February 19, 2020
Teach Us to Pray: Re-Imaging Our Idea of Prayer
Curious about prayer? Looking for a place to learn more about prayer, ask questions, explore and practice? Join us this Thursday 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in the Commons Prayer Room for our final conversation about prayer led by Rev. Rachel Vogado. (This conversation will be taking place during the lunch hour, so feel free to bring a bagged lunch if you would like.)
Using a set of images by artist Scott Erickson, we will explore some of the frustrations surrounding our personal prayer practices, and then discover ways to reframe how we can enter into a deeper conversation with the Divine.

Unable to join, but hate to miss? Join us via Zoom, and share in a digital conversation with us. By tuning in, you can see the images we are using and tune into our conversation. We will also have a digital host, in case you would like to ask a question or share a comment. Join the meeting by clicking  here, which will direct you to set up a free Zoom account. Rev. Rachel Vogado is happy to help answer any questions about Zoom or how to connect with us.
Spiritual Retreat Weekend Volunteers!
Thanks so much for volunteering your time to make visitors to our campus easier and more enjoyable. Below are some instructions for Friday night and Saturday:

Kitchen/Dining Room set-up (Davis Hall)

Jayne Maurer is asking volunteers to arrive at 4pm on Friday. Please check with her about times for Saturday morning:

Please wear your nametags and position yourselves between Davis Hall and the Sanctuary to guide visitors to the appropriate buildings. Please meet outside of Fellowship House at 5:15 pm for further instructions:

5:30 to 6:00 pm—Dinner in Davis Hall
6:30 to 7:00 pm—Keynote by Diana Butler Bass in the Sanctuary

Please position yourselves at all of the entrances to the sanctuary between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. There will be no bulletin or program to handout. Please guide people to sit toward the front of the sanctuary (the back will be roped off until needed). Also, let people know where restrooms are located. 

Orange Vests will be provided, starting at 5:15 pm on Friday. (Please meet outside of Fellowship House at 5:15 pm for lot assignments for both Friday and Saturday morning:

The police department said we are fine with parking on Union St as long as driveways are not blocked, and good to park on Church Street unless there are signs that indicate otherwise.
Wells Fargo is not open Saturday morning, so we are fine to park in their parking lot after 6 on Friday and anytime Saturday and Sunday.
The law office across the street at Black & Boone is fine with us parking in their parking lot.
Central United Methodist has things going on too, so will probably not have much if any room available.

Getting Ready for a New Installed Senior Minister
I have served as your Interim Senior Minister now for almost nine months! The Pastor Nominating Committee is meeting weekly and is diligently working to find a candidate who will be a great leader for First Presbyterian Church Concord. Your patience and prayers are appreciated.
However, a more important question for the congregation may be: “ Are ‘you’ ready for a new Head of Staff?”
In other words, are you ‘ready’ for a new Pastor? Are you willing to partner with, work with, and follow the lead of a new, enthusiastic leader? Or will you insist that ‘traditions’ be maintained and respected at any cost? Will you criticize any attempt to broaden the church’s understanding of faith or to reach new people? Will you insist that ministry be done “the way we have always done it?”
I have been in the ministry for almost 35 years and I have developed a keen sense of being able to “read” congregations and what they value. My sense is that most people in the congregation are ready for new leadership and will support the new Senior Minister. But I also sense that there are still a good number of people (a smaller number, a minority) who aren’t quite there yet. 
Let me share a few things about doing ministry in the 21 st century that may help:
·          The larger North American culture no longer offers tacit support to Christian institutions (this has been happening for many decades (if not centuries!) but has accelerated recently). The result is that all churches [big, small, liberal, conservative, Protestant, Catholic, black, white, etc.] find themselves in a “post-Christian cultural environment” where many ‘traditional’ forms of ministry [Worship, Sunday School, Youth Programming, Fellowship, etc.] are not working like they once did. Pastors can’t “fix” this. It just “is.” So, your next Pastor [of necessity] will ask you to change a variety of things you are currently doing because there isn’t any other choice. All churches are faced with this reality.
·          Presbyterian clergy (as a group) are well-educated, talented, enthusiastic about ministry, broad-minded, sophisticated, and smart. However, working in parish ministry is hard [I like to describe it as trying to herd cats!]. Most ordained clergy only serve in parish ministry for an average of 7 years in their careers. They don’t necessarily “leave” the ministry, but they move on to other kinds of ministry like professional counseling, administration, teaching, non-profit work, or fundraising. Clergy face the same issues as others in the “helping professions:” low pay, long hours, a lot of stress, and lack of volunteer support. For many, a more stable work and family life can be found outside of parish work.
·          It is particularly hard to bring revitalization and renewal (transformation) to older, historic congregations because they tend to be so tied to “the way they have always done things.” This is why many of our best and most talented clergy are either working in new church developments (there is no historical ‘baggage’ to deal with) or in non-profits focused on social justice issues (because they know this kind of ministry and mission is too often not well supported by local congregations [particularly by the more conservative members]). They rightly perceive that life is too short to spend all their time fighting these battles. 
·          The “culture wars” have been settled [at least for now!] within the Presbyterian Church USA [particularly among the clergy], but many church members seem not to be aware of this. The Reformed churches have always taught that “faith in Jesus” is not just ‘private,’ but that it also has significant ‘social and political’ implications. At our best, we have championed Civil Rights and racial reconciliation, gender equality, environmental and economic justice, and more recently, full inclusion of gay and lesbian people—because we believe this is what Jesus would do. Most of the clergy (and many of the congregations) who do not support these things have left the denomination. The result is that there are few clergy within the Presbyterian Church USA today who do not whole-heartedly view these things as part of the “essential witness of the church;” i.e. “loving all of our neighbors as ourselves.” Asking clergy not to talk about such things from the pulpit is to demand they “stop being who they are” as people of faith called by God to preach the Gospel. It is also a denial of more than 500 years of our theological and confessional heritage. There are few (if any!) candidates the Pastor Nominating Committee will interview in the coming months who won’t insist on preaching about both the ‘private’ and ‘public’ aspects of faith.  
·         The reason the Session invited Diana Butler Bass to lead our upcoming Spiritual Enrichment Weekend (Feb. 21-23) is to help the congregation understand that “business as usual” or just “finding the ‘right’ pastor to ‘fix’ things” doesn’t work anymore. There are, however, numerous new avenues for fruitful and productive ministry and mission that are opening as a result of the new “cultural environment” we are living in—and we need to learn about these things! Diana Butler Bass is one of the foremost experts on the changes that are happening with regard to religious life in Western societies [and she’s a Duke PhD.!]—her books (which are written for a popular audience) are standard texts in colleges and graduate schools (of all stripes) across the country and around the world. I encourage those of you who haven’t yet registered for one or more of the weekend events to do so today (the deadlines have been waved!). Don’t miss this unique opportunity! Your faith will be enriched. The witness of the congregation will be immeasurably benefited. And you will discover that the message of Jesus is more relevant today than ever! 
Scott Kenefake
Transitional Minister
Special Worship Music Sunday
The Sanctuary Choir anthem for this Sunday's worship will be "Lift High the Cross" with organ and brass quartet arranged by Hal Hopson. In addition to its festive praise-filled nature, the anthem features soulful, humbling Hallelujahs in contrast.  The Brass quartet will be playing along with our other hymns as well. Be sure to join us as we praise God with song!
Wednesday Night Dinner
Join us for Wednesday Night Fellowship on February 26. Following dinner, we will stay in Davis Hall for our Ash Wednesday service, which will include communion and the imposition of ashes. Please make your reservations by noon on Monday, February 24.
Own a Piece of Memorial Garden History...
The Charleston Battery Benches at Memorial Garden were replaced by teak benches a few years ago. Now through March 31, there are four four-foot benches and two eight-foot benches available to any church member on a first-come basis. These cast iron and wood slat benches need some restoration and you must load and transport them yourself. (They are heavy.) A donation to Memorial Garden is suggested. To view the benches, please ask for Robert Jolly during hours that Memorial Garden is open.
Sunday Evenings in Lent

Sunday Evenings in Lent, Book Study & Dinner
(March 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29), 5 p.m. - 6 p.m.*
First Presbyterian Church of Concord (FPCC) and Racial Equity Cabarrus, (REC) read about REC are sponsoring a five-week study of the book, Waking Up White, by racial justice educator, Debby Irving,
read about the study here , and more about Debby here from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. @ FPCC (Room TBD depending on group size).

Discussion leader will be Rev. Dr. Scott M. Kenefake, participants to include members and friends of FPCC, members of the larger community, and the six participating congregations of REC.
Dinner to follow in Davis Hall @ 6:00 p.m. 
Books (Paperback and Kindle) can be ordered here

Book is also available here

Registration is due by Thursday, February 27th.

Save the date!
Debby Irving will be speaking at FPCC (for an REC sponsored community event) on Friday evening, April 24 th, at 7 p.m, in the sanctuary.  
Session Highlights from February 11, 2020 Meeting
• Approved the addition of Chip Clark to the new Maintenance Committee that will monitor and address the long-term campus maintenance issues.
• Discussed the ongoing issue of dog droppings on the children’s playground. Made the difficult decision to lock the playground each day after church office hours.
• Approved the purchase and installation of new carpet in the Fellowship House and discussed steps taken to address continued moisture problems in some areas of the Fellowship House.
• Voted to reaffirm our pledge to be a faithful Earth Care Congregation. 
• The Christian Education Committee is seeking a co-director for Vacation Bible School and a few people to help with the Nursery during worship. 
• Finance/Stewardship reported that 192 pledges were received for 2020 totaling $686,334. This is approximately $20,000 less than 2019 and increases the budget deficit that is expected to occur this year.
• The Pastor Nominating Committee reported meeting weekly and is working on writing profiles describing who we are and who we are looking for in a new senior minister.  
• Elected Hunter Morrison to serve as the elder-at-large on the Congregational Nominating Committee. This committee will meet on February 19 to discuss nominations for the next class of deacons and elders.
• Voted to call a congregational meeting for Sunday, March 29 for the purpose of electing church officers.
• Approved a proposal for a campus Internet upgrade that will add fiber optic wiring throughout our buildings.
• Approved the baptism of Holden McMullan for Sunday, March 22. Parents are Sean and Salem (Mervin) McMullen and grandparents are Gaillard and Elaine Mervin.
• The Deacons reported:
  1. 40 days, 40 things for Lent - collecting items to benefit Irvin Elementary and Cooperative Christian Ministry. 
  2. New date for Habitat work day is March 21
  3. Visitation Committee is discussing how often members are visited and identifying additional unmet needs.

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 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.
Say Yes to the Prom Dress!
Donate your gently used prom, homecoming, bridesmaid, and other formal dresses – your dress will help a girl attend prom! This drive is sponsored by El Puente Hispano, a nonprofit organization that hosts a tutoring program for Hispanic children in Concord. You may drop off your donation in the Fellowship House between now and March 6th. For more information about the drive or El Puente Hispano, contact Suzanne Hamilton at
Racial Equity Cabarrus Movie Event
In preparation for a Pilgrimage to Montgomery in the fall, All Saints’ and five other churches in Concord and Kannapolis that are partners in Racial Equity Cabarrus, will view the recently released, widely acclaimed, movie  Harriet.  It is a story of Harriet Tubman who escaped slavery to become a leading abolitionist. She led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad. Following the movie, we will enter into a guided discussion in small groups. There will be popcorn, of course. All Are Welcome. Sunday, February 23rd at 4 pm. Trinity United Methodist Church, across the street from A.L. Brown High School.
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.
Wednesday Night Fellowship
February 26, 2020
6:00 p.m., Davis Hall
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, February 23, 2020
Diana Butler Bass Preaching
Thursday, February 20
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
12:00 p.m. Prayer Class
2:00 p.m. Literacy Tutoring
5:00 p.m. Girl Scout Troop 334
5:30 p.m. Brownie Troop 3142
6:30 Boy Scout Advancement Boards of Review
Friday, February 21
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
9:30 a.m. Adult Literacy Tutoring
6:00 p.m. Retreat Dinner
7:00 p.m. Retreat Keynote
Saturday, February 22
8:00 a.m. Retreat Breakfast
9:00 a.m. Retreat Workshop
Sunday, February 23
9:45 a.m. GIFT Sunday
10:00 a.m. Sanctuary Choir in Sanctuary
11:00 a.m. Worship
3:00 p.m. Children's Choir
4:00 p.m. Youth Choir
5:00 p.m. Youth Group
Monday, February 24
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
11:30 a.m. AA
Tuesday, February 25
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
7:00 p.m. Al Anon meeting
7:00 p.m. Boy Scouts Troop 3
Wednesday, February 26
7:30 a.m. Men's Bible Study
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
2:00 p.m. Staff Meeting
6:00 p.m. Fellowship Dinner
6:30 p.m. PNC meeting
7:30 p.m. Sanctuary Choir
Church Report
February 20 - Cynthia Rohrer
February 22 - Alison Sloop
February 23 - Annabeth Bethune, Kathy Pilkington, Emma Prager
February 24 - Brianne Campbell, Austin Entwistle
February 25 - Kirby Sheridan, Bill Wightman
February 26 - Anne Morrison
Scott Kenefake
Interim Senior Pastor 

Associate Pastor 
for Care and Mission

Associate Pastor
for Christian Formation

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

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 - 4:00 pm
Sunday, 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Closed Monday