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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Angel Tree, through December 12
Will you be someone’s angel this year? There will be a special Salvation Army Angel Tree in Fellowship Hall November 9 – December 12. Please consider purchasing Christmas gifts for one or more of the 150 Salvation Army “angels” (infant –12-year-old child) selected by our church. Detailed instructions are available when you select your “angel.” All gifts are due December 12.
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Live Nativity, Thursday, Nov 29, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Dear First Presbyterian Family and Friends,
Please help us spread the word about this exciting community event! The 2018 Live Nativity will include live music, refreshments, fun Christmas art activities and 20 LIVE animals, including a camel. Children will be able to pet many of the animals.
All are welcome so please tell neighbors, colleagues, extended family, and friends. This will be a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season and showcase our wonderful Weekday School. We look forward to seeing you there
If you are interested in helping in any way, being one of the Nativity characters for an hour, or just knowing more, please email me
Elaine Johnson, Director of Weekday School
Fellowship@First: Advent Workshop, Sunday, December 2, 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
All are invited! Come to Fellowship Hall where we will enjoy brunch, Advent wreath-making, and work on a special outreach project with COOKIES! Children ages 3-years-old – 5th grade who would like to participate in the upcoming Christmas Pageant will choose their costumes.
We will provide the basics to make an Advent wreath; bring extra greenery from your yard or Christmas tree trimmings that could be used and shared. Please also bring a dozen of your favorite Christmas cookies. We will be making Christmas cookie plates to be delivered to our homebound members.
Please RSVP by November 25 in the Atrium, online, or with the church office so we will know how many biscuits to bake and how many candles to purchase. We look forward to this new Advent tradition!
“Once Upon a Story” Christmas Tea, December 5, 2:00 p.m.
All are welcome to the annual Christmas Tea hosted by Senior Adult Ministries. This year’s event will feature The Mellows, a reading of the Christmas Story, and special music. Please RSVP to the church office by November 28.
PTP Christmas Art Tour, Thursday, December 6, 9:30 a.m.
Have you visited the “best two art places outside Atlanta in the state of Georgia?” Southern Living magazine described Happy Valley Pottery and the Chappelle Gallery, in Oconee County just south of Athens, as local artistic treasures.
The Primetime Presbyterians invite anyone interested to our next event. It will include a charming 20-minute drive along a winding road by pastures, beautiful homes, ranches, and lakes arriving at our destination – an abandoned chicken farm turned into an artists’ community in the 1970s. We will be greeted and receive some background history of the site by owners Jerry and Kathy Chappelle. Demonstrations of raku, glass-blowing, and pottery making by resident artists will follow. Ready to begin your Christmas shopping? Browsing in the gift shop concludes our tour. Afterwards we will enjoy lunch at Girasoles in downtown Watkinsville.
We will meet at the Kohl’s parking lot at 9:30 a.m. The church van will be available. Please make a reservation by December 4 by emailing Phyllis Crowell or calling her at 706-543-95616
Casa de Amistad Baskets, December 2 & 9
Please help provide low income Hispanic families with food for a special Christmas meal.
You may write a check to First Presbyterian Church for $40.00 marked, “Casa Baskets” by December 2 and the shopping will be done for you!
Or fill a laundry basket, large bucket, or other reusable container with these items:
-5 lb Bag of Rice
-2 lb Bag of Dried Pinto Beans
-Bag of onions
-Chili Peppers (dried red New Mexico pods)
-Mole (brown sauce for meat)
-Masa (flour for making tortillas)
-Can of Jalapeños
-Can of Tomatoes
-Adobe powder (in spice area) or fresh garlic
-Bag of cookies or a cake
-Gift certificate from Los Compadres or Walmart for $10
Baskets are due to the church by December 9. Gracias!
Christmas Pageant and Dinner, December 9, 5:00 p.m.
Everyone is invited to embrace the true meaning of Christmas as told by our children. (Parents please see the Children’s Ministry Update, page 4, for details.) The pageant will begin at 5:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary and will be followed by dinner in Fellowship Hall.
Our church’s theme this year is “We are a Storied People.” Last month I shared with you a story Jesus told about generosity. We also have heard stories from our congregation about generosity and Judy Scanlon has asked us to tell our own stories of faith.
My question this month is, “How do we get our story out as a church?”
When I was growing up my father used to say the best way to get a story out was by “telegram, telephone, or tell your Mother.” (However, he never said this in front of my Mother!)
But that’s not how it works today. We tell our stories today through social media.
People go to our website to learn what’s happening at FPC, to read our monthly newsletter, to listen to sermons from previous worship services, to view pictures of our many activities, and to get a feel for how they might enjoy being here with us. Our Weekly Word emails are designed to provide pertinent announcements and information for members.
We have decided to start providing more information on Facebook, as well. You can help:
- Go to the First Presbyterian Church of Athens Facebook page, look under the banner of pictures and click “Like” and “Follow.”
- Scroll down until you see our FPC of Athens Super Group and click “Join.”
- Commit to going to our First Presbyterian Church of Athens Facebook page every day and liking any post you see there. Our posts will be seen by an ever-larger group of our community who will see what we are doing at FPC and hopefully want to learn more!
- This will take less than 5 minutes a day, but will make a big difference in getting our story out as church to the larger community. The more people who like a post (and even better, comment or share), the more people who will see the story of First Presbyterian Church.
I also encourage you to ‘check in’ on your Facebook page on Sunday mornings when you get to FPC. This is another way to tell your story as a member of this wonderful community of faith!
As part of our digital efforts and attempts to be good stewards of our resources, we also ask you to consider whether you still need to receive the newsletter by mail. Please contact the church office at or 706-543-4338 by December 15 if you would like to continue receiving the paper copy of the newsletter. If you do not currently receive the email version of the newsletter, please let us know if you would like to sign up for that.
Thanks and blessings,
Bruce Lancaster, Interim Senior Pastor
A Message from Carol: Mission Minded
Our mission statement on the weekly bulletin includes the words, “sharing the love of Christ with Athens and the world.” Through our operating budget, special offerings, and many other initiatives involving volunteer efforts and donations, we seek to do just this. For various reasons we are replacing our International Craft Fair mission fundraiser with a new event which will take place next spring. It will be the Mardi Gras Mission Gala. We hope it will raise lots of money for mission and be fun for all.
The Mardi Gras Mission Gala will take place on the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, March 3, 2019. It will be a festive lunch with jazz, a children’s craft table, and, most importantly, a silent auction. Beginning soon, we will be soliciting gifts for the auction. Please think of a way you can contribute. Can you offer time at a beach or mountain home? Could you cook for a dinner party of eight? Can you paint a picture of someone’s home? Could you serenade someone on a birthday or other special occasion? Do you have a skill or expertise you could offer like an hour of computer/smart phone tutoring or of legal/financial advice? Would you be willing to help someone unclutter their closets, sell their stuff on eBay, or weed their garden? Maybe you have some items in your attic that someone else would gladly buy.
In this season of Thanksgiving, please think creatively about how you can pass along your gifts in order to help others. I’m reminded of the parable Jesus told about the servants who used (or did not use) the talents/gifts they were given. I’m betting that the one who shared the most not only pleased the master most, but had the most fun.
Carol Strickland, Associate Pastor
On Sunday, November 4 at 4:00 p.m., our Chancel Choir will perform Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem as part of the Wayne F. Middendorf Memorial Concert Series. A requiem is a mass or service offered for the dead. Fauré began composing his Requiem in 1887, the year his mother died, and two years after the death of his father. Unlike requiem settings of other composers of the time, which included rather dramatic and even theatrical depictions of the day of judgment, Fauré wished to emphasize rest and peace. Fauré explained, “Everything I managed to entertain by way of religious illusion I put into my Requiem, which moreover is dominated from beginning to end by a very human feeling of faith in eternal rest.” Fauré saw death as “a happy deliverance, an aspiration towards happiness above, rather than as a painful experience.” In its earliest forms, Fauré’s Requiem did not call for a large choir and orchestra. His choir probably numbered twenty or thirty and was accompanied by a chamber orchestra. Our performance seeks to capture the intimacy intended by the composer.
Each year we remember those in our church community we have lost over the last year on All Saints’ Sunday. This year, in addition to that, we are offering this concert in memory of all who have died. We have all experienced the loss of loved ones and we know we will again. Death is part of the journey of life. Our concert is open to the public, to all who wish to find beauty, comfort, and peace through music. Please plan to attend and invite friends, family, and music lovers to join you
Soli Deo Gloria (To God alone be the Glory),
John Coble, Director of Music and Organist
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Holiday Meals on Wheels Drivers Needed
Every Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day volunteers from First Presbyterian Church deliver nutritional meals to homebound seniors. By assisting on these days, we allow year-long volunteers to take a break during the holiday season. FPC also pays for the meals on these three days. The cost is generally around $1,000. Volunteers meet at the Council on Aging at 10:00 a.m. The routes take 30 minutes to an hour to complete.
If you are interested in delivering meals, please contact Sally Vandiver or contact the church office at 706- 543-4338. Since this is a popular family event, please be sure to sign up early as the slots fill quickly.
Donations can be made by writing a check to First Presbyterian with “Meals on Wheels Holiday Donation” noted on the bottom.
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 new FPC album with his pictures: