January 20, 2021
Weekly Devotional
It is well known that Christ consistently used the expression "follower." He never asks for admirers, worshipers, or adherents. No, he calls disciples. It is not adherents of a teaching but followers of a life Christ is looking for.

Christ understood that being a "disciple" was in innermost and deepest harmony with what he said about himself. Christ claimed to be the way and the truth and the life (Jn. 14:6). For this reason, he could never be satisfied with adherents who accepted his teaching - especially with those who in their lives ignored it or let things take their usual course. His whole life on earth, from beginning to end, was destined solely to have followers and to make admirers impossible . . .

What then, is the difference between an admirer and a follower? A follower is or strives to be what he admires. An admirer, however, keeps himself personally detached. He fails to see that what is admired involves a claim upon him, and thus he fails to be or strives to be what he admires . . .
Session Meeting Highlights from January 12, 2021
  • The Session met on January 12th using Zoom Internet video and audio. 
  • February 21, 2021 was approved as the date for the annual meeting of the congregation.
  • A balanced budget for 2021 was approved and will be presented to the congregation at the annual meeting on February 21. The Stewardship Committee gratefully acknowledged member pledges for 2021, which formed the basis for the budget.
  • The Session sorrowfully acknowledged the death of our Presbytery liaison Deborah Dees-Gladden and will join the PNC in sending a gift in her memory to Bellefonte Presbyterian Church.
  • The Buildings and Grounds Committee continues to address maintenance issues that arise on the church campus and urges members to please let them know of any issues that we see. 
  • Members are invited and encouraged to participate in weekly worship services by signing up to be Lay Readers, sign up here. Watch for opportunities in the future for a new way to participate through Sunday Stories!
  • A part-time Interim Youth Project Coordinator position was approved to carry out our youth programming.
  • Fritze Batts and her daughter, Caroline were joyfully approved as members by transfer of letter from First Presbyterian, Rockwall, TX.
  • The baptism of Jane McCullough Curley, daughter of Elly Steel and Philip Curley, was approved for 1/15/21.
  • Elders Kathy Pilkington and Susan Otteni will attend the February 6, 2021 Presbytery zoom meeting.
  • Let’s all support the community Blessing Box that the Deacons have placed on the Church St. side of the Will Young building.
  • The next Session meeting will be held on February 9, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

As Presbyterians, decisions affecting our worship, education, spiritual nurture, physical property, and budget are made by our elected leaders. To connect with church officers, see the list of Elders and Deacons and their committee assignments on the church website under the “ABOUT” tab, “Staff and Leadership.”

The Session meets monthly on the 2nd Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Minutes are open and available by request after they are approved at the following month’s Session meeting.
Lay Readers for Virtual Services
Just a reminder that lay readers are wanted for our virtual services and all are invited to sign up here! After this week's Banner, the sign-up link will only be listed in the sign-ups section of the Banner as you see it today below.
Welcome Rene Prager
We welcome René Prager as she steps into the Interim Youth Programs Coordinator position. René comes to this with thirty-three years of experience in youth instruction and program coordination. Within First Presbyterian Church, René has served as Nursery Coordinator, Junior Church Coordinator, VBS Volunteer, 5-Alive Coordinator, and currently organizes the College Care Package ministry. She has filled the role of Circle Leader, is an active member of the S & D Sunday School Class, and is the current Moderator for Presbyterian Women.
Hired at age thirteen as a gymnastics instructor for York County Parks and Rec, René began a ten-year 'early' career in numerous youth-related instruction and supervisory positions with York County (VA), including five years as a summer camp site lead, providing programming for 100 youth and managing a staff of three. René graduated from Penn State with a bachelor’s degree in Logistics. After graduation, she worked as a pricing analyst for Central Transport, before leaving the transportation industry to raise her daughters. More recently, Rene’ worked for Universal Yarn.
René returned to her passion of working with youth in a number of long-term, volunteer positions as her children were growing up. She is in her sixteenth year as a Girl Scout Leader at First Presbyterian Church. Outside the church, René dedicated eight years as a volunteer for Sailfish Aquatics. There she led the community outreach Adopt-a-Family program, as well as fundraising, travel trip coordination, and alumni activities.
Born in New York and raised in Virginia, René has called Concord home since 1998. René and husband Chris have been married for twenty-six years and have two daughters: Emma and Kate. The family joined First Presbyterian Church in 2001. In her free time, René enjoys hiking, photography, and travel.
Please join us as we welcome Rene!
Welcome Kim Mazzola
We are excited to welcome Kim Mazzola to the church staff as our new part-time Financial Administrative Assistant. Kim will be in the office part-time Monday - Thursday each week. Kim started this week and she will train with Christy until the end of February when Christy retires. Kim will work closely with the church treasurer and our accounting firm.

Prior to joining our staff, Kim worked as an Executive Assistant to an Executive Vice President at S&D Coffee for six years (2014-2020), and before then, she worked at The Finley Group in Charlotte from 2006-2014.

Kim and her husband Johnny moved to Charlotte from Houston, TX in 1993, and then north to Concord 20 years ago. She enjoys the outdoors, home projects, reading non-fiction, history, and her Bible Study.

Please join us in welcoming Kim to the team!
Remaining Backpack Needs
Due to the tremendous response to our request for food items for our Souper Bowl of Caring soup bags for Coltrane Webb Elementary School, we only need the following two items:

French Onion dried soup mix (box of 2)
Vegetable soup (14.5 oz. cans; with or without meat)

Thank you all so very much!
Save the Date!
Mark you calendars for the annual PW Spring Nurturing Event.
This year the Event title is "Pilgrimages and Sacred Places" .
The guest speaker for the Virtual Event is Elizabeth Richardson.
and the event will be on Sunday, March 7, 2021 - 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Details will be posted in the weeks ahead!
College Addresses!
We are collecting the addresses for our First Presbyterian Concord college students. Whether learning remotely or in person, we would like to connect with them! 
Please e-mail René Prager: with your student's name, shipping address, e-mail address, and final exam week (if known). If their address changes during the semester, please let us know!
Services Update- Worship Available earlier on Sunday Morning
Our pastoral staff continues to preach and teach through various means of technology. Please join us for all of our worship opportunities on Facebook (,
Worship is posted at 8:30 a.m.
Sign-up Links
Sign up here to read scripture during our virtual services.
Questions, contact Hunter Morrison:
Lay Liturgists
Sign up here to be a lay liturgist .

Sunday, January 24, 2020
Rev. Rush Otey preaching

Thursday, January 21
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Friday, January 22
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Sunday, January 24
8:30 a.m. Worship available online
9:45 a.m. Journey Sunday School
10:00 a.m. S & D Sunday School
4:00 p.m. Racial Equity Reads
Monday, January 25
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Tuesday, January 26
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Wednesday, January 27
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Church Report
Congratulations to Robert Brannan IV and Sabrina Brannan on the birth of their son, Tilden Robert Brannan, born on November 1 in Leland, NC. Grandparents are Bob and Debbie Brannan and Great Grandmother is Shirley Brannan.
January 22 - Donna Knorr, Ben Verner
January 23 - Jennie Bethune
January 24 - Julie Epler, Claire Kinane, H.L. Ruth
January 25 - Mark Carlough, Paul Chikes, Jim Epler, Craig Pless, Leigh Sparks
January 27 - Courtney Clark
**To enjoy a sung happy birthday, click here!**
Rush Otey
Temporary Supply Pastor 

Associate Pastor 
for Care and Mission

René Prager
Interim Youth
Programs Coordinator

Director of Music and Organist


Suzanne Russell
Church Administrator

Financial Secretary

Heath Ritchie
Maintenance Superintendent

Director of First Kids

Kim Mazzola
Financial Administrative Asst.

Wedding Director
Contact Info
First Presbyterian Church
(704) 788-2100

70 Union Street North
Concord NC 28025 

Mailing Address: 
PO Box 789 Concord NC 28026-0789

Church Office Hours: 
Monday - Thursday, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Closed Friday
The Commons Prayer Room Hours:

Memorial Garden:
(704) 786-8009
36 Spring Street SW
Concord NC 28025
Garden Hours: 
Tuesday - Saturday, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sunday, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Closed Monday