February 1, 2019



Children's Sunday School during both services

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR J.C. AUSTIN: Annual Meeting and More
I want to draw your attention to some big and special things that are happening on Sunday, February 10 .
First, the Session has called the Annual Meeting of the Congregation & Corporation of First Presbyterian Church for that Sunday. One of the crucial responsibilities of the congregation as a whole is to elect its leaders, and so we will hear and act upon the report of the Congregational Nominating Committee regarding people to serve as Elders and Deacons in the life of the church. More details on those nominations will be provided next week in advance of the meeting. As required by the Book of Order, nominations may also be made from the floor at the meeting, though if you want to nominate someone from the floor, you must have secured their agreement in advance that they will serve if elected. 
We will also hear reports from the Finance Committee, the Deacons, and me as both Pastor and Moderator of Session. In my report, we will talk not simply about the past year and the one before us, but also about some of the larger strategic initiatives of the Session, including an opportunity to provide feedback on the current draft of our congregational Mission Statement, Values Statement, and Strategic Priorities. As always, there will be time for questions and comments about each of these reports.
Second, in order to make the Annual Meeting as accessible as possible to the whole congregation, we are combining our worship services on February 10 into a single service that will take place at 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary.

Right: We were pleased to have Bob Costello present at last Saturday’s “Restorative Practices” workshop, attended by 50 members and community guests.
This service will have elements of both traditional and contemporary worship, and should conclude promptly at 11 a.m., with a short postlude to allow non-members to exit before the meeting starts. The Annual Meeting will begin immediately following the postlude.

Finally, you may have already heard that over these next two weeks we are celebrating the “Souper Bowl of Caring” initiative to raise funds to help people in need, with a collection taken this Sunday, February 3 and a simple lunch on
February 10 after the Annual Meeting. This lunch on February 10 is intentionally simple, as a way of promoting both fellowship and solidarity with those who struggle to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and/or their families.
And, with a grant we’ve received from Thrivent, we are able to cover the costs of the meal and pass almost all of the $10 suggested donation from attendees along to our partner organization, Northeast Ministry. What a wonderful model of stewardship and a great opportunity for fellowship after the Annual Meeting
I hope you will make a special effort to participate in these important events over the next two weeks, and I look forward to seeing you there!
Grace and Peace,
THIS SUNDAY – February 3
Teen volunteers will be at the exits after each worship service to collect your loose change and bills for the Souper Bowl of Caring Sunday donation. As part of this national initiative, these funds will go to our mission partner, Northeast Ministry.
Since 1980, they have been offering help and hope to their Bethlehem neighbors. Much of that assistance comes in the form of programming for youth and seniors, a food pantry, and support in other basic services.
NEXT SUNDAY – February 10
We will hold a combined worship service at 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary, followed by our Annual Congregational & Corporate Meeting. When the business of the church is concluded, we will gather in Fellowship Hall for a simple meal of soup, chili, and bread.

This meal is provided with a generous grant from the Thrivent Company. Although children 12 and under are free, we will ask a suggested donation of $10 for adults. These additional donations will also go toward the Souper Bowl of Caring collection for Northeast Ministry.
By Sue Farber, Clerk of Session

  • Approved new members (received during worship on November 11): Huichong Hays, Mike Maiatico, Russ Miserendino, Peggy and John Oehler with their son Mac, and Edith Streubert.

  • Welcomed Lisa Titus, Chairman of the Endowment Committee, to the November meeting. Lisa gave a presentation on the role/responsibilities of the committee. She educated the Session more completely about the different categories of funds including defined endowments, donor-designated and session funds, and clarified the differences between restricted and unrestricted funds.

  • Welcomed David Macbeth to the November Session on the recommendation of the Worship Committee to present a motion to purchase organ pipes from St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Allentown. David reviewed the history of both our organ and the organ from St. Paul’s. All costs associated with this purchase (substantially less then purchasing brand new) will come from the Music Endowments fund, not operating funds. The motion was approved and the pipes have arrived and have been carefully stored in the building.

  • Welcomed the Branding Strategy Ad Hoc group (Dan Wells, Polly Beste, Susan Yee and Carol Burns) for a presentation. They introduced Session to “branding” and its components: mission, branding and vision. Included in their presentation was a discussion of their future plans including a survey of 10,000 non-members through social media. The survey was completed in December.

  • Work has continued on our Mission, Vision, and Values Statement. It will be presented for review and comment at the February 2019 Annual Meeting of the Congregation & Corporation.

  • The 2019 budget was completed and approved by Session. It will be included at the February meeting.

  • Approved the new format for three services on Christmas Eve including celebrating Communion at the 11:00 p.m. service.

  • The Preschool Task Force, chaired by Rebecca Gorton, recommended a 2019 Budget, and Bylaw Revisions, both of which had not been updated/changed in several years. Session approved both actions.

  • Andréa Wells was hired as Business Manager and started in mid-January.

  • Attendance at the Christmas Eve Services totaled 917, a very positive increase to last year’s attendance of 386.
Our new boxed envelopes are available to pick up in Fellowship Hall.
Starts this Tuesday
Judy Smullen and Linda Robertson invite you to a discussion of Why Religion? A Personal Story by nationally recognized theologian Elaine Pagels. 

On two Tuesdays - February 5 and 12 - from 1-2:30 p.m. in the Parlor, they will examine the story of the death of Pagels’ young son and then her husband.
The second session unpacks the layers and textures provided by the Bible and the Gnostic Gospels and the entire story begins to fall in place. 
Last Sunday we began a study of Waking Up White, and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. Everyone is welcome to join us at 9 a.m. in the Parlor to discuss this compelling memoir.  

"Debby Irving's powerful  Waking Up White  opens a rare window on how white Americans are socialized... Readers of color will no doubt find the view through Irving's window fascinating, and telling." - Van Jones, Co-host, CNN Crossfire
Our partner, Outreach Depot, is looking for new or gently-used blankets for their clients (please, no electric blankets).
Look for the red collection tubs in the North Link and Kirk Center Rotunda until Sunday, February 10. Outreach Depot was exceedingly grateful for our toiletry drive last year. Thank you for considering a donation!
One of our Deacons’ goals is to reach out to FPCB members who reside locally, but who are unable to regularly attend worship.

If you know a member of our Congregation who would appreciate receiving Home Communion and/or a home visit by one of our Deacon representatives, please contact Rev. Sue Bennetch at 610-867-5865, ext. 209. Thank you for helping us by providing contact information for those who could benefit from a visit.
Our new Handbell Choir has been on hiatus, and will start weekly rehearsals this Tuesday, February 5 at 5:30 p.m. No experience is necessary to join this energetic group, which will be preparing to share their talents at Easter celebrations! Contact David Macbeth for more information.
Beginning next Thursday, February 7 (through April 11): Drop by Room 400 between
8 a.m. – 1 p.m. to make an appointment for free assistance with your tax return. This is available for everyone; there are no age or income restrictions. Bring your 2017 tax returns and 2018 documentation; you may or may not be seen the day that you come.
The FPCB Bereavement Group meets at Rudy’s Diner, 1406 Center Street, on the first Sunday of the month, at 12:15 p.m. for anyone experiencing the loss of a loved one.

The next gathering will be this Sunday, February 3; we will meet in the Narthex after the 10:30 service and then travel to Rudy’s. Contact Sue Bennetch for more information.
The Depression Support Group is for anyone whose life is affected by depression – whether yourself or someone you care about. Sessions are Tuesdays from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Room 206
(PW Room). For more information contact
The First Pres Preschool and Extended Care program is now registering for fall 2019. They are offering an informational workshop and Open House on Tuesday, February 5 at 7 p.m. to learn more about their programming for 2, 3 and 4 year olds.
If you know someone who might be interested in their hands-on, learning by playing program, please share this information with them!

Those planning to attend are asked to contact Andie Barbehenn by email or at 610-867-2956. Click here for all the details about FPC's Preschool program.

For the 9:00 service, the class is in room A4 in the childcare suite on the first floor of the Kirk Center (near the Kirk Center lobby). Parents are asked to bring their children to A4 before the service.

During the 10:30 service, the children will attend the first part of worship with their families and leave with their teachers after the Children’s Chat. Please remember to sign up your children in the Narthex before going into the service.

The same curriculum will be used in both classes, and, as in the past, child care will be available during both services for younger children. If you have any questions, please contact  Elizabeth Conard .
Send us your news and photos to share:
Deadline for newsletter: Wednesday at noon
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  • 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. Hearts N Minds Adult Education class, Parlor
  • 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

Bereavement Group will gather in the Narthex after the 10:30 a.m. service, to
travel to Rudy’s Diner, 1406 Center Street, to meet for lunch.

MONDAYS: It’s a Start fitness class, 10 a.m., Middle School Step
TUESDAYS: Depression Support Group, 12:30-2:30 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room);
Handbell Choir, 5:30 p.m., Middle School Step
TUESDAYS (February 5 & 12): Afternoon Book Group, 1-2:30 p.m., Parlor
WEDNESDAYS: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAYS: Choir Rehearsal, 7 p.m., Sanctuary; Al-Anon Family Group, 7 p.m.,
Room 212

FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (February 5 & 19): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (February 20): Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (February 21): Prayers & Squares, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Room 408
(bring your lunch and join us to create quilts and prayer shawls)

Sunday, February 10: Combined worship service at 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary, followed by Annual Congregational & Corporate Meeting, and a simple lunch in Fellowship Hall. Donations collected at the lunch will benefit Northeast Ministry.
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 info@fpc-bethlehem.org .

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 | info@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. J.C. Austin , Pastor/Head of Staff: ext. 213, JAustin@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. Sue Bennetch , Pastoral Care Associate: ext. 209;

David Macbeth , Music Director: ext. 202; DMacbeth@fpc-bethlehem.org

Cristy Mette, Administrative Operations Manager: ext. 228;

Rebecca Angione, Facilities: ext. 210; RAngione@fpc-bethlehem.org

Andréa Wells, Business Manager; ext. 211: AWells@fpc-bethlehem.org

Carol Burns, Communications Manager: ext. 238; CBurns@fpc-bethlehem.org

Andrea Barbehenn , Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956;

Website:   www.fpc-bethlehem.org