FIRST PRESS    |  an online newsletter  |   April, 2017  
I love the story about retired Presbyterian minister Phil Noble, who preached an Easter sermon one year in which he asked members of his church to imagine with him that he was painting a large sign. The sign had but one word - Resurrection. He then enjoined the congregation to think with him of the places he could take the sign so all of the hope that the word represents could be seen there.
Noble said he would begin by placing his sign beside the grave of his son, Scott, who died tragically as a child. "I simply have to believe in resurrection for him," he said. Then Phil said he would take the sign and put it over the door of the house where he and his wife and other children lived. After that, he would place it near the door of the church where all of the people with whom he worked could see it; and he would hang the sign over the door of the sanctuary as well, where his congregation gathered to worship. On and on Phil would take his sign to Main Street, to city hall, to the schools, to the hospitals, the nursing homes, to nearby military bases and to many other places where people live and work and play.
Finally, Noble invited the people of his congregation to paint such a sign of their own. He then concluded by saying to them, "Whatever you do, don't leave your sign on the pew when you leave Easter worship."
Borrowing from Phil Noble's imagery, let me encourage you during these last days of Lent to think where you would take a sign of resurrection so that, in the places of your life or the lives of those you love, the hope of resurrection might be seen clearly.
Of course, a lot more than an imaginary sign is needed to spell out the hope that comes through belief in resurrection. On the other hand, such an image might help illuminate the ways by which we give hope a tangible expression as we live out our Easter faith from day to day.
May God's grace and abundant mercy be with you during this important season.

John's signature
From the Associate Pastor

It's Time for "One Great Hour of Sharing" on  April 9
The "One Great Hour of Sharing" offering, which is received each year during the Lenten season, helps us to care for people all around the world. Jesus' ministry was among those who were most vulnerable. He preached good news to the poor and release to the captives. "One Great Hour of Sharing" helps today those who are hungry, who are suffering from disaster and who are dealing with oppression in society.

Every gift made to this offering will meet the needs of people. Visit the "One Great Hour of Sharing" website ( ) to find out more about how your support of OGHS helps people all over the world, and then offer prayers for the projects and people who receive them.
Blessings and peace,
Financial Summary

Summary of Stated Session Meeting
The Session of First Presbyterian Church held its stated monthly meeting on Monday, March 13, 2017, at 5:30 pm in Session Room.  Twelve Elders were present.  
Ministry Team Check-In:

        1.  Finance:
  • As of February 28, 2017, year to date revenue was $203,646.86, and expenses were $165,880.97.
        2.  Property:
  • The ministry team is currently accessing the lighting in Fellowship Hall, and they anticipate that the coat racks will be installed soon.
  • The ministry team reported that security cameras have been installed at the exterior doors of the office building, and blinds have also been installed in Fellowship Hall.  They will continue to research the possibility of installing a video feed from the church service to Fellowship Hall.
        3.   Mission:
  • Elder Darren Ashmore reviewed the 2017 Mission budget, including foreign, regional, and local missions.            
         4.  Adult Christian Education:
  • The ministry team reported that the pancake supper held on the evening of Fat Tuesday was very successful and that the Lenten series for Wednesdays Together has begun.
  • Plans are underway for a book study during the summer and for a 6-week program of Wednesdays Together in the fall.
        5.  Children's Christian Education:
  • The 2017 confirmation class will begin March 19.
  • VBS 2017 will be held June 26-30, with Jenna Lovelace and Molly Tanner serving as co-directors.
        6.  Membership and Hospitality:
  • The Session will host the first summer lunch this year on Sunday, June 4 in Fellowship Hall.
The Session prayed The Lord's Prayer and adjourned at 6:11 pm.


Regular Worship Services 

8:30 am - Worship with communion weekly
9:45 am - Sunday School
11:00 am - Worship with communion each first Sunday
Nursery Weekly: 8:15 am-12:15 pm

Maundy Thursday Worship

Thursday, April 13, 7:30 pm
The church will be closed Good Friday, April 14.

Easter Worship Schedule

Identical services of worship will be offered
Easter Sunday, April 16, at 8:30 am and 11:00 am.
Communion will be offered by intinction
at the early service, with seated communion
served during 11:00 am worship.

  Lectionary Texts for April

April 2 - Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 130, Romans 8:6-11; John 11:1-45
April 9 - Matthew 21:1-11; Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 31:9-16; Philemon 2:5-11; Matthew 26:14-27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54
April 16  - Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; Colossians 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Matthew 28:1-10
April 23  - Acts 2:14a, 22-32; Psalm 16; 1 Peter 1:3-9; John 20:19-31
April 30 - Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Psalm 116:1-4, 12-19; 1 Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35
Sanctuary flower dates are available...
April 30, May 7, 14, June 18 and 25
If you would like to provide flowers in
honor or memory of a loved one, please contact

Susan Joiner at or 662-808-3240.


Sanctuary Easter Cross Flowers Available for Purchase

Sanctuary Easter cross flowers can be placed in memory or in honor of a loved one for $15. For your convenience, an order form that may be printed is available below. Please return your order to the church office, along with your check made out to FPC, no later than Monday, April 10. 



What Happened in Haiti?

I was so struck by all the butterflies in Bongnotte.  Since butterflies are such an important totem for me, I began to consider how representative they were of Haiti's continual rebirth after tragedy and how such a tiny country's love can cross continents, impacting others a world away.
                                                                                                                                                                                              Mary Francis Devoe                                



Where Does Our Mission Money Go?

Last month, the Session approved the Mission Ministry Team's allocations of local, regional and foreign mission money in our budget. Several local agencies received a significant increase while others remained the same. A total of $35,600 will be distributed among Interfaith Compassion Ministries, Doors of Hope, Food Pantry, Lovepacks, Christmas Store, Collegiate Recovery Community at Ole Miss, More Than a Meal, Memory Makers, Oxford Medical Ministries and Holding Hands in 2017. Another $4,400 has been reserved for new local ministry as new needs arise in our community. If nothing is found by the end of the year, this money will be dispersed among ministries that we are already serving.
Regional mission money will be sent to the Montreat Fund and to Camp Hopewell. Our church already supports both of these PC(USA) conference centers by helping youth and children with scholarships to help pay their registration fees. The annual sale of Christmas trees covers most of the cost of the Montreat Youth Conference, which will total over $15,000 this year for 23 participants. However, the money we give from our mission budget to these organizations will be funds they can count on during annual budgeting because it isn't based on the number of children who attend. An additional $400 remains in the regional budget if there is a need for a regional mission trip or for disaster response.

Foreign mission at FPC has focused on Haiti for the last several years. This year, we have committed to helping our partners in Bognotte, Haiti with salaries for a teacher, a doctor and a nurse. The total for those three positions is less than $5,000. The annual salaries are: teacher - $1,320; doctor - $2400; and nurse-$1200. We also hope to help install solar panels at the new guest house/clinic even as we help supplement the maintenance of the water system and members who wish to participate in the Haiti mission trips.
Your mission dollars are working to provide food, housing, medical assistance, education and other support for the poorer members of our own community and in Bognotte, while nurturing the faith of our own children and youth by supporting two of our PC(USA) camp and conference centers. 

Thank you for your commitment to support this year's FPC budget. If you know of new opportunities for mission you'd like the Mission Ministry Team to consider, please contact Elders Darren Ashmore or Jon Crawford, or Rev. Ann Kelly.

Bibles Needed!

Haven House residents are in need of your new and used Bibles and other religious materials. Please bring your much appreciated donations to the church office. 
Donate to Lovepacks!
Don't forget to continue donating to Lovepacks to help fight hunger in our local schools. Children who are placed on the Lovepacks list are those who've been identified by school counselors and others as those most likely to be without adequate food on weekends when they are not receiving breakfast and lunch at school. Items needed include: 16 oz. jars of peanut butter, granola and protein bars, pop-top soups and pastas, non-refrigerated pudding, peanut butter crackers.
Thank you for all of your generous donations throughout the year! Please keep them coming in the months ahead!
The Chancel Choir, Cherub and Chapel choirs are preparing for our upcoming Holy Week and Easter Sunday services. 

Children's choirs will sing on Palm Sunday. Rehearsals are 
underway  now during the 11:00 am service of worship.
(April 9 - 11:00 am)
Violinist Yan Mao will join the Chancel Choir for our 
Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae service.
(April 13 - 7:30 pm)
Easter Sunday, we will celebrate with organ, brass, tympani and voices of praise!
(April 16 - 8:30 am & 11:00 am)

Christian Education
Adult Sunday School Classes Continue

The following classes are available:   
The Wired Word  -- Discussion revolves around a current news event and its implications for the life of faith. The class meets with Rev. Semmes in Fellowship Hall, Rooms 1&2.
Young Adult Class -- Young adults meet in the library of the Education Building to discuss the lives and stories of familiar and not-so-familiar characters in the Bible and how their stories are relevant in our lives. Matthew and Melissa Hall, along with Rev. Ann Kelly, facilitate the discussion.  
Men's Bible Class - Meets in the Session Room for theological study with Hale Freeland as moderator.
Men's II Bible Class -- Members of the class rotate leadership of this Bible study class which meets in Room 102 of the Sanctuary building. They are currently studying the Book of Matthew.

Women of Faith -- Women of various ages meet in Room 4 of Fellowship Hall to share in a group study.
The Alton Bryant Sunday School Class  -- This co-ed Bible study class, under the leadership of Nolan Waller, uses The Present Word curriculum and meets in Conference Room 101 in the church office building. f vailable:  ations for the life 

Children's and PYF News
Save the dates!

Vacation Bible School at FPC is scheduled for June 26-30.

More details will follow.

PYF News

We are back in full swing with PYF after a well-deserved Spring Break! Throughout this past month, we have been studying the season of Lent and have focused on ways we can make our faith a daily practice.

Our 2017 confirmation class has begun and we're off to a great start. We have twelve 8th graders who are hard at work on the class, as well as twelve Elder mentors who are graciously sharing their time to be a part of this important experience. We thank all those who have given their time and energy to make this class possible and ask that you pray for all of our confirmands and their elder mentors throughout the coming weeks. Join us during 11:00 am worship on Mother's Day, May 11, when the class will be formally received into membership at FPC.

2017 Confirmation Class

Megan Bundren
Russell Coon
Walker Coon
Lock Elliott
Katherine Estes
James Ling
Wyatt McCool
Ann Caroline McIntosh
Riley Mullen
Mack Schuesselin
Hayden Williams
Marshal Williams
Etcetera . . .
UKirk to Install New Pastor

The Rev. Allison Wehrung, our presbytery's newly-called pastor for the UKirk college ministry at Ole Miss, will be installed on Tuesday, April 4, at 6:30 pm in the Ukirk Building across 10th Street from FPC. All are invited to attend!

Wednesdays Together in Lent
Wednesdays Together concludes April 5 as we wrap up our spiritual practices of prayer and Bible study for the season of Lent. A simple supper of soup, salad and bread will be served at 5:45 pm. Following supper, adults will remain in Fellowship Hall for their program while children move to the Education Building for a time of Bible study, crafts and play. The cost of the meal is $6 per person, $3 for children 5 and under with a maximum cost per family of $20.

The menu for April 5:
 Taco Soup, Fiesta Black Bean/Corn Salad & Chips
The kids' menu alternates between cheeseburger sliders and chicken nuggets, fruit, chips & juice boxes.  

An Important Sunday Parking Reminder

Bridge Properties, 1000 Tyler Avenue at 10th St., now tows all unauthorized vehicles on its parking lot, including Sundays. Please do not park on the Bridge Properties lot to attend worship or other church events!

Ride the Bus to Church!
Make plans now to park at the Blake and ride the bus to church each Sunday so that you won't have to worry about parking downtown. Time of departure from the Blake is weekly at 10:30 am. The bus returns immediately after 11:00 am worship. Thanks to all our volunteer drivers who make this service possible! 

Presbyterian Women Logo

Alma Shaw Circle will meet at 9:45 am, Tuesday, April 18, Martha Walcott, 118 Fern Cove.
Carroll Barr Circle will meet at 6:30 pm, Tuesday, April 18, Marianna Ochs, 917 Bonnie Blue Drive.
Esther Ethridge Circle will meet at 4:30 pm, Sunday, April 16,  TBD.
Gerry Duvall Circle will meet at 12:00 pm, Tuesday, April 18, Fellowship Hall.
Lula Gregory Circle will meet at 9:45 am, Tuesday April 18, Mary Sims, 308 Murray.

PW Council 2016-2017
Moderator - Becki Felts -
Vice - Moderator - Sharron Alexander -
Secretary - Julie Field -  
Treasurer - Margaret Fancher -
Historian - Karen Stockton -
Ex - moderator - Ann DeVoe -
News from the Pews
Sign Up for FPC Men's Softball
Sign up now to play on FPC's men's softball team. This team is part of the Oxford Park Commission's softball league and the season starting date is April 10. Games will be played until mid-June on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday evenings. The coach/manager for the FPC team is Paul Hester. You can sign up to play by emailing Ann Kelly with your name, cell number, jersey size and preferred number. If you already have a grey shirt with blue numbers from last year, there is no need to add shirt size but do add the number so there won't be any duplicates. Softball is a fun way to get to know others in the congregation. It's a family friendly event, too, so sign up today. Let's play ball!
VIPs Enjoyed Tour of St. Jude and Target House

On Tuesday, March 21, an excited group of VIPs boarded the church bus and headed to Memphis for an amazing opportunity to peek inside the operations of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Target House. During the day, half the group spent a couple of hours learning about and experiencing the long term housing facility, Target House, while the other half toured St. Jude. The groups traded places after a delicious lunch of Southern cuisine at the historic Little Tea Shop, the oldest restaurant in Memphis.
Target House provides over 90 two-bedroom apartments for families who have a child being treated at St. Jude. Families can live there from 3 months to 3 years at no cost. While touring, we saw various spaces sponsored by companies such as Dreamworks and Proctor & Gamble, as well as rooms sponsored and maintained by celebrities such as Amy Grant and Brad Paisley. At the end of our tour, we had the opportunity to do a little work for the House by disinfecting toys for a new playroom. It was a beautiful place where their mission is to provide hope to these families at a time where hope may otherwise be lost.
Mary Driscoll, the excellent tour guide at St. Jude, explained the different clinics as we traversed the colorful hallways that reflect all four seasons of the year. We saw thousands of names, photos and artwork from donors, patients and celebrities, all coming together to create a beautiful space full of promise for curing all childhood cancers.  

Upcoming Dates for VIP Events

FPC's 55 and older members are continuing to stay busy for the next few months with luncheons, dinners and road trips. Mark your calendar for these upcoming events and please call the church office to make a reservation, whether for a casual meal or a road trip. It is always helpful to our church staff to know how many to expect and it helps us be better prepared for you.

        --Tuesday, April 4 - Catered luncheon at noon in Fellowship Hall.


        --Thursday, April 20 - Dutch treat dinner at Soulshine at 5:45 p.m.


        --On May 23-24, we have tentative plans for an overnight trip to Little Rock to visit with Mary Freeman at Presbyterian Village and to also visit the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance warehouse and Heifer Project International. The group will stay overnight in hotel-style lodging at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center. Watch for more information in both the bulletin and Fast Facts.

Save the Date!


Don't forget! FPC's 5th annual Jerry Warner Memorial Gold Tournament will be held Saturday, April 22. Please contact Shae Orrell at to register.

Memorials and Honoraria

~ With gratitude for contributions to First Presbyterian Church ~
In Memory Of:
Jean Davidson Crawford 
J. J. Jones
Harvey and Di Ann Lewis
June and Duke Goza
Nancy and Hudson Waller
Kay and Larry Tyler
Ann and Dale Abadie
Christina Torbert

Kirby Crawford
Dr. & Mrs. Michael Ellis

Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries

April Birthdays:

1 - Ron Wilson, Gavin Eifling
2 - Tony Mize, Mary Cates Williams, Rebecca Morgan
3 - Ben Smith, Brandall Laughlin
4 - Helen Scruggs, Susan Meredith, Martha Walcott
5 - Tommy Cribbs
7 - Matthew Graves, Ron Campbell, Jeffrey Stricklin, Angela McRae
8 - Janet Barnes
9 - Clara Hartwell Flautt, Melinda Freeman
10 - Tony Montgomery, Emily Eads, Dunbar Jenkins
11 - Nila Williams, Dee Hobbs, Karen Elliott, John Abernathy, Lucy Thompson
12 - Tyler Flowers
14 - Emily Stevens, Amanda Hyneman, Michael Goodwiller
15 - Larry Tyler
17 - Diane Lindley, Melissa Logan, Marc Showalter, Mary Helen Carr
18 - Elise Bridgers, Tucker Bridgers
19 - Bobbie Shaw, Yung Chow, Robin Geurin, Emily Burton
21 - Spencer Patton
22 - Don Giles, Stanton Spencer, Todd Abbott
23 - Sarah Brooke Bishop
24 - Jay Eads
25 - Southerlin Rosson, Dorothy Cates Williams
26 - Monte Ochs, Ed Croom
28 - Laura Lovelady
29 - Harry Alexander, Price Walden
30 - Kay Tyler, Shands Orrell, Robert Kennedy
April Anniversaries :      

21 - Haley & Justin Eifling
23 - Cheryl & Keith Hayward
30 - Kathleen & Bradley Mayo
We Extend Sympathy to:

The family of Jean Crawford, who died March 8, 2017, and her husband, Kirby Crawford, who died March 17, 2017, both at their home in Oxford.

We Extend Congratulations to:

OHS senior Davis McCool, who was named 2017 High School Journalist of the Year by the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association.

    First Dates

The Men of the Church meet each Tuesday at 6:30 am at the Beacon Restaurant .
The Worship Ministry Team will meet Monday, April 3  at 5:00 pm
in Room 101.
The Diaconate will meet Tuesday, April 4 at 5:30 pm in the Session Room.
The Property Ministry Team will meet Tuesday, April 4 at 5:30 pm in Room 101.
The Finance Ministry Team will meet  Wednesday,  April 5  at 12:00 pm in Room 102.
Piecemakers meet each Thursday at 9:00 am in Fellowship Hall and Saturday, April 8 at 10:30 am at St. Andrews Methodist Church.
The Session will meet Monday, April 10 at 5:30 pm in the Session Room.
The Book Club will meet Tuesday, April 11 at 1:30 pm in Conference Room 101. This month's book is "Last Woman Standing," by Thelma Adams.
The Dewey Hickman Grief Support Group will meet Tuesday, April 25 at 10:00 am at the home of Fannie Elliott.


 Reminder: The May deadline for submissions to First Press is

Monday, April 17. 


The Session
CLASS of 2017
Tom Meredith, David Shaw, Griffin Tanner,
Christina Torbert, Mary Glynn Wright (Clerk)
  CLASS of 2018
Darren Ashmore, Dorothy Lou Aldridge,
Jane Lyle Byars, Paul Chiniche, Kathryn Hill
  CLASS of 2019
Trey Cobb, Jon Crawford, Margie McLeod, 
Karen Stockton, Dana Williams

The Diaconate
Kevin Christian, Catie Hester,
Laura Montgomery, Diane Scruggs, Cliff Smith
Whitney Bolen, Julie Chadwick, James Day,
Teresa Flautt, JoAnne Oliver

CLASS of 2019
Lee Borden, Kristina Carlson, Dean Chow,
Lele Gillespie, Pick Scruggs

The Congregation

John M. Semmes
Ann H. Kelly
Interim Associate Pastor
Joseph W. Garrison
Dir. of Music/Organist
Terrell Hall
Dir. of Elementary Music

Joseph Kelly Director of Youth 18
Frances Saralvarez
Office Administrator
Suzan Clark
Jasmine Hill
Wade Simpson
Property Manager

Whitney Allen
Nursery Coordinator