First Press Weekly – February 20, 2020

Dear Members and Friends,

We gather next week for Ash Wednesday worship. Our gathering begins with a soup dinner in the Social Hall at 6:00 pm. It will be a gathering of all ages for fellowship, learning, and worship. It will help planning for you to call the church office at 319-377-7309 to indicate you will be coming. We will participate in communion and in the imposition of ashes.

Our liturgy will begin with these words:

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season in the church year known as Lent. Lent is a time to prepare for the celebration of Easter
and to renew our life in the mystery of the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance, and for the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We  begin our journey to Easter with the sign of ashes, a biblical symbol of mourning and penitence. This ancient sign speaks of the fragility of human life, and marks the penitence of the community of faith.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of Christ, to observe a holy Lent by self-examination and penitence, by prayer and fasting, by works of love, and by reading and meditating on the Word of God, beginning with this service today.   From The Book of Common Worship The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

As we have done on other Wednesday evenings throughout the year (such as the veteran recognition gathering), this will be an opportunity for conversation between the children (the 25 to 30 who come to the church’s Refuel program each Wednesday) and adults who come for this unique worship experience.


               Early Bird Deadline for Camp Wyoming is March 15. Register at For questions call 563-488-3893.


               There has been a generous donation of large print Bibles and tabs to easily find the books of the Bible.   Four Bibles have been tabbed.  The Bibles are on display in the library and free for the taking.  If you would like your own Bible tabbed or if you have questions, contact Abbie Parker at [email protected] or  641-417-9119.


              In my sermon Sunday I mentioned the efforts of Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, to relieve the medical debt of people in Chicago. In order to insure accuracy, I provide the following information in order to be correct. This is an excerpt from a story about this effort as well as a link to the full story. Note: the medical debt of 5,888 families was wiped out.

UCC leaders announced Oct. 20 that church donations have wiped out $5.3 million in medical debt for 5,888 Chicago families. They invited participation in a similar national effort being planned for Giving Tuesday, Dec. 3.

Read the full story at


               In a similar vein, I recently received this invitation from the Rev. Dr. Deb DeMeester, Director of Leadership Development, Synod of Lakes and Prairies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

I am wondering if you would be willing to lead a workshop on what you have learned [as an interim pastor] for Committee on Ministry leaders and executives from the Synod at our Leadership Summit April 28-30. The Leadership Summit was originally for chairs of Committees on Preparation for Ministry as well as Committees on Ministry and executive presbyters.  We bring in the two national staff people for these two areas as well as the Board of Pensions and others with information to share.

I accepted her invitation and my presentation will focus on habits, ethics, and dynamics in congregations following very long pastorates.

With gratitude,



Marta Pumroy, Moderator of the Worship Committee

Communion is a time to celebrate our unity as Christians and take part in something bigger than we are. Session had a discussion regarding style of communion and was strongly in support of communion by intinction. The act of coming forward to the Lord’s Table and interacting with those serving communion makes for a more meaningful experience for both servers and receivers. (This has nothing to do with the lack of those willing to serve and/or wash the cups. We know there are a lot of people willing to help in this way. Thank you, FPC!)

As we come forward for communion, come down the side aisles, the bread will be broken for you and handed to you. Don’t worry if it is a big piece. No, you do not need to eat it in one bite. Keep it big. The next step: Put an end of the bread in the juice. It doesn’t need to soak or be completely immersed. Eat as many bites as needed while returning to your seat, using the center aisle. As always, someone will be assigned to bring the elements  to you if you are unable to come forward. Raise your hand and they will come to you.  If you have any comments or concerns, please ask me.


Members of the Self Study Group are Roger Dana, Lois Foster, Andrea Joyner, and Cal Schacht. Pastor Terry has been providing guidance and encouragement.

The Self Study Group is in the process of collating and digesting the data we gathered from your responses to our 16 questions. The insight gained from this study will help us put together a narrative unique to FPCM — Where we come from, who we are, and where we want to go. We could just say that we are caring, friendly, and welcoming, the top three responses to Question 1, but so could most other Presbyterian Churches looking for a pastor. What is unique to FPCM is that we have been doing this for 177 years, we care for our community through Mission House and the Food Bank, we greet each other as friends (some of us have known each other since Kindergarten), and we welcome all who come into our midst.

This FPCM narrative, once completed by the group and approved by Session, will be provided to the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) when it is formed, along with demographic data of FPCM we have gathered. The PNC will use the narrative and data to complete the Mission Information Form (MIF) that is our position description for a Senior Pastor, Head of Staff.

Roger Dana, Ruling Elder, FPCM