Friday, January 3, 2020 Newsletter

SUNDAY SERVICES: 9:00 a.m. Contemporary ∙ 10:30 a.m. Traditional
Communion Sunday
There will be no Sunday School nor Hearts N Minds this Sunday

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Practicing our faith

Well, it’s that time of year again: with the new year comes the discussion of New Year’s resolutions. And the most popular resolutions never seem to change: lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, stop smoking, etc. Now, there’s nothing wrong with making resolutions, nor is there anything particularly hard about it. The challenge, of course, is keeping New Year’s resolutions, not making them. 
A nd there are two big reasons for that. The first is that the most common New Year’s resolutions tend to be about changing something that we think is wrong about us. So there’s an inherently negative frame around most of our resolutions, and they often come with the extra baggage of guilt, shame, and inadequacy, which makes it much harder to get motivated.
The second reason that New Year’s resolutions fail is related: they tend to be about stopping something that we think is a bad habit. Again, changing bad habits can be good, but there’s actually significant research on human behavior that says we can’t simply stop a bad habit; if we want to change our behavior, we have to replace a bad habit with a good one. And to do that, we can’t simply decide on a different direction, like a one-time pull on a lever to switch from one set of rails to another.

No, we have to come up with an alternative set of practices that we use over time to build a new habit, practices that aren’t simply stopping something negative, but doing something positive. To practice something means to do something well over and over again over a long period; that’s how you get better at it, whether it’s another language, a musical instrument, or any other new skill.

It’s true of faith, as well. We often talk of “faith” as something we have, specifically a set of beliefs. But while belief is an important part of faith, they’re not the same thing. We don’t simply have faith, we practice it; we follow the practices of faith as a means of living it out well over a long period of time. Those practices include things like worship, Bible study, prayer, serving and caring for others, and much more.

This first Sunday of 2020, we will be gathering as usual for the practice of worship, and that will include Communion, which is our practice as a congregation for the first Sunday of every month. So that is a great way to begin a good practice of faith this year.
But I encourage you to consider what practices of faith you want to adopt in the coming year, as well; not as resolutions to change something wrong, but as practices to embrace something good as you dwell more deeply in God’s presence and purpose for you and for us as a congregation. Happy New Year!

Grace and Peace,

Isaiah 60:1-6  
Matthew 2:1-12
·      This week’s sermon:  From the Rising  by Rev. J.C. Austin        

·       We post each week’s sermon
(audio and text) on our website:
There will be no Sunday School and no Hearts N Minds this Sunday, Jan. 5. Both will return on Jan. 12; Hearts N Minds will revisit the classic book by Sister Joan Chittister, For Everything a Season. All are welcome, whether you have read the book or not, or attended any of the previous sessions.
A new team has been formed to assist in the updating of our church membership database, which will then be used to create a new Church Membership Directory in the spring. Because we want to turn this project around quickly, we will not be including photos in this first version; we plan to publish another directory with photos within the year.
Your assistance is needed to assure we have accurate information! For several Sundays in January, we will have volunteers available during Hospitality Hours to confirm your information. There will also be options to share your information with us by online form, by mail, and over the phone.
It’s important to clarify that we will need your express permission to print any information in our directory, therefore we need to connect with all of our members. 

Thanks for your cooperation, and we’ll be providing more details as we go forward.
Elder Joanne Kelhart, chair of the Worship Committee, has put out a call for assistance for these two volunteer positions:

·          Coordinator of the readers for the worship services. This was being done by Cindy Simmons but she will no longer be doing it; however, she will still do the intros. The coordinator will maintain the list of readers for both services and schedule them to read. They also need to be able to email the volunteers and send them a schedule.

·          Coordinator of the greeters for the worship services; same tasks as the above position - this person will put together a schedule and contact the greeters. 

Both of these jobs are done bimonthly. For more information or to volunteer, contact Joanne at .
At the January Stated Assembly of Lehigh Presbytery we will have a special speaker, Tod Bolsinger, author of Canoeing the Mountains. Tod will share a combination of illuminating insights and practical tools to help you re-imagine what effective leadership looks like in our rapidly changing world.

It will be held on Friday, Jan. 24 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at our church. Watch for further details!
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 next week's newsletter: Wedneday at noon**
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Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!

  • After each service: Hospitality in Fellowship Hall – join us for fellowship and light refreshments
  • Between services: Blood Pressure Screenings, North Link (adjacent to Fellowship Hall)
  • 9:00 a.m. - Contemporary Service, Kirk Center
  • 10:30 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • 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 Room
TUESDAYS: Optimism 101 (formerly Depression Support Group), 12:30-2:30 p.m., Room 206
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach , 7 p.m., Room 420
THURSDAY: Chancel Choir rehearsal , 7 p.m., Sanctuary; Al-Anon Family Group ,
7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: Jan. 5): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services,
North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: Jan. 12 ) : Bereavement Group gathering; bring your lunch if you like
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: Jan. 7): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY ( next: Jan. 15 ):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
SECOND THURSDAY (next: Jan. 9): Presbyterian Womens Circle , 1:00-3:00 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: Jan. 16): Prayers & Squares, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Room 408 (bring your lunch and join us to create quilts and prayer shawls - no experience needed)

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 ( note new phone): 610-737-4074  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;

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; ext. 238;

Andrea Barbehenn , Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956;