Pastor Connection
February 25, 2021
A Note From Pastor Pat

This Sunday we continue our worship theme for Lent: Again and Again – a Lenten Refrain. Last week we looked at Jesus’s Baptism and his time in the wilderness. We were reminded that Jesus’ Baptism was not a sweet baby having water gently sprinkled over his head. Rather, the heavens were “torn apart” as God’s voice proclaimed from above, “You are my son, the Beloved; with you I am well-pleased.” Immediately afterwards Jesus was driven in to the wilderness. Again and again we see that God meets us where we are and does not leave us there.

We continue in Mark this week at a hinge point in Jesus’ ministry. He has called the disciples, traveled widely proclaiming the Kingdom of God, and provided a ministry of healing, drawing large crowds. Now in Mark 8:31-38; 9:1-9, Jesus turns away from the crowd toward Jerusalem, announcing the path ahead toward suffering and death. How can this be? Peter protests, but Jesus silences him. It is time to listen and to repent.

Preacher and author of our sermon series, the Rev T. Denise Anderson reminds us that, “The Lenten journey calls us to examine the things in which our hearts are invested. How important is comfort to us? Would we be willing to listen to hard truths and be changed by them even if it proved to be difficult? Or are we committed to the status quo because, though it may be imperfect, it’s at least familiar? Again and again we are called to listen, especially when what we hear is unsettling. Repentance means changing direction.”[1]

The pandemic has surfaced a myriad of voices long held silent or ignored. The disparities suffered by our sisters and brothers in Christ beg our listening and our response.

I leave you with a section of a poem by Sarah Are as a way of remembering we are called to listen. Click HERE for the entire poem.

Pastor Pat


    ….. If there is one truth in my life
           That unfolds again and again,
           It is the need to listen.

           For again and again, I will try ,
             with good intentions,
           To act and walk with love.
           But again and again, I will
             make mistakes.
           Again and again, I will say the
             wrong thing.
           Again and again, they will call
             me Peter.
           And again and again, they will
             be right.

           So again and again,
           I will pray for a truth that ricochets,
           For ears that will listen,
           And for space to hold truth.

           If people are screaming,
           And to be clear –-
             people are screaming ---
           I do not want to miss it.

Poem by Rev Sarah Are, A Sanctified Art LLC

[1]Rev T. Denise Anderson. “Again and Again We Are Called to Listen” The Second Week of Lent. A Sanctified Art, p. 14.
Report After Our Church Congregational Meeting

Thank you to everyone who attended the annual meeting of the congregation. We had a quorum and all motions passed after voting closed on Monday. Annual Reports are still available in the office. Thank you for your faithful work in continuing to be the church.
Virtual Reading Buddies

The Volunteer Center of the Cedar Valley is looking for volunteers to serve as Virtual Reading Buddies in schools! They would train you on using GoogleMeet and then you would meet with students for 1 hour once a week via GoogleMeet. They also now have iPads available for "checking out" if you do not have a camera on your computer or a smart phone to use for video conferencing. If this is something you are interested in, let Sally at the Center know by March 1st by emailing her at or calling at 319-883-3015. 
Here is the link to the GetConnected listing:

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:
Don't Forget About Per Capita

It's a new year and a reminder of the annual per capita giving from each member of the congregation.
Per capita giving is asked of all congregations to be used to support the larger mission of the Presbytery.
The per capital makes it possible for:
  • Presbyterians to discern and live out God’s call in their lives
  • Churches to connect with individuals seeking a call to ministry
  • OGA (Office of the General Assembly) to staff and support General Assembly committees and commissions
  • OGA to manage and coordinate General Assembly gatherings
  • Presbytery and synod leaders to gather for training and discernment
  • OGA to provide counsel and support for churches in crisis (misconduct, legal matters)
  • Presbyteries to address matters of inclusion, participation and representation at all levels of church leadership and decision making
  • The denomination to build connections with ecumenical partners around the world
  • Presbyteries and pastors to receive support on immigration issues
  • Presbyterian history to be saved and utilized by future generations
This year the per capita rate is $39 per person.
Church Prayer List
New to the Prayer List:
Don Schwab went to the doctor due to illness and is awaiting test results.

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:
Bob Cutsforth is staying at the Hospice House for the time being; Pat Stanhope fell and sprained her arm/shoulder; Diane Ernster is dealing with back pain/sciatic nerve problems; Karen Hahn recovering from surgery; Kason (Connie Leeper's daughter-in-law's nephew) who is recovering from brain 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!

25 Jan Bellinger
26 Aubrey Robinson
27 Mary K. Williams
28 Dean Bellinger, Nicholas Ellsworth
29 Michelle Schellhorn

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