Friday - June 7, 2019


Followed by Ministry Fair and light luncheon in Fellowship Hall
A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR J.C. AUSTIN: All Together in One Place

This Sunday is Pentecost, the Christian holiday celebrating the gift of the Holy Spirit to Christ’s disciples, just as he promised would happen, and which effectively created the Christian church as a movement. It’s a dramatic story that takes place in the second chapter of the book of Acts in the New Testament, and it begins with the sentence, “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.” 
In other words, the original disciples of Jesus had gathered in the same place, which was notable because they had spent most of the time after the resurrection of Christ in different places, scattered about as some hid in fear of the authorities who had executed Jesus, while others tried to return to their ordinary lives from before they started following Jesus.
But on this day, they had all gathered together, perhaps to celebrate Pentecost itself. Pentecost is actually a word that got used by some Greek-speaking Jews to refer to the Jewish festival of Shavuot, which functioned as both a harvest festival and a celebration of the gift of the Law to Moses; Shavuot is still celebrated by Jews today for that. In any case, while the disciples were gathered in one place, the Holy Spirit descended on them, and they began pouring out into the streets to preach the gospel.

We are going to celebrate Pentecost at First Pres in two particular ways. First, we also are going to gather together in one place. The Session has decided that we will have 4-6 combined worship services each year, times in which the whole church will gather in one place and worship with elements of both traditional and contemporary style. Sometimes this will be for a particular reason in terms of church life, such as we did back in February for the annual congregational meeting. Sometimes it will be for worship reasons, which is why we are gathering this Sunday.

There is probably no day of the Christian year better suited for coming together in one place than Pentecost, so we will be doing so this Sunday at 10 a.m. in the Kirk Center. I hope you will make a point of attending and wearing something red to celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit not only to the early church, but to us here at First Pres in guiding and energizing us as a congregation.

Second, I hope you will stick around after worship for the Ministry Fair that will be taking place during the Hospitality Hour. There is also probably no better day in the Christian year than Pentecost to highlight the range of ministries that First Pres is doing to proclaim the gospel, and invite you to respond by finding a ministry that aligns with your gifts and sense of call! 

So: Pentecost Sunday will be a special day at First Pres, and I hope you will be a part of the celebration! I look forward to being with you on Sunday and experiencing the Spirit move in and through us!

Grace and Peace,

Genesis 11:1-9
Acts 2:1-21             
·       This week’s sermon: : In Our Own Language (#WelcomingToAll)
 by Rev. J.C. Austin
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
We will worship together in one combined service at 10 a.m. in the Kirk Center. It will include elements of both our Contemporary and Traditional services. It’s Pentecost Sunday, so please wear red!
Ministry Fair and Luncheon: After the service, the Congregational Life committee will offer a Ministry Fair in Fellowship Hall - the opportunity you been waiting for to learn the many ways you can use your talent and time to grow First Presbyterian Church in service, worship and mission. There will also be a light luncheon served during this time. We hope to see you there!
A Celebration of Deborah’s life will be held tomorrow (Saturday, June 8) at 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and caring thoughts you have sent to Kurt, Deborah’s loving husband of 32 years. There will be a reception following the service in the church Parlor.

Please join in this time of honoring Deborah, and per her request all are encouraged to wear their favorite colors. 
New date and location
The Bereavement Support Group has announced a new meeting date and location. In the future it will meet on the second Sunday of the month, in the Eagle Room of Kirkland Village’s Marketplace.
Anyone interested in attending is welcome to meet in the Narthex immediately following the Traditional service. This move was prompted to make it easier for residents of Kirkland Village to be involved in the group.

Because of the Ministry Fair this Sunday, the next meeting will be on Sunday, July 14.
You may have noticed a large vegetable and flower garden plot on the FPCB campus, near the Preschool playground on the north side of our acreage.

Last year, FPCB joined the CommUNITY garden initiative of the Lehigh Valley. We were contacted since we are the farthest east of the gardens and would be accessible to the gardeners in Bethlehem and the Sikh congregation of Nazareth. 
The idea behind the gardens was to bring people of different faiths together to work in a garden for supplying food to those who don’t have it. Last year, we provided over 415 pounds of fresh produce to Daybreak, a soup kitchen in Allentown.

Things have evolved this year to include our FPCB Preschool children in the gardening efforts. In April they planted squash and bean seeds indoors, which have since been transplanted outside. The children also helped us fashion a scarecrow (above, with Leslie Pohl)!

The gardening group is now meeting on Wednesdays, and they added one Saturday a month for the Sikh community and those who cannot garden on Wednesday. We have also changed the soup kitchen distribution: we will be distributing the crop between New Bethany in Bethlehem and Safe Harbor in Easton.

If you are interested in helping, visit Leslie Pohl at the Mission table at Sunday’s Ministry Fair.
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Speaking engagement

The Discipleship Committee encourages FPCB members and friends to hear Rev. Dr. Gregory Edwards, founder and senior pastor of Resurrected Life Community Church and president and CEO of Resurrected Community Development Corporation, Allentown, speaking on the topic of “Christian White Supremacy” at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 17 at Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley,
1404 Greenview Drive, Bethlehem (in the Church of the Manger’s building). 
Rev. Edwards is a prominent local pastor and a highly-regarded voice on this issue, having helped people of all races deconstruct the entanglement of white supremacy with American Christianity throughout his ministry. This free event is open to the public and will be live streamed via the Metropolitan Community Church’s Facebook page.
In lieu of FPCB offering Vacation Bible School this summer, the Discipleship Committee invites you to consider this option:
Wesley Church, a United Methodist Congregation (next door at 2540 Center Street), is offering “ROAR! Life is Wild and God is Good”, a one-week Vacation Bible School. It will be held from June 24-28 , from 9:30 a.m.-noon. It is open to children aged four through entering 6th grade.

The cost is $20 per child, with a family discount for three or more attending. More information is available from Debra Silliman at
484-241-8018 or the church website.
Hey, it’s vacation time. If you are staying at a hotel, motel or other spot that provides small toiletries, please consider bringing them home for the disaster kits we make for Outreach Depot. Our drive last year supplied many kits, and unfortunately people are still experiencing catastrophes. We will let you know when to bring them in to church. Have a safe and fun summer!
Send us your news and photos to share:
Deadline for newsletter: Wednesday at noon
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And follow us on Facebook : @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!

  • 10:00 a.m. - Combined Service, Kirk Center
  • 11:00 a.m., Ministry Fair and light luncheon in Fellowship Hall
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3

MONDAY: It’s a Start fitness class, 10 a.m., Middle School Step
TUESDAY:  Depression Support Group, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room)
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAY: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: July 7): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: July 14 ): Bereavement Group gathering; this is a new date going forward, and there will be a new location. See the article above.
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: June 18): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m., Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: June 19):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: June 20): 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.

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,  phone: 610-867-8361 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;

Andréa Wells, Business Manager; ext. 211:

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; ext. 238;

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