First News
April 20, 2023
This Is the Place

In my sermon this past Sunday, I quoted Father Greg Boyle, who said that Christians should “seek a compassion that can stand in awe at what people have to carry rather than in judgment at how they carry it.” He said this in reference to the people that he works with through the organization he founded, called Homeboy Industries, which “provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and previously incarcerated people, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community.” They also dream of a world where prisons no longer exist.

When you listen to people who have been incarcerated or involved in gangs and have turned their lives around, the story you most often hear is one of difficulty and trauma. Their lives have always been marked by violence, neglect, abuse, and pain. When you hear their stories, you could easily predict that their lives were headed toward prison or premature death. And statistics bear this out, as it is easy to predict who is most likely to end up incarcerated according to the communities they come from and the levels of poverty and violence that exist there. It is a vicious cycle that disproportionally affects black and brown people. The fact that the United States has by far the highest incarceration rates in the world is both a tragedy and a moral failure.

For Christians, it is a failure to love our neighbors. Watching clips from those whose lives have been changed by Homeboy Industries, I am struck by the shared sentiment that before and during prison, most of these people believed that no one cared about them, and no one had ever truly shown them love. And this underscores both the prevalence of hatred and the power of love. And by hatred, I mean not only “intense dislike,” but passive dismissal. I mean the hatred that all those who passed by the Good Samaritan held for him. They were not seething with anger but hated that his suffering might inconvenience them and that it challenged their consciences. This, too, is hatred and is probably the one we suffer from most. It is more akin to apathy than rage.

This kind of hatred is rooted in hopelessness. In the belief that we can do nothing to make a difference. And yet, all you need to do to debunk this belief is to hear the stories of people like Miguel Lugo, who works with Homeboy Industries. His life was saved by love and welcome. He says, “I was supposed to die in prison and now I’m out here, so this is a dream.” Miguel’s nightmare was turned into a dream by the power of gracious love. Of his experience at Homeboy Industries, Miguel says, “loving somebody and caring for somebody without knowing them, it’s one of those things, you’re like “wow, this is it, I’m in the right place.” This is the right place, the place that Jesus spent his whole life. And it is the place to which we are called. May we never doubt the power of love to change the world!

Grace and peace, 
FPC Greer Financial Snapshot
As of March 26, 2023

Budgeted Income = $264,474.00
Actual Income = $249,002.00
Variance = (-$15,472.00)
April 30th
8:55 Worship in the Fellowship Hall
11:00 Worship in the Sanctuary

May 7th
8:55 Worship in the Fellowship Hall
11:00 Worship in the Sanctuary

May 14th
Bluegrass Sunday
8:55 and 11:00 Worship in the Fellowship Hall

May 21st
Graduate Recognition Sunday
8:55 Worship in the Fellowship Hall
11:00 Worship in the Sanctuary

May 28th
Pentecost & Confirmation Sunday
One Worship Service at 11:00 in the Sanctuary Followed by a Congregational Potluck Lunch in the Fellowship Hall
Dunbar Pantry Needs: small individual cans of pastas, vegetables, fruit, and puddings.

Donations can be dropped off during regular office hours OR visit our Amazon Wish List and have the items shipped directly to the church.

Click here to shop on Amazon.
A Note From Your
Mission & Outreach Committee

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The core budget, including staff and administrative costs, is funded through the One Great Hour of Sharing, and its program work is additionally funded through designated gifts.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic event.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
  • Focuses on the long term recovery of disaster impacted communities.
  • Provides training and disaster preparedness for presbyteries and synods.
  • Works collaboratively with church partners and members of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together) internationally, and nationally with other faith based responders.
  • Connects partners locally and internationally with key organizations active in the response — United Nations, NVOAD (National Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster), World Food Program, Red Cross, FEMA and others.

Click here for ways to support PDA.
News from Richard Mauney

Dear friends at FPC Greer,

It was so good to see many of you when I was in the U.S. for Christmas and New Years. I appreciate so much the notes of encouragement that I receive from the church and I am blessed every time that I am able to connect with you via livestream on Sundays. I've attached the latest news from Romania! Thank you for your part in God's work here.

Richard Mauney

Click here to read Richard's newsletter
Children & Youth are participating in music this Sunday at 11:00 a.m. worship. The Young Ladies’ Ensemble rehearses at 9:30am in the sanctuary. Children will rehearse as part of the Sunday School hour in the children’s music room.  

Handbell Social on May 3rd at 6:00 p.m. at Cartwright Food Hall.
All ringers are welcome! 
It’s time to register for VBS!
Join us June 12th —16th from 9:00 a.m. to noon for Hero Hotline:
Called Together to Serve God!

As kids (called Heroes) experience Bible stories through music, drama and storytelling, games, arts and crafts, science, and even snacks, they’ll learn that Heroes are called to Follow Jesus, Help Others, Work Together, Listen to God, and Show Grace! 

Click here to register for VBS!
Thank you, Claire!

It is with much gratitude and love that we congratulate Claire Gillaspy on her upcoming graduation from Furman University! Claire has been a faithful presence in the nursery over the last several years with lots of love for our children. After graduation Claire will move to New Jersey to start a new job using her mathematics degree. Prayers abound for her next steps! Please stop by the nursery either this week (4/23) or next (4/30) to thank her and wish her well. 
It's time to register for Camp!!!

Our week at Camp Fellowship this summer will be June 18th - 23rd.

Programs are available for K5 thru 12th grade and camp scholarships in the amount of $300.00 are available to all FPC Greer members. To apply this $300 discount to your registration use code: 1stGreer23

Camp Fellowship celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2023 and we hope everyone will join in on the fun.

If you have questions about camp, please reach out to Maggie Wentzky or click here to access the Camp Fellowship website.
Men’s Monthly Breakfast on May 3rd at 8:00 a.m. in the fellowship hall. RSVP to Cal Cannon via text at 864-384-5225. All are welcome!
Prayer Concerns
Louise Ables
Luanne Baker
Dick & B.J. Baldwin
John Cuturilo
Marguerite DeMaria
Hugh & Jo Earnest
Barbara Greene
Barry & Diane Groce
Joe & June Johns
Abbie McWilliams
Bob Schmidt
Patty White

We extend Christian sympathy to the Williams family following Ed’s passing on April 2nd.
Dear FPCG family,

Thank you for the prayers, cards, flowers, and prayer shawl. I appreciate you remembering me following my surgery.
Dave Orr

Dear Church Family,

Thank you so much for all of the attention that I received during my foot surgery and recovery. The cards, phone calls and food were much appreciated and much evidence that we are a caring congregation.
Charlotte Koehler
Click here to see photos
from recent church events!
The next issue of First News is May 17th. If you have content for the newsletter, please email it to Lisa Johnson at [email protected] by Monday, May 15th.