Month: November 2017

November 30, 2017

One of the simple joys in my life is reading a book to one of my kids at bedtime. A favorite book that we read is one in a series by Mo Willems that is called Waiting is Not Easy.

It’s a conversation between two friends, a pig and an elephant. The pig has a present he wants to share with the elephant, but he can’t share it until the right moment. In the meantime, the elephant is unsettled in his anticipation. He pleads, he begs, he lashes out in frustration, and he GROANS as he waits.

My kids laugh when I read the elephant’s lines because they know they’ve been there. I have an easy time getting in character because I’ve been there, too!

Advent is a time of waiting, and the reason the waiting is not easy is because, as followers of Jesus, we are waiting for a whole lot more than presents under the tree. We are waiting for this broken world to be healed. We are waiting for Christ to set things right. And we are aware of the many, many things that are broken; of the many, many ways things are not right.

I’ve been groaning a lot in recent weeks.

Unspeakable mass shootings in places of worship – both in Texas and, last week, in Egypt.  A cascade of revelations around sexual assault and harassment. Headlines like these are always a cause for grief, but in recent weeks I’ve felt something else, too: an angry impatience. I’ve been thinking about my kids who are growing up learning lock-down drills at school. I’ve been thinking about you – my parishioners – who might question whether the sanctuary is safe. I’ve been thinking about my little girl – and whether the world would believe her testimony or the denials of a powerful man if she were ever the victim of sexual misconduct.

Instead of hearing our leaders declare that this madness must stop, what I hear instead are arguments about the Second Amendment and how the those who are accused might change the political calculus around tax reform.

It’s not that I know what the solutions are to the brokenness that faces us, nor think those solutions are simple. What angers me is that we don’t appear to have the courage to decide that things must change. I am impatient with our tendency to accept the brokenness of the world as the way things are, because I believe God asks us to trust and work for the promise that we read about in the Bible, which describes the way the world will be.

We wait and we work for that vision of the world precisely because we are not satisfied with the status quo. It might be easy just to keep our heads down, navigate this world the best we can, and convince ourselves that things can’t change. But faith isn’t about what is easy. Faith moves us toward what is holy. And, ultimately, we know that even in this current darkness, there is a light that nothing can overcome.

– Pen Peery

November 27, 2017

The menu for the community lunch at 12:30 p.m. in Wood Fellowship Hall following Wednesday Worship on March 14:

  • Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Shredded Cabbage & Onions
  • Salad bar
  • Dinner Roll
  • Orange Cake

Wednesday lunch is available for $8, cash or check, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

November 21, 2017

The final day to participate in the Alternative Gift Market in the Historical Lobby is Sunday, December 17. You can find gifts for family, friends, party hosts, teachers, and yourself while supporting our local and regional partners. Gifts range from coats for children to bus passes for homeless veterans to flocks of chicks in Haiti. Celebrate Advent by sharing gifts with our neighbors.

If you’ve read the Strategic Plan document available around the church, you’ve learned about the four-pillared plan that grew out of the work of The Balcony Group over the last year. If you haven’t read the document, you may want to pick up a copy on Sunday or read it here. When you do, we hope you’ll feel the gratitude all of us on staff feel when we anticipate the ways we expect to expand our work for Christ here in the heart of Charlotte.

That work is already under way. Each of the Four Pillars of the Strategic Plan–Life Together, Welcoming Each Other and Our Neighbors, Serving Our City and Sustaining Our Future–has been broken down into three initiatives for implementing the plan. Committees are now in the process of developing action plans around those 12 initiatives.

Below, you’ll see who is heading up the committees that are developing those actions, how to contact the people chairing those committees, and the timeline for implementation. We encourage you to thank them for leading us into the future. We also hope you’ll have conversations with these committee chairs to share your thoughts about these initiatives.

In wave one, we will begin work on initiatives to:

Broaden Adult Christian Formation

Staff contacts Garrell Keesler & the Reverend Katelyn Gordon Cooke  (October 2017 through January 2018)


Deepen Our Relationships with One Another

Co-Chairs Jean Cochrane & Milt Childress (October 2017 through January 2018)


Foster Hospitality

Co-Chairs Melissa Toth & Jenny Allen (October 2017 through January 2018)


Offer Different Ways of Worship

Co-Chairs Tommy Holderness & Gail Henderson-Belsito (October 2017 through May 2018)


Embrace and Engage the Needs of Our City

Co-Chairs John Tate, Scott Warfield & Scott Bryan (October 2017 through May 2018)


Create a Financial Resource Development Plan

Co-Chairs Mike Fischer & Bart Landess (October 2017 through May 2018)


Cultivate Future Leaders

Co-Chairs Mark Caldwell & Amy Brinkley (January through May 2018)


Craft a Master Campus Plan

Co-Chairs Jimmy Dudley & Susan Keesler (October 2017 through Summer 2018)\


In wave two, committees will begin work on initiatives to:

Honor the Sabbath (January through December 2018)

Reimagine our Physical Space (January through September 2018)

Emerge as an Epicenter of Service in Our City (May 2018 through Spring 2019)

Expand Pastoral Counseling Outreach in Our City (May through December 2018)


Watch for updates from these committees under News & Announcements on the Now@FPC page.



November 16, 2017

One westbound lane of Trade Street between Church and Tryon streets will be closes through January 12, 2018. This applies only to the curbside lane heading west. CATS will not be affected.


November 10, 2017

The code for exiting the Poplar Street parking lot will change on Tuesday, November 14. Be sure to check at the front desk or at any elevator in the building for the new code beginning that day.

So that parents with young children can participate in as many churchwide events as they wish, First Presbyterian will now offer childcare at no cost for all churchwide events.

The only requirement is that reservations must be made two days before the event. When there are no reservations, no childcare will be available.

Beginning immediately, childcare reservations can be made on the Now@FPC page on the website, under Events or Tickets & Signups.

Childcare will continue to be provided without reservations on Sunday mornings from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Families with questions can contact Tammy Winchip.

Core Church, a faith community  in Westerly Hills, is sponsoring a holiday turkey drive for neighborhood families in need. The church has asked for our help in making Thanksgiving bountiful for as many Westerly Hills families as possible.  

In that spirit, we plan to collect 75 turkeys.

If you want to help, please pick up a frozen turkey, 11-16 pounds, and drop if off at First Presbyterian during the week of November 12.

Then, on November 19 at 4 p.m., Core Church will host a Thanksgiving Service followed by the distribution of all the fixings. Please come and join this opportunity to rejoice in this season of giving with old and new friends. Contact Mary Scott Peterson with questions.

November 2, 2017

Learn more about the Cuba mission team during the Good Samaritan class on November 19 at 10 a.m. Or you may email Elizabeth Little or call her at 252.723.8653 for more details.

November 1, 2017

PW (Presbyterian Women) will offer a new women’s Circle forming in the northern part of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

An organizational meeting is set for Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at 2 p.m., at the home of member Barb Neidinger. Contact Barb at 704-892-8499 or

If you cannot attend this meeting but are interested in being part of this Circle, please let Barb know so you can be including on the mailing/email list.