February 18, 2020

During the season of Lent, which begins on Wednesday, February 26, Formation will offer the following devotional materials.

  • Examen Cards for families with young children: A simple card with the five questions of the Daily Examen is available in the Historical Lobby.
  • Use Lenten calendars created for grades K-2 to encourage prayer and mark the days until Easter.
  • Youth & Adults: Each week, emails will be sent out to the congregation. The emails will include quotes, scripture, and prayers based on the previous Sunday’s preaching text. 

All members are encouraged to attend one of the Opening Doors Capital Campaign information sessions planned during March. These sessions are your opportunity to hear about the scope of the work that will be possible when we reach our campaign goals—including work in our Sanctuary, mission work and infrastructure. Make plans now to attend one of these remaining sessions:

  • Sunday, March 29, at noon in the Chapel
  • Tuesday, March 31, at 5 p.m. at Sharon Towers

RSVP to Mary Scott Peterson.

February 17, 2020

First Reads, our quarterly congregational book group, will read and discuss The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr. This book suggests a shift in the way that we consider the Trinity and images of God. Rohr writes, “…the gift of the Trinity… offers a grounded reconnection with  God, self, others and world…” The discussion will take place on Thursday, March 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at various locations offsite.To sign up, email the Reverend Robert Galloway

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.

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!

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


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.

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.

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.

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.