First News

August 3, 2023

The Forest and the Trees

Things are clearly picking up around the church these last couple of weeks as we transition from a very successful July schedule of joint Sunday school and one earlier worship service. It warmed my heart to see folks who do not often see each other because of their attendance at one or the other regular services, come together, catch up, and share both joys and sorrows. You could feel the genuine love and care this congregation and its people have for one another.

As we look forward to the Fall, August promises to be a full month beginning with the Blessing of the Backpacks, Educator Recognition, a picnic and Abbott’s this Sunday, and continuing with youth swim parties and a lunch at Wild Ace, a book study and discussion on mental health and the church, regular Sunday school, choir and handbell practices on Wednesdays, Inquirers classes for those interested in joining or learning more about the church, and, to close it out, a gospel Sunday on August 27. Behind all these wonderful things is a lot of time and energy from volunteers and staff, all working toward the end of building a beloved community that affirms God’s love for each one of us who gather here and that calls us out to share the good news of God’s gracious love to those outside our walls.

Sometimes, however, I think we miss the forest for the trees. We busy ourselves, both in our lives and at the church, with the details and so we miss the larger purpose. The trees of our lives need to be maintained and manicured and our obsession with doing so creates deep anxiety and worry. We know that the bigger picture, the forest of life, is much more than simply marking things off our to-do lists (manicuring the trees), and yet too often we are beholden to them. They become for us Pharoah’s never ending task list.

The forest that we all seek is relationship - loving, accepting, gracious relationship. Which is exactly what Pharoah was seeking to destroy. For through relationships of deep love and care and the beloved community they inspire, Pharaoh’s tyranny is resisted and challenged. Indeed, Moses was a community organizer and builder, who inspired God’s people to remember who they were, beloved children of God. And when they remembered, they found freedom, not only from Pharoah’s shackles, but even more importantly, from their own.

This time of year, when the children go back to school, is a time of deep anxiety for my family. The calendar does not fill up so much as it explodes with things for our family to do. The trees threaten to undo us! The tendency in these times is to put our spiritual lives on the backburner. “Sorry God, maybe I’ll check back in when things calm down!” This, of course, is exactly the opposite of what we should do. In these times when it seems that Pharoah just keeps adding to our lists, we are especially in need of God and the community of faith. We need to gather, to hear and study the Word, to eat hot dogs and Abbott’s (!!), and to be reminded of the majestic forest of God’s enduring and steadfast love. It is God’s boundless love and the love of others that gives us perspective and allows us to rise above the trees of our lives to see the forest of God’s goodness, mercy, and love. So, let us all commit to being together, for it is together that we best remember who we are - beloved children of God.   


Grace and peace,


FPC Greer Financial Snapshot

Year to Date Actual Income as of 6/30/23 = $403,588.21

Year to Date Budgeted Income as of 6/30/23 = $430,382.00

Variance = ($26,793.79)

The Greer Soup Kitchen is looking for volunteers to help prepare and serve meals on Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. These hours can be flexible. If you are able to help, please contact the soup kitchen director, Martha Bennett, at 864-421-5321.

The Soup Kitchen also needs these items:

Dawn Detergent, Bleach, Windex, Pam Spray, Ketchup, Mustard, Salad Dressings (Especially Ranch), Sugar, Brown Sugar, and Hamburger Dill Pickles

Items can be dropped off at the soup kitchen or contact Suellen McConnell, Sandy Thomason, or Christy Driggers to arrange delivery.

First Greer is currently searching for a Director of Children’s Programs. This part-time position offers an exciting opportunity to nurture the faith of our youngest members from infants through Grade 5. Though an education background and/or experience working with children is needed, no specific church-related training or work experience is required. Those interested may refer to the job description posted on the FPCG website, check out our Instagram or Facebook pages, email questions to [email protected], or speak with a search team member: Elizabeth Bain, Val Hendrickson, James Humphrey, Emily Mangum, or Sallie Smith.   

A Word from Ally

Over the course of July, I had the privilege of attending both the Montreat High School Youth Conference and the Cross Mission Trip in Charlotte with some of our mid high students. I was fully prepared for lots of laughter, a good amount of hard work, and very little sleep. What I wasn’t anticipating was the fact that both Montreat and Cross had us reflecting on the same theme: Joy. Scripture describes joy not as a passive response or momentary feeling, but rather as an active choice. Joy is both a gift from God and an intentional practice on the part of the believer. Choosing and practicing joy does not erase the harsh realities of life. We will still experience pain, heartbreak, and disappointment, but God’s joy, which lives in each of us, is a powerful and sustaining force. Brene Brown writes that “Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience – ensuring we have reservoirs of emotional strength when hard things do happen.” 

What a gift it was to see the FPC youth wholeheartedly embrace this kind of radical joy! My hope for all of us is that, as we look forward to the next few months, we choose joy in all things.



Mid Highs on CROSS Mission Trip in Charlotte, NC

Senior Highs at Montreat Youth Conference

Upcoming Youth Events!

Foothills Presbytery Event at Fourth Presbyterian Church

in Greenville, SC

Youth Mental Health

First Aid Training

Thursday, September 7th

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, youth pastors, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring people how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

Cost: $5 per person

Click on the link below for more info and to register:

The coffee cabinet has been restocked! Pick up your favorites today for $10 per bag and support our mission partners at Frontera de Cristo.

A Presbyterian border ministry located in the sister cities of Douglas, Arizona, and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Frontera de Cristo works to build relationships and understanding across borders.

Organized in 1984, Frontera de Cristo is a ministry founded upon a coalition of the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Together, both churches aim to challenge the historic precedent of how mission work is done—not as one church doing ministry to another, but as churches working together as one for the Kingdom of God.


Today, led jointly by Jocabed Gallegos and Mark Adams, Frontera de Cristo serves people through a variety of partner ministries including migrant shelters, after-school centers, community gardens, a cooperative fair trade plus coffee business, rehabilitation facilities, and more.

Click on the GEM logo above to read the latest news from Richard Mauney about the Jubilate Music Ministry in Romania.

Hello Bible Study Friends!

I am enjoying preparations for our Wednesday Morning Bible Study which begins on September 6, 2023 at 10:30 a.m.

We will be studying Paul's letter to the Ephesians using Eugene Peterson's book: Practice Resurrection: a conversation on growing up in Christ. In the Introduction, Peterson writes: Growing up involves the work of the Holy Spirit forming our born-again spirits into the likeness of Christ. [p2] The formation of our minds and spirits, our souls, our lives -- our lives transformed, growing up strong in God, growing to maturity, to the stature of Christ. [p5] When we practice resurrection, we keep company with Jesus, alive and present, who knows where we are going better than we do, which is always " from glory to glory." [p8]

Please register by emailing Lisa Johnson in the church office so you will receive our class outline and weekly preparation notes.  

Please note that, with most of us older than 21, we will be moving to a classroom in the main church building for easier access. More details coming soon. I look forward to Practicing Resurrection with you!!

God's Peace to you all,


Summer Songbirds in August! Singers of all ages are invited to join the choir each week in 11:00 a.m. worship. Rehearsal is at 10:30 a.m. in the sanctuary. Contact Lisa Dillard for more details.


Upcoming Events

August 13: Handbell Polishing Party for all ringers after 11:00 worship: Bring your lunch & we will eat, fellowship & polish together.

August 16: Resounding Joy Handbell rehearsal resumes at 6:30 p.m.

August 20 & 27: Young Ladies’ Ensemble rehearsal at 9:45 a.m.

August 27: Gospel Music Sunday at both services

September 10: Young Ladies’ Ensemble singing at 11:00 worship 

September 17: Joyful Noise Ringers rehearsal resumes at 1:00 p.m.

Prayer Concerns

Luanne Baker

Dick & B.J. Baldwin

Marguerite DeMaria

Hugh & Jo Earnest

Barry & Diane Groce

Bonnie Holmes

Jack House

Joe & June Johns

Abbie McWilliams

Patty White

We extend Christian sympathy to John and Cynthia Reid at the death of John’s sister, Virginia Reid Platts, on July 12th in Charleston, SC.

Thank you wonderful church family for the kindness and love extended to me upon the passing of my sister, Donna Augustine.  Losing a family member is painful in so many ways, but your kind notes, cards, and expressions of sympathy made me feel surrounded by love during the past several weeks.  I am truly grateful to each person, who has kept me in their prayers and thoughts.  Thank you is not enough to express how I feel, because I am so blessed to be family with each of you! 


India Fulkerson

Click here to view the latest photos of activities at FPC Greer!

The next issue of First News is September 7th. If you have content for the newsletter, please email it to Lisa Johnson at [email protected] by Friday, September 1st.

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