First News
April 20, 2020
The Longing to Gather Again

The last time we gathered in person for worship was on Sunday, March 15. That afternoon the Session decided to cancel gathered worship and offer worship online. It renewed that decision on March 29. 

For five weeks now we have experienced this new way of worship. It is different! Yet, it has been enriching in many ways. It seems that over 200 households in our congregation have been joining in this worship each week. Many of you have shared photos which have been shared in worship giving us a deeper sense of connection in these hard days. And special thanks for enabling the worship of the church to continue goes to Mike Senn. Mike has given endless hours to editing the services and posting them online. He has been joined in the technical support of worship by Eddie Burch, J. D. Burch and Bob Greene. Our thanks goes to these men as well.

Yet, though we have found we are able to worship in this new way, we have a longing to gather again. Now that we are hearing efforts on the national and state level of considering ways to come out of “sheltering-in-place,” I know many of you are beginning to yearn for the doors of First Presbyterian to be flung open and for there to be a great re-gathering of this your church community.

This Sunday, April 26, the Session will meet again. And top on the Session’s agenda will be the question of when and how we re-gather in person for worship and other activities of the church. I invite your prayers for the Session as the elders prayerfully consider this question. For it is not an easy question. Though the curve of growing cases of COVID-19 seems to be leveling and maybe turning downward, the virus still is loose in our midst. There remains no vaccine nor effective medical cure. The capacity to adequately test and track the spread of the disease continues to be inadequate. People who are older and people with compromised health remain in danger. That means many in our congregation remain in danger. So the decision before the Session is not a light one.

To help guide the Session on this issue the Clerk of the Session, Jeff Smith, and I as Moderator of the Session met and decided to call together an Advisory Group composed of healthcare professionals to set before the Session a proposal of when re-gathered worship might begin again — or at least an outline of what conditions need to be met before that date can be set — and of the protocols that should be followed as we do re-gather for worship. Dr. Nichole Bryant who is currently serving on the Session is chairing this group. With her are Dr. Beth DelSavio, Dr. John McKay, Bill Koehler, trauma specialist and RN, Chad Wentzky, RN, and Chaplain Ralph May. I am deeply grateful to God that we have in our midst these healthcare professionals who are willing to take on this task. This group will advise. The Session remains the body which will decide.

All this is to say the Session will consider its decision very carefully and prayerfully, aware that as it provides for the worship of God by and for this congregation it does so treasuring every life entrusted by God to the care of this congregation.

So pray for the Session. And in the meantime, continue to join into the life and worship of the congregation virtually, remembering the promises of God that “nothing in life or in death . . . will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Grace and peace,

Pete Peery

Once again it is time to begin the Officer Nominating Process to select Elders and Deacons to serve in the class of 2023.  
 
The congregation is invited to participate in this process by submitting names of individuals you believe God might be calling to serve as elders and deacons. You may do this by the online form above to the Officer Nominating Committee by April 30th
 
A list of current officers can be found in the Church Directory .
 
The Nominating Committee will then go through a thorough and prayerful process of determining whom God may be calling to fill needed positions in the governance as well as care of our church family.   We will also be seeking a balance of age and gender. Other considerations are length of time in the church,
participation in the ministry of our church and the willingness to share talents.  
 
When we gather back for worship a slate of nominees will presented for election during a congregational meeting.
 
Nancy Jones, Elder, Chair of Officer Nominating Committee
Celebrating our Staff....
Victoria's Graduating & Getting Married!
In a couple of weeks Victoria Melin, our Faith Formation Coordinator will graduate from Furman University and this summer will marry her college sweetheart, Melvin Robinson! Melvin, who has regularly attended worship with us and also graced us with his incredible musical talent, playing the saxophone, is in graduate school at UGA. Victoria has played many roles during her time with us and is continuing to work with our children and youth remotely.

While we cannot be with Victoria and Melvin to celebrate their marriage we did want to do something special for them. Join us in showering them remotely in one or more of the following ways:
  1. Send a photo of a recipe in your handwriting to Maggie Wentzky to be compiled in a FPCG recipe book for the couple. Make sure the recipe has your name on it. Recipes should be sent to Maggie by the first week of May. Here are some ideas if you're stuck
  2. Join us for a Zoom Call Wedding Shower on May 12th @ 6:00 pm to wish the couple well
  3. Send a wedding gift or card directly to the couple. They are registered at Target and Macy's and Victoria's current mailing address can be found in the church directory.
Our youth and youth advisors continue to gather twice a week via Zoom to see each other, laugh together, study the Gospel of Luke, and pray together. It has been good for us to “be together” in these social distancing days. Our youth are actually reading and studying Luke together; we’re on chapters 19 and 20 early this week!

Youth parents are gathering every Sunday afternoon for a parent-only Zoom designed to provide a sacred space for parents to share and support one another.
We are sharing photographs of previous youth events over the years each Monday via group texts and social media to celebrate “Memory Monday.”
Join Maggie for Sunday School , Sundays @ 10:00 am. An email will be sent to elementary parents and Sunday School teachers with details. If anyone else would like to join us please let Maggie know.

Thank you to those of you that have sent videos of bell ringers and contributed musical pieces for Online Worship. It is great to see you all and enjoy your talents.
Children are invited to video themselves singing the 1st verse of “God, Be the Love to Search and Keep Me.” Follow the link below to hear the music and send your videos to Maggie or Lisa Dillard and we will use it in worship.
KEEPING CONNECTED

We've had a great turn out for our Zoom Connections gatherings and have been able to have some really good conversation.

Click here to see Al Masters reflection on this time and space.

These gatherings are available every Tuesday @ 6:30 pm and Thursday at 10:00. The log on information will be the same each week, so just keep it stored and join for either or both meetings. Log on details and more information can be found at www.fpcgreer.org/coronavirus
american_flags_grass.jpg
First Presbyterian Church Greer will pay tribute to both our fallen faith family members and military veterans on Memorial Sunday 24 May. Bill Koehler is collecting the names and stories of our church members. The criteria are; killed during war, died later as the result of war injuries, disease, or suicide. Served in the military on active duty, reserves, or national guard since WWI. Bill's contact information is koehlerrn@aol.com or 864-238-2106
Dear Members,

I rejoice that a good number of you are continuing to practice ministry in Christ’s name in the community and in the life of the congregation. I know several of you have been volunteering to help with some maintenance projects at the church building while it is essentially empty. I also know some others of you have come by the church building to gather goods and food supplies for help with essential feeding ministries carried on through our partners such as Dunbar Buddies. I rejoice in this and thank you for your dedication.

Still others of you happen by the church building and stick your head in just to say “Hello” to Lisa Johnson, our Administrative Assistant, or to Lynn Bennett, our Financial Secretary. Doing so is a warm gesture and we all need warm gestures right now.

However,  as stewards of life and as ones charged by our Lord to love our neighbor, our primary discpline in this time is to abide by social distancing. Lisa Johnson is continuing to work alone in her office at the church to keep up with mail, phone calls and deliveries, to prepare resources for worship as well as agendas and minutes for the Session and provide other administrative functions to keep the church going. Lynn Bennett continues to work alone in her church office handling financial matters for the church. They remain separate from one another as they are on the church premises. To protect them and all others, it is imperative that the rest of us avoid interacting with them in person when at the church building. In fact, it would be best that unless necessary for all of us avoid coming and going from the church building.

The day will come when we will be able to come and go. But until then, let us honor the mandate to stay socially distant.

Grace and peace,
Pete Peery
Click on the picture to the left to see FPCG's recent photos.

Send us pictures of the ways in which you are connecting to your FPCG Family remotely. Maggie Wentzky
Be on the lookout for FPCG Flashback Fridays. We'll be posting old church photos on Fridays to Facebook and Instagram and hope you all will enjoy taking a trip down memory lane.
T o my First Presbyterian Church Family, 
Thank you so much for the cards, texts, phone calls, and emails with well wishes and prayers during my recent illness. I appreciate all the ways you have reached out to offer love and care. I am happy to report I am feeling better and look forward to returning to full health. I keep you all in my prayers and pray you are staying well, healthy, and safe.
I would also like to say a great big “THANK YOU” for your faithful love and support of my seminary journey. This past Saturday I graduated (virtually via Zoom) from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, receiving a Master of Divinity degree. This congregation embarked on this journey with me five years ago and you have been nothing but supportive and encouraging. I give thanks to God for the beautiful and nurturing ways you accompanied me on this adventure. You have been kind and gracious, and I will always remember and give thanks for the part FPCG played in my seminary journey.  
With a grateful heart, 
Whitney 

W e would like to thank everyone for their cards and telephone calls regarding Glenn’s recent hospitalization to upgrade his pacemaker.  Everything went well, and he is doing good at present.  I am still having back issues.  It may be a while before I can get an appointment for evaluation due to the COVID - 19 issue.  I am taking one day at a time. Please keep us in your prayers
Sincerely, 
Shirley Taylor

W ords of gratitude do not do justice to the gratefulness we have for this church family.  Our family has continuously felt your love, care, kindness, and prayers over the last year and a half throughout my sister’s battle with cancer and her recent passing.  My sister and I often talked about how special this church family is – although she was not part of this church, she felt your love and prayers. Thank you for your calls, texts, cards, food, and most importantly your continued prayers. 
Love and peace,
Heather and Robert Gordon

M any heartfelt thanks to the Congregation and Staff of First Pres Greer for your cards, words of encouragement, meals and especially your prayers during my cancer diagnosis and treatments. The treatments appear to have been successful, and I am regaining my stamina.
     A special thanks to the Prayer Shawl Ministry for my beautiful shawl, and to the wonderful women of the Sisterhood class for all their support. I look forward to resuming a more active role in the work of the Church in the near future.
 
Feeling Blessed,
Linda McDaniel
Joys & Concerns of FPC Family

Bruce Baker
Dick Baldwin
Barbara Greene
Jamie Hall
Thad McCord
Jim Stringer

Christian Sympathy is extended to Chris, Bonnie, Grace & Gavin Guerrero on the death of Chris' mother.
Calendar of Events
April 20

April 21
12:00 Budget & Finance Ministry Team Meeting

April 22
4:00 Middle School Gathering via Zoom
5:00 High School Gathering via Zoom
6:30 Choir Virtual Meeting
7:30 Handbell Virtual Meeting

April 23
10:00 FPCG Zoom Connections

April 24

April 25

April 26
10:00 Elementary Sunday School via Zoom
9:00 Worship Available Online
12:00 Deacon's Meeting via Zoom
3:00 Youth Parent Zoom
4:00 Session Meeting via Zoom
4:00 Middle School Youth Zoom
5:00 High School Youth Zoom

April 27

April 28
6:30 pm FPCG Zoom Connections

April 29
4:00 Middle School Youth Zoom
5:00 High School Youth Zoom
6:30 Choir Zoom
7:30 Handbell Zoom

April 30
10:00 FPCG Zoom Connections

May 1

May 2

May 3
10:00 Elementary Sunday School via Zoom
9:00 Worship Available Online
3:00 Youth Parent Zoom
4:00 Middle School Zoom
5:00 High School Zoom
864-877-3612    www.fpcgreer.org