Friday - April 19, 2019



NO Sunday School this Sunday

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
Three Days
As this newsletter is published, we are in the midst of what the medieval church began calling the Triduum (“TRID-you-um”), which is simply Latin for “three days.” The Triduum begins on Thursday evening of Holy Week with the observance of Maundy Thursday, when Jesus had his Last Supper with his disciples, washing their feet, commanding them to love each other, and instituting the sacrament of Communion. 
It continues with Good Friday, remembering the day that Jesus was executed by crucifixion by the Roman Empire. Here at First Presbyterian, we observe Good Friday with a Tenebrae Service tonight at 8 p.m., a service that tells the full story of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death, with candles extinguished after each lesson to create a service with increasing shadows and darkness. 
Holy Saturday, then, is a time of contemplative waiting, between Jesus’ burial on Friday and the discovery of the empty tomb on Sunday. To mark that, we are trying something new this year: a Compline (COM-plin) Service of contemplative sung prayer on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. This service will be highlighted with touching music, burning incense, and candlelight.

And, of course, the Triduum concludes with the joyful celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter, which we will have at both 9 a.m. (contemporary) and 10:30 a.m. (traditional), followed by celebratory Easter Egg Hunts for children after both services – all are welcome to attend.

For now, though, we are about halfway through the “three days,” in the heart of Good Friday. I think that we often struggle with this part, wanting to skip ahead to Easter. In general, we don’t like waiting or silence; it feels… well, helpless. But that is part of the point; after the events of Good Friday, there’s nothing that can be done but wait. So I invite you to use my favorite Good Friday poem today to help center you in the waiting, which is from T.S. Eliot’s poem, “East Coker”:

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God. As, in a theatre,
The lights are extinguished, for the scene to be changed
With a hollow rumble of wings, with a movement of darkness on darkness,
And we know that the hills and the trees, the distant panorama
And the bold imposing facade are all being rolled away—
Or as, when an underground train, in the tube, stops too long between stations
And the conversation rises and slowly fades into silence
And you see behind every face the mental emptiness deepen
Leaving only the growing terror of nothing to think about;
Or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing—
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

And when the waiting is over, the rejoicing will be all the greater for having waited. See you in worship!

Grace and Peace,
Old Testament lesson:
Isaiah 65:17-25 
New Testament lesson:
Luke 24:1-12
·       This week’s sermon: Remembering the Truth
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:

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.
Thank you for considering a gift that will help provide relief from natural disaster, food for the hungry, and support for the poor and oppressed. Envelopes are in the pew racks, Narthex, Rotunda, and Fellowship Hall.
NEW LEARNING OPPORTUNITY:  “How to Support LGBT Spirituality”
Wednesday, May 1 and Wednesday, May 8
6:30 – 8 p.m. in Fellowship Hall
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). 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 register at or call 610-867-5865.
“Telling the Parables”
Wednesdays, May 15, 22 and 29
7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Parlor
Biblical scholar Richard Swanson reminds us that “before Bible stories were ‘Bible stories,’ they were  stories. ” And before they were written down, they were  told . Jesus told his parables to people who experienced them, not as words on a page, but as a living, breathing reality.
On three Wednesday evenings in May, Bible translators and interpreters Jim and Janet Stahl, who work with people in oral cultures around the world, will help us to experience three of Jesus’ parables in new and old ways as we learn to tell and enact them together.

No prior experience is needed, just a willingness to “do” the parables in ways that are guaranteed to bring new life and insight to these familiar stories. Senior highs through adults are invited to participate. Please register by contacting the office at or 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.
For this Monday, April 22, there will be no session.

Join us on Monday, April 29: doors open to Fellowship Hall at 9:15 a.m. for coffee and light refreshments.
  • 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

At 9:45 a.m. on Monday, May 6, we will hear from Claudia Richan, who will describe and demonstrate the program, “A Matter of Balance”; she is with the Bethlehem Health Bureau. At 11 a.m., Mary Liz Colley will present on the “Virtual Village: Members Helping Members”.

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.
Monday, May 6 from 5-7 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to join us for a joint Preschool – church event, “Spring Celebration”! This fun-for-all-ages gathering will be held on Monday, May 6 from 5-7 p.m. on the lawn behind the church. Enjoy a hot dog dinner, live animals, and fun activities for all ages. The rain date is Monday, May 13. Planning to attend? Please contact us at or 610-867-5865 with your name, and number of adults and children.
SPRING FLOWER SALE: Order by Sunday!
The FPCB Spring Flower Fundraiser is a great opportunity to fill your garden with beautiful plants, while supporting our Preschool program. Orders are due this Sunday for flowering baskets, and pots of Martha Washington geraniums and Gerbera daisies (pictured, right) .

Use this order form to reserve your plants!
If you have a Facebook account, we encourage you to follow our page, @FirstPresBethlehem , for all kinds of news, events, and stories. You can help us reach more folks by liking, commenting, and sharing the FPCB posts – especially sharing! Your activity helps 'push out' our posts to more of our 1400+ followers.
We also ask that you consider inviting your other Facebook friends to follow our page; to do that, go to our main page and look for a small box right under our cover photo (the big photo of our church building). Click on that box and you’ll see “Invite Friends” (near the bottom) – then click on the name of anyone you think might be interested in FPCB. Thanks for your help!
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
  • Easter Egg Hunt after each service behind the church building; all are welcome
  • 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:  Hi Neighbors informational programs, 9:15 a.m., Fellowship Hall (NO MEETING ON MONDAY); 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)
WEDNESDAYS: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAYS: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: 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: May 7): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m., Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: May 15):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: May 16): 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;