Friday - March 22, 2019



Children's Sunday School during both services

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR J.C. AUSTIN: Log College Project Update
As you may remember, First Pres was named as one of twelve congregations (out of several hundred applicants from across the country and a wide range of denominations) to participate in the “Log College Project” of Princeton Theological Seminary’s Institute of Youth Ministry.
The project is a major initiative to equip and support congregations in creating innovative and intergenerational models of youth ministry for the 21st century. The name of the project comes from the seminary’s history, which traces its roots to the “Log College” in 1727: a school created to give pastors a college education, which was a significant innovation itself in the American colonies at the time. We are about halfway through the first year of a two-year process of working with Princeton on this project, so I thought now was a good time for an update.
So what, exactly, does the project involve? First, they have organized us as a “Community of Practice.” That means that we’re not intended to be doing our work in isolation from one another, but sharing and refining our ideas with each other, participating in joint online courses together, and meeting up in Princeton at the end of June 2019 for an intensive period of work to finalize our designs for our new youth ministries.
The project itself relies heavily on the field of “design thinking,” which has become a popular method in recent years to help groups work on large and complex challenges that have no clear or established answer. 

How to do faithful and effective ministry with, by, and for young people is such a challenge; the old models used so successfully for so long in churches increasingly do not work. So our “Design Team” meets periodically but intensively to work on “charrette boxes,” a set of exercises to complete that help us to identify our sense of purpose and ideas for ministry, and help us to begin formulating possible responses. (“Charrette” is a term for intensive meetings by architectural students to draft a solution to a design problem.)
At this point, our Design Team has completed two charrette boxes and an online course; we have two more charrette boxes before the meeting in Princeton in June, after which we will have finished designing and will start implementing! Please keep the Design Team in your prayers as they go about this crucial work in our congregation, and I want to thank each participant in this process for the time, wisdom and enthusiasm they are giving so generously to this project.

Grace and Peace,

Old Testament lesson: Isaiah 55:1-9
New Testament lesson: Luke 13:1-9
Did you know…
We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
We have had a terrific turnout for our first two Lenten suppers, and participants are enjoying the fellowship and thoughtful discussion of the provided lesson.
Through April 10, we’ll gather at 6 p.m. every Wednesday for a simple meal. This will be followed by a brief reflection, led by one of the pastors in our church, focusing weekly on an African-American Spiritual. The series is based on the book, Were You There? Lenten Reflections on the Spirituals by Luke Powery .
This week's lesson, led by Rev. Sue Bennetch, also reflected on this scripture .

Please let us know if you are planning to attend any of these suppers; use this simple online form. You can also sign up to bring a salad or dessert to share, or if you are willing to help with set-up or clean-up; use this simple sign-up for that info.

We are offering a general Lenten devotional for each household if they wish, which are available around the church (Narthex, Fellowship Hall, Rotunda). This is a different topic than the Lenten supper material.

Help us spread the word about these Lenten events – we have postcards available with details, that you can share with friends and family (drop in the mail with a first-class stamp). They are also located around the church for you to pick up.
Sharing God’s love with our neighbors around the world by providing relief from natural disasters, food for the hungry, and support for the poor and oppressed is the ‘SHARING’ in One Great hour of Sharing. Through Easter, April 21, we will have the opportunity to donate to this Presbyterian Special Offering.   
Imagine the good that can come out of a whole denomination giving to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program and Self-Development of People. It reaches places one church alone cannot. Special envelopes are in pew racks in the Sanctuary, and in the racks in the Rotunda, Fellowship Hall, and the Narthex. Please consider donating.
Help us beautify our church by purchasing Easter lilies that will be used to decorate on Easter Sunday – then you can take home to enjoy after you attend your Easter service.
Orders are due by Thursday, April 11; use the “Flower Offering” envelope (with the lily on it), available in the Sanctuary pews, Rotunda, and around the church. You can return it in the collection plate or to the Main Office. Instead of a set price, we ask you to make a donation of your choice. You can designate your gift “in honor” or “in memory” of a loved one, if you wish.
MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES: Looking for volunteers
Commitment:  Once a month
Needed: approximately 6 people
Task: Prepare the bread and juice for Communion Sundays, for both the Contemporary and Traditional services
When:  Communion is served on the first Sunday of the month and at occasional other special events
Contact: Jack Walker via email
Commitment: Sunday mornings after each service
Needed: 4 people each Sunday – great opportunity for creating teams for each week
Task: Set up coffee kiosk before Hospitality Hour, replenish coffee and food items during hour, clean up after each shift
When: Every Sunday
Contact:  Phyllis Walker via email
Bring your kites and your string - your children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. We have the ground and the Lord supplies the sky. We’ll meet tomorrow ( Saturday, March 23) at 1 p.m. in back of the church, and provide fixings for a make-your-own-sundae bar after you have come down to Earth.
No kite? We will have extra kites and string. Our rain date is Sunday, March 24 at the same time (not sure if we're postponing for rain or wind? check our Facebook and website ). All children must be accompanied by an adult. Please let us know that you're coming! Sponsored by the Congregational Life and Care committee.
HI NEIGHBORS: Presenting interesting, dynamic speakers
On Monday mornings through May 13, join other adults who come from all over the Lehigh Valley to learn something new and make new friends.
Doors open at 9:15 a.m. for fellowship time with coffee and light refreshments in Fellowship Hall. Our first program for this Monday begins promptly at 10 a.m.

Have you ever said, “Oh my aching back” or “I have such a pain in my neck.” Ben Richter of the Spine Center at St. Luke’s will provide an interactive presentation on 'Back and Spine Health' , and he will bring a nurse with him, so have your questions ready. Next up at 11 a.m.: 'Where in the world is Montenegro?'  We will find out by viewing a video produced by Bob and Madeline Brown.

Everyone is welcome, so please share this information with family and friends! Details are on the First Pres website and our Facebook page, under “Events”. There is no cost or pre-registration required.
This popular annual event will be held on Saturday, April 6 from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. Join us for an evening, hosted at East Hills Moravian Church, featuring a delicious Italian meal and celebration of Northeast Ministry. All proceeds directly benefit the 2019 NEM Summer Camp Program.

Ticket prices: adults - $12.00; children (ages 6-12) - $7:00; free for children 5 and under. For information or to purchase tickets, please visit the Northeast Ministry site or contact Grace Young at 610-691-3355 or via email .

NOTE: Before the buffet, please join Carolyn and Carville Bevans at their home, 2718 Covington Avenue, for Italian Chianti, juices, sodas, and friendship. Stop by between 4:30-6 p.m.; their home is three blocks from East Hills Moravian.
You are invited to join other Christian, Jewish, and Muslim friends for a Family Movie Night on Sunday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 2700 Jacksonville Road. We’ll begin with pizza, watch the film Inside Out together, and have a short discussion time for children (age 7 and above), youth, and adults. Childcare will be provided for younger children.
We plan to make this the first of an ongoing series of gatherings for fellowship, study, and service in partnership with other Bethlehem area faith communities. Please let us know you’re planning to attend by sending us an email or calling us at
“Love, Making Good News”, led by Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim, is the focus of a session scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, March 23) at Westminster Village. The day begins with registration at 9:30 a.m., followed by the program at 10 a.m. and a noon lunch.

Rev. Dr. Kim will explore what it means to embrace and love our friends, neighbors and those who are so different from us. To register: Nora Harford at 610-782-8542 or
via email by March 13.
More details to come…

  • 24 Hour Prayer Vigil
   Saturday, April 13 at 8 a.m. through Sunday, April 14 at 8 a.m. (sign up for half-hour
shifts; contact us at or 610-867-5865)
  • Palm Sunday Services
   Sunday, April 14 at 9 a.m. (Contemporary) and 10:30 a.m. (Traditional)
  • Maundy Thursday Communion Service
   Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m.
  • Good Friday Tenebrae Service
   Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m.
  • Holy Saturday Compline Service
   Saturday, April 20 at 8:30 p.m.
  • Easter Sunday Services
   Sunday, April 21 at 9 a.m. (Contemporary) and 10:30 a.m. (Traditional)
Send us your news and photos to share:
Deadline for newsletter: Wednesday at noon
* * *
And follow us on Facebook : @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!

  • Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each service; join us for light refreshments and fellowship
  • 9:00 a.m. - Contemporary Service, Kirk Center
  • 9:00 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5, Room A4
  • 9:00 a.m. - Adult Education, Hearts N Minds, Room 400
  • 10:30 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • 10:30 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5 (Children attend first part of worship service), Room E3-4
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3

MONDAYS: It’s a Start fitness class, 10 a.m., Middle School Step
TUESDAYS: Depression Support Group, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room);
Handbell Choir, 5:30 p.m., Middle School Step
WEDNESDAYS: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAYS: Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m., Sanctuary; Al-Anon Family Group, 7 p.m.,
Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (April 7): Bereavement Group gathering, 12:15 p.m. (meet in Narthex after 10:30 a.m. service)
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (April 2 and April 16): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m., Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (April 17): Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (April 18): 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;