Return to Indoor Worship Opportunities
As we begin to enter Phase 4 of our reopening plan, like many of you we are excited about our return to the sanctuary. This Sunday we will be doubly blessed by the leadership of our UKirk Students for College Sunday.
If you attend one of the indoor services in coming weeks you will notice many differences from our "normal" sanctuary worship. At this time, based on recommendations from our COVID Task Force and Session, we will have a very simple service without congregational singing, passing of the peace, and several other elements you might be looking forward to sharing with your church family. However, as local conditions and guidelines continue to improve it is our greatest hope that we will begin adding back in all these elements of worship we know and love. Thank you so much for your patience and grace as we try to maintain the greatest level of safety for our congregation, musicians, worship leaders, and our greater community.
Holy Week Schedule and Easter Worship Sign Up
At its March stated meeting, the FPC Session approved the following opportunities for Holy Week and Easter Worship. Please note that virtual options will be available for all services (including Easter.) Should the 9:30am Easter service sign up fill, an 11am service will be added. In-person Easter services will be held outdoors at the Town Creek Park Pavilion. The in-person Good Friday worship sign up will become available closer to the date.
Welcome to Phase FOUR!
This past Monday at its March stated meeting, based on the recommendation of the COVID Reopening Task Force, the FPC Session elders unanimously agreed to move to Phase Four of our church’s reopening plan.
Already, this exciting news has generated many questions from our various committees, elders, and volunteers. We hope the following guide will answer your questions about what the move to Phase Four will and will not change about church operations:
What stays the same in Phase Four?
Like Phase Three, the church building is NOT yet open for general use. PLEASE do not enter the building without first contacting a staff member so that we can continue to provide the greatest level of safety and sanitation. (See Procedures... below.)
We will also continue to offer virtual Sunday School (9:30am on Zoom) and worship (11am, 99.9FM and YouTube)
What changes in Phase Four?
For the next two weeks, our 11:30am in person worship service will take place in the sanctuary. Following Easter Sunday (when services will be held at Town Creek Park Pavilion), the service will return to its 11am time, in the sanctuary.
If you are interested in signing up for indoor worship, please read the following information thoroughly prior to signing up at the link below:
How do I sign up?
As in previous phases, a SignUpGenius link will be sent out on Thursdays through email.
How many people can sign up per pew?
For the time being, 30 socially distant pews will be available on the sign up. Each pew allows roughly 9’9” of space. The general recommendation is four individuals per pew, though families with small children may easily fit five or six to a pew. Those attending in the high risk category are encouraged to sit in the back (higher numbered pews) for better ventilation and the ability to exit first.
Can I sit with someone who does not live in my household?
We recognize many church members, especially those who are now fully vaccinated, may wish to share a pew with church “family” who do not live in their household. Individuals are encouraged to communicate ahead of time and sign up together. (Please do not “surprise” someone by signing up to sit in their pew without asking them first. We want to be respectful of everyone’s ability to socially distance as they feel comfortable.)
Can I sign up to sit in a pew by myself if I am not comfortable sitting next to someone else?
Absolutely. Again, we want to be respectful of everyone’s ability to socially distance as they feel comfortable.
How early can I arrive for worship?
30min prior to the service. (11am pre-Easter, 10:30am post-Easter). The ushers have been instructed not to allow anyone into the sanctuary prior to this time.
Where should I enter the building?
Either the main sanctuary doors (Thach Ave.) or from the breezeway at the parking lot. It is requested that the parking lot be reserved for those who have the greatest need and to maintain social distancing while entering or exiting your vehicle.
Do I need to wear a mask?
Yes. A mask is required at all times on church property (even outside) for ages 3 and older, as recommended per CDC guidelines.
How will proper social distancing be observed in the sanctuary?
As pictured below, sections of each pew will be blocked off in order to ensure adequate space between each row. Hand sanitizer stations will be available at the entrances. Doors will remain open for the duration of the service to ensure touchless contact and provide for fresh air circulation.
How will I know which pew to sit in?
Each pew will be numbered along the side and center aisles. An usher will be happy to help direct you to your pew.
What can I expect in the worship service?
For the next four weeks (with the exception of Easter Sunday), you can expect a service much like our online and outdoor services. During this initial period, there will be no congregational singing, bulletins, hymnals, bibles, or passed offering plates. It is our great hope that as the weeks progress, we will add back elements of worship (solos and ensembles, responsive liturgy, etc.) we all love and miss. We thank you for your patience and grace as we assess, adjust, and adapt.
How can I access a bulletin if I’d like to have one?
As we have done throughout the last year, the order of worship will be sent out each Friday in the weekly newsletter email. You are welcome to print it at home and bring it to church or look at it on your phone or a tablet during worship. For the time being, the service will be designed so that a bulletin is not necessary for participation.
What should I know if I have small children?
For now, no nursery or childcare will be provided. The service will be abbreviated (roughly 30 min) and families are encouraged to bring quiet activities (coloring, books, etc.) for children. If your child needs a break during the service, Conway Hall (below the sanctuary) will be open and the courtyard is available. CDC guidelines recommend children under two should not wear masks.
How should I properly exit the sanctuary when the service is over?
Upon the conclusion of the service, we will dismiss and exit in an orderly fashion from the back of the sanctuary first (except for those needing assistance or needing to exit through the breezeway – these will be dismissed after the sanctuary has been vacated). Ushers will have the responsibility of dismissing the congregation in an orderly fashion from back to front.
What if someone tests positive for COVID-19 that has recently attended a worship service?
If you or someone in your household tests positive after attending worship within the last two weeks, please notify a member of the FPC staff by calling them directly (do not leave a message at the church.) Anyone who then meets the CDC definition of COVID-19 exposure—being within 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 minutes or more during the church service (likely only those who sat in the same pew)—will be called directly by a member of the FPC staff. Others who attended the same service but were not directly exposed will be notified via email and may follow up with FPC staff about any specific concerns.
Procedures for In-Person Meetings in Church Facilities
As you read the information below, please note that the church building is NOT yet open for general use. PLEASE do not enter the building without first contacting a staff member (preferably as outlined below, via email at least 48 hours in advance) so that we can continue to provide the greatest level of safety and sanitation.
If I am a part of a small group (circle, committee, bible study, etc.) that would like to meet on site, what steps should I take?
PRIOR TO YOUR GATHERING - Contact your group’s designated staff member (please see below for a full list of staff resource persons for each ministry area). Work with your staff person to schedule a time and space for your group to meet. They will explain to you which entrance, exit, and restrooms your group should utilize for the time you are schedule to meet at the church.
DURING YOUR GATHERING - Masks must be worn at all times, proper social distancing (6ft apart) should be observed, no food or drinks may be provided, and we ask that, before you leave, your group wipe down all surfaces with cleaning supplies provided by the church.
AT THE END OF YOUR GATHERING - Coordinate with your designated staff person to ensure that a list of all attendees is submitted to the church (for contact tracing purposes), the space is properly cleaned and the church doors are locked upon exiting.
Who is my designated staff person and how do I contact them?
Please send an email at least 48 hours before your group would like to gather so staff members have plenty of time to communicate and avoid overlapping groups.
Ministry Area | Staff Contact
Adult Education and Presbyterian Women | Kathy Reed
We thank you in advance for your patience and grace as we do our best to transition into this next (exciting!) phase of our reopening. Please know that in the weeks ahead we may find need to institute a more formal scheduling system in order to facilitate groups that desire to meet in the building. We will use the weekly email newsletter as a place to share these updates.
With much gratitude, The FPC Staff
Online Easter Prayer Vigil Sign Up
We will soon celebrate the Easter Vigil with hope and reverence in the time before Easter. It will be online again due to the complications of the pandemic. Please consider committing an hour to prayer through our online sign up sheet
. We would like someone in our church community to commit to every hour between Good Friday evening until sunrise Easter morning.
You may also submit your prayer concerns and joys for participants of the vigil to pray over HERE
If you do not have online access or you have questions, you may call Dorothy Hinkle-Uhlig (334 332 5809). She can sign you up online and fill out prayer request cards. May Christ live again in each of us for all of us.
Lent 2021 at First Presbyterian
is an online daily devotional resource sponsored by the PC(USA), Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and Episcopal Church (USA), providing inspiration during the Lenten season, beginning on Ash Wednesday and running through the Sunday following Easter.
These daily devotional cards [Part A / Part B / Part C / Part D]
from Sanctified Art may be printed at home or in this spreadsheet layout for easy viewing! Creative suggestions on how to use the devotional cards can be found here.
For Children, Youth, and Families
Keeping with our Lenten theme of providing for the needs of others from Matthew 25, this devotion guide
is all about caring for our sisters and brothers in Christ. Included are weekly scripture passages, discussion guides, coloring pages, and other activities. This devotional guide is a great resource for families to explore what scripture says about giving to others and will help us examine why we give, what we give, the power of our gifts, and the impact our gifts have on those around us.
Also, parents of children Pre-K through 5th grade, mark your calendars and plan to join us for a Lenten Craft Day for families on March 21 at 2 pm in the church courtyard. Watch your email for more details to come!
Opportunities for Study
Sundays at 9:30am
Throughout Lent, 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. This study is a part of our congregation's commitment to the Matthew 25 initiative of the PC(USA)
. *copies are available at the Auburn Public Library*
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 the Lenten biblical texts in this creative and meditative way. To receive the zoom link for this class, please contact Susan Fillippeli
Tuesdays at 12pm
Office Hours Bible Study Series for Lent: ”Jesus and the Way of the Cross”
Each Sunday morning 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. If you would like to receive the Zoom link for the Tuesday noon discussion group, please email Rev. Kathy Reed
For College Students
Sundays at 7:00pm
UKirk has begun a four week Bible study on how the ancient words of scripture can inform our response to the modern day issue of racism. UKirk Bible Study meets over Zoom and is open to all university students and college-aged people. If you would like to receive the Zoom link for this Bible study, please email Rev. Caroline Barnett.
Sunday, March 21
✵ 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
✵ 11:30am: In-Person, Indoor Worship - At its stated meeting on Monday, March 15, the FPC session approved a recommendation from our COVID19 Task Force to move to Phase 4 of our church’s reopening plan, which includes offering the opportunity for Sunday in-person worship indoors. See the article above for information.
Co-Pastors' Sabbatical Update
We are so glad our Lilly Foundation Clergy Renewal Grant is allowing us to offer members of the congregation these two wonderful resources at no cost. These resources reflect our sabbatical theme, Reformed and Always Being Reformed: A Dual Sabbatical in Reformed Spirituality and History and are filled with rich reflections that we hope will be meaningful to members of all ages and stages of life.
An Iona Prayer Book by Peter Millar
Christian Prayer for Today by Martha Moore-Keish (our guest teacher and preacher June 5-6, 2021.)
Books will either be delivered to your home or made available for pick up at the church (please choose an option when signing up.)
During its Zoom on-line meeting on February 15, the Session…
• learned that the church’s income during January 2021 was $50,952; expenses, $68,791; and net loss ($17,839); and that the Finance Committee will hold planning workshops regarding the 2022 budget;
• learned that members of the 2021 Confirmation Class are Alex Forster, Hallie Herring, Myla Ragan, Ben Stewart, Stella Stewart, and Duncan Whatley;
• approved a motion to split excess funds from 2020 ($23,565) between the Mission Committee (20%) and the Property Committee’s Facilities Improvement and Renovation Fund (FIRF) (80%);
• approved the renewal of leases for apartments in the student center;
• approved changing the name of UKirk’s bank savings account from UKirk Alumni Fund to UKirk Account for potential paperless payment options;
• approved an outdoor, in-person Easter service at Town Creek Park, with attendance limited to one hundred;
• approved four guest preachers for Sundays during the Reeds’ sabbatical leave this summer: Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich, Rev. Dr. Martha Moore-Keish, Rev. Terry Newland, and Rev. Nancy Benson-Nicol;
• approved an 11:30 a.m. starting time for in-person, outdoor worship services while we are in reopening Phases 2A and 3; and
• elected Kirsten Yost as commissioner to the Zoom meeting of the Presbytery on February 18.
Church members may read the complete, approved minutes for this meeting in the church office after the office has reopened.
Mar. 22 - Margaret Craig-Schmidt, Addison Ragan
Mar. 23 - Benjamin Wernette
Mar. 25 - Melissa Larson
Mar. 26 - Wheeler Garrett, Alex Kaeppler, Lauren Smith
Mar. 24 - Larry and Mary Dalrymple
Mar. 24 - Henry and Shirley Helmke
Pre-K through 5th Grade
Plan to join us for a Lenten Craft Day for families on THIS SUNDAY (March 21) at 2 pm in the church courtyard. Watch your email for more details to come!
Parents of Pre-K through 5th graders, please note the Zoom Sunday school schedule change. Because of Spring Break and Easter, the schedule has been pushed back one week.
March 28, April 11 and 25
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 9 am the day of class.
Jr. High and Sr. High Youth
Jr. and Sr High Youth together will meet at 5pm in the church courtyard to plan for Youth Sunday.
All youth meetings will be in the church courtyard, weather permitting. Please enter through the gate on Thach Ave. Bring a chair and masks are required.
Mark your calendars! Youth Sunday will be April 11. Our Youth are looking forward to leading our congregation in worship!
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.
PCM Assists 353 Families During 2020
The Presbyterian Community Ministry (PCM) provided financial and home repair assistance to 353 Lee County families during 2020. Assistance included loans and grants for utility bills, home repairs, and rent. PCM’s assistance was even more important to our community last year because as needs increased dramatically, the number of helping agencies decreased.
During the fourth quarter, PCM was able to help Joanna, who fell behind in her rent and utilities payments when her work at a nursing home was interrupted by her own illness with COVID, her children’s illness, and her three children’s need to learn remotely at home. PCM also helped Peter, who lost his job when the company where he worked went out of business; as a result, he lost his car when he was unable to make payments. He now rides his old bicycle three miles to a part-time job. When illness prevented him from working for three weeks, he was unable to pay his rent. Tonya generally lives on a monthly disability check of $837, with the help of her grown son. When he lost his job last winter, he was unable to help her make the large payment for the propane needed to keep her warm. PCM helped. In addition, PCM completed 24 construction projects throughout the year.
Total income for the year was $149,743; expenses were $158,057. Income included $38,834 for membership dues, $11,065 from memorial gifts; and $27,639 in donations. Our church’s gift was $19,500. PCM also received more than $30,000 in grants, including a Presbyterian Disaster Relief grant for $7,500. Expenses included $49,058 for rents, approximately $48,000 for utilities, and approximately $1,400 for renovations.
Donations of any amount from our church members are always welcome. Those who wish to make a gift to PCM should send checks to PCM, 143 East Thach Avenue, Auburn, AL 36830. Those wishing to become individual annual members ($250) or family members ($300) should send their checks to the same address.
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.
• Happy 60th Wedding Anniversary to Bob and Kay Recknor! We rejoice with them as they celebrate!
• We rejoice that our church is now in phase 4 of our reopening plan. We are excited to move into this next phase and begin opportunities for people to join the worship service from inside our sanctuary. We will also continue to offer worship online and on the radio on Sunday mornings. Please be sure to check your church email for more information about Phase 4 at FPC Auburn.
• 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.
• Prayers of healing for James Fukai’s father, Junichiro Fukai, who is now home and continues rehab after significant surgery.
• Prayers of healing and wholeness for Kay Recknor’s sister Pat as she recovers from successful surgery.
• Prayers of healing for Amy Well’s friend Suzi Bonifay begins treatment for breast cancer.
• Continued prayers of healing for Dorothy Moran as she continues to progress with her rehab and recovery from successful surgery.
• Prayers for Carolyn Williams’ family friends Carole and Mallory who are undergoing cancer treatment.
• Prayers for Kathy Rushing’s cousin Amy and her husband Jung Sik and their children.
• 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.
• 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.