FPC Members and Friends,

In January of 2020 our session elders participated in an afternoon retreat during which we discussed an article titled, “The Powerful Influence of a Nonanxious Presence” by Rev. Bob Bullock. Knowing we were facing a year of multiple construction projects popping up on every corner, we thought it important for our leadership to read reflections such as:
“The job of church leaders is to help keep down the level of anxiety in the emotional system of the church. When things are calmer, people are able to think more clearly about their options in the midst of stressful circumstances and develop a reasonable, workable plan of action.”
We pondered these words as we studied the story of Jesus Calming the Storm in Mark 4:35-41, which includes these verses:

“A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat,
so that the boat was already being swamped. But Jesus was in the stern,
asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea,
“Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.
He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Of course, the challenges of the storm we were anticipating (lack of parking, construction noise, etc.) ended up paling in comparison to the storm we would face: a global pandemic, forcing us to close our doors and reimagine nearly every aspect of our church’s ministry.
Our session, staff, and many volunteers stepped up throughout the last year with wisdom and grace, embodying this Christ-like non-anxious presence when difficult decisions needed to be made. Together, this congregation held fast to the commitment to worship and glorify God and provide care for our members and neighbors in need, especially those most vulnerable to the physical and economic dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ANNUAL REPORT attached is unlike past years’ reports. In it we have attempted to create a document both informational and historical — one that will offer a snapshot for later generations of how this congregation calmly, creatively, and faithfully continued to worship and serve in the midst of unprecedented circumstances. We know you will join us in expressing thanks to all of those who served on session, our incredible staff, and oh so many of you who offered help and encouragement as we all navigated this time. Though the day has not yet arrived that we can greet one another with unmasked smiles, we are hopeful that it will be here soon and that, when it does come, we will have a renewed understanding of what it means to be “church family.”

With gratitude,
Kathy & Nick Reed
On Monday, March 1, at 6pm, all are invited to this event being hosted online by our friends at the Becoming the Beloved Community project - please visit the link listed to register.
Lent 2021 at First Presbyterian

Devotional Resources
Online -
https://d365.org 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.

Printable -
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.
We Have Returned to Phase 2A!

At its stated meeting on Monday, February 15 the FPC session approved a recommendation from our COVID19 Task Force to return to Phase 2A of our church’s reopening plan. The details of this phase are outlined in the graphic at the bottom. Phase 2A does include a return to outdoor worship (in addition to radio and virtual worship.)

Those wishing to attend are asked to:
  • Please note the time change from last fall - worship will begin at 11:30AM.
  • Sign up via the sign up genius link provided. Families should sign each member up on an individual line so we can monitor the number of participants. This will also serve as a resource if contact tracing is required later on.
  • Bring your own tailgate or lawn chair.
  • Wear a mask at all times on church property, inside and outside.
  • Enter the courtyard through the gate from Thach Ave. or use the breezeway entrance (next to the sanctuary) from the Gay St. parking lot to the courtyard.
  • Please observe social distancing (6ft apart) throughout the time you are on church property.
Other items of note:
  • The bathroom located off the sanctuary breezeway will be available.
  • If you wish to attend but are not one of the first 50 to sign up for a particular Sunday, you will be put on a priority waiting list for the following Sunday.
  • If you attend worship one Sunday, then the following week please allow others who may not have had a chance to attend the chance to sign up first. Wait until Sunday to see if there are any open spots on the sign up.
  • If there is inclement weather, we will not have service. Notification will be sent via email & Facebook.
Members who do not have access to internet but would like to attend may contact our Elder Denise Salo, (313) 304-3248, who will reserve them a spot on the sign up.
Sunday, February 28

✵ 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, Outdoor Worship - At its stated meeting on Monday, February 15, the FPC session approved a recommendation from our COVID19 Task Force to return to Phase 2A of our church’s reopening plan, which includes offering the opportunity for Sunday in-person worship. See the article above for information and sign-up link.
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.

Feb. 28 - Nicole Boswell
Feb. 29 - Kathy Tamblyn
Mar. 4 - Allison Moore
Mar. 5 - Eric Moore, Ed Moran, Jim Seroka
Mar. 6 - Chris Greer, Lorren Huggins

Mar. 1 - Evert and Debbie Duin
Mar. 2 - Doug and Donine Cooper
Mar. 3 - Frank Uhlig and Dorothy Hinkle-Uhlig
Mar. 5 - Leslie Carter and Karen Herring
CE News

Pre-K through 5th Grade
Below is the Zoom Sunday school class schedule:
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. and Sr High Youth are back to their regular schedule:

Jr. High Youth will meet at 4pm
Sr. High Youth will meet at 5pm

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.

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 rejoicing with Clyde Stanley who is grateful for answered prayers after a heart cath procedure.
• 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 in S. Korea. Jung Sik was recently diagnosed with Covid and they have all been sent to gender specific isolation camps. Jung Sik now has pneumonia and is in the hospital, leaving their 14 year-old son by himself in an all-male isolation camp away from his mother and sister.
• Prayers of healing and wholeness for Kay Recknor’s sister Pat. Pat has dementia and fell a few weeks ago and broke her shoulder. She will have shoulder surgery on March 5.
• 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 cancer treatment.
• 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 people are able to receive the vaccine.
First Presbyterian Church |info@fpcauburn.org | (334)887-5571 | www.fpcauburn.org