Friday, August 23, 2019


9:00 a.m. Contemporary ∙ 10:30 a.m. Traditional
Join us for “Lemonade on the Lawn”, our hospitality time from 10-10:30 a.m.
on the back lawn 

From Rev. J.C. Austin:
Earlier this summer, Julia Pedroso and Sophia Pedroso, two of our youth, attended the Design Lab for the Log College Project at Princeton Seminary, which is helping us to design a new model for doing youth ministry. These are their reflections on that time together. I am grateful for their faithfulness and leadership, as well as for the adults who accompanied them and are working together with them on this project.

From Sophia:
About a month ago Julia and I went to Princeton Theological Seminary in order to work on the Log College Project with 12 other churches from across America. For the past year, we have been working with a group of incredible people within our church in order to begin the planning and formation of ideas for our youth ministry. 
However, it wasn’t until attending the week in Princeton that our ideas truly came to life. Each day we did a variety of workshops in order to explore different areas of our idea, allowing it to slowly move from an idea to reality. It started off small, ensuring we had the proper focus and goals, eventually going as far as looking into the economics and the proper timeline of events.
Throughout this, Pastor JC and I worked on a pitch to give to the whole group in order to receive investments and offers from anyone who was willing. 
Team members, from left:
Deb Philpotts, Elizabeth Conard,
Julia Pedroso, Sophia Pedroso,
J.C. Austin, and Tracy Samuelson
Especially for me, this pitch was one of the most stressful yet significant moments of the project. I think it was one of the first moments of my life I could say with certainty that I could represent my church. And it’s a feeling I haven’t lost since. Never before had I felt so dedicated to a church, and it was a feeling I loved dearly.

Additionally, working on the Log College Project has allowed us to connect to a variety of very different people who were all able to come together with a simple idea, the formation of an effective intergenerational youth ministry to help and interest kids of all ages. Although there was plenty of work, it was never without fun, Julia and I being mixed in groups with kids from all different places and creating memories we’ll never forget.

From Julia:
At Princeton, we attended meetings and services daily. While we were there, there was a youth led sermon where we and the other kids were giving sermons, singing hymns, and reading from the Bible. Through this, we never felt closer to God. Through daily services and doing something that we knew other people and our community would benefit from gave us a connection to Him we’ve never experienced.

We saw His glory in the work of helping others and in working together with the people around us, even if we had just met them. Princeton is an experience I know we’ll never forget.

Grace and Peace,

FIRST LESSON: Jeremiah 1:4-10
Luke 13:10-17
·       This week’s sermon: Conflict of Interests by Rev. J.C. Austin      
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:

If your garden is reaping a bountiful harvest and you have some to share,
bring it with you on Sunday - we'll have a table available at Lemonade on the Lawn.

Those with 'too much' can share it,
and those who would like to take some home are welcome to!
Please use the cards on the tables in the narthex and rotunda to share your nominations for elder, deacon and Nominating Committee member. They are due on Sunday, September 1.

E lders comprise the Session of the Presbyterian Church which is, in essence, the decision-making body of the church. They recommend and approve all program and policy implementation and modifications in the church. Elders serve a three year term and the Session meets monthly; elders generally serve on one or more committees, which also usually meet on a monthly basis.

The deacons are the caregivers of the church. They minister to the individual members through home communion and visits, hospital and prayer ministries, and providing support to those in difficult situations. Deacons serve a three year term and typically meet monthly.

The Nominating Committee members are charged with identifying candidates for elders, deacons, trustees, and the Nominating Committee itself. This committee usually meets three or four times each year; the term of service is one year, and a member may serve no more than two consecutive terms.
Church bells have historically been used not only to call the surrounding community to worship services, but as a public ministry at times of national grief or celebration. 
This Sunday, August 25, the National Park Service is observing a “Day of Healing "
to observe and commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first African slave ship landing in North America in August of 1619. 

FPCB will join other houses of worship in this public observance by ringing our bells for four minutes at 3 p.m. this Sunday - a sign of our prayers for ongoing healing and reconciliation as a nation dedicated to “liberty and justice for all.”
Sunday, September 8
We look forward to welcoming everyone to a combined worship service on Sunday, September 8 at 10 a.m. It will be held at the front of the church, in front of the main steps (chairs provided). We hope you will join us for this special service, which will combine elements of both our Contemporary and Traditional services.
We hope everyone will stay after the service for our Community Picnic, sponsored by the Congregational Life committee.

We'll offer a simple potluck lunch, games for young and old, and fellowship.
Assorted deli sandwiches and beverages will be provided. We ask that those attending contribute a dish to pass, as they are able (we will have plenty, so please plan to attend!). 

Use this easy online sign-up form to indicate your potluck contribution; we are also recruiting a few volunteers to help with parking, kitchen help, and to assist with games.

You can also call the Main Office (610-867-5865) or send an email to us at with that information.
With the coming of fall we are excited to announce these inspiring learning opportunities:

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.

  • Bethlehem Interfaith Group (B.I.G.) Faith Crawl: B.I.G. has arranged for buses to take participants to visit five different houses of worship on an afternoon tour, to expand your understanding of their faiths. See the article below.

Wednesday, September 18
  • Spiritual Practices Across Faith Traditions a popular Adult Ed offering from last fall – continues with three more sessions. On Wednesday, September 18 from 7-8:30 p.m. we welcome Mary Lou Hatcher, representing the Quaker faith. Additional sessions are planned for September 25 and October 2 (tentative). Watch for details!

Our Chancel Choir regularly offers anthems in our Traditional Service at
10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary. It is directed by David Macbeth , our Music Director.

Rehearsals will begin next Thursday,
August 29 from 7-9 p.m. New members are welcome in all voice parts; it is open to high school age and older – choral score reading is a plus but those willing to learn are welcome. Try it out for a couple of weeks if you’re interested!
Hearts N Minds is our adult education opportunity to explore faith and current issues in a safe, respectful space. Weekly sessions will begin on Sunday, September 15 at
9 a.m. in Room 400.

The group frequently uses books as a basis for their discussions. If you would like to secure the books for the coming session, they are:
  • 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
B.I.G. FAITH CRAWL – Sunday, Sept. 15
We’ve all heard of pub crawls where revelers go from bar to bar, sampling the offerings of each pub. So why not have a “faith crawl” and offer people the opportunity to tour several area places of worship and learn more about the faith tradition represented by each space?  
The Bethlehem Interfaith Group (B.I.G.) is sponsoring just such an event on Sunday, September 15. Plan now to meet at First Presbyterian of Bethlehem at 1:45 p.m. to receive your bus assignment and be ready to begin your tour of 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 4 p.m.

Reservations are essential to guarantee bus space, and must be made by Sunday, September 8 . You can sign up online or call the Church Office (610-867-5865).

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.
“Love thy neighbor” is a command we have. Last Saturday, we showed love for Wesley United Methodist Church and the school-aged children of the area when we donated 313 pairs of socks, 294 pair of underwear and 12 backpacks to their “We Got Your Back” event.

We also had five volunteers to help that day – what a great event! (right: Steve Simmons, Deb Philpotts, Carol Burns, John Dudding, Al Philpotts and new friends)
Last Call: We are still collecting travel-size toiletries – these will go to folks impacted by natural disasters (collected through this Sunday in the North Link and rotunda).
EMMET CAHILL IN CONCERT – 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 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.
In this new 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.
As the first person to greet people connecting to our church, either in person or on the phone, the Ministry of a Receptionist is of great importance to FPC’s mission in the community and beyond.
The receptionist’s duties include answering the phone and welcoming visitors and other light administrative responsibilities. Each receptionist takes one shift per week from Monday through Thursday; there are morning and afternoon shifts available.

We have a training manual to help you learn how to retrieve messages and access the voicemail system, and all the office and pastoral staff are willing and able to help with any questions.
The most important attribute is a willingness to make each visitor or caller know that we are seeking to live out our Core Values: Christ-centered, Welcoming to All, an Inquiring Faith, and an Active Faith. Two of our dedicated receptionists: Froy Thompson and Milly Mead

If you are interested, please contact Cristy Mette at or 610-867-5865, ext. 228.

We are now adding the weekly prayer list to this newsletter. Click here for a printable copy; you can also pick up print copies in the Narthex, rotunda, Fellowship Hall and brochure racks.
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!


  • 9:00 a.m. - Contemporary Service, Kirk Center
  • “Lemonade on the Lawn” between each service; join us for light refreshments and fellowship on the back lawn (inclement weather: Fellowship Hall)
  • 10:30 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3

TUESDAY:   Crafters, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Room 408;
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAY: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: September 1): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: September 15; no meeting in August ): Bereavement Group gathering; this is a new date going forward, and there will be a new location.
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: September 3): 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. We will be closed on Monday, September 2, in observance of Labor 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:
    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;