Friday, February 21, 2020 Newsletter

SUNDAY SERVICES: 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. SUE BENNETCH: "For dust you are..."

Next Wednesday, Feb. 26 is the beginning of Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. In the Christian tradition it begins with Ash Wednesday, which was officially recognized in the church in the 13th century, a 40 day season of reflection and repentance leading up to Holy Week and Easter Sunday when we celebrate a new liturgical year.
I remember when I was a young girl. As Ash Wednesday approached my friends and I would talk about what we were giving up for Lent. The practice was encouraged for us to show how disciplined we could be as we approached Jesus’ death on the cross. Some of us would set lofty goals, while others in our group would take an easier route and give up something we weren’t fond of anyway. I’m not sure how many of us reached our goal, but we sure did hold each other accountable!
Anglicans/Episcopalians, Lutherans, United Methodists and other liturgical Protestants observe Ash Wednesday and partake in receiving ashes.

The Rev. Arne Panula, director of the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C., said his experience is that more people go to church on Ash Wednesday than any other holiday, including Christmas and Easter. “Jews and even people who aren’t religious can honor the tradition as a reminder of man’s shortcomings. People recognize that it is a symbol of our mortality,” he said. “It gives us a profound sense that we are mortal, and Ash Wednesday is a reminder of that.”

One of the traditions of Ash Wednesday is to save the branches of palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. The palms are then burned and become the ashes for Ash Wednesday.  As the minister places the cross on our forehead the words of Genesis 3:19 are said— “For dust you are and to dust you shall return” — while applying the ashes in the shape of a cross on the recipient’s forehead.

With these words we are reminded that life is short. Let’s live the life God intended for us.

Sue Bennetch

Exodus 24:12-18
Matthew 5:13-20
·      This week’s sermon:  The Glow-Up God by Rev. J.C. Austin        

·       We post each week’s sermon
(audio and text) on our website:
For Sunday, Feb. 23:
Before you head home after services, please join us in creating
a video ‘greeting card’ to send well wishes to members of our congregation. We’ll gather as a group at the front of the worship space and proclaim in one voice a short sentence of greeting!
Sharing God’s love with our neighbors around the world by providing relief from natural disasters, food for the hungry, and support for the poor and oppressed is the ‘SHARING’ in One Great hour of Sharing.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 26) through Easter, April 12, we will have the opportunity to donate to this Presbyterian Special Offering.

For those who ordered pledge envelopes, there is a special blue envelope in your packet; envelopes are also in pew racks in the Sanctuary, and in the racks in the Rotunda, Fellowship Hall, and the Narthex. Please consider donating.
to all who helped us last Sunday afternoon with our ‘re-imagining’ of the Kirk Center worship space for our Contemporary service (right, in progress).

Your efforts have contributed to a wonderful new space!
Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.: Ash Wednesday service
Wednesdays, March 4 – April 1 from 6-7:30 p.m.:
Community Lenten Suppers (see article, below)
Sunday, April 5: Palm Sunday (Communion Sunday)
Thursday, April 9: Maundy Thursday (plans for this evening’s service
will be announced soon)
Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m.: Tenebrae service
Saturday, April 11 at 7 p.m.: Compline - contemplative, candlelit service
Sunday, April 12: Easter Sunday
“Constructive Conversations: Engaging Our Faith in Public Life”
Saturday, Feb. 29
Registration at 8:30 a.m.;
Program from 9 a.m.-noon
Kirk Center
The Discipleship Committee is offering a new series on “Constructive Conversations” that will begin with this session led by Rev. J.C. Austin. Sign up here or call the Main Office at 610-867-5865; it is free and open to the public.

The morning will include an exploration of some basic commitments and tools that people of faith can use to be active citizens and good neighbors, especially in divisive times. 

We will offer an Ash Wednesday service this Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend; join us as we remember our dependence upon God and turn towards a path of deepening faithfulness in Lent. Our Chancel Choir will provide special music.

As we did last year, we will be offering a Community Lenten Supper series on Wednesdays, running March 4 - April 1. We’ll gather at 6 p.m. for a simple meal. This will be followed by a brief reflection, led by Rev. Steve Simmons, focusing weekly on “the mind of Christ” (see article below) .

We will be offering a general Lenten devotional for an individual or family if they wish, which will be distributed around the church (Narthex, Fellowship Hall, rotunda) beginning on Ash Wednesday. This is a different topic than the Lenten supper material.

Help us spread the word about these Lenten events – we will have postcards available with details that you can share with friends and family. They will be located around the church for you to pick up.
Feb. 27, March 5 and 12 (Thursdays)
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. – Room 416
Did you know that David is mentioned more than any other figure in the Old Testament? Do you want to learn more about him?
John Dudding is leading a discussion of David the boy, the man and the king in this special series.
There is no text book to buy; participants will be reading selected bible passages from 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel.

Join us on any or all of the dates to dig deeper as we consider whether David can be considered 'Everyman'.
March 4, 11, 18, 25, and April 1 (Wednesdays)
6:00- 7:30 p.m.
Fellowship Hall

“Having the Mind of Christ”
At First Presbyterian, our first Core Value states that we are a Christ-centered congregation: “In everything we do, we strive to follow Jesus Christ faithfully through the authority and insight of God’s Word and Spirit, to imitate Christ in how we treat others.” The Apostle Paul is even bolder, asserting that the church is the body of Christ, and even that we “have the mind of Christ.”
On five Wednesday evenings in Lent, we’ll explore what this all means, considering who Jesus was and is (Word/Wisdom of God, Savior, prophet, teacher, reformer, healer…), what he has done for us (what, after all, do we mean by “atonement”?), and what he asks of us as an expression of his continuing presence in the world.

We’ll conclude by reflecting on what it means to be followers of Jesus in an increasingly multifaith and secular culture.

We’ll offer a simple potluck meal – use this online form to let us know you’re coming. You can also sign up to bring a salad or dessert to share, or if you are willing to help with set-up or clean-up; use this simple sign-up for that info.

You can also call the Main Office at 610-867-5865 with your information; be sure to specify the date(s). 
We have collected 56 pounds of plastic bags, over 10 percent to get to our goal of 500 pounds. Right: Sally Ross weighs a bag with a hanging scale used for weighing fish – that’s 2.5 pounds in that big bag!

What can be recycled? Use the flyer attached to our previous newsletter – there are many types of plastic that can be recycled but please be aware of what cannot.

Collection tubs are located in Fellowship Hall, the Rotunda, and by the South entrance (near the Main Office). NOTE: All recycled items must be clean and dry.
CALLING ALL HANDS… no skills or experience required!

 The Helping Hands Care Team of Lehigh Presbytery has scheduled its fourth mission work trip to Fayetteville, NC. The trip will take place between Saturday, March 28 – Saturday, April 4.
Volunteers are needed to assist with the recovery efforts after heavy rains and flooding caused extensive damage to the churches and homes in that area. It takes years for areas to recover from these storms and every helping hand makes a difference in the lives of people who lost so much.
There are no specific skills or experience required , other than to be flexible and provide whatever help is needed. There are jobs for every skill level and we have experienced volunteers to help train you. We do, of course, welcome those with plumbing, electrical, roofing, and dry wall installation skills.

The cost is $200. 00 per person and participants must register by Thursday, March 12.   Contact the Lehigh Presbytery office at 610-391-9020 or for more information.  
Again this year we have a chance to help the Bethlehem Area School District reduce its lunch money deficit. As last year, we will be collecting GENTLY USED shoes which will be shined up/repaired by small business people in developing countries and sold to give them an income.  
All shoes are being collected: men, women, children and toddlers. There will be special collection boxes in the North Link and Kirk Center through Sunday, March 29. Thank you!
Drop by Room 408 between 9 a.m. – noon on Thursdays (through April 10) to make an appointment for a future date for free assistance with your tax return. This is available for everyone; there are no age or income restrictions. 
At that time you will receive an IRS-mandated questionnaire to fill out at home and the AARP rep’s will also go over the materials you will need to bring in before the return can be started. They prepare Federal, state, local income tax, rent and real estate tax rebate returns. Bring your 2018 tax returns and 2019 documentation; you may or may not be seen the day that you come.
Please note that our Main Office cannot schedule appointments or answer any tax-related questions for you.
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 next week's newsletter: Wedneday at noon**
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Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!

  • After each service: Stay for a short taping of a video greeting followed by Hospitality in Fellowship Hall – join us for fellowship and light refreshments
  • 9:00 a.m. - Contemporary Service, Kirk Center
  • 9:00 a.m. - Adult Education, Hearts N Minds, Room 400
  • 9:00 a.m. - Sunday School, Pre-K through Grade 5, Room A4
  • 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: “It’s a Start” Fitness Class, 9:30 a.m., Middle School Step Room
TUESDAYS: Optimism 101 (formerly Depression Support Group), noon - 2 p .m. (note new time), Room 206; Handbell rehearsal, 5 p.m., Middle School Step Room
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach , 7 p.m., Room 420
THURSDAY: Chancel Choir rehearsal , 7 p.m., Sanctuary; Al-Anon Family Group ,
7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: March 1): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services,
North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: March 8 ) : Bereavement Group gathering, 11:30 a.m. in Room 206; bring your lunch if you like
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: March 3): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
FIRST THURSDAY (next: March 5): Presbyterian Womens Circle , 1:00-3:00 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: March 18):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
NEW DAY! THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: March 18): Prayers & Squares, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Room 408 (bring your lunch and join us to create quilts and prayer shawls - no experience needed)

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 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;