Join us at 2PM on Sunday, October 2, for our annual Blessing of the Animals service. You’ll find everyone on the front steps of the church. Bring your pet, all pets welcome. Bring a friend or two!
I am very excited to be serving the Oak Hill Presbyterian Church. I wanted to share a little bit about my background and my faith journey as we begin an exciting new adventure.
“Not all who wander are lost” (J.R.R. Tolkien). The name Wanda means wanderer. In me, it rings true. I have always enjoyed walking, traveling, finding new adventures around every corner. I guess that is why I like to talk about my faith as a spiritual journey.
I grew up in a Christian family in Des Moines, Iowa, who were very involved in the life of the church. We were at church every Sunday morning for Sunday school and church, as well as the mid -week service, supper, and activities. I have always been very outgoing, energetic, and curious.
When I was in high school, I had many opportunities to deepen my faith. I was involved in a two-year leadership development program with youth from many churches across the region. I had the opportunity to go on several summer mission trips which involved working with long term partnerships for 12 weeks in several different countries, including Venezuela, Scotland, and Japan. I developed a heart for mission, and social justice. These opportunities helped me to recognize a call to ministry. My call was recognized, affirmed, and nurtured by the leadership of my church.
Throughout my college experience, my call to the ministry continued to be affirmed and I knew I would pursue a seminary education. Following college, I was invited to work at my home church for three years as a ‘minister of youth, missions and Christian education! In addition to receiving a wealth of experience, I had some wonderful mentors who taught me how to do ministry in the trenches before I attended seminary in Chicago.
One of my favorite passages of scripture has always been Isaiah 40:31 which proclaims: ‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not grow weary-they shall walk and not faint.
There are times in our lives when we experience mountain top experiences, times when we feel God’s presence with us in unmistakable ways – time when we feel as if we can soar with the eagles. I remember times like these in my ordination into the ministry, the birth of my amazing son, Matthew and the ups and downs of parenting, the privilege of walking with people in times of great joy and times of great sorrow and knowing that my presence made a difference in their lives. The opportunity to travel to other countries as a part of an interfaith team to study and learn from one another. But that is not the only way that God gives strength. There are times when we feel like we have the energy to accomplish great things, times when we will run and not grow weary. I have helped people to discover their gifts for ministry and empowered them to move beyond their comfort zones to put their faith into action in both small and large ways. I have challenged the status quo and helped people to reach out to people who were experiencing displacement, working with refugee families from Central America, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. I have helped to change church structures that no longer fit the needs of the congregation and guided them to new ways of working together in smaller teams. I have worked tirelessly to build relationships and partnerships with neighbors and communities in interfaith circles and in businesses. I have experienced the excitement of ministry without growing weary. God gives us strength in many ways. And yet there are times in our lives when God promises to help us to walk and not to faint. I have had to learn how to practice self-care after years of moving full steam ahead. I have walked with families coming to grips with loved ones experiencing cancer and other illnesses, mental health issues, addictions, and many other challenges. Those are the times when God’s promise to walk and not faint means the most.
All of these experiences have been a part of my spiritual journey. As a lifelong learner, I am aware that I am continuing to learn and stretch and grow. I have not lost my ‘wander lust’. I still enjoy finding new adventures around every corner. I have learned that sometimes the greatest spiritual experiences happen at the most unusual times, often what seems to be an ‘interruption,’ is indeed an opportunity. I have learned to look for sacred time and sacred spaces everywhere, in a conversation with a friend, in a walk around the block, in the beauty of a sunset, in the art gallery. All of life is sacred, for in life and death we belong to God!
After nearly 25 years of pastoring churches in Long Island, New York, I am excited to return to the mid-west. I am honored to be serving in partnership with the session and everyone who is a part of the Oak Hill Congregation. I look forward to getting better acquainted with each of you. I hope to have the opportunity to learn more about the story of your lives as individuals and as a community of faith. Please do not hesitate to give me a call or reach out to me so that we can schedule a time to meet together for coffee, lunch, or a walk in the neighborhood.
Blessings & Peace
Come meet up with Pastor Wanda Lawry and enjoy an evening of fun Team Building Games and Activities. Change your calendar! Our Summer Excitement event scheduled for Monday, June 20, 6:30 – 8:30 PM will now be held in the Large Assembly Room at Oak Hill. (You guessed it, the weather!) Bring your own dinner, we’ll eat socially distanced, at 6:30 PM. Games begin at 7:00 PM. We’ll have some snacks and beverages. Come enjoy the fun and say hi to our new Interim Pastor! (She’ll be in town a few days looking for housing!)
We hope you will join us at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday for worship on Zoom. The worship bulletins are posted on our website www.oakhillpcusa.org. (See Worship At Home) If you’d like to join us remotely, please use Meeting ID: 768 992 383. (You can also call in, by phone, at 312-626-6799, then enter the same meeting ID.
Communion will be celebrated February 6. Please be ready with something at home for communion: something to drink and something to eat. You should feel free to be ready with whatever
works in your household. For our skeleton crew in the sanctuary that tries to make the service proceed smoothly, we have individualized portions of bread and drink.
We are also offering in-home communion for our online worship participants. Please mention it in the Zoom chat or let the church office know, and we will make the necessary arrangements
At its January 12 meeting, session voted continue worshiping only on Zoom until February 6 due to the status of the pandemic. At its February 9 meeting they will decide when or if we can begin in-person worship again.
Sunday school will begin on February 6 at 9:30 a.m. using the regular Sunday worship Zoom link (see above). You will then be put into a breakout room.
The Evangelism and Membership Committee will meet on Monday at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom.
The book club is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 8, on Zoom: 259 777 226. Password: Disciple (case sensitive). They are going to discuss “Red at the Bone” by Jacqueline Woodson. A New York Times best seller, the book focuses on family legacy, including race, class, ambition, education, mother-daughter relationships, and loss. Please read the book and join them.
Wednesday Bible Study is at 11:00 a.m. on February 2. They are continuing to follow the lectionary readings. Zoom ID # is 259 777 226, Password: Disciple.
Session will meet on Wednesday, February 9, at 6:30 p.m. on Zoom.
Calling all artists! “Share Your Hearts” is the new theme for the Oak Hill Art Wall. Submit your valentine artwork (or pick up a blank canvas) in the newly constructed yellow box next to the Art Wall. We will then hang them for everyone to enjoy!
The Stewardship and Property Committee is planning a church workday on Saturday, February 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please come and share your talents. You may contact Brian Heuckroth to find out what projects need help. We’re almost certain we can find something for everyone.
The Mission & Justice Committee asks you to contact your representative to consider action on this bill to improve nutrition for children throughout the world. The Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act. Thank you.
We’ll be worshiping virtually this Sunday, January 30 at 10:30 am. Join us at Zoom ID # 768 992 383. The Rev. Wynn Ward, a clergy member of the Presbytery of Giddings- Lovejoy, will be preaching. Donna Cook will be leading the Time for Growing Disciples and Pastor Alan will be leading other parts of the service.
Speaking of love; the Evangelism and Membership Committee is “Calling all artists”! Our new art wall theme is “Share Your Hearts”! Submit your Valentine art work (or pick up a blank canvas) in the newly constructed yellow box next to the Art Wall. We will then hang them for everyone to enjoy.
Wednesday Bible Study is at 11:00 am on February 2. Zoom ID #259 777 226. Password: Disciple. We continue to study the lectionary for the following Sunday. February 2 we will be looking at the following scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 5: 1-11
Touchy Topic Book Club will meet on Wednesday. February 2, at 7:30pm. Zoom ID# 259 777 226. Password: Disciple. We will be discussing the book “Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know” by Malcolm Gladwell.
“Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:8
The Rev. Brenda Booth, Executive Director of Isaiah 58 Ministries, will be leading us in worship on Sunday, January 16, 2022. We are worshiping virtually through February 6, at which time the Session will evaluate the status of the pandemic in our community. We hope to return to in-person /hybrid worship soon.
“you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of the streets to live in.” Isaiah 58:12
Join us on Zoom at 768 992 383 at 10:30 AM.
There will be a Congregational Meeting (via Zoom) on Sunday , January 23, 2022, following worship.
Ruling Elder Josh Smith will be leading us in worship this Sunday. Josh will be leading our Time for Growing Disciples and preaching the Sermon. The word is that other exciting events will take place as well. Don’t miss out on the Installation of our newly elected elders, Brian Heuckroth, Dena Roper, Avery Smith, Valery Welch and Christine Woodward. Thank you to Rev. Dr. Alan Meyers, (Pastor Alan, to all of us!) for coordinating worship leadership, moderating session meetings and working with the Worship and Christian Education Committee as we move forward into 2022.
We’re still worshiping virtually so sign into Zoom with code number 768 992 383 and our host will admit you! Last week we had some technical difficulties. Thanks for sticking around while we worked out the problems. In the future we hope to post technical difficulties to facebook so you know what’s up. If you haven’t done it yet, be sure to follow/like us on facebook for up to date info.
Coming up this week is Wednesday Bible Study. The Oak Hill Book Club and Touchy Topic Book Club will discuss Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Book of Longings” Tuesday evening. Don’t forget our monthly session meeting Wednesday, January 12.
Join us Sunday, December 12, 2021 for our Christmas Cantata presented by members of our choir and congregation. So many folks with the gift of music, directed by our Minister of Music, Ms. Susan Brown.
Plan on joining us for Neighborhood Christmas Caroling for the St. Louis Christmas Carol Association from 2:00 – 3:30 PM on Sunday, as well. Hats and costumes encouraged and experience and actual singing ability is not required. Special thanks to Josh Smith and the Membership and Evangelism Committee for organizing this event!
We continue to social distance and wear masks while at church. Thank you for protecting our community.
December 1 – Worship Service to welcome new members coming from Tyler Place Presbyterian Church. Pastor Robert Hagel will give the sermon as we welcome Tyler Place’s assimilation into Oak Hill. A reception will be held in the Large Assembly Room following worship.
December 8 – Christmas Cantata. The Chancel Choir presents “The Other Wise Man” under the direction of Susan Brown, our Minister of Music.
December 15 – Children’s Program. The children and youth of Oak Hill present the musical “Star of Wonder”, Darrell Yearwood and Susan Brown directing.
December 24 – Christmas Eve Service will be Tuesday, December 24, at 6:00 p.m. with a reception immediately following the service in our Large Assembly Room. Bring an appetizer or dessert to share if you are able. Everyone is welcome to our time of fellowship.