Prayer is one of those things that we often need to do, but forget. Making my prayer life better has been on my mind more and more lately. I have made a few changes in my life to help me with that quest.

   I started with a Prayer Jar. The jar has everyone’s name in it who is in our congregation. Every Monday I pull one name from the jar and begin prayers for that person. Elder Janet Calvin has also come alongside me and will be adding the name to the Prayer Chain. How will you know when your name is pulled? I will be sending you a postcard that tells you that you were picked and we are praying for you.

   God has been working in the midst of my prayers and has shown me that I should not keep this ministry to myself. With more thoughts, prayers and conversations it has come to light that I need to be sharing this experience with my church family. On Sunday, July 11, anyone who is interested will have an opportunity to go on the quest with me of a better prayer life. For 5 weeks, the children’s classroom known as the Rainbow Room will turn into a prayer room, in what I am calling the Rainbow Prayer Room. You will be introduced to prayer through:

  • Tuesday’s Prayer Group agenda. The Tuesday Prayer Group is explained by Deacon Wilma Hemphill: God has commanded us to pray. Let’s get together to pray. We can pray for the world-wide church, our home church, the United States, nations around the world and our local communities. I am suggesting that we get together every Tuesday, starting July 6, 2021, at noon at the church. Because we will be meeting at the noon hour, everyone can bring a sack lunch. We can eat together after we finish praying. Because many of you can not come at that time, I will make available a prayer agenda. It will be found in the Fellowship Hall and on the website the Sunday before the Tuesday that we meet. That way you can pray on your own, at your convenience. But yet, we as a congregation, can pray as one. As I look at the conditions of the world, this nation, and THE CHURCH of Jesus, I am convinced that we need to pray. -Wilma
  • A Prayer Jar. I will have my Prayer Jar for anyone who would like to take a name and pray for them weekly, during for the 5 weeks that the Prayer Room will be up.
  • A bookmark with a list of concerns that are on our hearts and minds for our church life.
  • An empty wooden cross. With your help this cross will not be empty for long. At the Prayer Ministry table where this will all be, there will be glass mosaic pieces. You will take one, pray with it and then add it to the cross. Each of the mosaic pieces will symbolize your commitment to prayer. At the end of the 5 weeks of the Rainbow Prayer Room, I will finish making the mosaic by attaching the pieces and getting it ready to hang on a wall. On September 12, appropriately titled Welcome Back Sunday, we will unveil the finished mosaic. This piece will continue to hang in the sanctuary as a symbol of our commitment to the prayer life of this church.
  • Areas to sit and pray. Feel free to take one of the chairs to sit down, relax and meditate in prayer in the Rainbow Prayer Room.
  • Sign-up for the Prayer Chain. The Prayer Chain is for anytime someone has something specific that they need an army of prayer warriors to pray for. They can call the church office or Elder Janet Calvin to get the chain started. Please remember that we do abide by the HIPAA laws and only give out the information that the    recipient of the prayers approve. If you sign-up, your duty would be to receive a call from one prayer warrior and then call the next prayer warrior. Oh and most importantly, pray!
  • And lastly, a commitment document to sign. This document will be just another symbol of your commitment to prayer. This document will also be attached to the back of the cross so that generations from now will still know that the mosaic cross is the symbol of our commitment to prayer in 2021.

   The Rainbow Prayer Room will be available Monday through Thursday during office hours and 30 minutes  before and after church on Sunday mornings from July 11 to August15. Feel free to come whenever and as many times as you would like.

-Kelle Haller

  Glimpses of Grace
 Dear church family and friends,

   As many of you know, I am in the throes of writing my dissertation paper, including the chapter on my    recommendations based on the project in which some of you graciously participated. One of the recommendations that continues to surface is prayer. Professor Andrew Root believes pastors are to be people of prayer and teachers of prayer. I agree, and I also know that many of you already are praying. In fact, I am delighted at the ways different members are exploring different prayer ministries and ways to pray, as you have read on the front page of this month’s Connections.

   Jesus’ ongoing desire was that His Father’s House be a place of prayer as well as a place for worship and devotion to God. We should have a similar desire, that our church be a house of prayer and we as the Church, the Body of Christ, be a people of prayer. Prayer is communion with the Triune God, a dialogue of conversation regarding what is happening in our lives, in the life of the church family, in our communities, nation and the world. Reformer John Calvin believed the best way one could love God and neighbor as Christ commanded is through our prayers. “Intercessory prayer is the practice through which disciples love their neighbors by ‘commending them to the providential care of the best of fathers,’” he once wrote. The two longest chapters in Calvin’s two-volume work, Institutes of the Christian Religion, are on prayer, which he believes is at the heart of the Christian life. He calls it “the chief exercise of faith” for every disciple, no matter where we are in our faith journey. He also calls it “intimate companionship,” “intimate conversation,” and one of God’s  precious gifts.

   To share with our heavenly Father our concerns, joys, needs, and gratitude of those in our lives can be an enriching daily practice of love. As we scatter on vacations or take a sabbatical from all church meetings, this is one way we can continue to love each other. Remembering our officers, staff, and church family and friends in prayer spiritually brings them and us into God’s presence and under God’s loving care. And Calvin, like Jesus, reminds us to also include our enemies. “It is our duty to pray for all who trouble us; to desire the salvation of all; and even to be careful for the welfare of every individual,” he wrote.

   Prayer is dialogue from the heart between us and God, our heavenly Father, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, His Son, and in the presence of the Holy Spirit. It has been said that “every petition in the Lord’s   Prayer is a request for nearness … to pray in the way Jesus instructed us to pray is to ready ourselves to move at the breath of God.” (from Exodus Preaching, p. 127) I know that for some, prayer can be intimidating, even nerve-wracking if done out loud or in front of anyone. It can also be a challenge to pray on a regular basis. And yet, it is essential to our spiritual health and the health of our church. So, I am asking you to take the  challenge and pray, at least twice a day, for 31 days. Remember, when we pray, whether for ourselves or for others, either silently or with voice, we are lovingly bringing those situations and the people for whom we have concern into God’s presence, asking God to draw near. God desires we commune with Him. Prayer is a divine gift from the One who knows and loves us best. Jesus was zealous that His Father’s House be a House of Prayer. May we be zealous in our prayers for the world, our nation, our communities, our church family, our families, our friends, our neighbors and even those who “trouble us” in the coming month!

In His service,



Table For One

Table For One was started in June for individuals usually eating alone. We had a good time at our first    meeting in June. Please join us when we meet in July. We will meet at Marcia Bailey’s house, 1007 Messiah Drive at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, July 6th.  Text Doyle Ruble at (763) 412-2364 for reservations so Marcia will know how many are coming and can prepare.
-Doyle Ruble

I am so excited to announce that things are getting back to normal here at church! Seems like every month we get a little closer to the “Good Ol’ Days,” before Covid.  This month I am happy to announce that the sign-ups for different things have begun. 

   First of which is liturgist. The liturgist is the person who reads the liturgy during Sunday services. This task is much appreciated by all. This task helps the pastor and the congregation at the same time. It is also wonderful to see the different smiling faces every Sunday!

   Secondly, Fellowship Hour is BACK!!! This is so exciting. The session members voted to have coffee every Sunday after the church service. If you would like to bring a snack for everyone to eat, please sign your name to the sign-up sheet. You can make as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. Heck, you can even buy the cookies if you prefer. Having snacks after church just adds a little bit of pizzazz to an already fun time of        conversations.

   These sign-ups can be found on the large table down in the Fellowship Hall. On that  

 table you will find more sign-ups and even some other options to get involved in. Such as     

     the Prayer Chain sign-ups and a basket for the Homeless Shelter care bag items.

   So next time you’re down in the Fellowship Hall, check out the large table and see how you can get involved!



Remember these dates!


 August 28 and 29  First Homecoming for those who grew                              up here at First Presbyterian Church.

September 10, 11, 12  Randy’s Fiftieth Anniversary of                                    making music in the church.


Polish the Jewel Update…

    The organ builder has installed the new releathered chests in the Choir, and is in the process of finishing the work on restoring the Harp/Celeste stop. Now we will have one last project to complete, the releathering of the Swell Organ chests. The project will have an estimated cost of about $60,000, and some money has already been received for that.


Mission Committee Update


The Mission Committee met with our Missionary Family on May 23rd. It was great to get an update on what has been going on in their lives and how Covid has effected that. Since then, we have had another update and I would like to share some of their message to you. 

-Kelle Haller

Dear friends and family,

   It seems our time in the USA is finally wrapping up. Last time we wrote we were waiting to hear what our (country) would do on May 1st, the date they set to re-evaluate the pandemic situation and their border       restrictions. Unfortunately, Covid continues to spread in that country, so they decided to keep the border     restrictions in place for now, and possibly for the remainder of this year! Not the news we were hoping to hear. However, since our oldest is planning to attend the international school there, beginning this August, the school is able to help us get him a student visa. They are also able to get us, his parents, special permission to accompany him into the country. But they are not able to get permission for our other children to enter, which means we cannot even apply for their visas right now 🙁 Our plan, then, is to head to my wife’s sister’s house   at the beginning of July and work from there until our country opens again.

   In August, I will take our son and settle him into his new life at the international school. I, in my Team  Leader role, also plan to visit those of our teammates who have been able to remain there during this        challenging year, in order to support and encourage them. By the end of that trip (Sept.) we should have a  better idea of what is happening with the pandemic and the border restrictions.

   Needless to say, we would really appreciate your continued prayers for our family as we navigate these    uncertainties. Pray for our son. He is excited to enter school for the first time, but there will be a lot of        adjustment required – for him and us! Pray for wisdom as we figure out how to get our kids new visas. And for safety as we have a lot of traveling ahead.

Thank you so much! God bless!

Enjoy the pictures that I took while there with you all.


Because of restrictions, I am only allowed to show the picture that they are not in. If you would like to see the other pictures, I have them in my office for viewing. –Kelle


July Worship Schedule
July 4: Pastor Dick is preaching,  Anointed for Freedom, Isaiah 61:1-6

July 11: Communion; You Give Them Something to Eat based on Mark 6:30-44

July 18: Take Courage! Don’t be Afraid based on Mark 6:45-56

July 25: Pastor Dick preaching, I’m Praying For You, Ephesians 3:14-21

Yum Yum’s

It was decided to go to The Pink Tavern in Lomax, IL for Yum Yum’s on Thursday, July 15th at 6:00 pm. The last two months we have had over 20 people enjoying good food and great conversations. Would love to have more church friends join us!
If you would like to ride with someone or offer to carpool, call Bonnie White.




University of Iowa Stead 

Family Children’s Hospital

   We have been unable to send gifts to our friends on the cancer unit because of COVID restrictions. I received an email from Care Life that we can now order gifts and have them shipped directly from the factory, which we did in April and plan to do in July. If you would like to give a monetary gift you can write a check and put it in the offering plate. Please make sure you write Treasure Chest in the memo. I will order gifts and have them sent directly to the Children’s Cancer Unit.

   Thank you for continuing to give monetary gifts and gifts for the Treasure Chest during this time. All your gifts that have been received are in totes at my house and as soon as I am given permission, I will pack the gifts and once again send them to the Children’s Cancer Unit. I pray that is soon and things will get much better for everyone.


Blessings and Thank You,

Janet Calvin


Homeless Shelter

During the spring, summer and fall the Homeless Shelter is reaching out to the homeless and delivering care bags to them on the streets of Burlington. Word has gotten around to other homeless and they have been coming to the Homeless Shelter to receive a care bag. Kathy has several made up and ready to give to those that need them. We can also help by donating items for the care bags. Some of the items you may contribute are small containers of shampoo, small flashlights, small first aid kits, antiseptic hand sanitizers, body wipes and snacks. There is a basket on a table by the front entrance of the sanctuary and on the big table in Fellowship Hall for you to place your contributions. I will pick them up and deliver to the Homeless Shelter. Thank you.


Janet Calvin


July Birthdays!
July 1.……………………Barbara
July 3…………………..Mary
July 7 …………………….. Linda
July 9…………………..Jeff
July 11…………………Eileene
July 13……………..…Vernave
July 14……………………..Janet
July 18 ………………Gary
July 19…………………Andy
July 20……………..…Toddy              ………………..…… Daniel
July 21 ……………..Terri
July 22………………..Whitney              …………………………..Marcia 
July 23………………….Cindy
July 28………………..…. Curtis
July 31…………………….Ruth   ………………..………Nathan