First News
April 5, 2022
Preparing our Hearts

As we ready ourselves to sing “Alleluia” at the entrance of the empty tomb, we do so with Good Friday realities pressing in on us. As this Sunday, Palm Sunday, we ready ourselves to shout “Hosanna, hosanna in the highest heaven,” we do so knowing that it was these shouts of joy and adoration for Jesus that threatened the powerful and sealed Jesus’ torturous fate. We live in a time when Good Friday realities of cynicism, anger, hatred, sorrow, and grief are fed to us through our TVs, phones, and radios. It seems that wherever we turn, death and suffering, cynicism and anger are pushed on us.

It does not take much imagination for us to understand the conditions that led to Jesus’ crucifixion. The presence and reality of darkness in the world has not changed in the two thousand years since his death, which means we can truthfully say we know exactly what it would have felt like to be there. To be there waving our palms, laying down our cloaks in joy as prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus’ riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. And to then see him, our hope, be arrested on trumped up charges, and make his way through the courts to the cross. We can imagine what it must have felt like to watch our hope be shattered by the juggernaut of Roman power. At how easily it was for a society to kill an innocent man, not because they misjudged him as guilty, but because it was politically expedient. Because Roman authorities reasoned that if it helps us keep this group satisfied, there might be less headache from them later, and, if not, what do we have to lose, what’s one more death to us anyway. When the one you put your hope in is so flippantly killed by the powers that be, the darkness seems an insurmountable mountain that will never be defeated. It is no wonder that the disciples abandoned him and went into hiding after he was killed. 

Yes, we are all well acquainted with the darkness of the world. Sometimes we become overwhelmed by it, other times we seek to ignore it at all costs. Both are understandable. But during Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, we should try to find some middle ground. Our faith does not ignore the realities of suffering and sorrow, of hatred and strife, and, quite frankly, this makes it believable. At the same time, our faith is meant to help us not be overwhelmed by the world’s darkness. We are called to sit with the world’s pain and suffering, with the many ways we fall short and by doing so add to its cynicism, hatred, and strife, with the Good Friday realities that would likely land Jesus on the cross again if he came to us. We are called to sit with all of these realities during Holy Week, to pray over them, and then, with hopeful expectation, to bring them with us on Easter morning where we will find yet again that the stone has been rolled away, and the tomb is empty. In faith and in penitence, let us all prepare our hearts for the resounding joy of Easter, when together we will sing, Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!    

Grace and peace,
On March 27th, Travis Olmert delivered the Charge to the Congregation at the Installation Service of Reverend Will Shelburne as Senior Pastor of FPC Greer. We wanted to share Travis's words with you from this special day in the life of this congregation.

Charge to the Congregation – by Travis Olmert
Installation of Rev. Will Shelburne as Senior Pastor of
First Presbyterian Church - Greer, SC
March 27, 2022

“What a beautiful day, and what a historical day in the life of our church.
I am honored to be before you to give this charge to this congregation.
By installing Reverend Will Shelburne as the head pastor of First Presbyterian Church Greer, this congregation has affirmed God’s calling for Will to be our leader.

I charge you to further embrace him as God’s choice to lead this church and to give thanks for his many abilities, strong faith, and intelligent perspective. But, to recognize that he is just a man and, as such, any expectation of perfection is unreasonable, perhaps even destructive.
There are issues before this church that have divided us. If history may forge a prediction of our future, we have not seen the last of issues that will threaten the unity of this congregation. The “Us versus Them” mentality of our modern world is insidious. It has crept into even the most sacred of places, into these very walls and into our hearts. In many cases, the humblest of mediators would fail to align with everyone’s ego.

If you are here, you recognize the sanctity and value of God’s people collectively following Christ. You recognize that together as the body of Christ we move more diligently toward the Kingdom of God as a church family than we ever could alone. We therefore realize that we cripple ourselves when we close our individual minds and hearts and allow our ego to control us. It is the ego that separates us from each other but more importantly, it is the ego that separates us from God. So, I charge you to set reasonable boundaries on your expectations of Will when egos flare.
Take comfort that God is in control and that He will deliver to us what we need. When this congregation needed a pastor, God delivered us Will Shelburne.

So, I charge you to trust God’s will with all that Will Shelburne is and even with what Will Shelburne is not. To pray for him, to work with him and to listen to him and each other – not just hear but listen.

I charge you to use what God has given you to galvanize God’s gift of Will Shelburne to this congregation. Share with him how God is working in your life and the life of this congregation.

I charge you to pray not only for Will but for Sara, William, Sam, Hannah and their extended family and loved ones and to show them God’s love. Aid them in the transition of making this town and this House of God their home as it has been for so many of us.

I charge you to not be afraid of failure. How well you ride is less important than how quickly you get back on your horse when you fall. When Will falls, and he will, stirrup your hands and lift him to the light.

There is no more important time than the present to open your hearts and minds to God’s will for this church. 

The Holy Spirit is in our presence as it was throughout the discernment of the Pastor Nominating Committee. Honor God through honoring that discernment.

I charge you with all of these great responsibilities. God is calling each and every one of us to be a part of it. But this is no burden. Our charge is our blessing. Thanks be to God.”

Click on the button below to read Dr. Al Masters' Charge to
Reverend Will Shelburne

Senior High Lock in, April 8th @ 8:30 PM 
Youth & F3 Workday, April 10th
Youth Group, April 24th, 5:00 PM 
The FPC Greer Confirmation Class worshiped at the Triune Mercy Center on March 27th. After worship, they served bag lunches to the homeless population of Greenville that Triune supports through its various programs.
First Presbyterain Greer has partnered with Lutheran Services Carolinas to work with Afghani refugees living in the Greenville area. A team of 10 people from our church is assiting four men as they settle into their new home. We want to offer the entire congregation a way of being involved in the mission. The four men are setting up an apartment and could use the following items: water glasses, cups, Instant Pot, small rugs, iron, juicer, chairs and other furniture. Items can be brought to the church and left in Room 108. In the case of heavy furniture, please contact Jenny Munro at 864-908-6148 and she will arrange for it to be picked up. Thank you!
The First Presbyterian Book Club meets next on May 3rd at 3 p.m. in the Agape Room to discuss The Pioneers by David McCullough. We welcome anyone interested in reading and discussing books to join us. Contact Jenny Munro at for more information.
Presbytery Choral Festival:
May 21-22 @ John Knox Pres. 
Conducted by Anthony Bernarducci
from Clemson University; 
Saturday 1-4pm, Sunday 2-4pm
Free concert May 22nd @ 3pm
All are invited! Please RSVP to Lisa Dillard by April 13th if you would like to participate in the mass choir.

String Ensemble in worship May 22nd
Elementary Children in worship April 24th
No choir or bell rehearsal on April 20th 

April 14th - Young Ladies’ Ensemble (4th-6th grade girls) sing for Maundy Thursday worship @ 6:30pm. Rehearsal at 9:45-10:00am on April 10th in the choir room.
Save the Date!!
We will have Vacation Bible School during the mornings of July 25th - 28th.
More details coming soon.
Reflections from Al

“Why Time Begins on Opening Day”

It’s time for baseball…because the strike is over (pun intended). As TV sports producer Don Ohlmeyer laments, the answer to almost any question about professional sports is “money.”

While I look forward to a Greenville Drive game or two, and perhaps even a road trip to see the Braves, I’m also looking forward to seeing Sam Garrett and Myles Mangum play.

Ironically, I had lunch a few weeks ago with Furman’s new Assistant Director of Athletics who played baseball in college and like many of us hopes FU will reinstate baseball sometime soon.

Opening Day this year is close to Easter. Opening Day is not only about baseball but another Opening Day-Easter- which celebrates an open, empty tomb, and joy that refuses death.

I’m grateful that a Methodist named Branch Rickey, with the help of Jackie Robinson, integrated the game before other institutions did, including the church.

I’m going to get out my old glove, rub it down with Neatsfoot oil, and see if Myles or Sam will throw the ball around with their old preacher.
Prayers for the FPC Family

Luanne Baker
B.J. & Dick Baldwin
Vincent DeMaria
June & Joe Johns
Abbie & John McWilliams
Rita Moseley

We extend Christian sympathy to the family of Dr. Bill Helton. Bill entered the Church Triumphant on March 26, 2022 at his home in Greer. Services were held at the church on March 30th.  

We extend Christian sympathy to the family of Marie Moore. Marie passed away on March 29, 2022 at her home in Greer. Services were held at the church on April 2nd.
Dear Church Family,
Thank you so much for all the thoughtful cards, phone calls,thoughts and prayers during Larry's hospital visits and surgery. 
Sincerely, Larry and Carolyn Caldwell

Words cannot begin to express our gratitude for the loving compassion and care shown to our family. From meals, visits, cards, prayers and so much more, our family has experienced the love of Christ through the people of this church. Thank you for taking such good care of us during this sad but triumphant time.
With love,
The family of Bill Helton

A Note from Logan Britt:
I want to thank you all for your support over the last 2 years. Being the Faith Formation Intern has been the most rewarding experience of my college career. As I finish up my time here, I just want to tell you that the impact you all have had on me has not gone unnoticed. I am better because of my time at FPCG. 
The next issue of First News is April 28th . If you have content for the newsletter, please email it to Lisa Johnson at by Friday, April 22nd.