Month: November 2020

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

November 24, 2020

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.


We are excited to offer for sale packs of notecards and envelopes featuring a pen & ink watercolor by Lucy Caldwell of the beautiful Ascension window in the FPC sanctuary. 

The cost is $15/pack.  You can choose to have the cards sent to one address (8 cards per pack) OR you can pick up the cards at church (10 cards per pack).

Enter your login information to place your order. 

If you choose to pick up your order at the church, you will be notified by email when you may do so. Contact with questions.

Order your cards today!

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.

November 12, 2020

If you would like 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 now. 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.

Please include the name of y our loved one and indicate if the gift is an honorarium or a memorial.

Wreaths, roping, poinsettias and trees can be ordered now as part of the FPC Schools’ Greenery Sale to benefit the schools’ scholarship fund. Order now online. Contact Debbie Shirkey with questions.