"Downtown by history and by choic e"
Bi-Weekly Newsletter
August 7-20, 2018
From the Pastor . . .
Dear friends,
 You are in my thoughts today. I am thinking about the very different journeys you are all on, the very different concerns that occupy your minds and hearts and shape the actions of your day. Some of you are caring for an infant or toddler who demands your constant attention in every moment and to every need. Some of you are caring for an aging parent, who also requires your unending emotional, mental, and physical presence. Some are on that last summer vacation with the family, getting ready to get the kids off to school, checking off all the boxes of things that need to be done before that first day. Some of you are fighting illness, awaiting transplant, or facing treatments for disease. Some are grieving deep loss. Some are surrounded by people and yet feel very alone. Some are alone and long to be in a meaningful, loving relationship. We all wake in the morning to different challenges of the day, different obligations, requirements, burdens, and joys.
           No matter where we are in this journey of life, though, we all have one thing in common – we are not alone. God is our keeper. God is our shade at our right hand. God is our mighty fortress, our stream of living water, and our shepherd through dark valleys. God is our help in ages past and our hope for years to come. God is our brightest light, our greatest hope, and our deepest joy.
           But how easy it is for us to forget God’s constant presence with us! We wrap ourselves tightly in our anxieties, fears, and concerns. We obsess, worry, and lash out at others in our stress. We long for God but we do not look for God. We blame God for being absent rather than focusing our lives on God’s presence.
           Occasionally, I return to the writings of Brother Lawrence, a monk of the 17 th century who lived his life in humble daily service, working in the kitchen and finding God amid his ordinary, mundane tasks. Each day, he would begin his work with a prayer:
My God, since you are with me, and since it is Your will that I should apply my mind to these outward things, I pray that You will give me the grace to remain with You and keep company with you. But so that my work may be better, Lord, work with me; receive my work and possess all my affections.
           During the day, he would constantly ask for God’s grace as he worked. Then, when he had completed his tasks, Brother Lawrence would examine his day. If he found any good in it, he would give thanks to God. If he found deficiencies or errors, he would ask God’s forgiveness. He did not get discouraged but resolved to change and grow closer to God through acts of faith and love. He wrote: “I came to a state in which it would be as difficult for me not to think of God as it had been difficult to accustom myself to thinking of [God] at the beginning.”
           Brother Lawrence’s spiritual discipline of practicing the presence of God is one we can all emulate. What if we, at the end of each day, looked back and reflected on the good we had been a part of, and gave thanks, while also looking at the moments of our departures from God’s grace and seek forgiveness – and newness of being? This could be done individually, by way of prayer, meditation, and/or journaling, or communally, by having a family dinnertime discussion or coffee with a friend where all reflect together. Would you try it with me? For a week? A month? A year? A lifetime?
           No matter what our daily challenges and joys might be, we all need help remembering that God is with us – in our joys and our sorrows, in our fears and our failings, in our hopes and our dreams. May we seek to find ways to practice the presence of God each day.
With love for you all along this journey,
Our Sympathies:  
The love and concern of the congregation are extended to the family of Nancy Darter , friend of FPC’s Presbyterian Women who died July 27; and to the family of Nancy Hope , wife of former FPC pastor Sam Hope. Mrs. Hope died July 29, 2018 in Montreat.

We also learned recently of the passing of FPC member Claude Adams and so we extend our sympathies to those who cared for him.

Graveside Service for Dan Banner:  Hanes-Lineberry in Greensboro is handling arrangements for a graveside service at Green Hills Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 11. 

Memorial Service: The family of David Powell has requested a Service of Witness to the Resurrection be held Saturday, August 18 at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary of FPC . The family will receive friends at a reception in Watts-Hill Hall following the service. ( Joe Harvard , officiating)
Added recently :
Mariah Wilson , daughter of Mike and Emily Wilson
John Hendrickson , cousin of Bill Hendrickson
Randy Heffelfinger , friend of Eric Wiebe
Ryan Washington , infant friend of Adrienne Allison and Bob Pleasants

Franzi Rokoske
Carolyn Wolfe

Brookdale Senior Living, Durham:  Julian Boswell   
Croasdaile Pavilion: Bette Conroy, Bob Rankin
Dubose Center, Chapel Hill: Mary Clark
Durham Regent: John Kerr, Ann Prospero
Pruitt Health at Carolina Point, Durham: Helen Garrison
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant, Peaches McPherson  

Family and Friends of Church Members and Staff:
Jerry Arrowood , brother of Al Arrowood
Mary Banner, friend of FPC
Marc and Polly Crawford , friends of Brianna Bennett
Marsha Hussung , sister of Brent Curtis
Carolyn Kreuger , former member of FPC
Paul Martin , brother of Beth Neece
Dell McMillian , brother-in-law of Valerie McMillian
Rosemary Orphys , aunt of Kerry Holbrook
Mary Putman , friend of FPC
Vickey Tobey , niece of Mickey Velkey and cousin of Beth Brockman
Mandy Wooten , sister of Randy Lang Howard
Special thanks to Tyler, Deborah, Carter, and Griffin Momsen-Hudsons for hosting First Friends and Families at their home in Hillsborough on Saturday, August 4.

Our GBCFF reunion at Camp New Hope was wonderful this past Sunday. It was hot and sticky, per August, but the sun was out, and we were happy. We are especially grateful to Cris Rivera and Beth Stringfield for providing a great picnic dinner for the 70 participants who showed up at the Lower Pavilion. Others who helped as FPC hosts, or who attended the event included: Elizabeth Klinck; Kay and Mark Nelson; Barbara Buckley; Deborah and Griffin Momsen-Hudson; Amy, Pat, Noah and Rory Dillon; Johanna and George Bernhardt (with Hannah and Gwyneth); Kim, Jon and Grace Abels; Marilyn and Hedge Hedgpeth; Jim, Margot, Carrie and Sammie Johnson; John, Laura, Art and Henry Kelley; Cathy and Lilly Snell; Lenore Champion; Leah Graves; Jancy Johnstone; Cris Rivera and Beth Stringfield; Kerry Holbrook; Luke and Ellie Everett; Rebecca Barnes and Maryn Leonard; Celia and Matthew Dickerson; Tom Bacon; Marcia Floding; Katie Pisczek; Alyssa Madenblick; Christian Zigbuo; Geoff and Amber Bowman & 3 beautiful sons; Corliss Wood; Julio and Marty Ramirez; Jennie and Stu Albright, Brett and Cason; Paul, Ellen and Grace VonTongren; Carlos Vasquez and family; Tommy and Amos Grimm.  Young and old, children and adults were invited to “Serve the Lord with Gladness”, as we swam, sang, made washer necklaces and God’s eyes, danced energizers, worshipped, played on the playground, walked the labyrinth, ate and had time to talk and visit. As our offering, we brought school supplies to donate to Crayons2Calculators. Special guests for the afternoon were our friends from Iglesia Emanuel, as well as our GBCFF family from Mt. Bethel Presbyterian, Duke Memorial UMC, and Trinity Avenue Presbyterian. Sunday happened to be National Friendship Day, and it was great to be reminded of the friends in Christ we have all over the city of Durham. 
Congratulations to Tyler Momsen-Hudson who was elected at the July New Hope Presbytery Gathering to serve on the Disaster Assistance Team. He joins a group of committed Presbyterians that focus on Readiness and Recovery. Tyler brings his extensive experience to this team as former head of construction for Orange County Habitat for Humanity. Tyler joins Cherrie Henry and Phyllis Supple who also serve on presbytery committees.
The next Session meeting will be on August 27, 7 p.m. in the East Parlor

Regular meetings of the Session are normally scheduled for the fourth Monday of the month.  

A list of current Session members, along with a photo and brief bio, is posted on the bulletin board in the foyer.  

A digest of the July 23, 2018 Session minutes appeared in the last newsletter, August 7, 2018 and can be requested again from Valerie McMillian, Parish Administrator,

Copies of the full minutes may be requested from Christyn Klinck, Clerk or Session (, Rev. Mindy Douglas, Moderator (, or any pastor (contact information is on the website, or a Session member. Past minutes of Session meetings will soon be available on the church website,
Youth Meet & Greet with John Weicher
All of our youth (rising 6th-12th grades) are invited to meet John Weicher, our new Associate Pastor for Youth & Families. They'll meet this Sunday, August 12, at 9:45 am in the Youth Room. There will be some goodies, and youth are encouraged to bring their questions for John -- about him, about church, or about anything. They'll be done by the end of the education hour.

Adults of Youth Lunch with John Weicher
For stepparents, guardians, caregivers and parents of youth (rising 6th-12th grades), this is a chance to meet our new Associate Pastor for Youth and Families, John Weicher, and ask questions, tell stories and begin to learn about how the youth program is evolving (and remaining the same). This is during the congregational lunch after worship on August 19. Bring your lunch to the East Parlor. Childcare will be provided for any younger siblings who need watching.
Sunday, August 12
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:45 a.m. Summer Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship
Sermon: " Whatever Happened to Kindness " - Mindy Douglas
Worship Texts: Micah 6:6-8; John 6:35, 41-51; Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Liturgist: Jeanne Hervey
Greeter: Maxie Honeycutt
After Worship Greeters: Alice Raney (side/font);
Cris Rivera (rear/narthex)
Ushers: John Mozart (head), Mary-Jo Keenan (flowers), Kathy Krahenbuhl (counting) , Bob Pleasants , Mal King - Click here to sign up to usher.
Sunday, August 19, 2018
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:45 a.m. - Summer Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship

After worship, everyone is invited to Watts-Hill Hall for lunch. Donations will be received to offset the cost of the meal.

Liturgist: Bob Yoder
Greeter: Alice Raney
After Worship Greeters: Karen Romines (side/font);
Raymond Mbah (rear/narthex)
Ushers: Mary-Jo Keenan (head), Katy Barron (Counting), Dale Gaddis , Bob Pleasants , J ohn Mozart - Click here to sign up to usher.
Children and Youth
Summer Theme: Rock Around the Liturgical Clock
Catherine Admay and Carter Momsen-Hudson will be helping us celebrate Pentecost this Sunday, August 12 ; and Walt Barron and Thilo Fullenkamp will lend a hand with Ordinary Time activities, games, and songs on August 19 th . This great rock around the church’s liturgical year meets in room 208. We’ve almost completed the whole circle of the church year, but it’s never too late to join us. All children and youth are welcome. All children and youth are welcome.     

Adults Summer Study
Faith and Community Class:  We are currently discussing Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s book, Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion.   Kathy Krahenbuhl and Jane Williams began the initial discussions. This Sunday, August 12 other members of the Racial Equity Task Force will join in leading the discussion. Faith and Community meets on Sunday morning in Watts-Hill Hall at 9:45. All are welcome, including youth!

Lectionary Class : This year-round class meets at 9:45 in the East Parlor.  
August 12: The gap between God's intentions (or even our own intentions) and the world's reality is very wide, and the excuses we make for our failures are countless. The message is simple: "Be imitators of God, and live in love." 
August 19: We may pray for wisdom, as Solomon did. But sometimes the wisdom of God comes in words that are difficult to understand. 

Journeys and Scratch/Young Adults Class: We will reconvene this Sunday, August 12, to decide how we will meet this fall and what subject matter we want to cover. Suggestions and ideas are welcomed.

Spiritual Formation  This year-round class for women is led by  Susan Dunlap  and explores the topic of spiritual formation. Join us at 9:45 in basement classroom B-16. 
Coming August 26 – Promotion Sunday
Like a Hurricane , the winds of the Spirit will rotate and swirl activities around each month’s story for children and youth. We’ll start with the foundational Hebrew Testament stories of Creation, Flood, Exodus, and the Giving of the Law, in addition to the seasonal stories about Jesus, and then enhance the stories by cooking, making lego models, doing drama, singing, playing games, drawing maps, all to deepen our understanding of each story…and to have fun while we’re doing it! It’s called the Rotation Model, and the CE Committee is excited to be introducing a new wave of energy into the spiritual nurture of our community. Stay tuned for more details…       
Happenings around FPC . . .
Letter from the Associate Pastor

Dear friends in Christ,

Summer is fading fast, and the winds of change are blowing through our congregation as we bid farewell to Sarah Finbow , and in the same breath, welcome our new Minister of Youth and their Families, John Weicher . God is so good in that Sarah’s ministry and John’s ministry have dovetailed in an amazing way that continues the ongoing ministry to our youth and families. So, while the ministry will continue, the winds of the Holy Spirit will create new ways of being church under John’s leadership, and I think we are all open and willing to go with the flow as this new school year begins. We are so grateful to the Youth Minister Search Committee, comprised of Lenore Champion (chair), Brent Curtis , Leslie McDow , Griffin Momsen-Hudson and Charlotte Maxwell , and myself, as staff, who worked quickly and diligently to discern the best fit for our youth here from among several gifted candidates. We would have been in good hands with any of those candidates; but we are confident that God’s providence sent John to us. So, I hope you will take time to meet with John, and tell him your stories about life at FPC.

With a new staff member comes new energy and we are excited about some of the offerings for the fall. The Faith and Community Class will begin with a series on Letters, looking at Rev. Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail; Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters from prison, Dorothy Day’s letters; and Paul’s letters in the Bible. Our Senior High Sunday School will be led by Emily Hansel and John Weicher , and will discuss faith perspectives and faith questions concerning Relationships, Science and Faith, and Prayer – for starters. Our Middle School Youth , 7 th , 8 th , and 9 th graders will begin a season of Confirmation during the Sunday School hour, beginning with visits in the fall to other faith communities, such as Immaculate Conception Church, Masjid Ar Razzaq, Judea Reform, Sikh Gurudwara of NC, Durham Friends, and Farm Church. Between visits, we will talk about the ties that bind us together as people of faith, and the ways in which we differ. These youth are encouraged to select a mentor, an adult other than their parent, whom they admire for the way they live their faith. These mentors are invited to travel and discuss with us in the fall, and will join us in the classroom in the winter when we talk about being Presbyterian, specifically, and what that means. And lastly, our 3 rd – 6 th graders will embark together upon a Rotation Model of Spiritual Nurture, which will be a “whirlwind” of activities based upon key Hebrew Scripture texts, such as drama, music, games, maps, crafts, lego models, and story-telling. We’ll look at a key story each month, and then experience that story in many ways.

Head’s up: Teacher Training for these classes will be on Sunday, August 19, during the Sunday School hour in Room 205.  This is a required meeting for teachers and advisors of youth and children, as we will review the Youth and Child Protection Policy.  John Weicher will meet with parents of youth during our congregational lunch in the East Parlor to go over plans for the fall.

I’m always available to answer questions or address any concerns which you might have. And I love new ideas. I look forward to seeing all the saints, large and small, young and old, back in “the house” for the fall. 

Another landscaping and grounds workday has been set for this Saturday, August 11 from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. If you enjoy landscaping and pruning chores, please join us! Barbara Buckley ( is coordinating the work to be done.
Ben Maxwell Cello Recital
Sunday evening, August 19 at 7:00 p.m.
Ben Maxwell, son of Jody and Julie Maxwell, will play a cello recital in the sanctuary with pianist Deborah Hollis featuring cello sonatas by Debussy and Prokofiev as well as the Unaccompanied Bach Cello Suite No. 3. The performance is free and open to everyone.  Flyer
First Friends and Families
September 7 - 9, 2018
More details forthcoming by email
Please let Valerie know if you would like to be added to this group's EVITE list.
Crayons2Calculators is again conducting a community-wide drive for school supplies.   FPC members can donate supplies up until Thursday, August 15 . Bring your supplies to FPC and place them in the bins in the foyer or narthex at the church. Click here to see a list of most needed items for the upcoming school year.
We'd like you to know . . .

For some, the idea of creating and leaving a legacy is uncomfortable. They think they haven’t or won’t accomplish anything significant enough to be preserved. Legacy planning starts with a simple notion that everyone is entitled to a happy, fulfilled life that is achieved through striving to become your best self and accomplishing your greatest success. It is about health, wellness and balance. Everyone will leave a legacy. The question is, what will that legacy be? Legacies are how you want to be remembered by the people and organizations you care the most about. We invite you to join the FPC Legacy Society.

In their book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life you Want, Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy define legacy as follows:
"Our legacy comprises the spiritual, intellectual, relational, and social capital we pass on. It’s the sum total of the beliefs you embrace, the values you live by, the love you express, and the service you render to others. It’s the you-shaped stamp you leave when you go.”

Interestingly, the ethos of your legacy lives on through your commitment to those you love and the organizations you care about.

Information about FPC's Legacy Society is available from the tables in the foyer and narthex.
The next church newsletter will be issued August 21, 2018.
Please submit your articles / news to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, August 19, 2018.