"Downtown by history and by choice"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
October 6 - 19, 2020
From the Pastor / Head of Staff:

Dear friends,
In our staff meeting this morning, one of our staff members shared his mantra for each morning. When he wakes, he says, “Yesterday was heavy. Put it down.” This lets him get on with the day not burdened by that which is past but unburdened to face that which is present. As the meeting went on, these words continued to rattle around in my head. “Yesterday was heavy. Put it down.” I thought of the nights I have stayed awake in worry and in prayer, my mind racing so fast that I can hardly keep up. My thoughts jump from one anxious thought to another, begging me to stay awake and feed them, give them time and space in my brain. The burdens of the past days and weeks insist that I not forget about them, demanding that I wake to carry them once again. “Yesterday was heavy,” Tom said. “Put it down.” I saw the wisdom in his mantra.
I imagine you are carrying some burdens as well. After all, it seems that every day is heavy these days. All of us are dealing with some level of stress related to COVID - isolation, sickness, grief, endless screen time, separation from family and friends, demands of work and/or school. We are also dealing with stress related to racial divisions, tensions, and injustices in our nation, as well as stress related to politics and national disunity. We are weighed down by it all, and too often find ourselves trying to fight off negative emotions such as fear, anger, hatred, doubt, and blame. We want to be like Jesus, loving God and one another, but sometimes we find it just too hard to love enemies and pray for persecutors. Sometimes it is just too hard to trust that all will be well when evidence points in a different direction. Sometimes we are not strong enough not to be afraid.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus knows that yesterday was hard. Jesus knows that today can sometimes feel impossibly difficult. Jesus knows that we worry (sometimes incessantly) about tomorrow. Jesus knows that this world weighs us down with burdens and worries aplenty. And so he says:
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
           What if we take this calling to heart? What if we give to Jesus all that worries us and makes us anxious? What if our mantra really could be, “Yesterday was heavy. Put it down.” What if we take Jesus’ words seriously and extend the mantra to hear him say, “Today is heavy. Give it to me.”
           I like this. I am going to use it. I hope you will, too.
           “Yesterday was heavy. Put it down.”
                       “Today is heavy. Give it to Jesus.”
                                   And ultimately:
                                   “Tomorrow is unknown. Trust it to God.”
           May God give us the strength to do so.
With love,
The love and concern of the congregation are extended to the following:
  • Esther Pardue and family on the death of her husband (and former FPC member), Leonard (Len) Pardue. Read Len's obituary here.
  • Pam and Wilson Gunn, Jr. on the death of Wilson's father, the Rev. George Wilson Gunn, Sr. who died recently in Black Mountain NC;
  • Sarah Hubbard, (regular attendee) on the death of her beloved companion, Corey McCraw, on August 23. Read Corey's obit here.

Please keep these families in your prayers. Contact the church office for contact information for extending condolences.

Karl Hanson, father of Laura Hanson, in ICU in Kansas following surgery
Richard Sims, father of Chris Sims
Jerry Walter, friend of FPC, recovering at Duke from a heart transplant
Carol Wills, recovering following a visit to the ER  

All those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

All those in harm's way in California, Oregon, and Washington state (wildfires) and along the Gulf coast (flooding from tropical storms and hurricanes)
Care Communities:
Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell, Becky Crockett
Croasdaile Pavilion: Bob Rankin, Jane Rourk
Dubose Center at The Cedars, Chapel Hill: Arthur Clark
Durham Regent: John Kerr, Ann Prospero  
Emerald Pond: Paul Cornsweet
Hillcrest Convalescent Center: Margaret Sims
Rose Vista Village /Kinston 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
Peggy Boulden, mother of Dick Boulden
Becky Evans, sister of Vernon Neece
Phil Goss, friend of the congregation
Peggy Mordecai, mother of Beth Eisenson
Shannon Putman, daughter of Mary Putman
Robert Reaves, husband of Floalice Reaves, friend of the congregation
Recent Fellowship Activities:

First Friends held several small group gatherings on September 19: The Momsen-Hudsons held a backyard picnic; the Wiebe/Shimers sponsored a walking tour; the Abels hosted friends on their deck, and Celia Dickerson hosted friends on her screened porch. About 35 friends participated in these small in-person gatherings.

Carlo and Emily Diy organized a Scratch group Sunday Fun Day Potluck via Zoom on October 4.

More small group and Zoom fellowship opportunities are planned this fall!
Donors Needed for Sanctuary Flowers
Now that worship is being led more regularly from the sanctuary, fresh flowers are needed to enliven the space. The following dates are open for donors: October 25, November 8, and November 15.

To reserve a Sunday, please sign up here, or call the church office (919-682-5511). Floral arrangements are currently $40 and you can mail a check (payable to FPC) to the church or pay online at FPC's website. The florist will take care of the rest!
Need Childcare?
Are you or someone you know looking for childcare? First Presbyterian Day School has openings! FPDS is a five-star program offering full- and part-time care to children ages six weeks to six years. Beginning this month, FPDS is expanding its offering to care for kindergarteners attending school virtually, which includes breakfast, lunch, and snack, as well as creative and recreational activities. FPDS is carefully following COVID-19 safety protocols for childcare centers. Subsidy vouchers are accepted for both programs. To learn more, email, or call 919-688-8685.
Stewardship Season is here!
Check out this year's campaign here

FPC featured in Legal Aid of NC's October newsletter
To understand how faith and housing security are connected, intern Katherine Edlein interviewed leaders of two churches that have provided substantial financial support to Legal Aid clients: Duke Memorial UMC and First Presbyterian Church. 

"... Mary-Jo Keenan and Jane Williams at First Presbyterian noted that they “strongly believe that social justice is a mandate of our faith – a faith that includes loving and taking care of your neighbor.” Housing justice falls under these congregations’ greater missions to provide basic needs and continues their strong history of advocacy for distressed community members. Keenan and Williams further emphasized that First Presbyterian’s strong partnership with the Eviction Diversion Program has been in keeping with their calling “to do justice and live in love… [by] working for individuals and families to be treated fairly in a time when one of our most basic needs, housing, is being threatened.”" Click here to read the entire article.

A Story from the Walk-in Ministry . . .
A young woman called who sounded particularly desperate. Her voice was full of emotion as she talked about receiving a notice from her landlord for back-due rent. She had safety issues with her apartment, stress over her job loss, and feelings of despair as she had never had to ask for assistance before. We could not cover all of her rent and I worried that she would become more distraught. I apologetically said that we could cover $200 of what she owed. Instead of her expected reaction, she exclaimed, “For the first time in a long time, I feel a sense of hope. Your church has given me something more important than the money I owe.” - Jane Williams, case worker

The needs in our community remain great.
Thank you for giving to the Walk-in Ministry.
Highlights of the Auditor’s Report
for 2019
First Presbyterian Church, Durham, North Carolina
Each year, the Church engages an independent auditor to examine the financial statements to obtain reasonable assurance that the statements are free of material misstatement. Bernard Robinson & Company, L.L.P. conducted the audit for the year ending December 31, 2019, and reported no audit concerns. As in the past, the opinion was qualified because FPC does not report expenses by their functional classification, as is required under professional accounting standards for not-for-profit organizations. This is only a reporting difference and has not caused concern for the Church in the past. Copies of the auditor’s report are available from Tom Bloom, the Business Administrator.

Highlights from the report follow:

  • The Operations Fund, often referred to as “the budget”, was net positive by $1,290 with total revenue ($1,037,024) exceeding total expenses ($1,035,734.) This surplus increased the accumulated reserves or net assets of the Operations Fund to $242,352. Actual revenues and expenses were both slightly higher than budgeted for 2019. 

  •  The Endowment Fund includes four funds resulting from past benevolence: the Building and Grounds Fund, the Human Needs Fund, the McPherson Fund, and the Meyer Fund. The funds are invested with Bank of America Private Wealth Management, FPC’s investment manager. The year-end balance sheet shows combined net assets of $3,943,452, up $662,452 from the beginning of the year. A substantial part of the increase reflected realized and unrealized gains on investments. Distributions from these funds, which are made annually according to the Session’s spending policy, totaled $186,658 in 2019.

  • Other Funds includes funds received by the Church for specific activities as designated by the Session and contributions received by the Church that are restricted by the donor as to purpose or time. Net Assets at the end of 2019 were $583,152, down $184,286 from the beginning of the year.

  • Net Assets for all funds (excluding Church land and buildings, which are not part of the audit) at the end of 2019 totaled $4,768,956, up $479,456 from the beginning of the year.

Approved by the Finance & Investment Committee
September 22, 2020
Sunday, October 11
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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:

John Weicher, preaching

Fellowship this Sunday following 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 immediately following worship using Zoom. Bob Pleasants, FPC deacon, will be waiting to greet you and send you to a breakout room!  Check Friday's email and Sunday's worship guide for the Zoom link.

Closed Captions are available for all of the Sunday worship videos on the FPC YouTube channel (click on the CC button at the bottom of the video to turn on the captions). Unfortunately, Closed Captioning is not currently available during the actual live stream; it is only available once the video is created on YouTube after the live stream has ended. We are working on a solution to have captions available during the live stream. 
Sunday, October 18
National Children's Sabbath (read more here)

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:

The Sacrament of Baptism will be celebrated for Miles James, and his parents, Chris and Emily James, will be received into membership by the Session and welcomed during worship on October 18.
Children's Sunday School
Contact Lenore Champion for class kits and links
to the Children's Sunday School classes
Notes from the outskirts of zoom:

As I sat in the 3rd-4th-5th grade Sunday School class this morning, I realized what a gift I had been given: How many people in our church get to hear the stories that we hear in Sunday School combined with the questions and remarks and “wonderings” that our children have in reaction? I think only me!  

What a privilege to witness these remarkable things! Today, I heard the story of Noah and God’s promise to take care of and love God’s people (2’s, 3’s, 4’s). And-I heard the story of Moses and God’s call to him in the burning bush (Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade “Seekers”). And-I heard the story of Moses receiving the 10 Commandments atop Mt. Sinai--God’s loving guidance for God’s people.

Time and time again, God meets us where we are--in the chaotic waters, the desert, and on the mountain top. What about now? In the Pandemic? In election season? In difficult family times? I think YES. God is meeting us where we are, and promises to be with us, no matter what. It is our job to NOTICE, to LISTEN, and to WONDER.

Thank you SO much for teaching our children and allowing me along for the journey. I am truly GRATEFUL!

Breathe, Pray, and Sing,

Class link
  • Faith & Community – On October 4, the Faith and Community class began a 4-week series on the community organizing group, Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations & Neighborhoods). This series will be an action-oriented follow up to our classes on racial equity and reparations. This second of three meetings (October 11) will focus on what Durham CAN has accomplished in the area of affordable housing. Jane Williams and Sharon Hirsch will lead this class, and the Rev. Dr. Tim Conder will offer a theological reflection on Congregation-Based Community Organizing. The third and final meeting on October 18, will focus on CAN's work in the area of criminal justice. DA Satana Deberry will be the featured guest, along with James Stanley and Robert Singaliese. All are welcome to join us. Join via Zoom. 

  • Journeys – We began a new topic on August 30. Rev. Dr. Richard C. "Dick" Prust is leading us in an abbreviated study of the Old Testament. Join via Zoom. Class assignment for October 11 can be found here. Contact Andy Henry for more information about weekly studies and class assignments.

  • Lectionary – Join us each Sunday for online discussion at 10:00, preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. On October 11: How would you respond to an invitation to a lavish banquet? Would you ignore it, or make excuses? Even worse, would you publicly insult the host and everything he stood for? What were they thinking? On October 18: To whom do you owe honor and allegiance? To the business that pays your salary? To the government to whom you pay your taxes? Where does God fit in? Join via Zoom. (For phone access (audio only), call 253-215-8782 ) If you need a copy of the handout of scripture readings or need the ID for the Zoom connection, contact David Smith.

  • Women’s Spirituality Group - Contact Leah Graves for the links to join us on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. for spiritual formation, following worship for a virtual lunch, and checking in with one another on Tuesdays - all three events via Zoom.

  • SCRATCH – Looking forward to seeing everyone at 8:00 p.m. on Sunday evenings! Join via Zoom. This fall we are using "Home by Another Way" by Barbara Brown Taylor to guide our discussions. The book is a series of short sermons by Taylor that will walk us through the church year. The readings each week are short. We're going to set up the discussions so even if you haven't read the chapter, the leader will provide a short summary. If more info is needed, contact Emily Diy.
Contact John Weicher for link information
on YOUTH Sunday School classes and other activities
Congregational Events / Activities
An Invitation to a Conversation about Faith and Politics
The conversation will include a discussion of how our faith informs our political decisions. We will look at the contributions of Reinhold Niebuhr and Howard Thurman. In addition to Joe Harvard and Mac McCorkle, conversation partners will be Jimmie Hawkins, Mindy Douglas, and Lakesha Bradshaw. The class will be a Zoom conversation on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m. from October 11 to November 8. Watch for the Zoom link. Plan to join us for what promises to be lively and relevant conversations.
The These Days devotional books for the fall quarter (October, November, December 2020) have arrived at the church. Regular and large print copies are available at no cost. You can drop by the church to pick up a copy (Mondays or Fridays), or contact the church office (Sybil King) and one can be mailed to you.
Winesdays Meeting ID: 975 6934 9009
Support for Those Who Mourn

Growing thru Grief offers year-round support to people who have lost a loved one. Currently we are meeting on zoom each week. If you would like to attend, please send a request to Then we can send you the information. Everyone must register every week. We need to receive your inquiry by 8 a.m. on Monday for Tuesday’s session. We meet each Tuesday from 4:15-6:00 p.m., with a presentation plus small group discussion.

October 6 marks our seventh year and we will again offer our fall “Introduction to Grief” series. This is a six-week program that explores the journey through grief. William Holloman, manager at Duke HomeCare and Hospice, will lead these sessions.

Topics are:
October 6       Dimensions of Grief—What is Normal?
October 13     Experiencing the Pain of Loss?
October 20     Difficult Emotions
October 27     Remembering
November 3   Important Events
November 10 Reinvesting in the Future
On November 17, Duke HomeCare and Hospice will present “Grieving the Holidays.”

Growing thru Grief is a free, open, confidential program sponsored by coalition of area religious and civic organizations to provide support and comfort to those who mourn. 
Service and Mission Opportunities
from the comfort of your own home —

Bag Rice and Beans for the Food Pantry at Iglesia Emanuel:
· Divide large bags of beans — black, pinto or red — or white rice into quart-size, freezer strength Ziplock baggies. 
· Fill the bags until almost full, leaving just enough room to close securely. 
· Large bags of beans or rice can be purchased at Costco, Sam’s Club, or El Camino, a Mexican food distributor located at 2314 Reichard St, Durham 27705. 
· Deliver the bags to Iglesia Emanuel on Monday afternoons between 3 and 5, or contact Margaret Rubiera for other options 
· Sign up at this link 

Do a little cooking for Urban Ministries:
· Casseroles for breakfast, lunch or dinner (baked ziti, tuna, mac n cheese, etc.)
· Sandwiches in individual Zip-lock bags — no condiments, so they keep fresh longer. If able, please label bags according to ingredients, such as “turkey & cheese, or T & C.”
· Cookies or brownies in individual baggies, to go in the lunch bags. Everyone loves a touch of sweetness!
· Encourage neighbors or friends to join your efforts and deliver all the food at one time
· Deliver to the main door of Urban Ministries, 410 Liberty St, between 9:30 - 5:30, Monday - Friday

Make phone calls to Meals on Wheels clients:
· Give a quick call to home-bound senior citizens or disabled adults on Wednesday or Friday mornings to check on them and offer a much needed warm, human connection
· Contact Britt Barnes to sign up

You can safely lend a hand in person —

Food Pantry at Iglesia Emanuel:
· Sign up for a 2-hour shift on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday sorting and bagging food, unloading deliveries, loading boxes of food into cars
· Find your spot on the SignUp Genius and know you are making a huge difference in the lives of struggling families 

Urban Ministries:
· FPC provides volunteers multiple times a month to help prepare and serve breakfast or prepare lunch bags for hungry members of our community
· Breakfast shifts are the 3rd and 5th Fridays of every month, from 7 - 9 am
· Lunch bag shifts are every 3rd Monday and 4th Thursday, 9:30 - 10:30 
· Enjoy fellowship with your church friends while you serve our neighbors!
· Contact Jen McGonigle to sign up for the following shifts in October:
  • Friday, October 15, prepare breakfast and fill take-out boxes, 7 - 9 am
  • Monday, October 19, lunch bag prep, 9:30 - 10:30*
  • Thursday, October 22, lunch bag prep, 9:30 - 10:30* 
  • Friday, October 30, prepare breakfast and fill take-out boxes, 7 - 9 am

Deliver Meals on Wheels:
· Deliver boxes of nutritious frozen meals to home-bound seniors and handicapped adults every Monday
· Offer a friendly smile from behind your mask and encouraging words to brighten someone’s day!
· Contact Britt Barnes to sign up
STILL NEEDED: Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies
Our local food pantries continue to be flooded with requests for basic sanitation items. To answer this urgent need, Durham Congregations in Action (DCIA) launched 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!
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, October 20. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, October 18.