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Now @ First

This Week's Big Event: Signs of Fall

Fall Kickoff is September 8, and will be the start of a new program year for Formation, Presbyterian Women, mission opportunities and worship. Here are some things you can do right now to get ready for fall.

 

Bible and Beverage Returns:

Join the Reverend Pen Peery and other FPC men on Tuesday, August 13, for the return of this opportunity for discussion and fellowship. Bible and Beverage meets at Resident Culture Brewing, 2101 Central Avenue, 8-9:30 p.m., on the second Tuesday of each month.

First Church Leader Orientation

Join us on August 18 at 9 a.m. or on August 25 at noon for First Church Leader Orientation.

 

First Church and Elementary Teacher Orientation

Join us on  August 18 at noon or on August 25 at 9 a.m.

PW Apple Tree for Westerly Hills Academy

The Westerly Hills Academy Apple Tree, sponsored by Presbyterian Women, will be in full bloom August 18-September 15 to provide a goody bag of supplies for all 45 classrooms. You can show your support in three ways:

  1. Pick an apple from the tree, which will be in the lobby, and purchase the supplies or a gift card and return them to the bin in the back hall behind the sanctuary.
  2. Mail a check to the church with “Westerly Hills Academy Apple Tree donation” noted in the memo line.
  3. Make an online donation. The donations will be used specifically to purchase teacher planners, dry erase markers, felt tip pens and sticky notes.

Please have all donations to the church by Thursday, September 19. If you have questions, Contact Christe Eades, ceades@carolina.rr.com.

Habitat for Humanity

In September, we begin work on our 31st home during our 21st year of working with Habitat for Humanity.

The Habitat season begins with a kickoff dinner on Tuesday, September 10, in Wood Fellowship Hall at 6 p.m.

Construction begins on Saturday, September 14. You can register now to volunteer for one or more days to help with construction, using Church Partners ID #1686.

Presbyterian Women Fall Gathering

All women of the church are invited to the PW Fall Gathering on Sunday,  September 15, in Wood Fellowship Hall immediately following worship. This event kicks off a new year of circles, fellowship and learning. Our 2019-20 theme is “Make a Connection.” Register at church on Sundays, by calling the church reception desk at 704.332.5123, or online via Realm. (you will be asked to log in to Realm. If you don’t have an account, please email Realm Support and ask for an invitation.

Resilience Documentary Showing

Come see how science and spirit intersect in a powerful message of hope and healing in the documentary  Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope. A free showing will be on Sunday, September 22, 5-7 p.m. in Wood Fellowship Hall. A light dinner will be provided. Register and get more information about the evening here.

 

This Week's Blog Post: A Lesson in Generosity

A Lesson in Generosity: If you give me a bag, I’ll give you half

August 7, 2019

Once a month, member Sue Loeser spends an afternoon volunteering in First Presbyterian Church’s Loaves and Fishes pantry. Here is one of her experiences from last spring.

Empathy was on my mind in April when I helped Jane (not her real name) as she shopped for her family of six. Jane was my dream client because she liked to cook and was searching for healthy options. We were offering several fresh vegetables that day, and Jane used her points to “buy” everything fresh.

Jane was especially excited about an extra-large bag of salad greens she chose, exclaiming, “My daughters love salad…they will be thrilled!”

Just then, another client entered the vegetable aisle, engaged in a discussion with a volunteer about what that client might like. He spied Jane’s bag of salad greens, pointed to it and said, “I’d like one of those!”

“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I told this second client. “We had just two bags of salad greens and that’s the last one.”

That would have been the end of it, except beside me Jane smiled and said to the young man, “If you give me a bag, I’ll give you half!”

Wow.

If you give me a bag, I’ll give you half.  You have no idea how often I’ve wondered if I would share my family’s desperately-needed food—food I couldn’t replace—with another person in need.   I can’t say for sure I would.

The people who come to a pantry are screened by the Loaves and Fishes organization. Their need is documented, their visits to a pantry are limited, and they have a referral for our FPC pantry that specific day. No walk-ins are allowed.  The system is well-organized. As a volunteer, I help clients select items from different food groups, using their family size to determine how many points (i.e. currency) they have in each food group.

As we shop together, I talk to my clients about food, and sometimes they move on to stories about their life and family.  What I hear is often heartbreaking.  While we bag their selections, it’s not uncommon for a client to weep with relief and gratitude on seeing all they have to take home to their family.

Yet, in spite of their need, a client like Jane is not rare. I often hear clients say, “I have enough (vegetables, fruit, etc.) so I won’t take any more.”  It would be easy to assume they refuse the items because they can’t carry more cans on the bus, or they don’t have storage at home.  But almost always the client adds, “Leave it for the next person.”

I started volunteering at Loaves and Fishes because I wanted another service opportunity, and I thought the distribution team’s camaraderie would be fun. (And it is!) What I didn’t expect was an education in sacrificial generosity.

—Sue Loeser