THE BANNER
November 18, 2020
Advent at Home
This year join First Presbyterian Church in celebrating Advent at home with a special kit for you and your family to learn more about the lessons of Hope, Peace, Love and Joy. This kit is an opportunity for families to to take time each week during the Advent season to be intentional and focus on their faith through devotions, advent wreath and calendar practices, creative expressions and mission opportunities.
If you plan to use the kit this season, please sign up for one so we can adequately prepare and be good stewards of our resources. Thank you and we hope you will join us this Advent!
Advent Opportunities
As we prepare for the season of Advent, the Christian Education Committee is working on many opportunities for you to learn, pray, worship, and ponder the birth of Jesus. While many of our beloved traditions will look a bit different this year, we are working to create meaningful expressions of those traditions. We will be creating some opportunities for Advent faith practices at home for people of all ages with creative activities and space for reflection on scripture and prayer.

We are also working to share some Advent joy as we tell the Christmas story virtually. If you have pictures or videos from previous years' Christmas Pageant, please email them to Rachel. We appreciate your help as we gather some good historical photos from Christmas Pageants past!
Moment for Stewardship
Here is one last stewardship moment for you! Another great ministry of First Presbyterian Church is First Kids Preschool. Listen as the director, Maureen O'Bryan, shares how your gifts benefit this ministry. Click below to watch!
Session Meeting Highlights from November 11, 2020
  • The Session met on November 11th using Zoom Internet video and audio. 
  • Rush Otey was welcomed to FPC and Elders introduced themselves to him. Rush shared that he will be in the church office on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and he invited Elders and members to meet with him on these days. He also stated that staff meetings will be held weekly on Tuesday mornings.
  • As anxious as we all are to get back to worship in the sanctuary, the committee studying reopening options reported that we must wait a while longer in light of the increasing cases and the state rolling back indoor group gatherings to ten. We continue to prepare for indoor worship! Ushers have been trained, the sanctuary has been prepared, the video recording/live streaming equipment is installed and volunteers are trained to use it. 
  • Congratulations to Chrissy Rotan for being named the NC Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year!
  • The revised position description for our financial secretary position is currently posted.
  • Please continue to share your tithes and offerings this year as we work to meet our budget during a very different and challenging year. 
  • Stewardship letters and 2021 pledge cards were mailed to all members at the end of October. Members are asked to return 2021 Pledge cards by November 15. 
  • The Memorial Garden Association Board will hold its annual meeting at the December 15, 2020 Session meeting.
  • Church wide Advent activities are being planned and the Deacons are working on our participation in Angel Tree and an Advent Family Event!
  • The Academic Learning Center is using Davis Hall several days each week and on Saturdays to tutor school children.
  • In order to allow 2021 budget preparation time, the December Session meeting was moved to Tuesday, December 15, 2020 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.
Thanksgiving Turkeys for Operation Breadbasket
An update:

The S & D Sunday School class wishes to thank you to everyone for their generous support of the turkey donations for Operation Breadbasket. $800 of the $1092.05 has already been received! On Tuesday, Brian Moore, Don Seitz, and Bob Smith, delivered 110 turkeys! Operation Breadbasket was so appreciative as they always are.

If you wish to donate, you may make your check out to Brian Moore and mail to him at:
2401 Bethlehem Church Rd
Gold Hill, NC 28071
Checks may also be dropped off at the church office and will be mailed to Brian from there. Any funds in excess of the cost of the turkeys will be used for additional food items for Operation Breadbasket.
Operation Sandwich - A Feeding Ministry
Operation Sandwich will begin this Friday, November 20th. People who wish to participate can drop off the bagged lunches on Thursday or Friday until 10 am. If anyone would like to have a committee member
pick up their sandwiches, contact Margaret Hillman, Kate Morrison or Amanda Williamson.
We have information on the ministry and what is needed in the bags below. The sandwiches go in the
Fellowship House refrigerator, and the bags go in a labeled container in the Fellowship House lobby.

OPERATION SANDWICH - A FEEDING MINISTRY
                          For distribution on Friday, November 20th

Issue: Our homeless neighbors have access to feeding and shelter resources during the week, however, over the weekend, many of these options are closed. The weekend is a difficult stretch of time for many homeless people.

Opportunity: In partnership with Opportunity House in downtown Concord, members and friends of First Presbyterian can make bagged lunches at home, take them to First Pres, and volunteers can deliver them to OH for distribution on Friday. Guests of OH can take these lunches “to-go” after they finish lunch on Friday to stay hydrated and nourished over the weekend. Many of these guests can take multiple bags to give to others with whom they see and camp.

How it works: Collect bagged lunches on Thursday, November 19th until Friday, November 20th at 10 am. We can also arrange to pick up sandwiches.

What’s in the bag: The staff at Opportunity House have outlined specific items to include:
●    Use a Food Lion bag (plastic bag with handles)
●    A sub or regular sandwich with deli meat, cheese, lettuce.
●    Wrap the sandwich in plastic and label with a sharpie when it was made.
●    A soft granola bar or other cereal bar
●    A fruit cup and/or a soft piece of fruit
●    A cookie or dessert
●    A bottle of water
●    We will provide packets of mayo and mustard and napkins or spoons.
2021 Pledge Cards
Please be sure to return the 2021 pledge card you were sent to the office in the envelope provided, or visit the church website and make your pledge there before November 23.
Return the card even if you are unable to make a pledge at this time. Having the cards back helps all committees as they prepare their budgets to fund future programs. Thank you!
Angel Tree Kick-Off
Even in this challenging time of Covid19, the Board of Deacons is pleased to confirm that First Presbyterian Church will once again join forces with The Angel Tree Fellowship Ministry.
We are excited to announce that through the launch of the Virtual Angel Tree Program you can easily send the child of an incarcerated Cabarrus County parent a Christmas gift, which will strengthen and restore loving relationships, using the link below.
The Virtual Angel Tree Program allows our church community to sponsor a child of a prisoner for $22.00. The child will receive a Christmas package on behalf of their incarcerated loved one, and will include: a gift card to Walmart (based on selected sponsorship level), the prisoner parent’s message, a Gospel presentation, and an opportunity to request a free Adventure Bible.
To access the Virtual Angel Tree Ministry website and effectively navigate your way to sponsor children, the Ministry has assigned First Presbyterian Church this URL link.
Simply click here . You will then be prompted to add the Access Code: VTI52
If you require computer assistance, please ask a family member or a friend to assist you, or send a check for $22.00 made payable to First Presbyterian Church. Please add Angel Tree to the memo line, and mail to: P O Box 789 Concord, NC 28026.

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

Many Thanks,
The Board of Deacons
CCM Monthly Update
Greetings to all our faithful food donation partners!

We have been blessed by some very successful food drives in recent weeks! Thank you so much to all those who have brought in food. We also are sending out a LOT of food! In recent months we have averaged serving between 750 and 800 households through our drive-through food pantry at our Crisis Center. With our satellite pantries and other food programs, we are serving about 1,500 households a month! In the first two weeks of November, we had already served 500 households, including 80 in one day on November 2! So almost as fast as the food is donated, we’re distributing it.

Please be aware that we will be closed next Thursday and Friday, November 26 and 27. Our food pantry will be closed on December 21-25 and January 1. However, the warehouse will be open and receiving donations from 8:00 to 12:00, Dec. 21-23.

Our current big needs are:
             Canned Green Beans
             Canned Corn
             Baked Beans (Pork & Beans)
             Other canned beans except for Pinto (black, kidney, chili, etc.)
             Any dried beans
             Macaroni & Cheese
             Pasta Sauce
             Canned pasta w/ meat (spaghetti w/ meatballs, ravioli, etc.)

As always, we especially seek low sodium items, no-added-sugar items, and whole grain items.

Right now, we have plenty of the following:
             Canned chicken and tuna
             Canned sweet potatoes
             Canned Pinto Beans
             Canned fruit
            Spaghetti noodles
             Peanut Butter
             Cereal
Thank you for the continued support from our church partners. Our Crisis Center at 246 Country Club Drive NE in Concord serves as the warehouse for most of the food. We will gladly accept all donations at that site from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bethel Baptist Helping Hands Food Pantry, located at 1209 1/4 Opal Street in Kannapolis, will gladly accept donations from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.on Monday and Thursday. The food pantry located at Westford UMC on Highway 49 and the Kannapolis Food Pantry at West Point Baptist Church can accept donations on Saturday morning from 8:30 a.m.
to 11:30 a.m. The Feeding Our Souls Food Pantry at Bethel UMC in Midland, North Kannapolis Baptist Church Food Pantry and the New Life Baptist Food Pantry will accept donations by calling the church in advance.
Presbyterian Women Thank Offering and Grant Request
In this season of thanks, I invite you to learn more about the Thank Offering through Presbyterian Women. This annual offering is provided as a way to express gratitude for the special blessings in our lives. The funds raised through this offering are used to fund Thank Offering grants, which range from $5,000 to $50,000 each. At least 40% of the offering funds health related ministries.

Please enjoy this five minute video on the Thank Offering.

Giving is easy. You may use this link to donate with a credit card payment on the Presbyterian Women page of our website. Just click here and select the Thank Offering as the option when making your donation.
You may also mail or drop off your check at the church. All Thank Offering donations are due to the church by Wednesday, December 2nd. Donations received this year will fund grants awarded in 2021.

I encourage you to learn more about the grant application process. There may be mission ideas in your hearts and minds that would be eligible for this funding. https://www.presbyterianwomen.org/giving-funding/grants/birthday-thank-offering-criteria/. Please feel free to contact me for additional information.

In Christ,
Rene Prager
Moderator, Presbyterian Women
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 will be learning about gratitude. Look for our next kit pick for our next unit, "The Birth of Jesus"
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
Congratulations
CONGRATULATIONS to our own Chrissy Rotan on being named the 2021 North Carolina Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year. Chrissy is Assistant Principal at Concord High School.
Girl Scout News
This past week, our Girl Scout troops met by age level to begin work on their Journey programs. For Junior Girl Scouts, this is the prerequisite for their Bronze Award. Cadette Girl Scouts may begin work on their Silver Award after completing their Journey and Take Action project. Our Senior level scouts have two pathways to the Gold Award: completion of their Silver award as a Cadette and a single Senior level Journey, or two Senior level Journeys.

If you have a daughter / granddaughter, or know of girls in our community who would enjoy Girl Scouts and / or benefit from the challenges of the Girl Scout higher award programs, this is a great time to join! We can provide you with the introductory information from these initial meetings and bring you up to speed prior to our second set of Journey meetings in December. Please contact Rene Prager: thepragers@yahoo.com for more information.

Pictured are Girl Scout alumni, Meredith Sheridan and Kate Prager. They attended our Cadette and Senior level meetings to share their personal experiences with the Journeys and the Silver and Gold Awards.

The troops will meet this Thursday, November 19th, for a blended general meeting. The scouts continue their cultural themed studies, exploring the celebration of Diwali. They will also participate in the new lunch preparation program for Opportunity House, preparing twenty meals.
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!
Services Update
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 11:00 a.m.
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, November 22, 2020
Rev. Rush Otey preaching

Thursday, November 19
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
9:30 a.m. Preschool Board Meeting
6:00 p.m. Girl Scouts
6:30 p.m. Boy Scout Advancement Board
Friday, November 20
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Saturday, November 21
10:00 a.m. ALC
Sunday, November 22
11:00 a.m. Worship
4:00 p.m. Racial Reads via Zoom
Monday, November 23
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Tuesday, November 24
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
2:45 p.m. ALC
6:00 p.m. Cub Scouts
7:00 p.m. Scouts Pack 3
Wednesday, November 25
6:30 p.m. PNC online
Church Report
Condolences
The sympathy and condolences of the congregation are extended to the family of Ken Craig who died on November 15. Here is a link to Ken's obituary. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Birthdays
November 19 - Steve Kopelic, Dan McDonald, Mack Morgan, Jennifer Rinker
November 21 - Joanne Say, Elly Steel
November 22 - Casey Terwelp, Jim Wall
November 23 - Casey Aldridge, Brian Gluf, Erin Trahey
November 24 - Andy Jones, Ron Barus
November 25 - Lela Bishop, Timothy Neal
**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