Archive for October, 2011

The following was a church announcement made yesterday morning by  Nelson Clark, co-moderator of the Discipleship Ministry Team.


Last week Bruce talked about financial stewardship.  He made the point that stewardship is not about giving to the church because the church needs money.  Instead, it is about giving as a sense of meaning, joy, and spiritual growth with God.  Stewardship is about our need to give and our need to grow our relationship with God.  Remembering that reminds me what our annual stewardship program is all about: focusing on what I think God is calling me to give, not on what the church needs to receive.

As we move toward Consecration Sunday two weeks from today, each of us will be considering our answer to the spiritual question, “What percentage of my income is God calling me to give?” Please take the ‘Grow One Step’ sheet in your worship bulletin.  Turn to the stair-step side of the sheet and I’ll give you some figures to write in the blanks. These figures are based on data (no names) provided by Lynn Rigney, our financial secretary, for the giving habits of our congregation for the current year.

  1. Starting at the lower left write in the number 25.  This means that 25 members of our church are not recorded as contributing during the past 12 months.
  2. On the next stair step write in the number 21.  21 members of our church are recorded as contributing up to $4.99 per week during the past 12 months.  This segment equals lunch for one at fast food place each week.
  3. On the third stair step write the number 7.  This represents $5 – 9.99 per week or the price of an admission to a movie.
  4. On the fourth stair step write the number 12.  $10 – 14.99 per week equals a haircut.
  5. Write the number 14 into step number 5, 8 in step number 6, and 8 also in step number 7.
  6. Are you getting curious about the next step?  Step #8 – 13 members gave between $50-$74.99 each week.
  7. Step #9 – 6 church members; step #10 – 5 church members; step #11 – 0 church members.
  8. Step #12 – 5 church members gave over $200 per week over the past 12 months.

Now please turn over your sheet and look at the chart on the back.  Let your eyes go down the left side of the scale until you come to your approximate salary level.  Now move your eyes across to your weekly giving level to God’s work through your congregation.  Then move your eyes up to the top of the sheet to locate the percentage of your income that represents.

During the next two weeks, each of us will be pondering the question, “What percentage of my income is God calling me to give?”

Since our Celebration Luncheon on November 13th is a catered meal and we hope everyone will be there, we need an accurate count of the attendance.  I’ll ask the ushers to come forward and distribute the Consecration Sunday reservation cards.  As our organist plays some special music, I’ll give you a few minutes to complete your Reservation Card.  Then the ushers will come back and pick up the cards.  To be sure we leave no one out, we will follow up with people from whom we do not receive a luncheon reservation card.  So please help us by completing your card.

In closing, I would suggest you consider doing the following, “Find a quiet spot. Clear your mind of TV, newspaper and other distractions, pray, and ask the question, “What percentage of my income is God calling me to give to God’s work through this congregation?”

Thank you.



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Weekly Grapevine – October 30, 2011


Head Usher: Nelson Clark                  Side Usher: Lisa Dodd

Nursery: Erica Carlisle

Spark Teachers: Kate Brown, Alex Mayes and Laura East


Sunday, October 30          9:45 am – Sunday School

10:00 am – The Gathering

11:00 am – Sunday Worship

12:30 pm – Gold Award Ceremony

5:30 pm – Beacon Movie Night

Tuesday, November 1  

10:00 am – Circle 1

6:30 pm – Youth Ministry Team Meeting

Wednesday, November 2  

7:00 pm – Choir Rehearsal (time change)

Thursday, November 3  

5:30 pm – Friends Feeding Friends – 1st Bapt.

5:30 pm – Parent/Youth Meeting in F/Hall

Saturday/Sunday, Nov 5 & 6      

Salem Presbytery Middle School Retreat


October 23, 2011 Contributions:

Pledged:           $  4,593.00

Non-Pledged:$        80.00

Weekly Total:$  4,673.00

Total monthly receipts:      $26,747.38

Monthly budget need:       $24,000.00

Amount we exceeded for the month of October:         $2,747.38



Our heartfelt sympathy is expressed to Paul and Cecelia Belk and family, on the death of his father, Henderson Belk, who passed away on October 20th.

Consecration Sunday and Celebration Lunch: Stewardship 2011 has begun! Mark your calendars!  Consecration Sunday is Sunday, November 13th ;  11:00 am worship; Celebration Lunch following in the Fellowship Hall – catered meal provided by the church.  Make sure you fill out your reservation card today.

Beacon Movie Night: 5:30-8:00 p.m. in the Tiki Room. Join us for a movie and a discussion.  The Merritt’s will provide dinner.

Thanksgiving Meals for Needy Families: THANKS TO YOU – The Beacons have almost reached their goal of feeding 66 families, including those at the Shepherd’s House, Children’s Center and Battered Women’s Shelter, for Thanksgiving.  We still need 12 meals.  Won’t you consider making a donation of $43.00 to feed one of the least of these?

Confirmation is Coming: If you are in 6th grade or older and have never been confirmed, join us for the class of 2012!  ~~ If you are interested in being a mentor to one of our confirmands this year, please let Shasta know today.

Circle 1: Will meet in the Ladies Parlor on Tuesday, November 1st, at 10:00 a.m.  All ladies of the church are welcome to attend.

Choir Rehearsal: Please note time change as we will begin rehearsing at 7:00 p.m. this Wednesday for the Christmas Cantata on December 11th.

Parent/Youth Meeting: We will meet on Thursday, November 3rd, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall to discuss all upcoming trips.  We will also discuss our fall fundraiser & other fundraisers to come.

Salem Presbytery Middle School Retreat: Nov 5-6: Meet at the church at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.  Eat breakfast before you come.  Watch e-mail for info.

Keenagers: Will be going to the Wohlfahrt Haus on Friday, December 16th to see a holiday matinee show.  Tickets are $40.00.  We have 20 reserved.  Sign up on the Keenagers board & turn money in by Thursday, November 10th.


 Friends Feeding Friends:  The following people have signed up to assist in serving on Thursday, November 3rd: Steven Lowe, Randy Surratt, Amy Sparks, Mike Gatchel, Mae Daniels and Emily Lowe.  Jean Cook and Cathy Harrison have signed up to provide a dessert.


Birthdays: 10/30: John Merritt, Emily Keck, Garrett Bush; 11/1: Millie Beal; 11/3: Lisa Dodd, Erica Carlisle; 11/4: Sandra Barnett; 11/5: Tom McCluskey

Anniversaries: None this week.

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The following was a church announcement made yesterday morning by Bruce Arnold, member of the Discipleship Ministry Team.


Why do I believe in financial stewardship?  My biblical and theological beliefs are foundational to my convictions about Christian giving.  Three of these theological convictions are especially important.

First, I believe in Jesus Christ, and I believe that Christ has the greatest potential to change the lives of people of anything they can take hold of.

Second, I believe in the church. I believe the church is the Body of Christ and has tremendous potential for changing, improving, and enriching people’s lives.

Third, I believe in stewardship. This is different from fundraising.  Without voting to do so or realizing it, over the past several decades the leaders in many  churches have substituted secular fund-raising methods for Christian stewardship procedures.  Fund-raising for nonprofit organizations in the community is as different from Christian stewardship as a bicycle is from an eighteen-wheeler.  Both are valid forms of transportation, but they are not interchangeable.  They accomplish two different goals. The goal of secular fund-raising is to raise dollars for a worthy cause. The goal of Christian stewardship is the faithful management of all, may I repeat  all, that God gives, so that God can use our gifts to transform us spiritually and to reach out to others with Christ’s transforming love.  What I mean by all, is that when you really think of it, everything that you  are and have comes from  God.  Your  family, your job, your spouse, your kids, your friends,  your health, the situation you  live in, the earth around you, and much more all come from God.

Our annual stewardship campaign is much more than fund-raising.  It also helps each of us to grow spiritually in our relationship with God through the faithful management of all that  God gives us. Financial giving  enables a church to do what God calls it to do to help people and to serve Christ, and financial stewardship helps individual Christians to grow spiritually by asking the members the question “What percentage of your income is God calling you to give?”

So as we travel through the weeks leading up to our Consecration Sunday on November 13th, let’s not lose sight of why we are doing this.  In so many ways, it is a marvelous opportunity for each of us to grow spiritually and by so doing help to grow God’s ministries in our congregation and community.

You will receive a written announcement this week that there will be a Celebration Luncheon after the Consecration Service on November 13th.  It is not a potluck dinner, but a fully catered meal for which you will make reservations.


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When I became your pastor, I started asking session members to lead the session in an opening devotion at our monthly meetings.  Being an elected elder of the church is more than simply “sitting on a board” – it’s a spiritual endeavor as well.  Each month I look forward to hearing what our congregation’s leaders have to share.  At this month’s session meeting I was truly touched – as we all were – by what one of our elders had to say.  He wrote this himself, and it is from the heart.  And I feel it’s not only important for the elected leaders to hear, but all of our church.

Please take a few minutes to read what follows.  Thanks to Mike Gatchel for giving me permission to share this.


It’s that time of year again.  That season of year when many of us face that annual raking-leaves duty.   Some of us have large treeless lots that require hours of mowing during the summer months.   I am, however, blessed with a small yard that requires very little mowing as very little grows there due the abundance of massive oak trees.

That summer blessing is my fall and winter dilemma.  From the last 25 years dealing with this task I have discovered a few things.  One, you need to keep your grass – or weeds, in my case – cut short.  But, before you do that you need to rake you fallen twigs and limbs. Long grass or weeds are just like Velcro to leaves and twigs become the superstructures for nearly immovable ever growing leaf barricades that stand up even against that advertised hurricane force leaf blower.

The other day I started this job.  After what seemed like hours I stopped raking at the end of the row.  As I leaned on my rake and looked at the line of twigs that snaked across yard I wondered “How long is this going to take?”  “Can I even get finished today?”  “May be I should get someone to do this.”  

Sometimes this may happen to all of us when we think of all the work the church has to do to bring about the heaven on earth about which Jesus spoke.  I think there can be that feeling of futility and discouragement when you look at the enormity of it all.   However, I found when raking twigs there is a technique that makes the completion of job seems more achievable.  Concentrate on just that section that the rake can move.  You aren’t moving the whole line of brush at once.  You just step back two or three feet and pull that rake toward you.  That is all you have to do.  Some of us have longer arms and can move that small pile forward a little more than others.  But we can each do that little bit that is in front us. 

So it is with our giving.  We aren’t asked to financially take care of all the world’s problems.  We are asked to give what God is calling us to give.  We all may not have the courage and conviction to quit our jobs and move to a foreign country to do mission work.  We may not have patience to travel with fifteen or sixteen teenagers to rehab houses and feed the homeless.  But, we can all give to our church so that others can do what God is calling them to do. 

I have been so fortunate to stand in prayer amidst the rubble of a church building site in Villa Hermosa, hand in hand with our brothers and sister in Christ with my heart so full that it welled up and ran down my face.  I have seen our children feed the hungry and homeless in Nashville.  This group of kids from Mount Airy spent time with them; cared about them and made them feel like they were worthy human beings.  I have watched a conformant  tenderly and patiently spend time helping a memory-challenged senior play a simple game that seem beyond that person’s comprehension. 

Maybe physically or financially we can’t personally experience one of those “aha” mission moments.   But, we can all challenge ourselves and every member of First Presbyterian Church of Mount Airy to give “missionally”.  There may not be such word, but it expresses how I feel about giving.  With the conviction and dedication that took the Mills family to Mexico and calls the Robertson’s to Africa each week or month we should feel that our tithes and offerings are our part in their journey.

I hope and pray that all of us here today will have the faith of a missionary to embrace and promote the New Consecration Sunday.  Think how wonderful it would be if, through our giving more and more, we would be able to show God’s love by expanding our church’s mission experiences to as many members as want it.   Jesus’  ministry is based on love – love of God; love for our fellow man, even love of our enemies.  One Bible word study finds that “Love” is used some 333 times and “Give” or “Giving” occurs 992 times.   It seems to me if we want to increase our ability to spread God’s love we need to be more Biblical with our giving.

Mike Gatchel

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Weekly Grapevine – October 23, 2011


Head Usher: Nelson Clark                  Side Usher: Lisa Dodd

Nursery: Jai Daniels

Spark Teachers: Kate Brown, Alex Mayes and Laura East


Sunday, October 23

9:45 am – Sunday School

10:00 am – The Gathering

11:00 am – Sunday Worship

12:00 pm – Congregational Meeting

5:30 pm – Beacons meet in Lighthouse

Wednesday, October 26

8:00 am – Bob Chilton Memorial Bible Stud

7:30 pm – Choir Rehearsal


October 16, 2011 Contributions:

Pledged:           $  2,458.00

Non-Pledged: $        75.00

Weekly Total: $  2,533.00

Total monthly receipts:      $22,074.38

Monthly budget need:       $24,000.00

Amount we still need for the month of October:         $1,925.62

***A congregational meeting will be held immediately following worship today.  The purpose of the meeting will be to elect the 2011 Nominating Committee.  Please prayerfully consider those you wish to place in nomination.  All must be members of First Presbyterian Church.***


Consecration Sunday and Celebration Lunch: Stewardship 2011 has begun! Mark your calendars!  Consecration Sunday is Sunday, November 13th;  Worship will be at 11:00 a.m.  A Celebration Lunch will follow in the Fellowship Hall which will be a catered meal provided by the church.  Make your reservations by Sunday, October 30th.

Beacons: Will meet this evening in the Lighthouse at 5:30 p.m.  The Beal family will provide dinner.

Thanksgiving Meals for Needy Families: It’s that time of year when we tend to focus on how blessed we are & to share those blessings with others.  We will be feeding needy families for Thanksgiving again this year.  The cost of the meals will be $43.00.  TODAY is the deadline to purchase meals.  As of today, we will be able to provide 37 Thanksgiving meals.

Montreat College Conference: We are looking for college students who would be interested in attending the conference.  The conference will be held January 2-5, 2012.  Cost is $168 per person.  This includes conference housing (2/room) & meals.  Transportation is on your own or we may carpool.  Deadline to register is Sunday, October 23rd. Steve will also be the music leader!  See Shasta if you’re interested or for more info.

Confirmation is Coming: We are making plans for our upcoming confirmation group!  If you are in 6th grade or older and have never been confirmed, join us for the class of 2012!  ~~ If you are interested in being a mentor to one of our confirmands this year, please let Shasta know.  This is an opportunity for you to walk side by side with one of the youth as they prepare to make their profession of faith & becomes members of our church family. Sign up on the bulletin board in the upstairs foyer by October 31st if you’re interested in either.

Church E-Mail List: Be sure to sign up for our church e-mail list by going to http://grapevine.fpcma.com.  This is the best way to keep up with the latest news at First Presbyterian!


Birthdays: 10/25: Jordan Gwyn; 10/27: Laura Belk, Mae Turpin;

10/28: Lorie Lindsley, Randy Surratt

Anniversaries: 10/23: Tony and Debbie Stoltz; 10/25: Andy and Helen Andrews

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For many years now, our church has helped to provide needy families in our community with a full-course Thanksgiving meal.  Our Beacons sell pumpkins at the annual Autumn Leaves Festival to raise money for the cause – but we also depend on church members to contribute out of a generous and thankful heart.

This Sunday is the deadline for all Thanksgiving meals money.  A full meal costs only $43!  Checks should be made out to “First Presbyterian Church” AND noted “Thanksgiving meals” at the bottom.  You can give your check to Shasta on Sunday.

What a wonderful way to be a “mission partner” and live out your faith!

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The following was a church announcement made in worship this morning by Pete Pequeno, member of the Discipleship Ministry Team.


Good morning!

What a blessing it is to be part of this church family!  What makes this church so great is not the church or the buildings or the location, but the people and the spirit that gathers here every Sunday.  God’s spirit is truly active in our church.

You all know that Stewardship season is fast approaching – and this year we are doing some just a little different.  This year we are not leading off with a budget – we are asking people to give first.  Please look at the insert in your bulletin:

Why are we making this change?  Well, in previous years we’ve emphasized giving as a way to meet the church’s needs.  This year we’re emphasizing giving as a spiritual activity.  In past years we’ve focused on giving to support a budget.  But this year we’re focusing on giving to support one’s relationship with God.  In the past we’ve focused on creating a need of the church to receive.  This year we’re focusing on creating a need for the giver to give.

What we’ve done in the past is inadvertently created a barrier by putting the budget between you and God.  And really, we shouldn’t do that.  As a banker (I think most of you all know that), it’s different for me to talk about not starting off with a budget.  But we on the Discipleship Ministry Team and session feel this is what God is calling us to do, and we’re excited about it!

You’ll be hearing more about our Stewardship season in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, I ask each of you to prayerfully consider your giving.  I want you to focus on your relationship with God and what you can do for God through your giving.  Thank you very much.


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