A WORD FROM THE PASTOR: WHO IS YOUR CAPTAIN?
The image has become instantly iconic, seared into our minds: the huge, hulking cruise ship listing helplessly in the shallow waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Almost exactly 100 years after the sinking of the Titanic, the Costa Concordia went down in full view of the watching world.
And the story behind the ship’s demise only compounds the tragedy. Apparently, the ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, deliberately took the $450 million ship off its assigned course—bringing the vessel dangerously close to the rocky Italian shoreline and endangering the 4,200 people on board—all for the noble purpose of allowing a crew member greet his family. During the ill-conceived maneuver, the ship hit a submerged rock, tearing a massive gash in the hull. Within seconds, the captain knew the ship was in trouble, and he ran the fast-sinking ship aground to keep it from sinking completely.
The death toll from the Costa Concordia could reach as many as 40 souls. But the calamity becomes even more unfortunate when we consider what happened in the time following the accident. Soon after the collision, Captain Schettino abandoned his post on the bridge of the ship and was riding on a rescue boat to safety. So much for the captain going down with the ship! An Italian newspaper obtained and published the recorded conversation between the cowardly captain and Gregorio De Falco, a captain in the Italian Coast Guard and leader of the rescue effort. When De Falco discovered that Schettino had abandoned his post, he was furious, and he ordered him back to the boat. “You go up that pilot ladder, get on that ship, and tell me how many people are still on board. And what they need. Is that clear? You need to tell me if there are children, women, or people in need of assistance…Listen, Schettino, you saved yourself from the sea, but I am going to…make sure you get in trouble…I am going to make you pay for this. Go on board, d*mn it!”
Captain Schettino never did return to his boat. He was later taken into custody by officials, and he remains on house arrest. He will most likely face criminal charges of manslaughter for his negligence in guiding his ship safely to its destination.
As disappointing as the captain’s behavior was, there are heartening stories of courage and selflessness that have emerged from the Concordia disaster. Manrico Giampedroni, the 57-year-old chief purser on board the ship devoted himself to rescuing passengers in the aftermath of the collision. He returned into the listing vessel over and over again, taking people to the life boats, until an airborne refrigerator broke his leg, making him one of those who needed to be rescued!
We can be thankful, though, that we have a faithful Captain who will not abandon us when we run into the rocky shores of life. We can put our trust in God, who is a steady refuge and strength in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). While selfish people will let us down—literally in the case of the Concordia—God will never let us down or forsake us. Of course, that doesn’t mean that trusting in God takes away the rocks; but it does mean that we have a Captain who steers us safely toward eternity. Scripture promises that God “will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:8-9 NIV). Now that is a Captain we can trust!
Another story to emerge from the Costa Concordia tragedy is that of Francis and Nicole Servel, an older French couple traveling on the Concordia that fateful night. There was little direction from the crew, since the order for evacuation was never actually given. So the couple was preparing to jump off the sinking cruise ship. But there was only one life jacket between the two of them. So Francis gave the life jacket to his wife. And the two of them then leaped into the 46-degree water; Mrs. Servel managed to swim to the shore, but Mr. Servel was swept underwater and drowned. Later, she said, “I owe my life to my husband—it’s obvious he saved me.”
And that is the same image of how faithful our God is. God went the distance to rescue us from the icy waters of sin and the sinking vessel of death in this broken world—even at the cost of his own life. Jesus laid down his life at the cross for our sake, trading his life for our lives, so we could live eternally.
And so the question for us is, “Who is our captain?” Do we wish to put our lives in the hands of fallible men? Or do we want to be mastered by the false gods of money and materialism? Will we take our own chances in the sea of chaos that is this world? Or will we put our faith in Jesus Christ, our only trustworthy Captain—who will lead us safely to our destination?
Blessings in Christ,
The Session will have its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, February 27, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
Homestead Presbytery will be gathering for its spring stated assembly on Saturday, February 18, at 10:00 a.m. at Heritage Presbyterian Church in Lincoln. If you would like to attend (or to serve as our elder commissioner), please visit with Pastor Ray. Visit www.homesteadpres.org for more information.
The rhythm of the church year is leading us to our annual pilgrimage to the cross and to the empty tomb. This year, you are invited and encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities for spiritual growth in our congregation!
Ash Wednesday: The Lenten season kicks off with a solemn worship service in our sanctuary—including the imposition of ashes—on Wednesday, February 22, at 6:30 p.m. (The middle school youth fellowship will meet afterwards, from 7:30-8:30, like usual.)
Lenten Supper & Service: Each Wednesday during Lent, we will gather for a supper together at 6:00 p.m., followed by a prayer service at 6:45. In an attempt to make these activities more accessible, the meals will be provided! Just show up and enjoy the time in community. Additionally, child care will be provided during the worship services to include families with young children. (The youth groups will continue to meet uninterrupted throughout March.)
The High School Youth Fellowship will meet on the following Wednesdays during February: 2/1 and 2/15. The Middle School Youth Fellowship will meet on the following Wednesdays during February: 2/8 and 2/22. Invite a friend! Both youth groups meet from7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Youth Room.
The Presbyterian Women will have their monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 1, at 6:30 p.m. There will be a short business meeting followed by Bible Study ~ Lesson 5 of our study. The leader will be Jan Liska, and hostess will be Babs Middleton.
On Sunday, February 12, 2012, Presbyterian Women at First Presbyterian Church in Wayne invite you to have cake during Fellowship Hour to celebrate everyone’s birthday and to give to those in need by donating to the Birthday Offering.
Sewing Souls will meet on February 15 at 6:30 p.m. and the hostess will be Elaine Francis. Bring your projects!
On Tuesday, February 28, at 7:00p.m., there will be an Intro to Knitting, Crocheting, Sewing, Etc. class. If you are interested in learning to do any or all of these techniques, please come! Your hostess will be Judy Lindberg. Please note the day change, due to the Wednesday night Lenten activities.
FOCUS ON MISSIONS:
Pastor Tim and Sonya Pearson, along with their daughter Nevaeh, will be talking about their new ministry with our church family on Sunday, February 26. (Sonya is our church secretary.) The Pearsons are on staff with the Rural Home Missionary Association (RHMA). RHMA works across denominational lines to plant and strengthen churches in small towns. Through the years the blessing of God has clearly been evident, as new churches have been established and existing churches given new life. In the process, countless have been nurtured in their Christian faith. Pastor Tim and Sonya have accepted a call to serve as a missionary pastor at New Life Bible Church in Alma, Kansas. Alma is a small town located just off of I-70, between Manhattan and Topeka. The Pearsons are in process of raising missionary support and hope to move to Alma by the end of May. If you would like to become a partner with them in their ministry, please contact RHMA at (309) 263-2350, e-mail them at email@example.com, or, visit with Pastor Tim and Sonya personally. Tune in on Sunday, February 26, to hear first-hand about their ministry! Visit www.rhma.org to learn about the RHMA mission.
Our presbytery is forming partnerships with churches in the Czech Republic. And since this part of Nebraska has more than its fair share of Czechs, this might be an interesting opportunity to some of you! If you would like more information on this missions endeavor, please contact Richard Wyatt at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/missionconnections/moritz-karen/ for more details.
A HUGE thank you for the wonderful Christmas gift that you gave me! I appreciate the thoughtfulness & kindness that you have shown to me this past year. I take pleasure in working as your secretary and have enjoyed getting to know a lot of you! God Bless! ~Sonya Pearson
FREE FOR THE TAKING!
Do you need some Christmas lights for next year? In the Fellowship Hall, there are several bags of Christmas lights available for the taking, as well as a large, light-up snowflake decoration. Help yourself!
2012 SERVICE SCHEDULE
The 2012 Service Schedule is available—this includes those of you who signed up on your stewardship forms to help out as lector, greeters, or acolytes. There is a schedule posted in the Fellowship Hall, as well as the secretary’s office. There are several available on the Opportunity Table as well. Please check the schedule for your name and date of service! If you are not able to help that particular Sunday, please call someone and find a substitute.
SOUPER BOWL OF CARING
The big game is set! Maybe your team made it, and maybe it didn’t. But this year, let’s remember those in our nation and neighborhoods who don’t have enough. Please bring your non-perishable food donation and place it in the sanctuary by Sunday, February 5. If you would like to financially support the Souper Bowl effort, please make your check out to First Presbyterian Church with a memo of “Souper Bowl.” This project is being sponsored by the Wayne Blue Devils Octagon Optimist Club. Thank you!
BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS!
Homecoming: Unmasking the Orphan Spirit by Jon P. Voyles, Sr., son of Joyce and the late George Voyles.
Protecting the Princess by Rachelle McCalla (second of four books in the “Reclaiming the Crown” series; the first is Princess in Peril)
The Detective’s Secret Daughter by Rachelle McCalla (part of the Fitzgerald Bay continuity series).
These books are available online (e.g., Amazon).
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 HCSB
This year, we are piloting a new, technology-enabled ministry: a prayer team. When someone hears of a prayer concern (Pastor Ray, Sonya, a ruling elder, et al), we will send out a quick e-mail message to our prayer partners, encouraging them to lift up prayer for
BOXES FOR OUR SOLDIER
Would you like to send a package to our soldier, David Buller, or other soldiers serving in Afghanistan? Here’s your opportunity! There are USPS boxes in the Fellowship Hall that you can fill up or you can go to the post office and ask for a box for the military. Please fill up these boxes with special items as a care package to our military men and women. Suggested items are: cereal/granola bars, tuna, Gatorade powder mix (or other complete drink mixes), beef jerky, crackers, snack mix, wet wipes, decks of cards, etc. Also, iTunes gift cards are another great idea! Please have these boxes packed and ready to go by Sunday, February 19.
Sharon Thomas, a member of our congregation, has moved from The Oaks of Wayne to a care facility in Loup City, Nebraska. She would love to hear from all of you!
Sharon Thomas c/o Rose Lane Home,1005 North 8th St. Loup City, NE 68853