Pastor’s BLOG

Changing and Growing

Dear friends,
 
By now you may have received a mailing from me letting you know I have accepted a new call as an installed pastor to Circleville Presbyterian Church, in Circleville, Ohio. One of the hardest parts of Transitional Ministry for me is the short-term comings and goings to and from churches. It seems we just get to know each other and build relationships and then suddenly they come to an end.  One of the best parts of Transitional Ministry is I get to meet so many more people and hear the stories of their walk with God!  I cherish the times we have shared together.  You have enriched my life and faith.
 
The church I will be serving is one that I’ve held close to my heart ever since I served as their Director of Christian Education for three years back in 1985-1988. I never, ever expected I would return as their pastor.  God has a funny way of keeping us connected.  On the evening that the PNC extended the call, they invited my husband Chris to Zoom with us.  Chris said to them, “You know, Nancy isn’t the same person she was 30-plus years ago.”  The committee chairperson replied, “Well, we should hope not!”  Then another member of the PNC quipped back, “The church isn’t the same, either!”
 
It was a good sign to know that we welcome the growth on both sides.  I rejoice in the ways I have developed as a person, as a pastor over the years, and I am glad to know that the Circleville congregation has been learning and growing, too! I look forward to discovering those changes and transformations as I begin there in July.  It makes me wonder about FPC, Lexington.  How would you describe your growth over the years?  It’s not really a “numbers” question, but a “discipleship” kind of question.  My hope is that you all will consider how God and the years of ministry (nearly 200!) together have shaped both your congregation and you as individuals who are beloved children of God.  That could be a wonderful conversation-starter for when you meet your new pastor!
 
My last Sunday with you is June 12th, and my last day in the office is June 16th.  Please hold me in your prayers, as I will hold you, as we move through this next season of transition.
 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer
 
 
Pastor Nancy’s last Sunday with us will be June 12. Following the worship service, we will have time on the front lawn for the church family to say their good-byes and give their well-wishes to Pastor Nancy. Please plan to join us.
 


Called to Live Easter Lives

Dear Friends,
 
Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  It is so good to be living on this side of the cross.  Even as we moved through the despair of Holy Week, with its betrayal, denials, and crucifixion of Jesus, we knew that Jesus would be victorious over death. We knew Easter was coming. That knowledge doesn’t necessarily remove the pain of the moment, but since we are Easter people, it certainly gives us hope and vision for our future.
 
We are called to live Easter lives at all times.  In fact, every Sunday is an Easter day for us to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from death.  It might be good to remind ourselves what that Easter living looks like.  Here are a few things that come to mind:
 
♥ Joyful hearts
 
♥ Trusting God with the future
 
♥ Expecting Jesus’ presence to be revealed in community
 
♥ Accepting our commission to be sent into the world as God sent Jesus to us
 
♥ Using our Spirit-given gifts to share in the ministry of this congregation as we seek to serve God together.
 
I know we are still in the midst of the pandemic, although we truly have appreciated the reprieve we’ve gotten the past month or so.
 
I know that spring means more time to spend outdoors and taking jaunts, and dealing with school year-end activities.
 
I know that summer trips are coming.
 
I know that you are weary of “in-between times,” that you are ready for a new pastor to get here yesterday, already!
 
I know that many of you are tempted to just wait until the new pastor is here to reconnect or get more involved.
 
However….there is still ministry to do right now! With the return of more activity in the church comes the need for more volunteers. 
 
♥ With Blake and Lynnae Benton moving, we are desperately in need of volunteers to help with the livestreaming of our 11:00 (10:00 summer) service and with sound and slides for the 9:00 service. 
 
♥ We could use some folks willing to serve as ushers, greeters, and building security people. 
 
♥ There are available Sundays for serving as a lay-leader,
 
♥ …and it would be helpful to have some adults ready to volunteer in the nursery when needed, such as for a memorial service or on a Sunday morning.  (Note that we have a Child Protection Policy and Nursery volunteers must undergo a background check.)
 
God has done so much for us through Jesus Christ.  What are we willing to give to God? Not as a payback, because we could never pay God back—but as a sign of our thanksgiving, trust, and desire to follow Jesus.
 
Please be prayerful this week in how you would like to serve through the church and let me or one of our Session elders know how you plan to share your gifts.
 
Christ is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!  Let us live Resurrection lives!
 
Peace,
Pastor Nancy
 
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor
 
 


As Easter Approaches

Grace and peace to you this Holy Week!  We have had a prayerful Lenten journey together these past six weeks, and in just a few short days, after the sadness of Good Friday is past, we step into the joy of Easter season. I hope that the variety of prayers I offered during Lent has enriched your prayer walk with God.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to me to share the prayers you’ve been working on. I would love some partners in mandala and labyrinth praying, if those interest you.  
 
We have been hit hard the past couple weeks with the deaths of beloved saints, most recently John Rawlings and Mary Cook Koontz.  It touches my heart when I have looked out in the congregation and seen so many of you there at the memorial services.  It speaks of both their witness to the Christian faith and the strength of your church-family ties.  Your presence and support are uplifting to the loved ones grieving. Thank you to everyone who has helped to usher, provide child-care and hospitality, and show care.   
 
Speaking of thanks, I also want to thank those who have helped with the Lenten liturgical décor in both the sanctuary and fellowship hall. The purple-draped crosses, the palm branches, and other touches go a long way to help us prepare for worship. I hope such liturgical art will continue throughout all the seasons of the church year.
 
Easter is a season that celebrates new beginnings.  New life arises from death.  We see signs of renewal in the air—the vibrant colors bursting from the ground and the blossoming trees.  It turns hearts to praise God for the beauty of the earth.  We look forward to the fellowship events coming in May on the 1st and 22nd and our Youth leading worship on May 15th.  These are reminders of the vitality of our congregation and we anticipate the many ways this congregation’s life will be renewed as the pandemic recedes (we pray) and we can gather even more freely and faithfully in worship, mission, and fellowship.
 
I hope to see you on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at the Methodist church next door, and then at FPC on Easter Sunday at 9:00 and/or 11:00!
 
In Christ,
Pastor Nancy
 
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor
 


Prayer-ables, The Lord’s Prayer, and Holy Week

Dear Friends,
 
We have been praying our way through Lent.  I hope that the practices that I have introduced have been helpful to you in this season of penitence and hope.  We have two Sundays left in Lent, and two more aspects of prayer to explore. 
 
On April 3rd, we will read two parables about perseverance in prayer. I like to call them Prayer-ables! Stories that teach us a deeper truth. We will also lift up the Lord’s Prayer as found in Luke’s gospel.  On Palm Sunday, we will reflect upon Prayerful Walking. Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey and people shouted Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. He continued his pilgrimage all the way to Golgotha, praying at the table of Passover, praying in the garden, praying from the cross.  How will we begin our pilgrimage through Holy Week?  Prayerful Walking helps us clear our mind of other distractions so we can focus on God’s leading, taking steps to have the same mind as Jesus. 
 
On Maundy Thursday, we will be worshiping with our neighbors at First United Methodist Church. Our choirs will combine, and I will offer the message. On Friday, you will have the chance to walk a labyrinth at the Methodist church. It is a gift to be in partnership with our neighbors and to worship together.  I hope you will attend and deepen your own walk with God as we remember Jesus’ body broken and blood shed for us.
 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Nancy
 
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor