Karen and Steve Hickok Announce Their Retirement at the End of May 2021

Dear friends and members of First Presbyterian Church,

On a Sunday in March 1996, I began a journey with the congregation of First Presbyterian Church that I had no idea would be as long and joyful as this one has been with you. Having been a church musician since middle school, I have served many congregations, but not until FPC did I find a congregation as committed to social justice, love of community and each other as this one. So impactful was that, that I joined FPC while Steve was still music director at Auburn Methodist. I began my tenure under Frank Covington and Mary Jo Howard. Along with Frank and Mary Jo, Peter Miller, Carolyn Crandell and now Damion Womack helped to shape me as not only a musician, but also as a Christian.

"Music is not what I do, but who I am." These words describe my life. I began playing the organ at 6 (a small chord organ!), began playing in church in 7th grade (largely because of my science teacher, Mr. Goatley, who was the weekday organist for my parochial school), began teaching private lessons in high school and eventually taught music in public school and in community college. The thread that weaves through all of these jobs was my church work. Since Steve and I began our first job together in 1981, I have been "on the bench" every week--only taking off for occasional vacation weeks or the birth of a child. I LOVE providing the worship music for each Sunday's service.

As written in Ecclesiastes-- "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens... So I say that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work." My season at First Presbyterian Church will come to a close at the end of May 2021. However, my love for you and this church will never come to a close. Thank you for allowing me to grow as a musician and help lead in worship week after week. It has been the most fulfilling work of my life. May God continue to bless each and every one of you and the work of First Presbyterian Church.

With a full and grateful heart,
Karen Hickok

I came to be a part of this church in January of 2007. After having been a church music director since 1976 and then a teacher, I took a break to finish my dissertation. During that time, I took a part time “temporary” job at this church as sexton. It doesn’t take much time to fall in love with the people of this church. As Karen and I increased our music studio at home, I was able to say on at this position. As my job here evolved into the current position of Coordinator of Facilities and Operations, I became known as the “Singing Sexton” and, as Frank Covington like to say, the “Tenor with Tools.” The love shown to me by this church and the sharing together in ministry has kept me here.

Having worked with several churches throughout my career, I can sincerely say that First Presbyterian Church is exemplary in its ministry and love to the people of the church and to the community. When Jesus finished giving his disciples a new commandment to love one another as he loved, he finished by saying, in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” I know that you are his disciples because you have shown that love.

I have worked my way through three music degrees by doing maintenance work. It is fitting that I am now retiring from doing maintenance work here. I’ve never quite separated my work in music and facility maintenance in the church. With my voice and my hands, my goal has been to help create a place where the love of Christ is evident and at work. Karen and I look forward to opportunities for extended travel and time with our children and granddaughter.

I echo Karen’s words that while my tenure here will come to a close at the end of May 2021, my love for you and this church will never come to a close. Keep sharing that love.

With gratitude for your love,
Steve Hickok
Virtual Ash Wednesday Service 
February 17, 5:00 pm 

Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent, a service where Christians are called to repent from sin and return to our loving creator before we begin the journey toward Easter. On February 17, a virtual Ash Wednesday service will be available on the church’s YouTube Channel at 5:00pm. Because we will not gather together in-person, we will not include the tradition of marking our foreheads with ash. However, you are invited to gather a small bowl of soil from your yard or garden as a substitute symbol of repentance to keep with you during the service. Attached you will find a bulletin for this service
Co-Pastor's Sabbatical Update

One of the greatest gifts the Lilly Clergy Renewal Grant provides is opportunities for spiritual renewal for the congregation as well as its pastors. To that end, we are thrilled to share that the weekend of June 5-6, Dr. Martha Moore-Keish of Columbia Theological Seminary will be coming to Auburn to offer a weekend series of teaching and preaching on her book, Christian Prayer for Today.

Closer to the date of this event, free copies of her book (as well as a resource for personal devotional study) will be made available to any member of the congregation who would like a copy.

In addition to being a thoughtful scholar and warm, inviting presence in the classroom and pulpit, Dr. Moore-Keish also happens to be our former theology professor turned mentor and friend. Our only regret about her visit to Auburn is that we won't be here for it, but we are grateful you will all get to benefit from her gifts.

To hear a bit about Dr. Moore-Keish's approach to theology in her own words, we invite you to watch this brief video.

During its Zoom on-line meeting on January 18 the Session…
• elected Barbara Fletcher to serve as clerk during 2021;
• approved the appointment of Mary Simon as church treasurer and Bonney Schowalter, Leslie Carter, and Carolyn Williams as assistant treasurers;
• approved a motion from the Finance Committee to pay minimal normal operating expenses until the 2021 budget is passed;
• learned that the church’s income from January through December 2020 was $726,669; expenses, $738,306; and net loss ($11,638); and that the church’s income during December was $81,503; expenses, $87,122; and net loss ($5,619);
• learned their committee assignments for 2021:
Congregational Life (Welcome/Congregational Care) – Bobbie Thurlow & Kirstin Yost
Personnel – Deborah Thomas, Nathan Wohleb, Katie Lee
Finance – David Boswell, Thomas Pope, Susan McChesney
Worship – Trip Hinkle and Sarah Wolak
Mission – Marianne Cone and Jesse Joiner
Generosity – Katie Cooper and Jessica Barnes
Property – Eric Moore and Paul Dimick
Children and Youth – Jennifer Stewart and Clay Price
Adult – Elizabeth White and Susan Fillippeli
University – Catherine Wolfe and Mike Williams
Legacy – Susan Fillippeli, Thomas Pope, Susan McChesney
• approved a motion from the Personnel Committee that the church continue to pay two nursery workers at the same pay level as 2020, beginning with the January 15, 2021, pay period and extending throughout the calendar year;
• learned that UKirk students will enjoy boxed dinners provided by the UKirk Meal Fund during their virtual Bible study sessions on Thursday evenings; and
• learned that Caroline Barnett will serve on the Presbytery’s Nomination Committee for three years.
Church members may read the complete, approved minutes for this meeting in the church office after the office has reopened.
Lenten Devotional Options

The season of Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and self-examination in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord at Easter. This year, Lent begins on February 17 (Ash Wednesday). As an option for prayer and reflection, FPC is offering these daily devotional cards [Part A / Part B / Part C / Part D] from Sanctified Art (also available in this spreadsheet layout for easy viewing!

The cards can be viewed digitally, printed at home, or if you would like to church to print you a copy, please contact Rev. Kathy Reed (kreed@fpcauburn.org) directly no later than February 12 so we can get them to you before Ash Wednesday.

Creative suggestions on how to use the devotional cards can be found here [https://sanctifiedart.org/again-and-again-daily-devo-cards-for-lent]
Sunday, February 14

✵ 11:00am: Virtual Worship - To view the service you can go directly to our church’s YouTube Channel via your computer, smartphone, or Smart TV app (https://tinyurl.com/t7dl8vh) or you can access the worship service through our website or Facebook page. Knowing we are at the mercy of technology, we appreciate your patience and grace if all does not go according to plan. Attached you will find a bulletin for this Sunday’s service.
Sunday Worship now on 99.9FM
Adult CE

Sundays at 9:30am:
The Old Testament Walkabout class will continue its study of the history of Israel in the book of Second Kings. We are about to see the fall of Judah and, with that, the end of the Kingdom of Israel. In this segment of our studies, we will include selections from the book of Jeremiah and hear his words to these people as they experience the pain and suffering of the loss of much of what has defined them as a people. Class will begin at 9:30. If you would like to receive the zoom link for this class please contact Gayle Andress at dongayle17@gmail.com.

Library Class: Bill Sherling and Margaret Wright are leading discussion of Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild February 14. To receive the zoom link to this class, please contact Harriette Huggins, harriette.huggins@gmail.com

Mondays at 12:00pm:
The Bible Journaling class will resume this semester on Mondays at 12pm. Even if you have never explored the art and practice of bible journaling before, all are welcome to explore biblical texts in this creative and meditative way. To receive the zoom link for this class, please contact Susan Fillippeli at fillise@att.net.

Tuesdays at 12pm:
***NEW Office Hours Bible Study Series for Lent***Just in time for Lent, the Office Hours Bible Study returns with a Lenten Series on "Jesus and the Way of the Cross". Each Sunday a particular topic is explored with a biblical scholar (these recordings can be found on Facebook at "Office Hours Bible Study" or later in the day at this YouTube link. On Tuesdays at noon the pastors then lead a discussion based on that week's topic. This particular study will focus on:

Jesus and the Forces of Evil
Jesus and the Forces of Death
Jesus and the Powers and Principalities
Jesus and the Cross (a feminist take)
Jesus and the Transformation of Repentance
Jesus and the Possibility of New Life

If you would like to receive the Zoom link for the Tuesday noon discussion group, please email Rev. Kathy Reed.

Upcoming Lenten Sunday School Series:
Beginning Sunday, February 21 we will be offering a six-week course via Zoom on Latasha Morrison's book, Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation. We encourage everyone to order a copy of the book now. This study is a part of our congregation's commitment to the Matthew 25 initiative of the PC(USA). (https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/matthew-25/)

*The Auburn Public Library is in the process of ordering this book and e-book. If you find that all copies are checked out, placing a hold on the book will encourage the library to order additional copies!*

Feb. 16 - Kate Garrett
Feb. 17 - Denise Salo, Ellen Sherling

A belated Happy Birthday to Edmund Holman who turned 5 on Feb. 7!


Feb. 14 - Steve and Denise Salo
Feb. 17 - Charles and Peggy Johnson
Feb. 18 - Kyle and Katie Lindsey
CE News

Pre-K through 5th Grade
Below is the Zoom Sunday school class schedule:
February 21
March 7 and 21

Pre-K through 1st Grade Zoom Sunday school classes will meet at 9:45am
2nd through 5th Grade Zoom Sunday school classes will meet at 10:15am
All Zoom invites will be sent at 9am the day of class.

Jr. High and Sr. High Youth
Jr. Highs will meet in the church courtyard at 4pm.
Sr. Highs will meet in the church courtyard at 5pm.
Bring a chair and masks are required.

The Jr. and Sr. High Youth would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who donated to the Souper Bowl of Caring Food Drive. Because of your generosity, we donated 730 pounds of food to the Food Bank of East Alabama!

This semester, UKirk has multiple opportunities to gather and grow in faith, including a Bible Study and fellowship night over Zoom. If you are or know of a student interested in learning more about UKirk, fill out this form or email Caroline, and she will be happy to contact you with more info.
Prayer Concerns & Celebrations

For the time period in which our church family is worshiping virtually, our pastors have decided that prayer concerns will be shared via weekly email. These individuals will most certainly be prayed for during our Sunday worship service, but their names and specific concerns will not be shared via broadcast.

• Prayers of healing for Peggy Johnson as she recovers at home after successful surgery.
• Prayers of healing for James Fukai’s father as he continues rehab after significant surgery. His father, Junichiro Fukai, is progressing well with his rehab.
• Prayers of healing for Amanda Smith’s co-worker and friend, Susan Scales, as she begins cancer treatment.
• Prayers of healing for Rev. Little (Amy Well’s former pastor) who is beginning treatment for a cancer diagnosis.
• Continued prayers of healing and wholeness for many in our church family and their loved ones who are dealing with significant health and wellness issues but do not wish to be mentioned by name at the moment.
• We continue to pray for healing and wholeness of so many in our community facing health issues, especially those dealing with issues related to Covid-19. We also continue to pray for all the health care workers as they tend to everyone’s well being, and we rejoice for the good news that more and more people are able to receive the vaccine.
First Presbyterian Church |info@fpcauburn.org | (334)887-5571 | www.fpcauburn.org