THE BANNER
December 16, 2020
Devotional for the Fourth Week of Advent
I am not ordinarily in the habit of making predictions. (Predictably, most predictions are incorrect!) However . . .
This Christmas we will experience both some relief and some astonishment. There is relief in that through all the anguish, the Light still shines! There is relief in that the One for whom we have been waiting arrives! There is relief in that the One who we have been seeking seeks us, reaches for us! In another congregation the Christmas pageant included a live baby. From where I sat, his face could not be seen—but over the top of the manger, his hand reached up and repeatedly waved and stretched wildly as if inviting all of us to share in joy.
Christmas is God’s invitation, God’s relief for us. How else can we respond, than with astonishment! The poet Byron Herbert Reece (1917-1958) concluded a wonderful poem, “The Shepherds In Search of the Lamb of God” and points the way:

                                 “Hush, I hear the lowing kine
                                  Tread gently on the straw.”
                                 “Haste, remember thou the sign
                                  Given by him we saw!”
                                 “See the cattle stand and nod
                                  Close by the Lady’s feet.”
                                  “Look, the little Lamb of God
                                  Cradled where oxen eat!”
                                  “Oh! Oh! Oh!”
                                                                                 Rush  
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.
Flowers for Sunday, December 20
The flowers for Sunday's service are given by the congregation to the Glory of God and in honor of Helen Morrison on the celebration of her 100th birthday on December 22, 2020.
Holiday Staff/Office Information
The office hours for the holiday season are as follows:
Thursday, December 24 - office closes at Noon
Monday, December 28 - office closed
Thursday, December 31 - office closes at Noon
Monday, January 4 - office closed
Rev Keel will be on vacation from 12/25 -1/4. If you have an emergency in her absence and need pastoral care, Rev Otey can be reached at: r.otey@firstpresconcord.org or 704-707-6282.
Advent Prayer Wall
The Christian Education Committee has created a new way for you to pray this Advent with an outdoor prayer wall in front of the sanctuary. If you are walking or driving by the church, you are invited to stop and add your prayer to the wall, as many times as you would like. This could be a wonderful weekly or even daily prayer practice. There will be a prompt for you to lift up a prayer for hope, joy, peace, and love and you will tie your prayer to the wall. Throughout the Advent season you will see the prayers of our congregation and community create a vision of Advent hope. 
Food Drive for the Blessing Box a Success!
Here is what the Deacons collected from our wonderful congregation in only 3 hours on Sunday afternoon. These shelves were completely bare when we started the day. Thank you for your generosity.
Holiday Safety Tips in this time of Covid-19
Gatherings with those outside your immediate family should be avoided this holiday season. But if you do plan to get-together, NCDHHS has more detailed winter holiday guidance to keep you and others safe from COVID-19.

Christian Education
Be sure to check out our Virtual Sunday School Classroom with our new Growing in God's Love curriculum. For Pre-K through 5th grade children, this includes a monthly supply kit to take home and use with the virtual classroom each week.
The kits are available in the lobby area of the Fellowship House. Be sure to grab your kit to be ready to go for the lesson this Sunday. You can access the virtual classroom by clicking here or by going to the First Presbyterian Church website! The content will change weekly as we hear a new story each Sunday.
This Sunday we continue our unit, "The Birth of Jesus", which will walk us through the Advent and Christmas season.
Also, please help us as make our kits. Fill out this short questionnaire to help us best prepare for you and be good stewards of our resources! https://forms.gle/gVDJVUxn5X7vfw488
First Youth Fellowship
If you are a family that has a Youth in grades 6th through 12th, be sure to sign up to receive the First Youth Fellowship newsletter. That is the best way to see all the ways youth can get connected and deepen their faith through service, community, and fun! Sign-up here to receive the Youth Newsletter for detailed information about all youth happenings. **If you didn't receive the Youth Newsletter last week, please be sure to check your spam or junk folder.
All youth families, please fill out the following short questionnaire to help Rachel best prepare and anticipate the needs for our various youth gatherings. Questionnaire found here: https://forms.gle/Z63UdUmwV43xojgG6
Camp Counselors Wanted for Camp Grier
Working at Camp Grier is rewarding, challenging, and fun! You will make a tremendous difference in the lives of children while building your resume and honing your outdoor skills.
 
We are seeking enthusiastic role models that want to work with children ages 7 to 17 in the great outdoors.

Learn more at the Job Openings page on our website.
2020 Contributions and Stock Transfer
Please remember that year-end contributions must be received in the church office by noon on December 31st. For stock transfers, please notify Suzanne Russell so that the proceeds can be applied to the correct account in a timely manner. Thank you!
Sign-up Links
Sign up here to receive the Youth Newsletter for detailed information
about all events related to youth who are in 6th-12 grade.
Calendar
Sunday, December 20, 2020
Rev. Rush Otey preaching

Wednesday, December 16
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
6:30 p.m. PNC online
Thursday, December 17
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
6:30 p.m Boy Scout Adv. Boards of Review.
Friday, December 18
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Sunday, December 20
11:00 a.m. Worship 
Tuesday, December 22
6:00 p.m. Cub Scouts
7:00 p.m. Scouts Pack 3
Church Report
Condolences
The sympathy and condolences of the congregation are extended to the families of Martha Dobson as they mourn the loss of her father, Warren "Bill" Anderson, who died on December 11 in High Point, NC, and to Valerie Thomas and her family as they mourn the loss of her mother, Grace Sakach, who died on December 15 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Birthdays
December 17 - Peter Chikes
December 18 - Charlotte Ostema, Chris Prager
December 19 - Charlotte Cox, Scarlett Davis, Sydney Johnson, Ben Peterson
December 20 - Jeff Kies, Edwin Macaluso
December 21 - Carter Olson
December 22 - John Bare, Linda Grist, Angie Harrison, Helen Morrison, Holly Robbins, Susan Spader
December 23 - Jason Cagle, Hayden Dunlap, Bebe Grey
**To enjoy a sung happy birthday, click here!**
Staff
Rush Otey
Temporary Supply 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
suzanne.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:
Closed

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