We will be celebrating Holy Week and Easter Sunday a little differently this year. As you will notice from the note from Bill and Sue Carter, there will be no Easter Sunrise Service this year. However, we will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ both in-person in the Sanctuary and via livestreaming, starting at 10 a.m. on April 4. The service will also be recorded and posted on our webpage. Communion will be served. If you wish to livestream the service, you may pick up communion elements and a bulletin Thursday, April 1 from the church office during   office hours.

   We will be celebrating Maundy Thursday on April 1 at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The worship service will be in person and via livestreaming. Communion will be served and you may pick up communion elements and a bulletin Wednesday, March 31 from the church office during office hours.

   We will be celebrating Good Friday on April 2, starting at 2 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The Rev’d Randy Webster will be leading the devotional time of Scripture reading, meditation and music. Kelle Haller has also recorded a Good Friday devotional available on our website.

 

The Palm Sunday Donkey Walk up Snake Alley is a go for this year!  If you would like to participate, stop at the Washington St. door at 8:50 a.m. Sunday and receive your palm branch for the walk. The walk will start at 9 a.m. at the bottom of Snake Alley. All kids need to be accompanied by a caregiver as no staff will be attending.
 
Sunrise Service

   For the 2nd year, the Easter Sunrise Service and Breakfast will not be held due to the issues of the Covid epidemic. We hope that 2022 will allow the event to  happen. We also want to thank the kind comments from everyone in the hope it will continue in the future.

 

Bill and Sue Carter

 

Christian Education
 

The past year has put many things in our lives on hold, and Christian Education for our children/youth is one of them at First Presbyterian.

However, the encouraging news of vaccinations and dropping positivity rates  reassures us that it will resume in the foreseeable future. When? We don’t know, but we are ready to start  planning. A first step will be a meeting with parents and session on Sunday, April 18, after church in the Fellowship Hall. We want and need parental input as we seek ways to fulfill our congregational promise made at baptism to nurture these children in faith. We invite parents to attend the meeting and all members to pray for our direction and decisions.

Carol Brotherson, Moderator of Christian Education Committee

 

Yum Yum’s

WooHoo! Yum Yum’s will gather for the first time in a year at Boogaloos in the Pzazz complex at 6:00pm on Thursday, April 15, 2021. To keep with the rules, we will meet in the big room with the long tables. Hope you can come for an evening of good food and good conversation. If you plan on coming, please RSVP to  Bonnie White, 752-1244 or Sue Carter, 753-0683 so that we can make the reservation.

Sue Carter

Glimpses of Grace

Dear church family and friends,

   As I write this article, I am taking a much-needed break from writing my latest chapter for my D. Min. dissertation. I say ‘much-needed’ not because it is difficult or exhausting, though at times it can feel that. Rather, I need to focus on the positive aspects of our faith and the joy in our midst as we finish our Lenten journey for another year and celebrate Easter and Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.

   My current chapter is on the state of the nation as it pertains to Christianity. Many of the books I have read are not encouraging as I look at statistics and read stories from those who claim to be “spiritual but not religious” or check the boxes, “None” or “Done” when asked to select a faith tradition. The saddest of all are those who claim no belief in God whatsoever, thinking their good works or their intellect are good enough for whatever is coming next. The conclusion I have come to is that many people in the 21st -century United States view Christianity as something apart from a relationship with Jesus. The Apostle Paul reminded his readers that Jesus and His crucifixion and resurrection would be perceived as a stumbling block for some and foolishness for others. He was correct in the first century and he remains correct. However, the reality is, if Jesus and His crucifixion/resurrection are removed from our conversations, we as the Body of Christ are no different from a social group or a service club. And we are wasting our time.

   As you hopefully know, I have tried to make it a point to always include the good news of Jesus in the conversation as I preach and teach. In fact, if anyone was keeping track of the sermons I have preached and the texts I from which I have preached, you would find I have overwhelmingly talked about Jesus these past 13 years. Part of the reason may be my Baptist upbringing … but the main reason is found in a quote from one of my favorite pastor-theologians Dietrich Bonhoeffer. When talking about what happens when a sermon is preached, he wrote, “The proclaimed word has its origin in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. It neither originates from truth once perceived nor from personal experience. It is not the reproduction of a specific set of feelings … The proclaimed word is the incarnate Christ Himself…The preached Christ is both the Historical One and the Present One … The proclaimed word is not a medium of expression for something else, something which lies behind it, but rather is the Christ Himself walking through His congregation as the Word.”

   Wow. Did you hear that? Even though our secular culture may value feelings, personal experiences or individualized truths, none of it matters when the gospel is preached. Jesus alone matters. Not only that, but Bonhoeffer is stating an amazing reality: Jesus Christ walks through our congregation as the Word of God is proclaimed. Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us, is present as we worship the Triune God. Jesus, the One who promised that ‘where two or more are gathered together in My name,’ He is there, is really with us as we worship God. Each and every Sunday as we worship the Triune God, Jesus is walking through the congregation. Do you sense it? Do you miss it when you are unable to attend in-person? Do you want to share it with someone else?

   We are preparing to celebrate the greatest miracle the world has ever known. God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whether the world believes it or not. Whether the world receives Him or not. Jesus, beloved Son of the Father, died on the cross for our sins. Jesus defeated death, once and for all. Jesus defeated evil, once and for all. Jesus provided a way for us to have a relationship with His Father forever.

   Woohoo! Jesus Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! And He is walking through First     Presbyterian Church this coming Sunday as the Word is proclaimed! Hope you can join us!

 

In His service,

Deb

 

When it comes to life matters, I don’t think anything really happens by coincidence. Last month I relayed an experience from over a decade ago about experiencing a woman in the back of the bus that I rode from my home to the church where I worked during my years in New Jersey. In the last week another story happened “from the back of the bus…”

   Recently we had our water heater replaced. When the bill arrived about a week later, inside the bill itself was a small card from the owner of the business. The first paragraph asked his clients to try and pay their bill within ten days, that the last year had been particularly difficult for the business. The initial reading of his request ruffled my feathers for some reason.

   What was interesting was the second paragraph. He told of his relationship with Jesus Christ, and invited anyone who might be seeking or searching to contact him, if we wished. A good Presbyterian/Episcopalian of my generation would probably never done that (which resulted in my initial knee-jerk reaction) BUT I had to think that perhaps both he and the lady at the back of the bus know something that I was slow to realize. God calls us to tell stories of faith to a world that is in desperate need of hearing those stories.

   Wondering where your place is in the world “at the back of the bus?” The first disciples had to tell their story of their experience at the first Easter Day to an unbelieving world; they simply couldn’t just expect people to come to them. Who do we need to run to with the story of the women at the tomb? Imagine running breathless into HyVee with the wonderful news that Christ is risen indeed!

Randy+

 

Dear friends,

   I thought it wise to relay to you my current thought about music in the church, one which hasn’t changed for a long time. I am a member of several Facebook “organizations” related to church music, and am in the “loop” with most of the local musicians. I think many of us rely on each other, and with science, to come to conclusions about song in the church. As far as congregational singing is concerned, I don’t read of any location online that is encouraging congregational singing without a mask and social distancing. I am aware that the congregation of Messiah Lutheran Church here is printing music in the bulletins, but everyone must wear a mask and be no less than six feet apart. I am hopeful that that will change as more and more people receive vaccinations. Currently I would advocate remaining with our current protocol. I can tell you that, having been the lone musician for a year now, no one wants to reclaim unmasked congregational song as much as I do!

   As far as choir singing is concerned, the only places that I have seen that have a “choir” are employing a quartet choir, masked and singing twelve feet apart, and at a significant distance from the rest of the congregation; all of these are in the east and in very large church buildings. I know of no congregation locally that has even approached the subject of choir singing. Bel Canto has canceled its spring concert. Of our eight members in the choir here, only three have         regularly returned to worship. I am hopeful that we might be able to resume in September, but that will be contingent on a number of things. I hope this is helpful as we look to the future of worship here.

Warmly,                                                                                                                                         

Randy+

 

May Day! May Day! May Day!

The Trustees are calling for help to spruce up our church on Saturday, May 1st from 9 am– Noon. Work includes:

 

     Changing light bulbs both inside and outside

     Building a container for dumpster

     Signs for elevette to be installed

     Clean window wells

     Repair down spout extension

 

Sign up in the church office either through a phone call, 319-752-6626 or via email, kelleh@1stpresb.org.

 

April Birthdays!
 
April 1 …………………….. Janice 
April 3 ……………………..Nick   
 ………………………………..Tom 
April 4 …………………. Dal 
April 6………………Laura
April 11………..……….Kelle
April 12 …………….. Harrison 
April 13 …………… …….Charles  
………………………………… Ted
April 16 ………………………. Sally  …………….…..…..Thomas
April 18 ……………….. Michael
April 22 …………………… Jaxon 
April 25 ……………………. Pat S