Friday, July 10, 2020 Newsletter


9:00 a.m. Contemporary 

11:00 a.m. Traditional
(also available on our website and via phone - see below)

A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Catching a Second Wind

Today is more or less the halfway point in the inaugural period of our 21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project , which we launched on July 1 (more info below).

This project is the next step in our congregation’s racial justice ministry, which really began with the three-part “Faith in Living Color” adult education course in June. That course focused on the most basic elements of racial justice ministry for Christians, especially white Christians: understanding what systemic racism and a commitment to antiracism is; understanding the intellectual and emotional obstacles that keep us from doing that ministry effectively; and exploring how the Christian church both bears real responsibility for helping develop and validate systemic racism and has important theological beliefs and spiritual practices that can help us to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy. 

The 21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project, then, was designed as the next phase of our ministry. We’ve used fitness/athletic metaphors frequently in this work, and they are helpful again here. If the Faith in Living Color course was our diagnosis that we need to attend to our racial fitness, the 21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project has been our initial workout plan: a series of resources to develop our abilities to understand and notice systemic racism, to connect with others in doing so for guidance and support, to engage in antiracist activities ourselves, and to reflect on the impact of all this on our lives and faith. 
We have scheduled a “check-in” for the Immersion Project this Sunday, July 12, at 10 a.m., as a resource for you at the halfway point if you began this work on July 1. I have several friends who are marathon runners, and they often say that one of the hardest points of the race is around halfway, when you’ve been running for a few hours and the initial thrill of beginning the race is long since gone, but you haven’t found your “second wind” yet and it feels like there is still so far to go. 
You may be feeling that at this point in the project, so the check-in this Sunday is a chance for you to catch that second wind by reflecting with each other on what you’ve learned so far, what your “aha!” moments have been, and what has been difficult for you in the midst of all this.

It’s also a chance for those who have had to stop the project for whatever reason to catch their breath and begin again, and for those who have not yet started to do so with others who are already on the journey. So wherever you are in the midst of this work, I encourage you to join us for 40 minutes or so this Sunday via Zoom, as we gather to support each other in this vitally important ministry of antiracism.

Grace and Peace,

Online: / Meeting ID: 955 325 387

Via phone (audio only): Call 929-205-6099 ; when prompted enter the Meeting ID:
955 325 387, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – simply press the # key. (If you want to listen in on the Traditional service at 11:00, you can stay on this call, or hang up and call back to the same number.)

Scripture lesson:

Click the link to read online
·     This week's sermon: Up With a Twist by Rev. J.C. Austin

·       We post each week’s sermon
(audio and text) on our website:
TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT on 8.5" x 11" paper

FOR THIS SUNDAY: Both Services “Live” on Facebook

SERVICES : We invite you to join either (or both!) of our services via Facebook to watch “live”:
  • 9:00 a.m. – Contemporary service
  • 11:00 a.m. – Traditional service

To watch “live”- as it happens:
  • Visit our Facebook page and look for the post with our live feed
  • If you don’t have a Facebook account, go to our website to view the service
  • Please check in with a comment so we know you’ve joined us!
  • NEW: Captions will now be available on our livestream, for those who would like to use that feature

To watch a video – available after the services have aired:

We will offer the TRADITIONAL SERVICE (at 11 a.m. on Sunday) with an ‘audio-only’ option so you can listen to it on your phone.

Call 929-205-6099 ; when prompted enter the Meeting ID: 955 325 387 followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – simply press the # key again.
SUNDAY SCHOOL for this week

The kids who attend our Sunday School sessions each week have a great time, and they’d love to have you join them! You can join live on Sunday mornings via Zoom – or watch our “Driveway Sunday School videos” (stories and music) online at your convenience.
The videos are on the church website (

To join the Zoom meeting from 10:15-10:45 a.m.:

Meeting ID: 928 9221 9682 / Password: 369116

Please consider sharing this information with the young ones in your life!

Our guest soloist for this week’s Traditional service may be a familiar name and face for many of you.
Rebecca Erhardt is a frequent soloist with FPC’s Chancel Choir, and has also served as a Cantor for Most Holy Trinity in the Poconos. She performed as the soprano soloist for Mozart’s Requiem with St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Allentown. 

Rebecca has a Master’s in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah and a Bachelor’s in Music in Vocal Performance with a Minor in Music History. She has performed with a number of opera and light opera companies, and with different choral groups such as the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, Utah Chamber Chorale, and Southern Nevada Musical Arts Chorus.  
As a music educator, she taught elementary music at Monsignor McHugh Elementary School as well as private voice and piano lessons. Rebecca's primary teachers were David Schmidt, Dr. Carol Ann Allred, Carol Keddington, and Dr. Kathryn Chilcote. 
The 21-Day Racial Justice Immersion Project

As we shared with you in a recent Spotlight article, "More Than Good Intentions", we are beginning a new initiative to address racial justice.
This project officially began on Wednesday, July 1 but you can jump in anytime. Basically it affords each of us the opportunity to commit to learning and listening more about the anti-racist history of our country, and how it has affected our Black neighbors.

Click on the image to the right to get started.
Dr. Eddie Moore created a “21-Day Racial Equity Challenge” to help people develop “good habits” of working for racial justice, from which our project is adapted. If you are curious, you can learn more about  Dr. Moore’s work here.

You will find resources that will allow you to learn, notice, connect, engage and reflect. While you can start the immersion project at any time, if you do it in July, you have the added benefit of two Zoom gatherings for group reflection and support led by Pastor Austin as you do so: one on Sunday, July 12, at 10 a.m. (details, above, for how to join the Zoom gathering); and a second on Tuesday, July 21, at 7 p.m.

Because this project is designed not simply to address the moment, but to help you and our congregation develop the “habit” of antiracism ministry both for now and for the future. We hope you will join in doing so!

Our friends who are involved with the Optimism 101 group have shared this update: The Optimism group continues to meet weekly. Please contact Melody for the specifics as days and times may vary. You can reach her at”
Please help us share this information, so we can help fill these jobs for our Preschool program.

FPC Preschool is looking for two new Part Time certified teachers:  
  • Three-day morning teacher for 4 year olds (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday): beginning Thursday, Aug. 27
  • Extended Care Coordinator (Monday - Friday, 11:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m., or until last child leaves): beginning immediately
Both positions require certification in Elementary or Early Childhood Education.  If interested, contact Andie Barbehenn at .
The 2020 Census is currently underway, and Northampton County needs your help. The Census is conducted only once a decade, and its impact on communities, local, state, and county governments is long lasting. 
An accurate Census ensures that children and families receive their fair share of critical health and social services. It also allows Northampton County to invest in vital infrastructure projects. An undercount is an estimated loss of $2,093 per person, per year which is reduced funding available to the community, businesses, schools, churches, and organizations. 
It is in every resident’s interest that we achieve a complete and accurate count. You can use this link to access more information or to complete your own census form: .
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 Phil
Fair at to keep us up to date.
Send us your news and photos to share:
**Deadline for next week's newsletter: Wednesday at noon**
* * *
And follow us on Facebook : @FirstPresBethlehem
Your likes / comments / shares help us spread the word about First Pres!

THIS SUNDAY (print bulletins, above)

  • 9:00 a.m.: Contemporary Service – join us on our Facebook page for the live service
  • 10:00 a.m.: “Midway Point” check-in gathering via Zoom (see details in green box, above)
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m.: Sunday School via Zoom (see details, above)*
  • 11:00 a.m.: Traditional Service - see instructions in blue box, above, to join us online, and in the yellow box to join us via phone

*NOTE: There will also be an online, pre-recorded video Sunday School lesson available on our website beginning on Saturday.

  • 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.: Midday Reflection (led by one of our pastors – a short time of reflection and prayer via Zoom: /Meeting ID: 335 481 050; via phone: call 929-205-6099 and enter the Meeting ID when prompted, followed by the # key. You will be asked for the participant ID – simply press the # key again)
  • The Optimism group continues to meet weekly. Please contact Melody for the specifics as days and times may vary. You can reach her at

ALL OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS AND GATHERINGS ARE CANCELLED AT THIS TIME unless offered online (see listings on our Facebook page under “Events”)

CHURCH OFFICE AND BUILDING INFO: The office staff is working remotely and checking email and voicemail daily. The answering service (610-778-7003) can take your urgent pastoral concerns, 24 hours a 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: Phil Fair, Prayer Ministrant ( ).

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;