April, 2016

<< Click Here to download a PDF of the Alert! >>
<< Download the April and May Calendar >>
Cliff's Notes :: Around First Central
Gratitude :: Sympathy
Congratulations and Celebrations
April and May Calendar

Cliff's Notes
I am talking this Sunday about the conversion of Paul (Acts 9). In my preparation I began to realize it was actually the story of two conversions. One was Saul/Paul’s conversion and the other was the conversion of Ananias who dared to hear the call of God to go to “Public Enemy #1” who was the CEO of the “Stop-the-Christian-Movement” effort. It would be similar to asking you are me to go share the love of Jesus with someone like Osama bin Ladin.

So in that light I share with you this story of Larry Trapp. Larry was the Grand Dragon of the Nebraska Ku Klux Klan. In the late 1980s and early '90s, Larry Trapp took great joy in harassing Jewish people, immigrants, and people of color. He made threatening phone calls, sent out hate mail, and encouraged his followers to commit acts of violence against non-white and Jewish people.

But Larry Trapp made a mistake when he picked on Michael and Julie Weissner in his home town of Lincoln, NE. Michael was the cantor of the local synagogue, and Trapp let loose on Michael with a string of nasty words over the phone. "You'll be sorry you ever moved into that house, Jew-boy. The KKK is watching you, scum."

At first, the Weissner’s installed a security system. Then, one day, they realized that fear and intimidation from these escalating threats were consuming them. So what do you do when a racist becomes hell bent on destroying you? Well, you could try the unconventional approach of loving that individual. This became Michael Weissner's aim.

He began calling Larry Trapp's house. Each time, he had to listen to a 10-minute recording on white supremacy before he could even leave a message. But Weissner kept leaving messages that were frank yet loving, telling Trapp in different ways that hatred is no way to live.

One time, Larry Trapp picked up the phone. That's when Weissner learned that he was disabled, a diabetic with both legs amputated. In a stunning offer of friendship, Michael Weissner offered to take Larry Trapp to the supermarket for groceries. Eventually--and it took a while--Michael and Julie were permitted to pay a visit to Larry Trapp's house. They found a monster in this unkempt house stuffed with racist literature. Here was a bully in a wheelchair, with a sawed-off shotgun by his side. He had trained himself in the use of explosives.

When the couple first met Larry, Michael shook his hand and all three of them started to cry. They talked for a couple of hours. Larry asked them to take down his Nazi flag. The Weissner’s paid regular visits after that, delivering groceries and assisting with house cleaning. When doctors informed Larry that he had no more than perhaps another year to live, medically speaking, the Weissner’s took Larry Trapp into their own home. Julie gave up her job as a physician's assistant to care for him. Larry ended up converting to Judaism. He renounced the horrors of racism. And catch this: He made a point of phoning every person he had ever harassed and apologized to them.

Ten months after moving in with the Weissner’s, Larry Trapp died. Some of the African-American victims of his hatred spoke fondly of him at his memorial service. Michael Weissner delivered the eulogy for this bigot-turned-family-member. And in that eulogy, Michael referred to him as "BROTHER LARRY".

Check out Acts 9 where Ananias was asked to go to Saul, his enemy...and the first two words Ananias said to him was “BROTHER SAUL.”

All I can say is “wow!” Yes, Ananias was converted...and then Saul was converted...and we know the rest of the story. I ask how does this apply to your life in our age of hatred? Maybe love is the last thing our enemies might expect to hear from us - but the first thing they need to hear.

Around First Central
Wednesday Night Finale
Our final Wednesday night of the season will be on Wednesday, April 20. Great news – the elevator will be fixed and we will be back in Fellowship Hall! Glenn Dromgoole has written a new book entitled “More Civility, Please: Make Your Corner of the World a Better Place”. The book contains words of encouragement and inspiration that offer practical thoughts on how you – wherever you are in life – can begin, or continue, to make a positive difference in your corner of the world every day. On many occasions Glenn has been reluctant to sell his books when he speaks on Wednesday night. When asked if he would consider selling his new book that evening – he refused. However, he is going to give a free copy to each person (one per family) who attends. If you would like to purchase more you may do so at the Texas Star Trading Company on Cypress Street. You must be present to receive your book and, of course, you can have the author sign your copy! Dinner is at 5:45 PM. Reservations for the catered meal must be in by Tuesday noon April 19. But you are more than welcome to bring your own food. The program will begin at 6:30 PM.

Bequests & Planned Giving
The Bequests & Planned Giving Committee oversees, for the Session, special gifts that have been given to the church that are not designated for a specific purpose. Each year the committee seeks mission oriented requests from members of our congregation. The Bequest Committee reviews the requests and makes a recommendation to the Session who approves the distributions. To apply for a portion of these funds, a one-page written request must be received from a member of the congregation, stating the suggested amount requested, along with an explanation as to how these monies will be used in the cause of Christ.  Your written requests should be sent to the church office – Attention:  Bequests and Planned Giving, Bob McMillan, chairperson. Requests due by April 20.

Save the Date—Saturday, April 16, 9 a.m.-Noon!
A Garden Gathering will be held to position bricks for the labyrinth. Children, youth, and adults of all ages are welcome to participate in this fun Saturday morning activity of moving 1000 bricks—one brick at a time—into the center of the garden area where the prayer path will be created. Remember to bring gloves to protect busy hands and wear closed-toe shoes. Plan now to participate in this memory-making workday!

Spring Into BOBS Funding Campaign!
A local donor has generously offered to do a percentage matching of all contributions for BOBS received between March 1 and April 30, so your dollars will go farther if you donate now. Donations can be made through FCPC with the notation "for B.O.B.S." on your check or sent directly to B.O.B.S. at P.O. Box 5911, Abilene, TX 79608. For more information, contact Margaret Beasley at 692-4149.

Dinner for 7
Dinner for 7 is returning on April 16th. This is a GREAT opportunity to get to know other FCPC family members. One person provides the main course and opens up their home for 5-6 others who will bring the sides and desserts. Breaking bread has always been one of the best ways to get to know others and that’s what this is all about—food and fellowships. If you would like to participate, there are sign-up sheets for hosts and guests on the Information Desk in the foyer. Hosts and their guests will be notified by Monday, April 11. Childcare will be available at the church if requested. Don’t miss out on the fun!

Confirmation Class
Our Confirmation Class has begun. All youth who are in the 6th grade or older are invited to participate in the 6-week course led by Janice Six, Jacob Snowden, and Kristen Bridwell. Confirmation classes are designed to help participants explore what they believe about the triune God and what it means to be an active member of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Please contact Kori Barr in the church office, 677-3501, or kbarr@fcpc.net, to let her know if you plan to attend.

A Message from Jacob Snowden, DCE
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, the sent them Peter and Joh, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. –Acts 8:14-17
As with most stories involving the Holy Spirit, this passage brings with it no shortage of questions. Suffice it to say the spirit of God moves as it will, without formula or prescription. What might be gleaned from this passage is that the mysteries of baptism mark the beginning, not the completion, of life in the body of Christ. For this reason, Presbyterians confirm baptism.
Confirmation classes run through April and into early May, and what a confirmation class we have! With at least eight confirmands (and maybe more), Janice, Kristen, and I have the pleasure of exploring and discussing what life in faith means for a slew of sixth graders. If you are not familiar with our students, you are missing out! The first week of confirmation allows them to ask any question they think they have not had adequately answered. What is encouraging is that they ask many of the same questions that still linger for me. What is the relationship between faith and science? If God is all-good and all-powerful, why does evil exist? How can one be sure God exists? What is Satan’s story? Do all good dogs go to heaven?
At a time when students are remembering their baptisms and considering their faith seriously, I find in their example a serious challenge: how often and how actively do I pursue my faith in both thought and action? When Jacob wrestled with God near the river, he walked away with a limp. I assume this is because wrestling with God is a real struggle with real difficulties. However, when Jacob walked away with a limp, he also walked away with a blessing.
Confirmation classes are open to anyone in the sixth grade and above, but whether or not you are a sixth grader or sixth decade-er, considering our beliefs and actions is a challenging task that is worth the struggle.
Know that we have a wonderful, intelligent, and faithful group of young students at First Central, and anyone could learn by following their example in confirmation classes. If you are interested in hearing their personal statements of faith, join them on April 28th at a very special meeting of the Session.

Youth News
March and the beginning of April was a busy time for our FCPC young people with the beginning of Spring, spring break, and Easter.
In order to meet the caffeine concerns of our congregation, the youth moved The Mug Stop into the gym until the elevator is up (and down… Get it? J) and running again. The FCPC family continues to be very generous with their coffee purchases, moving us closer to our goal of funding this summer’s Senior-High Mission trip to Staten Island.
During spring break, we decided to celebrate the great weather with a trip to Sonic Drive-In and a round of Mini-Golf at Playfair Park. Great times were had by all out in the fresh air and sunshine!
Our first event of April was an All-Youth Lock-in! The night of April 1 began with a bang as we brought in Knockerball Abilene to lead us through fun games inside giant inflatable globes. Other lock-in events included watching movies, snacking, playing video games, and participating in classic lock-in games like sardines and sniper.
The remaining days of April will be even busier than all of March! The youth will be helping with the Garden Gathering workday on Saturday, April 16, from 9 AM until 12 PM. On that day we will be laying bricks in the pattern of the labyrinth prayer path.  All church members are invited to come and join us! Gloves and sturdy shoes are recommended.
Another big day on the calendar for our youth is the Mission Trip Fundraiser Luncheon immediately following the 11:00 AM worship service on April 17. Our Senior-High students will help prepare food and serve a lunch. The cost will be $10 a person. Attendees can expect a decorated Faith Hall, an Italian-themed menu, youth members bussing your table, and a the opportunity to bid on different desserts made and donated by FCPC church members. All proceedes from the luncheon will help fund this summer’s mission trip to Staten Island. More commitments to bring desserts for auction are needed!
The last major youth event in April is a BIG one! Our annual spring retreat to MoRanch will be on April 22-24. We will get to spend a weekend in Bible study, playing games, canoeing, hiking, and spenging time around the camp fire! This year’s special speaker is Brittany McDonald-Null, a Logsdon Seminary Student and the Associate Youth Minister at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church. If you are 6th-12th grade student or if you know a young person interested in attending, please contact Kristen Harris-Bridwell at kbridwell@fcpc.net or at (325)677-3501.
FCPC Youth is now on Instagram! Follow us @fcpcyouth to keep up with all of our events.

Summer Camps at Buffalo Gap
  • Staff Training: June 5-8
    • (Staff Only)
  • Mini-Camp: June 7-10, $150
    • (Completed grades 1, 2 or 3)
  • Elementary: June 12-17, $250
    • (Completed grades 4 or 5)
  • Middle School: June 19-24, $250
    • (Completed grades 6, 7 or 8)
  • High School Retreat: June 26-July 1, $250
    • (Completed grades 9-12)
Deadlines: Register by May 22 and get a free t-shirt!
You may register later, but please do so ASAP so that the camp may be better prepared. Please do not let finances keep your child from attending camp. FCPC pays part of the fee toward each child attending from our church—please pick up a form at the information desk or call the church office for more information. Additional Camperships may be available through the Presbytery, the Camp itself, or through FCPC if needed. You can visit the presbytery website at www.paloduropresbytery.org for more information.

Palo Duro Presbyterian Cursillo #30
Palo Duro Presbyterian Cursillo #30 is scheduled for August 10-14 at Camp Chaparral, Iowa Park. Training weekend will be July 15-16. If you have never participated in a Cursillo experience, we invite you to come to this event. It will be a memorable experience and one to celebrate for years to come. For more information on how to sign up, please contact the Presbytery office or look on the Presbytery website at www.paloduropresbytery.org on the “Camps and Retreats” tab.

Romania Trip Dates
The summer mission trip to Romania will take place June 2-14, 2016. Ten individuals will be participating. We have participates from FPC Lubbock, Covenant Lubbock, FCPC and FPC Vernon. Plan to keep all these folks in prayer during that time.

YANC—Young Adults, No Children
YANC “Young Adults No Children” is an exciting study group that meets every Thursday evening at Cliff and Evie Stewart’s home, 1125 Glenwood Dr. at 7:30 PM. The format is simple – an hour of study and then snacks and conversation. We are just beginning a new study of a book by Philip Yancey entitled Vanishing Grace. You do not have to read the book to attend. Come and see if you like it.

Gratitude
Dear First Central,
I am so grateful for your generous year-end gift! Thank you for investing in future church and missions leaders through Intervarsity. I just got back from the Urbana Missions Conference where I served on the intercessory prayer team (we prayed 24/7 over the week in shifts—I had a few 4am-7am blocks!) Students were challenged to give their whole selves to God and especially take risks to be involved in caring for the persecuted church abroad and for engaging racial justice/unity in America. It was very powerful. Thank you for praying and helping make all of this possible!
Blessings, Kate Perkins Denson
P.S. The couple I talked about at Wednesday Night Dinner back in September got engaged at Urbana!

What a great Easter service at FCPC! So many young couples with little ones toddling around, a sanctuary full of families and friends and Easter lilies. Cliff’s message about our Risen Lord, the outstanding music with the Halleljuah Chours to end the service and a beautiful Easter lily at my apartment door when I arrived home!
Thanks FCPC church family for such a beautiful Easter day.
Jo Bright

Thank you to Bill Libby of St. Paul United Method Church, who made a generous contribution to the Meditation and Community Garden! Bill also donated several starter trees from the Arbor Day Society. We are very thankful for the support of our neighbors!
Sympathy
We extend our sympathies to the family of Dub Pritchett, to Nancy Lewis-Means on the death of her mother, Mary Virginia Dodd Lewis, to Sara Snowden on the death of her grandmother, to Diane Lundgren on the death of her cousin, Rita Morrow of Noodle, and to Cisco Villajuana on the death of his grandmother, Rosa Saucedo.

Congratulations and Celebrations
We would like to celebrate the birth of Camille LaRuth Ruelas, born March 15 to Martha & Josh Ruelas, and of Eames Leverett Andrus, son of Brooke & Ethan Andrus; grandparents at FCPC are Lynn & Carl Roeder, and great-grandparents at FCPC are Lavern & Joe Roeder.
We also celebrate the March 20 baptism of Molly June Edwards, daughter of Janelle & Tyler Edwards.



April and May Calendar
(Click Here to Download)
April
May

Each Sunday

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School
  • 4 pm: Confirmation Class (Except 24th)
  • 5:30 pm: Women's Bible Study (5 pm on 10th)
  • 5 pm: Mid-High Youth (Except 24th)
  • 6 pm: Senior High Youth (Except 24th)
Each Monday
  • 6 am: Men's Study Group
  • 10 am: Phoebe's Friends

Each Tuesday

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open
  • 1-3 pm: Garden Ministry Work Time

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 5:45 pm: Wednesday Night Dinner & Program (Ends April 20th)
  • 6:30 pm: Bell Choir
  • 7 pm: All Youth Gathering
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 5:30 pm: Cursillo Guitar Group (Except 21st)
  • 7:30 pm: YANC (Young Adults, No Children) (Except 24th)

April 10

  • 6 pm: Ariel Adams & Stephanie Hord Recital

April 11

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

April 12

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

April 16

  • 9 am: Garden Workday
  • Dinner for 7

April 17

  • 12 pm: Youth Mission Trip Fundraiser Luncheon
  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court

April 18

  • 5:30 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting
  • 5:45 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting

April 19

  • 10 am:  Mary Circle
  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

April 20

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting

April 21

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya Fellowship

April 22

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out
  • 6:30 pm: Christian Adults Night Out
  • Youth Spring Retreat @ Mo-Ranch

April 23

  • Youth Spring Retreat @ Mo-Ranch

April 24

  • Youth Spring Retreat @ Mo-Ranch

April 25

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

April 26

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

*As May approaches, be sure to watch the Pew Sheet and future calendars for updated dates and times for all our church activities!

Each Sunday

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School
  • 5 pm: Mid-High Youth
  • 5:30 pm: Women's Bible Study (1st, 8th, & 15th)
  • 6 pm: Senior High Youth

Each Monday

  • 6 am: Men's Bible Study

Each Tuesday

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open
  • 1-3 pm: Garden Ministry Work Time

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 6:30 pm: Bell Choir
  • 7 pm: All Youth Gathering
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 5:30 pm: Cursillo Guitar Group (Except 19th)
  • 7:30 pm: YANC (Young Adults, No Children)

May 1

  • 4 pm: Confirmation Class
  • Youth Sunday

May 2

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Committee Meeting
  • 5:30 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting

May 3

  • 10 am: Wesley Court Bible Study

May 8

  • 4 pm: Confirmation Class
  • Mother's Day

May 9

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

May 10

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

May 13

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out
  • Mid-High Mystery Trip

May 14

  • Mid-High Mystery Trip

May 15

  • 12 pm: Pentecost Luncheon
  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court
  • Pentecost

May 16

  • 5:30 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting
  • 5:45 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting

May 17

  • 10 am: Mary Circle
  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

May 18

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting

May 22

  • Senior Sunday

May 23

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

May 24

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

May 25

  • 4 pm: LifeLine Council Meeting

May 27

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out
  • 6:30 pm: Christian Adults Night Out

May 30

  • Memorial Day - Church Office Closed