FIRST PRESS  | an online newsletter | February, 2017
Hey, look! I've got mail again.
Dear John: What's up with the search for a second associate pastor? Signed, Wondering in Water Valley.
Dear Wondering: The search for any new pastor in our denomination is almost always a marathon, not a sprint. Our Associate Pastor Nominating Committee has considered many candidates who meet our requirements, but none has been the right fit they desire. Still, the committee continues its work, diligently reviewing applicants and, at the same time, praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to direct them to the one God has ordained to be here. Keep praying yourself, and expect to be blown away by the end result!

Dear John: Speaking of pastors, is there a new one for UKirk? Signed, Perplexed Patty
Dear Patty:
I'm glad you asked! By the end of February, we hope to formally introduce you and the congregation to the new college pastor for UKirk, the college ministry of the PC(USA) at Ole Miss. I've met her and believe she is going to be fantastic in her new role. As with Rev. Howard Dudley, her predecessor, she is ordained and brings a unique skill set that will help continue to grow this burgeoning ministry to new levels of success. FPC is helping fund her compensation package, so she'll soon be a frequent presence on our campus and looks forward to meeting everyone here.

Dear John: What's this I hear about shepherding groups? Signed, Bleating Bob
Dear Bob: As you will read in another part of this newsletter, shepherding groups are a creation of our Deacons and Elders that will make for better communication between members and their leaders. You'll be learning more soon, but they'll be a great addition to our efforts for improved communication among all members.

Dear John: My pew is full of crazy Republicans. How do I talk to them in a civil manner? Debbie Democrat
Dear John: My pew is full of crazy Democrats. How do I talk to them in a civil manner? Randy Republican
Dear Debbie and Randy: Get a life! The last I checked, we're all children of God and we're all supposed to reflect the love of Christ in our encounters with others, both inside and outside the church's walls. FPC is arguably one of the most diverse congregations in our denomination, something I celebrate and believe to be one of our absolute greatest strengths. If you don't like someone's politics, don't talk about politics! You'll be amazed at what you DO have in common (e.g., an intense disdain for the term, "Hail, State," a shared belief that Andy Kennedy looks ridiculous coaching in a scotch plaid dinner jacket, an idea that our organ is TOO DAM.., uh TOO DARN, LOUD). The repair of our broken relationships as a nation begins right here on Van Buren Avenue, one-on-one, a day at a time, with the grace of Jesus as our guide. See you in church!
From the Associate Pastor

The 2017 Lenten season begins on Wednesday, March 1 at 5:30 pm with the Ash Wednesday service and continues through Holy Week in mid-April. During "Wednesdays Together" in Lent, you will be introduced to a variety of spiritual practices that can help you observe a more meaningful Lent. Some of the practices involve silence, others involve movement or music, some provide new ways of engaging with scripture, and others are simple prayers and reflections on where God has been present for you during the day or week.

Each week, we'll gather in Fellowship Hall beginning at 5:45 pm (note new time) for a simple supper of soup and salad followed by the program. Children will have a separate, kid-friendly menu. Reservations can be made using the Friendship Register in worship beginning Sunday, February 26.
Blessings and peace,

Financial Summary
                                        First Presbyterian Church
                                     Oxford, MS
                                           Financial Summary
December 2016
2016 Actual                   (December)
2016 Budget                                
    Total Income
Benevolence expenses
Personnel expenses
Ministry team expenses
Property expense
Administrative expenses
Other expenditures
    Total Expenses
Surplus/ (Deficit)

Securing our Future - Capital Campaign
                       December 2016
Total Pledges
Total Contributions Received YTD

Summary of Stated Session Meeting


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

  Lectionary Texts for February

February 5 - Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12); Psalm 112:1-9 (10); 1 Corinthians 2:1-12; (13-16); Matthew 5:13-20
February 12 - Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37
February 19 - Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; Psalm 119:33-40; 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23; Matthew 5:38-48
February 26 - Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2 or Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9

Sanctuary flower dates are available...
February 5 and 26.
If you would like to provide flowers in
honor or memory of a loved one, please contact

Susan Joiner at or 662-808-3240.



The Cherub and Chapel Choirs continue to rehearse on Sunday mornings, leaving 11:00 am worship after "A Time With Our Children." Parents, I hope you will encourage your little ones to participate in one of these age-appropriate choirs. They will learn how to fully participate in corporate worship by developing their voices so they can confidently sing the musical portions of worship.
For the adults, you can join the Chancel Choir at any time of the year, but now is the perfect time to join! Yes, it's a new year but more importantly, our choir folders are cleared of old music and we start fresh. Our focus will quickly move to preparations for Lent and the most important event in the life of the church, Easter Sunday.

  Director of Music and Organist

More Than A Meal


If you're looking for a tangible way to practice your faith through mission work in our own hometown, then the FPC More Than a Meal team has a place for you! We have one more opportunity to join together and host our neighbors in need this year, so plan to join us on February 14 (Valentine's Day) at the Stone Center from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Volunteer team members contribute in countless ways to provide a hearty meal, tutoring, toiletries, educational programs, recreational activities, warm coats in the winter and much more. To join our team or learn more about how you can help us extend a Christian hand and hope within our community, e-mail coordinator Tricia Barrios Showalter at or call her at 236-5420 (h) or 801-6521 (cell).  
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 2017.
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 -- 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 of Adam Hamilton's, The Book of John, led by Martha Burnett.
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
PYC Junior High Retreat Upcoming
PYC's Jr. High retreat takes place February 10-12. PYC stands for "Presbyterian Youth Council," which is a group of 10th-12th graders from all over the Presbytery of St. Andrew. Council members, including four of our very own youth, have been hard at work all school year to put together this wonderful weekend for our Jr. High. They can expect Bible studies, worship, a challenge course and a weekend full of new people and great times.

PYF Meets Weekly!
PYF is back in full swing. We continue to meet with our split schedule on Sundays and as one group for Bible studies on Wednesday nights. Our upcoming events include our Super Bowl party on Sunday, February 5 in the youth Lodge beginning at 5:00, as well as the church-wide Mardi Gras parade and dinner on Tuesday, February 28.
Etcetera . . .

Upcoming Events for VIPs

FPC's 50+ crowd will be busy in February and March. Listed below are several upcoming events. Please be sure to call the church ahead of time to let someone know you plan to participate so there will be plenty of seats around the table and good food to eat!
  • Tuesday, February 7, the "First Tuesday" lunch will feature Deb Helms, who will share what's going on with Oxford Park Commission's Leisure Lifestyles. Join us for a catered lunch at 12:00 pm in Fellowship Hall. Donations will be accepted to help defray the cost of lunch.
  • Thursday, February 23, join other VIPs for a Dutch treat dinner at Phillips Grocery on South Lamar at 5:45 pm.
Last month, 30 VIPs gathered for dinner at Volta, so mark your calendars and don't miss the fun!

Coming Up in March
In addition to the regular VIP programming in March, 19 lucky people will have a special treat. On Tuesday, March 21, the group will tour St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and Target House in Memphis. St. Jude's tours are limited to 10 people and are scheduled at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Our group will be divided in half. One half will tour St. Jude while the other half tours Target House and participates in a service project. We'll gather together for lunch and then the two groups will switch locations. This will be a long day and will involve walking on the tours. Those who need a wheelchair must bring their own. The only cost of this event is the cost of lunch at the Little Tea Shop. Call the church office today to reserve your spot on the list!
Young Adult Gatherings Announced for February 
  • February 1 (Wednesday) at 5:30 pm in Fellowship Hall. A potluck supper and a nursery will be provided. Please bring food for your kids. 
Program:  "Hi, Who Are You?" Part of the goal of YAF is to build a community of young adults. Critical to that being accomplished is for us to know each other better. A series of light-hearted exercises will give you a chance to learn some new names and some interesting things about others. It will be fun and helpful. By the way, each person must bring a box cutter, small pocket knife or an X-Acto knife...HMMMM!

Sign up for February 1! Call the church at  234-1757:
How many are coming?
Number of kids in the nursery?
What potluck dish will you bring?
  • February 15 (Wednesday) at 5:30pm in Fellowship Hall. Potluck supper. Nursery provided. Bring food for your kids.
Program: "What Does Love Look Like?"  Since it is the day after Valentine's Day, we will take a look at loving each other and other people. The Bible 
gives great guidance. A few games we have in mind might highlight how well you know the one you are with!

February 28 (Tuesday) Mardi Gras parade & pancake supper for the whole family! 

Join the parade! You are invited to the Shrove Tuesday Mardi Gras parade and pancake supper on Tuesday, February 28. FPC will join our friends at St. Peter's Episcopal Church for their annual parade around the Oxford Square. Paraders will gather on our front lawn or on the Episcopal parking lot at 5:00 pm. The parade will begin at 5:30 pm. Plan to decorate your stroller, wagon, tricycle or yourself with fun costumes, masks or beads and join the fun. Afterward, Presbyterians will gather in Fellowship Hall for a pancake supper. Why pancakes? Because Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the season of Lent begins and fasting is one of the traditional ways of observing Lent, so let's eat big before we fast! Whether you plan to fast or not, it's a great excuse for fun and fellowship and for eating pancakes with your church family. Mark your calendars and don't miss out on all the fun on Tuesday, February 28! 

Prayer Shawl Ministry Gathers Again this Month

The Prayer Shawl Ministry will meet Monday, February 6 at 1:00 pm in Room 101.

An Important Sunday Parking Reminder

Bridge Properties, 1000 Tyler Avenue at 10th St., has advised the church it will tow all unauthorized vehicles on its parking lot, including Sundays, effective immediately. 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, February 21, Jody Scruggs, 3904 Eagle Cove.
Carroll Barr Circle will meet at 6:00 pm, Tuesday, February 21, Martha Burnett, 761 Nottingham Drive.
Esther Ethridge Circle will meet at 4:30 pm, Sunday, February 19, Lenore Hobbs, 909 Buchanan Avenue.
Gerry Duvall Circle will meet at 12:00 pm, Tuesday, February 21, Fellowship Hall.
Lula Gregory Circle will meet at 9:45 am, Tuesday, February 21, Bobbie Shaw, 238 CR 102.

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
Save the Date!
Sunday, February 26, 2017
10:00 am

To improve communication between church members and The Session and Diaconate, 15 Shepherding Groups have been formed. Members of the congregation have been divided alphabetically into these groups and each group has been assigned an elder and a deacon to act as shepherds. Come get to know the members of your group and your shepherds on February 26th at 10:00 am in Fellowship Hall and learn more about how these groups will help us stay more connected as a family of faith. No Sunday School classes will be held that day so that all FPC members may attend.

We Extend Sympathy to:

Tad Wilkes on the death of his father, Dr. Thurston Euzema Wilkes, II, who died January 13, 2017 in Oxford, MS.
Memorials and Honoraria

~ With gratitude for contributions to First Presbyterian Church ~
In Memory Of:
Susan Burkett
J. J. Jones
Julia Davidson Hill
J. J. Jones

Rose and Frank Strobl
Greg Patton

Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries

February Birthdays:

1 - Jimmy Treloar, Marianna Ochs, Lila Luster
2 - Wil Matthews, Jr.
3 - Gail Hercules
4 - William Elliott, Tommy Smith, Annie Grace White, Kate Embry, Hollins Hardin
5 - Jim Jackson
6 - Michael Abraham, Joan Westmoreland, Elizabeth Sherman
7 - Cynthia Freeland, Ann Dickins, John Callery, Jeb Bishop
8 - Trey Byars, Roy Selvidge, Jim Jetton
9 - Carolyn Hopkins, Keith Mansel
10 - Hayden Williams
11 - Spencer Huggins, Donna Ruth Roberts, Margaret Blake Embry
12 - Darren Ashmore
13 - Michael Blackburn, Kylea Boutwell, Lucy Chiniche, Vicki Stevens
16 - Olivia Briscoe
17 - Tad Wilkes, Caldwell Embry
18 - Catherine Field, Leslie Orrell, Aubrey Wigginton, Linda Scarbrough
19 - Shirley Crawford, Angela Manley
20 - Will Lewis
21 - Sarah Smith
22 - Max Hill
24 - Sallie Abernathy
25 - Katherine Estes, Ralph White, Mary Williams, Edward Duke
26 - Riley Mullen, Charlie Cascio
28 - Sean McCurdy, Matt Moore  
February Anniversaries:      

4 - Kathy & John Neff
5 - Susan & Tom Meredith
15 - Gale & Richard Gurner
17 - Patsy & Jay Eads
20 - Debbie & Ken Boutwell
 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, February 6 at 5:00 pm in Room 101.
The Diaconate will meet Tuesday, February 7 at 5:30 pm in the Session Room.
The Property Ministry Team will meet Tuesday, February 7 at 5:30 pm in Room 101.
The Membership & Hospitality Ministry Team will meet Tuesday, February 9 at 5:30 pm.
Piecemakers meet each Thursday at 9:00 am in Fellowship Hall and Saturday, February 11 at 10:30 am at St. Andrews Methodist Church.
The Finance Ministry Team will meet Monday, February 13 at 4:30 pm in Room 102.
The Session will meet Monday, February 13 at 5:30 pm in the Session Room.
The Book Club will meet Tuesday, February 14 at 1:30 pm in Conference Room 101. This month's book is "Lilac Sisters," by Mary Hall Kelly.
The Adult Education Ministry Team will meet Tuesday, February 16 at 5:15 pm.
The Children's Christian Education Ministry Team will meet Thursday, February 23 at 5:30 pm in the Education Building library.
The Dewey Hickman Grief Support Group will meet Tuesday, February 28 at 10:00 am at the home of Fannie Elliott.

 Reminder: The March deadline for submissions to First Press is

Wednesday, February 15.

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