First News
March 15, 2023
“How Firm a Foundation”

Sunday was an incredible day in the life of this congregation as we celebrated 100 years in our sanctuary. So much has happened in this world since the dedicatory service was held on February 11, 1923. As Travis Olmert mentioned in his poignant prayer, there have been several wars, the Great Depression, a Civil Rights movement and continued struggles for equality and inclusion, a pandemic, and, I would add, the attacks of 9/11 and the dawning of the internet and smart phones. Indeed, the world is a vastly different place than it was in 1923.

Oftentimes, many of us look back with a sense of mourning for days past. Regardless of when you grew up, most of us look back with nostalgia to the “good ol’ days.” For me, it was the 1980s, which came rushing back to me when Ke Huy Quan, aka “Data” and “Short Round,” won an Oscar this past Sunday. Like the Goonies, my friends and I were “free range” and it was a wonderful time to grow up. I find myself mourning the fact that my children have not experienced the same kind of childhood. However, I distinctly remember adults talking about the “good ol’ days” when I was young, mourning that things were no longer like they were when they were young. This pattern, from generation to generation, is probably worth our attention.

During worship on Sunday, we sang the same hymns that were sung at the first service in the sanctuary; “How Firm a Foundation” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name!” For me, it was these two moments of worship that brought home the truth of God’s abiding presence with us. Because I know, beyond a shadow of doubt that the power of those two hymns and what they tell us about our God and Jesus Christ, was equally evident at both the 1923 and 2023 services. The power of God’s eternal, steadfast presence articulated in those two hymns is definitely worth our attention.

Looking back is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. But when we look back with mournful nostalgia and then to our contemporary world with a sense of judgment, we risk missing God’s presence, especially if we do so believing the times were more godly because the people were more godly. Besides the fact that the “good ol’ days” we often look back to were days that included the abhorrent injustices of Jim Crow and segregation, this also assumes that God’s presence and work in this world is dependent on us. That we are the ones who make this world more or less “godly.”

Nothing could be farther from the truth. One of the hallmarks of the Reformed tradition is the absolute Sovereignty of God which means that we, human beings, cannot dampen, lessen, or change God’s power, presence, or gracious love. Creation, all of it, is God’s, not ours. Our faithfulness, which has and will always fail to measure up, has nothing to do with the steadfastness of our God. And thanks be to God for that!

Those hymns are as powerful in 2023 as they were in 1923 because they bear witness to the truth that God’s grace, love, and presence in this world is exactly the same. Eternally the same. It cannot be divided, it cannot be destroyed, it cannot be lessened by anything that we do or do not do. Then, you might ask, what are we doing? We are doing many things, some of them faithful, some not, but what we are supposed to be doing is living our lives in joyful response to the truth that God is the Alpha and Omega, our strength and our comfort, who says to us, “fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed, for I am thy God, and will give thee aid; I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.” May it be so!

Grace and peace, 
On March 12th, we celebrated 100 years of worship in
our sanctuary. All enjoyed good food and fellowship at the potluck luncheon.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day possible:the Buff Family, Jim & Amy Caldwell, Cal Cannon, Barbara Casto, Elizabeth Clayton, Amy Couch, Marguerite De Maria, Christy Driggers, Emily Huff, Robert & Susan Lynn, Lizzie McCallum, Jenny Munro, Ron & Kathy Vanderhoff, Bob Wiesner, and everyone who donated pictures for the table displays.
Special thanks to Maggie Wentzky for coordinating this wonderful event.
The Dunbar Pantry needs items to serve the 50+ children we help feed on the weekends at the Dunbar Child Development Center and Greer Middle School. Our immediate needs are: juice boxes, individual cans of pastas, vegetables, puddings, and fruit.

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

Click here to shop on Amazon.
Men’s Monthly Breakfast on April 5th at 8:00 a.m. in the fellowship hall. RSVP to Cal Cannon via text at 864-384-5225. All are welcome!
You are invited to Maundy Thursday Worship and Communion on April 6th at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.
Are you looking for a place to serve at First Presbyterian? We need members to become First Responders. Volunteers serve on one of our four teams and no healthcare background is required. Just take one three-hour class provided by the church and you are certified as an American Heart Association Heartsaver. Questions? Contact Bill Koehler at [email protected] or 864-968-9238.
Children will be participating in worship music on Easter and on April 23rd. Rehearsals for these dates will be during Sunday School as well as during GROW on April 2nd and F3 on April 16th.

Please note these dates and times and do your best to have your children here for as many rehearsals as you are able. We love having our children in worship and look forward to this!

GROW on April 2nd at 12:00 p.m.
Egg Hunt on April 8th at 10:30 a.m.
F3 on April 16th at 12:00 p.m.
VBS June 12-16
Camp Fellowship June 18-23

Adult Volunteers are needed for Children’s Faith Formation activities on Sundays throughout the next few months. Please email Amy Smith or Maggie Wentzky if you can help. Thank you!
Youth will meet on Saturday, March 25th at 10:00 a.m. in the FPCG kitchen to pack bagged lunches for Triune Mercy Center. Contact our faith formation intern, Lizzie McCallum, for more information.

Our Mid and Senior Highs had a great time on the annual ski trip
the weekend of February 24-26.
As part of their confirmation faith exploration, confirmands and their Elder mentors served breakfast at Triune Mercy Center on March 11th. Pictured are Travis Olmert, Hampton Cash, Harper Cash, Betsy Porter, Harriett Williams, Marley Mangum, William Shelburne, Cal Cannon, and Reverend Will Shelburne.
Who wants to try handbells? Joyful Noise Handbell Choir will rehearse April 16-23-30 and play for worship on May 7th. This is a great place to learn the basics of ringing and share your gifts in worship. If interested, please let Lisa Dillard know by April 10th. All ages are welcome!
Copies of These Days and Our Daily Bread Devotionals for April, May, and June are available at various locations around the church. If you would like a copy mailed to you, please contact Lisa Johnson in the church office.
Prayers for the FPC Family

Luanne Baker
Dick & B.J. Baldwin
Jo Earnest
Barry & Diane Groce
June & Joe Johns
Abbie McWilliams
Rita Moseley
Bob Schmidt
Ron Vanderhoff
Ron Ware
Patty White

We extend Christian sympathy to Dottie Metropol and family
at the death of her brother, George, on March 11th.
Dearest Church Family,
There are not enough ways for us to say “thank you!” to you all. The meals, cards, prayers, and general concern for all of us during Tripp’s cancer battle sustained us in our darkest days. We are well and truly blessed to have you all in our corner.
With love and gratitude,
Stephen, Stacia, Tripp, and Colin Smith

Dear FPC Church Family,
We would like to thank everyone for their prayers, meals, cards and the beautiful prayer shawl. Ron’s surgery went well and therapy is slow but he is making good progress. It's times like this that you realize just how special our church and church family is. Your support has been overwhelming!! 
Thank you again.
Ron & Kathy Vanderhoff

Dear First Pres. Family,
Thank you for all the thoughtful cards, prayers, and food you have comforted us with. My brother loved God and I am so grateful that Rod has been welcomed home. I appreciate our church family. 
Connie and Bill Harrill

Dear Church Family,
Thank you for all the calls, texts, emails, and well wishes! Through our contact, I have been able to laugh A LOT, which is beneficial for me. Thank you especially for the many prayers of healing that you have lifted to God. You are helping me get better, and I appreciate each of you and your loving support. 
Much Love,
Betsy Porter

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for and sent cards to my brother, George, and his wife, Shelley, these last 5 years. George joined the Church Triumphant on March 11, 2023. They felt supported by your prayers and were lifted up by your cards.Thank you so much for your kindness.
With much love,
Dottie Metropol
The next issue of First News is April 19th. If you have content for the newsletter, please email it to Lisa Johnson at [email protected] by Monday, April 17th.