Friday, May 6, 2022 Newsletter


9:00 a.m. Contemporary 
11:15 a.m. Traditional*

 (* also available on our website and via phone)

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, which is not a Christian holiday, but it is a significant cultural holiday. Doubtless you’ve been inundated with all the ads touting various products as “the perfect gift for Mom,” or special discounts on flower arrangements, and of course the stores are filled with Mother’s Day greeting cards. Many families are planning special celebrations for the mothers in their lives. 
And it is wonderful and important to take time to celebrate the mothers in our lives who have given so much of their time and energy and love to ensure the health and well-being of their children. So if you are able to reach out and express special love and gratitude to your own mother or to mothers of one kind or another in your life, I encourage you to do so this Sunday!
At the same time, precisely because of all that attention and celebration, Mother’s Day can be a very difficult day for many people. There are those whose relationship with their mothers is a source of conflict, emotional pain, or even abuse. Being constantly urged to celebrate such a relationship is itself then a source of pain or trauma.

Then there are mothers who are estranged from their children, for many different reasons, and who mourn that estrangement. There are children who are grieving the death of beloved mothers, so Mother’s Day gets wrapped up in that grief; there are mothers who are grieving the death of their children, which makes the day particularly painful.

And there are women who want to be mothers but are not, whether because of life circumstances, fertility issues or because of miscarriages (which bring their own unique and often unrecognized grief) or life circumstances.

As Christians, we are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). I want to suggest that verse as the lens through which we view and understand Mother’s Day as Christians. For many, it is and should be a day of rejoicing in good and faithful mothers, and we can and should join in those celebrations as part of our pastoral ministry.

At the same time, there are many who are weeping on Mother’s Day, and we have a responsibility to join in that at least as much as in the rejoicing, so that members of Christ’s Body are not weeping alone. So this Sunday, in the Prayers of the People, we will hold those who rejoice and those who weep in prayer.

And I encourage you, in your own lives, to find ways to be in a ministry of both rejoicing and weeping with those around you as well, so that we may share Christ’s love with those who are in particular need of it, in times of joy and times of sorrow.

Grace and Peace,

Click the link to read the verses
- This week’s sermon: Hearing Voices
by The Rev. J.C. Austin

- We post the video of each week’s
services and sermon text and audio
on our website:
TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT on 8.5" x 11" paper


  • Child care will be available from 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. on Sunday mornings; please ask an usher for directions.

  • We will offer nametags for folks to wear – these are for everyone! You can pick up as you enter the worship space; please clearly PRINT your first name.

  • We offer Hospitality Time between our two worship services: you’re invited to join us in Fellowship Hall for coffee and a few refreshments starting at 10:00 a.m. We’ll also have a table for kids of all ages to create faith together while enjoying a story and related craft. Hope you’ll join us!

As a reminder, anyone who is not fully vaccinated and boosted must properly wear a mask when in the church building; all others may wear one at their option.

The local transmission rate is currently increasing. Therefore, although we are not requiring masks, we strongly encourage that people wear masks as an additional precaution to protect themselves and others.

Hearts N Minds, our adult ed class, has started a new series, to which all are welcome (it doesn’t matter if you did not attend the first session). They meet in person, from 9:45-11 a.m. (note the new start time) in the Children’s Center, room E3/4, as well as via Zoom. 

Between May 1-22 they’re offering a four-week series about growing empathy: It will explore why empathy has become so important, what empathy is and what it is not, what hinders our willingness to practice it more often, and how we can put it into action. Join us in learning how we can make empathy a more normal state in our faith journey.
If you have an opportunity, please view this TED Talk.

TO READ for Sunday: 2 articles

To join via Zoom:
  • To join online for the video class, use this Zoom link:
  • To join on the phone for audio only, call 929-205-6099, then enter the meeting ID: 842 1225 8913, then press # and then # again. 
In case you missed it:


You may have seen Pastor Lindsey share her "Flat Jesus" in a recent service
- and as promised, here is your own "Flat Jesus" to print,
cut out, and color as you'd like.

We'd love to see where you go together - send us your pictures!

About once a quarter, we hold Inquirers Seminars for folks who might like to learn more about our congregation and our denomination and/or those who may be considering the possibility of becoming members at First Pres.

We’re planning to hold the in-person portion of that on Sunday, May 15 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. The afternoon will be casual and conversational, and it will offer space to connect with other newcomers along with pastors J.C. and Lindsey. We’ll also have a 90 minute follow-up session by Zoom, that will be scheduled around the participants’ schedules.

If you’re interested or have any questions, please contact Lindsey at or 610-867-5865.
We received notice from Grace Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Leesburg, FL, that they are celebrating Pastor Dave Dorst, who had been a Youth Pastor with our congregation back in 1973-79. He was ordained 50 years ago on May 14, and will be honored at a celebration at Grace EPC that day.

If you have a photo, note of encouragement, fun story, anecdote, or fond memory of Pastor Dorst that can be shared at the celebration, please send it to
From Melody Engel, Deacon: How nice to be experiencing the joy of spring, no matter how long it took to get here!
I am happy to report we are offering a “Brown Bag Lunch Bunch” gathering at Illick's Mill Park. All are welcome to join us - bring your lunch and share our fellowship.

We’ll meet at noon on Wednesday,
May 18 at Illick's Mill Park (on Illick’s Mill Road, just off Center Street south of the church campus).
We will sit at the open air tables but there are tables under the pavilions as well. Feel free to invite anyone you think might benefit from some socialization with wonderful people – we plan to offer these monthly.

In case of bad weather, check the church website or Facebook page, or church voice message (610-867-5865) for updates.
Hi Neighbors, our popular speakers program, concludes it series of informational programs this Monday. We gather in Fellowship Hall at 9:30 a.m. before the 10 a.m. program begins.
We’ll hear a presentation about the SouthSide Film Festival by Jeff Vaclavik. If you would like to bring along your lunch, we'll provide beverages and Klondike ice cream bars.

If you have ideas for our fall program series, please drop us a note at or leave a message at 610-867-5865.

The Barry Brandt Memorial Scholarship Fund was established by the late Dr. Allen D. and Ella Brandt to remember their son Barry who died in 1961 when his plane, carrying new Army recruits, crashed enroute to basic training.

This named fund, a part of our church's permanent endowment, provides income for scholarship assistance to Protestant students, preferably members of First Presbyterian, who have financial need and demonstrated scholastic ability.

Students planning on entering college or furthering their college education this year are invited to complete the application which is posted on the church’s website. Inquiries can be directed to Susan Mowrer-Benda, chair of the Fund Committee; contact her at

It was intergenerational fun on Monday when the Bethlehem Mounted Police and their beautiful horses paid a visit – making an interesting presentation to our Preschool students and the folks who attend our Hi Neighbors informational presentation program.

Sewers and knitters and quilters and painters and floral arrangers - all are welcome to join the weekly sessions beginning this Tuesday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

They'll meet in Room 408 - bring along your lunch and enjoy fellowship and inspiration! Contact us at with any questions.

Please continue to contact the staff person you need to speak with, to set up an appointment – staff are working remotely as much as possible. If you don’t know who to contact, email us at or leave a message at 610-867-5865.

The South entrance door is unlocked between 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday - Thursday, and on Sunday mornings.
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 Phil
Fair at to keep us up to date.

Send any prayer requests to or call 610-867-5865 and leave a message.
Send us your news and photos to share:
**Deadline for next week's newsletter is
WEDNESDAY at noon**
* * *
And follow us on Facebook: @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!
  • 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Child Care (ask ushers to direct you)
  • 9 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service, in-person in the Kirk Center AND livestream on Facebook Live and our website; see below, to join us online
  • 9:45 a.m.: Hearts N Minds adult ed class, in person and via Zoom
  • 10 a.m.: Hospitality Hour, Fellowship Hall
  • 11:15 a.m.: Traditional Worship Service, in-person in the Sanctuary AND livestream on Facebook Live and our website; see below, to join us online

  • Visit our Facebook page and look for the post with our live feed
  • If you don’t have a Facebook account, go to our website to view the service - click on the "Watch the Service" button
  • Please check in with a comment so we know you’ve joined us!
  • Captions will now be available on our livestream, for those who would like to use that feature
To watch a video – available after the services have aired: Visit our website archives
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS: You can participate on your phone to listen to the Traditional Service

To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 848 4170 9518, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – press the # key again.
WEDNESDAYS: 7 p.m. - Overcomer’s Outreach Christian 12 Step Recovery Group weekly meeting, via Zoom (Meeting # 380 435 9056 / Password: overcomer)

CHURCH OFFICE AND BUILDING INFO: Regular office hours are Monday-Thursday,
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. The South entrance will be open during these hours, and on Sunday mornings.

Many of the office staff are continuing to work remotely for some of the time, so please make an appointment if you need to see someone specific. The answering service (610-778-7003) can take your urgent pastoral concerns, 24 hours a 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: Phil Fair, Prayer Ministrant (
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. Lindsey Altvater Clifton, Associate Pastor of Formation and Justice;

David Macbeth, Director of Music Ministries: ext. 202;

Kevin Konczyk, Facilities Maintenance Manager;

Oscar Mendoza, Director of Business Administration: ext. 210;

Cindy Matthews, Bookkeeper: email:

Pam Marth, Administrative Coordinator: ext. 228; email:

Carol Burns, Communications Manager: ext. 238;

Laura Hawk, Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956;