Presbyterian Women Circles Begin New Year, New Study

PW Study Love Carved in StonePresbyterian Women invites all women to join them this year for the Bible study, Love Carved in Stone: A Fresh Look at the Ten Commandments. There are two options, a morning circle at 10:30 AM and an evening circle at 7:00 PM. Both circles meet in the church library. This study begins on Monday, September 9, and thereafter will continue on the first Monday of each month. It only requires an hour per month of your time, unless you choose to join the morning group for Dutch treat lunch at Village Grill following each meeting, or just be more sociable in the evenings. It is a wonderful way to study God’s word and develop close bonds with other Presbyterian women. For more information or to receive a study book, you may contact Carol Beck, Susan Whitesides, or Jeanna in the church office.

Call it good

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.” Philippians 2:14-15, NLT
As I have said many times, we are living in a time in which incivility and division characterize much of the discourse we hear in the public square. The worst is assumed of the other person, and this general negativity of our culture leads to a tendency to speak words of criticism first even before learning another person’s story.
We Christians are no less susceptible to this critical spirit than those who don’t know Jesus. I know I have to watch myself to make sure I don’t first criticize or complain when I run up against something that hits me the wrong way; and I have been on the receiving end of people expressing their critical spirit as well. It seems to me that it is worse than it ever used to be. I wonder if you experience this too.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul is giving encouraging words of instruction to his beloved church. He wants them to shine like stars in the world by “doing all things without complaining and arguing.” In the Greek, the first word is defined as “grumbling or murmuring from discontent.” The second word has to do with contentious disputing. (Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000)).
If there were two words that better describe our world right now, I don’t know what they might be.
For Paul, it was important that the church live differently than the “crooked and perverse generation” by providing an example of another way – a way of love and understanding where Christians would lay aside grumbling and arguing. Instead, they would follow the example of Jesus who looked not to his own interests but to the interests of others, and they would work to live in humility with those around them.
I think one way that we followers of Jesus can apply these words of Paul in our lives, as we seek to “shine like stars,” is to begin to look for ways to call things “good.” Almost always there is something good that we can focus on in another person or situation rather than the “bad.”
My mentor Stan Ott tells the story how a decorating committee of a church he was serving was tasked with changing the decor of the entrance spaces of the church while he was away on sabbatical. When he returned, he was bombarded with complaints about the results. Not everyone liked what was done. However, instead of focusing on the color of the carpet or style of furniture, he focused on their heart of the people on the committee. “Isn’t it good that we have a group of people in the church who are giving their time and effort to make our church’s welcoming spaces more inviting?” The tenor of the discussion changed almost overnight. Instead of complaining about the color of the walls, people began expressing appreciation for the work of the committee.
This is the power of “calling things good” and “doing all things without grumbling and complaining.” Almost always, there is something good that we can focus on rather than allow our culture’s critical spirit to permeate our lives. So, I challenge you to begin to look for ways to call something good – at work, at home, in the community, on the ball field, and in church. As we work to apply this practice in our individual and corporate lives, we will be well on our way to shining like stars in the world, and hopefully we will be part of reducing the rancor and division that is so prevalent in our world today.
May the Lord bless each of you!
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

Grace Food Ministries Announcement

The vestry/Board of Elders for Grace Episcopal Church has elected to “stand down Grace Food Ministries while the program is being evaluated.” Both the Saturday Food Pantry and the Sunday Lunch Program will discontinue services during this time-out. The Pantry will cease operation after the food distribution on Saturday, July 13, 2019. The Sunday Meal will cease operations after the meal on Sunday, July 14, 2019.
At this time, there are no answers as to how long this time-out/time of discernment will require or what the outcomes will be.
I want to give my sincere and personal thanks to all of the First Presbyterian volunteers who have graciously and enthusiastically helped in the past. I pray that a new door will be opened in our collective Christian task of feeding His sheep.
God’s Love and Peace,
David Durrell
First Presbyterian Volunteer Coordinator

Adult Fall Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic

It’s time to start signing up for the Fall Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic! We already have several committed participants. Please pass the word to your friends, family, and anyone that would be interested in joining us.
The dates are Saturday, October 12 to either Friday, October 18 or Saturday, October 19, 2019. Cost rates are $1,155 (6 nights) OR $1,275 (7 nights) based on double occupancy rooms. This price includes all ground costs and fees for the time you will be in the DR. Hotel stay, meals, ground transportation are all provided (air fare is additional).
There is a $150 deposit required, with the balance of the ground costs due October 1, 2019.

In addition to doing home construction work, there are other opportunities available, such as: activities with children in the school, making jewelry and other items. in the Woman’s Co-op, visiting and delivering food in the community, volunteering in the Dental or Medical Center, and many more. If you are would like additional information or are interested in joining us, please contact: Craig Koontz.

Registration Open for VBS 2019

We are now accepting registrations for Vacation Bible School. VBS will be held at First Presbyterian June 10-13 (Mon-Thurs) from 9 AM until Noon each day. We will be using Group’s “Roar” VBS, helping children “explore God’s goodness and celebrate a ferocious faith that powers them through this wild life” (
We ask that you register your child by June 2nd. We will accept registrations the day VBS begins; however, the more children we have registered ahead of time, the more adequately we can plan for materials, crafts, snack, etc., so we appreciate your registering early.
Questions about Vacation Bible School may be directed to Meredith Trout.

Spring Time and Talent Campaign Has Begun

Our annual Time and Talent campaign begins this week! It takes many willing hands and hearts to do the work of the church. Please take this opportunity to prayerfully consider how you might use your gifts to further God’s work through our church and complete the Time and Talent form (“My Commitment to God’s Mission”) accordingly. Blank forms are available in the lobby and narthex at the church or may be downloaded and printed by clicking here. Completed forms may be submitted to the church office. We ask that you submit them by May 31. Many thanks to everyone for all you do for our church and community.

Now Accepting Applications for Winnie Green Scholarship

The Session and the Endowment Ministry Team of the Session would like to invite eligible church members 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 are 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.

Touching Davidson County with Love 2019

Touching Davidson County with Love will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019. There are several “soft” projects available, and help will needed for more physical projects (painting, carpentry, light repair work, etc.) as well. A list of soft projects follows. You may sign up for these on the Faith in Action bulletin board (3rd Avenue hallway). A sheet is also available there for those who wish to participate in the more physical projects. For those who cannot participate in any project, please see the back of this sheet for items needed as donations for two of our local helping agencies. SOFT PROJECTS

  • Making blankets (similar to those we made at Christmas Family Night) for needy and abused children
  • Making visits to nursing homes
  • Singing in nursing homes
  • Crocheting or knitting baby caps for our hospitals (bring yarn and needles/hooks; patterns will be supplied)
  • Delivering food boxes
Please sign up for all projects no later than March 24.
As part of Touching Davidson County with Love, we are collecting items for two of our local helping agencies.
For the Arc of Davidson County:
  • toilet paper
  • paper towels
  • kleenex
  • garbage bags (kitchen & trash)
For the Workshop of Davidson County:
  • full size shampoo
  • full size conditioner
  • deodorant (men’s and women’s)
  • soap
  • body wash
  • art supplies
  • games
  • puzzles
  • crafts
  • musical instruments


Items may be dropped off in the designated containers in the church lobby.
All items are due to the church by April 1.

Women of the Word Winter-Spring 2019

Ladies, God’s heart is moved by your cries for help, your shouts for joy, your unspoken worries. We know Him to be a God of unparalleled power and authority, but Mark’s account of Jesus paints Him as a deeply personal and intimate God too.

Join us, and author Lisa Harper, for this 7-session study beginning February 18, 2019 at 6:30 PM (Evening) and February 19, 2019 at 9:15 AM (Day) at First Presbyterian Church. Invite your friends!
We will expand our understanding of the Gospel, explore the depth of Jesus’ compassion and passion for humanity, and come to know the real Jesus of Scripture without the lens of man’s perspective.


Lisa Harper has a Master’s degree in Theology, is a former director of women’s ministry for Focus on the Family, is a national speaker, and is the author of fifteen Bible studies and books. If you would like to view the sample session, please visit the Lifeway site.

Questions? Contact Katherine Team (336.242.4019) or Ann McMurray (336.239.4042).

2019 Annual Family Retreat

Who is Christ? Who are we? Today we are constantly bombarded with vain commercial images, wellness gurus telling us to live OUR truth (not THE truth), and the latest fads all promising us health, wealth, and happiness. So, it is no surprise that spiritual confusion can happen to even the most well-meaning Christians. Just as Christ did, we are to love those around us radically, boldly, and mindfully. But this is easier said than done. Why is this self-giving love so difficult for us; and why does selfishness, greed, and sin come so easily? We will take deep look into who Christ is and how he lived. We will also take a look into our own lives and personally reflect on what changes we can make to allow our lives to be more reflective of Christ’s radical love. We will expand on scripture verses 2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” and Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Come join us for this special weekend away in Montreat with your church family to be renewed spiritually, mentally, and physically.
  • Childcare provided for children under 5. Separate programming for Middle and Elementary ages.
  • Registration forms are available in the church office (or may be downloaded by clicking here) and are due Sunday, February 10th.
For questions of more information please contact Meredith Trout.