Friday, September 13, 2019 Newsletter
SUNDAY SERVICES: 9:00 a.m. Contemporary ∙ 10:30 a.m. Traditional
Children's Sunday School during both services
Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!

Special Schedule on Sunday, September 22

The Session has called a special meeting of the congregation and corporation of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem for next Sunday, September 22, at 10 a.m. for three reasons.

The first is to act on a report from the Congregational Nominating Committee, which will be nominating a candidate for an unexpired term on the Session and for an open position on the Congregational Nominating Committee itself. 
The second is to act on a recommendation from the Session to reestablish a separate Board of Trustees for the Corporation of the church. Currently, the Session is also the Board of Trustees for the Corporation, but the church constitution allows for a separate Board of Trustees to be elected for the Corporation to which the Session can delegate the day-to-day management of the church’s property, endowment and reserve funds, etc.
It was the practice and policy of this congregation to have a separate Board of Trustees for most of its life; we shifted to a “unicameral” form of government during the schism of 2016-18 for reasons of practicality. However, in this new era of the congregation, the Session feels that a Board of Trustees would be helpful in allowing the Session to focus more of its energy and attention on the church’s overall mission strategy and ministry, while the Board of Trustees can focus on managing the church’s financial affairs.

The third reason is for the congregation to hear an update on our overall mission strategy and ministry activity and to respond with questions and feedback. In a typical congregation, such updates happen on an annual basis at the Annual Congregational Meeting. But we are not a typical congregation! Given the speed with which we are growing and changing, we have tried to do such gatherings about every six months over the last two years; with summer schedules the way they are and the other business items above pending, we delayed this one slightly to the beginning of fall.

So, please mark your calendars for next Sunday, September 22 (not this coming Sunday!), at 10 a.m. for this important congregational meeting. Note that the meeting will take place in the Sanctuary.

If you attend the 9 a.m. Contemporary Service, there will be time to move up to the Sanctuary for the beginning of the meeting. The Traditional Service will begin immediately after the meeting concludes, probably in the 10:45 – 11 a.m. range.

The Session has established this schedule to make sure that it is convenient for attendees of both the Contemporary and Traditional services to participate in the meeting. I look forward to seeing you there!

Grace and Peace,

FIRST LESSON: Exodus 32:7-14
Luke 15:1-10
·       This week’s sermon: On Second Thought   by Rev. J.C. Austin      
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
we gathered on a beautiful late summer morning for a Combined Worship Service, followed by a church community picnic. Young and old were inspired by the words and music, good food and fellowship - and even some games and a community art project (now on display in the North Link, thanks to Daniel Watts).

We appreciate all the willing hearts and hands who supported the Congregational Life Committee in bringing this uplifting event to our church community.

As referenced in the article above, our schedule for next Sunday, September 22 will be:
   9-10 a.m.: Contemporary Worship (no change in time or location)
   10-11 a.m.: Special Congregational Meeting and Town Hall (Sanctuary)
   11 a.m.-noon: Traditional Worship (Sanctuary)
   Noon: Hospitality Hour in Fellowship Hall
“May God grant you peace, at all times, in all ways.”  That’s from 2nd Thessalonians 3:16. 

On World Communion Sunday, October 6, the Presbyterian Church USA is dedicating the Peace and Global Special Offering as an expression of Christ’s love locally and around the world. 
Twenty-five percent of what we receive will stay here in our church. 
Last year, it provided for things like the Restorative Justice workshop, the Bethlehem Interfaith Group (B.I.G.), and speaker Rev. Beth Goudy of Metropolitan Community Church. Another 25 percent will be used by the Synod of the Trinity which offers a grant for peacemaking work. The final half will be used globally to transform cultures of violence into communities of peace; some of these funds go to the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations.
If you want to know more, there are pamphlets (above, right) are in the Narthex and Kirk Center, and in the racks around the church. You will find envelopes in the pews and in the other places around the church. 

There is such a need for peace in the world. Would you please consider contributing to this offering?
Sunday is the first day of Sunday School for children and our adult ed opportunity,
Hearts N Minds.

Sunday, September 15
  • Sunday School for Pre-K through grade 5 children will begin. Two sessions are offered: one at 9:00 a.m. (room A4) and another at 10:30 a.m. (room E3-4). Children who attend the second session will go to the 10:30 a.m. Traditional Worship service and then be taken to their Sunday School class. Reminder: Sunday School is not offered on the first Sunday of each month.

  • Hearts N Minds (adult education) begins. It is offered at 9:00 a.m. in Room 400 – see article below for details on the books the group will be reading and discussing. All are welcome.
Spiritual Practices Across Faith Traditions
The Discipleship Committee has scheduled additional sessions from this popular Adult Ed offering from last fall. This is an opportunity to learn more about the spiritual practices of other faith traditions.
This coming Wednesday, September 18 from
7-8:30 p.m., we welcome Mary Lou Hatcher, representing the Quaker faith. A second session is planned for Wednesday, September 25 –
also 7-8:30 p.m. – at which Tacy Young Shook will speak about Native American spiritual practices. We are working to confirm a third session on Wednesday, October 2. All sessions are in the Parlor.
No registration is needed – just come and enjoy these informative sessions! 
Hearts N Minds is our adult education opportunity to explore faith and current issues in a safe, respectful space. Weekly sessions will begin this Sunday, September 15 at
9 a.m. in Room 400.

The group uses books as a basis for their discussions; this session they are reading:
  • Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible (second edition) by M. Daniel Carroll, Brazos Press. ISBN 978-1-5843-351-1

  • Essays on Immigration (Dover Thrift Edition 2013) ISBN 978-0-486-48902-5

  • For Everything a Season by Sister Joan Chittister, Orbis Books (2014). ISBN 978-1-62698-019-8
For this Sunday, please read chapter one of Christians at the Border and the essay on page one of Essays on Immigration on indentured servanthood. We encourage you to browse that book to search for an essay that “speaks” to you. 
This Sunday, September 15
We’ve had a great response to this event, and we’re excited to announce that the two buses are full. HOWEVER: we have an option if you would like to join the tour!
Everyone is asked to report to First Presbyterian Church at 1:45 p.m. on Sunday. Those with bus reservations will board the buses, and all others are invited to drive their own vehicles to the various sites. IF YOU PLAN TO DRIVE: please send your name to ASAP.

The tour will include stops at St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, Central Moravian Church, the Lehigh Dialogue Center (Muslim), Congregation Brith Sholom (Conservative Judaism), and our own First Presbyterian Church. The tour will end
at 5 p.m.

B.I.G. also includes Advent Moravian Church, Epworth United Methodist Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley, School Sisters of St. Francis, Trinity Episcopal Church, and Wesley United Methodist Church. 
Hi Neighbors starts up this Monday, September 16
Hi Neighbors is a sociable-sounding name for another learning opportunity at FPCB (and it’s a great time for fellowship, too!).

Beginning on Monday, September 16, between 9:15 – 11:45 a.m. in Fellowship Hall, interested adults gather to hear presentations from a wide variety of speakers. For
the first session, Sue Bennetch will present “Five Wishes”, followed by a pizza lunch for all.

The topics vary from armchair travels to health updates to personal finance, and many more! All are welcome, so mark your calendars - more details to come!
CROP WALK: Coming on Sunday, October 13
Since 1969, millions (literally!) of Americans have participated in Church World Service/CROP walks around the country to raise funds for hunger relief at home and around the world.
On Sunday afternoon, October 13, our church will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this “granddaddy of charity walks” by partnering with congregations in Bethlehem and around the Lehigh Valley to make this a banner year; CROP walks raised some $8 million last year nationwide, and we’re hoping to exceed that. Twenty-five per cent of the funds raised will be retained for hunger-related ministries in our own area. 
You’re invited to participate either by walking yourself or by sponsoring our FPCB team financially ( link ; click the “Donate to a Team” box and type in “First Presbyterian Church Bethlehem”).
We’ll also be receiving payment by check, payable to “CWS/CROP,” during Hospitality Hour following our worship services. 

As noted on the Church World Service website, “funds raised will go to Church World Service to provide food and water, as well as resources that empower people to meet their own needs. From seeds and tools, to wells and water systems, to technical training and micro-enterprise loans, the key is people working together to identify their own development priorities, their strengths and their needs, something CWS has learned through some 70 years of working in partnership around the world.”

Hope you can join us in person, purse, or spirit! Look for further details in upcoming newsletters, as we work together with friends and neighbors to end hunger “one step at a time.” 
Are you looking for a way to support those impacted by Hurricane Dorian? The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is mobilizing to provide aid, and you can contribute to those efforts here .
CALLING ALL HANDS… Mission Opportunity
The Helping Hands Care Team of Lehigh Presbytery has scheduled its third mission work trip to Fayetteville, NC for October 19-26 (Saturday-Saturday) .
Participants are needed to assist with the recovery efforts after heavy rains and flooding caused extensive damage to the churches and homes in that area.

There are no specific skills or experience required, other than to be flexible and provide whatever help is needed. Plumbing, electrical, roofing, and dry wall installation skills are always welcome.

The cost is $200 per person and participants must register by October 1. More i nformation: Lehigh Presbytery website or call 610-391-9020.
Get your orders in by Monday!
Time to beautify your surroundings with luscious fall mums, in a variety of colors – at an affordable price!

The FPCB Preschool is offering 9” potted mums for sale; orders will be taken through this Monday, September 16 (send to or drop off at the Main Office with your payment).
The plants will be available for pick-up beginning Tuesday, September 24. You can print out a copy of the order form here; they are also available in the information racks, and in the North Link and Main Office.
The Bereavement Support Group meets Sunday in the Narthex after the Traditional service; the group will travel to Kirkland Village for lunch and conversation. Everyone welcome, no matter where you are in your journey. (See the article in the Mission Spotlight, below.)
Saturday, September 14
FPCB will be the site of a concert featuring Emmet Cahill, the lead Irish tenor from the group “Celtic Thunder”. It is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, September 14) at 7 p.m. in our Sanctuary.

The FPCB chancel choir will also be taking part, as well as the Touring Choir from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. David Macbeth directs both choirs.
There is a suggested donation of $20 at the door.
"It's a Start" weekly fitness classes have begun on Mondays from 10-11 a.m. in the Middle School Step Room. There is no registration - just drop in and pay a $10 cash at the door fee.

Join instructor Emilee Hajdu and an enthusiastic group! Accommodations can be made for all levels of fitness.
In this feature we will take a look at the many opportunities to serve and to be involved in the life of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem.
Many of us have suffered losses in our life, and no matter whether it is recent or long ago – there is a group of caring friends ready to support your journey.
FPCB’s Bereavement Support Group meets monthly for lunch and conversation. We enjoy the company of compassionate friends who share our feelings, new insights, surprises and experiences as a person who has lost a loved one. Meeting once a month brings us together and we feel safe and grateful that we can speak about whatever we want and feel the support and love that a group like this brings.
While each of our circumstances is different, and some losses are more recent than others, we find a special connection during our time together helps us realize that our new life does have meaning and purpose. 
For those who suffer a loss, we invite you to attend our next meeting this Sunday, September 15. We will gather in the Narthex after the Traditional Worship Service and travel to the luncheon site (or you can meet us there).

We recently changed our meeting location to the Eagle Room in Kirkland Village’s Marketplace (on the first floor), to better accommodate our friends who live ‘next door’. We will have a member of our group to greet you at the main entrance and at the door leading into the Marketplace.

If you or someone you know has experienced the loss of a loved one, we would love you to join us. Please contact Sue Bennetch via email or 610-867-5865 with questions.
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 Melody Engel at 484-695-4905 or to keep us up to date.
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
  • After the Traditional Service: Bereavement Support Group meets in Narthex to travel to luncheon meeting in the Eagle Room at Kirkland Village’s Marketplace
  • 1:45 - 5 p.m.: B.I.G. Faith Crawl, begins at FPCB (see article, above for details; registration required)

MONDAYS: Hi Neighbors informational presentations, 9:15 a.m., Fellowship Hall;
“It’s a Start” Fitness Class, 10 a.m., Middle School Step Room
TUESDAYS:   Crafters, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Room 408; Depression Support Group , 12:30-
2:30 p.m., Room 206
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAY: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: October 6): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: September 15 ) : Bereavement Group gathering; see details above
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: September 17): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: September 18):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group,
1 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: September 19): 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;