Blog Archives

FPC Chooses Eco-friendly Palms

February 25, 2019

Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, accompanied by the waving of palm branches, is re-enacted each Palm Sunday in Christian congregations worldwide as Holy Week observances begin.

 

This year, when First Presbyterian Church celebrates Palm Sunday on April 14, we will be doing so with palms from communities in Mexico and Guatemala where workers are paid fairly and engage in sustainable harvesting in order to protect the local ecosystem. These palms will be purchased directly from harvesters at five to six times the normal payment per frond. This choice helps improve standards of living and protects forests.

A Monday that Didn’t Get Me Down!

February 21, 2019

Mondays can be rough. That alarm seems to go off way too early, and the coffee takes way too long to kick in. The to-do list for the week is at its longest, and everything seems to be urgent. Sometimes I’m already beginning the mental countdown to the weekend!

One Monday a couple of weeks ago was not one of those days for me.

As I walked into my office, I noticed the voicemail light blinking. It was a message from a long-time church member, asking me to call her. It seems the Camp Grier camper she and her husband had sponsored and mentored for many years, now an analyst at Wells Fargo, was interested in sponsoring a camper this year herself. Her experience at Camp Grier had been so meaningful to her that she felt called to provide that experience to someone else.

After that wonderful conversation, I went to a Read Charlotte Transformation Network meeting, where I had the privilege of sharing our HELPS tutoring successes as part of the “celebrations” portion of the meeting. We have been tutoring students since November 22, with breaks for holidays and testing during that time and I let them know that, of the eleven students we tutor at Westerly Hills, 82% showed growth (most, quite significant growth) in their mid-year fluency test scores.

In fact, 27% of the students we are tutoring showed so much growth that they would no longer be identified as needing the intervention. 

Neither Read Charlotte nor the administration at the school were expecting to see an impact yet. But we made an impact, and it wasn’t small. Read Charlotte is going back to the professor who developed the program to see how we should proceed because they didn’t expect this kind of progress!

When we serve others, we know that we are doing what God calls us to do. We know it makes us feel good, and we hope that it is really making a difference in this overwhelmingly broken world. Rarely do we receive such bold confirmation, though, that what we do does matter. HELPS is helping struggling readers hit their goals and move forward, more quickly than we could have ever dreamed. The relationships formed and memories made as a result of our summer camps program are long-lasting, meaningful and important.

Yes, what we do matters.  Yes, it takes time.  Yes, it takes commitment.  And it brings joy.  It creates hope. It matters.

Don’t you want to sign up online today to create hope.

~ Heather Herring, Child & Family Partnership Coordinator

Join a Mission Trip With Your FPC Family

February 18, 2019

Are you looking to serve others in the world? Here is our list of global mission trips for 2019-20

  • Cuba/March 7-10: This year’s trip will celebrate the signing of the covenant between First Presbyterian Church and the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Matanzas, Cuba. This ecumenical seminary educates ministers and lay people in Cuba, where a generation of citizens has not experienced open worship opportunities and is not freely sharing its faith in God. Registration is already closed due to the length of time required to get the necessary visas. If you are interested in going in 2020, contact Elizabeth Little.
  • Mexico/Fall 2019: Contact Martha Eubank to learn more about this trip.
  • Russia/Summer 2020: Begin making plans now to go on this mission trip to Russia to continue our support of the ministry of Hope Baptist Church in Ryazan. Mary Elizabeth Coley can give you more information.
  • Intra-National Mission/Fall 2019: Each year our church sends a mission team to an area in the US that is recovering from a natural disaster. Teams have gone to New York City to help with the recovery from Superstorm Sandy and to eastern North Carolina to help rebuild after the hurricanes of recent years. Contact David Burton for more information.

Moving Ministry

FPC’s Moving Ministry helps a family move from homelessness or transition into a permanent home. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Crisis Assistance Furniture Bank, 333 Dalton Road, on Saturday, March 9. There is work for friends and family, including teenagers and their friends. <Sign up online.> <https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050b48a4a82ba64-crisis2>

Lenten Book Read: Life of the Beloved

During the season of Lent, which began on March 6, the congregation at First Presbyterian Church began the solemn yet hopeful journey toward the cross during the season we know as Lent. Following two Ash Wednesday services, all are invited to begin the congregation-wide book read.

Henri Nouwen’s book Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World will help us learn more about what it means to live in the knowledge that we are beloved and how we can reflect this belovedness into the world. Books are available for sale on Sundays, along with a free companion booklet for all ages, which you can download. The booklet offers a weekly prayer and space for journaling.

Sunday morning Formation classes—Conversation, Passages and High School seniors—and the Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study (ThuMBS) will dig deeper into the book and its message.

 

Christmas isn’t over when you give through the Alternative Gift Market

February 8, 2019

The Christmas tree has long since been hauled off to the landfill. The boxes with Christmas lights and ornaments are safely tucked away in the attic gathering dust until next year. Christmas is pretty much a memory.

But not for everyone.

Many of you made purchases at our church’s Alternative Gift Market. Instead of buying another sweater or a pair of Christmas socks, you make contributions to organizations here in Charlotte and around the world that provide love and care and comfort to people in need.

Because of the gifts you gave, people are still today benefiting from your Christmas generosity.

This year’s Alternative Gift Market raised $5,500 to help people in need.

Local Missions

  • Camp Grier (a summer camp experience for students at Westerly Hills and Lakewood Preschool): $355
  • A Child’s Place (a program supporting children experiencing homelessness): $195
  • Community Link (supports homeless veterans, meals for homeless families): $230
  • Crisis Assistance Ministry (assistance for families in crisis): $190
  • Friendship Trays (supplies meals for elderly, handicapped, ill and homebound in our community): $525
  • Habitat for Humanity (safe, affordable housing for hard-working families): $115
  • Lakewood Preschool (provides free, high-quality preschool education ): $105
  • Loaves and Fishes (nutritious groceries for neighbors facing economic hardship): $490
  • Urban Ministry Center (serves people facing homelessness and poverty): $260
  • Westerly Hills Academy (gifts support our church’s literacy initiative at Westerly Hills): $655
  • YWCA – Central Carolinas (supports programs for women and families in transition): $10

Global Missions

  • First Presbyterian Church Mission Trips (work supplies and equipment for youth and adult on our church’s mission trips): $30
  • Cuba Partnership (supports programs at the seminary with which we have a partnership): $260
  • Haiti Partnership (supports the work of our partnership in Bayonnais, Haiti): $705
  • Mexico Partnership (supports the work of Acción Ministries with meals, housing, and scholarships for Mayan children): $1000
  • Russia Partnership (our gifts help to build a church in Russia where faith communities still face persecution): $10
  • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (helps communities rebuild following natural disasters): $365

Thank you for your support. And if you would like to provide additional support to these agencies, your gifts will be greatly appreciated by those whose lives are being blessed because of you.

~ The Reverend Chuck Williamson

Worship Volunteers Needed

February 4, 2019

The church needs volunteers to serve as sound board operators during the 11 a.m. worship. If you would like to assist with this vital component of our worship service, contact Jesse Hite.

Chapel Open for Families during Worship

We love small children in worship, but sometimes small children find it hard to sit through the entire worship service. For times like those, families attending the 9 or 11 a.m. Sunday worship are welcome to move into the small chapel to the right of the main sanctuary, where the service is available by TV.

Buy Some Sparkle and Support Summer Camps

Are you looking to update your wardrobe? Come to the annual PW Sparkle Party on May 5! Lightly used jewelry, accessories, scarves and bags will be on sale and the proceeds will support BELL, the summer academic enrichment program, and Camp Grier. Enjoy fun, fellowship, food and fashion on Sunday, May 5, 2-5 p.m. at the home of the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter. This event is open to everyone (and is a great place to find last-minute Mother’s Day gifts).

PW Benevolence Grants

Presbyterian Women has opened its annual grant applications for its Benevolence Fund. The PW Benevolence Review Committee participates with agencies and organizations that provide hope, help and dignity for those in need. Preference is given to agencies working to break the cycles of poverty, illiteracy and inferior education, violence, and crime, particularly as these issues have a heavy impact on women and children. Application deadline is March 15, and grants will be disbursed in May. The committee encourages any church member with knowledge of an agency in need to request an application or 2019 grant application or send the name of the agency/organization to Cynthia Buck (seafbuck@gmail.com, 704-591-3738). You can also apply online or by snail mail to Cynthia Buck, 1220 Belgrave Place, Charlotte, NC 28203 704-591-3738