First News
March 09, 2020
Signs of Your Pastor Nominating Committee is Diligently at Work

Last week I was at a major church conference, the NEXT Church National Gathering which met in Cincinnati.  Close to 600 participants — pastors, ruling elders, lay leaders, leaders of presbyteries and church institutions, — from across the country were there.

NEXT Church is a movement of folk striving to find ways that the church, particularly the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) may be more faithful, more nimble, and more effective in sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in the rapidly changing cultural context in which the church finds itself these days.  As we know things are different now for the church than they were in 1950 or even in 1975. Yet, sometimes congregations continue to try to function as if nothing has shifted in the culture around them.

As I saw this conference on the horizon, I thought it might be a context in which the Pastor Nominating Committee (your PNC in church jargon) of this congregation might make some contacts with church leaders who know of great candidates who could be considered to serve as the next pastor of this church.  I suggested to the PNC that they consider sending some folk. As a result, Rudy Painter, Chair of the PNC, Travis Olmert, a member of the PNC, made the journey to Cincinnati.

I want all of you to know that Rudy and Travis rocked the house!  They met with significant leaders from across our denomination. They told them of the vibrancy of this congregation.  They garnered from them names of people who might be ones our PNC would want consider. Everywhere I went during the conference I was stopped and told, “I met your elders from Greer.  They are awesome!”

All of this is to say that I believe your PNC are splendid ambassadors for this congregation.   They are hard at work pursuing their calling of finding the person God is already in the process of calling to serve this congregation as its next pastor.

Below is a note from Rudy.  Please hold this committee in your prayers.

Grace and peace,

Pete Peery
A Note from the PNC
The Pastor Nominating Committee is meeting on a weekly basis, the MIF (Mission Information Form)has been completed and submitted it to the Presbytery. We now begin the work of identifying candidates and interviews. This committee has worked so well together and all members have given input and posed questions. This group decided early on the check their ego’s at the door and feel complete freedom to speak their mind. We have received a lot of good input and we are now ready to seek out a new Senior Pastor to lead us.
Our congregation will be preparing and serving Sunday supper at Triune Mercy Center on Sunday, March 22. If you are interested in participating in this local mission opportunity, please speak to Louis Adams, FPCG Triune Deacon or Whitney.
Thank you for your continued support of the Backpack Buddies Pantry. Thanks to your generosity, each weeks bags are packed for weekend supplemental food for students at Dunbar Child Development Center and Greer Middle School.  Current Pantry Needs: fruit cups, pudding cups, soup, spaghettios, ravioli, pop-tarts, small cans of veggies, and juice boxes. Visit our Amazon Wishlist
A Note from Rev. Berry French

I’ve just been here 2 months now, but that’s plenty long enough to have felt and understood the strength and the health of this congregation. You are a faithful people and you are seeking to follow God’s will in bold and imaginative ways. From my perspective your Session, your Ministry Teams, your staff, your budgets, and our worship are all healthy and vibrant and that is to be celebrated! So thanks be to God for your faithful witness, First Presbyterian Church! You have a strong heritage to stand upon and you are poised to follow God’s calling into the future as your PNC is already hard at work discerning who the Spirit is calling to become your next pastor.
As I’ve been gathering with individuals and small groups I’ve been asking “How long have you been at FPC and what do you love about our church?” It’s been amazing to listen to the balance of folks who grew up here as children and folks who have arrived more recently and particularly the ease with which those lines are blurred and everyone is both welcomed and asked to carry the responsibility of the health and future of our congregation. I have also been impressed with just how many folks talk about the warm welcome they received when they first visited. That kind of hospitality is difficult to create … and yet you have it and you are stewarding that congregational personality trait well! You are a warm and welcoming community and that translates into a healthy and growing congregation.
On January 12 th , I was introduced as your Interim Associate Pastor focusing on youth, young adults, and welcoming and enfolding visitors and new members. Building on the strong foundation of children and youth ministry at FPC over the years, we have a vibrant youth ministry program, a growing and sustainable young adult ministry, and your Session is meeting this Sunday to welcome several new members (which is a big deal in this season of transition) and a new Confirmation class. 
One of my passions is inviting congregation members into ministry and walking along side teams of folks as we envision what might be lifegiving in various arenas of congregational life. Together with the Youth Ministry Team we have now recruited and trained more than 15 adult youth advisors to care for our middle and high school youth. Many of those adult advisors are new to youth ministry, many have been caring for the youth for a while. All but two of our youth advisors are not parents of our youth – a sign of a very healthy youth program. We have also enhanced our youth programming to encourage more laughter, more spiritual practices, and more personal connections in order to create a spiritual community that our young people want to be part of.  
We have a Confirmation retreat coming up this weekend where we’ll be worshipping with other faith communities, developing personal faith statements, and meeting with the Session to be examined. Our middle school youth are joining us for a day retreat on Saturday. Next weekend our high school youth are headed to Montreat for a Foothills Presbytery retreat. We have full summer trips to Montreat Youth Conference for our high schoolers in July and CROSS Mission experience for our middle schoolers in August. Our church community is passing on the faith to the next generation in lots of ways! God is at work in the lives of our youth!
I have also been working with the Faith Formation Ministry Team to nurture our young adults and parents of children by inviting specific leaders to gather small groups for spiritual growth and support.
It is a JOY to be part of your community of faith and I am continually amazed by the dedication and giftedness of our Session, lay leaders, and staff. I look forward to seeing what God is up to in the coming weeks and months! Thanks be to God for your faithful witness FPC!
Help us Welcome Visitors
During my Lenten reading, the topic of hospitality was addressed. Welcoming strangers indicates our church has a space for newcomers. With so much negativity and hostility in the news and on social media, a warm greeting to a visitor can make such a difference in that individual's experience at our church.
We need help on the Evangelism team with greeting visitors after our worship services. It involves approaching new comers with a greeting, offering a Welcome bag, chatting a bit to get to know them (and them you!) and answering any questions they may have. (It's OK if you don't know an answer to a question that may arise! I promise you someone standing nearby you will know the answer!) It is a very simple, yet very important ministry. By doing so, you can help a stranger sense that our church is one in which all are welcome. They will be sure of this if they come back the next week and you are able to walk over and say hello to them!
If you would be willing to serve in this capacity, please contact Gail Hermann either by phone 864-752-5654 or email at

Beginning in Sunday school with flour and yeast, our high school youth and youth advisors made home made pizza dough and pizzas for the youth group on Sunday March 8th!  It was a fun day for all with lots of laughter, learning, and conversations side by side in aprons. We had 17 middle and high school youth gather for laughter, prayer, community building exercises, games and fellowship on Sunday evening.  Eleven of our youth advisors gathered ahead of time to pray together, do some youth ministry training, and look ahead at the rest of the semester.
March 13th - 15th
Confirmation Retreat including worship with other faith communities

March 14th
Middle School Retreat and field trip
2-7 pm

March 20th - 22nd
High School Youth @ Mini Montreat
5-7 pm
With Foothills Presbytery PYC

March 22nd
Confirmation Sunday

March 29th
Youth Lunch at Wild Ace
12:15 pm
The next Fabulous Friday will be on March 13th from 6-8 pm. We hope your children will be able to join us as we consider our exploration of the Fruits of the Spirit with activities centered around Faithfulness . Sign up here.
We are continuing our Lent book study of Adam Hamilton’s The Walk .  You are invited to join us at 10 am and 6 pm in upstairs Kirk Hall as we look at spiritual practices of worship and prayer, study, service, giving and sharing.
The Session has called a Congregational Meeting for March 29th at the beginning of the 11:00 worship service for the purpose of electing the Officer Nominating Committee
In light of the coronavirus crisis I am deeply grateful for the work of the Operations Ministry Team of this congregation and, in particular, for the contributions of Bill Koehler to the work of alerting us of appropriate procedures during this pandemic.  We are following these procedures at the church. Please review these procedures as you come to gather in worship.
Grace and peace,
Click on the picture above to see FPCG's recent photos.

If you have pictures that you have taken of FPCG events that you'd like to share please send them to Maggie Wentzky
Joys & Concerns of FPC Family

Louise Ables
Bruce Baker
George Crowe
Jamie Hall
Thad McCord
Linda McDaniel
Jim Stringer

Christian Sympathy is extended to Judy Brown and her family on the passing of her husband Bob.

Thank you for all the phone calls, cards and prayers. I had a mini stroke (TIA) while driving to work last week. I am doing very well and back to work with no complications. Again, thank you for all the support!! I am blessed to have such a loving and caring church family. 
Love you guys,
Jay Crim
Calendar of Events
March 09

March 10
1:00 Prayer Shawl Ministry
3:00 HC Circle

March 11
10:00 Bible Study
6:00 Bible Study
6:15 Chancel Choir
7:15 Handbell Choir
8:15 Praise Team

March 12

March 13
Confirmation Retreat

March 14
Middle School Retreat & Field Trip

March 15
Confirmation Retreat
8:55 Worship in Fellowship Hall
10:00 Sunday School
11:00 Worship in the Sanctuary
11:00 Grace Notes Elementary Ensemble in Worship
12:00 Session Meeting

March 16

March 17
1:00 Prayer Shawl Ministry

March 18
10:00 Bible Study
6:00 Bible Study
6:15 Chancel Choir
7:15 Handbell Choir
8:15 Praise Team

March 19

March 20
High School Youth @ Montreat

March 21
High School Youth @ Montreat

March 22
Confirmation Sunday
8:55 Worship in Fellowship Hall
10:00 Sunday School
11:00 Worship in Sanctuary
High School Youth @ Montreat