I would like to take this first column to talk a little bit with you about what interim pastors do.
Some duties of an interim pastor are obvious: preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and administration. That’s what every pastor is charged with doing. But there are other duties which are unique to interim ministry. In short, an interim serves a congregation best when he or she is able to get the congregation engaged in thinking together about the future. An interim asks the question, “Where is God calling us to go next?” An interim prepares the congregation for the coming of the next permanent pastor and there is a clear road map laid out when the new pastor arrives.
How do I propose to go about that? Over the next several months I would like to have a series of desserts across the congregation that everyone will attend. In small groups of twelve to fifteen I would like to get to meet you all, and ask you two questions: “What do you love most about FPC?” And “If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change about FPC?”
Armed with that information, the Session and I will begin to noodle over what that means for our road map. To be successful, the road map has to be a map that everyone understands and everyone has helped draw up.
In my next column I will tell you about the process of calling a new pastor, what you have to do to begin that process, and a possible time-table for that process.
Over the summer I will be in the pulpit nearly every Sunday. I hope you will be in worship the Sundays you are in town and that you will invite a friend to come with you. The clearest path to church growth is for members to invite unchurched friends to come along with them.
Please let me know when there is a pastoral issue. For urgent issues call me: 623 521 1711. I check my messages regularly. You can text me at that number. You can also email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am regularly updating members on our prayer chain about pastoral issues I am aware of. If you would like to be on the prayer chain email June Schooley (email@example.com) and she will add you.
Our Deacons and I are taking communion to our home-bound members once a week, the goal of which is to visit all our home-bound once a month.
I have always made it a practice to see my church members the morning before surgery and have prayer with them. I’m a 20 minute drive from our area hospitals, so please let me know if you or someone you love is heading for surgery.
I have a lot to learn about you all and the life and ministry of FPC. Please be patient with me when I don’t quite get it. I think I’ll get there. In the meantime I’m open to your advice and suggestions.
In recent days I have imagined those farmers from Peoria Ill who crossed the rivers, plains and mountains to come out here so long ago– those farmers who built this church. I can just imagine that they are bending over the balcony of heaven cheering us
on, praying for us.
I want to say to all of them, and to the God that we all serve: “We will try to be worthy.”
I would like to take this first column to talk a little bit with you about what interim pastors do.
What is a Prayer Chain and How does it Work ?
When a prayer request is turned into Joy Foster or June Schooley. Joy calls 4 people and those 4 people call 4 people and so on, until everyone is reached. But now we also have the digital age, with emails, so we contact June Schooley and she clicks a button and the request goes to everyone who is on the church’s E-mail So if you want to be part of the prayer chain, contact Joy or June. We have room for all who want to join. And I’m sure the Lord has time for one more request.
FELLOWSHIP OF THE LEAST COIN
Have you ever noticed the little church in the narthex? That’s how Presbyterian Women (PW) collects pennies for the Fellowship of the Lease Coin (FLC). Once a year we turn the pennies into FLC as do 80 other countries around the world. The funds are used to support women and children in projects, like scholarships, literacy, health, social concerns and gender issues. Who knew a penny could do so much? Help PW support Fellowship of the Least Coin by putting your pennies in the little church.
A Note to the Ding-a-Lings
I want to thank all of you for the lovely flowers and gift cards you surprised me with after our last ringing. I appreciate each of you, your commitment to the bell choir and your ability to put up with me. I love you all.
Now keep working on your pink and blue!
Save the Date – June 20th
We are having a Fundraiser at Barro’s Pizza! We want everyone to get together for a lot of fun and fellowship. It is on June 20th, from 4:00 PM to Close with 20% of all proceeds going directly to the church. Barro’s is located at 83rd Ave and Cactus. We look forward to seeing all of you there to share in the laughs, camaraderie and of course, delicious pizza!
I expect most of you are aware of the origination of the Peoria Youth Pantry. It began 3 years ago while I was standing in Pastor Pat’s office and a gal came in asking for monetary help feeding local teens. Being new to PPC myself this just touched my heart and as they say the rest is history. Dick and I worked out of our garage for awhile and then when PPC got on the band wagon, we got the storage cupboard in the Social Hall. Back then we served about 10-12 kids a week with weekend food packs of 10 items.
As of this week we are serving 50 teens per week with 18 food items in 4 schools and the Peoria Community Center. In addition to food we now offer monthly toiletries, refurbished bikes when we can find them, new and gently used clothes and shoes, graduation and Christmas gifts and through partners, future educational possibilities and jobs. We have been helped greatly by the church Mission committee, the members of the congregation, the Deacons (pay for more rented storage space); Pastor Pat, Eve’s Place, Heritage Presbyterian Church, VFW, community donations and corporate grants. We need to grow because the problem of teen hunger in our community and state continues to grow. 1 in 4 kids in Arizona go to bed hungry and do poorly in school because they are hungry.
All of this history is to explain why we need to grow more. We have been offered a partnership with Heritage Presbyterian Church Congregation. They are doing fund raisers and food drives for the Pantry. Our partnership with Eve’s Place has flourished and we now can offer more services because of them.
We are going to have a new Name and FACEBOOK page: Helping At Risk Teens Pantry; HART PANTRY. The page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/HARTPantry. This is necessary because I found that folks looking to help kids will search the WEB for “at risk teens” We need to be there. Secondly Eve’s Place has offered the Pantry free storage and room to pack bags at their new location in Sun City; no financial strings attached. That means the Deacon’s donation, if they so choose, can now go to food purchases instead of storage fees. In addition to these situations we can save considerable dollars, hundreds in a calendar year, if we can be sales tax exempt. Since our church is really not in a financial position to allow for any growth and since we are actually spending considerable money for sales tax (the PANTRY cannot be exempt as an arm of the church) and feel that storage we now have and share with the church on the 3rd floor of the storage facility is still not adequate and is costly, I have applied for independent 501(c) (3) status as a Faith Based charitable community outreach program; all costs to apply for this corporation at my expense.
To do this makes financial sense; for the Pantry and for Peoria Presbyterian Church. I might add that this change has been endorsed by both the Finance Committee and The Session. My hope is that the HART Pantry will remain a mission of PPC just as Habitat and Agua Fria are. I see no change in the congregation’s role as they care for the kids and gift accordingly. My present staff is aware of this change and understands the positive impact this will have on our efforts. I would be happy to continue monthly reporting to the Session and will do likewise for Heritage PC.
I have been told that if you are passionate about something, you must follow GOD’s lead and “if you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” I hope and pray my church will walk with me.
If you have questions or concerns or if you want to join or support us, please call me, 252 259-5331; or email me, firstname.lastname@example.org; Soon you will be able to find up to date information on our FACEBOOK page as well.
A SHOW OF HANDS OR VOLUNTEERING
During some sleepless minutes of the night, I got to thinking about Pastor Pat’s sermon about figs. All I remember is her asking for a show of hands if we had eaten figs. DO NOT tell her my last statement, because I want her to think I remember every word of her sermon all year long. I did not raise my hand, but I love figs.
Being in the army, I learned not to volunteer for anything, with some exceptions. In the first few day of my military life, we were asked, “Who knows how to drive?” Hands went up thinking of a soft job of driving a jeep. This was followed up with “Come with me and drive this wheel barrow filled with dirt today.” Or, “Who can type?” Hands went up again. “Come with me because you are the type to clean latrines today.” Again, looking for an easy job was the thinking.
When I started Basic Training, we had new wall lockers to put together with 1/4” bolts. I bought a wrench to fit the bolts, thinking I could get my locker put together and tightened. I would be out of there, as we were on our own time in the evening. WRONG! “Hey trooper, the one with a wrench, you are to stay and tighten the bolts since you have a wrench. The rest of you are dismissed.”
Now, do you see why I hesitate to volunteer unless, it is for a good deed like helping someone in need?
My next article will be about the fig tree in the back yard of the church along with the fig trees on the Johnson farm in earlier years. I do not want to bore you with too much history, which to some who may be thinking it does not amount to “a hill of beans”. So, if this your feeling, please let me know and I can easily take care of the problem.
After the tree is down and the Christmas decorations are stashed away until the next year, there is a feeling of loneliness and emptiness. The church sanctuary is so bare. Is it empty and calling to worshipers to bring new enthusiasm to re-dress its spaces? I miss the cheery red and green finery and the twinkling lights trimming my house outside and the tree inside. When all is packed away in boxes, the church and house seem so hollow. The hustle and bustle have dissipated and a new year has begun.
Winter is finally here in Arizona–a reprieve from the 100+ degree nights and days and what seems to be a more restful pace. Some of us resort to relaxing with a book in an easy chair and enjoying a fire in the fireplace. We await the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and a new calendar of celebrations to come. Winter is an ideal time to slow down and ponder what God in the heavens is planning for us in the near future. Is it a winter season in your life; a time of depression, loneliness, or being spiritually “on hold”? Do you wonder if your soul will ever thaw?
God is always present, waiting for us to approach God. You might feel like a dry spell has crept into your life and you would rather curl up and cry, rather than stand up and sing. This too, shall pass. When the winter season ends, you will be wiser, deeper and stronger. Psalm 115:12, 13-18, “The Lord remembers us and will bless us: he will bless those who fear the Lord-small and great alike. May the Lord make you increase, both you and your children. May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man. It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise the Lord.”
God has great plans for you in 2015. May they unfold in a delightful way as God blesses you to be a blessing to others. Happy New Year!
Thank you for your prayers and many acts of kindness throughout the year!