A Word from Jacob Snowden, DCE
For the serious lover of movies,
you probably have a different understanding of an Easter Egg hunt than what we do at First Central on Easter morning. In film, Easter eggs are quirky or snarky little things to find that don’t quite belong in a film. For instance, you could find R2-D2 in the hieroglyphs of Raiders of the Lost Ark. After Marty McFly crashes his DeLorean time machine into a tree in Back to the Future, the Twin Pines Mall becomes the Lone Pine Mall.
Twice in Matthew 25 people ask of Jesus, “Lord, when was it that we saw you?” Like an Easter Egg easily passed over in a film, both the righteous and unrighteous, according to Matthew 25, fail to find the hiddenness of Jesus in their encounters with the least of the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, and imprisoned. The people of Matthew 25 are like the oblivious moviegoers who have jokes staring them in the face, yet they go unnoticed. They are the children who run through the yard, but tall blades of grass or a little underbrush keep the Easter surprises unnoticed.
Lent is a season of preparation. During Lent people prepare themselves for the surprises that come on Easter morning. By sacrificing something, people train themselves to recall the story of Jesus not only in his passion but also in his life and ministry. By focusing on Jesus, people can become more attuned to the small, often unnoticed ways that God has chosen to move and act in the world.
Notice the small things; the things that go unnoticed by others. And in finding what is often neglected, by grace, we might discover treasure in Earthen vessels (or plastic eggs) that can bring a joy and some measure of peace.
First Central’s annual Easter Egg hunt will happen Easter Sunday morning shortly after breakfast—around about 10am. Candy donations are welcome by Palm Sunday. We have several other ways the children can be involved in worship around Easter time. On Palm Sunday, our children will process with palm crosses in both services, and on Easter Sunday, our children famously flower the cross the stands in the sanctuary. Older members are invited to bring flowers on Easter morning. Also, First Central’s Confirmation classes begin the Sunday after Easter, April 23rd. Confirmation classes are for those in the 6th grade older who are considering confirmation; classes begin at 4:00 pm.
Small signs of grace are all around. Keep your eyes peeled. Happy Easter.
Director of Christian Education
Youth and Emerging Adults News
On Sunday at 2:32 PM,
By Kristen Harris-Bridwell
Director of Youth and Emerging Adult Ministries
an exhausted yet happy group of Youth and Youth Lea
ders arrived in the parking lot of FCPC from a weekend retreat at Mo Ranch. The Youth make this pilgrimage to Hunt, Texas every year in the spring for a weekend of games, food, and laughter. It’s a fun trip, it’s a fast trip, it’s an exhausting trip, it’s a memorable trip. The Youth absolutely LOVE this retreat!
No matter how much time and thought is put into planning this weekend in an attempt to combat every foreseeable problem, something always breaks down. Someone always gets upset, someone always gets hurt (whether hurt feelings or hurt elbows), and someone always gets a sunburn (several someones!). That’s the nature of spending time with other people. Even with the common goals of fun, learning, and relaxation, tensions arise and hearts are bruised.
This year’s retreat preacher, Sarah Greenfield of FBC Abilene, spoke of courage: the courage to begin, to endure, to see others, and to have hope. It was an apt theme for a weekend like the retreat. Being one who attempts to walk in The Way of Jesus the Christ is not easy. It takes courage to begin the journey – to try something new. It takes courage to endure through the stresses and the hardships of life while maintaining some sort of greater purpose. It takes courage to see other people, to really SEE them, and to enter into relationships with those on the margins. It takes courage to have hope in this world filled with uncertainty, sorrow, and evil. In general, it takes courage to live life. It takes even more courage to choose to live the Christian life of margin seeking and counter-culture speaking. If your living out of your faith doesn’t take courage, I dare say, you are doing it wrong.
We repeatedly teach our Youth that what we do at church is practice what the Kin-dom of Heaven looks like. We practice kindness, gentleness, and patience. We practice loving our neighbor AND our enemy. We practice forgiveness and turning the other cheek. The Austin Youth Room is our sacred workshop and the annual spring retreat is a heightened extension of our workshop - a pressure cooker of drama and excitement. As in years past, the Youth Group returns to FCPC exhausted yet refreshed, ready for some alone time yet feeling more connected to one another than ever before.
With the lessons of practicing faith in courageous ways fresh in mind, the Youth will spend the month of April preparing for Youth Sunday on April 30th. Youth members will lead every portion of the service, including the sermon! Please pray that our Youth will have courage as they prepare for the service and as they lead us all in worship. Also, make sure to be in attendance on the 30th at either the 8:30 am or the 11:00 am worship service. It promises to be a fun one!
Peace be the journey,
Holy Week Luncheons 2017—Red Letter Jesus
In 1899, a magazine editor named Louis Klopsch
thought, ‘What if there was a Bible with the words spoken by Jesus printed in red ink
?’ Since that eureka moment, generations of Christians have benefitted from the words of Jesus in typographical relief. His words in red print begs a question: Who is this Jesus? Will we let his words change our lives?
Continuing our tradition we will enjoy this ecumenical series during the noon hour of Holy Week. This is a tradition that has been held yearly for over 35 years. It reflects the good spirit that exists between churches in our city. Please see the FCPC Home Page for more information about this year's luncheons.
Maundy Thursday Service
Join us on Maundy Thursday
, April 13, for our traditional Maundy Thursday
service. This is a unique contemplative service that is a favorite for many of our members. The service begins at 7 p.m. and Communion will be served.
Be sure and join us on Easter Sunday,
April 16, for our traditional FCPC Easter Breakfast, served between 9 and 10:30 a.m. in Faith Hall. The Deacons provide this delicious breakfast with all the fixings for just $3 per person. Please sign up at the information desk if you can so we know how many to expect!
Easter Egg Hunt
Easter Sunday at 9:45
the hunting commences! Bring your kids, grandkids, an
d friends to FCPC’s annual Easter Egg Hunt. There will be some light refreshments and plenty of treats hidden around FCPC’s playground for the grabbing. If you would like to donate candy to make the egg hunt even sweeter, please bring it to the church by Palm Sunday, April 9.
Flowering of the Cross
The Flowering of the Cross
will take place on Easter Sunday at both services. Members are asked to bring fresh flowers on Easter morning and place them in the baskets in the foyer and on the parlor table.
Have your child meet in the parlor prior to either service if they would like to participate. We hope you will join us in this FCPC tradition!
Memorial and Honorary Easter Lily
forms are available at the church
office. Easter Lilies will decorate our sanctuary on Easter Sunday and then be distributed to our homebound members. These lilies are a beautiful way to honor or provide a memorial for loved ones. Please return all forms by Wednesday, April 12.
A “Hymn Festival” is happening during the 11 am worship service on Sunday, April 23.
We are pulling out all the stops. A full brass ensemble will accompany the choir and congregation in celebrating the hymnody of the church.
We really want you to come to the 11 am service. We will have a small 8:30 am service but this is one Sunday we encourage you to make every effort to come at 11am if possible. Special commendation if you attend both services as they will be entirely different.
So mark your calendar now for the BIG Hymn Festival on Sunday, April 23, 11 am, the Sunday after Easter.
Spring Into B.O.B.S. Funding Campaign!
A local donor
has generously offered to do a pe
rcentage matching of all contributions received between March 1 and April 30, so your dollars will go further if you donate now.
Note: B.O.B.S. averages 60-90 guests per day, 5 days a week, providing breakfast and a sack lunch if desired. We treat all that Christ sends to our door with grace and dignity in His Name.
Donations can be made through FCPC with the notation "for B.O.B.S." 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.
FCPC Meditation & Community Garden Happenings
Check out the progress being made in the meditation and community garden…
32-ft of new flower bed along Beech St. side of garden.
New stone bench assembled by volunteers from Dyess AFB
Master Gardeners are planning to create a 60-ft. flower bed along the N. 4th St.
If you have extra plants at your house, bring them to the garden any Tuesday between 1-3 p.m. or Thursday between 3-5 p.m.
Interested in watering trees, planting, or knocking down tall grass? Drop by the garden any Tuesday or Thursday afternoon and lend a hand! The garden is overseen by Presbyterian Women and all are invited to get involved.
Food Pantry Reception
You are invited to a reception
at the Food Pantry on May 9 at 10:30 am. We ar
e honoring Frances Buzard who has “retired” as the “CEO” of the Food Pantry and is dearly missed. In honor of her service we are renaming the pantry as the “Frances Buzard Presbyterian Food Pantry.” Would you come for this brief reception which will be held on-site across the street where the food pantry is in session every Tuesday afternoon? Francis now resides in Midland and is making a special trip back just for this occasion. Come celebrate.
Jesus: His Life, His Times, His Land
Cliff and Evie Stewart are hosting a ten-day trip to the Holy Land beginning February 13, 2018.
If you would like information we will send you a brochure. There are advantages to signing up early. This is a trip of a lifetime. firstname.lastname@example.org is the place to ask for information. Brochures are available at the church office. If you are interested in hearing more we will have a 4 pm “information meeting” at the church on Sunday April 9 in the Minter Room.