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.

 

Worship: Services for Advent and Christmas Eve

Advent Service

Wednesday, December 2

11 a.m.-noon

The Reverend Meg Peery McLaughlin will preach on the topic “Old Song, New Tune.”

Livestreamed on the church website and on Facebook.

More details on the Events page.

 

Service of Wholeness and Healing

Thursday, December 17

7:30 p.m.

The Reverend Anna Dickson will lead. Check the Events listings for details about the opportunity to visit the Sanctuary to prepare for this service.

 

Service of Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 20

11 a.m.

Our traditional service of Lessons and Carols, with its heartwarming and uplifting music and lessons read by members of the congregation. The Sanctuary Choir, the First United Presbyterian Church Praise Team, the Kirk Choir (children) and the Ivey Bell Choir (youth) will prepare our hearts and spirits for a joyful Christmas week.

On WAXN-TV and livestreamed from the church website and on Facebook.

 

Christmas Eve Services

December 24

10 a.m. – A Christmas Eve Service for Children and Families will stream on the church website.

8 p.m. – We will collaborate with First United Presbyterian Church on a candlelight Christmas Eve service, to be broadcast from the church website at 8 p.m.

11 p.m. – The candlelight service will also be broadcast at 11 p.m. on WAXN-TV.

 

Advent Formation: Daily Devotionals, Classes

Daily Email Devotionals
This Advent, daily devotionals will be delivered directly to your inbox. Created by Presbyterian Outlook, they will explore the theme of Marking Time: Discerning God’s kairos in the midst of our daily chronos.

Links to the daily devotionals will also be available here if you want to review previous readings.

Monday, November 30

Sunday, November 29

If you would like a hard copy of these devotionals mailed to you, contact Elizabeth Cook.

 

Sunday Classes

Sundays, November 29, December 6 and December 15

10 .m.

The Reverend Mary Margaret Porter will lead Sunday classes using the Advent devotionals Marking Time:  Discerning God’s kairos in the midst of our daily chronos, which will be delivered to households via email.

Sign up for all three classes online.

 

Young Adult Advent Bible Study

Wednesdays, December 2, 9 and 16

6:30 p.m.

Young Adults are invited to participate during Advent to study our favorite Advent and Christmas hymns and the text they are based on.

Contact the Reverend Robert Galloway with your hymn suggestions and to sign up.

 

Thursday Morning Bible Study

Thursdays, December 3, 10 and 7

9:30 a.m.via Zoom

Dr. Cynthia Campbell’s book Christmas in the Four Gospel Homes uses illustrations from architect Kevin Burns to reimagine each of the four Gospels as a “house,” which the church visits at Christmas.

Contact the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter to RSVP.

 

 

Care: PW Fellowship, Open Sanctuary

PW Hosts Advent Fellowship

Wednesday, December 2

Noon-1:30 p.m. via Zoom

Immediately following the Advent service on Wednesday, December 2, PW (Presbyterian Women) will host virtual craft and fellowship opportunities

RSVP online no later than Monday, December 1. More details on the Events page.

 

Sanctuary Open for Prayer, Reflection

Wednesday and Thursday, December 16 and 17

2-5 p.m.

The Sanctuary will be open for prayer and personal reflection to prepare for the Service of Wholeness and healing on Thursday evening. Unlit candles will be provided and  you are invited to place one on the communion table as  you exit. The candles will be lit as part of the streamed service at 7:30 p.m.

The Reverend Anna Dickson and Stephen Ministers will be available.

Please enter through the front sanctuary doors. Designated seating areas will be roped off and masks, health checks and social distancing will be in effect.

 

 

 

Advent: Alternative Gift Market, Ascension Window Gift Cards

Alternative Gift Market

Purchases made through the Alternative Gift Market will benefit the organizations you designate. The organization will use the funds where they are needed most.

You will be mailed a card for each donation of $10 that you can then provide to someone as a gift! Cards can also be picked up if you prefer.

Ascension Window Cards

We are excited to offer for sale packs of 10 notecards and envelopes featuring a pen & ink watercolor of the beautiful Ascension window in the FPC sanctuary. The pack of 10 is $15.00.

You can pick up your order at the church (you will be notified when you may do so), or we are offering mail delivery. Such a fun, easy way to send a gift!

Order your cards today!

Outreach: Holiday Giving at Westerly Hills

Holiday Giving at Westerly Hills

Virtual Giving Tree: This Christmas, we will support our partner school by providing gifts to families experiencing financial hardship and monetary gifts to all staff.

Virtual Giving Tree: Unwrapped gifts (with name tags attached) may be brought to First Presbyterian Church on December 8 (10 a.m.-noon), December 10 (2-4 p.m. or December 13 (12:30 -2 p.m.). The Core Church will host a festive distribution in their parking lot on December 19 (10 a. m.-4 p.m.), where families can safely pick up their gifts and enjoy hot chocolate and gift wrapping.

Sign up online to volunteer with gift delivery, setup/cleanup, gift distribution, serving hot chocolate and wrapping gifts.

Acknowledging WHA Staff: After a challenging year requiring additional work and flexibility, we want to acknowledge every staff member at Westerly Hills Academy with a holiday gift.  You can support this effort by check or online via Realm. Checks should be mailed to the church with “WH holiday staff appreciation” in the memo line.

 

Books for Every Student: We are partnering with Promising Pages to provide two books for every student for winter break. Ten volunteers are needed to package books for distribution before December 8.

 

Greenery Sale and Decorating the Church

FPC Schools Greenery Sale

If you ordered trees or greenery, they will be available for pick up on the front lawn of the church on December 2nd – 4th (Wednesday – Friday). FPC Schools’ Greenery Sale to benefits the schools’ scholarship fund. If you have questions, contact Debbie Shirkey.

 

Deadline December 5 to order wreaths, poinsettias

The deadline is Saturday, December 5, to honor or memorialize a loved one this Christmas with a wreath for a church door or a poinsettia for the sanctuary. You can order online. Poinsettias are $10 each and wreaths are $35 each. You can also send a check, made payable to First Presbyterian Church, to Diane Maye, PO Box 1008, Huntersville, NC 28070, to arrive no later than December 5. Please include the name of your loved one and indicate if the gift is an honorarium or a memorial.

Music Ministry: In-Person Rehearsals Resume

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.

 

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

Save-the-Date:
Plowshares Book Discussion

Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 21, at 6:30 p.m. when the Advocacy Committee’s Plowshares Book Discussion group will explore via Zoom the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkinson.

This New York Times bestseller has been called “powerful” and “an instant American classic.”

Contact Nan Clark with questions or to sign up.

 

Housing

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.

 

 

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.

FPC Positions Available

First Presbyterian Church currently has four positions available: Director of Communications, Director of Youth Ministry and Director of Children and Family Ministry. Use these links to review job descriptions and instructions for applying.

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