Archive for September, 2011

Faith In Action Sunday 2011

On the first Sunday of October, for the past five years, our church has recognized and given thanks for the local agencies and ministries we support – in what we’ve come to call Faith In Action Sunday.  This coming Sunday we welcome the following organizations:

WORSHIP AT 11AM – We’ll gather in the sanctuary to praise God!  Several of the above agency representatives will participate in worship leadership.  It is also “member-led music Sunday,” with hymns led by H20 N2 Wine and other FPCMA folks offering their musical gifts.  Sunday is also Worldwide Communion Sunday, so we will share the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper along with Christians around the world.

LUNCH AFTERWARDS – Immediately following the benediction, please join your church family for lunch in the Fellowship Hall, sponsored by the Beacons.  If you are coming, please call the church (786.2803) to make your reservations so we can plan accordingly.  Donations will be accepted toward next year’s mission trip.  At this lunch you’ll have an opportunity meet and greet the various agency representatives and learn more about these important ministries.  The Beacons will also present a slideshow of last summer’s mission trip to Baltimore.

The Missions Ministry Team is hard at work finding ways for our church’s children, youth and adults to become more active in missions – local, statewide, national and international – in ways other than simply sending a check.  Stay tuned to learn how YOU can be involved.  As the saying goes, “Don’t just go to church – BE the church!”

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Easier to give on eGive!

As you know, our church has added an online giving option at our website, www.fpcma.com, by clicking on the eGive button at the top right.  Now, eGive has set up the option to make a onetime contribution to the church without having to create a password or maintain an account with eGive.  If you are not interested in making reoccurring weekly or monthly contributions, this may be something that interests you.

After clicking on the eGive icon at our church’s website, you will be directed to the FPCMA section of the eGive website. There you will be given a choice of signing on (if you have an account), signing up to create an account, or making a gift without registering.

Clicking on to the “make a gift” tab will send you to a secure information form.  You will need to provide the information necessary for eGive to transfer money from your bank account to the bank account of the First Presbyterian Church of Mount Airy.  You will have to enter this information every time you make a onetime gift.  Remember that all information you share with eGive is highly secure and protected.

We hope you’ll find this useful as you support the work and ministry of God’s church – thank you!

The Discipleship Ministry Team

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Langley Winds Concert

Please join us for an exciting night of music
with the Langley Winds from Langley Air
Force Base.

The Langley Winds have performed all over the
United States and abroad for the past 10 years.
On Saturday, October 8th they will bring their wonderful blend
of contemporary, classical and patriotic music
to First Presbyterian Church for a 7:00 concert. This will be a
wonderful night of music for all ages. Invite your friends to join us as well.


Please make plans to join for this special night.
For more information call 786-2803

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Weekly Grapevine – September 18, 2011

Click on the link below to view the latest happenings at First Presbyterian!

Weekly Grapevine.9.18.11

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There’s this great story that leads off the 8th chapter of the Gospel of John. A woman was getting ready to be stoned for something she did (no, that’s not the great part).  The men with the rocks in their hand explain to Jesus what she did and ask him if he thinks she should be punished according to the law.

I love the way, when you take pause in reading scripture, that all these things jump out at you; things  you may have missed if you just rushed through it.  Here’s what I’m wondering: why did they bother to ask Jesus in the first place?  It wasn’t like he held any real authority in the political system of the day.  Besides, the law permitted stoning this woman for what she did.  Why did they care what someone like Jesus thought?

Here’s the other thing I notice: as they’re asking him this, Jesus is doodling in the dirt, like a kid.  Drawing or writing Lord knows what.  We’ll never know.  Was this some act of meditation?  Was he stalling?  Whatever the case, it drove them nuts.  They wanted an answer, as this woman’s life was hanging in the balance.  They kept pestering him.  Finally, he spoke.  Eight words:

Let them without sin cast the first stone.

Brilliant.  Those eight words were so much more effective than if Jesus had launched into a diatribe on the ancient Hebrew laws and customs, or eloquently pleaded for simple compassion and mercy.  Instead he demonstrated to those people – and us – that the judgment seat is not ours for the taking, because none of us are in a position to sit in it.  You can almost imagine the uncomfortable pause, the sound of stones falling to the ground, the sound of sandled feet shuffling away.

He then walks over to the woman.  Still terrified, still scared.  She is used to men pushing her around.  He asks her where her accusers have gone.  It must’ve seemed odd to her; maybe a trick question.  Was this man going to take their place?  She replies that they’ve all left.  And then Jesus, who had every right to assume the seat of judgment, instead kicks it to the curb. Neither will I. Go your way, and sin no more.

The thing I love about this story is how transformation and grace affect not only the woman whose life was spared, but the men who wanted to take it.  I have a feeling those guys left behind more on that sandy ground than just their rocks.  I imagine – I hope – that they left behind their judgmental nature too.

Someone a while back told me about a ritual a tribe in Africa engaged in whenever a member acted irresponsible or unjustly.  They were taken out to the center of the village.  All work ceased and every man, woman and child in the village gathered in a large circle around the accused. It doesn’t sound good, does it?  Would they pick up stones?  Would they beat the guilty party to a pulp?

No.  They bombarded the rejected person with affirmations!  One at a time, friends and family enumerated all the good the person had done.  Every incident, every experience that could be recalled would be shared in great detail and accuracy.  All their positive attributes, strengths and kindnesses were recited carefully and at length.  Finally, the tribal circle was broken, a joyous celebration took place, and the outcast was welcomed back into the tribe.  The rejected one was restored and the entire village was made whole again.

That, like Jesus’ words, is powerful. And Lord knows we need more of that power in our lives today, don’t we?



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THE GATHERING begins this Sunday!

When Jesus walked the earth, he did some preaching and teaching.  He healed people.  But if you read the gospels, you come to see that Jesus spent a lot of his time hanging out – being in fellowship with all ages of folks from all walks of life.  He gathered around the dinner table with them and ate. He sat on the hillside, told stories and laughed.  The children came to him; the elders sat by his side.  It wasn’t some special “program” he enacted, or a complicated “missions initiative.” He simply focused on “being” – being himself with others and with God.

THE GATHERING is a new way we at First Presbyterian are seeking to re-create this kind of fellowship.  Every Sunday morning, beginning September 4th, we’ll “gather” in our Fellowship Hall from 10-10:30am.  We’ll have coffee/juice/tea and cookies for everyone.  The 1st and 3rd Sundays will be a time of fellowship, music, and a short devotional.  On the 2nd and 4th Sundays we’ll engage a foundational Bible story or passage of scripture in a fun and interactive way that all ages will enjoy.  We’ll have this time of fellowship and renewal and then head up the stairs to worship together as God’s family.

Following true Biblical practice and the essence of a community of faith, The Gathering is open to everyone – young and old, women and men.  If you breathe oxygen and have blood flowing through your veins, you’re welcome to The Gathering!  We’ll encounter our faith together, learning from one other in much the same way Jesus’ friends and family learned from him.

So come to The Gathering and experience the Gospel in a wonderfully different way – it begins this Sunday morning at 10am!

“And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”   Matthew 18:20, The Message

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