November 30, 2018



Children's Sunday School for both services

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
The Spiritual Discipline of Waiting
Nobody likes to wait; that’s pretty much universal. But it’s still amazing how much energy and money we put into not waiting. We have express lines in grocery stores so people with just a few things don’t have to wait. We have Amazon Prime and express shipping options so we can get our latest online purchases delivered as quickly as possible. We have express passes in amusement parks and TSA Pre-Chek in airports so we can skip most of the waiting in lines in those places. There is even a job in major cities called “line-sitting,” where you can hire someone to do your waiting for tickets for you, for everything from Shakespeare in the Park in New York City to the Supreme Court public gallery in Washington, DC. We really, really do not like to wait. 
So it’s no surprise that this resistance to waiting is a huge issue in the celebration of Christmas. I heard my first Christmas music in a store at least 2-3 weeks ago, well before Thanksgiving. It’s become something of a cliché to complain about how early the season of Christmas begins; basically, many stores switch over now right after Halloween in terms of decorations, stock, and
so on.
The irony, of course, is that the whole point of the season before Christmas for Christians is the spiritual discipline of waiting. The word “advent” comes from a Latin word that means “coming” or “arriving”; when we observe Advent, we are waiting not simply for the arrival of Christmas this year, but for the final coming of Jesus Christ to make “all things new,” as the Book of Revelation puts it (Rev 21:5).
Many thanks to the almost 90 members who attended (and helped) at Sunday’s potluck. It was truly an intergenera-tional celebration!

When we refuse to wait, when we skip over Advent to get to Christmas as fast as we can, we miss this crucial part of the gospel: that Christ has not left the earth to do the best it can, but will come again to fulfill God’s promises and purposes of abundant and eternal life.

So with Advent itself coming this Sunday, I encourage you to live into this season, to practice the spiritual discipline of intentional and expectant waiting for God. I’ll have more to say about that on Sunday, and we will have opportunities to do that together in worship and special events this month, as well as using the free Advent Devotional that you can pick up at the church (see below) and following the “Advent Word of the Day” on our Facebook page.

And we will have a new addition to our Advent practice this year: a “Longest Night Service” on the evening of Wednesday, December 19, which will be especially for those struggling with a sense of loss (such as from the loss of a loved one, a job, a relationship, etc.). The Christmas season’s emphasis on cheerfulness can be an additional burden to those who are still waiting for relief from their pain, and this service is designed to address that.

Whatever your Advent practice is, I hope you will make a point of choosing one that will help center you in the season and prepare you for the celebration of Christmas. I hope to see you in worship this Sunday as we begin the season together!

Grace and Peace,

NOTE: Read below about the new Hearts N Minds adult ed class starting on Sunday, utilizing the book Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent.
  • Hospitality will be offered after each of our two services, in Fellowship Hall.
  • The Concord Chamber Singers Family Concert will be presented at 4 PM in the Sanctuary; tickets required from
Copies of this season’s Advent Devotional (right) are now available – you can pick up in the Church office, Narthex, Rotunda, and Fellowship Hall. Also watch our Facebook page for our “Advent Word of the Day” series.

And here’s an easy way to tell your friends and neighbors about our many inspirational December events and activities: we have a colorful postcard that you can mail. Add a personal message if you like, affix first class postage and drop in the mail (available in the Church office, Narthex, Rotunda, and Fellowship Hall). Or place them in a public spot where they’ll be noticed – thank you for helping us spread the word!
Please remember the Fritz family in your prayers as they mourn the loss of Pam Fritz, who died on November 22. A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, December 1 at Cantelmi Long Funeral Home, 500 Linden Street, Bethlehem. The family will receive relatives and friends at 11:00 AM prior to the service, which will begin at noon. Details:

We are also saddened to share the loss of Joyce Metteer, mother of Amy Storer. Details:
"Every generous act of giving is from above."  So it is related in James 1:17.

During the Advent and Christmas season, the church’s response to God’s generosity takes on the very character of our savior. Jesus came to lead God’s people. He pointed to God through love and justice, peace and compassion, forgiveness and humility. The Presbyterian Church USA reflects God’s gift to us, through the Christmas Joy Offering, with gifts supporting church leaders, retired, present and future.

Envelopes and informational brochures are at the end of each pew and in the racks throughout the church. 

We can never match God’s perfect gift in Jesus, but through this offering, we can testify to who we have known God to be. Our gifts reflect our generous God. Our gifts support leaders in our church and world - past, present and future.
Help us beautify our church by purchasing beautiful double poinsettias that will be used to decorate for the season – then you can take home to enjoy after you attend a Christmas Eve service.
Orders are due by Monday, December 17; use the “Flower Offering” envelope (with the poinsettia on it, pictured) that are available in the sanctuary pews, Rotunda, Narthex, and Fellowship Hall brochure racks. You can return it in the collection plate or to the Main Office.

Instead of a set price, we ask you to make a donation of your choice. You can designate your gift “in honor” or “in memory” of a loved one, if you like.
Our Mission Committee wants the FPCB community to be aware that we recently sent a generous check to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, to provide aid where they see fit, to address the many natural disasters which have had a huge impact on our country.

Several individuals have written checks with "Disaster Assistance" in the memo line; it is our intent to send another check at year end that will represent what has been collected, and quarterly thereafter.
Stewardship Campaign Update
This year’s Stewardship Campaign is on the way to a record-breaking total and the Stewardship Committee sends its thanks to everyone who has already committed.
Now we need the remaining families and households who pledged last year to bring their pledge information to put in the offering plate (or mail to the office). Your participation could be the action that takes us over the $500,000 goal. If you have never pledged, this is the year to consider doing so. Please join with other members of our faith family to demonstrate that together we make great things happen. 
This Advent we have an incredible opportunity to make a difference to families and children across the globe. In supporting the Presbyterian Giving Catalog, we show how being a denomination of connections – people who are faithful followers of Christ – translates into real and positive impact by supporting the Presbyterian Mission.
Our Giving Tree is now in Fellowship Hall.  Your family can choose from a variety of gifts, including $10 for a farming tools kit, $25 for a kitchen kit, and $40 for a piglet. Choose your ornament(s) and return all payments (made out to PCUSA) to Fellowship Hall no later than December 16 (you can also drop in the collection plate). Thank you for helping us make a difference!
The Discipleship Committee will host a Family Movie Night on Friday, December 7 in Fellowship Hall.

We’ll begin the evening at 6 PM by serving pizza and beverages, with the movie beginning at 6:30 PM. The movie is Wonder, a story about a 10-year-old boy with facial differences. Overcoming challenges, family, friendship and bullying are some of the topics that this film touches on. This movie is perfect for children ages seven and up and adults will enjoy it too. You are welcome to bring friends
and family!
If interested, you are also asked to bring a donation of a full-size bottle of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, disposable razors or shaving cream to be donated to the Trinity Soup Kitchen.
FPCB’s Lemon Tree Holiday Bazaar will be set up this Monday afternoon, December 3 in Fellowship Hall, to begin a one-week opportunity to buy unique, handcrafted items. You can shop ‘on the honor system’ during the week; the Bazaar will
be staffed on Sunday, December 9, during our
two Hospitality Hours, and that afternoon before and after the 4 PM Bach Choir Concert here at First Pres.
Items will also be available for purchase on Monday, December 10, for those attending the final Hi Neighbor event for the year. Be sure to check out this wonderful assortment of Christmas and winter centerpieces, candles, wreaths, and gift ideas.
Lifting Up Our Hearts: Spiritual Practices Across Faith Traditions
Wednesday, December 5 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM in Fellowship Hall

We have had a wonderful response to this new series! The last program this Wednesday evening will feature Beth Songer, a Buddhist priest, to share information about her faith traditions. All are welcome to attend.
Hearts N Minds starts a four week Advent study this Sunday based on the book,
Prepared or not, we are signed up for the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas marathon and will hurtle toward the finish line. But there is an alternate route. Enter these pages, savor the words they hold out to you, and you will experience deep quietude and welcoming spaciousness. Follow the guidance, and you will arrive on Christmas Day wrapped in the peace that is not of this world. Jan Bickford will lead the class in discussion and exercises that will help to center ourselves. 
The  “Digging Deeper”  class is on hiatus until after the New Year - leader Ron Helmuth and his wife Elena are on a trip, partly vacation and partly spiritual pilgrimage along the Santiago de Compostela, The Way of St. James, a prominent Catholic pilgrimage route since the 9th century.
Informative Programs to Educate and Entertain

Join your friends and neighbors on Monday mornings to learn new things and explore new ideas! Everyone is welcome – there is no cost and you don’t need to pre-register. Fellowship time starts at 9:15 AM in Fellowship Hall, followed by the programs. (NOTE: The December 10 session is the last for the year; new programming will begin in March.)

December 3      10 -Noon        “Forty years in Africa” by Pat Dyer
December 10    10 AM             Liberty High School A Capella Choir followed by
Lunch to end semester
Andrea Barbehenn, Director
FPCB’s Preschool and Extended Care are off to a great start! We’ve enjoyed fall with the myriad of acorns that go home in pockets, pumpkins, Halloween, Father’s Night for our 4 year old classes, and most recently Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving Chapel was very well attended in the Sanctuary by family and friends. The children sang songs of thanks to God, Meredith Lawser did a great children’s chat, and we collected a lot of food for New Bethany Ministries. My trunk was full when I delivered it later that day! And now we eagerly look forward to Advent and Christmas activities. 
Preschool to Grade 5

For the 9:00 service, the class is in room A4 in the childcare suite on the first floor of the Kirk Center (near the Kirk Center lobby). Parents are asked to bring their children to A4 before the service.

During the 10:30 service, the children will attend the first part of worship with their families and leave with their teachers after the Children’s Chat. Please remember to sign up your children in the Narthex before going into the service.

The same curriculum will be used in both classes, and, as in the past, child care will be available during both services for younger children. If you have any questions, please contact  Elizabeth Conard .
Send us your news and photos to share:
Deadline for newsletter: Wednesday at noon
And follow us on Facebook : @FirstPresBethlehem
The FPCB Bereavement Group meets at Rudy’s Diner, 1406 Center Street, on the first Sunday of the month, at 12:15 PM. The next gathering will be this Sunday; we will meet in the Narthex after the 10:30 service and then travel to Rudy’s. 
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, please join this group to share together for understanding, faith, and friendship in this journey. Contact Sue Bennetch for more information. 
Anyone affected by depression – either suffering themselves or having a friend or loved one who is experiencing it – is welcome to attend FPCB’s Depression Support Group. The next meeting is Wednesday, December 12 from 6-8 PM in room 206
(PW room) - no meeting on Wednesday, December 5. This group is open to all. For more information contact Melody Engel .

  • Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each service
  • 9:00 AM Contemporary Service, Kirk Center
  • 9:00 AM Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5, Room A4
  • 9:00 AM Adult Education, Hearts N Minds, Room 400
  • 10:30 AM Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • 10:30 AM Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5 (Children attend first part of worship service), Room E3-4
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 AM to 12 PM, Room A3

  • After Traditional Service: Bereavement Group meets in Narthex to travel to Rudy’s Diner, 1406 Center Street

MONDAYS:  It’s a Start fitness class, 10 AM, Middle School Step
MONDAYS:  Hi Neighbors, 9:15 AM, Fellowship Hall
TUESDAYS:  Easy Balance and Strength fitness class, 9:30 AM, Room 178
TUESDAYS:  Handbell Choir rehearsal, 5:30-6:30 PM, Middle School Step
WEDNESDAYS: “Lifting Up Our Hearts” Adult Education, 7 PM, Fellowship Hall
( December 5 presentation: Beth Songer, Buddhist priest on her faith traditions)
WEDNESDAYS: Depression Support Group, 6-8 PM, Room 206 (PW Room) - no meet-
ing on December 5
THURSDAYS: Choir Rehearsal, 7 PM, Sanctuary

FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (December 4 and 18) : Successful Aging, 10:30 AM,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (December 19):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1:00 PM,
Room 206 (PW Room)

Sunday, December 16 at 4 PM: Christmas Joy Concert featuring the Chancel Choir and
the Touring Choir of Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts
Wednesday, December 19 at 6:30 PM : Longest Night Service
Monday, December 24 ( Christmas Eve ):
   5 PM: Intergenerational Service (a service designed for all ages with both traditional
and contemporary music)
   7:30 PM: Traditional Candlelight Service 
   11 PM: Christmas Communion

 CHURCH OFFICE HOURS: Office hours are  Monday through Thursday from 9 AM to
4 PM.   As always, you may leave a voicemail message with the church any time at 610-867-5865.

CARE CONCERNS AND HOSPITAL VISITS: If members of the FPCB congregation are hospitalized and would welcome pastoral and hospital ministrant visitors and/or prayers, please contact:
    Melody Engel, Hospital Ministrants, phone: 484-695-4905 or email 
    Phil Fair, Prayer Ministrants,  phone: 610-867-8361 or email   

BAPTISMS, WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS : If members of the FPCB congregation would like to schedule weddings, baptisms or funerals, please contact The Rev. Sue Bennetch at 610-867-5865, ext. 209.
First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18017 ∙ 610-867-5865

The Rev. J.C. Austin , Pastor/Head of Staff: ext. 213,

The Rev. Sue Bennetch , Pastoral Care Associate: ext. 209;

David Macbeth , Music Director: ext. 202;

Cristy Mette, Administrative Operations Manager: ext. 228;

Rebecca Angione, Facilities: ext. 210;

Carol Burns, Communications Manager: ext. 238;

Andrea Barbehenn , Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956;