First News

July 6, 2023

A Sacred Bond



Perhaps it is the warmth of the summer months or maybe it is our wonderful intergenerational Sunday school class, but I have found myself reflecting more and more on the conditions of our environment, with both horror and awe. I am struck that we are presented with two rather tantalizing images of creation at both the very beginning of scripture and the very end. In the book of Genesis, we learn of the Garden of Eden which, prior to the fall, was brimming with harmony, peace, equity, and abundant life. Then, many books later, we reach Revelation where we learn of a new heaven and a new earth - one which will be overflowing with love, is home to the tree of life, and contains nourishing waters that sustain all. Both of these images feel far off from our reality in which we hear endless news cycles of rising temperatures, melting ice caps, growing numbers of climate refugees, and so much more. If you are like me, you might be asking yourself, “What are we to do?” What does it look like to labor with God as we work towards these images of abundant and sustainable life? 


In her book, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants”, botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer reflects on a moment she had in a graduate writing workshop on relationships to the land. After listening to her colleagues profess their deep love of nature, she posed the questions, “Do you think that the earth loves you back?” and “What do you suppose would happen if people believed this crazy notion that the earth loved them back?” The class seemed to all agree that believing this notion would indeed change things for both us as individuals and for creation. Kimmerer writes, “Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.” 


Now I am not much of a gardener, but I have grand hopes of becoming one. I have been told that growing tomatoes is “relatively easy.” But, think of the care that one tomato plant takes. It requires careful consideration on the part of the gardener. It needs the right soil, intentional placement, and correct temperatures. It needs to be protected from invasive creatures and harsh elements. When it receives this love, the plant produces a vegetable that we then take to not only nourish our bodies, but our souls and relationships as well. Yes, we tend to the earth out of love, but it seems the earth tends to us out of love, as well. A sacred and perhaps covenantal bond indeed. As we labor with God, let us not forget that, yes, we love the earth and the earth loves us back. This might just be one of the many ways in which God whispers “I love you” to us in our day to day lives.


Grace and Peace,

Ally

July Worship will feature soloists and small ensembles of all sorts, highlighting the tremendous talent that we have in our congregation. Hymns will be selected from the FPC Favorites Top 10 list!

The Officer Nominating Committee invites the congregation to submit names of individuals you believe God might be calling to serve as elders and deacons. You may do this by filling out the form found in the pew racks and dropping it in the offering plate. You can also email your suggestions to Lisa Johnson in the church office at [email protected] or call her at 877-3612. Suggestions should be submitted by Sunday, July 23rd. 

All Church Summer Book Read


The Faith Formation Ministry Team is sponsoring an all church book read this summer with “Blessed Are The Crazy: Breaking the Silence about Mental Illness, Family & Church.” Author Sarah Griffith Lund is an ordained minister and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary. Lund looks back at her father’s battle with bipolar disorder, and the helpless sense of déjà vu as her brother and cousin endure mental illness, as well. Her book is more than a memoir; it’s a resource for churches to provide healing and comfort. We will meet together on Sunday, August 20th at 4:00 p.m. to discuss the book and the intersection of faith and mental health.


Books are available for purchase on Amazon or a limited number of copies are available for $10.00 in the church office.

Prayer Concerns


Luanne Baker

Dick & B.J. Baldwin

Carolyn Caldwell

Marguerite DeMaria

Hugh & Jo Earnest

Barry & Diane Groce

Jack House

Joe & June Johns

Abbie McWilliams

Patty White




We extend Christian sympathy to India Fulkerson at the death of her sister, Donna, on June 20th. 

Dear Church Family,


Words are inadequate to express my heartfelt thanks to you for your outpouring of love at my recent 20th anniversary celebration. I am humbled and overwhelmed by your kind words, gifts, beautiful flowers, and wonderful cards. I have already made a scrapbook of the cards that I will keep and treasure forever. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.



I am extremely blessed to be a part of this church family and forever grateful that God led me to this church twenty years ago.


Yours In Christ,

Pam Turnage


Dear Church Family,


Wow! That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of all that you have done for Jeff and me since January. This is a journey that we never expected to be on. You all have helped to make it possible. We appreciate the cards (more than a box full), the calls, and texts. We have both gained a few pounds from all the delicious meals that you brought us. They have been delicious. I especially appreciate the wonderful meals that were brought to the hospital where the food was less than desirable. We would not be able to navigate my physical and occupational therapy appointments without all the rides you have provided. The security guard at RCP can't get over how many friends I have. And of course thank you for your prayers. I truly believe that your prayers are the reason I have made such great progress. Please continue to pray for me. I have great faith and hope that with your help and prayers I will be completely healed. 


Grace and Peace,

Patty White



Dear Friends,


We would like to thank our entire church family for all the prayers, meals, visits and calls during Bob’s radiation treatments in December and January and again in May and June. It is truly a blessing to have you all in our lives. And a special thank you to the Care of the Congregation Committee for being there for us the past year and a half. Thank you, everybody. Prayers do work!


With our love,

Bob and Janet Schmidt



Dear First Presbyterian Church Greer,


Jane and I thank the church staff and members who have offered so much support over the past difficult years and following our daughter, Mendi’s, passing. The support has meant more than you could ever know. 


With love, 

Ron and Jane Chappell



Dear FPC Greer,


It has been a beautiful journey with you all as you have nurtured my call into ordained ministry. On Sunday, June 4th, it was like standing on holy ground as you supported me and memories came flooding back of previous sermons I’ve shared, music performed, communion, and my baptism. Traditionally, one does not get ordained in their home church; but, as I shared with Foothills Presbytery and my welcoming congregation in Peachtree City, there is nothing quite like First Presbyterian Greer! 


I am so appreciative of the generous Feasting on the Word set and cannot wait to use it in this new call. There is so much love in my heart for each and every one of you! Thank you for completing your baptismal vows all those years ago. Peace be with you. 


Love,

Mary Moore Driggers

The Prayer Shawl Ministry Team has provided a basket of wraps for those who may need one during worship. You are invited to pick up a shawl from the baskets in the sanctuary narthex or in the fellowship hall.

The next issue of First News is August 3rd. If you have content for the newsletter, please email it to Lisa Johnson at [email protected] by Tuesday, August 1st.

864-877-3612   www.fpcgreer.org
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