Pastor’s BLOG

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
 


Gifts and Service

Dear Friends,
 
What an incredible kickoff Sunday on the 13th! It was good to see our church family gathered in celebration and praise. There was so much joy and energy. Thank you to the Christian Education Ministry Team and all the volunteers for a great breakfast and fellowship time. Thanks to the Gathering Band and choir for their musical leadership, too. I look forward to the start up of Sunday school classes and our two-service schedule on the 19th.
 
As you return, you may notice a few staff changes. First of all, Karen Carrickhoff, our wonderful Interim Director of Christian Education and Formation, has stepped down in her official role. This has been planned since winter, and we are grateful for the many extra months she gave us after completing her initial 6-month commitment. Karen will be a Sunday school teacher this fall, so she isn’t going far. A search team is working to call a new educator to our church.
 
We have appreciated JoAnn Hill and Celia Stalvey as our pianist and organist, respectively, for the month of September. They are helping us out following the departure of Matthew Cates. The Worship Ministry Team is working on finding an interim organist so they can begin the search for a new permanent person.
 
Finally, many of you know that Jack Harman resigned as our Director of Contemporary Music at the end of August. We are so grateful for his ministry, especially with the Crossroads contemporary service from its very beginning. He has sung the faith and led the Gathering Band and this congregation in worship for a number of years, and we wish him God’s blessing in his next venture. Shelley Jennings, our Director of Music, has graciously agreed to step in to provide leadership for the Gathering Band and the early service. We are still in good hands!
 
While it may seem like a lot of change, the Session is working hard behind the scenes to provide for the spiritual life and growth of our congregation. We know that there may be a few holes as we move forward, and so we need you to step in to help. The Stewardship Ministry Team will be sending you a Time & Talent Commitment form early next week. This is an opportunity for you to say, Here I am. Call me! Please look it over, prayerfully consider how God may use you this year, fill it out, and bring it back to the church by October 3rd.
 
Our newly approved Vision Statement is
First Presbyterian Church
is the body of Christ
connected by our Spirit-given gifts,
serving with God’s love,
and transforming the
Lexington Community
by meeting physical and spiritual needs.
 
Let this year be one where we each acknowledge our Spirit-given gifts, encourage those gifts in others, and commit to using them in service to God through the mission and ministry of First Presbyterian Church.
 
Grace and peace,
Pastor Nancy

Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer,
Transitional Pastor