Notes from Pastor Steve

March/April 2019

     It has been a rather rough winter season with lots of ice and snow – but Spring is coming! Unfortunately the weather prevented us from holding worship on January 20th and on February 10th. I would much rather everyone stay home, safe and warm, than to risk injury or accident trying to get to worship on an adverse weather Sunday. We did have worship on January 27th and held our Annual Congregational Meeting after worship on that date. We heard reports from various Session committees, from the Board of Deacons, from the Presbyterian Women, from our Clerk, and from our Treasurer. Those reports combined to give us a sort of “State of the Church” address – and I must conclude that the state of our church is GOOD!

     The month of February got off to a great start as I performed the baptism of Nicolas James Giesler on February 1st in our sanctuary. Nicolas was surrounded by his family as this sacrament was administered – he took it well, not seeming to mind the water at all! Thanks to Kathy Roth for her participation and for representing the church for this wonderful ceremony. Of course, Grandma Rhonda was also there, smiling and taking pictures!

     On Sunday, February 3rd, we celebrated our now regular first Sunday of the month communion. I thought that the choir anthem, “One Bread, One Body,” was not only a very fitting piece for communion Sunday but that it was a beautiful, melodious addition to our worship experience. I am hoping the choir will sing this piece again at some point – my preference is for a repeat performance on Maundy Thursday, the original Lord’s Supper, but we shall see. My thanks to the choir for their meaningful contributions to worship each time they sing.

We were blessed to have a recently formed group of musicians/singers provide an anthem for us on February 24th. This talented group, consisting of John Weakly, Becky Millinger, Marcia Schaefer, Jacob Boyer, and Jill Kenik, graced us with their rendition of “Wayfaring Stranger.” I hope we hear more music in the future from this group of “Wayfaring Strangers!”

     Our new Liturgist Rotation for 2019 is now in place and seems to be working well – at least I am not having to ask people to sign up for liturgist every few weeks. Please remember to say a “thank you” to our liturgists when you have the opportunity – they serve an important role in our worship each and every Sunday.

     Many of you know that I use the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) as the starting point for my sermon preparation. It has been my practice to begin with the Gospel text from this lectionary series as my focus for each Sunday’s message. For 2019, I decided to switch my focus from the Gospel text to the other New Testament text provided each week in the RCL. It has been challenging to change from my lectionary ways – or perhaps using the Gospel texts just suits my beliefs and thoughts better than the non-Gospel texts. But I have committed to this for 2019 and I intend to stick to it! However, you may notice that I am using non-lectionary texts much more regularly in 2019. Lent begins/began on March 6th and it is very challenging not to use the Gospel texts during this season, but I am working on it. Once we move through Lent and celebrate Easter Sunday April 21st, the non-Gospel lectionary scriptures for May all come from the Book of Revelation – it might be an interesting late Spring for our worship messages!

     As I mentioned, the season of Lent begins/began on March 6th with Ash Wednesday. The World Day of Prayer was Friday, March 1st. I appreciate the work the women of our church put into this day of prayer which Christians and people of many other faiths practice in solidarity with one another each year. I hope this Lenten season will be a meaningful and prayerful time for you. We will have our traditional Maundy Thursday worship with a celebration of the Lord’s Supper on April 18th. Our youth’s Son Rise Service will take place early on April 21st with our traditional Easter worship following at 10:45 am. This is an opportunity to invite friends or family members to worship with us – I hope to see you here on Easter!         

     Phil Edymann and I traveled to St. Louis for the Presbytery Gathering on Thursday, February 7th. The Presbytery officially installed the Rev. Dr. Craig Howard as our permanent Executive Presbyter at this time – Rev. Howard has been serving as our interim Presbytery Leader for the past 2 ½ years. I also traveled to the Presbytery Office on February 14th for a meeting of the New Worshipping Communities Commission on which I have been serving as a member since the beginning of 2018. At that meeting I was selected/elected/coerced into being the new Moderator of this presbytery commission. This means that I will be traveling to the Presbytery office on a regular basis to attend the meetings of this commission (which I have already been doing) and I will also be attending meetings of the Mission Team, of which the New Worshipping Communities Commission Moderator is an ex-officio member. These meetings both take place on Tuesdays so they will not interfere with my regular church hours. I want to assure everyone that this is volunteer work on my part and will not take time away from my work for First Presbyterian Church here in Ste. Genevieve.

     I will not be in the pulpit on Sunday, April 28th, as that weekend my son and his beautiful bride will be married. Dad (aka “Pastor Steve”) will have the honor of officiating at this ceremony! Looking far into the future, I will also be gone on Sunday, July 28th, as my lovely bride and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary during that week. I appreciate the Session granting me these Sundays away to spend time with my loved ones.

     Two of our church members, Al and Doris Judy, moved to Texas in February to live near Donna’s sister, Nancy. We were blessed to have them worship with us for the past few years and we will miss having Doris in the choir. Prayers for a safe and comfortable transition for them and for their family. May God continue to hold them in the palm of His hand.

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