February 10, 2021
Lent at First Presbyterian Church
If the season of Lent crosses our minds at all, it is possibly with subdued, grayish images - not unlike the worst of February weather. Lent - a time of repentance, of sacrifice, of "giving up" - goes against the "living it up" grain. It seems like a rather unwelcome visitor between the good news of Christmas and Easter.

Yet, there is an unmistakable need in us for periods of prayer and reflection, internal struggle, external restructuring of priorities and recommitment to our faith. Without such times there is risk of spiritual shallowness and fatigue. Lent, then, instead of being a dull and somber season, at best can be approached as a time of recharging and renewal; in the early Church, Lent was the time before Easter when confirmands studied, prayed, and prepared for their baptism on Easter and their subsequent entrance into the sacrament of the Lord's Supper and the full fellowship of the congregation. Easter joy would be less than mature without the anticipation and preparation of Lent.

W.B.J. Martin once said this about Lent: "This is the season of Lent. Lent means length, long. But it also means slow, as in the musical sign 'lento'." And my message on this first Sunday could be summed up as: Do not hang back, but go slowly and dig deeply. Take time to savor life, to roll it on the tongue, to get the most out of it. There is an old hymn that bids us to take time to be holy, and we need to learn how to sing it. Why not begin in Lent, by occupying the spaces that are granted to us and by seeking to experience every incident as an event; to turn every "contact" (horrible word!) into an encounter, or better still, a meeting of mind with mind and heart with heart.

Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.
Fast from lethargy; feast on enthusiasm.
Fast from suspicion; feast on truth.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from idle gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.
Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday is February 17. Our FPC Ash Wednesday worship video will be posted on February 16, and ashes and Lenten devotional materials will be available in the lobby of the fellowship house from Tuesday, February 16 through Thursday, February 18 during office hours.
Online Bible Study on the Book of Job, led by Rush Otey
Job has to do with universal human experiences of suffering and faith, loss and hope, despair and friendship, humanity and the vastness of Creation. It seems particularly important during a worldwide pandemic. Beginning tomorrow, February 11, and going through March 27, each Thursday I plan to send a one or two page document by e-mail to the entire congregation which will invite us into this book. If you are not interested or don’t have time, simply delete the documents. At the end of February and again at the end of March, we will have evening Zoom forums on this study, and the link for the Zoom conversations will be sent in advance. Since Job is a bit daunting in its length and depth, a good commentary may be helpful. Here are a few, all of which are available from Amazon or any reliable bookseller:
     “Job” by Norman C. Habel, Knox Preaching Series, 1982  paperback version is $8.56 and used copies from $4.59  Habel’s commentary was also published in a couple of other series.
     “The Book of Job: When Bad Things Happened to a Good Person,” by Harold S. Kushner, 2012  The renowned rabbi reflects on his professional and personal life, with honesty and poignant wisdom.  $14.94 new, used from $3.47
     “Job” by J. Gerald Janzen, in the Interpretation commentary series—used from $4.03, paperback $24.99, Kindle $14.37  Janzen’s work is more scholarly and technical, but also gives many important historical and critical insights.
Girl Scout Cookie Drive Up Cookie Booth
Please come out to support the Girl Scout Troops of First Presbyterian Church on Sunday, February 14th, noon-1 p.m. in the circular driveway in front of the sanctuary. You'll find all of your favorites: Lemon Ups, Trefoils, Dosidos, Samoas, Tagalongs, and Thin Mints for $4 a box and the S'mores and Gluten Free Toffee Tastics for $5 a box. Cookies may also be purchased for donation to our military troops overseas and local heroes for $4 a box. Exact change cash is appreciated. Face masks required. This year a portion of the cookie proceeds will be used for a special project benefiting pediatric cancer patients. Thank you!
Youth Mission - Concord Connections
All 6th -12th graders are invited to participate in our Youth Mission weekend, February 27 & 28, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. each day.
Please use this link to RSVP by February 22nd:

We will be taking part in a Thank You card movement for our local health care workers, hosting a Blessing Box donation drive, filling our college care packages, assembling sandwich and lunch bags for those in need at Opportunity House, and creating Easter cards for our VIPs.

We hope that YOU can join us for this fun event! Questions?
Please contact René Prager at:
First Kids News
It is hard to believe that 1/2 our year is over and that it is already time to register for the 2021-2022 school year.

All currently enrolled children and church members with preschool-aged children, should have received registration forms. If you did not receive a form, you need a new form, or even another for a friend, please call Maureen at 704-788-2812.
Come join our family, we have a lot of fun!
Notice of Congregational Meeting
There will be a Zoom Congregational Meeting next Sunday, February 21, at 11:00 a.m. for the purpose of presenting the 2021 budget and 2020 statistical report. The congregation will receive an email with the link for the meeting at that time.
We welcome a new year and a new opportunity for church leaders!
As we do each year, it is time for us to elect church officers to serve as Deacons and Elders for the next 3 years – the Class of 2024! Our process includes seeking suggested nominees from the congregation and then deliberations by our Congregational Nominating Committee to put forth a slate of 7 Deacon and 8 Elder nominees (1 additional Elder for the class of 2023).
At this time, the congregation is asked to suggest names of church members to be nominated to serve 3-year terms on the Session or Board of Deacons. To suggest someone, please first discuss it with that person to assure that they are willing and able to serve. 
For BOARD OF DEACONS candidates, think of members who have gifts for congregational care and passion for community outreach. Alongside the pastors, deacons are spiritual leaders who provide spiritual care and other support to the people of our congregation. They organize and carry out mission work in the community and beyond. They welcome and greet visitors, assist in worship and help to assimilate new members in the church. Deacons also organize fellowship activities in the congregation.
For SESSION candidates, think of members who are committed disciples of Jesus Christ and possess the wisdom and discernment to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. Elders on the Session oversee all work of the church, including administrative, budgetary and personnel matters; building and grounds maintenance; worship, music and sacraments; Christian education programs; stewardship and giving; and many other issues related to our mission and ministries. Working hand in hand with the ministers, ruling elders make decisions that seek to follow the will of God in all matters. In accordance with the Book of Order, the Session also has oversight over the work of the Board of Deacons.
As directed by our Manual of Church Procedures, our Congregational Nominating Committee consists of representatives from the current Elders, Deacons, Presbyterian Women, Sunday School, Youth, and Clerk of Session. This year the committee includes Susan Smith, Susan Brooks, Rene Prager, Harold Cline, Elizabeth Anne Dover, and Gina Goff. They will meet later in February to consider names of nominees to be presented for a congregational vote.
After talking with your potential nominees, please share the names for Deacons and/or Elders by email, mail, or by calling Suzanne Russell by February 17, 2021
Below is a list of current Deacons and Elders (not currently eligible for nomination): 

 Current Deacons

 Class of 2021 - Ron Barus, Susan Brooks, Brooks Fulton, Mary Garrison, Margaret Hillman,
Anne Morrison
 Class of 2022 - Donna Cline, Jessica Garmon, Edy Johnston, Kate Morrison, Dean Phillips, Don Seitz, Scott Verner
 Class of 2023 –Linda Barnett, Tripp Carpenter, Kimberly Leatherman, Jeff Nelson, Ellie Sherrill, Dakeita Vanderburg, Amanda Williamson

Current Elders

Class of 2021 - Evelyn Barrier, Holly Cagle, Wade Holland, Carol Hovey, Jeff Monroe, Chrissy Rotan,
Dave Sheridan
 Class of 2022 - Peter Chikes, Jim Holloway, Donna Knorr, Margaret Moore, Hunter Morrison, Kathy Pilkington
 Class of 2023 – Dale Carpenter, Merl Hamilton, Harris Morrison, Amy Murphy, Susan Otteni, Susan Smith
Virtual Spring PW Nurture Event Sign Up Reminder

Presbyterian Ladies,
Make sure to zoom our annual event,
Pilgrimage to Sacred Places, Sunday, March 7th.
It’s going to be a great event and we are so excited to see you all.

Everyone who attends will receive a special spiritual spring bag.
*Please register by February 18th and your spiritual spring bag will be delivered to your home before our event.
Racial Equity Reads
Our next Racial Equity Reads book will be "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents" by Isabel Wilkerson. We will begin our discussions on Sunday, February 21st at 4 p.m. via Zoom with Part 1 (Ch. 1-3). As part of our ongoing commitment to this work, we encourage you to purchase your books through black-owned booksellers if possible. For more information or to sign up to join the discussion, please contact Lynne Keel at 
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 (,
Worship is posted at 8:30 a.m.
Sign-up Links
Sign up to read scripture during our virtual services.
Questions, contact Hunter Morrison:
Lay Liturgists

To be a Sunday Stories reader
Sunday, February 14, 2021
Rev. Rush Otey preaching

Thursday, February 11
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Friday, February 12
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Sunday, February 14
8:30 a.m. Worship available online
9:45 a.m. Journey Sunday School
10:00 a.m. S & D Sunday School
Monday, February 15
Office Closed for President's Day
Tuesday, February 16
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
7:00 p.m. PW CT online
Wednesday, February 17
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
9:00 a.m. Ash Wednesday service available online
Church Report
Congratulations to Christine and Jordan Basham on the birth of their son, Archer Thomas Basham, born on January 20. Grandparents are Brenda and Jim Todd.
Congratulations to Mary Cannon and Collin Frye on the birth of their daughter, Eleanor "Norah" Cannon Frye, born on January 25. Grandparents are Mary Margaret and Bob Underwood. Great Grandparents are Margaret and Barney West.
February 11 - Nicole Lisk, Beth McLester, Grace Watson
February 12 - Alex Blackman, Bill Cannon
February 13 - Kay Crawford, Pat Crowe, Brian Hovey, Buell Little, Chip Ritchie, Sydney Rogers
February 15 - Eric Gluf, Amanda Williamson.
February 16 - Clara Meade Burke, Anne Crocker
February 17 - Bill Rinker
**To enjoy a sung happy birthday, click here!**
Rush Otey
Temporary Supply Pastor 

Associate Pastor 
for Care and Mission

René Prager
Interim Youth
Programs Coordinator

Director of Music and Organist


Suzanne Russell
Church Administrator

Financial Secretary

Heath Ritchie
Maintenance Superintendent

Director of First Kids

Kim Mazzola
Financial Administrative Asst.

Wedding Director
Contact Info
First Presbyterian Church
(704) 788-2100

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:

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