"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
November 26- December 9, 2019
The church office will be CLOSED T hursday, November 28 and Friday, November 29 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving celebration.
From the Pastor/Head of Staff
Dear friends,

Several years ago, the internationally known blogger/pastor John Pavlovitz of Wake Forest wrote an article that resonated deeply with me and many others. He begins like this:

There’s a place I like to visit from time to time: a place called  Enough.

That first sentence immediately captivated me. Almost before I had reached the end of the sentence, I had exhaled the heavy breath that I seemed to be holding all day long and inhaled a long, deep, lung-filling breath that brought calm to my soul. What a wonderful road must lead to a place called enough! What peace might be found there! I wanted to visit this place. . . so I read on:
It is that place where my endlessly racing heart finally slows, where the ever-clenched muscles in my jaw release, where my labored breathing stretches from short, shallow sips into slow, savoring swells. There my chest expands and contracts fully without interruption and my mind no longer chases what was or might be or should be, but pauses to quietly rest in what is.
There in Enough, all of the hot, crackling noise within my head ceases; the constant comparisons that tell me that I am not measuring up, the never-ending criticisms that forever state their disapproval, the taunting whispers reminding me of both what I have failed to grasp and what I am most surely bound to lose.

When I am firmly planted in this place there is no frantic striving, no jockeying for position, no desperate running-after, nothing more to do or prove or earn or achieve or make. There is only the wide, soft expanse of gratitude upon which I can rest all of myself. (Click here to view source.)
That “soft expanse of gratitude upon which I can rest all of myself.” Yes. Take me there! That is where I want to be!
The week of Thanksgiving is perhaps the time when we are best about intentionally considering all that brings us gratitude. Some have a gratitude jar, a gratitude journal, and/or a gratitude prayer time. Some share stories of gratitude around the table on Thanksgiving. Others go on gratitude walks or runs and consider all that stirs in them a deep feeling of humility and thanks.
We are not, of course, limited to visiting that “place called enough” during the month of November. In fact, as God’s people, we are called to live each day as a people of gratitude for God’s endless love and grace in our lives and for the many gifts God has given us.
This Thanksgiving, I pray that all may have enough, and that we may all land, for a minute at least, but hopefully for a lifetime, in that “soft expanses of gratitude” upon which we can rest all of ourselves. May it be so.
Grace and peace to you all this Thanksgiving,

A Service of Witness to the Resurrection will be held for Rev. Robert (Bob) Yoder o n Saturday, December 7 at 1:00 p.m. at FPC Durham. The family will greet friends at a reception in the parlors following the service.

CONDOLENCES : We extend condolences to:
  • Mercy Ndambiri Curlett and family on the death of her aunt, Monicah Njoki Njiru, who died recently in Kenya;
  • Mac and Wendy McCorkle (Chip and Lewis) on the death of Mac's mother, Elinor Weathersby McCorkle, who died November 23 in Raleigh. A memorial service has been arranged for Sunday, December 8 at 2:00 p.m. in the auditorium of Springmoor Retirement Community in Raleigh. There will be a memorial service in Memphis, Tennessee, where she will be buried, at a date and time to be announced.

Isabel Brown, a patient at UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill

Chuck Barenchi    
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
Emerald Pond, Durham (Room 212): Paul Cornsweet
Pruitt Health at Carolina Point, Durham: Helen Garrison
Strategic Behavioral Health, Garner:  Phillip Herndon
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
Erica Moody , sister-in-law of Mal King
Doug Neece , brother of Vern Neece
Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss 
Bob Warren , father of Dawn Carsey
CONGRATULATIONS to John Weicher who was installed as the Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families on Sunday, November 17. Click here to read Kim McNeill's charge to the congregation given during the installation service.
CONGRATULATIONS to Joseph Ngumi , who became a US citizen on Friday, November 22. 

We rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
The Sacrament of Baptism was celebrated for Lee Weldon House on Sunday, November 17 during worship. Lee is the son of Wayne and Lucie House and younger sibling to Eloise.
The Holy Envy Book Study group concluded their study on Sunday, November 24. The group had an enlightening experience of worshiping with the Durham Quaker Congregation, the Judea Reform Congregation, at the Ar Razzaq Masjid, and at the Sikh Gurudwara of NC. It brought to light the value of forming relationships with those of other faith traditions in our community. We hope to maintain those relationships and build upon them as we seek to turn strangers into friends as a spiritual practice. Many thanks to those who took time to read Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, and to participate in the class:  Marcia Lorimer, Dale Gaddis, Laura McNab, Marsha Butler, Sue Fricks, Ruth and Russell Roberson, Marty Ramirez, Marila Stone, Mickey Velkey, Jeanne Hervey, Karen Romines, and Marilyn Hedgpeth.   
Join Us on Wednesdays during Advent
Enter the silence of the season, and wait for the mystery of Word made Flesh. Enter the darkness of the season, and watch for the Light of the World. For three evenings in December, we will worship from 6:00 – 6:30 p.m., sing, keep silence, pray and light candles for those whom we love, and celebrate Holy Communion. Adults, youth and children are invited to the service. Our speakers will be:  Katie Becker ( December 4 ), Lenore Champion ( December 11 ), and David Smith ( December 18 ). Following worship, a light fellowship dinner, prepared by Cris Rivera , will be served in Watts-Hill Hall.  There will not be caroling on the steps this season , but we hope you will join your faith family for a time of quiet reflection to mark the days of darkness in anticipation of the coming light of Christ.   
Sunday, December 1
First Sunday of Advent

9:45 a.m.  Sunday School
11:00 a.m. Worship & Communion
Mindy Douglas , preaching

On communion Sundays, we extend the Lord's Table to the community by bringing donations to worship for blessing bags. We ask that you bring brown lunch bags, snack crackers, granola bars, and fruit snacks.

Liturgist: Jeanne Hervey
Narthex Greeters: Delia Kwon
After Worship Greeters: Diane Prosser (font/side door);
Griffin Momsen-Hudson (rear/narthex)
Ushers: Julie Whiddon (head), John Mozart (flowers), Laurie Williamson (counter), Michael Honeycutt , Miriam Morey , El Hess

Communion Elders:
Head/Replenish Elements: Dawn Carsey
Bread: Michael Honeycutt (B1, process), Andy Henry (B2), Diane Prosser (B3), Jane Wettach (B4)
Cup: Wendy McCorkle (C1), Kim Abels (C2, process), Tom Bacon (C3), Carol Carson (C4)
Shepherds: David Sappenfield (pulpit aisle), Luke Everett (center aisle), Laura McDow (font aisle)
Sunday, December 8
Second Sunday of Advent

FPC’s Advent Festival and Alternative Giving Fair
During the Sunday School hour, children and youth are invited to Watts-Hill Hall to participate in some of our all-time favorite holiday crafts, which will include some edibles, smellables, stringables, lightables, and mailables. Then, following worship, the Fellowship Hall will transform into a fair, featuring many of our favorite community partners whom we like to support throughout the year. Be sure to bring some money and checks with you to make donation gifts on behalf of your friends and family. Light holiday refreshments will be served. . . and wassail! 

9:45 a.m. - Sunday School (Adult classes will meet; Faith and Community Class will not meet because of the Festival and Fair.)
11:00 a.m. - Worship with Sacrament of Baptism for Clark Stephen Bass , son of Dustin and Elizabeth Bass;
Marilyn Hedgpeth, preaching

The Session has called a Congregational Meeting for December 8 at the end of worship to elect an Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. 

Liturgist: Jean Cary
Narthex Greeters: Maxie Honeycutt , El Hess
After Worship Greeters: Andy Henry (narthex/rear); Amy Wilson (side/font)
Ushers: 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.
  Journeys will begin their discussion of the book “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and Michael Eric Dyson this Sunday, December 1. We’ll discuss the foreword, introduction, and chapter one, We Can’t Get There From Here.  All are welcome to join the conversation. We meet at 9:45 a.m. 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:
T his past Sunday, we completed our three-week series on Climate Change and the Environment (per the class’s request) by finishing the beautiful documentary, “Love Thy Nature.” The film emphasized how a renewed connection with nature is key to both our good mental and physical health, but also to the health of our climate during these days of climate change. FPC is looking into becoming a PC(USA) Earth Care Congregation and what that entails.  Cris Rivera and the Stewardship Committee are working to establish a Sustainability Committee to pursue that inquiry. If you would like to be part of that team, please let Cris know. We will have more speakers and discussions regarding stewardship of our natural world after Christmas. Stay tuned. 

But now it is Advent, and Sam Miglarese will bring us into the season with Light-Reflections and Readings for Advent and Christmas.  Sam is a favorite leader of the Faith and Community class, and we look forward to hearing him speak on December 1 , and December 15 before he retires at the end of this year.

Sunday, December 8 is the Advent Festival and Alternative Giving Fair, and all Sunday School classes, young and old, are invited to join the inter-generational fun and fellowship in Watts-Hill Hall.

Join us this Sunday as class meets at 9:45 in Watts-Hill Hall and all are welcome.  
Lectionary Class:
December 1: In Advent, we're waiting for...what? Something is going to happen, but just what is it, exactly? Will it be a time of universal peace and understanding? Will it be a terrifying time of disruption and judgment? How can we prepare, when we don't know what to expect? Join us for discussion at 9:45 in the East Parlor .
December 8: There is news of one who is coming. One report says he will be a wise, righteous judge, bringing in a time of peace. Another report says he will be very powerful and will collect the wheat but burn the chaff. Should we welcome him or flee from his wrath? 

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 .  
Youth Sunday School
Click here to view the Middle School Youth Group Calendar.

Click here to view the High School Youth Group Calendar.
The Alleluia Children’s Choir is open to children in second - fifth grade who attend or have friends at FPC or Covenant Presbyterian Church.
  • Sunday, December 1     NO REHEARSAL
  • Saturday, December 7  11:00 a.m. Rehearsal at First Pres
  • Sunday, December 8     Sing at 11:00 a.m. service at First Pres
  • Saturday, December 14  1:00 p.m. Rehearsal at Covenant
  • Sunday, December 22    Sing at 10:00 a.m. service at Covenant AND sing at 6:00 p.m. Lessons in Carols service at Covenant
  • NO REHEARSALS after December 22 until January 5 at 5:00 p.m. at First Pres
Please contact Kathy Parkins at for more information. Brennetta Simpson is the director of the choir and she can be reached at
Care Packages for College Students
Do you have a student in college? Please make sure the church office has their current college address.  Send address info to Valerie at:
Sam Miglarese and Marilyn Hedgpeth
Retirement Celebrations
Final Call for Pictures and Note Cards
We will celebrate the 50 th anniversary of Sam Miglarese’s ordination to Word and Sacrament and his retirement from 13+ years of ministry with us at First Presbyterian on Sunday, December 22 following worship. We will also celebrate Marilyn Hedgpeth’s retirement from 16+ years of ministry with us on Sunday, January 12, 2020 following worship.

We need pictures of Sam and Marilyn in ACTION around FPC. Send digital files (.jpg format) by email to and include a description. If you have physical pictures, place them in an envelope with a “return to” name on outside and leave in the box in the volunteer office. Approximate date taken will be helpful in placing these in order. 

We are collecting note cards with stories and expressions of gratitude for Sam and Marilyn. These can also be placed in the volunteer’s office in boxes labeled for Sam and Marilyn. You may use the enclosed card and envelope for your personal message. Extra blank cards are available from the tables in the narthex and foyer. If you prefer, you may use your own card and stationery.  All pictures and note cards are needed in the church office by Sunday, December 1st.  

Third, a love gift is being collected for the three departing pastors. Ways to give:
  • By check made payable to FPC (memo who the gift is for)
  • Online by clicking here
  • By Text-giving.

For more information on these planned celebrations, contact coordinators:  Caroline Rourk, Deborah Momsen-Hudson, Eric Wiebe, or Sheila Breitweiser.

Search Committees for the Director of Children’s Ministry (DCM) and Administrative Assistant (AA) positions have been formed. Both committees are now accepting letters of interest and resumes.

Director of Children's Ministry Position: The DCM Committee asks that qualified candidates submit letters of interest and resumes to: Ministry-Position or by mail to the church: Attention DCM Committee. Click here for the DCM job description. Questions or feedback may be directed to DCM Search Committee co-chairs Kathy Conner ( and Laura Kelley ( Additional members of the DCM Search Committee are Tom Admay, Leah Graves, Amy Sanchez, and Katharine Whitmore

Administrative Assistant Position: The Administrative Assistant Search Committee urges that members bring the position to the attention of qualified candidates. Click here for the AA job description. For the Administrative Assistant Search Committee, contact co-chairs El Hess ( and Jerry Postema ( Additional members of the AA Search Committee are Christy Gudaitis, George Danser, and Marie Sappenfield.

  Note: FPC members, family members of FPC members and regular non-member attendees are not eligible to apply for these positions.
TIME OUT RADIO with Bill Hendrickson
 Bill's guests for Monday, December 2 at 5:00 p.m. will be Mindy Douglas and Tim O'Brien sharing about their recent sabbatical experiences. The show is broadcast on WCOM, Carrboro, 103.5 fm locally and elsewhere online at, "Listen Now."
Men of Faith
Breakfast and Conversations
Friday, December 6
8:00 a.m. at Nosh's Cafe
Join us as we say farewell to Sam Miglarese and support Ken Schlecht in his recent loss. This will be our only gathering for the month of December. Please come as your schedule allows, and stay as long as you can.
Scratch December Potluck
Saturday, December 7 at 5:00 p.m.
Hosted by Matt Cline and Chris Williams
Check out the revised EVITE for details on what to bring. Contact the church office if you would like to be added to the Scratch EVITE listserv.
The next support group meeting for care-givers of those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will be Sunday, December 8 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. 
Saturday, December 14
(Walkers will gather at 9:00 a.m.)
We are invited to join the Durham Holiday Parade and march with Laura McDow and Durham's March For Our Lives , to support sensible gun-violence prevention that saves young lives. FPC’s sub-theme will be “Marching in the Light of God”, so come be-decked with twinkling lights, sparkles, glitter, blinkers, etc. and join the parade. Also, let's invite our blessing-bag neighbors in the community to march with us, as they have done in the past. Stay tuned on further instructions for those who will be walking.
Saturday, December 14
6:30 p.m. at the home of Melinda Ruley and Stewart Fisher
5301 Cabe Ford Rd, Durham
Adult only! Please join us for this annual tradition of fun and fellowship near the fire. Remember to bring a dish to share.
Daytimers’ Christmas Luncheon
Croasdaile Village
December 17 at 11:30 a.m.
Watch your mailbox for details.
RSVP to the church: 919-682-5511
Wednesday, December 18
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 on the third Wednesday of the month! 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 .
Tuesday, December 24
Jois us for worship at
3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
in the sanctuary
We will include the Children’s Christmas Pageant in the 3:00 p.m. worship. This year’s theme is “Bird Watchers”, and we will be looking for some children to participate as readers, as singers, and as characters. Let Marilyn Hedgpeth know if you are interested. This will be a 45-minute service with Holy Communion, and all are invited. The 5:00 p.m. worship will include Holy Communion and conclude with candle lighting.
Community Invitations
Join the Choral Society of Durham at a  FREE Messiah Sing-Along  on Sunday, December 1, 2019, at 4:00 p.m., at Duke Memorial United Methodist Church , 504 W. Chapel Hill Street, Durham. Doors open at 3:15 p.m.

Rodney Wynkoop will be conducting and William Weisser will be the organist. Although it’s free, donations are appreciated. $10 is suggested per adult. No requested donation for students or children. This is not a ticketed event. There’s open seating until the sanctuary is full. Click here for full details of this event. Kathy Parkins has scores if anyone wants to borrow one and sing along.  
Support for those who mourn:  Growing thru Grief offers year-round support with education and small groups for those who have lost a loved one.

Here is the schedule for the month of December:
December 3: Debbie Davis will offer a cello performance
December 10: Surviving the Holidays by Duke HomeCare and Hospice
December 17: Cora Harrison will open the discussion groups
December 24: No meeting
December 31: Possible Gathering; more information to come.

Growing thru Grief is a free, open, confidential program sponsored by a coalition of area religious and civic organizations to provide support and comfort to those who mourn. 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.
A new NAMI Family Support group has formed at Mt Bethel Presbyterian Church for family members and friends who have mental illness in their family. The group meets twice a month on the first and third Tuesday at Mt. Bethel at 7:00 p.m. The next meeting will take place on December 3rd. For more information contact Mt. Bethel is located at 3541 Rose of Sharon Rd, Durham.
Please consider donating to Wheels4Hope!
Wheels4Hope will soon be celebrating their 20th Anniversary here in North Carolina! Because of YOU, we have repaired and placed almost 2000 cars back into our local community! We need your help as we roll into this holiday season. With over 60 people currently waiting for a Wheels4Hope vehicle, we need your support more than ever!
What we need: Cars, minivans, trucks. We accept any year, make, model, condition, running or not! (Yes! We will pick it up....for FREE.)
Financial donations : The average cost to repair a program vehicle is $2500, supported mostly by financial gifts from generous community members like YOU!
No gift is too small and every gift will help us get more cars back on the road!
FPC members are invited to join folks from Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church and Beth El Synagogue on an interfaith trip to Israel, scheduled to take place July 27 to August 6, 2020 . It is a unique opportunity to see Israel through Jewish and Christian eyes and build community with our Jewish and Christian neighbors. The group will visit important historic and religious sites, learn some about current political realities in Israel (discussing what it means for Israel to be a religious state, hearing about and seeing the Israel--Palestinian conflict from both sides), and have time to talk about what they've seen with Rabbi Greyber and Rev. Crowe . There will also be time for fun, camaraderie, and good food! The trip will be limited to 20-30 people, ideally half of them Jewish and half Christian. If you might be interested, contact Jerry Postema at or attend the information session to be held on December 5 at 5:30 pm, at the Jewish Community Center on Cornwallis Road. For more information, click here . The flyer has more about the info session and information about the trip.  
Union Presbyterian Seminary announces
President's Global Seminar
China 2020
October 14-27, 2020
Hosted by Dr. Brian and Sharon Blount; Dr. Lewis Galloway, and Dr. Bunny Alexander

Click here for more information and to join the interest group. A detailed brochure will be provided in December. The estimated cost ranges from $6,000 - $6,275. Registration requires a $600/per person deposit be paid in July 2020.
The next church newsletter will be issued December 10.
Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, December 8.