This past year the Rev. Al Jorgensen of the First Presbyterian Church of Foley, Minnesota retired. He spent his entire career at one church.
Although I served another church for seven years before I was called to Redwood Falls I deeply feel this will be the church I serve until I retire. I have never thought of leaving. I love the church. I love the people. I love the community. I love the small town atmosphere. I think it is a great place to raise a family. I strongly feel God is calling me to serve here.
I have found it to be great honor and privilege to be part of your lives from worship services, births, baptisms, weddings, home visits, hospital visits, counseling sessions, office visits, nursing home visits, confirmation, Youth Faith and Action, mission trips, mission projects, committee meetings, Session, Bible Studies, youth programs, youth events, deaths, funerals and everything else that I have failed to mention. Through laughter and tears I have seen God working through this congregation and growing and expanding people’s hearts and minds as their foundation in Christ grows stronger.
We have been so comfortable financially at this church since 2004 when we became a tithing church and started giving away ten percent of every offering. The money counters said they had never seen the offerings come in like they had before. Money came in above and beyond what was needed for the expenses so it was put into savings. Last year we saw a big change when we started to rely heavily upon this savings. About half our income was coming from five members and four of them I am told went to their eternal homes or moved. Also the economy has not been good for the agricultural industry.
I see so much life in this church. When all the kids come up for the children’s sermon and when eleven kids are in the confirmation class, the church is alive. When the choir is bursting full of people, the church is alive. When you see all the ecumenical quilters working away on Wednesday mornings, the church is alive. When you hear the gratitude from those who receive food from Ruby’s or a Friendship Dinner, the church is alive. When a person attending a funeral out of the blue gives you $85,000 to remodel your kitchen, the church is alive. When your reputation in the community is “you are the church that helps people,” the church is alive. God isn’t finished with us yet.
We may be facing a tough bump in the road right now but all of us have to dig deeper and give more to keep this church going. Biblical principles teach us to give to God first. When we wait to see what is leftover after paying for everything else there probably will not be anything left to give.
I pray that we all put our trust in God, be willing to give out of our gratitude and see what wonderful things this church can do in the future. May God bless you, your family and may all your dreams come!
Wow, where did the summer go? I cannot believe it is September. In my household we had some big transitions. Our oldest, Elizabeth, went off to college. Our youngest, Matthew, started high school. An international student, Taeyeon Kim, joined our family for the school year. My wife, Pamela, had a surgery that slowed her down this summer but she has recovered nicely. I went to some great conferences with my middle child, Julia. We attended the Islamic Society of North America Society’s 54th Annual Conference in Chicago by invitation of Dr. Syeed. Adrienne Danielson attended too. Dr. Syeed received a life time achievement award. Julia and I also attended the Presbyterian Big Tent Event in St. Louis called “Race, Reconciliation and Reformation.” My way of thinking was stretched. My heart was a-breaking hearing testimonies of what it is like to live in this country when you are not white. The five Proutys attended Synod School at BVU in Storm Lake. Deb Hess attended this year too. I took some serious classes on white privilege and how to interact with other cultures and religions. I took a relaxing class: vacation yoga and a fun class: improvisation. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson was the convocation speaker Monday through Thursday. On Friday he had to leave early because of a flight schedule mix up so they had me give an update on Dr. Syeed’s visit to Redwood Falls for part of his time.
Thank you for the scholarships to attend Synod School. We love going there to learn, to worship, and to see old friends and make new ones. ~ Elizabeth, Julia and Matthew Prouty
All fall activities will be in full swing soon: Sunday School, Choir, Youth Club, Youth Faith in Action, Confirmation Class, Deacons’ Meetings and more.
Youth Faith in Action will kick-off on Wednesday, September 13, at 6:30 pm, at the church.
On Saturday, October 7, the Presbytery is putting on a special educational day for everyone at Hope Presbyterian Church in Spicer. It is for everyone. It is supposed to be really good. Talk to Deb Hess for more details.
Put the Men’s Turkey Dinner on your calendar. It will be on November 1, on the Redwood Area Community Center this year.
Also, Co-Moderator Denise Anderson of General Assembly will be at the Presbytery Meeting at our church on Saturday, November 4, you might want to put that on your calendar as well as Sunday, November 5, when she will be preaching at our church. She is a dynamic preacher and not afraid to speak her mind.
I hope everyone has a great fall. I hope the farmers have a safe and bountiful harvest. I hope all the students from pre-school to college have a terrific year and learn all they need to learn and more to prepare them for this great big world. I hope we all take time to read our Bibles, go to worship services, pray, join a Bible study, mediate upon God’s word, and grow closer to God.
As I am in my sixteenth year as your pastor I give thanks to God for all God’s goodness, and your willingness to serve this church with your time, gifts, talents and resources. Anything is possible through God! We are celebrating our first 150 years in 2017, let’s aim for next 150 years!
*On June 25, we are planning a church homecoming service to continue our 150th Anniversary Celebration. We have invited former pastors to this service. Rev. Baxter (served here 1961-1967) and Pastor Potter (1967-1975) have sent letters saying they are not able to come: see last month’s chimes. Rev. Leroy Haynes (1986-1994) is coming. We have not heard from the Revs. Martha Halls (interim 1995, 1996-1997) or Connie Peake (1997-2001) yet. We will have a potluck following the church service. We also have plans to have an inflatable set up for the kids. Please invite former members, people that have grown up in this church, or anyone that has a connection with this church to this homecoming service.
*On Saturday, June 24, we have a time to visit scheduled in our church dining hall from 1-3 pm. Refreshments will be served. An inflatable will be set up the kids to enjoy.
*On Friday, June 23, we will have church float in the city parade. Gerry Patten is designing it.
Reminder: Lauren & Julia Prouty are selling 150th Anniversary t-shirts and cups to help raise funds for their band trip to Europe to next summer. They are hoping people will wear these t-shirts during the parade. Order information can be found elsewhere in the chimes. They are giving ten percent of their profits back to the church for missions.
*The 150th Anniversary Committee will meet in the Administrative Assistant’s Office following worship on June 4, to talk about the June Celebration.