Upcoming Events at First Pres!

We hope you can come to our Annual Christmas Parade Party Monday, November 26. Mark your calendars for this fun night with church family! The Fraser (office) Building will be open beginning at 6:30 and the parade will march right by our doors starting at 7:00 pm! Cocoa will be provided by the church. Please try to bring a table-ready snack to share and feel free to bring a friend or two! (The church will close promptly when the parade is over.) All are welcome!

Deck the Halls (with swags of greenery)When: Tuesday, November 27 at 6:00 pm   Where: The Sanctuary   What: To decorate our Sanctuary for the Christmas season                  
Why: Because we care about our church! There will be pizza, fun and fellowship as we prepare for the Savior's birth.  Don't make an excuse...make a commitment to help.       
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come!                                             

Please Join Us for Evening Vespers in the Christian Mystical Tradition every Wednesday from 6:45-7:15 pm in the Chapel on November 28, December 5, 12, and 19. We hope to see you there!

Christmas Lunch and Cookie Exchange!  The Congregational Life Committee, along with additional elves, will be treating the congregation to our annual Christmas lunch, following the service on December 9th, in the Fellowship Hall.  Along with ham and scalloped potatoes and various sides, we would like to try something new for dessert.  We are asking all willing bakers to bring in their favorite or traditional Christmas cookies to share.  If there are any left over, we'll be providing take-away containers so we can have an old-fashioned cookie exchange.  Sound delicious??  We hope everyone will be able to come!

Interested in having your wedding at First Presbyterian Church?  Please see our updated guidelines here.

Sunday Worship
Adult Sunday School  10:00-10:45 am (now meeting in church parlor)
Youth Sunday School  10:00-10:45 am
Elementary Sunday School  10:00-10:45
Church Nursery: 10:30 am-12:30 pm
Chancel Choir Rehearsal: 10:30 am 
Morning Worship: 11:00 am
Youth Group 12-2 pm (alternates with Youth Sunday School, please call to check times)
Bible Study: Wednesdays at 10:00 am in the Library 
Chancel Choir Rehearsal: 7:30 pm 
This week's Bulletin-> Click here 

This month's Newsletter -> Click here

Visit the Shenandoah Presbytery Website -> http://shenpres.org/

Visit the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic Website - > http://www.synatlantic.org/

This month's birthdays - > Click here

Pastor's Letter

November 2018

“Sometimes a light surprises
the Christian while they sing...”

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
      As we enter into the season of thanksgiving, I want to say how grateful I am to our vocal and bell choirs.  Without fail, these faithful ensembles never fail to lift me to a spiritual place as I just sit and listen and let the grace flow over me.  Every Sunday in worship they alert me to the joyful truth that God is here!

                Open my ears, that I may hear 
                                voices of truth Thou sendest clear;
                And while the wave notes fall on my ear, 
                                everything false will disappear.

      There are some things we just don’t know unless we become receivers – open to the Holy Spirit.  As I looked for the lyrics to the above hymn, I entered “notes fall on my ear,” which was the sentence I remembered at the time.  Google immediately suggested that I might have tinnitus, or even (good heavens!) “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo!”  The most popular responses to what folks are seeking seem to have not much to do with the gifts and grace of God. And you know what?  I have to test myself on that!

    In November, we are starting a new (to us) tradition that focuses on answered prayer: the witness and affirmation that God Is Here!  Sometimes our prayers are like a grocery shopping list – we list our wants and needs – they get fulfilled and consumed – and then we have a new list of wants and needs the following week.  We call our preface to the prayer “Joys and Concerns,” but 99.9% of the time we ONLY lift our concerns.

Paul says, “In ALL things give thanks!” (1st Thes 5:18).  There is a contemporary parsing that underlines that: “All means ALL, y’all!”  We need to reclaim the awareness that even the things we’re not quite happy with may be somebody else’s answered prayer.  Looking back over the last month, and remembering the need, the contrast, and the blessing, I can see how God really does work ALL things together for good.  God is here!

        For instance, I was NOT excited when they announced the street closure for Mischief and Magic.  And yet that very irritant was the thing that produced the pearl of First, Second, and Third worshiping together - which was nothing less than a fantastic experience—so much so, people are asking when we can do it again! (Again, notice how Frank and the choir were directly involved in making that service such a blessing!)

Another example – the gathering of session.  We might groan when we think of meetings, but that time with our faithful Elders is a spiritual and joyful place of discernment.  What joy there is to put our minds to enacting kingdom goals and then seeing those things bearing fruit for the Lord. We are, without fail, blessed every time we share life, leadership, and love.  God is here!

        On these front lines, we are blessed to be the first to hear that the “work” of a table at the Mary Baldwin faith fair resulted in our largest initial presence of students in worship for many years.  That faithful action of Sharon Driscoll, who womanned the faith fair table for two hours, produced a harvest of hearts.  And those dear hearts are now asking for a Sunday School Class!  A Sunday School Class?!  Thanks be to God! 
        On these front lines, we are blessed to be the first to hear that the “work” of the table at Pride resulted in a long list of folks from outside the practice of faith that want to learn more about First!  This was only possible as Brad Furr, Gary Wilson, Mary Meade, JoAnn Tigert, Amy Roper, Reese Roper, Paul Goble, Jamie Morris, Jenny Dixon and Frank Kennerly rotated in and over a 13-hour day to make a witness in our community that God is here!

        Beloved, as Paige Kullman says, let’s “chronicle the journey.”  Before we go on to the next good endeavor, let us rejoice in the fruit produced.  The church is increasing in fruitfulness by the grace of God.  Let us pause to rejoice and give thanks for his blessing of the work of our hands!
    Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Rejoice, Give Thanks, and Sing!

Your Sister in the Journey,

Pastor Karen