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"Downtown by history and by choice"

Bi-Weekly Newsletter

July 27, 2021 Issue 15

Helpful Links







for worship

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Letter from the Pastor

Dear friends,

Grace and peace to you on this last Tuesday in July. I pray that you are finding joy in each moment and peace for the journey.

Hopefully by now you have received a copy of a brochure (BROCHURE) created for you by our Vision Team (see names below) and The James Company, an organization we have been working with to help us in this process. This information is also now posted on the main page of our website: www.firstpres-durham.org. If you would like a hard copy, please contact the church office (919-682-5511 or office) and we will send you one.

The brochure includes a survey (SURVEY) that we hope you will complete before August 8. You can submit this survey online or you can mail or drop a paper version at the church (305 E. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701). We appreciate your input as we seek to discern the way forward!

As we move into a season of celebration of 150 years in the heart of Durham (our birthday is December 31, 2021!), we look back with gratitude for the vision of those who founded this church and the faithfulness of those who built on this vision across these many years. We also look forward in faith, toward the next 150 years, and consider where God is leading us.

This summer, we explore these questions (among others):

·        What might God have in store for this beloved community in the heart of Durham for the next 150 years? 

·        How can we respond to racism, poverty, brokenness, and injustice in Durham and beyond?

·        How do we continue to build on the strong foundation of a welcoming, supportive, generous, justice-seeking, faithful community? 

·        What new directions might God be opening to us?

·        How does our physical location, building, and parking provide opportunities for ministry with and service to the community?

·        How can we improve our accessibility to the community at large?

I hope you will join with our team in one of three informational sessions. The first one is online this Thursday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. (ZOOM). Two other sessions will be in person: after worship on Sunday, August 1 and the other at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, August 2 (see website for more information). We may also be able to add an additional online session if enough people are interested. I welcome the opportunities we will have to explore these questions together.

Friends, it is a privilege to be among those who listen for the Holy Spirit as we discern God’s vision for us of inclusive, compassionate, and joyful ministry to Durham and beyond! I am grateful to be on this journey of faithful inquiry, exploration, and visioning with you.

With much love,


Vision Team

Paul Baldasare

Mindy Douglas

Sharon Hirsch

Mac McCorkle

Tyler Momsen-Hudson

Karen Romines

Chuck Wilson



Brochure (viewable)

Brochure (printable)


Request a brochure

Zoom Link - July 29 Meeting


Memorial Service for

Carolyn Wolfe

July 28 at 11 a.m. - sanctuary

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CONDOLENCES: The love and concern of the congregation are extended to:

 ·  Mary Berry and family on the death of her grandmother on July 15th;

·   Sara Radtke and family on the death of her mother, Susan V. Hushion, on July 18th;

·   Cris Rivera and family on the recent death of her cousin, Eric Reyes;

·   Deborah Momsen-Hudson’s cousin Shelly Kakouris and family whose husband Rick died last week.


Congratulations to Kate and Bill Busa on the birth of another grandchild. Madeline Margaret Busa was born July 20th in Alaska.

CONCERNS added this week:

  • Kathy Stahl and Larry Purtzenski, mother and stepdad of Katy Loebrich
  • Greer and Jenn Brown
Our Concerns List

A HUGE THANK YOU to our wonderful Youth Group, shepherded by John Weicher, for organizing the successful Mask and Socks Fundraiser! Between the proceeds from the fundraiser, and additional donations made by our FPC community, the Youth Group supported the Iglesia Emanuel Food Pantry with checks totaling $2,058.98. We are so grateful for this support, as are the over 500 families that we serve every week with substantial amounts of nutritious food. The work goes on, and we always welcome new volunteers to be part of this incredible ministry. Please join us in our ongoing efforts to combat food insecurity in Durham!

- Margaret and Miguel Rubiera

Contact Valerie in the church office if you encounter missing or non-working links in this newsletter.

Congregational Life

  • Let's (re)introduce ourselves: Bulletin Board Project Read more

  • For questions and answers about in-person worship, click here.

  • For questions and answers about live-stream worship, click here.

Faith Formation

  • For Children - The children's class is hybrid (class details and Zoom link below)

  • For Adults - Classes are hybrid (see listings, details, and Zoom links below)

  • For Youth - see calendar below

Service and Mission

  • School Supplies Drive (see details below)
  • Volunteer at Iglesia Emanuel's Food Pantry
  • Volunteer at Urban Ministries of Durham (see below)
  • Invitation for Women of FPC


Sunday, August 1

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mindy Douglas, preaching

Sunday, August 8

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mindy Douglas, preaching

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Ushers Needed

As we continue in-person worship on Sunday mornings, we are needing more ushers. If you have ushered in the past, or would like to join our ushers' ministry, please sign up here. We have a few open slots for the month of August and would love to have you serve. - Bert Clere

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On Sunday, July 25, FPC welcomed Lanny Pratt (rejoined by Letter of Transfer) and Ashley Swavely (new member by Reaffirmation of Faith) into membership. Click here to learn more about them.


FPC will host a Community Blood Drive with the American Red Cross on Thursday, July 29 from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Watts-Hill Hall (305. E. Main Street). For more information or to make an appointment to donate blood, sign up online at redcrossblood.org with sponsor code: firstpres. Read more here.  

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Why Pronouns Matter

It was like visiting a ghost town as we walked through classrooms and hallways. Everything exactly as it had been when we walked out the doors of FPC in March of 2020 - including several small bowls, tucked in the shadowy nook with the name tags, with varying pronouns. With hardly time to talk about why they're important and what they're for, the halls went dark. As the building begins to bustle and we reach into the recesses of our memory some have asked where they came from and why they matter. Great questions.

Much like our individual names, pronouns are tied to our deepest sense of identity. They articulate who we are and how the outside world should address us. As a hospitable congregation we strive to learn each other's names. We encourage name tags, work to spell and pronounce names correctly - because our names matter and their usage can make us feel seen and known, or invisible and overlooked.

As a congregation that works to embody, in concrete ways, God's welcome and inclusion of us all, respectfully introducing and using the correct pronoun helps build a community of love and belonging for everyone and powerfully affirms anyone who does not identify with traditional, binary gender identity and expression.

Must you add a pronoun pin to your name tag? By no means. That is a personal choice. Having pronoun pins available is simply one way FPC is working to live into being a safe, inclusive, welcoming place for all.

Interested in reading more about why pronouns matter and how business are becoming more inclusive, check out this link: https://www.mypronouns.org/

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It's here! The long-awaited FPC PICTORIAL DIRECTORY is ready for distribution.

Members without email will receive a copy in the mail this week at no cost.

Members with an email address on file with the church will receive a separate email this week with the directory as a pdf attachment.

Members may also order a hard (paper) copy of the directory by contacting the church office and giving a $5 donation to cover production costs.

Call or contact Sybil King for more information.


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Sundays via Zoom at 9:45 a.m.

Class details


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Sundays in the Robert Daye Meeting Room (East Parlor) and via Zoom

beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Class details


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Sundays in the Wilson Parlor and via Zoom

beginning at 9:45 a.m.

Class details


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joining the Faith & Community Class discussions on

Sundays at 9:45 a.m.


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meets via Zoom on Sunday evenings at 8:00 p.m.

Class details


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All children meet together in a room on the second floor on the CE building (and via zoom)

from 10:00-10:30 a.m.

Class Details


Children's Ministry Weekly Email - signup form

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Presbyterian 101:

Who We Are, What We Believe,

and Why We Do What We Do

August 1, 8, 15

from 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

in the Fellowship Hall


New-ish to FPC or the PCUSA? Or a long time Presbyterian but still wonder why we do what we do in worship or our common life. 


Join Sam Miglarese, Phyllis Supple, Susan Dunlap, David Smith, Christyn Klinck and Beth Stringfield as they lead conversations around who we are as Presbyterians (what makes us different from other denominations or iterations of Presbyterians); why we worship the way we do and what we believe; and what makes FPC a unique community of faith.


Questions or interested in a possible hybrid option contact: Mitzi Lesher-Thomas at m.lesher-thomas@firstpres-durham.org

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ALL-CHURCH EVENT rescheduled!

Monday, August 16 through Friday August 20 

Come for 1, 2, 3, 4, or ALL evenings!! Each evening we will explore a different FAITH PRACTICE: Hospitality, Prayer, Service, Storytelling, and Retreat. 

There will be something for EVERYONE plus FREE DINNER is included for those who pre-register -- EAT PICNIC STYLE OUTSIDE OR GRAB DINNER TO TAKE HOME! 

Also, we still need volunteers to help out.  Click VOLUNTEER if you are available to help at this event.

Here is the link to the registration form: PRE-REGISTER.


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The July newsletter is here!


View the full newsletter and subscribe here:


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  • Fill that Bus! is a community-wide campaign to help stock the shelves at Crayons2Calculators (C2C) with classroom essentials to directly equip Durham Public School teachers with the supplies they need to help reduce barriers to success for every student.  First Presbyterian Church of Durham is a sponsoring partner organization again this year. FPC's Mal King is coordinating this community project.

  When: Now through August 13, 2021 

  • Give Now - Financial contributions help C2C meet the changing needs of teachers throughout the year
  • Shop for C2C - Add their wish list items to your cart while shopping at Walmart or Amazon
  • Additionally, we welcome you to drop off supplies in person at FPC or at the C2C warehouse located at 808 Bacon St, Durham, NC 27703. 
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If you are fully vaccinated, contact Jen McGonigle to sign up for one of FPC's regular time slots each month, or call Jen at 202-421-5870. If you have interest in serving at Urban Ministries at other times and in other ways, click VOLUNTEER.

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Iglesia Emanuel Food Pantry Continues Strong! Read more.

Contact Margaret Rubiera to hep with this mission endeavor.

An Invitation to the women of FPC

A virtual workshop series called Finding Freedom: White Women Taking On Our Own White Supremacy is being offered on five consecutive Thursday evenings (August 5 – September 2, 2021) from 5:30 – 8 pm EST. Read more

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