First Presbyterian Church of Merrillville
Saturday, September 22, 2018
Go and Make Disciples!

Rev. Anderson is also the Pastor at Dyer Presbyterian Church.

As the Pastor of two congregations since June of 2014, First Presbyterian Church and Dyer Presbyterian, we have all settled into a very workable routine. It continues to be a great way to share bible studies and major events of the church calendar. 
Worship service for both congregations continue to overlap with me beginning the service at First Presbyterian and ending the worship at Dyer Presbyterian. Lay leadership at both cover either the beginning or the ending of their respect services. I am still sometimes challenged to watch timing but as long as the weather cooperates, there is no real stress in keeping to the service times.
We were able to continue to be in shared ministry together for our Lenten and Fall Bible Studies. Each Wednesday during Lent and the Fall Studies, we alternated between the two churches with each evening beginning with a Soup Supper and Fellowship.   And, the Dyer Congregation joined us for our annual Seder Supper on Palm Sunday which turned out to be very nicely enhanced with their attendance. The Maundy Thursday Service was at First, Good Friday Service at Dyer, The Easter Vigil was celebrated at First and then each congregation had their Easter Sunday Worship.
There continues to be no conflicts with other services or with meeting dates and times. I normally spend the first part of the week at First and move to Dyer for the latter part of the week. It works really well and both congregations remain willing to change where necessary to accommodate the needs of each other. 
Finances are better here at First Presbyterian than they have been for quite some time due to having a part-time Pastor and the monies donated from the churches that are nesting within this facility. It is really a good thing to know that the church is being utilized for so many church related activities. 
Of course, Feeding the Flock continues to be the biggest shared ministry in this community with our 13-member partnership of congregations across all denominations. We are working so well together and it is amazing that the Saturday schedule for the meal was filled up before the end of the first quarter last year. This year, we also supported two events with The Congregations of Merrillville. First, Cruise Night in August which netted a tidy profit for use in the outreach work ministry of this organization and in October the First Responders Breakfast with all proceeds going toward the purchase of bullet proof vests for our police force. We are looking forward to repeating both of these events in 2018. Additionally, we cannot forget our September Fashion Show which provides the funds for all supplies leaving the partner churches with only having to provide the meal itself. 
The Stephen Ministers work very hard in taking gentle care of members in our congregation that have faced or are facing a major crisis in their lives and continue to support my role as a part-time Pastor. I am still hopeful that we will have the time to work on a grant that would provide for the education of older community members in technology that would allow them to communicate easily with their families who may not live in this area. The “older” community could use a little extra care and attention. 
One of my biggest joys in life is teaching and each Wednesday I have the pleasure of leading our Bible Study group. I always look forward to planning new Bible studies and as the year goes forward, working with the Bible Study Team, we will continue to investigate activities and programs that would be beneficial to this congregation.
May God continue to bless our congregation as we seek to worship the Lord in “Spirit and in truth”, be his body in the world, and glorify his Name in all we do and say.
Rev. Paul R. Anderson, Pastor