April 25th, 2024

Pastor Connection

A Note from Pastor Randy

In my sermon last Sunday, I summarized an important article written by an Episcopal priest, the Rev. John Keydel, titled “Focus Points and the Work of the Congregation.” Keydel identified five focus points for interim ministry: heritage, mission, connection, leadership, and the future. I said it was not Keydel’s purpose to provide biblical support for his focus points, and so I tried in my sermon to provide that support from Jesus’ use of the shepherding metaphor.

However, after looking at Keydel’s article one more time, I do now notice that he ends the article with a biblical reference that is quite striking. I want to share with you the scripture that occurred to him.

“In the twelfth chapter of Genesis, Abram is called to set out on a journey of transition that has shaped all of our ministry. Presaging much of the work of the intentional interim minster, he receives the Word of the Lord, which instructs him, ‘Go . . . to a land that I will show you’ (Gen. 12:1). Abram was given no clear destination, no implementation plan, no schedule, and no guarantee of ‘success.’ Nonetheless, he responded in faith to the call of mission. For all the

changes in context and form, tools and language, it may be that the process of faithful transition has not changed through the millennia as much as we might think!”

This is intriguing to me. It suggests that we might gain some insights about transition from reflecting on the stories of Abraham. Marilynne Robinson, one of my favorite authors, has just published a new book, Reading Genesis. I will take a closer look at what she writes about Abraham’s call and see if we might benefit from her interpretation of the story. My hunch is that she might agree with Keydel that not much has changed with respect to transition journeys since Abraham’s time. This fits with my premise that not much has changed with shepherding since Jesus’ time. More to come!

*Please make a note of this at home. If you require an emergency pastoral visit at a time when the church office is closed, you can reach Pastor Randy on his cell phone, 920-309-2761.* 

On Sunday, we will hear Jesus say, "I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit." Our Bible study group took the following quiz. How would you answer these questions?

1. What kind of fruit would you like to see in your Christian life?

a. love of my family

b. compassion for the needy

c. obedience to God

d. willingness to serve others

e. ability to share my faith

2. On those days when your vine is wilted, how do you get your spiritual energy back?

a. drink some water: spend some time alone with God

b. cultivate the soil: seek encouragement from friends

c. fertilize: sign up for a retreat or bible study

d. take out of the hot sun: get away from the stress

e. submit to pruning: admit where I’ve been wrong

f. wait for evening’s cool: get some sleep

3. If God could get his hands on you, what would he do?

a. I’m afraid to think

b. prune off a few things

c. do some radical surgery

d. care for me very tenderly

e. nothing

4. Where do you struggle to “remain in the vine”

a. busy: no time for cultivation

b. distracted: my work/school comes first

c. tired: the fruit is too heavy

d. disappointed: God hasn’t come through in my life

e. defeated: it’s hard to be obedient to God’s will

f. lonely: I feel like I’m the only branch on the vine

2024 Per Capita Offering

2024 per capita is $43.30 per member. Please put "per capita" in the subject line of your check.

Many of you have already given generously and it is very much appreciated.

A little about Per Capita from PC(USA): Presbyterians are invited to center their worship services around the ways in which we are called into mutual support and ministry through per capita giving. Staff in both the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency have collaborated with volunteers to produce the following tools and resources.

If you are interested in learning more about Per Capita please click here for the PC(USA) website: https://oga.pcusa.org/section/departments/per-capita/

NECC Painting Class

The North End Cultural Center has been holding a six week painting class in Fellowship Hall on Monday evenings. Here are some of the beautiful pieces that are being created here at First Church!

Summer Camps at Lakeshore Center

We are excited for another excellent summer of programming at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji. We hope you can join in the fun! We're looking forward to a slate that includes camps for children, youth, and families.

Registration is available online at www.ilovelakeshore.org. If you need help registering, please contact Lakeshore Center at 712-337-3313, which will get you connected with the office where Steve, the office manager, will be able to assist you.

Lakeshore has scheduled their Spring Cleanup Event for the weekend of April 19-20. If you would like to join us that Friday and/or Saturday to help get cabins and grounds ready for summer, let us know.

Thank you for supporting "YOUR PLACE AT THE LAKE!" We look forward to seeing you whenever you can take a break and escape to the lake!

~Rev. Sara Sutter, Executive Director of Lakeshore Center

Flyers are available in the church office. We would like to provide an opportunity for all those interested from First Church to attend. If you need assistance, please reach out to Terry Sage.

Synod School 2024 "More Than We Can Imagine"

July 21-26 at Buena Vista University.

Now to God who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. ~Ephesians 3:20-21

What is Synod School?

Synod School is a learning and personal enrichment experience for people of all ages. We seek to create an environment of hospitality, healing, and hope. The week is designed for laity, clergy, individuals, and families with classes and activities for adults, youth, and children.

2024 is the 70th year of Synod School in Iowa. We have many great events planned for this week! People will come from all over the country with their friends and families to share in this week of worship, study, play, and life together. It is an opportunity to learn something new, to continue conversations begun by keynote speakers with others over meals or a board game, to share talents of creativity and music, to worship without being in charge, to be energized for service, and to enjoy not having to cook for a week.

For more information, click HERE or contact Jean Seeland.

Antique Quilts: Stories

This quilt now hanging in the hallway belongs to Marge Polacek, pictured, and was made by Marge’s grandmother, Anna Pearson, in the 1920s. The blocks are hand sewn and the quilt is hand quilted. The backing was made bigger than the front, and the backing was then pulled around to the front and hand sewn down to form the binding. Quilters will also notice that the white edge of the quilt top is not sewn to the blue border but is appliqued to the blue. 

Marge’s grandmother gave the quilt to Marge’s mother, and Marge’s mother gave it to her. Marge gave it to her granddaughter, so the quilt has been used by five (5) generations and shows some wear.

Marge remembers sleeping under this quilt when she visited her grandmother in Washington D.C. in 1947.

Sunday Supper Can and Treat Drives

We are collecting canned goods for Sunday Supper through the end of April! In addition to canned and nonperishable items, we are also asking for sweet treats. Do you have an urge to do some baking? If so, Sunday Supper would love to have some cookies or bars. We will freeze them until we need to use them. Thank you to the generosity of those who've donated already!


We are now live streaming our Worship Services every Sunday! The stream will start at 10:00 am on Sundays, and you can view it live on our YouTube channel wherever you have internet access!

If you are unable to watch the service live, the video will be recorded and you can watch at any time by clicking on the video on the YouTube page. The link is (Click Here) bit.ly/1stpresby

You can also find the link to the YouTube page on the church website.

Please click HERE for the Sunday bulletin.

We look forward to worshiping with you every week!

Church Calendar


Sunday Apr. 28 10:00 am Worship Service Sanctuary

5:00 pm Sunday Supper Fellowship Hall

Monday Apr. 29: 6:00 pm NECC Painting Class Fellowship Hall

Tuesday Apr. 30: 9:00 am Bible Study

10:00 am Staff Meeting church office

5:00 pm Love Inc. Fellowship Hall

Wednesday May 1: 12 noon First Wednesday Club (BYOL!)

3:15 pm Try Pie Meeting

6:00 pm & 7:00 pm Handbell & Vocal Choir Rehearsals Sanctuary

Friday May 3: 12:30 pm 415 Walnut Collective Meeting

Sunday May 4: 9:15 am Church Volunteer Meeting

10:00 am Worship Service Sanctuary

5:00 pm Sunday Supper Fellowship Hall

Pulpit Flower Volunteers Needed

We are accepting donations of flower arrangements for our Sunday Services. We currently have May 26, June 2, 16, 23, and 30 available. If you would like to donate, please contact Amber in the office to find a date that works for you. You can call the office or email Amber directly. 319-233-6145 or amber@1stpresby.orgAlternatively, you can let Nancy Valentine know on Sundays after service and she will relay your information to Amber. Thank you!

Elder Standing Team Assignments 


Stewardship and Finance:  Nancy Newhoff 

Mission and Outreach: Sally Davis, Mallory Sage, Sue Albright 

Christian Nurture and Fellowship:  Terry Sage, Dan Davis 

Worship and Music:  Mary Kabel, Marsha Muir, Sally Davis 

Personnel: Dan Davis 

Building and Grounds: Craig Cose 

Church Prayer List

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:

Gerald and Regina Buls

Tom Wiles

Betty Wexter

Jan Schwab

Steve and Debbie Miller

Barb Young's son-in-law Todd

The Gilles Family

Sherrianne Noyes


Joe Fernau, Marie's son

Prayer for Member Households:

Mark & Jana Fairbanks

Marie Fernau

Chris Fischels

Prayer for Church in the Presbytery:

Garner United Presbyterian Church, 475 Maben Ave. Garner, IA

CRE Pastor David Skilling

Click HERE to view their website

Prayer for Local Church:

Faith Temple Baptist Church, 234 S. Hackett Rd., Waterloo.

Rev. Dr. Belinda Creighton-Smith

Click HERE to view their website

 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!

It was Pastor Randy's birthday on Wednesday, April 24. Please wish him a happy birthday when you see him!

Church Family Birthdays

We celebrate our members with birthdays in April and May. If you get a chance, please join us in wishing them a very happy birthday!


25 Tye Schellhorn

26 Molly Bovy

27 Nsiki Kukosama, David Schwab

29 Amanda Bovy


04 Deidre Shea

08 Kevin McClain, Brody Powell

11 Marshall Abbe, Kathleen Jaeger

12 Corey Wheelock

14 Jana Fairbanks

16 Jordan Abbe

19 Dee May

20 Mary Dutton, Ed Jessen

23 Caleb Mananga, Alannah Rozeboom

25 Zahaia Quirk, Sybil Whyte

28 Deborah McQuilkin

29 Helena Mananga

First Presbyterian Church 505 Franklin St | Waterloo, IA | 319-233-6145 | www.1stpresby.org

Office Hours: M-Th 9:00am to 4:00pm

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