Friday, October 11, 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!


Last week I spent three days at the “Stewardship Kaleidoscope” conference of the Presbyterian Church (USA). I’ve taught and/or spoken at the conference since it was created about a decade ago, and it is still one of my favorite dimensions of the national church. 
Part of that is simply the chance to be with colleagues in ministry from all over the country. Part of it is that it is a very mission-focused gathering; everyone is really there simply to help each other build up the mission capacity of their local congregations.

But most of all, it continues to amaze me how many people all over the country are not simply aware of our story here, but are cheering us on in spirit and in prayer. So it was a special joy to be able to share our story of all the ways in which we growing in our life and ministry for Jesus Christ in Bethlehem and beyond.
This was all good timing, since our fall emphasis on stewardship begins next week. I am thrilled about what that will involve this year, and can’t wait for it to begin! Before we start talking about 2020 though, I want to reiterate something important that I said during the Town Hall about us ending our year of ministry well for 2019 in terms of our financial support for our expanding mission and ministry:
  • First, please check and see if you are up to date on fulfilling your 2019 pledge. It is easy to get behind in the summer if you are someone who relies on the offering plate to make your gift, and we have not caught up as a church with where we should be in terms of giving towards the fulfillment of 2019 pledges.
  • Second, please make your gift to support our commitment to the national ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA). For 2019, this is $36 per member (not household). It is extraordinary how far such a small gift goes in terms of our national church, from our international mission commitments to theological education to congregational resource development. Please send in your gift marked “Proportional Giving” in the memo line so we can fulfill our commitment together.
  • Finally, consider whether you are in a position to make any extra gifts in addition to your pledge and denominational support. As I said in the Town Hall, we are exploring some exciting possibilities for using our facilities in new ways that are both mission-aligned and financially sustainable, but that process is taking more time than we hoped to do it well, and so our projections for income from the facilities were too high for 2019. Your extra gifts will help us end 2019 in a position of strength and allow us to start 2020 as well as possible. 
As I told my friends and colleagues at the Stewardship Conference: it has been an extraordinary year of ministry for us here at First Pres, and we’re not even done yet! I am inspired and grateful to be in ministry with each of you, and I look forward to what the rest of the year holds and to what a new year will bring!

Grace and Peace,

 Jeremiah 29:1, 4-76
Luke 17:11-19
·       This week’s sermon: After the End by Rev. J.C. Austin   
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:

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 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; we will also provide complimentary child care if requested by Sunday, October 20.
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!
The Congregational Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for Elders, Deacons, Nominating Committee members, and Trustees for the newly approved Board of Trustees. Nomination cards are available in the narthex and the rotunda (Kirk Center).
If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else for any of these important leadership positions, please complete one of these cards and either put it in the offering plate or return them to the Main Office. 

They are due by Sunday, October 20.  Thank you for participating in this important aspect of the life of our congregation. 
Elders   comprise the Session of the Presbyterian Church which is, in essence, the decision-making body of the church. They recommend and approve all program and policy implementation and modifications in the church. Elders serve a three year term and the Session meets monthly; Elders generally serve on one or more committees, which also usually meet on a monthly basis.

The  Deacons   are the caregivers of the church. They minister to the individual members through home communion and visits, hospital and prayer ministries, and providing support to those in difficult situations. Deacons serve a three year term and typically meet monthly.

The  Nominating Committee members   are charged with identifying candidates for Elders, Deacons, Trustees, and the Nominating Committee itself. This committee usually meets three or four times each year; the term of service is one year, and a member may serve no more than two consecutive terms.

Trustees oversee all financial and property matters in the church including the budget, building renovations and repairs, planned giving, and investment funds. Trustees will meet monthly and members will also serve on one additional committee, such as the property or finance committee, which also generally meets monthly. The term for Trustees is three years. Because the Board of Trustees is being newly established, nominees will initially be asked to serve one, two, or three year terms. 
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.

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.
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). You can also call the Main Office (610-867-5865) or send an email to with that information.
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 14:

9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45: Who Are the Windish? by Judy Siegfried
11:00:  Julie Henning: Last Foster Child of Pearl Buck by Julie Henning

For Monday, October 21:

9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45 – Humor in Age by Anne Grogan
11:00 – What’s Really Happening with the 2019 Tax Change by Jack Morroneg
CROP WALK: Coming this Sunday, October 13

We’re on our way…
to helping Church World Service combat hunger “one step at a time” at this year’s 50th anniversary CROP Hunger Walk, having received over $1225 in donations to date from members and friends of First Presbyterian.

Many thanks to those who have given so far, and to the intrepid souls who have signed on to walk a 1, 3, or 6-mile route in solidarity with those in poorer countries around the world who must walk miles each day to secure basic necessities. For more than 70 years, Church World Service has helped neighbors near and far to improve their quality of life through direct assistance and agricultural and economic development. Truly, “we walk because they walk.”

There’s still time to participate! Stop by the CROP Walk table at either of the Hospitality Hours (after each worship service) to pick up information and sign up to walk and/or make a financial contribution. Checks may be made out to “CWS/CROP”, or visit our team website .
Last year, Bethlehem walkers raised $18,450; of this amount, $4,800 was distributed to local hunger ministries. (Nationwide, walkers participated in more than 800 events, raising over $8 million.) With nine other teams from partner congregations, we hope to do even better this year.

The walk will begin under the Hill to Hill Bridge at 1:30 p.m., with sign-in starting at 1:00. Please note that we’ll walk rain or shine, so bring appropriate attire! It’s fun,
it’s festive, and it’s intergenerational, and, together, we can make a difference for neighbors around the world who are seeking a better life. For more information, contact Steve Simmons.
regarding travel to FPCB

The Runner’s World Half Marathon is being run in Bethlehem, and the course includes parts of Center Street. To get to First Pres on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 20, you will need to approach the church’s main entrance FROM THE NORTH ONLY. From approximately 8:15-11 a.m., Center Street – between Moreland and Washington - will be closed (the church entrance is north of Moreland).

Please check the course map to plan your travel to church. If you have any questions, please contact the church office at 610-867-5865 or
Sunday, October 27
4 p.m.
Front Lawn
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!
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
Tuesdays from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Room 206

Depression affects 3.1 million people in the United States every year. Jobs are lost, families stressed or broken, dreams shattered and potential unfulfilled as the debilitating effects of the disease go undiagnosed or untreated. 
In our Tuesday weekly group, we have explored what depression looks like to each individual, new and conventional approaches to treatment, cognitive behavioral therapies, solution focused processes and most of all support from a loving group of participants. 
“Courage” is the word to describe this faithful group as we explore new ideas, try new activities to address thinking patterns and listen with love and support. It is important to be heard, seen and validated in our journey. 

If you or a loved one, friend or family is struggling with an issue, please feel free to join us for support and perhaps ideas and insight into ways to work your way through to the best outcome. Looking forward to seeing you.

Melody Engel MA LBS NCC ( )

Sunday, November 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!
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
  • 10:30 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
  • 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: November 3): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: October 13 ) : Bereavement Group gathering
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: October 15): 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 ( 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;