Friday, November 1, 2019 Newsletter

SUNDAY SERVICES: 9:00 a.m. Contemporary ∙ 10:30 a.m. Traditional


Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Remembering the saints among us

As you know, this year our annual stewardship campaign is focused on the mission priorities the Session has identified for our congregation over the next few years, and on an ambitious and exciting plan to help us answer God’s call to us through those priorities. 
If you haven’t already received the letter detailing this remarkable initiative, you will shortly, and I urge you to read it carefully and consider how you can respond.

To accompany this campaign, then, I am preaching a stewardship sermon series to consider those mission priorities and how we are called to respond.
In addition, we have members offering testimonials about their own experiences in those priority areas so far, and how their own faith has grown as a result. 

So far, we have explored the mission priorities of sharing the gospel in ministries of engagement and discipleship, and ministries with children and youth. This week, November 3, we are focusing on the priority of a diverse and engaging worship life here at First Pres.

It’s a particularly appropriate Sunday to explore that priority, because the first Sunday in November is also the traditional Sunday observance of All Saints’ Day. In the Reformed theological tradition, from which Presbyterians come, a “saint” is not someone who is especially holy and virtuous in their faith.

For us, a saint is everyone who lived out their faith in the very everyday-ness of a normal life and has now died and been welcomed into the fullness of eternal life in God’s presence. That’s why it is the day in which we remember all those from our congregation who have died in the past year; it is a recognition that each and every one of those people is a Christian saint by virtue of their baptism and the life of faith that they lived.

So we will have a special Liturgy of Remembrance in the worship services this Sunday, in which we remember by name each saint who was part of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem in their life on this earth. And we will then take Communion together “with all the faithful of every time and place,” as the Eucharistic Prayer says, bound with those whom we have just named and all those who went before them in faith through the power of the Holy Spirit.

I hope that you will be able to join in worship this Sunday as we remember and give thanks for the saints whose lives we shared. See you on Sunday!

Grace and Peace,

 Isaiah 25:6-9
Ephesians 1:15-23
·      This week’s sermon: Salvation al Fresco   by Rev. J.C. Austin   
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
There's a lot going on this Sunday - but you'll be early to all of these events if you don't remember to "fall back" - turn your clocks back one hour before bed on Saturday night, and enjoy that extra sleep time!

* It's Communion Sunday so there is no Sunday School – families are encouraged to worship together
*The first rehearsal of the Children's Christmas Choir will be held from 10-11 a.m.; children in Kindergarten-grade 5 will gather in the Rotunda to be escorted to their rehearsal space (more details below)

* Blood Pressure Screenings , in North Link (adjacent to Fellowship Hall) – between services

*The second of three sessions of "Exploring the History of Hymns" , from noon-1:30 p.m. will be held in Fellowship Hall (please RSVP to by Friday so we can order lunches)
*TAILGATE SUNDAY! It's the Eagles vs Bears – we’ll gather at noon on the back lawn for lunch (hot dogs/fixings provided; bring other items to grill if you'd like - we'll also have beverages).

At 1 p.m. we'll move to the Kirk Center to watch the game on the big screen. Wear your team jersey or colors, and bring your team spirit!
Families welcome – this event is ‘rain or shine’.
The Discipleship Committee is planning to offer a series of Youth Inquirers classes in the spring, for youth who are interested in exploring the Presbyterian faith and possible membership in FPCB.

Current 8th graders – high schoolers (and their parents, if they would like to attend) are invited to an informational meeting next Sunday, Nov. 10 at 11:45 a.m. in Room 212. Contact Elizabeth Conard with questions.
With our 12 partner congregations in the Bethlehem Interfaith Group (BIG), we are pleased to offer “A BIG Conversation: Stories of Immigration” on Sunday,
Nov. 17.
This event will also include an interfaith Thanksgiving service, featuring a combined choir from several houses of worship.

The event will be held here at First Presbyterian, and starts at 2:30 p.m. with a gathering time in Fellowship Hall. Beginning at 3 p.m., we will hear stories from several people who came to this country as immigrants – they will share what it was like to leave their homelands and settle in this country. There will be time for sharing among table groups. This activity will be followed by the interfaith worship service in our Sanctuary.

Children’s activities are planned for children in Kindergarten – 5th grade. Older children are welcome to join the regular program. If you need care for younger children, please contact Cristy Mette (or at 610-867-5865) by Tuesday, Nov. 11.
Wednesday, Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Eve Service , 7 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 1: Combined Service at 10 a.m., followed by Advent Lunch and Activities until 2 p.m.
HEARTS N MINDS Adult Education

Last Sunday, the Hearts N Minds class started the Joan Chittister book, For Everything a Season . They will study it until Jan Bickford starts the Advent Meditation (four weeks in December). Then in January they will pick up Chittister again. Feel free to attend even if you didn’t go to last week’s class!
Hearts N Minds Class Digs into Immigration
by Linda Robertson

The adult education class spent more than a month studying the history of immigration in the United States.

We read Dan Carroll’s Christians at the Border which asked us to look at immigration through a Christian and biblical ‘lens’, recognizing that the story of the Old Testament was one of continual migration. The Hebrews constantly moved from one nation state to another, often under the most difficult circumstances. The author asks us to have a ‘Christian’ attitude about immigration. A class highlight was a visit from Betsy Simpson’s son Ben Simpson, who is an immigration lawyer in New York.

The class decided to attempt to create policy suggestions about immigration to present to our US Senators and House of Representative members. Accordingly, some will meet in Room 400 on two Wednesdays (Nov. 6 and Nov. 13) from
2 – 4 p.m. to draft our policy.

Even if you are not a member of Hearts N Minds, we invite you to join in our discussion. Please contact Judy Smullen or Linda Robertson for information.
Children in Kindergarten – fifth grade are invited to join a Christmas Choir that will sing at several occasions in December. Rev. Cynthia Simmons is leading this opportunity.
Rehearsals begin this Sunday, Nov. 3 immediately after the Contemporary service concludes. Children should gather outside the Kirk Center to go to Room E4 for rehearsal. The Choir will rehearse weekly through Dec. 22. 

The Christmas Choir will sing as part of the Christmas Joy concert on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 4:00 p.m. and will also sing for the 5:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Worship service. There may be an additional occasion to sing.
Please contact Rev. Simmons if your child would like to be part of the choir, so that she can fill you in on further information.
Exploring the history of hymns

 Praying Twice: Singing Our Faith
Sundays: Nov. 3 and Nov. 10
Noon-1:30 p.m.
Fellowship Hall
(following Hospitality Hour)
According to St. Augustine, “Those who sing pray twice.” In this series, we’ll explore the history and theology of congregational singing from biblical canticles through contemporary hymns and praise choruses from around the world, looking at the music and the message of favorites old and new. 

PLEASE RSVP BY FRIDAYS IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND A light lunch will be provided. Please use this easy sign-up form to let us know what dates you will attend (any or all).
Hi Neighbors is a sociable-sounding name for another learning opportunity at FPCB (and it’s a great time for fellowship, too!).

Interested adults gather to hear presentations from a wide variety
of speakers. No cost or registration - all are welcome!
For Monday, Nov. 4 (one presentation today)
 9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45 – 11:30: An Austrian Journey by Tom Repasch

For Monday, Nov. 11 ( one presentation today)
9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45 – 11:30: Treasures of the Midwest video by Bob and Madeline Brown
FPCB’s Mission Committee is sponsoring several “Donation Stations” to serve all the requests we have for needed items by our mission partners.  Bins are located in the North Link and the Kirk Rotunda.
The Lemon Tree Bazaar at Westminster is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 9. They are in need of white elephant items (no clothing, appliances or large furniture).  
Through Sunday, Dec. 1, we will be collecting for three organizations:  

  • Outreach Depot is in need of towels and washcloths (new or gently used).

  • The Lehigh Valley Council of Churches has requested baby clothing for 0-3 months (new or gently used – no stains, please), and baby supplies like baby bath, oil, lotion, diapers, pacifiers, etc. 

  • The Northeast Community Center (formerly Northeast Ministries) is in need of paper products and grooming items like toilet paper (small packages), tissues, paper towels, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc. for its Food Bank.

Thank you for giving as you can, to help our neighbors!
We were pleased to offer our "Blessings of the Animals" event last Sunday - there must be some references to Noah that we can make, about the big rains that preceded it!

Many thanks to all who came out to enjoy the fellowship and friendship.

We were also pleased to make a donation of pet food and supplies to Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley, to support their Animeals program. 
Thanks to the Congregational Life Committee for organizing this event!
Will you consider providing flowers for our Sanctuary worship services? A donation of $75 will pay for the arrangement under the cross in the Sanctuary, and $90 covers two pedestal arrangements.

Contact Cristy Mette or by phone at
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!

  • After each service: Hospitality Hour; join us in Fellowship Hall for light refreshments and fellowship
  • Between services: Blood Pressure Screenings, North Link (adjacent to Fellowship Hall)
  • 9:00 a.m. - Contemporary Service, Kirk Center
  • 9:00 a.m. - Adult Education, Hearts N Minds, Room 400
  • 10:00-11:00 a.m. - Children's Christmas Choir rehearsal, meet in Rotunda
  • 10:30 a.m. - Traditional Service, Sanctuary
  • Childcare for Infants and Toddlers, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Room A3

MONDAYS: Hi Neighbors informational presentations, 9:15 a.m., Fellowship Hall;
“It’s a Start” Fitness Class, 10 a.m., Middle School Step Room
TUESDAYS:   Crafters, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Room 408; Depression Support Group , 12:30-
2:30 p.m., Room 206
WEDNESDAY: Overcomers Outreach, 7 p.m., Room 408
THURSDAY: Al-Anon Family Group , 7 p.m., Room 212

FIRST SUNDAYS (next: Nov. 3): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services,
North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: Nov. 10 ) : Bereavement Group gathering; meet after
10:30 a.m. service and travel to Kirkland Village for lunch
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: Nov. 12): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: Nov. 20):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: Nov. 21): 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.

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 Care 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;