"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
February 25 - March 9, 2020
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,

Tomorrow, on Ash Wednesday, we enter the season of Lent. As our Book of Common Worship shares:

"The season of Lent is a time for growth in faith – through prayer, spiritual discipline, and self-examination in preparation for the commemoration of the dying and rising of the Lord Jesus Christ . . . Reconciliation is a key theme in the season of Lent - reconciliation with God and with one another through the grace of Jesus Christ."

During this season, we are invited to make space for God. We are invited to see ourselves as God’s beloved, created and called in love. As God’s creatures, we long for God’s peace and seek comfort in the heart of God. We also see ourselves in deep need of God’s reconciling forgiveness and grace through Jesus, our Savior. Lent invites us to examine the wilderness of our lives and to seek the guidance and direction of God who desires to draw us close in relationship with God so that we might be sent out to build and heal our relationships with one another.

I invite you to join me in a book study on the book Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World, by Serene Jones, beginning on Tuesday, March 10, at 5 p.m. Throughout Lent and Easter we will explore our own theology of place and the meaning of God’s grace and presence in our lives. For a hint of what the book might be, check out Jones’ discussion with Krista Tippett in this On Being podcast:

I look forward to being on this journey to the cross and empty grave with you all as we move through Lent and toward Easter. May God’s peace be with us all.

With love,
CONDOLENCES : We extend our condolences to Bruce, Ellie, Kristin, and Dayton Meade on the passing of Carley Meade on February 21st.

Fran Alwood , mother of Jennie Alwood, nearing end of life
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: 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 :
Ken Chambliss , father of Will Chambliss
Camilla Crampton , companion of Mal King
Chris Kovach , friend of Jeanne Hervey

Doug Neece , brother of Vern Neece
Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss 
Judy Wood , mother of Sharon Hirsch
The following new members were received by the ruling elders and welcomed in worship on Sunday, February 16, 2020.
Rachel Bethune
Stewart and Karen Cameron
Kelli Hunnicutt.
Click here to read their profiles.

Anyone wishing to join FPC should contact Mindy Douglas , pastor, at 919-688-3960 or send an email to: New members will be received again on March 29, 2020.
CONGRATULATIONS to Tony Brown who was honored today with a Duke Presidential Award, the highest honor given by Duke to staff and faculty. Tony has been an outstanding Professor of the Practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy since 1993. He has consistently exceeded expectations by building and sustaining programs that represent all of Duke's values for more than a quarter century.

THANK YOU to the following who planned and/or hosted a fellowship event during the month of February:
  • February 4: Kathy Conner hosted a potluck for women at her home;
  • February 5: Sheila Breitweiser and Lisa Gabriel planned a luncheon for the FPC Legacy Society members at Croasdaile Country Club;
  • February 8: The Momsen-Hudsons hosted First Friends & Families at their home;
  • February 15: Mac and Wendy McCorkle hosted Primetimers at their home;
  • February 15: SCRATCH enjoyed an evening of fellowship with FPC's basketball team followed by supper at Alpaca restaurant;
  • February 19: The Service & Mission Committee arranged a Lunch and Learn event at FPC with mission co-worker, Leisa Wagstaff;
  • February 24: Mickey Velkey arranged lunch for Daytimers at Neo China restaurant.
FPC is a polling place on
Tuesday, March 3
(for Precinct 17 only)
On Tuesday, March 3, North Carolina residents will cast votes in election primaries across the state. FPC will serve as a polling place for Precinct 17 (due to Durham Main Public Library renovations). We recommend that you contact the church staff by phone or e-mail that day as there will be very little, if any, parking available during regular business hours. The Day School will operate on its normal schedule. Meetings that are not affected by parking restrictions will meet as scheduled. Please contact Tom Bloom , Business Administrator, at if you have questions.
Lenten Book Study Begins . . .

Mindy Douglas will lead a study of Call It Grace: Finding Meaning in a Fractured World by Serene Jones this Lenten and Easter season. The study will be held Tuesdays during the Lenten and Easter seasons, beginning March 10th and concluding May 19th. We will meet from 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the East Parlor. All are welcome to join us.

Use this link to purchase a copy of the book.
Sunday, March 1
First Sunday in Lent
9:45 a.m. Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship and Communion

Liturgist: Jeanne Hervey
Narthex Greeter: Delia Kwon
After Worship Greeters: Raymond Mbah (Narthex/Rear);
Kim Abels (Font/Side)
Ushers: Julie Whiddon (head) - Click here to sign up to usher. 
Communion Elders:
Head/Replenish Elements: Jane Wettach
Bread: Lenore Champion ( B1, process), Wendy McCorkle (B2), Andy Henry (B3), Tyler Momsen-Hudson (B4)
Cup: Chris Brown (C1), Carol Carson (C2, process), Brent Curtis (C3), Kim Abels (C4)
Shepherds: Alice Raney (font aisle), Sharon Hirsch (center aisle), David Sappenfield (pulpit aisle)
Sunday, March 8
Second Sunday in Lent
9:45 a.m. Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship

Liturgist: Amy Wilson
Narthex Greeters: Maxie Honeycutt, El Hess
After Worship Greeters: David Sappenfield (Narthex/rear) ;
Brent Curtis (Font/side)
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 McLaure'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 .

March 1: Chapter 20: Join the Adventure
March 8: Chapter 21: Significant and Wonderful

  Journeys will continue a study of the Gospel of Matthew based on a PCUSA mission called Matthew 25 that calls for the church to actively engage in the work around us that serves people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor. We will cover the fifth discourse of the study guide, which includes chapters 24 and 25. The Bible study guide can be downloaded at this link: .   We meet in the apartment classroom on the second floor of the church house . All are welcome. 

The Faith and Community Class
In March, the Faith & Community class will continue its winter focus on climate change.  Susannah Tuttle of North Carolina Interfaith Power & Light will lead our session on this Sunday, March 1.  Cris Rivera will present about becoming a Presbyterian Earth Care Congregation on March 29. In between, our resident Matthew scholar, Robert Brawley , will teach for three weeks (March 8, 15 & 22) on the Gospel, which is also our lectionary Gospel in worship. The class meets from 9:45 – 10:45 a.m. in Watts-Hill Hall . All are welcome. 

Lectionary Class
March 1:  Is it sinful to seek knowledge? Is it sinful to seek the means to feed the hungry? Is it sinful to act with faith and confidence in God’s protection? How easily temptation twists our noble goals into greed and selfish ambition! 
Join us for discussion at 9:45 in the East Parlor .
March 8:  How does faith work, and what gives belief its power? Why does someone leave his family and travel to a far country, based only on belief in a promise? How can eternal life come simply from belief? 
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. We have begun a study of the book Helpmates, Harlots, and Heroes: Women's Stories in the Hebrew Bible , 2nd Edition by Alice Ogden Bellis .  We would welcome any women wishing to join us.   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
SCRATCH Gathering
Saturday, March 7
4 p.m. at the home of Mindy Douglas and Tim O'Brien.
Bring a dish to share. Please respond to the EVITE. Not getting EVITES? Contact Valerie in the church office:
Seniors Spring Luncheon
Wednesday, April 22
Gather at 11:30 in the East Parlor
Luncheon at 12 Noon in Watts-Hill Hall 
Support Group for Caregivers
The next support group meeting for care-givers of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will be on Sunday, March 8 at 2 p.m. in the Wilson Parlor at FPC .  This group is open to anyone in the community who wants to share the joys and perils of being a care-giver.  Laura McNab is leading the support group. For more information, contact Laura at 843-222-1718. 
Muskingum University Concert Choir
Saturday, February 29
7:00 p.m. in the FPC sanctuary
Concert is free and open to the public
Muskingum University is a  private   liberal arts college  in  New Concord, Ohio . Chartered in 1837 as Muskingum College, the institution is affiliated with he  Presbyterian Church (USA) . The Muskingum Concert Choir performs sacred and secular music from a variety of cultures and historical periods, and maintains an active schedule of touring, recording, and commissioning and premiering new works.
The Aeolians of Oakwood University
Tuesday, March 3, 2020
7:00 p.m. in the FPC sanctuary
The concert is free and open to the public.
Oakwood University is a historically black Seventh-day Adventist University in Huntsville, Alabama. The Aeolians (choir) of Oakwood University was originally organized in 1946 by the late Dr. Eva B. Dykes. Since its inception, the choir has traveled widely, touching the hearts of both young and old with their inspirational singing. Aeolian concerts present a repertoire of choral music which ranges from the Baroque era to the twentieth century. Moreover, the Aeolians is an authoritative exponent of Negro spirituals and work songs which express the yearnings of their forefathers to be free. They have won a host of awards including World Choir Games Spirituals Champions, Four-Peat HBCU Choir of the Year and Choir of the World Champions 2017.

The Muskingum and Oakwood university choirs are on tour and are being sponsored at FPC with funds from the Ruth Mary Meyer Endowment for music, gardens, and landscaping.
FPC is participating in a local Book Drive
February 25 - March 21
Please bring your book donations to the church
and place them in the container provided in the church foyer.
We Need You
to Volunteer on March 7th
By volunteering, you are helping patients and families with autoimmune encephalitis, the rare disease Florence McDow had. All proceeds support the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance

Please review the volunteer opportunities and consider signing up . Individuals can volunteer as well as groups ranging in size from 2-20. Invite a friend or two. Volunteer opportunities begin at 5:30 a.m. through 11:00 a.m., with most volunteers needed between 7:00 and 9:30 a.m. Click Here to Sign up to Volunteer
An invitation to Iglesia Emanuel's
Annual Ministry Celebration
Once again, FPC is partnering with Iglesia Emanuel, our sister Latino Presbyterian congregation, to host their third annual ministry celebration, including dinner and entertainment. This year’s event promises to be very powerful, as the theme for the evening is: “Journeys to Durham: Receiving the Stories of Our Immigrant Neighbors.” Please mark your calendars for Saturday evening, March 28, 6-8pm, Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church. The purpose is twofold: fundraising to support and expand the church’s amazing ministry in the community, and a wonderful opportunity for friendship, fellowship and a delicious meal. Because seating is limited, RSVP just as soon as possible to Margaret Rubiera at
Alienated Grandparents Anonymous of the Triangle
You are invited to this support group for grandparents who have not had access to their grandchildren. NOTE: This is not a 12-step group nor does it follow any particular spiritual axiom.

First and Third Mondays
1:00-2:30 p.m.
Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church
(Parlor in "Carr" entry, south side of building near playground)
927 W. Trinity Ave, Durham
Park in the lot off Gregson St.
Thursday, February 27, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Chapel Hill Public Library (100 Library Dr.)
You are invited to a book discussion of “Finding Hope,” a practical guide for families affected by mental illness by Donna Kay Smith and Susan Spalt. It is derived from the lived experience of families who deal with all types and severity of these illnesses on a daily basis. It was written for people in these situations
who had ongoing difficulties. The problems were twofold—a lack of resources that would help to manage these illnesses, and a treatment system that failed their loved one in basic ways. The sponsors of the event are the Chapel Hill Public Library, National Alliance on Mental Illness in Orange County, Faith Connections on Mental Illness, and the Mental Health Community Connection.

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 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 call 919-828-6501.

Faith Connections on Mental Illness  
“Faithfully Practicing Community Inclusion”
Friday, March 13 
at the McKimmon Conference Center in Raleigh, NC
Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries, Los Angeles, CA, and two homeboys will be sharing how they engage in healing conflicts and instilling hope for a fulfilling life. Speakers from the Durham Nativity School, Rebound, Recovery Communities of NC, and Reintegration Support Network will present 
how engagement and support creates a healthier community. Discount rate ends February 28 th . For more information and to register, visit:
A Writing Workshop with Carol Henderson
March 13-14, 2019
Friday 7-9 pm, Saturday 9:30 am-3:30 pm
Come write with veteran teacher Carol Henderson. Be prepared to write a lot and to leave with deeper insight and fresh perspective on your life as well as plenty of material for further inquiry and writing. Bring a bag lunch. Coffee, tea, and snacks provided. For women only.

Carol Henderson is a writer, editor, workshop leader, the author of Losing Malcolm, and Farther Along: The Writing Journey of Thirteen Bereaved Mothers, and the editor of Wide Open Spaces: Call Stories. More info at:

Cost: $125. Click  HERE  to register. Location: In a cozy house in Durham with a cat.

Contact: RCWMS, 919-683-1236, .
Would you like to be a judge for SilverArts 2020?
SilverArts, a celebration of the creative expression of Mature Adults in Durham, is a major component of the traditional athletic competition of Durham Senior Games. In a philosophy that strives to keep Mature Adults healthy, active and involved, SilverArts unites the athlete and artist in a program that recognizes the similarities of both endeavors: discipline, dedication, and pride in one's accomplishments. The 2020 SilverArts will begin in April and judges for the various aspects of the program are sought. For further information, click here .
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 contact Jane Williams ( ) or Susan Dunlap ( ). Jane and Susan will be on the bus!
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, March 10. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, March 8.