Friday, October 25, 2019 Newsletter

9:00 a.m. Contemporary ∙ 10:30 a.m. Traditional

Children’s Sunday School during both services

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!

A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Focusing on our mission priorities

This Sunday is the second week of a four-part sermon series focused on the mission priorities that the Session has established for First Pres over the next few years. We’re doing this series during this year’s stewardship season because the Session is also calling the congregation to take a major step forward in our giving so that we can truly embrace those mission priorities to which we believe Christ is calling us.
If you were in worship on Sunday, you heard Elder Elizabeth Conard talk about the bold and exciting vision the Session has endorsed for how we can do that, including the goal of calling a full-time associate pastor to focus on supporting several of those mission priorities: ministry with children, youth, and their families; ministries of compassion and justice ministries in the larger community and world; and engaging spiritual seekers in the Lehigh Valley as a community of faith that is both Christ-centered and welcoming to all.
The point of this growth in giving and staff, of course, is not the growth itself, but rather to grow our capacity to address those priorities and so fulfill Christ’s calling to us as a community of his disciples in this time and place.

Last week, the sermon focused on the mission priority of sharing the good news of the gospel; that our purpose as a congregation is not to keep the light of Christ for ourselves, to but share it with the world, to be a candle bearing that light “…unto the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth,” as God puts it in the words of the prophet Isaiah.

This week, we will be focusing on what it really means to prioritize ministry with children and youth (spoiler alert: it’s not about what adults need to teach children and youth!), and why that’s not about the future of the church as an institution, but rather the faithfulness of the church here and now to the mission of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I look forward to being in worship with you on Sunday as we explore this crucial issue!

Grace and Peace,

 Joel 2:23-29
Luke 18:9-14
·      This week’s sermon: ‘Yes, And…’ by Rev. J.C. Austin   
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
WILL YOU PARTICIPATE?   Inquirer's Class This Sunday, Oct. 27

Have you been thinking about making First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem your church home – or know someone who is? Are you interested in learning more about the Christian faith in general, the Presbyterian Church (USA) more specifically, or “FPCB” in particular? 
These are all good reasons for attending the next Inquirers Class, scheduled for this Sunday afternoon, October 27, from noon-4 p.m. in the Parlor.

RSVPs are requested, as a light lunch will be provided for each session.
There is no expectation that you will join the church if you choose to attend; however, if you do want to join, attending this session in full is an expectation, and if you are ready to join, we will make plans at the end of the class for that to happen.

Please contact  Pastor Austin  (or phone 610-867-5865) if you plan to attend or have questions. We hope you will join us!
We will be hosting a Bethlehem Interfaith Group (B.I.G.) event
on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 17.

Watch for more details.
FPCB’s Mission Committee is sponsoring several “Donation Stations” to serve all the requests we have for needed items by our mission partners.  Bins are located in the North Link and the Kirk Rotunda.
The Lemon Tree Bazaar at Westminster is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 9. They are in need of white elephant items (no clothing, appliances or large furniture).  
Through Sunday, Dec. 1, we will be collecting for three organizations:  

  • Outreach Depot is in need of towels and washcloths (new or gently used).
  • The Lehigh Valley Council of Churches has requested baby clothing for 0-3 months (new or gently used – no stains, please), and baby supplies like baby bath, oil, lotion, diapers, pacifiers, etc. 
  • The Northeast Community Center (formerly Northeast Ministries) is in need of paper products and grooming items like toilet paper (small packages), tissues, paper towels, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc. for its Food Bank.

Thank you for giving as you can, to help our neighbors!
HEARTS N MINDS Adult Education

This Sunday, the Hearts N Minds class starts the Joan Chittister book, For Everything a Season . They will study it until Jan Bickford starts the Advent Meditation (four weeks in December). Then in January they will pick up Chittister again. It is too good to ‘devour’ in the time period available this fall, so they want to give careful study to the entire book
Hearts N Minds Class Digs into Immigration
by Linda Robertson

The adult education class spent more than a month studying the history of immigration in the United States. We read essays from indentured servants in 1623 to immigrants who became landowners and captains of industry, to the essays written in the 2000s by children from countries torn by war and poverty who have been “Americanized” even while dealing with people who couldn’t pronounce their “funny names”. Some essays focused on how America granted them the opportunity to ‘make it’ while others emphasized that their ‘otherness’ was never acceptable. 

We read Dan Carroll’s Christians at the Border which asked us to look at immigration through a Christian and biblical ‘lens’, recognizing that the story of the Old Testament was one of continual migration. The Hebrews constantly moved from one nation state to another, often under the most difficult circumstances. The author asks us to have a ‘Christian’ attitude about immigration. A class highlight was a visit from Betsy Simpson’s son Ben Simpson, who is an immigration lawyer in New York.

The class decided to attempt to create policy suggestions about immigration to present to our US Senators and House of Representative members. Accordingly, some will meet in Room 400 on two Wednesdays (Nov. 6 and Nov. 13) from 2 – 4 p.m. to draft our policy. Even if you are not a member of Hearts N Minds, we invite you to join in our discussion. Please contact Judy Smullen or Linda Robertson for information.
Sunday School: Something New for our Children
This fall, the children’s church school began using a new curriculum known as “Spark All Kids.” This kid-friendly curriculum is designed to introduce children in Kindergarten through grade five to the major stories of both the Old and New Testaments over a two-year cycle.  
The first year begins with the stories of Creation and continues right through the book of Acts. Then, in year two, the curriculum returns to the book of Genesis to pick up stories from the Old and New Testaments not covered in year one. 

The curriculum is full of suggestions for teaching the material and includes colorful leaflets that children may take home with them as a reminder of the morning’s lesson.
And the Spark Story Bible that accompanies the curriculum presents these ancient stories in a fresh way that appeals to children today. If you’d like to know more about our new curriculum, check out .
Children in Kindergarten – fifth grade are invited to join a Christmas Choir that will sing at several occasions in December. Rev. Cynthia Simmons is leading this opportunity.
Rehearsals begin Sunday, Nov. 3 immediately after the Contemporary service concludes. Children should gather outside the Kirk Center to go to Room E4 for rehearsal. The Choir will rehearse weekly through Dec. 22. 

The Christmas Choir will sing as part of the Christmas Joy concert on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 4:00 p.m. and will also sing for the 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Worship service.
Please contact Rev. Simmons if your child would like to be part of the choir, so that she can fill you in on further information.
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. Please use this easy sign-up form to let us know what dates you will attend (any or all).
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 Monday, October 28:

9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45 - Cannabinol (CBD): Relief from Pain and Anxiety by Sandra Freeman
11:00 - That Pesky Flu by Dr. Margaret Hoffman-Terry

For Monday, November 4 (one presentation today)

9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45 – 11:30*: An Austrian Journey by Tom Repasch
CROP WALK: Thank you for your support!

Thank you for stepping up to the plate: First Presbyterian’s total donations to the recent CROP Walk (so far) from online, cash, and check donations, is $2181! We far exceeded our goal of $1500 - we can rejoice and be glad in that news.
It’s not too late to add to that total - they're accept-ing donations through
Nov. 15. Click here .
This Sunday, October 27 4 p.m.
Front Lawn (rain or shine)

Bring your favorite friend to receive a blessing (crated or leashed, please). We'll enjoy a short service and music - and of course, fellowship with two-legged and four-legged friends!
If there is bad weather, you will not need to get out of your vehicle: the “blessers” will offer the blessing through the window, so no one gets wet!

We’re also asking participants to bring a donation of a pet supply (food, toy, etc.) that will be shared with Meals on Wheels. Many Meals on Wheels participants struggle to provide these items to their own pets.

We are looking for a few volunteers to help us with this event. If you are interested, please use this online sign-up form , or call the Main Office at 610-867-5865.
Will you consider providing flowers for our Sanctuary worship services? A donation of $75 will pay for the arrangement under the cross in the Sanctuary, and $90 covers two pedestal arrangements.

Contact Cristy Mette or by phone at
CommUNITY Garden
Thanks to the people from our congregation who helped in our CommUNITY garden this year: Judy Jermyn, Master Gardener; Pam Phillippe; Leslie Pohl; and Drew Stitt. We had other volunteers from a variety of churches and temples.

We harvested 434 pounds of produce and have some odds and ends to harvest. This year we chose two local kitchens to receive the produce: New Bethany in Bethlehem and Safe Harbor in Easton.
We were also glad to welcome our Preschool students as helpers in the garden. They helped us craft our scarecrow (above), and planted squash and sunflowers for us.
Tailgate Sunday on Nov. 3

Bring your lunch to enjoy after the Traditional Service (noon-1 p.m. outside on the back lawn; grills will be available) at our Tailgate Sunday.
Then stay to watch the Eagles vs Bears football game , beginning at 1 p.m.
Wear your team colors; decorations are also welcome!
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!

  • After each service: Hospitality Hour; join us in Fellowship Hall for light refreshments and fellowship
  • 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
  • 10:30 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • 10:30 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5 (Children attend first part of worship service), Room E3-4
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3

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: November 3): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: November 10 ) : Bereavement Group gathering
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: November 12): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: November 20):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group,
1 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: November 21): 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 ( 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;