Friday, July 2, 2021 Newsletter

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

 (* also available on our website and via phone)

We sometimes overlook how important language and narrative is in shaping our outlook, expectations, and understandings in the world. The language we use, and the way that we use it, can have an extraordinary impact on how we and others interpret what we see and how we see it in almost anything.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu used to joke about how the press in South Africa always found the worst ways to describe whatever he did in his nonviolent campaign to end apartheid there. “If the Lord gave me the power to walk on water,” he would say, “the media would report it as, ‘Tutu can’t swim!’”
Because of that power, we have avoided using language of going “back” or returning to “normal” when talking about reopening the church buildings and resuming an in-person option for worship on Sunday mornings. Partly, that’s because however innocuous that language might seem, it implies that 1) we are returning to exactly the way things were before the pandemic; 2) we can return to exactly the way things were before the pandemic; and 3) that we should return to exactly the way things were before the pandemic. 
I want to suggest that none of those things are fully true. While there are many things that we are able to do as we did before the pandemic, there are many things that we are not doing the same way. For example, in Sunday morning worship right now, the services mostly feel like they have. But we are still wearing masks right now, even if we are vaccinated, because we want to uphold our core value of being “Welcoming to All,” and since children under 12 years old cannot be vaccinated yet, we need to do this to create a reasonably safe environment for them in worship.        

Similarly, while we are no longer physically distancing, we are encouraging people to limit their physical contact in worship when greeting one another or during the passing of the peace, because there is a wide range of comfort levels among people about that, and again, we want to be a community that is welcoming to all.

This Sunday, we will be holding our first in-person Communion Service since March 1, 2020. And we will be doing things a bit differently than we did before the pandemic. After considerable thought and discussion, the Worship Committee has approved the following process for serving Communion in-person right now.

First, the pastors officiating the service will sanitize their hands immediately before blessing and/or touching the elements; communion servers will do this as well. You will still come forward to receive Communion, still wearing your mask, but the sanitized servers will drop a piece of bread in your hands rather than offering you the bread to take from.

You will keep the bread in your hand as you then receive a pre-packaged juice cup from another server, and then take both back to your seat, where you will briefly remove your mask to consume both, and then replace it again. If you are uncomfortable receiving the fresh bread even with these precautions, there is a communion wafer provided in the pre-packaged cup that you can use instead.

At the start of the pandemic, we learned that we could celebrate Communion remotely in ways that were powerful and sacred. Now we can rejoice in being together in body during Communion as well as Spirit! So, as we gather on Sunday, we can celebrate the gift of being united in Christ’s presence and at Christ’s table, and look forward to the future into which God is calling us together.

Grace and Peace,

Scripture lesson:
Click the link to read the verses
·   This week's sermon: A Good Word:
Unity by The 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 for Sunday


  • 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. in Room C1-2 – 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.


And would like to participate in Communioin: please prepare your elements - a bread or bread-like item (cracker, pita, bagel, etc.) and grape juice, wine or water.

At our Sunday services we will recognize these graduates of area high schools, who are important to members of our congregation:

  • Ella Hanley (family friend of Judy Smullen)—Graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School (NJ); attending Northeastern University

  • Jakob Mette (son of Cristy Mette)—Graduate of Wilson Area High School (PA); attending Temple University

  • Sophia Pedroso—Graduate of Bridgewater-Raritan High School (NJ); attending University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Amelia Zug (granddaughter of Phil Fair)—Graduate of McLean High School (VA); attending Brown University
With summertime upon us, our popular “Lemonade on the Lawn” social time will be offered from
10-11 a.m. Stop by for a cool drink, snack, and fellowship – and for
this Sunday, to extend well wishes to Andie Barbehenn!
We’ll also have a table set out for a “fresh produce exchange.” If you have extra bounty from your garden, bring it with you to place on the table to share with others. We’ll do this every week through the growing season. 
Sunday, July 11 at 4 p.m.
East side of the building
Rain or shine (we’ll move indoors if bad weather)
Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and enjoy musical entertainment by our Contemporary Worship Band. They will offer a variety of numbers to appeal to all audiences, including popular pieces from across the decades, modern classics, and some rock “gems” from the 70s and 80s (to get your toes tapping), along with a small sampling of contemporary worship music.
We are also inviting YOU to participate as well! Do you have a hidden talent? Do you sing, dance, tell jokes, write poetry?? Well, share it with us! The mic is WIDE OPEN... please share your act with us!

Music DIrector David Macbeth and the band will be on hand if there's need for musical backup. They are happy to support with any musical needs. Depending on the number of entries, a time limit may be placed on each act.

Please complete this form (button, below) and a member of the production crew will be in touch with you shortly (any questions? or call

Our volunteer receptionists are the first “friendly touch” for our visitors and callers, and they will be back staffing our Main Office beginning on Monday, July 12 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
We have a wonderful team of volunteers who will be returning. We have an opening for the Thursday morning shift (9 a.m.-1 p.m.), and would also like to secure a few subs to have in the rotation. If this interests you, please contact Cristy Mette at or leave a message at 610-867-5865.
Our CYF program has planned a Movie Night “out on the lawn” for Sunday evening, July 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and settle in for a fun family evening!
Last Sunday, as a congregation, we said good-bye to Andie Barbehenn (left in the photo), who officially retired from her position as Preschool Director on Wednesday.

It was a lovely send-off that included remarks from Andie about her tenure, and the presentation of a proclamation citing her accomplishments, along with a financial gift and memory book from the congregation.
Laura Hawk began her new position as Preschool Director yesterday. She has been part of the Preschool staff since last August, coming on board as the Extended Care Coordinator, and also co-teaching a four-year-old class. So she is familiar with our program, and has been working with Andie for a smooth transition.

Let’s meet her here:

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I spent the first 13 years of my life growing up in Perkasie, PA and then moved to the Pocono area, where I stayed until I married my husband and moved to the Lehigh Valley.

Q: Tell us about your educational background.

A: I attended East Stroudsburg University where I earned my Bachelors in Early Childhood Education with a minor in Business, and then I went on to Wilkes University where I received my masters in Developmental Strategies in Education

Q: What jobs have you held?

A: I’ve had several jobs as a Preschool – Kindergarten teacher, and most recently I was a trainer at BBraun Medical. In that position I was in charge of leading New Hire Orientations, working with middle school, high school, tech school, and college level students exposing them to various opportunities that Braun offers and helping them build work ethics in the professional environment. Towards the end of my time there I was getting into developing online trainings for the employees.

Q: Would you like to tell us about your family?

A: My husband Matt and I have three children together: Dylan (age 9), Noah (age 7), and Evelynn (age 4). We also have a ‘mini farm’ in our house, as I like to call it, with two dogs, a rabbit, and a guinea pig. We live in Bethlehem.

Q: What are some things you like to do for fun, and things your family likes to do together?

A: I enjoy dancing, baking, arts & crafts, and reading (when I actually can stay awake long enough to read!).
Our family (right) likes to explore hiking trails; we are also big sports fans, so we enjoy seeing baseball and hockey games. We also started to get into ice skating as a family, and we love visiting friends and family.

Q: What do you hope to bring to your new position?

A: I hope to bring my passion, enthusiasm, and love for exploring through learning and play, and sharing those with those around me, from the children to the staff, to the parents, and community.

Q: What are you most looking forward to in your new position?
A: There are so many pieces that I am looking forward to, to pick just one is hard. I am so excited for our chapel sessions in the classroom and sharing God's love with the children, working side by side with an amazing staff that is full of energy, passion, and ideas for early childhood learning, and getting to connect with parents and the community in a different way as the director. The list could really go on, but I'll stop it there.

We welcome Laura to her new role at First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem Preschool! You can contact her at or 610-867-2956
We’re looking for volunteers to contribute baked goods to serve at
Lemonade on the Lawn social times. If interested, please contact
Phyllis Walker at
or leave a message at 610-867-5865.
Please specify the date and what you’ll donate.
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: 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 in room C1-2
  • 9:00 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service, in-person in the Kirk Center AND livestreamed
  • 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.: Lemonade on the Lawn social time, east side of building
  • 11:00 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
  • 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!
  • 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 a.m. 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.
  • 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”)

THE BUILDING, OFFICES AND PRESCHOOL will be closed on Monday, July 5, in observance of Independence Day.

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 (
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;

The Rev. Sue Bennetch, Pastoral Associate: ext. 209;

David Macbeth, Music Director: ext. 202;

Cristy Mette, Administrative Operations Manager: ext. 228;

Rebecca Angione, Facilities Manager: ext. 210;

Marianne Zarillo, Business Manager: email:

Cindy Matthews, Bookkeeper: email:

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; phone 610-428-9649;

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