First Presbyterian will have a virtual Vacation Bible School throughout the month of July. We’re calling it Choose Your
Own Adventure Bible School. Each Wednesday (beginning July 1), Natalie will
send out new material.
Children and their families will be given the option of engaging as much or as little as
they’d like. There will be an assortment of activities that support different
learning styles and varying levels of adult supervision. Families can do most
of the activities on their own schedules. There will be one Zoom check-in on
Mondays that is completely optional. The time for the Zoom call will be
determined by a poll of families who have registered.
The weekly themes of Choose Your Own
Adventure Bible School will explore what it means for every human to be
made in the image of God and how we are called to join God in loving and
advocating for all of our neighbors. The goal is for families to feel empowered
to talk together about the current events of our world – from COVID-19 to
racial injustice – and to discover how our faith teaches us to respond.
is the time to register your child(ren) for Choose Your Own
Adventure Bible School! Please fill out this JotForm so
that we can know who is participating. After you are registered,
you will receive an email from Natalie with further details on how to access
and engage the materials each week.
The church office will be CLOSED Friday, July 3 in observance of the Independence Day (July 4) holiday.
PRAYER: God of righteousness and grace, as our nation celebrates this Independence Day, remind us of our complete dependence upon you. … We ask you to keep this nation, and all nations, under your care, that we may be peoples who are at peace, and who are a blessing to others on this earth. Grant our nation’s leaders wisdom, that there would be times of peace and justice in our land and in our world. … – Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd (2012 )
Following the tragic and brutal murder of George Floyd last week, as well as the recent senseless killings of Breonna Taylor and Amaud Arbery, in addition to the endless numbers of incidents of racially motivated killings in our past, we, your pastors, join our voices in lament over the tight hold racism has over our nation. Every system in our country is poisoned by the sin of racism, including the church. We have much for which to confess. We claim as our own the confessional statement below from our siblings in Christ at First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. These are words we will say repeatedly and prayerfully, and we invite you to join your voices with ours in confession to those we have wronged, through our action and our inaction:
To every black and brown member of this congregation, and to this community and city we share: we confess that we are part of sinful and broken systems that hurt you. We confess that we have perpetuated bias and prejudice. We confess this in our own lives and in our ministries. We repent of the superiority and hate we have harbored, and we prostrate ourselves before the Lord who requires us, in the words of the prophet Micah, “to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.” We know we have work to do. We know that we have to listen and learn. And we know that in order for there to be real change in our world, we must share the struggle for justice as our own and stand up even when we are scared and even when it comes at a cost.
To every member of this church: as your pastors, we reject indifference (“It’s not my problem”), we reject our quick claims of innocence (“I’m not a racist”), and we reject willful helplessness (“I can’t do anything”) when it comes to racism in our lives, our ministries, the church we love, our city and nation. We commit to doing the work we need to do to become anti-racist. We commit to being an ally and partner in the work for racial justice and racial equity. And we hope you will join us.
One way to do that is to join in the 21-Day Race Equity Challenge put together by our friends at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. They have invited others to participate in this challenge, which involves daily reading selections, video watching, and other opportunities to listen and learn. We have committed to this and hope that you will as well. Click on the link above for more information and to sign up.
We have a long way to go, but we will go together, and we will go by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit. May our hearts be open to wherever God leads us.
With deep and abiding love and hope,
Mindy Douglas, Pastor
Susan Dunlap, Parish Associate
John Weicher, Associate Pastor
Click here to read the North Carolina Council of Churches’ response to recent protests and recurring acts of racism in our nation.
As faith leaders, we are accustomed to fulfilling our duty by congregating, by gathering for worship in prayer and song. We realize, however, that promoting and facilitating physical proximity, especially through songful worship, poses a potentially lethal threat to the health and safety of our families, friends, and neighbors.
Our responsibility to promote physical distancing during this pandemic is a sacred duty. Our traditions are diverse, yet we share a faithful devotion to the preservation of lives. Our obligation to promote public health during this pandemic is part and parcel of our core beliefs, inextricable with our sense of what God demands of us.
For this reason, we reject the notion that houses of worship ought to be exempt from orders that limit large gatherings. Lest our churches, temples, and mosques become incubators for COVID-19, houses of worship are the very places that must model safety and promote wellness.
Read the entire letter here which includes the names of the clergy who endorsed the letter.
Join us for faith formation for adults each Sunday, across a variety of topics…
- Faith & Community – This summer we are reading and discussing From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century (2020) by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen. The class is held on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. Interested persons, friends, and guests of FPC must REGISTER in order to join the class via Zoom. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the discussion.
- Journeys – This class is currently discussing Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr. Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness. Sundays, 10 am. Contact Eric Wiebe, Andy Henry, or the church office for more information on this virtual class.
- Lectionary – This class discusses the weekly lectionary texts, Sundays, 10 am. Contact David Smith or the church office for access to this virtual class.
- SCRATCH – Mary Berry, Abi Bissette, Emily Durham and other members of the Scratch group lead a time of check-in and support, as well as a devotional, Sundays, 8 pm. Contact a class leader or the church office for access to this virtual class.
- Women’s Spirituality Group – This summer this class is joining the Faith and Community Class via Zoom at 10 am. on Sundays. Be in touch with Leah Graves if you need to connect with class members.
CHILDREN AND YOUTH – ARE YOU CONNECTED? If you are not receiving a separate weekly email connecting you to FPC online activities for children and youth, contact John Weicher or Natalie Wolf to be added to the list.
Friends, do you love children, in all their glory? Our congregation is seeking a Director of Children’s Ministries, and we have officially opened the position to candidates from within the congregation – members and friends. We are seeking someone who loves children, loves Jesus, and is interested in introducing the one to the others. Might that be you?