Archive for January, 2014

Weekly Grapevine – February 2, 2014



Head Usher: Dan Harrison               

Side Usher: Beth McCrosky

Spark Teachers: Cecelia Belk, Patrick Belk, Bobbie Hinton

Nursery: 2/2: Sarah Scott; 2/9: Nancy Davis



Sun, Feb 2                 

10:30 – Choir meets to rehearse

11:00 am – Worship

5:30 pm – Beacon Super Bowl Party in Tiki Room

Tues, Feb 4               

10:00 am – Circle 1

Wed, Feb 5                

7:30 pm – Choir Rehearsal

Thurs, Feb 6              

3:30 pm – Thursday Tales (day/date change)

5:00 pm – Friends Feeding Friends



Prayers and Praises: There are slips of paper for you to list any prayers and/or praises.  Please place them on the board outside of the church office.



The Flowers in the Church today are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of our mothers, Hazel Barlow and Raleigh McHone, by Joy and Wayne Barlow.

Our heartfelt sympathy is expressed to Beth McCrosky and family on the death of her stepfather, Albert Kittelson, who passed away this past week.

Beacons: Will meet in the Tiki Room this evening @ 5:30 p.m. for their annual Super Bowl party.  Please bring a snack/side dish/dessert to share.  We’ll have subs too.

Salem Presbyterian Youth Council (PYC): Is so excited to announce our COMBINED Middle and High School Retreat, March 1st-2nd! The theme is “Love Is Louder”. The cost is $65. TODAY is the deadline to register. Sign up & turn money in before the end of the Super Bowl.

Massanetta Middle School Conference: June 24-27; TODAY is the deadline to sign up AND turn in paperwork.

2013 Year-End Contribution Statements: Are available on the table in the upstairs foyer.  Please pick yours up today.

Circle 1: Will meet in the Ladies Parlor on Tuesday, February 4th, at 10:00 a.m.

Thursday Tales: (note day/date change) For all preschool-5th grade; we will meet in the downstairs kids room on Thursday, February 6th, at 3:30 p.m.

Sign-ups Galore for 2014! Be sure and check the boards in the upstairs foyer!  There are sign-up sheets for: Scripture Readers, Friends Feeding Friends, Flowers, Sandwich Ministry & Recycling volunteers & Keenager events.  Check them out today! 



Friends Feeding Friends: Thursday, February 6th; The following people are signed up to assist: Paul Belk, Bobbie Hinton, Brian Bennett, Mark & Pam Morency, Mike Gatchel, Joy & Wayne Barlow and Tony Stoltz.  Meet at First Baptist Church at 5:00 p.m.


Birthdays: 2/2: Maggie Beal, Anne Kilby; 2/3: Tony Stoltz; 2/4: Barbara Ayers, Kristie Graham; 2/7: Linda Gatchel, Erin Mayberry, Joel Taylor

Anniversaries: None this week


Random Act of Spiritual Growth


“Take responsibility for every area of your life.”


Brought to you each week by the Spiritual Growth Ministry Team


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Hard to believe that we’ve finished the first month of our Bible in a Year Challenge. We’ve finished Genesis and are now watching the Hebrews leave Egypt in the book of Exodus and we are well on our way through Psalms and Proverbs.

As we begin month number two here are a couple of things for you to know and ponder.

  1. Our first discussion lunch will be Sunday, February 16. Bring your lunch or dash over to McDonald’s and grab something right after worship, and meet in the Fellowship Hall. We’ll eat lunch and discuss what we’ve read thus far.
  2. Think about the following questions before our lunch. Which passage(s) stood out for you? Which passage(s) were the most difficult for you to understand? What passage(s) was important for you? How has the reading, so far, been for you?
  3. Below you’ll find a blurb about Exodus and the book of Psalm.


Among other things, this book covers the flight of the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage and to freedom – what is appropriately referred to as “exodus.”  It has been said that the Exodus event resembles our American Independence Day, kind of a “hallmark” event for the Jewish people as July 4 is for us.  But this may not be a good parallel, as Exodus is much more than a single event, going on for around 40 years.  It is more of a mindset for the Hebrew people; an incredibly important cornerstone of their faith and the way they understood God.  The fact that God came to God’s people in their bondage and misery and led them to the Promised Land reminded the Israelites for thousands of years – and us today – that God does not abandon God’s chosen people.

Exodus picks up where Genesis left off, except two things have changed.  First, Joseph has died.  Second, a new pharaoh comes to power who “did not know Joseph” – meaning he felt no ties to him or his people.  In fact, this pharaoh was fearful of the sheer number of Hebrews – and also saw an opportunity.  So he enacted a forced labor program targeting only the Jews, to build the infrastructure of his empire.  It was utterly miserable.  This leads us to the rise of Moses and the saga surrounding him; and his calling to implore Pharaoh to “let God’s people go.”

As punishment for the Pharaoh’s stubbornness, God enacts ten plagues upon the Egyptians.  Recent scholarship has shown how these miraculous events do in fact have a scientific rationale to them, centered around a severe drought and its aftermath.  If this were the case, it’s neat how the Hebrew people saw these natural events as God in action, working toward their freedom.

When the Hebrews finally acquire their freedom there is immediate rejoicing – but it doesn’t last for long.  God’s people embark on a grueling 40 year journey through what is now the modern-day Sinai Peninsula.  The people often complain for lack of food or water (can we blame them??), but God continues to provide for them.  About halfway in this journey we find the Israelites parking themselves at the foot of Mt. Sinai for what probably amounted to a couple of years; and it is here where Moses receives the Ten Commandments (and a number of other laws, as we’ll find in our reading).  These laws, the Torah, would form the center of the Israelite faith for many generations.  At the end of Exodus, the Israelites finally arrive on the doorstep of the Promised Land.


The Psalms are unique to the Bible for a couple of reasons.  One, it is comprised entirely of poetry with no historical/narrative literature.  While there are a few other books that share this quality (Song of Songs being one of them), Psalms is definitely the longest.  The other thing I love about the psalms is that they are the voice of the people to God – not vice versa, which is what we find in most of the rest of the OT.  And the real beautiful thing is that there are many voices – voices of praise and joy and thankfulness, but also voices of anger and revenge and loss.  It’s this second category that I find particularly intriguing.  It’s one thing to come to God when everything’s great and letting the praise fly, but it’s another to come to God when life is falling apart and you are angry at God about it, censoring nothing of your ill feelings.  I imagine it was comforting for the Jewish people to know they could share their voice to God, even when it wasn’t a pretty one.

I want to focus on six categories of Psalms that might help you in your reading. Of course, it’s not that the Psalmist (David and others – contrary to popular belief, David was probably not their only author) tried to write in these six specific categories.  They are a later creation that helps us to know and understand them better.

Here are six possible categories for Psalms:

    * Hymns of Praise – typically the English word “hallelujah” is found in these.  Usually praising God for something God has done or is in the process of doing.

    * Communal Laments – prayers of petition to God for community’s deliverance in times of disasters as in war, famine, epidemic, etc.

    * Individual Laments – basically the same type of thing as a communal lament, but focused on the lament of the individual.

    * Individual Song of Thanksgiving – used by individuals to praise God for deliverance from trouble.

    * Royal Psalms – used for special occasions in religious services for the king.

    * Psalms of Vengeance – used to express extreme anger/wrath/vengeance at enemies and even at God.

As you read through the Psalms, I encourage you to consider what category they may fit in.  In some instances it may be more than just one!

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Cancellation – January 29, 2014

Due to the road conditions and frigid temperatures there will be NO Chancel Choir practice tonight.

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Impact Story – Steven Lowe

 Many of you may have heard the saying, “You may be the only Bible a person ever reads.”


If this is true, how would we read? That is…The Bible written by the people in this congregation, by our words and actions.  How would it read? Would we be proud of it or would we want to rewrite it?


In a roundabout way, this question relates to the impact this church has had on me personally and I would be proud to be part of the Bible this church family writes through their words and actions.


One of the main things we were looking for in a church when we first moved here was a dynamic youth group.  When we asked around, the response was overwhelming that First Presbyterian Church was the place to go.  We heard the youth leader, Shasta, was the bomb! How true!  That was what brought us here, but as we watched, listened, & observed this church family, we found many additional reasons to stay…how you lived your lives, how you spent your time & what you valued.


I was always taught that if you want to really KNOW a person, WATCH what they do. This is what I saw:


  • I saw people giving generously of their time and talents to help and serve the Lord & others.
  • I saw the youth reaching out to the community and beyond to share God’s love.
  • I saw a congregation that handled life’s challenges with courage, dignity and grace.


 I saw the Goads, the Rountrees, the Gatchels, the Godwins, Browns, Hardys and Baileys, just to name a few.


These people had storms in their life just like the rest of us do, but despite their own personal challenges, they consistently put others first, which I do recognize as one of my favorite New Testament Bible scriptures…


“To be first, we must be last.”


As I witnessed what I felt was a family that truly represented God’s word, I realized that I wanted to be part of this.


Shortly after we joined, I suffered a stroke and it was then that I discovered firsthand the depth of the love and care of this church.


I was visited by several of you while in the hospital; you fed my family and mowed my yard. There were ramps built in my house and so much more. I hardly remember those days but my family was deeply touched by the gracious outpouring of love and care.


You gave me a place where I felt at home, where I felt safe, loved & cared for. Especially after my stroke, my life has gotten much heavier, harder and without much joy, but here my life was easier and lighter & I could find joy and encouragement, while preparing for the coming week. 


When I am here, I am surrounded by the people I admire the most and the people I strive to be like.  For all of this, “THANK YOU!”

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Needing Your Presence and Input

Hello All!

As your interim pastor, let me remind you of three great opportunties to have a voice in and to share in the future of First Presbyterian Church.  Sponsored by the Transition Committee, each opportunity will be led by me.

1.  Congregational Gathering.  Immediately following the worship service on Sunday, February 9.  Lunch will be provided for all and child care extended to children, 4th grade and younger for the program time.  The program will consist of a brief discussion of the interim process, making sure everyone understands “the Presbyterian way,” where we are, what’s ahead, etc.  Then we will share in a time of remembrance, looking back over the life of the church, telling stories, remembering accomplishments, and also naming times of disappointment.  After this, we will craft what I call Meaning Statements, short statements which historically capture the character and essence of the congregation.  The program will conclude no later than 2 PM.

2.  March Cottage Meetings.  Beginning the week after Ash Wednesday (week of March 9), opportunity will be given to gather in small groups (12-15 people) in homes of members and at the church.  This will be a time to share in a more in-depth way about the church, your concerns, your hopes, etc, and of course, to listen to others.  Right now we are planning on four or five cottage groups, but “the more, the merrier.”  The total number of groups will be determined by sign-ups.  We’ll be publishing the hosts/hostesses soon for the initial groups, so look for these and sign up.

3.  Congregational Survey.  After Easter, on two consecutive Sundays, opportunity will be given to complete a fairly comprehensive survey, which will further help the eventual Pastor Nominating Commitee who will be entrusted with calling the next installed pastor.  We’ll publicize more as the time gets closer.

The purpose of all these things is to “open up” the congregation, to elicit feedback, to listen to one another, and through all these things, to listen to the “still small voice” of God who is speaking to us and to First Presbyterian even now.  I look forward to being with you during these times and in all that lies ahead!

No, I didn’t win the lotter, but I’m glad I came to Mount Airy!



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All Church Gathering





  • Sunday, February 9, immediately after worship service


  • Sponsored by Transition Committee


  • Light lunch for all – program concludes no later than 2 pm


  • Purpose  (Led by Pastor Rob)


          To make sure everyone understands “the interim process”

          To engage in a fun and informative time of recalling

FPC’s rich history, including story-telling, accomplishments, but also difficulties and trying times

          To develop “meaning statements” . . . statements which define and have defined FPC over the years.    


  • Child care provided – for program portion, children 4h grade & younger


____   I will attend


____   I will need child care (Please indicate number)

(These will be inserted into your bulletins on Sunday. Please indicate whether you will be attending and whether you will need child care for your children – and place them in the offering plate on Sunday.)

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Weekly Grapevine – January 26, 2014

Head Usher: Mike Gatchel                 Side Usher: Beth Pequeno

Spark Teachers: Cecelia Belk, Bobbie Hinton

Nursery: 1/26: Peggy Rees; 2/2: Sarah Scott



Sun, Jan 26               

10:30 – Choir meets to rehearse

11:00 am – Worship

12:00 noon – Parent/Youth Kickoff Lunch

4:00 pm – Confirmation Meeting

5:30 pm – Beacons in the Tiki Room

Wed, Jan 29              

7:30 pm – Choir Rehearsal



Prayers: Henri Bingman, Sue Brownfield, Rex Younger, Dick Younger, Lauren Snyder, Connor Rife & family, Family of Scott Graham, Family of Mike & Susan King, Family of Marjorie Rees, Louise Wall & Landmark residents, Mayberry Sells, Oscar Perkins, Lily Johnson, Carlee Sechrist, Bradley Wall, Our military & their families



Parent/Youth Kickoff: Join us for a covered dish lunch immediately following worship today as we look at the year gone by and get a glimpse of the year ahead.  Bring your favorite side dish & dessert.  We’ll take care of the meat & drinks. 

Confirmation Meeting: This afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in the sanctuary; All confirmands and their mentors should plan to attend this meeting.

Beacons: Will meet in the Tiki Room this evening @ 5:30 p.m.

Salem Presbyterian Youth Council (PYC): Is so excited to announce our COMBINED Middle and High School Retreat, March 1st-2nd! The theme is “Love Is Louder”. The cost is $65. The deadline to register is Sunday, February 2nd.

Massanetta Middle School Conference: June 24-27; The cost is $345 per person. Shasta needs a firm commitment today if you are planning to go. See Shasta if you need forms.

2013 Year-End Contribution Statements: Are available on the table in the upstairs foyer.  Please pick yours up today.

Sign-ups Galore for 2014! Be sure and check the boards in the upstairs foyer!  There are sign-up sheets for: Scripture Readers, Friends Feeding Friends, Flowers, Sandwich Ministry & Recycling volunteers & Keenager events.  Check them out today! 



Yokefellow Cooperative Ministry: The food(s) for the month of January are: Cereal and Tuna.



Birthdays: 1/27: Emma Pequeno, Joy Snow, Megan Carriker; 1/28: Taylor Bouma; 1/30: Joe Johnson; 1/31: Katie McKee

Anniversaries: 1/27: Ralph and Erika Forbes

Random Act of Spiritual Growth


“Be forgiving of yourself and others.”

Brought to you each week by the Spiritual Growth Ministry Team

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