Pastoral Ponderings – November 2023

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the One of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~ James 1:17


Sometimes I don’t think I say that enough to each of you. I have certainly gotten behind on sending out thank you cards. But even if you don’t get a handwritten note from me, please know that I am beyond grateful for everything each and every one of you does!

“But Pastor Heidi, I don’t do much for you to be that thankful to me.” To which I respond, “Bologna!” I have received words of encouragement, words of challenge, words of compassion from each of you. I have watched you care for one another through cards sent, hugs shared, and food offered. I have watched you shed tears, sit in silence, and clean the church so Brian and Arlene didn’t have to when Arlene’s mother, Lois, died.

These two churches are amazing, and I am so grateful to be your Shepherd! Thank you!

November 26 we will offer our pledge cards to be blessed during worship. For those from First Christian, I know this isn’t a tradition that you are used to, but I feel that it is especially important this year.

When you receive your pledge card and letter this year, it will be for the 2024 budget for the New Church we are creating together. When we make a pledge, we are promising—to the best of our ability—to give that money to the church however we feel we can over the course of the year. By writing that amount down, our finance committee (yet to be named—for now is Martha Watters and the Merging Committee!) will be able to assess whether or not we will need to make adjustments to the proposed budget.

Offering of our first fruits back to God (giving an offering or pledge) is something we are called to do. Many churches ask for a tithe—which is 10% of your annual income. I know for many, that can be really scary. And I pray you know that I am not asking you to give beyond your means. But this year, because we are going to be a New Church together, I would challenge you to move into a zone that might stretch your comfort.

For instance, if you didn’t pledge, you would make a pledge this year. If you gave 3% of your annual income, can you do 3.5%, or even 4%? If you were giving 6%, could you give 6.5%, or even 7%? If you didn’t give in percentages, and giving a flat amount, say $20 a month, could you try $25 a month? If you gave $1,000 a quarter, could you give $1,250 a quarter?

I understand that giving to the church can be difficult because we are afraid that we won’t have enough. But our God is a God of abundance, always providing what we need, when we need it (notice I didn’t say WANT!). All we have to do is trust that. Our faithful giving is one of the ways that we can thank and praise God for our abundant gifts.

Again, THANK YOU for all you do!

Always Peace,

       Pastor Heidi


Pastoral Ponderings – October 2023

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”  ~ Luke 8:39


I am still struggling to believe that 13 weeks have come and gone! I had a wonderful rest, but I am grateful to be back home!

There is so much I am still processing and would like to ask for your patience with me. Sometimes I don’t have words for your questions, because, frankly, I just don’t have the words yet. But they will come. So, if I have shared a story with you half a dozen times, I apologize. I continue to tell it because I have something to learn yet, and by telling it over and over, I will be able to glean that wisdom. In the meantime, you will probably hear a few stories way more times than you want!

As July turned into August, and I was home a few more days than I had been, I started to relax a little, and get nervous about coming back. Not nervous to be here, but nervous because much of my Sabbatical had turned out differently than expected, and things I told you I was planning to do didn’t get done. And at that point, I still didn’t have this big AHA moment about why I was on Sabbatical, and what I was learning.

So I worried about what you would say, and how you would feel if I didn’t come back with something grandiose.  Then, the week before I returned, two things happened.

  1. I read this scripture in the Gospel of Luke: “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” That’s it. That’s my job. To tell you what God did for me while I was away. And when I realized that, things started to open up, and I am processing my time—finally! Friends, there is no way that I can tell you everything that God did for me during this time apart on one page. I’m not even sure I know everything God did for me yet! But I do know this: I know that God was in each and every breath I took, and each place I went, and in each person I re-connected with. God never left my side.
  2. I read this quote: Life is about balance. This has resonated with me to the point that I had to put it on paper, and canvas, and ceramic!

So, I return to you, not with some big new idea, but instead, with many small reminders. Things like:

  1. God’s timing is always perfect.
  2. God’s creation is precious—no matter what part of the world you are in.
  3. God places angels in our midst when we need them most.
  4. God allows us the space to learn what we need, whether we want to learn it or not!
  5. God has placed joy in our hearts, and when we find that joy, there is NOTHING better than that!

I could go on and on but think I will wait. Balance. Life is about balance.

~ Always Peace,  Pastor Heidi

Worship Hours

  • Post category:Worship

We are switching to our regular worship hours on Sunday, September 17.  Worship will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a coffee hour after worship.  Sunday School/Bible Study will also begin for the 2023-2024 school year meeting at 9:00 a.m. every Sunday.

General Synod 2023 Service Project

Back in April we were notified of the service project at this year’s General Synod to be held in Indianapolis June 28 through July 4th.  If we raised $250, we could apply for a $250 UCC kits matching grant.  We raised $350, applied and received the grant.

Each kit contained two 2 oz. bottles hand sanitizer, three 4-galon bathroom trash bags, one travel pack of Wet ones, ten unscented tampons ( 5 regular and 5 super), ten unscented sanitary napkins, one bath size bar of soap, one pack of flushable wipes, and six laundry detergent sheets.

Several ladies from the church got together on June 28th and put together 57 kits!  Once they were completed, we delivered them to a delegate from another church in our area who took them to Indy.

UCC surpassed their 1,000 goal and 3,157 kits were put together!

Painting Party June 2023

We held a painting party fundraising event on June 14th.  The painters could chose between creating on canvas or painting on a tote bag.  

The money raised will go to Churches United’s Thanksgiving in July for local food pantries!  We were assigned the Friendly House in Davenport.

Great job, ladies!

God’s Bow

The rainbow is God’s bow that serves as a reminder of His promise to mankind – an unbreakable bond between the Creator and His creation. In times of trouble, in the presence of anguish, God sends the rainbow to remind His people of His promise (Ezekiel 1:28).

Pastoral Ponderings – May 2023

Dearest Beloved,

I want to thank you so very much for the time you are gifting me for my upcoming Sabbatical. It is my deepest prayer that you know how much I love you. I couldn’t have imagined the blessings that continue to be showered on me (and my family) because of you.

Starting June 5, I will not be the person you contact if you need something for the church. Jill Pepper will be that person for June and July, and then depending on what you need, there will be a few people to contact for the month of August. (We will have that in the next newsletter.) I will return to the office on September 5.

Before I leave, I want to touch on a couple of things. I know that there is a lot going on within the life of Faith UCC. Your pastor will be gone for 13 weeks; and we are still in conversation with First Christian to figure out how we can share ministry. Both of these things are beginning to create some very high emotions—fear, grief, and anger for sure, but also excitement and joy.

Change is scary. Period. Not knowing what comes next in life leaves us feeling vulnerable, and believe me, I don’t like that feeling any more than you do.

So, let’s start with the Sabbatical. Please know that I am not leaving you for 13 weeks on your own. I am sure there is something I will forget to plan for, but I hope that most of whatever might come up will have a plan, or a person to contact. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE ALONE! You all still have one another! The idea for this time is for me to find rest and to return to you renewed and filled with new passion and fire. But this time is also for you—so that you can dive into the life of this wonderful church, and find your renewed passion and fire. Then, when we come back together, we can forge a new future with God’s love and light leading our way.

As for sharing ministry. Again, I refer to the above paragraph “Change is scary.” But change is inevitable, and if we allow ourselves to be open and dream, change can be amazing! I really don’t have any idea what “change” is going to look like for us, but there will be something. There always is! This is the time for us to explore new things, dream big dreams, and PRAY—asking that God guide us on this journey, not for our will, but for God’s will to be done.

I need to ask you a favor: please don’t stop talking to me about these events in our lives. I know we might not agree on everything, nor should we—that is how we hold one another accountable, and allow for balance. If we shut down and stop talking to each other, the change that will happen will not be healthy. Honest, open, and transparent communication with one another is the only way we can move forward toward God’s will. Dealing with emotion is really hard, so in this time and space, I pray we will offer one another grace, and much patience.

Friends, we are walking this journey together, and I wouldn’t want to walk with anyone other than all of you. I love you so much.

~ Always Peace,  Pastor Heidi