"Downtown by history and by choice"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
November 3-16, 2020
From the Pastor / Head of Staff

Dear friends,

         On this Election Day, anxieties and fears run high and the divide in our nation is as deep as it ever has been. In some cases, families, friends, and neighbors no longer know how to talk to one another about significant issues facing our nation without spiraling into hurtful attacks and defensive responses. Things are not as they should be. If we are to move forward in care and concern for one another, as Jesus calls us to do, we must find a way to work together and to talk to one another. This is easier said than done.

         On this day, many of you will actively make your way to a polling site to cast your ballot on Election Day. Many others have already voted by mail or at an early voting site. For many, today will be a day of action. Volunteers will serve at a polling site to keep the peace or to aid people in making sure all have a chance to vote. In addition to being a day of action, today should also be a day of prayer and reflection. I invite you to pray for peace in our nation, pray that there will be no violence today, and that anger will not escalate into hateful words or actions. Pray that ballots might be counted in fair and safe ways. Pray that the leaders elected today will seek the good of all people and will care especially for the poor and outcast, as Jesus cared for them. We pray on this day that all voices will be heard and that the sounds of justice might ring out across the land. We pray that this day does not leave us with winners and losers but with a nation prepared to move forward in kindness, peace, and care for one another, especially during this pandemic time.

         To aid you in your prayer and reflection, I share with you some resources that you might find helpful:
1)    Watch this video of NCCC Senior Isaiah Mudd singing “Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.
2)   Read and reflect on this poem by Sarah Are, “To Carry a Dream.”
3)   Read and reflect on this poem by Jan Richardson, “Blessing That Becomes Empty as It Goes.”
4)   Pray this Election Day prayer, or one like it.

Dear friends and companions on this journey,
May God be with us
and with our nation
today and in the days ahead. 
May we know peace,
sow love,
and live beneath the shadow
of God’s eternal wings. 

With love,

Note: The poem, "To Carry a Dream," comes from free resources for Election Day from A Sanctified Art. Used with permission: The image is also from
The love and concern of the congregation are extended to the following:
  • Miriam and Robin Morey on the death of their cousin, Benjamin Rodriguez, from the COVID-19 virus;
  • the family of Glenn Bannerman, friend of the PCUSA, who died October 30 from the virus. Glenn’s wife Evelyn is also ill with the virus;
  • Sybil King on the death of her sister, Gwendolyn King, on October 31. A service to remember Gwendolyn's life will be held on Sunday, November 8 in Chadburn, NC.
  • Becky Crockett
  • Harold Dunlap      
  • Carlisle Harvard
  • Jane Rourk     
  • Carol Wills   
  • Christine Gavazzi, sister of Mitzi Lesher-Thomas
  • Miles James, son of Chris and Emily James
  • Roger Kalthoff, husband of Jane Williams
  • Asher Wilson, grandson of Chuck and Jean Wilson
  • Evelyn Bannerman, friend of the PCUSA
  • Esther Pardue
  • All those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Care Communities:
  • Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell, Becky Crockett
  • Croasdaile Pavilion: Bob Rankin
  • Dubose Center at The Cedars, Chapel Hill: Arthur Clark
  • Durham Regent: John Kerr, Ann Prospero  
  • Durham Ridge Assisted Living: Phillip Herndon
  • Emerald Pond: Paul Cornsweet
  • 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
  • Brandon Burton, friend of the congregation
  • 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
Carol Wills sends grateful thanks to friends who have provided prayers, visits and food during her recent illness. Special thanks to Marie Sappenfield, Charlotte Nelson, Susan Dunlap, Gordon Campbell, Mal King, Pat Ashby, Jeanne Hervey and many more. God bless you all.
Many of you have let the pastors know how much you miss being together in worship. Though we still can't gather safely inside, our COVID-19 Team has encouraged us to find ways to gather outside in small groups. To that end, we are offering three simultaneous outdoor worship opportunities at 2:00 p.m. THIS Saturday, November 7.
·      Camp New Hope Upper Pavilion (4805 NC-86, Chapel Hill) - Limit 25 people
·      Camp New Hope Lower Pavilion (4805 NC-86, Chapel Hill) - Limit 25 people
·      First Presbyterian Church courtyard (305 East Main St, Durham) - Limit 12 people  (Please save these spots for those with limited mobility or transportation issues).

Please click here, review the available slots, and click on the button to sign up. Every person who plans to attend must sign up.

NOTE: Our Sunday morning worship service will still be held this weekend. These three outdoor services DO NOT replace our regular 11:00 a.m. live-streamed service on Sunday morning.
Sunday, November 8
32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Mindy Douglas, preaching

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

Worship streamed each Sunday at 11:00 a.m. via the church's YouTube channel which can be accessed via our website:
Sunday, November 15
33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Rev. Dr. Rodney Sadler will join us during our online worship and give the sermon on November 15. He is an associate professor of Bible and the director of the Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte. Click here to read his entire bio.
Children's Sunday School
Contact Lenore Champion for class kits and links
to the Children's Sunday School classes
Class link
Faith & Community – Led by Scottie Seawell and Heather Wallace, this Sunday we are continuing the mini-series on the book, Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice. After a great introduction last Sunday, we are just getting started, and all are welcome. You are encouraged to purchase this book, written by Elon professor Rebecca Todd Peters. We’ll spend the first three weeks of November with Trust Women, and then return to it again in the new year.  Click here to join the class.
Journeys - On November 8, we will read and discuss chapter 3 from Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World. Using the book’s first few chapters, we have discussed how to slow down in life, observe the world, and feel a sense of reverence for what we observe. Participants are encouraged to bring ideas to the class on how each of us might feel a greater sense of reverence during church service. Join via Zoom. Contact Andy Henry for more information.
  • Lectionary – Join us each Sunday for online discussion at 10:00, preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. On November 8: Choices have consequences. Even simple, everyday decisions -- did you bring an extra set of batteries for the flashlight? -- can have dire consequences. If we are very fortunate, someone might warn us in advance about the importance of a decision we are about to make. You have been warned. On November 15: What task will God give to you? To lead an army against an enemy? To manage resources, increasing your talents or wealth? Or something very different? Whatever it is, be awake and be ready! 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

As we look ahead to 2021, the Nominating Committee is beginning their work of gathering suggestions from the congregation for the new slate of ruling elders, deacons, and the next Nominating Committee. Ruling elders and deacons serve for three year terms and the Nominating Committee serves for one year. Ruling elders, deacons, and Nominating Committee members may serve a consecutive term.

We normally receive paper nominations over the course of a few weeks that are placed in the offering plate during worship. Since we can't do that this year, we are calling for nominations via a Google form: click here OR you may contact Mary Ann Compton, one of our ruling elders who is serving on the Nominating Committee. Mary Ann can be reached by email OR call her at 919-452-6500.

Especially in these unusual times, we look forward to hearing your suggestions of who should lead us as we work out how to continue being the church to each other and to the world around us. Thank you for your help.

Dawn Shelton and Mary Anne Compton
Co-chairs of the Nominating Committee

Join the Creation Care Committee in watching this documentary about plastic pollution and learn what we can do as individuals and as a faith community to help. Hear from experts and activists and learn about the fatal effects of the climate crisis and see the drastic consequences we are causing on communities and ecosystems worldwide. RSVP for virtual screening link and password before a discussion at our monthly Creation Care meeting, Thursday November 12 at 7pm (zoom). All are welcome!!

Next month we will be screening Straws and welcome filmmaker Linda Booker Royal to our monthly meeting discussion on December 10. For more about the Creation Care Committee, contact Cris Rivera or visit our page.
We NEED . . . church members to drive through and drop off their paper strips of thanksgivings (or you can make some on site).

We NEED . . . 3rd-4th-5th graders and at least some parents to come and help assemble the paper chain.

We will also play a game complete two service projects--one for Urban Ministries and one for the Society of Saint Andrews.

Hand sanitizer will be provided. Please remember to wear your masks.

RSVP here!
For this year’s pageant, we need volunteers and volunteer families to take on the CHALLENGE of creating and then taking a photo of you/your family in a scene from the Nativity story (the birth of Jesus story) and share the photo via Google photos. EASY, right? You can begin by clicking  "I Want to HELP," filling out the survey, and submitting it to Lenore Champion. 

Want more information
on these two intergenerational holiday activities? 
Contact Lenore Champion.
The Things That Matter Book Group will discuss Winners Take All by Amand Girdharadas on Tuesday, November 10 at 7:00 p.m. Marcia Lorimer will host the group via Zoom. The link to this discussion will be provided closer to the date. Kathy Krahenbuhl will lead the discussion. New members are always welcome. Please contact Dale Gaddis to be added to the email list so you can receive the Zoom link.
Tuesdays at 5:00 p.m.

Attendees, please purchase your own copy of this book.

Click here to see ways to connect to this virtual class.

Mindy Douglas
will lead the class.
This Zoom conversation with Joe Harvard, Mac McCorkle, Mindy Douglas, Lakeisha Bradshaw-Easter and Jimmie Hawkins, held Sunday afternoons at 4:00 p.m., is scheduled to end this Sunday, November 8. Join us via Zoom.  Sessions have been recorded. Contact Mindy Douglas if you would like access to the conversation series.
Our own Robert Daye will be retiring at the end of 2020 with over 43 years of service as sexton of our church.  We want to honor him in several ways. 

First, offer a testimonial to your relationship with Robert.  Please email or call Celia Dickerson and TELL your story.  The retirement committee will write it for you, or you can email your story to Celia Dickerson. Your stories are needed ASAP!

Do you have a picture to share? If so, will you scan and email it to Celia? We want as many visuals as we can collect.  Later in the year, we will ask for a shower of cards to Robert, thanking him.

The Session has approved a love offering collection for Robert. Please send your donation to Tom Bloom at the church office by December 10th. Make check payable to FPC. Memo: Robert's Retirement. We are looking forward to our congregational thanks to Robert for his many years of service.  
From the committee for Robert's retirement,
Celia Dickerson   Beth Stringfield   Kate Busa   Barbara Buckley 
Winesdays Meeting ID: 975 6934 9009
New Hope Presbytery presents
Racial Equity Team Webinar
Brave Spaces and Truth-Telling
Thursday, November 12, 2020
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Rodney Saddler will present on: “Race Is Nothing: Race Is Everything” He will explore how this problematic nonsensical idea has become a defining factor for life in America and suggest that if we stand with God and exercise our agency we can have victory in overcoming this consequential lie.   
Katie Crowe is senior pastor of Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church in Durham. Katie's presentation will explore what "doing the work" of dismantling racism looks like for churches, practically speaking, beginning within themselves.
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.
November 10 Reinvesting in the Future
November 17 Duke HomeCare and Hospice presents “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
Help Us Provide a Meal for Families Moving Forward

A small group of faithful First Presbyterian volunteers prepares meals and provides childcare for Families Moving Forward (FMF) throughout the year, but, in the current situation, FMF has asked us to prepare a meal for all the families sheltering there on Monday, December 7, about 60 people. So we need your help! If you are willing to prepare part of this meal, please sign up using this link.

Instructions: You will bring your meal contribution to FMF at 5:30 p.m. on December 7, and, for the safety of residents and volunteers alike, just leave it on the picnic table outside.

Looking for other ways to help? 
FMF asks for your help in the following ways:
  • Assist with FMF's Study Buddies program. They need volunteers to help virtually one day a week to help kids with homework E-mail
  • Provide support for FMF's annual holiday NEST Adopt a Family for the Holidays of holiday toy donation program. Contact
  • Donate NEW twin and full comforters and sheet sets for our families to enjoy when they move in. They could also use donations of laundry detergent, cleaning supplies and other essential household items. Contact if you have a donation to drop off.
Questions? Please contact Lea Bingham, or 919-358-1774.
We are grateful that non English speaking persons have felt comfortable coming to us for financial assistance. We have been blessed to have Margaret and Miguel Ruberia and Miriam Morey step up to assist us with folks who speak only Spanish.
Here are a few stories from Miguel:
  1) Maria is the mother of 5 children. Her husband was deported back to Mexico several months ago, after living in the USA for over 14 years. Maria worked in a local coffee shop, but lost her job in March when COVID 19 started. They live in a 2 bedroom apartment, paying $665/month. Walk in Ministry helped her with $200 for the rent. Because of her legal status, she has not received any governmental assistance or unemployment.
 2) Norma and Elviro are parents of a 4 yr. old child. She is pregnant with their second child. She worked cleaning houses but lost her job in March because of COVID. Her husband worked in construction but came down with the virus in May and was laid off from his job. He has been unable to find further employment. Due to their legal status they have not received any government subsidy or unemployment benefits.
Continue to pray for these families!
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 continued support of this project!
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, November 17. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, November 15.