Refrain. Reflections on Scripture, artwork and poetry, will help you prepare for each Sunday's worship service while strengthening your own discipleship. Stop by the church to pick one up or contact the office to have one mailed to you.

Lenten, (Lunch), and Learn

Every year, we hold a Lenten, Lunch, and Learn. This year, we will not be sharing lunch in the Fellowship Hall, BUT we are still offering a special Lenten Study. The group will meet will meet in person each Wednesday at noon in Calvin Hall. 

We will be following Lent in Plain Sight by Jill J. Duffield. God is often at work through the ordinary: ordinary people, ordinary objects, ordinary grace. Through the ordinary, God communicates epiphanies, salvation, revelation, and reconciliation. It is through the mundane that we hear God’s quiet voice. In this devotional for the season of Lent, Duffield draws readers’ attention to ten ordinary objects that Jesus would have encountered on his way to Jerusalem: dust, bread, the cross, coins, shoes, oil, coats, towels, thorns, and stones. In each object, readers will find meaning in the biblical account of Jesus’ final days. Each week, readers encounter a new object to consider through Scripture, prayer, and reflection. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, Lent in Plain Sight reminds Christians to open ourselves to the kingdom of God.

It is never too late to join the group. You may purchase the book with your preferred vendor. Please let Pastor Amy know if you'd like to join the group.
Tuesday Morning Bible Study

We will continue to meet for Tuesday morning Bible study at 9:00 a.m. each week. The group will discuss the sermon text for Sunday. During Lent we will be using artwork to help guide the conversations. We hope to see you there!

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 871 2245 0563
Phone In:
Do you need help finding or getting a vaccine?

While Covid-19 vaccines are becoming more available, we recognize that some in our congregation might have limited access due to internet access or transportation options. If you are having a difficult time finding or getting a vaccine, please contact the church office. Our Deacons are ready to assist you if possible.
Church Prayer List
Prayers of Joy:
On Feb. 10, Barb Young’s granddaughter, Deanna, gave birth to a little girl, Poppy Lou Finchamp. Be sure to wish great grandma Barb congratulations. They are overjoyed to welcome a new addition to the family.

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:
Pat Stanhope fell and sprained her arm/shoulder; Diane Ernster is dealing with back pain/sciatic nerve problems; Karen Hahn recovering from surgery; Florence Ramsell at Northcrest, Steve Miller recovering from surgery at home, prayers of safety for Barbara Benskin's son who is a trucker; Neva Kerr, New Aldaya (Hospice); Paul Holtz, Hospice Care

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!

18 Kim Swallow
22 Ann Sage, Heather Wheelock
23 Connor McClain, Amy Wiles
24 Cody McDowell
26 Dale Lottich
27 Cindy Trepp

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