Pastor’s BLOG

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
 
 


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