First Press
an online newsletter
February 2020
The season of Lent begins with ashes…those smudges that remind us of our humanity…that we are mere mortals who came from dust and will return to dust. Week after week, the Scripture passages of the Lenten season bring us face to face with our own humanity. The first Sunday begins in the Garden of Eden reminding us of how creation was intended to be and how humankind changed that story by the choices they made. In contrast, Jesus is in the wilderness faced with all sorts of temptation and shows us how to make different choices. Along the way the texts tell us about thirst, loss, blindness and the challenges of living as God intended. By the end of this Lenten journey, those who pledged their undying support of Christ and his mission will have disappeared into the night or denied that they even knew him at all.

Of course, the Scriptures of Lent don’t provide us with a checklist of things we can do to make us something other than what we are - sinful human beings in need of God’s grace. If anything, they remind us of who we are and, perhaps more importantly, whose we are. They remind us of the need to turn again and again from the temptations that we face, from the choices that will distance us from God, and the illusion that we’ve got things under control. Jesus is our example. He is our reminder of how God intended us to live.

There are lots of ways to lean into the season of Lent. Come to worship on Sunday morning and Wednesday nights as we journey with Jesus to the cross and learn from him how to love God, neighbor, and self with our whole heart no matter what it costs. Join the congregational Bible study and listen deeply to God’s Word for what these ancient stories have to say about our living in these days. Volunteer for More Than a Meal; sign up to help with the children at JAM; participate the the young adult conversation series on Faith and Forgiveness; join the VIPs for food and fellowship. Engage with this community of faith so that we can support one another on this challenging journey of faith.

Grace and peace,

Ann & David
Speaking of Temptation…

Katherine and David Randolph are expecting their baby girl during the first week of February. In accordance with the presbytery’s policy on family leave, David will be taking some time during the month of February to help with the responsibilities of his growing family. The Reverend Margaret Burnett will be helping with preaching responsibilities on Sunday, February 2 and members of the congregation will be providing help each week with liturgy. Please honor David’s time off and call the church office for your needs rather than contacting him directly. He will be available in the case Ann needs assistance, but let’s give him this time to be with Katherine, Cragon and their baby girl. It will be hard for him to be away from the office, so please don’t tempt him.
Monthly Bible Reading
It's not too late to join Ann, David, and many members of the congregation as we read through the Bible in a year. This past month, we read through the story of Genesis learning how God created a the world and found a people to make into a great nation. We also journey with Jesus throughout Matthew's Gospel, learning from him more about who God is and who God calls us to be as children of God. This month, we learn more about God as we read about Israel's journey through the wilderness in Exodus and Leviticus while also seeing how God's Spirit moved through the early church in the book of Acts. How will God move in our lives through the shared reading of these sacred pages? Check out the church's website here to download your own reading check list to get started today!
Annual Financial Summary
Session Summary

The Session of First Presbyterian Church held its stated monthly meeting on Monday, January 13, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.   Thirteen elders were present. Business included the following:
  • Approval of Previous Minutes from December 9th and December 15th  
  • Approval of a wedding on March 21st for Helen Frances Buford and Lance Hayes presided by the Reverend Ann Kelly.
  • Approval of an update to the FPC Wedding Policy to remove names of previous staff members
  • Approval of two worship service for Easter Sunday with Communion
  • Approval of compensation to Reverend Paul Phillips for unused time off during his service as Interim Pastor.

Updates from:
  1. Finance: The budget is continued to be worked on as pledges are received. The committee hopes to present a draft budget in next month’s meeting.
  2. Adult Faith Formation: Introduced conversation about a new Wednesday evening program in partnership with the continued ministry of JAM by the Children and Youth Faith Formation team. This would include a brief worship service, a meal and a bible study opportunity.  A formal motion will be presented to the Session in February.  This would begin in March after Ash Wednesday.  Another movie night event at Tallahatchie Gourmet is being scheduled for February 23rd, 4-7.
  3. Children and Youth Faith Formation:   Shared about JAM (Jesus and Me) being very successful and plans are being made for this Spring. VBS dates / planning are in process. 
  4. Membership & Hospitality:  First Sunday lunches will begin in February.  The membership role is being updated currently.  Plans for transitioning to the online directory are ongoing.   With regard to the responsibilities of the ministry team, Membership and Hospitality will concentrate more heavily on membership and the Diaconate will focus more on hospitality (Sunday lunches, youth fundraisers, etc). 
  5. Personnel:  Clarified information regarding the leave policy as it pertains to the Presbytery and First Presbyterian of Oxford that was discussed at last month’s Session meeting.  The Reverends Kelly and Randolph have established an equitable preaching schedule that will allow David time off around the time his daughter is to be born.
  6. Worship: Flowers and communion serves are set until April. FPC Oxford will be a co-sponsor a Centering Prayer Workshop at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church on February 29th.   Confirmation Sunday will be planned for May 3 and Baccalaureate Sunday will be May 10th.
  7. Deacon’s report: There are six committees that serve the Diaconate: Food, Funeral, Social, Transportation, Visitation and Ushering.  Deacon Rosie Cooper is compiling information taken from the Time and Talent survey offered during stewardship season. 
  8. Pastor Nominating Committee: The PNC continues moving forward with their work toward finding FPC’s 26th Pastor. 

The meeting was adjourned with prayer.
Upcoming worship schedule:
Sunday, February 2, 2020
4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:30-10:15 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship (communion)

Sunday, February 9, 2020
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:30-10:15 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship (communion)
Sunday, February 16, 2020
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
9:30-10:15 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship (communion)

Sunday, February 23, 2020
Transfiguration of the Lord Sunday
9:30-10:15 am Sunday School
10:30 am Worship (communion)
February 26, 2020
5:30 pm

A service of worship for Ash Wednesday, including the imposition of ashes, will be held Wednesday, February 26 at 5:30 pm in the Sanctuary.
A nursery will be available.
Lectionary texts for February

February 2 - Micah 6:1-8; Psalm 15; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Matthew 5:1-12
February 9 - Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12); Psalm 112:1-9 (10); 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16); Matthew 5:13-20
February 16 - Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 119:1-8; 1 Corinthians 3:1-9; Matthew 5:21-37
February 23 - Exodus 24:12-18; Psalm 2 or Psalm 99; 2 Peter 1:16-21; Matthew 17:1-9
February 26 (Ash Wednesday) - Joel 2:1-2, 12-17 or Isaiah 58:1-12; Psalm 51:1-17; 2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Sanctuary flower dates are available February 9 and 23. To provide flowers in honor or in memory of a loved one, contact Susan Joiner at or call 662-808-3240. Contributions to the Flower Fund are greatly appreciated.
FPC Members: Family of John Neff; Family of Pat Bittmann; Scottye Boone; Greg Patton; Pierce Buford; Deb de Boer; Max Williams; Family of Sue Treas; J. T. Davis; Becky & Joe Murphey; Lynton Dilley; Walter Nance; Mary Kay McDowell; Joe Burnett; Pierce Buford; Debbie McElreath; Marleah Hobbs; Director of Music/Organist Search Committee; Pastor Nominating Committee
Family and Friends: Family of Don Dees; Joel James; Family of Leland Smith; Bill Flautt; Lowry Davis; Doug Fancher; Family of Jerry Newcomb; Family of Don Gleason; Alex Sessions; Brad Hovious; B. Jones; Pat Gillenwater; Angel Thompson; Ted Stocker; Tom Callery; Tom Mullen; Ruth Ellen Duvall Kuhnel; Linda Chavers; Mark Barnes; Joe Houston; Matt Branch; Erica Baggett; Mackenzie Stetz; Betty Hoar; Mike Smith; Parchman Prison inmates; Haven House residents; Our Haiti partners; Oxford & Lafayette County First Responders
U. S. Military: A1C Jason Freeland, USAF 4th Air Support Operation

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.
Children's Faith Formation
JAM (Jesus and Me) continues this Wednesday, February 5 starting at 5:30 pm in Fellowship Hall. We have rotations of Bible and crafts, dinner and recreation. Drop-off begins at 5:15 and pick-up will begin at 6:45. All children need to be picked up by 7:00 pm. Every 3 year old (must be potty trained) through 4th grade is welcome to join us. Please call the church office with questions.
Attention Parents of 7th & 8th Graders!!

Any parents of 7th and 8th grade youth at FPC who have not gone through confirmation are invited to a brief interest meeting on Sunday, February 9 immediately following worship in Fellowship Hall. Confirmation is that time when individuals claim the promises made at their baptism and become active members of the church. This year’s confirmation experience will begin on Friday, February 28 and continue Saturday, February 29 with an overnight retreat at Camp Hopewell. Following the retreat there will be a series of Sunday afternoon meetings at 3:00 pm on March 1, 15, 22, 29 and April 5, 19 and 26. The confirmands will be examined by the Session on Monday, May 11 at 5:30 pm and received into membership during worship on Sunday, May 17. This is an important time in the life of our youth and the church, so please help your son or daughter consider whether this is a commitment they are ready to make. An interest meeting will be held on Sunday, February 9 immediately after worship to answer any questions and find out more!
Adult Faith Formation
FPC's Young Adult Ministry had a great kickoff for 2020 last month at Premier Lanes for its annual bowling night. Thanks to everyone who was able to come and enjoy this time of fellowship and fun. Mark your calendars for the next young adult conversation series about Faith and Forgiveness happening from 4:00 to 6:00 pm on Sundays March 22nd, 29th, and April 5th. 

Additionally, the young adult Sunday school class will take a hiatus starting Sunday, February 9th and will return with a new format in March. During this break, young adults are encouraged to join Matthew and Melissa Hall in the Library for the Adult Bible Study class or join Ann Kelly in Fellowship Hall 1 & 2 for the Wired Word.
Bibles & Brews returns to its monthly format from February through May. The next gathering will be Wednesday, February 5th, from 5:00-7:00 pm at the Growler. Join in this Spirit-filled conversation as we bring and share different scripture passages about our monthly topic of study. Next week's topic is "Love" and as always, all are welcome!
Interested in joining a small group? FPC's small groups meet monthly to share a meal, study, and support one another in our faith. It’s still a great time to sign up to participate in this ministry. New small groups are created on a rolling basis based on interest. Please contact David Randolph if you are interested or would like to know more.
The congregational bible study starts back during Lent as we look to the book of Romans. Classes will be offered Wednesdays at 10:00 am and 6:45 pm starting Wednesday, March 4th. A nursery may be available with any interest for the evening class. Contact the church office to let us know if you're interested and be on the lookout for more information soon. 
In the spirit of last year's Mr. Rogers' movie night, the Adult Faith Formation Ministry Team invites all adult members of the congregation for another educational movie night on Sunday, February 23rd, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Tallahatchie Gourmet. We are pleased to be joined by Drew Billings, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Ole Miss as we discuss the theological themes present in a popular movie. This is a great opportunity to feel, know, and share as we reflect, discuss and prepare ourselves to talk about these theological themes with others. Our children will also get to participate with their own special program on the church property while adults gather at Tallahatchie Gourmet. RSVPs for adults and kids may be given to the front office. Be on the look out for more information soon about this exciting education opportunity! 
UKirk News
UKirk Ole Miss is grateful to those of you who have volunteered to provide Tuesday night dinners so far! If you're still interested in supporting college students in this way, there are available dates in March and April. Find the schedule and sign up form at , or email Allison Wehrung with questions ( ).
FPC Members: We are serving at More than a Meal on Tuesday, February 18 . More Than a Meal is a non-profit serving a warm meal every Tuesday night to Oxford and Lafayette County residents. Please click on the link and sign up to bring an item or sign up to serve. Thanks in advance for your help.
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 Cup)
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed and implemented by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. They recognized that citizens would very likely be on their own during the early stages of a catastrophic disaster. Accordingly, LAFD decided that some basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve the ability of citizens to survive and to safely help others until responders or other assistance could arrive.

The basic training model that the LAFD initiated was adapted by other fire departments around the country, including communities where the major threats are hurricanes and tornadoes rather that earthquakes. Building on this development, in 1994 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) expanded CERT materials to make them applicable to all hazards and made the program available to communities nationwide.

Community-based preparedness planning allows us all to prepare for and respond to anticipated disruptions and potential hazards following a disaster. As individuals, we can prepare our homes and families to cope during that period – typically 72 to 96 hours. Through pre-event planning, neighborhoods and worksites can also work together to help reduce injuries, loss of lives, and property damage. Neighborhood preparedness will enhance the ability of individuals and neighborhoods to reduce their emergency needs and to manage their existing resources until professional assistance becomes available.

The CERT Program is designed to train individuals to be assets to help their own families, their neighborhoods, and their communities prepare for effective disaster response. The CERT Program can provide an effective first-response capability. Acting as individuals first, then later as members of teams, trained CERT volunteers can fan out within their assigned areas, extinguishing small fires, turning off natural gas at damaged homes, performing light search and rescue, and rendering basic medical treatment. CERTS also act as effective “eyes and ears” for uniformed emergency responders. Trained volunteers also offer an important potential workforce to service organizations in non-hazardous functions.

Registration will begin promptly at 8 am Saturday morning, February 8 th , in Room 101 with assembly in the Sanctuary and training to begin at 8:30 am. Contact Harry Alexander at with any questions or to RSVP.
Here’s What’s Happening with VIPs
(FPC Members & Friends who are 55+)

  • On Thursday, February 20 the VIPs will gather for a Dutch treat dinner at McEwen’s on the Oxford Square at 5:45 pm.
  • Tuesday, March 3 will be Bingo night at FPC. There will be heavy snacks provided and lots of fun that evening, so come join the fun. Each participant is asked to bring a prize. Please don’t spend more than $10 on the prize and remember that there will be males and females participating.
  • Later, on Thursday, March 19 the group will gather for another dinner at Taylor Grocery at 5:45 pm. The church bus will provide transportation for those who don’t want to drive their own cars.

Please remember that reservations are needed for all VIP events so that there are plenty of seats and food for everyone. All you have to do to reserve your spot is call the church office and have your name added to the list. The VIPs welcome you to join them for any and all of these upcoming events this spring!
Pancakes and parades have become a Shrove Tuesday tradition at FPC. Join your church family and our Episcopalian brothers and sisters on Tuesday, February 25 for a Mardi Gras parade around the Square. Everyone will begin to gather at 5:00 but the parade won’t start til 5:30 pm. Afterward the FPC church family will gather in Fellowship Hall for a pancake supper with sausage, syrup, whipped cream and chocolate chips. According to tradition, Shrove Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday is the time to eat up all the eggs, milk and sugar before the fasting of Lent. You may not be into fasting, but you don’t want to miss the Pancake Supper. Don’t forget to don your favorite Mardi Gras attire and bring beads or other items to throw to those enjoying the parade! All are welcome!
Lenten Spiritual Formation Opportunity
Centering Prayer Introductory Workshop

First Presbyterian and St. Peter's Episcopal churches are sponsoring a workshop introducing the method of Centering Prayer, scheduled for Saturday, February 29, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at St. Peter's parish hall. All are invited to attend, whether new to Centering Prayer, or who already practice. Kris Mink, a former parishioner at St. Peter's, will be the presenter. Kris is a commissioned presenter of Centering Prayer from Contemplative Outreach, Inc. Flyers are available in the church office and in the narthex of the sanctuary. For additional information and to register, contact Ann O'Dell at 662-234-2907 or
Moderator - Mary Glynn Wright -
Vice - Moderator - Kathryn Elliott -
Secretary - Whitney Bolen -  
Treasurer - Margaret Fancher -
Historian - Marianna Ochs -
Ex-Moderator - Mary Haskell -
News from the Pews
Memorials and Honorarias

~ With gratitude for contributions to First Presbyterian Church ~

In memory of:

Jean David Crawford

Scottye & Bob Lee

Fannie Elliott

Vada & Gordon Baird
Suzanne Best
Sara Jane Buchanan
Janis Champion
Amy & Michael Dennis and family
Patsy & Jay Eads
Jane Kerr Graham and Bob Nance
Greg Patton
Nancy & Bill Rogers
Mr. & Mrs. John H. Swayze
Nancy Warner

Sue Treas

Ann Crigler
Patsy & Jay Eads
Sandy & Vaughn Grisham
Greg Patton
Nancy & Bill Rogers
Nancy Warner
Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries

February Birthdays

1 Lila Luster, Marianna Ochs
2 Charlie Quick
3 Gail Hercules, Ann Lawson Hobart
4 William Elliott, Kate Embry, Hollins Hardin, Tommy Smith
6 Michael Abraham, West Flautt, Joan Westmoreland
7 Jeb Bishop, John Callery, Ann Dickins, Cynthia Freeland
8 Trey Byars, Jim Jetton, Jennifer Mills, Roy Selvidge
9 Carolyn Hopkins, Madison Lorenzo, Keith Mansel
10 Hayden Williams
11 Margaret Blake Embry, Spencer Huggins, Donna Ruth Roberts
12 Darren Ashmore
13 Michael Blackburn, Kylea Boutwell, Lucy Chiniche, Daniel Payne, Vicki Stevens
16 Olivia Briscoe
17 Mamie Embry, Tad Wilkes
18 Catherine Field, Leslie Orrell, Linda Scarbrough, Aubrey Wigginton
19 Shirley Crawford, Angela Manley
20 Will Lewis
21 Sarah Smith
22 Max Hill
24 Sallie Abernathy
25 Edward Duke, Katherine Estes, Thomas Harris, Chase Neal, Mary Williams
26 Charles Cascio, Jr., Riley Mullen
27 Barry Rose
28 Kris Kersey, Matt Moore

February Anniversaries

4 Kathy & John Neff
5 Susan & Tom Meredith
15 Gale & Richard Gurner
17 Patsy & Jay Eads
20 Debbie & Ken Boutwell
First Dates
The Prayer Shawl Ministry will meet Monday, February 3 at 1:00 pm in Room 101.
The Diaconate will meet Tuesday, February 4 at 5:30 pm in the Session room.
The Mission Ministry Team will meet Wednesday, February 5 at 5:30 pm in Room 101.
The Finance Ministry Team will meet Monday, February 10 at 4:30 pm in Room 101.
The Session will meet Monday, February 10 at 5:30 pm in Fellowship Hall.
The FPC Book Club will meet Tuesday, February 11 at 1:30 pm in Room 101.
The Adult Faith Formation Ministry Team will meet Tues, February 11 at 5:30 pm in Room 101. 
The Director of Music/Organist Search Committee will meet Wednesday, February 12 at 5:30 pm in Room 101.
The Membership & Hospitality Ministry Team will meet Thursday, February 13 at 5:30 pm in Room 101.
The Property Ministry Team will meet Monday, February 24 in Room 101.
The Session
  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
CLASS of 2022
Susan Abbott, John Abernathy, Trey Byars,
Kevin Christian, Greg Patton
The Diaconate

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
CLASS of 2022
Gabe Chiniche, James Day, Rob Howell,
Cliff Smith, Pattye Wilson
Your Church Staff
Interim Associate Pastor
Associate Pastor
Pastor, UKirk Ministry
Interim Choir Director
Director of Elementary Music
Office Administrator
Director of Communications
Property Manager
Nursery Director
Get in touch:
924 Van Buren Avenue / / 662.234.1757
First Presbyterian Church