"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
June 16-29, 2020
From the Pastor/Head of Staff:

Dear friends,

           It has been three months. It has been three months since we have gathered in our worship space, shared hand clasps and embraces, lifted our voices in song and speech, and stood in clusters catching up and sharing stories of the week. I miss our worship. I miss the beauty of the sanctuary. I miss the music. Most of all, I miss you.

           These are hard times to be separated from one another. We are worried about one another, especially those who are sick, grieving, caregiving, or isolated and alone. You all have been finding ways to reach out to one another, though, through phone calls, emails, texts, letters, meals, Zoom meetings and classes. You have been holding one another in your prayers. We are still the Body of Christ, still the community of faith, even though we are living this out in ways we never could have imagined only four months ago. I am so glad to be a part of this community that cares so deeply for one another.

           These are also hard times as we grieve the recent unnecessary losses of black lives. We who are white have also become aware of the role we have played in our silence and inactivity. We have a long way to travel as we seek to recognize the ways our education, judicial, health care, economic, religious, and governmental systems have long leaned toward serving those who are white, while binding and holding down people of color throughout history.  We have a long way to travel as we work for change that brings justice and equity to all God’s children.

           My sermon this week considered the ways we are called both to action and to reflection. In the action/reflection model, we recognize that action alone, without refection on the meaning and purpose behind such action, can be meaningless. At the same time, reflection without action will not move us forward in the way God would have us go. Let us also remember that there are many forms of action and many forms of reflection. Not all of us can protest. Not all of us can write books. Not all of us are in a position to change policy. But we can all turn our hearts to God each day and invite God to guide us toward what we are able to do and what God calls us to do. Our reflection, our meditation, opens us up to hear the way God will lead us into action.

           Friends, in these pandemic days, many of us are tired. Our souls are weary. Our hearts are heavy. But we are not alone. God has never left us and will guide us in these strange and difficult days. God will comfort us in our grief and uphold us in our weakness. God will not leave us. God’s love surrounds us day and night. The psalmist sings:

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in God’s word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.” and “O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

May you be surrounded by God’s steadfast love, and may your souls wait for God’s guidance as those who watch for the morning, knowing it will come.

Deep peace to you all,


Birth Announcements:
  • Chuck and Linda Barenchi are happy to announce the birth of their first great grandchild. Adaline Nell Barenchi was born June 8th to their grandson Austin and wife, Melany Barenchi

  • Sybil King became grandma again with the birth of a grandson in May. Darius Williams Jr. was born May 21st in Arkansas to Sybil's son Darius and wife Caronica Williams.

The love and concern of the congregation are extended to Kathy Krahenbuhl on the death of her sister, Dawn Fitts , on June 8th.

Jennie and Ian Belle whose home was struck by a stray bullet
Roxana Boyd’s grandfather
Amy Cummings
Dale Gaddis , preparing for back surgery
Randy A. Howard , FPC Facebook friend having surgery tomorrow
Dan Hudgins, recovering at home following surgery
Margaret Mubanga
Mercy Ndambiri
Ellen O'Brien, mother-in-law of Mindy Douglas, preparing for surgery
Rob Parker , recovering from a bicycle accident

Hospice Care
Ruth Buck , mother of Susan Buck
Camilla Crampton , companion of Mal King
Jean Lazarides
  Care Communities :
Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell , Becky Crockett
Croasdaile Pavilion: Bob Rankin , Henderson Rourk 
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
Strategic Behavioral Health, Garner: Phillip Herndon
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant

Family and Friends of the Congregation :
Peggy Boulden , mother of Dick Boulden
Ken Chambliss , father of Will Chambliss and Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss
Paula Cope , sister of Sam Miglarese
Becky Evans ( sister) and Doug Neece (brother) of Vernon Neece
Dolores Ewald , mother-in-law of Susan Ewald
Shannon Johnson , daughter of Mary Putman
Chris Kovach , friend of Jeanne Hervey
Lee Tubbs , mother of Nora Tisdale 
Thank you for your loving concern via phone calls, emails and greeting cards, plus your prayers. You helped to ease my heavy heart following the deaths of my sisters-in-law, Marlene and Barbara. I felt your love despite the distancing imposed by this pandemic we are enduring. I count my blessings for this caring FPC family and look forward to the time we can all meet together again.
With gratitude,  Shirley Frederick
Sunday, June 21
12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Summer Sunday School
Adult (virtual) classes begin at 10:00 a.m.

Worship streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:
Sunday, June 28
13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Summer Sunday School
Adult (virtual) classes begin at 10:00 a.m.

Worship streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:
  • Faith & Community – We will continue our 10-week series reading From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century (2020) by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen. In advance of this Sunday, June 21, please read Chapters 1, 2, and Appendix 1. Class begins at 10 a.m. Join via Zoom. (We will use this link for future classes.) Each class will be recorded and a link to the video will be made available upon request to Jon Abels, who will be facilitating the discussion this Sunday.

  • Journeys – Sunday, June 21, Journeys will discuss chapter 4 of Falling Upward by Richard Rohr. The book presents how our spirituality changes as we move through different phases of our lives. Participants are also asked to identify a personal experience related to the chapter’s theme of the first-half of life to share with the group. Join via Zoom, Sundays at 10 a.m. Class leaders are Eric Wiebe and Andy Henry.

  • Lectionary – Join us each Sunday for online discussion at 10:a.m. preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. Sunday, June 21: Sometimes we find the words of scripture to be harsh or even cruel, as when Jesus promises divisions within families, or when Abraham sends away his son Ishmael. Where can we find the God of grace and love in these stories? Sunday, June 28: Does God ask us to do impossible things? Are we required to live a perfect life, or to give up what is most dear to us? 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.

  • SCRATCH – Check-in, support, and devotional on Sundays. 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 check-in and class via Zoom.
If you are not receiving a separate weekly email connecting you
to FPC online activities for children and youth,
contact John Weicher or Natalie Wolf to be added to the list.
  • Until further notice, the church building is closed to the public. Worship continues weekly on Sunday mornings via Youtube. Read Mindy's recommendations to the Session (Reopening) which were approved on Monday, May 19, 2020.

  • Area clergy, including Mindy Douglas, have endorsed a Letter of Solidarity regarding gathering for worship. You are invited and encouraged to read the letter.

  • The pastoral staff (Susan, John, Natalie, Kathy, and Mindy) continue 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 has funds for helping neighbors with past due rent or utility bills and medical copays. Phone interviews are available between 9:00 a.m. -12 noon, on Mondays (919-682-5511). Please make sure you can substantiate your need before calling.
Attention Committee Chairs and Moderators: The deadline for submitting your Annual Report summary for the 2019-2020 church year is July 15, 2020. Please submit your summary by email to Valerie in the church office. If you need to see a copy of your committee's report from last year, let Valerie know.
THESE DAYS devotional booklets for July - September 2020 are now available at FPC. Stop by the church (Mondays or Fridays) to pick up a copy, or contact Valerie in the church office if you would like a copy mailed to you. Regular and large print copies are available.
Join us on Facebook . . .
If you have a Facebook page, you can search for First Presbyterian Church Durham Music in the search bar and ask to join the group. Everyone is welcome to see the posts which will be of interest to people particularly interested in music.

FPC Choir Check-in
Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. - Kathy will send you the link. If you have any questions, contact Kathy Parkins. Looking forward to catching up each week!
We have seen photos of beaches strewn with plastic trash, and we have heard about the 8 million tons of plastic that go into the ocean every year. Here is something we can do about it, together! We can make a commitment to a Plastic Free July.  Sign up here , and commit to either cut down on single-use plastic, or eliminate certain plastic items (grocery bags, water bottles, straws, for example), or you can go all the way and commit to eliminating all plastic. As a church, we can make a difference! If you have any questions, contact Cris Rivera . - The Earth Care Committee
Service and Mission Opportunities
Feeding Durham's School Children
Volunteer assistance is needed for the DPS Foundation Feast program. The foundation is partnering with local restaurants who are buying local produce to supply nutritious meals for school children and their families. Opportunities include: handing out food at schools, loading meals onto buses, and taking food (with no contact) to families. In addition, people can donate to the fund. Go to:  and click on the link to COVID-19 response to sign up for volunteer opportunities.

Iglesia Emanuel Food Pantry - Please continue to help!
Our FPC congregation is earning gold stars for your wonderful, generous response to the call for support of the Food Pantry at Iglesia Emanuel! If you would like to help, know that your contribution will be greatly appreciated. Here are current options:
Make a financial donation by going to , and click on “Donate.” 

Mail a check to Iglesia Presbyteriana Emanuel, 2504 N Roxboro, Durham 27704.

Purchase food items, preferably in bulk. Most helpful are:
  • Cereal (cold or hot, preferably multiple regular-size boxes rather than extra-large ones)
  • Granola bars and cereal bars (preferably large boxes like sold at Sam’s or Costco)
  • Fruit cups (large boxes)
  • Peanut butter (small jars, preferably whole flats)
  •  Macaroni and cheese
  • Cup a noodles/ramen noodles (preferably large packages like sold at Sam’s)
  •  Spaghetti or any kind of pasta (preferably multiple small boxes)
  • Canned vegetables (preferably whole flats of small cans, green beans and corn)
  •  Canned soup, tuna, Spaghetti-Os or other protein or whole meal item.

You may deliver food items to Iglesia Emanuel on Monday afternoons, from 3 - 5, on Tuesdays, or drop them off at Margaret and Miguel Rubiera’s home, 3108 Chelmsford Drive. Contact  Miguel Rubiera  or  Margaret Rubiera  if you have questions . Thank you again for your loving commitment to help others.   

Volunteers needed at Urban Ministries of Durham
Those of you who have high school or college kids looking for a meaningful reason to get up early in the morning, suggest they come volunteer at Urban Ministries.
FPC's remaining schedule for June (sign up with Margaret Rubiera  ):
  • Friday, June 19 - breakfast shift, 7 - 9 a.m.
  • Thursday, June 25 - lunch prep, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

There are many openings for volunteers to help with breakfast, lunch or dinner shifts in addition to FPC's regularly scheduled ones. For these additional shifts, please contact FPC member  Jen McGonigle . Help is needed as follows:
  • 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
  • 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
  • Send a monetary donation to
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, June 30. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, June 28.