Humbled. Awed. Blessed to Serve You!

We’ve decided to close the 2019 Staff blog with thoughts and ponderings from each of our staff members. There were no specific rules other than to write a closing thought or reflection on this past year. This post may be a little longer than our usual but it is heartfelt. We hope you enjoy! ~Janet


Pastor Craig

2019 will stand out for me because I saw a really great 1stPres staff team come together and do great work for the church and its mission.  To a person they are servant-hearted, professional and driven to always give their best in whatever task they take on. They don’t just make me look good, they make the whole church look good!



What a busy time I have had this year keeping up with 1st Pres family! I am always humbled by the many people who show up to serve joyfully here at their beloved church and in the community as they carry out the Love First Mission. Thank you for letting me be a part of the mission with you.


They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.  (Acts 2:46-47 )



Year-end reflections are so important. How can we determine where we are going if we don’t examine where we have come from? Instead of commenting on my year, I want to hear about yours! Here is a fun exercise I try to use as each year comes to a close.

Guided Year End Reflections:

10 Highlights – Your best memories or accomplishments.

10 Disappointments – Your failures or missed opportunities.

3 Game changers – Things that shifted your focus or priorities.

3 Things you focused on – Where you spend your time and attention.

3 Things you forgot –  What you didn’t get around to.

Reflections – How does 2019 shape 2020? What will you do differently and why?

I wish you all a very blessed and happy new year!




What a fantastic year! Personally, for me it was great – because I have started in my new position – which I love. But I also see it as a great year for the church. Especially looking at it from here – today – on the threshold of a new decade. I can see how God put so many things in place to be ready to enter a great new phase in the life of 1stPresDowntown. We have our wonderful new Krueger Hall all set up and packed to the gills Sunday mornings – we are fully staffed with amazing people – and we are stepping out into the scary unknown with our new second service. Of course, it’s not really scary is it? Not when it’s so obvious that God is in it. No, not scary – exciting. It’s an exciting adventure and I’m delighted to be living this adventure with all of you.




It’s that time when people often look back at the events of the year to reflect and plan for the year to come. I always feel excited and thankful for the many blessings God has given our family. I also feel a little nervous about things I see that concerns me and find myself wondering if there is anything I can do to influence the outcome. Then after I put myself through much grief and worry, I realize that He knows what is best for me and I surrender to His plans. It is a thing I seem to put myself through each year…silly…you would think I’d learn. I guess I just need to rely on Him more ☺ Instead of New Year’s resolutions, I like to pick a Bible verse to remember throughout the year. This is my verse for 2020—


But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23)



This has been an eventful year for me the choir and hand bell presentations this Advent season were some of our best work. It was especially meaningful since I announced my intention to retire at the end of this choir season in May.  It has always been my desire to give the very best of my ability to produce quality music and as I look back over the years we collectively have achieved a high standard.  I look forward to what God has in mind for me next I know in my heart he is not done with me yet.  In His Service, Judy.



Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17 (NIV)

Life often changes; chaos sometimes rages. But God brings consistency to our lives in the middle of shifting, questions, and disorder.




I continue to be awed by the loving, active volunteers who flow in and out of our church all week long! Did you know …there are “Donut Darlings” (well, we call them that) who order, deliver, and prepare your Sunday donuts every week? …it’s late night/early morning volunteers who paint the hallways, classrooms, and church spaces? …it’s volunteers who compile your bulletins every week? …it’s dedicated, confidential volunteers who count your giving every week? …it’s a rotation of committees who clean up after Sunday coffee hour? I could go on and on about the generosity and love exhibited by all the volunteers who are pleased to serve in the name of our Lord!

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. (2Cor 4:5)




Although we have a few more days of 2019 left I have been reflecting on this past year. I feel like this time of year is seen as a transition for many (if not all) of us. You actually step back from life to reconsider where you’ve been and where you want to go (or so at least I do).

I have been thinking a lot these last few days about all the ups and the downs and well, understanding that it’s all part of our journey in some way, shape or form. I have definitely found myself aware of the losses and struggles as well as having a strong appreciation of all the good that has happened which makes me SO excited to celebrate a brand new year ahead.

With that being said, I decided to answer a few questions to further help me reflect on this year and I encourage you all to do the same! It’s actually incredibly therapeutic! What went well? What needs to be left behind? What did this year teach you?



2020 is going to be a great year full of challenges and full of amazing opportunities. I’m excited to see the church grow and become even better than before.



2019 was a year of growth and I have so many things to be thankful for. I’ve been so grateful for the group I’ve been working with here at The First Presbyterian Church in downtown CDA. Our lord and savior Jesus Christ never stops giving us things to be thankful for. I am also optimistic that in the coming years liberty will make its way to Jerusalem and the Palestinian people. The coming years will bring us so much change. I can’t wait to see how our church community will grow with the coming second service. I hope to see you all there!



Be someone who listens, and you will be heard. Be someone who cares, and you will be loved. Be someone who gives, and you will be blessed. Be someone who comforts, and you will know peace. Be someone who lives with joy, with purpose, as your own light brightly shines. Be, in every moment, the special someone you are truly meant to be. Anonymous

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)


Wishing you all great joy and many blessings in the New Year!



  1. Reply
    Carol Landon says

    Love all of these wonderful comments, scriptures, and thought-provoking questions !! But most of all, I love each of you, your very special gifts, & feel blessed to be part of our First Pres family! Praise our Lord ✝️

  2. Reply
    Marcy says

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts, hearts and mostly your time. Truly appreciate each and everyone of you and all you do! Praying you have a great NEW year!

  3. Reply
    Kathy says

    Thank you all for your work, thoughts & dedication to & for a wonderful church & church family! Love First

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