Pastoral Letter February 26, 2021
“And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.” – Mark 1:12-13
Life has a way of sneaking up on us, doesn’t it? One minute we’re on top of the world. We’re feeling content, feeling loved, feeling blessed. Then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, it changes. The furnace goes out unexpectedly, illness creeps in, your spouse’s place of employment shuts down, a friend cites an opinion different than yours and comes down harshly on you for not being likeminded. And just like that, thrust into the wilderness. Worry and doubt has a way of creeping in. How long will the struggle last? How will you endure?
It’s there in those moments of weakness Satan preys on us. Just as he did Jesus as he was in the wilderness. But, God sent angels to wait on him amidst the trails he faced in the wilderness.
Friends, life was never meant to be easy or perfect nor were we intended to face the journey alone. We will all wonder into the wilderness at different times and the reality is it can be a very lonely place to be and while we are there we feel the darkness and long for the light…we long for hope.
Sometimes, we know our friend or neighbor is struggling but we don’t know how to respond. I encourage you during this season of Lent to practice reaching out to that friend, neighbor, acquaintance on your heart—the one you feel called to connect with. Rest assured God doesn’t always call the equipped but does equip the called. Who do you feel called to support today? Have you reached out? Helping sometimes is as easy as listening and being there for another in the times of struggle. Just be you. You are worthy to serve. You are equipped to serve. Just by being you. So that person you felt called to pray for today? Reach out to him or her. Whoever you know is struggling, reach out…it’s not about having the right words, the right gift, it’s about showing up when we are called.
JOIN US THIS SUNDAY MORNING!
- Sunday School at 9:00 am for Students in Grades 3-5. Watch your email for more information and a Zoom link from Carmen.
- Worship by online platform at 9:30 AM. This Sunday, February 21st, the First Sunday in Lent, my sermon is titled “Again & Again, We are Called” and is part a series titled, “Again & Again, A Lenten Refrain”
- Sunday morning Joys and Concern Prayers at 10:30 by Zoom led by Pastor Laurie. The link and/or phone number and code can be obtained at our church office or from any member of the FPC community. Refer to the Thursday Eblast for Zoom link.
- Annual Congregational Meeting at 11:00 am by Zoom. Refer to Eblast for Agenda, Annual Report, Terms of Call, Bylaws and Zoom links.
DON’T FORGET! Lenten Desserts continue this Wednesday, March 3: Iced Molasses Cookies will be parked under the Canopy in a cooler—come and pick yours up after 1:00 PM on Wednesday and then join us by Zoom at 7:00 pm as we engage in an intergenerational study of seemingly flawed biblical figures that God has loved, flaws and all, and used to accomplish his purposes…
UPDATE ON CHURCH SHUT-DOWN: In accordance with current health guidelines and best practices to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Session has voted to extend the Church Shut-Down through February 28, 2021. The Rapid Response Team and the Session look forward to developing metrics and the beginnings of a measured plan for reopening that could possibly start this Spring.
Sarah Moore-Nokes shared with Pastors, Clerks, and Church leaders on December 17th, “As we learn more about how the vaccine will become available, I’ve started to hear questions and conversations about “returning to normal.” It is abundantly clear that many people will not be vaccinated for sometime. PLEASE DO NOT MAKE PLANS TO RETURN TO IN PERSON GATHERINGS anytime soon. It is simply not advisable.
When will it be safe to meet again?
There is not yet consensus on the answer to this question, however there are two metrics that are emerging as places to start the conversation.
One metric to consider is a positivity rate of less than 5% (to determine the rate divide positive tests by by total tests on any given day). Most of the state of WI is seeing positivity rates in the high 20s. You can find the state positivity rate at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/data.htm#summary . Some counties provide this information, if yours does not, you can simply divide new cases by total tests for a day to get the rate.
The World Health Organizations recommends that the positivity rate should be 5% or lower for 14 days or longer before opening organizations up again.
Another metric is new cases per 100,000. This data is easier to find and can be found for every county at this Department of Health Services website: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/disease.htm
Hover over your county on the map to see cases/100,000.
Wisconsin considers the new case rate low if it is 10 or below
Keep washing your hands thoroughly! Here is way to turn that time into prayer time:
Hand Washing 20 second Prayers & Meditations for Soul Cleansing
Why not multi-task during our multiple hand-washings each day? Getting a little tired of singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice, or Counting to 20? How about this: Let those 20 seconds become a chance for a little Soul Cleansing, too.
Click this link for three different ones to get us going! Add yours to the mix as you think of them.
February 28, 2021 @ 11:00 by Zoom
Please refer to eblast for Zoom link.
Click here for Annual Report & Agenda Packet
Did you miss the Forum for All with Professor Kleiman on Sunday, February 14th?
Click here to watch!
The food pantry of SOS (Soup or Socks) remains open during the pandemic.
To obtain food or to volunteer to help,
call SOS directly: 715-387-1796.
Parish Nurse Karen
First Presbyterian Church, Marshfield, Wisconsin seeks to welcome all to join us on our journey of faith, denying no one, based upon his or her particular human condition, participation in the life of the church. We want to be a safe place, a sanctuary where people are accepted, included, and cared for as they are. We will be agents of God’s transforming power, aligning ourselves with the Holy Spirit as we pray, worship, learn, share fellowship and serve together. By attending to the love of Jesus Christ in our midst, we discover a deepening faith that makes a difference in our lives. As a community based on God’s love, we strive to be of service to our neighbors and to the world.
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
where all are welcomed and embraced in the inclusive Love of God
Would you like to know more of the background and rationale for the Session’s recent difficult, yet unanimous decision regarding reopening the church for Sunday morning worship? You likely are already aware that on August 25, Session decided to continue to offer recorded, remote Sunday morning worship through the end of the year; while revisiting that decision monthly in hopes we meet the gating criteria sooner that would render in-person worship safe again. This video, written and presented by Pastor Laurie Brubaker Davis, offers a deeper dive into some of the background, rationale, and prayer that led to this decision. We hope you find it helpful.