All Saints’ Day

Sunday, November 1st is All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day is a universal festival of the Church. This festival day directs our attention to the richness of Christian history and the varied experiences of the grace of God by lifting up the lives of the saints.
 
The custom of commemorating all the martyrs of the Church on a single day goes back at least to the third century. All Saints’ Day (Nov. 1st) celebrates not only the martyrs and saints, but all the people of God, living and dead, who together form the mystical body of Christ.
 
On this special day we will remember those saints who have died since last November 1st. If you have a loved one who has died this past year and would like them to be remembered in the bulletin and in prayer, please contact Jeanna in the church office (office@fpclexnc.com or 336-248-2140), giving the person’s name, date of death, and your relation to them.

We need this information by October 25th for it to appear in the November 1st bulletin. In life and in death we belong to God. Amen.


Fall Sale to Benefit Local Helping Agencies

Our annual chicken pie and baked spaghetti sale to benefit our local helping agencies is now underway! Large chicken pies (which can serve 6-8) are $13.00 each. Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Vegetarian Baked Spaghetti are $13.00 per pan. Orders of any combination of 3 or more of these items reduces your price to $12.00 per item. Small chicken pies (which can serve 1-2) are $16 for a pack of four pies (must be sold as whole packs).
 
All chicken pies are “Moravian-style” (meat only, no veggies). Order forms are available at the church or may be downloaded and printed by clicking here, and all orders must be paid for and submitted by November 1. Payment is due at the time orders are placed. Checks should be made payable to First Presbyterian Church. Orders and payments may be dropped off at the church during the week in the box marked for this purpose that is located in the church lobby.
 
Curbside pick up will be Saturday, November 7, 10 AM-2 PM. Anyone who would like to volunteer to assist with this, please contact Jo Leonard.
 
Pick up on Sunday, November 8, will be 12 PM-1PM; please come to the Third Avenue entrance of the Fellowship Hall, form a socially-distanced line on the sidewalk, and someone will bring you your order.
 
Many thanks for your support of this important fundraiser!
 


A Letter from Our New Transitional Pastor

Dear Friends,
 
I greet you with joy in my heart. Thank you for inviting me to come and work alongside you. The “Time between Pastors” is a holy season for the church. While it might feel long and uncertain, it is also an opportunity for the congregation to reflect upon who God is calling First Pres to be in this time and context. I appreciate transitional ministry because it frees folks up to be curious, questioning, evaluative and experimental. We can explore our heritage: holding on tight to that which is good and faithful and letting go of those things that no longer fit well. We are offered the gift of delving more deeply into what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and renewing our commitment as the church of Jesus Christ.
 
COVID-19 certainly has wreaked some havoc on the traditional ways of ministry; however, we we are not barred from the work of ministry—that of praising and worshiping God, welcoming, praying and caring for each other as siblings in Jesus’ family, and sharing the good news of the gospel in word and deed with our corner of the world and beyond. We may still do all of this with energy, intelligence, imagination and love.
 
I can’t wait to hear how the Holy Spirit has been moving through you and your congregation. I look forward to visiting with you (properly distanced!), listening to your stories, frustrations, and hopes, and helping your church discern the direction God is leading you next as you prepare for your new pastor.
 
May God bless you and our ministry together!
 
Grace and peace,

Pastor Nancy
Rev. Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer
Transitional Pastor


I Miss Singing – A Note from the Clerk

Greetings Friends.

I miss singing! It is such a big part of our worship experience. Some of my best memories are of
Sunday night services at First Methodist next door with my Dad. He would stand me up in the
pew beside him and we would sing good old hymns out of the Cokesbury hymnal. My Dad
would also turn on the TV on Sunday mornings to the station that played gospel music. It played
throughout the house while we were getting ready for church. The music tells all kinds of stories
that we all love to hear….stories of love, joy, sadness, friendship, Easter, Christmas, etc. It is
just another way to share God’s word with the people of the church.

We are so fortunate to have some very talented people who make it possible for us to have
music in our worship services. Even in this time of COVID when we cannot safely sing for fear
of spreading the “super bug” (my granddaughter’s phrase) we still have had some beautiful
music to lift our spirits and warm our hearts during worship these past months. Connie Burleson
has provided us with glorious preludes and postludes. She spends many hours practicing these
selections to perfection. John Rawlings is right when he says she performed “another flawless
performance’. Shelley Jennings is the “fearless leader” of the Chancel Choir and the Welborn
Bells, and she has put together a variety of special music to enhance our worship each week. Rehearsals
were held and sound checks done in order to provide us with beautiful music each week. I look
forward to the time when I can gather with my choir family on Wednesday nights to prepare an
anthem for morning worship. A labor of love.
 
Finally, Jack Harman leads our contemporary music ministry. We are fortunate to have a Praise Band full of talented musicians who share their music during the early service. They present these selections, many of which are not familiar to everyone, in a way that gets everybody moving with the spirit.
We may not be able to sing together as a congregation or choir but the music is still there. I invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the music. Thank you to those who make it possible. 

We are blessed….

Margaret King
 


A Note from the Clerk

In my daily devotional there was a story about a group of neighborhood boys who loved to
play football. Every day after school they would leave the worries of school behind and run to
the playground for their game. One of the kids had a dad who had a great arm and had a great
passion for football. As soon as he would pull into the driveway the boys would start yelling for
him to come and join the game. Loving the game the way he did he couldn’t resist. The dad
would ask “Who’s losing?” and would immediately join that team. He wanted to keep things fair.
 
His presence in the huddle changed the whole game. He brought confidence, strength, and a
good plan to the game. The boys would circle around him and listen intently while he told them
what they were to do. His words became the focus of the team. The other team was anxious
because they knew the side he joined now had a new leader, a new plan, a new focus. He
brought new life to that team.

God does the same thing for us. We often need a new plan, a new way of approaching our
lives. We need a new leader, someone with confidence, strength, and passion. When we make
God the focus of our new plan and listen intently to His word things just start to click. As the
transition team continues its search for a transitional minister we must allow God to be the
focus, to be at the center of our decision making. We must use the confidence, strength and
passion He brings to the “huddle” to guide us towards the best person to lead our church family.
 
Heavenly Father, please continue to be at the center of our search. Guide us with confidence,
strength, and passion as we search for the very best minister for our church family. Amen.

Blessings…

Margaret King, Clerk
 


Outdoor Worship Service Guidelines

We are pleased to begin outdoor worship on Sunday, August 30th. We plan to continue this through the fall and hopefully move back into the sanctuary at some point soon. It will be good to see each other again!
 
Thank you in advance for observing the following guidelines as we worship God and assure the safety of all. If you do not feel comfortable attending worship, please know we understand. Also, if you are feeling bad, please stay at home and enjoy the service on the live stream.
 
We will meet outdoors on the front lawn of the church. – We have not worshiped together for a long time. Although we cannot meet in the sanctuary yet, with fall approaching, now is good time to meet outside. Our front yard is perfect for this with some shade trees, and our front entrance is a perfect stage.
 
Worship will be at 11 a.m. – We are moving to an 11:00 service so that we can have Sunday school at 9:00 via Zoom, then have time to get to church for the outside worship service.
 
Bring your own lawn chairs/blankets. – If you cannot bring a chair, let the church office know, and we have a few that we can provide for you. If you want to bring an umbrella or wear a hat, please do, since we do not know how the sun will be that day. Bring water bottles and sunscreen, if you wish.
 
Upon arrival, the ushers will meet you at one of two entrances. – Collection baskets will be stationed at the entrance for offerings. You will be directed to an appropriate circle that will accommodate your family….please allow the ushers to help you get situated. This way, social distancing can be observed.
 
Social distancing & wearing masks – We will mark the family circles where people can sit that are six feet apart. Please keep your family within the circle during the service. We will also require worshipers to wear masks or face guards. If you don’t have one, we’ll be happy to provide a mask for you. Masks should remain on throughout the service. Hand sanitizing stations will also be provided for your use.
 
Casual attire and atmosphere – It’s summertime, and we’re outside, so dress comfortably. Shorts are great! Young kids? Feel free to bring a blanket with toys for them to play with.
 
Bathroom plan – We have designated the bathrooms at the 3rd Avenue entrance for emergency use only. Please see an usher to let you into the church if necessary, but please use the restroom prior to your arrival. Both bathrooms will receive a “deep clean” by our janitorial service the following day.
 
Sound system – We’ll use a portable system to project sound so all can hear.
 
Parking for those who want to remain in cars – We’ll have some designated parking spots on the street for those who prefer to sit in their cars, roll down their windows, and listen to the service from a distance.
 
Continue Zoom/YouTube Live – Our online services have reached our congregation during the pandemic, so we are committed to continuing this as we re-gather. We will continue to broadcast our outdoor worship services through Zoom (audio only) and YouTube Live.
 
Continue online posting of the Order of Worship – We invite people to bring their own bulletin on Sunday, either on their phones/tablets or by printing their own copies (we will provide a limited number of paper copies as well). This will also allow us to easily switch to virtual-only worship should rainy/stormy weather on Sunday morning keep us from meeting in person.
 
Exiting the service – After the benediction, the ushers will direct you to an exit so as to maintain social distancing…thank you for helping with this procedure. Please don’t approach others outside of your family group without maintaining social distance and wearing a mask.
 
Inclement weather – We will notify the congregation by the church website and/or Facebook if the morning worship service is cancelled.
 
You may also view/download this document in PDF form by clicking here.
 
 


Session Digest for August 2020

Greetings from the Session.
 
We held our stated meeting on Sunday evening, August 16, 2020. Here are some highlights of the meeting.
  • I am excited to share that preparations are being made for outside Sunday morning services! We are working hard to put together a plan for holding these services on our front lawn. Special care is being taken to have a set of safe guidelines in place that will allow us to meet safely in these unusual times. Things such as social distancing with your family, wearing masks, bringing your own chairs, etc. will be observed. Our target date is August 30, 2020. Look for more information coming via the phone tree, website, and mailings in the next weeks. It will be so good to be together as a congregation! Can’t wait to see your smiling faces again as we come together to worship God.
  • The Transitional Team has completed a Ministry Information Form which will allow us to expand our search for a transitional minister. The form gives applicants a picture of our congregation and an insight into our good works. It has been presented to the Council on Ministry of Salem Presbytery for approval and then will be posted on the General Assembly’s website. The process will help ensure we are getting the very best fit for our congregation.
  • The Technology Team is moving forward with its plans to upgrade our equipment used for live streaming our services. They have worked very hard over the summer to provide us with a morning worship service. Special thanks to Blake Benton, Craig Koontz, and Sammy McFarland for all they have done to bring us our services each week.
  • The Faith in Action Ministry reported Davidson County Medical Ministries had suspended all donations at the beginning of the pandemic. They have lifted the suspension and donations are being accepted once again. Collection boxes will be in the lobby outside the office and under the stairwell near the pastor’s office. Needed items include: soap, shampoo, hand towels, combs, toilet paper, paper towels, ink pens, large paper clips, and tape. Thanks for your continued support of this vital community ministry.
  • Plans for Sunday School are underway. The adult class will be continuing a study of Tony Evans’s series on racism via Zoom. Karen Carrickhoff is putting together a wonderful series for our children. Katherine Team and Teresa Herman are looking forward to meeting with the middle school youth, and Robin Team will resume high school Sunday School classes. Thanks to you all for your support of our Sunday School programming.
  • Plans are also underway for YD’s and Acts Alive to kick off their fall season. It will look a little different this year with outdoor meetings and safety protocols in place, but the advisors are enthusiastically putting together a fun year. They will resume on September 13.
  • Finally, our Preschool Director, Jane Blackerby, and her staff are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Pre-K classes on October 5, 2020. Preparations being made to sanitize this area well, and again, safety guidelines will be in place for staff, parents, and children. Jane has worked diligently to put together a program for these precious children that will keep them safe as well as very busy! This is such a wonderful ministry we provide for our community, and we are fortunate to have such a successful program to offer these families. It is one of the best around – something to be proud of!
 
In closing, we read in Philippians that the Lord cares for us all the time. Through Jesus Christ, we have the strength to face all the strange conditions that the world has given us. The blessings we receive through Christ will supply all our needs during this time. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. May the strength and love of Jesus Christ continue to guide us in doing His good works.

Blessings to you all.

Margaret King, Clerk of Session


An Update from the Session

I hope this message finds all of you in good health and dealing well with the COVID situation. The Session has continued to work hard during this time to make sure we are providing the church family with a positive spiritual experience during these unusual times.
 
The Transitional Team has been meeting since Pastor Lee’s departure, working to find the best transitional minister for our congregation. The team is composed of Craig Koontz, Chair; Margaret King, Clerk; Robin Team, Pat Ulmer, Amy McNeill, Dave Hiller, and Roy Rowe.
 
The Presbytery appointed Rev. Brian Rummage of New Hope Presbyterian Church, Lexington, to serve as our liaison to the Presbytery. He laid out the steps involved in finding candidates for this position. In all, there have been five possible candidates, each with their own unique set of gifts and talents. The Team has been busy reviewing resumes, interviewing, and checking references on these candidates. We have enjoyed talking with these folks. It has allowed us to reflect on the characteristics that are most important to us as we progress through this process. Our goal now is to find the perfect match for our church. We may be in the final stages of this process. We appreciate your patience as we search for the one who will lead us spiritually and faithfully toward our permanent minister.
 
The Reopening Team, with Richard Goff as chair, has been charged with preparing guidelines for us to follow when we are able to worship again in the sanctuary. The Presbytery has asked that we follow CDC guidelines, as well as those coming from the Governor’s office. With that in mind, the Team has compiled a comprehensive list of guidelines for each of us to follow when we are able to worship together in the sanctuary. Things like taking temperatures, wearing masks, and social distancing are just part of the safety measures implemented in the plan. First and foremost, the health and safety of our church family is paramount to our reopening for worship. The Team continues to monitor the status of the pandemic in our area and will move forward when the time is right. They understand the need we all have for coming together again for worship. Please continue to pray for an end to this crisis.
 
Another new team is the Technology Team. It is composed of Craig Koontz, Blake Benton, Sammy McFarland, and Travis Fortune. Because of the pandemic, we turned to live streaming for our Sunday morning worship services. Sunday School has been attended through Zoom. We were very spoiled as a congregation when Pastor Lee was with us because he was so well versed in producing our worship services. That being said, our Tech Team has stepped up and provided us each week with morning worship. We are investing in some new equipment, which should make this experience even better. It is a project that we hope to continue after the pandemic is behind us in order to allow us to minister to those who are unable to be in the sanctuary every Sunday.
 
As you remember, Meredith Trout vacated her role as DCE to spend more time with her three precious children. Karen Carrickhoff has graciously agreed to serve as interim DCE in order to allow us to search for a permanent replacement. Karen has hit the ground running and is busy putting together a curriculum for our fall Sunday School season. We appreciate all Karen has done to keep us on track with our Christian education programs.
 
Because of the pandemic, we haven’t been able to see each other on a regular basis.The Session has been calling all our members to check on everyone during this unusual time. The Fellowship Ministry Team also put together some gift bags and delivered them to our members in nursing facilities and those who are staying close to home. These activities have been very well received. Thanks to Donna Bryan and her helpers for coordinating the gift bag deliveries. A big thank you to Jeanna for supplying the weekly call lists.
 
As you can see, the church is still going about the task of doing God’s work. My prayer is for us all to remain safe and healthy and for the opportunity to return to some kind of
normalcy soon. God is still working through us each time we make a call, hold a meeting, or pray for each other.
 
Much love to you all.
 
Margaret King, Clerk of Session


Elder Installation and Ordination

On Sunday, June 14 at 7:30 PM, our Elders-elect will be ordained and installed. The congregation is invited to observe the installation via Zoom. The meeting ID is 930 0593 7108. You may also access the meeting at this link: https://zoom.us/j/93005937108. Please note that you WILL need a password in order to access the meeting. Please contact Jeanna in the church office (336-248-2140) during normal business hours to obtain the password, or consult your snail mailed copy of the June 9 ACTION.
 
Unfortunately, we will not be able to provide an audio-only option for this meeting.
 
Elders-elect include: Meredith Andrews, Beverly Black, Jim Beall Graham, Jan Greer, Jimmy Holshouser, Jo Leonard, Sammy McFarland, Phyllis McGee, and Bill McMurray.
 
On behalf of the FPC family, I want to send a heartfelt THANK YOU to our Session for all their hard work and leadership, especially during this pandemic. Please take the time to express your appreciation to our Elders, especially the Class of 2020, who is rotating off the Session this month: Faith Albert, Ginger Briggs, Jeff Davis, Ben Kiefer, Craig Koontz, Lisa Lucas, Beth Parrott, Nicholas Priddy, and Matt Welborn.
 


A Letter from Our Session

First Presbyterian Family,
 
We have been following the Governor’s guidelines and common sense regarding public worship at First Presbyterian Church during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information regarding government regulations has been contradictory at times, and news stories have only added to the confusion. This has led to some misunderstanding as to why some churches are electing to have in-person services and other churches, like ours, are not.

As you may know, our Session has met via Zoom every Sunday night since this pandemic necessitated the closing of our normal worship services. On Sunday, we discussed the issue of reopening. The consensus was that we adopt the following policy:

First Presbyterian Church of Lexington will not reopen until consultation with the Davidson County Health Department and North Carolina State regulations inform us that it is safe to do so. We will revisit this question each week, but for now do not plan on a public worship service through the month of June.
 
Each member of our church will have an opinion as to the “right” time to resume worship and our other activities. Some may want to open quickly; others would as soon wait until the risk of spreading this virus is passed completely. The practical answer is somewhere in between the two extremes, but the Session is committed to re-opening when we can provide a safe environment for worship.

We adopted this statement because we care about our church family and feel it would be too risky to engage in public worship at this time. Confirmed cases in Davidson County jumped over 50% last week. On Mother’s Day there were 199 confirmed cases. Today there are 304. The Health Department is reporting that the great majority of cases have come from people who have congregated in groups. Considering the demographics of our congregation, we would be irresponsible and foolish to open our doors and place our people in jeopardy.
 
When the Health Department informs us that we can safely begin steps to reopen, we will. But we want you to understand that public worship will be much different than it was before. When we return to worship in the sanctuary, we will encourage people to wear masks and practice social distancing. We will not be able to pass the offering plate, and communion will have to be handled in a different manner than our traditional passing of the elements. Every precaution must be taken to protect the health of our worshipers.

Following each service of worship, the sanctuary must be sanitized by professionals. The same is true of any activity in the fellowship hall. We will probably open the doors of our sanctuary to worship before we open our educational space for Sunday School and small groups. Most of our classrooms are not large enough to practice social distancing. Any space that is used must be sanitized before it can be used again.

One of the biggest issues in reopening is congregational and choral singing. Saliva droplets are considered a prime vector for spreading the coronavirus. When people are singing with passion and conviction, saliva droplets can carry well beyond six feet. One of the first major outbreaks of the virus in March was a community choir in Washington. Almost everyone in the choir came down with the virus. As hard as it is to say, and as hard as it is to imagine, we may be returning to public worship without a choir to sing and without congregational singing. Music is important to every worship service, but this will be especially challenging to our early worship where music is a focal point of the entire service.

We are sharing this with you because we want you to understand that reopening the church will not be as simple as opening the doors and welcoming people back in the sanctuary. Public worship will look different, feel different, and sound different for some time.
 
As you know, the Session has appointed a Transition Team to find a transitional minister to lead us until we can find a new permanent pastor through a Pastor Nominating Committee. This transition team has taken on the added responsibility of working with the Worship Ministry Team and our new Technology Committee to formulate our plans for “virtual” worship when Pastor Lee is no longer with us. The plan is to have a live worship service that is available to the membership each Sunday at our normal summer worship time of 10 am. This live-streamed service will have all the usual elements of our normal service, and we hope it will provide inspiration and an uplifting spiritual message each week.
 
There is a committee forming now to begin the planning process for resumption of our public worship. When it is safe to come back together, we will be ready!
 
The phrase “challenging times” has become a common description of our life during this pandemic. So too, it is an appropriate description for our Church. While dealing with the worship interruptions due to the pandemic, we are losing our two staff professionals at the same time who have been a steadying influence in our lives when we have needed it the most. But the situation has a silver lining – we get a chance to hit the reset button at First Presbyterian. Now is the time to think about what you can do to assist our church. When asked to volunteer, say yes!! We can improve all aspects of our church, from Building and Grounds to our Sunday School offerings to our worship services. We can re-dedicate ourselves to our vision statement where “as a loving community in Christ, we call people to faith, develop them as disciples and send them to serve.” Let your light shine, which in turn will shine through the work and worship of our church.
 
There are many creative ways we can continue to be the church. If you have ideas of different ways we can minister and worship in this crisis, please share them . . . we are all in unchartered water together.

One day we will all look back on this experience and reflect on the lessons we learned and the many ways we saw God in the storm. And we will give testimony of how we emerged from the darkness into the marvelous light!

Grace and Peace,
Your Session