eFirstNews

 

This week’s eNews:

  • Resources for Racism
  • Plowshares Book Group
  • Westerly Hills Needs
  • Bible Study
eFirstNews

Worship Online

 

Join us Sunday’s at 11:00 to watch our Worship or watch past services.

Worship Online

Resources for Anti-Racism

The work that needs to happen on issues of systemic racism is the work of white people.  Read more details about the 21-day Race Equity Challenge.  It’s time for action and change.  Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family and colleagues.

Resources for Anti-Racism

Plowshares Book Group

The congregation is invited to participate in a Zoom book discussion sponsored by the Advocacy Committee, to be held on Thursday, July 30, from 6:30-8 p.m. Register for this event in advance by contacting Nan Clarke to receive a link for the discussion.

Plowshares Book Group

Life at First Test

Church Officer Nominations

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A Word from Pen

Advocacy Committee

Resources for Our Work Against Racism

The work that needs to happen on issues of systemic racism is the work of white people.  Here are details about the 21-day race equity challenge, explained below.  And here are other resources to help with that work. Its time for action and change. Feel free to circulate this document on social media and with your friends, family, and colleagues.


Plowshares Book Group

As part of First Presbyterian Church’s work in becoming anti-racist, the Advocacy Committee’s Plowshares Book Group will discuss How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

Named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time magazine, NPR, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, this book uses the author’s own life journey to show us why becoming antiracistwhich is not the same as not being a racist–is as essential as it is difficult. Equal parts memoir, history, and social commentary, this book is honest, brave, and necessary.

The congregation is invited to participate in a Zoom book discussion sponsored by the Advocacy Committee, to be held on Thursday, July 30, from 6:30-8 p.m. Register for this event in advance by contacting Nan Clarke to receive a link for the discussion.

The Plowshares Book Group is an ongoing effort by the Advocacy Committee to learn more about issues facing our community and to both deepen our faith and our relationships with each other.


NEIGHBORS FACING EVICTION NEED PRO-BONO COUNSEL

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.

An important dimension of the affordable housing crises in Charlotte is the number of tenants who are unrepresented in eviction proceedings brought by landlords. In 2019, more than  32,000 evictions proceedings were brought against tenants. In only a fraction of these cases were the tenants represented, generally because they cannot afford counsel. As a result, most tenants do not have an opportunity to have counsel assess and assert potential defenses and claims they might have under North Carolina law that that would delay or prevent their eviction. This story in the Charlotte Observer describes what tenants face. This Charlotte Observer article describes what tenants face.

Tommy Holderness is a Legal Aid of North Carolina attorney who represents tenants and coordinates Legal Aid of North Carolina’s program to provide volunteer lawyers in the community to eligible tenants. Tommy would like to recruit lawyers willing to represent tenants facing eviction.

The eviction process is in flux now due to the pandemic. When the courts resume eviction hearings, there will likely be a large number of pending cases. The court is hoping to resolve many of these using a voluntary mediation procedure. Tommy expects that many hearings and mediations will be done remotely, but details have not been decided at this point.

Tommy is adamant that landlord-tenant law is not that complicated and that every lawyer would be a huge benefit to tenants facing eviction. Please consider volunteering to serve or at least to take time to learn more about the commitment required and the training offered. If nothing else, you will benefit from learning more about a significant process within our community.

Later in June, Tommy will host a Zoom call which will have two parts. In part 1, Tommy will give an overview of the program and what is expected of volunteer counsel. He will answer questions about the program and your participation should you agree to volunteer. In part 2, Tommy will provide training in the substantive law, the eviction court’s procedures and the processes of Legal Aid of North Carolina.

Please consider volunteering as a pro bono lawyer or at least join the call to see if this opportunity is right for you. To register for the Zoom meeting, email Hal Clarke.

Here are some questions and answers which may be helpful as you consider volunteering:

Q. What would be the time investment to be trained to serve as a volunteer lawyer?

A. The initial call plus any additional time that you would like to invest in learning. Tommy has written materials that he’d be happy to provide for additional study (though that is not necessary).  The vast majority of cases are straightforward non-payment cases.

Q. What is the time commitment that I should expect in representing an eviction client?

A. It depends on how the case is resolved. At a minimum, you should expect at least an hour to interview the client. If the case is resolved in mediation or small claims court, it may require no more than an additional hour or two. If the case is tried and then appealed to District Court, it could require ten hours or more. But your initial commitment would be no more than handling the matter through small claims court, so continuing the representation in District Court would be optional.

Q. Would I be working under the supervision of Legal Aid of North Carolina?

A. Yes, Tommy is contact person for all volunteer lawyers. He is willing to answer questions and provided suggestions and advice.

Q. Is malpractice coverage provided?

A. Yes, through Legal Aid.

Q. Are there a minimum number of cases that a volunteer should plan to handle?

No, volunteers typically handle only one case at a time.  Tommy hopes people would want to keep taking new cases as old cases finish, but there is no expectation or requirement that they will do so.

Outreach: Help Stock Westerly Hills Book Cart and More

Help Stock Westerly Hills Book Cart

Volunteers are needed to stock a book cart and free library at Westerly Hills Academy. The time commitment is once a week, July 6-August 3, any weekday between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. You can sign up now or contact Heather Herring with questions.


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.

Bible Studies

BIBLE STUDY OPPORTUNITY: MOSES

This 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!


MIDDLE SCHOOL FORMATION: THE PROMISES OF GOD

The Promises of God: Rainbows to Revelation is a weekly hour for our Middle School Youth to explore God’s covenants with God’s people. Zoom meetings will be Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m., through July 14. Contact Bryce Lapping.


HIGH SCHOOL AND ADULT FORMATION: GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS

Great is Thy Faithfulness: God’s Covenants is a weekly Bible study on the covenants of God, complementing the July/July Sermon series. Zoom meetings will be Wednesdays at 7 p.m., through July 15. Register for the Zoom Meeting here. For more information, contact the Reverend Robert Galloway.

Pastoral Care

If you have a pastoral emergency, call 704-927-0256 for the on-call voicemail. Your call will be returned promptly.

Your pastors are eager to support you in this season through prayer and pastoral care. If you have a need, or you know someone in our congregation who has a need, please contact the Reverend Anna Dickson.

The primary way that pastors will be offering care for the next few weeks is through calls and emails.  We are following the recommendations and requirements from the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC), hospitals and retirement communities, and will only make in-person visits where allowed for emergency circumstances.

If you are interested in being a part of a team committed to connecting with people who need to be looked after (by making calls or running errands for those who cannot), please contact the Reverend  Anna Dickson.