Blog

First Fellowship Needs Hosts

October 22, 2018

First Fellowship  gatherings begin this winter, and we hope they will be opportunities for First Pres members and friends to gather for fun and fellowship both within the walls of the church and beyond. Among these opportunities will be neighborhood/area-wide gatherings in church members’ homes. The church will help with logistics and other support, we just need hospitable hosts. If you are interested in hosting a group gathering in your home (anytime between now and May), or have other ideas for fellowship, please contact Mary Margaret Porter (mporter@firstpres-charlotte.org). Fellowship is an important part of  Congregational Care. The time and consideration we provide one another is vital to keeping this church vibrant and nourished to continue to be for Christ in the Heart of Charlotte

First Serves: A New Tradition

 

Our 2018 Stewardship campaign culminated with a new FPC tradition on October 14.

First Serves, a congregational day of service, saw countless church members and friends of all ages rolling up their sleeves to work on projects ranging from church beautification to meal preparation and assisting local outreach partners.  In the span of a few hours after worship we accomplished the following…

  • Letters were written to 7 missionaries and 40 at-home members
  • 35 people were prayed for and sent notes from the Prayer Ministry Team
  • 20 blankets were made for two-year-olds at Lakewood Preschool
  • 10,000 meals were packaged for hungry people around the globe through Rise Against Hunger
  • 21 flower arrangements were made from the sanctuary flowers and delivered to people with the message that FPC cares about them
  • 775 goodie bags were put together for HEART tutoring students for their winter and summer breaks
  • 30 student folders, 10 pencil pouches, tutor supplies and 20 packs of tutor information were prepared for Westerly Hills Academy
  • 6 homes received a meal of homemade calzones from the Meal Ministry
  • 20 pieces of silver were polished
  • Sanctuary and choir loft were cleaned
  • Downstairs windows were washed
  • The main kitchen was scrubbed
  • Closets were cleaned out and organized

But First Serves was about much more than the numbers.  Engaging members of all ages and backgrounds in programs designed to support and lift up other people provided a wonderful opportunity for people to connect with one another.  Through fellowship, worship, and service, God was glorified and our community was strengthened.

~ The Reverend Katherine Kerr

First Sunday Speaker: Fostering Compassion

October 18, 2018

On November 4 at 10 a.m. all adult formation classes will come together in Wood Fellowship Hall to hear the Reverend Cathy Hasty speak on Fostering Compassion: Understanding the Possible Long Term Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences.  This conversation is about the challenges inherent in a life of poverty and how difficult experiences affect our lives. The Reverend Hasty is the Director of Health Ministry and Pastoral Education at Novant. All are invited.

Good Samaritan Class: The Impact of Incarceration

The Good Samaritan Class, which meets in the Fresco Lobby on Sundays at 10 a.m., will offer a five-week program on the subject of People Re-entering Society: The Impact of Incarceration. Discussions will include: 

  • Nov. 11:  How did we get here?
  • Nov. 18 – Being incarcerated
  • Nov. 25 – What happens to the family?
  • Dec. 2 – Returning home
  • Dec. 16 – What do we do, now that we know more?

On December 9, this class will meet in Wood Fellowship Hall for the children’s Nativity Play.

Loaves and Fishes Needs You!

October 4, 2018

We have two big needs in our Loaves and Fishes pantry. Our third Saturday team could two people for the next six months. This would be a good shift for a high school student who needs volunteer hours. And we need strong people to help with Tuesday deliveries. This shift would involve lifting heavy boxes. Can you help? Contact Mary Scott Peterson.

Parish Associates Start October 1

September 27, 2018

With the departures of the Reverend Erika Funk and the Reverend Katelyn Gordon Cooke, we find ourselves in a staffing transition. The Personnel Committee, the Session and I have been at work paying attention to where God is at work in this season of our church’s life and where we can find opportunities to build a staff that aligns with our Strategic Plan and continues to build vitality as a witness for Christ in the center of our city.

Soon, the Session will adopt a long-term program staff model that will accomplish those ends. Now, however, we have the need to bring in high-performing talent to help us in our transition. I am pleased and grateful to share that we have found two part-time Parish Associates who I believe are especially gifted to help us meet that need—the Reverend Dr. Rebecca Davis and the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter.

Beginning on October 1, the Reverend Dr. Rebecca Davis will be our Parish Associate with a focus on Christian Formation. Becky is a native of West Virginia. A graduate of Marshall University, Becky also hold degrees from Union Theological Seminary, the Presbyterian School of Christian Education, and her Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.

Becky is deeply committed to the church, the way God is at work through the ministry of Christian education and formation, the gift of community, the joy of worship and sacraments, and the value of children. Her life demonstrates these commitments, as she has worked at the Children’s Defense Fund, as a pastor (in Texas, Arkansas and at Myers Park Presbyterian Church here in Charlotte), Presbyterian College (where she was a professor for Christian Education), and now at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, where she is a professor for Christian Education. The focus of Becky’s ministry will be to supervise and support our Directors of Christian Formation and the Christian Formation Committee, as well as to lead in worship. Becky will work 12 hours a week.

“Faith formation engages all aspects of the Church’s call and mission,” Becky said. “The model of ministry at First Presbyterian, Charlotte, intentionally seeks to build bridges between personal faith and public engagement as well as between church and world. It is a deeply joyful and compelling experience to join with others on this sacred journey where faith is formed, explored and practiced.”

Also beginning on October 1, the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter will join our staff as a Parish Associate with a focus on connection and fellowship. Mary Margaret will be familiar to many of you. She grew up at First Presbyterian and her husband (Fritz) and two boys (Mason and Hill) are actively involved. Mary Margaret is a graduate of Davidson College and received her Masters at Duke Divinity School. Most recently, she served as the Parish Associate at Davidson College Presbyterian Church.

Mary Margaret finds joy in connecting people to one another, building community and celebrating the ways God is at work in the relationships between God’s people. While at First Presbyterian, Mary Margaret will work with the Reverend Katherine Kerr and the Congregational Care Committee to cultivate and support ways our congregation can build and celebrate our connections to one another. Mary Margaret will be working seven hours a week.

“I am thrilled to be back in my home church to help strengthen our connections to one another and have some fun along the way!” Mary Margaret said. “I look forward to working with you all to think of new and exciting ways for our congregation to meet and grow as a community of faith both in the heart of Charlotte and beyond.”

Mary Margaret also wanted everyone to know that she plans to attend the congregational retreat in November and looks forward to meeting and getting to know folks in the mountains.

~ The Reverend Pen Peery

Stewardship: Become an Agent of God’s Welcome!

Through your pledges, you become an agent of God’s welcome. And you make possible all the ways in which we serve Christ in the heart of Charlotte.

You can pledge today online, or use the return envelope you received in the mail to either mail in your pledge or bring it with you on Commitment Sunday.

Read more about the 2019 campaign and how your dollars are used.

 

Also on Commitment Sunday, plan to participate in First Serves, our congregation-wide day of service. Find out more and RSVP for 10 a.m. brunch (no charge), request childcare for your very youngest family members and browse through service opportunities from noon-2 p.m.

FPC Launches New Podcast: Voices from Church and Trade

 

Church isn’t limited to inside the plaster walls or iron fence of FPC—and our new podcast will enable people to access programming wherever they are.

“Church happens wherever we study, gather and do Christ’s work,” said Director of Adult Formation Garrell Keesler, who is spearheading the new offering. “To fully be the church, we need to take content and conversation to the people. That was the inspiration for our new podcast, Voices from Church and Trade.”

Over time, Garrell expects to build a library of podcasts that will help connect the church to the world by providing brief (15-20 minute) conversations to refresh the ways we practice faith.

Why “Church and Trade”?

“For 200 years, FPC has stood at the intersection of these streets listening to the city and telling stories of faith,” Garrell said. “These podcast conversations will explore the places where the sacred and the secular flow together. They’ll focus on the energy and vibrancy that occur when different streams of thought merge. And they’ll explore the new ideas that arise from sharing different perspectives.”

The first podcast features the Reverend Pen Peery and FPC member John Horne. Access it from the Now@First page on the church website, as well as from various social media outlets.