Session Digest for March 7, 2021

The Session met in a special called meeting on March 7, 2021 via Zoom to discuss the reopening of our church sanctuary for worship.
The Reopening Committee met on Monday evening, March 1, 2021 to revisit the possibility of worshiping in our sanctuary. The safety and well being of the congregation has always been the priority of this group. The protocols and procedures put in place last fall were reviewed and found to be in order and still very important in order to open our doors safely. These include limited capacity with social distancing on the pews, making a reservation with the office, the wearing of masks at all times, taking temperatures, registering everyone who enters, entering from the 3rd Ave. entrance and exiting out the front doors of the church. Moving indoors will also mean no congregational singing or responses. Special music will be provided by instrumentalists, soloists, etc.
The Session was presented with several options to consider. After much discussion, a motion was made to gather outdoors to celebrate Palm Sunday, March 28 and Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021. On April 11, 2021 we would begin opening our doors for worship in the sanctuary following the procedures/protocols listed above. All services whether outdoors or in the sanctuary will be live streamed. In the event of inclement weather the outdoor services would be canceled and a live stream service will be available. The Reopening Committee will be given the responsibility of revising or canceling in-sanctuary worship if they feel the safety of our congregation will be compromised, or we feel the protocols need to be reviewed. The motion carried.
As we move forward with this plan, it is with the hope that it will give our church family an opportunity to, as members of the body of Christ, worship and praise Him together once again.
Margaret King, Clerk of Session

Ash Wednesday 2021

Ash Wednesday Service Online, February 17, 7:00 p.m.
The imposition of ashes on our forehead is to remind us that we are dust, and one day we will return to dust. It is a sign of our humanity. However, lest that word be too heavy a burden to carry, the ashes are imposed in the sign of the cross, a symbol of power over death, a reminder of Jesus’ resurrection and the promise of our own.
First Presbyterian Church will have a worship service available online at 7:00 the evening of Ash Wednesday, February 17th.
GLAMA (Greater Lexington Area Ministerial Association) will offer “drive-through” imposition of ashes at various locations in town throughout the day. Clergy will use “long-stemmed” cotton swabs to impose the ashes. Masks must be worn by all members in the vehicle as well as the clergy.

If you aren’t able or comfortable with driving by one of these locations, you may wish to consider mixing some soil with oil and using that to place a cross on your forehead. If you live with others in your household, consider having a brief ceremony with them at the beginning of the day. Read Psalm 51 together and place the sign of the cross on each other’s forehead or hand, saying the words:
~Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.~
9 – 11 AM   Parking Lot of First Baptist Church on Third Avenue (Rev. Alan Suber and Rev. Brian Alexander)
9 – 11 AM      East First and Salisbury Streets. (Rev. Kathy Watford and Rev. Arnetta Beverly)
10 AM Drive thru at First Lutheran Church 320 South State Street (Rev. Matt Miller)
12 – 2 PM East First and Salisbury Streets (Rev. Elizabeth Horton and Rev. Lester Smith)
5 – 7 PM Parking Lot of First United Methodist and First Presbyterian Churches (Rev. Kirk Tutterow, Rev. Cheryl Skinner and Dr. Nancy Jo Dederer)
**Pastor Nancy will be “on call” from Noon-2 PM at the church. Please pull up at the Third Avenue office entrance and call the church to let her know you are there.

Women of the Word – Spring Study 2021


by Kelly Minter
In this 8-session video-based Zoom Bible study, you will:

* Encounter the trustworthy sovereignty of God.
* Learn to trust God’s purposes when life doesn’t make sense.
* Recognize how God is working in your waiting.
* Rest in the sufficiency of God’s presence in every circumstance.
Joseph suffered through betrayal, false accusations, and imprisonment. But throughout his story, we are constantly reminded of God’s faithfulness. No matter what we walk through, God’s presence is constant; His provision is enough; and His purposes are unstoppable.

BOOK COST: $18.00 (scholarships available)
** Books will be available for pickup at First Presbyterian Church beginning February 2. Church office hours are Monday-Thursday, 9 am-12 pm and 1-5 pm; Friday 9 am-12 pm. Please use the Third Avenue office entrance and ring the bell to the right of the double doors. Checks may be made payable to Katherine Team.

DATES: February 8-March 29 (8 weeks), Monday evenings only, 7:00-8:15 PM

Please register by February 1 to Please include your name, email address, and
phone number (cell phone preferred). **Your contact information will not be shared
with anyone outside of Women of the Word.**


Community Prayer Wall

Friends, I think we can all agree that this year has been challenging in many ways. On the bright side, these challenges have pushed us to be more creative – in the ways we worship, fellowship, and stay connected as a community. In an effort to nurture our connections as a community, First Presbyterian has created a prayer wall, and you (yes, YOU!) are invited to take part.
The wall has been created on the outer garden wall (3rd Avenue side) at the church’s office entrance. There, you will find a table with instructions and supplies. We’re inviting everyone in our community to write a prayer and hang it on the prayer wall. Sharpies have been provided, but feel free to use your own if you have safety concerns.
Remember, the prayer wall is open to the community, so please help us spread the word by encouraging your friends and neighbors to add their prayers, hopes, and praises to the prayer wall. And for the prayer warriors in our community, please also help us by lifting these prayers before the Lord as we continue to love our neighbors this Advent season and beyond.
For those in the FPC family who have been largely housebound during the pandemic and who would like to add a prayer to the wall but do not want to risk possible exposure to COVID, please call or email Jeanna (336-248-2140 or, and she will add your prayer to the wall on your behalf.

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 ( 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.


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.