Blog

Expressing Your Thoughts About the Situation at Our Country’s Southern Border

June 19, 2018

If you want to express your thoughts about the situation at our country’s southern border, here is information you can use to email or phone  elected officials:

Senator Richard Burr – 202-224-3154

Senator Thom Tillis – 202-224-6342

This page offers the opportunity to enter your zip code to find contact information for your representative in the U.S. Congress.

This page provides information on emailing, calling or writing a letter to the White House.

 

 

 

 

Summertime Room in the Inn

June 18, 2018

FPC will host a group of 12 women the week of July 30-August 5 in a summertime Room In the Inn. Guests will arrive each evening at 6 p.m. and depart for the day at 6:30 a.m. The same guests will stay each night. Sign up here to help offer hospitality to our guests.

Help needed:

1)  Bring guests from the Center of Hope to FPC.  5:45 each evening in the church van.

2)  Provide and serve dinner for our guests.  5:30-7ish p.m.

3)  Spend the night. Two volunteers needed each night.  6 p.m.-6:30 a.m.

 

2018 General Assembly June 16-23

June 14, 2018

Almost 700 commissioners and other delegates to the PC(USA) General Assembly will meet in St. Louis over the next week. Among the matters to be taken up are:

  • A proposal to raise the General Assembly per capita paid by churches from $7.73 per member in 2018 to $10.71 in 2019 and to $11.45 in 2020.
  • Recommendations from the Way Forward Commission on issues ranging from improving translation services to the role of the stated clerk, as well as a proposed restructuring of the PC(USA) A Corporation.
  • Selection of co-moderators of the 2018 assembly and confirmation of the new president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
  • Racial and economic justice, climate change, ongoing disputes in the Middle East, as well as public policy issues such as immigration, the death penalty, gun violence and nuclear disarmament.
  • Church matters such as parental and family leave policies and a report from a special committee on Christian education.

You can follow the news from the General Assembly online.

FPC Youth Letter

FPC Youth Families,

Summer is here!  We hope and pray the final weeks of school are going well for everyone and summer is off to a great start!  We wanted to share with you a few youth ministry updates and exciting offerings for our youth this summer.

Reflections on 2017-2018 and looking ahead

This year has been different than previous years in youth ministry at FPC.  We’ve experienced several changes – including staff changes and my maternity leave after the happy arrival of my son.  We want you to know that this time has not been wasted.  We’ve been assessing our programs, consulting other ministry professionals, listening to your feedback, and dreaming about new ways our youth can grow in their faith together.  We’re grateful to be in this ministry with you, and we’re excited about what’s ahead for youth and families in 2018-2019!

Assistant Director of Youth Ministry Search

The ADYM search committee is still hard at work looking for FPC’s next Assistant Director of Youth Ministry.  While the search has taken longer than we expected, we are very committed to finding the right person to work with our youth and our church.  As part of our process, we’ve talked with ministry contacts across the denomination to make sure we’re getting the best candidates, and we’re excited about the people the Spirit is bringing our way.

Our process of assessing and strengthening FPC’s youth ministry will continue when we bring a new staff member on board, and we’re confident about the ministry potential with a full youth ministry staff.

 Small Groups Launching this Fall!

Over the past two years, we have been exploring small group ministry at FPC with middle school and high school girls.  We recognize that youth need to connect with one another outside the church on Sundays, and we’re looking to grow this ministry for our youth in the fall.  Be on the lookout for more information in future communications.

Youth Ministry Summer & Fall Intern

We are excited to announce that Tristan Wall, who joined us last August as our intern, will remain on our team this summer and next school year.  Tristan is entering his senior year at UNC-Charlotte, majoring in Religious Studies and minoring in Spanish. His post-graduation plans are to join the YAV (young adult volunteer) program. We are grateful for Tristan’s leadership, commitment and enthusiasm for our youth; particularly Middle School.

Youth Ministry Summer Happenings

We have a lot going on in youth ministry this summer including middle and high school monthly socials, mission days, and weekly lunches.  Details for these events can be found in the youth newsletter and on social media.  If you’re not receiving youth communications, please contact Elizabeth Cook, ecook@firstpres-charlotte.org.

We are grateful to be in ministry with you.  Faith is a communal practice and we are so glad you and your youth are part of this community.  As always, please feel free to reach out if you have questions or want to talk further.

​Grace and Peace,

Natalie Raygor, Director of Youth Ministries

How You Can Pray for our Youth Mission Trip

Our high school youth leave on Sunday for a mission trip to Guatemala. If you would like to support them June 17-22, you can use this chart to see what they are doing daily and to learn how they would like you to pray for them while they are away.

 

Schedule Activities Prayers for
Sunday, June 17 ·   Travel to Guatemala City

·   Explore Antigua, arrive at hotel

·   Welcome and Orientation

·   Traveling mercies – safety and staying healthy

·   Team bonding

·   Prepare our hearts for orientation and context of new culture and language barriers

 

Monday, June 18 ·   Travel to El Tejar

·   Meet new friends in Guatemala

·   Begin projects at school in El Tejar

·   Explore El Tejar

·   Our new friends in Guatemala

·   Prepare our hearts for projects

·   Open minds and hearts as we learn more about the culture, people of Guatemala and our new lifestyle while visiting

·   Traveling mercies as we explore El Tejar & good night of sleep

 

Tuesday, June 19 ·   Breakfast with host families

·   Finish projects at the school

·   FPC group presentation of musical instruments

·   Evening in Panajachel for dinner and exploring

·   New friendships

·   Open our eyes to a new culture

·   Appreciation for the ways God calls us into community to do God’s work

·   Patience with a new culture, new surroundings & language barriers

 

Wednesday, June 20 ·   Boat ride across Lago Atitlan to Santiago

·   Visit Escuelita David LaMotte in Tzanchaj

·   Enjoy lunch and time with friends at the school

·   Begin projects at the school in Tzanchaj

·   Evening Program – Reflections

·   Ears to hear

·   Understanding and appreciating the culture

·   Self-understanding, reflection about why God called us to Guatemala and ways we have deepened our faith

·   Absorbing and processing emotions and feelings during our trip

·   Endurance – about halfway point of our trip and time together

 

Thursday, June 21 ·   Visit La Puerta Abierta to help in classrooms and play games with the children

·   Free Afternoon & Reflections

·   Debrief/Closing Discussion and Worship

·   Thanksgiving for the diversity of God’s creation & recognition that everyone we encounter has been made in the image of God

·   Traveling mercies as we explore & experience culture of Santiago

·   Renewed understanding of why God called us to Guatemala

 

Friday, June 22 ·   Travel to Guatemala City

·   Travel back to Charlotte

 

·   New friends we have met this week

·   Discernment about the will of God & how to do God’s work

·   Confidence to tell our stories

·   Traveling mercies

·   Re-entry to our city, homes and families

 

 

Changes in Ministry Staff

June 11, 2018

Dear friends of First Presbyterian,

Arriving at FPC Charlotte was a significant change for me in many ways: a new city, a new kind of church in a position I had not had before. But I welcomed the change and the challenge because it was so clear that FPC Charlotte is a special church, full of faithful people ready to serve God in new and meaningful ways. I was thrilled to receive the call and have loved being your pastor in mission.

A year after I began here, I became a single parent, and God blessed me with the gift of adopting Kimberly and Chris. I knew being a single mom would be a challenge but I welcomed that, too, because I knew it was also what God was calling me to do.

In the four years I have served FPC, I have never wavered from my gratitude for being called as one of your associate pastors nor from my gratitude for being a mom to my two kids.

Recently, though, I knew I needed to take a hard look at my life, my priorities and my abilities to serve these two calls faithfully. It has become clear that while my call as Associate for Mission is a beautiful and wondrous thing, it no longer is something I believe I can do well while also being the human being I need to be.

It is not faithful to myself, to you, to my family nor to God to continue to try and “do it all.” This is a comment I heard from so many when I adopted the kids: “I don’t know how you do it all.” The truth is, friends, I never did, and no one can. Sadly, too many of us feel like we are supposed to do it all, and that burden falls heavily onto women. To be a great mother, a great wife, housekeeper, accountant, event coordinator, committee member, church leader and career person. While intended as a compliment, I found the words “I don’t know how you do it all” a reminder that I was not able to do it all and sometimes I felt like an impostor. I was short with my kids too often, forgetting meetings and deadlines, and staying up late trying to catch up on emails. And more often than not what fell to the lowest priority was taking care of myself.

And so it is time to step back and re-examine what God is calling me to do next. I know first and foremost I need to take better care of myself, my family and my faith. I will never be able to thank you all enough for the ways you so beautifully welcomed and have loved my children, Kimberly and Chris. This church has been a home for them and a place where God’s love has been demonstrated to them. That is no small thing.

July 1, I will begin working reduced hours and will conclude my time at First Presbyterian August 31.

The ministry you have ahead of you here at First is exciting and meaningful, and I know God will continue to lead you well.

In God’s abiding care,

Erika

 

 


Friends in Faith –

Today after worship the Session met to receive word of Erika Funk’s resignation. You will find Erika’s letter to you included as part of this communication.

When Erika was called to our church four and a half years ago we knew that her experience in urban ministry, her preaching, and her wide embrace of all of God’s people would help stretch us as a congregation that continues to grow into what it means to serve Christ in the heart of Charlotte.

In my time as her colleague, I have learned a lot from Erika. I’ve heard her ask insightful questions. I’ve watched her practice hospitality. I’ve witnessed her live out her faith.

As she shares her news about needing to step back from her ministry at our church to examine what God is calling her to do next, Erika continues to teach me what it is to live with grace.

Erika’s last day as our Associate for Mission will be August 31. Two of the ways our church has honored those who have served us as a pastor are to have a reception and to collect a free-will offering to express our appreciation. I hope you can join us after worship on Sunday, August 19, as we honor Erika’s ministry. If you want to contribute to an offering that we will present to her that day, you can do so by sending checks to Jan Gaddis at the church office and marking “Erika Funk” on the memo line.

In response to Erika’s news, the Personnel Committee and I have been developing a transition plan to ensure we have leadership and coverage in the ministry areas of outreach and evangelism. While we are in transition, and until we call a new associate pastor, our exceptional staff of Lucy Caldwell (membership), Mary Scott Peterson (ministry teams/outreach), and Heather Herring (child and family outreach) are prepared to flex their work to provide coverage. Our pastoral team will also flex our time to ensure that we have consistent coverage for pastoral care and worship leadership.

I am grateful for the people God calls to serve this church, and I give thanks for Erika’s ministry among us.

In faith, hope, and love – 

Pen

Brunch Bunch

June 7, 2018

The Prime Timers will gather for Brunch Bunch on July 8 and August 12. The group will meet after the 11 a.m. service and walk to a nearby restaurant. Keep an eye on your email inbox for restaurant details or contact the Reverend Chuck Williamson (cwilliamson@firstpres-charlotte.org).

How can we stay close to God this summer?

One afternoon during last year’s Vacation Bible School.

In the summer issue of Tapestry, which will be available around the church in a couple of weeks, we asked some of our children and youth the question: How are you going to stay close to God this summer?

Instead of asking you that question, I thought I’d suggest an answer I plan to consider: By focusing on stewardship.

Not the stewardship campaign, which each fall asks us to decide on the financial commitment we’ll make to God’s work in the year ahead. I’m not even talking about fulfilling that commitment during months when we may be out of town or focused on family time—although we hope you’ll do that, too.

As important as our financial commitment to God’s work is, there is more to stewardship than pledging and giving. God also asks us to give of our time and talent.

In the summer, our routines are disrupted. We may be distracted by travel, by the pool, by summer concerts, by more family time, even by the luxury of time just to relax. I’m pretty sure those welcome distractions can make it harder to fill some of our community’s ongoing needs. God’s call to serve during the summer months could be even more urgent than usual.

Here are some ways FPC folks could answer God’s call to be good stewards this summer.

  • Picnic with Westerly Hills families on Sunday, June 10, at 3 p.m. Food will be provided and all are welcome to this opportunity for fellowship at The Core Church, 2300 Alleghany Street.
  • Give the gift of life by donating blood when the Bloodmobile is here at the church on Sunday, June 10, from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Watch this video to hear what Parish Nurse Kristin Foster and member Alex Ayer have to say about this year’s blood drive, then sign up to give from our website.
  • Deliver sandwiches to the Men’s Shelter, 3410 Statesville Avenue, by 11:30 on Sunday mornings. You are also welcome to help distribute the sandwiches and have lunch with the men. Sign up online.
  • Help out with Vacation Bible School the week of June 25-28, 9 a.m.-noon. Contact Tammy Winchip, Director of Children’s Ministry.
  • Stay strong this summer by helping out at the Loaves & Fishes Pantry. The Pantry needs of volunteers who are able to lift loaded crates, to bend and stoop as needed, and to catch loaded crates coming down the delivery chute. Contact Mary Scott Peterson to learn more.
  • Stay strong, part two, involves three hours once a month to deliver furniture for someone transitioning out of homelessness into a safe, comfortable home. This happens on the second Saturday each month, 9 a.m. until noon. Not everything is heavy, so don’t stay away because you can’t lift a sofa. This is a great service and fellowship opportunity for middle school age youth through adult. Sign up online.
  • Experience the joy of helping our BELL scholars. For six weeks, June 18–July 25, we will host 60 young scholars (rising first through third graders). They will work on reading and math skills in the mornings, then experience a wide range of field trips and enrichment activities—yoga, Lego robotics, dance and swimming—in the afternoons. Your time and talent makes this possible. Sign up here.
  • Worship needs volunteers to serve as sound board operators during the 11 a.m. worship. You’ll receive training. Contact Jesse Hite.

Those are just a few of the immediate ways you can focus on stewardship this summer. Keep your eyes on the Now@FPC page on the website, which is continuously updated with more ways to serve your community and your church.

Oh, and for those weeks when you are out of town, you can also visit the lower right of any page on the website to keep your contributions up to date through the summer. And you can attend a church where you’re vacationing, as well as watch us on TV or via live streaming on the website.

I hope you’ll join me in an unofficial time-and-talent stewardship campaign this summer. If you give this a try, let me know how it works to keep you close to God.

~ The Reverend Pen Peery

Summer Centering: Faces of Our Faith

June 6, 2018

Who are the people who have shaped your faith?  Join us on Sunday mornings this summer as we explore stories of lesser known characters of the Bible as well as our own faith stories.  We’ll learn together through Bible study, reflections from FPC members and pastors, activities, and prayer.

 

June 17: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Featured Face: Scott Curry

June 24: Jonah

July 1: Deborah

July 8: The Ethiopian Eunuch Featured Face: Chuck Williamson

July 15: Anna

July 22: Joseph of Arimathea. Featured Face: Kathy Ridge

July 29: Judas Iscariot

August 5: Mary Magdalene. Featured Face: Katherine Kerr

August 12: Eutychus

August 19: Philemon

August 26: Lydia. Featured Faces; Beth and Addie Williams

Motherless Moms Group Continues through the Summer

June 4, 2018

Motherless Moms, a support group for women grieving the loss of their mothers as they are raising children, will continue to meet throughout the summer on the first Tuesday of each month.

The group meets at noon in the Frances Browne Dining Room (P212). Participants are welcome to bring their lunch. For more information, contact the Reverend Katherine Kerr.