First News

August 31, 2022

A New Thing  


One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 43:18-19: “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” I have read this scripture to many people over the years that were facing difficulties such as impending surgery, treatment, or major life transitions. I hear these words as good news of hope in the midst of chaotic, life-altering circumstances; the promise that God will make new things spring forth from even the most difficult and trying of circumstances. These verses serve as an exclamation point to those that open chapter 43: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” The promise here is very clear, God will be with us through everything we face and God will continue to make new things spring forth. Sometimes this can be difficult to believe, but when taking the long view of our lives, we are often able to see how this has happened. How God has brought good out of the bad and made new things spring up even from the burnt ground of our pain and difficulty. We can see how God did make a way in the wilderness.


While this scripture speaks to us in the personal difficulties we face, it was first spoken to a community of God’s people who were collectively suffering the pain of exile. Therefore, when we read it together as a community of faith, it orients us to a place of hopeful expectation; an attitude of trust in God and excitement for the new things that God will be doing with and through us. This is exciting because after such a long period of Covid ups and downs, canceled and changed plans, deep disappointment and frustration, we begin a new program year on September 11 without having to say that all things are tentative. Certainly, we will need to remain flexible, we have all become adept at this over the last few years, but for the first time in a long time, the church year will begin without that heavy cloud hovering over our heads.


And new things are springing forth. A wonderful group of new members joined our community of faith this past Sunday. There is renewed energy around the church in the form of volunteers stepping up to teach our children and youth; the continued faithfulness of volunteers helping out with our ministry with our friends from Afghanistan. Devoted Deacons are tending to their flocks and supporting the ministries of the church. Youth have gathered for swim parties and are looking forward to Sunday evening fellowship and other special events, as our children look forward to F3 and Fabulous Fridays. Our wonderful music ministry consistently lifts our souls and involves so many of all ages in singing, ringing bells, and sharing musical talents. Our dedicated volunteers continue to serve meals at the soup kitchen. The list goes on and will continue to grow as we worship, fellowship, study, and break bread together, and leave with renewed energy, seeking new ways we might serve our community.

I am filled with hopeful expectation and not simply for the things we are doing and will do. But, more importantly, for the things that God has in store for us and will do through us. I am hopeful because we are invited into the new things God is doing. For God is always doing new things, bringing hope out of the ashes of hopelessness, and asking us, “do you not perceive it?” As we enter this new program year, my hope is that we prayerfully seek to perceive and then join in the new things that God is making spring forth all around us. 


Grace and peace,


September 4th - One Service at 11:00 in the Fellowship Hall with communion

September 11th- Rally Day: Both services in the Sanctuary

September 18th - 8:55 Worship in the Fellowship Hall

and 11:00 Worship in the Sanctuary

September 25th - 8:55 Worship in the Fellowship Hall

and 11:00 Worship in the Sanctuary

The Buff Family Michael, Crystal, Charlotte & Caroline

Michael works in IT with ScanSource of Greenville, and Crystal is a full-time homemaker. Their daughter, Charlotte, is in 7th grade and daughter Caroline is in first grade. 

Crystal volunteered at VBS this summer.

Joanne Fink

Joanne is retired and moved to the area about a year ago. Her children live in various parts of the country and she has a granddaughter who lives in Greenwood. She was born in Oregon and lived in northern Virginia with her husband until his death two years ago. She was a member of Warrenton Presbyterian Church in VA for ten years where she served on the Worship Committee. 

Meg Hornak & Don Kontowski

Meg is retired from a career in nursing administration at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. She now lives in Landrum, where she has reconnected with a friend, Don Kontowski, during a visit to our area last year. They are now engaged and plan a spring wedding.

Al & Faye Jenkins

Al and Faye moved here from Lynchburg,Va in December 2020. Now retired, Al worked 42 years for a printing company called RR Donnelly and Faye worked 40 years for Nationwide Insurance. They love to travel,cook, and garden. Al and Faye are the parents of FPCG member, Ameka Cruz.

The Lucas Family

Adam, Amanda, Henry & Lily Grace

The Lucas family moved to the Upstate in March from Florida. Adam is a machinist and Amanda is a counselor and therapist with a private practice. Their children, Henry and Lily Grace, attended VBS this summer.

Dave & Susan Macer

Dave is retired and officiates high school and club volleyball. Susan works part time for Prisma at Greenville Memorial as a pharmacist. She enjoys playing tennis and is always looking for someone to play with. 

United Ministries - IHN Volunteer Opportunities

As United Ministries prepares to welcome families into the Emergency Shelter program, they need help putting finishing touches on apartments. Below, you will find the makeup of the initial families they are welcoming into Emergency Shelter on September 6th.

Family #1 - Single mother with 16-year-old daughter, 14-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter, and 8-year-old daughter

Family #2 – Single mother with 15-year-old daughter and 11-year-old daughter

Family #3 – Single father with 13-year-old daughter

You can help welcome these families by putting finishing touches on the apartments they will call home for the next 12 weeks. Volunteers are needed to do some touch up painting, set up bedrooms/bathrooms, cleaning, decorating, and more. The apartments are located on the campus of Greenville Tech (Campus Pointe Apartments, Building C).

Please use the link provided below to sign up.

August 30th - September 1st

Afghan Refugees Circle of Welcome Update

First Presbyterian-Greer created a Circle of Welcome to work with four men from Afghanistan, who came to the United States nearly a year ago and now live in the Greenville area. The major services we provide them are English classes (two speak English well) and transportation. We have also helped them find dentists, doctors and other service providers. We want to help them get to know our congregation – and for you to know them - through sharing meals, going bowling or to play putt—putt, taking trips to the mountains or the lake and other fun outings.

The four men range in age from 19 to about 35; two of them have wives and children back in Afghanistan. All four of them work at BMW through staffing agencies. They all worked with Americans, particularly the military, while we had troops in Afghanistan and they were evacuated when we left the country. Lutheran Refugee Services, which sponsors well over 100 Afghanis in the Upstate, is working with them to gain amnesty status and green cards.

If you can provide transportation for classes or outings or if you have ideas for recreational activities, please contact Jenny Munro at or 864-908-6148.

Exciting news to share! The Dunbar Buddies program will begin again this fall! Dunbar Buddies provide mentoring to students at Dunbar Child Development Center, a School District of Greenville County facility that provides early developmental services to students who have been identified as being at risk for future learning problems when they enter school.

The center is about five minutes from the church. Folks at FPC Greer have been in a relationship with Dunbar CDC for the past ten years. Participation involves a 1/2 hour per week commitment to provide services such as reading to groups of children, playing games with a child or a small group, or helping a child with specific skills as determined by the teacher. Some folks have also led sing-a-longs, planted and tended flower gardens, and fed birds. In the past, we had about 20 folks from our church participate weekly. The program was discontinued in January of 2020 with the onset of the Covid pandemic and has been greatly missed by the faculty and staff. We are planning a start-up informational meeting at a date to be determined in September and would love to have as many volunteers particpate as possible. For further information, questions, or to sign up, please contact Amy Couch at 864-918-2522 or Suellen McConnell at 864-230-2012.


Also, we are planning to start packing backpacks in the next few weeks. We need folks to pack the foods from our Dunbar pantry on a rotating basis. In the past, the packers have been scheduled once about every six weeks. Please contact Amy or Suellen at the numbers above to learn more or to sign up.

Greer Middle School Caring Closet

In addition to the food items that we already collect in our backpack pantry, Greer Middle School is in need of items for their caring closet. If you would like to contribute, you can purchase from the wishlist linked below or you can purchase similar items and drop them off at the church. They will be delivered to Greer Middle School along with pantry items.

Join us on September 14th as the Evangelism Committee sponors a study of the “8 Habits of Evangelism.” This resource was developed by the PC(USA)’s Presbyterian Mission Theology, Formation & Evangelism director, Ray G Jones III. It is the first evangelism tool offered by the PC(USA) in more than a decade and is designed for use in community. Our study will focus on 4 of the habits; Radical Welcome, Generosity, Justice and Fellowship.

This is a free resource and you can preview a copy here. If you would like a printed copy, we will have some available in the church office.


Starting on September 14th, we will meet once a month at 5:30 p.m. We will share a meal in the Fellowship Hall followed by the study. Childcare will be provided. The dates are Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 9 and Dec. 7 (tentative). If you have questions, please contact Patty White. To RSVP for dinner on September 14th, please click on the button below.

Dinner RSVP

We are excited to welcome our Furman Students back! Claire Gillaspy and Natalie Hogue will be back in our nurseries starting this week. Claire studied abroad last Spring and spent the summer doing an internship in NYC and Natalie spent the summer working at Montreat. Stop by the nursery and welcome them back to FPCG.

A BIG thank you to Caroline Dillard and Kelly McCord for helping out in our nursery this summer! Caroline is back in school and busy with school year activities and Kelly is going to be working on Wee Kirk, our young children’s worship time this Fall! We are grateful for you both! 

During the month of September our children will be learning about the Good Shepherd and what it means to take care of others the way that Jesus did. At Fabulous Friday on September 19th, we will be packing hygiene kits to donate to Triune Mercy Center. If you would like to donate items, there will be boxes for drop off throughout the church between now and September 16th. Items needed are listed below: 

Travel-size toothpaste




Travel-size soaps

Travel-size shampoos

Travel-size body lotions

Travel-size conditioner (optional)

Comb (optional)

Reading glasses, any strength

Upcoming Youth Events

September 11th - Rally Day

September 11th - First Youth Sunday Evening Dinner & Program

The Sojourners Sunday School Class will start a new book on September 11th. Join us as we study Lord, Give Me Patience and Give It To Me Right Now, by James W. Moore and Bob J. Moore.


Here is a summary of the book:

"We are impatient people looking for immediate action and instant gratification, so much so that God’s patient ways sometimes confuse, perplex, and bother us. We are impatient, but God is deliberate, steady, and long-suffering. We look for the speedy way, the shortcut, the instant answer, the immediate solution. But God takes the long way ’round. God refuses to be rushed.

The way to become a spiritually mature Christian is to spend so much time with Christ that we begin to think and act like him, to spend so much time with him that we take on what the apostle Paul called “the mind of Christ.” It just takes time and effort and commitment. There are no easy, instant solutions. What we need to remember is that the things that matter most take time, effort, commitment, discipline, lots of practice, lots of hard work . . . and lots of patience."

The First Presbyterian Greer book club will hold its first meeting of the 2022-2023 year on Sept. 6 at 3 p.m. in the Agape Room at the church. The first book is Rules of Civility by Amor Towles, with the discussion being led by Louise Ables. All are invited to attend the book club discussions which are held the first Tuesday of each month from September through June at 3 p.m. For more information or to be added to the book club email roster, please contact Jenny Munro at or 864-908-6148.

An Update from Richard Mauney

Nearly 100 participants from all over Romania and other parts of Europe joined in the Jubilate Summer Music and Worship Course on August 22-28. Richard taught from his book, Unceasing Offering: Worship from a Biblical, Historical, and Practical Perspective and was thrilled to direct the whole group in singing a translation of The Majesty and Glory of Your Name by Tom Fettke. Please continue to hold Richard and the Greater Europe Mission Ministry in your prayers.

Prayers for the FPC Family

Luanne Baker

Dick & B.J. Baldwin

John Cuturilo

Glennis Griner

Rob Hughes

Joe & June Johns

Abbie McWilliams

Rita Moseley

Tripp Smith

Phil Thompson

Jean Tressler

Ed Williams

We extend Christian sympathy to Bonnie Holmes at the death of her mother, Joan, on August 27th.

The next issue of First News is September 21st. If you have content for the newsletter, please email it to Lisa Johnson at by Friday, September 16th.

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