Friday - April 26, 2019



Children's Sunday School during both services

Join us for Hospitality in Fellowship Hall after each of our services!

  • Christ-Centered – In everything we do, we strive to follow Jesus Christ faithfully through the authority and insight of God’s Word and Spirit, to imitate Christ in how we treat others.
  • Welcoming to All – Because our unity is in Christ, we strive to be a community of Christian faith where people of all backgrounds, identities, and orientations are welcomed, supported, engaged, and empowered in their individual faith and our common life and ministry.
These two core values, as well as the other two core values and the mission statement recently adopted by the Session, form the foundation for all we will do together in this next chapter of the story of the First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem. These two values in particular, though, are sometimes seen to be in tension or even in opposition to one another. 
So one of the things I am most grateful for is that our church is making a strong statement that being Christ-centered means being welcoming to all, and vice versa. It is true that the witness of Scripture makes that connection undeniably clear. But it is still important to state those twin commitments as core values because these statements do not simply declare what we believe, but help guide and challenge us to live up to them in our life and ministry together.

With that in mind, I am pleased that our Deacons are organizing an important program in early May to help us be more Christ-centered and fully welcoming as a congregation. Specifically, they have recognized that while our members are committed to being welcoming, we – like so many congregations across the country - are not entirely sure how to offer the best hospitality to those who are LGBT-identified. There is a sincere desire to learn more.

The Deacons reached out to The Rev. Beth Goudy, pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley in Bethlehem, who has been a friend of First Pres. MCC is a church where a majority of worshippers are LGBT-identified. Rev. Goudy actually teaches on these very issues and offered to come do an educational program for us.

So: we are excited to welcome Rev. Goudy to First Pres, where two sessions will be offered on “How to Support LGBT Spirituality” on Wednesdays, May 1 and May 8. Both sessions will run from 6:30-8:00 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.

You are welcome to come to one or both. The first will focus on educating attendees about LGBT issues, while the second will address more specifically, “How do we as a church become more hospitable?” We think this is an important topic to address, especially at a time when organized religion is – across the board – perceived as being exclusionary and/or anti-LGBT.

These sessions are appropriate for middle school and older. Your friends are welcome to attend. Please register by contacting us at info@fpc-bethlehem .or g or

We hope that you will take this opportunity to learn, and then to discuss how we can continue to move our church forward as a loving and hospitable community, as Christ directed us.

Grace and Peace,
Old Testament lesson:
Psalm 150    
New Testament lesson:
Luke 24: 13-35
·       This week’s sermon: From Company to Companion by
Rev. Cynthia Simmons        
·       We post each week’s sermon (audio and text) on our website:
NEW LEARNING OPPORTUNITY:  “How to Support LGBT Spirituality”
Wednesday, May 1 and Wednesday, May 8
6:30 – 8 p.m. in Fellowship Hall
Join in two lively and engaging presentations on supporting the Christian spirituality of God’s beloved LGBT people, led by Rev. Beth Goudy, pastor at Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley (a church where a majority of worshippers are LGBT-identified). All are welcome; it is appropriate for middle school and older. 
Bring friends and learn more about how the Bible supports inclusion and how the church may help LGBT people live out God’s calling to faith and service.
You can attend one or both sessions, and there is no charge to attend. Please register at or call 610-867-5865.
 “Telling the Parables”
Wednesdays, May 15, 22 and 29
7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Parlor
Biblical scholar Richard Swanson reminds us that “before Bible stories were ‘Bible stories,’ they were  stories. ” And before they were written down, they were  told . Jesus told his parables to people who experienced them, not as words on a page, but as a living, breathing reality.
On three Wednesday evenings in May, Bible translators and interpreters Jim and Janet Stahl, who work with people in oral cultures around the world, will help us to experience three of Jesus’ parables in new and old ways as we learn to tell and enact them together.

No prior experience is needed, just a willingness to “do” the parables in ways that are guaranteed to bring new life and insight to these familiar stories. Senior highs through adults are invited to participate. Please register by contacting the office at or 610-867-5865.
HI NEIGHBORS: Presenting interesting, dynamic speakers
On Monday mornings through May 13, join other adults who come from all over the Lehigh Valley to learn something new and make new friends.
Join us on Monday, April 29: doors open to Fellowship Hall at 9:15 a.m. for coffee and light refreshments.
  • 9:45 a.m.  ‘Aging in Place’ by Kelly Harnett, Westminster Village Adult Day Services
  • 11:00 a.m. ‘The Future of the Lehigh Valley’ by Don Cunningham, Lehigh Valley Economic Development

At 9:45 a.m. on Monday, May 6, we will hear from Claudia Richan, who will describe and demonstrate the program, “A Matter of Balance”; she is with the Bethlehem Health Bureau. At 11 a.m., Mary Liz Colley will present on the “Virtual Village: Members Helping Members”.

Everyone is welcome, so please share this information with family and friends! Details are on the First Pres website and our Facebook page, under “Events”. There is no cost or pre-registration required.
Monday, May 6 from 5-7 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to join us for a joint Preschool – church event, “Spring Celebration”! This fun-for-all-ages gathering will be held on Monday, May 6 from 5-7 p.m. on the lawn behind the church.

Enjoy musical entertainment by Dave Fry, a collaborative art project, hot dog dinner, live animals, and games. Please bring lawn chairs or blankets.
Planning to attend? Contact us at or 610-867-5865 by Wednesday, May 1 with your name, and number of adults and children.
FPCB’s partner, Northeast Ministries, is hiring Summer Camp counselors. If you are a high school student or graduate, come work with the kids from June 10 to August 2 at our camp. For more information contact Jackie Jimenez at or call her at 610-691-3355.
If you have a Facebook account, we encourage you to follow our page, @FirstPresBethlehem , for all kinds of news, events, and stories. You can help us reach more folks by liking, commenting, and sharing the FPCB posts – especially sharing! Your activity helps 'push out' our posts to more of our 1400+ followers.
We also ask that you consider inviting your other Facebook friends to follow our page; to do that, go to our main page and look for a small box right under our cover photo (the big photo of our church building). Click on that box and you’ll see “Invite Friends” (near the bottom) – then click on the name of anyone you think might be interested in FPCB. Thanks for your help!
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
  • 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. - Adult Education, Hearts N Minds, Room 400
  • 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

MONDAYS:  Hi Neighbors informational programs, 9:15 a.m., Fellowship Hall; 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)
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 SUNDAYS (next: May 5): Blood Pressure Screenings, between services, North Link; Bereavement Group gathering, 12:15 p.m. (meet in Narthex after 10:30 a.m. service)
FIRST AND THIRD TUESDAYS (next: May 7): Successful Aging, 10:30 a.m., Room 412
THIRD WEDNESDAY (next: May 15):  Dementia Caregiver Support Group, 1 p.m.,
Room 206 (PW Room)
THIRD THURSDAY (next: May 16): 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,  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;