"Downtown by history and by choice"

FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter

January 10, 2023 Issue No. 1


Contact Valerie in the church office if you encounter missing or non-working links in this email.

Helpful Links






for worship

Letter from Pastor/Head of Staff

Dear friends,

When each New Year dawns, we find ourselves looking back over the past year, reflecting on the many changes, challenges, joys, and celebrations we experienced. I am often overwhelmed by how long ago the previous January seems to have been. So much happens over the course of a year. Several major things happened in my life, including cancer diagnoses with many dear friends, and, of course, the death of my mother-in-law in May. These things have altered my life in ways that I am only beginning to understand. You, too, have your own list of life events, and the griefs and sorrows we have had have also been scattered with joys and celebrations – the birth of a new baby, a graduation, a long-awaited trip, vacation/holiday time with family, weddings, anniversaries, and other celebrations. Life is a journey that includes rough and smooth roads, stormy and pleasant weather, unexpected detours, and delightful surprises. We do not know what the journey ahead looks like, but we can learn and grow from the journey we have experienced thus far. When we look back, though, I hope we can see the signs of God’s presence with us along the way – the light and love of family and friends, caregivers and strangers that warmed and comforted us, the courage and strength that we felt at unexpected times, the gratitude that comes to rest in our hearts when we see signs of God in nature, in worship, in song, in the other. When you look back on this year, may your tears be mingled with laughter, your sorrow be mingled with joy, your anxiety be strengthened by courage for the journey forward. You are not alone. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.

For this Epiphany season, I leave with you this poem by Jan Richardson (H/T Kathy Parkins). May you find strength for the journey, friends.




For Those Who Have Far to Travel:

An Epiphany Blessing


If you could see the journey whole

you might never undertake it;

might never dare the first step

that propels you

from the place you have known

toward the place you know not.

Call it one of the mercies of the road:

that we see it only by stages

as it opens before us,

as it comes into our keeping

step by single step.

There is nothing for it

but to go and by our going

take the vows the pilgrim takes:

to be faithful to the next step;

to rely on more than the map;

to heed the signposts

of intuition and dream;

to follow the star that only you will recognize;

to keep an open eye for the wonders

that attend the path;

to press on beyond distractions

beyond fatigue

beyond what would tempt you from the way.

There are vows that only you will know;

the secret promises for your particular path

and the new ones you will need to make

when the road is revealed

by turns you could not have foreseen.

Keep them, break them, make them again:

each promise becomes part of the path;

each choice creates the road

that will take you to the place

where at last you will kneel

to offer the gift most needed—

the gift that only you can give—

before turning to go home

by another way.

                       -Jan Richardson

Click for list of JANUARY 2023 BIRTHDAYS
In our thoughts and prayers.jpg


Paul Cornsweet

Susan Cyr    

Kerry Holbrook    

Lee House

George Kafula      

Parker Morton

Carol Wills

Franzi Rokoske: follow her journey via CARING BRIDGE.

Mitzi Lesher-Thomas: follow her journey via Caring Bridge: CARING BRIDGE.


Care Communities:

Croasdaile Pavilion: Dub Gulley

Dubose Center at The Cedars, Chapel Hill: Arthur Clark

Durham Ridge Assisted Living: Phillip Herndon

Hillcrest Convalescent: Julian Boswell, Maxie Honeycutt, Jim Wolfe


Family and Friends of the Congregation:

Liz Block, cousin of Jane and Bill Brown                           

Bob, friend of Fred and Jo Ann Moore                      

Grace, Chris James’ great-niece                                            

Pam Hanson, mother of Laura Hanson    

Karen Shelton, mother-in-law of Dawn Carsey Shelton    

Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss                              

John Wakefield, cousin of Vernon Neece        

MARRIAGE ANNOUNCEMENT: Congratulations to Sam Henry (son of Cherrie and Andy Henry and brother of Abi Warmack) and Izzy St. Onge who were married January 6th in Asheville, NC.

Capital Campaign Update

152 Pledges




2023 Pledge Update at a Glance

As of 1/9/2023

Pledges 140

Amount $875,533.50

Percentage of Goal 78.84%

Pledge Goal $1,110,476.98

Needed $234,943.48


We’ve sent $20,000 to RIP Medical Debt.


Sunday, January 15, 2023

Faith Formation Classes (all ages)

9:45-10:45 a.m.

Worship at 11:00 a.m.

Mindy Douglas, preaching

in-person in the sanctuary

and live streamed via YouTube

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Faith Formation Classes (all ages)

9:45-10:45 a.m.

Worship at 11:00 a.m.

John Weicher, preaching

in the sanctuary

and live streamed via YouTube Channel


No Faith Formation classes for children on January 1, 2023.

Signup to receive Children's Weekly news

Faith Formation classes for children are held on the second floor of the education building from 9:45-10:45 a.m. 

All children are welcome.


Youth Faith formation classes

and Youth Group have resumed for 2023.




 Sundays, 9:45-10:45 a.m. (year-round)

Join us each Sunday for discussion, as we meet both online and in person in the Robert Daye Parlor. The class will begin at 9:45, preceded at 9:35 by sharing of news and concerns, and will end at 10:45.

On January 15: God calls someone - to be a prophet, a psalmist, a disciple, an apostle - and suddenly a life is transformed. There may be release from danger or trouble; there may be renewed strength; there is always awareness of a new task to be done.

On January 22: A land of darkness and gloom has seen light; simple fishermen have become effective evangelists; and a message of foolishness has been filled with the power of God. How are these transformations possible?

To join remotely via Zoom:

For phone access (audio only), call 253-215-8782.) If you need a copy of the handout of scripture readings, contact David Smith []

If you need a copy of the handout of scripture readings, contact David Smith.


Sundays, 9:45-10:45 a.m. in the Wilson Parlor


Remember that class begins at 9:45 a.m. sharp, and let us know if you want to join calls via Zoom before Sunday.  Contact Andy Henry (919-599-9405) if you have questions about class content.

Jan. 15  John 16:16-24 + John 17

Jan. 22   John 18


MnMs Fellowship will hold a Sunday Potluck on February 12 at 4:30 p.m. at the home of Lucie and Wayne House (615 Churchill Dr, Chapel Hill), Please bring a side dish to share. They will provide the main dish. Let them know you plan to attend. RSVP.



The church office will be CLOSED Monday, January 16, 2023

in observance of the

Martin Luther King, Jr.

birthday holiday.


Annual MLK Unity March

and Commemorative Worship

Monday, January 16

The March begins at 10:30 a.m. from N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company (411 West Chapel Hill Street) and ends in the FPC sanctuary around 12 noon with a community worship service. Music will be provided by Durham’s Children Choir. All are welcome to participate in the march and/or join the the worship. For more information contact Dr. Warren Herndon at 919-599-1056 or


Bring gently used children's books with you to the worship service on Monday for donating to Book Harvest. For more information about Book Harvest and this book drive, click here.

Slide Show: Birds of Western Brazil

Do you want to escape the cold winter days, at least virtually? David and Judy Smith spent more than two weeks last July in the hot, humid Amazon of Western Brazil, and they came home with lots of photos of tropical birds and monkeys. Join them for a slide show on Tuesday, January 17, at 7:15 p.m. in Watts-Hill Hall. (If you’re interested in a Zoom option, please contact David Smith.)

Day Timers’ Luncheon

Tuesday, January 24

at 11:30 a.m.

Bennett Pointe Grill

Private Dining Room

4625 Hillsborough Rd, Durham

Hosted by Mickey Velkey

RSVP to Mickey by January 22:


601.750.3619 cell

The Prayer Shawl Group will meet in the Robert Daye Parlor on Sunday, January 29 following worship, from 12 noon - 2:00 p.m. Contact Barbara Fish if you have questions about what is to be accomplished at this meeting.

Legacy Society Luncheon

FPC’s Legacy Society luncheon returns in-person on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at Croasdaile Country Club. We look forward to gathering again and enjoying the fellowship of one another. Rev. Tom Roberts will be the speaker. The Legacy Society is open to new members. For a Legacy Society brochure or information on joining, contact Tom Bloom (919-682-5511 x 216 or send email to: Invitations will be sent to society members soon. 


FPC is hosting another Community Blood Drive

Thursday, February 2, 2023

1:00-6:00 p.m. at FPC

in Watts-Hill Hall

Primary contact/organizer: Julie Whiddon

Julie’s email:

Julie’s phone number: 919-730-6673

Sign up online to donate blood at using code: firstpres or contact Julie Whiddon. For more information on donating blood, pick up a brochure from the table in the church foyer.


First Friends February Potluck

Saturday, February 11 at 6:00 p.m.

hosted at the home of Barbara Buckley and Scott Randall

3019 Annandale Rd, Durham

More details forthcoming.



Please sign up to donate flowers.

The flower ministry of FPC offers a meaningful way to donate flowers for the sanctuary in memory or in honor of a loved one, or in celebration of a special occasion. Each Sunday the flower arrangements bring the colors and beauty of nature to our worship service. Following worship, our deacons divide the flowers and deliver smaller arrangements to members who are ill, grieving, or unable to attend church, as a way of sharing with them a part of our worship service. Ninth Street Flowers creates the beautiful arrangements each Sunday at a cost of $65. If you would like to reserve a Sunday in 2023 to be a donor of flowers for worship in 2023, please sign up ONLINE using this link: FLOWERS FOR WORSHIP. Make check payable to FPC and memo "Flowers" and the date.

New Programs from Growing thru Grief

Growing thru Grief offers help and support to people grieving the loss of a loved one. We are a coalition of religious and civic organizations which have been serving people since 2013. We offer education and small group support each week.

Here is the schedule for January:

Jan. 17        How Will I Know I’m Feeling Better? With Pastor Scott Anderson

Jan. 24       Grief Shared is Grief Diminished, with Artie Hendricks

Jan. 31        Frogs in Cream, with Nell Noonan


We meet at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1200 West Cornwallis in Durham. Meetings are held each Tuesday, with registration starting at 4:00. First time attendees must show proof of COVID vaccination and booster(s). Masks are optional. We ask people to come at 4; the program begins at 4:30, and all will end by 6. Please contact if you have any questions.


The Food Pantry at Iglesia Emanuel is still going strong! We continue to serve an average of 600 families a week with abundant amounts of nutritious food. As we approach our 3rd anniversary of addressing the food security needs of our community, we give thanks for all the amazing support from our generous and energetic church family. Together, we have eased the financial burden for countless numbers of families, while providing them with lots of healthy food. We always welcome new volunteers and supporters! We guarantee that you will find this work to be rewarding, and that you will have fun interacting with new and old friends as you give your muscles a bit of a workout. Here is how to sign up to be part of this wonderful ministry:

  • To volunteer in person for a 2-hour shift, click
  • To bag rice and beans from home, or donate shelf-stable food, click here.
  • To make a financial donation, go to and click on Donate. Be sure to indicate that your donation is for the Food Pantry.
  • Mail a check to Iglesia Emanuel, 2504 N Roxboro, Durham 27704. Indicate “Food Pantry” on the memo line of the check.

Questions? Contact Margaret Rubiera.

Want to Serve on an FPC Care Team? 

Care teams are being formed for three of our members. Members of a care team do a variety of things for their recipient to support them or help them find support. Care team members work together and support each other as well. Contact Susan Dunlap if you are interested in being on a care team in general, or on a team for a particular person, or if you have questions. 


THANK YOU to those who have been volunteering. If you haven't volunteered in a while, be sure to know you're always welcome!



  • Friday, January 20th, prepare breakfast and fill take-out boxes, 7:00 - 9:00am (4 volunteers needed)
  • Monday, January 16th prepare lunch bags, 9:30-10:30am (3 volunteers needed)
  • Thursday, January 26th prepare lunch bags, 9:30-10:30am (3 volunteers needed)


 Click here for other UMD opportunities:


 For more information contact Jen McGonigle at 202-421-5870.

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