"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
July 28 - August 11, 2020
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,

Baptism in my front yard with masks? Communion alone in my living room? No way would I ever have imagined such things during my seminary days when the Rev. Dr. Nora Tubbs Tisdale was teaching my preaching and worship class. In fact, had such things been suggested, we would have scoffed at the idea and called it scandalous! Had either of these scenarios been proposed in one of our ordination exams, we would have dutifully listed all the reasons why this was not in line with the theology and polity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
That was then.
This is now.
             How quickly things have changed.

 During this pandemic time, one thing has become clear – We cannot do church the way we have always done church.  

 The COVID-19 virus has changed our lives in many ways. I don’t have to tell you that. At first, we thought we would just postpone baptisms and wait to celebrate communion, but as the reality of the impact of this virus set in, we knew that we could not wait. These sacraments are so important to the life of our congregation. They bind us together with Christ and one another and they give us hope for the Holy Spirit who calls us and challenges us to live into that calling as we follow Jesus Christ in service to the world.

 In celebrating these sacraments, we still gather as the Body of Christ. Sadly, we are not physically together as one body, but we trust that the Holy Spirit unites us across the miles as we gather virtually in real time, if not in real space. We are grateful that the Holy Spirit moves among us and between us – in new ways and in new spaces. 

 I miss you all and long for the day when we will be able to celebrate worship and these sacraments together in real time and space. That day will come. For now, let us embrace the ways we are able to connect and grow together as Christ’s community in these strange and difficult times. God is with us. The Holy Spirit continues to challenge us to combat racism and injustice while also comforting us and bringing us peace in an unsettling time. May we rest in God’s promises of grace in Jesus Christ and in God’s strong arms of love.

Peace be with you, my friends,
Jennie Bodkin , sister of Mindy Douglas
Gail Chasin , friend of Kathy Krahenbuhl
Bruce Foster Momsen , father of Deborah Momsen-Hudson

Joe (and Carlisle) Harvard
Bill Hendrickson , recovering at home
Jo Ann Moore , isolating at home with COVID-like symptoms
Mickey Velkey, recovering from surgery at Hillcrest Convalescent Center
All those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
Durham Public Schools administrators, teachers, parents, and students as they prepare for a new school year

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:  Peggy Mordecai , mother of Beth Eisenson
Rose Vista Village Assisted Living, Kinston NC: Phillip Herndon
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant

Family and Friends of the Congregation :
Brendan Bequette , family friend of Margaret & Miguel Rubiera
Johnny Boles , nephew of Maxie and cousin of Michael Honeycutt
Peggy Boulden , mother of Dick Boulden
Becky Evans , sister of Vernon Neece
Shannon Johnson , daughter of Mary Putman
Chris Kovach , friend of Jeanne Hervey
On Sunday, July 19, the Sacrament of Baptism was celebrated for Vida Ruth Schultz Wallace during worship. Vida is the daughter of Heather Wallace and Michael Schultz and sister to big brother Juneau . We also bid farewell to the Schultz Wallace family as they will relocate to Austin, Texas for Michael's postdoctoral work next month. Kristin Meade served as elder for the baptism and Mindy Douglas officiated the sacrament outdoors at her home.  
Thank you for your prayers, expressions of concern, and many kind gestures during our recent illnesses. We are grateful to have recovered, and we look forward to the time when we can all be together again at First Presbyterian Church.
- Chuck and Jean Wilson

Dear Friends,
It means so much to have your prayers and other expressions of love and support during Joe’s recent hospitalization and recovery. We are deeply grateful to you and pray God will continue to bless us and keep us.
With love,
Carlisle and Joe

To the Staff and Volunteers of FPC,
Thank you for all the work you are doing. The online worship, specifically including the written readings, responses, and hymns are very helpful to me. May God continue to bless you all as you are a blessing to others.
Peace, Lina Yoder
The deadline for submissions is TODAY , July 28.
Update on FPC’s apartment resident, Omar

Omar moved into the FPC apartment in May and is now settled in. When asked how it has been to live there, Omar said, “I love it!” With a mix of his own furnishings and donated items, the apartment is now homey and very comfortable. But even more important, Omar said, is that it gives him peace of mind. “That means more to me than anything,” he said.

Having lived previously in a rooming house and before that in prison, Omar says that having his own space has been very beneficial to him. “I’m getting to know myself,” Omar said. “Living here is helping me to prepare myself for moving on. It’s good for me and I’m very content.”

Omar was pleased to report that he has just been promoted by the Durham County Solid Waste Department, where he has worked for the last 15 months. He was taken on as a temporary worker at first, then made permanent, and is now a supervisor. He is working very hard, doing everything he can to move forward. When the community college reopens for in-person classes, he plans to go back to school to learn the heating and air conditioning business and getting an HVAC license. He dreams of owning his own business someday.

Omar wants the members of FPC to know that he is very grateful for the opportunity to live in the apartment and hopes to get to know more members whenever people start coming back to the building.
Sunday, August 2
18th 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, August 9
19th 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 and discussing From Here to Equality by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen. Class begins at 10 a.m. FPC members can CLICK HERE to be admitted to the class. (We will use this link for all future classes.) Each class will be recorded and a link to the video will be made available upon request to Jon Abels. The class is open to the public and all guests must REGISTER to be admitted to the class. After registering, guests will receive a link that gives you access to current and future classes.

  • Journeys – Journeys will not meet in August. Meanwhile, participants are encouraged to join other Sunday School classes, and explore topics for Journeys to cover this fall.  

  • Lectionary – Join us each Sunday for online discussion at 10:00, preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. August 2: Can't you just imagine the disciples' frustration with Jesus? "You give them something to eat." Why does he make such impossible demands? August 9: Before he was sold into slavery in Egypt, Joseph was an annoying, arrogant little brother. Was his suffering in slavery required for his spiritual growth? To ask it another way, did Peter have to sink into the sea before his faith could grow? 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 – Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday evening! We'll have a short devotional after our time of check-in together. Join via Zoom at 8 p.m. on Sundays. New faces are always welcome!

  • Women’s Spirituality Group - We are joining the Faith and Community class' study of From Here to Equality this summer - Sundays at 10 a.m. via Zoom.
Activities for Children and Youth
Eleanor Cole is leading 30-minute mindfulness classes for children ages 6-10. Registration link is
Congregational Events / Activities
We will study one chapter each week.
Join Zoom Discussion
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,84138542515#,,,,0#,,315200# US (New York)
Meeting ID: 975 6934 9009
This is a reminder that our next Zoom gathering will be on Tuesday, August 11, at 7 PM . Marcia Lorimer will be hosting via Zoom and she will send an invitation closer to the time of the meeting. Dale Gaddis will lead a discussion of The Overstory by Richard Powers. Dale hopes to send out some questions for you to think about, and some links to interviews with the author, before the meeting. 
Service and Mission Opportunities
NEEDED: Long-Sleeve Shirts for Farmworkers
The  Association of Mexicans in North Carolina (AMEXCAN)  is collecting donations of long-sleeve shirts for farmworkers, and First Presbyterian Church, Durham is a collection site. AMEXCAN is accept ing new or used long-sleeve shirts, hats, caps, or gloves. These items help protect farmworkers from heat stress and pesticide exposure. The collection will run through Friday, July 31. Drop-offs (at FPC) will be accepted on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can drop items off in the labeled boxes inside the building, in front of the volunteer office at FPC. If you'd like to donate shirts but can't get to the church, contact Katie Becker ( ) so that she can arrange to pick them up from your porch. 
NEEDED: Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies
Durham Congregations in Action has been coordinating with food pantries all over the Durham area to help get people the food they need with support from the CROP Hunger Walk and other resources. Now, DCIA is partnering with churches all over the city to gather the supplies people need to stay safe and healthy through this pandemic. Our local food pantries have been flooded with requests for basic sanitation items that have become hard to come by in the pandemic, but they have not had enough to meet the demand. To answer this urgent need, DCIA is launching a hygiene drive to keep our partner pantries fully stocked with the supplies Durhamites need. They are seeking the following items: 
  • CDC-approved disinfectant wipes or sprays (Lysol, scrubbing bubbles, Clorox)
  • hand sanitizer
  • empty spray bottles
  • paper towels
  • toilet paper
  • feminine hygiene products
  • hand and body soap
If you can donate any of these, they can be dropped off at any of these partner congregations, from which the supplies will be delivered to area food pantries for distribution to our Durham neighbors! 

First Presbyterian Church
Mondays and Fridays, 9:00am-1:00pm.
305 E. Main Street

Cole Mill Road Church of Christ
Monday through Friday, 9:00am-4:00pm.
1617 Cole Mill Road

Antioch Baptist Church
Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00am-12:00pm.
1415 Holloway Street

Pilgrim United Church of Christ
Tuesday through Friday, 8:00am-12:00pm.
3011 Academy Road

 • Christus Victor Lutheran Church
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 9:00am–2:00pm
1615 E. NC 54 Hwy

Thank you in advance for your support
of these two collection projects!
Do you have interest in College Campus Ministry?
If yes, NCCU can use you!
SHARE your time and talents with NCCU Presbyterian Campus Ministry Committee.  The NCCU Presbyterian Campus Ministry Committee is recruiting volunteers to serve on the governing committee. Our group supports and sponsors spiritual enrichment, fellowship, and study activities among students at NCCU. We are seeking new board members to assist with planning, oversight, and fund-raising to support campus ministry activities. Interested? Contact Laura Armstrong ( or call 919 339 9122). Donations to support our mission are always welcome.  
Sign up to Volunteer at Iglesia Emanuel’s Food Bank

Support the Durham Public Schools Foundation
Meals Program

Sign up to volunteer at Urban Ministries of Durham
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, August 11. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, August 9.