Friday - April 12, 2019



Children's Sunday School during both services

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
Capturing the depth of Easter
This Sunday is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week, the most important week of the Christian calendar. Palm Sunday is a day of celebration, recalling the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, when crowds of people lined the streets, waved palms, and laid branches and cloaks on the ground as a sign of honor. So it will be a celebratory day here at First Pres, too, with special music and palms. 
Next Sunday, of course, is Easter, the most important day of the Christian calendar, when we celebrate Christ’s resurrection from the dead, opening the way to the abundant and eternal life he promised. But if you go from Palm Sunday straight to Easter, it’s like watching the first ten minutes of a movie before the main conflict begins, and then fast-forwarding to the end where everyone lives happily ever after. You miss the real depth and power and meaning of the story. So I urge you to make a point of experiencing the fullness of the central story of Christ’s gospel by participating in the special services we will have during the week.
The first is Maundy Thursday , at 7 p.m. The word “Maundy” comes from a Latin word for mandate, and refers to Jesus’ new commandment to his disciples that they love one another as he loved them. So the service will center on Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, and will include both communion and an option (not an expectation) to experience the ritual of foot washing, which Jesus did for his disciples that last evening with them.

We celebrate communion on Maundy Thursday because the sacrament was instituted with the Last Supper Jesus had with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. And the ritual of foot washing is a particularly powerful experience of Jesus’ definition of Lordship: humble, compassionate service. Even if you do not choose to experience it yourself, witnessing it has a deep spiritual impact.

The second service is Good Friday at 8 p.m., and will be a Tenebrae Service. Again, “Tenebrae” is Latin for “darkness,” and it is a service that walks through the narrative of Jesus’ arrest, torture, crucifixion, and death. A series of Scripture readings laying out the story is read, interspersed with appropriate hymns and music. After each reading, the lights in the Sanctuary are dimmed, until finally there is only candlelight to illumine the final reading. The Christ candle, symbolizing Christ’s life, is then extinguished, and the service concludes in darkness and silence, symbolizing Christ’s interment in the tomb.

I always struggle with choosing a single “favorite” of anything, but the Tenebrae service would certainly be in my top three favorite services of the year because of its simple yet searing power in helping us experience the profundity of Christ’s sacrifice in our hearts, minds, and spirits.
On Saturday, we will offer a special Holy Saturday Compline Service from 8:30-
9:30 p.m. Compline (COM-plin) is not specific to Lent or Easter, but is especially appropriate for this season. The service will feature candlelight and burning incense, as well as touching music - some of it by our Chancel Choir. We invite you to this evening of peaceful spiritual reflection.

I am certain that your experience of both Palm Sunday and Easter will be much richer if you participate in these Holy Week services, and that your faith will be enhanced by them. I hope you will join in and experience the full blessings of Holy Week. See you in worship!

Grace and Peace,
Old Testament lesson:
Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29
New Testament lesson:
Luke 19:28-40
·       This week’s sermon: The Royal Treatment
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:

NEW SCHEDULE: 12 Hour Prayer Vigil
Saturday, April 13 at 8 a.m. through 8 p.m. in the Sanctuary ( sign up for half-hour shifts here )

Palm Sunday Services
Sunday, April 14 at 9 a.m. (Contemporary - Kirk Center) and 10:30 a.m. (Traditional - Sanctuary) ; special music will be shared by our Handbell Choir and Chancel Choir in the Traditional service

Maundy Thursday Communion Service
Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary; including communion, foot washing
(both optional), and special music by Kim Seifert on the flute

Good Friday Tenebrae Service
  Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m. in the Sanctuary; including special music by Amy Chryst on
the violin. Tenebrae (TEN-uh-bray) is a special service of increasing darkness, as the
story is read of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death.

Holy Saturday Compline Service
Saturday, April 20 at 8:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary; including music by our Chancel
Choir. A compline (COM-plin) service includes touching music, burning incense, and
lit candles for an evening of peaceful spiritual reflection.

Easter Sunday Services
Sunday, April 21 at 9 a.m. (Contemporary - Kirk Center) and 10:30 a.m. (Traditional - Sanctuary);  communion at both for those who would like to participate. The Traditional service will include the musical selection, Credo from  Mass for the
New Millennium  by Richard Nance, featuring the Chancel Choir, soloists, oboe,
harpsichord, percussion and organ. There will be no Sunday School or Hearts N Minds on Easter.
There will be an Easter Egg Hunt after each service,
behind the church building.
Deadline extended to this Sunday
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 this Sunday, April 14 ; use the “Flower Offering” envelope (with the lily on it) that are available in the Sanctuary pews, Narthex, Rotunda, and around the church. 
Due on Easter Sunday
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.   
NEW LEARNING OPPORTUNITY:  “How to Support LGBT Spirituality”
Join in two lively and engaging presentations on supporting the Christian spirituality of God’s beloved LGBT people, led by Rev. Beth Goudy, pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley (a church where a majority of worshippers are LGBT-identified). Runs from 6:30-8 p.m. in Fellowship Hall on two Wednesdays, May 1 and May 8. All are welcome; it is appropriate for middle school and older. 
Bring friends and learn more about how the Bible supports inclusion and how the church may help LGBT people live out God’s calling to faith and service.
You can attend one or both sessions, and there is no charge to attend. Please pre-register at or call 610-867-5865.
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 to Fellowship Hall at 9:15 a.m. for coffee and light refreshments. For this Monday we have one session:
9:45 – 11:45     ‘The Women of Tin Pan Alley’ by Tom Repasch

There is no presentation on Monday, April 22. On Monday, April 29 we will offer:

   9:45 a.m.  ‘Aging in Place’ by Kelly Harnett, Westminster Village Adult Day Services
   11:00 a.m. ‘The Future of the Lehigh Valley’ by Don Cunningham, Lehigh Valley
Economic Development

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.
SAVE THE DATE: Monday, May 6 from 5-7 p.m.
More details to come: FPCB’s Preschool families and staff will join with our church community for a night of fun activities, including a hot dog picnic, petting zoo, outdoor games and more!
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:  Hi Neighbors informational programs, 9:15 a.m., Fellowship Hall; 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, 8-9:15 p.m., Sanctuary; Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m.,
Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (May 5): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link; Bereavement Group gathering, 12:15 p.m. (meet in Narthex after 10:30 a.m. service)
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: 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;