Watercolor painting by E. J. Kirsch

February 2019 Newsletter

Jan 31, 2019

Pastor’s Pen
Rev. Paul Copeland

Wilderness Journeys

About midway through most of my transition pastorates I begin to sense an undercurrent of restlessness—both in the congregation and in my own soul.   This is so predictable that I would worry if it didn’t happen.   This restlessness arises from a feeling that the transition is starting to resemble a kind of “wilderness journey.”   The landscape empties.   There’s not so much to sustain life.   Time seems to drag in the wilderness.   Worries find a foothold and memories of better times and places become our traveling companions.   Second-guessing ourselves and others becomes a way to pass the time.   And, of course, there is the persistent “Are we there yet?” chorus from the back seat.   We all go through times when our lives seem like that.  When our personal wilderness journey overlaps a congregation’s, life can be challenging indeed.

That’s why it’s good to remember that some of the best Bible stories happen in the wilderness.  The wilderness was apparently one of God’s favorite places for letting his people get to know him.   He met with his people Israel at Mount Sinai in the wilderness.  It was there that he showed Moses his “backside”—whatever that means—and explained his name: “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” (Exodus 33:21-23; 34:5-6)   God met with a depressed Elijah the Prophet at the same wilderness mountain centuries later, whispered encouragement to him, and gave him a new mission for his life.  (1 Kings 19:11-18)   Eight hundred years later, Elijah made a reappearance of sorts in the work of John the Baptizer, who turns up in the wilderness to “prepare the way” for the Lord Jesus.  (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 4:4-5; Mark 1:1-4)   After he was baptized by John, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where he withstood Satan’s temptations in the strength of God’s word.  Finally, there was St. Paul, who after he was converted by Jesus himself on the road to Damascus, went off into Arabia (major wilderness!), apparently just to seek God more earnestly about the Lord’s call in his life. (Galatians 1:15-17)

Those, of course, are the “inspiring” stories.   The Bible’s really big wilderness story, though, is about the   children of Israel wandering in the desert for forty years until a whole generation of them passed away.    God, of course, led them into the wilderness so that they could really get to know him—a sort of spiritual “honeymoon.” (Exodus 19:4; Hosea 2:14-15)   God provided for them in unlikely ways—with water from rocks and bread from heaven. (Psalm 105:40-41)  But, they spent most of their time complaining.  After all, it was a wilderness.   They did not find it “inspiring.”   Bread from heaven proved dull and bland.    Eventually, unbelief and rebellion carried the day (Numbers 14:20-23; Psalm 95:7b-11) and so they just wandered, their wasted lives providing one of the Bible’s great cautionary stories.

So, when you feel like you or the church is stuck in a wilderness, it’s good to know that the Bible is a great wilderness guide.   Not a lot going on?  Not a lot to get excited about?   Well, a wilderness is what it is.   But if you watch enough “Wild Kingdom,” you’ll learn that wildernesses are actually full of life.  And, if you read enough Bible, (and talk to enough mature Christians), you’ll learn that God hangs out in the wilderness, just to meet with people who long for a deeper experience of what only his love can give.  

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Paul


Clerks Corner

Session Highlights January 14, 2019 — Following up on priorities that emerged from a retreat held last fall, Session agreed to use whatever time remains in this pastoral transition to explore ways to shift the role of ruling elders more in the direction of “shepherding” the flock.  Most of the time was taken up looking at examples of what other Presbyterian Churches have done to develop a culture that prizes the shepherding role of ruling elders.  On the administrative side, Session agreed to consolidate the oversight areas from eight to four.  This consolidation is on a trial basis as Session considers whether there may be wisdom in reducing the number of ruling elders in future years.  The four oversight areas for this coming year are as follows:

Administration – (Oversees the “trustee” responsibilities of Session, especially finances and property)

Spiritual Formation – (With the pastor, provides strategic planning for Worship and Christian Education; encourages development of small groups)

Community Engagement – (Partners with Spiritual Formation to equip members to share their faith in a secular culture; partners with the Deacons to encourage and equip members to participate in existing local   mission opportunities and, as appropriate, to develop or identify new opportunities)

Coordination – (Tracks the “big picture” of congregational life; assists other ministry groups in the congregation with planning and carrying through activities based in the church building; develops effective communication systems for a multi-generational, small church)


Worship Information

February 3, 2019
Joy Made Complete
Proverbs 12:9-20, Philippians 2:1-11

February 10, 2019
The Mind of Christ Jesus
Proverbs 15:23-33, Philippians 2:1-11

February 17, 2019
Blameless and Innocent
Proverbs 17:1-9, Philippians 2:12-18

February 24, 2019
Church and Mission
Proverbs 24:3-12, Philippians 2:19-30



February        2   Pat Short 
February        2   Rev. Stuart Robertson
February        4   Lou Ann Johnston
February        4   Margaret Parker
February        5   Natasha Landolt
February        6   Alexya Barr
February        6   Erin Ward
February        7   Claudio Freitas
February        9   Joshua Ward
February        9   Verona Clark
February      14   Nicholas Cress
February      19   Polly Tyler
February      24   Emma Parker
February      26   Jo Honig


February      10   Jessica (Stewart) & Garret Prestwood
February      13   Fred & Carol Fillmore
February      27   Dave & Kris Stith


Community Worship Services

Sunday, February 3
St. Mary’s Worship
2:30 p.m.

Sunday, February 10
Tippecanoe Villa
1:30 p.m.
Friendship House
3:00 p.m.


A heartfelt thank you to the greeters and ushers for the month of January.

If you would like to volunteer to greet fellow worshippers, please contact Emily Matthews or 583-4111.

Thanks for the consideration.

January      6   Morgan & Melissa Sparks

January    13   The White Family

January    20   Gayle Weast & Karen Gilliom

January    27   Diane & David Horner

For the Deacons,
Emily Matthews


Greeters for February

February     3   Jo & Jurgen Honig

February   10   Gayle Weast & Olivia Wood

February   17   The White Family

February  24    Kari & Darrell Clase


* Adult Choir practice Wednesdays from 6:30-8:00 pm.


* Men’s breakfast Fridays, 7:30 a.m. at Christos New City Grill West Side. Join us for food, fun, and fellowship. 


* The Women’s Group will be hosting a Souper-Bowl Sundae lunch on Sunday, February 3rd   after church at noon. Bring your favorite soup or bread. Sundaes will be the dessert. Come in your favorite jersey and support your team! Please bring a can of food for the food pantry to the meal.  Let us share with others while we eat. All are welcome!


* Sunday Evening Bible Study at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Come Join us for light refreshment and conversation, then promptly at 6:45 p.m. begin with prayer followed by study. We end promptly at 8:00 p.m.


* L2 Single Ladies Group is planning to have lunch at the Village Pub at Westminster Village Monday, February 4th  at 11:30 a.m. All single women are invited to join our group. Questions?   Contact Jean McCoy.


* Valentine Cookie Project — SAVE THOSE BOXES! The women of Faith Church have been sending valentine cookies for many years. Boxes have been limited as of late, so we ask you to save your shoe boxes. We’d rather not fill your boot box or your son’s gigantic sneaker box, please bring us your sturdy, average sized, shoe boxes. We need names and addresses of all our college students. Please plan on delivering cookies to local students. Please give names to LouAnn Johnston or Jean McCoy. We also need cookie bakers and packers. Please bake two dozen cookies, pack them by twos in small plastic bags and deliver to the church by Sunday, February 10th.  A sign-up sheet is in the Fellowship Hall for baking or packing the boxes for mailing or delivery on Sunday, February 10th. 


* Do you spend some quality time with a needle in hand? Do you have a closet full of good intentions? Have you wanted to learn to quilt, embroider, crochet, or knit? Join us for Stitch and Purl on Wednesday, February 27th from 4 – 7 p.m. Please bring a sack lunch and a project to work on.


* Our Faith Presbyterian Mission of the Month for February will be the Local Emergency Aid Program (LEAP). This program aids families who need temporary financial support. The program is run here at Faith Presbyterian. The administrators also like to distribute personal care supplies when they are available. We will be collecting items through the month of February.

Items needed are: Shampoo, Soap, Toothpaste, Tooth Brushes, and Toilet Paper (preferably 4 packs for ease of  distribution). Questions? Please contact Dave Stith.


* Many thanks to Paul Kuhn, Ron Smith, Dave Horner (and others whom we may have missed), who pitched in shoveling snow during the last storms. Our snow removal contract  covers parking lots only — so sidewalk help is always much appreciated!


* We need to thank six members of our congregation who gave an extra gift of their time to serve in the Tippecanoe County/Church Women United Food Pantry during the holiday season - they are:  Jim and Dorothy Bethel, Kris Stith, Steve Varys, LouAnn Johnston and Marilyn Hinze.  Our next turn to help will be in August.