Friday - May 17, 2019



Children's Sunday School during both services

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

One of my favorite books of the Bible is The Acts of the Apostles. It tells a wonderful and rich story of how the followers of Jesus were empowered by the Holy Spirit to go among their communities and tell them how their lives were changed because of him. On fire, excited, their eyes wide open - they prayed, worshipped, and witnessed to all they met. Their lives had changed forever and they never looked back.  
Chapter 6 includes my favorite story: the disciples finally realized they could not sustain the pace and activity level without burning out. But instead of throwing their hands up in the air and saying, “I can’t do this anymore,” they devised a plan to bring in others to help them with their growing ministry. So, “they called together the entire community” and included them in the plan. They presented them with ministry opportunities that could be shared by all. The first Deacons were named, and we are told the church increased in number.
I suspect the church grew in many ways as more and more people began to understand that they too had gifts to offer others. As their ministries grew, so did their faith. Today we too are taking the message of Jesus out to our neighbors and the world. We will always be part of the first church.

One of the goals of our FPCB Deacons is to have more hospital and phone ministrants to help Pastoral Care reach the needs of our community. In a few weeks we will have our Stephen Ministry Team begin once again to reach out to those who may need someone who can walk with them during a difficult or complicated time.

We are all feeling the growing pains of our new community and we invite you to grow with us. We too have ministry opportunities in every aspect of the growth we are experiencing. Our young families are in need of childcare while they worship; our communion team needs help preparing the elements of bread and juice for Communion Sundays which occur the first of every month. We need ushers for Sunday mornings and greeters to welcome members and guests to our worship services. Our time of fellowship after the two services is a fun way to meet new people as we join others to relax with a cup of tea or coffee and light refreshments. However, behind the scenes there is a group of folks who bake, cut and fill the trays of goodies for all to share. 

On Sunday, June 9 we will worship together in one service at 10 a.m. After that worship service we will offer a Ministry Fair in Fellowship Hall. We invite you all to join us; you can learn more about how we, like the disciples, can share the many opportunities we have to serve others in the church, the community and beyond.

Hope to see you there.

Sue Bennetch

First lesson: Revelation 21:1-6
Second lesson: Acts 11:1-18
·       This week’s sermon: How’s Our Vision? by Rev. Cynthia Simmons        
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
Rev. Austin to lead next discussion

The Lehigh Presbytery will continue its discussions about risk and leadership with a conversation led by the Rev. J.C. Austin at the May Assembly of Lehigh Presbytery.
Anyone from any Lehigh Presbytery churches is welcome to attend and participate. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 21, at 4:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 201 W. Broad St., Hazleton.

Please RSVP to the Presbytery office at 610-391-9020 or with your attendance and if you will be staying for dinner. The cost of dinner is $8.00 per person.

“Silence is the welcome mat for hate”
Are you aware that there are 36 hate-related groups in Pennsylvania? And there are 41 groups who call West Virginia and Ohio home?

How can we shine a light on these behaviors and raise awareness in our congregations that leads to engagement?
This will be the topic for discussion at this year’s Synod of the Trinity Regional Connection for Partnership and Networking. It will be held on Wednesday, June 5
at the First Presbyterian Church, 3231 W. Tilghman, Allentown. The day’s activities will begin with 9:30 a.m. registration, and includes lunch, with an estimated end time
of 3:00 p.m.

To register contact Deb Prince at 610-691-4932 or
Pictured are two “daughters” of FPCB: Ceci (left) and Lucy Sturman. Their mom, The Rev. Elizabeth Brookens-Sturman, served on the pastoral staff at FPCB. The sisters have a book that just came out, Enabled. Available for ordering on Amazon, you can read more about it on their Facebook page, @enabledmemoir.
“’Enabled’ is the memoir of Ceci and Lucy Sturman, following a love story of inseparable sisterhood. A vulnerable exposition of their relationship illuminates how Lucy (19), radiant, theatrical, diagnosed with Down Syndrome, has been able to claim her ability with the help of her older sister. Similarly, how Ceci (22), artistic, prone to anxiety, has come to terms with her own. With both sisters alternating perspectives through a mix of poetry and prose, ‘Enabled’ aims to offer both beauty and truth to the special needs community .” – Amazon review
JOIN US: “Telling the Parables”
Wednesdays, May 22 and 29
7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Parlor
Jesus shared his parables, not as words on a page, but as stories he told in his own words, relating them to his experiences as well as those of his followers.
Bible translators and interpreters Jim and Janet Stahl will offer three engaging sessions in which participants can begin to learn to tell three of Jesus’ parables. The sessions will include instruction and opportunity, in a friendly, safe environment, for each person to discover their own version of story-telling.
For some that will be telling all or part of a parable in a one-on-one setting or in a small group, while others may be comfortable in front of a larger audience.

Supported by FPCB, the Stahls have traveled the world teaching the skills of story-telling in many cultures. They share that these will be ‘friendly, fun sessions, with no experience needed’ and that they will help participants deepen their understanding of these parables.

You are welcome to attend even if you did not go to the first session. This opportunity is sponsored by the Discipleship Committee. Senior highs and older are invited to participate; please register at or 610-867-5865.
LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS: Ron Helmuth Memorial Service Luncheon

Ron Helmuth’s memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 1 at 11 a.m. in the Sanctuary, followed by a luncheon in Fellowship Hall. We are looking for volunteers to serve as greeters that day, set-up help on Friday and Saturday, clean-up on Saturday, and to bring food donations of appetizers, salads and finger desserts.

If you are interested in helping, please sign up on this easy online form .
SHEET DRIVE: Please consider donating
Our partner, Outreach Depot, has collected mattresses from an Allentown hotel and they are now in need of all sizes of new or gently used sheets and pillow cases. 
Your donation can be put in the marked bins in the North Link and Rotunda until Sunday, May 26.

They were exceedingly grateful for our blanket drive so thank you for considering a donation!  
Spotted Lanternfly Infestation

You may have heard about the Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) – a destructive invasive planthopper that feeds on many plants, including the many hardwoods gracing FPCB’s campus. Northampton is one of 13 counties currently under quarantine, which means SLF is already prevalent.
F PCB is complying with the quarantine by participating in a management program to diminish the SLF spread of damage. Currently, eggs are being laid that will hatch by next month. The nymphs can be trapped by wrapping a tight band of sticky tape (sticky side out) to tree trunks. We have begun the process of adding these bands to the many trees on our property – volunteers are welcome to help with this process!
The bands will also need to be monitored throughout the coming weeks. Please contact us at or 610-867-5865 if you are able to help.

We have printed an informative handout for homeowners that is in the information racks by the Main Office and in Fellowship Hall. You can also find information online at .

Sunday, May 26: Last Sunday School until it resumes in the fall
Sunday, June 9: We will worship together in one service at 10 a.m., followed by the Ministry Fair
Send us your news and photos to share:
Deadline for newsletter: Wednesday at noon
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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
  • 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

MONDAY: It’s a Start fitness class, 10 a.m., Middle School Step
TUESDAY:  Depression Support Group, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room)
WEDNESDAY: NEW DAY - Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m., Sanctuary;  Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAY: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: June 2): 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 21): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m., Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: June 19):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: June 20): 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. NOTE: We will be closed on Monday, May 27 for Memorial Day.

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;