"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
April 21-May 4, 2020
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,

In the book some of us have been reading together, Call It Grace , Serene Jones invites us to consider the pillars of our lives – the solid truths that give meaning to our lives. She calls these truths, the “basic weight-bearing structures that hold your insides together and give steady meaning to your life.” She names four pillars for her life – breath, justice, mercy, and love. For her, these are “sacred truths” that shape her unconscious actions in life. She posits that these pillars, these sacred truths, also flow through the world and all of life, shining light and energy on life’s sacredness.

During these unsettling days that have turned to weeks, I wonder if you have become more aware of the pillars of your lives. We have certainly had to rely on the internal structures that hold us together and give us steady meaning. What has given you meaning in these days? What truths have held you steady? What joys have you discovered? Where have you found life and hope?

What are your pillars during this time? Compassion? Patience? Courage? Hope? Love? Gratitude? Generosity? Joy? Trust? I invite you to take ten minutes today to sit down, take some deep breaths and think about the solid truths that guide your life and that bring you strength and clarity of God’s presence. If you have a journal, or a piece of paper, write them down and record the ways that these pillars have held you up during this time of uncertainty and change.

Friends, in challenging times, we turn to scripture to find our pillars. Today I share one from the book of Joshua (1:9 with a slight modification at the end). Moses has died and Joshua now leads God’s people. God reminds him that he is not alone as he leads the people into the future. God says to Joshua:
      “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the  Lord  your God is with you wherever you go (or stay).”

God is with us. Build on your pillars of faith. And may peace be with you.
With love,
P.S.  I miss you!!
Harper Caroline Stutts was born April 5th to Caroline Paul Stutts and Daniel Stutts . The proud grandparents are Jan and Bob Paul .

Shania Wanja Muchugia was born April 11th to Lydia and Kevin Muchugia . Baby Shania joins big sister Shirley , and big brother Shane . The proud grandparents are Mary Gitata and Tony Chavez.  

John Kerr, a patient at Duke Hospital
All who have been impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic
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: Ann Prospero
Emerald Pond: Paul Cornsweet
Hillcrest Convalescent Center, Durham: Jean Lazarides
Southern Living for Seniors, Louisburg: Phillip Herndon
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant

Family and Friends of the Congregation :
Tiffany Barber, niece of Christyn Klinck
Ken Chambliss, father of Will Chambliss
Camilla Crampton, companion of Mal King
Becky Evans, sister of Vernon Neece
Dolores Ewald, mother-in-law of Susan Ewald
Chris Kovach, friend of Jeanne Hervey
Doug Neece, brother of Vernon Neece
Shannon Johnson, daughter of Mary Putman
Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss
Session Approves Stimulus Fund

Dear friends,
Some of you have already received your stimulus check, while others may be patiently (or impatiently!) waiting. Some of you desperately need this check, for a multitude of reasons, and will find it to be a significant help during these difficult days. Others of you, whose jobs and financial situations have remained stable, do not have the same need for additional funds. Some of you may be interested in supporting those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families and to take care of bills and basic needs. If you are in the latter group and would like to make a donation that will help those in the deepest need, the Session of FPC has set up a special fund, called the “Stimulus Fund.” You may give to this fund by clicking on the donate button and choosing “Stimulus Fund.” This fund will be managed by the Service and Mission Committee and shared with organizations making the biggest impact in helping those in the greatest need. Thank you in advance for your gift
Peace be with you all,
You do not need a Facebook account to participate in these services. Simply go online to: / each Tuesday and Thursday at 8 p.m.
Session Calls Congregational Meeting

The FPC Nominating Committee is happy to announce they are ready to recommend members for this year's election of officers. Their report will be sent to you later this week. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic Stay-at-Home order, the election of officers is being moved online this year. 

On Sunday, April 26 , at the end of worship, the Session has called a meeting of the membership for the purpose of electing new officers and a new Nominating Committee. You will receive two emails: the first one will contain the Nominating Committee’s report along with a link which will allow you to make "nominations from the floor." The second email will contain a link that will allow you to cast your vote electronically. Members without email will receive the committee report and instructions for making a nomination and voting by way of the US mail. If you have questions, please contact Mindy Douglas or the 2019-2020 Nominating Committee co-chairs: Jane Wettach and Dawn Carsey
Sunday, April 26
Second Sunday of Easter

Sunday School: Virtual classes begin at 10:00 a.m.

Worship streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:
Mindy Douglas , preaching

The Hunger for Change Offering is received each fourth Sunday of the month. You may give online via the church’s website or mail your donation to the church this week. Make check payable to FPC and memo: “Hunger offering.”

At the end of the worship broadcast this Sunday, you are invited to remain online for the Congregational Meeting and election of officers.

Sunday, May 3
Third Sunday of Easter
(The McPherson Lectureship has been postponed.)

Sunday School: Virtual classes begin at 10:00 a.m.

Worship Streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:
Mindy Douglas , preaching
  • Faith & Community –·    On April 19, Cris Rivera began a discussion on becoming a PCUSA Earth Care congregation. FPC is planning an official launch of our Earth Care committee (part of Stewardship). Stay tuned. Class meets on Sundays, 10 a.m. Join via Zoom.
  • Journeys –  Journeys participants check in with how our lives are going during the COVID-19 shut down on Sundays, just before 10 a.m. We will continue our discussion of “Building the Good Life for All” by L. Shannon Jung, covering Strategy 3: Cultural Formation. This book is about how we can participate in transformational strategies to help the working poor, which is sure to become a growing issue with the COVID-19 economic downturn. You can participate in Journeys by downloading the Zoom app onto your computer and clicking the Join via Zoom link. If you’re having trouble obtaining the book or connecting to the class via Zoom, contact Eric Wiebe
  • Lectionary – Join us each Sunday for online discussion at 10:00, preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. April 26: Now that we have heard the Easter message, what should we do? Do the familiar stories leave us unchanged? Or do we get up and go somewhere with them? May 3: As Easter people, we expect to enjoy the good things that have been promised: abundant life, fellowship, and so on. But what's all this about suffering?  Join via Zoom. (For phone access (audio only), call 253-215-8782 or 301-715-8592.) If you need a copy of the handout of scripture readings or need the ID for the Zoom connection, contact David Smith.
  • We Make the Road by Walking – Check-in, support, and devotional on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Join via Zoom. Contact Emily Diy if you need help connecting to the class.
  • Women’s Spirituality Group -  Support and check-in during these strange times. Be in touch with Leah Graves for access to the class information. We meet virtually on Sundays at 10 a.m.
If you are not receiving a separate weekly email connecting you
to FPC online activities for children and youth,
contact John Weicher to be added to the list.
All are invited to join this Lenten Study led by Mindy Douglas on Tuesdays, 5:00-6:00 p.m. via Zoom. Contact Mindy if you need the Zoom ID to connect to the group.

All are welcome to join the Women's Spirituality Group in this study of Helpmates, Harlots and Heroes by Alice Bellis. We meet via Zoom on Wednesdays, 7:30-8:15 p.m. During this time we discuss, learn some new things, have social time, and share joys and concerns and how God is acting in our lives d uring these crazy days. Contact Deborah Momsen-Hudson if you need the Zoom ID or wish to listen in to the discussion.
These Days devotional booklets for April - June 2020 are now available at the church in regular and large print. Contact the church office to arrange to pick up a copy from the church, or to have a copy mailed to you.
Winesdays on Wednesdays Fellowship
The First Presbyterian Fellowship group has decided to start doing weekly Virtual Winesday Happy Hours on Wednesdays at 5:30. Regular attendees to the Coop have been sent a link to participate via zoom. You can join the gathering by connecting via Google Hangouts Meet . Contac t Laurie Williamson or Mindy Douglas to b e added to the group's listserv.
  • Until further notice, the pastoral staff (Susan, John, Kathy, and Mindy) will be working remotely from their homes. You can reach them by email, mobile phone, or texting. 

  • Administrative staff (Valerie, Tom, Sybil, and Robert) will continue working as needed at the church and will be available by email or phone/text during normal business hours. 

  • Office volunteers are not needed at the church at this time. 

  • The Walk-in Ministry will interview clients between 9:00 a.m. -12 noon, only on Mondays, and only by telephone. We are not handing out blessing bags.
Session Briefs
In its inaugural virtual meeting on March 23, the Session gathered by Zoom Meeting to hear from each committee, all pastors, and each other about the effects of and the church's responses to the COVID-19 outbreak. The beginning of the meeting was devoted to time to check in with each other . Then pastors reported on the church's response, including a call list for the entire congregation ; worship services streamed on YouTube; Sunday School Book Group , and social meetings by Zoom; movie viewing parties, phone calls, and Zoom meetings for the youth; and other ways the pastors and officers are helping members to stay connected. Committees also reported on negative impacts on their plans due to the impact of the virus, especially to Christian Education and Service and Mission programming and to Finance and Investment's  financial planning. The Nominating Committee is consulting with the Presbytery about how to handle the postponed election of new officers. The Property Committee is hoping to take advantage of the closure of the Day School in order to make needed repairs there now. Updates were also given for the Associate Pastor and the Children's Ministry Director positions and the meeting was closed with prayer. 

Respectfully submitted,
Christyn Klinck, Clerk of Session
Director of Children’s Ministries position open at FPC
 Our congregation is seeking a Director of Children’s Ministries, and we have officially opened the position to candidates from within the congregation – members and friends. We are seeking someone who loves children, loves Jesus, and is interested in introducing the one to the others. Might that be you? The job description and overview are available on the church’s website: . This is a 12-hour-a-week position. Please email your resume and cover letter to John Weicher.

Update from the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee

Greetings to our First Presbyterian Church family and friends. 

We have enjoyed opportunities to connect with many of you through various ZOOM meetings, check-in phone calls, emails, notes, and our virtual fellowship on Sunday. 

Our work on the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee continues full speed and, staying true to our commitment to keep you updated, we want to provide a brief summary of our activities.

We are meeting once or twice a week depending on tasks.

We are carefully and prayerfully reviewing the Pastor Information Forms (PIFs) received and are conducting initial phone screenings with some of our applicants. 

Please do not take this to mean we are closing in on finalists! As we continue reviewing PIFs, we are certain to conduct additional phone screenings, and after the completion of our initial rounds of phone screenings, we will establish a list of candidates for further in-depth discussions.

In our determination to attract a diversity of applicants, we have reached out to a diverse group of local and national faith leaders who know First Presbyterian Church. We have asked them to assist in making our search known and also invited them to suggest ways we may attract quality individuals within and outside our Presbyterian communities and institutions of faith. We also invite you to make our search known to individuals you know (or know of) who would be interested in our position. 

We have a timeline as to our goals and where we are in the process. Our updated timeline is attached to this report. 

As members of the APNC, we welcome your comments, suggestions, and prayers. Our email is .


The APNC Committee:
Laura Hanson
Michael Honeycutt (co-chair)
Marcia Lorimer (co-chair)
Keith Merritt
Griffin Momsen–Hudson
Cris Rivera
Amy Wilson
See Ways to Give for the many options available to pay pledges, make donations, and give to special offerings. The options to give to the Hunger for Change offering (monthly on the fourth Sunday) and One Great Hour of Sharing offering (received annually on Easter Sunday) are available on the church's website homepage (click the Donate button). Thank you for your continued generous giving to the church and its causes while we practice social distancing.

See Ways to Help for a list of some of the opportunities available to assist our Durham community partners and neighbors in need. Please support them as you are able.
Iglesia Emanuel needs our help!
Iglesia Emanuel is receiving people with more needs than they are able to meet with their current level of resources. If you would like to contribute to this effort to assist their vulnerable community members, they would be grateful for any and all donations. The safest and most helpful way to contribute is by making a financial contribution at their website .  If y ou prefer, you can notify Julio Ramirez-Eve if you would like to drop off non-perishable food on the front steps of the church for them to collect. The most needed items are: cereal, rice, beans, pasta (including macaroni & cheese), canned food (soup, beans, fruit) and granola snacks for kids. Thank you very much for your generosity and concern in this time of need. Also, please continue to keep them in your prayers.
Rev. Julio Ramirez-Eve , pastor, Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel
2504 N. Roxboro Street, Durham, NC 27704

Volunteers needed at Urban Ministries of Durham
For the month of April, FPC and Urban Ministries of Durham (UMD) are asking that only people under the age of 60 work in the kitchen at UMD, so share this message broadly with all your younger friends! The next opportunity to volunteer is Thursday, April 23 from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. to prepare lunch bags. Remember to respond to Margaret Rubiera if you meet the criteria to volunteer during the pandemic.

There are many openings for volunteers to help with breakfast, lunch or dinner shifts in addition to our regularly scheduled ones. For these additional shifts, please contact FPC member Jen McGonigle
  • Prepare lunch bags containing a sandwich (no condiments so it keeps safely for 1-3 days), piece of fruit, cookie or granola bar, bottle of water
  • Or just prepare sandwiches in ziplock baggies (again, no condiments, but some protein, please)
  • Prepare casseroles for dinner
  • Donate deli meats/cheeses/bottled water/fresh fruit/snack items
  • And last, but certainly not least, send a monetary donation to
Stronger Together is a relief fund that will help Durham Habitat meet the ever-evolving needs of our homeowners, partner families, and the Durham community during this difficult time. With over a third of our homeowners out of work, many will be unable to make their mortgage payments, which average about $650 per month. Your support will help us fill that need immediately. In addition, we face a serious backlog of critical repairs and a significant disruption in new home construction. We need your help to build capacity so we can hit the ground running when the time is right.
This is the first time StepUp Durham’s annual campaign will be entirely virtual. There will be four short videos and a 20 minute online presentation was posted today. The program will include images and words from staff, volunteers, employers, and participants. For more information about the event click here .  
The Flower Cross
Many thanks to those of you who submitted a flower for FPC's Easter cross, and to Griffin Momsen-Hudson and Webb Cummings for creating this lovely image for us to enjoy!
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, May 5. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, May 3.