"Downtown by history and by choic e"
FPC Bi-Weekly Newsletter
July 14-27, 2020
From the Associate Pastor for Youth and their Families
Siblings in Christ,
              I had two very different meetings on Monday. In the morning, I was masked and socially distant. In the evening, I Zoomed. In the morning, I sat in a camp chair in a church courtyard. In the evening, I sat in a re-appropriated dining room chair at my makeshift desk in the spare bedroom. In the morning, I led the mid-year personnel check-in for the Presbyterian campus minister at NC State, on whose board I sit. In the evening, I was with our fabulous Christian education committee for their July meeting.
              And yet, both meetings were the same. Not for their churchiness, or even their Presbyterian-ness. They were both about downshifting. Turning a sprint into a jog. Recovering from being reactive to the events of the world, and preparing to be proactive towards them. That’s the moment that it feels like we're in. For four months now, we have been running as fast as we can – to stay safe, to educate our children, to listen deeply to people of color, to maintain an income, to dismantle white supremacy, to cobble together a new normal as best we can. We can sprint no longer. I am exhausted. Perhaps you are, too.
              I hope these summer days have given you moments of rest and renewal. Certainly, they are different than past summers, but I hope you have nonetheless found mental and physical space to step away and sit quietly, as Jesus so often did. I hope you have managed to see beloved friends and family safely. I pray that you have nestled in the deep Sabbath for which God created you. We need a water break. (Or, a mountain break.)
              But of course, we can’t stay there. So as we get moving again, I believe this is a time for slow and steady. Give yourself the grace to be slow and steady. Trust in God’s grace, which is so often slow and steady. Let us move the world forward and fight back against the virus, slow and steady. Whether the meeting is about campus ministry or your child’s school, whether the preparations are for anti-racism classes or professional restructuring, slow and steady wins the race. The finish line is not in sight yet, but we still trust that it is there.  Let the Spirit be our pacesetter. Let Jesus be our running buddy and strictest coach. Or, put another way…

The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable. 
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless. 
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted; 
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
-Isaiah 40:28b-31
God with us in the hard,

The love and concern of the congregation are extended to the following:
  • Rob Parker, Beth Taylor, and family upon the death of Rob’s mother, June Driscoll, in Texas on Monday, July 6 from COVID-19. In addition, Rob’s father, James Driscoll is receiving end of life care. Rob just recovered from a bicycle accident, and his wife Beth is now recovering from a foot injury.  Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
Rob Parker and Beth Taylor
5334 Russell Road
Durham NC 27712
  • Nora Tisdale and her family upon the death of her parents, Jim Tubbs (July 8) and Lee Tubbs (July 10). Jim most recently served as Parish Associate at White Memorial Presbyterian Church and was 99. Jim and Lee (91) were living at Glenaire Retirement Community in Cary at the time of their deaths. Nora is recovering at home from recent gall bladder surgery. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to:
Nora Tisdale and family
1021 Green St
Durham NC 27701

Joe (and Carlisle) Harvard , recovering at his daughter Rebecca Barnes' home after a brief hospitalization
Bill Hendrickson , in PT rehab at Duke Regional Hospital
Mal King , recovering at home from an outpatient procedure
JoAnn Moore, isolating at home with flu-like symptoms
Peggy Mordecai , mother of Beth Eisenson, recovering at Hillcrest Convalescent Center, Durham
Chuck and Jean Wilson , recovering at home from COVID-19
All those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Hospice Care Ruth Buck , mother of Susan Buck

Care Communities :
Brookdale Durham: Julian Boswell , Becky Crockett
Croasdaile Pavilion: Bob Rankin , Henderson Rourk 
Dubose Center at The Cedars, Chapel Hill: Arthur Clark
Durham Regent: John Kerr , Ann Prospero  
Emerald Pond: Paul Cornsweet
Rose Vista Village 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
Ken Chambliss , father of Will Chambliss
Paula Cope , sister of Sam Miglarese
Becky Evans , sister of Vernon Neece
Dolores Ewald , mother-in-law of Susan Ewald
Shannon Johnson , daughter of Mary Putman
Chris Kovach , friend of Jeanne Hervey
Jim Vacca, father of Jamie Chambliss
Art Warren , friend of Michael Honeycutt & Paul Pasquarella
I send my deepest appreciation for all the calls, cards, emails and other kindnesses I have received before and since my back surgery. I am recovering well thanks to all the prayers and support and have enjoyed receiving home health services from FPC members Rosemary and Margaret Mwangi. It apparently takes months for full recovery but I am definitely up and about and am able to take care of many of my regular tasks. (I’m just not supposed to “BLT” – bend, lift, or twist.)

Thanks to all,
Dale Gaddis
The WALK-IN MINISTRY is deeply grateful to you for your financial support with your Stimulus check donations during these extremely difficult times for many. We are working daily to assist Durham County residents with navigating and planning how they will pay the accumulating bills due to unemployment (COVID related) and, in most cases, assisting with paying these bills. Their thanks and gratefulness for your help would fill many pages, but one of our favorites comes from a Spanish speaking mother (translated by Miguel Ruberia), “May God all powerful continue to bless each member of your congregation!”

Have you ever wondered how we decide who to help and when? At present, we are administrating funds from the Stimulus Funds, Walk-In-Ministry budget, and grant money we received from the Duke-Durham COVID-19 Community Emergency Relief Fund. Click here for more detailed information about who we have helped and how. ( Mary-Jo Keenan, Marie Sappenfield, John Mozart, Jane Williams)
Greetings to our First Presbyterian Church family and friends.
While we may not be able to meet physically, the work of the Associate
Pastor Nominating Committee continues onward, and, staying true to our commitment to keep you updated, here’s a brief summary of our activities.

We are still meeting once or twice a week depending on tasks, interviewing
candidates via Zoom, reviewing sermons and supplementary materials,
and speaking to references. We are incredibly excited by the bright,
passionate, and compassionate humans we have been blessed to meet and
get to know through in-depth discussions.

Truly the greatest gift of being on the APNC is getting to see the work of
our church reflected back to us through the eyes of the community, be that
within the larger Presbyterian church or within the context of downtown
Durham. We are a strong, vibrant, and vital congregation with well-
articulated core values, a commitment to social mission, a deep love of and
caring for our members, and a desire to be a welcoming and inclusive
space for all. The attraction to that kind of community is palpable. The
excitement of what FPC and the Church is and could be is contagious.

The updated timeline of our process is here. As you can see, we are
right on schedule with our plan to have a new associate pastor in place by
the end of 2020. We are currently in the process of working through the
limitations of bringing prospective candidates to visit Durham as we believe
that is a critical step in the process and will update the congregation if there
are any foreseeable delays in the timeline due to COVID concerns.

As members of the APNC, we welcome your comments, suggestions, and
prayers. Our email is

The APNC Committee:
Laura Hanson
Michael Honeycutt (co-chair)
Marcia Lorimer (co-chair)
Keith Merritt
Griffin Momsen – Hudson
Cris Rivera
Amy Wilson
Sunday, July 19
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Summer Sunday School
Adult (virtual) classes begin at 10:00 a.m.

We will celebrate the Sacrament of Baptism for Vida Ruth Schultz Wallace during our virtual worship this Sunday. Vida is the daughter of Heather Wallace and Michael Schultz and sister to big brother Juneau .

We will also bid farewell/Godspeed to Heather, Michael, Juneau and Vida as they relocate to Austin, Texas at the end of this month. 

Worship is live- streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:
Sunday, July 26
17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Summer Sunday School
Adult (virtual) classes begin at 10:00 a.m.

Worship streamed at 11:00 a.m. via the church's website:

The Hunger for Change Offering is received on the fourth Sunday of each month. Please give generously: online ( click here ) , via text giving , or by mailing a check to the church office.
  • Faith & Community – We will continue our 10-week series reading and discussing From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the 21st Century (2020) by William Darity and Kirsten Mullen. Class begins at 10 a.m. FPC members can CLICK HERE to be admitted to the class. (We will use this link for all future classes.) Each class will be recorded and a link to the video will be made available upon request to Jon Abels. The class is open to the public and all guests must REGISTER to be admitted to the class. After registering, guests will receive a link that gives you access to current and future classes.

  • Journeys – Journeys is now discussing chapters 9 and 10 of Falling Upward by Richard Rohr. The book presents how our spirituality changes as we move through different phases of our lives. Participants are asked to identify a personal experience related to the chapter’s theme of the first-half of life to share with the group.  Join via Zoom, Sundays at 10 a.m. Class leaders are Eric Wiebe and Andy Henry.

  • Lectionary – Join us each Sunday for online discussion at 10:00, preceded at 9:45 by sharing of news and concerns. On July 19: When Jacob woke from his dream, he realized that God was in the very place he chose to sleep. Is God in the place where you are? Are you aware of God's presence? On July 26: A mustard seed? Yeast? A fishing net? How can the kingdom of heaven be like these ordinary, small things? Why won't Jesus just explain it clearly, instead of talking in riddles? Join via Zoom. (For phone access (audio only), call 253-215-8782 or 301-715-8592.) If you need a copy of the handout of scripture readings or need the ID for the Zoom connection, contact David Smith.

  • SCRATCH – Looking forward to seeing everyone on Sunday evening! We'll have a short devotional after our time of check-in together. Join via Zoom at 8 p.m. on Sundays. New faces are always welcome!

  • Women’s Spirituality Group - We are joining the Faith and Community class' study of From Here to Equality this summer - Sundays at 10 a.m. via Zoom.
Activities for Children and Youth
Register your child(ren) here for VBS: .
VBS runs through the end of July!
Congregational Events / Activities
Attention Committee Chairs and Moderators: The deadline for submitting your Annual Report summary for the 2019-2020 church year is July 15, 2020. Please submit your summary by email to Valerie in the church office. If you need to see a copy of your committee's report from last year, let Valerie know.
Service and Mission Opportunities
NEEDED: Long-Sleeve Shirts for Farmworkers
The  Association of Mexicans in North Carolina (AMEXCAN)  is collecting donations of long-sleeve shirts for farmworkers, and First Presbyterian Church, Durham is a collection site.

What?  AMEXCAN is accept ing new or used long-sleeve shirts, hats, caps, or gloves. These items help protect farmworkers from heat stress and pesticide exposure.

When? The collection will run from Monday, July 13 through Friday, July 31. Drop-offs (at FPC) will be accepted on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where? You can drop items off in the labeled boxes inside the building, in front of the volunteer office at First Presbyterian Church of Durham (305 E Main St, Durham, NC 27701). If you'd like to donate shirts but can't get to the church, contact Katie Becker ( ) so that she can arrange to pick them up from your porch. 

Who? There are at least 150,000 farmworkers in North Carolina. They work primarily in the tobacco, sweet potato, cucumber, tomato, Christmas tree, and blueberry industries. Some live here year-round, and some migrate from other countries each year through the H-2A visa program. Even though agricultural laborers are "essential workers" during the pandemic, they do not enjoy many of the workplace-safety protections that the rest of us take for granted. The typical farmworker earns $11,000 per year. 

Why? Long-sleeve shirts, gloves, and hats help protect farmworkers from the heat and pesticides, both of which can be life-threatening. Agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, and the farmworker-fatality rate in North Carolina is higher than the national average. Heat stress is a major cause of fatalities among farmworkers, and farmworkers experience the highest rate of toxic chemical injuries and skin disorders of any workers in the U.S.

To learn more about farmworkers and their working conditions, check out:
Support the Durham Public Schools Foundation
Continue to support Iglesia Emanuel's
Food Pantry
for more information
Sign up to volunteer at Urban Ministries
of Durham
Durham CAN
Listening Sessions
Our church is a member organization of Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods). Over the years, we have worked on affordable housing, living wage, policing, jobs, education, Spanish language interpreters, health, rapid rehousing, transportation, and other areas of concern in Durham. For an update on our work, click here . These issues are the product of organization-wide listening sessions where as many as 3000 people around our city give input. 

It is time for a new series of listening sessions and our church will participate as we have in the past through house meetings or in Sunday morning classes. This year members of First Presbyterian are offering three Zoom meeting times to meet to talk about our areas of concern in Durham. These sessions will be led by the Durham CAN Core Team from our church.
            Monday, July 20, 4 p.m.
           Thursday, July 23, 7 p.m.
           Sunday, July 26, 1 p.m.
Click here to join the Zoom gathering. Everyone in our church is invited to these sessions. Please contact Susan Dunlap for more info.
The next church newsletter will be issued Tuesday, July 28. Please submit your articles to Valerie in the church office
by Sunday, July 26.