Pastoral Ponderings – December 2023

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:28-31

 In the most barren of situations, God continues to create something new. Two years ago, First Christian did what every church tries to avoid having to do, and that is sell their precious building. Blood, sweat, and tears went into the planning and creating of that church building. It was beautiful, and so many wonderful and beautiful things happened within (and outside) those walls. Children were born, children, youth, and adults were baptized, people got married, loved ones were put to rest, Christmas programs, Easter programs, Christian Education, worship, fellowship, all of that created a loving, and God-fearing community.

But as it has a tendency to do, life changes. The choice was to leave that beloved building. Without a place to go, Faith UCC invited them to share space until the community could get their bearings straight again. The building was no longer First Christian, but the faithful community of believers still is.

And now, two years later, what once was, First Christian Church and Faith UCC—separate, and yet very much alike—are preparing to create something new: Faith First Community Church. And it is beautiful!!

It is beautiful because, as the leader of both churches right now, I am watching each community work diligently to become one. There is give and take on both sides. Sometimes, those are easy changes, and sometimes—thanks to our emotions—the changes are more difficult.

While we have many things done—a new name, a new constitution, a new way to govern the community, a budget for next year—we still have a long way to go, and many decisions yet to be made. But these decisions are the details, and they will get done, in time.

Safe church policies (for volunteers who will work with our children and youth), bequest policies, building use policies. Then there will be the decisions around what we keep for furniture from both churches, and what we don’t. And how will we go about marketing our new church? Then, down the road, how will we change the sanctuary to make it Faith First Community Church? (Like I said, some of them are a ways down the road!)

The paperwork has been turned into the lawyer to work on the incorporation of Faith First, and the plan is to have an incorporation date of January 1, 2024!! While we wait for that, the Merging Committee continues to move forward, working on coming up with our Core Values (what we believe our church values most), a mission statement, and a vision statement. Once they come up with a few ideas, we will schedule another congregational meeting to decide on those.


Thank you so much to our Merging Committee for all of your hard work and dedication to the new creation. As much as we would like to believe that creating is easy, it really isn’t—in fact, it is really difficult at times. It takes patience, and courage, and passion. So, thank you to Cheryl Leamer, Don Walton, Mark Christy, Glenn Perreault, Jill Pepper, Doug Cox, Amy

Dowell, Sharon Perreault, Jan Hannel, and Martha Watters—who isn’t on the committee, but has been HUGE in helping make this transition work! And thank you to all of you for your thoughts, prayers, ideas, and any other way you are helping.

I can’t wait to see where we are one year from now! In the meantime, if you have thoughts and ideas on any of these things, please find a committee member and talk to them!

May you all have a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Always Peace, 

Pastor Heidi


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).