"Downtown by history and by choice"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
August 11- 24, 2020
The issuance of today's newsletter was delayed
because the church's internet went down.
This is a reminder that our next Zoom gathering will be TONIGHT, Tuesday, August 11, at 7 PM. Marcia Lorimer will be hosting via Zoom. Dale Gaddis will lead a discussion of The Overstory by Richard Powers. Click here to see discussion questions.
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,
           How can it possibly be August already? Do you sometimes find yourself thinking that time has stopped, or time has pushed too fast past us, or time is incomprehensible in this pandemic world when each day seems like a copy of the last and a foreshadowing of the next? What day is it? What time is it? We have lost our usual markers that tell us when we are in time and even where we are in space. Strange days, these.
           In an article from The Christian Century, Anglican priest Jesse Zink tells of the multicolored artwork that covered the windows of his apartment complex in Montreal in the early days of the pandemic when stay-at-home orders were the strictest. Many of these hope-filled, rainbow colored paintings included the phrase, “Ca va bien aller” which means something like “It’s all going to be fine.”
           John Weicher and I have each preached sermons during this pandemic where we have quoted Julian of Norwich who wrote: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
           Both of these phrases point to the eschatological hope that we have as people of faith. Eschatology is the big theological word that refers to our understanding of the end times. What will this (our lives, this world, this pandemic) be in the end? Christians live in the eschatological hope that God has given us in Christ Jesus. We hope for that which has not come to fruition in its entirety, God’s kingdom of peace, love, and joy, here on earth.
Zink reminds us that “Eschatological living not only gives Christians hope for the future, it also allows us to cast a critical eye on the way we live now. If we know how God will act to fulfill all things, we are called to live now like we believe the future will one day be. It is a future of new creation, right relationship, and the overthrow of oppressive regimes.”
           And so I wonder, how does our confidence in God’s presence with us now, even in this pandemic, shape our hope for the future, and how does that hope for the future shape our actions for the present? These are difficult times to be sure, full of confusion, pain, and loss, but these are also times of rebirth and awakening to the injustices of the world and the deep need to repair the breach of racism and oppression that has held so many down for generations. It is also a time for us to hold onto what we value the most – the community we have formed with one another, our familial relationships, and our deepest understanding of ourselves and who God has created us to be.
      In all your days, in each moment of this time we call today, and now, may you hold on to the hope that God has given us in Jesus Christ. May your hearts be full of the knowledge and love of God. And may you be well, now and always. May you and all manner of things be well.
With love,
SYMPATHIES: The love and concern of the congregation are extended to Jeanne Hervey on the death of her friend Chris Kovach.

  • Wil James, preparing for abdominal surgery
  • Phil Goss, friend of the congregation undergoing chemotherapy
  • Robert Reaves, husband of Floalice Reaves who is an active friend of the congregation
  • Joe (and Carlisle) Harvard, recovering at daughter Rebecca Barnes' home
  • All those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • School administrators, teachers, parents, and students as they begin 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: Mickey Velkey; 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
Jenny Bodkin, sister of Mindy Douglas
Johnny Boles, nephew of Maxie and cousin of Michael Honeycutt
Peggy Boulden, mother of Dick Boulden
Gail Chasin, friend of Kathy Krahenbuhl
Becky Evans, sister of Vernon Neece
Bruce Foster Momsen, father of Deborah Momsen-Hudson
Shannon Johnson, daughter of Mary Putman
Thank you to all of the members of First Presbyterian Church who reached out to me by notes and telephone calls to express their sympathy over the death of my partner Camilla and/or their concern about my kidney surgery from which I have fully recovered. - Mal King

I would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts after the death of my sister, Dawn K. Fitts (OBIT) in Greenville, NC on June 8. I have received many calls, emails, and cards and really appreciate knowing that we have such a wonderful caring community for support. Dawn was my oldest sister and I have treasured having her in my life. We will be having a memorial service for her next summer so that all of her extended family will have a chance to be together to share the love and memories. Again, thank you all; knowing that you are there is quite a comfort. AND . . . I'm really happy to be able to let you know that my friend, Gail Chasin, has been released from the hospital and is doing so much better than any of us could have imagined. When I let her know that we have a full contingent of prayer warriors praying for her, she wanted me to let you know how much she appreciates it. She is recovering at home, but is bouncing back strongly. So, I thank you as well, for all the prayers that went up for her. - Kathy Krahenbuhl
Results of the Shirt Drive . . .
Here is the total inventory of what the church collected on behalf of farmworkers:
184 long-sleeve shirts 
114 caps and hats
22 pairs of gloves
3 pairs of shoes (including two pairs of waterproof work boots)
9 short sleeve shirts 
4 waterproof jackets 
5 bandanas 
3 water bottles 
4 face masks 
10 pairs pants 
3 pairs of socks
They were distributed the week of August 3rd to workers at a labor camp in Black Creek, NC. Thanks again to all of you for your support and donations! If anyone needs to get in touch with the Association of Mexicans in North Carolina in the future, our contact there is Missel de Leon, Community Public Relations Coordinator (

The Sacrament of Baptism was celebrated for Ruby Elizabeth Gentithes on Sunday, August 9 during worship. The baptism was held at the Gentithes' home and viewed live via FPC's YouTube channel. John Weicher officiated and Amy Wilson was the presiding elder. Ruby is the 13-year-old daughter of George and Annie Gentithes.

SHOWER OF CARDS: On August 20, 2020, Henderson and Jane Rourk will observe their 60th wedding anniversary. The FPC family is invited to celebrate this milestone with the Rourks by showering them with congratulatory notes and cards. Please send mail to:
Henderson and Jane Rourk
2600 Croasdaile Farm Pkwy
A 113 Homestead
Durham NC 27705.
Sunday, August 16
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Summer Sunday School
The Children's (virtual) class begins at 9:15 a.m.
Adult (virtual) classes begin at 10:00 a.m.

Worship streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:
ZOOM fellowship hour after worship
Do you miss seeing those familiar faces in the pews next to you?
Do you miss making connections with others on Sunday?

Here is your chance to meet up with some friendly faces for 30 minutes of fellowship! Join us on Sunday, August 16, using this Zoom link:

Bob Pleasants, FPC deacon, will be waiting to greet you and send you to a breakout room with some old and new friends. Come one, come all! Hope to see you then!
Sunday, August 23
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Worship streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:
New Member Sunday
Interested in joining?  
Tired of waiting until we can be in person again?
Ready to find more ways to be connected to the FPC Community?
We will welcome new members as a part of our live-stream worship on
Sunday, August 30, 2020.
If you are interested in joining FPC and making this your church home,
please let Mindy Douglas know.
  • 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. On August 16: How can we understand God's great mercy? Because Joseph, understanding God's purpose, forgave the brothers who sold him into slavery, a family and a nation were saved. Does that mercy extend beyond the children of Israel? "God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all." On August 23: Do the people around you know who you are? Do you know who you are? You might be a humble baby in a basket, as Pharaoh's daughter thought about Moses, or you might be the leader of a nation. How will you use your gifts and your identity? 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.
Congregational Events / Activities
Sunday School times for the 2020-2021
Church school year which begins August 30, 2020:

9:00-9:30 a.m.: 2's,3's, and 4's

9:30-10:15 a.m.: Younger elementary class

10:15-11:00 a.m.: Older elementary class
Below is a sneak peak of our theme and process
for the upcoming 2020-2021 Children's Sunday School year! 
Meeting ID: 975 6934 9009
The Racial Equity Task Force will have a meeting on Sunday, August 16 at 11:45 (or right after church if church runs past 11:45) via Zoom. We will include the Zoom information in the Friday FPC Weekend reminders for next weekend. Please note that anyone from the congregation is welcome to join the Task Force, you don't need a nomination. We have seen a lot of interest in the Faith and Community class this summer and hope that some of you might want to join us. It is always good to have fresh perspectives on next steps as well as new ideas. Please contact Kathy Krahenbuhl or Jon Abels if you have any questions.

New Hope Presbytery congregations are invited to participate in “Brave Spaces and Truth-Telling,” a series of conversations and activities designed to acknowledge and examine structural racism in our churches and to create new paradigms for a more just and unbiased Christian experience for all worshipers. 
Please join us at our first forum: Is this Conversation Really Necessary? led by Dr. Brian K. BlountMindy Douglas will be one of the panelist. The forum will be conducted as a Zoom meeting on Tuesday, August 18, 2:00 –4:00 p.m. Please sign up to participate at
Service and Mission Opportunities
Sign up to volunteer at Urban Ministries of Durham

  • Monday, August 17, lunch prep, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.
  • Friday, August 21, prepare breakfast/fill to-go boxes, 7 - 9 a.m.
  • Thursday, August 27, lunch prep, 9:30 - 10:30 a.m.

Contact Margaret Rubiera if you wish to sign up to serve. Margaret Rubiera <>
This is just a reminder that the VIRTUAL Fill That Bus! school supply event is still in full swing and we will continue to accept school supplies and monetary donations until Friday, August 21st. Our contributions are needed now more than ever, as we work closely with the school district to get school supplies into the hands of the neediest students.  If you have not donated yet but will be ordering supplies to be shipped directly to the C2C warehouse, please make sure FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF DURHAM is placed on the shipping label or package in the FROM section with your name. C2C wants to thank and acknowledge the donor organizations. You may also drop off your donations at FPC on Friday, August 14 and Monday, August 17 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thanks again and we anticipate that, in spite of COVID-19, this will be our most successful year! - Mal King, FPC coordinator
Small but mighty — those words perfectly describe the Food Pantry at Iglesia Emanuel. Since the outbreak of Covid in March, volunteers from FPC and other churches have joined forces with Iglesia Emanuel to pack and distribute large boxes of fresh and staple food every week to families in need of assistance. The numbers have grown steadily, from around 60 families in early March to 440 families last week! Over and over, we have seen heartwarming examples of generosity — people volunteering to help sort and bag food, unload delivery trucks, load the boxes of food into the trunks of cars in searing heat as well as pouring rain. Financial and food donations have also played a huge part in the ongoing success of this ministry. Thank you to all who have responded with love! The needs continue, and we welcome your ongoing support. To volunteer on site, click here: Iglesia Emanuel COVID-19 Food Bank Signup Genius. To make an online donation, click here. For questions, contact Margaret Rubiera at
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 this project!
Support the Durham Public Schools Foundation
Meals Program
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, August 25. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, August 23.