Friday, August 30, 2019


9:00 a.m. Contemporary ∙ 10:30 a.m. Traditional
 Join us for “Lemonade on the Lawn”, our hospitality time from 10-10:30 a.m.
on the back lawn - the last time for this event!
Enjoying the waning days of summer
Even though students are back in school in Bethlehem, and people mostly wear white whenever they feel like it these days, it really doesn’t feel like the end of summer to me until Labor Day weekend. It’s like a last moment of rest and recreation before the pace of the world picks up again into the fall.
So I hope that you will take at least a few moments this weekend to rest from whatever your own labor is, which includes joining us for worship on Sunday to be restored through music and prayer and Scripture and Communion!
We will also enjoy the last Lemonade on the Lawn hospitality time of this summer; many thanks to the Hospitality Team for making these important fellowship gatherings happen.

In September, the pace of our church picks up, as well, with the Chancel Choir returning on Sunday, September 15, to help lead worship at the 10:30 a.m. service, Sunday School for children at both services again, Hearts N Minds adult education beginning, and so on. 
But before we do all of that, we are going to gather for a Combined Service next Sunday, September 8, and celebrate the gifts of God’s creation and this community of faith by worshipping together at 10 a.m. outside around the front steps of the church! We will set up chairs in front of the steps and space for musicians and worship leaders on the steps, and we will worship together combining elements of traditional and contemporary worship styles.

Following the service, we will enjoy a picnic on the front lawn together. The Congregational Life Committee is asking people to sign up for the picnic to help with potluck donations and a couple of volunteer requests (parking, games, set-up, etc.).

If you are able to bring a dish to the picnic, that would be welcome but not required. You can sign up on this easy online sign-up ; or call the Main Office (610-867-5865) with your information.

So: enjoy your Labor Day weekend, and I hope to see you in worship for our normal schedule this week and the special service and picnic next week!

Grace and Peace,

FIRST LESSON: Jeremiah 2:4-13
Luke 14:1, 7-14
·       This week’s sermon: When Religion Doesn’t Hold Water  by
Rev. J.C. Austin      
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
Please use the cards on the tables in the narthex and rotunda to share your nominations for elder, deacon and Nominating Committee member. They are due this Sunday, September 1. Thank you for participating in this important aspect of the life of our congregation.

E lders 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.
Sunday, September 8
We look forward to welcoming everyone to a combined worship service on Sunday, September 8 at 10 a.m. It will be held at the front of the church, in front of the main steps (chairs provided). We hope you will join us for this special service, which will combine elements of both our Contemporary and Traditional services.
We hope everyone will stay after the service for our Community Picnic, sponsored by the Congregational Life committee.

We'll offer a simple potluck lunch, games for young and old, and fellowship.
Assorted deli sandwiches and beverages will be provided. We ask that those attending contribute a dish to pass, as they are able (we will have plenty, so please plan to attend!). 

Use this easy online sign-up form to indicate your potluck contribution; we are also recruiting a few volunteers to help with parking, kitchen help, and to assist with games.

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

If your garden is reaping a bountiful harvest and you have some to share,
bring it with you on Sunday - we'll have a table available at Lemonade on the Lawn.

Those with 'too much' can share it,
and those who would like to take some home are welcome to!
With the coming of fall we are excited to announce these inspiring learning opportunities:

Sunday, September 15
  • Sunday School for Pre-K through grade 5 children will begin. Two sessions are offered: one at 9:00 a.m. (room A4) and another at 10:30 a.m. (room E3-4). Children who attend the second session will go to the 10:30 a.m. Traditional Worship service and then be taken to their Sunday School class. Reminder: Sunday School is not offered on the first Sunday of each month.

  • Hearts N Minds (adult education) begins. It is offered at 9:00 a.m. in Room 400 – see article below for details on the books the group will be reading and discussing. All are welcome.

  • Bethlehem Interfaith Group (B.I.G.) Faith Crawl: B.I.G. has arranged for buses to take participants to visit five different houses of worship on an afternoon tour, to expand your understanding of their faiths. See the article below.

Wednesday, September 18
  • Spiritual Practices Across Faith Traditions a popular Adult Ed offering from last fall – continues with three more sessions. On Wednesday, September 18 from 7-8:30 p.m. we welcome Mary Lou Hatcher, representing the Quaker faith. Additional sessions are planned for September 25 and October 2 (tentative). Watch for details!

Our Chancel Choir regularly offers anthems in our Traditional Service at 10:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary. It is directed by David Macbeth, our Music Director.

Rehearsals have begun on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. in the Choir Room behind the Sanctuary.
New members are welcome in all voice parts; it is open to high school age and older – choral score reading is a plus but those willing to learn are welcome. Try it out for a couple of weeks if you’re interested!

Rehearsals for our Hand Bell Choir will begin later in the fall – stay “tuned” for details!
Hearts N Minds is our adult education opportunity to explore faith and current issues in a safe, respectful space. Weekly sessions will begin on Sunday, September 15 at
9 a.m. in Room 400.

The group frequently uses books as a basis for their discussions. If you would like to secure the books for the coming session, they are:
  • Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible (second edition) by M. Daniel Carroll, Brazos Press. ISBN 978-1-5843-351-1

  • Essays on Immigration (Dover Thrift Edition 2013) ISBN 978-0-486-48902-5

  • For Everything a Season by Sister Joan Chittister, Orbis Books (2014). ISBN 978-1-62698-019-8
Sunday, September 15
We’ve all heard of pub crawls where revelers go from bar to bar, sampling the offerings of each pub. So why not have a “faith crawl” and offer people the opportunity to tour several area places of worship and learn more about the faith tradition represented by each space?  
The Bethlehem Interfaith Group (B.I.G.) is sponsoring just such an event on Sunday, September 15. Plan now to meet at First Presbyterian of Bethlehem at 1:45 p.m. to receive your bus assignment and be ready to begin your tour of St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, Central Moravian Church, the Lehigh Dialogue Center (Muslim), Congregation Brith Sholom (Conservative Judaism), and our own First Presbyterian Church. The tour will end at 4 p.m.

Reservations are essential to guarantee bus space (and they’re filling fast!) , and must be made by Sunday, September 8 . You can sign up online or call the Church Office (610-867-5865).

B.I.G. also includes Advent Moravian Church, Epworth United Methodist Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley, School Sisters of St. Francis, Trinity Episcopal Church, and Wesley United Methodist Church.
THANK YOU! From Outreach Depot
Our partner, Outreach Depot, received 66 pounds of toiletries from our congregation. These items will help those who have been left with little to nothing after fires, floods, tornadoes, etc. Thank you for your participation this summer!
Time to beautify your surroundings with luscious fall mums, in a variety of colors – at an affordable price!

The FPCB Preschool is offering 9” potted mums for sale; orders will be taken through Monday, September 16 (send to or drop off at the Main Office with your payment).
The plants will be available for pick-up beginning Tuesday, September 24. You can print out a copy of the order form here; they are also available in the information racks and in the North Link.
Hi Neighbors starts up Monday, September 16
Hi Neighbors is a sociable-sounding name for another learning opportunity at FPCB (and it’s a great time for fellowship, too!).

Beginning on Monday, September 16, between 9:15 – 11:45 a.m. in Fellowship Hall, interested adults gather to hear presentations from a wide variety of speakers. The topics vary from armchair travels to health updates to personal finance, and many more! All are welcome, so mark your calendars - more details to come!
Meetings begin Tuesday, September 10
If you or someone you care about is affected by depression, you are welcome to meet with us on Tuesdays, beginning on September 10, from 12:30-2:30 p.m. in Room 206. Direct any questions to facilitator Melody Engel .
Saturday, September 14
FPCB will be the site of a concert featuring Emmet Cahill, the lead Irish tenor from the group “Celtic Thunder”. It is scheduled for Saturday, September 14
at 7 p.m. in our Sanctuary.

The FPCB chancel choir will also be taking part, as well as the Touring Choir from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts. David Macbeth directs both choirs.
There is a suggested donation of $20 at the door.
In this new feature we will take a look at the many opportunities to serve and to be involved in the life of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem.
Although we recently turned the bright light on our Hospitality Team, we have an update from them.

With the completion of our summer schedule of “Lemonade on the Lawn” hospitality times, we will resume the regular schedule of offering Hospitality Hours after each Sunday service in Fellowship Hall.
With the expanded schedule, the Hospitality Team is looking for some additional hands for both shifts.

First shift volunteers are asked to arrive at
9 a.m. to help with set up and hosting. Second shift hosting and clean-up volunteers should arrive at 11:30 a.m.

Flexible commitments are available – every Sunday, once a month or as often as you like. Contact Elizabeth Conard if interested.

We are now adding the weekly prayer list to this newsletter. Click here for a printable copy; you can also pick up print copies in the Narthex, rotunda, Fellowship Hall and brochure racks.
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
  • “Lemonade on the Lawn” between each service; join us for light refreshments and fellowship on the back lawn (inclement weather: Fellowship Hall)
  • 10:30 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3

TUESDAY:   Crafters, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Room 408;
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAY: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: September 1): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: September 15; no meeting in August ): Bereavement Group gathering; this is a new date going forward, and there will be a new location.
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: September 3): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: September 18):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group,
1 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: September 19): 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. We will be closed on Monday, September 2, in observance of Labor Day.

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;