Life at First

As we live with the pandemic for the foreseeable future, we will offer a combination of virtual and in-person opportunities so we can engage with our faith with our First Presbyterian family. Need to reach clergy or staff? Leave a message at 704-332-5123.


Reserve Your Seats for April 18 Worship

We will have limited in-person worship each Sunday for the foreseeable future. Capacity is restricted to 100 people in the sanctuary. To attend, you must register for seating.  Registrations will open each Wednesday at 2 p.m. for the upcoming Sunday (four days later). | Register seats for April 18 

2021: FPC's Bicentennial Year

View this year’s bicentennial events, learn facts and FPC recipes, and read articles about the church’s history. Go to the Bicentennial webpage.

Guest Preacher Ernie Thompson

Engage with Ernie, April 25, 9-10 a.m., Zoom – A virtual conversation to find out what Ernie has been doing in ministry and with his family since leaving FPC 26 years ago.  Questions you’d like asked during the conversation should be submitted to Lisa Dillard ( | Register

Worship, April 25, 11 a.m., livestream & limited in-person – Rev. Dr. Ernie Thompson will lead us in worship.

The Rev. Dr. Ernest Trice Thompson III will return to FPC’s pulpit. After leaving FPC in 1995, Ernie served for 5 years as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Lancaster, SC, and for 15 years as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, NC.  In 2015, Ernie accepted a call to the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC, where his parents had retired and where his father continues to live.

Ernie and and his wife, Elaine, enjoy walking, hiking, and getting to the mountains or beach when time allows. Elaine is an avid gardener and an active volunteer in the church and the community. Ernie enjoys biking and playing golf with friends.  They both especially enjoy visits with their grandson, Davis, who lives in Raleigh with his parents, Meagan and Daniel, who are expecting their second son in mid-April.  The Thompsons’ son, Richard, now lives and works in Dallas, TX.  Both Ernie and Elaine are deeply grateful for their time in Charlotte and the ways that the church and friendships formed here shaped their lives.

Presbyterian Women Day Retreat

PW Day Retreat To WeddingtonApril 24, 8:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Join PW for a day retreat at Sara Pressley’s farm in Weddington! Mary Margaret Porter will speak on “Calming the Storm” followed by conversation on “The Church after the Pandemic”. Lunch will be provided, and you will have the opportunity to contribute to the PW Benevolence Fund. Following state guidelines, the event is currently limited to 50 participants. Masks will be worn per current CDC guidelines. If registration exceeds the state guidelines, we will lottery to determine attendees. | Register | Contact

Music Ministry: Temporarily paused due to the January 6 secretarial directive

Kirk Choir Rehearsals

Wednesdays, 6-7 p.m.

Open to grades 2-5, rehearsals will be in the Sanctuary. Health checks at the door, social distancing and masks required.

Register now.

Contact Caryn Overbey.


Youth Choir Rehearsals

Wednesdays, 6:30-7:15 p.m.

Youth Choir is open to youth grades 6-12 and rehearses in the High School Youth Room. Health checks at the door, social distancing and masks required.

Contact Will Young for additional information or to register.


Sanctuary Choir Rehearsals

Wednesdays, 7:30-9 p.m.

Rehearsal will be in Wood Fellowship Hall. Health checks at the door, social distancing and masks required.

Contact Will Young with questions.


Knox Handbell Ringers Rehearsals

Wednesdays, 7-8 p.m.

Knox Handbell Ringers is open to children and youth in grades 5-12. Rehearsals are in the Pattie Cole Room. Health checks at the door, social distancing and masks required.

Register online.

Contract Trevor Cook.


Ivey Handbells Rehearsals

Wednesdays, 8-9 p.m.

This auditioned group of youth in grades 8-12 rehearses in the Pattie Cole Room. Health checks at the door, social distancing and masks required.

Contract Trevor Cook.


Camp Parents Needed for Camp Grier 2021

If you are looking for a meaningful way to partner with students and families from Westerly Hills Academy, serving as a camp parent is a great place to start!  Camp parents help first-time campers and their families navigate camp questions and preparations so that they are excited and ready to go when camp week arrives!  Many of our camp parents have remained involved with their campers and their families for years beyond that first camp experience.  If you are interested in learning more, please contact Heather Herring.

Camp dates:

  • June 13 – 18
  • June 20 – 25
  • June 26 – July 2
  • July 4 -9
  • July 25 – 30
  • August 1 – 6

Stewardship 2021: Generosity

You can pledge online now to support all the church’s programs for the 2021 budget year.

Read a letter from the Reverend Pen Peery to learn more about this year’s campaign.

You can also mail in the pledge card you received early in the campaign or use Realm to make this financial commitment to our work for Christ in the heart of Charlotte for the year 2021.

Our Anti-Racism Work

Responding to the presence of racism is the work of faith. We understand that the promise of the gospel is that in Jesus Christ, the dividing wall and hostility between peoples has been broken down (Ephesians 2:14). As we are the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to continue the work that Jesus started. And as we have learned, it is not enough to simply be nonracist. We also must firmly be antiracist. This is a journey that is filled with hope, honesty, and, often, tough discussions.

As we go about this work and our responses in the continuing conversation, here are resources that you may use in your journey. These resources include books for all ages, podcasts, articles and videos.

Also, Foundation For The Carolinas recently published a list of non-profits that work directly in the field of social justice and that address racial equity. You may access that resource here.

Advocacy Committee Updates


On October 22, First Presbyterian offered a panel discussion of experts on evictions and the impact in Charlotte. Including our church members, Tommy Holderness of Legal Aid, North Carolina; and Floyd David, CEO of Community Link, plus Kim Graham the CEO of Greater Charlotte Apartment Association and Tchernavia Montgomery, Chief Program Officer, Crisis Assistance Ministry.   Kathy Ridge, a member of FPC, moderated the panel. Please watch the panel discussion and consider helping our neighbors facing eviction by making a donation to one of the agencies listed below.

Community Link

Crisis Assistance Ministry

Legal Aid of NC



Our Charlotte community is starting to realize unstable housing is a basis for poverty and economic immobility.  With a roof and safe place to live, education and school becomes more stable, transition and therefore, work becomes more stable, and remarkable, health care costs and emergency room visits are dramatically reduced.  For more information, read the  2020 Charlotte Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability and Homelessness” report that was released recently. The two-page Key Findings Chart  is easy to follow and extremely informative.

Updates from Russia

Updates from our Partner Church in Russia

November 30, 2020

First Presbyterian has been in partnership with Hope Baptist Church in Ryazan, Russia, since 2003. We have watched them grow, plant other churches, and develop a network of Protestant churches in the region despite resistance and intolerance from their neighbors.

When our partnership started, the congregation of Hope Baptist was renting space for their worship services and church activities. Over the years, they bought that space with help from the funds our church sent, but they still faced discrimination from their neighbors. Russians identify strongly with the Russian Orthodox church as a matter of national pride, so Protestant congregations, especially those with American friends, are viewed with some skepticism. The members of Hope Baptist expanded and enhanced their church space, but they still encountered suspicion because they were housed on the first floor of an apartment building, leading people to believe they were more of a cult than a church.

Several years ago, Hope Baptist was able to purchase land to build a structure with a sanctuary that looks like a traditional church; they were able to buy this land through careful stewardship and with the generous gift of funds from our Global Mission budget. Because of laws in the city of Ryazan, they had to finish construction within five years or lose it all. They have been working tirelessly. The new space includes a sanctuary, a kitchen, offices, and a basement fellowship hall to host church events and retreats for other congregations in the area. The third floor, which will house Sunday school rooms, will have finishing touches and furnishings as funds allow. Members of the congregation have tithed both to the church and to the new building, and they have pitched in time and energy to the construction.

Hope Baptist also has property in the Russian countryside for a rustic camp where they host retreats, youth camps, and other gatherings. This space is used by the Protestant churches within their network, and traveling into the countryside offers a welcome change of scenery and a respite from tense relationships with neighbors.

We were sad to postpone the trip this summer, but we look forward to visiting and seeing the new building when travel is more advisable. When we can travel, we will take funds from First Presbyterian to help with the new building, and we will collect gifts for their Sunday school programs, kitchen, and camp. What Hope Baptist has been able to accomplish in the face of adversity is inspiring, and it is a joy to partner with such a faithful congregation.

– Mary Elizabeth Coley