"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
September 17 - 30, 2019
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,

By now you have likely received the news of Associate Pastor Marilyn Hedgpeth’s retirement. She announced her intention to retire on December 31, 2019 at a called Session meeting on Sunday, September 15, followed by an email announcement to the congregation and friends of FPC. Of course, this announcement comes with a flood of emotions for all of us. We are happy that she and her husband “Hedge” Hedgpeth (the pastor at Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Church) will begin the next part of their life journey together as they step into the wide wonderful world of retirement. 

As we add Marilyn’s retirement to Sam’s previously announced retirement, I know that many of you are feeling heavy with grief. Marilyn has served faithfully as the full-time associate pastor for sixteen years. It was her leadership that kept the proverbial ship on course when Joe Harvard retired after thirty-three years. She bridged the three-year gap between pastors and did so with grace, strength, and wisdom. Her presence lowers anxiety. Her pastoral gifts have brought God’s light into many dark and difficult places. Her passion for interfaith work inspires others. In her teaching and preaching, she weaves together poetry, song, and current events to make the gospel relevant and personal. She is a wonderful colleague and a friend to all who work with her. I am grateful to have had the blessing of serving alongside her in ministry these last three years. She has been an incredible gift to FPC and will be missed so very much. 

Sam Miglarese has also been a gift, serving FPC in a part-time role for the last 13 years while working for Duke full-time connecting the university with the city of Durham in many and important ways. He will continue his work at Duke as he steps back from his ministry here. In his teaching, he has shared knowledge, wisdom, clarity, and insight. In his preaching, he has shared his passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ as he stands on the steps of the chancel weaving together stories and current events and calling us to gospel living. He has a pastoral presence that has been a comfort for many as they have faced life’s challenges. He has also been a wonderful colleague and an important presence in the last pastoral transition. We are grateful he and Sheila will continue to be a part of the life and ministry of FPC!

As Marilyn and Sam complete their final months with us, we will all feel deep grief and some anxiety around their leaving. We will want to celebrate them, and we will (stay tuned for exact dates for these two celebrations)! We also may begin to feel some anxiety about the future. Please be assured that the Personnel Committee, the Session, and I will be hard at work over the next few months to make sure we are able to move into 2020 with leadership in place to continue the good work that Marilyn and Sam have given over the years. God is good and God will guide us in the way we should go.

In the meantime, please share your words of love and appreciation for both Marilyn and Sam as they prepare for their retirement. Share your prayers with us all as we seek what God has in store for us in the months and years to come.

Grace and peace to you all,
Marilyn Hedgpeth announces retirement! Click here to read Marilyn's letter.

Congratulations to Valerie McMillian and family ! Valerie's mom celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday, September 14, surrounded by some of her family and friends. It was a real joy and blessing for all of them!

Traveling mercies to Diane Standaert, who is moving to Jackson, Mississippi at the end of September to join an organization called HOPE Credit Union/HOPE Policy Institute as their Senior Vice President for Policy and Advocacy. HOPE is a black-led credit union with branches intentionally and only in rural communities in the deep South. Diane has been a valuable member of FPC, wonderfully helpful with Iglesia Presbiteriana Emanuel, and a good friend to the Durham Community. We wish her well, and send the prayers and love of the church with her as she relocates.  

Added this week: Jeannine Romines, mother of Karen Romines, recovering from knee surgery

Chuck Barenchi, recovering at Pettigrew Rehabiliattion Center
Paul Cornsweet, recovering at Treyburn Rehabilitation and Nursing Center

Home :
Margaret Mubanga
Mercy Ndambiri-Curlett
Joseph Ngumi 
Carolyn and Jim Wolfe
Care Communities :
Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell, Becky Crockett              
Croasdaile Pavilion: Bob Rankin 
Durham Regent: John Kerr, Ann Prospero                     
Pruitt Health at Carolina Point, Durham: Helen Garrison
The Forest at Duke: Fran Bryant

Family and Friends of the Congregation :
Fran Alwood , mother of Jennie Alwood    
Ken Chambliss , father of Will Chambliss
Camilla Crampton , companion of Mal King
Ralph Edwards , grandfather of Amy Wilson
Heath Huberg , friend of Kathy Parkins
Doug Neece , brother of Vern Neece
Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss 
Bob Warren , father of Dawn Carsey
If you would like to help victims of Hurricane Dorian in their recovery efforts, you may give directly to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance via their website at: . This designated account supplements the One Great Hour of Sharing offering to enable a significant response for relief and recovery from hurricanes and typhoons that cause widespread destruction in the United States and internationally. Additional relief and recovery information from Church World Service is available from the tables in the foyer and narthex.
The "Alleluia Children's Choir" debuted at Covenant PC
The Alleluia Children’s Choir debuted Sunday, September 15 and led the 10:00 a.m. service at Covenant Presbyterian Church. The choir will sing here at the 11:00 a.m. service at FPC on Sunday, September 29. The newly formed choir is a joint effort of these two congregations. Second-fifth graders are welcome to join this choir which rehearses at First Presbyterian most Sunday nights at 5:00 p.m. Next rehearsal is this Sunday, September 22 at 5:00 p.m. Please contact Kathy Parkins at for more information. Brennetta Simpson is the director of the choir and she can be reached at
The Holy Envy B ook Study group had a wonderful visit at the Sikh Gurudwara on Sunday, September 15 th. Many thanks to Kulpreet Singh and his congregation for hosting us during worship and the lunch that followed. Members of the delegation from FPC included:  Marsha Butler, Marilla Stone, Dale Gaddis, Sue and John Fricks, Laura McNab and Marilyn Hedgpeth . 

Special thanks to Kathy Conner and Deborah Momsen-Hudson for coordinating this year's First Friends and Families' beach weekend. The group of 29 enjoyed the sun and the beach, shared meals and chores, and participated in worship with communion.
  • This Sunday, September 22, following worship, there will be a Congregational Meeting at which time we will hear a report from the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee and vote on a candidate for the installed position of Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families.
  • There will be another Congregational Meeting on October 20 following worship for the purpose of receiving the 2018-2019 Annual Report, meeting as the “Corporation,” and discussing the Long-Range Planning Team Report to the Session. This report will be distributed a week in advance of the October 20th congregational meeting. On October 20th after lunch, we will divide into small groups, led by planning team members, to discuss the priorities and goals of FPC as we look toward to our future together as God’s people living the gospel of Jesus Christ in the city of Durham .
Sunday, September 22
9:45 – 10:45 a.m.
Wilson Parlor
The third and final class in this current series of membership inquiry classes will be held this Sunday. Marilyn Hedgpeth will lead the class .  Anyone interested in becoming a member of FPC should contact Marilyn . You do not need to attend membership inquiry classes to become a member of FPC.
Sunday, September 22
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:45 a.m.  Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship
Marilyn Hedgpeth , preaching

  • This Sunday following worship, there will be a Congregational Meeting at which time we will hear a report from the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee and vote on a candidate for the installed position of Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families.
  • Remember to bring your Hunger for Change Offering on Sunday to help alleviate hunger in our community and around the world. This PCUSA special offering is received the fourth Sunday of every month at FPC.

Liturgist: Jennie Alwood
Narthex Greeter: Chris Williams
After Worship Greeters: Lenore Champion (font/side door); Jane Wettach
Ushers: Julie Whiddon (head), (flowers) , (counter), Michael Honeycutt , Dale Gaddis (Click here to sign up to usher.)
Sunday, September 29
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:45 a.m.  Sunday School (as usual) with an Intergenerational Surprise)
11:00 a.m. Worship
Mindy Douglas , preaching

This year, we are again providing a FREE LUNCH in Watts-Hill Hall immediately following the worship service. The Stewardship Committee will give a presentation around the theme: “ Love in the Heart of Durham ,” while we enjoy a wonderful meal prepared by Cris Rivera and Beth Stringfield. Childcare will be available during the luncheon.  RSVP via the Evite or use the reservation card in the worship bulletin if you plan to join us. One response per household is needed by September 25. Your personalized stewardship materials will be available for pickup on September 29 th in the foyer . Dedication Sunday is October 27 .  

Liturgist: Michael Honeycutt
Narthex Greeter: Debbie Hamlin-Aggrey
After Worship Greeters:
Michael Honeycutt (font/side door);
Tyler Momsen-Hudson (rear/narthex)
Ushers: Click here to sign up to usher. 
Building Connections Across Generations
Sunday, September 29, 10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
Adults, be prepared for some special visitors to come bearing gifts to your Sunday School classes on the fifth Sunday in September. The Christian Education Committee has paired the children’s and youth classes with adult classes so that you might get to know each other a little better and build connections between young and old. Research has shown that connections with others leads to better health, and helps children and adults deal with stress better. Not to mention that it improves brain function (something that we all could use)! So, wrap up your lesson early on that Sunday morning, and expect some visitors at around 10:30 with a tasty treat for you to enjoy together, and an activity to do to meet some new friends.   Show hospitality! Tell them about your class! Enjoy each other! Make new friends!  
Click here to see brief descriptions of Sunday School and short-term study opportunities for adults, youth, and children.

The  Journeys Class  will begin their fall study this Sunday, September 22. We will discuss the Introduction and first chapter of “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James Cone.  Journeys meets in the church house apartment, room 221. Class leaders are  Andy Henry   and  Eric Wiebe .

The Faith and Community Class:
This past Sunday, Faith and Community members began a series of four discussions on  Building Connections to a Life of Meaning: Beyond the Offering Plate.  The focus of these discussions is discipleship, and what it means to organize our lives and resources in service to God.  Sunday’s discussion was led by George Bernhardt .  These next three Sundays will be led by Sharon Hirsch, Cris Rivera and Mindy Douglas .  Faith and Community meets from 9:45 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. in Watts-Hill Hall , and all are welcome. 
Lectionary Class:
September 22: Jesus told a parable of a manager who reduced his customers' bills in order to gain their friendship. Is Jesus commending crooked accounting practices? Or is this another story of the mysterious economics of God's kingdom? Join us for discussion at 9:45 in the East Parlor .
September 29: The Bible has some harsh things to say about those who are rich. Do we, who live in the world's richest country, fall under condemnation for our standard of living? "The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." 

Spiritual Formation Class
This year-round class for women is led by  Susan Dunlap  and explores the topic of spiritual formation. Join us at 9:45 a.m. in  basement classroom B-16 .  

"Becoming an Anti-Racist Church" Class , taught by the  Racial Equity Task Force , has been postponed   until next year. In the meantime, those who are interested in studying issues of race (and poverty) are encouraged to join the Journeys class this fall.

The  Thoughtful Christian Class,  taught by  Mindy Douglas has been postponed due to low interest . The class will be offered again in January. Stay tuned for a startup date.
The Walk
Using Brian McLaurin's book, We Make the Road by Walking , and led by Mary Berry, Emily Diy, and Abi Warmack , this class invites all who come to walk together through an overview of the whole Bible exploring the difference an honest, living, growing faith can make in our world today. Come walk with us! This class meets in room 205 of the Education building from 9:45 - 10:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings.

Activate for Chapter 2:   If part of being image bearers of God means that we represent God in caring for the earth, we need to learn about our corner of the earth. You know your postal address, but what do you know about your environmental address – issues facing the environment where you live? Learn about your watershed, what makes it special, and the environmental issues it faces.

September 22 – " A World of Meaning ” (Chapter 3)
Activate for Chapter 3:   Share with someone this week - a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or an acquaintance - the idea that we all live by a certain logos or logic. Ask them which logos they see to be most powerful in today’s world – rivalry, compliance, meaningless mechanism, or love.

September 29 – We’ll meet for class and there will be an Intergenerational Surprise near the end
Sunday Evening Book Study
This is an experiential learning class for adults, who may or may not have children or youth in programs on Sunday evenings. Using Barbara Brown Taylor’s latest book, Holy Envy , we will read and discuss religious plurality in the Durham area, and observe how others express their faith. Read more here . Upcoming visits include: Judea Reform (September 27), Ar Razzaq Masjid (October 11) and The Durham Friends Congregation (November 10). Those visits will take place at various times, but our discussions will be on Sunday evenings, through November 24. To register and get a book, contact Marilyn Hedgpeth.
PCUSA International Peacemaker
Muna Nassar from Bethlehem, West Bank
will present to a small gathering at the home of
Mindy Douglas and Tim O'Brien
Friday, September 20
6:00-7:30 p.m.
1502 Oakland Avenue, Durham
Click RSVP if you want to attend. Seating is limited to 20. Event is sponsored by FPC's Service and Mission Committee. Read more about Muna here .
Another grounds workday is planned for Saturday, September 21 from 9:00 a.m. - 12 Noon. If yardwork is your thing, join Barbara Buckley and others as we prepare the church grounds for fall. Contact Barbara at or call 919-210-0482 for details on the work to be done.
"Time Out" Radio Show
Margaret and Miguel Rubiera will be Bill Hendrickson's guests on "Time Out" on Monday, September 23 at 5:00 p.m.   Time Out is heard on WCOM, 103.5 locally in Carrboro and Chapel HIll and heard elsewhere online at, "Listen Now." They will be discussing building homes in Honduras. 
Durham’s Pride Festival
and Parade
Come celebrate and walk with our friends, neighbors and allies in the Pride Parade!
For the past several years, FPC members have been present for the Durham Pride Parade as festival goers, and for the first time last year, we had a group to participate in the parade! We hope to have another large crowd representing FPC in support of our LBGTQIA+ community this year on Saturday, September 28 ! We will gather when the festival opens at 10:00 a.m., with the parade starting at 11:00 a.m. Please email Laurie Williamson ( if you would like to join us . Laurie will follow up with those interested to coordinate walkers, signs, color, and flair! 
Slide Show on The Arctic
The Arctic is a place of cold and ice, but a few animals have adapted to survive there.  David and Judy Smith traveled this summer to Spitsbergen Island in the high Arctic, and they will share their photos and videos in a slide show on Monday, September 30, at 7:00 pm in Watts-Hill Hall.  Join them for pack ice and glaciers, for puffins, walruses, and polar bears.
Winesday Fellowship
Wednesday, September 18
5:00 p.m. at the Durham Co-op
This spring, a few of us FPC fellowshippers began gathering at the Durham Co-op Market on occasion for their regular wine tasting events at the kind invitation of Cris Rivera. Our little trial group found this to be a really nice, laid back way to get to know each other better while supporting a great community-focused local market. We've been having so much fun hanging out together that we want to make it a monthly "thing," open to any and all! After a break for the summer, we're gathering again. Join us in sharing wine and breaking bread in a more casual
setting! We meet on the third Wednesday of the month from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Cost is $3 for wine tasting and then we each usually pitch in on an assortment of bread, cheese and other light dinner snacks to share.
  • We usually eat outside which is lovely, weather permitting.
  • Email or text Laurie Williamson (919-724-1682) to let us know you are coming or you can just show up.
  • You are welcomed to bring a friend!
  • Link to their website:
Support Group for Caregivers
T he next support group meeting for care-givers of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will be on Sunday, October 13 at 2:00 p.m. in the Wilson Parlor at FPC . This group is open to anyone in the community who wants to share the joys and perils of being a care-giver.  Laura McNab is leading the support group.  For more information, contact Laura at 843-222-1718.
Join us for a trip to Montgomery to tour
The National Memorial for Peace and Justice  and visit The Legacy Museum Exhibit: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration
A group of First Presbyterians is planning a trip to the Memorial and Museum in Montgomery this October 18-20. Details regarding transportation and lodging TBD. If you are interested in learning more please contact Kathy Conner (919 451-5445) or Eric Wiebe (919 656-0886).  Check out the museum: Legacy Museum.
Help our Hispanic Community! 
The Tutoring Program for children, held every Tuesday evening from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. at Iglesia Emanuel, needs more eager and committed tutors for reading or math. We promise that you will find this endeavor to be most rewarding, and it is a simple but effective way to show love and support to our Hispanic community in Durham. Click here to read answers to frequently asked questions. More questions? Contact Miguel Rubiera or Margaret Rubiera
Growing thru Grief
*** TODAY***
Tuesday, September 17:
Rabbi Daniel Greyber on “Grieving at Your Own Pace”

September 24: Mitzi Quint will begin our fall six-week series on the Introduction to Grief. She will explore six myths of grief.

Click here to see more information, dates, and topics.

Meetings are held year-round on Tuesdays (except for holidays) at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1200 W. Cornwallis. We gather at 4:00 p.m. for registration, coffee, and cookies; the meeting, a presentation plus small group discussion, starts at 4:30 and ends by 6:00 p.m.
The next church newsletter will be issued October 1.
Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, September 29.