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

2020-2021 Time and Talent

Time and Talent forms were mailed out the last week of April. We are asking that they be completed and returned to the church by May 15, 2020. You may drop them in the mail slot located in the exterior door beside Lee’s office or bring them by the church office (please call first if you need assistance entering the building). You may mail them to the church at PO Box 586, Lexington NC 27293 using the envelope that was provided in the mailing, or you may email them to Jeanna.

Now Accepting Applications for the Winnie Green Scholarship

The Session and the Endowment Ministry Team of the Session would like to invite eligible persons to apply for a grant from the Winnifred Zimmerman Green Higher Education Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship was made possible by a generous gift from the estate of long time member Winnie Green to aid “worthy students of high academic achievement” with their college expenses.
The Session has established guidelines for the awarding of grants. Grants will be awarded each spring; students receiving scholarships shall not be guaranteed renewal of scholarships. Students must re-apply for a new grant each year.
The application deadline for this year is May 1. Application forms and the full list of applicant guidelines are available from the church office, on the lobby side of Jeanna’s service window, or may be downloaded by clicking here:   guidelines  or  application.

2020 Lent & Spring Worship Schedule

Special events in the life of the church have necessitated some changes to our normal worship schedule. Following is our worship schedule through the beginning of the summer:

Wednesday, February 26, 2020
∙ Ash Wednesday Service at 6:30 PM in the sanctuary.

Sunday, March 1
∙ Youth Sunday;  Single service at 11 AM – Sanctuary.
∙ Baked potato and salad lunch at 12 PM.

Sunday, March 8
∙ Retreat weekend;  Single service at 11 AM – Sanctuary.

Sundays, March 15, 22, 29
∙ Normal schedule – two services.
Sunday, April 5
∙ Palm Sunday;   Normal schedule – two services.
∙ Communion observed.
∙ Process to the Square at the end of the 11 AM worship service.
∙ Children’s egg hunt in the afternoon (4 PM).
Thursday, April 9
∙ Maundy Thursday service at First United Methodist at 7:00 PM.

Sunday, April 12
∙ Easter Sunday. Single service at 11 AM – Sanctuary.
One Great Hour of Sharing offering received.

Sunday, April 19
∙ Normal schedule – two services.
Sunday, April 26
∙ Single service at 11 AM – Sanctuary. Kidz Club Choir singing in worship.
∙ Luncheon following worship.
Sunday, May 3
∙ Single service at 11 AM – Sanctuary.
∙ Communion observed.
∙ Two Cents a Meal offering received.
∙ No luncheon.
Sunday, May 10
∙ Normal schedule – two services.
Sunday, May 17
∙ Graduation Sunday.
∙ Normal schedule – two services.
Sunday, May 24
∙ Memorial Day Weekend
∙ Normal schedule – two services.
∙ Luncheon to honor our Veterans.
Sunday, May 31
∙ Normal schedule – two services.
Sunday, June 7
∙ Single service at 11 AM – Sanctuary.
∙ Confirmation Sunday.
∙ Communion observed.
∙ Two Cents a Meal offering received.
Sunday, June 14
∙ Summer Schedule Begins.
∙ Sunday School at 9 AM.
∙ Single service at 10 AM – Sanctuary.

Women of the Word – Spring 2020

Women of the Word’s spring session begins soon! This round, we’ll be revisiting Twelve Women of the Bible, this time focusing on six New Testament women – Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany, Martha, the Woman at the Well, and the Syrophoenician Woman. This seven-week study features life-changing stories for women today.  We will discover new insights and find a powerful witness to God’s gracious love that will leave us feeling challenged, encouraged, and deeply valued. Even if you were not able to make the last session of WOW, please come join us! We’re always happy to see new faces and excited to reunite with old friends. 
The next session begins on Monday, February 10 at 6:30 PM for the Evening group and Tuesday, February 11 at 9:15 AM for the Morning group. All women are invited! We will gather in the fellowship hall for the first session; please bring your Bible and a pen. There will be a small cost for the study book if you do not already have one.
Questions may be directed to Katherine Team (336.242.4019) or Ann McMurray (336.239.4042).

Gathering Band to Perform for Project Potential

Our church has a strong history of members of our church family participating in Project Potential’s Dancing (and More) with the Potential Stars. Last year, organist Connie Burleson and choir member Ginger Briggs both participated. This year, First Presbyterian will be represented by the Gathering Band.
Project Potential was begun to encourage more students in our community to enroll in a college or university after graduating from high school. Since its inception in 1996, it has expanded its vision in order to meet the needs of a growing number of economically disadvantaged students in the Lexington City School system by adding services that provide comprehensive support for these students throughout high school. Each year, Project Potential holds a fundraiser to support its programs that help these students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend college. In most cases, the students helped by Project Potential will be the first in their family to attend college.

You can support Project Potential – AND the Band – by casting your vote at projectpotential.net. Donations are $10 per vote, and proceeds go to help youths right here in our community, helping to make their college dreams come true. The show will be held January 26, 2020 at 4:00 PM at the Civic Center in Lexington and is open to the public.

Registration Open for 2020 Family Retreat

Registration for our Annual Church-wide Family Retreat has begun! Retreat weekend is March 6-8. We will return to the beautiful setting of Montreat, NC with the Rev. Dr. Sid Batts leading our retreat programming. For more information or to print a registration form, please view the brochure by clicking here. Registrations are due February 16, and rooms are reserved on a first come, first served basis.
UPDATE:   Because of space and logistics, we decided to move the lodging back to the Winsborough this year, which has 31 rooms, plus private bathrooms. Prices for the Winsborough for the FULL Weekend are as follows:  $50 – individual; $75 – Couple; and $125 – Family. This will also include breakfast at Assembly Inn both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Lunch on Saturday will be on your own. Dinner Saturday night will be catered at the Winsborough. 
About Our Retreat Leader
This year’s retreat will be led by the Rev. Dr. Sid Batts. Sid, a native North Carolinian, holds degrees from High Point University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. During his career he served churches in Mobile, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Dunn, NC, and Lowell, NC. He has been active in the work of presbyteries in addition to civic involvement in local communities and served as a board member of Columbia Theological Seminary. He was also featured weekday mornings on 107.5 KZL for his 30 second “Just a Thought.” Sid is the author of 6 books, including “The Protestant Wedding Source Book,” “Go and Do,” and “Elevation: 8 Blessings for the High Road.” His interests include golf, The Beatles, and good books. He and his wife Cathy and their dachshund Luey currently reside in Southport, NC. Sid is also the proud grandfather of Rory, David, and James Trout.

Holiday Worship Schedule

November 24
✵    9 a.m. – Thanksgiving Breakfast
✵    10 a.m. – One Worship Service

✵    11 a.m. – Sunday School

December 1
✵    9 a.m. – Worship – Fellowship Hall
✵    10 a.m. – Sunday School

✵    11 a.m. – Worship in Sanctuary

December 8
✵    No Early Worship
✵    10 a.m. – Sunday School

✵    11 a.m. – One Worship Service with Choir’s Christmas Music

December 15
✵    9 a.m. – Worship – Fellowship Hall
✵    10 a.m. – Sunday School
✵    11 a.m. – Worship in Sanctuary
✵    5:30 p.m. – Christmas Pageant & dinner
December 22
✵    9 a.m. – Worship – Fellowship Hall
✵    10 a.m. – Sunday School

✵    11 a.m. – Worship in Sanctuary

December 24
✵    5 p.m. – Christmas Eve Candlelight & Communion
December 29
✵    No Sunday School or Crossroads Worship
✵    11 a.m. – Worship in Sanctuary

Chicken Pie & Spaghetti Sale for Local Missions

Each year, we sell chicken pies and baked spaghetti to help us raise extra funds that can go directly and immediately to the local helping agencies we support. This year’s sale begins on Sunday, October 20 and runs through November 10. It is our hope for this sale to go beyond the membership of the church, so we encourage everyone to invite their neighbors, friends and coworkers to order.
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 the chicken pies are “Moravian-style” (meat only, no veggies). If you order any 3 large items (or more), they cost $12 each (i.e. 1 large pie & 2 spaghettis). Order forms are available at the church or may be downloaded and printed here, and all orders must be paid for and submitted by November 10th.
Payment is due at the time orders are placed. Checks should be made payable to First Presbyterian Church.
Orders may be picked up Saturday, November 16 from 9:00 am-1:00 pm and Sunday, November 17  before & after church in the church fellowship hall.

Grace Sunday Lunch Program Resumes Operations

I am happy to announce that Grace Episcopal Church will restart the Sunday Lunch Program starting in October 2019.
As before, volunteers from First Presbyterian are asked to help serve during the months of March and August.
As a move to ensure that the Sunday Lunch Program remains sustainable in the long run, Grace has opened the opportunity to help with the preparation of the meal to anyone who may be interested. Training is being offered Sundays during the month of October between 9:30 AM and Noon.
I look forward to the opportunity to talk with anyone interested in volunteering.
God’s Peace and Love,
David Durrell,
Volunteer Coordinator
First Presbyterian Church