Pastor Connection
December 3, 2020
Poems of Preparation
We continue this week with our Advent Theme: Those Who Dream. This Sunday we will read Mark 1:1-8, where John the Baptizer tells us to "prepare the way of the Lord." Through the ministry organization Sanctified Art, poems have been written each week to our prepare our hearts and minds for different ideas within this year's theme. Today, I share a poem by Sarah Are. May it help you in your dreaming and preparation. Peace, Pastor Amy

My dad built me a changing table.
For nine months, my mom watched her ankles swell and her belly grow.
For nine months, my dad would come home from work, kiss her on her forehead—
Pressing bangs to skin—and tell her she was beautiful.
Then for nine months, he’d slip into the garage
To build sawdust sand castles and a dresser out of dreams.
I imagine she smiled, perched in that rocking chair.
He was in his woodshop, preparing the way.

Eighteen years later I left for college.
As I packed my bags, my mom baked blueberry muffins for the road—
the smell of home.
She wrapped them in foil and placed them in a cardboard box,
Willing similar layers of protection to be wrapped around me, her little girl.
She was preparing the way.

My aunts and uncles bought sweatshirts in my new school colors.
My dad taught me how to change a tire.
My mom gave me the earrings I’d been sneaking from her jewelry box
for the last four years.
I hid sticky-note love letters on the kitchen door for them to find
when they returned home.
We were quiet in the car.
My brother cried.
We were all preparing the way.

And through these moments, I have come to see,
That preparation and love can be the same thing.
For there is something about love that makes us want to prepare.
There is something about love that compels us to
Throw open the doors,
Yell it from the rooftop,
Set the table,
Decorate the nursery,
Leave love notes on the back door,
Build the changing table,
Trim the tree,
Bake muffins for the road,
And when it’s time,
If you must,
Let go.

Preparation and love can be the same thing. 

*Artwork: "Love Incarnate" by Hannah Garrity (Source: Sanctified Art)
All Church Carol Sing on Facebook Live
THIS Sunday December 6, at 3:00 p.m.
Join the Church on our Facebook page to sing your favorite Christmas Carols! You do not need a Facebook account to participate.
Pastor Amy and John Wiles will lead us in the singing. Participants will be able to make requests in the comments section. Contact Pastor Amy or Pastor Pat if you would like to borrow a hymnal from the church. 
Ways To Serve During Advent and Christmas
Good News Christmas!
Organizers felt that Christmas in Walnut needed to be cancelled this year. However, people did not want to leave shopping families without some encouragement, especially during this difficult year. So they are reaching out to churches and organizations like ours with an alternative opportunity called Good News Christmas! Good News Christmas is partnering with Cunningham & Irving Elementary Schools and Royal Legacy Christian Academy (three of the main schools that shopped at the Christmas store in earlier years) to encourage their combined 550 families during this challenging time with a gift card. With our donations of money, organizers will buy gift cards from preselected local businesses. Families will be able to purchase items or treat their family to a restaurant meal. The deadline for donations is December 11. You may write a check to our church and send it to the office. Please put Good News Christmas in the memo line. We're excited to be able to encourage schools and families during this holiday season and support local businesses as well.
Hat and Mitten Tree
Even though we are not decorating a tree, we are still collecting hats and mittens for those who need them. We will be donating items to Cunningham elementary and People's Clinic. You may drop off items at the church office Monday through Thursday. We will be collecting them all December.
Adopt a Family and Gift Drives
Would you like to adopt a family? Our church is not organizing purchases this year, but there are a variety of ways that you can still participate. Click HERE for a list of participating organizations and contact information to get involved. You can donate toys, coats, or offer some volunteer hours. Thanks to the Cedar Valley Volunteer Center for distributing this info.
Help us the Candlelight on Christmas Eve!
During our online Christmas Eve Service this year, we would like to feature pictures of our church members lighting a candle from home. We are hoping to offer a glimpse what we experience each year - the glow of candlelight illuminating the faces of our faith community. Will you help us? Please email pictures of you and your family lighting a candle to Pastor Amy amy@1stpresby. org. You may also text pictures at Amy's phone number in the church directory.
Adam Hamilton Bible Study
Starting November 30, we will meet each Monday at noon for this year’s 4–week Advent Study. We will follow Adam Hamilton’s new study, Incarnation. Each week, Hamilton will guide us through a discussion on the names of Jesus. The zoom link is The meeting ID is 878 4477 3994

The Tuesday Morning Bible study will not meet during Advent. We encourage you to join on us Monday's at noon.
Devotions for Advent and Christmas
The church is providing a daily devotion guide that corresponds with this year’s Advent theme - Those Who Dream. Reflect each day on Scripture, art, poetry, and your own journaling as you grow deeper in relationship with God and prepare for Sunday’s worship services. If you would like a copy please call the office or email Pastor Amy.
Need Christmas Cards?
Presbyterian Women  have Christmas Cards available in the office for $5.00 box. Please call to make sure there is someone in the office before you come. Normal office hours are 9:00-2:00 M-Th.
Feeling a Little Blue?
Tending to mental health is particularly challenging during this time. NAMI is an organization dedicated to helping individuals and their families navigate the difficulties the many people are facing right now. You might want to check out some of their workshops meeting online. If you would like to register or get more information contact them through email

Tuesday, December 8 and December 22, from noon-1 pm: Holiday Stress & Self-Care
The “most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t always feel that wonderful, with an array of demands on our time and energy often leaving us feeling depleted, disappointed, and depressed. This one-hour session includes practical tips to manage the stress that accompanies the holidays, tips for self-care, and ways to find the support you need from a licensed therapist. Let’s bring more “peace & joy” back into your holiday season!

Thursday, December 10, from noon-1 pm: Understanding Depression
How is depression different from sadness? An accessible guide to understanding causation, symptoms and treatment options for depressive disorders. Includes practical tips for managing symptoms and helping others.

Thursday, December 31, from noon-1 pm: Understanding Seasonal Affective Disorder
Giving and Stewardship Campaign
Every year, our church fills out pledge cards. We pledge to give of our time, talents, prayer, energy, and money to the church's ministry. Thank you to those who have turned in pledges already. It is not too late to send a pledge card to the church office. Click HERE for an electronic copy. Hard copies are available in the office. Please let us know if you need one. Remember that you can also give online. Thank you for your generosity and please continue to give as you can.
In Our Thoughts and Prayers
With our Sympathy:
Mary Davis passed away on Tuesday, December 1. Our prayers are with Dan, Barb, Bob, and their entire family. A service for Mary is planned at Locke's Funeral Home on Monday, December 7, at 10:30 a.m. A visitation will begin at 9:30 before the service. Our church will ring the Carillon in her memory at 2:00 p.m. that same day. You may watch our Carillon play on our Facebook page.

Joan Walker passed away on Wednesday, November 25. Our prayers are with Jim, their children, the Christensens, and their entire family. A service is planned for a later date during the summer.

Bonnie Anderson, a former long time church member, passed away November 25. A private family service will be held on December 7.

Thelma Jean Foster, Marie Fernau's sister-in-law and Connie Dawson's aunt, died last week. 

Bob Cutsforth's aunt, Charlene J. Cutsforth died on November 20.

Ruth Meade's sister, Laura Vandele of Independence, Iowa died on November 3.

Dale Lottich's sister, Shirley McDaniel, of Schamburg, Illinois died on September 29. Dale's brother, Evan Lottich of Portland, also died some time ago. Even though time has passed, our prayers are still with him and his family.

Updates and new additions to the prayer list:
Karen Dew is back at home after recovering from Covid

For specific individuals:
Kaitlin Sittig resting at home until time for delivery of a baby; Steve Miller continues with cancer treatments; Karen Hahn, at Ravenwood; 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; 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; 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!
4 David Ames
8 Kathy McClain, Dan Paulsen
9 Ruth Meade
12 Pat Geadelmann

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