Archive

Month: April 2017

April 28, 2017

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Earlier this week, Director of Youth Ministries Jen Evans posted on Facebook the link to a blogpost with the headline:

Your Church Does Not Need Volunteers

My first thought was, Oh this must be the profile of some crazy church where everybody sits around in a circle, sings Kumbaya and waits for God to take care of everything. 

Then I came to my senses and remembered that Jen posted it and she definitely does not take the sit-around-and-wait approach to life.

Still, as the person whose job it is to help members and prospective members explore opportunities for meaningful engagement inside and outside the walls of FPC, the piece intrigued me.

Here’s one thing the blog said that really hit home for me:

“You cannot volunteer at your own church, in the same way you cannot babysit your own kid. Because the church belongs to you in the same way your family does. It’s your own place, your own people…A volunteer, in most cases, is just visiting. A fly-by. Maybe it’s a helpful fly-by, but it’s not the same as belonging to something. It’s not the same as contributing to something bigger than you, something that’s part of who you are… whatever we do, we should remember that we don’t just belong to the church—it belongs to us. And we do not babysit that which is ours.”

Here at FPC, I don’t see us as people who “volunteer,” either. We don’t serve our community as a way to check something off our “Good Christian” checklist. I believe God has a purpose for our lives and that each one of us is called to a particular ministry or service in this world. Frederick Buechner describes “call” or vocation as “Where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

So I ask you:

  • What intrigues you?
  • What makes your heart beat?
  • What sparks your curiosity?
  • Do you want to feel more alive?

Think about these questions as you ponder actively engaging in something bigger than you, something that might become part of who you are!

Call (704.927.0242) or email me if you want to know more about joining God and fellow FPCers meeting the world’s deep hunger with our deep gladness.

– Mary Scott Peterson, Ministry Team Coordinator

April 26, 2017

Are you missing your reading glasses, an umbrella, a sweater or a beloved toy?

Chances are someone found what you lost and it ended up in our lost and found, which is located in the credenza outside the Pattie Cole Room (S203).

All collected items will be in Wood Fellowship Hall through Sunday, May 7. Please stop by to recover your items. On May 9, all unclaimed items will be distributed to those in need.

April 24, 2017

Beginning May 2, First Presbyterian will once again have a Parish Nurse on staff. Kristin Foster will focus on church-wide education related to health issues and one-on-one counsel for those who have questions related to diagnoses and other healthcare issues in their lives.

“We believe the church should be here for the whole person,” said the Reverend Katherine Kerr. “This is not about offering acute care, but as a complement to pastoral care. The congregation increasingly has needs related to health care. Clergy receives questions about assisted living, about a new diagnosis, about medications, even about Medicare or Medicaid. We’re not health care professionals, so Kristin’s expertise enriches the care we are able to offer.”

Kristin, her husband Joe and their four children moved to Charlotte from Stockholm, Sweden, in 2009. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She received her BSN at the Catholic University of America. She has worked in oncology, hospice care and mother-baby nursing. Most recently, Kristin has worked as a substitute in the health room at Charlotte Country Day.

“I have a passion for the intersection of health and education ministry,” Kristin said. “It’s a need that’s not being served anywhere else. I don’t think you can get that exact intersection outside the faith community.”

The Parish Nurse role will be part-time. Kristin will have office hours several days a week, including one Sunday a month. Beginning May 2, you can contact her at 704.927.0262 or at kfoster@firstpres-charlotte.org.

April 21, 2017

In the Lenten weeks leading up to Easter, the sermon series on the Apostles’ Creed invited us to reflect on what we’re affirming when we recite that creed together in worship on Sunday mornings.

On Easter morning, a group of 30 youth and adults studied the four gospel accounts of what happened on that first Easter morning and imagined what those original witnesses to the resurrection would have said about what they believe about resurrection. We kept the experiences of those first witnesses in our minds as we thought about our own life experiences and beliefs about the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection.

Here’s what some of those FPC members had to say in response to the statement “I believe in the resurrection…”

  • I believe that the resurrection was relieving and acted as a test to show that God surpasses anything!
  • I believe the resurrection provides hope!
  • I believe in second chances.
  • I believe, although many doubt it, Jesus was resurrected. He was buried but rose out of the tomb.
  • Amazing, unbelievable yet uplifting, inspiring
  • The resurrection is the confirmation of Jesus as the son of God, the Messiah the people were waiting for.
  • I believe the resurrection happened but not exactly how.
  • There is a new day!
  • Awe-inspiring and comfort
  • It happened!
  • It seems impossible
  • Amazing
  • Through God all things are possible. (Since resurrection isn’t part of our worldview, it seems unbelievable, but our faith in God allows for the “unbelievable.”)
  • I believe it’s a faithful trust in the unknown
  • I believe the resurrection is the ultimate miracle of the Bible
  • God continues the story
  • New renewed hope and trust in God’s compassion and love
  • Confirmation that Jesus is the Son of God – fulfills prophecy that seems unbelievable
  • I believe the resurrection was ineffable
  • Hope gets the last word!
  • I believe Jesus resurrected to let us know that we are safe and God is watching over us. It gives us a chance to experience life without him and our safety even when he’s not here.
  • I believe the resurrection was special.
  • While it’s sometimes difficult to understand or believe, the magic and awe of the resurrection gives me hope and a sense of inspiration in our risen Lord.
  • I believe it!
  • I believe Jesus rose from the dead to help others.
  • Our loved ones are in heaven and we will see them again.
  • I believe that the resurrection is the ultimate example of forgiveness.
  • What if the story really is true? I believe I will try to have faith in God.

Even as we celebrate the gift of resurrection, it can also be hard to wrap our minds around.  It can be a good practice to consider how we would articulate our personal beliefs about resurrection.  So, people of God, what do you believe about resurrection?

– The Reverend Katelyn Gordon

April 18, 2017

Each year, The Charlotte Observer looks for an Easter morning front page story that speaks to rebirth, second chances and faith. This year, The Observer’s Tim Funk heard about a young family from First Presbyterian that has experienced a remarkable second chance at life, thanks to a stranger who was willing to give the gift of life. Read the inspiring story here. You can also watch a video interview with the two young couples who were part of this story of second chances.

 

 

You still have two weeks to enjoy time with this summer’s BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) scholars.

Can you help tutor in reading or math? Maybe you could serve as a lunchtime or playground buddy. Or you might have time to participate in afternoon enrichment or field trips.

Slots are available almost every day between now and July 26.

Get details about this fun opportunity and sign up online.

Many children, especially those whose lives are impacted by poverty, can lose ground during the summer. BELL scholars make progress in reading, math and other core skills during the summer months. BELL also offers experiences some children may not experience otherwise—swimming lessons, as well as field trips to places like the Carolina Raptor Center, the Aviation Museum and Discovery Place.

It’s also not too late to contribute financially to this year’s program.

If your photo is in the new directory or if you reserved a copy during the ordering period, you can pick up your new Member Directory weekdays at the reception desk. Also, if you had your photo taken by the directory company, your free portrait will also be available there.  A limited number of directories will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for those who did not reserve a copy.

By mid-May, the directory will be available online for all members.

For more information, contact Lucy Caldwell.

 

If you haven’t yet experienced this summer’s Sunday morning Formation hour, you are invited to participate at 10 a.m. in Wood Fellowship Hall each week. This intergenerational time of preparation for worship for elementary children through adults offers fellowship, music, prayer, stories and other experiences to bring us closer to God and to one another.

 

Formation teachers and leaders will be recognized during worship on May 21; refreshments will be offered on the lawn following worship.

On Sunday, June 4, the pastors, Sanctuary Choir and guest instrumentalists will lead Music Sunday, a music-filled service that’s become an early-summer tradition during the 11 a.m. service the past two years.  This year’s service, Voices of Faith, will include reflections from scripture and theologians and weaves together our voices of faith with music that ranges from Aaron Copland to Gospel to instrumental marimba solo.