Friday, July 9, 2021 Newsletter

9:00 a.m. Contemporary 
11:00 a.m. Traditional*

 (* also available on our website and via phone)
Where do you find peace?

Dear ones,

While I’m still adjusting to life here in the Lehigh Valley, my first four months here have introduced me to three of our four seasons: when I arrived in late February, it was still snow-on-the-ground winter; things stayed chilly through much of a tiny blip of spring with a few perfect days sprinkled in, and now we’re solidly in the summer (which is quite a bit toastier than I imagined)
I confess that this time of year does make me a little homesick for North Carolina, more specifically for Montreat, a beautiful Presbyterian conference center in the mountains near Asheville. It is thin space for me: a special, set apart place where whatever usual distractions separating us from God are easier to transcend and where the presence of God is a bit more noticeable. (I’m sure you have thin places, too, and I hope you have time to visit them this summer!)
Many summers, I head up the mountain to Montreat for either the Youth Conference with high school students or for the annual Music & Worship Conference, which is an incredible intergenerational experience curated by the Presbyterian Association of Musicians - I hope to introduce y’all to one or both of these sometime!  

The last time I went to Music & Worship was about this time in 2019. The 2020 conference was moved online, of course, and it has been so wonderful to see colleagues enjoying the conference in-person again this summer. At my last visit, the conference theme was “Not as the World Gives,” taken from John 14:27 in which Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

In this ongoing season of transition into a new stage of emerging-from-a-pandemic life, I still need those words of assurance. Perhaps you do, too. During worship each day, Rev. Dr. Rodger Niskioka’s sermons explored how the peace of Christ is not the kind of peace the world offers. These daily refrains became a powerful series of juxtapositions:

Peace is not the absence of chaos, but the presence of hope.

Peace is not the absence of evil, but the boldness, the presence of righteousness.

Peace is not the absence of pain, but the compassion of presence.

Peace is not the maintenance of the status quo, but the courage to seek justice.

Peace is not the absence of conflict, but it is the embodiment of love.

Peace is not the absence of darkness; it is the presence of light.

Where do you find such peace, friends? It showed up for me this week in the form of a mama deer and her still-spotted baby romping around our church’s front lawn on a particularly nutty day at the office. It felt like a mini Montreat moment here in Bethlehem. I slowed down to watch them for awhile before they made their way under some shade trees and out of view. 

I think that’s not entirely unlike what we’re called to do as we navigate the changes unfolding around us - to find peace and joy by looking for and slowing down to watch what God is up to in our midst. Because God is surely our mama deer, staying nearby and nurturing us still-wobbly-legged babies as we try to find our way anew in the big wide world.

May we pay attention, friends. And may we encounter God’s peace and joy, along the way.

With much love and gratitude,

Scripture lesson:
Click the link to read the verses
·   This week's sermon: A Good Word:
Politics by The Rev. Lindsey Altvater Clifton

·     We post each week’s sermon
(audio and text) on our website:
TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT on 8.5" x 11" paper for Sunday


  • Everyone over the age of 2 is required to wear a mask.

  • Child care will be available from 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in Room C1-2 – please ask a greeter for directions to that space.

  • We will offer nametags for folks to wear – you can pick up as you enter the worship space; please write your first name.
Please note that reopening the building for regular business hours
will not begin next week as originally planned. We’ll share more information about the delay and when regular office hours
will resume as updates are available.
Our popular “Lemonade on the Lawn” social time will be offered from 10-
11 a.m. on Sunday, between the services. Stay after the first service or come early for the second, and stop by for a cool drink, snack, and fellowship.
We’ll also have a table set out for a “fresh produce exchange.” If you have extra bounty from your garden, bring it with you to place on the table to share with others. We’ll do this every week through the growing season. 
Sunday, July 11 at 4 p.m.
East side of the building
Rain or shine (we’ll move indoors if bad weather)
Bring your lawn chair/blankets, and enjoy an enjoyable selection of musical entertainment by our Contemporary Worship Band. They will offer a variety of numbers to appeal to all audiences, including popular pieces from across the decades, modern classics, and some rock “gems” from the 70s and 80s.
They'll also present a small sampling of contemporary worship music (check our Facebook page – we’re teasing out some of the titles from their program).

The concert will also be broadcast on 88.3FM, so if you’re ‘in the neighborhood’ (e.g. Kirkland Village), you can tune in to hear the concert. Or park in our lot and enjoy from the comfort of your vehicle.

We are also inviting YOU to participate as well! Do you have a hidden talent? Do you sing, dance, tell jokes, write poetry?? Music DIrector David Macbeth and the band will be on hand if there's need for musical backup. They are happy to support with any musical needs. Depending on the number of entries, a time limit may be placed on each act.
Please complete this form (button, below) and a member of the production crew will be in touch with you shortly (any questions? or call
After last week’s sermon*, if you’d like to explore a bit more about practicing unity, you’re invited to (re)visit the Discipleship Committee’s Constructive Conversations series from April 2020! This three-part course offers insight on foundational skills for dialogue across lines of difference. Click here for the videos.
* You can revisit sermons (audio and text) and our worship services (videos) on this page:
Our CYF program has planned a Movie Night “out on the lawn” for Sunday evening, July 18, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets, and settle in for a fun family evening!
We’ll be sharing the name of the movie in next week’s newsletter (or you can come and be surprised!). In case of bad weather: we’ll reschedule; check our website or Facebook page for updates.
We’re looking for volunteers to contribute baked goods to serve at
Lemonade on the Lawn social times. If interested, please contact
Phyllis Walker at
or leave a message at 610-867-5865.
Please specify the date and what you’ll donate.
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 Phil
Fair at to keep us up to date.

Send any prayer requests to or call 610-867-5865 and leave a message.
Send us your news and photos to share:
**Deadline for next week's newsletter: WEDNESDAY at noon**
* * *
And follow us on Facebook: @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!


  • 8:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Child Care in room C1-2
  • 9:00 a.m.: Contemporary Worship Service, in-person in the Kirk Center AND livestreamed
  • 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.: Lemonade on the Lawn social time, east side of building
  • 11:00 a.m.: Combined Worship Service, in-person in the Sanctuary AND livestreamed - see instructions in blue box, below, to join us online, and in the yellow box to join us via phone 
FOR THIS SUNDAY: : Worship with us “Live” on Facebook
To watch “live”- as it happens:

  • Visit our Facebook page and look for the post with our live feed
  • If you don’t have a Facebook account, go to our website to view the service
  • Please check in with a comment so we know you’ve joined us!
  • Captions will now be available on our livestream, for those who would like to use that feature
To watch a video – available after the services have aired: Visit our website
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS: You can participate on your phone to listen to the 11 a.m. Traditional service

To listen on the phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 848 4170 9518, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – press the # key again.
  • 7 p.m.: Overcomer’s Outreach Christian 12 Step Recovery Group weekly meeting, via Zoom (Meeting # 380 435 9056 / Password: overcomer)

ALL OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS AND GATHERINGS ARE CANCELLED AT THIS TIME unless offered online (see listings on our Facebook page under “Events”)

CHURCH OFFICE AND BUILDING INFO: The office staff is working remotely and checking email and voicemail daily. The answering service (610-778-7003) can take your urgent pastoral concerns, 24 hours a 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: Phil Fair, Prayer Ministrant (
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. Lindsey Altvater Clifton, Associate Pastor of Formation and Justice;

The Rev. Sue Bennetch, Pastoral Associate: ext. 209;

David Macbeth, Music Director: ext. 202;

Cristy Mette, Administrative Operations Manager: ext. 228;

Rebecca Angione, Facilities Manager: ext. 210;

Marianne Zarillo, Business Manager: email:

Cindy Matthews, Bookkeeper: email:

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; phone 610-428-9649;

Laura Hawk, Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956;