"Downtown by history and by choice"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
January 12-24, 2021
Letter from Pastor/Head of Staff

Dear friends,

What, then, are we to say about this?
What indeed?
If God is for us, who is against us?  
He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? . . .
Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-35, 37-38).

Oh, friends, we don’t know what lies ahead for our nation. We do know that we are deeply divided in what we believe about religion, God, faith, and what it means to be a part of a democracy. We know that many people are believing in and acting on conspiracy theories. We know that white supremacy is a reality all around us. We know that some consider violence to be the only way forward. These are hard things. Read more here.

Friends, I pray we all find comfort and hope in God’s promises. May we live lives of prayers for peace combined with actions of love.

Sending love to you all,
The love and concern of the congregation are extended to:
  • Shirley Frederick and family on the death of her sister, Mae Frederick Jubinsky, of Colts Neck, NJ on January 8, 2021. 
  • Caroline Rourk and family on the death of her mother and FPC member, Jane Davis Rourk (obituary here). Jane died on January 3, 2021, at Duke Hospital following an extended illness. A private service and burial were held on January 9.
  • Jody and Julie Maxwell and family on the death of Jody’s brother’s partner Nancy Amdahl in California,
  • Karen Romines/Connel Fullenkamp and family on the death of Connel’s father, Robert “Bob” Fullenkamp (obituary here), on January 3. The Romines/Fullenkamp family traveled to South Dakota to be with relatives for the service.
Contact the church office if you need address information for these families.

  • Lily Brigman, recovering from surgery for a torn ACL
  • Dub Gulley, recovering from surgery
  • Roberta Kessler, the mother of Kristen Brigman, recovering from surgery for a broken arm
  • Family of Candee Herndon, a friend of Kathy Krahenbuhl who died January 3 following a battle with cancer
  • Tom Bloom
  • Phillip Herndon
  • Kerry Holbrook
  • Dewey Lawson
  • David Parkins
  • Kathy Parkins
  • Carol Wills
  • The many households impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Our nation during this season of unrest

Care Communities:
Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell
Croasdaile Pavilion: Bob Rankin
Dubose Center at The Cedars, Chapel Hill: Arthur Clark
Durham Regent: John Kerr, Ann Prospero  
Emerald Pond: Paul Cornsweet
Hillcrest Convalescent Center: Walter Chambliss, father of Will Chambliss
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant

Family and Friends of the Congregation:
Everlyn Bass, aunt of Valerie McMillian
Brendan Bequette, a friend of Margaret & Miguel Rubiera
Peggy Boulden, mother of Dick Boulden
Linda Capers, a friend of Li-Chen Chin
Maureen Darcey, a friend of Brianna Bennett 
Phil Goss, a friend of the congregation
Peggy Mordecai, mother of Beth Eisenson
Ade and Sowande, sons of Tolokun Omokunde, pastor of Timothy Darling PC in Oxford
Shannon Putman, daughter of Mary Putman
Robert Reaves, husband of Floalice Reaves, a friend of the congregation
Joe Rudigier, brother of Jeanne Hervey
Sunday, January 17, 2021
2nd Sunday after Epiphany
Mitzi Lesher-Thomas, preaching

Sunday, January 24, 2021
3rd Sunday after Epiphany
Mindy Douglas, preaching

Sunday, January 31, 2021
4th Sunday after Epiphany
Installation of Mitzi Lesher-Thomas as Associate Pastor during the 11 a.m. worship
Children's Sunday School Classes resume . . .
Contact Lenore Champion for class kits and links
to the Children's Sunday School classes
Faith & Community Class:
Join us this week to discuss Part III of Trust Women, about using a moral framework of justice to think about reproductive rights. Next week, on Jan 24, author Rebecca Todd Peters will join our class--everyone is welcome whether or not you have read the book or attended past classes. If you would like a copy of the PowerPoint slides from our classes, email Heather Wallace Click here to join us via Zoom. This class is for all people. 
Journeys will explore the Book of Ruth and Old Testament Wisdom literature with the guidance of Professor Sam Adams (bio) on January 17, 24, and 31. The main thing everyone should do is read the entire book of Ruth at least twice to get a sense of what’s happening in the story. They should also read Ezra 9-10 and Nehemiah 13. This study will focus on the tension between Ruth and Ezra-Nehemiah with regard to acceptance of foreigners, intermarriage, and how different voices respond to a diverse society. Adams will spend plenty of time considering how this tension between the biblical authors relates to our present context, particularly our racial reckoning in the United States. 
You are also asked to read Professor Adam's essay on this topic here. Join via Zoom. Contact Andy Henry for more information.
  • Lectionary – Join us each Sunday for an online discussion of the lectionary texts for the day at 10:00 a.m., preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. On January 17: When Nathanael was called, he was skeptical. When Samuel was called, he was confused. How will you respond when God calls you? On January 24: “The end is near. Repent!” Jonah brought that message to the Ninevites, and Paul to the Corinthians, and Jesus to the Galileans. How did they respond? How would you? 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 ID for the Zoom connection, contact David Smith.

  • Women’s Spirituality Group - Contact Leah Graves for the links to join us on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. for spiritual formation, following worship for a virtual lunch, and checking in with one another on Tuesdays - all three events via Zoom.

  • SCRATCH – Looking forward to seeing everyone at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evenings! We will resume discussing "Home by Another Way" by Barbara Brown Taylor on January 17. The book is a series of short sermons by Taylor that will walk us through the church year. The readings each week are short. Even if you haven't read the chapter, the leader will provide a short summary. Click Zoom link for January 17. (Note: This is a new link from what we were using in 2020. Given ever-changing zoom requirements, we may be using a new link each week so be sure to check your email for the correct link from Mary or Emily.) We're still looking for volunteers to lead our Sunday night discussions. Sign up to lead (1st tab on the spreadsheet) by clicking: Scratch Sunday School Leader Sign Up If more info is needed, contact Emily Diy.
Contact John Weicher for link information
on YOUTH Sunday School classes and other activities
Congregational Life

Presbyterian Women Study books for 2020-2021 are still available at the church (in the Volunteer's office). Contact church staff if you need a copy. Contact Linn Lopez (919-596-5707) for ways to connect with Presbyterian Women in 2021.

These Days devotional books for the first quarter of 2021 have arrived at the church. Regular and large print copies are available. You may call the church office (919-682-5511) to arrange a pickup time or request that a copy be mailed to you.
On Becoming an Ally:
Responding Positively to our Times with Kathy Krahenbuhl

Please join us for this enlightening workshop this Sunday, January 17 at 1:00 p.m. via Zoom as we learn what it means to be an ally to African Americans and do what we can to help create a world that works for everyone.

Click here to Register.

Suggested Love Offering: $20

With degrees in African Studies and African American Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, Kathy Krahenbuhl is committed to working with people so they will understand the inequitable and devastating racial outcomes that have resulted from the institutional and systemic racism that permeates every facet of our country. She hopes that the individuals she works with will use that knowledge to teach and influence leaders who can effect change with policies and laws. For close to twenty years she has been involved with diversity, inclusion, and racial equity issues in various volunteer capacities. Currently, Kathy heads up the Racial Equity Task Force at First Presbyterian Church in Durham as well as being involved in Restorative Justice Durham (RJ Durham) and the Yokefellows prison ministry. Since not long after her first workshop, she has been one of the coordinators for the Durham White Anti-Racist Caucus. Kathy feels incredibly honored to be able to join REI as a trainer.

Click here to watch a preview of the workshop. 
This study is led by Mindy Douglas
Click here for ways to access the class.
The Things That Matter Book Group will meet via Zoom on Tuesday, January 12, at 7:00 p.m. Marila Cordeiro-Stone will be leading our discussion of The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea. Join in even if you haven’t finished the book. We just enjoy seeing you during these times of separation. Click here for ways to access the discussion.
All are welcome to join this conversation!
Growing thru Grief offers year-round support for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. We meet each Tuesday from 4:00-6:00 p.m., for now on zoom. Those who attend need to have both audio and video available. Each meeting begins with a short presentation about a part of the grief journey, and then we break into small groups for sharing and conversation. Here are our speakers for January:
January 19: Bill Dahl, Talismans, Relics and Souvenirs
January 26: Margaret Albert and Tracy Lamar of Duke Homecare & Hospice, “Community Bereavement Services offered by Duke Hospice Bereavement Services.” This gives us a chance to learn about the resources available to the community from DHBS, including counseling, support groups, workshops, remembrance services, and children’s grief support. Explore the specific needs you and your family have in your grief process and the resources that are available.
If you are interested in attending these meetings, please contact for registration information.
Miguel and I thought we should share something that happened with FPC's Walk-in Ministry. On a Saturday before Christmas, one of the ladies that FPC's Walk-In ministry helped with rent, Sadia V., texted Miguel, asking if he knew about any organization that was giving Christmas gifts for children. He mentioned the Rescue Mission, but she told him that they are not giving gifts this year. She recently had surgery, in addition to losing her job 9 months ago. They had moved to a trailer to reduce their rent payments, now paying $300 a month. So Miguel suggested that we “adopt” the family for Christmas. Right after saying that, we received an email from a man who has been donating rice and beans regularly for the Iglesia Emanuel food pantry. He was given a Honey Baked ham by a business colleague and did not want it. He was offering it to us to give out at the food pantry. That seemed like more than a coincidence to us, and we gladly accepted his offer, intending to give it to Sadia and her family. Next, Miguel thought maybe this could be a meaningful project for our Journey’s Sunday School class, so I emailed them (just the ones who are currently attending — maybe 8 people), letting them know about this idea. Several of them responded quickly and very positively, and so we provided a special Christmas for this family. Food and cleaning supplies were added to our shopping list for them, in addition to the gifts that people gave for the kids. We hope this did not break protocol, but it just seemed like what God was calling us to do. What always touches my heart is to see how gladly people respond, saying that it gives them joy to be able to share with a family in need. - Margaret Rubiera
2021 started off really rough on a national level (quite the understatement), but locally, we continue to work together as people of faith to provide nutritious food to over 500 families in need every single week at Iglesia Emanuel. Come join us as we seek to share God’s love in this most tangible way! New volunteers are always welcome.
1.   Bag rice or beans from home. For instructions and to sign up, simply click this link. Put on music, sing, and have fun while you fill those bags!
2.   To help in person at Iglesia Emanuel, grab your trusty mask, and come join others in a safe environment to help organize donated food, fill bags and boxes in preparation for the Wednesday food pantry. You will work hard but leave after your 2-hour shift knowing you have made a big difference in the lives of many families. For more information, and to sign up, click here: Iglesia Emanuel COVID-19 Food Bank Signup Genius 
3.   Your financial support is always welcome, and will help us purchase more food. Online:, or mail your check to Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel, 2504 N Roxboro, Durham 27704.

Thank you so much!
Margaret and Miguel 
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, January 26. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, January 24.