May 20, 2020
Resilience in Difficult Times
 Dear Friends,

We are more than two months into our time of social distancing and now all 50 states are in some process of a slowly reopening. These weeks have been psychologically and spiritually draining for many.

Below are two resource links that deal with the psychological need for “resilience“ in difficult times, as well the theological assurance of “hope” in all life circumstances. I hope that some will find these resources helpful.



Session Meeting Highlights from May 12, 2020
The Session met on May 12 th , once again using Zoom Internet video and audio!

The Session serves as the members of the Memorial Garden Association. With a motion from the Memorial Garden Board, we elected Holt Morrison and Julie Holland as additional directors on that Board. Thank you for serving Holt and Julie!

The Session voted to create a Pastoral Relations Committee as a concrete step to foster a positive and supportive work environment for the pastoral staff.

A committee is being created to gather information and advise the Session about how and when we can begin to gather on campus again. We discussed a number of things that will need to be taken into consideration as we plan for this including goals shared by the Worship and Music Committee to be creative, stay connected to all members of the congregation, and establish safe and meaningful worship experiences. Information is being gathered from federal, state, and local experts and the Presbytery is working diligently to advise churches of safe reopening.

The City of Concord is donating masks and hand sanitizers to local churches through the CARES act. We requested 300-350 masks and 3 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Congratulations to our graduating seniors! Plans are underway to honor these seniors. Look for upcoming stories about each senior to be emailed to the congregation!

Stay tuned - VBS and summer camp plans with the Preschool are still up in the air.

The new church officers were trained via Zoom on May 14 th and presented their statements of faith to the Session on May 18 th . We are very blessed to have these new officers to lead us through the next three years. They will be ordained and installed as part of our May 31 virtual worship service.

Many thanks go to the pastors for the challenges they have undertaken to minister during this time and the technology learning curves they have faced head-on to continue to share Sunday school, worship, book and film studies, and conduct our church meetings. We appreciate all of them!
As Presbyterians, decisions affecting our worship, education, spiritual nurture, physical property, and budget are made by our elected leaders. To connect with church officers, all Elders and Deacons and their committee assignments are listed on the church website under the “ABOUT” tab, “Staff and Leadership.”
The Session meets monthly on the 2 nd Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Minutes are open and available by request after they are approved at the following month’s Session meeting.
Services Update - Summer Worship Schedule Starts this Sunday
Our pastoral staff continues to preach and teach through various means of technology. Please join us for all of our worship opportunities on Facebook (,
Summer Worship will begin virtually, this Sunday, May 24th, with the worship service at 10:00 a.m.
CE in the Summer
This Sunday, May 24 th , we officially move to our summer schedule, which means that not only does worship move to 10 a.m., but also our church’s Christian Education programming creates more spaces for Sabbath which means Sunday School classes and Youth Fellowship will not be held on a weekly basis. The Christian Education Committee, along with Rachel, recognize the need for both rest and connection. As we continue to be the church in virtual ways, we will intermittently offer some spaces for learning and fellowship. Be sure to keep an eye on the Banner newsletter and the church’s social media pages for when there will be zoom gatherings. There will also be some tech free resources shared for individuals and families who are seeking ways to deepen their faith while resting from technology. If you have any questions or would like to connect with more recommended faith resources while you are at home, please contact Rachel. 
Last Call for Graduate Information
Do you have a high school, college or higher education graduate in your household? If so, we need your help! Various groups in the church are working on some special recognitions for our class of 2020, and we would love your help so that we can creatively celebrate our graduating seniors. We are asking for a recent or senior class photo, as well as special remarks about their graduation, such as rewards they have won or meaningful clubs and projects they were a part of. We are also asking for next plans, such as what college they will attend, what they will be studying, or jobs and roles that they are stepping into. You can send those things to Also, we would like to know if they are willing to have that information publicized from our church's social media and other avenues. Please, if you are willing to share that information, email it to Rachel ASAP! Thank you for your help!
Pastor Nominating Committee Report
Your PNC continues to meet weekly. Since our last update in April, we continue to receive interest in the Senior Pastor position for First Presbyterian Church. Our committee reviews each candidate carefully by reading their Pastor Information Form, (PIF), in detail, listening to multiple sermons online, looking at information on social media, and checking references as needed. Many candidates have their own personal websites that we have found to be very helpful in sharing information about themselves.

The COVID19 Pandemic has had an impact on our search as it has on almost all aspects of current life. First, we believe that possible candidates may hesitate to submit a PIF until times are more settled. Second, although we continue to receive PIFs, the pandemic has made it virtually impossible to visit ministers or churches in person. Zoom conferencing is a great tool that has enabled us to continue to meet as a committee and to have initial contact with candidates, but nothing replaces meeting in person or actually sitting in a worship service. This has not dampened our spirits; we see this as a challenge to us and our candidates as we seek to discern and follow God’s will in unsettled times! We are excited about the interest we have received and are being diligent in our work to seek the person God is calling to our church.

Your prayers for strength and guidance for your PNC are deeply appreciated.

If you have any questions for the committee, please feel free to contact Betsy Liles at

Peace from the PNC,
Betsy Liles – Chair
Dave Goff, Margaret Hillman, Cheryl Kelling, Rindy Moore, Todd Phillips, Kathy Pilkington, Nathan Woolwine
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, May 21, at noon via Zoom.

Click here to join the meeting.

Topic: Materiality as Resistance
Time: May 21, 2020 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 813 0465 4361
Password: 213243

Dial by your location
       +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 813 0465 4361
Password: 213243
Journey Sunday School Update
There will be no Journey SS this Sunday because of the Memorial Day holiday. We will meet the following Sunday, May 31st.
If you would like to join on May 31st please contact Hunter Morrison: 
Final Spring Book Discussion this Evening
What : Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others , by Barbara Brown Taylor 

When : Wednesday evenings (May 6, 13, & 20), 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. 

Where : Zoom 

Who : all curious adults 

Host/Discussion Facilitator : Scott Kenefake (please email at to get Zoom information!
Thank You
After more than 10 years as Night Shelter Meals Coordinator (Center of Hope, at the Salvation Army); Betsy Liles will be passing the torch to Betsy Morrison.
Three times a year, we are responsible for dinner and breakfast for thirty to thirty five people who reside at the shelter. We have some regular participants; Sunday school classes, Girl Scout troops, or partners who volunteer together, and we have the occasional first time volunteer as well.
Betsy Liles has arranged our week of providing meals with care and dedication, and has gone above and beyond whenever its been needed. She has set a fine example for Betsy Morrison to follow in her steps.  On behalf of others, we extend a very big thank you to Betsy!
Thank You and Farewell
It is with sadness that we say goodbye to our gracious hostess of the past five years, Jayne Mauer. Jayne is leaving us to move on to greener pastures, literally, as she is retiring from her cooking goodies but will be spending more time caring for her beloved horses on her family’s property. With her husband’s retirement also, there will be many more opportunities for them to travel.

We will miss Jayne’s lovely smile and her flexibility feeding ever changing numbers of us who make our reservations late or change to “take out”. She has been exceptionally kind to share any leftovers with Opportunity House. To help us carry on and generously share the recipes we have most often asked about, Jayne leaves us the legacy of her cookbook which is available as mentioned in the article below.

We look forward to welcoming Jayne back to our church when the Session hosts a Wednesday Night Covered Dish Dinner in Davis Hall in Honor of Jayne Mauer. We hope Jayne’s husband and daughter can join us on this evening of appreciation. Details of this event will be published in the Banner after the COVID-19 guidelines for gathering for meals are relaxed. We hope everyone will attend this night when we honor Jayne Mauer and her exceptional service to our family of faith.
Jayne's Favorite Recipes
Replicate one of your dinners from our Wednesday Night Fellowship dinners at home. Favorite Recipes from our outgoing hostess, Jayne Maurer, are available in her book, Jayne's Recipes. You can pick one up now on the ground floor of the Fellowship House.

In exchange for the book you may leave a donation in the envelope provided.  ALL PROCEEDS go to our Backpack Program. Suggested minimum if $10. Thank you.
Deacons Response to Covid - 19
Since the stay-at-home order was issued in NC, our Deacons have approved discretionary funds for the following:
* $750 to supplement our Coltrane Webb Back Pack program with Food Lion gift cards
*$3,000 to help Meals on Wheels create additional shelf stable meals, and
*$1,000 to CCM for the food pantry

Additionally, Deacons have been calling our older adult members along with our Visitation team to chat and receive prayer requests. We will continue to listen for the needs of our congregants and our community and respond with Christ's love. If you are aware of additional needs or would like to become involved with these and/or other efforts, please let Lynne Keel or Janna Mitchell know.
Sign-up Links
Lay Liturgists
Sign up here to be a lay liturgist to
read scripture in worship on Sundays.

Sanctuary Flowers
To give the congregation a gift of
sanctuary flowers,  please click here
to sign-up for one or more Sundays
during the year.
Shepherd for Sunday School
Sign up here to be a Shepherd in our Elementary and Middle School Sunday School.
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
Sign up here to receive the Youth Newsletter for detailed information
about all events related to youth who are in 6th-12 grade.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Rev. Lynne Keel preaching
Acts 1:6-14
Thursday, May 21
12:00 p.m. Zoom film discussion
Sunday, May 24
10:00 a.m. Worship on Facebook
Monday, May 25
Office Closed for Memorial Day
Tuesday, May 26
7:00 p.m. Al Anon meeting
Church Report
May 23 - Paige Johnson, Nathan Woolwine
May 24 - Austin Everett, Doug Crawford, Carter Morrison
May 25 - Bob Smith
May 26 - Brian King, John Nelson, Harold Thomas, Margie Underwood, Haley Wrightman
May 27 - Kacy Mize, Hunter Snellings
Associate Pastor 
for Care and Mission

Associate Pastor
for Christian Formation

Director of Music and Organist
Director of Music and Organist


Suzanne Russell
Church Administrator

Financial Secretary

Heath Ritchie
Maintenance Superintendent

Director of First Kids

Church Hostess

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

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