Month: April 2020

April 22, 2020

In the middle of a very empty, very quiet uptown scene, our church parking lot was a beehive of well-choreographed motion this past Wednesday afternoon.

Diane Carey, our Loaves and Fishes Ministry Team Leader; FPC volunteers Fran Landess, Alison Ridenhour and son Michael, Beth Guinan and daughter Erin; and delivery team regular Bill Neal carried large boxes packed with a seven-day supply of groceries from the Loaves and Fishes warehouse truck to the long line of cars snaking around the Poplar Street lot. In less than 90 minutes, Diane reported that 245 family members received the food.

“If you were tired at the end of the hour and a half,” Diane said in thanking the volunteers, “you know why! Everyone seems to have been pleased with how this system worked, and it was very efficient. Please know that these boxes of food that you helped to load made a tremendous impact on those families needing this support.”

Ross and Sue Loeser were able to photograph the operation from their apartment window across the street from the church. Sue said, “It looks like more than a normal shift of people are coming through. Good work!”

With our brick-and-mortar pantry closed, First Presbyterian Church was asked to be a host site for the Loaves and Fishes Mobile Pantry. Executive Director Tina Postel wrote, “Our agency partners are working tirelessly to make sure everyone is fed. The long hours are worth it, though, when you get to see the relief and gratitude on people’s faces as we load their vehicles up with much needed groceries!”

This same sentiment was echoed by FPC volunteer Fran in her email afterwards. “It was fun and we felt very useful—fed about 250 people!”

By all accounts, the first FPC Mobile Pantry was a success. Consequently, the Mobile Pantry truck will be parked in our church lot every Wednesday going forward for the remainder of the stay at home order. Although the volunteers’ smiles were hidden behind masks and their words of encouragement were muffled, the actions of their hard-working limbs spoke volumes about our commitment to care for and love our neighbors in the heart of Charlotte.

~ Flo Bryan, Ministry Team Coordinator

April 13, 2020

We remain committed to the Capital Campaign. However, out of sensitivity to our members in these uncertain economic times, the Session has decided to pause our active fundraising efforts. 

Originally, we planned to build fundraising momentum toward a commitment Sunday on May 17. Those plans are delayed until we have a better sense of the economic landscape, perhaps until this fall.  

We also need to be good stewards of the church’s resources and are delaying the start of construction, to align with our adjusted fundraising calendar. Before the COVID disruption, we were scheduled to start construction on September 1, 2020. Now, if the way be clear, we anticipate starting construction in late May, 2021.  

None of us wanted or could have anticipated the challenges we face, but there has never been a more important moment for us to be the church. In these next weeks (or months) our focus as a church will be on caring for our members and our neighbors, and offering opportunities for prayer and worship.  

Because we have already received some payments from those who have pledged to the campaign, we can continue with the construction planning and work with the organ builder on a revised timeline. We also continue to plan for our two large missional outreach projects—expanding the Child Development Center with an endowment for tuition scholarships, and establishing a sliding-scale mental health practice in the heart of Charlotte.  

First Presbyterian Church has maintained its witness to Christ in the heart of Charlotte for 199 years because of God’s faithfulness and that of our members. That faithfulness will sustain us and provide for us in this season.

~The Reverend Pen Peery