…sharing the love of Christ with Athens and the world!

Important Events and Messages

Events

New Member Class, February 19 and 26

If you are interested in learning more about First Presbyterian Church and becoming a member, we invite you to attend our New Member class. If you are interested in attending, please contact the church office at 706-543-4338.

Sunday, February 19, 4:00 p.m.

New Member Tea, prospective members received by the Session

Sunday, February 26, 11:00 a.m.

Worship Service, new members introduced to the congregation

Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Youth Ski Trip, February 17-19

Our youth group will be going to Montreat to join other Presbyterian youth for a weekend of skiing, worship, and fellowship. For more information please contact Kim Ness.
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Primetime Presbyterians Trip to White Hall Mansion, February 21, at 10:30 a.m.

On February 21 the Primetime Presbyterians will tour the White Hall Mansion in Athens, which is owned by the University of Georgia’s School of Forest Resources. First Presbyterian Church member Elaine Thacker will be our tour guide. Elaine and her late-husband, Sam, lived in the mansion for sixteen years, when Sam worked at the School of Forest Resources. She has many interesting stories to share about the history of the house and her time living there. We will meet at White Hall Mansion, which is located at the end of South Milledge Avenue where it meets Whitehall Road, at 10:30 a.m. We will then enjoy lunch together at Peppino’s restaurant. Please RSVP to Judy Howell at jhowell@uga.edu or 706-549-2888 by February 17.
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Blood Drive, February 26 at 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Please help save a life by donating blood. Reserve an appointment online at redcrossblood.org. You may also sign up in the Atrium on Sunday, February 5, 12, or 19, or by contacting the church office at 706-543-4338 or email us.
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

The Wayne F. Middendorf Memorial Concert Series

In 2016, we lost a great person, a wonderful physician, a faithful and active church member, a dedicated choir member, and a lover of music, Dr. Wayne F. Middendorf. Funds were donated in memory of Wayne with the hope of finding a special use that would benefit the church and honor Wayne’s legacy and memory. Due to his great love of music, it was decided we would use these funds to start The Wayne F. Middendorf Memorial Concert Series. We hope this series will bring fantastic concerts and recitals into our church, and make First Presbyterian Church even more of a place where excellent music is offered to the Athens community. Please join us for the inaugural concert in this series.

UGA University Chorus Concert, February 28 at 8:00 p.m., Sanctuary

Eternal Light: A Requiem by Howard Goodall

Under the direction of Lauren Elizabeth Whitham
Peng-Chian Chen, piano
John Coble, organ
Monica Hargrave, harp

Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Ash Wednesday Service, March 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Please join us in the sanctuary for our annual Ash Wednesday Service, which will include the imposition of ashes.
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

FPC Women’s Retreat, April 21 – 23, 2017

 

wretreat

Contact Carol Strickland about scholarships.

To register click here.

Core Godly Play Training, June 8-10

godly-play-logo-2013-large-copy

Godly Play has begun to truly transform the Sunday School and Children’s Church hour for our children. To continue to grow this wonderful new program, we need more Godly Play Storytellers. And to become a Godly Play Storyteller, you need to attend a Godly Play Core Training. I am very excited to announce that First Presbyterian Church is going to host a Godly Play Core Training, June 8, 9, and 10.

Thursday, June 8, 6 p.m. -9 p.m.
Friday, June 9, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday, June 10, 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Please consider joining the Godly Play circle with our sweet children. If you have not yet had the opportunity to experience a Godly Play story, join us on one of the following Sundays during Sunday School (10:00 a.m.-10:40 a.m.). So that we have plenty of room, we will meet in the Fellowship Hall Breakout area.

Sunday, February 5 – The Holy Family
Sunday, February 12 – Parable of the Good Samaritan
Sunday, February 19 – Circle of the Church Year
Sunday, February 26 – The Mystery of Easter

All are welcome! This training is not just for our members but is also open to anyone who is interested in attending.

For more information regarding the upcoming Godly Play Training or our Godly Play curriculum at First Presbyterian Church, contact Natalie Bishop. To register please click here.
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Messages

 

Bruce’s Blog

My Friends,

When Dr. Doak announced his retirement last year, one era of ministry at First Presbyterian Church ended, but just as it has with all the ministers who have served in the rich history of this church that began nearly 200 years ago, another will begin!

I know that this time of transition can be both exciting and anxious, all at the same time. That is why it has been so good to see so many members step up to make sure the church’s ministry has continued at its present level of excellence.

The next step along the way will be to elect a Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC). At its December meeting, the Session approved that the PNC consist of seven members. The congregational Nominating Committee then began its work to suggest a slate of candidates for the PNC. By the time you read this, the PNC will have been elected.

I will lead an orientation session as to the duties, responsibilities, and ministry of a PNC in the Presbyterian Church.

Their first task will be to gather information to identify the congregation’s strengths and weaknesses, its focus and direction, and the kind of leadership it needs in a pastor. We have already begun the process to help them collect this information, which will be used to prepare a Ministry Information Form (MIF). The PNC will join the Elders during the Session Retreat in early February and the focus will be on the MIF.

This important task cannot be rushed.

When the MIF is completed, the Session will approve it and send it the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry for approval. Then the MIF will be made available to the congregation. The search will actually begin when the MIF is circulated throughout the denomination!

More on that leg of the journey will be presented as we get closer to that stage of the search. In the meantime, please keep the members of the PNC in your prayers and continue the excellent ministries of First Presbyterian Church as your future pastor considers serving with you!

Thanks and blessings,
Bruce Lancaster, Interim Senior Pastor
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Message from Carol: Love

The details of Saint Valentine, the 3rd century Roman martyred for his faith ,whose saint day is February 14, are unknown. However, where facts are missing legend has stepped in. One story says he was a priest who defied the emperor’s order and secretly married couples so the husbands did not have to go to war; another says he was imprisoned for failure to sacrifice to pagan gods and healed the jailer’s blind daughter, sending her a note on his execution day signed “Your Valentine.” How this martyr for his faith who practiced civil disobedience got so mixed up with candy, lace, and romance is a little puzzling.

Except that perhaps when we fall in love it’s the first time we experience love in such a potent form. Yes, I know that falling in love is infatuation and not the same as the sort of lasting, true love that, say, sees a marriage through sixty years of for-better-or-worse or inspires a person of faith to put their life on the line. But the intoxication of falling in love renders a person selfless as never before. There is utter devotion. The lover will do anything for the beloved. There is no cost too great, no risk too high.

The Greeks had three words for love (eros, philia, and agape) but, really, at its heart all love is the same. It is selfless, putting the other ahead of oneself. In the New Testament, it is John whose gospel speaks of love a great deal – more than the other three gospels combined. Love is everywhere in John: for God so loved the world; Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus; I give you a new commandment, that you love one another; no one has greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends; having loved his own…he loved them to the end. The Johanne letters are full of love, as well. They include one of the best insights in the whole Bible: whoever does not love, does not know God, for God is love.

Whether love is manifested in falling head over heels for another or perhaps in less exciting but just as important ways – making a casserole for a sick friend, being patient with an irritating child, writing a check for the special offering, not judging someone quite different from yourself – it’s at its root a selfless act. It all comes from God. And it is what God yearns for us all to know and practice every day, February 14 included.

Carol Strickland, Associate Pastor

Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Music Notes

With the excitement of Christmas now over, we’re in the “blahs” of winter. After all the busyness of Advent and Christmas, especially for church musicians and others who serve in churches, there can be a letdown. This can actually be a depressing time of year for some.

This time of year, I have memories of going back to school, especially college and graduate school. I remember starting a new semester, turning my attention to reading and heading to the library to research composers and music. Now I try to take advantage of those old habits. I start reading new books, learning new music, and focusing my energy on some new projects.

This year, I am learning a new piece of music I agreed to accompany in a concert in our church in February and it’s turning out to be quite rewarding. The piece is Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem. The music is certainly beautiful, but I usually find deep meaning in going beyond learning the notes, by reading about the composer, the music, and the story behind the music. I’ve learned this is not a typical Requiem, offering prayers for the departed. Goodall followed the example of composers like Brahms, adding text that offers comfort to the grieving. Goodall writes, “For me, a modern Requiem is one that acknowledges the terrible, unbearable loss and emptiness that accompanies the death of loved ones, a loss that is not easily ameliorated with platitudes about the joy awaiting us in the afterlife.” Goodall writes about coming to terms with our losses, both collective and private. “Musical expression can I hope provide some outlet, some reflection, some transportation, even possibly some comfort.” He also writes that in his work “there is a common theme of compassion for the bereaved. The sacred texts offer everlasting light as an image of resurrection and survival for the departed.”

In 2016, we lost a great person, a wonderful physician, a faithful and active church member, a dedicated choir member, and a lover of music, Dr. Wayne F. Middendorf. Funds were donated in memory of Wayne with the hope of finding a special use that would benefit the church and honor Wayne’s legacy and memory. Due to his great love of music, it was decided we would use these funds to start The Wayne F. Middendorf Memorial Concert Series. We hope this series will bring fantastic concerts and recitals into our church, and make First Presbyterian Church even more of a place where excellent music is offered to the Athens community. Please see details about this concert on the next page.

Soli Deo Gloria (to God be the Glory),
John Coble, Director of Music and Organist
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Youth Ministry Update

Who is your neighbor?

In Luke 10:36-37, Jesus answers the question for us, “Which of these three (the priest, the Levite, the Samaritan), do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The Parable of the Good Samaritan will be the focus for youth in the Spring of 2017, especially as we come to understand the call to show mercy to immigrants and refugees. We will work to expand our definition of NEIGHBOR through Bible studies, Godly Play stories, and diverse worship experiences. We will seek out common ground with those who are different and continue to create an environment of acceptance within our youth group. And, we will recognize the power of service to bridge gaps and bring together God’s large family.

At the end of January, our youth group visited Jubilee Partners, a Christian service community that provides housing and hospitality to refugees who have newly arrived in the United States. This remarkable ministry is just down the street in Comer, GA – literal neighbors! We were given a tour of their facilities, then joined the families, staff, and volunteers for dinner and a truly unique worship experience. We played with the children and listened to their parents’ stories. If you have not heard of Jubilee, I encourage you to check them out, for the Holy Spirit is undoubtedly at work here.

Athens Nurses Clinic

The Athens Nurses Clinic is a non-profit health care clinic just down the street from church in the new ARCH Complex on North Avenue. This ministry gives hope and healing to our uninsured and low or no-income neighbors. A team of doctors, nurses, and volunteers provides free evaluation, treatment, and education for acute and chronic medical and dental conditions. The clinic sees many patients who are seriously ill and for whom generic medications are not adequate or even available. In response, our church collected $4,067.03 on Christmas Eve to support the position of Patient Pharmaceutical Assistance Program Coordinator.

We also have an ongoing opportunity to support the patients of Athens Nurses Clinic through the collection of hygiene bags. Last year, our church collected supplies to fill over 100 bags! Recently, we received a call requesting more bags. If you’d like to contribute, we have set up a shelf with bins in the basement by the Coke machine. Thank you!

HYGIENE BAGS NEEDED
shampoo
conditioner
soap
lotion
new socks
new washcloth
toothbrush
toothpaste
small deodorant
comb
razor
shaving cream
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Children’s Ministry Update

This continues to be a wonderful year for our children in Sunday School and Children’s Church.

Not only have the children had new opportunities to serve as worship leaders and engage in worship, they have also experienced the Bible in a new way through Godly Play. This new curriculum has begun to truly transform the Sunday School and Children’s Church hour for our children. To continue to grow this wonderful new program for our children, we need more Godly Play Storytellers. And to become a Godly Play Storyteller, you need to attend a Godly Play Core Training. I am very excited to announce that First Presbyterian Church is going to host a Godly Play Core Training, June 8, 9, and 10.

Please consider joining the Godly Play circle with our sweet children as a Storyteller. If you have not yet had the opportunity to experience a Godly Play story (the BEST way to learn about Godly Play), then please join the children (3rd-5th Graders) and me for a story during Sunday School.

So that we have enough room for you, our special guests, we will meet in the Fellowship Hall Breakout area for our Godly Play story from 10:00 a.m.-10:40 a.m. Parents, you will still drop off and pick up your children in the Children’s Ministry Suite. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

Sunday, February 5 – The Holy Family
Sunday, February 12 – Parable of the Good Samaritan
Sunday, February 19 – Circle of the Church Year
Sunday, February 26 – The Mystery of Easter

Natalie Bishop, Director of Children’s Ministries

Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

IHN Host Weeks, February 19-26, April 2-9

Our first Interfaith Hospitality Network host week for the year and for our new coordinating team begins next weekend. Thank you to everyone who has already volunteered! To help with one of our last remaining jobs please sign up in the Atrium or contact
Patty Whiten.

Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Library Corner

The current display in the library offers you the opportunity to peek into someone else’s life. The selection is diverse and runs the gamut from Bonhoeffer to Seabiscuit. A Secret Gift tells the story of one man’s anonymously giving away money during the depression and American Jezebel tells how the religious life of Anne Hutchinson resulted in the founding of Rhode Island. Come in today and pick out a life to peek into!

Beth Collins
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Outreach Spotlight: Athens Community Council on Aging

What would you do if you couldn’t shop for food or prepare your meals? The Athens Community Council on Aging (ACCA) has you covered with Meals on Wheels…maybe. This is a needs-based program and there is a waiting list. ACCA needs both funding and volunteers. My husband, Dave, and I began volunteering in 2009. We are regular substitutes, which has meant we deliver meals almost every Friday, taking a route where a regular volunteer is absent. It is something we can do together (& with our dog) and we never fail to enjoy our experience, though sometimes a client’s situation tugs at our heartstrings.

Among the clients we have met is Jeff, a young man without legs, but with a great attitude. We also often deliver to TC who is blind. TC is one of the cheeriest souls we meet and he is always pleased to hear our descriptions of the food! Mary is a grandmother who we enjoyed so much that when she began getting her meals at ACCA’s Adult Day Care we went by there to catch up with her!

Could you give an hour or so each week or month to take a meal to someone in need? It not only will touch your heart, it will make you count your blessings. Let me know if you’d like to help. I’d like to introduce you to some of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. Contact me at 706.769.7266 or kittydavedonnan@gmail.com.

Kitty Donnan
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

La Table Luncheon Benefit for IHN, February 28, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Interfaith Hospitality Network will host its annual La Table luncheon at the Athens Country Club. For each table of 8-10, one individual, as the table host/hostess, decorates the table in a personally selected theme. Hosts may specifically invite others to join the table or may open the table to any individual who would like to attend the luncheon. Attendees are asked to make a contribution of $50 to IHN.

If you would like to attend La Table or be a table host please contact Wanda Culpepper by email or at 706- 202-4862, or Davin Welter by email or at 706-425-1881,  as soon as possible, but, at the latest, Wednesday, February 22. We look forward to your presence at La Table!

Davin Welter, IHN Director
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

New Presbyterian Village Coming to Athens Area

For information about the new Presbyterian Village being planned for the Athens/Oconee area, please visit their website here.
Return to Home Page News: Messages and Events

Worship With Us

Worship Times

Sunday Worship
8:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Sunday School
9:45 a.m.
Children's Sunday School
Youth Sunday School
Adult Sunday School

Directions
Contact Us