"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
October 15-28, 2019
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,

We are at a time of much transition in the life of First Presbyterian as three of our pastors transition away from our staff!  Marilyn Hedgpeth retires at the end of the year after 16+ years as our full-time installed Associate Pastor.  Sam Miglarese retires at the end of the year after 13 years as our part-time installed Associate Pastor for Christian Formation.  Cherrie Henry has accepted a call to serve Westminster Presbyterian Church as full-time Associate Pastor for Congregational Care and Outreach after 6 years as our part-time Parish Associate for Young Adults. All three of these pastors have generously given of the gifts God has given them to teach, preach, lead, and provide care for the members and friends of First Presbyterian Church. They have touched so many of us in ways that have nurtured our faith and made us more aware of God’s unconditional and inclusive love for all God’s children. They have challenged us to grow in our own faith through their teaching and preaching, and by their example. God has gifted them to us for these many years. How incredibly grateful we are for their presence in our lives along the way.

I hope you will be able to join us as we celebrate each one of them on a different Sunday in the upcoming weeks and months:

Cherrie’s last Sunday with us will be October 27, 2019 and we will have a reception to honor her following worship that day.

Sam’s last day will be December 31, 2019 and we will have a reception to honor him on December 22, 2019 following worship.

Marilyn’s last day will be December 31, 2019 and we will have a luncheon to honor her on January 12, 2020 following worship.

If you would like to give to a love offering for any of them (or all of them), please mark in the memo line of your check where you would like your gift to go.

I feel incredibly honored to have worked with these three pastors over the last three and a half years. They welcomed me with open arms and have been incredible colleagues along the way. They will be deeply missed by you all, of course, but I will deeply miss them all as well. 

Even as we grieve this transition, we also know that God goes with us and is always doing a new thing with us. We have survived and thrived through transitions in the past and know that God will lead us and guide us as we move forward into 2020 and our 150th anniversary in 2021! Even as I grieve these changes, I trust that God has opportunities in store for us that will help us move into our future as the church that serves the city with love, seeking justice for all God’s children around us and in this wide world.

This Sunday, October 20, we are taking some time to look back with our Annual Report from 2018-2019 and to look forward with our Long-Range Planning Team report. We will also hear a finance report from the finance committee. I hope you all will be able to stay after worship and join us for this congregational conversation time where we share together our hopes and dreams for the future. For those of you who are not able to attend, stay tuned for another Sunday when we will have a similar conversation time soon.

God is doing a new thing with us here in the heart of Durham. I am so excited to be moving into the future with you all and I rejoice that the Holy Spirit is alive and well in this place. You are living your lives as disciples of Christ in so many faithful and wonderful ways. May God continue to guide us as we go and direct our path of faithful discipleship for the future. What joy it is to be on this journey with you! 

Grace and peace to you all,
CONGRATULATIONS   to  Rev. Dr.   Nora Tubbs Tisdale  who is giving the Lyman Beecher Lectures in Preaching at Yale Divinity School this week. Her overarching title for the lectures is Women Preachers in the U. S. and the Transformation of Homiletics . The first lecture (4 p.m. on Wednesday) is titled "Women Preachers in the U. S.: A 60 Year Retrospective." Her second lecture (10:30 a.m. on Thursday) is "Reclaiming Herstory: Early Women Preachers in the U. S. A." And her third lecture (10:30 a.m. on Friday) is "Women Preachers and the Transformation of Homiletics." All three lectures will be live-streamed at    and will also be videotaped for future viewing. Nora is the Clement-Muehl Professor of Homiletics Emeritus, Yale Divinity School, and now worships with FPC.  

CONDOLENCES to the family and friends of Heath Huberg. Heath died October 13 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Changes this week :  
Joseph Ngumi, a patient at Duke Hospital
Cynthia Shimer , recovering from shoulder surgery
Barbara Gerwe , recovering from surgery at home 

Chuck Barenchi    
Margaret Mubanga                    
Mercy Ndambiri-Curlett              
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
Treyburn Rehab & Nursing Center:  Paul Cornsweet

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
Frances H. Kennedy , mother of Emily Wilkins
Jodi Koviach , friend of Amy Cummings
Doug Neece , brother of Vern Neece
Jeannine Romines , mother of Karen Romines
Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss 
Bob Warren , father of Dawn Carsey
Renee Zimmerman , friend of Emily Wilkins
On Sunday after worship, a group of about 50 gathered to dedicate the FPC playground to the memory of Dorothy Burns Graham , a life-time advocate for children in this church and in the wider community. Dorothy’s daughter , Scottie Seawall , and Dorothy’s granddaughter, Lauren Boyle , were here for the dedication, as well as some of the FPC Dayschool staff, members of the Dayschool Board, friends of Dorothy, and families whose children have attended the Dayschool. It was a love-fest/hug-fest for those who valued the work that Dorothy contributed to our community on behalf of young children.  Many thanks to Sheila Breitweier , the brains behind the event; to Joe Harvard , who participated in the dedication service; to Chris Brown, Barbara Buckley, and all of the Property Committee for making the grounds around the playground so beautiful; to Al Arrowood for power-washing the benches and sidewalks in the FPC courtyard; to Dayschool Board Chair, Jessie Lunk , for her moving remarks as a parent of two children who now attend the Dayschool; to Carolyn Merritt for coordinating the reception; and to God who sent the rain to bless our day. To honor Dorothy, who saved the trees that grace our beautiful playground, the following poem was read:

When I Am Among the Trees (by Mary Oliver)
When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locusts,
equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have to come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.  

The next support group meeting for care-givers of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will be on Sunday, November 10 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. 

Urban Ministries of Durham's Community Cafe is getting a facelift this month of October. For those of you who volunteer there, here's the plan:
  • Breakfast on weekdays will be served at St. Philip's Episcopal Church;
  • All other meals (dinner M-F and on weekends) will be served at UMD.
  • There will be a five-day period when all meals will be served at St. Philip's.
  • The Food Pantry and Clothing Closet will operate as usual. (Donations will still be accepted at the front desk of the Resource Center.)
  • Clients will still have access to showers and bathrooms.
A Call for Nominations
The Nominating Committee has two important tasks to complete this 2019-2020 church year. They will manage the process to nominate members to the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee and will present a slate of candidates for the Class of 2023 Diaconate,and Session, along with at-large members of the Nominating Committee 2020-2021.

The Nominating Committee is now calling for nominations of persons to serve on the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. Click here for a printable version of the nomination forms. Forms will also be available at the church until November 3.
Plans for Marilyn's Retirement
We are very excited to be able to celebrate the 16 years of ministry that Marilyn has shared with us at First Presbyterian. We have several things planned and would like your help as a congregation to make them happen. Click here to learn more.
Clergy Departures Love Offerings
The Session has approved the receiving of love offerings for Cherrie Henry, Sam Miglarese and Marilyn Hedgpeth who are retiring on December 31, 2019.
Ways to give:
Reminders to Ruling Elders (and Deacons)

Sunday, October 20 - Congregational Meeting after worship

Sunday, October 27 - Called Session Meeting
9:30 a.m. Receive new members

Monday, October 28 Officer Meetings
6:00 p.m. Diaconate Meeting
6:30 p.m. Officers' Supper
7:00 p.m. Session Meeting

Sunday, November 10 - Called Session Meeting
Time TBD Receive new members
Sunday, October 20
Celebration of National Children’s Sabbath
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:45 a.m.  Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship
Marilyn Hedgpeth , preaching
  • Join us this Sunday for the commemoration of National Children’s Sabbath, a time to honor our children, and to commit to their safety and welfare. Children and youth from FPC will serve as liturgists for the service, Bible-story books will be presented to our 3rd and 4th graders, and blessings will be given to preschoolers, children, and youth.  
  • Following worship, all are invited to Watts-Hill Hall for our monthly fellowship lunch. Donations will be received to offset the cost of the meal. 
  • After lunch, we will convene for a Congregational Meeting, at which time we will receive the 2018-2019 Annual Report and hear a presentation on the Long-Range Planning Team Report. 
  • Following that presentation, you will be invited to divide into small groups, led by planning team members, to further discuss the priorities and goals of FPC as we look to our future together in the city of Durham.
  • Childcare will be available after worship until 1:30 p.m.
  • Materials for the Congregational Meeting were sent by email on Monday, October 14. Hard copies may be requested by contacting the church office. A limited number of hard copies will be available at the October 20th meeting. 

Liturgist: FPC Children
Narthex Greeter: Alice Raney
After Worship Greeters: Dawn Carsey (font/side door);
Sharon Hirsch (rear/narthex)
Ushers: Click here to sign up to usher.
Sunday, October 27
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Stewardship Sunday - Dedication of Pledges

9:45 a.m.  Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship
We will say farewell to Cherrie Henry during worship and fellowship with her at a reception in Watt-Hill Hall following worship.

If you have not returned your pledge card, please bring it on October 27 for dedication during worship. Questions related to the pledging process should be directed to Tom Bloom, Business Administrator (919-682-5511 x 216).

Liturgist: Carl Rist
Narthex Greeter: Chris Williams
After Worship Greeters: Luke Everett (font/side door);
Chris Brown (rear/narthex)
Ushers: Julie Whiddon (head) Click here to sign up to usher. 
Click here to see brief descriptions of Sunday School
and short-term study opportunities for adults, youth, and children.

The "Becoming an Anti-Racist Church" and
" The  Thoughtful Christian" classes have been postponed.
These classes will be offered in 2020. Stay tuned for startup dates.
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 6: "Plotting Goodness" - Look for opportunities to "be a blessing" to others this week. Come back with some stories to share.

Activate for Chapter 7: "It's Not Too Late" - This week, try saying "It's not too late" when you're tempted to be cynical or give up. Or practice the art of "the second laugh." The first laugh comes as a reflex when we think something is impossible. The second laugh comes as a choice when we laugh at our lack of faith.

Journeys will continue their discussion of the book “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James Cone. This Sunday, October 20, we’ll discuss chapter five, Oh Mary, Don’t you Weep.  We meet in the apartment classroom on the second floor of the church house . Class leaders are  Andy Henry   and  Eric Wiebe .

The Faith and Community Class:
  Loving the Strangers Who Sojourn in our Land
(a four-part series) 

Many thanks to Jennie Belle , community organizer for Church World Service, for kicking off our four-part series on immigration issues for the Faith and Community members on October 13. Jennie is a member at FPC, and a wonderful resource to our community on building connections with the Hispanic community and with immigrants from other countries in our midst. The Biblical mandate from Leviticus 19 says, “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. You shall treat the strangers who sojourns with you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord, your God.” If you want to know what to do to help our immigrant neighbors, ask Jennie! Coming after this series: a series on immigration issues, and how they affect families at the border and families in our community. Faith and Community meets at 9:45 in Watts-Hill Hall, and all are welcome. 

This Sunday, October 20 , we welcome Isaac Villegas , a pastor at the Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship and member of the governing board of the North Carolina Council of Churches. Isaac will speak with us about the sanctuary movement, and those who involved in providing safe-keeping for immigrants under threat of deportation. 

Then on Sunday, October 27 , we will host Rev. Edgar Vergara , a UMC minister and pastor of La Semilla, a new church development for the Hispanic/Latinix population in Durham, and he is the Chairperson of the Hispanic/Latino Committee of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. Edgar has made several trips to the immigrant camps and detention facilities at the Mexican/US border, and will speak to what he witnessed and heard while he was there. We are so blessed to have these very gifted and passionate people in the Triangle. 
Lectionary Class:
October 20:
What assurance do we have that our persistence in prayer will be rewarded? Is God still in covenant with us? Join us for discussion at 9:45 in the East Parlor .
October 27:
What does it mean to be righteous? Is it measured in the things we do, or in the things we believe? Do we know we are righteous because of the rewards we have received? 

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 .  
Sunday Evening Book Study
The Holy Envy book study group had another wonderful visit, this time to Ar-Razzaq Islamic Center, the oldest Masjid in North Carolina, for their Jumu’ah Prayer service last Friday at 1:00 p.m. Many thanks to Imam Greg Rashad and the members of their faith community, for their extremely warm welcome and for a delicious lunch following worship. We all marveled at the bean pie that we were served for dessert, which tasted a lot like sweet potato or pumpkin pie: delicious! Over lunch, the class members had the opportunity to interact with our Muslim neighbors and ask questions about their faith and faith practices. With the unsettled situation in the Middle East revolving around Syria, we all realized that it is important now to pray for one another, and for the peace of our world. Those in attendance from FPC included:  Marcia Lorimer, Jeanne Hervey, Karen Romines, Sigfried Fullenkamp, Laura McNab, Marila Stone, Dale Gaddis, Mary Jo Keenan, Ruth and Russell Roberson, Mary Kay Robinson, Marty and Rosa Ramirez, and Marilyn Hedgpeth .  The Holy Envy book group meets on Sunday evenings from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Our next visit will take place on Sunday, November 10, at 10:00 a.m. when we will join the Durham Friends for their worship service. If you would like to join the group, contact Marilyn Hedgpeth.
The Alleluia Children’s Choir is open to children in second - fifth grade who attend or have friends at FPC or Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Our next practice will be Saturday, October 19 at 1:00 p.m. at Covenant Presbyterian as we prepare to sing in worship at Covenant on the next day, Sunday, October 20.

Our next practice at FPC will be at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 27.

On Sunday, November 10, Covenant’s new pastor, Lakesha Bradshaw Easter, will be installed at 4:00 pm. In lieu of having a 5:00 rehearsal, we will sing during the installation service. This is an exciting time, so please plan to have your singer there and remember that there will be no rehearsal that day. 

Also, Covenant has their Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 22 at 6:30. The choir will sing during that service. Again , no rehearsal that day, as well as the following Sunday, December 29 (Christmas break.)

Please contact Kathy Parkins at for more information on rehearsal times and location, and upcoming performance events. Brennetta Simpson is the director of the choir and she can be reached at
Winesday Fellowship
Wednesday, October 16
5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Durham Co-op
  • Join members of FPC in sharing wine and breaking bread in a more casual setting! The 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! Check out the Co-op's website here.
Know how to sew? Can you kinda sew but need a little support? We could use some help assembling Marilyn's retirement quilt. We will provide some very concrete coaching with a gentle touch. 

Work party at the church:  Saturday, October 19
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (We will understand if you can't make it for all day.)
Please BYO sewing machine if possible.
RSVP to Dawn Carsey : 919-636-2050 OR
Seniors Fall Luncheon

Wednesday, October 23

11:30 a.m. – Reception (East Parlor)
12 Noon – Luncheon (Watts-Hill Hall)

Orrin Pilkey will give a powerpoint presentation titled, " The future of American Shorelines in a rising Sea level: A disaster in the making."
Pilkey is a James B. Duke Professor Emeritus at Duke University. He has written or edited more than 40 books about beaches, barrier islands, and the politics of beach engineering and predictive mathematical modeling. He has long favored retreating from eroding shores and has long opposed seawalls as a solution because they destroy beaches. Pilkey began his career as an oceanographer sampling the deep sea floor of Abyssal Plains. After his parents' home was destroyed on the Mississippi coast he was inspired to study coasts. He often explains it by saying he traded research vessels for 16 foot skiffs. His latest book is entitled Sea Level Rise: A Slow Tsunami on America's Shores

Please RSVP to the church office: 919-682-5511 .
Be sure to indicate if you will need transportation or will require a special diet. Donations will be received to offset the cost of the meal.

NOTE: This replaces the Daytimers' gathering for October.
First Friends & Families
October Potluck
Friday, October 25
at the home of Susan Dunlap & Prasad Kasibhatla

Susan and Prasad, along with Cherrie and Andy Henry, are hosting. Kids welcome. Please a bring side or dessert to complement the main dish of beans, rice and salsa chicken. Please respond to the EVITE. Contact the church office if you are not receiving the EVITES.

Scratch Potluck and Pumpkin Carving
Saturday, October 26
at the home of Tim Bonner and Kate McCann
Bring a pumpkin to carve and a dish to share!
All pumpkin carving equipment will be supplied.
Please respond to the EVITE. Contact the church office if you are not receiving the EVITES.
Please make a dinner reservation!
Sunday, October 27
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in Watts-Hill Hall
A showing of: 
Resilience, the Biology of Stress
and the Science of Hope
Through shared testimonials and research, James Redford’s documentary opens eyes to the toxicity of stress in the lives of children and youth, and the antidote of building strong relationships to counter that stress. First Presbyterian Church has been invited by Prevent Child Abuse NC to take part in a pilot program aimed at reaching out to faith communities to increase awareness of situations that lead to ACE’s, and also to be part of the solution in building connections that foster resilience in children and youth.  Please respond to the EVITE or complete the meal reservation card in the worship bulletin if you plan to join us. We need a firm headcount for the meal by October 24.

Sharon Hirsch is the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse, NC, and the Christian Education Committee is sponsoring the Dinner and Documentary.  
Community Invitations
New Hope Camp Annual BBQ Fundraiser
Saturday, October 19
5:30 - 8:00 p.m. Dining Hall
4805 NC 86 S, Chapel Hill

FOOD for fundraising : BBQ plates, Homemade Brunswick Stew, and Hot dogs. Kona Ice will be there, too!

MUSIC by local band "Up Cane Creek"

FUN ACTIVITIES : balloon animals, face painting, corn hole and more.
Buy a raffle ticket for a chance to win a week at summer camp or intersession camp, tickets on sale at the office or pay at the door.

For more information: 919-942-4716 or send email to:
Growing thru Grief

Click here to see more information on topics and presenters.

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 29.
Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, October 27.