Blog Archives

FUPC-FPC Discussion Series

January 16, 2019

FUPC-FPC Discussion Series

For its tenth year, the lunch and discussion series with First United Presbyterian Church takes on the subject Can Life Be Fair? What Does Our Faith Say? The series runs for four weeks, features speakers such as the Reverend Dr. Rodney Sadler and de’Angelo Dia, and will alternate between FPC and FUPC at 406 North College Street.


February 3: Can Life Be Fair? The Reverend Dr. Rodney Sadler, Associate Professor of Bible, Union Presbyterian Seminary, gives an overview of the oscillating history of racism in the U.S., illustrating African American gains and subsequent loses. What have been some of the responses to the losses? What biblical lessons inspire progress? At FPC.


February 10: Black Lives Matter or All Lives Matter? Donna Fair, Wellness Ministry Director at Myers Park Presbyterian Church, brings us videos of the Black Lives Matter Movement founders and the Video Raising a Black Son. At FUPC.


February 24: Build the Wall! Federico Rios, International & Integration Manager of the City of Charlotte provides a look at the truth about immigration, both locally and nationally, and what people like us can do. At FUPC.


March 3: Can Life Be Fair? A Faithful Response. de’Angelo Dia, Advocacy Coordinator for the  Stan Greenspon Center for Peace and Social Justice at Queens University of Charlotte speaks on perspective and personal transformation.

Fellowship Feasts

Fellowship is an important part of who we are as a church family. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to uphold and support one another in faith and love. To further facilitate our fellowship connections here at First Presbyterian Church, we will be starting small group Fellowship Feasts. Similar to the previous Four by Four groups, if you are interested, you will be grouped with a total of 8 individuals (couples and singles) and encouraged to gather in fellowship four times over the next six months. The nature and location of your gathering is completely up to you – pizza and football, a formal dinner at someone’s home, bowling, etc. The hope is that by being introduced to a new small group of church members, we may strengthen our ties to one another and grow in faith and fellowship.

If you are interested in joining a Fellowship Feasts group, please email Mary Margaret Porter and we will be in touch.

Haiti Mission Trip, February 13-20

January 10, 2019

Plan now to be part of the mission trip to Bayonnais, Haiti. The cost for the trip will be $1300-1400, and  scholarship support is available. Contact Glenna Cook (, 704.651.8017) or Amy Hockett (, 704.277.3223) for information.

Staffing Model Frequently Asked Questions

January 4, 2019

Things at First Presbyterian Church will be different in 2019. Two associate pastors answered God’s call to set out in different directions in the last half of 2018, creating both challenges to keeping things rolling and opportunities to reshape our staff in response to God’s changing call to us as a congregation.

Here are a few questions you may have about staffing changes here at First Presbyterian. And we invite you to send us your questions so we can expand this information as the changes unfold.


Q. How many pastors are we going to have?

A. Three pastors—the Senior Pastor, the Senior Associate Pastor for Congregational Ministry and Care, and an Associate Pastor for Christian Formation and Young Adults.


Q. Why won’t we have an associate pastor for mission?

A. Session determined that FPC can elevate its historic commitment to this ministry by hiring a full-time Director whose sole focus is mission and outreach. Pastors have many other functions to fill—pastoral care and participation in worship, for example—that can pull them away from the work of mission. This director will report to Pen and will be part of the church’s Senior Leadership Team.


Q. When will the new Director of Mission be hired?

A. Since this is not an ordained position, the hiring process could move more quickly than calling a new pastor. We hope this role can be filled in the first six months of the 2019.


 Q. What roles does a part-time parish associate fill?

A. Parish Associates are typically part-time ordained pastors who fill specific roles as well as provide backup for full-time pastors with pastoral care and worship. The model here calls for three part-time parish associates—one for Formation, one for Fellowship and Connection, and one for Senior Adults. Our parish associates will provide oversight and leadership in ways that complement the work of our installed pastors.


Q. Will Chuck Williamson still work with senior adult members?

A. Yes, that is certainly our hope and intention. The Reverend Chuck Williamson currently fills a broad spectrum of needs for our older members, who require different levels of care.


Q. Will Mary Margaret Porter continue to be one of our parish associates?

A. We are delighted to have the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter as our Parish Associate for Fellowship and Connection, with the goal of expanding the ways we share our lives and our faith journeys.


Q. Will Becky Davis become our Associate Pastor for Formation and Young Adults?

A. The Reverend Rebecca Davis will serve as an interim parish associate in the area of Formation. In that role, she will teach on Sunday mornings and provide other forms of theological enrichment to the congregation. The new Associate Pastor for Formation and Young Adults will hire the permanent parish associate.


Q. When will we have a new Associate Pastor?

A. An Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC), to be chaired by Libby Bell, was elected in late 2018 and will begin the search for our new pastor immediately. The hope is that someone will be with us by the time we start a new program year in September, 2019. The APNC will update the congregation about progress.


Have more questions? Send them to Tanya Gaspar, Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor.

Global Mission Sunday

December 28, 2018

Hear about our mission work in Haiti during worship and during brunch during the Formation hour.

Preaching during worship at 9 and 11 a.m. will be Pastor Actionnel Fleurisima, who works with OFCB (Organization of the Christian  Force of Bayonnais) in Bayonnais, Haiti. During the Global Mission Brunch at 10 a.m., all are invited to meet and hear from Bill Nathan, a Haitian drummer who will tell the story of his connection to OFCB. The brunch is free and your RSVP (online or January 13 and 20 in Wood Fellowship Hall) on will help us plan for food.

OFCB and Actionnel work with a school, medical clinic and a non-denominational church in the mountains of the Bayonnais region of Haiti, where Actionnel grew up and returned to raise his family after receiving his education in Haiti and in the U.S. The area is home to tens of thousands residents, struggling for daily survival, many trying to support families with subsistence farming.


Bill was forced into slavery after the death of his mother when he was seven. He has since been able to study drumming in Senegal and Gambia, Africa, and performs at churches and universities around the U.S. He now works with other children who have been enslaved and will tell us about his connection to OFCB’s work in Bayonnais.

Dr. Anna Carter Florence to Visit, Preach

The Reverend Dr. Anna Carter Florence, Peter Marshall Professor of Preaching at Columbia Seminary, will lead worship on January 13 at 9 and 11 a.m. and Adult Formation at 10 a.m. She offers a novel way to read scripture in community: entering the text, encountering it, and coming back with something deep and true.

The Giving Wall

Help support the Youth Mission Fund! Stop by the Giving Wall on Sundays, January 27-February 24, and choose an envelope with the amount you would like to donate. You can also donate here beginning January 27.

The Apocryphal Gospels: A Five-Week Class

The Reverend Mary Margaret Porter will lead this class on the Apocrypha, a large body of writings about the Bible and Jesus that cannot be found in the books in our pews or on our bookshelves. Many of these writings tell ancient stories about Jesus as a child and the beginnings of Christianity. Some may have been written by and about powerful women of the time.

In this five-week series, learn why some books appear in the Bible and others do not, who decided what to include and what to leave out, how we know about these other writings and what we should think of them.

Classes will be at 10 a.m., during the Formation hour, in the Pattie Cole Room (S203). There will not be a class on Sunday, January 13, or on Sunday, January 27. The next four classes will include:

January 20 – Infancy Gospels

February 3 – The Ministry Gospels

February 10 – The Passion Gospels

February 17 – The Post-Resurrection Discourse Gospels

Seminary Students to Lead Worship

December 17, 2018

We take a breather between Christmas and the New Year with one service at 11 a.m. and no formation classes on Sunday, December 30. Worship will be led by some of our members and staff who are currently attending seminary. Selina Malherbe will preach the sermon, “Praise the Lord!”; assisting in worship will be Natalie Raygor and the Reverend Katherine Kerr.