August, 2016

<< Click Here to download a PDF of the Alert! >>
<< Download the August and September Calendar >>
A Word from Janice :: Around First Central
Gratitude :: Sympathy :: New Members
August and September Calendar

A Word from Janice
      It was such a perfect response. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I left Wesley Court following the monthly Bible study. I was leading a lesson on giving and I quoted from Acts 20:35. Paul was speaking and said, “…The Lord Jesus, himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” The women and I began calling out names of things we give and are given—aside from money. Time, hugs, gifts, love, a smile, a handshake, attention and advice were all mentioned. To shake the group up a little, I offered that some things we’re given are not as appreciated as what we’ve just named. I offered an example, “Some folks are forever giving us what we don’t care to receive, such as their opinion, or a piece of their mind,” in which case most of us usually would prefer to give than to be on the receiving end!
      The lesson continued by considering how giving can serve purposes beyond the actual act of giving. For instance, giving can open people’s eyes to the gracious nature of God and thus become a form of evangelism. A willingness to give may serve as a sign of faith in God’s faithfulness to provide. And when we make sacrifices for the sake of a friend, giving is love in action. Then one of the women spoke up and said, “I think what we need to give a little more of in this world is the benefit of a doubt.’” Conversation halted. She repeated herself as all in the group were processing what she had just said. This was the first time I had ever paid attention to what we are saying when we speak of giving someone the benefit of a doubt.
      To doubt can certainly be non-beneficial, as in the case of not trusting someone, but qualifying doubt with the words “benefit of” the intent of doubt is an act of grace, is it not? It encourages us to think the best of someone rather than being convinced that he or she is malicious and intentionally plotting to hurt us and others. The benefit of a doubt makes room for possibilities, clarification, and explanation. Giving each other the benefit of a doubt is an act of humility—considering the possibility that our interpretation of a comment or action may be at fault rather than what was said or done that we have found so offensive.
      In these days that are ripe with suspicion and hostility, offering each other the benefit of a doubt may prove to be novel and refreshing. Next time a driver drifts into your lane, a sales clerk short changes you by five dollars, or a waiter fails to bring the salad dressing you requested, can we agree to at least consider giving that person the benefit of a doubt? Can we allow room for an unintentional distraction, an innocent error, or genuine forgetfulness?
      What impact can we have on our corner of the world simply by offering the benefit of a doubt to others?
      By the way, if you do as I do and attempt to trace the quote Paul attributed to Jesus back to the gospels, you won’t find it. It’s not there. Nowhere does Jesus say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” which is what makes the response from one of the Wesley Court women so perfect. Can we allow Paul’s citation of Jesus to stand, knowing that the Bible is not an exhaustive account of everything Jesus ever spoke or did? In other words, there being no proof that Jesus actually offered this gem of wisdom, can we offer Paul the benefit of a doubt?

Around First Central
Congratulations to Barbara!
Congratulations to Barbara McLean who has recently completed her “Church Administrator Certification.” Barbara began her work on this certification in January and has spent many hours studying in areas which pertain to church finance and administration. We value Barbara’s new expertise in areas that include running a church office, contributions, risk management, internal controls and financial accountability. This certification required hundreds of hours of work and is reflective of Barbara’s initiative. Asked about what she likes best about FCPC she replied: “my interaction with our church members; the wonderful generosity of our congregation; and our focused sense of mission to others.” Barbara came to us from the Mouser and Young CPA firm over 8 years ago. We give thanks for her sense of ministry as she does her administrative duties.

Festival of Faith
We are pleased to announce that our next Festival of Faith will be March 5-6, 2017 with Dr. Richard Mouw, a philosopher, scholar, and author. Dr. Mouw has served two decades as president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California where he now is professor of Faith and Public Life in the School of Theology. Before coming to Fuller he served for 17 years as professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has also served as a visiting professor at the Free University in Amsterdam.
Mouw has a broad record of publication. He has been an editor of the Reformed Journal and has served on many editorial boards, including currently Books and Culture. He is the author of 19 books, including The God Who Commands, The Smell of Sawdust, He Shines in All That’s Fair, Culture and Common Grace, Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport, Praying at Burger King, an expanded and revised edition of Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World, and most recently, Abraham Kuyper: A Short and Personal Introduction, The Challenges of Cultural Discipleship, and Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals.
Mouw has served as a panelist in the online forum “On Faith” offered by the Washington Post. In 2007, Princeton Theological Seminary awarded Mouw the Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life. Mouw has also participated on many councils and boards, recently serving as president of the Association of Theological Schools. He served for six years as co-chair of the official Reformed-Catholic Dialogue, and is a leader in interfaith theological conversations, particularly with Mormons and Jewish groups.
Dr. Mouw will preach on Sunday morning, March 5 at both the 8:30 and 11 am worship services. He will also teach on both Sunday and Monday at 7 pm. A noon luncheon on Monday will be held in Fellowship Hall. The community is invited.

A Word from Jacob Snowden, DCE
As the beginning of a new school year approaches, I have been surprised to read a book that discusses the significance of something as simple as the ABCs. In Jonathan Sacks’s The Dignity of Difference, an entire chapter is committed to the religious and revolutionary realities of the alphabet. If you have ever wondered where the name “alphabet” comes from, one should look to the ancient Greeks, where the first two letters of the alphabet were alpha and beta. However, before the alpha-beta was the alef-bet, the first two characters of the Hebrew alphabet.
Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese characters, and Sumerian cuneiform consisted of thousands of characters and markings. Learning to read and write was a process that could take decades to become proficient. And who has decades to learn to read when there is farming and fighting to do? The revolution of the alef-bet was that even a child could master the art of reading and writing. Sacks argues that when Moses hears God say in Exodus 19, “you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” the expectation is a nation of literate people. The people who had the time to learn to read hieroglyphs were the priests—the smartest people with special access to sacred stories. Israel, on the other hand, was to be a nation where everyone had access to the sacred stories. Everyone could write the law of the Lord on their door posts and wrap them on their bodies. What good would binding scrolls of scriptures on a body be if someone could not read? Sacks calls this the “democratization of education,” which he dates to the second millennium BC. Not only does he date the proto-alphabet two thousand or more years before Christ, he dates the bedrock of democracy there too—an informed, educated populace!
Taking public schools for granted is easy. Who doesn’t love a snow day? But what Sacks tries to point out is that an education is not only about landing a good job. An education is about equality and dignity. Our ability to read and reason for ourselves and to be creative about what we read and think is the way to becoming a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. Education is not only for our personal good, but for our civic and spiritual good. Realizing equal dignity and opportunity is predicated by equal education.
As the new school year approaches and as we move towards this year’s Celebration of Education, I thought it might be helpful to talk about the ABCs. I am happy that First Central is so committed to Christian education. It is a great privilege to see how our educational programs have been empowering our members and our larger community.
Don’t miss the Celebration of Education during the Sunday School hour on September 11th.

Youth Ministry News

July was a busy and exciting time our young people here at FCPC. First, the week for which our Senior-Highs prepared and waited for about a year finally arrived! We flew out of the DFW airport the 17th of July to headed to Staten Island for the Mission Trip. The 7 days we spent there were as exhausting as they were meaningful and fun. We woke up every day from our sleeping mats on a church floor around 7 AM to eat, send people to the single shower we all shared located 3 blocks away, and get ready for the day. We would leave by either public transit or by van to sites around Staten Island which included a food pantry and community center, homes effected by Super Storm Sandy, and to local neighborhoods where we participated in a marketing project for a group which provides employment opportunities for day-laborers. We spent our nights on the Staten Island Ferry, busses, and subway trains, traveling into Manhattan for New York-style dinners and sightseeing. The Senior-High Youth toured the tastes of the city with authentic Chinese food in Chinatown, pastrami sandwiches from Katz Delicatessen, street food in Times Square, Hotdogs from Yankee Stadium, and Staten Island’s “best” pizza! Special events made the trip even sweeter as we saw The Lion King on Broadway, a Yankees game, the exhibits within the American Museum of Natural History, the 9/11 Memorial tower pools, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal, and Central Park. We met many wonderful people, walked thousands of steps (according to my Fitbit), and experienced one of the greatest cities in the world! I heard many words of excitement for future mission trips and of gratefulness for all we were able to see and do because of the generosity of our church home coming from the Senior-High Youth. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you FCPC for all of the prayers, support, and donations which helped provide this life changing, comfort zone stretching, faith acting mission trip for these young people. They, and the adults which helped lead this mission, will not soon forget it.
The end of the mission trip marked a return to the fun and hectic routine of preparing for the school year, my favorite time of year! There is much already in the works for our youth in the Fall. On August 14 at 4 PM, the Youth joined the entire church out at the Buffalo Gap Presbyterian Encampment for THE BIG SPLASH, where we celebrated the end of another wonderful summer and the beginning of another school year.
We have a special night planned on the 21st beginning at 5 PM of which I cannot reveal too many details. Just trust me when I say we will have a great time, and we will prepare our group for a school year full of youth events!
The first Wednesday night meeting of the Fall will be held on the 24th starting at 7 PM with, classic games, and time worship, and a new curriculum. From the 24th onward, we will meet every Wednesday evening outside of holidays.
Do you want to keep up with what the Youth Group has going on this summer? Follow us on Instagram @fcpcyouth for pictures and videos.

Garden Ministry Info
The watering team needs you! Volunteers are needed to keep our garden growing as we add more and more plants and trees. Time Commitment:  One day/week for 30-45 minutes is all it’ll take to make sure the trees and plants are watered during these hot days of summer. There is a sign-up sheet in the foyer so you can choose your day.
Plans for our outdoor chapel are underway thanks to a generous donor, the enthusiasm of Presbyterian Women, and a competent design team. Serving on the design team for the chapel are Steven Daniel, Ron Pope, Barbara Schriever, Janice and Gene Six. Be watching as the chapel area begins to take shape in the Meditation and Community Garden.

Save the Date—Phoebe’s Friends
Phoebe’s Friends is ready to begin again on Monday, August 29, at 10:30 a.m. with a “Looking Forward to Fall Coffee,” hosted by Janice Six, 65 Glen Abbey St.
The new study for this semester will be announced and available for purchase. A nursery will be provided at the church beginning at 10 a.m. to allow time to get to Janice’s home. All women are invited to attend the coffee and become one of Phoebe’s Friends! Phoebe’s Friends meets each Monday in the Minter Room from 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Kenya Mission Trip—First Steps!
Garrett Briggs and Lynn Beal will travel to Nairobi from September 17-22 to meet with representatives from the Presbyterian Church of East Africa. Their mission will be to travel into Kajiado County of Kenya and possibly into Tanzania in order to assess the need and feasibility of installing water purification equipment to bring relief to the Masaai people of that region. This will allow for the gathering of information to assemble an implementation team from FCPC and plan a mission to return to the area to install the equipment and train persons to operate and maintain it. Stay tuned for more information!

Breakfast on Beech Street
B.O.B.S needs YOU! We're seeking new volunteers to join our Thursday teams. Come and give it a try! Please contact Margaret Beasley (692-4149) for more information. In July 1,684 guests (80 being under the age of 18) received breakfasts and lunches which included 2,828 sandwiches plus cookies, fruit and a scripture.

Logos is coming!
Get ready for the return of Sunday Night Live—Logos, our Sunday afternoon program for kids five years old through 5th grade. This is an intergenerational ministry where kids learn, worship, play, and have dinner in a family-style setting. Logos will begin on September 18th—stay tuned for more information!

Dear FCPC Family,
Julia, Greg and Trudy, Gene and I thank you for the many expressions of kindness and compassion that you’ve extended to us during the illnesses and deaths of both Gene’s parents this past month. We give thanks for the faith we share that sustains us during times such as this and we give thanks for our unity in Christ that makes us family to one another—especially when we no longer have parents and grandparents this side of heaven.
Peace, Janice

Thank you for your generous gifts in support of the programmatic budget for NOROC and for a Mission Coworker in Tulcea, Romania. On behalf of NOROC Romania staff and the young lives touched please accept our gratitude for your prayers and financial support! Through the years, your prayers and financial gifts have touched thousands of lives to the Glory of God!
In His Service, Fred

Dear First Central,
I was blessed to have the opportunity to represent FCPC on my recent mission trip to Tulcea, Romania. On behalf of the orphans I would like to thank you for your continuing support and prayers. You are making a difference in the lives of these children and providing hope for the future.
With Sincere Appreciation, Kandy Bell

Dear Friends,
Your generous gifts given to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to support emergency and disaster response in the United States and around the world clothe those who are naked with shelter, support, harmony, and peace. For those gifts, we know they are thankful...and so are we. May the peace of Christ continue to rule in your heart, and may God’s love clothe you and yours with joy.
With deepest appreciation,
The Rev. Dr. Laurie A Kraus
Coordinator, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
We extend our sympathies to Robbie Beal on the death of her mother, Wanda Smith.

New Members
We warmly welcome Curry and Rae Nelle Allen to the FCPC family.

August and September Calendar
(Click Here to Download)
August September

Each Sunday

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School
  • 5 pm: Mid-High Youth (Except 14th & 21st)
  • 6 pm: Senior High Youth (Except 14th & 21st)

Each Tuesday

  • 9-11 am: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 6:30 pm: Handbell Choir (Begins 17th)
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir (Begins 17th)

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 9-11 am: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 5:30 pm: Guitar Group
  • 7:30 pm: Young Adults, No Children (Begins 18th)

August 15

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

August 16

  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

August 21

  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court
  • 5 pm: All Youth Gathering

August 22

  • AISD: School Begins

August 23

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

August 24

  • 7 pm:  Youth Gathering

August 26

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out

August 29

  • 10:30 am: Phoebe's Friends @ Janice Six's Home
  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

August 31

  • 7 pm: Youth Gathering

*As September 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
  • 4:30 pm: Logos (Begins 18th)
  • 5 pm: Mid-High Youth (Except 4th)
  • 6 pm: Senior High Youth (Except 4th)

Each Monday

  • 10 am: Phoebe's Friends (Except 5th)

Each Tuesday

  • 9-11 am: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 5:45 pm: Wednesday Night Program (Begins 14th)
  • 6:30 pm: Handbell Choir
  • 7 pm: Youth Gathering
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 9-11 am: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 5:30 pm: Guitar Group
  • 7:30 pm: Young Adults, No Children

September 5

  • Labor Day - Church Office Closed

September 6

  • 5:30 pm: CE Committee Meeting

September 9

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out

September 11

  • 9:45 am: Celebration of Education

September 12

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Meeting

September 13

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

September 14

  • 4:30 pm: Worship Committee Meeting

September 15

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya Fellowship

September 18

  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court
  • Homecoming Sunday

September 19

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

September 20

  •  12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting
  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

September 23

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

September 26

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

September 27

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

September 28

  • 4 pm: LifeLine Council