August 26, 2012

Pastor Terry Morse retires this week.  Following a month of “Goodbyes,” pastoral conversations, and his final Sunday of Worship leadership, the people of the congregation had a FAREWELL FELLOWSHIP HOUR after the morning worship for the Pastor Terry.   Lots of smiles, hugs, blessings, love and a few tears were shared as Pastor Terry and Martha Morse shared their last Sunday before his retirement.  Alyssa Bond and Eric Morse (their daughter and son) flew in as a surprise to their dad.  Dad was surprised!  (Click on photo for slide show)

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Fellowship Hour ~ YOUTH MISSION TRIP Stories

August 23, 2012

On Sunday Aug. 19th, the FPC Youth told a few stories about the Mission Trip to Colorado last month.  

Smiles were shared by the congregation as some of those tales were told on the adult chaperones: Becky Sehr, Doug Eeten, Travis Pierce, and Dan Iveland.

More photos and adventures to come:

Thanks to Katie Eeten and all the youth who spoke and put the photo show together.


“Preparing for a New Pastor”

August 10, 2012

Dear Friends:

As you prepare to welcome a new pastor to the congregation I would like to pass a few words on. I know it is still in the future, but the time is coming. It is sometimes hard for a new pastor to establish relationships. It is important that he/she be given a good chance for that to happen.

Pastor Terry Morse and Martha Morse

I want you to know that Martha and I love you all. But after August 31, 2012, I am not to perform pastoral services for you. It is important that the new leadership of the congregation be given an opportunity to establish good friendships and relationships. That can best happen if your “former” pastor steps aside for a while. That does not mean that I love you any less, but that I love you all enough so that you can go forward.

I know you will be a loyal supporter of my successor. Love that new pastor as much as you have loved Martha and me. That will be the best affirmation of my ministry with you and show that it was healthy, strong and enduring.

For the last seven and one half years, it has been my constant prayer that my ministry here would deepen your commitment to Jesus Christ, his church and his mission, and your continued loyal support to this congregation will be the best tribute you can give to Martha and me and our ministry here.

With love,

Pastor Terry Morse

“Good Byes & Blessings”~ Pastor Dan

August 1, 2012

Visitation Pastor’s Notes


This month we say ‘good-bye’ to Pastor Terry Morse and Martha Morse.Good-byes are not easy. Especially when we are giving them to people who have ‘been there’ for us. Multiply that several times for a pastor and spouse. That is the work we are doing this month of August.

All of us can remember times when a pastor or a godly Christian has made a difference in our lives. Walked with us, showed the way, cleared the path, help lift a load, encouraged us to finish, or just shared the pressure that we felt.

 CONSIDER a few ways that Pastor Terry, Martha, (or some other precious person) has made a difference for your life:

BEING THERE. Sometimes ‘being there’ occurs in the ordinary moments (just another Sunday). Other times it’s those extraordinary moments (a baptism, a wedding, a funeral, an illness, or an un-forgettable conversation). Either way, the presence of folks who care about us makes a difference. For us, for the moment, and for moments thereafter.

POINTING US TO GOD. While a pastor ‘showing up’ is an important action, it is not the most important one. In those moments, a Pastor’s presence points us toward God. Their presence and care is a reminder of God’s presence and care. All of us need reminders of the Holy Love that under-girds us, especially in the painful moments of our living.

SHOWING THE WAY. Pastors remind us as well that we are the People of God. In that sense, they model what we can do for each other and others. “Being there as the People of God” is what we are called to do in God’s world. It is an encouragement when we show each other the ways to do that. When I have watched hospitality teams quietly serving others (and the community) in times of a funeral or a celebration, I see that. Pastors and all of us are encouraged when we see such quiet care.

BEING A GOOD SHEPHERD.Last month I suggested that a good pastor is warm, non-anxious, loving, not allergic to fears, refuses to play God, and loves beyond the usual anxious fears. A good shepherd is not afraid to be that way on a daily basis. Agood-enough shepherd’ will truly point us to the Good Shepherd.

ALL THAT SAID, now comes the hard part, ‘Saying our Good-byes.”‘Good-bye’s can be anxious moments. We feel the separation even before it happens. We anticipate the loss of the presence of this loved person in our life. So we feel empty just thinking about parting. (Some of you may challenge me on this, but all you grandparents are saying, “Right on, Dan”).

We take the word “Good bye” for granted (like so many things in our lives). If you look it up, you will find that ‘good bye’ is an Old English word. Over 500 years ago, that word was actually “godbwye” a contraction of four words — God be with ye.”

GOOD BLESSINGS.At heart then, a “good bye” is a blessing. We wish God’s presence on those who will soon be “absent” from us. When I say “Good Bye” to you, I am saying “may the God, who is love, be with you”. It becomes a double-blessing; however, when you in return say ‘Good Bye” to me, meaning, “May that same loving God be with you also.”

What I have said about Pastor Terry and Martha could be said of some other people in your life as well. It is just that we set Pastors and their spouses apart, both formally and in our minds. They are our very public reminders of all these important Christian meanings and blessings.

WELL DONE.Wishing God’s blessings on a retiring pastor, as we are doing with our Pastor, softens the discomfort somewhat. We know that Terry has completed a full career as a called minister. As the Apostle Paul told the Christians at Philipi, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” So we can celebrate this ‘finish-line” moment. It belongs in some strange way to all of us as God’s people, but uniquely, to Pastor Terry.

BLESSINGS & CELEBRATIONS. When we receive God’s Blessing, we find an amazing new awareness. Namely, that every ending comes with a new beginning packed into it. For God is not just our source of blessing, God is the God of Beginning Again. Every breath, every heartbeat, every moment. Life is a celebration. The tragic moments may take that away for a while. But even tragedy cannot permanently rob us of the Celebration of God’s presence and love.

PASTOR TERRY, MARTHA, Well done. GoodBye. God be with you. Celebrate your blessed finish-line. Enjoy God’s rich Blessing.

May God be in all our New Beginnings,

Pastor Dan Leininger

Visitation Pastor

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    First Presbyterian Church of Luverne MN
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    Luverne, MN 56156


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