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Letter From the Pastor
 

Every once in a while, the secular calendar and the church calendar converge in interesting and provocative ways.  This is certainly the case as we prepare to enter Lent and anticipate Easter.  Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 14 – yes, Valentine’s Day! Easter Sunday is April 1 – yes, April Fools’ Day! God’s sense of humor is certainly on display!

 

Valentine’s Day is a day for celebrating love.  St. Valentine was a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II.  It is said that Claudius was having difficulty enlisting soldiers for the army.  He thought men were reluctant to leave their wives and families.  Claudius banned marriages and engagements.  Valentine defied the edict and continued to perform marriages.  According to tradition, he was arrested and executed on Feb 14, 269 AD. Yet, another tradition points to the English poet Chaucer as the creator of the celebration of love and courtship on Valentine’s Day. Today, Valentine’s Day is not so much focused upon Valentine as it is on the concept of love. It has become a secular, lighthearted, celebrative day with gifts of cards, chocolates, flowers, and other types of gifts, and many times includes special meals. Love is always a good thing to celebrate!

 

Ash Wednesday, on the other hand, is a day of somber reflection and fasting. By receiving ashes in the mark of the cross, we acknowledge the reality of our human sinfulness and finitude. Our feeble and impotent ways of denying death are exposed. It is a day when we remember, we are dust and to dust we shall return. The cross reminds us of the death of Jesus – our only hope and source of deliverance. Ash Wednesday begins the holy season of Lent, 40 days of reflection and fasting that culminate on Easter.  Many people will give up something for those 40 days as a sign that expresses a desire to have God mold and shape us in the likeness of Christ, so that we might be allegiant to Christ’s reign.  This year raises a delicate quandary, therefore, for those who will be giving up chocolate!

 

Ash Wednesday is a crucial day in our journey with Jesus. It is a reality check. It is a day for us to be grounded once again in our true source of life, God. Yes, we are mortal, and so death awaits us all (think potato salad promise!). But death does not have the last word. God has the last word! Therefore, Ash Wednesday is not a day of despair. It is actually a day to be liturgically reminded of the amazing and awesome love of God! So, maybe it is not so odd for Ash Wednesday to fall on a day culture would have us think about love. Perhaps this year as we receive ashes to our foreheads in the sign of the cross we can allow God’s love to define how we live out in love our allegiance to the reign of Christ in our lives, relationships and community.

In Christ's Love,  

 
Pastor Ken
 
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Food Pantry

First Presbyterian is collecting food and items for Churches Touching Lives for Christ (CTLC). CTLC is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven, faith-based pantry located in Temple that provides groceries, gently used clothing, and household items to Bell County residents who are struggling to make ends meet. There is a collection bin in the Atrium. On the last Sunday of each month the items we collect will be dedicated in worship and then delivered to the pantry. If you would like to volunteer your time to help out at CTLC talk to Pastor Ken or check out the CTLC website.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Morning Circle

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

10:00 am in the Atrium

 
Evening Circle
 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

7:00 pm

At the home of Susan Lanford

 
 
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By Ken Stanton
Hymn of the Month
Longing for Light, We Wait in Darkness
 

Our February "Hymn of the Month" is "Longing for Light, We Wait in Darkness", hymn 314 in our Glory to God hymnal. The hymn, written in 1993, is both a prayer asking God to help us to become the kind of Christians and the kind of church that he wants us to be and an acknowledgement of Christ as our source of inspiration and strength.

This hymn draws on multiple New Testament references. In John 8:14, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life". In Matthew 5: 14, Christ stated,  "Ye are the light of the world" and in verse 16, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven".

This Lenten hymn could be used in future Advent celebrations but is a call to action for the church to minister to the world around us. One phrase from the hymn text would be a concise mission statement for the church: "Let us be servants to one another, making your kingdom come".
 

Coming Feb 11th

Gospel Sunday
On Sunday, February 11th, we will celebrate the last Sunday before Lent with a service using African American Spirituals. The Chancel Choir, Adult Handbells, and congregational singing will include songs from this rich, musical tradition.

 

Family Promise
Feb 11 - 17
 
The Family Promise organization alleviates homelessness by providing emergency shelter and by helping families in crisis find permanent housing and employment. While many homeless shelters require families to split up while using their services, Family Promise is committed to keeping families together.

 

Families spend the daytime hours at the Family Promise Center, where they can bathe, wash clothes, and receive help with locating permanent housing, social services and employment. The day center provides a permanent address for the families so that they can sign up for assistance, apply for jobs and enroll children in school.  The center is also an excellent place for volunteers to share their experience, testimonies and knowledge. In the evening, local church congregations assist by providing sleeping quarters, meals (breakfast and supper) and spiritual support. Families stay at each church for one week, from Sunday to Sunday.

 

You can help get a family back on its feet! First Presbyterian Church is one of several host congregations in Temple which provides sleeping quarters for those in the Family Promise program. If you can provide a meal or spend the night, look for the volunteer sign-up board in the Atrium.

 

 
Church-Windows-1
 
Looking Forward to
God Speaking in our Lives
  
February 4
1 Corinthians 9:16-23
Celebration of Lord’s Supper
Sermon  - Ihe Obligation of Connecting

               

February 11
Mark 9:2-9
Sermon - Singing the Gospel

               

February 18
1 Peter 3:18-22
Sermon  -  The Shape of Water

 

February 25
Mark 8:31-38
Sermon  -   Free to Follow
 
 
1st Thursday of Every Month
 
O'Brien's Pub
Downtown, Temple

 

Faith on Tap is a relaxed gathering of people designed to seek God’s presence at the intersection of life and faith.  In the informal setting of a pub we gather on the first Thursday of each month for talk, questions, discussion, and sharing on various issues of everyday life and faith.

 
 
 ADULT
CROSS TRAINING
CLASSES
 

Waking Up White:

Let's Talk!
 

This January Pastor Ken will lead a new adult Cross Training class tackling the issue of white privilege and systemic racism.  Let’s learn!  Let’s explore!  Let’s talk!  The first class will be January 7. This class meets in the Fellowship Hall. See Pastor Ken’s article this month in the January Newsletter for more information.

 
 

This Present Word

 Bible Study

 A’Lisa Ozment continues to lead this class using material from the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

The class meets in Parlor, downstairs.

 
 

February 2018 Calendar

Saturday February 3
Open Date
 
Sunday February 4
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Worship with Communion - 11:00 am
Ordination and Installation of
Officers at Worship
First Sunday Fellowship - Noon
Youth Group - 1:00 pm
 
Monday February 5
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
 
Tuesday February 6
Morning Circle - 10:00 am
Evening Circle - 7:00 pm
 
Wednesday February 7
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Bell Choir Practice - 6:30 pm
Chancel Choir Practice - 7:30 pm
 
Thursday February 8
Writer's Group - 1:00 pm
 
Friday February 9
Open Date
 
Saturday February 10
Session Retreat
 
Sunday February 11
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Gospel Sunday Worship
11:00 am
Youth Group - 5:00 pm
Family Promise
 
Monday February 12
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Family Promise
 
Tuesday February 13
Morning Circle - 10:00 am
Family Promise
 
Wednesday February 14
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Ash Wednesday
Simple Supper
6:00 pm
Ash Wednesday Service and Distribution of Ashes
7:00 pm
Family Promise
 
Thursday February 15
Writing Group - 1:00 pm
Mentoring Group - 7:00 pm
Family Promise
 
Friday February 16
Open Date
Family Promise
 
Saturday February 17
Open Date
Family Promise
 
Sunday February 18
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Worship - 11:00 am
Youth Group - 5:00 pm
 
Monday February 19
Office Closed for President's Day
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
 
Tuesday February 20
Team Meeting - 6:00 pm
 
Wednesday February 21
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Bell Choir Practice - 6:30 pm
Chancel Choir Practice - 7:30 pm
 
Thursday February 22
Writer's Group - 1:00 pm
 
Friday February 23
Open Date
 
Saturday February 24
Open Date
 
Sunday February 25
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Worship - 11:00 am
Youth Group - 5:00 pm
 
Monday February 26
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
 
Tuesday February 27
Session - 6:00 pm
 
Wednesday February 28
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Bell Choir Practice - 6:30 pm
Chancel Choir Practice - 7:30 pm