Friday, September 10, 2021 Newsletter

SUNDAY SERVICES IN-PERSON AND
ONLINE VIA FACEBOOK LIVE:

9:00 a.m. Contemporary 
NEW TIME! 11:15 a.m. Traditional*

 (* also available on our website and via phone)
A MESSAGE FROM THE REV. J.C. AUSTIN: DISCERNING A CALL

As you know - and hopefully are planning to be a part of - we are installing Lindsey Alvater Clifton as our Associate Pastor for Formation and Justice this Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Sanctuary!

While I’m eagerly looking forward to the service, I have to admit that I used to struggle with the language of “installation” for pastors. It took me a little while before I realized why: because most of the installations I have been a part of were a fairly negative experience. In some ways, they weren’t so different from what we will do on Sunday: people showing up at a special time to help facilitate an important transition, wearing their particular marks of office, and fulfilling their professional and vocational responsibilities.
The main difference, though, was that those other services were held in my home, and the special people who came to do the installation were from the power or cable or internet service company. They showed up in their uniforms, and though it seemed to take an awfully long time to do it, all the work basically boiled down to putting the hardware in its special slot, running the cables, and connecting the plugs.  
Then with a flip of a switch, the whole thing was installed. And then they presented me with a bill from the company that literally read, “for installation service.”  

You see, aside from pastors, most of the things that we “install” are technical or mechanical: we install cable TV and telephone access, we install air conditioners and ceiling fans and dishwashers. And when we need to install one, we generally just choose the one that fits into the slot that we already have and the functions that we already want to do the job we’ve already decided needs to be done the way that we want it.          

Well, matching a particular model to a pre-existing slot may be a good way of deciding on household appliances, but it’s probably not the best way to choose a leader. That is why, in the Presbyterian Church in particular, we don’t talk about “finding a good fit,” when looking for a pastor, but “discerning a call.” Taking the theology of call seriously helps us remember that any pastor being installed isn’t the preferred model from many possible choices that can fit into the pre-prepared slot and accomplish the desired functions. 

It is that we have discerned that it is the will of God that this person, uniquely, has been called to serve this unique congregation in this time in both of our lives. She doesn’t simply fit in this position; she belongs there.  And that discernment does not end with her election as our pastor; the implications of it is something that we will all continue to discern and respond to.

So with that in mind, I want to claim this metaphor of installation after all, though not in the way that was bothering me. A pastoral installation is not like a mechanical installation, fitting the perfect part into the pre-existing slot. No, it is like an art installation. The definition of an art installation is “a site-specific work designed to transform the perception of a space through complex and multiple associations.” (I looked it up.) In other words, when you do an art installation, you do place something new into a pre-existing space, but once the two are put together, the combination creates a new reality because of all the different ways the two things uniquely interrelate. 

That’s what we are doing here. This installation is a site-specific work. Now, to be clear, it is God who is the artist, not the Presbytery, which is actually doing the installing; we’re just the union workers who put the thing together the way the artist has instructed. But doing so will transform all of us in extraordinary and unexpected ways, and together we will create something unique and new. 

So when we look back on this day in the future, let us remember it not simply as a one-time celebration in the past, but a gift reaching in the present that points toward the future as we all work together in discerning the will of God. What a gift of ministry and calling that will be!   

Grace and Peace,
J.C.
FOR THIS SUNDAY

Scripture lesson:
                          
Click the link to read the verses
·   This week's sermon: A Mustard Seed Church by The Rev. Lindsey Altvater Clifton
·     We post each week’s sermon
(audio and text) on our website:
TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT on 8.5" x 11" paper for Sunday

FOR SUNDAY’S IN-PERSON WORSHIP:

  • Everyone over the age of 2 is required to wear a mask.

  • Child care will be available from 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. – please ask a greeter for directions to that space.

  • We will offer nametags for folks to wear – you can pick up as you enter the worship space; please write your first name.
For those interested…

If you have challenges hearing the Traditional service in the Sanctuary, we have a solution: headsets that tap directly into the sound system. Ask an usher for assistance.
This in-person service will be livestreamed via Facebook and on our website.
You can also listen to it on your phone; instructions in the calendar section below.

This is a communion service, so if you are worshipping from home
you may want to prepare your elements beforehand.


Outdoor reception to follow.  Masks required.
Please RSVP to lclifton@fpc-bethlehem.org or 610-867-5865.
SUNDAY’S FELLOWSHIP & FORMATION HOUR – BETWEEN SERVICES

As we begin the fall, we’re excited to be sharing in a congregation-wide book read of Neighborhood Church: How to Transform Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission. 
The Mission and Discipleship Committees, along with Session, are inviting everyone to join in by reading along and participating in weekly discussion sessions during the Fellowship & Formation Hour on Sundays, beginning this Sunday through October 3. These four weeks of learning together will be structured to include activities for our children and youth, as well!  

Please join us in Fellowship Hall (even if you haven’t read any of the book) for an engaging conversation about how we can more fully live out our calling to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world.  
We’ll gather and enjoy a bit of casual fellowship time around 10:00 a.m. and begin our session by 10:15. Folks who are connecting with us from home can join these sessions using this Zoom link.  (We ask for your patience as we try hybrid in-person and virtual faith formation offerings for the first time.)
CHILDREN IN WORSHIP: “PRAYGROUND” UPDATE

Child care during Sunday worship times will continue to be available for infants and toddlers for any families who would like to take advantage of that, but we’re inviting children pre-K and up to remain in worship so they learn how they’re part of those spiritual practices, too! 

We’ll have children’s bulletins available, but our plans to create a PrayGround space in both the Kirk Center and Sanctuary (as announced a couple of weeks ago) have been delayed a bit as the Building Reopening Task Force addresses concerns given the rise in Covid-19 cases in our area. We’ll share more information as soon as we can about when and how we’ll be able offer that in the coming weeks!
SPECIAL OFFERING: PEACE & GLOBAL WITNESS

A gift to the Peace & Global Witness Offering enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world. This special offering concludes on World Communion Sunday, October 3. 
Individual congregations are encouraged to utilize up to 25% of this offering to connect with the global witness of Christ's peace. Mid councils retain an additional 25% for ministries of peace and reconciliation.

The remaining 50% is used by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to advocate for peace and justice in cultures of violence, including our own, through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.
If you requested offering envelopes, there is one in your packet; they will also be available at the sign-in tables in the Kirk Center and Narthex for Sunday worship. You may also send a check to the church Business Office (mark “Peace Offering” in the memo) or give a special gift using the church’s online giving portal (fpc-bethlehem.org/give). Please indicate “Peace Offering” in the “notes” box.
INQUIRERS’ SEMINAR: #AnInquiringFaith

We are excited to announce a two-part Inquirers’ Seminar, as part of our ministries of engagement and faith formation here at First Presbyterian.

The seminar will be in two parts: an in-person session next Sunday, September 19 from 1:00-4:00 p.m., with a Zoom follow-up to be scheduled with the group as availability permits. 
While these seminars are a necessary step towards formal membership in the congregation, membership itself is not the goal or expected outcome of the seminar.
Rather, we offer these seminars to give people an intentional space and time in which to ask and consider good questions about the Christian faith, the Presbyterian Church, and this congregation.

Inquirers gather for an interactive experience that explores the intersection of our own stories with the story of Jesus, the church, and our story as the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem. 
Some people are inquiring specifically about membership here; some just want to learn more about the Presbyterian tradition; and some are just trying to get a better understanding of who Jesus is and how Christians think about him and relate to him.

Each person brings their own questions as well as their own story, and the Inquirers Seminar is a place to bring those and let them take root and bear fruit; the word “seminar,” after all, comes from a Latin word for a plant nursery where seeds are planted and nurtured as they grow.

If you are interested in participating or in learning more, please contact The Rev. Lindsey Altvater Clifton or call the Church Office at 610-867-5865 with your contact information, and we will be in touch with you. Hope to see you there!
HI NEIGHBORS GEARING UP FOR NEW PROGRAMS
Our popular speakers program, Hi Neighbors, will be starting back up again on Monday, September 20, with programs in Fellowship Hall.

All are welcome to attend these interesting and informative presentations. The programs begin at 9:30 a.m. with a Fellowship Time, followed by a program at 10 a.m.
The first one will be Traveling with Betsy, presented by Betsy Simpson.

The following week, September 27, a field trip is planned, to nearby Monocacy Farm Project to visit with farmer Eli Stogsdill. Meet at the church to carpool; the tour is designed to be accessible for all abilities. We will meet, rain or shine. 

The following week (October 4) we are scheduled to hear from U.S. Representative Susan Wild (PA-07) with an update on Washington, DC. This presentation will be offered both in person and via Zoom.

As a reminder, church COVID protocols must be observed at all times (and are subject to change); this includes correctly wearing a mask at all times while inside the church building, and keeping three feet distance between household groups.

We hope you'll plan to attend these interesting programs!
A SPECIAL MUSICAL EVENT: EMMET CAHILL IN CONCERT
World-acclaimed Irish Tenor Emmet Cahill is embarking on his 2021 Fall Tour, which includes another stop in Bethlehem. He will be appearing at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem on Wednesday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m. All those attending must purchase a ticket at emmetcahill.com. A pre-show “Meet & Greet” with Emmet is offered at 6:30 p.m. for an additional cost.

Emmet has been thrilling audiences across the states for many years with powerful renditions of majestic church hymns, opera arias and widely adored Irish classics, including “How Great Thou Art,” “Ave Maria,” “Danny Boy,” “Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and many more.
Join the star of Celtic Thunder, with special guests, The Charter Arts Touring Choir from Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, directed by David Macbeth, for a night of wonderful music and entertainment.
ORDER YOUR FALL MUMS!

Win win: order these beautiful mums from the FPC Preschool, and their program will receive a portion of each sale. We have worked with this nursery in the past, and these are gorgeous, very full plants – choose from the assortment of colors, only $8 each. Print your order form here.

Forms will also be available at the check-in tables in the Kirk Center and Narthex on Sunday morning.
Orders are due to the church office by this Wednesday, September 15. You can drop at church if you attend a service on Sunday (give to an usher or greeter) or drop in the church office.

You can also mail to FPC Preschool, Attn: Mums, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18103.
IF YOU ARE HOSPITALIZED…
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 prayer@fpc-bethlehem.org to keep us up to date.

PRAYER REQUESTS...
Send any prayer requests to prayer@fpc-bethlehem.org or call 610-867-5865 and leave a message.
Send us your news and photos to share:
**Deadline for next week's newsletter: WEDNESDAY at noon**
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Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!
CALENDAR

THIS SUNDAY

  • 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Child Care (ask ushers for directions)
  • 9:00 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service, in-person in the Kirk Center AND livestreamed
  • 10-11 a.m.: Fellowship & Formation Hour, Fellowship Hall (also available via Zoom, see above article for link)
  • NEW TIME! 11:15 a.m.: Combined Worship Service, in-person in the Sanctuary AND livestreamed - see instructions in blue box, below, to join us online, and in the yellow box to join us via phone 
FOR THIS SUNDAY: : Worship with us “Live” on Facebook
To watch “live”- as it happens:

  • Visit our Facebook page and look for the post with our live feed
  • NEW! If you don’t have a Facebook account, go to our website to view the service - click on the "Watch" button (midway down the homepage) and then click "Watch the Service"
  • 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
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS: You can participate on your phone to listen to the 11:15 a.m. Traditional service AND THE 3 PM INSTALLATION 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.
TUESDAYS: 6 p.m. - Handbell rehearsal, Sanctuary
WEDNESDAYS: 7 p.m. - Overcomer’s Outreach Christian 12 Step Recovery Group weekly meeting, via Zoom (Meeting # 380 435 9056 / Password: overcomer)
THURSDAYS: 7 p.m. – Chancel Choir rehearsal, Choir Room

ALL OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS AND GATHERINGS ARE CANCELLED AT THIS TIME unless offered online (see listings on our Facebook page under “Events”)

CHURCH OFFICE AND BUILDING INFO: The office staff is working remotely and checking email and voicemail daily. 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 (prayer@fpc-bethlehem.org).
FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF BETHLEHEM
First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18017 610-867-5865 | info@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. J.C. Austin, Pastor/Head of Staff: ext. 213, JAustin@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. Lindsey Altvater Clifton, Associate Pastor of Formation and Justice; LClifton@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. Sue Bennetch, Pastoral Associate: ext. 209; SBennetch@fpc-bethlehem.org

David Macbeth, Music Director: ext. 202; DMacbeth@fpc-bethlehem.org

Cristy Mette, Administrative Operations Manager: ext. 228;

Rebecca Angione, Facilities Manager: ext. 210; RAngione@fpc-bethlehem.org

Marianne Zarillo, Business Manager: email: MZarillo@fpc-bethlehem.org

Cindy Matthews, Bookkeeper: email: CMatthews@fpc-bethlehem.org

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; phone 610-428-9649; CBurns@fpc-bethlehem.org

Laura Hawk, Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956; LHawk@fpc-bethlehem.org

Website:  www.fpc-bethlehem.org