First Press | an online newsletter | January 2021
For many, the New Year is an opportunity to start anew, to begin again, to make a change. Many routinely make (and break) New Year’s resolutions. For others it is simply the return to post-Christmas holiday routines. Nonetheless, for all of us, the story of the year ahead is yet to be written. And despite our collective inability to predict all that will be, we can rest assured that the bourgeoning of newness and the flourishing of something novel awaits. Indeed, amid the coming joys and blessings – as well as the inevitable setbacks and heartbreaks – that we’ll experience in 2021, this New Year presents us with an untold number of opportunities for new beginnings. 

Last month, as I hungrily thumbed through the pages of John O’Donohue’s delightfully insightful book, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, my eyes alit on one of O’Donohue’s blessings.  “For A New Beginning” spoke to me, and I pray that it will speak to each of you as we, together, lean into 2021 and embrace the possibilities of newness. 
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
           Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you will yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plentitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk’;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Sisters and brothers, blessings assuredly await us in the year ahead. 

With hope,
“The grass withers, the flower fades;
but the Word of our God will stand forever.”
(Isaiah 40:8)

Last January, Ann Kelly and I put out a public challenge to our church family. We invited you to join us in reading the Bible, all the way through to the last chapter, over the course of a year. And what a year it turned out to be!

There certainly was, and continues to be, no better way to feel, know, and share the love of Christ than to surround ourselves with the gift of God’s written Word. I’ve been so proud of those who have faithfully read along, day after day, during this biblical adventure. Throughout a season of social distancing, it has been a constant source of comfort for me to know that I was connected with members of my church family through the shared reading of scripture. It didn’t matter where we were as we read, or even if we read at the same time, what mattered is that we were connected in Christ’s Spirit; For as Jesus said, “for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20, KJV) The conversations that have come from this challenge have been personally uplifting. It’s been a joy to hear about what you’ve noticed in each story, or how a specific text connected with your life in a very real and meaningful way. Thank you to everyone who read their bible throughout 2020 and to all those who continue to read on as we journey into this new year.

I’d like to bring together everyone who participated in this endeavor, whether you’ve completed each reading or not, for a conversation about this shared experience. Please email me at if you would like to participate. I’d also love to read any reflections you already have to share about this adventure through Scripture. Those interested will gather in some way at the end of the month for fellowship and reflection.

As we enter into this new year, may God’s Spirit continue to rest upon each of us as we regularly return to God’s written Word.

- David
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
Class of 2023 Elders
Allyson Ashmore
Allyson serves alongside her husband, Darren, as the Director for Camp Hopewell and has been a member of FPC Oxford for 19 years. In 2018, she completed her Certificate in Christian Spiritual Formation from Columbia Seminary. She has served in many areas in the life of our church. Allyson loves walking her dog, Charlie, in the woods and spending time with her family, daughters Brynn and Gracyn and new son-in-law Steven.
Kathryn Elliott
I have been a member of FPC since 1973 when my parents, Joe and Martha Burnett moved to Oxford. In 1990, I married Allen Elliott, Tom and Alisa Elliott’s son, who is also a lifelong member of FPC. We have 3 children, William(25), Miller(21), and Lock(18). I am a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and have worked at Internal Medicine of Oxford for over 18 years. I’m looking forward to serving FPC and finding creative ways to serve our church during this most difficult time.
Goodloe Tankersley Lewis
My connection to First Presbyterian goes back four generations through the Lewis and Tankersley families. My grandfather, Will Lewis, Sr., taught the Men’s Sunday School Class for decades right up until his death in 1989. My grandmother, Marjorie Tankersley Lewis was also an active member. My father, Will Lewis, Jr. is a Ruling Elder, as was his sister, my aunt, Olivia Nabors. I am a partner at Hickman, Goza & Spragins law firm here in Oxford. I am married to Angela Avery, and we have two boys: William Lewis (age 16) and Avery Lewis (age 14).
Drew Mauldin
Drew is a native of Oxford and an almost lifelong member of FPC Oxford. He and his wife, Corey, returned to Oxford in 2017 after a hiatus in Tupelo. Drew practices law at the law firm of Mayo Mallette, PLLC and Corey is a nurse practitioner at the Ole Miss Student Health Center. They have two children, Glo (4) and Jack (2), and are expecting a third this spring. Drew was previously ordained as an elder at FPC Tupelo.
Lee Miers
My name is Lee Miers, my wife and I joined the church in 2012 . I am currently employed with Corteva Agriscience as a Territory Manager covering Northwest Mississippi and West Tennessee. We have two daughters, Mary Elizabeth (6) and Ann Louise (4) . We are expecting our 3rd daughter at the end of April . 
Class of 2023 Deacons
Laura Jackson
I am a retired elementary school librarian with two grown daughters. What a privilege it is for me to serve as deacon after growing up in this church, being married at First Presbyterian, and having one daughter baptized here.
Chloe Lloyd
Chloe Lloyd is a Nurse Practitioner at Oxford Orthopedics. She joined First Presbyterian Church in 2015 but has been visiting with her family since she was born. She grew up in Jackson, MS. After nursing school, she moved to Dallas, TX, and returned to Oxford in 2014. She is excited to serve our church family and eager to get back to congregational living. 
Allison McCord
I am married to Steve McCord and we have one daughter, Beckham, who is a junior at Oxford High School. I grew up in this church, with Steve and me both originally being from Oxford. We moved to Batesville when Steve graduated from law school and I taught kindergarten at South Panola. We are not both retired and glad to be back in Oxford.
Shae Orrell
I am married to Leslie Orrell and we have three children (Liza, Shands, and Ophelia). I am currently an academic teacher at the North Mississippi Regional Center. This will my second term as member of the diaconate. I look forward to serving the church once again.
Adam Quick
Adam Quick along his wife Brynnen and their two Children Baker (8.5) and Charlie (6). Adam is a native of Jackson, MS and a graduate of the university of Mississippi and has been selling real estate in Oxford for 16 years. Adam enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing, farming and traveling and is a passionate volunteer for the Catch-A- Dream Foundation!
The words of the Gloria Patri continue to guide our worship as we live into this season of Christmas-tide. This Sunday's service looks to the phrase, "is now and ever shall be" as we reflect upon God's Kingdom here on earth and in heaven. Scriptures for service are Revelation 21:1-5, and Philippians 2:1-13. 
Sunday, January 3, 2021
2nd Sunday of Christmas
10:30 am online worship with communion

Sunday, January 10, 2021
Baptism of the Lord
10:30 am online worship

Sunday, January 17, 2021
2nd Sunday after Epiphany
10:30 am online worship

Sunday, January 24, 2021
3rd Sunday after Epiphany
10:30 am online worship

Sunday, January 31, 2021
4th Sunday after Epiphany
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 January

January 3 - Jeremiah 31:7-14; Psalm 147:12-20; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 1:(1-9) 10-18
January 10 - Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29:1-11; Acts 19:1-7; Mark 1:4-11
January 17 - 1 Samuel 3:1-10 (11-20); Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; John 1:43-51
January 24 - Jonah 3:1-5, 10; Psalm 62:5-12; 1 Corinthians 7:29-31; Mark 1:14-20
January 31 - Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111:1-10; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28
Remember in Prayer
FPC Members: Elizabeth Owen; Family of Shirley Crawford; Helen Scruggs; Wil Howie; Billy Wood; 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; Walter Nance; Debbie McElreath; Director of Music/Organist Search Committee
Family and Friends: Idalia Balcazar Gomez; Rhona Justice-Malloy & Amanda Malloy; Paulette Logan; Tommy Waters; Mary Gietzen; Donna Buckley; 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; Ted Stocker; Tom Callery; Tom Mullen; 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; 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. Please contact Carlisle Wood at or 662-832-8606. All requests are held in strict confidence.
Adult Faith Formation
Let's ring in the new year with a movie night! The Adult Faith Formation ministry team is excited to invite our whole church family to a screening of the 1988 classic, "Big"! Come and park next to your friends and family on Saturday, January 9th, at the Oxford Film Festival Drive-In. The movie lot will open at 6:00 pm for a 6:30pm showing. It is located next to the Krystal at 100 Thacker Loop, Oxford MS, 38655. Click here to learn more about how the drive-in movie works by visiting their website. RSVPs will help to ensure there is enough room for all so please let the church office know you're interested. More information about parking your car will be shared closer to the event.
Mark your calendars now for a special bible study offering at FPC! Starting later this month, FPC will offer a winter congregational bible study on the book of James. This is the perfect class to participate in for those who love this regular activity and for those who have always wanted to try it out. The only book you'll need is a Bible. Classes begin on Wednesday, January 13th and will be offered for five weeks to cover the five chapters of James. Two sections will be offered again via Zoom each Wednesday at 10:00 am and Thursday at 5:15 pm. Contact the church office to sign up.
Bibles with Brews returns this month with late night digital editions on January 13th, 20th, and 27th. All are welcome to join the conversation, from 7:30 to 9:30 pm each Wednesday, as we bring and share different scripture passages about a group picked topic. The topic for January 13th is "New Beginnings!" Please contact David Randolph if you would like to participate. 
Are you interested in joining a small group? FPC's small group ministry has continued throughout this past year by meeting regularly to support one another in our faith through fellowship and study. With the arrival of a new year, it's the perfect time to sign up and begin building deeper relationships within this church family. All are welcome to participate within this important ministry. New small groups will be created on a rolling basis based on interest. Please contact David Randolph if you would like to sign up. 
PYF News
Thank you to all the youth, parents, and volunteers that helped to make this year's Christmas Tree Sale a success! This year's trees were beautiful and helped ensure PYF can enjoy the wonder that is Montreat this summer. Special thanks to Robert Hall for managing the lot throughout the week and to Lindsey and Anthony for their continued leadership!
In 2010 a group of concerned Oxford citizens met to address the challenge of homelessness in our community. From those early discussions Sherry Williams-Jenkins established the Doors of Hope Transition Ministries. “The purpose of the Ministry includes, but is not limited to, guiding homeless families and at-risk homeless families in Lafayette County toward self- reliance and stability through a holistic individualized approach that includes training, mentoring and supportive housing.”

The Ministry leases two transitional housing units for qualifying families with children for 4-6 months at a time. These families are often single, working mothers. The Ministry coordinates financial counseling, healthy meal preparation and exercise, life skills, medical needs, education, etc. A recent new priority has been to assist qualified applicants to “house in place,” ie, continue to keep their own home, thereby better assuring a more stable home life for their family. Mary Margaret Andrews, the executive director, works with a part time social worker and an Americorp VISTA volunteer to coordinate the program. Since its inception, Doors of Hope has been based at First Presbyterian Church which provides office space and various operating expenses. During the pandemic, Doors of Hope has applied for and received grants from Oxford United Way and the CREATE Foundation to assist an additional 110 families in Lafayette County. Doors of Hope also sponsors a “Step Two” program whereby successful alumni meet with current participants to offer their support and example.

Are you interested in learning more and perhaps participating in this outreach ministry? Even during a pandemic there are multiple opportunities to engage. You can prepare meals and deliver them to the church to be distributed, donate new clothing, or provide common household goods and toiletries that are always needed. Call the church office or go to At the website you’ll find a list of needed supplies as well as opportunities to contribute financially. You may also adopt a family to provide specific support. In the post-Covid world that will most assuredly arrive in the new year, there will be opportunities to engage personally as there is an ongoing need for mentors, tutors, financial advisors, etc. Good things are happening at Doors of Hope Transition Ministries. Stay tuned!
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:

Joe Burnett

Robbie Sims Schuchard

Shirley Crawford

Mrs. Jimmy Biddy (Bea)
Debra Bryson
Dean & Yung Chow
Sally Featherstone
Elizabeth McCullouch
Greg Patton

Ruth Ellen Duvall Kuhnel

Bettye Butler

Catherine Rosser

Guff & Patsy Abbott

Mary Sims

Guff & Patsy Abbott
Robbie Sims Schuchard

William Winter

Max & Nila Williams

In honor of:

Carmille Hovious

Bettye B. Funderburk
Michael Robbins

Mary Elizabeth & Ann Louise Miers

Lee & Cindy Miers
Upcoming Birthdays & Anniversaries
January Birthdays

1 Frances Crawford, Edna Wright
2 Kathryn Hill, Steve Mauldin, Jody Scruggs, Kerry Wigginton
3 Eli Manning
5 Barbara Davis
6 Nancy Giles
7 Lindsey Baquie, Anna Presley Harris, Maribel Sullivan-Gonzalez, Lynn Treas
8 Cade Smith
9 Ney Williams
10 Lu Ann Smith
12 Donald Felts
13 Melba Bowlin, Samuel Cribbs, Suzan Deloach
15 Caroline McIntosh
16 Hal Haney
17 Toni Joyer, Ann O'Dell
18 Sally Hines, Catherine Servati
19 Becky Murphey
20 Nolan Franklin, Peter Kondos, Suzy Phillips
21 Jon Crawford, Shelby Goza, Ed Holcomb, Avery Laughlin
22 Anita Drury
24 Emory Barrios, David Coon, Alli Hayward, Cydni Kersey, Pick Scruggs
25 Pat Lowe
26 Patsy Eads, Jeffrey Hollis
27 Monroe Alexander, Charles McClatchy, Henry Tanner, Mary Edith Walker
28 Thelma Curry, Amy Wilkes
29 Caroline Manning
30 Rob Howell
31 Pratt Wilkinson

January Anniversaries

14 Linda & John Scarbrough
16 Dana & Ney Williams
22 Sarah & Cliff Smith
24 Yung & Dean Chow
30 Allyson & Darren Ashmore
Note: The February deadline for submissions to First Press is Friday, January 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
Dir. of Elem. Music
Office Administrator
Dir. of Communications
Property Manager
Nursery Director
924 Van Buren Ave. • 662.234.1757 •