an online newsletter
August 2019

We live in a world of acronyms. The use of acronyms is extremely popular in text messaging these days, in order that more can be said with fewer words. My favorite acronym for texting is LOL, laugh out loud.

An older but well-known acronym is TGIF, T hank G oodness I t’s F riday! Or something along that line. I think you know what I mean. When I was in business, we said this on Fridays as we looked forward to starting the weekend. TGIF was so popular in our culture that it morphed into TGI Fridays as the name for a restaurant that opened in 1965. TGI Fridays is now a popular national restaurant chain.

Today, I have a new use for TGIF. Its use on a daily basis reminds me to voice gratitude for my life. This new use of TGIF comes from, Brene Brown, Ph.D., author of The Gifts of Imperfection .

In her book, Dr. Brown writes that she posts in her weekly blog, “what I’m T rusting, What I’m G rateful for, what I nspires me, and how I’m practicing my F aith.” That’s it. Simple, but very thoughtful and reflective. Now, I’m asking myself the following questions and I’ve posted them on my refrigerator.

Trusting – who and what am I trusting today?

Grateful -- who and what am I grateful for today?

Inspires – who and what inspires me today?

Faith – how am I using my faith today?

My hope is that this can be a helpful reminder to you about living a deep spiritual life in the midst of a world that spins faster and faster. PTL, Praise the Lord!

The peace of Christ be with you,
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
Where did the month of July go? As I think about all that happened over the past month, my time serving at Camp Hopewell stands out for me. Camp Hopewell is a year-round ministry of our presbytery, the Presbytery of St. Andrew, and is just fifteen minutes down the road off highway 30. I’m grateful I was able to volunteer as camp pastor during the third week of July. That week of camp is called “Night Owl” because the kids are older and everybody stays up later. And yes, that includes the camp pastor!

One of the joys of ministering at camp is seeing the excitement everyone shares throughout this experience. There is an energetic spirit in the life of camp that moves all around that sacred space. It doesn’t matter what the activity is, or who is involved, because this community will find energetic ways to share shouts of joy! (Seriously, just ask me sometime about the level of excitement when the camp came together to pray before a meal.)

The simple expression of joy is part of what makes camp special. It’s a place where everyone is excited to see you and spend time with you. It’s a place where everyone is welcomed and encouraged to participate. Everyone matters and it’s beautiful to behold.

It’s a similar experience to our shared life within the church. Christ’s church is a place where we express our joy for the gifts of life! It’s a place where we are excited to come together in worship and spend time with one another. It’s a place where everyone is welcomed and encouraged to participate. In the church, everyone matters because we know that the story of Christ is held within all of us.

That’s what Fredrick Buechner talks about in a devotional book of his called, “Listen to Your Life.” I shared it with the staff one day after lunch during my week at camp and I’d like to share it with our community too.

“YET THEY MEET AS well as diverge, our stories and Christ's, and even when they diverge, it is his they diverge from, so that by his absence as well as by his presence in our lives we know who he is and who we are and who we are not. 

We have it in us to be Christs to each other and maybe in some unimaginable way to God too—that's what we have to tell finally. We have it in us to work miracles of love and healing as well as to have them worked upon us. We have it in us to bless with him and forgive with him and heal with him and once in a while maybe even to grieve with some measure of his grief at another's pain and to rejoice with some measure of his rejoicing at another's joy almost as if it were our own. And who knows but that in the end, by God's mercy, the two stories will converge for good and all, and though we would never have had the courage or the faith or the wit to die for him any more than we have ever managed to live for him very well either, his story will come true in us at last. And in the meantime, this side of Paradise, it is our business (not like so many peddlers of God's word but as men and women of sincerity) to speak with our hearts (which is what sincerity means) and to bear witness to, and live out of, and live toward, and live by, the true word of his holy story as it seeks to stammer itself forth through the holy stories of us all.”

We have it in ourselves to live as Christ lived. We too can energetically share the joy of his story through the living of our own. May it always be so.

PNC Update
Your Pastoral Nominating Committee (PNC) has met three times and has the Ministry Information Form (MIF) completed. The MIF will be submitted to the Committee on Ministry (COM) as well as the Presbytery. Once approved by the Presbytery, the last approval will come from the Session at their regular meeting on August 12th. The final step for our MIF will be to have it uploaded to the PC(USA) website. After being uploaded, the system will start "matching" our church to ministers that have posted Personal Information Forms (PIFS). It will be at this time that your PNC can get to work! 

The PNC asks for continued prayer during the months to come as they work toward the goal of finding your next Pastor.  

Dear God,
As our First Presbyterian Church community of faith seeks to call a senior pastor, we prayerfully ask God’s favor and guidance in following His will during this process. Please renew in us every day the peace and promise of eternal life which we are called to proclaim. As we go about our representative work, we ask for the prayers of all of our church family as we seek God’s will in this process. We prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to direct our paths as God proclaims in Proverbs 3 to “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” We seek to glorify the Church of our Lord and Savior as brothers and sisters in Christ, 
In His holy name we pray,
Financial Summary
Summary of Stated Session Meeting
Finance:  FPC is under budget regarding Expenses. Overall, we are ahead of the budgeted shortfall for 2019.
See Financial Summary above.

Adult Christian Education and Children’s Christian Education: Session approved changing the names of these two Ministry Teams to the following:

Adult Faith Formation and Children’s Faith Formation.

These two ministry teams have been holding joint meetings to discern a holistic understanding for Christian Education within the entire congregation. The groups believe a measurable goal for Faith Formation is three fold: to feel, know and share ; for members to feel the love of Christ, know through knowledge of the bible and theology Christ’s love and then share God’s love with others.
Children’s Faith Formation : Is gathering information as they begin the process of filling the vacancy for the Youth Director.
Commissioning newly elected Pastor Nominating Committee members was approved for June 23 rd  during worship.

 Motion made and approved, “If a member desires that the church promote or become involved in a community event or desires that the church co-sponsor the event, the event details must be brought before the respective ministry team for consideration prior to any promotion or publication of the event, ideally 60 days in advance.”
Summer Worship Hours:

Our summer worship schedule is in effect through September 1:
10:00 am - Worship with communion
No Sunday School
Nursery Weekly: 9:45-11:15 am

Children's Worship for rising Pre-K through rising 6th graders all summer at 10:15 am
Upcoming worship schedule:

Sunday, August 4, 2019
10:00 am Worship (communion)
11:00 am Sunday Lunch

Sunday, August 11, 2019
10:00 am Worship (communion)

Sunday, August 18, 2019
10:00 am Worship (communion)

Sunday, August 25, 2019
10:00 am Worship (communion)
Lectionary texts for August

August 4 - Hosea 11:1-11; Psalm 107:1-9, 43; Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 12:13-21
August 11 - Isaiah 1:1, 10-20; Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23; Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16; Luke 12:32-40
August 18 - Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56
August 25 - Jeremiah 1:4-10; Psalm 71:1-6; Hebrews 12:18-29; Luke 13:10-17
Remember in Prayer
  FPC Members: Walter Nance; Mary Kay McDowell; Family of Bennett Zinn; Sue Treas; Family of Dora Leache; Max Williams; Joe Burnett; Fannie Elliott; Pierce Buford; Debbie McElreath; Marleah Hobbs; PNC Committee
Family and Friends: Angel Thompson; Family of Reynolds Boykin; Ted Stocker; Family of Nola Stocker; Joan Connell; Tom Callery; Family of Jim Pace; Idalia Balcazar, Tom Mullen; Ruth Ellen Duvall Kuhnel; Family of Helen Barkley; Linda Chavers; Family of Amy Tidwell; Family of Merline & Tommy Nix; Family of Jarrod Holloway; Suzanne & Tony Spruill & family; Mark Barnes; Don Gleason; Family of Bruce Brumfield; Joe Houston; Matt Branch; Sue Gilbert; Erica Baggett; Mackenzie Stetz; Betty Hoar; Mike Smith; Parchman Prison inmates; Haven House residents; Our Haiti partners
U. S. Military: A1C Jason Freeland, USAF 4th Air Support Operation; CW4 David Lord, National Guard, Fort Campbell, KY

Please pray, too, for those with unspecified needs.

If you wish to have a name removed or added to this list, please contact the church office.
After a much-needed summer break, most of the Chancel Choir returns to the loft on August 11 th and full choir with choral scholars on August 25 th . You’ll see a couple of new faces in the loft this fall. There is also room for you; so I hope you will consider joining us too.

If you get a chance, thank a choir member for their faithful service, meaningful contribution, and leadership from the choir loft and always keep the music ministry in your prayers.
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our Salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song. ~Psalm 95:1-2~
Faith Formation
Children's News
Children’s Church Continues Through Labor Day

Children’s Church, a special service of worship especially for rising Pre-K through 5th grade continues this summer. What’s new?…It lasts ALL summer! Throughout July and August, children will begin worship each week with their parents for the 10:00 a.m. worship service and stay through the Gloria Patri before being escorted upstairs in Fellowship Hall for their own 30-minute service of worship led by a team of youth and adults.

Each week will look a little bit like church as the children learn songs, prayers and responses in preparation for participation in Sunday services. However, instead of a sermon, stories, drama and other activities will help children learn the stories of Scripture and how they apply to their lives. We hope to see you at church!
PYF Updates
Be on the lookout for PYF updates regarding Youth activities for Jr. and Sr. High Schoolers. The Children’s and Youth Faith Formation Ministry Team is planning activities for PYF and are also beginning to interview potential candidates for Youth Director. We are looking forward to the new semester and supporting our Youth with both education and fellowship events.
August 25, 2019
4:00 to 7:00 pm
 at Camp Hopewell

Youth in grades 7 through 12 are invited to grab their swimsuit and towel and gather at Camp Hopewell on Sunday, August 25 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm for a kickoff to the new year. Learn more about what the plans are for this fall and enjoy a swim and cookout with your PYF friends. After swimming there will be time for GaGa Ball, four square and other camp activities. Join us for the fun and fellowship on August 25 at Hopewell.
Young Adult News
Mark your calendars for our fall Young Adult Ministry’s kickoff event from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday, August 25th ! We will be meeting at one of the restaurants around the square to enjoy time together as we continue building up this community of faith. Nursery will be available for this event. Following this kickoff event, the YAs will host a conversation series about Faith and Mental Health each Sunday afternoon on September 8th, 15th, and 29th. More details to be announced soon in the next YA Email. Please contact David Randolph for more details or if you’d like to be added to this email. 
Bibles with Brews continues as weekly each Wednesday throughout the month of August from 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm at the Growler. Join in this bible study conversation as we bring and share different scripture passages about our topic of study. The topic for August 7th is "shame" and all are welcome!
Theological Thursdays, a midweek bible study class about a range of theological topics, continues each Thursday in August from Noon to 1:00 pm in Fellowship Hall. Weekly topics are selected by the group and each class focuses on specific scripture passage. All are welcome to this casual gathering each week. If you are interested in learning more or joining the theological Thursday’s email, please contact David Randolph at .
Adult News
Join us on Sunday, August 18th, for "FPC's Ice Cream Sunday" in Fellowship Hall from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm. This is an intergenerational kick off event for our new Faith Formation fall calendar. Come and enjoy an ice cream Sunday with members of the entire congregation as we learn more about how we can feel, know, and share the love of Jesus Christ. All are welcome! 
All are invited to participate in FPC's first "Common Read" as we turn the pages of a book together as a church family. The goal is for each member of the congregation to read this book and then come together for conversation on Sunday, September 22nd at 4:00 pm. Our book is WONDER  by R. J. Palacio and our convention will focus on how we too can share God's kindness with others. This is an experience we can all share no matter our age or schedule. You can read the book, listen to the audio-book, and even watch the movie as a family. If you are interested in purchasing a book, please contact the front office as soon as possible. 
Lovepacks  donations are an easy way to help relieve hunger among Oxford and Lafayette County school children. If you'll bring your donations with you to church and deposit them in the church office or the narthex, volunteers will get them to the Lovepacks office for you. Items needed are:

  • 10-18 oz Pop-Top Chicken Noodle or Vegetable Soups
  • Pop-Top Ravioli
  • Snack Pack Pudding Cups
  • Cheese/Peanut Butter Crackers
  • 16 oz. Jars of Peanut Butter
  • Pop Top Beanie Weenies
  • Granola Bars
  • Pop Top Canned Fruit (Please, No Fruit Cups) 
The Pantry is soliciting adult novels and children's books are also needed for its Little Free Library. Used books are most welcome! They may be left at the church office or front porch of The Pantry.  
Haven House residents greatly appreciate the daily devotional books you send them as well as inspirational books, classic novels, and all translations of the Bible. Please leave anything you can donate at the church office.        
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! to the First Presbyterian Church volunteers who assisted for the month of June with the work of the Oxford Pantry! FPC really stepped up, with over 30 adult volunteers who off-loaded trucks, unloaded boxes, handled hundreds of frozen chickens, stocked the shelves, swept the floors and most importantly, shopped with over 500 needy clients. This means nearly 1200 hungry local residents received assistance as a result of your hard work. In addition to FPC adult volunteers, we were also blessed to have great participation from our church youth, as well as other Oxford residents. We are very grateful for the volunteerism shown by FPC and truly appreciate how the enthusiasm and willingness to participate shown by FPC has become a role model for the Oxford Pantry. As Oxford’s pantry provides a year around service to our community, we hope you will support Oxford Pantry as you are able. MANY THANKS!! Your co-managers, Martha Kelley and Monte Ochs.
Lena Wiley, Director of the Interfaith Compassion Ministry is approved for a kidney transplant from her daughter. The ICM Board has set up a fund to receive donations. If you are interested, you may donate funds to Lena Wiley’s Kidney Fund through the Interfaith Compassion Ministry, c/o Mr. Dick Marchbanks, P.O. Box 589, Oxford, MS. Or, if you so desire, you may donate through First Presbyterian Church. Please designate that the funds are for Lena Wiley’s Kidney Fund.

BJ Chain IV, a child of this church, has completed his seminary training at Princeton Theological Seminary and will be ordained and installed at First Presbyterian Church, Columbus, MS on Sunday, August 11 at 4:00 pm. The service is open to the public. Join BJ and this congregation as they celebrate this new beginning.
VIPs will gather for a Dutch treat dinner at KC Steakhouse and Seafood on Thursday, August 15. The bus will leave the church at 5:15 and arrive at the Kennel Club Steakhouse around 5:45 pm. Reservations are a must! Please call the church office to make yours by Sunday, August 11.

The 4th through 6th grade Vacation Bible School Class read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and created their own Giving Tree on the first floor of the Educational Building to benefit the Pantry. Stop by the Educational Building the next time you are at church and look in the first-floor hallway for the big, green tree. Choose an apple or two or three from the tree and bring those items back to church. We’ll deliver them to the Pantry for you and some family will be very grateful for your generosity.
PW Council 2019-2020
Moderator - Mary Glynn Wright -
Vice - Moderator - Kathryn Elliott -
Secretary - Whitney Bolen -  
Treasurer - Margaret Fancher -
Historian - Marianna Ochs -
Ex-Moderator - Mary Haskell -
Bridge Properties, 1000 Tyler Avenue at 10th St., now tows all unauthorized vehicles on its parking lot, including Sundays. Please do not park on the Bridge Properties lot to attend worship or other church events!
News from the Pews
August Birthdays:

1   Russell Coon, Walker Coon, Diane Scruggs
2   Ellie DeVoe, Allison Harris, John Schuesselin
3   Susan Abbott, Waylon Kennon
4   Sharron Alexander, Elizabeth Miers, Don Whitten, Mary Glynn Wright
6   William Lewis, Al Ling, Ruth O'Dell
7   Harper Lovelace, Baxter Montgomery
8   Ella Chiniche
9   Sarah Bridgers, Wyatt McCool
10  Barron Rosson
11  Mary Freeman, Gale Gurner, Brynnen Quick
12  J.J. Jones, Dan Olson, Diane Olson, Bill Sloan
13  Megan Bundren, Ernest Flautt, Lee Miers
14  Bob Joiner
15  Kathryn Duke
16  Dubbie McClatchy, Matthew Ueleke
17  Joslin Williams
19  Henry Hyneman, Polly Morrison Taylor
21  Kate Abraham, Julie Chadwick, Ann Caroline McIntosh, Nancy Rogers, Virginia Smith
22  Danny Collins, Kathryn Elliott, Hugh Monteith, Tennyson Monteith, Machelle Williams
25  Andrews McLellan, Kate Newman, David Randolph, Allison Wehrung
26  Mary Haskell
27  Bill Bowlin
28  Marion Bishop, Richard Gurner
29  Sarah Margaret Hester
30  John Edge, Sr., Kate McPhail
31  Mary Dale Byars, Nat Harris, James Ling

August Anniversaries:

5 Jane Lyle & Trey Byars
6 Kaitlyn & Tyler Flowers
7 Kate & Christopher Newman
8 Melissa & Matthew Hall, Lynn & Bill Sloan
12 Wendy & Jay Carmean, Elizabeth & David Coon
14 Kristina Carlson & Doug Alexander
16 Ashley & John Callery
17 Julie & Billy Chadwick
19 Kathryn & Ray Hill
21 Mary Cates & Robert Williams
23 Sarah & Jeffrey Hollis, Cydni & Kris Kersey
28 Ashley & Pratt Wilkinson
First Dates

The Prayer Shawl Ministry Team  will meet Monday, August 5 at 1:30 pm in Room 101.
The Worship Ministry Team  will meet Monday, August 5 at 4:30 pm in Room 101.
The Children's Christian Education Ministry Team  will meet Monday, August 5 at 5:45 pm in Room 101.
The Adult Faith Formation Ministry Team  will meet Monday, August 5 at 5:30 pm in Room 101.
The Diaconate  will meet Tuesday, August 6 at 5:30 pm in the Session Room.
The Membership & Hospitality Ministry Team will meet Thursday, August 8 at 5:30 in Room 101.
The Finance Ministry Team  will meet Monday, August 12 at 4:30 pm in Fellowship Hall.
The Session  will meet Monday, August 12 at 5:30 pm in Fellowship Hall.
The FPC Book Club  will meet Tuesday, August 13 at 1:30 pm in Room 101.
Reminder:  The September deadline for submissions to First Press is Thursday, August 15.
The Session
  CLASS of 2019
Trey Cobb, Jon Crawford, Margie McLeod, 
Karen Stockton, Dana Williams
  CLASS of 2020
Ashley Callery, Ann DeVoe, Ben Griffith,
Matthew Hall, Monte Wood
CLASS of 2021
Hayden Alexander, Pete Boone, Julie Field, 
Carmille Hovious, Ruth O'Dell
The Diaconate

CLASS of 2019
Lee Borden, Kristina Carlson, Dean Chow,
Pick Scruggs, Amy Wilkes
CLASS of 2020
Todd Abbott, Rosie Cooper, Ed Croom,
Lisa Hickman-Tollison, John Schuesselin
CLASS of 2021
Thelma Curry, Karen Elliott, Luke Harris,
Brian Hyneman, Niles Lovelady
Your Church Staff

The Congregation

Interim Pastor

Interim Associate Pastor

Associate Pastor

Pastor, UKirk Ministry

Director of Music/Organist

Director of Elementary Music

Office Administrator

Director of Communications

Property Manager

Nursery Director
First Presbyterian Church | 662-234-1757 |