Pastor’s BLOG

Happy New Year!

Dear Friends,
 
Happy New Year! The first Sunday of Advent is the beginning of the New Year in the church liturgical calendar. Advent is a time of waiting. Just like Christians throughout history, we wait for Christ to come again. While we think of late November and all of December as a time to get ready for Jesus’ birth, Advent puts emphasis on the promise that Christ is coming in all power and glory. We wait with Advent Hope. It’s not that we are “pie in the sky” waiters. No! Christians are called to continue the work of Christ as we wait. We have been given a road map on how to live: feed the hungry, visit the sick and those in prison, work toward justice and peace, and worship God with heart, soul, mind, and strength.
 
This Advent, we have a number of opportunities for you to prepare the way of the Lord.
 
On November 28, we will have just one service, blended, in the sanctuary at 11:00. This allows for the extensive setup to happen for our afternoon Christmas Family Night in Fellowship Hall. In morning worship, we will welcome our Boy Scout Troop #205 as they hold a short Eagle Court of Honor for our member Hoke Ayers. This is an incredible achievement and a milestone in Hoke’s life. Scouting is a long-time ministry of this congregation and we rejoice in this special award for one of our youth.

Be sure to return for Christmas Family Night at 4:00. This gathering brings us together with activities for all ages and a fellowship meal. Perhaps you’ll want to make an Advent wreath for your home or nativity ornaments. There will be lots of choices. It is a beloved tradition and everyone is welcome.
December 5th is a first Sunday of the month, which means an 11:00 blended service. It is the 2nd Sunday of Advent, and we will celebrate with a service that uplifts Jesus in the Signs of the Season. Children and adults will help lead the service this week as we unpack the meaning of some of our most cherished Christmas traditions and decorations.
 
December 12th and 19th we will be back to our two services for the 3rd and 4th Sundays of Advent. The 19th will be a service of lessons and carols telling the story of God’s gift of Emmanuel, God with Us.
Christmas Eve Service will be at 5:00 on December 24th.
 
As always, these 11:00 Sunday services will be available online at our YouTube channel so you can be connected online and/or in person.
 
May your Advent season be filled with hope, peace, joy, and love.
 
In Christ,

Pastor Nancy

Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor
 


Thankful Saints

Dear Friends,
 
Greetings, Saints!  In case you missed the 11/7 worship service, when I say Saints, I’m talking to you!  All God’s people are saints.  As poet Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, A saint is a sinner who keeps on going.  
 
Thank you to everyone who helped to bring forth a very special day for All Saints Sunday. The musicians, the beautiful table and floral arrangements, the luncheon, and table decorations-all worked together to bring glory to God and provide good fellowship with one another. Thank you also to those who have returned their stewardship commitment card. If you haven’t done that yet, there is still plenty of time.  Your contributions help us to live into our mission.  We need you!
 
We are in that month of Thanksgiving, when we are extra aware of God’s good and plentiful gifts to us. I encourage you to name at least one thing each day that you are thankful for, and try to be specific. Perhaps write them down before dinner or when you get up in the morning.  Keep track of them and then on Thanksgiving Day, pull out your “Thanks List” and share some of them with your dinner companions. Encourage them to do the same. Maybe you’ll want to continue this thanks-living through the end of the year. 
 
Be assured.  I am ever grateful for traveling this journey with you.
 
All that I’ve needed, thy hand has provided. 
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
 
Grace and peace,
 
Pastor Nancy
 
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor
 


November 7, 2021

Dear Friends,
 
Stewardship season is upon us.  While all year long we should be reflecting upon our gifts and how we use them, the fall is a time when we emphasize our role as God’s stewards.  We ask everyone in the congregation to prayerfully consider how they can best use the gifts God has given them for the upbuilding of God’s kingdom.  Everyone has something to offer. No matter how big or small the gift seems, when we give with faith, God will bless and multiply those offerings beyond all that we can ask or imagine.  Stewardship Dedication Day is November 7th, so please remember to return your commitment card by then.  Also, if you haven’t returned a Time and Talent form, please do that as well.  Extras are on the table in the lobby, or you may reach out to Jeanna and she can email or mail you one.
  
November 7th is also a “First Sunday,” which means ONE blended service at 11:00.  This will be followed with a congregational meeting to elect the Pastor Nominating Committee.  You will be able to attend in person or via Zoom.  Look for the Zoom meeting credentials on page one in the “Called Congregational Meeting…” article or contact Jeanna for the link.
 
Finally, November 7th is when we celebrate All Saints Day.  We will remember all those who have died in the past year in prayer, giving thanks to God for them and the ways they have shaped our lives.  A fellowship lunch will follow.
 
As this holy day approaches, give thanks for those saints in your life who have taught you about God’s love, who have inspired you to give of your gifts, and who have prayed with you and for you over the years, leading to your faith development. God is good.
 
Grace and peace,
 
Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor
 


News & Notes

Dear Friends,
 
I have been with you nearly a year, now, and I have to say how marvelous it is to welcome people to all the in-person worship, learning, and fellowship activities your church offers. We have had a great startup to the Fall. It was wonderful to begin Crossroads Contemporary Service at 9:00 on September 19th. Worshipers seemed so happy to be back in this service. The 11:00 service had good participation as well, and we are glad to have our choir back to lead us in song. Sunday school is also moving right along. It’s not too late to join a class at 10:00!
 
Earlier this month I wrote about some staff departures that occurred at the end of August. This week, I am so happy to tell you that Session approved the hiring of two new interim staff members! The first one, Ann Kiefer, is no stranger to us. Ann is a member here and most recently served on the Mission Study Team. Having read through all those survey results and helping to analyze the mountains of information the team researched and received from the congregation, Ann is well aware of the strength of our Christian Education ministry for children and youth. She is excited and energized to build upon our strengths and encourage deeper study in Sunday school, and more participation of children and youth in worship. We are so happy she has offered to serve as Interim Director of Christian Education in this important time. Do note that Ann has a full-time job during the day, so she will not have “office hours” at the church. If you need to connect with her, please use her email or phone, which are found in the church directory.
 
Our second new staff member, Stan Grady, will begin as Interim Organist on October 1st. Stan is an experienced church musician and teacher. He worked at Forest Hills Presbyterian Church for many years until he retired. We are so grateful he is willing to come out of retirement and commit to weekly worship here with us as we begin our search for a new organist. Please take time to welcome him this coming month.

The Nominating Committee is also underway to nominate a Pastor Nominating Committee. This is a great sign that we are moving forward through this transition. Be in prayer as they discern whom the Spirit might be calling for this important task.
 
Finally, just a note about how you can reach me now that fall is underway. I am usually in Lexington on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. I ordinarily work on my sermon from home on Fridays. Wednesday continues to be my day off. Since I have a number of evening meetings, I usually arrive to the office late morning or first thing in the afternoon and then work until meetings are done at night. Even though I am not always in the church office, I often use morning time to return emails and messages as well as do some reading and sermon preparation. With my 80-mile round-trip commute, it doesn’t make sense to go home and come back for evening meetings.
 
This is very flexible though, as my schedule is constantly changing and adapting to attend to whatever comes up throughout the week. If you would like a visit or wish to meet with me, it is best to schedule it since more things are happening in person now and may take me out of the office. You can contact me at 708-642-2742 for talk/text, and my email is pastornancy@fpclexnc.com. If earlier morning is a better time for you, I can certainly make that happen! I enjoy hearing your stories and learning about this congregation so don’t hesitate to connect.
 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Nancy

Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor