First Press | an online newsletter | October 2020 Edition
Twenty-nine weeks ago today, I was at the Juan G. Hall Presbyterian Church in Cardenas, Cuba, alongside treasured friends from Lakeview’s mission team, as well as my Cuban church family. Twenty-nine weeks ago today, many of you were enjoying the blessed distraction of Spring Break relaxation. Twenty-nine weeks ago today, both you and I were anticipating that First Presbyterian Church, Oxford would be gathering the following Sunday to hear the final report from your Pastor Nominating Committee and to vote to extend a call, welcoming me to become your 26th pastor. Twenty-nine weeks ago today, things were “normal.” While rejoicing in a long history of goodness and mission and witness, there was excitement for the possibility and promise of new beginnings for our beloved church family. There was anticipation for new friendships to be born. There was bright hope for our future together. 

Twenty-nine weeks later…my how things have changed! We are grieving. We are overwhelmed. We are distracted. We long for “normal” to return. And yet, for the first time in 30 weeks, following so many months of anxiety-filled separation, many of us are joyously preparing to gather together on Sunday October 4th in our beloved sanctuary to worship. Pastoral Letter re:COVID-19 

Together, on World Communion Sunday, alongside sisters and brothers from across the globe, we will gather to break bread and to share the cup of Christ. And later that afternoon, we will celebrate the thoughtful discernment and diligent work of this church family, as well as the calling of the Holy Spirit as I am installed as your new pastor. After all this time apart, after all this time of grieving, after all this time of uncertainty and change, we still have reason to hope. For as the scripture promises:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24, NRSV)

Thanks be to God! We still have reason to hope.

Grace and peace,
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
Monthly Bible Reading
2020's journey through Scripture continues in the month of October with new books to explore! Within the Old Testament, we conclude the writings of the prophet Isaiah and turn to the words of the prophet Jeremiah which says, "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." (Jer. 29:11) Within the New Testament, we turn to the John's Gospel as we learn more about the Light of the World. The link for October's readings may be found here or on the website. May God's Spirit continue to support all of us as we spend time reading God's Word.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
World Communion Sunday
8:30 am & 11:00 am worship
4:00 pm Installation service
11:00 am online worship

Sunday, October 11, 2020
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
8:30 am & 11:00 am worship
11:00 am online worship

Sunday, October 18, 2020
29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
8:30 am & 11:00 am worship
11:00 am online worship

Sunday, October 25, 2020
30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
8:30 am & 11:00 am worship
11:00 am online worship
In addition to in-person worship each Sunday, the 11:00 am service continues to be offered online through Facebook Live! The live video feed begins at 10:55 am on the church's public Facebook group which you can access here. You do not have to have an account to participate. If you do not have a Facebook account, a message will pop up asking if you wish to join. You may click, "not now" at the bottom of that message and it will go away.
In-person worship at FPC resumes this Sunday, October 4, 2020. Please choose one service below to attend. Each person attending must be registered using one of these forms. Only 50 participants are allowed in each worship service. Everyone attending worship is required to follow guidelines approved by the Covid Task Force listed here.

If you have any questions, concerns or need help signing up for worship, please contact the church office by replying to this email or calling 234-1757.

There is will also be a service at 4:00 pm Sunday, October 4 for the installation of Rev. Barrett C. Milner.

*If you have already called the office to sign-up, there is no need to fill out a form.
Sanctuary flower dates are available October 11 and 25 and November 1, 8, 15, and 22. To provide flowers in honor or in memory of a loved one, contact Margaret Fancher at or 234-1359.
Contributions to the Flower Fund are greatly appreciated. 
Lectionary texts for October:

October 4 - Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Psalm 19; Philippians 3:4b-14; Matthew 21:33-46
October 11 - Exodus 32:1-14; Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23; Philippians 4:1-9; Matthew 22:1-14
October 18 - Exodus 33:12-23; Psalm 99; 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10; Matthew 22:15-22
October 25 - Deuteronomy 34:1-12; Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17; 1 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Matthew 22:34-46
Prayer Requests

FPC Members: Rose & Henry Paris and family; 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: Patch Hailey; Family of Mary Poole; Jane Waits; 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; Family of Don Dees; 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
Devotionals, written by members of the congregation, are emailed twice a week as we continue supporting one another throughout this year. Please contact the church office if you would like to receive them. Thank you to the Adult Faith Formation and the Worship Ministry Teams for supporting this project!  
Bibles & Brews continues online with late night digital editions each Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:00 pm throughout the month of October. All are welcome to participate in this Bible study as we bring and share different passages of scripture about a group picked topic. On Wednesday, October 14th, Bibles and Brews hosts a jeopardy night about biblical trivia. Contact David Randolph to learn more about how to get involved.
FPC's Congregational Bible Study continues throughout October about Walter Brueggemann's book, "Interrupting Silence". All are welcome to participate in this 8 week study focusing on various biblical passages where silence was broken by those seeking out God's justice.

Two classes will be offered, Wednesdays at 10:00 am and Thursdays at 5:15 pm. Books are $10. Contact the church office for more details. 
College News
UKirk Ole Miss is looking for weekly meal providers. Due to COVID-19, of course this semester is looking different, but UKirk is still committed to caring for their students, including through food! For more information, check out, and feel free to email Allison Wehrung ( with any questions.
Peace & Global Witness Offering
Sunday, October 4

Peacemaking is active not passive, doing not waiting.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment: peacemaking is active, not passive; doing, not waiting. And this is A Season of Peace when we, the church together, are focused on seeking peace and reconciliation. Together we are building God’s house of peace where all are welcome, where all can find compassion, peace and justice.

We are the peacemakers.

The Peace & Global Witness Offering draws Presbyterians together, and provides education and exposure to those who show us how to do peacemaking well. It allows us to create resources for dealing with conflict and provide nurturing reconciliation, and stand in support of our global sisters and brothers, because the peace of Christ belongs to people everywhere.

On World Communion Sunday, we celebrate that Christ’s peace extends throughout all creation. We celebrate that we are all together at the communion table, in God’s house. We celebrate that we are offered what we need to continue the work of building the household of God, with active peacemakers here at home and around the world. Extending the peace of Christ is part of an active, engaged faith— a witness to what it means for us to be the Church, together.

Through participation in the Peace & Global Witness Offering, our church is extending Christ’s peace throughout our community and our world. We begin at the communion table, with our siblings in every time and place, and we celebrate the peace we find there and commit to building a more just and peaceful world. We celebrate the truth found in 2nd Thessalonians, “May the God of peace give you peace at all times in all ways.

A gift to the Peace & Global Witness Offering enables the church to promote the Peace of Christ by addressing systems of conflict and injustice across the world. Individual congregations are encouraged to utilize up to 25% of this Offering to connect with the global witness of Christ's peace. Mid councils retain an additional 25% for ministries of peace and reconciliation. The remaining 50% is used by the Presbyterian Mission Agency to advocate for peace and justice in cultures of violence, including our own, through collaborative projects of education and Christian witness.
So, mark your calendars for Friday, October 30 for an absolutely SPOOKTACULAR time. 
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:

Doug Alexander

Adalene & Ben Pettis

Dr. Joe Burnett

Jan Champion
Adalene & Ben Pettis

Marleah Hobbs

Adalene & Ben Pettis

Ruth Ellen Duvall Kuhnel

Adalene & Ben Pettis
In memory of:

Mary Sims

Houston Jewish Community Foundation
Dr. & Mrs. Dean Chow
James Dilley
Kathy & Ben Griffith
Mr. & Mrs. William Lewis, Jr.
Pat & Ernie Lowe
Emily & Don Newcomb
Greg Patton
Adalene & Ben Pettis
Georgeanne & Johnny Smith

Carolyn Stevenson

Adalene & Ben Pettis
Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries
October Birthdays:

1 Rhonda Rousseau
2 MaryAnn Cropp, Richard DeVoe, Owen Wilkinson, Emma Williams
3 Rex Deloach, McKay Goforth, Leon McCullouch, George Walker
4 Anne Lowry Hardin, Bailey Mize, Don Newcomb, JoAnn O'Quin
5 Heather Harris
6 Courtney Gibens, Julia Lewis, Charles Wilkerson
7 Amy Lowe Lewis
10 Sally Booke, Elizabeth Kelly
12 Michele Howie, Avery Lewis, Christina Torbert, Dana Williams
13 Bob Westmoreland
14 Martha Mize
15 Wyles Floyd, Julia Jimenez, Daniel Kelly, Miles Morgan, Sage Morgan, Nancy Warner
16 Harleigh Huggins, Max Williams
17 Anna Claire Floyd, Betsy Holcomb
18 Cheryl Hayward, Howard Hyneman
19 Brett Rosson
20 Beth Andrews, Will Westmoreland, Madeline Williams
21 Bo Elliott, Catie Hester, Glo Mauldin, Elliott Mayo, Cole Milner, Haley Spragins
22 Francis Boateng, Ferriday McClatchy, Catherine Mize
23 Marshal Williams
24 Charly McClatchy, Anne Wilkinson
25 Jack Abraham, Charles Byars, David Flautt, Anastasia Jenkins
27 Scottye Boone, Slade Lewis, Emily Newcomb
28 Sarah Hollis, Mary Liles, Paul Manley
29 Patty Abbott, Barbara Ruth Chase-Googe, Greg Goodwiller, Meredith Rawl, Joe Murphey
30 Beth Kennedy
31 Brum Elliott, Laura Montgomery, Monte Wood

October Anniversaries:

1 Susan & Bob Joiner
4 Ingrid & Peter Kondos
9 Anita & Scott Drury
13 Corey & Drew Mauldin, Catherine & Tony Mize, Kay & Larry Tyler
27 LeAnne & Chase Neal
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
Gabrielle Chiniche, James Day,
Rob Howell, Cliff Smith, Pattye Wilson
Your Church Staff

Senior Pastor
Interim Choir Director
Director of Communications
Associate Pastor
Director of Elementary Music
Property Manager
Pastor, UKirk Ministry
Office Administrator
Nursery Director
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