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

Important Events and Messages


Prayers for Healing

Meets every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. Members and friends gather in the sanctuary to pray for needs in the congregation and beyond.

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IHNA Host Week, February 10-17

Thanks to all of the volunteers who signed up to serve for the IHNA Host Week this month. We truly appreciate you!

Looking forward, FPC will host families three more times this year:
April 14-21
August 18-25
October 28 – November 3

If you have an interest in volunteering to serve during host weeks and would like to be added to the IHNA contact list, please e-mail us with your contact information. We will make sure you are contacted several weeks prior to the upcoming host weeks and are aware of the training and volunteer opportunities (you will need to participate in a brief training prior to volunteering for the first time).

Thanks again for your service,
Susan Boatwright and Frank Sherrill, IHNA Co-Coordinators

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Martha Thomas Concert, February 23, 3:00 p.m.

The Wayne F. Middendorf Memorial Concert Series presents: Martha Thomas, Concert Pianist, “Music Old and New”. More information is available here.

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PTP Program with Historian Ron Bogue, Part 4, February 26, 10:00 a.m.

Local historian and FPC member Dr. Ron Bogue will present Part 4 in his series exploring the history of First Presbyterian Church. Please meet in the Moses Waddel Room at 10:00 a.m. We have had an enthusiastic response to these presentations, and look forward to
seeing you there.

After the presentation, we will walk or drive to Taqueria Tsunami, 320 E. Clayton St. (next to Mellow Mushroom) for lunch. Please
email Phyllis Crowell by Friday, February 22, to make a lunch reservation. Anyone interested in learning more about our church’s history and socializing with good friends is welcome to join the Primetime Presbyterians.

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Core Godly Play Training, February 28 – March 2

FPC will be hosting our second Core Godly Play Training:

Thursday, February 28, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, March 1, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 2, 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Please contact Natalie Bishop to learn more or if you are interested in training as a Godly Play Storyteller. More details and registration information is available here. Please be sure to contact Natalie before you register for this training.

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Mardi Gras Mission Gala, March 3, 12:00 p.m.

A great, new event, the Mardi Gras Mission Gala, will be held in our Fellowship Hall. It will feature a Cajun-style meal cooked by our youth and a silent auction. All the money raised will go towards the next Honduras trip.

Many First Presbyterian Church members have traveled on mission trips to Honduras, working to improve the lives, physical and spiritual, of people in that Central American country. Of course, our mission work costs money and fundraising has always been a part of our Honduras trips. There is irony in the Mardi Gras theme. For more than a century, the United Fruit Company exploited the labor and land of the people of Honduras. The bananas grown there were most often shipped to the port of New Orleans, a city best known for its Mardi Gras. Through God’s blessing, our congregation is able to use our affluence to bring a better life for Hondurans. So please attend this special fundraising event.

Advance tickets are on sale now and cost $10 per adult and $5 per child (age 12 and under). We will also have a $10 option for ages infant-3rd grade to go to the Children’s Ministry Suite for a child-friendly menu and entertainment/nursery. Adult tickets at the door will be $15. Bidding on silent auction items will open at 8:30 a.m. the day of the gala. There will also be a few exciting items put up in a live auction. We are so grateful for all the wonderful donations and look forward to wide support from the congregation. Please plan to attend!

Bill Patterson, MGMG Committee Member

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Ash Wednesday Dinner & Services, March 6

Worship, 12:00 & 6:30 p.m., Sanctuary
Join us for a traditional service including communion and imposition of ashes, which will be prepared by the youth.
Dinner, 5:30 p.m., Fellowship Hall,
$8/adult, $5/child (12 and under), $20 max per family
Please make reservations for dinner on the Fellowship Pad, online, or by contacting the church office by Monday, March 4 at 12:00 p.m.

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Wednesday Lenten Suppers & Study, Beginning March 13

Supper: 5:45 p.m.
$8/adult, $5/child (12 and under), $20 max per family
Please make reservations for dinner on the Fellowship Pad, online, or by contacting the church office by Mondays at 12:00 p.m.

Study: 6:30-7:30 p.m, “What’s the Deal with Presbyterians?” led by Dr. Ryan Baer
March 13 – How did we get here?
We’ll look at Christianity from the perspective of a big “family tree,” and see how we’re connected to other Christian traditions through our roots in Jesus.

March 20 Do Presbyterians really believe in predestination?
What do we mean when we talk about “election”?

March 27 Presbyterians: doing church decently and in order for 500 years.
What do we mean when we talk about “covenant”?

April 3 Why isn’t the Presbyterian pastor’s picture on a freeway billboard?
What do we mean when we talk about “stewardship”?

April 10 Do Presbyterians really believe in “total depravity?”
What do we mean when we talk about “justice”?

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Women’s One-Day Retreat in Athens, April 13, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Brita and Bill Barry’s beautiful garden and home here in Athens will offer us lovely spaces for our retreat, complete with pergola-roofed nooks, a labyrinth, goldfish pond, and more. Should the weather turn bad, the Barrys can accommodate us indoors, as well.

Our leader will be the Rev. Amy Baer. She is married to Dr. Ryan Baer, our new senior pastor, and mother to Nathan, Daniel, and Joshua.

Cost is $25. You may bring a $25 check to church made payable to FPC and note that the check is for the Spring Women’s Retreat or pay online. We will provide box lunches, with vegetarian and gluten-free options available, and drinks. Scholarships for child care are available.
Please register here.

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Women’s Weekend Retreat at Montreat Women’s Connection Conference, August 9 – August 11

Keynote speaker will be Valerie Kaur with special guest artist Amy Grant. Register for the Women’s Connection Conference on the Montreat website. FPC has reserved use of the Georgia Lodge at Montreat. Cost for two nights at the Georgia Lodge is $60. Please register here to stay with FPC friends at the Georgia Lodge.

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Ryan’s Reflections

Dear friends in Christ,
Grace to you and peace in the name of our risen Lord Jesus Christ! Amy, the boys, and I are so eager to get to Athens and begin getting acquainted with you! As I reflect on all that has transpired in recent months, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God.

I am so very thankful for the outstanding work of your Pastor Nominating Committee: Ron Bogue, Sarah Bryan, Stephen Covington, Melinda DeMaria, Erika Hermanowicz, Fran Lane (Vice-Chair), and Lewis Hudgins (Chair). Diane Adams, though not on the PNC, has also been an incredible asset in helping us get to know the community. As I wrote to them after our visit to Athens last November, they set the gold standard for how a PNC should offer hospitality and engagement to a prospective pastoral candidate. They are exceptional ambassadors for the church, and the Holy Spirit was clearly guiding the congregation when you elected them some two years ago!

I am grateful for the good and faithful service of Dr. Bruce Lancaster. It’s clear that his steady hand and wise leadership have prepared the congregation for a wonderful new season of ministry. Amy and I had the chance to meet Bruce when we came to town, and he said, “In all seriousness, this is the best interim I’ve ever served.” And then with a twinkle in his eye he said, “Now don’t mess it up!” I promised him that I would do my very best to be a faithful steward of the work he has poured into the church!

I am grateful for the church staff and the myriad ways in which they have served you with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love through this season of transition.

I am grateful for the people of Ridglea Presbyterian Church and for the community of Fort Worth, Texas.

Even though they are sad to see us leave, they have been so very kind, gracious, and encouraging to us.

I am always thankful for Amy, Nathan, Daniel, and Joshua, but I’m especially grateful for the way in which they’ve approached this new season of ministry with a spirit of excitement and adventure. And of course, I am thankful for you, and for the ways in which you have already made us feel so welcome.

As I’ve already said to several of you, we can’t wait to get to Athens and meet you “in real life!”

May God bless you and keep you,
Ryan, Senior Pastor

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A Message from Carol: Campus Ministry

One of the ministries your gifts to First Presbyterian Church support is the Presbyterian Student Center (PSC) at UGA. We welcomed a new campus minister last fall, the Rev. Will Norman. Will hit the ground running and is doing a terrific job. I know because I’m on the board and will serve as president this year. Two others from our congregation were just elected to the board, Keith Oelke and Smith Wilson. Additionally, FPC members occasionally cook and serve a Sunday night meal; tell me if you’d like to help do that. First Presbyterian Church benefits from PSC students who serve as our Sunday Morning Manager, and as interns and Waddel Fellows in youth ministry, congregational care, and outreach.

PSC is a place for students to come and grow in their faith. Since its inception in 1940, many students have participated in this ministry during a very formative time in their lives. Will and Kim Ness took a group of 25 to the Montreat College Conference over winter break, some of them riding in our FPC van. From what I hear, it was an inspiring confab of over 900 young adults addressing the theme of “Compassionate Community.” Will said it was a wonderful bonding experience for the PSC-UGA students. Experiencing community, especially compassionate community, is so critical for all of us.

A challenge before the PSC board is our aging facility. The ministry is housed in a 1959 building. Like any 60-year-old knows, time takes its toll. Stay tuned. I’m sure you’ll be hearing about a capital campaign before the year is over! Feel free to drop by the Center at 1250 S. Lumpkin Street anytime or attend worship on Tuesday nights at 8:00 p.m. in the chapel. “Holy Hashtags” is the sermon series this semester, featuring guest preachers, student preachers, and Will, addressing current social and political movements.

Carol Strickland, Associate Pastor

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Music Notes

On Sunday, February 23, The Wayne F. Middendorf Memorial Concert Series will proudly present Dr. Martha Thomas in a piano recital at 3:00 p.m. in our sanctuary. Martha, a member of our church, is Despy Karlas Professor of Piano and Associate Director for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodson School of Music. Martha is active as a performer and clinician, giving concerts and presentations throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Servia, Slovenia, Colombia, and Kenya. Appearances at conferences and festivals include those of the Music Teachers National Association, the American Liszt Society, and the Festival of Women Composers. She has served as faculty accompanist for the University of Georgia Chamber Choir in its 2011 Iberian tour. She has given solo and collaborative concerts on college and university campuses across the country, including the University of Wisconsin, Ohio State University, and the University of Oklahoma. Her numerous recordings include collaborations with other musicians, and solo recordings including Max Reger: The Forgotten Romantic, released in 2013. A native Texan, Martha holds degrees through the doctorate from the Universities of Texas (BM and DMA) and Wisconsin (MM).

The concert is free and open to the public. A reception will follow.

Soli Deo Gloria  (To God alone be the Glory),
John Coble, Director of Music and Organist

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Weekday School Scoop

Our Weekday School is BUSY, BUSY, having just finished registration for Fall 2019, and looking towards our February Grandparents Days on February 13 and 14! Please feel free to join us for milk and cookies in the Fellowship Hall from 9:00-9:30 a.m. on those days! We would love to have our grandparents chat with some of our church members and feel the warmth of our church, and how our school is loved by our congregation. Added bonus: sweet littles and free cookies for you. J There will also be a book fair on those days in the Weekday School lobby!

Soon our teachers will be off to the Georgia Preschool Conference in Atlanta for two days and two nights of training. On March 1 and 2, we will enjoy enrichment and fun fellowship with each other! We are looking forward to bringing back some new creative ideas to our children in the classrooms. Wonderful Wednesdays and Camps Schedules for the summer are out! Our Camps will be June 10-13 and July 8-11, and Wonderful Wednesdays will be all Wednesdays in June and July EXCEPT July 3 and August 7. Stay tuned for Wonderful Wednesday and camp themes to be announced soon!

Elaine Johnson, Director of Weekday School

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Christmas Joy Offering Update

In December, FPC gave $2,461 to the Christmas Joy Offering. This annual special offering assists church workers in their time of need and students in their time of promise. Thank you for your generosity!

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Brass Urns Dedicated

The family of Gwen and John “Buck” Griffin have donated beautiful brass urns in honor of their parents. The vases will be used for flowers in the sanctuary. The Griffins have given many decades of service to First Presbyterian Church. Buck is deceased and Gwen recently celebrated her 91st birthday. The generosity of the family is greatly appreciated..

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Bicentennial 2020 Committee

Our committee continues to work on many exciting projects for the celebratory year 2020. A book on the history of FPC is being compiled. It will be ready for the publisher by this summer and available for sale in late 2019.

There will also be events each month in 2020, including activities for children, youth, and adults, and outreach projects.

Please contact me and get involved. It will take many volunteers to make this a meaningful experience for First Presbyterian Church.

Diane Adams, Chair, Bicentennial 2020 Committee,

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Christmas Eve Offering Update

This year’s Christmas Eve Offering totaled $3,973. Half of the offering went to Casa de Amistad to help address the needs of the local underserved Hispanic community. The other half went to the Athens Nurses Clinic to help provide health care at no cost to uninsured indigent patients in northeast Georgia. Thank you for giving so generously!

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Our Church Family

We are blessed to have wonderful photographers in our church! We miss Rick Simpson, who has moved away, but who took beautiful photographs of church services, volunteer programs, and other FPC activities for many years. You can visit his photo gallery to find an album with pictures from our church.

We are also happy that Dave Beck has joined our team of church photographers! Please visit his photo gallery where you can find his FPC album. Here are some of his recent pictures:

Advent Workshop
Blessing of the Animals
2018 Picnic with UGA Band

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Worship With Us

Worship Times

Sunday Worship: 8:45 & 11:00 a.m.

Sunday School
Sunday School for all ages: 9:45 a.m.

Children’s Sunday School
Youth Sunday School
Adult Sunday School

Contact Us