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.

 

Outdoor Worship, In Person

Sunday, October 4, 9 a.m.

Register now if you want to attend this in-person worship experience on the front lawn next Sunday morning. Everyone who attends must register in advance and masks will be required. Chairs will be provided and you will need to check in, then participate in a brief health check before being seated by ushers. If this registration is full, please check back next Monday morning, as we will host this service on Sundays as we are able.Virtual worship at 11 a.m. continues as scheduled.

Register now for outdoor worship.

Contact Tanya Gaspar with questions.

Outreach: Plowshares Book Group & Webinar, Food Pantry

“Evicted:  Poverty and Profit in the American City” Book Group

Thursday, October 15, 6:30-8 p.m., via Zoom

This Zoom discussion of the best-selling, Pulitzer-prize winning book by Matthew Desmond is sponsored by the Advocacy Committee of First Presbyterian Church, which advocates for social justice issues in the city.

Registration & questions, contact Nan Clarke.

 

Living Room Learning Webinar

Thursday, October 22, 6:30-8 p.m., via Zoom

As a follow-up to the Plowshares book discussion, a panel of local experts will discuss the process and consequences of eviction in Charlotte. Panelists will be Tommy Holderness, attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina; Floyd Davis, President and CEO of Community Link; Tchernavia Montgomery, Chief Program Officer, Crisis Assistance Ministry; Kim Graham, Association Director, Greater Charlotte Apartment Association.

Registration & questions, contact Nan Clarke.

 

Westerly Hills Pantry Food Drive

Tuesday, October 6, 10 a.m.-noon; Wednesday, September 30, 2-4 p.m., in the church driveway.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of our partnership with Westerly Hills Academy, you are invited to participate in a food drive. Most needed items are canned fruits and vegetables, canned meats and pasta, pasta sauce and boxed pasta, canned soup, crackers, cereal, peanut butter, jelly, baby food, baby cereal and infant formula.

Contact Heather Herring to volunteer to help manage collection, delivery of food and stocking shelves.

 

Children: Picnics & Trunk or Treat

Preschool Children & Families Picnic

Saturday, October 10, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

In person at Independence Park, 50 people maximum.

Sign up by emailing Elizabeth Cook.

Contact Natalie Raygor with questions.

 

Elementary Children & Families Picnic

Saturday, October 17, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

In person at Independence Park, 50 people maximum.

Sign up by emailing Elizabeth Cook.

Contact Robert Galloway with questions.

 

Trunk or Treat for Children

Saturday, October 31, 3-5 p.m.

3-5 p.m.

In person, Poplar Street parking lot.

Register online.

Contact Natalie Raygor with questions.

 

Youth: Grade Level Dinners, Crowders Mountain Hike

Grade Level Dinners

Sunday, October 4, 6-7:30 p.m.

RSVP for Middle School GLD

RSVP for High School GLD

Limit is 25 people (including adults). Participants are asked to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.

Contact Natalie Raygor.

 

Family Hike at Crowders Mountain State Park

Saturday, October 24, 9  a.m.-1 p.m., in person

Be part of this Youth Ministry Family Hike Day at Crowders Mountain State Park. Maximum of 15 participants.

Register online.

Contact Tristan Wall, 828-285-9866 with questions.

 

 

Young Adults: Bible Study, Panthers Viewing

Evening Bible Study

Wednesdays, October 7-November 11, 6:30 p.m.

In person, maximum attendance 25.

Sign up by emailing Robert Galloway.

 

Panthers Football Viewing

October 25, in person. Time to be determined.

At the home of Liz and Nick Signet, 50 people maximum.

Sign up by emailing Robert Galloway.

Adult Formation: Pathways to Discipleship, Bible Study

Pathways to Discipleship: Responding to Anxiety

Sunday, September 27, 10 a.m. via Zoom

Registration required.

The Reverend Bunny Alexander will bring her experience as a therapist and pastor to a discussion on anxiety and peace. More details and content for personal study online.

Contact Garrell Keesler.

 

Pathways to Discipleship: Being Generous

Sunday, October 4, 10 a.m. via Zoom

Registration is required.

The Reverend Pen Peery will look at the ways we can share God’s abundance. More details and content for personal study online.

Contact Garrell Keesler.

 

Thursday Morning Bible Study: Book by Walter Brueggemann

Thursdays, beginning October 1, 9:30-1:30 a.m., online

In the book From Judgment to Hope, Walter Brueggemann explores the Major Prophets, the Minor Prophets, and the prophets of the Persian Age.

Contact Mary Margaret Porter to sign up.

 

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.

 

Bible & Beverage Men's Bible Study & Fellowship

Wednesday, October 14, 8 p.m.

Men of the church are invited to join the Reverend Pen Peery at Brewers at Yancey, 4001-A Yancey Road. Attendance is limited to 15, with social distancing and masks required.

Register now.

Contact Pen Peery.

 

 

Fellowship: First Fruits

Thursday, October 1, 5:30-8  p.m.

BYO cups and beverage of choice for this in-person fellowship opportunity on Thursday, October 1, 5:30-8 p.m. 25 people maximum, social distancing and masks except when sipping.

Register now. to receive details about location.

Contact Mary Margaret Porter.

 

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, the 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 Update

“Adequate housing for low income residents is perhaps the most pressing single need in Charlotte,” a Charlotte Observer editorial declared in 1968. That article was over 50 years ago and yet today the crisis is even bigger. Just how big is it? Check out the  2020 Charlotte Mecklenburg State of Housing Instability and Homelessness” report that was released this week. The two-page Key Findings Chart  is easy to follow and extremely informative.

 

For a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by individuals in need of affordable housing, join the Plowshares Book discussion of Evicted on Thursday, October 15 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. followed a week later on Thursday, October 22 from 6:30 – 8 p.m. by a “Living Room Learning” webinar with a panel of local experts on the subject. Both are sponsored by the Advocacy Committee. Details and registration online.

FPC Positions Available

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

Session Updates

Anti-Racism from Session

July 24, 2020

Members of First Presbyterian Church:

At last month’s Session meeting, your Elders engaged a substantial conversation on how our church might respond faithfully and meaningfully to issues of racism that have been a perennial problem for our country, and a topic of national conversation over the past two months.  

The Session believes that responding to the presence of racism is the work of faith because 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.   

Believing that a faithful response is found in an outward affirmation and an inward commitment to examination and change, the Session took five actions that I would like to share with you:

  • We have put up a banner on the fence around the front lawn of the church that is a replica of the Black Lives Matter mural on Tryon Street, which has become a place of community gathering and conversation.* This action is meant to signal to our neighbors and community that our church recognizes the disproportionate loss of life in the African-American community and the need to say, unequivocally, that until Black lives matter to us as a society we cannot assert that all lives do. 
  • Believing that it is important to create a space for worship that welcomes all and does not send subtle messages that might be stumbling blocks to people of color, the Session voted to remove two plaques on our pews that honor Gov. Zebulon Vance and Mrs. Stonewall Jackson. These plaques will be re-located in the Historic Lobby with an explanation to acknowledge honestly our history and describe why we removed them.
  • We have instructed the committee planning next year’s Bicentennial celebration to render an honest account of our history—that is both faithful and flawed, as all histories are—through the history book that is being written on the occasion of our 200th year, and in programs and publications.
  • We are forming a Racial Justice Task Force to examine and audit our institutional life through an anti-racist lens: looking at our facility, our investments, and our Personnel policies. This group will make recommendations back to the Session in November of this year.
  • We are committing to continuing to provide anti-racist education and training for members and staff.

Additionally, the members of the Advocacy Committee are exploring ways that individual members of First Presbyterian can take action to respond as followers of Christ to the injustices of racism both to express our support for racial justice and to work for change. Soon, you will have an invitation to participate in a personal way.  

Christ has given each of us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). It is a holy, demanding, and transformative work.   

As a church that proclaims Christ in the center of our city, I am grateful for the ways that you and I can commit to heal, change, and mend the places where the legacy of racism has wounded our community.   

In faith, hope, and love –

Pen