June 17, 2022
Dear FPC Friends,

Mark 12:31: The two greatest commands, Jesus tells us, are “to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.” 

Since Session’s approval for the creation of the Mark 12:31 Team in 2021, the team’s purpose has been to explore ways our church family might live out more fully this second great commandment. Our community and world are comprised of a diverse mix of people of different races, religions and ethnicities. We seek to understand and change thoughts, words and actions in our society which foster misconceptions and prejudice about different people and privilege some groups over others unjustly. This church ministry grew out of the exploration of the book titled Waking Up White by Debbie Irving led by Pastors Kerry and Carter years ago.

So far, the team has focused its work around awareness and celebration of diversity in our community and world. The Spiritual Formation Committee, through book readings and church library tours, has helped our Sunday School children and youth groups learn more about diversity. All church committees have been invited to enter into conversations about how the committees’ missions and activities align with the spirit of Mark 12:31.

During 2022, the team, in conjunction with the Forum Class steering committee, helped to coordinate Forum Classes featuring speakers from The Pottstown Chapter of the NAACP, the Pottstown Police Force, the Pottstown YWCA, and Bethany Christian Services. FPC Church member Joe Sun presented two engaging sessions on Implicit Bias. The class also learned about the status of immigration legal issues from an immigration attorney.

The Mark 12 Team visited and interviewed some of the culturally diverse food businesses along High Street in Pottstown which offer a wide variety of foods. We then shared our information about the businesses with the church here in the Celtic Cross.

Our team has sponsored book discussions open to all church members and friends on the books: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Black Friend by Frederick Joseph, The Night Watchman by Louise Endrich and When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka.

Next month, on July 13 at 7PM, our team will sponsor a short video presentation and discussion of an episode of the long-running TV comedy series Black-ish. The episode is titled Juneteenth. The presentation will be held at the church, and everyone is welcome. 

Membership on the Mark 12:31 Team is open to all. If you are interested, reach out to Kurt Holloway or Marie Kayati.

Grace and peace,
Shawn and Ann Smolsky
Shawn and Ann relocated to Pottstown in 2019 from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This has allowed them to be closer to family. They were members of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Cherry Hill for 30 years.  
Nancy Spencer
Nancy moved to Pottstown from State College, PA to be near her sons, Michael and Matthew. Nancy lives in Manor Care Nursing Home in Pottstown. Nancy loves to garden.   
Raymond, Elisa, Christopher, William and Thomas Rose
Raymond and Elisa are the parents of three amazing young men, Christopher, William and Thomas. Raymond is a community volunteer. When he’s not building websites for his company, CWT Websites, he’s helping BSA Troop 146 here at First Presbyterian or driving his kids to the various places they need to go. Elisa is a special education teacher and amateur gardener and environmentalist. She loves to try new things that make lives better and help our community grow. She is currently the treasurer of BSA Troop 146 and a volunteer/student at ArtFusion.    
Photograph by Samantha Jo Photography
Taken by drone at Kerry & Carter’s retirement picnic
Being the Church This Week

Sunday, June 19
Service of the Lord’s Day 9:30 AM  
Rev. Casey Thompson, preaching

Monday, June 20
Mission Mornings – 9:30AM-12PM  
Cubs/Troop – 7PM
Tuesday, June 21 
Yoga – 9AM – Community Room
Mission Mornings – 9:30AM-12PM
Wednesday, June 22
Yoga – 9AM – Community Room
Mission Mornings – 9:30AM-12PM
Thursday, June 23 
Mission Mornings – 9:30AM-12PM
Community Meals – 5PM – Fellowship Hall 
Friday, June 24 
Yoga – 9AM – Community Room
Mission Mornings – 9:30AM-2PM
Mission Partner
Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all.  (James 1:17 CEB) 
At FPC Pottstown, we believe that our time, our talents, our earthly treasures are not our own; they are gracious gifts from God. God entrusts them to us, and calls us to use our gifts and our lives to make God's love known in the world.
We continue to clothe, feed, educate and uplift one another, and our neighbors in need.  This work requires offerings of time, talent and treasure. Your giving makes that work possible. Thank you!