My dad was – and remains to be – a baseball fanatic. Growing up, he devoured the game, and later on, like so many fathers and mothers before, he did all he could to impart his passion for America’s Pastime to his three boys. In fact, so fervent was Dad’s desire to share his love of baseball with me that even he, a life-long fan of his “beloved St. Louis Cardinals,” could stifle his assured disgust and deep disappointment when, for a time, his own misguided and delinquent middle son chose the “dark side” and began cheering for the Chicago Cubs!
To this day, my father, brothers, and I love gathering around a TV or cluster in the stands (prior to the 2020 season, of course) and cheer on our favorite players. And so, as I was scrolling through the news a few days ago, I was deeply saddened, as were baseball fans everywhere, to learn of the passing of baseball’s icon: “Hammerin’ Hank.”
As is so often the case, when loss comes, remembrance follows. And there’s certainly much to remember and to celebrate about the life and legacy of Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron. As he once remarked: “In playing ball, and in life, a person occasionally gets the opportunity to do something great. When that time comes, only two things matter: being prepared to seize the moment and having the courage to take your best swing.”
And swing he did. Aaron was assuredly a baseball legend but, too, was he a civil rights hero. He spent his life confronting racism fearlessly, wholly committing himself to the betterment of humanity and service to all. And Aaron’s joyous example, humble courage, and devotion to the furtherance of justice bore the blessed fruits of the Spirit and aided in bringing God’s kingdom to bear.   
Our First Presbyterian Church family stands at the cusp of newness. In fact, in the year ahead the possibility “to do something great” will be ours. As healthier days return, as we continue taking steps away from isolation and toward togetherness, as new opportunities for a more meaningful fellowship and mission begin to flourish once again, I pray that we will be prepared to seize the moment and to take our best swing.
With hope,
Session Summary
The Session of First Presbyterian Church
held its stated monthly meeting on
Monday, January 11th at 5:30 pm 

Fourteen elders were present via an electronic Zoom meeting.

General Announcements: Conner Jimenez, son of Julia and Scotty Jimenez will be baptized January 24, 2021. 

Ministry Team Check-in
New ministry team Elder members are as follows:

  • Personnel: Trey Byars and Goodloe Lewis
  • Children and Youth Faith Formation: Lee Miers and Kathryn Elliott
  • Adult Faith Formation: Allyson Ashmore and Ruth O’Dell
  • Membership and Hospitality: Kevin Christian and Drew Mauldin
  • Property: John Abernathy and Hayden Alexander
  • Mission: Greg Patton and Carmille Hovious
  • Finance: Susan Abbott and Pete Boone
  • Clerk of Session: Julie Field

  1. Finance – Elder Susan Abbott reported that a 2021 budget is forthcoming. Ministry teams have submitted their budget requests. There are some lingering pledge cards still coming in at this time that are needed in order to complete financial plans.     
  2. Property – Elder John Abernathy reported that brick improvements at the front steps are complete. Stripping and painting to the front door will begin soon. The Hospitality, Safety, and Security Task Force will reconvene to look at the findings of previous meetings to assess progress toward the goals that were discussed and outlined in prior meetings. An arborist has done an assessment of the front sugar maple. A few new trees will be planted close by in the spring. 
  3. Adult Faith Formation – Reverend David Randolph reported that the drive-in movie night had to be postponed due to weather. Bible study groups are in place. The bible study about James is set to start and Bibles & Brews will continue. 
  4. Children & Youth Faith Formation – Elder Ruth O’Dell reported that they are transitioning with the new Elder leaders of the ministry team, Kathryn Elliott and Lee Miers.
  5. Membership & Hospitality – Kevin Christian reported that the Mardi Gras event is a possibility as well as the church golf tournament in May. Plans are TBD. The online membership app/directory will be shared with members in order for them to sign on and create a user profile and begin participation.
  6. Mission – The ministry team met and is continuing to highlight our mission partners in the monthly newsletter. Elder Greg Patton gave a summary report from our Haiti mission partners with regard to the clean water system and medical clinic. It is reported that there is progress in the areas of access to clean water and medical care. FPC’s support is appreciated.    
  7. Personnel –   no report
  8. Worship – no report
  9. Deacon’s report – Reverend David Randolph emphasized that deacons are moving away from programming and more toward pastoral care and requested that any concerns be passed along to members of the diaconate.  

Old Business

  1. Services of Worship/Covid Task Force discussion – the task force is continuing to meet weekly and has recommended that the current policies remain in place. Elder Pete Boone requested that the session remain informed about what other local churches are doing. Elder Julie Field requested that the task force will have in place a recommendation for attendance once worship attendees have proof of vaccination.
  2. Children/Youth Faith Formation Personnel – further discussion will proceed once the budget has been adopted.

New Business – Reverend Barrett Milner expressed a desire for the entire session, in lieu of an in person retreat at this time, to gather to work on strategic planning for the church. The meeting or retreat will encompass goal setting and visionary discussion. A tentative date for this gathering and planning session is proposed for May. Currently, both ministers are meeting individually with all ministry teams to assess future goals.   
Next stated session meeting will be February 8th at 5:30 pm.  
Financial Summary
As our church family continues ministering during this season of social isolation, please continue to remember your faithful giving to our church. The ministry of FPC continues to make an impact within our congregation and throughout our community. Bible studies and various small group meetings continue online to enrich our lives through the sharing of scripture; local missional activities continue to care for others like More Than A Meal and Love Packs; partners in mission, like Interfaith Compassion, the pantry, Doors of Hope and more, continue their important work as well and we help make that possible.
There are a variety of ways you can give:

If you need help with any specific ways to give, please contact Frances Saralvarez at
Sunday, February 7, 2021
5th Sunday after Epiphany
10:30 am online worship with communion

Sunday, February 14, 2021
Transfiguration of the Lord
10:30 am online worship

Sunday, February 21, 2021
1st Sunday in Lent
10:30 am online worship

Sunday, February 28, 2021
2nd Sunday in Lent
10:30 am online worship
Join us for worship each Sunday at 10:25 am on Facebook Live. You do not have to have an account to join us. The video will go live on the church's public Facebook group. If you do not have a Facebook account, a message will pop up asking if you wish to join. Simply click, "not now" at the bottom of that message and it will go away. You may then enjoy the video as it plays live. 
Lectionary texts for February

February 7 - Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11, 20c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; Mark 1:29-39
February 14 - 2 Kings 2:12; Psalm 50:1-6; 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; Mark 9:2-9
February 21 - Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 19:9-15
February 28 - Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:23-31; Romans 4:13-25; Mark 8:31-38
Remember in Prayer
FPC Members: Walter Nance; Tommy Patrick; Family of Shirley Crawford; Helen Scruggs; Wil Howie; Martha Walcott; Family of Mary Sims; Lark Lindley Wells; Lydia Moak; Family of Pierce Buford; Max Williams; Family of Joe Burnett; Family of Doug Alexander; Family of Marleah Hobbs; Family of Elizabeth Black; Family of Jane Boykin; J. T. Davis; Becky & Joe Murphey; Lynton Dilley; Debbie McElreath; Director of Music/Organist Search Committee
Family and Friends: Family of Tommie Waters; Family of Paulette Logan; Family of Florence Pulliam; Stephanie Polk; Taylor Polk; Wanda Lundstrom; Family of Jane Chancey Dubberly; Family of Randy Lutz; Charles Moseley; John Hamauei and family; Idalia Balcazar Gomez; Rhona Justice-Malloy & Amanda Malloy; Rachel & Bruce Robinson; Family of Betty Field; Joyce Sumners; Richard Bremer; Sarah LaPrade; Mary Tyler Browne; Patch Hailey; Family of Mary Poole; Family of Ruth Ellen Duvall Kuhnel; Family of Carolyn Stevenson; Sigrid Morrison Long; Family of Barbara Young; Pauline Dick; Bill Sessions; Family of David Brooks; Roun McNeal; Jamie Henderson Turner; Family of Joel James; Lowry Davis; Family of Don Gleason; Brad Hovious; B. Jones; Pat Gillenwater; Tom Callery; Tom Mullen; Linda Chavers; Mark Barnes; Joe Houston; Matt Branch; Erica Baggett; Mackenzie Stetz; Mike Smith; Parchman Prison inmates; Haven House residents; Our Haiti partners; Oxford & Lafayette County First Responders; Community leaders
U. S. Military: SSgt 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.
The FPC prayer chain is ready if you or someone you know is in need. This is a confidential list that is independent from the names listed above. Please contact Carlisle Wood at or 662-832-8606. All requests are held in strict confidence. 
Shrove Tuesday
Save the date for our annual community Shrove Tuesday Parade! All are welcome to celebrate in a healthy and safe manner on Tuesday, February 16th as our congregation partners with St. Peter's Episcopal Church in this fun tradition. A pancake supper will not be possible this year but there will still be plenty of fun for our whole community! The parade will begin and end from the front lawn at FPC and include a special communal liturgy to prepare for the arrival of Lent. More information will be shared closer to the event for all interested in participating.
Adult Faith Formation
Get your favorite snacks ready because FPC is going to the movies!!! All are welcome at the Oxford Film Festival Drive-In on Saturday, March 9th, to watch the 1988 classic, "Big"! Come and enjoy an evening of fellowship and fun with your church family! An evening time will be announced soon once we know when it will be dark enough to screen the movie. The Oxford Film Festival Drive-In is located next to the Krystal at 100 Thacker Loop, Oxford MS, 38655. To learn more about the drive-in experience, visit their website here. Please RSVP below or with the church office to let us know how many people and cars to expect.
FPC's congregational Bible study through the book of James continues during the first two weeks of February. All are welcome to participate in this ongoing adventure through Scripture as we focus on the final two chapters of this winter session book. Two sessions are offered via Zoom each Wednesday at 10:00 am and Thursday at 5:15 pm. Please contact the church office to sign up for either class time.
Bibles with Brews continues during this month with late night digital editions on February 3rd, 10th, and 24th. All are welcome to join the conversation each Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:00 pm as we bring and share different scripture passages about a group picked topic. The topic for February 3rd is "Rest" Please contact David Randolph if you would like to participate.
PYF News
PYF has returned via Zoom each Sunday at 7:00 pm! To be added to the GroupMe and receive invites to these meetings, please email Lindsay at
As the pandemic has persisted, more families are finding it difficult to place food on the family table. The City of Oxford has therefore converted the Free Little Libraries already in place to Free Little Pantries. There are several around town with plans to build more. These miniature pantries are located at CB Webb apartments (900 Molly Barr Road), Price Hill Park (101 Price Hill Cove), Stone Center (423 Washington Ave.) and Oxford Wheel Estates Trailer Park (913 South 18th Street Ext.). Members of FPC are encouraged to donate nonperishable goods. You may deliver them directly to the Little Pantries or you may drop them off at the church office. Suggested items needed include:
  • canned beans
  • dry beans
  • peanut butter or other nut butters
  • rolled oats
  • canned fruit in juice, not in light or heavy syrup
  • canned vegetables
  • soups
  • canned tuna in water
  • canned chicken
  • rice
  • quinoa
  • nuts, unsalted
  • seeds, unsalted
  • shelf stable milk and milk substitutes
  • pasta
  • pasta sauce
  • apple sauce
  • olive or canola oil
  • canned tomatoes
  • dried fruits, no sugar added
  • honey
  • chicken, beef, and vegetable broths and stock

Thank you!
Presbyterian Women Officers for 2020-2021
Kathryn Elliott - Moderator
Caroline McIntosh - Vice Moderator
Whitney Bolen - Secretary
Margaret Fancher - Treasurer
Marianna Ochs - Historian
Thank you for your willingness to serve FPC in this way!
News from the Pews
Honorariums & Memorials

~ With gratitude for contributions to First Presbyterian Church ~

In memory of:

Susan Emptage Burkett

Homer Burkett

Jean Davidson Crawford

Scottye & Robert Lee

Shirley Crawford

Lou Burney
Bette & Jeff Butler
Kristina Carlson & Captain Alexander
Greg Patton

William Winter

Marty & Steve Mauldin
Kay & Larry Tyler
Max & Nila Williams

In honor of:

Barrett Milner

Greg Patton

David Randolph

Greg Patton
Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries
February Birthdays:

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

February Anniversaries:

5 Susan & Tom Meredith
15 Gale & Richard Gurner
17 Patsy & Jay Eads
20 Debbie & Ken Boutwell
Note: The March deadline for submissions to First Press is February 15.
The Session
 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
CLASS of 2023
Allyson Ashmore, Kathryn Elliott, Goodloe Lewis, Drew Mauldin,
Lee Miers
The Diaconate

CLASS of 2021
Thelma Curry, Karen Elliott,
Luke Harris, Brian Hyneman,
Niles Lovelady
CLASS of 2022
Gabrielle Chiniche, James Day,
Rob Howell, Cliff Smith,
Pattye Wilson
Class of 2023
Laura Jackson, Chloe Lloyd,
Allison McCord, Shae Orrell,
Adam Quick
Your Church Staff

The Ministers
Senior Pastor
Associate Pastor
Pastor, UKirk Ministry
Interim Choir Director
Director of Elem. Music
Office Administrator
Dir. of Communications
Property Manager
Nursery Director