First News
May 4, 2020
The Congregation’s Financial Health in the Midst of this Pandemic
Dr. Pete Peery
When I was approached to serve as your Interim Pastor I was told this church was a financially stable congregation. It had recently finished a major capital campaign. It had no debt. Most importantly it was full of generous and faithful givers. Indeed, that is what I found as I began my ministry among you. Even in a period of pastoral transition you continued to give. Pledges were strong in our Stewardship Season last Fall enabling us to fund a budget that was not a retrenchment from the one formed in the last year of Brandi’s tenure. Friends, that is very unusual!

For that financial health due to your faithfulness, I thanked God at the end of last year. I rejoiced that we could move into 2020 confident that the witness and mission of the congregation in the name of Jesus the Christ would be robust.

But then COVID-19 happened. The economy was put on hold. The stock market plummeted. Small businesses were shuttered. Jobs were lost. Nest eggs accumulated over the years for retirement or college tuitions or for emergency reserve funds were decimated. So what would happen to the pattern of giving to this church?

Today at the beginning of May we do not fully know the answer to that question.  However, what we do know is how faithful you have been in fulfilling your pledges to the church in these seven weeks since we last gathered in person for worship.  Those of you who made pledges to the church for 2020 have so far kept them. In fact several of you have added to your pledges or paid them in advance — all in an effort to make sure the work of the church continues. Praise be to God for your faithfulness!

The pledges you have made — and are fulfilling — make up 82% of the Operating Budget of the church. The other 18% is made up of non-pledged income, plate offerings on Sunday mornings, interest on funds held and other income (e.g. fees for the use of the building by outside groups). It is the “Other Income” that has been hit by the pandemic. Presently, it is not known whether the losses in this “Other Income” can be made up as the year progresses. Furthermore, we are aware that several people in the church have had disruptions in employment which may well mean going forward they will not be able to maintain their pledges. Added to this, since traditionally a good portion of our pledged income comes in during the last quarter of the year, none of us know whether investment holdings will regain their value in time for donors to the church who fulfill their pledges through those holdings with gifts at year’s end will be able to give at the same level as they have in the past.

In light of this uncertainty and striving to make sure the church staff could continue in their employment, your Session applied for a Payroll Protection Program loan under the terms of the CARES Act passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President. This week we received notice that the loan has been approved. This loan will pay for eight weeks of the church’s payroll including benefits. If used solely for this purpose (which it will be), the loan becomes a grant and does not have to be repaid.  

With your continued faithfulness in fulfilling your pledges and with this loan/grant in place as a backstop, in all likelihood this church will be able to weather the financial storms surrounding us. We will be able to sustain the witness and ministry of the congregation as well as enable the Pastor Nominating Committee to offer an adequate salary package to a candidate who, God willing, later this year will move here to take on the pastoral leadership of this dear congregation.

So thanks be to God for your faithful giving and for the foresight of the Session. My prayer is that at year’s end the church will again be well in the black financially and the Session will be having a robust conversation about whether to return the proceeds of the loan, by then a grant, to the Federal Government or the surplus in the budget to compassionate ministries serving the least among us in Greer and around the world.

Grace and peace,

We want to congratulate and recognize the members of First Presbyterian Church who are graduating this Spring from High School, College and Graduate programs.

We will be recognizing graduates in worship coming up but wanted to list them here as well. As this is an unprecedented time, we hope that you'll feel free to reach out to these individuals and give them extra encouragement.
High School
Kasey Collins
Timbre Cruz
Alex Cummings
Elizabeth Dillard
Gabi Edwards
Andrew Greer
Grace Guerrero
Kaitlyn Hall
Abby Lea
Thomas Marpes 
Jack McMakin
Zanna Rentz
Sophie Wall

Madison Adams
Evans Harrison
Madison Harvey
Parker Long
Charles Ludlow
Christopher Ludlow
Douglas McCord
Victoria Melin
Cole Thomason

Graduate School
Whitney Moss 
Mary Kate Nicholson
Chad Wentzky
We want to see your smiling faces "in worship". As you are in ministry in anyway during this time apart take pictures and send them to Maggie Wentzky to include in our worship slide shows. These images could be of you and/or your family in worship, study, service or fellowship. Pictures we've received recently include folks working at the soup kitchen, doing landscaping at the church, picnicking at a safe distance, doing Sunday school projects, etc.

Coming up for Pentecost send pictures of yourself wearing red, flying a kite or any other visual representation of Pentecost that you can imagine.
Thank you for your generous donations to the Seneca tornado relief supply drive. Your donations were delivered this past Wednesday to Central Presbyterian Church in Anderson for distribution to the Golden Corner Food Bank in Seneca and to local clean up operations in and around Seneca through local congregations. Thank you for being neighbors helping neighbors!
Thank you for your generosity in faithfully stocking the shelves of the Backpack Buddies Pantry. With schools being closed, we were no longer packing backpacks for Dunbar and Greer Middle students. We did not want the food to go out of date and we know there are hungry neighbors utilizing local food pantries. All food from the Backpack Buddies Pantry was donated to our local mission partner, Greer Relief. You are invited to visit Greer Relief’s website ( to learn about their COVID-19 relief efforts to help our neighbors. 
Dear Friends at First Presbyterian,
Thank you for your generous food donation to Greer Relief. We especially appreciate Ken Schafer and his family who dedicated time and energy toward delivering the items. Greer Relief is fortunate to have partners like you who contribute to our neighbors in need.
The Staff at Greer Relief
Greer Soup Kitchen is continuing to provide takeout lunches for its clients and will be doing so into the foreseeable future. Members of First Presbyterian continue to serve this ministry on Mondays.

The soup kitchen in need of some items and a donation in any quantity of these items will be greatly appreciated. Donations can be delivered directly to The Greer Soup Kitchen:

Canned Fruit Cocktail 
Canned Pears
Canned Pineapple 

Canned Cream of Chicken
Canned Cream of Mushroom

Canned Salmon
Canned Turnip Greens
Canned Diced Tomatoes 
Canned Mixed Vegetables

Egg Noodles 
Bowtie Pasta

Compartment (3) ToGo Latched Boxes

Neither canned corn nor green beans are needed at this time
PNC Update

We have received over 40 PIF’s from around the country as well as several recommendations from other sources. We are going through them individually and coming together regularly as a group to discuss. We are making progress and continue to ask for Prayers from the church members.

Rudy Painter
Chair of the Pastor Nominating Committee
Our youth read the entire Gospel of Luke in the month of April! We’re reading Acts (part-two of Luke) in May (and some of June) and discussing it twice a week in virtual bible study! While we’re still not sure what the summer holds in terms of youth trips like Montreat and CROSS Charlotte mission trip, our youth and youth advisors continue to gather twice a week via Zoom to see each other, laugh together, study Scripture, and pray together. It has been good for us to “be together” in these strange days. 

Youth parents are gathering every Sunday afternoon for a parent-only Zoom designed to provide a sacred space for parents to share and support one another.

We will virtually celebrate our graduating seniors (high school, college, grad school) on Pentecost, May 31st.
Our children have been gathering weekly for Sunday School. From these lessons we have done a variety of projects that you may have seen in worship pictures or on Social Media. We've made God Boxes, donated goods to our neighbors in Seneca, drawn our own Roads to Emmaus and this week have connected with adult prayer partners in the congregation.

Children also received special Earth Week activity boxes that contained lessons and activities for them to do as a way to celebrate God's creation.

Since we will not be able to have Fabulous Friday this week we will be preparing Fabulous Friday Activity Kits that will be available in the next week or two.
Random Reflections from the Pastoral Associate
Dr. Al Masters
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear”—true, but some of us were pretty scared hunkering down in closets and basements and bathtubs with the recent tornados and uprooted trees.
The Lord says in Jeremiah after long years of exile captivity, “surely I know the plans I have for you…to give you a future with hope…when you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.”
Imagine all of us are feeling some exile these days—kids, parent-teachers, grandparents, older adults in nursing homes, medical staff sleeping away from home, protesters, essential workers…reading the history of previous flu pandemics and the Great Depression, I realize we are in this COVID-19 hot mess for months, and seasons—we need the perspective of a marathon, not a “fix” asap. And yet, we are Easter people of hope and endurance and worship.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” We are learning a different way of keeping time—the future tense seems hypothetical—all the maybe’s, what ifs, mights, we’ll see what happens—the uncertainty of not having specific answers, the certainty of knowing things will not be “normal” as before.
But today is beautiful! There is green again, strawberries are in, gardens are planted, neighbors are reaching out, those of us with resources can support local business and food banks, some good laughs on social media---and a special shout out to church staff and volunteers behind the scenes…
Pete is “bringing it,” Berry is Zooming youth and young adults with energy and smiles, Whitney is feeling better and shares her wise, experienced perspective, Lisa D, Wendi, and Pam with helpers are inspiring the music, Lynn is keeping faithful watch over stewardship, Lisa J is the bulletin and communications guru, Maggie is our techie genius, Mike and Bob and helpers are video maestros, Sunday School rocks on…
We are the body of Christ—growing, learning, adjusting and being there for one another. Thanks be to God!

In looking at attendance at our weekly Zoom Connections it appears that Thursdays at 10:00 am is a better time for folks to gather. To be good stewards of everyone's time, going forward we will not have a Zoom Connections meeting on Tuesday evenings. Details for logging into the Thursday morning call can be found at
We all find ourselves praying a lot these days. Prayers for family, friends, the sick, healthcare workers, those on the front lines. We invite you to include in your prayers, prayers for Amanda Morehead McCully. Amanda is a child of the church who grew up in the youth group, sang in the choir, and has worshiped with us alongside her husband Andrew after they were married in our sanctuary. Amanda is a travel nurse and has recently begun a new assignment in Long Island, NY. She has started a blog entitled Wandering Sparrow: Adventures of A Travel Nurse ( ) to share her calling to this profession and her adventures with us. We hope you will pray for Amanda and all those on the frontline who are offering good and faithful care. 
Click on the picture to see FPCG's recent photos.

Send us pictures of the ways in which you are connecting to your FPCG Family remotely. Maggie Wentzky
“Dear Members - How can Dick and I ever thank you for all the cards and telephone calls! We appreciate them so much, especially during this time of Covid-19. It has been hard for us to leave our home and adjust to a new home, but we are fine now. Dick is doing much better and we hope that someday we will be able to come back to church. Our church has always meant so much to us and it always will! Please keep us in your prayers.
With much love,
B.J. Baldwin”
Joys & Concerns of FPC Family

Luanne Baker
Jamie Hall
Gwen Johnson
Jim Stringer
Patty White

Christian sympathy is extended to Carlyn Henson on the death of her Father on May 3, 2020.
Calendar of Events
May 4
1:30 Care of the Congregation

May 5
1:00 Prayer Shawl Ministry via Zoom
3:30 Book Club via Zoom

May 6
4:00 Middle School Gathering via Zoom
5:00 High School Gathering via Zoom
6:30 Choir Virtual Meeting
7:30 Handbell Virtual Meeting

May 7
10:00 FPCG Zoom Connections

May 8

May 9

May 10
9:00 Worship Available Online
10:00 Elementary Sunday School via Zoom
10:00 Sisterhood Sunday School via Zoom
3:00 Youth Parent Zoom
4:00 Middle School Youth Zoom
5:00 High School Youth Zoom

May 11

May 12
Circle meeting via Zoom
6:00 Virtual Bridal Shower for Victoria

May 13
4:00 Middle School Youth Zoom
5:00 High School Youth Zoom
6:30 Choir Zoom
7:30 Handbell Zoom

May 14
10:00 FPCG Zoom Connections

May 15

May 16

May 17
9:00 Worship Available Online
10:00 Elementary Sunday School via Zoom
3:00 Youth Parent Zoom
4:00 Middle School Zoom
5:00 High School Zoom