Saturday, November 30, 2013


“Advent” means “coming” or “arrival.” During the season of Advent, we celebrate Christ’s coming into the world and watch with expectant hope for his coming again. In its historical origins, the season of Advent was patterned after the season of Lent, a six-week period of penitence and preparation for Easter. Similarly, the four weeks of Advent present an opportunity for communal discernment and personal examination, as the church prepares to celebrate the Nativity of the Lord and looks with hope for Christ’s return.

Watch, and Wait for Christ's Coming!

1st Sunday:  Hope
   In days to come, the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.  Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways an that we may walk in his paths."  For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
      Isaiah 2:2-4  NRSV

2nd Sunday:  Peace
   A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse's stump, from his roots a budding Branch.  The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, the Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God.  Fear-of-God will be all his joy and delight.  He won't judge by appearances, won't decide on the basis of hearsay.  He'll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth's poor with justice.  His words will bring everyone to awed attention.  A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked.  Each morning he'll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.
  The whole earth will be brimming with knowing God-Alive, a living knowledge of God ocean-deep, ocean-wide.  On that day, Jesse's Root will be raised high, posted as a rallying banner for the peoples.  The nations will all come to him.  His headquarters will be glorious.
       Isaiah 11:1-5, 9-10  The Message by Eugene Peterson

3rd Sunday:  Joy
   The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing.  The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.  They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
   And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
       Isaiah 35:1-2, 10  NRSV

4th Sunday:  Love
   Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.  But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.  Then Isaiah said:  "Hear then, O house of David!  Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also?  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign.  Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."
       Isaiah 7:10-14  NRVS

The Story......pausing for reflection

During the month of December, we will set aside "The Story" while we turn our attention to Advent and Christmas, using the traditional liturgy.

"The Story" will begin again in January with Chapter 13. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Story (during November)

Ruth:  The Faith of a Foreign Woman
1375-1050 B.C.
The story of Naomi and Ruth
Elimilek and his wife Naomi went to Moab because there was a famine in their land.
Mahlon and Kilion were their sons who eventually married Orpha and Ruth in Moab.
After Naomi's husband died and her two sons died, she planned to return to Bethlehem alone, but Ruth refused to leave her side.
Back home, Ruth gleaned behind the harvesters to get enough for Naomi and herself to exist on.
A relative named Boaz bought the land that Elimelek had owned so Naomi and Ruth could be redeemed and secure.
Ruth married Boaz and had a son named Obed.
Obed had a son named Jessie whose son was David, and twenty-eight generations later, another baby boy was born in Bethlehem and his name was Jesus.

1 Samuel:  Standing Tall, Falling Hard
1105-1010 B.C.
The stories of Samuel and Saul
Hannah prayed fervently for a child.
Eli, the priest told Hannah, "may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."
Elkanah and Hannah became parents of Samuel.
Samuel means Heard From God.
Samuel served God as Eli's assistant in the Lord's House.
Samuel's sons, Joel and Abijah, were not holy like their dad.
The people of Israel demanded from God a King, just like their neighbors.
Saul looked kingly, and became king, but turned out less than ideal.
Saul misrepresented God as cruel and greedy rather than holy and just.

1 Samuel:  From Shepherd to King
1025 - 1010 B.C.
The story of David
Samuel went to  Bethlehem to seek a new king when the Lord told him that King Saul was not worthy to continue as King of Israel.
The Lord said to Samuel:  "Do not consider height or outward appearance when choosing the new king.
Samuel asked Jessie to bring all his sons to be interviewed for the job.
The Lord told Samuel to reject all seven of Jessie's sons and ask to see his shepherd boy son, David.
David defeated the Philistine giant, Goliath, with one smooth stone and a slingshot.
After much conflict and intrigue with Saul, David finally assumed the position of Israel's King.
King David organized an effective army with trusted leadership to stabilize Israel's borders and eliminate its regional opposition.

2 Samuel:  The Trials of a King
1010 - 959 B.C.
The Story of David, Bathsheba and Solomon
David went from shepherd boy to warrior to king chosen by the Lord through Samuel.
David committed adultery with Bathsheba and the Lord was not pleased.
Prophet Nathan used a story to illustrate a sin that David learned was his own.
The warrior husband that King David sent to his last battle was Uriah.
The child of adultery died.
David gathered all the materials for the Temple, but the Lord said that he would not be the one to build it.
Solomon, the son of David and Bathsheba became the King who would see to the building of the Temple.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


On Sunday, November 24th, PAPC members and friends are invited to bring foodstuffs to share with the Des Moines Area Religious Council's (DMARC) food pantries.  This is an opportunity to help feed those who are hungry and homeless due to job loss, health problems or other financial reversals.

Let us fill the cornucopia during worship with any of the following most needed items:

100% fruit juice
Canned fruits/vegetables
Peanut Butter
Canned Meat
Canned Spaghetti Sauce
Hot/Cold Cereals
Baby Formula

"If you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will return to the brightness of noon."
                Isaiah 58:10

To learn more about the DMARC Food Pantry, visit

Friday, November 15, 2013

Sandwich Sunday

On Sunday, November 3, 200 sandwiches, chips, oranges, and cookies were prepared and delivered to Hope Café.  Hope Café serves three meals per day, seven days a week for homeless and needy persons.  To learn more about Hope Ministries visit  Hope Ministries

110th Anniversary Celebration

Celebrating 110 years of ministry!

Our Founders:
The Trustees were Joseph Fletcher, C.E. Pierce, John A. Smith and C.J. Mohr. The Reverend Alexander McConnell, D.D., pastor of Clifton Heights Presbyterian Church, is credited as Founding Pastor. The Reverend McConnell oversaw the development church as the church worshipped in homes, schoolrooms, the Bagg Brothers’ Store and other locations opened to the fledgling congregation.

1903- 1918:
Under the Reverend W.A. Coventry’s pastorate, land was purchased on Creston Avenue for a church building. Under the Reverend Thomas Hughes, this parcel was sold and a new lot was purchased at the corner or Boulder Avenue and Southwest Ninth Street—the present site.
                        May 19, 1911- Name Changed to Park Avenue Presbyterian Church
The Reverend Hughes resigned in Fall 1912. On May 1, 1913 the Reverend J.B. Howard came as Stated Supply Pastor and oversaw the October 27, 1913 groundbreaking for the new church (basement). Parishioners donated their share of allotted bricks from the SW Ninth Street repaving project for construction of the twelve columns. The Building Dedication was on January 25, 1914-debt free. On April 23, 1914 the Reverend Howard became the first installed pastor and led the church during World War I, until departing in April 1918.

1918 to 1941:
The Reverend Silas C. Wadding, D.D. became pastor in September 1918 near the end of World War I and the economic downturns to follow. The Reverend Wadding oversaw the construction of the new church at a cost of $80,000. Half the amount was from cash contributions and the remainder was met by Bond Issue. On July 28, 1923, the cornerstone of the present structure was laid.  Sunday, November 4, 1923 was the first service in the Spanish Mission inspired edifice that included a pipe organ from Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church, semi-circular pew seating and custom stained-glass windows from the St. Joseph Glass Company in Missouri. The Ladies Aid, Missionary Society and Janet Hutton [Wadding] Club (of Deaconesses) were organized during 1932-1934. The Senior Ladies Aid is credited with single-handedly saving the church throughout the Depression Era by serving meals at the Iowa State Fair. The Reverend Wadding discovered a fire on Saturday, October 5, 1935. Noticing smoke, he suspected the furnace and sought the help of janitor, H.C. Groves. By their return to the church, the fire was shooting from the windows, significantly damaging the interior at loss of $10,700 and burning many of the church historical records. Defective organ wiring was believed to be the fire’s source. The church met at Park Avenue Elementary and Park Avenue Christian Church until the church basement was safe for use. Services resumed in the rebuilt sanctuary August 22, 1937. The Ko-Workers Class, for Bible Study and Fellowship, was founded on February 23, 1938.  The Reverend Wadding resigned as pastor on October 1, 1941, just prior to Pearl Harbor and the US entry into World War II.

1942- 1962:
The Reverend Wilbur G. Hassebrock [D.D.] was called on June 7, 1942. The church began an era of tremendous growth in faith and church expansion. Youth Fellowship (1942), reorganization of ladies groups as Women’s Association (1943) and Mariner’s Club (1946) were added. A mortgage burning service was held October 5, 1947.  Men’s Fellowship was formed and the church stucco replaced in 1948. On March 1, 1950 plans were made for a new manse on Bell Avenue, freeing the Ninth Street manse for Sunday School classes. At the Golden Anniversary in 1953, around $2,000 of the $17,000 budget was devoted to Sunday School. Commercial Property was purchased in 1954. The Church Kitchen was finished in 1955. The Christian Education wing was built for $130,000 and dedicated on February 10, 1957. A proposal to erect a much larger sanctuary on the Commercial Property lacked support in the early 1960’s.  Dr. Hassebrock resigned on December 31, 1962.

In 1963 both the Reverend Ernst H. Michelis and the Reverend Howard B. Dukelow, were installed as pastor and assistant pastor (CE), respectively.  The churches voted to modernize the sanctuary and entrance floor plans, renovate Fellowship Hall, adding a front ramp and steeple moving the church offices to 3108 SW Ninth Street. Dedication was on January 23, 1966. The Reverend Melvin Meineke also came in 1966, followed by
the Reverend Ralph J. Cottier, as pastor, the first week in September 1968.  Assistant Pastor, the Reverend Thomas R. Henstock arrived in July 1971. The Reverend Bruce M. Giese came in August 1975 as CE Director, later as Associate Pastor. When the Reverend Cottier resigned, The Reverend Dr. Ward R. Conklin became as interim pastor in December 1981. The Reverend Harold E. Butz followed Dr. Conklin as interim pastor to 1983.

The Reverend Dr. John F. Nipper came on September 1, 1983. Under his leadership many changes were seen. The church added a parish associate, the Reverend Karen R. Moritz. English Handbell Choirs were created in 1990.  A new Organ Fund and Church Building Fund were established at the 90th Anniversary. In 1995 a major capital fund drive began a renovation of the physical structure to include repair work of the building, updating the Kitchen and Fellowship Hall, construction of a large drive canopy behind the church, installation of an elevator and creation of handicap restroom facilities. The Reverend Nipper ended his pastorate in 1999. In 2000 a former church member, the Reverend Dr. Robert C. Cook, became interim pastor. The Fall of 2001 brought the Reverend Melvin Roblee to the interim role. Both emphasized expanding mission aims. 

2002-2013…and beyond:
The Reverend David R. Stipp accepted the church call in November 2002 at the opening of memorable events for the 100th Anniversary Celebration Year (2003). In September 2004, the capital renovation loan was burned. To aid family retention, the church launched a new Children’s Church Ministry in 2005.  The Reverend Stipp-Bethune left in November 2010.  The Reverend Claude J. Jones came as Stated Supply in April 2011. He has guided the congregation to focus on God’s Living Story, reaffirm the essential tenants of faith and to renew our Boy Scout Troop 26 Charter. Additionally, the Reverend Jones has aided consolidation of children’s ministry and Christian Education. Park Avenue Presbyterian Church embraces God’s vision for increased discipleship opportunities in His Kingdom. Presently, we are in conversations to give home in our CE Wing for a new Preschool and Daycare private entity in Early 2014, reminiscent of our PAPC Preschool of yesteryear.

The Story - Weeks 9 through 12

During the month of November, we will be studying chapters 9 through 12 of "The Story".  Here are the weekly stories:  the first listed is the Worship study and the second is the Adult Sunday School class.

November 3 "The Faith of a Foreign Woman" and "The Things We Do for Love"
   "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left yuou without a guardian-redeemer...He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.  For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth."
         Ruth 4:14-15

November 10 "Standing Tall, Falling Hard" and "Royal Obedience"
   "For the foundations of the earth are the Lord's; on them he has set the world.  He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness."
          1 Samuel 2:8-9 

November 17 "From Shepherd to King" and "Kings and Cowboys"
   "The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
          1 Samuel 16:7

November 24 "The Trials of a King" and "A King-Sized Mistake"
    "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
           Psalm 51:10-12

The Story (during October)

Exodus:  New Commands and a New Covenant
1445 B.C.
The stories of Moses and the Ten Commandments, Aaron and the golden calf and the building of the Tabernacle
Aaron made a Golden Calf.
There are Ten Commandments.
God met Moses in the Ten of Meeting, also called the Tabernacle.
Moses led the people out of Egypt during the Exodus.
A cloud by day and fire by night was a symbol that God was present with the people.

Exodus:  Wandering
1446 B.C. through 1406 B.C.
The stories of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness, spying on Canaan, moving into the plains of Moab, and both Aaron's and Moses' death.
The Hebrew people marched out from the yearlong campout near Mount Sinai.
Explorers were sent to check out the Promised land of milk & honey.
The report brought back by the explorers included a story of a big and fertile land with a sample of grapes.
A conflicting report stated that the inhabitants of the Promised Land were too big and strong to be defeated and made the Hebrews look like grasshoppers.
The Hebrew people decided not to enter the Promised Land and took a 40-year detour.
Only the younger generation was able to enter Canaan.  Moses could only view it from Mount Nebo.

Joshua:  The Battle Begins
1406 B.C. - 1375 B.C.
The stories of Joshua appointed as leader, Israelites entering Canaan, Conquest of Canaan, and Joshua's death.
After the death of Moses, the Lord said to Joshua, get the people ready to cross the Jordan River into the land promised to the Israelites.
The Lord told Joshua, I will be with you and never leave or forsake you.  Be strong and courageous and be careful to obey the law that Moses gave you.
The first twelve spies Moses sent into the Promised Land were not courageous, so forty years later Joshua sent only two.
The two courageous spies sent by Joshua to scout out the Promised Land were hidden and protected by Rahab.
Sometimes two courageous persons can work better for the Lord's upper story than a committee divided.
Jericho fell to the Israelites after they marched around the city wall for six days and on the 7th time around on the seventh day with trumpets blasting and the army shouting, the walls fell.
Praying and studying God's Upper Story can help us live our lower story faithfully.

Judges:  A Few Good Men....and Women
1375 B.C. - 1055 B.C.
The stories of the rulers:  Deborah, Gideon, and Samson
Moses taught the Israelites a song years before entering the Promised Land to help them remember God's leading them through tremendous difficulties.
After Joshua and the elders who outlived him died, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord by worshiping Baal.
Deborah, a prophetess who led Israel, conquered Jael with the help of another woman, Sisera.
Gideon tested God's call to him by twice putting out a fleece looking for confirmation of the call.
Gideon conquered the Midianites with 300 warriors bearing Torch Jars and Trumpets.
Samson is known throughout history for his strength, not the weakness that eventually did him in.
Israel continually gets into trouble when they try to do things their way rather than God's way.