Church Office Will Remain Closed
At their August 24 meeting, Session reviewed current government data and guidance on in-person worship. Based on the status of local covid-19 cases and the restrictions needed to reduce risk for those attending gatherings, Session made the decision to maintain virtual worship and remote work for staff. Session is also working to establish guidelines for how we might introduce small numbers of people into the congregation (alongside virtual worship) in the months ahead should the number of cases continue to go down.
Fall Kickoff - September 13
Can you believe that another ministry season is upon us? We're getting excited! Here are a few things to take note of as we prepare for this Sunday.

On Kickoff Sunday:
We'll celebrate Communion at both services. Please be prepared with juice or wine and some kind of cracker, bread, or cookie as we celebrate virtually.

Between services, we'll host a Zoom coffee hour between 10:00 and 10:30. You can access the link here, or find it on our website on that Sunday. We'll have a few guided discussion topics and time to chat with smaller groups.
We'll be Passing the Peace. As a part of our service, we'll share a time when we pass the peace of Christ to one another in several ways. This can be a quick text, verbalizing it to the people around you, or a reminder to call someone later that day. In addition, we're looking for people to record videos of themselves passing the peace to First Pres. If you're interested in that, please email Eric Hankins (ehankins@firstpreswc.com).

There are all kinds of other ministry opportunities that kick off on September 13, including a family service project, youth group, Presbyterian Women, the Bridge study, a new women's Bible study, and more! To see the adult education opportunities, please visit firstpreswc.com/adult-groups.
Kickoff Sunday Family Service Project:
To celebrate the start of a new Sunday School year, First Pres families are invited to gather outside, in stages, at church on Sunday, September 13 from 1 – 3 pm for an easy service project. We will be planting flowers in small pots and coloring cards, which our friends from the First Pres choir will then deliver to some of the members of our church. We hope this will be a safe way to see some of your church friends again, while putting our efforts together to do something kind for our neighbors. Families must sign-up for a specific time to attend and will be expected to adhere to social distancing. Contact Sara Pantazes (spantazes@firstpreswc.com) with any questions.
Weekly Women's Online Bible Study this Fall
All women are invited to join us this fall for an online Bible study that will meet one evening a week over Zoom, for six weeks. We’ll be studying Max Lucado’s newest book, Jesus: The God Who Knows Your Name and learning more about the life and character of the Savior. Divided into six sections (Immanuel, Friend, Teacher, Miracle Worker, Lamb of God, Returning King), this study describes both the person Jesus was on earth and how to live in a personal relationship with him. This study will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, October 7 - November 11 and will be led by Sandy Lebold and Elizabeth Hess.
Adult Bible Study on Sunday Nights
This ongoing Bible Study class is open to anyone who is looking for an opportunity to grow in their understanding of what the Scriptures teach concerning God, our faith and how we are to live. This Fall we will be continuing the story of Genesis and learning from Joseph and The Gospel of Many Colors by Voddie Bauchum. During Fall 2020, this group will meet Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. over Zoom. Contact: Bob Atchinson (batchinson@aol.com)
Fall New Members Class
We are planning to have an online new members class one evening in September (date to be determined based on attendees' schedules). If you or someone you know would like to find out more about membership at First Pres, all are welcome to attend! Please contact Elizabeth Hess (ehess@firstpreswc.com) if you are interested.
First Porch
There are two upcoming First Porch get togethers this weekend (September 12 and 13), and both still have openings; all are welcome! Similar to Lenten gatherings that have taken place in the past, these (very) small one-time groups will be hosted by a member/friend of First Pres outdoors at their home. Please click on the button to sign up if you are interested in attending one of these small get-togethers. Once attendees have signed up, the host will be in touch with them with more details. Email Elizabeth Hess (ehess@firstpreswc.com) with any questions. Thank you!
Tech Team Volunteers Needed:
If you are tech-savvy, or just interested in serving and willing to be trained, we would love for you to join our tech team. This team is responsible for streaming both our 9:00 and 10:42 services and there are several ways you can be involved.

  1. Slides Operator - This person advances the lyrics to the hymns/songs and displays the other text and graphics on screen. This position can be operated with little to no tech background and is very accessible.
  2. Camera Operator - This person follows a script to switch between camera shots as well as playing the pre-recorded video elements of the service. This position takes a bit more training but doesn't require a specific tech background either.
  3. Sound Operator - This person controls the sound levels for the live stream and/or sanctuary. While this position doesn't require previous experience, it does help to have some experience or a good musical ear.

If you are interested in serving in this way, please email Eric Hankins and he will work with you to schedule trainings or answer any questions you may have.
Pastoral Transition Prayer Initiative
Heartfelt Thanks for your weekly prayers for the transition process.  People are using different methods to remind themselves to pray on Thursdays at noon. Whatever it takes!  Your prayers are being felt by the Committee and are much appreciated.

The Topic for this Week is: Clarity as interviews are conducted with individuals for the Interim Pastor position

You don’t need to only pray for the topic of the week, but you can continue to pray for previous topics as well or anything that God lays on your heart.

Please note that the next virtual prayer session will be Sunday, 9/27 at 10:15, not 9/13 which is Kickoff Sunday.
Helping Hands
The Helping Hands program at First Pres will pair up someone in need of help with someone who wants to help - and all ages are welcome to participate! If you would like to take part, please fill out the form at firstpreswc.com/helpinghands. Once you are paired up with someone, you will receive more details. If you have questions or if you need (or can give) help in a way that you don't see on the form, please contact Elizabeth Hess (ehess@firstpreswc.com).
Let Us Know
As local hospitals slowly ease visiting restrictions, we are anticipating a gradual return of the Agape visitation ministry. If you anticipate a hospital stay or have a loved one who is hospitalized and a visit, call, or card would be of comfort, please contact Ellen Landis (elandis60@gmail.com) or Judy Mackleer (judymackleer@verizon.net).
This Week's Scripture Passage:
This Sunday, Rev. Caroline Cupp will be delivering the sermon and together we’ll be looking at Romans 14:1-12.

1Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarreling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgment on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honor of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honor of the Lord and give thanks to God.

We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
    and every tongue shall give praise to God.”

12 So then, each of us will be accountable to God.


Questions for Reflection:
1. Does this passage convict or encourage you? Do you identify more with the judger or the judged?
 
2. How can we bring this radical inclusivity to our families, church, and community.
 
3. What does verse 7 mean to you? "We do not live to ourselves..."
 

First Presbyterian Church | 130 W. Miner Street | 610-696-0554


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