First Presbyterian Church

Of Burlington, Iowa

Our MINISTRIES serve our neighbors

Christian Education

It has been a wonderful year for the Christian Education Committee at First Presbyterian Church. Last summer five church youth attended Camp Wyoming in Wyoming, Iowa with the generous donation of The Alice Naylor memorial fund. With the help of Pastor Deb and Wilma Hemphill the church youth planted and cultivated vegetables that were sold at the Farmers’ Market, with the proceeds going toward the adopted child in a foreign country. Many members of the church as well as the children worked at the farmers market selling vegetables and baked goods.

Sunday school was off with a bang with two different Sunday school classes this year. The younger students were introduced to a new Bible based curriculum prepared by Debbie Opiekun. Jill Mehaffy-Nalley, Pauline Johnson, and Jim French have led the instruction. Deb Kinney is leading a group of older students though The Chronicles of Narnia.

During the fall, the Carters again hosted a church wide hayrack ride and the Christian Education Committee facilitated games and crafts. A wonderful time was had by all. Adele Coulter, Wilma Hemphill, and Pauline Johnson also attended a Puppet training to help begin a new year of Puppet Theater in the church. One Sunday a month the trio has been leading the youth in a Bible based puppet lesson and presenting it to the congregation on Sunday morning. The Personal Committee hired Kelle Haller as the new church secretary and part-time Christian education director. The Christmas season gave the children the opportunity to prepare coffee hour for the congregation with decorated Christmas cookies. Kelle also directed the children in a wonderful Christmas pageant that was presented on Sunday morning. Everything came together nicely.

Future plans are in the works for summer programming for youth and children in the church.

Pauline Johnson & Jill Mehaffy-Nalley, co-moderator


The Missions Committee is excited in 2017 to continue its current ministries as well as expand upon what we have done in the past.

Our current ministries range from providing financial support to local and denominational agencies (Camp Wyoming; Domestic Violence Shelter; Homeless Shelter; Hope Haven; SE Iowa Community Action) to international missions work done by the Treece family and VisionTrust done by Jill Allgood Cawiezell. We are excited that in 2017 the Dr. Don Allgood Living Waters Ministry will be sponsoring a VisionTrust training summit in India which be translated into three languages and include members from 40 clean-water programs across India.

The Missions Committee will be providing both financial and/or hands-on support to the University of Iowa Bone Marrow Program/Treasure Chest; Hope Haven monthly birthday parties; Boomerang Backpacks (delivered weekly to 15 North Hill Elementary students); holiday food baskets (delivered to families for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas), and Take Away Hunger.

The Mission Committee and the congregation will also be providing hands-on support by way of providing gifts and clothes for the Angel Tree/Cozy Tree as well as the Hope Haven Christmas party; the Salvation Army meal, working the Annual Community Paint-a-Thon; maintaining the Church Community Gardens; helping the Because We Care Road Clean-up along a stretch of Highway 61; Fifth Sunday Dirty Hands/Clean Hands projects which will include meals cooked and delivered to the Police and Fire departments and the Homeless Shelter, as well as the weekly Sandwich Ministry.

The Mission Committee is excited to continue to think of new ways to feed the hunger in our community; we will be working with Milestones Area Agency to provide excess food from our church community gardens in conjunction with the Thursday Farmers’ Market.

Steve Hemphill is moderator of the Missions Committee; members include Janet Calvin, Wilma Hemphill, Mike Gorman, Toddy Gorman, Mike Elmer, Vicki Elmer.

Knit Wits

The Knit-Wits of First Presbyterian Church was originated about 2008 and meets the second Wednesday of the month at 9:30 in the Parlor. Anyone who knits or crochets or is interested in learning to knit or crochet is welcome. Yarn and knitting needles and crochet hooks are available. We have made chemo caps, prayer shawls, pocket prayer shawls and dish cloths and have sent them all over the country. Recipients are those who are hospitalized, sick, or troubled as well as newly baptized and high school graduates.


The Deacons duty is first of all, to minister to those who are in need, to the sick, to the friendless, and to any who may be in distress both within and beyond the community of faith. This definition is taken directly from The Book of Order. Our simple directive is: See a need....Meet it! The Deacons have acquired the responsibilities of the Radical Hospitality in the last six months of the year. We will continue to look for new ways to serve those within the church as well as those outside the church as we welcome all as Christ has welcomed us.

Our regular ministries are coordinated by the Deacons listed below:
Back-up Pastoral Care-Craig Gilchrist
Extended Communion-Pat Saldeen, Leona Byers, Adele Coulter
Hospital Visitations-Adele Coulter
Knitwits-Pat Whitmore
Meal Ministry-Sandy Smith, Sue Carter, Vicki Elmer
Nominating Committee-Craig Gilchrist (2016)
Special Friends-All Deacons
The following past Deacons continue to help visit Special Friends including: Leona Byers, Sandy Smith, Pat Cummings
Ushers and Greeters-Bill Carter
Young Adult Outreach-Pat Whitmore
Notes/Cards-Pat Saldeen, Sue Carter
The approximate statistics for the amount of times the Deacons have ministered in 2016 are listed below:
Distribution of communion to special friends-14 per month
Hospital Visits—30
Meal Ministry-45
Special Friends-80

In addition to the regular ministries listed above the Deacons have been active in these events in 2016:
Easter Sunrise Service, Birthday Party, Veterans Day Celebration, Coffee Fellowship Time, Hayrack Ride, Distribute poinsettias and cards to special friends, Assist with Angel Tree, Distribution of Love Fund to those in need, Funeral Luncheons, and Hope Haven Birthday Party.

We invite everyone to join the Deacons in the ministry to others, within the church and outside the church-wherever there is a need!

Sue Carter, Moderator

Music Ministry

Hallelujah Handbells

The Hallelujah Handbell Choir is a group of dedicated musicians who love music, God, and being with each other. It is a group who takes on a challenge and works hard to do well – a group that plays and prays together.

Handbell ringers need to be able to read music, but it is a different and in some ways more challenging task than that of singing or playing an instrument. A handbell choir is much like a “living keyboard." Each ringer is responsible for two notes and the sharps or flats that go with them. Our music looks similar to piano music. Each ringer must watch for her notes to appear and then ring them. We welcome new ringers. Please see me or any ringer if you are interested.

We practice for an hour on Wednesday nights during the school year, and play in church periodically. Since it really is important to have all ringers present when we play, we schedule our church playing around our members’ travel schedules. At the close of each practice, we share prayer joys and concerns, which are then e-mailed to the group. This helps connect us to each other and to God. We also enjoy a summer potluck and winter potluck social together.

It is a joy to be a part of this group, and our hope and prayer is that our music enhances the worship services at First Presbyterian. We are grateful for the moral and financial support our congregation provides.

Carol Brotherson, Director

Thank you to these ringers:Toddy Gorman, Debbie Opiekun, Marilyn Demijan, Carol Brotherson, Marilyn Nuss, Marcia Bailey, Marilyn Leight, Ruth Francis, Cheryl Lotz, Sue Gilchrist, Susan Hoisington, Clara Hoisington.


2016 has been another great year for the choir at First Presbyterian. We have continued our extended Sunday morning rehearsal time and have helped lead the congregation nearly every Sunday. In addition to Sunday mornings, the choir has helped lead music for special services such as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, and several hymn festivals and in the fall we rejoiced to welcome back the newly restored organ.

Our choir continues to learn and gain inside knowledge of the liturgy each week and its connection to our music through the help of the Rev’d Randy Webster, Minister of Faith & Worship and Organist. We have been truly blessed to have his help and leadership for the last two years.

Last, our choir would not exist without the talented and dedicated singers in our church that make this group possible. Please take the time to thank them for sharing their time and talents. As always, anyone who is interested in singing with the choir is more than welcome to join us any Sunday morning at 8:30 in the chancel. Feel free to speak with Millie, Randy or any of the choir members if you would like more information.