mailing address:  Balmoral Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 17309, Memphis, TN 38187
  • WORSHIP for 3rd SUNDAY of ADVENT December 13




  • Christmas Date Pudding

  • TN Highest Cases Yet, Shelby County #'s Inching Up
  • Seasonal Flu, Though, is DOWN

  • SILENCE is the WELCOME MAT for HATE (from PC(USA))


  • Advent Events
  • INTERESTED in STARTING a FAMILY TREE? Here's a way to start.

  • Birthdays
  • Calendar of Events
  • A GOOD READ: 2020 NYT Top 10
  • BPC Photos
  • Worship last Sunday
  • Both Sides for 2020


ONLINE on YouTube at 11:00 am 
Worship with us on our YouTube Channel Sunday morning at 11:00am
 and check our website at 
Our Session is committed to providing worship during the pandemic that reaches everyone. Those of you who do not have computer access or SmartPhone access, Idlewild will continue to broadcast  all of the worship services on the radio 96.1 FM.
Stay at home! Stay Safe!
REMINDER: Everyone who comes onto the BPC property MUST WEAR A MASK, including those who are only in the parking lot. NO ONE is allowed in the building without authorization.
We must help to keep our Worship team and the SEED children safe!

Requests for use of the property (including the parking lot) MUST prepare a proposal to the BPC COVID-19 Task Force (Scott Hill and Mary Schmitz, co-chairs) for review; the task force will review the proposal, then make a recommendation to the Session for consideration.

and Sunday Studies
3rd Sunday of Advent
Balmoral Presbyterian Church
Sunday, December 13, 2020

SUNDAY STUDIES 9:45 - 10:45am on Zoom 
  • Bible Study of Romans will conclude their Fall Study this week. (There will be no Sunday Studies December 20th and 27th. New classes begin Sunday January 3, 2021.)

WORSHIP & COMMUNION at 11:00 AM on YouTube
 SCRIPTURE: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 & I Thessalonians 5:16-24
SERMON: "Choose Joy"    

The third candle, the candle of Joy, will be lighted in this Worship service. If you have your own Advent Wreath, or a just single candle, we invite you to place it near your computer or TV where you play the service. Join with us as we light the Candle of Joy.
You will receive an email Friday with details, link to the Sunday Study class on Zoom, a link to the YouTube site for Worship, and a link to download the Sunday Worship Guide. You will also receive a reminder & links to the classes & worship service on Sunday morning!

The Idlewild service will also still be available at 11:00 am on the radio at 96.1 FM or you can go online to the Idlewild Livestream broadcast at

Previous Worship Services at Balmoral are still available on the 
New Sunday Classes Begin Sunday,
January 3 through March 28, 2021
Christ in Crisis ?
by Jim Wallis

Writing in response to our current "constitutional crisis," New York Times bestselling author and Christian activist Jim Wallis urges America to return to the tenets of Jesus once again as the means to save us from the polarizing bitterness and anger of our tribal nation.

The author provides a path of spiritual healing and solidarity to help us heal the divide separating Americans today.  
Cliff Gurlen and Renee Mitchell 
Bible Study
This class continues to the next 2 New Testament books, Pauls' letters to the Corinthians and Galatians.

Clinton Bailey, Stanley Gates,
Cliff Stockton and William Warren
The MIFA PLUS ONE offering allows you to pay tribute to, or honor the memory of, the people who have been special in your lives. 

For a $12.00 contribution to MIFA's PLUS ONE program, you can name a special person and donate to the PLUS ONE fund that keeps utilities on during winter months for people on the margins of our society.

The names will be published in the worship bulletins for Sunday, December 20, and Christmas Eve service, December 24.

Make checks payable to Balmoral with a note indicating that it is for Plus1 and who you will Honor or In Memory of and send it to:
Balmoral Presbyterian
PO Box 17309
Memphis, TN 38187
Tuesday, December 15, is the deadline for receiving tributes/memorials for this year.

Rev. Ken Tracy has spent much of his more than 30 years with the PC(USA) helping congregations work through conflict and revitalize their membership — a mission grounded in love.
If you have the opportunity to talk with Rev. Tracy for even a few minutes, it’s easy to understand why he would be really good at tackling difficult conversations and helping others heal — he laughs easily and has an infectious personality that quickly draws you in.

Along the way, he’s built a legacy of love and faith with a focus on ministry and service within the church. His wife Carol has been by his side throughout all these years.

His first call was at the Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, Presbyterian Church. He then went on to work within Boulder Presbytery, now known the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks, and serve for seven years as the executive of Utah Presbytery and then as the pastor at St. James Presbyterian Church in Tarzana, California, following the Northridge earthquake in 1994 that damaged the St. James sanctuary. He went on to lead a congregation in the Alaskan village of Hydaburg, taking him and Carol to the smaller churches he loved to serve. It was in Alaska that Carol got very sick.

“We made three trips to Seattle to see doctors, and the shared grants handled by the Board of Pensions picked up 100 percent of our expenses,” he says. “They paid for our flights, hotel, meals, rental car, whatever we needed.”
The doctors discovered that Carol had significant damage to her lungs due to an exposure to black mold; so they turned again for help to the Board of Pensions, which is funded in part by the Christmas Joy Offering. Now they live in Monte Vista Grove Homes in Pasadena, a retirement community for retired pastors, church workers and missionaries. “Carol now lives in skilled nursing, and I live in independent living. Her room is about 30 feet from me,” Rev. Tracy explains. “I’d never heard of a shared grant until I was the executive at the Utah Presbytery and a member needed some support. I didn’t realize then that years later it would also help my family.”

This is a love story. Not just about Ken and Carol’s love for each other and love for the mission they have served side by side for so many years, but also about God’s love and the love we show with our gifts. Half of the Christmas Joy Offering goes to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions to help current and past church workers and their families in their time of need critical financial need. The other half supports education and leadership development at Presbyterian-related schools and colleges equipping communities of color.

Please give generously, for when we all do a little — it adds up to a lot.
Send your gift by check marked JoyGift to the church at
Balmoral Presbyterian Church
P.O. Box 17309
Memphis, TN 38187
Christmas Goodies
Share a Recipe !
Sharing Holiday meals and treats with friends and love ones will be curtailed for most of us this year.

How about sharing with each other, but VIRTUALLY this year...
by sharing RECIPES of our favorite holiday dishes and treats instead!
A British tradition, Christmas Puddings are not the creamy lunch bowl version that comes to mind when you hear the word “pudding”. Instead, Christmas pudding is more of a cake or sweet bread loaf with fruits such as dates, figs, or plums. Some recipes serve it with a sweet sauce or with whipped cream.

Super moist and rich, but not too sweet. Top it with REAL Whipped Cream for a Christmas treat.
1 pkg (8 - 12 oz) pitted whole dates
(Dromedary, Deglet Noor, or MedJool are fine.)
(NOTE: DO NOT use pre-cut dates - they are pre-coated
with sugar and are usually too dry for this recipe)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
1 tbsp. shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1.5 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup COLD heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. sugar (powdered or granulated)
(NOTE: do NOT use artificial sweetner)
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Cut dates into small pieces. (Clean kitchen scissors work well, occasionally dipped in a glass of warm water to prevent sticking to the dates.) In a bowl, sprinkle the baking soda over the dates, then pour the boiling water over them. Do not stir. Allow to cool.

Cream together the shortening and 1 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the egg, nuts and vanilla and beat.
Add the cooled date mix and beat well.
Sift the flour and salt together over the mixing bowl and beat all together.

Pour mixture into long loaf pan. Bake 45 to 50 min.

Cool completely before slicing. Top with a dollop of Whipped Cream.
Perfect Whipped Cream Topping:
Place medium mixing bowl and beaters (or whisk) in freezer for at least 20 minutes to chill. (Cream should also be as cold as possible - leave it in the coldest part of the refrigerator right up until you start to whip.)
Pour heavy whipping cream and vanilla into the cold bowl and beat or whisk on high speed. Gradually sprinkle in sugar while beating, continuing until medium-to-stiff peaks form, about 1 minute.
Bored with your own recipes?
Spice it up by trying each other's favorites!
Send your family's favorite recipe(s) to the Newsletter. (Add a picture, a story about the recipe or a story about your traditional family gatherings!
Send your recipes to Kathy Singleton


Tennessee Reports Highest Daily Increase in COVID-19 Cases
Tennessee reported 8,136 new COVID-19 cases Monday, its highest one-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The previous highest total was 7,975 set on Nov. 30.

The state also recorded 66 new deaths, bringing the total to 5,009. The total number of cases in the state was 408,730. Of those cases, 362,818 people have recovered, the state department of health said.

In Shelby County:
BUT winter flu is DOWN
With so much talk about COVID-19, there is some good news: There’s an unusually low number of flu cases this year.

In years past, flu numbers usually start to spike in November and December, but Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is reporting unusally low flu cases this year.

“It’s actually an unintended consequences of some the measures we’ve taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Nicholas Hysmith, medical director of infection prevention. “We’ve seen very little flu, very little influenza if any at all so far this year.”

A year can make a big difference when it comes influenza and what Memphis experienced in 2019.
Family & friends visiting? Going to visit a gathering? How safe will you be? Click the link here:
“Silence is the Welcome Mat for Hate”
A talk by Pennsylvania’s Community Responders Network
By Mike Ferguson  | Presbyterians Today
The four-week Matthew 25 course “Civil Initiative and the Engaged Church” concluded Monday with a presentation on being more aware of and reducing the destructive damage done by hate groups and the intolerance they help to foster.

Monday’s talk followed a Bible study on Luke 6:39-49 by Rick Ufford-Chase, who organized and led the online course along with the Rev. Paul Roberts, president of Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary.

Ann Van Dyke, one of the speakers Monday, talked about her involvement with Community Responders Network in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which received an award for its work during the 223rd General Assembly (2018) in St. Louis. Van Dyke worked for more than three decades as a civil rights investigator and trainer for the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

“I will talk about awareness,” she told the 50 or so participants meeting via Zoom on Monday evening. “We can’t fix it until we know what it is.”
Hate groups, she said, “are skilled at focusing on issues everyday people are concerned about,” including education and immigration. “They suck us in so our concerns can be used as wedge issues to pull at our biases.”

Another problem for those trying to reduce the influence that hate groups have: “So much of what they do and say,” Van Dyke said, “is protected under the First Amendment.”

The solution to hate speech, she said, is speech. “Good folks are often hesitant to speak up,” she said. “Silence is the welcome mat for hate.”
Racial supremacist groups are increasing their influence for many reasons, Van Dyke said, including changing demographics, conflicts over immigration and the struggling economy. She offered a list of what she called “triggering conditions” for hate groups to thrive:
  • Fear of the changing population, which leads to community labels including “insiders” and outsiders.”
  • People “looking for someone to blame” during a wobbly economic cycle.
  • Disconnection, including “our alienated youth,” she said. “If we don’t tend to them, somebody else will.” When holy places are desecrated, church folks sometimes say, “This is not our problem. We don’t know those people,” she said.
  • The failure of community leaders to address positives and negatives about their community. “Whoever has voice needs to regularly talk about the positives about becoming a truly pluralistic community,” she said. And as for the negatives: “It’s tempting to say, ‘If we ignore this, it will go away.’”
Van Dyke asked the crowd to find its voice. “It’s dismaying,” she said, “to hear good church folks and their biases, and not to have their biases challenged by their faith community.”

Farzana Safiullah, chief executive officer of the Harrisburg-based National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, said she came to the United States in 1983, the daughter of a political asylee. “This country provided me refuge and protection,” she said. Then the 9/11 attacks occurred. In early 2017 the current administration “began targeting Muslims, which made me question my land of refuge,” Safiullah said. “Things were not the rosy picture that is painted for immigrants coming to the U.S. I was compelled to be more active.”
“Working for justice is important,” Safiullah added, “and the Community Responders Network provided that network.”

Established in 2008, the Community Responders Network describes itself as “a coalition of local leaders and concerned citizens seeking to build a stronger, more inclusive community by preventing and responding to bias and intolerance.”

“The power of the network is huge because we are not professionalized,” Safiullah said. “There’s a real power to community organizing.”
The organization was built on six community-driven priorities, she said: crisis response, safety planning, reporting, educating and mobilizing allies, crafting safe space and creating healing spaces.

During a question-and-answer session following their presentations, Van Dyke was asked to expand on the disappointment she expressed over white Christians’ failure to speak out on matters including working toward racial equity.

“Pastors,” she said, “are up front with their dismay over the biases their congregants express. Good church folk argue with me to defend why their biases are OK.”

“I’m upset with white church folks who have talked the talk and haven’t walked it. I think they carry tremendous responsibility for the amount of racism in this country, to put it bluntly.”

“That’s a very powerful statement,” Roberts told her. “I appreciate your courage in making that statement.”

Richard Vosburg (9), Jerry Francisco (18), Kay Dawson (21),
Carol Mitchell (23), Mary Nell Easum (29), Stephanie Brigman (30), Janice Carney (30)

December 13: 3rd Sunday of Advent
Lighting the Candle of JOY
December 20: 4th Sunday of Advent
Lighting the Candle of LOVE
Special Christmas Music Celebration of
Lessons & Carols
Thursday, 5:00pm, on YouTube
Lighting the CHRIST CANDLE

The Bible Study of the Romans will continue through Sunday, December 13.
(There will be no Sunday Studies on December 20 or 27. New classes will start in January.)

(gifts & names due by Tuesday, Dec 15)
JoyGift (PCUSA) (gifts due by Tuesday, Dec 29)
Have You Wanted to Research Your Family Tree?
Here's your chance to learn how!
Genealogy 101
Intro to Genealogy,
Family History & DNA
a Webinar presented by

When: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 10:00 AM, CST
Where: a link to a GoToWebinar Broadcast will be sent to you by email when you register
COST: for non-members of the TNGS = $5.00

Will you be attending? If so, please follow the link below:

Genealogy 101-Intro to Genealogy, Family
History & DNA by Debbie Atchley

This first session of our series will cover how to get started in your genealogical research, helpful forms and software, where to find records and how DNA fits into your search.

Access will be through GoToWebinar. Instructions and Connectivity Link will be forwarded via email to all registrants upon registration, six days prior and again 1 hour prior to the event. Making the connection is quick and easy only requiring a computer and Internet connectivity from wherever you chose to watch the event. Your questions help drive the meetings, and we will be there to help each other.

For more information about the TN Genealogical Society, click here:

A Good Read...
 TOP TEN for 2020
(New York Times)

A Children’s Bible By Lydia Millet. A bevy of kids and their middle-aged parents convene for the summer at a country house in America’s Northeast. With an unfailingly light touch, Millet delivers a wry fable about climate change, imbuing foundational myths with new meaning and, finally, hope.

Deacon King Kong By James McBride. A mystery story, a crime novel, an urban farce, a sociological portrait of late-1960s Brooklyn.

Hamnet By Maggie O’Farrell. A bold feat of imagination and empathy, this novel gives flesh and feeling to a historical mystery: how the death of Shakespeare’s 11-year-old son, Hamnet, in 1596, may have shaped his play “Hamlet” in great beauty.

Homeland Elegies By Ayad Akhtar. What, after all, does it take to be an American? The lure and ruin of capital, the wounds of 9/11, the bitter pill of cultural rejection: Akhtar pulls no punches critiquing the country’s most dominant narratives in this novel. 

The Vanishing Half By Brit Bennett. A provocative meditation on the possibilities and limits of self-definition, Bennett uses alternating sections to recount the separate fates of Stella and Desiree, twin sisters from a Black Louisiana town during Jim Crow, whose residents pride themselves on their light skin.

Hidden Valley Road By Robert Kolker. “For a family, schizophrenia is, primarily, a felt experience, as if the foundation of the family is permanently tilted,” Kolker writes. His is a feat of narrative journalism but also a study in empathy; he unspools the stories of the Galvin siblings with enormous compassion while tracing the scientific advances in treating the illness.

A Promised Land By Barack Obama. Presidential memoirs are meant to inform, to burnish reputations and, to a certain extent, to shape the course of history, and Obama’s is no exception. What sets it apart from his predecessors’ books is the remarkable degree of introspection. He invites the reader inside his head as he ponders life-or-death issues of national security, examining every detail of his decision-making; he describes what it’s like to endure the bruising legislative process and lays out his thinking on health care reform and the economic crisis. An easy, elegant writer, he studs his narrative with affectionate family anecdotes and thumbnail sketches of world leaders and colleagues. “A Promised Land” is the first of two volumes — it ends in 2011 — and it is as contemplative and measured as the former president himself.

Shakespeare in a Divided America By James Shapiro. The author takes two huge cultural hyper-objects — Shakespeare and America — and dissects the effects of their collision. Each chapter centers on a year with a different thematic focus. The first chapter, “1833: Miscegenation,” revolves around John Quincy Adams and his obsessive hatred of Desdemona. The last chapter, “2017: Left | Right,” where Shapiro truly soars, analyzes the notorious Central Park production of “Julius Caesar.” By this point it is clear that the real subject of the book is not Shakespeare plays, but us, the U.S.

Uncanny Valley By Anna Wiener. A memoir of tech-world disillusionment, Wiener heads west, heeding the siren call of Bay Area start-ups aglow with optimism, vitality and cash. A series of unglamorous jobs turns out to be a boon, providing a vantage point from which to scrutinize her field. The result is a scrupulously observed and quietly damning exposé of the yawning gap between an industry’s public idealism and its internal iniquities.

War By Margaret MacMillan. This is a short book but a rich one with a profound theme. MacMillan argues that war — fighting and killing — is so intimately bound up with what it means to be human that viewing it as an aberration misses the point. War has led to many of civilization’s great disasters but also to many of civilization’s greatest achievements.

Have you found a good book recently? Send it to us so we can share!
Send an email to or phone or text to
Kathy Singleton 901.734-7193

PREVIOUS RECOMMENDATIONS are listed in the LINKS to DOCUMENTS at the top of this Newsletter

Every Monday
2:00pm Writer's Group via Zoom

1st Wednesday of the Month
Bible Study with Presbyterian Women 10:30 am

1st & 3rd Thursday of the Month
Ellis Small Group 10:15 am

2nd Tuesday of the Month
BOOK CLUB meets via Zoom

2nd Thursday Evening of the Month
7:00 pm Trouble I've Seen Small Group

Sunday, December 13, 2020
3rd Sunday of Advent
9:45 - 10:45 AM Advent Sunday Study on Zoom
11:00 AM Worship Service via YouTube

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Deadline for PlusOne donations and names to be honored

Sunday, December 20, 2020
Special Christmas Music Celebration of
Lessons & Carols
11:00 AM Worship Service via YouTube
(no Sunday Studies)

Thursday, December 24, 2020
5:00pm on YouTube

Friday, December 25, 2020
Sunday, December 27, 2020
11:00 AM Worship Service with Rev. Anne Hagler via YouTube
(no Sunday Studies)

Sunday, January 3, 2021
9:45 - 10:45 AM Advent Sunday Study on Zoom
11:00 AM Worship Service with Rev. Anne Hagler via YouTube


Pastoral Care will be supplied by Rev. Carla Meisterman
       and by Rev. Anne Hagler as a backup.
Rev. Carla Meisterman 901.235.1014 
       or email
Rev. Anne Hagler 901.628.2104 or
The current Session members have been re-aligned to be your primary contact for ongoing communication. Here's the new contact list:
Lori Blackwelder .... (901) 262-8282 ...............
Cathy Bailey ........... (901) 481-6395 ..............
Frank Carney ...........(901) 337-4917 .............
Leiza Collins ........... (901) 246-5031 ..................... 
Becky DeLoach ...... (901) 489-3369 .............
Barry Dotson .......... (901) 277-1596 ...............
Don Lamb ............... (901) 754-5530 ............................
Ted Pearson home: (901) 754-9796 ................... 
...........................cell: (901) 486-6117
John Van Nortwick (901) 605-2907 ............ jvnortwick@cornerstone-

(NOTE: Many of these Session members are working during the day, so you may want to text them or email them.)

Keep in mind that ANY Balmoral member who is healthy will most likely be happy to help you in case of need as well!

To contact other members, the most-current contact information is available by requesting a copy of the BPC PHONE DIRECTORY from Kathy Singleton by email or by phone or text to (901) 734-7193. 
BPC Worship 
Sunday, December 6, 2020
2nd Sunday of Advent

Prelude "A Lovely Rose Is Blooming”
Frank Carney, organist
Lighting the Candle of Peace Meditation, Fran Addicott
Linda Warren, John Gilmer, Fran Addicott, Clinton Bailey
Leiza Collins on piano
Musical Offering "Benedictus"
Balmoral Choir & Guests from 2019 Lessons & Carols service

BOTH SIDES of 2020
We have been keeping reference articles in the Newsletter each week throughout the summer. It's time to take them out, BUT some of these may still be helpful, so we will store them and give you links to them, but eliminate them from the body of the newsletter itself.
To access a document, simply click on the link name. The document will then open in your browser as a PDF file!

  • Newsletter Articles & Photos should be emailed to Kathy Singleton at no later than Monday at noon for the week you want the article in the news.
  • Bulletin Information should be emailed to Rev. Carla Meisterman, with a copy to Kathy Singleton, no later than Monday noon the week before the Sunday you want the information to appear.
  • Prayer Concerns should continue to be submitted via email to Rev. Carla Meisterman (
online church calendar
The calendar will take a few seconds to load and, once it opens, you will see the month that we are currently in. To see the next month's calendar, click on the arrow pointing down - it is just to the right of the name of the month. Once you click on that arrow, an icon will appear with all the months of the year listed. Click on the month that you want to see. To see a specific date, click on the number of the day you would like to see. The entire 2020 calendar is available to you.