Blog Archives

Combined Adult Class on The Trinity

February 17, 2020

The final class in this series on the Trinity will be Sunday, March 15. The Trinity: Holy Spirit will be led by the Reverend Mary Bowman.

Alternative Gift Market Success

February 3, 2020

Alternative Gift Market Success

Thank you to all who gave generously to the Alternative Gift Market during the holiday season. Because of your generosity, First Presbyterian Church was able to gift our local and global partners with $6680 dollars toward their critical needs. Your continued support of Alternative Gift Market over the years has made it possible for us to give more than $166,000.  Thank you!

A Family in Trauma at Westerly Hills

January 27, 2020

My heart sank on December 29, while celebrating the holidays with family, when I received an email from the principal of Westerly Hills Academy with the subject line “one of our own.”

She was referring to a student who had been killed in a hit and run accident.

I had seen the story on the news a couple of nights before. I searched for the accident online. It wasn’t hard to find the details. Amari, 11 years old, was riding his bike at 5:40 p.m., when he was struck by a vehicle. The car didn’t even slow down at first, then took off, leaving the child on the street. As the driver fled the scene, Amari’s bicycle was dragged under the car onto Interstate 85.  The details left me horrified.

I didn’t know Amari. He wasn’t a scholar in our BellXcel summer program. He wasn’t one of the students we tutored or sent to camp. But I did recognize him. His face was one I had seen over and over again at Westerly Hills. I have learned more about Amari since he was killed.

I learned he lived in a hotel with his mother and younger sister, who has special needs. I learned his nickname was Tank and he loved video games and was very protective of his sister. I learned that he helped her get ready for school each morning.

Amari wasn’t just a “juvenile killed in a hit-and-run accident” as the news stated. Amari was a fun-loving, protective, caring child of God.

I have thought a lot about Amari’s mom and sister since the accident. With the day-to-day challenges they face, how do they begin to deal with this tragedy? Father Gregory Boyle, who will be with us on March 15 as our 2020 Willard Lecturer, says we are to seek compassion that “can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry.” I wonder if I would have the strength to endure that many hard things. I know I couldn’t do it alone.

As we learned in the documentary Resilience this fall, the harmful effects of trauma can be offset by community and support. Westerly Hills Academy has surrounded mom and sister with a great deal of support, including connecting them with housing and counseling resources. We have supported the family with food and clothing, and we are collecting donations to provide bus passes for Amari’s family to go to counseling regularly, as they do not have transportation. (To contribute, send a check to the church with “bus passes” in the memo line or donate online in the Tickets & Signups section of the Now@First page on the church website. Look for Bus Passes for Amari’s Family.

As a church, we are called to share love, light and hope to the world. As Christians, we are asked to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). My hope is that Amari’s family is able to feel our love and our prayers, and that we can shine a little light into this dark time for them.

– Heather Herring, Child & Family Partnership Coordinator


Realm Help Day

January 22, 2020

Want to learn more about using Realm Connect, or get connected if you haven’t already? Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 29, in the Welcome Center, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Realm allows you to manage your personal information and who is allowed to see it, control your giving, and keep in touch with the church groups that matter to you.

Realm Help Days

Want to learn more about using Realm Connect, or get connected if you haven’t already? Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 29, in the Welcome Center, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Realm allows you to manage your personal information and who is allowed to see it, control your giving, and keep in touch with the church groups that matter to you.

Montreat Worship and Music Conference Registration

Registration is now open for Montreat Worship and Music conference week 1, June 21-26. The conference is open to current 3rd-12th grade students and will cost no more than $375. Final cost will depend on the number of children and youth who attend. Financial assistance is available (contact Will Young).

Children and youth participate in choir, Bible Study, Fun and Games, small groups and other electives (for middle school and high school) such as handbells, drama, instrumental ensembles, a social justice seminar, and photography. Evening activities include the YMCA climbing tower (weather permitting), pizza at My Father’s Pizza, a talent show and the closing music program Friday evening.

Breakfasts are at the individual houses, lunch is a picnic by Anderson Auditorium (weather permitting) and dinner is together in one of our two houses. We will depart after worship on June 21 via the church bus with a stop for lunch along the way. Contact  Caryn Overbey  with questions.  To register your child or youth, send a check for $75 made out to First Presbyterian Church (with Montreat W&M in the memo field) to Caryn Overbey’s attention.

Winter Worship: Back to Basics

The weeks before Lent give us space to explore the basics of our faith during worship. Here are the topics we’ll explore through February 16.

  • February 9 – Reach Out for What? Sermon text: Luke 5:17-36; first reading: Mark 12:28-34. The Reverend Pen Peery preaching.
  • February 16 – Why be Presbyterian? The Reverend Robert Galloway preaching.

Cookies for Sharon Towers

Construction at Sharon Towers will mean there is no space for the annual cookie party hosted by PW (Presbyterian Women). But construction won’t keep us from making sure our friends at Sharon Towers will have a sweet treat for Valentine’s Day.

PW is requesting four dozen cookies from each Circle so a gift bag can be made for the residents at Sharon Towers. Cookies can be dropped off at the church by 1 p.m. on Monday, February 10, or at the home of Page Rogers (please use the covered side patio) by 5 p.m. on the same day. Gift bags will be assembled and delivered to Sharon Towers.

PW Accepting Grant Applications

Do you know an agency or organization that could use some financial assistance? PW (Presbyterian Women) is accepting applications for grants from its Benevolence Fund through March 20. Preference is given to agencies working to break the cycles of poverty, illiteracy, violence and crime, particularly as these issues impact women and children.

The Benevolence Review Committee participates with agencies and organizations providing hope, help, and dignity for those in need with a focus on serving Christ in the heart of Charlotte.

If you want to recommend an agency or organization, please send the name and contact information to Jane Gustafson (, 112 Hillside Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28209. Call Jane (704-839-1222) with questions. You can also access an application form here or on the Now@First page on the church website, under Tickets and Signups.


Women’s Nutrition, Health and Fellowship

January 14, 2020

Registered dietitian and nutritionist Jacy Schaffer will be on hand Tuesday, January 28, at 6:30 p.m. to discuss nutrition and healthy lifestyles during this  First Fellowship event. She will be joined by Dr. Anne Barnard, who can also answer questions related to women’s health.

Jacy has a passion for wellness and prevention. She previously worked as a clinical registered dietitian, providing medical nutrition therapy to heart and vascular patients. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition with a concentration in Dietetics from Appalachian State University. She completed an ACEND-accredited internship at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Come enjoy fellowship as we learn how to better care for the gift of God that is our bodies. This event will be at home of Carmalita Monroe, 2341 Richardson Drive. Register here.