"My apples are gone." "My teeth are too weak for apples," said the boy. "My branches are gone," said the tree. "You cannot swing on them--" "I am too old to swing on branches," said the boy. "My trunk is gone," said the tree. "You cannot climb--" "I am too tired to climb," said the boy. "I am sorry," sighed the tree. "I wish that I could give you something…but I have nothing left. I am just an old stump. I am sorry…" "I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired." "Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could, "well, an old stump is good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest." And the boy did. And the tree was happy.

-Shel Silverstein


As Shel Silverstein reminds us, trees are parts of who we are. They are parts of what we love about the places we love. They shelter us and protect us, and they provide beauty and respite. And our sugar maple that has grown near the steps of our church for decades is no exception. The graceful branches of that stately tree have seen the seasons of our lives change and grow. She has been the backdrop for countless baptism and wedding photos. She has shielded us from the post-church drizzles and harsh summer rays. She has shaded young children as they have searched for Easter eggs and kicked off their shoes to run in the grass. And she has been a stately reminder of the passage of time. We have watched her age and decay. We have seen her branches droop and her mantle thin. We have tried, in earnest, to help her last as long as possible. But on Monday, August 30 at 3:17 pm, she finally gave into the weight of those magnificent branches. It was neither lightning nor whipping wind that brought those branches down; it was during nothing more than a gentle rain.  


Assuredly, the loss of our beloved tree will be one to sting for a very long time. There is so much that we will miss about this wondrous gift of God's creation now that she stands no more: the stately magnificence of her place among us, the vibrancy of her transitions, the ever-present reminder of cherished memories fostered beneath the splendor and reach of her canopy. The void will be jarring and unmistakable for all of us, and truly all of Oxford, too. And yet, as we recall with fondness and longing the blessings of all that has been, we can look forward with hopeful wonder that something new will be! For even now, before we're able to haul all the limbs away, as sawdust still tumbles on the breeze, and the leaves still litter the bricks of our courtyard, God's Spirit moves! God's imaginative work of creation and restoration continues. Life and beauty will return. Resurrection will find and inspire us again! For this is the heart and soul, the blessed truth, and the enduring promise of the faith we harbor. In death, new life springs forth! May this be our song, may this be our story as we await with joy all that God will do next in this treasured and grace-filled place we call our church home!  


With hope, 


Session Summary




August 9, 2021

The Session of First Presbyterian Church held its stated monthly meeting on Monday, May 10th at 5:30 pm Fourteen elders were present in the Fellowship Hall. Elder Hayden Alexander was absent. Creighton Holder joined the session meeting. The minutes from the meeting are as follows:

Consent Agenda: 

  1. Baptism of Hayes Aldridge Newman, son of Kate and Cristopher Newman, for August 15, 2021.
  2. Baptism of Alice Jane Abbott, daughter of Susan and Todd Abbott, for October 3, 2021.
  3. New Members - Carey Hanson, Colin and Jordan Hughes (Henley & Darcy), Charles “Chuck” and Helen Kenwright , Kate Kenwright and Carrie Milner

Ministry Team Check-in:

  1. Finance – YTD reports were shared electronicallyElder Susan Abbott reported that plans are being made for stewardship this coming fall. 
  2. Property – Elder John Abernathy reported that the leaking into the basement and the water issue is very close to resolution. Improvements at the front steps railing should take place very soon. There are significant exterior painting needs that will be need to be addressed in the coming year. 
  3. Adult Faith Formation – Elder Ruth O’Dell reported that the team has been working with the Ministry Team to develop an adult Sunday school class that will center around Matthew 25 with respect to 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 reported that summer activities have been successful, including bible school. Plans are being put together for Rally Day and will be discussed when the team meets again August 8th. 
  5. Membership & Hospitality – Elder Kevin Christian reported that the team has developed a welcome card which will be implemented in an effort to welcome visitors. The cards will be used to make contact with visitors in a variety of ways.  
  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 partner with First United Methodist Church to possibly collaborate on some mission efforts. He gave a report regarding our mission partners in Haiti. There is a Doors of Hope meal planned once a month for participants in the program and for those who have “graduated” from the program. This meal will be held the second Tuesday of each month in the Fellowship Hall. Volunteers will be needed closer to time.
  7. Personnel – Elder Trey Byars reported that there have been interviews taking place for an Interim Associate Pastor. The team will be ready to make a recommendation in the very near future. The top candidate will visit Oxford and then a recommendation will come before the session.  Reverend Barrett Milner gave an update on the Director of Children and Youth Faith Formation search. The committee has identified possible a candidate for the position. The details of the offer are pending and will come before Session for approval if the candidate responds affirmatively.
  8. Worship – Reverend Barrett Milner reported that the Worship Team is recommending that we continue in the fall with one service at 11:00 am, beginning September 12th.  Two services will be reconsidered when attendance numbers begin to return closer to normal. Creighton Holder reported that he has reorganized the roles of the scholarship singers and outlined for the session his vision for them as well as the Chancel Choir. 
  9. Deacon’s report

General Announcements: Next stated session meeting will be September 13th 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 fsaralvarezfpc@gmail.com.


Sunday, September 5, 2021

15th Sunday after Pentecost

10:30 am worship with communion*

Sunday, September 12, 2021

16th Sunday after Pentecost

11:00 am worship*

Sunday, September 19, 2021

17th Sunday after Pentecost

11:00 am worship*

Sunday, September 26, 2021

18th Sunday after Pentecost

11:00 am worship*

The Sacrament of Communion will be celebrated this Sunday, September 5 at the 10:30 am service. For those celebrating on-line, please remember to set up your worship space with the appropriate elements. 

Join us for worship Sunday, September 5 at 10:25 am on Facebook Live and each Sunday following at 10:55 am. 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. 

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We need your help! Sunday School teachers are needed for early elementary and junior/high school classes. If you are able to help in any way, please contact the church office or Kathryn Elliott by clicking here to sign up.

Sanctuary flower dates are available September 5, 19, 26 and October 3, 10, 17, and 24. To provide flowers in honor or in memory of a loved one, contact Margaret Fancher at fancherm@bellsouth.net or 662-234-1359. Contributions to the Flower Fund are greatly appreciated. 


Lectionary texts for September

September 5 - Isaiah 35:4-7a; Psalm 146; James 2:1-10 (11-13) 14-17; Mark 7:24-37

September 12 - Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 116:1-9; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38

September 19 - Jeremiah 11:18-20; Psalm 54; James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a; Mark 9:30-37

September 26 - Number 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29; Psalm 19:7-14;

 Remember in Prayer


FPC Members: Mary Helen "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; Caroline McIntosh; Tommy Patrick; Family of Shirley Crawford; Helen Scruggs; Family of Mary Sims; Lark Lindley Wells; Lydia Moak; Max Williams; Family of Marleah Hobbs; J. T. Davis; Becky & Joe Murphey; Lynton Dilley; Debbie McElreath


Family and Friends: Family of Shirley Styers; Sherry Wall; 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; Family of Carolyn Stevenson; 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  

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 carlislewood@gmail.com or 662-832-8606. All requests are held in strict confidence.  


The church office will be closed Monday, September 6 in observance of Labor Day. We will reopen with regular hours Tuesday, September 7.


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The Children and Youth Faith Formation Committee meets the 1st Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm in Room 101 (Mary & Martha Sunday School Room). We would love for you to join us! Call the church office for more information.

~ Blessing of the Backpacks ~

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UKirk News

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UKirk Ole Miss is officially off and running with another school year. We're grateful for the opportunity to be gathering in person, all the while keeping an eye on university, local, and church guidelines so we can keep everyone as safe as possible. We are also excited to be welcoming back Tuesday night meal providers this year! If you'd like to join in ministry with us in this way, our Fall schedule is available on our website here. We eat at 6pm each Tuesday, and homemade and restaurant meals are all welcome. 


A new school year also means making new friends! We had a busy summer representing UKirk at many new student orientations and back-to-school info fairs, but a personal connection can go a long way in inviting a student into our community. If you know a student who's recently started at (or returned to!) Ole Miss and would like to make sure we know them too, fill out this referral form. 


For more information about UKirk you can find us on our website and on Facebook and Instagram. For more detailed semesterly updates, we also have an email newsletter for supporters, and you can sign up for that here. Questions? Email me (Allison Wehrung) here. We are grateful for FPC's continued support during these times!

Adult Faith Formation


Building Congregational Vitality

Adult Sunday School Class


Dear Fellow Disciple,

Have you wondered about what being a Matthew 25 Church is all about? What about this focus on Building Congregational Vitality? The Mission Team and the Adult Faith Formation Team have joined forces to answer all your questions.

We will be offering a six-week Adult Sunday School class called “The 7 Marks of a Vital Congregation”. This study will provide the scriptural basis for building congregational vitality.

The class will have a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that includes some important learning. You will have a chance to learn what your role will be in building congregational vitality at FPC!

We are also inviting all the other adult classes to join us for this six-week study! Let’s all learn together how congregational vitality transforms congregations and disciples!

By the end of this class, participants will:

  1. Know and understand the 7 Marks of a Vital Congregation
  2. Know and understand the scriptures related to each of the 7 Marks
  3. Use the 7 Marks to assess our congregation at FPC
  4. Use the 7 Marks to assess our own personal role at FPC
  5. Feel a renewed spirit within ourselves and a desire to share that spirit with others
  6. Be ready to share the knowledge and spirit of the & Marks with others in our congregation.
  7. Be ready to work beside others to revitalize the congregation at FPC.


September 19th          Introduction to All 7 Marks


September 26            Spirit Inspired Worship

October 3                   Caring Relationships and Authentic Evangelism

October 10                 Incarnational Focus and Ecclesial Health

October 17                 Lifelong Discipleship

October 24                 Servant Leadership

Format: This format may need to change due to COVID restrictions. Planning must be fluid and focused on safety and the health of our congregation. Everyone will need to wear masks and seating will conform to social distancing guidelines.

Each class will begin with music and fellowship at 9:45. (There will be prepackaged breakfast snacks for adults, children, and youth.). Activities will include Bible Study as well as activities that apply the scripture to the growth of our church. Our pastor will be involved as a teacher, facilitator, and participants. Teachers will come from a team of dedicated disciples excited to serve you in this way.

We hope to see you on September 19 at 9:45 in the Fellowship Hall!

The Adult Faith Formation Team

The Mission Ministry Team



2021 - 2022 VIP Schedule

October 14 - dinner at Mary and Sam Haskell's.


November 18 - meet at the Sipp for wine and small plate and then

go to the Ford Center to see "A Light in the Piazza" featuring

Mary Haskell.


December 9 - Christmas party at the home of Melissa and Matthew

Hall. Bring an appetizer and the recipe.


February 3 - catered supper at the church 6PM


March 3 - bingo night at the church. Bring a gift to share as a prize.

Light supper provided. 5:30 PM


April 7 - dinner at the Country Club of Oxford 6PM


May (day tbd) - supper and drinks at the Coop


Hope we have good crowds for these fun events!

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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!



Oxford First United Methodist Church


First Presbyterian Church Partnership

In an effort to more fully engage in our community, the Session approved a motion to contact the leadership of Oxford First United Methodist Church (formerly Burns United Methodist Church). It is hoped that this renewed relationship between an historically black church and an historically white church will be a mutually enriching endeavor and provide opportunities to collaborate in serving the broader Oxford community. A group of FPC members met with OFUMC last month. We were very well received by our sisters and brothers in Christ as we began to share our respective congregations' histories and outreach programs. FPC offered to provide volunteers for a food distribution that OFUMC held August 31, serving 300 families in need. OFUMC offered to co-host with FPC a gathering in our church yard for prayer and music prior to the dedication of the lynching memorial on September 25. There is fertile ground in this new relationship as together we seek to better discern Christ's call in this time and place. Please keep this new partnership in your prayers.

Pictures below are of the food distribution at OFUMC.


Matthew 25 Opportunities

As approved by the Session, FPC is now a Matthew 25 Church seeking to enrich congregational vitality through worship, fellowship, Christian education, and outreach ministries. To that end the Mission Team is coordinating "Matthew 25 Opportunities." These are volunteer opportunities for FPC members to sign up for with various service organizations in the Oxford community. A variety of skill sets will be needed - readers for children, Step 2 meals for Doors of Hope, carpentry skills for Habitat for Humanity, etc. Look for the Matthew 25 logo in Fast Facts and future newsletters to learn of opportunities for you to personally offer your talents and compassion to the "least of these."

Lafayette County Lynching Memorial Dedication

On Saturday, September 25, the Lafayette County lynching memorial dedication will be held on the Square from 2:4:00 pm. FPC and Oxford First United Methodist Church will cohost a gathering on our church's lawn at 1:00 pm prior to the dedication for a time of prayer and music. Those present will then be invited to walk to the Square together for the dedication ceremony. All are welcome.

News from the Pews

~ With gratitude for contributions to First Presbyterian Church ~

In memory of:

Mary Freeman

Dorothy Lou & Mack Aldridge

J.J. Jones

Greg Patton

Walter Nance

J.J. Jones

Bobbye Wiley

Dorothy Lou & Mack Aldridge

Elise Winter

Marty & Steve Mauldin

Birthdays and Anniversaries

September Birthdays

1 Tom Davis, Daniel Fudge

2 Robert Gage, Goodloe Lewis

3 Parker McPhail

5 McCay Luster

6 Mary Frances DeVoe, Isabella Moak

7 Conner Eifling, Drew Mauldin, Luke Wigginton

9 Randel Gibson, Cooper, McIntosh

10 Scotty Jimenez, Gina Matthews, Harper Pace

11 Kelli Briscoe, Hassell Wilkinson, Billy Wood

12 Sarah-Elizabeth Davis

13 Allie Rose Baquie, Michael Lewis

14 Karen Stockton

15 Ruby Embry, Carole Haney

16 Dick Hercules

17 Mack Aldridge, Holly Grissinger

18 Anna Ruth Kesler, Meredith Pyle

20 Susan Shaw, Curtis Wilkie

21 Ann Luckett Montgomery, Samuel Morrison, Katie Ochs, Virginia Stricklin

22 Pete Boone, Jack Bridgers, Kathryn James

23 Sherry Styers, Dee Walker

24 Steve Mullen

25 Niles Lovelady, Mac Monteith

26 Shelley Cribbs

27 Wesley Boateng, Grace Flowers

28 Ray Hill, Michael Morrison, Nathan Robbins

29 Nolan Waller, Pattye Wilson

30 Patrick Bolen, Jim Catt

September Anniversaries

1 Judy & Barry Rose

4 Dianne & Jim Catt

5 Elizabeth & Mac Monteith

6 Patty & John Atkinson, Nancy Maria & John Schuesselin

8 Bette & Jeffrey Butler

12 Leslie & Shae Orrell, Michele & Wil Howie

14 Brynnen & Adam Quick

16 Alissa Davis & Jeffrey Stricklin

20 Sarah & Michael McLellan

21 Ann & Lee Borden

25 Amy Lowe & Slade Lewis

28 Nancy & Bill Rogers

29 Kate & Case Embry, Jenna & Tyler Lovelace

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