Life at First

The Reverend Anna Dickson Accepts Associate Pastor Call

In the Congregational Meeting on Sunday, the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee presented its nominee for our new installed Associate Pastor for Congregational Care–the Reverend Anna Rainey Dickson.

From Mark Caldwell, of the APNC: “The Associate Pastor Nominating Committee is thrilled to have nominated Anna Rainey Dickson as our next Associate Pastor. Anna has many gifts for leadership, but the two that were most apparent to our committee were her theological mind, evidenced by her gift of preaching and her invitation to us to live out the gospel, and her pastoral presence, which is evident in the joy she has for her vocation. It’s a joy that is contagious for those who benefit from Anna’s pastoral care.”

From the Reverend Pen Peery: “I am absolutely thrilled with the congregation’s decision to call Anna to be our installed Associate Pastor for Congregational Care. Anna has already made an impact on our church in her role as our Temporary Associate these past nine months. To be able to continue and deepen that impact is a gift that I think we will all benefit from and cherish. Anna has a heart for ministry and a deep love of God’s people. She is an engaging colleague and possesses a keen theological mind. In uncertain times, I am grateful that Anna will be a part of a fantastic staff team that will help our church continue to bear Christ’s light into the future.”


Going About the Work of Antiracism

Responding to the presence of racism is the work of faith. We understand that the promise of the gospel is that in Jesus Christ, the dividing wall and hostility between peoples has been broken down (Ephesians 2:14). As we are the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to continue the work that Jesus started. And as we have learned, it is not enough to simply be nonracist. We also must firmly be antiracist. This is a journey that is filled with hope, honesty, and, often, tough discussions.

As we go about this work and our responses in the continuing conversation, here are resources that you may use in your journey. These resources include books for all ages, podcasts, articles and videos.

Also, the Foundation for the Carolinas recently published a list of non-profits that work directly in the field of social justice and that address racial equity. You may access that resource here.

“How To Be An Antiracist” Book Read: The Plowshares Book Group will have a Zoom meeting on July 30 to discuss How To be An Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi. All are welcome and invited. Contact Nan Clarke if you would like to be a part of the discussion.


Drive-through for School Supplies, Communion Bread.

On August 12 and 13, members of FPC and First United Presbyterian Church are invited to drive through the front drive of FPC to participate in a school supplies drive for our partner schools (Westerly Hills Academy and First Ward Elementary) and to pick up gluten-free communion break to use for virtual communion on August 16.

Westerly Hills Academy, FPC’s, partner school, requests composition books, pencils, paper, folders, crayons, pencil pouches. Details still to come about requests from First Ward Elementary, FUPC’s partner school.

Drive-through hours are:

  • Wednesday, August 12, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, August 13, 1-3 p.m. and 4-6 p.m.

Please remain in your cars and wear a mask.

August Formation

Love, the focus of the current sermon series, is the primary way we understand God. In August, we’ll look at the ideas of Love and Unity and how they help us model Jesus in the ways we treat one another. More details are available online. The study will include gathering virtually and learning on our own.

Using Love and Unity as lenses, we’ll examine the ways we treat one another as disciples of Jesus Christ.  Resources are available online.

The next Zoom session with small group breakouts will be Sunday, August 23, at 10 a.m. with the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter. Register now.

On-demand learning at home for adults and youth. Resources are available online. Children will continue with Faith at Home bags.




Accion Ministries in Food Crisis

Recent storms have wiped out crops near our friends at Accion Ministries. The crop damage has magnified the pandemic-related food needs already affecting the area. Through Friends of Accion, the Reverend Oscar Dorantes is collecting beans, rice and other foods to provide for the areas. You can donate online or mail donations to Friends of Accion, c/o Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 E. Morehead Street, Charlotte, NC 28204.

Advocacy Committee Update

Volunteers for Tenants Facing Eviction: One of the initiatives of the Advocacy Committee to help with the affordable housing crises is to find lawyers who are willing to consider volunteering to serve as counsel for tenants who are facing eviction. Member Tommy Holderness is leading an effort at Legal Aid of North Carolina to provide counsel to those facing eviction who cannot afford to hire counsel. Read more about how you can help.


Outreach Opportunities

More Volunteer Opportunities

With so many nonprofit partners still unable to allow our volunteers on site, Ministry Team Coordinator Flo Bryan has developed a list of volunteer opportunities for those who are eager to serve the community.

Loaves and Fishes is in need of drivers who can use their own cars for its home delivery program. Contact Danielle.

Freedom School Partners is in need of volunteers to prepare activity kits and sort donations in their Latrobe Ave warehouse. Contact Tommy.

Classroom Central can use help creating SPARK Flashcards with their template, index cards, markers and zip lock baggies. Visit their website for details.

MedAssist is a nonprofit that distributes prescription medicine to the uninsured in our community. They need volunteers to help sort and repackage donations in their warehouse on Taggart Creek Rd. Register online.

Many, similar opportunities can be found on the following websites:

Contact Flo if you have questions or need guidance signing up.

Westerly Hills Academy Apple Tree

Our Westerly Hills Academy Apple Tree will be different this year, due to COVID-19. Instead of providing teachers with classroom supplies, Principal Malacy Williams has asked if our congregation would provide the staff with personalized masks along with cleaning and sanitation supply kits for the teachers. Kits would include large bottles of hand sanitizer, no-wipe disinfectant spray, and wipes and gloves.

If you know of any place that is donating these, or if you have access to extras, please let us know! Supplies can be delivered to Barbara Climer.  If you would like to donate, please follow this link.

Book Study in August

New Book Discussion in August:  The discussion of the book A Flexible Faith, by Bonnie Kristian, begins August 6. What does it mean to be Christian today? How might we might cultivate diversity instead of division in our faith? The group will meet for an hour via Zoom at 9:30 a.m. on Thursdays through September 24.  If you are interested in joining or in hearing more, please contact the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter.

Book Discussion: The discussion of the book Moses: In the Footsteps of the Reluctant Prophet by Adam Hamilton continues through August 2 on Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. and at 4 p.m. on Sundays. The group meets via Zoom for an hour. If you are interested in either group, contact the Reverend Mary Margaret Porter for details on how to access the meeting. All are welcome.


Positions Available

First Presbyterian Church has two positions now available in the Formation Department–Director of Youth Ministry and Director of Children and Family Ministry. Use these links to review job descriptions and instructions for applying.

Have questions? Contact the Reverend Robert Galloway.

This Week's Blog: Session Updates on Anti-Racism

Anti-Racism from Session

July 24, 2020

Members of First Presbyterian Church:

At last month’s Session meeting, your Elders engaged a substantial conversation on how our church might respond faithfully and meaningfully to issues of racism that have been a perennial problem for our country, and a topic of national conversation over the past two months.  

The Session believes that responding to the presence of racism is the work of faith because we understand that the promise of the gospel is that in Jesus Christ the dividing wall and hostility between peoples has been broken down (Ephesians 2:14). As we are the body of Christ, we have a responsibility to continue the work that Jesus started.   

Believing that a faithful response is found in an outward affirmation and an inward commitment to examination and change, the Session took five actions that I would like to share with you:

  • We have put up a banner on the fence around the front lawn of the church that is a replica of the Black Lives Matter mural on Tryon Street, which has become a place of community gathering and conversation.* This action is meant to signal to our neighbors and community that our church recognizes the disproportionate loss of life in the African-American community and the need to say, unequivocally, that until Black lives matter to us as a society we cannot assert that all lives do. 
  • Believing that it is important to create a space for worship that welcomes all and does not send subtle messages that might be stumbling blocks to people of color, the Session voted to remove two plaques on our pews that honor Gov. Zebulon Vance and Mrs. Stonewall Jackson. These plaques will be re-located in the Historic Lobby with an explanation to acknowledge honestly our history and describe why we removed them.
  • We have instructed the committee planning next year’s Bicentennial celebration to render an honest account of our history—that is both faithful and flawed, as all histories are—through the history book that is being written on the occasion of our 200th year, and in programs and publications.
  • We are forming a Racial Justice Task Force to examine and audit our institutional life through an anti-racist lens: looking at our facility, our investments, and our Personnel policies. This group will make recommendations back to the Session in November of this year.
  • We are committing to continuing to provide anti-racist education and training for members and staff.

Additionally, the members of the Advocacy Committee are exploring ways that individual members of First Presbyterian can take action to respond as followers of Christ to the injustices of racism both to express our support for racial justice and to work for change. Soon, you will have an invitation to participate in a personal way.  

Christ has given each of us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). It is a holy, demanding, and transformative work.   

As a church that proclaims Christ in the center of our city, I am grateful for the ways that you and I can commit to heal, change, and mend the places where the legacy of racism has wounded our community.   

In faith, hope, and love –