Pastor Connection
May 14, 2020

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A Note from Pastor Amy
There is a time for everything,
     and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,
     a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
     a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
     a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
     a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
     a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
     a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
     a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

We mark so much of our time by routine, order, and busyness. We check off the days on the calendar. We tick off our to do list. We watch the clock to see how much time has gone by before we are off to the next activity.

But, the writer of Ecclesiastes seems to mark time differently. In these verses, time is measured by significant life events - times of laughter and tears, love and hate, death and healing, and so on. We often see time like a treadmill moving forward. And yet, when we look backward over the time we've spent, it is the significant moments in life that seem to matter most. The significant moments define us and mold us into who we are.

That's why we take special effort to engage in rituals around those important moments. We have birthday parties, funeral services, weddings, baptisms, graduations, anniversary dinners, retirement parties, and on and on and on. These are not simply parties and celebrations. They are ways to mark the time and say "something important and life changing has happened." They serve as thresholds from one realm into the next.

Of course, our current times are making typical rituals very difficult if not impossible. I have heard people lament in sadness and frustration about what is having to be altered. As the end of another school year draws closer, I have been particularly mindful of graduating Seniors. I think it is important to keep them, and others like them, in our prayers.

But, I also have a suggestion to all those who might be living through a significant life moment. Still try and mark the time with a ritual. You might not be able to do it the way you thought, but get creative so that you might recognize "something significant has happened."

Here are some examples to spark your imagination:
If you are celebrating an anniversary with a loved one, write letters to each other, put them in a time capsule, and bury them in your yard.
If you have a birthday, reflect on the gifts of the past year. Write them down and wrap them up as a gift.
If you are retiring, plant a tree or other kind of plant in your yard to mark the beginning of something new growing in your life.
If someone is graduating, organize a family zoom call where everyone shares how they are proud of the Senior and one hope for their future.

It doesn't have to be fancy, nor does it have to replace a celebration at a later time. Just don't let the moment pass by without recognizing it. The significant moments are what make up our lives and where we find God at work. After all, as the passage from Ecclesiastes eludes, all time is under heaven. So, mark the thresholds and remember that God is walking through those thresholds with you.

Peace be with you all,
Pastor Amy
NEW Resources for Devotional and Spiritual Practices
The Bible Project has produced a series of short videos (approximately five minutes) on each book of the Bible. The videos are animated, and free to view at www.bibleproject.com/explore /

A daily quotation from Presbyterian minister and author Frederick Buechner is offered at https://frederickbuechner.com/quote of the day/

Each week the Presbyterian Outlook presents a reflection based on one of the revised common lectionary texts assigned from for the upcoming Sunday. Questions follow the commentary for individual reflection. See presoutlook@pres-outlook.org/

The United Church of Christ offers a daily devotional. Sign-up is available at dailydevotion@ucc.org
Online Giving Now 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.
Zoom Coffee Hour
We will gather over Zoom every Tuesday in the coming weeks. There will be plenty of time for fellowship and Pastor Amy will also bring a short devotional thought. You will need a computer with a camera and microphone. Most newer computers have these features already built in. Give it a try! This is open to ALL church members.

Our next coffee hour will be Tuesday, May 19, at 9:00 a.m. Click this link to join. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88566321757
Ways to Serve
Volunteers Needed
The Food Bank has three, two hour shifts set up for volunteers to come and pack emergency boxes, boxes for the elderly, and BackPack bags that will be distributed.  The shifts are 9-11 am, 11-1pm and 1-3pm. The sign up is at  www.northeastiowafoodbank.org  under the blue volunteer button.

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Food Drive
We are organizing a food drive for Blackhawk-Grundy Mental Health. Needed items include:  small packages of peanut butter, cans of soup, small boxes of cereal, ramen noodles, and small boxes of crackers. Boxes to collect the items will be located at Westminster Presbyterian M-F 9-1, and Cedar Heights M-Th. Those churches will arrange to drop off the food items. The drive will last through Pentecost, May 31.  We would stress that people DO NOT make an extra trip to the grocery store for these items, and DO NOT buy in bulk.  Rather, when you go for a regular grocery store run, buy one or two extra items for the drive. We want to be considerate of other shoppers at this time.
In Our Thoughts and Prayers
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With our Sympathy:
Donna Harman passed away on Friday, May 8. We pray for her children, Jayne and Jim, and the rest of her family during this time. The family held a private graveside service this week and our church played one of Donna's favorite hymns in her honor Wednesday, May 13, at noon. You may watch on our church Facebook page. You may send condolences to the family on Locke's Funeral home website.  https://www.lockefuneralhome.com/obituaries/donna-w.-harman

New to the prayer list:
15 years ago the Platt's daughter was a foreign exchange student in Venezuela. She talked with her exchange brother tonight. The parents in Venezuela cannot leave their house. Food and resources are very limited

Donna Beaver is recovering from surgery for carpal tunnel.

For specific individuals:
Karen Dew's cousins, Sherry and Holly, who have been affected by COVID-19, Joe Fernau (Marie's son), who started treatments for lymphoma; Gerald Buls, who is home after receiving treatment for his kidney; 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; Jordan, (granddaughter of Ann Sage) who is quarantine on the cruise ship where she works due to a crew member’s contraction of the virus; 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; Steve Miller, home.

Broader prayer concerns from the congregation:
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
teachers and students trying to adapt learning
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!
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May

14 Jana Fairbanks, John Roderick
16 Jordan Abbe
19 Dee May
20 Mary Dutton, Ed Jessen, Dakota Andersen

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