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First Press | an online newsletter | May 2021 edition

A letter from your Associate Pastor...

At some point during the pastoral call process, I had to fill out a Personal Information Form or “PIF”. It’s a lovely yet tedious document that helps pastoral candidates and churches connect through the PC(USA)’s version of eHarmony. Every profile includes answers to a few general questions, such as “Describe the ministry setting to which you believe God is calling you.”

Back in the spring of 2017, I answered that question by affirming my belief that God had called me into active ministry within the local church. It was important to me that I be open to that exact setting as, with God’s help, it wouldn’t just be my own; it would also be the place where my family was called to be. I wrote about my desire to be called into a community that faithfully strived to live out what we believe every day of the week, and not just on Sunday mornings. I prayed for a setting where people were able to be vulnerable with one another through the shared study of scripture, thoughtful discussion, and intentional prayer. My hope was to be called to a place where the congregation engaged with each other and their community as examples of God’s love through the faithful service.

If I were asked again to answer that question today, I would have to add, “I have been blessed to participate in a wonderful and loving community like this and I greatly desire to help nurture and grow similar communities wherever God calls.”

There is not enough room in this entire newsletter to truly express the gratitude I feel for you. Thank you for being the answer to my prayers four years ago. Thank you for all the love you have offered me, and my family, throughout our time together. I pray that you always know that you are beloved and that your future is bright! Thanks be to God for First Presbyterian Church and the faithful ways you proclaim God’s love shared throughout God’s Holy Word.

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


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Session Summary




April 12, 2021

The Session of First Presbyterian Church held its stated monthly meeting on Monday, April 12th at 5:30pm 


Special Order of the Day: Kendall Cox joined the meeting via Zoom to give information about the Matthew 25 program. Kendall is an Elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenville and serves on the St. Andrew Presbytery Mission committee where she is actively involved with Living Waters. She shared with us her congregation's experience as a Matthew 25 Church. It is an invitation to participate in three areas of focus of building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating poverty. At the stated Session meeting last month, the Mission Team's motion to register FPC with our national PCUSA office as a Matthew 25 church was tabled to allow members of the Session more time to learn about this denomination wide endeavor.


Ministry Team Check-in 

  1. Finance – YTD date reports were shared electronically.
  2. Property – Elder John Abernathy reported that the team has met twice within this past month. Improvements at the front steps railing are taking place. The yard clean-up day went well. The team has been in contact with the city to address possible water issues that may be contributing to the water problems in the basement.  The bus is in need of repairs and that will be handled locally. Parking in areas around the church may be designated with signs to avoid non-church members parking in those areas.
  3. Adult Faith Formation – no report
  4. Children & Youth Faith Formation – Elder Kathryn Elliott reported that the Easter Egg Hunt was well received. Graduation events are being planned. Bible School plans are still coming together.
  5. Membership & Hospitality – Elder Drew Mauldin reported that summer lunches may be moved to August instead of June this summer. A welcome and celebration of the first year of Barrett’s service is being planned for June. Instructional information is being developed to help members sign up for the Realm membership app. A visitor card is being developed to improve welcoming efforts.
  6. Mission – The Session discussed at length the Mission Team's motion to register FPC with our national PCUSA office as a Matthew 25 church. The website connects churches with a format to exchange ideas as well as making resources available to churches that sign up. The church can choose which areas of focus and what resources it would like to utilize. *Motion from Mission Team – Motion for our congregation engage as a Matthew 25 Church with the focus of building church vitality. The motion was approved. Elder Greg Patton also reported that an anonymous donor at FPC has offered to fund the installation of a water line in Bongnotte, Haïti running from the guest house to the doctor’s house and to the outpatient clinic that Dr. Gladys Memnon has completed building. The clinic continues to see patients six days a week. With the purchase of new batteries and filters, the Living Waters purification station in Bongnotte is again operational. Volunteers are being recruited for the Pantry for Tuesdays and Wednesdays in June.
  7. Personnel – Search teams are in process for the Choir/Organist position and Director of Children and Youth Faith Formation.
  8. Worship – no report
  9. Deacon’s report – Reverend David Randolph reported that the diaconate has been providing meals to those in need. Deacons are contacting members in their 2-4 groups. Barrett will ask Frances to include the deacons on communications so that they are better informed.

Old Business

  1. Children/Youth Faith Formation Personnel – Reverend Barrett Milner reported that the search team is meeting currently with progress.
  2. Strategic Planning for Ministry teams – Ministry teams are reminded to respond to some information gathering prior to meeting as a full session in a strategic planning retreat.
  3. Services of Worship/Covid Task Force discussion – The Covid Task Force recommends increasing the capacity to 80 with the other current recommendations staying the same. The session concurs. 


New Business – Wedding application for Staten Smith and Drew Carter, date TBD. After discussion and review of the policy, it was determined to permit the wedding at the non-member rate.


General Announcements: Next stated session meeting will be May 10th at 5:30 pm.  

Financial Summary

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As our church family continues ministering during this season of change, 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.

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, May 2, 2021

5th Sunday of Easter

9:00 am worship with communion

11:00 am worship with communion*

Sunday, May 9, 2021

6th Sunday of Easter/Mother's Day

9:00 am worship

11:00 am worship*

Sunday, May 16, 2021

7th Sunday of Easter

9:00 am worship

11:00 am worship*

Sunday, May 23, 2021


9:00 am worship

11:00 am worship*

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Trinity Sunday

9:00 am worship

11:00 am worship*

*online worship available

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The Sacrament of Communion will be celebrated this Sunday, May 2, at both the 9:00 am and 11:00 am services. For those celebrating on-line, please remember to set up your worship space with the appropriate elements.

Join us for worship each Sunday at 10:55 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.  


Sanctuary flower dates are available May 30, and June 6, 13, and 27. To provide flowers in honor or in memory of a loved one, contact Susan Joiner at or 662-808-3240. Contributions to the Flower Fund are greatly appreciated.  

Lectionary texts for May

May 2 - Acts 8:26-40; Psalm 22:25-31; 1 John 4:7-21; John 15:1-8

May 9 - Acts 10:44-48; Psalm 98; 1 John 5:1-6; John 15:9-17

May 16 - Acts 1:15-17, 21-26; Psalm 1; 1 John 5:9-13; John 17:6-19

May 23 - Acts 2:1-21; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 104:24-34, 35b; Romans 8:22-27; Acts 2:1-21; John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15

May 30 - Isaiah 6:1-8; Psalm 29; Romans 8:12-17; John 3:1-17

Remember in Prayer


FPC Members: Teresa Flautt; Caroline McIntosh; Family of 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 Marleah Hobbs; J. T. Davis; Becky & Joe Murphey; Lynton Dilley; Debbie McElreath; Director of Music/Organist Search Committee


Family and Friends: Family of William Gietzen; Family of Steve Milner; Daniel Kwak; Ellington Family; Family of Tom Mullen; Norma Myers; Family of Tommie Waters; 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; Rhona Justice-Malloy & Amanda Malloy; Joyce Sumners; Richard Bremer; Sarah LaPrade; Mary Tyler Browne; Patch Hailey; Family of Carolyn Stevenson; Sigrid Morrison Long; Pauline Dick; Bill Sessions; Roun McNeal; Jamie Henderson Turner; Lowry Davis; Brad Hovious; B. Jones; Pat Gillenwater; 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.

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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.

Adult Faith Formation

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Bibles with Brews continues next week, May 5, for a special in-person gathering back home at the Growler! Come out and enjoy this time of fellowship and study together starting at 6:00 pm. Outdoor tables will be available for this gathering. The topic is "Friends & Family" and as always, all are welcome! Contact David Randolph for more details. 


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Since 2013 FPC has partnered with our sisters and brothers in Bongnotte, Haiti. A Living Waters purification system has been operated by residents of the village for 4 years. Those using the clean water have seen a significant drop in gastrointestinal disease and skin infections. FPC continues to assist with maintenance of the system. In 2015 Dr. Gladys Memnon single handedly established and built an ambulatory medical clinic. Staffed by three part-time physicians and a dentist, the clinic averages over 200 patients per month. As the clinic's reputation has grown, people from surrounding villages are now seeking care there as well.

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FPC continues to contribute $300 per month to supplement the salaries of the physicians and nurses. When the medical clinic was built, there was not a water source for the building. A member of FPC has recently made an anonymous donation to run a water line from a local source to the clinic as well as to one of the physician's homes which did not have running water. Dr. Gladys would like to express her deepest gratitude for the ongoing support FPC has provided. As she is fond of proclaiming, "Thanks God!" Due to political instability and the pandemic, members of FPC has not been able to make our annual visit the past two years. However, your support continues to make a difference to many in the Bongnotte community. Please hold our Haitian friends in prayer.

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*The solar powered Living Waters purification system.

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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 ~

Tom Callery

Ben & Adalene Pettis

Jane Dubberly

Ben & Adalene Pettis

William Hawthorne

Ygondine Sturdivant Creasy Fund

Steve Milner

Bill & Melba Bowlin

Henry & Rose Paris

Connie Zinn

Tom Mullen

Ben & Adalene Pettis

Walter Nance

Ben & Adalene Pettis

Tommie Waters

Ben & Adalene Pettis

Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries

May Birthdays

2 Tucker Milner, Olivia Williams

4 Ruby Jane Baquie, Plicca Watt, Hassell Wilkinson

5 Anne Hunter, Scott Manley, Mary Morrison

6 Alisa Elliott, Mack Schuesselin

8 Stefanie Goodwiller, Bill Mayo, Nolton Rawl

9 Collins Walker

10 Pat Atkinson, Evelyn Rose Carmean, Jane Reeves Carmean, Mary Jack Mullen

11 Jane Lyle Byars, Blair Hobbs

12 Harriman Abernathy, Olivia Lovelace

13 Hayden Cascio

14 Allyn Cascio, Case Embry, Danny McKittrick

15 Nana Adjekum-Boateng, David Robinson

16 Grace Ann Wilbanks

17 Gabrielle Chiniche, Kaitlyn Flowers, Dick Scruggs

18 Lynda Huggins, Carmicheal Jenkins

19 Anna Claire Franklin, Justin Kennon, Matthew Simpson

21 Phil Baquie, Kathy Neff

22 Beth Ann Fennelly, Mary Shields Hunter, Jack Mauldin

23 Barrett Milner

25 Lauren Goodwiller, Lucille Jones, Jenny Kate Luster

26 Jeffrey Butler, Allen Elliott, Georgia Wigginton

27 Kevin Christian, Alan Eads, Bradley Goodwiller, Harrison Atkinson, Betsy Spencer

28 John Scarbrough

29 Christopher Newman

30 Duvall Flautt, Paul Hester

31 Shae Orrell, William Webb

May Anniversaries

3 Amanda & Brian Hyneman, Ramey & Brent Hardin

7 Whitney & Patrick Bolen

8 Diane & Dick Scruggs

10 Pat & Richard Atkinson, Jacquelyn & Robert Gage

12 Tina & Tony Montgomery, Christy & Matt Nielson

18 Kelli & Bradley Briscoe

21 Melba & Bill Bowlin

23 Carlisle & Billy Wood

24 Shelley & Tommy Cribbs, Beth Ann Fennelly & Tom Franklin

26 Kathy & Ben Griffith, Bobbie & Sid Shaw

27 Dorothy Lou & Mack Aldridge

28 Lindsey & Phil Baquie, Nancy & Don Giles, June & Duke Goza

29 Beth & Bobby Kennedy, Randall & Lee Mize

30 Teresa & David Flautt, Lenore & Mit Hobbs, Molly & Griffin Tanner

31 Anne & Robert Gowdy, Catie & Paul Hester

Note: The June deadline for submissions to First Press is Saturday, May 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 Congregation

The Ministers

Rev. Barrett C. Milner

Senior Pastor

Rev. J. David Randolph

Associate Pastor

Rev. Allison C. Wehrung

Pastor, UKirk Ministry

Dale H. Beech

Interim Choir Director

Terrell R. Hall

Director of Elem. Music

Frances Saralvarez

Office Administrator

Jessica M. McPhail

Dir. of Communications

Wade Simpson

Property Manager

LaShaunda Sisk

Nursery Director