THE BANNER
March 31, 2021
Have a Blessed, Safe Easter Holiday this week,
your FPC Staff
Seven Stanzas at Easter









Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

—John Updike, “Seven Stanzas as Easter” (1960)
Maundy Thursday Online Service
Be sure to check your emails tomorrow, April 1, for the link to the online worship service for Maundy Thursday.
Good Friday Stations of the Cross Procession
The congregation is invited to join the Concord community of faith in the traditional Stations of the Cross procession on Good Friday, April 2nd. Please plan to join us! You may park at First Presbyterian Church and we can depart the church on foot around 3 p.m., joining the procession at 3:30 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church. We will pause with stops at St. James Lutheran Church, Memorial Gardens, City Hall, Central United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and end at Forest Hills United Methodist Church at approximately 4:45 p.m.

Please use this link to RSVP: 2021 FPC: Stations of the Cross Procession. This will allow us to easily communicate any changes in the plan due to inclement weather and/or changes in Covid restrictions impacting the procession. Event organizers remind us to please wear a mask and practice social distancing.
Flowered Cross Drive Through
As has been a longstanding tradition of First Presbyterian Church, you are invited to clip spring flowers from your yard and bring them to the church to be placed on our cross. On Easter Sunday, April 4th from 10 a.m. to noon, the cross will be on the front lawn in front of the Sanctuary. We are asking everyone who would like to participate to drive on the half circle in front of the Sanctuary, stay in your vehicle, and a basket will be there to receive the flowers. Your greeter, wearing a mask, will say "Jesus Christ is Risen!" and you may respond "He is risen indeed!." The cross will remain for the afternoon. If you would like to take pictures with your family, we ask that everyone observe the recommended social distancing practices.
(The cross pictured is from 2020.)
One Great Hour of Sharing Easter Collection
The annual special collection for Easter Sunday is One Great Hour of Sharing. You can give to this using the drop down option here, by texting 704-228-7459 and selecting it in the drop down option, or by mailing a check to the church, and putting One Great Hour of Sharing in the memo line. If you are mailing a check please send it to First Presbyterian Church, P O Box 789, Concord, NC 28026.
Click here for information on this worthwhile collection.
Congregational Meeting, Sunday, April 11, 2021
There will be a Congregational Meeting on Sunday, April 11, at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom for the purpose of voting on the recommendation from the Pastor Nominating Committee for a New Senior Pastor and the Terms of Call for the Senior Pastor. The Zoom link for this meeting will be emailed to the Congregation at least one hour before the start of this meeting.
News from the Re-opening Committee
Hello and Happy Easter to you all. It is amazing to think it has been over a year since we were worshiping, together in the Sanctuary! During the time away from in-person worship, we have formed new ways to communicate and fellowship and simply be a church family. Since last Fall, a group of Session members and medical volunteers from the congregation have been working, together, on a reopening plan for in-person worship. We have tracked data and listened to scientific facts, all in an attempt to make the safest decisions for us all! 
The work that was put in toward that goal, produced a detailed plan for reopening the Sanctuary! Session approved the campus for reopening to small groups back in the Fall with the same safety considerations in place. Since then, some Adult Sunday School classes have been meeting, the Youth had a successful mission weekend, the Scouting programs have been meeting as well as a circle or two...and we must mention our partnering with the Academic Learning Center to provide a place for after school (and in person!) tutoring to kids since no one has been permitted to be inside school buildings! Lastly, First Kids Preschool re-opened in August and have had a very successful - although different - year.
We are pleased to report that these successful times of in-person learning and being together in-person would not have been possible without the commitment to safety and the respect of others that was put into place and acted out perfectly by children, women, and men alike.
It is with excitement that we report to you all that our time of coming together for in-person worship on the church campus is near. While we are not ready to share an exact date, we did want to let you know that it has remained top of mind. The final details are being ironed out now. In the meantime, here is a list of some of the measures that have been and are being taken to do this the safest way and do it only one time:

1. If you have not been on campus, there is a mask and social distancing policy - with posted notices throughout. This applies to the Sanctuary, too. 
2. The pews have been roped off to allow for social distancing
3. You will need to sign up in order to attend worship on Sunday mornings (and at this time we will only have one service at 11 a.m.)....there is a limit of 70 people (this includes specially trained ushers).
4. There will be no collection of offering (we will continue to text to give) and there will be no communion.
5. The minister (s) will not exit down the aisle at the end of service to greet parishioners
6. PLEASE use the same acts of respect and safety you have used all these months as we begin to reopen for worship....MASKS are a must.
 
Please note that these in-person services will be live streamed on YouTube. If you can't get a spot "inside" on Sunday the service experience will be LIVE for you at home. The ability to offer this is really exciting. It is a technology we will be able to use as we come out of the pandemic and beyond!
 
Thank you, all, for the amazing patience you have sustained this last year. It has not been easy for anyone. We look forward to announcing this date soon and hope you will be as excited (and cautious) as we are to begin this safe return to Sunday morning, in-person worship!
 
Grateful,
Amy Woolwine, Carol Hovey, Wade Holland and Hunter Morrison
S & D Sunday School Class
The S & D Sunday School Class will be studying “The Apostles Creed For Today" by Justo Gonzalez. Gonzalez explores not only what the creed meant in the early centuries, but also why it is important and relevant for our faith today. All are welcome. If you’d like to join us, call Todd Phillips or Sallie Dotger for further information . We will not meet on Easter Sunday, but will begin chapter one on April 11th at 9:45 a.m.via Zoom.
Youth Mission Weekend Highlight: Opportunity House
This week's Youth Mission Weekend highlight focuses on Opportunity House.

Opportunity House Mission statement:
Our Mission, as disciples of Jesus Christ, is to serve the people of Cabarrus County by providing resources to meet the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of the homeless and disadvantaged and to collaborate with community constituents to develop and implement practical solutions that address the root causes of homelessness.

Many members of our congregation volunteer with this organization on an on-going basis. Last year, Operation Sandwich was launched by our Deacons to help fill a weekend need at Opportunity House. Operation Sandwich provides sixty sub sandwiches, fruit, chips, dessert, and water for homeless clients to use for nourishment over the weekend. Kate Morrison spoke to the youth about helping our neighbors in need and shared additional information with them on the Operation Sandwich program.

Executive Director, Thad Brown, was also invited to join our Mission Weekend, but was unable to attend due to a previous commitment. He wanted to let the youth know that Opportunity House provides day time shelter, community housing resources, and a reentry program to our area homeless. Each year, they strive to permanently guide thirty people off of the streets and into secure living situations.

The youth divided themselves into task-focused teams and quickly assembled sixty ham and cheese hoagies, carefully wrapped and labeled. These sandwiches, along with bottled water, oatmeal pies, applesauce, granola bars, and chips were delivered to Opportunity House on the Monday following Youth Mission Weekend for lunch service the following day.

Pictured: Kate Morrsion speaks to our Youth.
Sixty hand crafted hoagies.
Assembly line teamwork
Opportunity House Furniture Drive
Opportunity House is striving to provide transitional housing in Cabarrus County, including the first housing for single women in Cabarrus County. They are in great need of new or gently used items, including twin beds and bedding, dressers, lamps, kitchen items, wall decor, and so on.
Pick up of donations can be arranged.

Here is the link to sign up to fill one of the needs.

For more information, contact Laura Tolbert at 980-622-0811.
Girl Scouts -Service and Celebration!
How do you celebrate the arrival of Spring? Across India and other regions practicing the Hindu faith, Holi, also known as the Festival of the Colors, marks the beginning of spring. The two day festival, celebrated March 27-28 of this year, begins with a religious ceremony on the first day. The Girl Scouts learned about some of these traditions and then took part in a sample activity from day two of the holiday: the celebratory color throwing. A brief pause in Thursday's storm allowed for some great outdoor fun! Part two of the overnight storm provided the perfect clean-up.

Earlier in the meeting, the Girl Scouts also made sandwiches and packed lunches for the church's Operation Sandwich program for Opportunity House. In all they made twenty ham and cheese sandwiches with lunches that included bagged chips, applesauce, granola bars, oatmeal pies, and bottled water.
Presbyterian Women
Please plan to join us for one of our upcoming Circle meetings . It is a great way to connect with other congregation members, learn about opportunities to serve in the community, and take part in Bible study. The April meetings are as follows:
 
Circle 1: Monday, April 5th, 6:30 p.m. via Zoom, Kay Wall is the circle leader
Circle 3: Tuesday, April 13th, 1:30 p.m. in person in the courtyard, Nancy Chikes and Sally Cochran are the circle leaders
Circle 4: Monday, April 12th, 11 a.m. via Zoom, Harriett Phillips is the circle leader
Circle 5: Sunday, April 11th, 2:30 p.m. via Zoom, Kathy Pilkington and Mary Ann Johnson are circle leaders
 
Please contact the circle leader(s) or René Prager (thepragers@yahoo.com) for RSVP links. We would love to have you join us! Focus scripture this month includes: Isaiah 24:4-6, 8,19; Romans 8:19-23.
 
If you have not yet made your financial pledge to Presbyterian Women for the 2020-2021 year, please plan to pay on line using this link: https://www.shelbygiving.com/app/Form/a1baa1b0-b03e-47d8-864a-1c461d8738ba or you may mail or drop off your check to the church office.
 
Please register for our Annual Birthday event: Sunday, May 2nd, at 1:00 p.m. via Zoom. We will reflect on our accomplishments over the last year, celebrate the lives and contributions of the women whom we have lost since our last Birthday Event, and install our new Coordinating Team officers and Circle Leaders, as we look forward to the year ahead.
 
We will offer a birthday gift bag to accompany the event theme. Please indicate if you would like to pick up your bag at the church between 11 a.m. and noon on May 2nd, or if you would like it to be dropped off on your front porch.
 
Please RSVP here by April 19th
2021 Vacation Bible School

2021 Vacation Bible School!
S’more Adventures with God

June 21-24 (Monday to Thursday)
9 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

This outdoor adventure is open to two-year olds to rising 5th graders.
Volunteers needed! Please use this link to sign-up to help: 2021 FPC: Volunteers - Vacation Bible School

Registration is now OPEN! Please register here today! Due to COVID protocols, May 24th will be a firm deadline for VBS registrations. This will allow us the necessary time to implement in-person programming for our exciting week of VBS!
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 (https://www.facebook.com/firstpresconcordnc/),
Worship is posted at 8:30 a.m.
Sign-up Links
Sign up to read scripture during our virtual services.
Questions, contact Hunter Morrison: huntermorrison@gmail.com
Lay Liturgists

To be a Sunday Stories reader
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Calendar
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Easter Sunday
Rev. Rush Otey preaching

Thursday, April 1
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
7:00 p.m. Maundy Thursday Service online
Sunday, April 4
8:30 a.m. Worship online
Monday, April 5
Office Closed for Easter Holiday
6:30 p.m. Circle 1 online
Tuesday, April 6
6:00 p.m. Cub Scouts
7:00 p.m. Boy Scouts Pack 3
7:00 p.m. Board of Deacons
Church Report
Birthdays
April 1 - Pam McDonald, Michael Rohrer
April 2 - Jonathan Ewart, Ella Grace Jones
April 3 - Mitzi Malone, Rhee Nelson, William Nelson
April 5 - Julie Holland
April 6 - Robert Brannan, Laura Holland
April 7 - Ben Ritchie
**To enjoy a sung happy birthday, click here!**
Staff
Rush Otey
Temporary Supply Pastor 

Associate Pastor 
for Care and Mission

René Prager
Interim Youth
Programs Coordinator



Director of Music and Organist

Choirmaster

Suzanne Russell
Church Administrator

Kim Mazzola
Financial Administrative Asst.

Heath Ritchie
Maintenance Superintendent


Director of First Kids


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:
Closed

Memorial Garden:
(704) 786-8009
36 Spring Street SW
Concord NC 28025
 
Garden Hours: 
Tuesday - Saturday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Closed Monday