First News
May 25, 2022
Lord, Have Mercy

I honestly do not know what to say in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting. And yet another mass shooting that took the lives of elementary age children. I am heartbroken. As I watched Hannah and her classmates participate in Field Day today, I found myself thinking about the children at Robb Elementary School who had probably just done the same in these last weeks or were planning to in the days ahead. As I watched them smile and laugh and throw water at one another, I could not help but think of those poor children in Texas and their families.

 And of course, I have prayed for them and will continue to do so. We are praying people; we must not ever relinquish this responsibility. They need our prayers. But it does become harder and harder after each mass killing we endure. We are all tired of the national ritual around it. We don’t need to hear and see the words to know what they will be. There is a liturgy around it. It begins with thoughts and prayers and then perhaps a moment of silence. The hymns are the same: “Videos Games and Mental Health,” “What About Chicago,” “Bring Back Prayer in School,” “They Are Coming for Our Guns, Better Buy More.” This last one is the most insidious, every time there is a mass killing, even of our children, guns sales soar and this is no accident, but rather a targeted marketing campaign using fear to boost profits. The sermon is always the same too. We pray for these victims and their families, but…good guys with guns, and bad guys with guns, and video games, and its pure evil individuals rather than evil manifest in our institutions and laws, and freedom, and, finally, guns shall not be named as part of the problem.
 
“A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”  Jeremiah 31:15
 
Indeed, Rachel weeps for her children and refuses to be comforted. The liturgy she hears increases her pain. “Why?,” she asks. The prayers, the hymns, the sermons, the circling of the wagons against change, are fiery salt in her wounds. Where has moral courage in our leaders gone? Who will speak truth to power? Will we ever stop accepting this as normal? It is madness, pure and simple. Surely, we can do better than this and surely the God who became flesh in Jesus Christ, born the “Prince of Peace,” does not accept the hand wringing of his followers.

Honestly, I do not know what to say, but I am tired of the liturgy. I am exhausted by the constant bloodshed. I am weary with weeping at the pictures of nine and ten year old victims. But I vow to keep looking at their beautiful faces because I do not want to forget them. It is the least I can do I suppose, to not forget them. Lord, Have Mercy!

In Christ,
Will
Join us in worship on May 29th as we honor our graduates:

High School
Lucy Casto-Waters from Cape Coral
Matthew Gray from Riverside
Will James from Greer
Davis Katz from Christ Church Episcopal
Meri Cole McMakin from James F. Byrnes
Tripp Smith from Hillcrest
Violet Wall from Wade Hampton

College
Ashton Collins from USC
Olivia Gray from USC
Angus McCord from College of Charleston
Olivia Swalm from Western Carolina

Post Graduate
Mary Moore Driggers from Union Theological Seminary
As we approach Memorial Day on May 30th, we acknowledge with deep appreciation the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families.

Please note the church office will be closed on Monday, May 30th in observance of Memorial Day.
The Safe Place Committee of First Presbyterian Church will begin using a new Urgent Assistance phone line the first Sunday in June. This line will allow all urgent needs to be received by a designated group of safe place staff and volunteers, who will triage them and have the appropriate individuals or teams address them.

The urgent assistance phone number is 864-566-3385.


During church activities you may text or call this line: 

*To receive medical assistance from our First Responder Team.
*If there is an property/facility issue that needs immediate attention. 
*To notify staff and the safe place team of any urgent matter that needs
to be addressed. 
Join us on June 5th
as we celebrate Pentecost and Confirmation Sunday. We will have one service at 11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary followed by a congregational lunch. Lunch will be catered by Mutts BBQ. Cost is $5.00 per person or $20.00 max per family.
Click the button below to RSVP for lunch.
We need volunteers to work at the Greer Soup Kitchen on June 13th, 20th, and 27th from 9 am to 1 pm. We are short staffed due to vacations. If you can help on any of these dates, please contact Sandy Thomason at 864-907-2031.
Ready to cook up some fun? At Food Truck Party VBS, your children will enjoy an interactive, energizing, Bible-based
good time as they get on a roll with God. 
All nursery thru 5th graders are invited to join us at FPC Greer for Vacation Bible School July 25th - 29th from 9 am - 12 pm. We’ll learn to pray as Jesus teaches us in Matthew 6:11;
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
To register for VBS, please click on the link below.
We will need adult volunteers for a variety of jobs. Please reach out to Maggie Wentzky, Sallie Smith or Kelly McCord to volunteer or with questions. 
Join us for Bluegrass Sunday on June 19th! 

Montreat Music Conference requests your help:
Please help us create visual art for the Presbyterian Association of Musicians Worship & Music Conference at Montreat by folding Origami Peace Cranes. As you fold them, write the name of a person on the paper and say a prayer for that person before you fold it. The peace cranes need to be 6" x 6" origami paper in the color of BLUE or blue-green. We will have origami paper and folding instructions at the congregational luncheon on June 5th. 
If you have time, please fold 12 or as many as you would like.
These will become our prayers of peace.

If you have extra pandemic face masks to recycle, please bring them to Lisa D. at the church by June 19th as they will be included in the art at the worship & music conference.
Reflections from Al

Professing Your Faith
What a great way to start a Session meeting!
Ten young people reading their faith statements and meeting in small groups with their elder sponsors while responding to questions of belief and experience. As their teacher, Pastor Will, shared with the whole session, “I am personally inspired by these young people having led their class for 13 weeks and listened to their witness of God working in their lives.”

This year’s class of confirmands and their elder-sponsor:
Jeremiah Cruz—Stuart Mauney
Ryan Greene—Rick Danner
Julia Hoskins—Heather Gordon
Fitz Keller—Cal Cannon
Cate Olmert—Harriett Williams
Marcy Roseveare—Elizabeth Clayton
Wills Ryan—Brent Garrett
Colin Smith—Carlton Greene
Lucy Smith—Amy Couch
Kaylea Wright—Patty White

As I listened to each youth being introduced by their Elder and to their faith statements, I was impressed by their talent, experience and honest expression of faith. For example, our now active, responsible members have a variety of sports interests—golf, soccer, track, wrestling, volleyball, basketball, pole vault as well as the arts—painting and dance and music—two are attending the Governor’s School. Several mentioned their love of nature and appreciation of parents and extended family.

With an equally balanced group of women and men, these young people demonstrate that our congregation honors our children and youth and is willing to invest in their spiritual journeys.

I hope you will take a minute to welcome them on June 5th as we celebrate Pentecost and Confirmation Sunday. May these young people continue to grow in love for the Lord through our Reformed faith. Thanks be to God!
June 12th: Senior High Pool Party at the Driggers
June 26th: Mid High Pool Party at the Garretts
July 10th - 16th: Senior High Montreat Conference
August 21st: Youth Kick Off Pool Party at the Driggers
The First Presbyterian Book Club meets next on June 7th at 3 p.m. in the Agape Room to discuss Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America by Cameron McWhirter. We welcome anyone interested in reading and discussing books to join us. Contact Jenny Munro at jennymunro@yahoo.com for more information.
Your APNC is working incredibly hard to call the right person to serve First Greer as Associate Pastor. Their work began last summer and they have continued to meet almost every Monday since. They have developed a system for evaluating candidates, have reviewed scores of PIFs (Personal Information Forms), have held many Zoom interviews, and continue faithfully in this work. I know there is anxiety about who will be called and when. You can trust that I, too, am well acquainted with this anxiety as is our entire staff. However, I also trust that God is at work through the APNC to call the right person to serve this congregation. And if this is true, then we are subject to God’s timing, not ours.  
 
I would also remind you that the average time for calling a pastor is two years. In addition, the APNC is facing a PC (USA) landscape in which there is a shortage of pastors and where fewer and fewer of our seminary graduates are going into traditional church settings. These are, indeed, challenging times to search for a pastor. And yet, I am confident that God will supply our need.
 
And so, I ask you to faithfully pray for the APNC, for the candidate we trust God will call to First Greer, and for our church staff who are working very hard in the absence of two full-time staff members. God will provide, but we have to be patient and allow the Holy Spirit to do its job.
 
Grace and peace,
Will
Prayers for the FPC Family

Luanne Baker
Dick & B.J. Baldwin
John Cutruilo
Bill Greene
Bob Harrison
June & Joe Johns
John & Abbie McWilliams
Joe Moon
Rita Moseley
Cecile Orr
Phil Thompson
Carolyn Wright
Dear Church Family,

With an appreciative heart, we, the DeMaria Family, thank all of you for your many cards, visits, and food for the past 6 years. Vincent really appreciated everyone's concern and always prayed for his church family. He was a trooper and did look forward to his journey to his heavenly Father. We also thank everyone for their condolences and celebrating his life on May 13th. May God bless each and everyone of you. 
Marguerite DeMaria and Family 
Did you know that you can get the Church directory from your phone or tablet? Click the buttons below for instructions. 



 
Instructions for Android Devices - 
 
Instructions to access via the web - 
The next issue of First News is June 22nd. If you have content for the newsletter, please email it to Lisa Johnson at lisaj@fpcgreer.org by Friday, June 17th.
864-877-3612   www.fpcgreer.org