March 2015 Presbytidings

Presbytidings – March 2015

The Newsletter of First Presbyterian Church

216 West Third Street, Wayne, Nebraska 68787

(402) 375-2669 +

Our chief end is to glorify and enjoy God forever.”


21 martyrs icon

I admit that I have purposefully avoided looking at the images and especially watching the video of the event: 21 young Egyptian men in orange jumpsuits—like common criminals in prison—being led out by masked murderers for execution along a beach on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s just too disturbing and gory for me. When I see a still shot of the video, I shudder and quickly switch to another mental image.

As you may know, on February 15, the Islamic State in Libya released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians who had previously been kidnapped in Libya. They were killed simply because they were Christians. In the brutal, five-minute video, the victims are heard calling out to Jesus in their final moments. Apparently hoping to instill fear into the hearts of all Christians and Westerners, the barbarians called their video, “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross.”

Christian leaders were quick to condemn the attacks.

Pope Francis, while visiting with a leader of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian), commented on the beheadings. “The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a witness that cries out to be heard,” the Pope said. “It makes no difference whether they be Catholics, Orthodox, Copts or Protestants,” the Pope continued. “They are Christians! Their blood is one and the same. Their blood confesses Christ.”

Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II said that the names of the 21 martyrs will be inserted into the Coptic Synaxarium, the Oriental Church’s official list of martyrs, a procedure similar to canonization in the Roman Catholic Church. Normally there is a 50 year waiting period before someone can be declared a martyr for Christ, but in this case, the criterion was waived.

It may be hard for us to fathom such violence, all in the name of religion. In addition, it all seems so far away from us, complicated by ethnic clashes, muddled by politics between Egypt and Libya, and shrouded in strange religious labels. Some Christians in the West have publicly distanced themselves from the unfortunate souls in Egypt, asserting that they are not really “true” Christians, since they are actually Coptic Orthodox Christians.* But that is simply shirking responsibility to stand in solidarity with Christians in other parts of the world who are being murdered for their faith in Christ.

Sadly, we probably have not thought of those martyrs in Egypt as our brothers in Christ either. But we have most likely ignored them due to living in our own insular, first-world bubble. Our concerns since February 15 have probably revolved mostly around the Oscars, the medical condition of Bobbi Kristina Brown, who Prince Harry’s new girlfriend is, or what color that dress really is!

But martyrdom still happens, even today. The twentieth century saw more people die for their Christian faith than any other century before. And the twenty-first is on track to break that record. And whether we like it or not, those poor men who lost their heads are our siblings in Christ. And whether we like it or not, we need to burst our bubble and pray for those who are persecuted and stand in solidarity with those who call out to Jesus for help.

I’m not advocating retaliation or violence or war (Jesus said something about resisting evil doers in Matthew 5:39!). And I’m certainly not advocating watching the video or even looking at screen shots of the video. In fact, if you want a substitute mental image, meditate on the new icon of the 21 martyrs (above), recently written by Tony Rezk to honor their memory. And as you meditate on the image of Jesus crowning the martyrs with eternal life, think about Jesus’ words (especially Matthew 5:10-12, or God’s words in 1 Peter 3:14) and pray for Christians who are persecuted because they belong to Jesus.

* I could explain to you how Copts are different than, say, standard Orthodox Christians, but it would be a long, complicated, historically conditioned, nuanced lecture, and your eyes would probably glaze over anyway. Suffice it to say: Coptic Christians believe in historic Christianity as much as—if not more than—us Western Protestants.

 – Pastor Ray


Are you too busy to pray? Living in a noisy world? Slow down and listen! Join us for warm fellowship and quiet evening prayer as we journey to the cross and the empty tomb! We will have soup suppers and prayer services on Wednesdays during Lent. Please sign up at the Opportunity to provide food for our suppers.


Join us as we travel to the Upper Room, to Calvary, and to the Empty Tomb. Here is our Holy Week schedule:

  • Palm Sunday celebration, with the Presbyterian Pealers handbell choir: March 29 at 10:00am
  • Maundy Thursday, with Communion: April 2 at 7:00pm
  • Good Friday Community Service: April 3 at 12:00pm (location TBA)
  • Easter Sunday celebration, with Communion: April 5 at 10:00am


Spring forward one hour the weekend of March 8.


We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper on Sunday, March 1st,.


Our Brown-Bag Bible study will meet in Humanities 308 on March 4. We will not meet on March 11, because of spring break. Then we will resume meeting in the Goldenrod Room on March 18.


Presbyterian Women will meet on TUESDAY, March 3, at 6:30pm. Martha Svoboda will lead the Bible study. Karen Johnson will be the hostess.


The Sewing Souls will meet on TUESDAY, March 17, at 6:30pm. Babs Middleton will be the hostess.


The Session will gather on Monday, March 23, at 7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall. Terry Scheuneman, a ruling elder from Schuyler and our Committee on Ministry liaison, will be joining us for his annual visit. Please be there, and make Terry feel welcome to our church family!


Our board of deacons will meet on Sunday, March 8, at 11:00am (after worship) to set goals and make plans for the coming year.


*High School Youth: 3/4 and 3/18 @ 7:30 p.m.

*Jr. High Youth: 3/11 and 3/25 @ 7:30pm.


Look for yourself. The plaster in our sanctuary needs lots of work. We are preparing to tackle the work, especially with the help of a matching grant. A generous donor has offered to match out donations, up to $10,000 (for a total of $20,000), to help with the renovation. Just write a check to the First Presbyterian Church, with a memo of “sanctuary repair,” by March 15th. Thank you!


Grow deep. Live tall. The ROOTS youth conference is coming to Wayne March 6th & 7th. This will be a life impacting weekend for middle and high school students. For more information, please go to:


Author and motivational speaker Phil Hamman is coming to Wayne! Sunday, March 8, at 2:00pm at Our Savior Lutheran Church (5th and Main). Our youth groups (grades 7-12) are invited—along with their parents—to hear Phil’s amazing story of hardship to faith. There might even be refreshments afterwards! And it won’t last more than an hour, guaranteed.


The Wayne Public Library Spring Expand Your Horizon Series will focus on emergency preparedness this year. The series will be held at the library on March 10th, 17th and 24th, featuring a different program each night from 6:30-8:00pm. The program series is free and open to the public. For more information, either stop by the library or call Rita McLean, Adult Services Librarian at 402-375-3135.


This concert series begins at Our Savior Lutheran Church on Friday, March 13, at 7:00pm. They will be featuring the Midlands Chamber Choir, the Clef Dwellers and an acoustic group. The fun begins at 5:30pm with a potluck meal. Please bring a hot dish and a side or dessert. All are invited to offer a big Wayne welcome to this fabulous group!


Gary Randall, singer/songwriter from Madison, South Dakota, will be in concert at Praise Assembly of God Church on Sunday, March 29th at 2:30pm. This concert will include the Passion drama “Watch the Lamb.”


The warm weather is coming! We promise! And what better way to spend your summer than going to camp with friends and Jesus! Calvin Crest is officially open for summer camp registration: Pick out your week of camp and register your kid(s) or grandkid(s). Adherents of our church automatically get a 50% discount, paid by our session. If you register before March 15, there is a 15% overall discount. And if you bring along three first-time friends, you go FREE! We also offer additional scholarships, based on financial need. Visit with Pastor Ray to explore that possibility. See you there!


Pastor Ray’s sermons can be heard on our Web site:


  • Our community
  • Our schools and teachers
  • Our unchurched neighbors
  • All who are battling cancer
  • All who live in care centers
  • Peace in the Middle East
  • Persecuted Christians in Egypt, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea


First Presbyterian Church – Wayne, Nebraska


1st – The Hammer Family

8th – Ken & Karen Marra

15th – The Worner Family

22nd The Urbanec Family

29th – The Pulfer Family


5th – The Peterson Family

12th – Ken & Jan Liska, Jim Lindau & Joyce Reeg

19th – Pat & Glenda McDonald, Scott & Lindsay McLaughlin

26th Milton & Jackie Owens, Jim & Shari Paige


1st – Mark McCorkindale

8th – Greg Worner

15th – Jack Beeson

22nd – Judy Lindberg

29th – Phil Griess


5th – Milton Owens

12th – Sydney McCorkindale

19th – Tami Worner

26th – Mark Hammer

ACOLYTES – MARCH 2015         

1st – Eleanor McCalla

8th – Madison Urbanec

15th – Braydn McCorkindale

22nd – Bo Armstrong

29th – Emily Worner


5th – Taytum Sweetland

12th – Ethan Wibben

19th – Henry McCalla

26th – Maria Ras

March 2015 – First Presbyterian Church

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1   Each Sunday Morning:o  Handbell Choir 8:45

o  Church School 9:00

o  Worship 10:00

o  Fellowship 11:00

2nd Sunday in Lent

23:45 Scouts

6:00 Scout Den Meeting

36:30 Presbyterian Women 46:00 Soup Supper

7:00 Lent Service

7:30 High School Youth

5 6World Day of Prayer 7
83rd Sunday in Lent 9 10 116:00 Soup Supper

7:00 Lent Service

7:30 Jr. High School Youth

12 13 14
154th Sunday in Lent 163:45 Scouts

6:00 Scout Den Meeting

176:30 Sewing Souls 186:00 Soup Supper

7:00 Lent Service

7:30 High School Youth

19 20 21
22 237:00 Session 24 256:00 Soup Supper

7:00 Lent Service

7:30 High School Youth

26 27 28
29 30 31


(Would you like to see your birthday listed here?

Just contact the church office 402-375-2669 or

16      Jason Racely

17      Jack Beeson

19      Judy Lindberg, Ray McCalla

24      Jacob Beair

25      Leigh Heese

28      Babs Middleton

29      Madison Urbanec


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