Rummage and Bake Sale!
It’s time to clean out all those spaces full of your extra stuff for the annual rummage sale, April 12th -14th at the church. All the profits from the rummage sale and bake sale will support mission projects including our Mission Service Team traveling to Costa Rica this summer as well as Ruby’s Pantry, the Reede Gray Clothes Closet and the Apple Gourd Project.
Your gently used, clean items can make their way into the side dining room starting Sunday, April 8. Baked goods are welcome this year as well! Please bring them to the church kitchen Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. If possible, have them ready to sell on plates or in containers. We will price them for you.
The sale will run on Thursday and Friday, Noon-6 pm and Saturday from 9 am-noon. If you have questions, please chat with Pastor Pam or Ann Tiffany.
Generosity of Talent
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”-Ephesians 2:10
Our church is chalk-full of talented people. Every Christmas I give thanks to God for Gerry Patten’s ability to transform a room, his way of turning our sanctuary into a special place to celebrate the birth of our Savior. A couple weeks ago Dave said to me, as he was picking up a cute little craft Simon had made in Sunday school, “Lindsey is a such a good Sunday school teacher. She always has the kids do fun things.” During worship a few weeks ago, I was moved to tears by the choir’s performance of “Be Thou My Vision”. I could go on and on describing, and giving thanks for, the various talents of the people in this church family. The truth is though (thanks be to God!) every congregation is full of talented people. In fact, every neighborhood, every school, every workplace is full of talented people. God does not create untalented people! We are all “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. Does this feel true to you? Are you able to see in yourself and in others the unique abilities God gifted to you and to them? Hopefully you are!
Some of us though, are not sure just what “good work” God has created us to do. If you are not yet able to identify your God-given talents take a little time right now to explore what they might be. What are you happiest doing? What are you good at? How do these things intersect with the needs of your family, friends, neighbors, church, community, and the world? Maybe you cannot draw very well but you feel relaxed and satisfied when you are cleaning. Maybe you feel you would not be good at teaching Sunday school, but you do love to sit down and write letters to friends and family members. Is God able to use the satisfaction you get from cleaning and your ability to write thoughtful letters to build up His Kingdom? Absolutely He is! He created you that way. And, He desires for you to use those talents to do “good works”. You could bless an unwell neighbor by taking an afternoon to vacuum, dust and wash windows for her. Perhaps, also, you could use your letter-writing skills to encourage a man or woman in jail who feels forsaken, or a refugee child who feels hopeless (If you would like to do either of these Google “Christian Pen Pals” or “Any Refugee”).
We are all God’s handiwork, created with special abilities and talents. We are all called to use those talents to grow the Kingdom of God. We need only open our minds to our innate abilities, and our eyes to the places in our homes, church, schools, workplaces, community, country, and the world where these abilities can glorify God and heal the broken places in His world.
O Lord, thank you for creating me exactly as you have. Thank you for the special abilities you have granted me. Please give me wisdom to see where I can use these talents for Your purposes, move me to action, and fill me with joy in doing Your work in the way that only I can. Amen.
Now Go and Do: Sit quietly with God for a few minutes. Meditate on the talents and abilities He created you with. Consider how you could use those talents to bless a person or a community. Commit to doing one Kingdom building thing with your talents this week (bake your famous apple pie for a new Mom in the neighborhood, inquire with the county about getting a foster care license so that you can provide respite care to foster families in the area, volunteer to take photos for a local non-profit, etc.).
Love, Your Generosity Project Team (Adrienne Danielson, Deb Hess, Shari Fuhr and Marlys Mathiowetz)
It is a Celebration!
2018 marks 15 years for The Piecemakers!
We had our first meeting on May 21, 2003, and have spent the last 15 years cutting, pinning, tying and sewing. We have shared coffee/treats and stories while putting together quilts for many different occasions. We have had the privilege to make quits many of you have purchased for yourselves or loved ones. We are also humbled to have made many quilts for those sick, hospitalized or just in need of something warm to snuggle.
In honor of 15 wonderful years we are going to raffle a quilt! Chances ($1) will be available to purchase starting March 25. You can purchase them from Char, Marlys or Tina in the office. The quilt will be on display in the Narthex until May 20!
Thank you to all those who have helped us along the way both in your talents! We wouldn’t have had so much fun over the past years without each of you!
The True Meaning of Easter
If you ask children what Easter is about, they might say something about the Easter bunny. It’s a pervasive story. It is not very persuasive or compelling, but cute and seemingly harmless enough. But the story of the Easter bunny tends to displace a much more compelling Story. A true Story. An Amazing Story that I’d like to tell you right now in a few words.
The Amazing Story concerns a man, a carpenter who lived 2,000 years ago in an obscure Roman province in a town called Nazareth. At age 30, the Man hung up his leather carpenter’s apron and began to speak publicly up and down the countryside. Religious leaders were ambivalent at best. Most felt deeply threatened, because this ex-carpenter taught in huge outdoor meetings with compelling authority — and he healed people. Not just colds and fevers, but crippled limbs and blind eyes. On two occasions, he even brought people back from the dead.
The religious leaders saw their orderly world spinning out of their control. And so they determined to eliminate the Man. They infiltrated his inner circle so they could grab him away from public view. And once in custody, they engineered a trial behind closed doors, and then put huge political pressure on the Roman governor to execute him immediately. Within 12 hours of his arrest, the Man hung on a cross. Six hours later he was dead — seemingly a martyr to a glorious but hopeless cause. But there’s more. The Man did not resist his arrest and crucifixion — in fact, he had predicted it to his followers again and again. And he taught that his death would have incredible meaning — that he would give his life as a ransom for many. That is, his death would pay the ransom price for a multitude of people who were enslaved by their own sins — and set them free. That’s what he said. And on that cross he prayed for his crucifiers — certainly enslaved in their sins — “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” And he died. A Roman centurion who saw him die said, “Surely, this man was the Son of God.”
He died on a Friday at just about three in the afternoon. By dusk he had been buried by a rich follower in a tomb hollowed out of solid rock, a tomb protected by a huge stone that rolled into place along a channel in the rock, then clunk! The tomb was secure. Friday night and all day Saturday his cold body lay there.But Sunday morning, the Sunday we call Easter, some women had come to complete the hasty burial and they found the stone rolled back and the tomb empty. An angel appeared to them saying, “He is not here, he has risen.” This, too, the Man, Jesus, had foretold to his followers.
Over the next 40 days, he appeared to his disciples and others, to even 500 at one time. And then he left planet earth promising to return. His Spirit was poured out on his followers a few days later. Within a single generation his followers travelled with the Amazing Story to all of the known world. Our world has never been the same. Because where people believe the Story, they find forgiveness and freedom and meaning. They receive the Spirit of God themselves and they began to love.
The Story we tell is a life-transforming Story. If we would tell it to our children and grandchildren, they would find that it is much more compelling than any Easter bunny tale. The only appeal it lacks to your children — and to our desperately needy world — is a few Easter Eggs and some candy. Tell the Amazing Story. It changes lives.
Pastor Scott Prouty
April Friendship Dinner
Sunday, April 15
Menu: Tatar-tot hot dish and bars
Everyone is welcome!
The Mission Service Team ( MST) Costa Rica will be serving a light breakfast from 8:30-9:45 on Easter Sunday. Please join us before the worship service for egg bake, muffins/breads, juice/coffee! Bring your family and guests! A free will offering will be taken to help support service projects and activities during the team’s upcoming mission trip to Costa Rica in July.
Notes From the Pastor
Ruling Elder Adrienne Danielson recently asked the congregation in her sermon, “if our church was given $1 million dollars to do ministry work with! What work do you dream of our church being able to do in the community with the money? “
One of the core Scripture passages that drives me is Matthew 25: 35-36: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”
I would want to make sure that everyone’s basic needs were taken of first. Feed anyone that is hungry. Find shelter for anyone that is homeless. Get medical care or dental care for anyone that needs it. Help unemployed people find jobs. Provide day-care. Provide educational scholarships. Befriend the lonely. I also would want to work on teaching us to treat one another better by striving to end racism, sexism, agism and the other hurtful isms. We are created in God’s image so we should love one another and treat one another with respect. I would want to give others a firm foundation in Jesus Christ so they can share Christ’s love with the world.
Did you know you are being prayed for?
Our deacons have divided a list of our entire church family up and are praying for you daily.
The Session prays for 1/12 of the congregation each session meeting by praying for each person by name.
I pray for you daily too by going through the directory, new names are added in as needed.
I know we have prayer warriors in the congregation praying for you too.
Isn’t that great to know? That your church family cares enough about you to pray for you? It makes me feel safe, secure and connected when I think about it.
We have a prayer chain that works by phone too.
If you ever need extra prayer let any elder, deacon, the prayer chain or me know and we will put it into action. There is power in prayer. If you need it, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Tap into God’s power.
Thanks For Your Support
Dear First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls, Thank you for faithfully supporting Presbyterian Mission in South Sudan. Your generosity allows mission co-workers to serve with our global partners, helping them develop better access to education and teach peace-building skills through the South Sudan Education and Peace-building Project (SSEPP). This work continues to have great impact despite challenging circumstances, as you can see in the attached Q4 2017 reports for SSEPP and the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS) Education Department. I’m writing to let you know that Leisa Wagstaff, mission co-worker serving as PCOSS Education Facilitator, will be visiting the U.S. on interpretative assignment from July-September 2018. Leisa hopes to visit as many supporting congregations as possible to share the work she is doing to help build capacity and strengthen South Sudan’s educational system. Lynn & Sharon Kandel, regional liaisons who are also part of the SSEPP staff, will be in the U.S. and available for interpretative visits from March-May and July-September 2018. There is nothing like a face-to-face conversation with a mission co-worker to develop greater energy and engagement for mission in a congregation. Leisa and the Kandels are eager to tell you about their ministry for the PC(USA) in South Sudan since 2014.
Congratulations to our Church Member, Lauren Karnitz
Redwood Valley High School is pleased to announce our 2017-18 ExCEL Award Winners Lauren Karnitz and Deon Estebo. The ExCEL award — Excellence in Community, Education and Leadership — is a unique recognition program designed exclusively for Minnesota high school juniors who are active in school activities, who show leadership qualities, and who work voluntarily in their community.
Lauren is involved in cross country, track and field, hockey statistics, musical (pit band), robotics, student council, NHS, band, jazz band, drum-line, honor band and dance. She has been on the A honor roll all semesters of her high school career. She volunteers with meals on wheels, Ruby’s Pantry, Big Buddies, church, shoe drive, NHS events, Celebrate Redwood Falls, Adopt a Highway, Urban Plunge and a weekend backpack helper. She has competed at the state cross Country meet three times. Lauren was selected as one of 36 ExCEL award winners in the state and will be honored during a state girls basketball game.
It has been awhile since we have hosted the Community Good Friday Service but we are this year on March 30, at 12:05 pm. The last three or four years we have done contemporary worship in a circle and this year the ministerial decided they wanted to have a more traditional worship service in a more traditional church setting. Bryant Kaden of Gloria Dei Lutheran, Randy Koppen of First United Methodist and I are planning the service. Our church choir will be singing and others will be invited to join. Please mark it on your calendars and plan to come. It would be nice to see lots of faces from our church family present at the service.
Presbytery Transformation Conference
Our Presbytery is putting on Transformation Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota on April 5-7. We are looking for people from our congregation to go. We sent folks from our congregation to national transformation conference in Charlotte in 2004 and New New York City in 2005. Then the national church stopped doing them, but now we have an opportunity to go to a local one for a responsible price. Come here motivating speakers and how to leading change in the 21st century church, working within systems, cultural and systemic challenges to ministry today, transformation models, vocation discernment and visioning for the future. Please talk to Pastor Scott Prouty if you are interested as soon as possible. The Deadline to register is March 15 (hotel reservations must be confirmed by March 5). The cost is $169 for meals, lodging and the conference.
General Assembly is the National Meeting of the Presbyterian Church, USA that meets every other year. This year it meets in St. Louis, Missouri from June 16-23. Each of the 171 Presbytery sends commissioners to vote. Our Presbytery, Minnesota Valleys, voted to send Ruling Elder Deb Hess of our church and me. They also voted to send Julia Prouty as a Young Adult Advisory Delegate. I have been invited to serve as the Vice Moderator of the Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Issues at General Assembly. I am deeply honored by this.
Minnesota FoodShare – March Campaign
What is it?! Minnesota FoodShare began its work in 1982 with a campaign advanced by congregations to restock food shelves in the 7-county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The effort was so successful and the need was so evident, the March Campaign became a statewide program just one year later.
The largest grassroots food and fund drive in the state, the Minnesota FoodShare March Campaign brings together various community organizations, businesses, and faith communities to help stock nearly 300 food shelves statewide. In 2017, over $8 million dollars and 4.7 million pounds of food were raised by Minnesota food shelves and Minnesota FoodShare.
Minnesota FoodShare envisions a Minnesota where all residents have access to healthy food and no one struggles with food insecurity. The March Campaign addresses these issues directly and we invite you to join our efforts and advocate for long-term solutions to food insecurity and poverty in our communities.
Once again this March, we join food shelves, faith communities, businesses, and organizations across Minnesota in acting to end hunger and food insecurity. Please bring nonperishable items for our local food shelf and/or monetary donations throughout March. Together, we can ensure #FoodForAllMN.
Taking Action Against Hunger in Minnesota – Did YOU Know?!
• Over 3,000,000 visits are made to Minnesota food shelves each year.
• Approximately 552,000 households experience food insecurity.
• 1 in 7 children in Minnesota struggle with hunger.
• Local food shelves can stretch your $1 into enough food for 2-3 meals.
• The 2017 March Campaign raised more than 4.7 million pounds of food and $8 million for Minnesota food shelves.
• 100% of financial contributions to Minnesota FoodShare via the March Campaign go to participating food shelves.
“When you pick the food of your land at gathering time, do not pick all the way to the corners of your field. And do not gather the food left on the ground there after you have picked. Do not gather what is left among your vines, or gather the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for those in need and for the stranger.” – Leviticus 19:9-10
Our Lenten Journey
It seems like we just put our Christmas decorations away and now it is time to start our journey with Lent. Ash Wednesday is on February 14, this year. We will have a Worship Service at 6:30 pm. We usually have the Youth Choir and Chancel Choir sing and we celebrate Holy Communion. We have Wednesday night services all through Lent at 6:30 p.m. Lent is a time to examine ourselves to see if we need to make any changes that may be hurting our relationship with God or one another. We are to prepare ourselves for Easter by spending extra time in prayer, reading Scripture and meditating upon it. Some practice the discipline of fasting or they give up something they love to do like eating chocolate or another favorite food, drinking coffee or pop, going on Facebook or other social media, playing any type of video game or card game, or giving up your favorite television program. The idea is to make a make a sacrifice and spend that extra time focusing on God. May this Lenten Season be a time of Spiritual Renewal for you!
May God bless you! Pastor Scott Prouty