Friday, November 8, 2019 Newsletter
9:00 a.m. Contemporary in the Kirk Center
10:30 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary

Children’s Sunday School during both services
Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!

For the last few weeks in worship, we’ve been exploring the mission priorities that the Session has identified for First Pres over the next couple of years: engaging new people and nurturing their faith and discipleship; ministry with children, youth, and their families; diverse and engaging worship opportunities.

This Sunday, we will focus on the remaining mission priority: ministries of service and justice in the larger community. We’ve been exploring these mission priorities during the annual stewardship campaign to highlight our conviction that this congregation is not only doing important and impactful ministry right now in the world, but that God is calling us to an even greater and more dynamic mission as a congregation, and now is the time to boldly answer that call. 
That is why the Session is urging all of our members to take a significant step forward in their giving for 2020: so that we can empower our programs, staff, and buildings to support such a bold mission.

This Sunday will also be our Pledge Dedication Sunday for the 2020 Stewardship Campaign, when we literally come forward in worship to consecrate our intentions to support Christ’s mission for this church through our pledges.
So, between now and Sunday, I’m asking you to do several important things as a member or friend of this congregation.

First, carefully read the Stewardship Campaign letter that you should have received in the mail already; if you’ve already read it, read it again! Second, consider what kind of financial pledge you can make to help us answer God’s call as a church as described in the letter; if you’ve already made your pledge, consider it again!

Third, bring your pledge card to dedicate in one of the worship services on Sunday (if you’ve already made your pledge or forget your card, don’t worry, we’ll have cards in worship that you can use). And finally, please hold this church and our mission in your prayers every day, that we may be able to fulfill God’s mission for us with grace and power in all that we do.

I feel extraordinarily blessed to be a part of this congregation at this pivotal and exciting time in our life together, and grateful to be able to support it through my own gifts, time, and work.

I hope you feel the same way, and that together we will enter the year 2020 with a profound sense of God’s Spirit moving among us and guiding us as we do God’s work. Thank you for being a part of First Presbyterian!

Grace and Peace,

Psalm 98
Luke 19:1-10
·      This week’s sermon: Not Too Far by Rev. J.C. Austin   
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
*The Lehigh Valley Italian-American Band will join us for our Traditional service.

*The second rehearsal of the Children's Christmas Choir will be held from 9:45 -
10:15 a.m.; children in Kindergarten-grade 5 will gather in the Rotunda to be escorted to their rehearsal space (more details below).

*Those interested in learning more about our spring Youth Inquirers series are invited to an info meeting at 11:45 a.m. in Room 212 (more details below).

*The last of three sessions of "Exploring the History of Hymns" , from noon-1:30 p.m. will be held in Fellowship Hall (please RSVP to by Friday so we can order lunches) – more details below.

*Our Bereavement Support Group will meet in the Narthex after the Traditional Service (noon) to travel to Kirkland Village for a lunch meeting. For more information, please contact Sue Bennetch or call her at 610-867-5865.

As you were reminded above, on Sunday you will have an opportunity to bring forward your pledge for the church for 2020. They will be dedicated during each service.

We want this to be an inclusive process so we will be offering an opportunity for everyone to have a card to bring forward.

  • If you have not already returned your giving commitment card (pledge card) to us, you can bring it on Sunday to bring forward during the service you attend

  • We will also have extra pledge cards available on Sunday, for you to complete

  • If you already returned it, we will have cards available that you can check “I am dedicating the 2020 pledge that I have already made” – and you can bring that card forward during the service

It is very important that you fill out the commitment cards completely! We have already received some and they are not complete – please take the time to give us all the information we ask for, including whether you would like to receive pledge envelopes.

If you are choosing to use the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) option:

  • First – thank you! Receiving pledges on a regular basis throughout the year ensures a steady cash flow that helps with our expenses.

  • You will need to complete the front of the pledge card (including your signature) AND the entire back of the card – even if you have previously been utilizing this option, we need to reaffirm this information.

Thank you for all you are doing to ensure a successful stewardship campaign!
The Discipleship Committee is planning to offer a series of Youth Inquirers classes in the spring, for youth who are interested in exploring the Presbyterian faith and possible membership in FPCB.

Current 8th graders – high schoolers (and their parents, if they would like to attend) are invited to an informational meeting this Sunday, Nov. 10 at 11:45 a.m. in Room 212. Contact Elizabeth Conard with questions.
With our 12 partner congregations in the Bethlehem Interfaith Group (BIG), we are pleased to offer “A BIG Conversation: Stories of Immigration” on Sunday,
Nov. 17.
This event will also include an interfaith Thanksgiving service, featuring a combined choir from several houses of worship.

The event will be held here at First Presbyterian, and starts at 2:30 p.m. with a gathering time in Fellowship Hall. Beginning at 3 p.m., we will hear stories from several people who came to this country as immigrants – they will share what it was like to leave their homelands and settle in this country. There will be time for sharing among table groups. This activity will be followed by the interfaith worship service in our Sanctuary.

Children’s activities are planned for children in Kindergarten – 5th grade. Older children are welcome to join the regular program. If you need care for younger children, please contact Cristy Mette (or at 610-867-5865) by Tuesday, Nov. 12.

Wednesday, Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Eve Service , 7 p.m.

On Thanksgiving Eve, we gather together in worship to celebrate the many ways God has blessed us to be a blessing. This is a joyous service of music and praise, with heartfelt testimonials from members sharing stories of thankfulness.

Sunday, Dec. 1: Combined Service at 10 a.m., followed by Advent Lunch and Activities until 3 p.m.

Join us on the first day of Advent for a Combined Service in the Sanctuary at 10 a.m. This will also be Communion Sunday, so there will be no Sunday School.

Following the service, we will gather in Fellowship Hall for a soup and salad luncheon (provided), and activities for all ages. Watch for more details!
We have been alerted by other churches in the area about a phishing scam. Someone is posing as the pastor, texting requests for money to individual members. Be assured that you will not be contacted via text, by any staff or other church representative, requesting money for any purpose.
Please contact us if you receive such a communication: or 610-867-5865.

The Bach Choir will present "Magnificat and Messiah (Part 1)" on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m., here at First Pres.

This year’s Christmas concerts celebrate the joyful anticipation of Christ’s birth with glorious pieces from Bach and Handel.  Bach’s Magnificat and Part One of Handel’s Messiah offer us musical journeys that focus on the meaning of Christmas, as Mary learns she is blessed to bear the child she will bring into the world in Magnificat, and the world anticipates the arrival of the Savior in Part One of the Messiah.
They have offered a discounted ticket option to our congregation. Tickets are going fast, so get your order in to take advantage of this offer! Print out this order form.
HEARTS N MINDS Adult Education

The Hearts N Minds class is studying the Joan Chittister book, For Everything a Season . Jan Bickford will start the Advent Meditation on Dec. 1 for four weeks in December. Then in January they will pick up Chittister again. Feel free to attend even if you didn’t go to the previous classes.
Hearts N Minds Class Digs into Immigration
by Linda Robertson

The adult education class spent more than a month studying the history of immigration in the United States.

We read Dan Carroll’s Christians at the Border which asked us to look at immigration through a Christian and biblical ‘lens’, recognizing that the story of the Old Testament was one of continual migration. The Hebrews constantly moved from one nation state to another, often under the most difficult circumstances. The author asks us to have a ‘Christian’ attitude about immigration. A class highlight was a visit from Betsy Simpson’s son Ben Simpson, who is an immigration lawyer in New York.

The class decided to attempt to create policy suggestions about immigration to present to our US Senators and House of Representative members. They will meet in Room 400 again on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 2 – 4 p.m. to draft our policy. 

Even if you are not a member of Hearts N Minds, we invite you to join in our discussion. Please contact Judy Smullen or Linda Robertson via for information.
New! Children’s Christmas Choir
The Children’s Christmas Choir for those in Kindergarten – grade 5 had its first rehearsal last Sunday, and will continue to meet weekly through Dec. 22.  
On Nov. 10, 17, 24 and Dec. 8, 15 and 22 , the children will rehearse from 9:45 to 10:15 a.m. in Room E-3.  

Children who attend Sunday School at 9:00 a.m. will be escorted to Room E-3 at 9:45 a.m. by their teachers. Children who attend worship and Sunday School at 10:30 a.m. should gather in the Children’s Library (near the Kirk Center) by 9:45 a.m. to be escorted upstairs with the 9:00 a.m. children. All children will be dismissed to the Hospitality Hour at 10:15 a.m.; an adult will escort them to Fellowship Hall. 

The children will sing as part of the Christmas Joy Concert – 4:00 p.m. on Dec. 22, and again for the 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service. 

If we have enough families available on Dec. 1, the children will sing in our Combined Worship service that morning at 10 a.m. Please contact Cynthia Simmons via to let her know if your family will be in town that morning, which is the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Exploring the history of hymns

 Praying Twice: Singing Our Faith
Sunday, Nov. 10
Noon-1:30 p.m.
Fellowship Hall
(following Hospitality Hour)
According to St. Augustine, “Those who sing pray twice.” In this series, we’ll explore the history and theology of congregational singing from biblical canticles through contemporary hymns and praise choruses from around the world, looking at the music and the message of favorites old and new. 

PLEASE RSVP BY FRIDAY IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND A light lunch will be provided. Please use this easy sign-up form to let us know if you will be attending, or contact us at or 610-867-5865.
Hi Neighbors is a sociable-sounding name for another learning opportunity at FPCB (and it’s a great time for fellowship, too!).

Interested adults gather to hear presentations from a wide variety
of speakers. No cost or registration - all are welcome!
For Monday, Nov. 11 ( one presentation today)
9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45 – 11:30: Treasures of the Midwest video by Bob and Madeline Brown

For Monday, Nov. 18
9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45: Immunizations for Adults by Stephanie Oakley, Bethlehem Health Bureau
11:00 –  88 Buddhist Temples by Ron Yoshida

Monday, Nov. 25 will be our last program of the fall semester. We’ll start with our Fellowship time at 9:15, then enjoy a performance by the Touring Choir from Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. We’ll conclude with lunch (please bring your own) – we’ll furnish beverages and an ice cream dessert.
The 46th annual Lemon Tree Holiday Bazaar is this Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Westminster Village, 803 N. Wahneta St., Allentown.
It will feature homemade crafts and gifts (some created by FPCB's Crafters group), baked goods, attic treasures (a two-floor indoor yard sale), jewelry, vendors and more. Lunch will be available from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 

The event is hosted by the all-volunteer Auxiliary and proceeds improve the quality of life for residents of Westminster Village (a nonprofit continuous-care retirement community). 
FPCB’s Mission Committee is sponsoring several “Donation Stations” to serve all the requests we have for needed items by our mission partners.  Bins are located in the North Link and the Kirk Rotunda.
Through Sunday, Nov. 24, we will be collecting for three organizations:  

  • Outreach Depot is in need of towels and washcloths (new or gently used).

  • The Lehigh Valley Council of Churches has requested baby clothing for 0-3 months (new or gently used – no stains, please), and baby supplies like baby bath, oil, lotion, diapers, pacifiers, etc. 

  • The Northeast Community Center (formerly Northeast Ministries) is in need of paper products and grooming items like toilet paper (small packages), tissues, paper towels, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc. for its Food Bank.

Thank you for giving as you can, to help our neighbors!
We had a great turnout for last Sunday's Tailgate event -
t hanks to the Congregational Life Committee for organizing it!
Will you consider providing flowers for our Sanctuary worship services? A donation of $75 will pay for the arrangement under the cross in the Sanctuary, and $90 covers two pedestal arrangements.

Contact Cristy Mette or by phone at
We would like to know when our members are entering the hospital. Please tell the hospital that your church ID is 724 and they will contact us. You can also contact Melody Engel at 484-695-4905 or to keep us up to date.
Send us your news and photos to share:
Deadline for newsletter: Wednesday at noon
* * *
And follow us on Facebook : @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!

  • After each service: Hospitality Hour; join us in Fellowship Hall for light refreshments and fellowship
  • 9:00 a.m. - Contemporary Service, Kirk Center
  • 9:00 a.m. - Adult Education, Hearts N Minds, Room 400
  • 9:00 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5, Room A4
  •  9:45-10:15 a.m. - Children’s Christmas Choir rehearsal; gather in Rotunda
  • 10:30 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • 10:30 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5 (Children attend first part of worship service), Room E3-4
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3

MONDAYS: Hi Neighbors informational presentations, 9:15 a.m., Fellowship Hall;
CANCELLED FOR THIS MONDAY: “It’s a Start” Fitness Class, 10 a.m., Middle School
Step Room
TUESDAYS:   Crafters, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Room 408; Depression Support Group , 12:30-
2:30 p.m., Room 206
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 420
THURSDAY: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: Dec. 1): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services,
North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: Nov. 10 ) : Bereavement Group gathering; meet after
10:30 a.m. service and travel to Kirkland Village for lunch
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: Nov. 19): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: Nov. 20):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: Nov. 21): Prayers & Squares, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Room 408
(bring your lunch and join us to create quilts and prayer shawls)

CHURCH OFFICE HOURS: We are open Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. As always, you can leave a voicemail message with the church any time at 610-867-5865 or contact us at . I f you have an urgent pastoral need, please call our answering service at 610-778-7003. We will be open on Monday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).

CARE CONCERNS AND HOSPITAL VISITS: If members of the FPCB congregation are hospitalized and would welcome pastoral and hospital ministrant visitors and/or prayers, please contact:
    Melody Engel, Hospital Ministrants, phone: 484-695-4905 or email 
    Phil Fair, Prayer Ministrants ( note new phone): 610-737-4074  or email   

BAPTISMS, WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS : If members of the FPCB congregation would like to schedule weddings, baptisms or funerals, please contact The Rev. Sue Bennetch at 610-867-5865, ext. 209.
First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18017 610-867-5865 |

The Rev. J.C. Austin , Pastor/Head of Staff: ext. 213,

The Rev. Sue Bennetch , Pastoral Care Associate: ext. 209;

David Macbeth , Music Director: ext. 202;

Cristy Mette, Administrative Operations Manager: ext. 228;

Rebecca Angione, Facilities Manager: ext. 210;

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; ext. 238;

Andrea Barbehenn , Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956;