"Downtown by history and by choice"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
June 1-13, 2021
Letter from Pastor/Head of Staff:
Dear friends,

Last week, I shared an email with the congregation announcing the Session’s decision, following the COVID-19 Team’s recommendation, to regather for worship beginning on June 20. If you missed that email, please find that letter here (Regathering announcement). Our worship leaders, including the fully vaccinated choir, are thrilled to be planning for our first in-person gathering in fifteen months. Thanks be to God that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone 12-years-old and up and that a vaccine for children is in our near future. Please click the link above to re-read the letter with all the recommended guidelines.

The week before we gather, we will share a more detailed Frequently Asked Questions document for members of the congregation and community who wish to gather on the 20th and following Sundays. Hopefully this document will help address questions that might be on your minds and make everyone feel more informed and comfortable about regathering.

We know that, for various reasons, not everyone will feel comfortable gathering in-person yet. Our Property and Worship & the Arts Committees, along with our amazing team of audio/visual technology volunteers, are working hard to ensure that those who need to remain at home (or who want to join us while travelling!) will continue to have a meaningful worship service available to them at 11 a.m. on Sundays through the channels to which they have become accustomed. As always, recordings of our services are available through our YouTube Channel (Worship).

In the meantime, I hope you will check out the many fellowship, spiritual, and educational opportunities below that will help us stay connected as we seek to be God’s beloved community together and to serve the community around us with compassion, kindness, and generosity. FPC continues to share love in the heart of Durham, as we have throughout the pandemic. What a joy it is to be the church together. I can’t wait to see you all again!
Congratulations to Amy and Gray Wilson on the birth of Anna Gray Wilson, born June 1, 2021. Mom and baby are doing well. Anna joins siblings Julia and James.
Condolences The love and concern of the congregation are extended to the family of Robert (Bob) Stanley Rankin, Jr, FPC member and Croasdaile Village resident who died May 24, 2021. A Service of Witness to the Resurrection is to be held June 2 at 11:00 a.m. at FPC. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family as follows:

Anna Rankin Ehrich (Mr. and Mrs. Rob Ehrich)
1110 East Capitol Street NE
Washington, DC 20002
Robert Jeremiah Rankin (Mr. and Mrs. Robert Rankin (Caddie))
609 South Washington Street
Easton, MD 21601

Battle Rankin Robinson (Mrs. Robert H. Robinson)
104 West Market Street
Georgetown, DE 19947

We also share news of the passing of Liz Rupp on May 28th. Liz, husband Bill Rupp, and their three children were active at FPC many years ago. They left Durham and moved to Chapel Hill where they joined Church of Reconciliation. Liz and Bill later retired to Asheville. Liz passed away Friday, May 28.  She was 90 years old. For those who wish to send condolences, Bill's address is:
Bill Rupp
400 Wesley Drive, Apt. 182,
Asheville, NC 28803.

Sharon Hirsch, recovering from a fall
Carter Momsen-Hudson, recovering from a burn injury
Fred Moore, recovering from foot surgery
Kerry Holbrook
Ruth Roberson
Margaret Sims
Care Communities:
Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell 
Dubose Center at The Cedars, Chapel Hill: Arthur Clark
Durham Ridge Assisted Living: Phillip Herndon
Emerald Pond: Paul Cornsweet
Hillcrest Convalescent: Walter Chambliss, father of Will Chambliss
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant

Family and Friends of the Congregation:
Laurie Anderson, niece of Mary-Jo Keenan
Carolyn Bonner, wife of Deborah Momsen-Hudson’s coworker Al Bonner
Flora Estrella, a relative of Beth Stringfield and Cris Rivera
Phil Goss, a friend of the congregation
Grace, Chris James’ great-niece, suffering from a degenerative condition
Lori Griffin, great niece of Jeanne Hervey
Peggy Mordecai, mother of Beth Eisenson
Ed Overton and wife Abby, friends of Doug Butler
Shannon Putman, daughter of Mary Putman
Carlton Round's mother who is fighting cancer; Carlton is a friend of Li - Chen Chin
Deb Walsh, friend of Celia Dickerson
Sharyl, friend of Kerry Holbrook
Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the FPC Youth Socks and Masks fundraiser. Together, we raised $2,050 for our siblings in Christ at Iglesia Emanuel and their food pantry, which continues to serve over 500 families weekly. As Outreach Committee chair Tom Bacon has relayed, Marty Ramirez talks about how each week, it is a miracle that they get that much food to that many families. Thank you for being a part of these miracles. This is our first fundraiser through Custom Ink, and it’s our expectation that your socks and masks will be delivered in mid-June. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to John Weicher. Love in the heart of Durham.  
CONGRATULATIONS to the following persons who were ordained (*) and installed as officers on May 23, 2021:

Ruling Elders:
Tom Bacon
Stephen Berry*
Leah Graves
Fred Moore
Beth Stringfield*
Julie Whiddon*
Emily Wilkins*

Jennie Belle*
Teddie Brown*
Jean Cary
George Gentithes*
Mark Higgins*
Jancy Johnstone*
Julio Manceras*
Grace Mbugua
Bob Pleasants

We also wish to thank the following persons for their service as officers (Class of 2021) on the Session and Diaconate. Their tenure as ruling elders and deacons ends this month:

Ruling Elders:
Kim Abels
Chris Brown
Lenore Champion
Leah Graves
Raymond Mbah
Griffin Momsen-Hudson
Diane Prosser

Katy Barron
Matt Cline
Kathy Conner
Minna Fullenkamp
Aiden James
John Mozart
Sunday, June 6, 2021
11:00 a.m. Worship & Communion
Mindy Douglas, preaching
  • Our high school graduates (Class of 2021) will be recognized and blessed by the congregation.
  • Remember to assemble your communion elements (bread and cup) before worship begins.
Love Marilynne Robinson? Join Bert Clere at Ponysaurus Brewing Co. at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 6 for a discussion of her latest book, Jack. Participation is limited to 10 people. CLICK HERE to sign up. We ask that attendees wear masks and practice social distancing.
Sunday, June 13, 2021
11:00 a.m. Virtual Worship
Mitzi Lesher-Thomas, preaching
  •  Our children’s summer Sunday classes start June 6, as we move to one Zoom class for all the children. Link to the class.
  • The summer Faith & Community class for adults will have six weeks led by the Anti-Racism Task Force (June 6 - July 11) studying the book The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South, followed by five weeks of discussion of The Black Church, the documentary by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (July 18 - August 15). The Faith & Community class will meet via Zoom from 10:00-10:45 a.m. on Sundays, June 6 and 13. Beginning Sunday, June 20 and following, class will meet in-person in Watts-Hill Hall and via Zoom from 9:45-10:30 a.m.
  • The Lectionary, Journeys and Scratch adult classes will meet this summer as well. Start times and locations/Zoom links for each of these classes to be announced.
  • The Women’s Spiritual Formation Class will not meet this summer. They will join with the Faith & Community class. 
Each week in June, FPC children are invited to join us for a good story and a good conversation with their family of faith. Children up through 5th grade will meet on Zoom with one of our fabulous faith formation teachers. We’ll gather 10-10:30 am. As the summer and the world evolves, so may our children’s faith formation, but our June plans are set.  Contact Lenore Champion to be added to the Parents' weekly email.

Adult Faith & Community Class
Class begins at 10:00 a.m.
Join via Zoom or by phone access.
The Racial Equity Taskforce will be leading Faith and Community in reading “The Best of Enemies” by Osha Gray Davidson for the next six weeks (June 6 – July 11). The story, recently made into a movie, is about the lives of Annie Atwater and C.P. Ellis and the history of race relations in Durham. The book tells their story but also the story of Durham. The book can be ordered from UNC University Press ORDER HERE (use promo code 01DAH40 for 40% discount) or the Regulator Book Store. Any edition of the book is fine. All classes will be held via Zoom. We look forward to seeing you there.
Women’s Spirituality Group: We will join the Faith and Community Class via Zoom (or in-person) on Sundays this summer.
Adult Lectionary Bible Study Class
Join us year-round as we discuss the lectionary texts for the day at 10:00 a.m., preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. Join via Zoom. For phone access (audio only), call 253-215-8782.) If you need a copy of the handout of scripture readings or need the actual ID for the Zoom connection, contact David Smith.

On June 6: In an ancient version of a negative campaign ad, the prophet Samuel tells the people all of the bad things that a king will do to them. Why doesn’t it convince them? Have kings and rulers changed in the past 3000 years?

On June 13: "We walk by faith, not by sight." Paul was not the most obvious choice as an apostle, as David was not the most obvious choice as king. But God knows what we do not understand, God sees what we do not see, and God works in ways that are mysterious to us. What does God see in you? (The class on June 13 will be led by Robert Brawley, using a different Zoom link.)
Adult Journeys Class - Zoom Link.
Contact Andy Henry for more information.
Join us on Sundays this summer at 8:00 p.m. via Zoom. We are currently discussing chapters in "Home by Another Way" by Barbara Brown Taylor. Join via Zoom. New faces always welcome!
Contact John Weicher for information
on summer YOUTH activities
Congregational Life
Our next meeting will be Thursday, June 10 at 7:00 p.m. As a continuation of our focus on climate, soil, and food justice, we will hear from Michelle Osborne, senior program manager of Come to the Table/RAFI. She will lead a discussion on the intersection of environment and racial justice, in particular how it relates to landownership and farming practices and the current “regenerative at” movement. Contact Cris Rivera for the zoom link. Everyone is welcome!!
Speaking of farming, Interfaith Power & Light has a postcard campaign to urge the Department of Agriculture to support small and medium farmers, especially those of color, to solve the climate crisis Physical postcards are located in the lobby of the church, and we invite you to pick some up, sign and mail them when you can. (Or contact Cris Rivera to get them to you.) You can also get more information and sign the petition online here.
We invite you to read our first ever Creation Care newsletter and sign up for the summer issue planned for July as we joyfully anticipate being together again.
Book Study
Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m.
Mindy Douglas leads the study. Click here to join the study via Zoom.
Volunteers needed!
Contact Lenore Champion
if you can help!

Vacation Church School
June 21-25, from 6:00-7:15 p.m.
  • Outdoors on the FPC playground for the children
  • A time for parents to hang out
  • Food truck for grabbing dinner (to be determined)
Volunteers needed at Urban Ministries

For years, FPC has committed to provide volunteers to help prepare and serve meals at Urban Ministries of Durham. Even through the pandemic, members of FPC and those connected to us, have faithfully showed up as volunteers. If you are fully vaccinated and itching to serve again, please know that you are needed. As always, only volunteer when you are comfortable doing so.

Contact Jen McGonigle to sign up for one of FPC's regular time slots, or call Jen at 202-421-5870. If you have interest in serving at Urban Ministries at other times and in other ways, click this link:

Multiplying the Blessings
At the Iglesia Emanuel Food Pantry, we see miracles every week. We prepare for 550 families. 590 families show up, and there is enough food for all.

Come, be part of the miracle at 2504 N Roxboro. Join other volunteers for a 2-hour shift, bag rice and beans from home, donate food, or give a financial donation. Together, we will continue to spread God’s love throughout our community in this most tangible way. 
  • To sign up for a 2-hour shift, click here
  • To bag rice and beans from home, or donate food, click here
  • To make a financial donation, go to and click on “Donate.”
More questions? Contact Margaret Rubiera.
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, June 15. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office by Sunday, June 13.