August Newsletter

We are a Christian community dedicated to doing God's work. God gathers us in a loving and healing environment to explore the mystery of our faith.

Pastor’s Perspective

August 2017

Next month I’ll celebrate my twentieth year of ordained ministry as a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church. I want to be clear about the type of ordination I’ll celebrate because I was ordained as a Ruling Elder in 1977. So, in reality, I’ve been called to ordained service for forty years in total. That looks like a long time when I write it. But, it’s not. Looking back over forty years in the Presbyterian Church, serving in one capacity or another, it feels more like fleeting moments. I’ve heard that happens with age. Also, when I take into consideration the full scope of Judeo-Christian heritage, roughly 4000 years, it really isn’t much time at all. But it seems like the church, who we are, how we understand ourselves, and our present role in our culture has changed so much when compared to the beginning of my story of ordination. I sometimes wonder if the clergy and lay persons in the 16th century during the Reformation, or the 11th century when the eastern and western church split, didn’t feel much the same. I know there was massive upheaval when Rome fell in the fifth century. Augustine responded to that tumult by writing the Christian classic City of God.

Anyone one who hangs around me much has heard me talk about the historic reality that about every five-hundred years the church goes through a monumental change, a paradigm shift. Rome fell in about 500 CE; the church split in 1054; the Reformation “began” in 1517. What year is this? I’m not the only one who’s made the same observation. The role and life of the church is changing, a significant shift is underway in western Christianity and what it means to be church. Frankly, for many including me, it can leave us unsettled. Anxiety, if allowed, can rule the day and the temptation to retreat into a bunker mentality holding fast to survival instincts can rule the day. That’s being human. But those survivalist thoughts, particularly if placed into actions, are not the Christian faith nor do they reflect the life giving hope of the gospel.

What does remain unchanged, throughout time and history, is the love and grace of the living Word, Jesus the Christ. It feels like the Spirit is moving powerfully in our world, things are changing. That’s unsettling. Let me, however, remind you of the words found in the Bible when the Spirit is moving . . . “Do not be afraid.” Though the Spirit may be stirring and it feels like “the kingdoms are in an uproar,” it is giving new life. We are blessed to live in a time of Holy Adventure. A shift is taking place in which, now wait for it . . . . . . . . we will have to rely on God. I confess, that’s not a novel idea. But when the power of the church and the power of culture walk hand in hand, as it has for the last several decades, enacting reliance upon the life affirming God of all creation is going to feel unnerving at times. Why? Because in actual practice you and I are not accustom to it.

So, what’s next? What is in store for the church? I really don’t know for sure and it would be arrogant of me to suggest I do. What I do know is the basics of who we are continue unchanged though the details may become different in appearance. First, we worship. The church continues to proclaim the mystery of God’s presence in Word and Sacrament. Second, we continue as a people of prayer surrendering our very being to walk in harmony with the Holy Spirit and the Living Christ. Third, we strive to run the risks that Jesus ran, walking with those at the margins, sacrificing ourselves even to the point of risking the life of church. We live the life of those who accept and embrace the faith that resurrection follows death.

See, it’s really very simple. Not easy, but simple. May God continue to bless our ministry and presence together as a church called into being by Christ.

Peace,

Pastor Mike


Thought to Ponder

God [is] a verb rather than a noun. I didn’t know what to make of that years ago. Now I see it as a beautiful expression of the Infinite Face of God . . . God is less like an object and more like a process—the Creative Urge and the Evolutionary Impulse.

Integral Christianity

Paul R. Smith


Pastor Mike’s Doctoral Dissertation

Pastor Mike will offer a three-week overview of his doctoral dissertation, its foundation, findings, and possible future direction. The study begins after worship, Sunday, August 6 and continues on Sundays the 13th and 20th. If you have interest, please mark your calendar and join him as he shares his experience!


Lunch Time Bible Study

Pastor Mike leads an interactive, discussion based Bible study on the book of I John beginning on Tuesday, August 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd. The time is 12:35 p.m-1:25 p.m. and is held in the Adult Education area of First Presbyterian Church. More information is forthcoming. Bring your lunch and join us!


SHAWL MINISTRY

Attention those who Crochet-Our supply of prayer shawls is getting low. If you need a project we could use your talent. Yarn is available in Room 119. Our shawl ministry is a blessing to so many in our congregation as they go through difficult changes in their lives. To date we have provided 25 women with prayers shawls. Thank you to all who have crocheted prayers into our prayer shawls. Please call the church office for any questions you might have.

MEALS ON WHEELS

Benefits of the program are that shut-in senior citizens are able to have at least one hot meal a day. This allows many to stay in their own home rather than moving into a care center.

Another great benefit is the human contact these people receive. Many who are taking these meals have very limited contact with the world outside their home. A visit, although short is very meaningful for these lonely people.

Our church will be providing this service the first two weeks of August 1st-16th.


Library Notes

This month the featured books are written by Nebraska authors in honor of the Nebraska 125 anniversary. Enjoy!!!!

Ted Kooser has written a delightful book, Bad in the Wind. One cold spring morning a landfill bulldozer uncovers a yellow plastic bag. The wind catches it and it drifts into the lives of several townsfolk and has many uses along the way. At the end of this short book, there is a special message. Don’t look until you have read the story!!!!!!

Another Nebraska author who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, Stephanie Grace Whitson, has written a new book, Messenger by Moonlight. Frank, Emmet, and Annie Paxton are forced to leave their Missouri farm after the death of their parents. Moving to St. Joseph, Missouri, they were planning to start a new life. Money of course was a big issue. One day flyers appeared about the Pony Express needing riders. The boys sign up to ride and are assigned to a station in the Nebraska territory. Refusing to leave their sister, the three embarked on an adventure that included many experiences in the sparsely inhabited new territory. This historical fiction will hold your interest until the very end. There are several of Whitson’s earlier books in the library.

I Am a Man by Joe Starita, a Professor of Journalism at the University of Nebraska, has written a well researched and insightful account of Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca Indian Tribe. This is a story of survival as Standing Bear attempts to return his son’s body back to Nebraska from the Indian Territory where they had been sent. It shows his efforts to reclaim his lands and rights in the Nebraska Territory. The issues that continue to be present today, citizenship, democracy, and freedom are highlighted in Standing Bear’s struggle.


PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

The Coordinating Team of Presbyterian Women will meet on August 24 at 9:30 a.m. in the conference room. Business will include planning for Women’s Sunday, September 24 and the Fall Adventure, October 12. Presbyterian Women who are not on the Coordinating Team are invited to attend.

GREETERS FOR AUGUST 2017

6 (E) JACK GARNER

(K) GEN JOHNSON (W) JIM BARR


13 (E) DALE NIEMANN

(K) BETH NIEMANN

(W) SUSAN BEAUCHAMP


20 (E) NITA WORKMAN

(K) STAN JENSEN

(W) LORNA CLEAND


27 (E) GALE BARNHILL

(K) KAREN BARNHILL

(W) ANN EDDY


COFFEE FELLOWSHIP

6 CINDY NABER

13 ANN KIRKPATRICK

20 ANN PHILSON

27 NANCY QUIRING


CANDLELIGHTERS

SKYLAR HUBER

13 RORY HUBER

20 MADELYN HEIDEN

27 RENEE KUCERA


THE CHARGE

6 KEN GALE

13 

20 DONNA EHLERS

27 CARYN EICKHOFF


SOUND SYSTEM

NANCY QUIRING

13 NANCY QUIRING

20 JOHN HOLMES

27 ALEX HILDEBRAND



USHERS FOR AUGUST 2017

KEN GALE

TEAM 3 SUSAN GALE

CHRIS TIETMEYER

DAWSON TIETMEYER


13 CLINT PHILSON

TEAM 4 ANN PHILSON

RICK GARNER

KIM GARNER


20 JACK GARNER

TEAM 9 LORI HESER

LORNA CLELAND

NITA WORKMAN


27 JIM BARR

TEAM 10 ORVILLE DAVIDSON

SHARON DAVIDSON

STANLEY JENSEN

CARYN EICKHOFF


COMMUNION SERVERS

AUGUST 6

DONN ATCHISON

BOB COOPER

SUSAN BEAUCHAMP


SEPTEMBER 3

DALE KAHLA

BILLY DOWNER

ANN KIRKPATRICK