Letter From the Pastor
 

Every Sunday, statistically speaking, 71 churches have their final worship service and close. That is a stunning and sobering number. What our church is facing is not isolated to us. But, it doesn’t make it any easier to realize and live the painful reality beyond statistical numbers.

 

Unwanted or forced change is hard to accept. I don’t think too many of us do this kind of change well. So, it is natural to lash out in anger and frustration. It is natural to grasp at and wonder, “Why can’t we . .” or “What about . . .” or “What if we . . .” And yet, we know in this situation that these questions have been asked in some form and different alternatives and solutions put forth for the last 30 or more years. Our situation is not an overnight, out-of-the-blue, “we didn’t know” surprise. And yes, most of us thought there was more time. The pain is etched in our faces and stings to the core of our being. Because, at the core of our being are the memories and experiences of life lived together in joy and struggle, tears and laughter, service and fellowship, birth and death.

 

But, this is the season of Easter.  We are death and resurrection people. I see the hope of renewal and new birth. It will not be resurrection to what was or what is, but resurrection to what will be. Rays of possibilities are shining in the prayerful and humble work of the Transition Leadership Team. With three elders each from First Presbyterian Church and Grace Presbyterian Church plans for assimilation into Grace Presbyterian Church hold great promise. I am encouraged. I invite you to be open to the blowing of the Spirit in our midst.

 

On May 13 Rev Thom Lamb from Grace Presbyterian Church will be preaching here.  This will give you an opportunity to meet Thom.  We will be celebrating communion (Youth Sunday is on the first Sunday – please be here to support our youth!) and we will have a time of fellowship after the service. The First Sunday Fellowship will be on the second Sunday in May! Thom is planning to bring a few of the elders from Grace with him.  Chelsea Stern, who directs the adult choir and bell choir, will also be here. I urge you to be in worship at First Presbyterian Church on the 13th.

 

There remain many more questions than answers at this point.  The Session is working very hard to address the questions and keep you updated.  Keep them in prayer! In these days of uncertainty, I have found great solace in the Psalms, especially Psalm 46.

 

God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, through the earth should change,

Though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea . . .

(Ps 46:1-2)

Be still, and know that I am God!

(Ps 46:10)

 

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.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our "Hymn of the Month" for May will be hymn 518, "Your Only Son"

The Bible gives us many different names to describe the character and deity of Christ: "Savior", "Messiah," "Son of God", "Good Shepherd", and many more. Perhaps the most significant is "Lamb of God", because this tells us that Jesus was the spotless lamb, without sin or blemish, and perfect for the sacrifice to save us from our sins.

In John 1:29 we are told that when John the Baptist saw Jesus he said "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world." 1 Peter 1:19 says that salvation is only achieved "with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish or defect."

"Your Only Son" is both a communion hymn and a hymn of praise to our Savior. The third stanza reminds us that when we accept Christ as Savior we come as lamb into the fold of God, safe for eternity.

 

Hurricane Harvey
PDA Mission Trip
June 10 - 16
 
Grace Presbyterian Church is organizing a mission trip through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to the gulf in response to Hurricane Harvey. Space is limited for the trip. However, a few spots have been saved for people from First Presbyterian Church. The work could range from clean-up to housing rehab in and around Corpus Christi. Cost will be $125.00 per person. If you are interested please talk to Pastor Ken or Janice Smith.
 
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Saturday, May 12

Cedarbrake

Renewal Center

Featuring

Suzie Park

Professor of Old Testament

Austin Presbyterian

 Theological Seminary

You are invited! We are having a Women's Retreat on Saturday, May 12th.  The Retreat will be in Driscoll Hall at the Cedarbrake Center in Belton on Saturday, May 12, from 8am to 4pm. Breakfast will be provided. Lunch will be potluck.

 

The speaker/facilitator will be Suzie Park who is an Old Testament professor at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She was recommended as an excellent choice by David Jensen who is the Dean at the Seminary. He says that she is "a very entertaining lecturer and very down to earth. She lends a youthful presence. She is excellent on opening different angles on Old Testament texts, helping us to hear old stories in a new way". This is Suzie’s second year speaking to the women of our congregation, and we are really excited about learning from her again.

 

Please find the sign-up sheet in the atrium if you think you will be able to come. Cost per person is $20. We can waive the fee for any needing that, so cost is not a reason to miss out on this day of fun and fellowship. Please plan to come and bring friends and family.

 
 

All-Church Dinner Out

 CYCLONE CORRAL BBQ

Friday, June 8  at  6:30 P.M.

Family style menu of brisket, sausage, ribs, cole slaw, potato salad, corn, and pinto beans with tea or water. Cost: $15.95 plus Tax and Tip. For anyone needing help with transportation or assistance with the cost, please call the church office.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 ADULT CROSS TRAINING
 

May 6, 13 and 20

 

Join us as we begin our study of Christian Hope. Kevin Cushman leads us in this series.

 
 

This Present Word

 Bible Study

 This class continues using material from the Presbyterian Church (USA). 

The class meets in Parlor, downstairs.

 
 

May 2018 Calendar

 
Tuesday May 1
Morning Circle - 10:00 am
Evening Circle - 7:00 pm
 
Wednesday May 2
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Bell Choir Practice - 6:30 pm
Chancel Choir Practice - 7:30 pm
 
Thursday May 3
Faith on Tap at O'Brien's Pub - 6:30 pm
 
Friday May 4
Open Date
 
Saturday May 5
Open Date
 
Sunday May 6
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Worship with Communion - 11:00 am
Youth Sunday Senior Roast - Noon
Family Promise
 
Monday May 7
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Transition Team - 6:00 pm
Family Promise
 
Tuesday May 8
Open Date
Special Session - 6:00 pm
Family Promise
 
Wednesday May 9
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Family Promise
 
Thursday May 10
Writing Group - 1:00 pm
Family Promise
 
Friday May 11
Open Date
Family Promise
 
Saturday May 12
Women's Retreat at Cedarbrake
Family Promise
 
Sunday May 13
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Worship - 11:00 am
 
Monday May 14
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
 
Tuesday May 15
Open Date
 
Wednesday May 16
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Bell Choir Practice - 6:30 pm
Chancel Choir Practice - 7:30 pm
 
Thursday May 17
Mentoring Group - 7:00 pm
 
Friday May 18
Open Date
 
Saturday May 19
Youth Lock-In
 
Sunday May 20
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Worship - 11:00 am
End of Year Youth Group party
 
Monday May 21
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
 
Tuesday May 22
Session - 6:00 pm
 
Wednesday May 23
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Bell Choir Practice - 6:30 pm
Chancel Choir Practice - 7:30 pm
 
Thursday May 24
Writer's Group - 1:00 pm
 
Friday May 25
Open Date
 
Saturday May 26
Open Date
 
Sunday May 27
Cross Training - 9:30 am
Coffee Fellowship - 10:30 am
Worship - 11:00 am
 
Monday May 28
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
 
Tuesday May 29
Session - 6:00 pm
 
Wednesday May 30
Meals on Wheels - 10:00 am
Bell Choir Practice - 6:30 pm
Chancel Choir Practice - 7:30 pm
 
Thursday May 31
Open Date