As many of you know, Rev. Judy Hockenberry had a medical emergency in November where she ended up in the ICU. Although Judy is now home, she requires time to heal, rest and recuperate. The Session has approved a medical leave of absence from December 1 through February 28 so that Judy is able to fully recover.
Please do not call, text or e-mail Judy during the next two months. If you have pastoral care needs or concerns, please email Rev. Lang.
Given the impact on pastoral resources as a result of Judy’s temporary leave, the Personnel Committee in conjunction with the Session and the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry (COM) have hired Rev. Steve Howery to help with the pastoral care and worship needs of the church. Rev. Howery is the former pastor of Niles Presbyterian Church and is honorably retired. We feel very fortunate that he answered the call to help us during this challenging period.

A Note from Judy
December 2021

Dearest friends,
I am completely overwhelmed by your outpouring of prayers and love. God is certainly using each of you in powerful ways to sustain me and bring me to a complete recovery. For those of you that don’t know the story, I will share what I know/remember. On Tuesday afternoon, November 16th, I left work at about 4:30 to go home and begin preparation for a routine colonoscopy. I expected to be out of the office on Wednesday and back on Thursday. I have had three or four colonoscopies and while they are far from pleasant, I have never had an adverse reaction.
The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the room for the procedure. I have no idea how many hours later I came to some level of consciousness but when I did, I was on a ventilator. There is no clear reason for what happened to me. The bottom line is that when they tried to wake me following the procedure, they could not get my oxygen levels to a safe range (usually considered 90% or higher) so they intubated me. From about 11:00 am on Wednesday until 6:00 pm on Friday I remained on a ventilator. I was alert some of that time and writing feverish notes to the family about things that needed to be cancelled and people for whom I was supposed to do something. At some point the medical team decided I needed heavier sedation. No more writing notes! She must rest! Alex stepped up to make sure all the things I was worried about were assigned to others (mostly to him!).
And you – all of you began to pray and send cards and pray harder. On Friday when they extubated me, I was still on a lot of oxygen. Throughout the night I made steady progress. By Saturday evening I was able to go to a regular room. On Monday I went home at 5:30 pm. Six days in the hospital. Six days in bed. I went home weak and tired and alive and able to breathe adequately on room air. Thanks be to God.
Needless to say, this has been an incredibly traumatic journey for me and my entire family, as well as my close friends and colleagues, and all of you. Only in this last week have Ken and I been able to talk about the fact that I almost died. We still have a lot to process. The Personnel Committee and Session have been gracious in allowing me as much time as I need to recover – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I miss all of you. I miss First Presbyterian. I miss my ministry. Still, I know this time is important for my full recovery.
“Thank you” feels very inadequate in the face of your outpouring of love. Cards, food, books, notes – all of it mean so very much because with each of those things comes the larger message of your love for me and through that love, I know God’s love for me. Your love lifts me up and aids my recovery.
You are a wonderful and amazing congregation. I thank you. My whole family thanks you.
Love, Judy

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