"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
January 14 - 27, 2020
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,

           Sunday night at supper, my husband Tim and I were talking. At some point, he looked at me and said, “You are at a fulcrum point, aren’t you? You have spent the last few months looking back, celebrating the ministries of Cherrie Henry, Sam Miglarese, and Marilyn Hedgpeth at First Presbyterian Church over the past many years and giving thanks for the many gifts they have shared with you along the way. Now, after Marilyn’s retirement celebration, you are pivoting to looking forward and planning, dreaming, hoping for what is to come.” I looked back at him, a little shocked at how he had put my feelings into words and imagery, and said, “Yes. That is exactly it. That is exactly where we are.”

           Friends, you are not new to pivot points at First Presbyterian Point. When Lori Pistor left after many years as Associate Pastor, you pivoted and were blessed to be given the gifts of Marilyn Hedgpeth and Sam Miglarese. When Joe Harvard retired seven years ago, you pivoted and prepared for a new way forward after a long and wonderful 33 years in ministry together. In 2016, you welcomed me with open arms and we began to get to know each other, to trust each other, and to learn and laugh together. You know how to pivot in healthy and hopeful ways! What a gift this is at this pivotal moment in the life of FPC, too. We have sent our beloved Marilyn and Sam into the great new world of retirement, and we rejoice in Cherrie’s full-time call to a sister congregation. Following their send-off celebrations, we now turn our faces toward the bright future God has in store for us with new leaders, new relationships, and new opportunities to grow as a congregation.

John O’Donohue, in his book To Bless the Space Between Us, writes about the blessing of new beginnings:
When the heart is ready for a fresh beginning, unforeseen things can
emerge. And in a sense, this is exactly what a beginning does. It is an
opening for surprises. Surrounding the intention and the act of beginning,
there are always exciting possibilities. . . Beginnings are new horizons that
want to be seen; they are not regressions or repetitions. Somehow they win
clearance and become fiercely free of the grip of the past. What is the new
horizon in you that wants to be seen?

           In his poem, “For a New Beginning,” he writes:
   Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

           I wonder, this week, what you would think of as the “life’s desire” of the church. At this pivot point for FPC, I think it is important for us to consider this question. The answer will make all the difference as we move forward in faith. I look forward to exploring this question with you very soon!

In this season of transition, as we pivot toward the future, may we “trust the promise of this opening” and fall gratefully into the grace God intends for us.

With gratitude and love for you all,


P.S. - I am happy to announce that Susan Dunlap has agreed to increase her responsibilities as our Parish Associate in a temporary contract role. During this season of transition, she will be leading worship and providing pastoral care on an ongoing basis. I am so appreciative of her many gifts and her willingness to step into this role for a season. Look forward to seeing more of her! Thanks, Susan!
We extend condolences to the following:
Amy and Gray Wilson on the death of Amy's grandfather, Ralph Edwards , on January 6;

Rev. Lori Pistor on the death of her mother, Regina Prikryl Pistor on January 6, in Penelope Texas. Lori was a former Associate Pastor at FPC, Durham. 

Bishop Elroy Lewis on the death of his sister, Willie J. Carroll on January 2.

BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT : Congratulations to Heather Wallace and Michael Schultz on the birth of a daughter. Vida Ruth Schultz Wallace was born January 6, 2020. She joins big brother Juneau. Heather and Ruth are doing well and are now home. The family could use some meal help. You can sign up to take them a meal here .

Jane Brawley, partial knee replacement surgery this week
Mary-Jo Keenan, hand surgery this week
Josh Walters, Achilles'heel surgery this week
Carolyn Wolfe, in hospice care at Hock Pavilion, Durham

Margaret Mubanga   

Care Communities:
Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell, Becky Crockett               
Croasdaile Pavilion: Bob Rankin 
Dubose Center at The Cedars (Chapel Hill): Arthur Clark
Durham Regent: John Kerr, Ann Prospero
Emerald Pond, Durham (Room 212): Paul Cornsweet
Hillcrest Convalescent Center, Durham: Jean Lazarides
Pruitt Health at Carolina Point, Durham: Helen Garrison
Southern Living for Seniors, Louisburg:  Phillip Herndon
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant

Family and Friends of the Congregation:
Fran Alwood, mother of Jennie Alwood
Ken Chambliss, father of Will Chambliss
Camilla Crampton, companion of Mal King
Jimmy Levy, grandson of Cheryl McDonald (former member)
Carley and Jon Meade, family of Bruce, Ellie, Kristin, and Dayton Meade
Doug Neece, brother of Vern Neece
Danny Parker, father-in-law of Al and Judy Arrowood’s son Jon
Faye Thomas , friend of FPC
Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss 
Tremendous thanks to all those involved in making Marilyn Hedgpeth’s Retirement Celebration so special. She was very appreciative for all that was done in her honor. Special thanks to John Fricks for the slide show and audio visual support; Laura Castee l for the video creation and production; Amy Wilson for the photo book; Barbara Fish, Jancy Johnstone, Mary Gitata, Jo Bernhardt, Marsha Butler, Linda Carter, Bet Lawson, Dale Gaddis, Jane Williams and Sue Fricks for the knit nativity scene; Dawn Carsey, B.J. Morton, Karen Romines, Jane Wettach, Cathy Snell, and Ruth Roberson for the quilt; Joe Harvard and Mindy Douglas for speaking; Kathy Parkins and the choir for the beautiful song; Catherine Dumas for the tablecloths; Caroline Pritchett for the table decorations; Robert Daye and Matthew Dickerson, Jane Wettach, Jean Carey, Will, Anna and Mary Ann Compton, Jon and Kim Abels, Bruce and Ellie Meade, Andy Henry, Carl Rist, Tyler and Carter Momsen-Hudson for help with the setup and take down. It took a village! Thanks so much for the expressions of God’s generosity and our love for Marilyn, - Caroline Rourk and Deborah Momsen-Hudson.
The Administrative Assistance Search Committee is pleased to announce that Sybil King has accepted FPC’s offer of part-time employment and will be our new Administrative Assistant, effective January 21, 2020. Sybil is currently serving part-time in a similar position at Covenant Presbyterian, Durham. We are working with Rev. Easter, pastor at Covenant, to ensure a smooth transition. Sybil comes to us with 18+ years of experience in church office administration. A native of North Carolina, she completed business administration training in both New York and North Carolina. She has two adult children and her first grandchild will be arriving soon. Please welcome Sybil to the staff!
Thanks to those who hosted fellowship groups recently:
  • Matt Cline and Chris Williams hosted a Scratch potluck in their home on December 14
  • Melinda Ruley and Stewart Fisher hosted a First Friends potluck in their home on December 14;
  • Catherine Dumas and Kathy Conner hosted a First Friends and Families potluck and game night at FPC on January 4;
  • Jancy Johnstone hosted a women's potluck in her home on January 7.

Parking Lot Safety
Our new parking lot traffic pattern went into effect more than three years ago; however we are still observing vehicles coming in the wrong way and turning left out of the lot to use Parish Street. Please be mindful of the following:
The only entrance to our lot is from Liberty Street. Drivers coming north on Roxboro are asked to pass the lot, turn right onto Liberty, and use that entrance.   
The only exit is onto Roxboro Street. Please note that you may only turn right onto Roxboro Street; crossing Roxboro Street to Parrish Street is illegal and violators can be cited for unsafe movement).

Signs and arrows are painted on the lot to guide the flow of traffic and there is a crosswalk painted in front of the Day School. Handicapped spaces are well-marked.  
We appreciate your full cooperation when using FPC’s parking lot.


OFFICER MEETINGS - Monday, January 27
Diaconate at 6:00 p.m.
Joint Officers' Supper at 6:30 p.m.
Session at 7:00 p.m.
Nominations are now open for the 2023 Class of Deacons and Ruling Elders, and to serve at-large on the 2020-2021 Nominating Committee.  Nomination forms will be available in the worship bulletin through Sunday, January 19 (deadline). After completing both sides of the form, detach and place in the offering plate or return it to the church office. All nominees will be seriously considered by the Nominating Committee. Thank you for participating.
Seeking Justice on Uneven Ground
Exhibit dates: January 3 - February 16, 2020
Please come to Watts-Hill Hall (dates below) and explore our faith and the history of racism and housing through the
Uneven Ground exhibit. Originally commissioned
for the 150 th  anniversary of Durham as a city,
the exhibit is a tool for reflection, learning, and dialogue. 

TONIGHT - January 14 : Gentrification: the New Segregation? 6-7:30 p.m.; gallery viewing, panel and community discussion on past and current housing issues in Durham and how faith communities have played a role in the segregation, integration, and development of the Durham community.

January 19 : Opening Reception at 12:15 p.m.; gallery viewing, refreshments, and a presentation by Bull City 150.

February 4 : Sharing, Naming, and Healing at 6 p.m.; an open house closed by a vigil of Durham residents sharing their own stories of their housing experiences in Durham, community responses, and prayers of lament and hope for communal healing and justice.

Exhibit Description: In recognition of the image of God in us all, the dignity and sacredness of all life and Christ’s command to love one’s neighbor as oneself, Seeking Justice on Uneven Ground brings together the history of racism and housing segregation in Durham with the faith-based affordable housing justice work of Duke Chapel and First Presbyterian Church. You are invited to reflect on our city’s history, our churches’ histories, our faith perspectives, and what affects all of us: housing and racism. First Presbyterian Church has a rich history of housing work in Durham, from collaborating closely with Urban Ministries of Durham, Habitat for Humanity and Housing for New Hope, to being involved in Durham CAN’s efforts. Duke University has been involved in land banking, loan trusts, and advocacy for over twenty years. We invite you to delve deeply, prayerfully, and vocally through discussions, panels, vigils, and receptions alongside your neighbors. 
Website for Uneven Ground/Bull City 150:
Our f inal class in the current series of membership inquiry classes will be offered on Sunday, January 19  in the  Wilson Parlor If you are curious about what membership entails at FPC, please join us for these classes, which meet from 9:45 – 10:45 on these three Sundays in January. Contact  Mindy Douglas  for more information about these classes:
Sunday, January 19
2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:45 a.m. - Sunday School / Inquirers' Class
11:00 a.m. - Worship
Mindy Douglas , preaching

The Triangle Jewish Chorale will sing two psalms and a selection from the Song of Songs during worship. The Chorale performs in Hebrew, Ladino, and Yiddish, among other languages, and their repertoire includes a wide range of traditional folk and composed music. The Triangle Jewish Chorale exists to provide an opportunity for musicians to learn and share Jewish music and to increase awareness and appreciation of Jewish music among the public. 

Following worship, you are invited to Watts-Hill Hall for a reception and presentation by Bull City 150 regarding the Uneven Ground Banner Exhibit.

Liturgist: Jennie Alwood
Narthex Greeter: Alice Raney
After Worship Greeters: TBD (narthex/rear); TBD (side/font)
Ushers : Click here to sign up to usher.
Sunday, January 19, 2020
following worship (about 12:15 p.m.)
in the church house,
apartment classroom, Room 221
Scratch Planning retreat for 2020 Please RSVP to the EVITE so we can plan appropriately for lunch (we will be getting Cosmic Cantina). Bring your calendars so we can nail down potluck dates/hosts and other activities!
  If you have ideas for service projects or other events during the year and are unable to make it to the meeting, please let Jenna Kneepkens know and she will share them with the group.
Sunday, January 19, 2020
3:00 p.m. in the FPC Sanctuary
Durham's Vox Virorum Men’s Chorus CONCERT: “Traveling to Freedom” – the search for freedom, the dangers of the journey, our country’s history of freedom (both demeaning it and denying it), and our possible roles in offering it to others. Directed by Jeremy Nabors , accompanied by Deborah Coclanis. Free admission: $10 suggested donation. Email:  for more info.
Sunday, January 26
9:30 a.m. Called Session Meeting to receive new members.
9:45 a.m. Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship (New members will be welcomed during worship.)
Kathryn Lester Bacon , preaching

The Hunger for Change offering will be received during worship.

Liturgist: Jeanne Hervey
Narthex Greeter: Chris Williams
After Worship Greeters: TBD (narthex/rear); TBD (side/font)
Ushers: Click here to sign up to usher. 
Click here to see brief descriptions of Sunday School
and short-term study opportunities for adults, youth, and children.
The Walk
Using Brian McLaurin's book by the title,  We Make the Road by Walking,  and led by Mary Berry, Emily Diy, and Abi Warmack , this class invites all who come to walk together through an overview of the whole Bible exploring the difference an honest, living, growing faith can make in our world today. Come make your road as a person of faith. Come walk with us! ALSO, there is always childcare during the Sunday School hour if your child is too young to go to a church school class. We meet in the Education building, room 205 .

January 19: Chapter 18 - Sharing Gifts
Activate: This week, look for someone of another faith to spend some time with. Get to know them. Learn about their tradition Ask they what they value in their heritage, and answer any questions they ask about yours. Perhaps tell them the story of the Magi.

January 26: Chapter 14 - Promised Land, Promised Time
Activate: This week, look for the discouragement or cynicism in your own thinking. Challenge yourself to become cynical about your cynicism, and challenge yourself toward prophetic hope.

  Journeys will continue t heir discussion of the book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson. We’ll discuss chapters 11 through 12 on January 19. All are encouraged to join the conversation whether or not they have had time to read the chapters. We meet in the apartment classroom on the second floor of the church house. 

The Faith and Community Class
This Sunday, January 19 , we will conclude our series on climate change. Our guest presenter is Tim Profeta of Duke University. He will discuss environmental justice.  On Sunday, January 26 , Rob Parker and Tim Verhey begin a series on the Reformed tradition and the politics of today. Class meets at 9:45 in Watts-Hill Hall and all are welcome.  

Lectionary Class
 January 19: 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.  Join us for discussion at 9:45 in the East Parlor.
January 26: 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? 
February 2: Is it the rich, the wise, and the powerful who are welcomed and honored in the kingdom of God? No, the rules are reversed: meekness, kindness, humility, and mercy are rewarded. Is this a message of foolishness in the twenty-first century? 
Spiritual Formation Class
This year-round class for women is coordinated by Leah Graves  and explores spiritual life within the construct of a supportive community. Join us at 9:45 a.m. in  basement classroom B-16  
Youth Sunday School & Calendar for 2020
The Alleluia Children’s Choir is open to children who attend FPC or Covenant Presbyterian Church and their friends. We are now rehearsing every Sunday from 5:00 - 6:00 p.m. in the choir room at FPC. Please contact Kathy Parkins at for more information. Brennetta Simpson is the director of the choir and she can be reached at
Church League Basketball is here!
Come cheer on FPC! FPC has one team in the league this winter. Games are played at Grey Stone Family Life Center located at 2601 Hillsborough Rd, Durham on Tuesdays and Saturdays through the end of February.
The next game is TONIGHT at 8:30 p.m. versus Grey Stone's team. Click here to view the entire schedule.
Time Out with Bill Hendrickson , interviewer, can be heard in Carrboro and Chapel Hill on FM103.5 and elsewhere on

Upcoming Interviews:
January 20 - Joseph Blocher , Duke School of Law Professor and Co-Director of Duke Center for Firearms Law (M.L. King Day);
January 27 - Gene Nichol , UNC School of Law Professor, "Faces of Poverty" and many essential studies of poverty and struggles for a living wage, etc. 
The Things That Matter Book Group will meet to discuss Cathy Guisewite's "Fifty Things That Aren't My Fault: Essays from the Grown-Up Years" TODAY - Tuesday, January 14 at 3:30 p.m. at the home of Jane Williams (2408 Ashland Dr, Durham). Marila Stone will lead the discussion. New faces welcome.

The group will meet again for their winter potluck and to discuss “Finding God in the Movies: 33 Firms of Reel Faith” by Catherine Barsotti and Robert K. Johnston on Tuesday, February 11 at 6:00 p.m. in Watts-Hill Hall at FPC.  Beth Eisenson is the hostess and Hendrika Vande Kemp will lead the discussion. The book’s authors, Barsotti and Johnston, will be our 2020 McPherson Lectureship presenters on Sunday, May 3.
Wednesday, January 15
Durham City/County Employees’
MLK Civic Celebration
12 noon, FPC sanctuary

The Church Office will be closed Monday, January 20 in observance of the MLK Day holiday.

Monday, January 20
FPC Family Mission Project
All ages, especially families with school-age children, are invited to church for three service activities on MLK Day, January 20, 10:30 -11:30 a.m. In addition to making the dry bean soup packets like last year, we will also assemble Blessing Bags and write cards to be delivered with Meals on Wheels. In preparation, please bring donations of cheese crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars and bottled water for the Blessing Bags. These service activities are sponsored jointly by the Christian Education and Service and Mission Committees. 

Annual MLK Unity March and Community Rally
The March begins at 10:30 a.m. from N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company (411 W. Chapel Hill Street) and ends around 11:45 the sanctuary of FPC, followed by a community rally which begins around 12 noon. All are welcome to participate in the march and attend the rally. The Durham Children’s Choir will provide music for the rally.
The Racial Equity Task Force is organizing a group to see Just Mercy , the film based on Bryan Stevenson's book that we read this summer. We plan to attend a screening at the AMC Classic on MLK Boulevard on Thursday, January 23 , exact time TBD in early evening. We need an accurate head count to secure a block of discount tickets. Please contact Sharon Hirsch at to be added to the list. W e need a final count by Monday, January 20 to secure the tickets.

In the announcement for the exhibit, Uneven Ground, you'll see on the schedule that there will be a reception at 12:15 on Sunday, January 19th.  The Racial Equity Task Force will need help in setting up for the reception & would welcome any volunteers who would like to assist. You don't need to be a member of the Task Force or the Session in order to do this. Thanks for any help you can give.

All are invited to join the Racial Equity Task Force. We meet the first Sunday of the month right after worship (places for the meeting may vary). Please contact Kathy Krahenbuhl or Jon Abels if you have any questions.

We would encourage you to attend one of the workshops offered by the Racial Equity Institute. Here is the link for the upcoming local workshops: 

Our Racial Equity Task Force has invited members of the congregation who have visited the  The National Memorial for Peace and Justice  in Montgomery to share photos and reflections for the next few months on Wednesdays on our social media sites. Watch for these each week. If you have been to Montgomery and would like to share some of your experience, please let Kathy Krahenbuhl Kathy Conner  or  Mindy Douglas  know and we'll add you to the schedule. 
Daytimers’ Luncheon
Tuesday, January 28 – 11:30 a.m.
Bennett Pointe Grill
4625 Hillsborough Rd, Durham

Hosted by Maxie Honeycutt
and Sydnor Patrick

Call Maxie (919-286-4680) or the church office (919-682-5511) if you plan to join us.
A new NAMI Family Support group has formed at Mt Bethel Presbyterian Church for family members and friends who have mental illness in their family. The group meets twice a month on the first and third Tuesday at Mt. Bethel at 7:00 p.m. For more information contact Beverly Stolarick at . Mt. Bethel is located at 3541 Rose of Sharon Rd, Durham.
Fundraising Community Concert
Members of First Presbyterian are invited to join Judea Reform congregants, and other community singers in a benefit concert presentation of Allan Friedman's Erev Shabbat and Torah concert on February 6 at 7 pm . This is a 65 minute long piece for chorus and chamber orchestra in Hebrew that offers a mix of musical genres. The concert will be a benefit supporting Families Moving Forward (formerly Genesis Home).   A schedule of the rehearsals is listed below. 

Singers are asked to attend at least 4 of the 7 rehearsals listed below, plus the Dress Rehearsal on the 4th of February.  All rehearsals and the concert are at Judea Reform in the sanctuary. We especially need men. We'd love to have you involved in this project and performing Allan's music!

Remaining Rehearsals:
Wednesday, January 15, 2020 from 7:30-9:30 PM
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 from 7:30-9:30 PM
(with SONAM and Triangle Jewish Chorale members)
Sunday, January 26, 2020 from 3:00-5:30 PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 7:30 9:30 PM (with SONAM)
Sunday, February 2, 2020 from 3:00 -5:30 PM (with orchestra)

Dress rehearsal:
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 from 7:00-9:30 PM

Thursday, February 6, 2020 
6:00 PM Call
7:00-8:30 PM Concert
North Carolina Council of Churches
Uniting Communities for Public Education Excellence
A program for dialogue and coalition building around classism and racism, scarcity of resources, and the struggle for racial equity in the face of the school privatization movement, led by Dr. David Campt, Principal consultant at the Dialogue Company.
February 15, 3-5 p.m. - Burlington Masjid
February 29, 9-11:30 a.m. - Milford Hills UMC, Salisbury
March 7, 9-11:30 a.m. - West Nash UMC, Wilson
For more info go to:, or 919-828-6501.
Assembly in Washington DC
Many of you are familiar with Rev. William Barber's Poor People Campaign . They are holding a mass assembly in Washington D.C. on June 20, 2020 . A bus will be leaving from Durham that morning and it will return the same day. 

For more information click here , or see Jane Williams ( ) or Susan Dunlap ( ).  Jane and Susan will be on the bus!
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, January 28. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, January 26.