Pastor Connection
March 25, 2021
A Note From Pastor Amy

I continue to appreciated the accompanying artwork for each Sunday's Scripture passage. Even more, I have appreciated the artist's reflection on their paintings to gain better insight into the piece as well as the Scripture. This week, we will reflect on John 12:12-19, the passage for Palm Sunday. Instead, of sharing my own thoughts this week, I share the thoughts of the artist, Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman. The art is called "Through the Palms."

Peace be with you,
Pastor Amy

Jesus lies down on the donkey’s back, steeling himself before his journey through the palms. He has a target on his back—he’s a disruption to the status quo upheld by the Pharisees and Chief Priests, and a threat to the power of the empire. His friend Lazarus is caught up in it all too. I imagine as he closes his eyes and strokes the donkey’s hair, he hears the anguish in Mary and Martha’s voices as they cried out to him, wondering why he took so long. I imagine he smells the pungent fragrance of the burial perfume poured on his feet, bringing into clarity the reality of his impending death. I imagine he sees the judgment on Judas’ face as he was scrutinized for wasting perfume and neglecting those in desperate need.

Jesus plans to enter the city in a way that symbolically subverts power, taking a route opposite of the military leaders who oversee the festival celebrations. His entry would make a definitive statement, imaging an alternative kind of power, a servant leader riding an humble donkey. He knew this act would inch him closer to state-sanctioned torture and death. We are in a time when we need to draw on courage to call into question the structures that uphold systems of oppression.

We are in a time when we need to subvert the powerful and protect the vulnerable. The crowds close in on Jesus. Some lift their hands in praise, others point accusingly. I hope this image serves as a reminder to call upon God for the courage you need, to rest and recharge for the work ahead. But I hope it also heartens you to move forward in courage, even in the midst of great resistance, toward the work God is calling you into. 

--Rev. Lauren Wright Pittman

*A Sanctified Art LLC, sanctifiedart.org
Religious illustration with backlit cross with golden glitter and bokeh and nature landscape background. Horizontal composition
RSVP For Our Easter Worship Service!
DEADLINE IS TODAY!

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 TODAY.

You may RSVP in one of three ways:
Email Pastor Amy amy@1stpresby.org
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.
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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!
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: https://cedarheightspres.org/ (7:00 PM)

Tuesday, Mar. 30, @ First Presbyterian Church, Cedar Falls:
https://www.firstprescf.org/category/sermons/ (pre-recorded: available all day)

Wednesday, Mar. 31, @ Unity Presbyterian Church, Waterloo:
https://unitypresbyterianwaterloo.org/recent-sermons-2/ (pre-recorded:
available all day)

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

Good Friday. Apr. 2, @ Westminster Presbyterian Church, Waterloo:
https://wpcw.org/worship/ (7:00 PM) or
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2W0-ZyLAoxaA2PGdTvorGg
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.
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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, (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.
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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:
1-929-205-6099
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
New to the Prayer List:
Karen Hahn had surgery last week on her shoulder. She is recovering.
Dorothy Hummel had a pacemaker put last week. She is recovering.
Barbara Benskin fell and sustain some injuries. She is recovering at home.

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:
Pat Stanhope fell and sprained her arm/shoulder; Diane Ernster is dealing with back pain/sciatic nerve problems; 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.
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Happy Birthday!

March
26 Dale Lottich
27 Cindy Trepp

April
2 Bradley Mananga
3 Tommy Roberts
4 Paul Kabel
7 Jim Christensen
8 Cathy Bowers
9 Diane Ernster, John Wiles
10 Nicky Newhoff
11 Jo Beaver, Brian Powell
19 Abby McClain
22 Bob Reisinger, Thomas Wiles
24 Karen Dew
25 Tye Schellhorn
27 David Schwab
29 Jim Clarke

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