First Presbyterian Church, New Bern, NC (252)637-3270
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:00 - 5:00 & Friday 9:00 - 1:00
Summer Worship at 10:00 am
Sunday School 8:45-9:45 am
First Presbyterian Church is a welcoming community of faith where Jesus Christ transforms lives: through worship, as we praise and glorify God; through outreach, as we embody God's love in service to the world; through education, as we listen for God's Word; through giving, as we express gratitude to God; through caring, as we invite all to join in God's work; through fellowship as we share our lives and faith together.
Building Community * Transforming Lives * Engaging the World
Well, friends, my doctoral work is done and I have graduated!
I want to share with you some of what I learned in the process of reading, researching, and writing my paper. In terms of the how we read the Bible, we are a diverse community. Some of you read the same Bible your grandmother gave you when you were a child; some of you read the Bible online in a number of different versions. Some of you were raised Presbyterian; and a lot of you were not. The way that each of us reads the Bible is a little different and yet an entirely faithful way of reading. The challenge, then, is to read the Bible together and regularly, and to listen to how others read the same text you are and see something that you did not. The Bible was meant to be read in a community that wrestles with what it means. When we read the Bible, the very nature of reading causes us to leave behind the words on the paper because there are indeterminacies in every story, places where there are gaps we have to fill in, and details that we imagine in our own unique ways because of our life experiences. This is the beauty of the living Word of God; when we read it, it bends towards our lives.
And, I want to share a few things I learned from the research of my colleagues in the doctoral program. One student, a Methodist pastor, developed this idea about the church being part of the ecosystem of a community: the more connections that a church has to a community, the more vibrant and healthy the congregation is. He demonstrated this by asking strangers in his town about what they new about his church. Sometimes the answer was that they didn’t know the church or even where it was, even though church was one of the first places established in the town. His project challenged me to think about the ways our church is connected to the ecosystem of our community, and how we can create more and better connections.
Another colleague in the program researched the intentional modeling of generosity to children. He had one piece of practical advice that I wanted to share. He suggested that when a child in your life has a birthday (or another time when you would give a gift), you might give them, say, $20, but say that they can keep $10 of it and they need to give $10 away in a way of their choosing. This is a way for children to start developing habits of generosity. This, he says, is a different practice of generosity than handing a child some money from your own wallet and asking them to put it in the offering plate.
Finally, I want to say a big thank you to you, church family, for your words of support and encouragement as I went down to Emory last month to defend my doctoral work. I felt your prayers and I am grateful and relieved to be done!
Sunday Sermon Audio
Did you know you can hear the sermon on our website? You can! We record it weekly and upload it to our website. If you would like to help with this ministry on a volunteer basis by assisting with the recording. It's simple you just arrive a few minutes before the service begins, grab a USB stick from the Ministry center office and take it to the audio box in the Sanctuary. Press a few buttons. Go enjoy the service. Return to the audio box after the service, retrieve the USB stick, push a few buttons and then return the USB stick to the Ministry center office. If you feel like this is something you would love to help with Cathy Wingfield can meet with you to give you a walk-thru please email
if you are interested.
June Fellowship Lunch
will be a picnic on Sunday, June 9 right after church on the church grounds, weather permitting. Lunch will be catered. Please let us know you are going to join us by either calling the church office 252-637-3270 or signing up on the Friendship pad on Sunday. Please let us know if you can help set up tables and chairs by calling the church office and letting Maren know.
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
On Friday, July 12, 2019 the Lunch Wagon Group is planning to go to Kinston to watch the
Kinston Wood Ducks
take on the
Ticket cost is $11.00 per person.
The game starts at 7:00 pm.
There will be fireworks after the game.
We plan to leave the parking lot at 5:15 pm, and would return back to New Bern after 10:00 pm. Please call the church 252-637-3270 to sign up as soon as possible.
The session, at the meeting of May 14th approved the Ministry Information Form (MIF) prepared by the Interim Pastor Nominating Committee (IPNC) This form has been forwarded to the Executive Presbyter, and the Commission on Ministry of New Hope Presbytery, for their approval. If approved by them, it will be sent to the Church Leadership Connection of the PCUSA in Louisville, KY, so that we may begin receiving Personal Information Forms for a potential Interim Pastor for our congregation. Please pray for our committee as we continue our search for an Interim Pastor. The IPNC is comprised of Hal Vandersea, chair, Marge Avery, Janet Bryan, Middleton Hinckley, and Peter Moeller. This "search" committee will be following the process outlined by the Committee on Ministry, and we will keep you informed as we proceed.
submitted by Karen Reed, Clerk of Session
- Congregational Calling is wrapping up and feedback from members has been appreciated.
- A new category will be added to next year's Time and Talent to provide a meal for a family in need.
- The Personnel Committee approved three more hours a week for Cathy Wingfield, Communication Coordinator, which will help her keep the church well-informed during this busy time of transition.
- Seven hundred and twenty-one people attended Easter Service (Dr. Hawkins' final service)
- One hundred people attended Family Camp and had a wonderful time.
- Presbyterian Men are looking for a new leader as Jerry Elliott is retiring.
- Heeling Our World was a successful event held on May 11th hosted by First Presbyterian Church.
- Follow the check mark in the graphic below to see where we are in our transition...
What’s Happening with the ESL Program - Lots!
Late last year we received a Passion Driven Ministry Grant from New Hope Presbytery to upgrade our computers and to partner with West New Bern Presbyterian Church (WNBPC) to better serve the New Bern refugee population with English language and citizenship training.
In February we upgraded our ESL lab with 3 new desktops and a Chromebook to improve reliability and flexibility for training our Montagnard refugees. We will be returning to our larger ESL lab room in August, which we were displaced from because of the hurricane. That will give us a more comfortable learning space with room to expand.
As part of the grant effort we are also focused on partnering with WNBPC and helping them setup an ESL program and lab to serve their refugees. They have many refugees who are eager to learn. We began limited classes with them in late March using a portable Chromebook. Hopefully we will have the ESL lab up and running at WNBPC in June with extra workstations. Also, we will be training their tutors in the near term.
For your information, the refugees come to our churches through the Interfaith Refugee Ministry, which is given Federal money to help them get a new start in New Bern.
The key to making all this work for our churches and sponsored refugees is volunteer tutors. We greatly need additional volunteers to help tutor our refugee population at First Presbyterian and the growing need at WNBPC. We have an easy to use web-based ESL application and one short training session will have you up to speed. If you have available time to volunteer on Thursdays at 6:00 pm at WNBPC and/or Saturday at 9:00 am in our Ministry Center, we would love to have you join us in this wonderful ministry. It is so rewarding to see the students progress in learning English and moving on a path to citizenship.
For more information about our program please contact Gene Peele, 703-402-3820, or email
Class of 2019
Robert Brittain Blackerby, Jr
., Epiphany School of Global Studies and will attend North Carolina State University.
Michael Christopher East
, New Bern High School and will be attending North Carolina State University.
James William Gatchel, II
, New Bern High School and will be attending Elon University.
Samuel Wilson Grady
, New Bern High School and will be attending North Carolina State University.
Nicholas James Mason
, Craven Early College High School on May 9th. He graduated on May 11 from Craven Community College with an Associate Arts degree and an Associate in Science degree. He will be attending University North Carolina Wilmington.
Iris Larissa Pate
, New Bern High School.
Elizabeth Anne Paul
, New Bern High School and will enter Craven Community College's University Transfer Program to pursue her Associate of Science degree.
Camden Alexander Richey
, Epiphany School of Global Studies and will attend East Carolina University.
, New Bern High School and will attend Craven Community College.
Abbie Elisabeth Skladan
, Epiphany School of Global Studies and will attend Elon University.
Jason Robert Pollock
graduated from Appalachian State University this past December.
graduated from Craven Community College on May 11, 2019.
Adult Education Opportunities Summer Quarter 2019
Sundays 8:45 AM—9:45 AM
June 2 - August 25
The Present Word —Session House Parlor
Leader: Joan Leibert
Summer discussions will delve into living under covenant. A covenant can be a pact, an agreement, a contract or from the faith prospective, a relationship. Jesus fulfilled the Covenant of the Old Testament and instituted a New Covenant. Applying His New Covenant to our relationships gives us guidelines into the Covenant Between Friends, the Mother-Daughter Covenant, the Covenant to Marry, and Covenant of Mutual Love. Study lessons will be from Mark, Hebrews, Colossians, Matthew, 1 Samuel, Ruth, and Ephesians.
“Read This Book”
will meet on Sundays in June, July & August, 8:45 AM - 9:45, in the Session House Main room. A book will be presented and discussion led by a leader presenting a book. The following is a lineup of the books being covered:
June 2 - Tom Watson -
The Angel Run
June 9 - Stan Dzimitrowicz -
June 16 - George Evans -
The Good Book
June 23 - Mary Fuller -
June 30 - Alene Schlottman -
Things Fall Apart
July 7 - Wendy Moeller -
- by Barrett
July 14 - Pam Webb -
$2 a Day
by Edin & Shaefer
July 21 - Maren Sonstegard-Spray - TBD
July 28 - Helen Robinson -
A Bigger Table
August 4 - Jeanette Avery -
August 11 - Ken Wilkins - TBD
August 18 - Phil Smith -
The Consequences of Ideas
August 25 - Seth Smith TBD
“equipping pilgrims for the spiritual journey”
Pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland –
save the dates.
First Presbyterian Church will be offering a pilgrimage to Iona, Scotland and Canterbury, England from
. We plan to visit Iona and Canterbury, two historic pilgrimage sites in our tradition where pilgrims have declared the membrane separating the material and spiritual world is very thin. More information will be coming soon including a visit to London as well. For now, save these dates. For more information, contact Lloyd Griffith at 252-675-8196 or
A new season for Presbyterian Men will begin in September. Currently on summer hiatus and in search of a new leader.
Enjoy your summer break and we look forward to seeing everyone in the fall.
If you would like to be the head point of contact for the group please let the church office know. We appreciate the service of Jerry Elliott and wish him well as he "retires" from his leadership role in Presbyterian Men.
2019 Youth Group Key DATES
by Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang
Children's Summer Sunday School
In the month of June, July, August, Children's Sunday School will meet from 8:45-9:45 am in the Ministry Center room 2.23. The class is for Kindergartners through 5th graders. Each Sunday, we'll have a children's book to read and an activity that goes with the book. The class will be led by various adult volunteers and our youth are invited to help with the class over the summer.
Adult and youth who are interested in volunteering for a Sunday School class over the summer, please speak with
June 2 - Camey Holton -
Good People Everywhere
June 9 - Sarah-Catherine Gibbs -
June 16 - Marianna Dunn -
I Can Do Hard Things
June 23 - Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang -
June 30 - Maren Sonstegard-Spray -
The Matchbox Diary
July 7 - Steve Mabie -
July 14 - Margaret Pritchett -
July 21 - Marianna Dunn -
When God was a Little Girl
July 28 - Sarah-Catherine Gibbs -
A Letter to Grandma
August 4 - TBD -
Listening to My Body
August 11 - TBD -
A House that Once was
August 18 - Margaret Pritchett -
I Love It When You Smile
August 25 - Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang
Maybe God Is Like That Too
S.A.L.T. - Ministry for 3rd thru 5th graders
On summer break ... we'll see you at VBS!
On summer vacation ... have you signed up to volunteer for VBS?
Sunday, May 19, was the last meeting for youth group (middle & high school) and S.A.L.T. (3rd-5th grade) for 2018-19 year. Our youth asked about doing Sumo Suits here are a few pictures of the fun evening.
Vacation Bible School (VBS)
June 17-21, 2019 (9:00 am-12:00 pm)
Please make sure you sign your child up for VBS! This year, we'll be doing registration online at the church website
VBS is open to children age 4 (as of June 1, 2019) through those who have completed 5th grade. We'll be using our church building this year located 400 New Street. Drop off and pick will occur in the church Sanctuary the week of VBS.
VBS Registration will close on June 7, 2019
Our VBS theme this year is “To Mars and Beyond” and we’ll be studying the stories of Daniel, Queen Esther, Jesus healing his friends, Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. There will be fun crafts, science experiments, Bible story station, games and snack, and music.
The church office is open Monday - Thursday 9:00- 5:00 and Friday 9:00-1:00
if you have questions or would like to volunteer to help with VBS, please contact Daewon Goldenbaum-Yang, Director of Education & Youth Ministry 252-637-3270 or
VBS Registration will close on June 7, 2019.
VBS Snack Requests...
We need break room snacks for our VBS staff. Items such as pastries, cookies, brownies, salty snacks like pretzels, or chips, fruit, ham biscuits, granola bars, etc.
Our VBS volunteers work hard to lead their groups and we'd like to provide some snacks for their break time. Please let us know if you could bake or bring something during the week of VBS (June 17th-June 21st). A sign-up sheet in the church office will note the day that works best for you. Thank you very much for considering this opportunity to give!
Congratulations Class of 2019
First Presbyterian Preschool
2019 Summer Enrichment Program
Learning doesn’t take a vacation so we’re offering fun-filled, educational camps to keep those little brains stimulated! Our goal at First Presbyterian Preschool is to provide your child(ren) with continuous learning opportunities and a little break for Mom & Dad! Our camps are open to all preschool-age children so if you have friends or relatives visiting this summer with little ones we would love to have them join us! The cost is $125 per child per camp. Email Kerri at
to reserve your spot.
SUPER SCIENCE 3-7
AWESOME ART 10-14
AMAZING ANIMALS 24-28
KIDS IN THE KITCHEN 8-12
STORYBOOK SUMMER 22-26
A big THANK YOU to all of you who attended our BBQ Fundraiser after the Children's Sabbath service! We really appreciate the support and will use the proceeds to outfit our "new" classrooms when we move back to the preschool building after the renovations are complete. We'd also like to thank Persimmons restaurant for donating and preparing all of the delicious food!
Progress on Renovations at the J. Murphy Smith Center
After the failure of the roof over our preschool during Hurricane Florence, we have taken advantage of the temporary move of the preschool to the Ministry Center to undertake some significant, and long overdue, renovations in the J. Murphy Smith Center. Walls that sustained water damage were removed and rebuilt. The roof was repaired and the windows are being resealed, and all the light fixtures updated to more efficient (and brighter) LED ones. The HVAC has been updated from window units to efficient mini-splits (you'll see the new units on the outside of the building), and the hallways and bathrooms are getting air-conditioning for the first time! The classrooms got new counter-tops (some were damaged in the storm) and better storage, and the entire preschool wing got new paint and will get new flooring. New water fountains have been installed. The bathroom counter-tops and fixtures have been updated, and showers have been added to the handicap accessible bathrooms. These showers will allow us to host mission teams in our gymnasium. These renovations are made possible with funding from the Bicentennial Fund (your generosity makes a difference!), insurance payments, FEMA grants, and income from the preschool. The preschool will remain in the Ministry Center for their summer camp programs, and will move into the newly renovated building in August.
1321 McCarthy Blvd.
New Bern, NC 28563
Don Bailey, Apt. 208
Morag Cheesman, Apt. 209
Flo Jones, Apt. 303
Frank & Arlene Yeager, Apt. 305
Pat Zeleniak, Apt. 103
Barbara Williford #310
McCarthy Court II
1325 McCarthy Blvd.
New Bern, NC 28563
Donna Fleck, Apt. 16
Jean Hoffman, Apt. 39
Edna Harkins Apt. 34
Assisted Living Facilities:
3003 Kensington Park Dr.
New Bern, NC 28563
Ann "Nancy" Howard (Phoebe Moeller's mother) Rm. 5
Courtyards at Berne Village
2701 Amhurst Blvd.
New Bern, NC 28562
James White Room 110 (Carlotta Gault's father)
Mary Olstad, Villa #9
1336 S. Glenburnie Rd
New Bern, NC 28653
Kenny Baxter, Apt. 206
Joyce Krumnacher, Apt. 302
Carl McMath, Apt. 708
Dick Shelley, Apt. 107
2600 Old Cherry Point Rd.
New Bern, NC 28560
Barbara Bell, Apt. 108
Ray Henderson, Apt. 20
Joys and Concerns
Sympathy of the congregation is extended to
Joy Thompson on the April 19th death of her sister, Betty Cusack of Dover, DE
Dianne Aber on the May 11th death of her husband Bill Aber.
Pat Rowlett on the May 27th passing of her husband Pete Rowlett.
Sunday, May 12th Rev. Dr. Maren Sonstegard-Spray and her family traveled to Atlanta for her graduation from Emory University's Candler School of Theology for her Doctor of Ministry degree. She is so grateful for all the words of support, encouragement and congratulations from the congregation!
Clay & Ruth Ann Heady have moved to Mt. Holly. Their new address is 220 Morning Dew Lane, Mt. Holly, NC 28120
1600 Westwood Ave.
Richmond, VA 23227
Moderator, Rev. Maren Sonstegard-Spray,
Karen Reed, Clerk
Chris Kelso '19
Betsy Conzelman '20
Trudy Martin '20
Bruce Pollock '21
Peggy Clark '21
Bill Harris '19
Gayle Hardy '21
Janelle Haggard '21
George Moore '21
Becky Nohr '19
Polly Frank '20
Doug Phelps '19
Jennifer East '19
David Hale '20
Janet Bryan '20
Susan Ryan '19
Oscara Stevick '19
Jim Findley '21
Cathy Warren '20
Peter Moeller '20
Beth Foley '21
Change of schedule:
Beginning May 20th through the month of August, Amber Zapffel, First Presbyterian Church Financial Secretary, will be available Monday through Wednesday 9:00 - 5:00 during regular church office hours.
2019 June Calendar Events to be ready for...
- June 2 Senior Recognition Sunday
- June 2 VBS Volunteer Training day
- June 4 PW Birthday Lunch
- June 7 Last day to register for VBS
- June 9 Communion
- June 9 Fellowship Picnic lunch
- June 9 Day of Pentecost
- June 14 Lunch Wagon
- June 16 Father's Day
- June 16 Presbyterian Men Sunday
- June 17 Newsletter articles due
- June 17-21 VBS at First Presbyterian
- June 20 World Refugee Day
- June 23 World AIDS Sunday