Notes from Pastor Steve

May/June 2019

     Hosanna! He is risen! Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Maundy Thursday, Easter SonRise, and Easter worship are now over for 2019. Our celebrations here at First Presbyterian Church included a palm procession on Palm Sunday, a night of reflection on the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday, an early morning “Son”rise service led by our youth, and our Easter worship highlighted by our three musical groups: the Hand Chime Choir, the Chancel Choir, and our newest group with guitars, a flute, and vocals (who as of this writing still remain nameless!). I hope that many of you were able to be with us for some of these special services!

     On March 19th a special prayer service was held at the Lutheran Church which centered on the opioid crisis presently facing our community and county. This event was open to all and is one of the efforts put forth by the Faith Community Collaborative Partnership. I was very pleased when several of our church members attended this service. There are not many ecumenical church events that are planned and held in our community, in large part because there is so little support for them from community members. I hope our church membership will continue to support and attend ecumenical events.

     March 31st was the first Bonus Sunday of 2019 and it was truly a “banner” Sunday! Greeting us in worship were ALL the banners of our church displayed around our sanctuary and in the foyer. This is quite a display as we now have banners for almost all of our church seasons and special occasions. We also celebrated with balloons, donut holes, lots of music, and even jelly bean-filled little basketballs in honor of March Madness! If you missed this event, our next Bonus Sunday is at the end of June – more on this later.     

     I traveled to St. Louis in April for a meeting of the Presbytery Mission and Outreach Team. I am encouraged by the attempts of this group to reach out and include churches outside of the St. Louis area in presbytery events. As an example, the May Presbytery Gathering will be held in Cape Girardeau.

     I met with Krystle and Bryan Hoisington and their son, Owen, on March 24th. Several of you probably remember Krystle during her time as a youth and young person in this church when she was Krystle Brooks. It was very nice to have them in worship with us in March – Krystle certainly has many fond memories of her time attending this church. It was good to see so many people in our congregation warmly greeting Krystle and Bryan and Owen. The Hoisington’s, who live in Imperial, wish to have their son baptized in our church – I am pleased to report that at the last Session meeting, approval was given to have Owen Hoisington baptized at our church on June 30th. As I mentioned previously, June 30th will be our next Bonus Sunday and it will be quite a bonus to have a baptism and to have the Hoisington family, relatives, and friends present in worship on that Sunday! Don’t miss it!

     The Spring Presbyterian Women’s Gathering was held at our church this Saturday, April 27th. At that meeting, Cindy Fieg was honored as the outgoing Moderator of the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbyterian Women. We have been privileged to have the PW Moderator be a member of our church for the past six years. Be sure to congratulation Cindy on her leadership of this group!

    Julia Matthews and Cindy Fieg made an official request of the Session in April to be designated as a Hunger Action Team for our church to coordinate the efforts of our hunger ministries and to expand them as much as possible. With our Session’s approval, they will be pursuing our church’s recognition as a Hunger Action Congregation for the Presbytery which allows us to be eligible for a $250 grant. Julia has already applied for and received a $750 grant from the Mission and Outreach Team in our Presbytery to pursue her late summer (August) feeding program for kids – which you will hear about in the July/August newsletter. The Hunger Action Team will be looking for other members and volunteers – watch the newsletter and bulletin announcements for updates in the future.

     I was not in worship on Sunday, April 28th, as my son and his lovely bride were married that weekend. I had the privilege of officiating this wedding and I want to wish my son and new daughter-in-law all the best for the future.

     Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 19th as the men of the church will be preparing a special “Birthday Brunch” for all after worship on this date. This is our traditional birthday celebration which our church hosts after the “Birthday Offering” is collected that Sunday – with a new twist, of course. Men, we still need more volunteers, so talk to me (Pastor Steve) if you are available to help or provide some food for this “party.”

     I plan to facilitate a special Sunday morning program entitled: “Just Eating: Practicing Our Faith at the Table,” beginning June 16th through July 21st. All ages are invited and encouraged to attend this study on the intersection of our faith and our eating habits which will be held from 9:30 – 10:15 am on Sunday mornings. See the article in this newsletter for more details.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 (RSV)

Yours in Christ,                    

Pastor Steve