December 11, 2019
5 Suggestions to Cope with Grief During the Holiday Season
Carrying the burden of grief during the holidays is challenging enough, often those who struggle during this time of year feel as if they cannot express their grief because there is an expectation to be joyful despite the pain we feel.
There also are emotional and physical changes we see in ourselves when we experience grief during the holidays.
The holidays are often considered a time to be joyful, but they can also be a reminder of the absence of loved ones or personal grief relating to a loss of a job, a recent divorce, family dysfunction or a change in one’s health.
Christopher Schilling, a Hospital Chaplain, and his sister, Catherine, a licensed therapist, recently shared the following five ways individuals can find emotional and spiritual healing during this time of year: 
1. Recognize societal misconceptions when it comes to dealing with grief and the holidays.
“American culture especially emphasizes cheer and merriment but doesn’t often give people space to grieve, despite it being a very natural human experience,” Catherine said. “Therefore, when people feel a sense of sadness or grief around the holidays, often they question, ‘What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I happy?’”
From a spiritual perspective (said Schilling), I’ve also seen this prevalent in many of our faith communities, especially in the Christian faith tradition.
While Christians celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus, we often believe we need to feel complete and joyful to capture the meaning of the Christmas season. When we fail to meet this expectation, we struggle spiritually.

2. Be aware of certain emotional triggers that may come up during the holiday season and how we react to them.
“Looking at Christmas trees or cooking a family recipe, these are often unavoidable triggers,” Catherine explained. “Do you get mad at yourself when you feel grief or sadness? Do you launch into self-criticism for not being able to control your feelings? These are examples of how we antagonize an injury.”

3. Tell yourself that it’s OK if you are feeling grief and, in doing so, permit yourself to reach out to others for support.
“Reach out, send a text or call a support person in your life,” Catherine said. “Is it just a desire to be comforted? You’re in luck; even self-soothing acts can produce oxytocin (‘the cuddle hormone’) and can soften difficult emotions. Little acts such as making a hot beverage, wrapping up in a warm blanket or taking a hot shower can all be ways to soothe tough emotions.”

4. Set aside time and create a ritual to allow grief.
For my sister (said Schilling), it was the ritual after our mother died of taking a walk in the snowy woods around her college that allowed her to process how she was feeling.
“I didn’t bring anyone along, didn’t text or take pictures. I just walked around, watched my exhale appear in the cold crisp air, and let my mind and heart wander,” she said. “I thought about my mom, the good, the complicated. I felt my heart lurch at times. But at the end of my walk I also had a sense of peace, as though I had connected with her in a way like I had connected with myself.”

5. Look for ways to incorporate your grief during the holidays into your spiritual story regardless of your religious or spiritual faith tradition.
Schilling said, “I had to learn that for those of us of the Christian faith, we aren’t expected to be grief-free to capture the meaning of Christmas.”
In fact, Christmas is about recognizing the birth of the one who will walk with us in our grief, and, through the resurrection, will someday take away that grief.
One such tradition that has been helpful to me is attending “Blue Christmas” services.
These services, which are now offered by many churches, are geared toward those who struggle with grief during the holidays.
Through Scripture reading, lighting candles and often through contemplative Taizé-style music, attendees can explore the connection between their loss and the presence of the spiritual divine in their lives.
While many of us will always associate grief with the holidays, learning how to acknowledge what you feel during this time of year and incorporating this loss into your spiritual story is a way to help you get through a season that expects us to be ever-joyful.
But more important, learning how to permit yourself to grieve during the holidays is the first step to finding healing not just emotionally, but also spiritually.
These suggestions aren’t intended as a step-by-step formula for moving from grief to joy, but they can help you process your experiences and feelings at your own pace and in your own time.
Advent Blessings,
Scott Kenefake
Transitional Minister
Calling All Angels
Do you have a four-year-old child who would like to be an angel in this year's Christmas Pageant? As part of the joyful tradition of our church, our four-year-olds portray the heavenly multitude of angels in the Christmas pageant. The pageant will be held on Sunday, December 15, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. We would like the angels to gather with a parent at 4:15 p.m. in Davis Hall in the Will Young Building to get into their costumes. If you have a four-year-old who would like to be in this year's Pageant, please contact Rachel Vogado or the church office by December 12th so your child's name can be included in the bulletin.
Candlelight Christmas Pageant
Join us this Sunday, December 15th, at 5:00 p.m. in the sanctuary, as our youth present the birth narrative of Jesus in the form of a Christmas pageant, joined by our four-year old children as Christmas angels. 
** During the pageant, the youth will invite all other children who wish to join in the pageant to come as animals in the manger. No advance preparation is necessary -- parents of children who would like to participate can simply pick up a costume, put it on your child when you arrive, and then sit together with your family. Children will be invited up when the time is right. 
** To help our community, we will also be sharing the "Gift Offering" again this year, so please come with a canned food item to donate to our local food pantry. Because we are an Earth-Care Congregation, this year we invite you not to wrap your cans in tissue paper, so we can be good stewards of this earth.
** Following the pageant, we will once again bear witness to the coming birth of Christ with a candlelight singing of "Silent Night" on the front steps of the sanctuary. Please come and worship with us!
Christmas Concert at Taylor Glen

A concert of Christmas music by the Sanctuary Choir at Taylor Glen on Wednesday, December 18th at 6:30 p.m. in the Taylor Glen auditorium.
Registration is now open for RISE!
( R ace: an I n-depth S piritual E xamination)
a workshop experience
Thursday & Friday, January 9 & 10, 2020
9 am – 5 pm, both days
Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte
The RISE! dynamic two-day workshop challenges people of faith to engage deeply and courageously to recognize and combat the effects of race and racism inherent in our systems and institutions. This special session, open to the community, is available through the generous support of the Center for Social Justice and Reconciliation of Union Presbyterian Seminary. The Center is committed to the manifestation of justice and the facilitation of human reconciliation in our larger community. For information or to register, go to:
Irvin Elementary School clothing Drive THANK YOU
The Board of Deacons and the staff of Irvin Elementary School extend to the members of the congregation a very heartfelt thank you for the generous donations of socks, underwear, and deodorant during the month of November. A total of 239 pairs of socks, 69 pair of underwear, 61 containers of deodorant as well as five winter toboggans were collected and delivered to the school early this week. The needs at our adopted Title 1 school are great with limited available resources and these items will be put to use whenever children arrive needing one of these items. Thank you for your continuing support of this school and helping our next generation learn in an environment free of distraction caused by physical discomfort.
Commons Prayer Room Update
1. Two new prayer stations have been added-
   one station for Haiti and the children we have sponsored there;
   another station is prayers for our Pastor Search and those on the PNC
2. If you'd like to sign up as a volunteer for the Commons you may now visit the church website. 
   Look under Serve (In our Community) for the sign-up access
2019 Contributions and Stock Transfer
Please remember that year-end contributions must be received in the church office by noon on December 31st, or placed in the offering plate on Sunday, December 29th. For stock transfers, please notify Suzanne Russell so that the proceeds can be applied to the correct account in a timely manner.
Your Chance to Usher!
The Deacons are looking for volunteers from the congregation to help with ushering duties this year.
We especially want to encourage families (or groups of 2-4 people) to participate. This is a great opportunity for the youth to be more involved in the church service and mission. Our own children have really enjoyed participating in this project with us. Please consider volunteering your time. We are happy to go over the logistics of ushering with you. We know it can seem daunting but if our kids can do it so can you! You may sign up by contacting Mary Garrison or Brooks Fulton.
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, December 15, 2018
Rev. Dr. Scott Kenefake
  Isaiah 35:1-10, Luke 1:46b-55
Thursday, December 12
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Friday, December 13
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
9:30 a.m. Adult Literacy Tutoring
12:30 p.m. My Father';s House (Commons)
Sunday, December 15
9:45 a.m. Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Youth Choir
11:00 a.m.Worship
3:00 p.m. Children's Choir
4:00 p.m. Youth Choir
5:00 p.m. Christmas Pageant
6:00 p.m. Youth Party
Monday, December 16
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
11:30 a.m. AA
Tuesday, December 17
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
6:00 p.m. Cub Scouts
7:00 p.m. Boy Scouts Troop 3
8:00 p.m. Al Anon (Commons)
Wednesday, December 18
7:30 a.m. Men's Bible Study
9:00 a.m. First Kids Preschool
Church Report
December 11 - Norman Beam, Garrett Perdue
December 12 -Janna Mitchell, Lauren Reese
December 13 - Sadie Carlough, Douglas Kelling Jr., Steven Thomas, Todd Watson
December 14 - Jack Chaffin, Mary Ingram
December 15 - Peyton Bryant, Paul Lentz
December 16 - Steve Johnson, Kenneth Pegram, Beulah Thorson
December 17 - Peter Chikes
December 18 - Charlotte Ostema, Chris Prager
Scott Kenefake
Interim SeniorPastor 

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
Tuesday: Open for Scheduled Groups
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Thursday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 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