Pastor Connection
July 30th, 2020

A Note From Pastor Pat
This week in worship we will “Meet at the Well” with Jesus and the Samaritan woman for the ninth segment in our sermon series “Unraveled: Seeking God When Our Plans Fall Apart.” Our text is John 4:1-29. Jesus and the disciples are traveling through Samaria en route to Galilee when they stop off at Jacob’s Well near Sychar. The disciples have gone for food, while Jesus remains at the well, tired and thirsty. It is high noon on a hot day, and he is without a means to access water when an unnamed Samaritan woman arrives with her bucket. 

What is Jesus doing in enemy territory? Why would a woman come to the well alone at this hour of the day, when the sun and the heat are at a peak, rather than the traditional early morning or evening? How dare Jesus initiate a conversation with a woman, and one of a different faith and ethnicity at that? And how dare she not only respond but engage in what is the longest conversation Jesus has with any individual?

Can you count the boundaries that are being crossed in this setting? For Jesus? For the unnamed woman? Preaching Professor Karoline Lewis points out that, “Jesus is a Jew asking a drink from her, a woman, of Samaria. She knows her place very well, she knows the rules, but there is also a sense that she is willing to call Jesus on it. She does not immediately submit to his request. She does not run away when realizing the jeopardous situation in which she has found herself. Instead, she questions Jesus, almost as if she is saying to him, “Do you have any idea what you just did? Any idea at all?” …What does she see in Jesus that compels her to stay?” [1]

Sense the depth of drought that must have been in her life, the desperation that made her persist, made her press Jesus to go deeper in the conversation. What gave her the courage to stay and let her life unravel? When have you thirsted so deeply? Longed for living water and been so refreshed? 

I invite you to spend time in meditation on “A PSALM ON LIVING WATER” with another person if possible. Read it out loud, alternating parts with your partner. Let words and phrases fall over you. Share what stands out to you. Try writing a stanza or two of your own to add to the Psalm.

Join us in worship this week. Bring along your empty cup. May God fill it and let it overflow!

                                                                   May the Peace of Christ be with you,

                                                                   Pastor Pat

[1] Karoline M. Lewis. John. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014, p. 57
A Spiritual Practice of Meditation for The Week
 by Miriam Therese Winter

Leader            You are like a mountain spring,
                       O Fountain of Living Water

All                  I sip from the deep down freshness
                       of Your never-ending love.

Leader           You are like a summer rain,
                       O Sudden Benediction:

All                  drench my soul
                       and quench my thirsting spirit
                       with your peace.

Leader          You are like a raging sea,
                      O Storm Upon My Ocean:

All                  breaking to bits
                      my fragile bark
                      as I learn to lean
                      on You.

Leader          You are like a waterfall,
                     Oasis in My Desert:

All                 source of my heart’s survival
                     in the press
                     and stress
                     of life.

Leader         You are like a cleansing flood,
                     River of Reconciliation:
All                 washing away
                     the selfish
                     self-serving signs
                     of my sinfulness.

Leader          You are like a bottomless well,
                     O Cup of Lifegiving Water:

All                 full up to overflowing.
                     Praise be to You, Shaddai.

[1] Miriam Therese Winter. WomanWord. New York: Crossroad, 2001, p.105.

A Note From Pastor Amy About Her Study Leave
Several of you have asked about my studies during the Covid-19 season. As you know, I have been working for several years now on a Doctorate of Ministry in Biblical Preaching from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN. I have completed all of my courses and am beginning to focus on finishing my final thesis. I hope to graduate in December.

As you can imagine, completing the research necessary for my thesis has been very difficult during this time. However, I have had tons of support from family, colleagues, friends, church members, our personnel team, and Session. I’m happy to report that I have developed a plan to complete the research.

That being said, I need a large chunk of dedicated time to get this done and give my work the attention required. So, I will be taking three weeks of study leave as outlined in my terms of call beginning Monday, July 13 through August 2. I will be disconnecting from my regular responsibilities at the church so that I have the time to work every day on my research. Our staff and volunteers will be covering the necessary tasks to ensure ministry leadership continues at the church. I am particularly grateful for Pastor Pat, Kelley, Brenda, Dakota, and our Elders who will make sure things run smoothly in my absence.

I would very much appreciate your prayers during this time. Please pray for endurance so that I might use my time wisely. Please pray for wisdom and insight so that I can analyze data in fruitful ways. Please pray for my family who will feel the impact of my stress and workload. Please pray for the hundreds of details that will need to fall in place for me to pull this off.

As always, I am grateful for the many ways that you have supported me and continue to support my education now. You all will certainly be in my prayers as well.

Peace be with you,
Pastor Amy 

Update On Our Plan for In-Person Worship and Re-Entry Into the Building
We deeply appreciate everyone adhering to the social distancing guidelines we are implementing. Session recognizes the changing nature of our current situation as we watch the number of cases fluctuate around the nation. We will continue with the approved plan as long as the Blackhawk County Health Department rates our county at a moderate risk level. If we move to a high risk level, then we will suspend our plan. For now, we continue to encourage people to make the wisest decisions for their unique situations. We will continue to provide worship online. Remember that in-person worship is on Sunday at 9:00 a.m. outside. Bring your own lawn chairs, water, fans, and Bible. We are encouraging people to wear masks.
Personal Care Item Drive for the Food Bank
Our church is participating in the Northeast Iowa Food Bank's Personal Care Item Drive! July 1 through August 12 . During this event, local churches, organizations, and businesses will be collecting personal care items, such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, and diapers. 
If you would like to participate, please bring your items to the church Monday through Thursday, between 9:00 and 2:00. There will be a collection box in the entry of the church. Kelley will be in the office to let you drop off the items.
Thank you for your generosity and participation!

Zoom Bible Study

As usual, we will meet this Tuesday to discuss the upcoming Sermon Text. This week is Exodus 1:22 and 2:1-10, Moses' Mother Gives Moses Up.

Our next coffee hour will be Tuesday, August 4th, at 9:00 a.m. Click this link to join.

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:
Marilyn Lottich, who is currently in Allen Hospital; 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:
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!
30 Madison Fairbanks,
Pat Stanhope
2 Liz Poole
4 Danielle DeSerano
6 Courtney Pilcher,
Kira Sommerlot
7 Chris Bass, Betty Wexter

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