INSPIRATIONAL WORDS ARCHIVE


Greetings from the Pekich-Bundy pups!
Written by: Rev. Katrina Pekich-Bundy 09/01/2022

Greetings from the Pekich-Bundy pups!




Hello! This letter is from Danica and Aura, the Pekich-Bundy puppies! We are writing you because we hear you will be having a blessing of the animals this month! Of course, we’re typing, because we don’t have opposable thumbs to use pens.

Aura (pictured left) is a shepherd mix who was adopted at 10 weeks old. Her former owners discarded her (and her litter mates) in a river, and she was rescued by a man living under a bridge along the river. Aura was the only one who survived. She is now 11 years old and very fluffy and friendly. She spends most of her time wanting to go on walks.

Danica (right) is a terrier mix who was adopted at 7 months old. She turns fifteen in October and is blind and deaf, and still gets around pretty well. She tore her ACL last year, ruining her hopes and dreams of playing rugby professionally. She spends most of her time napping.

We are excited about the blessing of the animals service on Sunday, September 18 at 10.30am outside at First Presbyterian! A blessing of the animals service comes from the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, who was known for caring for animals and nature. This is a service where we give thanks to God for creation and promise to care for the earth and all creatures. We also pray a blessing over the animals for health and well-being.

If you have a pet, please bring it! If you don’t, we hope you’ll still join us because we love people! See you there, and look forward to more newsletter articles from the pups!

Danica and Aura

PS – the following week you all will have worship at the Alma College Chapel at 10.30am for Homecoming,
where President Jeff Abernathy will preach!

PASTOR’S NOTE Written by: Rev. Katrina Pekich-Bundy


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PASTOR'S NOTE
Written by: Rev. Katrina Pekich-Bundy 08/01/2022

In July my family took a trip one day to Detroit to visit Lego Land. I’ll be honest with you – when I’m picking out museums and events, Lego Land is not my top choice. But, we’d done things summer that were chosen by the adults, so it was the kids’ turn to choose. Some of you have heard this story but indulge me as I tell it again.

We walked into Lego Land and my younger child said, “MOM! They have slides! Come on! Let’s live our life!” From the day this child was born they have been brimming with joy – shaking with excitement at a scoop of avocado as a baby, to slides at Lego Land. This kid knows what life is about.

I share this with you because it brought me great joy – something I think we could do with a bit more these days. I wonder what brings you joy?

Part of being a faith community is sharing in one another’s burdens, but it is also celebrating the joys. It means shaking with joy at the big things (birth, wedding, graduation, new job) and at the smaller things (a card from a friend, a phone call, enjoying the outdoors). I am a firm believer God wants to hear all our prayers – that includes prayers for our families, people who are ill, people who are grieving, people battling addiction, our pets, and more. There is nothing too silly to pray about in my mind.

Many years ago when I was in seminary I was serving at a church that did “sads and glads.” This is a phrase we use in my family each night as we talk about the things in our day that bring us joy and sadness. One particular Sunday a small boy (maybe three or four years old) shared his joy: “CAPTAIN CRUNCH CEREAL!” he shouted to the entire congregation. So, we prayed a word of thanks to God for Captain Crunch Cereal. Because God is in the big stuff and the little stuff. God is in the messiness of life and the simplicity. When I have had a rough day, sometimes I can find joy in just sitting on my back porch and embracing nature. Sometimes there’s great joy in the satisfying crunch of cereal. Sometimes there is great joy in a warm blanket on a cold day.

I find great joy in being back in Alma, in being your minister, and serving this community. I can hardly believe a year has gone by, but it has been a wonderful year, and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds.

Where do you find joy this day?

PASTOR’S NOTE Written by: Rev. Katrina Pekich-Bundy


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COVID PROTOCOLS: 03/23/2022
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

Updated COVID policy: Masks are now optional during worship and church business (meetings, etc). Singing is allowed in worship. Fellowship Hour will restart on Palm Sunday. Masks are optional for food pantry workers. Community Café leaders will make their decisions regarding masks and indoor dining. Please remember that this could change at any time and session will continue to monitor COVID-19 and revisit this policy accordingly.

Peace,
Rev. Katrina


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COVID PROTOCOLS: 01/19/2022
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

We’re going into a third year of pandemic. Sometimes I like to reflect over the last few years – how we’ve grown, what we’ve learned, and how we have managed to make it through a quickly changing world this long. Sometimes I like to reflect on the ways the church and the world have pivoted quickly and navigated and changed at the drop of a positive covid test.

But right now I’m tired. Not like I haven’t slept or have had a long day tired, but weary of COVID and protocols and navigating a world that changes, but people don’t, or mandates don’t, or where we’re all just wondering what is next. I’m tired of the daily choices of whether we should mask or not, if we should gather in person, or not, if vaccines should be mandated or not.

I say this because I wonder if you’re tired, too. I wonder if you’re making daily decisions, or – even if you know the decision is you will vaccinate and mask – if you are tired of wearing a mask, or of others not masking, or some other pandemic related concern that just floats above our heads at all times.
If you’re tired, you’re not alone. I’ve heard from so many people – church members and leaders from across the country, teachers, students, loved ones, and friends – who are just tired of this pandemic. Wouldn’t it be great if we could wave a magic wand and make it disappear? Perhaps it gives deeper meaning to the psalmist crying out, “How long, O God?”

If you’re tired, I see you. If you feel you’ve found a rhythm in this new world, maybe you’re in a place where you can do some reflection and give appreciation for the ways in which we’ve made changes. Perhaps you’re in a different space that I haven’t identified here.

I think it’s helpful to remember that even though we are all in this pandemic together, we’re all absorbing and processing it differently – and that we must continue to be caring of ourselves and others, offering grace to ourselves and others.

In this pandemic that has threatened to take away breath, I have found that air is one of our most centering reminders of the Spirit. Taking in a deep breath, holding it, and releasing it for even five breaths can recenter us and remind us to take a step back, take Sabbath, and listen to God in challenging times. It doesn’t mean we always hear God, but that we remember God is with us.

I invite you now to focus on your breath – no matter where you are – maybe close your eyes. Just listen to your breath, focus on how it feels within your chest, the rest of your body. Remember that God’s breath hovers over us, and you are loved.

Peace,
Rev. Katrina


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LOVE DURING CHRISTMAS SEASON: 12/19/2021
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

The holiday season is filled with emotions and activities. We might be excited to see family, or anxious to see family that we often disagree with, or sad because COVID might limit our ability to travel. While there is certainly joy in the season, there can also be grief. If you’ve lost a loved one recently, or many years ago, gathering around table can remind us of those that have died, whom we miss dearly this time of year.

Sometimes I think Christians can push the joy aspect of Christmas too hard, forgetting that there are people grieving. Even the birth of Christ was not easy. Labor is difficult, messy, and exhausting. For Mary to have given birth in the equivalent of a barn, would have been even more difficult. Yes, Mary gladly welcomed the Spirit’s invitation to be the Mother of God. Yes, Mary sang her heart out and joyfully held that baby in her arms. And she also felt the stigma of the world, and the real uncertainties of every parent as she tried to raise this exceptional child in a broken world.

These all happen simultaneously, just as we experience a wave of emotions during the holidays. If you feel joyous, I hope you are able to express that with your own song, your own gratitude to God. Consider sharing that joy by giving of your time, energy, or finances to a cause that is close to your heart. If you are sad or grieving this season, know that you are not alone, as so many people have lost loved ones, lost their sense of normalcy because of COVID, and so much more.

Know that wherever you find yourself in this season, you are loved, and you are not alone. God dwelled with humans in the form of a baby just for this purpose – to dwell with us, to sit with us in the ups and downs of life, and to remind us that we are not alone in this world.

Wherever you are, whatever you are feeling, you are loved by God, and by this community of faith.

Peace,
Rev. Katrina


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MATTHEW 25 CONGREGATION: 09/28/2021
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

Recently in the PCUSA there has been encouragement for churches to become what is called a Matthew 25 congregation. If you don’t have Matthew 25 memorized (it’s ok – I don’t have many memorized, either) I encourage you to look it up, focusing on verses 31-46. It is the passage in which Jesus tells the disciples that whenever we do anything to someone else (clothe, feed, listen, the list goes on) we are doing so to Jesus. Likewise, if we don’t do these things to other people, we don’t do them to Jesus. It is a passage that reminds us that Christ’s light, God’s image, the imago dei is in everyone. In a world that is torn apart I think we could use this message – even though sometimes we might truly struggle with those whom we disagree to see God’s light within them.

Within the past couple of years First Presbyterian Church became a Matthew 25 congregation. If you aren’t sure exactly what that means, don’t fret! We will be learning as a congregation together so that we can live into this identity. You’re already worried about the community, reaching out in ways to help those dealing with food insecurities. The Community Café and Food Pantry are ways that we address this issue. You are looking at becoming a vital congregation through the new partnership with the college. From conversations with many of you, systemic racism is a topic you are hoping to address, too.

To begin this journey we will be learning about the Matthew 25 initiative each third Sunday of the month. This will be a time in worship where we will learn, discuss, ask questions, and make a plan of action for how to be a Matthew 25 church in this community. Each third Sunday we will worship at 10:30 in the Fellowship Hall. This space will give us a way that is more conducive to conversations.

Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston, a former General Assembly moderator, writes in her blog about Matthew 25. (you can check it out here: achurchforstarvingartists.blog/)

I love that she encourages Matthew 25 churches to reflect on decisions they make in meetings and as congregations: “How does this decision support congregational vitality? How does this decision dismantle structural racism? How does this decision eradicate poverty?” What if we asked this after a session meeting? What if we asked this after a worship service? What if we asked this pre-emptively each day: “How will I support congregational vitality today? How will I dismantle structural racism today? How will I eradicate poverty today?” Of course, the “I” becomes a “we,” because we need one another, and we need God. We are in this together, and are equipped by God.

I hope you will join us each third Sunday in Fellowship Hall to discuss, learn, and worship the Creator who calls us to good things in the community.

Peace,
Rev. Katrina

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INVITATION: 09/17/2021
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

Greetings!
If we haven’t met yet, my name is Katrina Pekich-Bundy and I am the new minister at First Presbyterian Church in Alma. I’m also sending you a timely invitation from President Abernathy. The invite is below, and I hope you can attend!
Peace,
Rev. Katrina


Invitation from Jeff Abernathy, Alma College, President
Greetings,

Please join me for a reception to welcome Rev. Katrina Pekich-Bundy, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Alma, to our community on Sunday, September 19 from 5:30 – 6:50 p.m. in the backyard of my home, The Tracy House at 313 Maple Ave. In addition, Rev. Pekich-Bundy will be serving her alma mater as our newest Associate Protestant Chaplain. I look forward to the opportunity to gather with you and our students as we welcome Rev. Katrina into her new role and back to the Alma community.

Following the reception, we invite you to join us at 7 p.m. in front of the Heritage Center for a multi-denomination Christian worship lead by our Chaplain, Dr. Rev. Andrew Pomerville.

If you are able to attend, please reply to Kelly Masley in my office at masley@alma.edu or 989-463-7146 by Friday, September 17.

I look forward to seeing you.


Jeff Abernathy
Alma College, President

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INSPIRATIONAL WORDS: 08/29/2021
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

Good people of First Presbyterian,

There is something about the energy of fall. I love the changing leaves, the sweatshirt weather, and the cool, crisp air. I also love the buzzing energy as school begins. When I was a college student I always enjoyed being back on Alma’s campus, buying school supplies, seeing friends again. When I lived in Hanover, IN I could always sense a buzz on the campus as students returned. As I am sure you have experienced here, the summers are quieter, and when students return it is a welcome change. The academic seasons are liturgical and holy in their own ways because it brings promise and hope and excitement.
I am thrilled that First Presbyterian is interested in partnering with the college in new ways. A church in a college town can offer a safe space for students to explore, ask questions of faith, and feel supported. Of course, students also come with their own gifts that enrich the community, too.
At some point I am sure I will share with you my lengthier call story, but Alma really helped to shape my faith when I was a student here. I was raised Presbyterian but had so many questions about my faith, my identity, and what God was calling me to do. I was able to ask those questions in spaces like the Chapel at the college, and at First Presbyterian. The leadership in both spaces helped form my faith simply by letting me explore.
This is part of the reason I am so excited to be here, both as your minister and as Associate Protestant Chaplain at the college. I am thrilled to give back to the community that helped form my faith and to create space for students to continue to ask good questions, as well as partner with you to care for students.
I have heard this partnership was discussed prior to the pandemic, but I know quite a bit had happened, so I thought it would be good to revisit.
I am the installed minister here at First Presbyterian Church of Alma. As part of my call here at the church I am also serving as the Associate Protestant Chaplain at the college. This means I will be spending one day at the college connecting with students and staff. I will typically be at the college on Thursdays and Sunday nights, but know that I am still accessible in case of emergencies on those days. If someone goes into the hospital or there is a pastoral care emergency, my time is flexible.
This will be new to all of us for a while, but my hope is that the connection between the church and the college becomes natural and we all work together.
If you have questions, please reach out!

Peace,
Rev. Katrina

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WABASH PASTORAL LEADERSHIP PROGRAM: August 22, 2021
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

What is the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program?

I have the great privilege of being part of the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program in Crawfordsville, IN. This program is funded by the Lily Endowment and is open to Indiana ministers of all denominations. I was accepted to the program in 2020, and so they have graciously allowed me to continue even though I have moved to Michigan.

This is a two-year commitment that began in January of 2021. Every other month for two years our cohort of ministers gather at Wabash College for three days. We read books and have conversations with different leaders and ministers about a variety of topics, which include immigration, race, demography, healthcare, and how all of this relates to faith and our faith communities. This program not only enriches pastoral leadership, but the congregations and communities, as well.

Each fall the group will travel (ten days) for a study tour. October of 2021 we will travel to Texas and Mexico to discuss immigration issues. In October of 2022 we will travel to South Africa (obviously this is all depending on COVID).

All of this is at no cost to the church. The Wabash Leadership Program pays for travel, meals, lodging, books, and even pulpit supply while I am away.

For more information, visit the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program’s website: https://pastor.wabash.edu/

I have truly enjoyed the time I have been part of this program, and am grateful I am able to continue. Please let me know if you have any questions about it!

Peace,
Rev. Katrina

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GREETINGS: August 11, 2021
from Rev. Joy Smith, former transitional pastor

Good people,

Below you will find a note Pastor Joy sent to me and asked me to share with you. It has been a delight to talk with her and get to know you all through her eyes (she thinks very highly of you, as you will see, if you didn’t already) and we wish her well in her new journey.

— Rev. Katrina


Greetings from Rev. Joy Smith, dated August 11, 2021

Greetings Friends at the First Presbyterian Church of Alma,
This letter is slow in coming but it is never too late to send blessings and affection. You have done well navigating the pandemic, identifying your purpose, and declaring your mission. And I felt lucky to share it with you. We are finally the church together, to share the good news and bring in God’s New Creation. What a gift you are to the wider Church, Alma Community, and me.

I have been overwhelmed with your many kind notes, gifts, phone calls, email, conversation, and helping me move twice in two years. I hope I offered you at least a little of the same. Most of all, thank you for allowing me to participate in the special parts of your lives – communion, worship, funerals, hard news, hospital visits, visits, and those special children.

My summer has been a whirlwind. I had the sacred opportunity to officiate Kaden (my oldest) and Hanna’s wedding, travel to see Hunter (my youngest) for a wonderful week in Seattle, Chuck’s dad in FL and my mother in GA. And reconnecting with good friends. And Chuck and I have loved being together again. Though, I am sure I get on his nerves! (Some of you might relate to his feelings). And Zack, our great Pyrenees, is so happy we are all together.

August 15th, Chuck, and I will travel to the Chicago area where I will preach the candidate sermon for a permanent position, not a transition one. And the congregation will cast their vote. I am nervous and excited.

Chuck is looking for a new position and eventually we will be living together permanently in the same place! Meanwhile, he and Zack will stay in MN. You helped me realize how much I miss participating in the life of a congregation for more than 2 years. Thank you.

I am excited for you and Pastor Katrina. We have talked several times and I am certain she will be your best pastor yet. Your transition team and PNC did excellent work to prepare you for her. I know you will give her the same grace and love you offered to me on many occasions.

Finally, I want you to know that I believe in the First Presbyterian Church of Alma, MI. I am convinced the FPC matters and if you did not exist – there would a noticeable gap. So, thank you for persevering despite the challenges. You have risen to your calling. I am glad we met on the journey, and there will always be a place in my heart for you. Thank you.

Much peace and love for the journey,
Pastor Joy

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INSPIRATIONAL WORDS: August 10, 2021
from pastor Katrina Pekich-Bundy

Good people of First Presbyterian,

Thank you for your warm welcome and generous offers for helping me and my family settle into Alma. It has been fun to see what has changed (when I was here, Glenn’s was the only grocery store, and now there is a beautiful walking/running trail, and coffee shops abound!) and what hasn’t (the smell of the church still reminds me of my college days and McIntyre Mall still looks the same). It is amazing the way places and people transform over time.

That is core to our beliefs as good ol’ Presbyterians – that we are “ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda.” This means the church is reformed and always being reformed. The key (my good Presbyterian Heritage professors taught me) is that we are being reformed. We, as human beings, do not reform ourselves, but God is the One who reforms us.

Sometimes those reformations seem rather small over time, but sometimes we go through big changes in our lives that shift our entire perspective. Have you had either of these experiences? Have you ever felt your faith shift? What spurred that change?

Wherever you are in your faith journey, I’m grateful our spiritual paths have crossed. I hope you will feel comfortable asking tough faith questions, wrestling with God, and embracing the Spirit’s movement in the community and in the church. I look forward to hearing your stories, getting to know you, and ministering with you.

A few things to know as we jump in – I have a flexible schedule that is on my door. This is a schedule to help frame my time with both the church and the college, and also to meet with community leaders to learn more about the great things happening here in Alma. Know that the key word to this schedule is “flexible.” I know that people don’t plan to go into the hospital on a certain day, or that crises come up when they come up. Or, that you might need to schedule a meeting on a day I’m at the college. If that’s the case, we’ll work around it.

I am excited to begin this new chapter, and look forward to connecting with you!

Peace,
Rev. Katrina

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