Friday, October 4, 2019 Newsletter
9:00 a.m. Contemporary ∙ 10:30 a.m. Traditional

COMMUNION SUNDAY – no Sunday School
Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!
What unites us is greater than what divides us
The first Sunday in October is celebrated by many different Christian denominations as World Communion Sunday. We observe World Communion Sunday as a way of lifting up Christian unity and the commonality of our faith in Christ that transcends the differences of nation, culture, and language without erasing them, so we experience unity in Christ without being forced into uniformity.

One of the great things about World Communion Sunday is that it is not an observance that came from some grand international ecumenical gathering or council; it originated as a grassroots observance right here in Pennsylvania. The senior pastor of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh had served as Moderator of the General Assembly, which requires extensive national and international travel to represent the General Assembly among Presbyterians and our ecumenical partners. 
He became convinced that the church needed to be more intentional about promoting Christian unity across national, cultural, and denominational boundaries. So the Shadyside congregation simply began to celebrate World Communion Sunday on their own. 
But within a few years, others had picked up the practice, and then it was encouraged by the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly. It finally really took off when the National Council of Churches heard about it and adopted it as an observance for all its member denominations.

So this Sunday we will observe World Communion Sunday right here in Bethlehem, like thousands of other congregations across this country and around the world. And that in itself is important, because ironically, the sacrament of Communion is one of the most divisive issues in ecumenical Christianity.

Denominations and theological traditions not only disagree on various aspects of the practice, but exclude each other from sharing in leadership or even just participating. So World Communion Sunday is an affirmation that what unites us is greater than what divides us, which is always worth remembering.

So as we celebrate on Sunday, I also want to encourage us to think about what this congregation can do in its ministry and life together that would cause others to say, “Yes, that’s a great idea! We should do that, too.” The ideas that change the world almost always start small and then grow into something larger over time, as Jesus himself pointed out in his parable about the mustard seed ( Matthew 13:31-33 ). 

So if you have an idea and you’re willing to help make it a reality, let us know what you’re thinking - who knows what God might do with it!

Grace and Peace,

 Lamentations 3:19-26
2 Timothy 1:1-14
·       This week’s sermon: A Hand-Me-Down Faith by Rev. J.C. Austin   
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
collecting through Sunday, October 6

an expression of Christ’s love
locally and globally

25% stays in our church
25% goes to the Synod of the Trinity
50% goes to global initiatives

Have you been thinking about making First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem your church home – or know someone who is? Are you interested in learning more about the Christian faith in general, the Presbyterian Church (USA) more specifically, or “FPCB” in particular? 
These are all good reasons for attending the next Inquirers Class, scheduled for Sunday afternoon, October 27, from noon-4 p.m. in the Parlor.

RSVPs are requested, as a light lunch will be provided for each session; we will also provide complimentary child care if requested by Sunday, October 20.
There is no expectation that you will join the church if you choose to attend; however, if you do want to join, attending this session in full is an expectation, and if you are ready to join, we will make plans at the end of the class for that to happen.

Please contact  Pastor Austin  (or phone 610-867-5865) if you plan to attend or have questions. We hope you will join us!
The Congregational Nominating Committee is seeking nominations for Elders, Deacons, Nominating Committee members, and Trustees for the newly approved Board of Trustees. Nomination cards are available in the narthex and the rotunda (Kirk Center).
If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else for any of these important leadership positions, please complete one of these cards and either put it in the offering plate or return them to the Main Office. 

They are due by Sunday, October 20.  Thank you for participating in this important aspect of the life of our congregation. 
Elders   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.

Trustees oversee all financial and property matters in the church including the budget, building renovations and repairs, planned giving, and investment funds. Trustees will meet monthly and members will also serve on one additional committee, such as the property or finance committee, which also generally meets monthly. The term for Trustees is three years. Because the Board of Trustees is being newly established, nominees will initially be asked to serve one, two, or three year terms. 
Contrary to what we shared in last week’s Newsletter, the first Handbell rehearsal was this past Tuesday (October 1). But not to worry! Music Director David Macbeth is ready to welcome returning musicians and those willing to try it out: Tuesday, October 8 from 5-6 p.m. in the Middle School Step Room. Rehearsals are held weekly.
  • Sunday School for Pre-K through grade 5 children: 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 this Sunday, or the first Sunday of each month because of communion – we encourage families to attend worship together. 
  • Hearts N Minds (adult education) is offered at 9:00 a.m. in Room 400 – see article below for details on the topics the group will be reading and discussing. All are welcome.
Spiritual Practices Across Faith Traditions

The last in our fall series is planned for next Wednesday, October 9 from 7-8:30 p.m. We will welcome Raman Dusaj , who will share Sikh traditions and faith practices.

No registration is needed – just come and join the group that has learned so much from these informative
Through Sunday, October 20, Hearts N Minds will focus on readings from two books, Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church and the Bible (second edition) and Essays on Immigration. The sessions on October 27 – November 24 will delve into a classic book by Sister Joan Chittister, For Everything a Season:
“Through the famous verses of Ecclesiastes, Joan Chittister reflects on timeless themes: the purpose and value of human life, the balance of joy and sorrow, work and rest, love and loss. In meditating on the contrasting seasons of our lives, she shows how human fulfillment and true happiness come, not from getting and having more and more, but from knowing and valuing what we have. Friendship and laughter, patience and sorrow, humility and compassion, from birth through death all these are God’s gifts to us, the precious moments of life itself.” 
For the four weeks of Advent, Jan Bickford will focus on the Nativity story as we Journey with Mary through word, art, and even film (there is no book for these sessions). Stay tuned for details.

Hearts N Minds meets at 9 a.m. in Room 400.
Exploring the history of hymns
Praying Twice: Singing Our Faith
October 27, November 3 and
November 10
Noon-1:30 p.m.
(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. A light lunch will be provided. 

Watch for the sign-up information to come soon.
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 this Monday, October 7:
9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45: Watch Out for These Scams by Mary Wornick, AARP
11 : 00: Humanism by Frank Stone

For Monday, October 14:
9:15-9:45: Fellowship time
9:45: Who Are the Windish? by Judy Siegfried
11:00:  Julie Henning: Last Foster Child of Pearl Buck by Julie Henning
CROP WALK: Coming next Sunday, October 13

We’re on our way…
to helping Church World Service combat hunger “one step at a time” at this year’s 50th anniversary CROP Hunger Walk, having received $500 in donations to date from members and friends of First Presbyterian.

Many thanks to those who have given so far, and to the intrepid souls who have signed on to walk a 1, 3, or 6-mile route in solidarity with those in poorer countries around the world who must walk miles each day to secure basic necessities. For more than 70 years, Church World Service has helped neighbors near and far to improve their quality of life through direct assistance and agricultural and economic development. Truly, “we walk because they walk.”

There’s still time to participate! Stop by the CROP Walk table at either of the Hospitality Hours (after each worship service) to pick up information and sign up to walk and/or make a financial contribution. Checks may be made out to “CWS/CROP”, or visit our team website .
Last year, Bethlehem walkers raised $18,450; of this amount, $4,800 was distributed to local hunger ministries. (Nationwide, walkers participated in more than 800 events, raising over $8 million.) With nine other teams from partner congregations, we hope to do even better this year.

The walk will begin under the Hill to Hill Bridge at 1:30 p.m., with sign-in starting at 1:00. Please note that we’ll walk rain or shine, so bring appropriate attire! It’s fun,
it’s festive, and it’s intergenerational, and, together, we can make a difference for neighbors around the world who are seeking a better life. For more information, contact Steve Simmons.

Sunday, October 20: The Runner’s World road race will be held in various locations around Bethlehem. Watch for details on how this event impacts traffic to our morning services and classes.

Sunday, October 27: Our second annual Blessing of the Animals will be held at 4 p.m. on the front lawn. Bring your favorite friend to receive a blessing. Enjoy a short service and music; we’re also asking participants to bring a donation of a pet supply (food, toy, etc.) that will be shared with Meals on Wheels. Many Meals on Wheels participants struggle to provide these items to their own pets.

Sunday, November 3: Bring your lunch to enjoy after the Traditional Service (noon-
1 p.m. outside on the back lawn; grills will be available) at our Tailgate Sunday , then stay to watch the Eagles vs Bears football game, beginning at 1 p.m. Wear your team colors!
Thank you!
With your help we raised
$1500 for our Preschool!
The funds will be used for
additional indoor play equipment.
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!

  • Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each service; join us 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
  • 10:30 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: October 6): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link
SECOND SUNDAYS ( next: October 13 ) : Bereavement Group gathering
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: October 15): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m.,
Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: October 16):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group,
1 p.m., Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: October 17): 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;

Andréa Wells, Business Manager; ext. 211:

Carol Burns, Communications Manager; ext. 238;

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