Wednesday, December 30, 2020 Newsletter

COMMUNION 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: The Spirit of Giving

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Col. 3:15

Dear friends,

I would like to thank you for your generosity, creativity and support of our outreach ministries this year. The Salvation Army, New Bethany Ministries, Northeast Community Center (formerly Northeast Ministry), and Meals on Wheels were the grateful recipients of your spirit of giving.

As the pandemic spread throughout the Lehigh Valley, these agencies saw an increase in people and needs. In order to keep the virus from spreading, many of our shelters closed. This left our homeless community without basic needs of toiletries, personal items and clothing, etc. 
The Congregational Life team began collecting these items, and each time we asked for your support, it was there. You gave in abundance, all the while following the CDC guidelines in place.

We will continue these drives throughout the new year, as the needs are not going away. Requested items to donate will be listed in our weekly newsletter.
Phyllis Walker and Jane Masters delivered the many bags and boxes to the agencies, and each time were greeted with appreciation and gratitude. On one stop, as Phyllis lifted the rear door of her SUV, a gentleman offered to help carry the packages in. He looked into the back of her car and asked, “which of these are ours?” Phyllis and Jane both described the look on his face when they told him that the entire trunkload was for their agency.  

Our Deacons began a meal ministry, and we are delivering two to three meals a week to our members who are homebound, or unable to shop. Thank you to all who made or delivered a meal. Those who receive these meals were very grateful.

This need continues. If you would like to prepare a meal for someone - or would like to request this service for yourself or another - please let us know. You can send an email to info@fpc-bethlehem.org.

The week before Christmas, the Deacons prepared goody bags for members who live alone, were ill, or homebound. They too shared how incredibly happy the recipients were.

Jeanne Hunsicker, our Deacon Moderator, describes it with a quote from her husband, Bob: “The true beauty of life is to plant a tree under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Jeanne said, “I think all the donations from our congregation this Advent Season depict that life’s lesson.”

Further in Colossians it says, “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters,[since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ." (Col. 3:23-24) 

Well done, dear friends, well done!!

Blessings,

Rev. Sue Bennetch
Sunday is Communion Sunday

If you would like to participate, please prepare your elements beforehand: a bread or bread-like item (cracker, pita, bagel, muffin, etc.) and grape juice, wine or water.

Thanks to the Hunsickers for sharing their communion table.
FOR THIS SUNDAY

Scripture lesson:

Click the link to read online
·   This week's sermon: Coming Into Our Own by The Rev. Dr. Stephen Simmons

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

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

We are happy to welcome The Rev. Dr. Stephen Simmons as our preacher this Sunday, and our Worship Leader will be Rev. Cynthia Simmons.
Cindy and Steve are both Presbyterian (U.S.A.) pastors who served congregations in Oregon and Illinois before coming to the Lehigh Valley in 1995.

Cindy served 15 years on the staff of First Presbyterian of Allentown and later pastored First Presbyterian of Easton before retiring in 2016.
Steve was on the pastoral staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia before joining Moravian Theological Seminary in 2001 to direct the continuing education program and teach theology, until his retirement in 2017.

Steve and Cindy both sing in our church choir and volunteer in our education programs; they are also active in the Bethlehem Interfaith Group (BIG), of which First Pres is a member.
LOOKING AHEAD

The Discipleship Committee is planning two learning opportunities for us in the new year - all are welcome to participate!
CREATING YOUR SPIRITUAL FAMILY TREE
Wednesday, January 6
7 p.m. via Zoom
Presenter: Jan Bickford

The beginning of a new year invites time for reflection on our lives. In this offering we will be reflecting on our “spiritual family tree:” on those people who came before us and laid the foundation for our spiritual development. You are encouraged to download and print this copy of a Spiritual Family Tree to use as part of the presentation.
Meeting ID: 893 4885 1043

To join via phone (audio only):
Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 893 4885 1043 followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – simply press the # key again.

LIVING SPIRITUALLY IN A MATERIAL WORLD
Wednesdays: January 13, 20, and 27
7 p.m. via Zoom
Leader: The Rev. Dr. Steve Simmons

What might a faithful and responsible attitude toward our material possessions actually look like? In this series, we’ll consider what the Bible says about wealth (and poverty), how we can we best use our material resources to live faithfully as disciples of Christ, and even how we can make “decluttering” our lives a spiritual discipline. 
TIME TO GET YOUR GAME ON: TRIVIA NIGHT!
We've moved our popular Trivia Night indoors for the winter months. Everyone is welcome to join us on Friday, January 8 at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

It's time to put all that random knowledge to good use - meet some new folks - and enjoy an evening of fun!

Zoom info will be in next week's newsletter.
HEARTS N MINDS: NEW ADULT ED SERIES CONTINUES
“Advent of the Spirit”

The class will not meet this Sunday, January 3. Due to the Congregational meeting at
9 a.m. on Sunday, January 10, the next class will be held that day from 10-10:45 a.m.

On January 10, we will discuss the last lecture in the “Advent of the Spirit” series. All four lectures are available to listen to, on our church website. You do not need to listen to the lectures to attend class. We hope you will join us!
SUNDAY SCHOOL: CHOICES!

We are pleased to offer two Sunday School options for families! Gather with other families on Sunday mornings between 10:15-10:45 a.m. for a Zoom session; you can also do “anytime” Sunday School with a prerecorded series of videos and related resources that you can access on our website when convenient. These are updated weekly.
This month's focus is on Responsibility: showing you can be trusted with what is expected of you. This week's lesson is from the Book of Matthew: 22:36-40, "The Greatest Commandment".

To join the Zoom meeting from 10:15-10:45 a.m.: bit.ly/3luYu7l / Meeting ID: 928 9221 9682 / Password: 369116
LOOKING AHEAD
Sunday, January 10
  • 9:00 a.m.: Congregational Meeting to receive and act upon the report of the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (via Zoom)
  • 10:00 a.m.: Hearts N Minds adult education class (via Zoom)
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Sunday School (via Zoom)
  • 11:00 a.m.: Combined Worship Service (via Facebook Live and on our website)
  • Noon -12:30 p.m.: Hospitality Time (via Zoom)

Sunday, January 17
Sunday, January 24
  • 9:00 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service (via Facebook Live and on our website)
  • 9:00 a.m.: Hearts N Minds adult education class (via Zoom)
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Sunday School (via Zoom)
  • 11:00 a.m.: Traditional Worship Service (via Facebook Live and on our website)

Sunday, January 31
  • 9 a.m.: Hearts N Minds adult education (via Zoom)
  • 10 a.m.: Combined Worship Service (via Facebook Live and on our website)
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Sunday School (via Zoom)
  • 11 a.m.: Annual Meeting of the Congregation and Corporation (via Zoom)
  • Noon-12:30 p.m.: Hospitality Time (via Zoom)
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
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Sunday School via Zoom – 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 
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

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)
  • (January 6 only): Creating Your Spiritual Family Tree, via Zoom (see more information, above)

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.

The building is closed and will reopen on Tuesday, January 5. The South entrance will be open on Wednesday, December 30 between 9 a.m. – noon if you want to drop off year-end donations – look for the large envelope on the inside vestibule door (please do not come into the building).
 
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; phone 610-428-9649; CBurns@fpc-bethlehem.org

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

Website:  www.fpc-bethlehem.org