November 9, 2018



Children's Sunday School for both services

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
“What’s the Deal with… the Offering (and Pledging)?”
(part of an occasional series on aspects of being Presbyterian)
When you talk to people who have little experience with Christian worship, one of the things that often strikes them as the most odd when they attend is the offering. Once a curious attendee reached out to me after they had come to worship a few times and asked, “So, what’s the deal with the offering? Seems like a lot of hoopla every week when you can just put a check in the mail or do a direct deposit instead. Wouldn’t that be simpler?”

When you think about it, it IS a lot of “hoopla” in the service: one of the worship leaders calls for the offering; the ushers come forward with plates and pass them in front of every single person for putting in gifts; they gather in the back and march back in while everyone who is able in the congregation stands and sings; and then one of the worship leaders says a prayer over the offering before they carry it back out again. So what’s the big deal?
There are two main reasons it is a big deal. The first is for people who are giving. We believe we are called to love and serve God actively and intentionally, following Jesus through all that we are and all that we have.

The Offering gives us a chance every week in worship to respond actively to God’s Word and God’s call through our giving.
Another glorious autumn day at First Pres: our preschoolers watch “The Leaf Man” do his work.
The second reason it is a big deal is for the church itself. We are the Body of Christ in the world, working to build up Christ’s kingdom here and now. The weekly consecration of the offering reminds us of that, and asks for God’s help as we do so, every week, to keep us on track as a community of followers of Christ.
This coming Sunday is an even bigger deal: the dedication of our pledges to support the mission of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem through our giving in 2019. Making a pledge at the beginning of the year means that the Session can set our mission priorities in advance, stepping out in confidence that we can complete what we start.

That is a very big deal, because it means we can be bold and intentional in our ministry rather than wondering what we can do from month to month. So I’m asking you, if you have not already, to consider what you can do to support the mission of this church in 2019, to be bold and generous in your giving so that we can continue to expand our work and impact in this new era of the congregation, and to be present on Sunday to experience your pledge and your gifts being dedicated to God’s glory and purposes through this church. I look forward to seeing you!

Grace and Peace,
  • We will collect and dedicate our annual pledges at Stewardship Commitment Sunday (pledge cards will be available if you have not yet returned yours).
  • Hospitality will be offered after each of our two services, in Fellowship Hall.
What My Church Means to Me in this Season of Stewardship
A Message from the Stewardship Honorary Co-Chairs
This Sunday, November 11, is Commitment Sunday when we will joyfully walk forward our pledges of financial support for 2019. Making this pledge is a real example for each of us in how to model our values. Pastor J.C. said in his “Giving is the Best Communication” sermon, “Our most Godlike power is our capacity to give.” We remember that our God gives over and over and we have an opportunity to do the same; we have the chance to “embody the very image of God”.
We also believe in the miracle of multiplication. We – Linda and Don – can’t make a big impact by ourselves. However, when all of us join together and support the work our church does far and wide, the ‘ripple effect’ kicks in and we see the power of many.
It is easy to make the same pledge every year and for some of us that is a sacrificial gesture to be acknowledged and cherished. However, we remember what our friend Ralph Laurita admonished, “Make it hurt - just a little’. We love you all and we look forward to walking together on Commitment Sunday.

In Christian Love,
Don and Linda Robertson
Will you consider providing flowers for our Sanctuary worship services in November and December? A donation of $75 will pay for the arrangement under
the cross in the Sanctuary, and $90 covers two pedestal arrangements. Contact the Church Office at
610-867-5865 or send an email to if you are interested. Thank you!
We hope you’ve noticed that our Hospitality Hours are now being offered in Fellowship Hall after each of our Sunday services – and that you’re stopping by fellowship.

This opportunity needs volunteers to help host, make coffee, set up snacks, and clean up. The shifts are 8:30 - 10:15 AM and 11:30 AM-12:30 PM.

This is a great job for k-groups or other teams or committees, and individual volunteers are also welcome - it is a wonderful way to meet new people and get to know our congregation. If you are interested in helping, contact us at or sign up at the kiosk on Sunday.
Tomorrow (Saturday, November 10) from 9 – 2, the unique holiday gifts and decorations handmade by our crafters, along with many items like dishes and games and jewelry that you so generously donated, will be for sale at the annual Lemon Tree Bazaar. Stop by Westminster Village, 803 N. Wahneta St., Allentown; lunch is available from 11:30 – 2. 
If you miss tomorrow’s event, First Pres will offer its own Lemon Tree Bazaar in Fellowship Hall. The crafts will be for sale on Sunday, December 9, during the morning services and the Bach Choir concert that afternoon. We hope you will support both of these fund raisers!
A local charity, Kindness is Magic Inc., is partnering with the Bethlehem Area School District to collect new and gently-used shoes to raise funds to offset BASD’s student lunch debt of $150,000. All donated shoes will be redistributed to help start microbusinesses in developing countries like Haiti; the charity receives approximately 40 cents for each pound of shoes collected.
The collection will start this Sunday (through the first of the year); look for large boxes in the North Link and Rotunda.

On Friday, November 16, we have an opportunity at Northeast Ministry to serve the annual Thanksgiving luncheon and play games afterwards with their senior program participants.
The time commitment is from 11 AM – 3 PM at their location at 1161 Fritz Dr, Bethlehem. If you’re interested in sharing in this fellowship, please contact Sue Bennetch.
Lifting Up Our Hearts: Spiritual Practices Across Faith Traditions
Wednesdays: November 7, 14, and 28, and
December 5 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM in the Parlor
Led by the Rev. Dr. Steve Simmons

Often when we hear the words “interfaith dialogue,” we think of discussions about what our various traditions believe, and about areas in which we agree (and, especially, those in which we don’t agree). 
In this series, we will focus instead on our experiences of and mutual desires for the sacred as members of a variety of faith communities, and on the ways we express them in our everyday lives. We will begin by exploring various spiritual practices that we as Christians observe in our own lives “between Sundays,” and then move on to learn about those of several other religious communities with speakers from the Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions. 

THIS WEEK’S PRESENTER: Alan Juda, Rabbi Emeritus , Congregation Brith Sholom  
The  “Digging Deeper”  class is on hiatus until after Advent - 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.
" Hearts N Minds"  - which meets on Sundays at 9 AM - is examining Philip Gulley’s provocative and engaging classic,  If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus . The class meets in room 400.

New and used copies of the book are available through  Amazon (if you go to the site through , you can select a charity to which Amazon will make a small donation) - but everyone is invited to the class, regardless of whether you’re reading the book.
Looking Ahead: Hearts N Minds starts a four week Advent study the first Sunday in December. The book, which is available on Amazon in new and used copies, is
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 two separate programs approximately 45 minutes each, one from 10-10:45, and a second from 11-11:45. Come for one or both!

Nov. 12  
10 AM: “Family Perspective for Special Needs” by Jack Monroe
11 AM: “Hearts for Honduras School” by Rev. Sue Pizer Yoder

Nov. 19
10 AM: To Be Announced
11 AM: “PennDOT ID Program” by Rev. Steve Samuelson
Anyone affected by depression – either suffering themselves or having a friend or loved one who is experiencing it – is welcome to attend FPCB’s new Depression Support Group. The next meeting is this Wednesday, Nov. 14 from 6-8 PM in room 206
(PW room).
This group is open to all, so encourage others to attend. For more information contact Melody Engel .
Send your news, updates and photos to for inclusion in our newsletter,
website and Facebook page!
Deadline for newsletter: Wednesday at noon
And follow us on Facebook : @FirstPresBethlehem
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 .

  • 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

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:  Craft Group, 10 AM to 3 PM, Room 408
TUESDAYS:  Handbell Choir rehearsal, 5:30-6:30 PM, Middle School Step
WEDNESDAYS: “Lifting Up Our Hearts” Adult Education, 7 PM, Parlor
(this week’s presenter: Rabbi Emeritus Alan Juda)
WEDNESDAYS: Depression Support Group, 6-8 PM, Room 206 (PW Room)
WEDNESDAYS: Overcomers Outreach, 7 PM, Room 408
THURSDAYS: Choir Rehearsal, 7 PM, Sanctuary

FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (Nov. 20 and Dec. 4) : Successful Aging, 10:30 AM,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (Nov. 21):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1:00 PM,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (Nov. 15):  Prayers & Squares, 10 AM-2 PM, Room 408
(bring your lunch)

LOOKING AHEAD: Thanksgiving Eve Service - Wednesday, November 21 at 7 PM

LISTEN TO PAST SERMONS: Listen to or download past sermons – you can also now read the sermons online. Look for Sermons   on our website: .

 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

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 x209.
The Rev. J.C. Austin, Pastor/Head of Staff
Phone: 610-867-5865 x213 | Email:

The Rev. Sue Bennetch, Pastoral Care Associate
Phone: 610-867-5865 x209 | Email:  SBennetch@fpc-bethlehem.or g

David Macbeth, Director of Music Ministries/Choirmaster 
Phone: 610-867-5865 x202 | Email:  

Andrea Barbehenn, Preschool Director
Phone: 610-867-2956 | Email:    

Mailing Address: 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18017