First Edition
February 2019
First Presbyterian Church, New Bern, NC (252)637-3270
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:00 - 5:00 & Friday 9:00 - 1:00
Worship on Sunday 8:25 or 10:55
First Presbyterian Church is a welcoming community of faith where Jesus Christ transforms lives: through worship, as we praise and glorify God; through outreach, as we embody God's love in service to the world; through education, as we listen for God's Word; through giving, as we express gratitude to God; through caring, as we invite all to join in God's work; through fellowship as we share our lives and faith together.
Building Community * Transforming Lives * Engaging the World
Observations on Ministry and Congregational Life
1 of 3
by Rev. William Hawkins
Dear Friends,
It was sometime last June that I circled in black the date of April 30, to conclude my pastorate and retire from the ministry. I briefly hedged on that date in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Realizing I still had over half a year to be useful in helping to organize our energies to meet the challenge before us, my plans remained in place. Our Outreach Commission and several committed men and women in our congregation have already made significant contributions to meet that challenge. Along with our work on this task specific effort, I’m confident the ministry of First Presbyterian will further blossom and thrive.
When I began my theological education, the day had already moved past the conventional minister serving a congregation in a homogeneous community, with an abundance of eager and available laity to run the church’s programs, reducing the need for staffs necessary today. Think of those times when in cities and towns there thrived one-income households, and where families stretching back three and even four generations, and friendships of longstanding formed those ties that bind . Before I entered seminary that day had long since given way to a faster-paced mobile society. Yet, I soon learned that the old never gives way to the new without first trying to overcome it. The numbers of those who could wax poetic about “the good old days ” (a perspective on “good” hardly shared by a diverse and rapidly growing minority), could still hold forth. They are long gone now. This is for the best. Ministry for clergy and laity, is in our day never more exciting and I truly believe the church’s divine mission holds unique promise in these transitional times.
I’ve had a project of late, putting together my own list of the accruing and overlapping roles ministers have been expected to fill before, during and I project beyond my time. I’ve divided these evolving and expanding expectations for clergy by the decades somewhat arbitrarily.
40’s – 50’s  Minister as Preacher
50’s – 60’s  Minister as Educator
60’s – 70’s  Minister as Prophet for Social Justice
70’s – 80’s  Minister/Pastor as Counselor/ Therapist
80’s – 90’s  Pastor/Minister as Administrator/ Fund Raiser
90’s – 00’s  Pastor as Leader in Nurture and Faith Formation
‘00’s – 10’s  Pastor as Worship Innovator and Motivator
10’s – 20’s?  Pastor as Re-inventor of Congregational Life

A congregation’s overarching measure of effectiveness is evangelism. As the Book of Order puts it: Evangelism is the primary and urgent task of the church . This is as it should be. Evangelism was regrettably impoverished years ago among Protestants to mean member recruitment . And as I need not remind you that due to the antics of many self-proclaimed evangelicals this wonderful biblical word has become an embarrassment to the faithful and a foil for the politically naïve on the right side of the aisle and the theologically naïve on the left side of the aisle. Remember Born Again Christians in the 70’s-90’s? So it is now true with Evangelism , if it falls out of use for a while, it may yet live again.
In the few months left for me to write newsletters, I’m hoping you will indulge me as I reminisce personally and pastorally about my life as a Presbyterian Clergyman 1980-2019. If you count my intern year 1979-1980, I make an even 40 years in the pastoral ministry.

grace & peace, Bill
Flower Calendar Opportunity
Would you like to contribute fresh flowers in the Sanctuary on a meaningful Sunday in honor or in memory of a loved one? If so, the calendar sign-up folder is in the Narthex. Response has been huge, but we still have a few openings available.
March 31
April 14 (Palm Sunday) 
June 2
June 30
September 8 
September 29 
November 24
December 22 
December 29
You may check to see if the specific date you desire is still available and sign up to provide an arrangement of your choice on that Sunday. If you have any questions contact the church office or a member of the worship commission. (252)637-3270
Associate Pastor Nominating Committee - APNC:
You may be wondering about the work of the APNC now that Bill has announced his retirement. We are receiving guidance from the Presbytery and discerning the best way to proceed. Maren’s contract remains in place through December and she is supportive and committed to this process. We will update the congregation as soon as we have more information. This is a time of transition for our church and we have been blessed with a wonderful head of staff for 18 years. God continues to bless our congregation with a committed staff and He led Maren to us. We are truly grateful for her! Your continued prayers are appreciated.
First Presbyterian Church
Some of our newest members....get to know them, so you can show them some love!
The Copland Family
Introduction to First Presbyterian Church
Jim, Tahira, Ben, and Elizabeth Copland moved to New Bern in July 2018 from Pleasantville, New York. Along with their new puppy, Chippy, the Coplands live in historic downtown New Bern. In New York, the Coplands were members of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City, where the couple were married in 2007 and where Jim served as an elder and Tahira as a deacon; at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills, where Jim taught Sunday School and served as president and treasurer of the Board of Trustees.
Although new residents of Craven County, the Coplands have been coming to the area every summer for years. Jim grew up in Alamance County, North Carolina, and spent his boyhood summers at the Crystal Coast, where his grandparents and later his uncle retired. Tahira also visited the state regularly as a girl; her father had also grown up in Alamance County before moving to New York in 1971.
Jim is a senior fellow with and director of legal policy for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York, where he researches and writes on all manner of law-and-economics issues. Tahira currently teaches at Craven Community College and has taught at a variety of higher education and secondary schools in New York, Massachusetts, Germany, and Switzerland. Eight-year-old Ben and six-year-old Liz are students at the Epiphany School of Global Studies.
As a couple, Jim and Tahira enjoy food, wine, travel, tennis, and opera. He also loves shotgun shooting and is an avid fan of UNC Tar Heel sports; she enjoys German literature and practices yoga. Ben and Elizabeth each love sushi, and they both dance, swim, and play piano and basketball. Ben also plays cello, tennis, flag football, and baseball and is a fan of Star Wars and Harry Potter. Liz practices gymnastics, has a keen sense of style, and loves Barbie and LOL dolls.
Judy Swain moved here from Kernersville North Carolina to be near her daughter Amy Mills and her son-in-law Walter and grandson Max in May. Judy retired from Hospice & Palliative CareCenter in Winston-Salem North Carolina. She was in marketing and did layout and design. Her hobbies are long walks downtown by the river, swimming, kayaking, riding her bicycle, and spending time with family. Judy lives in Greenbrier. Judy has really enjoyed the welcoming community of New Bern. Her wonderful husband, Dwight, passed away in February last year also retired from hospice.
The Henderson's have lived in New Bern for two and a half years. They moved from Kinston, NC where they lived for 19 years. Chris is a NC State Bar certified specialist in estate planning and probate law, he works at White & Allen, P.A. in the New Bern office. Kim teaches calculus and geometry at Arendell Parrott Academy in Kinston. Alex is 20 and is attending Honors College at East Carolina University. Hannah is 12 and is in the seventh grade at Arendell Parrott Academy. 
Dear Friends in Christ:

January, as usual has been a VERY BUSY time. During the Advent and Christmas seasons I forget that January is around the corner, with the beginning of each choir’s program for the year. Often we have inclement weather, and the tax season for our business keeps me jumping. We had a wonderful (standing room only) Festive Family Concert with the Carolina Chamber Music Festival, and they used our facilities for practice spaces. Many of the homes they had practiced in previous years had damage from Hurricane Florence, so we were happy to have their beautiful music fill our spaces.
*February 3rd is Youth Sunday, and our youth will greet, read, sing, play, preach and usher. It is always a meaningful service, and I hope you will attend and support them.

Easter is late this year (April 21) so Ash Wednesday won’t be until March. More about that later!
Yours in Christ,
Pat K. Rowlett
Director of Music
Fellowship Dinner & Dance
TIME CHANGE 5:45 pm will be February 6th in the Fellowship Center JMS Gym; Please note we moved the time to give working families a little more time to arrive! Kevin Avolis will be cooking barbecued chicken and sides. The infamous Middle Street Moods Jazz Band, featuring Tommy Hall and Susan Mabie, will be performing live as the highlight of the evening. This event is open to the entire family so wear red and bring your dancing shoes. Call the church office to reserve your spot (252)637-3270 or sign up in the Friendship pad in church on Sunday.
Summary – Stated Meeting of the Session January 15, 2019

The Session approved February 24 th for the Annual Congregational meeting when budget information for the end of 2018 will be reported as well as budget information for 2019.
Insurance filing for the church continues with FEMA for a target grant of approximately $25,000 to cover Insurance deductibles and uninsured losses. Repairs to the preschool classes are ongoing.
A New Hope Presbytery grant of $5000 for the expansion of the ESL program has been received. Several committees are working on the expansion with the assistance from church members from our Montagnard community. 
Average Sunday worship attendance for December 2018 was 309 compared with 319 in December 2017.
Attendance at both Youth Group and S.A.L.T continues to be strong as well as there being a larger number than average for the spring group of confirmands.
Work at the Volunteer Village at Neuse Forest Presbyterian continues with the hard work of many volunteers from our church as well as others in the area. A check for $30,000 has been sent by FPC from the Johnstone Trust for construction costs at the Village.

Submitted by Susan M Ryan,
Substitute Clerk
Save the Date! – Sunday, March 10th for NEW BERN CROP HUNGER WALK.
The CROP Hunger Walk was postponed last fall because of Hurricane Florence. But we are coming back STRONGER THAN EVER! The new Walk is set for Sunday, March 10 th . Registration begins at Union Point Park at 2:00 pm. The Walk begins at 3:00 pm.
CROP Hunger Walk is an outreach of Church World Service. Donations gathered by Walkers go to assist people across the globe. In 2019, 50% of the money collected will go to Religious Community Services (RCS) of New Bern to assist with hunger and hurricane recovery.
Anyone can be a CROP Hunger Walker! Many churches and organizations sponsor CROP Walk Teams. But Individual Walkers are always welcome! So, join a team, or WALK with a friend. Every step will help your neighbor. Every step will proclaim that we are NEW BERN STRONG!

For more information:
Jennifer East
First Presbyterian Church
WALK Coordinator
New Bern VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance)

IRS Sponsored Program For Elderly And Low To Moderate Income Taxpayers

New Bern Location
Harrison Community Center
311 Middle Street, New Bern, NC

Mondays & Tuesdays - 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
And By Appointment February 4 through April 16
Not Open: March 5

Alliance Location
Pamlico County Senior Citizens Center
800 Main Street, Alliance, NC

Wednesdays Only - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
February 6 Through April 10

Phone: 252-772-5245 For Both Locations
Empty Bowls Celebrates 10 Years in New Bern
By Steve Mabie
The Empty Bowls event returns to New Bern for its 10 th Year! In 2019, the popular event will again be hosted by Temple Baptist Church, 1500 Kingdom Way, in New Bern. The date is Thursday, February 28, 2019 from 11:00 -1:30.
Empty Bowls is a partnership between Religious Community Services and Craven Arts Council and Gallery. This uplifting event unites businesses, religious and civic groups, professional and amateur potters, restaurants and others, as we use our collective creative energies to make a difference in the lives of others.
This event raises money for local stop-hunger and arts programming in Craven County by selling tickets for Empty Bowls. Ticket holders will receive their choice of one handcrafted bowl from hundreds donated by local potters. The selection of bowls is marvelous, each one unique.
Moving to the lunch room, each Empty Bowls supporter receives two servings of delicious soup from a wide selection donated by local restaurants and community groups​. Fellowship and entertainment abound at Empty Bowls – New Bern!

Tickets are $25.00 and are available in advance at the Bank of the Arts, 317 Middle Street, Tuesday - Saturday from 10:00-5:00. By phone, tickets may be purchased at 252-638-2577, or online at . Proceeds help us nurture the creative process and feed hungry people in Craven, Jones and Pamlico Counties. 
The New Bern edition of Empty Bowls is one of hundreds held across the nation. Begun in 1990 by Michigan art teacher, John Hartom, art students served lunch to the school faculty, featuring pottery bowls they had made. Since then, Empty Bowls events have raised millions of dollars for local community hunger efforts. Thousands of artists have contributed the signature pottery bowls.
Don’t miss out on a great New Bern event! Tickets in previous years have sold out, so get yours early. In chilly February, come share the warmth of Empty Bowls – New Bern!
The annual fundraiser sponsored by Interfaith Refugee Ministry, which will take place Saturday, Feb. 9th, 6:00 pm at the Harrison Center, 311 Middle St. which features live global entertainment, small-plate international dishes, and a live auction. You may reserve seats at $40 per person at Government support for this program has been significantly reduced in the past two years; our support for Interfaith Refugee Ministry at this time is very important!”
Thanks for your help,
Equipping pilgrims for the spiritual journey 
JOIN US FOR WORSHIP ON WEDNESDAYS AS WE PAUSE TO BE MORE CONSCIOUS OF GOD’S ENERGY IN OUR LIVES. This late afternoon service is conducted from 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm in the Ministry Center Chapel. 
This half-hour worship focuses on prayer, scripture reading and discussion as we intentionally open our lives to the movement of God’s Spirit. We gather in the quiet of the Chapel to encourage letting go of the rush and distractions of the day. The encompassing stillness allows space to reflect on words and phrases the Spirit draws to our attention in the scriptural text chosen for preaching. 

Part of our attention this spring will expand to include discernment during this time of change in our ministerial leadership. Just like other changes we have experienced in our lives, this transition becomes an occasion for renewal in the life of this community of believers. Come with others in the middle of your week to listen together for that deeper, quieter, awesome power offering steadfast support, comfort, challenge or guidance through all our beginnings and endings. 
The Lord’s Supper will be observed on February 27th.
Lloyd Griffith,
Travel Guide
Thursday Morning Women's Bible Study New Book
led by Maren Sonstegard-Spray
Meets weekly from 9:30-10:30 am in the Ministry Center conference room, using a book by Lauren Winner, "Wearing God: Clothing, Laughter, Fire, and Other Overlooked Ways of Meeting God." This book was the winner of the Christianity Today Book Award for Spirituality and James Martin writes that it is "A Gorgeously written and compelling investigation into what it means to strike up a friendship with the Living God." Please let Maren ( ) know if you are planning to join the discussions and need to be added to the email list, and if you need help acquiring the book.
Presbyterian Men
Contact:  Jerry Elliott
Meets: 6:00 pm
1st Monday of each month
Location: Hibachi Buffet on MLK Blvd.
A new season for Presbyterian Men began on September 10th. We will gather again at Hibachi Buffet at 6:00 pm. Our meetings take place the first Monday of each month. The following is list of speakers for 2019. 

February 4 Dana Outlaw - Mayor Outlaw will give his fourth annual State of the City of New Bern address.
March 4 Taissant Summers, Jr. - New Bern police chief will speak.
April 1 Hatteras Yachts representative - will discuss the yacht building process.
May 6 Tim Clark - will present a living history program on Charles Lindbergh (Ladies welcome night)

If you would like to be on our email list for updates and reminders please contact Jerry Elliott.
by Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang
Sunday Youth Group Schedule
Feb. 3— Youth Sunday
Youth to meet in the sanctuary at 8:00 am to lead 8:25 am & 10:55 am services.  No evening meeting.
Feb. 10 — Combined Youth Group at Christ Episcopal Church (Time TBD)
Feb. 17 — 5:30-7:30 pm— Valentine’s Service Project
Feb. 24 — 5:30-7:30 pm— Youth Leader lead lesson on Dilemma

SAVE THE DATE— Vacation Bible School (VBS)
June 17-21 2019, 9:00 am-12:00 pm 
Please mark it down on your calendar. VBS at First Pres is open to children age 4 (as of June 1) through those who have completed 5th grade.

The theme this year “To Mars and Beyond.”  We’ll be learning about the stories of Daniel and how he trusted God in the Lions’ Den, how Queen Esther took a stand to protect her people, the way the Good Samaritan helped a fellow traveler, Jesus healing and comforting his friends. There will be wonderful crafts, fun science experiments, awesome Bible story times, high-energy games, and joyful music time. 

We will be looking for adult and youth volunteers for a fun week of VBS. 
If you feel led to be a VBS Assistant working closely with Daewon to prepare for the week of VBS, please talk to him right away. We are looking for a few people to do behind the scene work to prepare for VBS beginning in March. 
2019 Youth Group Key DATES

Parents, please make a note of the following key events being planned for 2019 for our youth! There are trips with the necessary number to be met in order for us to attend.
·   3/15-3/17—New Hope Presbytery High School Retreat: This annual retreat brings 150 high school youth from our presbytery together for a weekend retreat at Camp Willow Run in Littleton, NC. Cost per youth is expected to be $75. We’ll need at least 3 high school youth to attend.
·   7/7-7/13 OR 7/14-7/20 — Montreat High School Conference— A week long conference for high school youth. It’s an amazing conference attended by thousands of youth each summer. Sign up will be due by 3/3 with Daewon . We will attend if we have at least 4 youth.  The cost is $450 per youth (scholarships available, please talk to Daewon ).

Massanetta Springs Middle School Conference
June 25-28,2019 (Possible second date:July 16-19,2019)
Over 1000 middle school youth and adults will gather again this summer at the Massanetta Middle School Conference to worship our God together. This year’s theme is “At the Door” based on Matthew 7:7-12. Youth and adults will learn ways we can open our doors to God and ask God to be in our lives. Our middle school youth who attend have always loved their time and we want to head back this year with more youth. This conference is opened to those who have completed 6th, 7th, or 8th grade. We’ll need at least 3 to attend our June 25th-28th session. Sign up is due March 17th; however, if interested, let Daewon know right away. The cost is $300 per youth. There are scholarships available. (If your youth absolutely can’t attend June date, but would love to go to July date, talk to Daewon right away.) 

S.A.L.T. - Ministry for 3rd thru 5th graders
Next S.A.L.T. meeting will be on February 17, 5:30-7:30 pm, in the Ministry Center.  
The future meeting dates are 3/17, 4/28.
Preschool Registration
It’s time to register for the 2019-20 school year! Registration for Church Members and current students begins Monday, February 11 th . We will open registration to the public on Monday, March 4 th . We have classes for children 6 weeks - Pre-K. If you’re interested in registering your child(ren) or grandchild(ren) call Kerri at (252)670-9290 for more information or to schedule a tour.
Our mission is to create an environment where every child will feel safe and secure and can have the opportunity to develop at his or her own individual pace. Our learning environment involves children and encourages them to investigate their world while taking an active role in their classroom community. Daily opportunities are provided for problem solving, critical thinking, and socialization. We strive to assist each child in attaining the skills necessary for social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual growth. Come join the First Pres Preschool family!
A Second Simplicity:
Starting Over Again for the First Time
by Rev. William Hawkins

Rabbinical teaching holds that Psalm 1 is both the introduction and culmination of the Psalter – all 150 Psalms. Wherever you are, in your heart and head when at the outset reading the Psalms, you will be somewhere else by the time you’ve finished all 150. Then you will be ready to read Psalm 1 over again, but it will be for the first time on the other side of its simplistic dichotomy: "the way of the righteous" and "the way of the wicked." 

Psalm 1
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night
They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Matthew 13:52
  And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

A second simplicity. A second simplicity has to do with your life, toward becoming who you are. It takes time, for some a lifetime, for others, never. For those who are attentive, who stay alert, who listen to their life – may discover God, yourself and the world around you at a level of meaning, as never before. Strange as it is, it even feels like you are starting over again for the first time.
You are not through until sometime after you thought it was already over, just as it is for most people. For those who are attentive, who stay alert, who listen to their life – you may discover God, yourself and the world around you at a level of meaning, as never before. It even feels like you are starting over again for the first time. This was something many of us began to learn as a teenager. I believe I first heard it in John Denver’s song, Rocky Mountain High . He sings about someone...

born in the summer of his 27 th year, coming home to a place he’d never been before. He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again, You might say he found a key for every door . 1
In T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets these words are found: At the end of all our exploring/We will arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time. 2 This is the language of discovery and of conversion.

In college I read the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead who took me a little further when he wrote: The only simplicity to be trusted, is the simplicity found on the other side of complexity. 3   It reminds me of what I learned in another college class, Art Appreciation . Picasso told aspiring artists, you must regain the child inside of you, if you ever want to paint like a grown-up . 4 Similarly, when Pablo Casals was ninety years of age, the famed cellist still practiced the rudimentary scales, three to four hours a day. When asked why at his age and expertise he worked so hard on the fundamentals of his art, he said, Because I think I’m making some progress. 5   

So as life has gone on, I noticed what seems like a sequential order to human experience, that we are not reborn, until we have come to the “end of all exploring.” Though this return sounds regressive, it is only by some sort of return will we be able to accomplish, fulfill, or experience what is life-giving, to realize it again for the first time. It is a way of wisdom.

In seminary I read the late-twentieth century French biblical theologian and philosopher, Paul Riceour. He spoke of a second naivete ,6 rather than a second simplicity though the two make much the same point. He said the Bible we read as a child is important to learn the story. You need to know the story. But stopping there will leave you stunted. We must lay aside the childish notions that can stem from simple content, to further your understanding and valuing of Scripture. Going forward requires moving into a deeper, a more face-to-face grappling with the questions it poses and check on the claims it seems to be making. 

You begin to reckon with its contradictions, questionable morality, and an all-powerful, but self-restricting God, who grants us a spiritual freedom we are reluctant to accept because of who it challenges us to become. This is a good place, but it is not the end, though most go no further since the majority of us will avoid anything than risks causing us to change. If you ask and eventually get past questioning your questions, you may find yourself on the threshold of a new naivete, a naivete of a second kind, one not possible without going through the first.

As Philip Simmons said in his book Learning to Fall , you become “a seeker of a second kind.” 7 Another simplicity another naivete, but different, coming as it does on the other side of a complex-ity that incorporates it. It is the place where head and heart come together in ways seldom possible before. Something like this happened, I believe when at Pentecost the disciples became apostles.

In her work, the Interior Castle, the 16 th century Carmelite Nun, St. Teresa of Avila, speaks of an orientation that greets us at the beginning of our life in Christ.8 In due course, this orientation gives way. It must, if your life in Christ is to develop. In time you become aware that previous satisfactions devotion-ally and the sustaining gifts you’ve come to know and rely on, are no longer satisfying. Like salt that has lost its savor. The experiences we thought were all we would ever need, are pulled out from under us. Teresa’s colleague, St. John of the Cross referred to this period as the dark night of the soul .9 It is as if all the familiar spiritual landmarks have been moved. Inside ourselves we experience what Teresa called was to call a commotion 10 or, for the sake of alliteration, you’ve moved from orientation to disorientation .
In medieval England a century before Teresa, this disorienta-tion was understood by an image of being enclosed in a cloud – in a cloud of unknowing. An anonymous book from that period goes by that very title: Cloud of Unknowing. 11 It describes an experience, I call, not-knowing . A sort of spiritual purgatory settles inside. Impatience is never more painful and never more tempted to give in, to hurry, to fix, repair, replace it – whatever. Living in betwixt and between can be very upsetting. We don't want to live "in this place" any longer than we have to and will do what it takes to escape it. Yet what is the opportunity, if not disguised growing pains? Beloved enemies of our spirit. But we need to stay with it until it has accomplished its work in us. To quote our very own Lloyd Griffith, rather than run to safety we need to trust the wildness . 12

Whenever our spirit matures beyond our former ways of rela-ting to God, we often reluctantly but forcibly, must move be-yond the ways of that self. What is forced at first can become exhilarating. You take some risks, you hang on to yesterday’s answers while taking on new questions. You find yourself tentatively moving forward. Finally, when you come to yourself you feel inside a new re-orientation. The far country of the prodigal son is behind you, and you come home again for the first time (Luke 11:15-24). This dynamic is also at work in the curious story requiring of Jesus a second effort to heal a blind man (Mark 8:22-25). As William Placher puts it: “People who regain or gain sight often take some time to sort and understand the realities they are seeing.”   13 

Many contemporary authors in Bible and theology, that have been popular and often cited in our church, such as Walter Brueggemann, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault, and recently deceased Thomas Keating, have all expressed this dynamic in their writings. While original in their expressions, this centuries-old template has captured well-known authors across studies in Christian Spirituality and in scientific and artistic disciplines. Here at the end of my words tonight, I’m not sure what to suggest you and I are to do with this template. At the least I suggest we reflect on what God is doing in and for us on our life’s pilgrimage. Something is there that is true about how our life with God unfolds, the expectations we have for ourselves, and our relationships with others.
On the other side, the side that includes the beginning and all the complexity that follows, is a second simplicity, another naivete. It begins at the threshold of humility. You’ll know it is humility if it feels like you are beginning again for the first time. It is to know how very, very little we know, care, experience, believe, trust, or desire, for those things that truly matter. It strengthens our hope that God can do more with us than all we can ask or imagine.
 William Hawkins
Officer Retreat, Camp Albemarle
Fri-Sat, Nov 16-17, 2018
[1] Rocky Mountain High, first stanza.
[2] T.S. Eliot, Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950 , The Four Quartets : Little Gidding, p. 145.
[3] . Similarly, Whitehead’s older contemporary, Supreme Court Jurist, Oliver Wendell Holmes said the same. Eugene Lowry’s, The Sermon (Abingdon Press: Nashville), 1977, p. 69.
[5] Lewis Smedes, A Pretty Good Person (HarperCollins: San Francisco, 1990), p. 174.
[6] Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “The Joy of Yes: Ricoeur: Philosopher of hope,” Christian Century, Aug. 23, 2005, pp. 27-28.
[7] Philip Simmons, Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life (Bantam Dell: New York, 2000), pp. 32-36.
[8] The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol II, Transl by Kavanaugh & Rodriguez (ICS: Washington, DC, 1980, 
[9] The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross (Revised Edition), Transl., Kavanaugh and Rodriguez (ICS: Washington, D.C., 1991), Prologue, 353-358); Gerald May, The Dark Night of the Soul, A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth (Harper SanFrancisco, 2004), pp. 136-142.
[10] As discussed in Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community , Suzanne Farnham, Joseph P. Gill, R. Taylor McLean, and Susan M. Ward (Morehouse Publishing: Harrisburg, PA, pp. 124.
[11] The Cloud of Unknowing with the Book of Privy Counsel, transl. Carmen A. Butcher (Shambala: Boston, 2009).
[12] Lloyd Griffith, Trust the Wildness (Heart-Path Press, 2013). In her Interior Castle , Teresa, says of this “commotion,” It is a favor of the Lord that she bears in herself the most intense confusion and humility. Works, Vol 2:407.
[ 13 ] William Placher, A Theological Commentary on Mark (WJK: Louisville, 2010), p. 14
GriefShare is a Christian faith based support group for people who have lost a loved one: spouse, family member, relative or friend. It is open to the community no matter what your religious affiliation or beliefs might be....ALL ARE WELCOME!! GriefShare will run every Monday from 10:00 am until noon in Room 206 at the Centenary United Methodist Church office building at 309 New St., from January 28th to April 22nd. You can join us at any time. For more information and to register, please contact Pam or Ron Bonina at (252)497-8489 or
Update on Passion-Driven Ministry Grant:
A New Partnership

Members of the ESL Committee have been planning the implementation of our $5000 grant from Presbytery for new computers. Several of us met with David Fuentes, pastor of West New Bern Presbyterian (our partner in the grant), to see how we might work together. West New Bern is in the third year of a similar grant for a community garden. Their church also has a large refugee population, primarily Burmese. We all felt a synergy between the two programs, and identified a current program West New Bern is conducting that seems like a good place to start working together.

West New Bern has a Thursday evening program serving about 25 youth, most of whom are in refugee families. The children are dropped off and then picked up. What if there was an opportunity for the parents to work with tutors on ESL and/or citizenship during the time the youth are meeting? David feels there could be as many as 15-20 people who would be interested in working with our tutors.

What does this mean for First Pres? We are beginning to look at our ESL program with fresh eyes, and discovering new possibilities. We have lots of ideas: this is just one example of ways we can work with our new partners. We are excited to see how our ministry can evolve and grow.

We are also excited about getting to know our Montagnard members better. Several of our committee have met with one or more Montagnards to let them know what we offer and find out how we can help them. We have already added two students from these efforts.

Does this sound like something you might like to be a part of? We work with web-based ESL and citizenship programs and guide the students through the material. It is not difficult, but can be very rewarding. West New Bern has interested volunteers, but we need more from First Pres. Currently we tutor from 9:00 to 10:30 on Saturdays and we could use more help there, but more opportunities will be forthcoming.

We are proud of our ESL ministry and would like to see it grow. We would like YOU to join our new partnership. Please email or call 252-288-5096 to see where you might fit in.
Polly Frank
Care Commission
Retirement Centers:
McCarthy Court
1321 McCarthy Blvd.
New Bern, NC 28563
Morag Cheesman, Apt. 209
Flo Jones, Apt. 303
Frank & Arlene Yeager, Apt. 305
Pat Zeleniak, Apt. 103
McCarthy Court II
1325 McCarthy Blvd.
New Bern, NC 28563
Donna Fleck, Apt. 16
Jean Hoffman, Apt. 39
Edna Harkins Apt. 34
Assisted Living Facilities:
3003 Kensington Park Dr.
New Bern, NC 28563
Ann "Nancy" Howard (Phoebe Moeller's mother) Rm. 5
Courtyards at Berne Village
2701 Amhurst Blvd.
New Bern, NC 28562
James White, Apt. 3B (Carlotta Gault's father)
1336 S. Glenburnie Rd
New Bern, NC 28653
Kenny Baxter, Apt. 206
Joyce Krumnacher, Apt. 302
Carl McMath, Apt. 708
Dick Shelley, Apt. 107
Croatan Village
4522 Old Cherry Point Rd
New Bern, NC 28560
Andy Davies, Apt. 409
Riverpoint Crest
2600 Old Cherry Point Rd.
New Bern, NC 28560
Barbara Bell, Apt. 108
Ray Henderson, Apt. 207

Bill Aber
Eleanor Gunnsser
Karen Reed
Henry Knox
Ray Henderson
Elaine Patchett
Buddy Stallings

Joys and Concerns

Sympathy of the congregation is extended to :

The family of Cindi DeVoe on the January 1st death of her father Lester DeVoe of Newark, Ohio.

Merle Stone on the December 28th death of her son, Tim Stone. A Memorial Service was held on January 1st at First Presbyterian Church of Monroe.

Joanne Behrer on the January 10th death of her husband and church member, Arthur Behrer. A Memorial Service was held in our Sanctuary.

Barbara Peck on the January 15th death of her mother, Marguerite "Peggy" Taft of Fairfield Harbour. A Memorial Service took place in Hopewell Junction, NY.

Linda Cleve on the January 19th death of her mother and church member, Carol Burgess. A Memorial Service was held in our Sanctuary.

Betty Elcan on the January 19th death of her husband and church member, Tom Elcan. A service took place in our Ministry Center Chapel.

Thanks :

Thank you to the small but mighty, crew who showed up to clean up the First Pres campus after the Advent season.

Backpack Blessings -
Mark your calendars for our big build March 2nd 9 -11 am at Garber United Methodist Church!  

The staff at RCS Homeless Shelter was very appreciative of the garbage bag full of new socks from our Holiday Sock Tree. Thanks to all who contributed.
Norma Morra

I would like to thank the ministers and Tommy, who came to the hospital to visit Charlie , as well as all who called, sent a card or said a prayer for Charlie and me in this difficult period. A special thanks goes to the person who made the beautiful gold-colored prayer shawl. He has used it and enjoyed it so much. It helps to know that others care.
 Ruth Montgomery
Session 2019
Rev. William Hawkins, Moderator, Rev. Maren Sonstegard-Spray, Vice-Moderator, Karen Reed, Clerk
Chris Kelso '19
Betsy Conzelman '20
Trudy Martin '20

Bruce Pollock '21
Peggy Clark '21
Bill Harris '19

Gayle Hardy '21
Janelle Haggard '21
George Moore '21

Becky Nohr '19
Polly Frank '20
Doug Phelps '19

Jennifer East '19
David Hale '20
Janet Bryan '20

Susan Ryan '19
Oscara Stevick '19
Jim Findley '21

Cathy Warren '20
Peter Moeller '20
Beth Foley '21
2019 February Calendar Events to be ready for...
  • February 3 Youth Sunday/Souper Bowl of Caring
  • February 6 Fellowship Dinner & Dance 5:45 JMS Gym
  • February 24 Congregational Meeting 8:25 & 10:55
  • February 24 Presbyterian Women Soup & Service 12:15
  • February 28 Empty Bowls 11:00 (Temple Baptist)
Editor's Note:This monthly newsletter is one way our congregation keeps up to date and stays informed. Another way is our church website. We have recently updated and reorganized our entire website. Please check it out! . If you need to update your email address or add an address just let us know. If you would like to see some things added or some things have outlived their usefulness please contact, or call the church office. (252)637-3270.