Friday, September 20, 2019 Newsletter

9 a.m.: Contemporary | 10 a.m.: Congregational Meeting (Sanctuary)
11 a.m.-noon: Traditional Service | Noon: Hospitality Hour
Children's Sunday School during both services
One of the four Core Values we have identified for First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem is having “an inquiring faith."

In one sense, that shouldn’t be a surprising value for Christians to have. As I mentioned in the sermon series I did last year on our Core Values, one of Jesus’ defining characteristics in Scripture is asking questions, including often answering a question with a question. And even Jesus’ teachings often provoked more questions than they provided answers.
And when it came to calling disciples, Jesus never gave them a licensing exam that they had to pass before they could become a disciple. No, the test he gave was simple: “follow me.” Intellectual understanding, belief, and theology are quite important to Christian discipleship, but as a means of helping us follow Christ more faithfully, not as a substitute for it.
That’s part of why we identified having “an active faith” as a crucial Core Value of this congregation, as well. Inquiring and acting are partners in our faith journey, not rivals.

This Sunday, the sermon will “inquire” into one of Jesus’ teachings that has provoked many questions throughout the centuries: a parable that is often called “The Parable of the Unjust Steward” or “Dishonest Manager.” I encourage you to find at least ten minutes before Sunday morning to read the story, which is found in Luke 16:1-13 . Read through it and note what questions arise for you in terms of how to understand it (“inquiring faith”) and how to respond to it in following Christ (“an active faith”).

Also remember that we are on a slightly modified schedule for this Sunday; the 9 a.m. Contemporary Service will proceed as usual, but following that service we will move quickly to the Sanctuary for a Special Congregational Meeting at 10 a.m. where we will elect a new Elder to fill an unexpired term on Session, a new member of the Congregational Nominating Committee to help nominate leaders for the congregation at the Annual Congregational Meeting this winter (see below to meet those nominees) and a recommendation from the Session to reestablish a separate Board of Trustees to manage the property and investments of the church on behalf of the Session. I will also offer a “Mission and Ministry Update” as Pastor and Moderator of Session, and there will be time for questions and feedback as a part of that. 

I will also offer a “Mission and Ministry Update” as Pastor and Moderator of Session, and there will be time for questions and feedback as a part of that.
The Traditional Worship Service will begin with a short prelude at the end of the Congregational Meeting, during which attendees of the 9 a.m. service can excuse themselves, and then we will hold the Traditional Service, probably starting around 11 a.m. Sunday School will run concurrently with the worship services as usual, and there will be only one Hospitality Hour, following the Traditional Service.

See you on Sunday!

Grace and Peace,

FIRST LESSON: Amos 8:4-7
Luke 16:1-13
·       This week’s sermon: That Can't Be RIght!  by Rev. J.C. Austin      
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
As reminder, our schedule for this 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

As part of the Special Congregational Meeting, members will be voting on these two nominations:

FOR ELDER: Polly Beste

Polly has been a member since she and her family moved to the Valley in the mid-80's. Her two daughters were baptized here by Rev. Keith Brown, and her husband's uncle was Russell Grander, a long-time and devout supporter of this church.
Until her retirement, Polly had her own marketing communications agency and in the mid-90's was also the first editor of Lehigh Valley Magazine. She currently serves on the board of both the Wildlands Conservancy and Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network. She has supported and been involved in many nonprofits in our community. Most recently, Polly has assisted our church by serving on an ad hoc committee formed to jumpstart our rebranding efforts.
Sally and her husband Bob joined First Pres in 1984. Both of their children went through the youth program, and she taught Sunday school for two years when they were younger. 

Sally has attended various women’s Bible studies over the years, and she recently joined the choir. She also participated on a worship committee task force last year. Sally works part-time as a mental health clinical social worker. 
PEACE OFFERING: To be dedicated on Sunday, October 6
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.
There are pamphlets (above) and special envelopes in the Sanctuary and brochure racks around the building.
  • Sunday School for Pre-K through grade 5 children: 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) is offered at 9:00 a.m. in Room 400 – see article below for details on the topics the group will be reading and discussing. All are welcome.
Spiritual Practices Across Faith Traditions
Another session of our popular series is planned for next Wednesday, September 25 from 7-8:30 p.m. Tacey Young Shook will speak about Native American spiritual practices in the Parlor.

No registration is needed – just come and enjoy this informative session! 
Through Sunday, October 20, Hearts N Minds will focus on readings from two books, Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible (second edition) and Essays on Immigration. The sessions on October 27 – November 24 will delve into a classic book by Sister Joan Chittister, For Everything a Season:
“Through the famous verses of Ecclesiastes, Joan Chittister reflects on timeless themes: the purpose and value of human life, the balance of joy and sorrow, work and rest, love and loss. In meditating on the contrasting seasons of our lives, she shows how human fulfillment and true happiness come, not from getting and having more and more, but from knowing and valuing what we have. Friendship and laughter, patience and sorrow, humility and compassion, from birth through death all these are God’s gifts to us, the precious moments of life itself.” 
For the four weeks of Advent, Jan Bickford will focus on the Nativity story as we Journey with Mary through word, art, and even film (there is no book for these sessions). Stay tuned for details.

Hearts N Minds meets at 9 a.m. in Room 400.
LOOKING AHEAD: Exploring the history of hymns
Praying Twice: Singing Our Faith
October 27, November 3 and November 10
Noon-1:30 p.m. (following Hospitality Hour)

According to St. Augustine, “Those who sing pray twice.” In this series, we’ll explore the history and theology of congregational singing from biblical canticles through contemporary hymns and praise choruses from around the world, looking at the music and the message of favorites old and new. A light lunch will be provided. 
B.I.G. FAITH CRAWL: A wonderful event!
Many thanks to those who participated in the first-ever “B.I.G.” (Bethlehem Interfaith Group) Faith Crawl last Sunday.
Between the two buses and the cars that traveled along, over 140 people partici-pated in the tour. They heard informative and inspiring presentations at:
We were thrilled to be a part of this inspiring event! There are already plans for “Faith Crawl 2.0” in the spring. If you would like to see more photos from the event, captured by Millard Cook, click on each tour site link, above. And here's a front page article about it from Monday's Morning Call. (photo, above, by Linda Robertson).

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 is a sociable-sounding name for another learning opportunity at FPCB (and it’s a great time for fellowship, too!).
Interested adults gather to hear presentations from a wide variety
of speakers. No cost or registration - all are welcome!
For this Monday, September 23: Fellowship time from 9:15-9:45 a.m., followed by

9:45: Bible Cities of Turkey video by Ruth Willis
11:00: FBI: Latest Intrigue by Russ D’Entrone
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.  Contact Steve Simmons if interested in walking on Sunday afternoon, October 13.

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.
Mums from the Preschool Sale
will be available beginning
Wednesday, September 25.
Contact the Main Office for
pick-up 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 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
  • 9:00 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5, Room A4
  • 9:00 a.m. - Adult Education, Hearts N Minds, Room 400
  • 10:00 a.m. – Special Congregational Meeting, Sanctuary
  • 10:30 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5 (Children attend first part of worship service), Room E3-4
  • 11:00 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3
  • Noon – Hospitality Hour; join us in Fellowship Hall for light refreshments and fellowship

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: October 13 ) : Bereavement Group gathering
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: October 8): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: October 16):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group,
1 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: October 17): 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;