Wednesday, March 25, 2020
ONLINE WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUNDAY

9:00 a.m. - Contemporary
11:00 a.m. - Traditional

Both services will be available on Facebook "live streaming"
Dear Friends,
 
As we continue to live into this new reality, we are committed to doing so together, even if we cannot be in the same room as we do so, trusting in God’s Holy Spirit to guide us and unite us in worship and in fellowship as Christ promised and as we have experienced in so many ways in the life of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem before this current challenging time.
This is easiest, of course, for those of us who can access and utilize the Internet. In just a little over a week, we have moved most of our worship and programmatic life online through a combination of livestreaming, Zoom videoconferencing, and social media (see information about Zoom training sessions, below).
We have also begun this “Mid-Week Update,” and are exploring other ways that we can stay connected and deepen that connection.

But there is a portion of our congregation who are uncomfortable with Internet technology or simply do not have access to it, and we are working to connect them in different ways .I want to thank the Deacons for taking up a telephone ministry with the goal of connecting with every household in the church by the end of this week, both to see how people are doing and to make sure we know who lacks access to the Internet so that we can communicate with them in other ways.
And we are still looking for “Tech Buddies” who can work with those who are willing but inexperienced with the basics of getting online. So if you are willing to try that, please let us know by volunteering through an email to info@fpc-bethlehem.org.

Finally, continue to keep our church, our community, our nation, and the world in your constant prayers, and look for ways in which you, even (and especially) now, can reach out in love and service to others. 
TODAY'S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  1. Congregational meeting this Sunday - and how to join in
  2. Tomorrow's Lenten Conversation topic and handouts
  3. Did you miss Sunday's service?
  4. Can you use meals, shopping or other assistance?
  5. Prayer requests
  6. A new community ministry
CONGREGATIONAL MEETING - AND HOW TO JOIN IN

A meeting of the congregation has been called for this Sunday, March 29 at noon. The business at hand is to approve changes to our bylaws and to confirm the nomination of seven members to a new Associate Pastor Nominating Committee. As we have previously announced, we are in the process of adding a full-time Associate Pastor who will work on several targeted areas of ministry.

The nominees’ names and biographies will be shared in this Friday’s newsletter.

So how will we gather for this important meeting? We will use the Zoom video-conferencing platform that we have been using for the Lenten conversations,
Hearts N Minds classes, and many other meetings. It is easy and free, and we are providing three learning sessions for those who have not used it before, hosted by Elder Al Philpotts (below).

NOTE: There is also an option to listen to Sunday's meeting by calling a phone number; we will provide that number in Friday's newsletter and on our website.
 
Al's learning sessions will be offered three times (need only attend once): this Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m.

What you'll need to participate:
 
  • A desktop or laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone with an internet connection.
  • A webcam if you want to display video feed of yourself. Most laptops now have built-in webcams.
  • The internal microphone if your desktop or laptop PC has a microphone, otherwise you'll need a headset.
  • If you are joining via telephone, you will need the teleconferencing number provided below.
When you click any Zoom join link for the first time, you will be prompted to  download and install  Zoom.  
 
(Zoom offers a  test meeting  to download the Zoom application and try out the interface for yourself.)
 
To join Al's Zoom meetings on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday at 7 p.m., click this link:

Meeting ID: 715 284 345
Password: 117223
 
To join by phone (audio only): 646-558-8656 (use the above meeting ID)
 
If you want to add these meetings to your calendar, please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system. You can also share this Facebook event .

**If you still need additional help after participating in one of these sessions – or need other tech help – contact us at info@fpc-bethlehem.org to request a Tech Buddy.
LENTEN CONVERSATIONS
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Wednesdays (March 25 & April 1)

We had a great group join us last Wednesday for our weekly conversation. Enjoy your meal at home and join us via your computer, laptop, iPad or phone (does not have to be a smartphone).
You can participate in the conversation or just 'listen and learn'. Rev. Steve Simmons (pictured) will be continuing the discussion on 'Having the Mind of Christ':

"No claim is more key to Christian faith than 'God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself' (2 Corinthians 5:19) - and it’s likely that no statement has provoked more controversy among Christians, and more consternation (even ridicule) among non-Christians.

"What does reconciliation, or atonement, actually mean? Placating a wrathful God? Restoring creation? Making peace among people? (Hint: scholars have identified at least ten different 'theories of atonement' in scripture.) We’ll take up this vitally important question, which is central, not only to Christianity, but to our understanding and observance of Lent and Easter.

You may want to print this handout (note it is two pages): Handout
To join the Lenten Conversation, click this link to join the online Zoom meeting:



INVITE OTHERS TO JOIN US: This is posted as an "Event" on our Facebook page. When you click on this link, look for the "Share" button: you can send a direct invite to your own friends (choosing which ones), and/or share it as a post on your own page (write something on your shared post - it will be pushed out to more people).
DID YOU MISS SUNDAY'S SERVICE?

Or want to revisit it? You can view the entire service (video) or read the text of the sermon by visiting our website, fpc-bethlehem.org.

As noted above, we will offer two online worship opportunities this Sunday: our Contemporary service at 9:00 a.m. and the Traditional service at a NEW TIME: 11:00 a.m. The details will be on our website and Facebook page.

Having our services online is not only a great thing for our own congregation, but a meaningful way to reach out to others. Here are the links to the Facebook events for Contemporary and Traditional - invite your friends and family to join us!
CAN YOU USE MEALS, SHOPPING OR OTHER ASSISTANCE?

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Deacons are delivering meals and groceries to members of our congregation and others.

If you or anyone you know could use this help, please contact Rev. Sue Bennetch, Pastoral Associate, at sbennetch@fpc-bethlehem.org or 610-867-5865, ext. 209, and the Deacon team will respond.

If you would like to help prepare or deliver meals to our friends, or donate to the Deacon Fund for this effort, contact Pastor Bennetch .
Do you have a prayer request?
A NEW COMMUNITY MINISTRY
You may have heard that there is a shortage of protective masks for health care professionals, EMTs and others on the front lines.

Several members of our congregation - and specifically the Prayers & Squares ministry - have joined in a community effort called "Masks for the Lehigh Valley". They have established a Facebook page that includes instructions on how to make the masks out of fabric and sewing elastic, plus how to get them to the folks in need. They are in need of sewers, material, and drivers.
Pictured is Greg Church - boyfriend of FPC staffer Cristy Mette and EMT with the rescue squads in Washington and Whitehall (NJ). He's picking up 11 masks crafted by FPC member Judy Smullen for his squads to use. If you are interested in more information about this effort, contact us at info@fpc-bethlehem.org.

We're glad to end this communication with a positive story!