Friday, December 11, 2020 Newsletter

SUNDAY SERVICES ONLINE VIA FACEBOOK LIVE:

9:00 a.m. Contemporary
 
11:00 a.m. Traditional (also available on our website and via phone)
A MESSAGE FROM REV. SUE BENNETCH
Looking ahead to our Longest Night Service

The year 2020 is going to be an unforgettable one.

We as a church will remember how we met on Facebook each Sunday morning for services. How we quickly adapted to physical distancing, mask-wearing and hand sanitizer. We have weathered the pandemic fairly well, and have become quite creative in our endeavors to connect with each other, often and safely. Yes, 2020 has been a very challenging year.
For some, 2020 will be an unforgettable year for other reasons. If you are in the medical field, you have increased your hours because of Covid. You have become your patients’ family as visiting restrictions become the norm. You hold the hand of the dying in our place. You’re working more hours than you thought you could. You are in our prayers.

Some of you have been furloughed from your jobs; others have been let go. Some find themselves in situations that they never imagined. You feel powerless and afraid. You are in our prayers.
Some of you have not seen family for close to a year. For those who are able, Zoom has been a lifeline. While not perfect, it is a wonderful way to stay connected. There are others who stand at the windows of care facilities and call their loved ones, as a way of feeling closer to them. You are in our prayers.

The CDC reports fear and anxiety about this new, unknown disease and what could happen; it can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as physical distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. However, these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of Covid. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Because of the 2020 situation, our annual Longest Night Service takes on more relevance as all of us have experienced loss of some kind.

All are welcome to join us at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, December 16 (offered on Facebook Live and on our website). It is a service for those who are experiencing feelings of loss, such as grieving for the loss of a loved one, an important relationship, or a job.

Please know your feelings are real. This service is for all of you feeling overwhelmed, lonely or sad. Join us for an evening of reflection, music and communion.

Blessings,

Sue Bennetch
Pastoral Care Associate
FOR THIS SUNDAY

Scripture lesson:

Click the link to read online
·   This week's sermon: Rising in the Ruins by Rev. J.C. Austin

·     We post each week’s sermon
(audio and text) on our website:
TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT on 8.5" x 11" paper

INFORMATION TO ACCESS SUNDAY SERVICES
IS NOW LOCATED IN THE CALENDAR SECTION BELOW
FOR THIS SUNDAY

9 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service, via Facebook and on our website

9 a.m.: Hearts N Minds “Advent of the Spirit” adult ed class (info below)

10 a.m.: Christmas Carol Sing via Zoom; PRINT THE SONGSHEETS (8 pages)

   - To join us online: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/955325387
   - To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the
Meeting ID: 955 325 387, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the
participant ID – press the # key again.

NOTE: No Sunday School via Zoom today (check out online lesson on the website)

11 a.m.: Traditional Worship Service, via Facebook and on our website

3-5 p.m.: Gratitude Drive-Through – front of church building
Bring your 2021 pledge card and a note of something that you are grateful for this season (or fill them out there when you come!). You can drop them in a basket that will be offered on your driver’s side of the car as you approach the church from the front driveway. And you can pop your trunk or side door and receive candles for Christmas Eve and a special treat made by Pastor Austin (right) as a sign of the church’s gratitude for you and your ministry!
You can then park and join the Advent Spiral Walk, or if you’re unable to do that, drive around to the exit. All of this will be observing distancing protocols (including Pastor Austin’s preparing those treats!), so be sure to wear your mask, and we’ll see you on Sunday. 

4-6 p.m.: Spiral Advent Walk – Memorial Garden (west side/front of church building)
Stop by at any time to experience the beauty of our garden and reflect on “Joy”, the focus for the third Sunday of Advent.
FOR YOUR SATURDAY NIGHT…
If you have the opportunity, you may enjoy driving around
Bethlehem for the

23RD ANNUAL LUMINARIA NIGHT
Neighborhoods around our community will be lit up with the glow of luminaria lights,
including our frontage along Center Street. Thanks to our Congregational Life team!
SUNDAYS: ILLUMINATED ADVENT SPIRAL WALK
As we progress through the season of Advent, the Discipleship Committee invites you to join with them in experiencing anew the anticipation of Christ's birth.      
Once again about 25 participants enjoyed the second week of our illuminated Spiral Advent Walk, offered between 4-6 p.m. For those who are interested and able, it will be offered again this Sunday and on December 20.

A journal, pen, LED candle (and flashlight if needed) will be available for you, as well as guides for any additional assistance. 
Following the liturgical calendar, the first Sunday's focus was Hope, followed by Peace, Joy and Love.

For the week beginning Sunday, December 13, the reflection will be on "Joy". The scripture, meditation and questions are available here, which you can use as your Advent devotional. This week’s Spotlight newsletter has an article about the walk’s first week, and more information for you.

Join us, reflect with us, and celebrate the meaning of the birth of Christ. 
THIS YEAR’S GIVING OPPORTUNITIES

The Congregational Life team asks you to consider making donations that will be shared with organizations in our community. Each week will feature a different category; we ask that you help as you are able – you can make one delivery with any of these items, or make them during their designated week.
The weeks will begin on Sundays. If you are attending the Gratitude Drive-Through and/or Advent Spiral Walk on Sunday (see above), there will be collection bins available near the Memorial Garden during that time. You can also deliver to collection bins that will be outside the South Entrance of the building; please do not come into the building.
For your convenience, we have created a list of the requested items that you can print. Thank you for considering this opportunity to support our neighbors!
CAN YOU HELP?

The Congregational Life Team offers this opportunity to serve, as you are able. This will be outdoors so please dress accordingly; let us know if you plan to help by sending us an email to info@fpc-bethlehem.org or leave us a message at
610-867-5865. Thank you for considering!

  • Saturday, Dec. 12 from 4-5 p.m.: Meet at the front entrance to the building grounds to help put out prepared luminarias along the church property, fronting on Center Street. FPCB is participating in the city’s 23rd Annual Luminaria Night.
HEARTS N MINDS: NEW ADULT ED SERIES OPEN TO ALL
“Advent of the Spirit”
Sundays at 9:00 a.m. via Zoom

For Advent, we are going to turn our hearts and minds to a more contemplative mode, using a series of lectures created by the late Richard O’Donnell, teacher, counselor, former priest, and a true Renaissance man. 

One of the many things Richard did was to conduct series of lectures and discussions, known as the Hortensius Academy, over dinners in his Allentown home. His lectures reflect his gentle spirit and expansive intellect, his humor and wide reading, and offer insights into human spirituality that are most appropriate to consider at this time as we await the incarnation.

Richard's education took him from Villanova University to the Gregorian University in Rome to Fordham University, Catholic University in DC, and Columbia. In Lehigh and Northampton counties, Richard's work centered around drug and alcohol counseling and teaching, reflecting his life-long commitment to education and service. "Spirituality was the milieu in which he lived and breathed" (mcall.com/July 10, 2019).

The four lectures are available to listen to, on our church website.* You will need to devote about an hour a week to listen to each lecture, each "soliloquy," either in pieces or all at once and to take notes, if you're so inclined, or listen more than once. You could consider listening to a segment each day as a daily devotional but please note, you do not need to listen to the lectures to attend class.

FOR THE SUNDAY ZOOM:
Meeting ID: 811 8422 0450

To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 811 8422 0450, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – simply press the # key again.

*NOTE:
If you don’t have access to the website, we will play the second lecture via Zoom’s “phone only” option this Saturday, December 12 at 4 p.m. Here is the information on how to listen to the lecture:

To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 816 9518 5238 followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – press the # key again.
NO ZOOM SUNDAY SCHOOL THIS WEEK
Join us for the Christmas Carol Sing!

Although we won’t meet in person this Sunday, it’s a good opportunity to check out our online “anytime” Sunday School! Each week we provide a prerecorded series of videos and related resources that you can access on our website when convenient.
This week’s Bible Story: Joyful, Joyful (Gabriel Appears to Mary): Luke 1:26-56. “Mary discovered God’s plan was NOT like her plan, but she had joy because she trusted God.”

Our take-away: "You can have joy because God has a plan for you too."
ANNUAL GIVING TREE

The third annual Giving Tree will be in place through Thursday, December 24 - virtually for this year.

As last year, you can purchase everything from famine relief food vouchers to winter heating fuel for refugees around the world. 
People who have given in the past will have received a catalog from which they can choose items. You can also view the catalog online at presbyteriangifts.pcusa.org.

If you did not receive a catalog, there will be extras at the church office (South) entrance or on the Spiral Walks on Sunday (we can also drop one in the mail to you; contact us at info@fpc-bethlehem.org). 

On the order form, people can request gift cards. Payment can be by check or credit card. Do not make the check out to FPCB. You can designate the church affiliation, if you desire. 

Send the check and the order form in the enclosed envelope (from the catalog) directly to PCUSA. Remember people overseas are also in need in the time of COVID.
YOUR PURCHASES CAN SUPPORT OUR FPCB PRESCHOOL!

Visit BN.COM/bookfairs between

Tuesday, December 8 – Sunday, December 13

and enter this code at checkout: BOOKFAIR ID# 12601704

Virtual/Online Only (no in-store sales)
LOOKING AHEAD…

LONGEST NIGHT SERVICE
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 16
6:30 p.m. on Facebook Live

This service will include communion; please prepare your elements beforehand if you would like to participate. Join us on our Facebook page or on our website; you can also:
To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 834 9521 3745 followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – press the # key again.

CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES
Thursday, December 24
all offered via Facebook Live and on our website; phone-in details available next week

5:00 – 5:30 p.m.: Intergenerational Service (outdoors at front of church building)
7:00 p.m.: Traditional Candlelight Service
11:00 p.m.: Candlelit Communion Service
Help us spread the word about our Christmas Eve services!

Go to our Facebook event - under the cover photo, click the link that says "Invite" and share this information with your friends.
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**
* * *
And follow us on Facebook: @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!
CALENDAR

THIS SUNDAY
  • 9:00 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service - see instructions in blue box, below, to join us online
  • 9:00 a.m.: Hearts N Minds adult ed – see more information above
  • 10:00-10:30 a.m.: Christmas Carol Sing – see more information above
  • 11:00 a.m.: Traditional Worship Service - see instructions in blue box, below, to join us online, and in the yellow box to join us via phone 
  • 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.: Gratitude Drive-Through - see more information above
  • 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.: Spiral Advent Walk, Memorial Garden - see more information above

FOR THIS SUNDAY: : Worship with us “Live” on Facebook
9 a.m. - Contemporary Worship Service
11 a.m. - Traditional Worship Service
To watch “live”- as it happens:
  • 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
  • Please check in with a comment so we know you’ve joined us!
  • NEW: 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 – OR PREFER TO “LISTEN IN” ON SUNDAY ON YOUR PHONE.

You can use this to come at 10 a.m. for the Christmas Carol Sing

We will offer the TRADITIONAL WORSHIP SERVICE (at 11 a.m. on Sunday) with an ‘audio-only’ option so you can listen to it on your phone. 

Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 955 325 387 followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – simply 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)

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. 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; ext. 248; CBurns@fpc-bethlehem.org

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

Website:  www.fpc-bethlehem.org