Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church,
am resigning from my role as Director of Children’s Ministries as of June
30. It has been a joy to serve in and among the members of the church and
you for your involvement in, leadership with, and support of Children’s
Ministry programs. My prayer is that you continue to share your gifts
with the children of the church and community that they would be nurtured in
this faith and flourish as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
Dear FPC Family,
We want to thank Tammy for her work as the Director of Children’s Ministry. We appreciate how Tammy has shared her love of Jesus Christ with the children and all people of our church. She has used her talents to help our children discover God in their lives and how to live as beloved children of God. We are grateful for the impact she has made in Christian Formation, the FPC Schools, and the larger congregation. We ask for prayers for Tammy and Joel as she begins this new stage. Tammy will continue to serve in her role through June 30th. We hope to celebrate Tammy and thank her at the end of June as safety and COVID related guidelines allow, more details to follow. If you have any questions about the transition please email me.
With CMS closed for the year and Charlotte under stay-at-home orders, the members of Girl Scout Troop 15 are missing their end-of-year activities. One much-anticipated event was a weekend trip in May to Jason’s Getaway in Nemo, NC, where the girls planned to hike to a waterfall, ride horses, and pet animals/have a hayride at a working farm. We hope to reschedule the trip this fall.
By the way, the girls will be planning their next trip with the cookie money they raised, selling Girl Scout cookies here at First Presbyterian Church. In total, they raised $580!! We are so thankful to the members of FPC for making the girls’ first time selling cookies such a positive one!
Looking for a way to connect with the Scouts in today’s environment, troop leaders wondered if the girls could cook for their families using the skills they learned last December. At that time, they earned was the New Cuisines Cadet Badge when they met at FPC and prepared chicken enchiladas under the guidance of FPC member and personal chef, Melissa Toth.
Ruth Ellen Gill texted Scout parents to ask if this was a good idea. “YES!” was the immediate response. So, groceries were purchased, recipes printed, and we were set to go Saturday, April 25.
Along with the food package, we
included a badge they could work on at home – the Comic Artist Badge – as well as paper and colored pencils, to tell
their own story by making a comic strip.
With the success of this experiment, troop leaders are now considering a second meal kit for the families. New Orleans gumbo was the runner-up choice when the girls decided to cook enchiladas in December, so that is a possibility. If you have a family favorite –and simple!—recipe for gumbo, please send it to Barb Neidinger.
Thank you, FPC, for all the
ways you support Girl Scout Troop 15!
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.
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.
Friends in Faith at First Presbyterian – Your church staff has been thinking and praying about how the spread of the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) might affect our church family and our operation as a church campus. These are the steps that we are taking to be safe and prepared:
We will follow all directions from the Division of Public Health and
Human Services and from Mecklenburg County Public Health officials.
While unlikely, if they should ask churches to abstain from public
worship, we will be prepared to broadcast and stream our worship
services. The recommendations of public health officials may also impact
things beyond worship, such as mission trips or fellowship events.
Our schools—the Child Development Center and the Weekday School—will
follow and/or mirror the directives of the Division of Child
Development, Department of Health and Human Resources. The schools will
also take into consideration the directives of Charlotte Mecklenburg
Our facilities staff will continue its commitment to having the
church campus be a clean and hygienic environment. They will also ensure
that we have extra quantities of hand sanitizer in public places that
are heavily trafficked.
We are preparing, if necessary, to make adjustments to our worship
liturgy to reflect suggestions by local health professionals and
organizations such as Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. An example of
this might include how we serve the Lord’s Supper and the ways we greet
We will remain committed to providing pastoral care in the midst of any escalating situation.
There is a fine line between being prepared and being alarmist. We are prepared. I also would like to ask that you:
Pray. Pray for patients, doctors, nurses, researchers, and public
health officials. Prayer settles the heart and creates empathy. It also
reminds us that God is in control.
Breathe. The threat of COVID-19 is real, but it is also low. Fear
can turn an attitude of caution into one of panic. What we need is
Practice neighborliness. Wash your hands. Stay home if you are sick.
If you know people who are isolated or alone or quarantined, reach out
to them by phone or email and let them know they are loved.
May God bless those who are affected and afraid, and may we embody the love and grace of Christ in these times.
All are invited when Adult Formation classes combine in the final two weeks before Easter. On Sunday, March 29, the Reverend Robert Galloway will lead a class on Atonement. On Sunday, April 5, the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter will lead a a class on Resurrection.
To honor or memorialize someone this Easter, purchase a lily to decorate the chancel for April 12. Lilies are $13 each. You can <order online now>, purchase one in the historical lobby on Sundays through March 22, or send a check to Diane Maye at P.O. Box 1008, Huntersville, NC 28070. Please include the name of the person you wish to honor or memorialize, and indicate whether the order is an honorarium or memorial. The final day to order lilies is Wednesday, April 1.