May 30th, 2024

Pastor Connection

A Note from Pastor Randy

In the lectionary cycle, this is the year of Mark’s Gospel. We will reflect on Mark for most of the Summer. Then after a brief look at John 6, we will return to Mark throughout the Fall season.

I want to pass along a suggestion I often made to my students. You might find it helpful (and interesting) to read through the entire Gospel in one sitting. View it as you would a short story. The Gospel of Mark can be read in little more than an hour.

I know that because I just did it before writing this piece. To give myself a different kind of experience, I decided to read it on my cellphone with my Bible app. I came away with some memorable impressions.

First, I was struck by the abruptness of the story. The author throws us immediately into the wilderness with John the Baptist, collapses the ministry of Jesus into one year, and then leaves us stunned with the women before the empty tomb. He seems to be in a hurry to get his message out! The story reads much like the script of an action movie, as we move quickly from scene to scene. What is the rush? Scholars have suggested that the author was under duress because the Romans were attacking Jerusalem and he wanted to preserve the oral accounts of Jesus. This would date the Gospel shortly before 70 A.D.

Second, the rural setting of the first nine chapters drew my interest. I have been to Galilee and Palestine a couple of times, so I was aware of the landscape. The references to villages, the countryside and the lake are so embedded in Mark’s story that they are almost characters in themselves. When I was in Palestine, I was told by a Christian who lived there that some people still tell stories about when Jesus visited their village. That’s what we have in Mark chapters 1-9, stories about the visits of Jesus throughout Galilee. On Sunday, we will see Jesus traipsing through a grain field and finding his way to a village synagogue.

Third, I could not help but notice an emphasis on the cluelessness of the disciples when it comes to the identity of Jesus and the nature of his mission. Jesus chides them often for their lack of faith or understanding, a point also noted at times by the author. There is some hope that they will begin to understand after the resurrection. The angel at the empty tomb tells the women to instruct the disciples to return to Galilee. They will encounter Jesus there as they re-live their experiences with him on the road, and in the villages, and by the lake. He will be with them in a new way as they share the good news and minister to the needs of people.

More to come!

Gift of Life Church Announcement

You are invited to meet members of the Gift of Life Church on Sunday, June 2. They have been invited to come, tour, and become acquainted with our church. We will serve treats in Calvin Hall at 2 p.m. and then invite our members to serve as tour guides. If some of you would be willing to bring some cookies or bars, that would be great. Please come and help welcome Gift of Life to our church. You may click HERE to view their website. 

Iowa Tornado Relief

Dear Iowa Presbyterians,

Join us in sending prayers and condolences to the families affected by the recent tornadoes across the state. Our hearts go out to those experiencing loss of loved ones and property.

Please be assured Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is aware and in contact with the communities in the storms' paths. Both physical and emotional recovery will take time - and we are planning to provide ongoing support. For now, the best thing we can do to help is wait and let the professional rescue teams do what they have been trained to do. Once a centralized recovery effort is defined, we will contribute and work with them.

Meanwhile, if you would like to make a financial contribution to the efforts, checks can be mailed to the address below with memo line "Tornado Relief Efforts". You can also give online at, or

Office of the Presbyteries

1864 Highway 86

Lakeshore Center At Okoboji

Milford, IA 51351-7267

Should you or your church community have a specific need, please contact our office at 319-233-1747. We are available and ready to help.

Grace and Peace,

Presbytery Staff

Pentecost Offering

Thank you all for your generous donations to the Pentecost Offering. First Church donated $1,112.00. 40% will stay with the church to be used for an at-risk youth program. The Missions Committee will determine the recipient.

First Wednesday Club

Please join us this upcoming Wednesday, June 5, at noon in Calvin Hall. Pastor Randy will be doing a presentation on his trip to Lithuania. As always, BYOL (bring your own lunch).

Bring Your Own Picnic

On Sunday, June 23, we invite you to join us at a Bring Your Own Picnic following the worship service. This will be held at the Exchange Park shelter by the Bucks Stadium.

Synod School

If you would like to attend the upcoming Synod School, the church will cover half of the cost. Please reach out to Dan Davis or Jean Seeland for more information. There is a flyer on the bulletin board outside of the church office.

Quilt Stories

This quilt was made by Mary Mumm and is a combination of piecework, cross stitch embroidery, applique, and paper pieced piecework. It started with the (6) cross stitch squares (in the middle of the quilt) done by Paul Ostrem (Mary’s brother-in-law). She added the fussy-cut applique “petals” for interest. He wanted it to be queen size, so she tilted the squares on point. It still wasn’t queen size. The “stack n’whack” squares came next. (Ask a quilter to point out these squares). These were modified to rotate counterclockwise to match the cross-stitched squares. It still was not big enough, so she added a Judy Neimeyer paper pieced border. It was now queen size.

Don’t know what some of these terms mean? Ask a quilter. They love to talk about quilting.

Florence Warnock Scholarship

The Florence Warnock Scholarship committee is pleased to announce the two recipients of the 2024 scholarships: Olivia Hanson and Ellie Keegan.

Both girls are graduates of Union High School in LaPorte City and both are members of American Lutheran Church.

Olivia will be attending Iowa State University in the fall. She plans to study Agricultural and Life Sciences Education with a future career goal of becoming a high school Agricultural Education teacher and FFA advisor.

Ellie's goal is to obtain a degree in the medical field at the University of Iowa. She has already completed the required training to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Hip-Hop Literacy


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)

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

Please click HERE for the Sunday bulletin with hymns and creed.

We look forward to worshiping with you every week!

Church Calendar


Friday May 31: 9:30 am Gerald Buls Visitation

10:30 am Gerald Buls Funeral Service meal to follow Fellowship Hall

Sunday Jun 2: 9:15 am Church Volunteer Meeting

10:00 am Worship Service Sanctuary

2:00 pm Gift of Life Tour

5:00 pm Sunday Supper Fellowship Hall

Monday Jun 3:Try Pie Meeting 4:15 pm

Tuesday Jun 4: 9:00 am Bible Study

10:00 am Staff Meeting church office

5:00 pm Missions Committee

Wednesday Jun 5: 12 noon First Wednesday Club (bring your own lunch)

Friday Jun 7: 415 Walnut Collective Meeting

Sunday June 9: 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 June 16 and 30; July 7, 21, and 28th 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 

With Our Sympathy

Gerald Buls' Funeral Service will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Friday, May 31, 2024. Visitation at 9:30 am followed by Funeral Service at 10:30 am. There will be a catered meal to follow.

You may view his obituary by clicking HERE.

Church Prayer List

New to the Prayer List:

Ralph Beaver

Ongoing/Continuing Prayers:

Liz Poole

Pat & Kari Narey

Linda Wiles

Regina Buls

Tom Wiles

Betty Wexter

Jan Schwab

Steve and Debbie Miller

Barb Young's son-in-law Todd

Sherrianne Noyes


Joe Fernau, Marie's son

Prayer for Member Households:

Connie Leeper

Larry & Jennifer Lightbody

Dale & Marilyn Lottich

Prayer in the Presbytery:

First Presbyterian Church, 100 S. Pierce Ave., Mason City, IA 50401

Rev. Dr. Kip Murphy

Click HERE to view their website

Prayer for Local Church:

Mt. Moriah Love Center, 321 Normandy St., Waterloo, IA 50703.

Rev. Corey Holmes

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.

Church Family Birthdays

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


01 Travis Bowers

03 Drew Newhoff

04 Nancy Valentine

05 Jackson Bass, Marilyn Lottich, Samuel Smith

08 Judy Anders, Steve Cose

09 Shirley Sorenson

11 Dave Kabel, Doug Newhoff

16 Teresa Ames

19 Jennifer Bass, Mark Fairbanks, Paul Mead, Kim Reisinger, Colette Shull

21 Lorraine Baker

25 Olive Whyte

26 Barb Young

28 Kevynne Wimberley

30 Theresa Braby

First Presbyterian Church 505 Franklin St | Waterloo, IA | 319-233-6145 |

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

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