Pastor’s BLOG

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
 
 


Lord, Teach Us to Pray

Dear Friends,
 
We are now more than two weeks into the season of Lent. How is your prayer life coming along? This Lent, our worship theme is Lord, Teach Us to Pray. Each week we are focusing on a different aspect of prayer. On March 13th, I introduced the A-C-T-S Prayer and the Collect. These are just two ways of practicing to pray. I’ve included them in this week’s Action so you can continue to practice them at home. Thank you to those who shared their prayers out loud in worship on Sunday.
 
On Sunday, March 20, we will consider “quiet” prayers, when the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8:26c). We will try some special ways of sitting in the silence, listening to and for God’s voice. If you are curious, you might want to google Lectio Divina, Praying in Color, or Mandala prayers.
 
On the 27th, we will learn about Lament, how God does not turn away from our deep cries of anger or despair but rather gives us room to voice our sorrows and complaints.
 
When we join back together for our First Sunday of the Month blended service at 11:00 on April 3rd, we will hear scripture about persevering in prayer. And finally, on Palm Sunday, we will focus on Prayer Walking, labyrinths and remembering Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and his walk to the cross.
 
My hope is that through this season, your prayer life will deepen. Remember that God is near and always ready to hear our prayers.
 
Grace and peace,

Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor
 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 
2022 Lenten Sermon Schedule
  *  March 20     Quiet Prayer
  *  March 27     Lament
  *  April 3         Perseverance and The Lord’s Prayer (One blended service at 11:00)
  *  April 10       Prayerful Walking (Palm Sunday)
 
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
 

HOLY WEEK – We will share services with our neighbors at First United Methodist Church (FUMC). We hope you will join us Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
 


Praying Through Lent

Dear Friends,
 
On Wednesday, March 2nd, we step into the season of Lent with Ash Wednesday services with our neighbors at First United Methodist Church.  Lent is a time of penitence and reflection. We face our mortality, but with the promise of God’s victory over death. We remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us and God’s wondrous love.  The season of Lent lasts 40 days. The Sundays are not included in the count, because each Sunday is to be a mini-celebration of Jesus’ Resurrection.
 
This year, our theme is Praying through Lent.  Each Sunday we will consider our posture for prayer and various ways of praying to God. On Transfiguration Sunday, February 27, 2022, I mentioned four parts of prayer. 1) We speak. 2) God listens. 3) God speaks. 4) We listen.  Throughout the season, we will read psalms and other scriptures that will help us experience these four parts in different ways, from more traditional prayers to silent prayer, praying in color, prayer walking, and of course, the Lord’s Prayer.
 
We will gather again with our FUMC neighbors for Maundy Thursday at 7:00 at their church and have opportunity for walking a labyrinth on Good Friday. 
 
I hope you will join me in a Lenten discipline of Prayer as we seek to follow Jesus all the way to the cross. 
 
Grace and peace,
 
Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor
 


PNC, RUC, and Matthew 25

Dear Friends,
 
Congratulations! Your Session approved the Pastor Nominating Committee’s Ministry Information Form (MIF). Later this week it will go to Salem Presbytery’s Commission on Ministry to be approved.  Once that happens, the MIF will be uploaded to our denomination’s “Church Leadership Connection” (CLC). The CLC is a matching service between pastors and churches. This means that pastors searching for a new call will be able to find our MIF and decide if they wish to apply. It can still take months for the right match, but the PNC is moving along in the process. We give thanks to God for this team and their attentiveness to one another and the Holy Spirit.
 
Last Sunday, I began a series on the Matthew 25 Church. Our Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination encourages congregations to commit to being a Matthew 25 Church, meaning that the congregation is committed to at least one of these three denominational priorities:
 
1. Dismantling Structural Racism by fearlessly applying our faith to advocate and break down the systems, practices, and thinking that underlie discrimination, bias, prejudice and oppression of people of color.
 
2. Eradicating Systemic Poverty by acting on our beliefs and working to change laws, policies, plans and structures in our society that perpetuate economic exploitation of people who are poor.
 
3. Building Congregational Vitality by challenging congregations and their members to deepen and energize their faith and grow as joyful leaders and disciples, actively engaged with their community as they share the gospel of Jesus Christ in word and deed.
 
On January 23rd, I preached about the first priority. Did you realize FPC Lexington is already addressing this?  Your Race Unification Committee has been wading in these waters for over a year now. The new book study on America’s Original Sin by Jim Wallis had its first meeting last week. It’s not too late to join.  Let me know if you need a copy of the book. The city of Lexington recently hired a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) agent, Dr. Patricia Smyre, which tells us this is a priority for your community, as well. 
 
On January 30th, I will address the second of the three, and then touch upon the third one on February 6th, our First Sunday blended service, followed by the Annual Meeting and Baked Potato Lunch.  If you would like to learn more about the Matthew 25 Church initiative, I encourage you to go to our denomination’s website, www.pcusa.org, and put “Matthew 25 Church” in the search.  There is great information and you’ll find examples of what other churches are doing, as well. 
 
{{If you Google Matthew 25 on your web browser, be sure that it is PCUSA or Presbyterian Mission Agency related.  There are many choices that will come up, and many of them are not tied to our denomination!}} 
 
For your convenience, you may wish to check out this link:
 
We have so much to learn as we work and grow in God’s kingdom! 
 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Nancy
 
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor