THE BANNER
June 3, 2020
Little Fires Everywhere
Little Fires Everywhere  is an American miniseries, based on the  2017 novel of the same name  by  Celeste Ng . It premiered on  Hulu  on March 18, 2020 and consists of eight episodes. The series stars  Reese Witherspoon  and  Kerry Washington , both of whom also executive produced. Set in the  Cleveland  suburb of  Shaker Heights, Ohio  during the late 1990s, it features Witherspoon and Washington as mothers from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds whose fraught and complicated relationship upends their lives and that of their families.

This series is about a lot of things, but the essence of it is captured in a scene where Witherspoon’s character, Elena Richardson, (who is white and affluent) accuses Washington’s character, Mia Warren, (who is black and poor) of making “poor choices” in life which has resulted in many of her problems. But Mia forcefully responds to Alena, saying, “You didn’t make good choices. You had good choices.”

As the writer, Celia Tan has said, “stories change lives. Fiction changes hearts and minds.”

This series has stuck in my mind over the past week as I have been following with interest the large demonstrations and protests (which have been largely peaceful by racially mixed, intergenerational groups of people; the violence and looting has been committed by relatively small groups of people [many of whom are white] that have been taking advantage of the chaos of the situation—[some represent groups on the left; others on the far right]) that have been taking place in cities around the country, and around the world, in response to the killing of an African American man, George Floyd, by a Minneapolis policeman—just one of a multitude of similar killings (murders) that have been captured on video in recent years with appalling regularity. (Frequently, the white perpetrators have not been held accountable).
 
This event was the “spark” that set all of these protests in motion, but they are rooted in the 400 years of oppression of black people by white people in North America which is deeply rooted in our culture and politics and some white churches and is ongoing
(see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1619_Project ). Far from being an anomaly, students of American history are painfully aware that extrajudicial killings (some would say executions) of blacks by whites as a method of terror and control has been a common feature of the American experience since the beginning. 
 
The knee-jerk reaction to all of this, of course, [as always] is the call for the “restoration of order” through some combination of police and military [primarily National Guard] force. But this is only a temporary band-aid placed on a host of festering wounds that are never adequately addressed [poverty, substandard housing, lack of healthcare [Covid-19 has ravaged the African community because of the preceding], low quality public schools, low paying jobs, etc.). As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “It’s all right to tell a man to lift himself up by his own bootstraps, but it is cruel jest to say to a bootless man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps.”
 
The ongoing belief in white supremacy by many is why these festering wounds are never adequately addressed ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_supremacy ). Historically, whites have been happy to spend government resources generously on their own needs (think, for example, of the GI Bill after World War II that enabled millions of white veterans to attend college and graduate school and the introduction of FHA and other government backed housing loans that enabled millions of white people to purchase homes at very low interest rates with small down-payments). These programs and others literally are responsible for creating the white middle class and the post-war economic boom, but most whites are not aware that blacks were largely excluded from accessing these programs—it is the only way the legislation was able to make it through Congress.
 
So, will we choose a different response to racial injustice this time? I hope so. It feels different now, but it won’t be quick or easy. My hope rests in younger generations of Americans (under 40) that are much more racially diverse than previous generations and who now make up the largest voting bloc in the country. 
 
But let’s be clear: we won’t have peace and we certainly won’t be (in any sense) “Christian” until black lives matter as much to whites as their own.
 
Blessings,
Scott Kenefake, Interim Pastor
 
For further reading:
 
 
 
 
 



Join Us for Virtual Communion
Join us “virtually” this Sunday, June 7th, at 10 a.m, to celebrate Communion together. Instructions for participation will be emailed and posted on the church’s Facebook page later in the week.
Re-opening Advisory Committee
The Session has appointed an Advisory Committee to provide guidance as to when and how to begin the re- opening of the church campus in the safest way possible over the next weeks and months. The members are:

Amy Woolwine
Pam McDonald
Susan Brooks
Evelyn Barrier
Jim Holloway
Chrissy Rotan
Gina Goff

Their first meeting will be on Wednesday evening, June 3rd, at 7p.m. on Zoom.
Racial Equity Reads
In faithful response to the biblical commands to love our neighbor, and in light of the current events of our country, we seek to create an intentional space for dialogue, understanding, and action for anti-racism and justice work. As an almost entirely white congregation, we are called to listen and learn about the perspective and realities of our black siblings in Christ. Rachel and Lynne will be co-leading a weekly study group that will explore important writings from voices of people of color, along with other various media formats.
Join us Wednesdays at 7 pm via Zoom beginning on June 17 th . Our first book will be “ So You Want to Talk about Race ” by Ijeoma Olou. As a great first step in anti-racism work, we invite you to consider purchasing your book from a black owned bookstore, such as Key Bookstore or Mahogany Books. If you have any questions or would like to share your interest in the study, please contact Rachel. Zoom information will be shared as we get closer to our start date.
Come if you are curious. Come if you are hopeful. Come if you are sad, angry, or apathetic. Come if you are wondering what to do next. Come if you seek to love your neighbor.
Film Discussion Series Thursdays at Noon
Please join us for a seven week film discussion series where Walter Brueggemann discusses key concepts from his new book, Materiality as Resistance: Five Elements for Moral Action in the Real World. We will be discussing who we are called to be in the world through the lens of loving God, loving ourselves, and loving our neighbor. It is not necessary to purchase or read the book to participate in the discussion. We will continue this Thursday, June 4, at noon via Zoom.

Click here to join the meeting.

Topic: Materiality as Resistance
Time: June 4, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Meeting ID: 814 5619 0203
Password: 625175

Dial by your location
       +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 814 5619 0203
Password: 625175
Services Update - Summer Worship Schedule
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/),
Summer Worship is posted at 10:00 a.m.
Coronavirus Covid-19 in Haiti
The officials announced on May 21 that Haiti will remain in confinement due to Covid-19 until July 20th.
In Bayonnais. starvation is the biggest hurdle. Food has been very scarce. OFCB school has been distributing rice to the schools kids (including satellite schools) to eat at home since thousands of families have had no reserve for rainy days like these. They have also been distributing huge bread (kabich) to different families in the region just to let them know that somebody cares for them and are thinking about them. Please pray for all.
How Can You Help? Friends of OFCB is raising funds specifically for this effort.
Donate Online:
http://friendsofofcb.org/v2/donate.html
in the note write “Bread Ministry"

Send checks to:
Friends of OFCB - Bread ministry, PO Box 34563 Charlotte, NC 28234-4563
Fuel Tank Update - The funds for the fuel tank have been received in Bayonnais. The good news is they are able to begin the purchase and installation during the shut-down period once their technician returns from NY.

Sponsorship Team Meeting Update

On May 20 we had a phenomenal 30 minute Zoom meeting with people who are investing in increasing the number of children sponsored in Bayonnais. We received creative input and agreed to meet again in 3 months.We would love for you to join our next meeting. If you would like to be part of this team, please send an email to any of the following people.
Joan Finn : joan@worldofgod.org
Stephanie McAnuff : stephanie@worldofgod.org
Melissa MacIver : melissa@worldofgod.org
 
Sponsor a Child

Sponsoring a child at OFCB in Bayonnais is the best way to empower and equip impoverished young people with life skills to become self-sufficient, impact their communities, and achieve their dreams. Visit our website if you are inspired to sponsor a child: www.worldofgod.org.
Looking Ahead to Another Amazing Year with Presbyterian Women!
I want to extend a huge thank you to our 2019-2020 PW Moderator, Susan Hannah, for leading us through the conclusion of this year of Presbyterian Women. We would normally celebrate and thank her at our Birthday luncheon in May, as well as recognize our other dedicated outgoing leadership team members. In lieu of that event, I offer our thanks to Susan, the rest of our Coordinating Team, and our members and supporters for an amazing year!

In the coming month, please watch for news about our 2020-2021 year. If you have a new
e-mail or mailing address, please contact Suzanne Russell at the church office so that we can make those updates in advance of our communication. We also invite all women of the church, ages 18 and up, to join Presbyterian Women. If you are not currently receiving information, please reach out so that we can keep in touch!

What is Presbyterian Women? I will share a portion of the report, submitted by Susan Hannah, to recap our year. There is definitely something for everyone!

“The Presbyterian Women at First Presbyterian includes every women member in our church.  Currently, approximately 100 women actively participate; whether as a circle member, PW Coordinating team member, participation in fellowship, missions, or congregational care.”

- monthly for Bible study, fellowship, and service projects
- support of CVAN, CCM, MAC House, Opportunity House, Rose of Thanks, local schools, Disaster Relief
- Coltrane Webb School Backpack Program: weekend meals for fifteen food-insecure families, as well as additional support for the families
- Coordination of First Presbyterian Church’s three weeks of Salvation Army Night Shelter meals
- annual polishing of brass in sanctuary and silver in Fellowship House
- transportation to and from church events for needy individual
- support of The Commons
- Meal Ministry from members to our shut-ins; due to illness or injury
- Special events hosted by PW include: Kickoff Dinner in August, Spiced Sunday Luncheon in October, Joy Gift Dinner in December, Spiritual Nurture Luncheon in the spring, and the Birthday Offering Luncheon in May.
- PW Hobbie Scholarship sponsored full scholarships for four nursing students in Congo.
- The Ridenhour Scholarship presents an annual scholarship to a seminary student in our area
- Reception for our graduating high school seniors
- During the Christmas holidays PW provides a homemade meal to be taken home; to each of our clergy and staff members to show our appreciation

Presbyterian Women provides all of these programs and community outreach solely through the pledges of our members and additional donations of our supporters. We know many were unable to complete their pledged donations once in-person meetings were suspended due to Covid-19. For those still looking to complete their pledges for the 2019-2020 year, you are welcome to mail them in to the church or to use the online donation option for donations with credit cards.

We are exploring multiple options for our new year, including in-person gatherings, as well as Zoom meetings and other creative ways to stay connected. If you have ideas, questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Warm regards,
René Prager
Moderator, Presbyterian Women
Sign-up Links
Lay Liturgists
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Sanctuary Flowers
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A Shepherd helps our teachers by being another adult in the room, to make sure that we have a safe classroom, and to fulfill the requirements of our Child and Youth Protection Policy. If you have questions about what it means to be a Shepherd, please reach out to one of the members of the Christian Education Committee or Rachel Vogado.  
Youth Newsletter
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about all events related to youth who are in 6th-12 grade.
Calendar
Sunday, June 7, 2020
Rev. Dr. Scott Kenefake preaching

Thursday, June 4
12:00 p.m. Zoom film discussion
Sunday, June 7
10:00 a.m. Worship online
Tuesday, June 9
7:00 p.m. Al Anon meeting
7:00 p.m. Session Zoom meeting
Church Report
Birthdays
June 4 - Kathryn Brown, Harold Cline, Jane Faust, Trey McMillan, Timothy Watson
June 5 - Davilla Gilbert, Gary Nelson, Mary Katherine Underwood
June 6 - Rylee Neal, Avery Sloop
June 7 - Cordelia Andrews, Ann Cline
June 8 - Sallie Dotger, Skip Eubanks, Will Ruth
June 9 - Nancy Bibby
June 10 - Kristin Morgan, Lisa Ostema, Prior Sparks, Amy Woolwine
Staff
Scott Kenefake
Interim Senior Pastor 

Associate Pastor 
for Care and Mission

Associate Pastor
for Christian Formation



Director of Music and Organist

Choirmaster

Suzanne Russell
Church Administrator

Financial Secretary

Heath Ritchie
Maintenance Superintendent

Director of First Kids

Wedding Director
Contact Info
First Presbyterian Church
(704) 788-2100
s uzanne.russell @firstpresconcord.org  

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:
Monday: Closed
Open for scheduled groups:
Tuesday,Thursday, Friday
Open to Public:
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 am - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday mornings for FPC

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