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Hello, Church! I’m Rev. Deb de Boer. 


I grew up in West Michigan, and attended seminary at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.  Since then, I have served as a theological educator in Guatemala, served churches in pastoral ministry for more than twenty years in New York, California, and Mississippi, and worked in the wider governing bodies of the the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a Consultant for Leadership Development for the Synod of the Northeast and Assistant Stated Clerk for the Presbytery of San Joaquin. In California I also spent four years as a Hospice Spiritual Counselor. I have been helping churches cope with change as a Transitional Pastor since moving to Oxford in 2018. Social justice and peacemaking work are my passions, along with hiking and family adventures with our son Chai, daughter Nalani, and spouse Michael Fagans. I am looking forward to getting to know you, and discovering how God is at work at FPC Oxford. 

Statement of Faith

I believe in One God, who existed before the foundations of the world and brought that world into being. God is within us and in the pouring out of us, yet God is too big to be contained; God continually confounds expectations and is beyond human understanding. I’ve found that whenever I believe I’ve got hold of an edge and am about to neatly tuck in the corners, I’d best let go.

We humans are not content to reflect the goodness of God, to live in right relationship with one another and the rest of creation. We want to be like God. In our wanting we damage ourselves, others, all creation. God says, “Within Me the Creator, Wisdom and Word move together and apart. Always unique yet united, we provide steadfast love and faithfulness—follow our steps and all will blessed!” But we go our own way, turning deaf ears to prophets and blind eyes to miracles.

So Jesus became the place where the circle was broken, he the outstretched hand.

Jesus the Wisdom Word made flesh, present when the stars began their singing, walked among the people, learning, listening, healing, teaching. He loved, he lost, he changed his mind. He was a person like us, with dirty feet, and he was beautiful, because we are. He never got to be old, because his upside down kin-dom threatened those who held power. He told the truth, even when the truth was hard to hear. Jesus showed us what life looks like— eating and talking with all the wrong kinds of people, undermining systems of power and privilege, radical trust in God’s providence, abundant mercy. He changed our stories’ ending, so that even at the grave we sing alleluias. We sing because if death is not the end, then there is some chance we could be brave enough to live like Jesus.

All creation “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” Then all the stars, the long grasses, the quiet creeping things, oceans and moon-silvered creeks and even we will be restored to harmony, and we will see God face to face. Until then, we have church. Church is a place in a world of so many lies where people can come and hear the truth and tell it. It is sanctuary, battery-charger and soul-stretcher. Since God is Godself in community, we are Church in community. Through the gift of abiding Spirit, the Church and its members are equipped to get the kin-dom work done. In communion and in baptism, we deliberately and joyously invite God to work a mystery through ordinary things, bread and juice, water and oil, hands that break and share, hands that cup and spill. We remember what God has done, and then re-member, by living Christ-fed, reborn lives.

I give thanks to the One, Wisdom and Word for our Holy Scriptures, through which God speaks to us, crossing barriers of language and culture to surprise us with how God has been at work in the world. These stories, histories, poems and testimonies are the foundations of our faith and the wellspring of our confessions, and serve to instruct, inspire and challenge us still today.

Session Summary




The Session of First Presbyterian Church held its stated monthly meeting on Monday, May 10th at 5:30 pm.

Ministry Team Check-in 

  1. Finance – YTD reports were shared electronically. Elder Susan Abbott reported that plans are being made for stewardship this coming Fall. There will be a moment for stewardship in the coming Sundays in October. 
  2. Property – Elder John Abernathy reported that the property team met immediately after the fall of the sugar maple in front of the church. Removal of the stump could cause some disruption of the bricks that are in place. Replacement trees will be considered. Per information from the expert consultants, the replacement tree will be considered. Improvements at the front steps railing should take place this week. The ministry team is putting together a package for exterior repairs and maintenance that will be forthcoming. 
  3. Adult Faith Formation – Elder Ruth O’Dell reported about the congregational Sunday School that is upcoming about Congregational Vitality. This will be a six weeks class that all adults and adult Sunday school groups are invited to attend. 
  4. Children & Youth Faith Formation – Elder Kathryn Elliott stated that the committee is still seeking members. Members are encouraged to register on Realm so that youth and children’s rosters can be updated. Plans for upcoming Confirmation Class are in process. She shared that Lindsey Fournier and Feagin Hardy are working with PYF. 
  5. Membership & Hospitality – Elder Kevin Christian reported that plans are coming together for Halloween at Hopewell. The church will pick up the small fee for Hopewell camp staff to oversee the event, Saturday, October 30th.  Members are welcome to attend and/or donate candy.  A harvest lunch is being planned for November and the children’s musical is being organized for December. The team is discussing a Christmas caroling event on December 19th with families possibly riding the Double Decker bus. 
  6. Mission – Elder Greg Patton reported that volunteers are being recruited to serve the agencies that FPC supports. Collections for Lovepacks are continuing. FPC will be serving snacks for Leapfrog on Tuesdays. Two volunteers and snack donations are needed. Questions should be directed to Patsy Abbott. A group of volunteers will be meeting to help with construction of handicap ramps this Saturday.  The food distribution events partnering with First United Methodist Church served over 275 families. He gave a report regarding our mission partners in Haiti. A portion of the funds budgeted for travel to Haiti will be used to purchase bulk supply medications to help stock the clinic.   
  7. Personnel – Elder Trey Byars reported the staff insurance changes (if any) are due in October. 
  8. Worship – Reverend Barrett Milner reported that the Worship Team is looking toward Advent programming.  
  9. Deacon’s report – Deacons are continuing to reach out to members of the church family.

 Old Business

  1. Covid 19 Policies - current policy of a mask recommendation will remain in place for the time being.
  2. Interim Associate Pastor Search Update/Recommendation – The Personnel ministry team has interviewed Deb DeBoer as a candidate.  She is currently being considered as Interim Associate Pastor. The personnel team is asking for authorization to discuss her terms of call with regard to salary and benefits. She is currently the Interim Head of Staff at Trinity Presbyterian in Starkville. She should be available in October. There is an intention to for an Associate Pastor’s Nominating Committee for a permanent staff person
  • Motion made and approved to allow the personnel team to negotiate the Terms of Call for the Interim Associate Pastor.

General Announcements: Next stated session meeting will be October 11th 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, October 3, 2021

World Communion Sunday

9:45 am Sunday School

11:00 am Worship with communion*

Sunday, October 10, 2021

20th Sunday after Pentecost

9:45 am Sunday School

11:00 am Worship*

Sunday, October 17, 2021

21st Sunday after Pentecost

9:45 am Sunday School

11:00 am Worship*

Sunday, October 24, 2021

22nd Sunday after Pentecost

9:45 am Sunday School

11:00 am Worship*

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Reformation Sunday

9:45 am Sunday School

11:00 am Worship*

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The Sacrament of Communion will be celebrated this Sunday, October 3 at the 11:00 am service. For those celebrating on-line, please remember to set up your worship space with the appropriate elements. 

Join us for worship Sunday, October 3 at 11:00 am on Facebook Live and each Sunday following at 10:55 am. 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 October 10, 17, 24 and November 7, 14, and 28. To provide flowers in honor or in memory of a loved one, contact Margaret Fancher at or call 234-1359. Contributions to the Flower Fund are greatly appreciated.

Lectionary texts for October

October 3 - Job 1:1; 2:1-10; Psalm 26; Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 8; Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12; Mark 10:2-16

October 10 - Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Psalm 22:1-15; Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Psalm 90:12-17; Hebrews 4:12-16; Mark 10:17-31

October 17 - Job 38:1-7 (34-41), 16-17; Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c; Isaiah 53:4-12; Psalm 91:9-16; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:35-45

October 24 - Job 42:1-6, 10-17; Psalm 34:1-8 (19-22); Jeremiah 31:1-9; Psalm 126; Hebrews 7:23-28; Mark 10:46-52

October 31 - Ruth 1:1-18; Psalm 146; Deuteronomy 6:1-9; Psalm 119:1-8; Hebrews 9:11-14; Mark 12:28-

Remember in Prayer


FPC Members: Family of Mary Helen Field "Babe" Carr; Ashley Callery & family; Hale Freeland and family; Family of Bobbye Wiley; Family of Mary Freeman; Janet Barnes; Family of Shelby Smith; Teresa Flautt; Tommy Patrick; Helen Scruggs; Lark Lindley Wells; Lydia Moak; Max Williams; J. T. Davis; Becky & Joe Murphey; Lynton Dilley; Debbie McElreath


Family and Friends: Family of Elise & William Winter; Family of Peggy Walker; Family of Linda Chavers; Alex Sessions; Lynnette Porcelli; Betty Gurner; Donna Buckley; Family of William Gietzen; Family of Steve Milner; Daniel Kwak; Ellington Family; Family of Tom Mullen; Norma Myers; Family of Florence Pulliam; Stephanie Polk; Taylor Polk; 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; Sigrid Morrison Long; Pauline Dick; Bill Sessions; Roun McNeal; Jamie Henderson Turner; Brad Hovious; B. Jones; Pat Gillenwater; 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 


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.  



On the afternoon of Sunday, September 26, people of all ages gathered for creation-themed festivities in the front courtyard. Creighton shared piano pieces inspired by bumble bees, tabby cats, elephants and everything in between. We also heard words about the sacredness of creation from Meister Eckhart and Mary Oliver, and shared in closing responses that were a reminder of our deep connection to all living things. All the while there were animal party hats for kids and kids at heart, plenty of coloring pages, and a craft table for making tissue paper "stained glass" planet earths. 

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Church Picnic at Camp Hopewell

Sunday, October 24th

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Hamburgers and Hotdogs and Drinks will be provided

Members with last name beginning A - L bring desserts

Members with last name beginning M - Z bring side dishes

This is an outdoor event! There will be a hey ride and

activities for the kids and adults alike.

Membership & Hospitality needs 3 volunteers to

be the grill masters to flip burgers (about a one hour job). 

Contact Kevin Christian at if you can volunteer.

COVID Considerations: Members will be asked to wear a mask in the serving line. People can spread out to the many picnic tables. All activities will be outside.

Hallowed Halloween at Hopewell

Your help is needed! We are planning for 800 people (which was last year’s attendance). During the entire month of October, we need candy donations or cash donations from church members for this event. We estimate that we will need 20,000 pieces of candy! You can drop off bagged candy at the church office, or place in the box in the narthex on Sundays. Please avoid candy with Reeses, or Snickers, etc. This is a nice way to play a small part in this HUGE community outreach, family oriented Halloween event.

COVID Considerations: Much like last year. Food, condiments, and drinks will be served by dedicated people. Everyone is encouraged to come in their costume!

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Adult Faith Formation


Have you been wondering what being a Matthew 25 Church is all about? What is this focus on Building Congregational Vitality? Four weeks remain in a combined adult Sunday school class to answer all your questions. Entitled "The 7 Marks of a Vital Congregation," the study provides the scriptural basis for building congregational vitality. This Sunday school class is held in the Fellowship Hall from 9:24 - 10:40 am. Each class will begin with music and fellowship. The schedule of classes is below. The series has a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere in which to learn what your role will be in building congregational vitality at FPC!

October 3

Caring Relationships and Authentic Evangelism

October 10

Incarnational Focus and Ecclesial Health

October 17

Lifelong Discipleship

October 24

Servant Leadership

Per FPC's Covid-19 safety protocol, all participants are asked to wear a mask while in church buildings. A nursery will be provided.



Wondering about the symbolism of the Matthew 25 logo? The circular shape represents unity and equality. Like God, a circle has no beginning and no end, and it symbolizes our continuing effort to help one another. The shape also suggests a globe that points to our engagement with the world. The three interlocking figures represent the equality of all people without gender or race bias. They have their arms around each other, symbolizing friendship, protection and service. The number three suggests the Trinity. The color palette is bright, lively, friendly and energetic - suggestive of our active commitment. Finally, the legend "Matthew 25" below the symbol is the literal identification of the mark. A handwritten font is used to make the point that active engagement in the world requires human effort.

The Leap Frog Program is a non-profit after-school literacy program for at-risk students in Oxford and Lafayette County. Two FPC volunteers are needed each Tuesday from 2:50-3:30 pm at the former Oxford elementary school to provide healthy snacks. To volunteer email Patty Abbott,

Curious about the various FPC mission activities and Matthew 25 Opportunities? A new email account has been created specifically for keeping FPC members abreast of mission plans, outreach programs, committee minutes, etc. If you would like to be kept in the mission loop, contact the Mission Team at Your name will be placed on the Mission Ministry's contact list. We look forward to keeping everyone informed of FPC's outreach opportunities.


"Bonjour mes très bons amis, Le Seigneur nous a béni par ce geste d'amour. Nous remercions First Presbyterian Church communauté." Greetings my dear friends. God has blessed us with this gesture of love. We thank the First Presbyterian Church community.

- Dr. Gladys Memnon

Since 2013 FPC has been involved in the support of medical care in Bongnotte, Haiti. Due to the August earthquake in Les Cayes, most prescription medications in the capital city were diverted to the disaster site. As a result the Bongnotte clinic was unable to purchase medication for its patients. In response FPC shipped a supply of medications that will provide over 2,400 prescriptions - for antibiotics, antihypertensives, diabetes medication, children's vitamins, etc - to the Bongnotte medical clinic in order to help keep the clinic open. Our Haitian sisters and brothers are deeply grateful. Please continue to hold them in prayer in this particularly difficult time.


On September 24th members of FPC assisted Oxford First United Methodist Church with their monthly food distribution to those in need. Over 200 families were served. If you are interested in assisting with this distribution, the next date, as it becomes available, will be published in Fast Facts. This could be your mission!


Last month Goodloe Lewis, John Abernathy, Thelma Curry, Dee Walker, and Adam Quick assisted Habitat for Humanity in the construction of new steps to a local residence. It is significant to note that this home is located only one block from University Avenue. The new steps are a substantial improvement, but as is evidenced in the photo, much work is yet needed for this home as well as many like it here in Oxford. FPC is in contact with Joe Skinner, the local Habitat for Humanity coordinator. Stay tuned for opportunities to work with Habitat on other home improvement projects in the coming months. This could be your mission!



Attention VIP's: Our next outing will be a seated dinner at the home of Mary and Sam Haskell. Mary would like for us to arrive at 5:30 PM on Thursday, October 14. Parking is at a premium so she asks that we try to ride the bus to her home. The bus will leave the church shortly after 5:00. Seating at the dinner is limited to 40, so places will be determined by the first 40 to sign up. Please note the following: You are to sign up through the church office by calling Jessica. Please DO NOT call Mary. This promises to be a fun evening for us all. Do make your plans to sign up early.

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Presbyterian Women Officers for 2021-2022


Kathryn Elliott - Co-Moderator

Caroline McIntosh - Co-Moderator

Lisa Tollison - 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

~ With gratitude for contributions to First Presbyterian Church ~

In memory of:

Mary Helen "Babe" Field Carr

Mary Ann Cortright

Kay Meadors

Kay & Larry Tyler

Carlisle & Billy Wood

Judith Hale Freeland

Carlisle & Billy Wood

Mary Freeman

Carlisle & Billy Wood

Peggy Walker

Carlisle & Billy Wood

Bobbye Wiley

Marty & Steve Mauldin

In honor of:

The Randolph Family

Laura & Steve Cragon

Birthdays & Anniversaries

October Birthdays:

2 MaryAnn Cropp, Richard DeVoe, Owen Wilkinson, Emma Williams

3 Rex Deloach, McKay Goforth, Leon McCullouch, Mary Thompson, George Walker

4 Anne Lowry Hardin, Bailey Mize, Don Newcomb, JoAnn O'Quin

5 Heather Harris

6 Julia Lewis, Courtney Simpson, 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, Madeline Williams, Will Westmoreland

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, Dennis Feller, Slade Lewis, Emily Newcomb

28 Grace Feller, Sarah Hollis, Mary Liles, Paul Manley

29 Patty Abbott, Barbara Ruth Chase-Googe, Greg Goodwiller, Joe Murphey, Meredith Rawl

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

17 Courtney & Wade Simpson

27 LeAnne & Chase Neal

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. Allison C. Wehrung

Pastor, UKirk Ministry

Creighton R. Holder

Director of Music

Frances Saralvarez

Office Administrator

D. Wade Simpson

Property Manager

Jessica M. McPhail

Dir. of Communications

LaShaunda Sisk

Nursery Director