December, 2015

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

Cliff's Notes
Want to hear some astounding news? Our church has received an $800,000 gift from an anonymous donor to fund the entire cost of a marvelous new sanctuary organ!! Maybe you were there on Consecration Sunday when the organ was totally unusable? One of our large organ pipes malfunctioned causing a terrible hum. Yes, it is now fixed but it was a sign that we better do something sooner than later.

We have now engaged the Dan Garland organ builders to begin the process of building and installing a first class instrument that will enhance our worship for many years to come. Completion time for the organ building and the subsequent installation is approximately three years! Between now and then we will have to keep the present organ going as best we can. Our organist, Dr. Larry Wolz is a master at playing this organ that is about 20% inoperative.

A necessary renovation of the choir loft, chancel area, and a new organ console will be needed at an additional cost to be determined. Our guesstimate is about $400,000 which will be raised by contributions to the project. The new organ console will be moved to one side and our grand piano will be on the other side. The beauty of our present worship space will be changed as little as possible. And the changes that will be made will be aesthetically pleasing as well as musically practical. More about that later. We have a committee working on the details that will be shared as soon as final proposed plans are made.

This entire project is being done because we feel it will enhance our worship and be a voice of “sound” theology for many years to come.

Solis Deo Gloria*

*Latin - Glory to God alone

Around First Central
Memorial Poinsettias
It’s time to start preparing for our Memorial and Honorary Poinsettias! These Poinsettias will adorn our sanctuary starting December 20th and will be donated to our homebound members to spread some holiday cheer once their stay in our sanctuary is over. If you would like to present a Poinsettia in memory or honor of someone, please let us know and turn in your donation by December 16th at noon.

Advent Mini Mission Market
Please stop by the Mini Mission Market table in the foyer and “shop” to support your favorite mission organizations or projects. With each donation, you will receive a Christmas card to inform recipients of a contribution in their honor or in memory of a loved one. The Market will be open following both services on December 6th and 13th.

Cookies and Snacks Needed
Please bring cookies, snacks, nuts, crackers, etc. for the homebound members and those in care centers by FRIDAY, December 18th.   These will be packed Sunday morning, December 20th at 9:45 in the Faith Hall kitchen during the Sunday school hour.  These treats will be distributed during our annual Christmas Caroling the afternoon of December 20th.  Thank you for sharing God’s love to all of our members.  

A-Caroling We Will Go...
Join us on December 20 from 3-5 PM for a fun FCPC tradition—caroling! Take a chartered bus ride to sing carols to some of our homebound members. This is a fun tradition for the whole family, so be sure to join us!

Christmas Eve Service
Be sure to join us on Christmas Eve for our traditional Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion service. The service will begin at 6 PM on December 24th. Childcare will be available at this service.

A Message from Jacob Snowden
If you’re a fan of Christmas music, then undoubtedly you’re familiar with Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” While the song is great, and it may very well bring a glow to your heart, there is some reason to think that it might not be the hap-happiest season of all.
If you heard Ken Lyle during Wednesday night meals, he focused on Nativity in November. Or Advent in Autumn. Or something like that. In any case, the important thing to remember is that Christmas time is not always full of joy—for people today or for the characters in scripture.
As we reflect on the mystery of Christmas and prepare ourselves to celebrate, the month of December is not without its fair share of trials and tribulations. As we look back to the stories surrounding Jesus’ birth, we remember that Mary was unwed and Joseph was considering divorce. Herod was genocidal. A young Jesus was forced from his homeland to live as a political refugee in Egypt. As the so called “war on Christmas” is fought with colors and decorations of coffee cups and proper greetings, we might do well to remember that “Joy to the World” comes “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
Whatever feelings accompany you through the holiday season, I was impressed by Dr. Ken Lyle’s thoughtful reminder that joy often comes in the midst of hurt and pain, and that certainly rings true in the Christmas stories in Matthew, Luke, and John.
If you’re looking for some joy in the holiday seasons, then be sure to check out our Christmas Dinner and Pageant on December 6 at 7 pm. Check your Sunday School classes to find out about parties, and you are always welcome to buy gifts for the D.C.E. or youth director (only kidding)!!!
Have a very merry Christmas. And if it isn’t always merry, then that’s okay too.
Jacob Snowden

Youth Ministry News
November was a very busy and exciting month for our Youth Group. Our Progressive Dinner event held in celebration of Thanksgiving was a hit! Several families shared their homes, vehicles, and time as the students progressed from house to house to eat great food and fellowship with one another.
This year’s Advent Fair was a HUGE success! The cake auction combined with the soft opening of The Mug Stop helped raise over $1,200! All proceeds from the Advent Fair support the upcoming Senior High summer mission trip to Staten Island, New York. Though we need to continue to raise funds for this summer’s trip, the generosity of those who attended the Advent Fair was overwhelming and encouraging! What a joy it is to be a part of this FCPC family!
Though November is over, this Holiday Season is only just beginning and we have several events planned for our youth during December.
The first event of December will be held on the 6th. Instead of our normal Sunday evening schedule, the youth will join the rest of the congregation for the Christmas Dinner at 5:45 pm and several of our students will participate in the Christmas Pageant immediately following the meal at 7:00 pm.
On the 12th, the youth will pack up and head to the Galleria Mall in Dallas for our annual Great Christmas Escape. This trip allows students to buy presents for loved ones, eat a meal together, and have fun on the indoor ice rink. We will leave the church at 9 am on Saturday morning and return by 7 pm that same evening. We are in need of drivers and sponsors.
This year’s Youth Christmas Party and Movie Night will be held in the youth room on the 13th starting at 5 pm. The youth will have a Christmas ornament white elephant gift exchange while they watch the movie Elf and eat a pancake dinner in honor of Buddy the Elf’s favorite snack—syrup. Pancake flippers are needed!
If you are interested in providing transportation to Dallas for the Great Christmas Escape or in helping make pancakes during the Christmas Party and Movie Night, please email Kristen at kbridwell@fcpc.net or call her in the church office at (325)677-3501. We need and appreciate all of our volunteers!
Special Calendar Notice! Though the youth will still have Church School on Sunday mornings during the Christmas break, there will be no nighttime youth events from December 21-31 so that our young people can spend the time with their families.
FCPC Youth is now on Instagram! Follow us @fcpcyouth to keep up with all of our events.

Important Notice
To ensure the deductibility of your church contributions, please do not file your 2015 income tax return until you have received a written acknowledgment of your contributions from the church. You may lose a deduction for some contributions if you file your tax return before receiving a written acknowledgment of your contributions from the church.

Food Pantry Thanksgiving News
Thanks to the incredible generosity of our members the Food Pantry was able to provide 160 families with a turkey and trimmings for Thanksgiving. Thank you for extending a helping hand to those in need to help make their holiday special.
We are also looking forward to December, when the Food Pantry will offer toys to families in need. Donations of toys for children of all ages and genders are greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Thank you to Gloria
On Sunday, December 13 following the 11 AM worship service we will have a reception for our retiring sexton, Gloria Zapata.  Gloria has been a loyal employee of our church for 21 years. All of us owe her a debt of gratitude. Consider bringing a card and/or some token of your appreciation to the reception. One of the reasons our church runs smoothly is because of dedicated employees like Gloria.

Stewardship is Heart Work
Our Stewardship theme this year is “Stewardship is HEART Work”. If you have not yet filled out an “estimate of giving” card for 2016 please prayerfully consider doing so. Pledge cards are available in the Friendship Books during the Sunday worship services or at the church office.
At FCPC we do not ask you to give to a budget. Instead we ask you to give to God out of gratitude. The Session then promises to gratefully receive all that is given and make a budget that reflects our priorities for the coming year. Thank you for your thoughtful generosity.

Garden Ministry News
Gardeners are invited to work side-by-side each Tuesday from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. in the Meditation and Community Garden currently under “construction.” Wear closed-toed shoes and bring a shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, or whatever might be helpful to move dirt. Or just show up, ready to measure, mark pathways, etc. Remember to bring gloves!
Recycle newspaper, shredded paper and cardboard by donating it to the garden project. Place paper products in the large metal trough on the garden site or drop off inside the church entrance by the office area. Paper will be recycled to serve as compost and fill when preparing the soil for planting.

Prayer Requests
Praying throughout the week for you and the concerns of your heart is a group of people we refer to as the Prayer Chain or Prayer Band. Each Monday the prayer requests submitted on the BLUE PRAYER CARDS in the pew rack are sent to each member of this group (unless specified on the card that the request is for pastors only). Throughout the week as people contact the church with prayer requests, these are also shared with the Prayer Chain. If you would like the Prayer Chain to join you in prayer for a particular person or situation, complete one of the BLUE PRAYER CARDS and place it in one of the PRAYER BOXES located by the side doors of the sanctuary and also in the foyer.

Gratitude
Dear First Central Presbyterian Church,
Thank you for your continued support of the men and women of Al Udeid Air Base and your most recent care packages. It means a great deal to know that people back home have us in your thoughts and prayers. We were even able to send a few boxes to an austere base in Iraq, where they don’t get much in the way of “extras”. Your donation was very well received! Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and generosity!
Sincerely,
Col. Stu Newberry, 399 AEW/CV

Thank you to all who sent me a card for my birthday this year. What a gift to call you family! When I count my blessings FCPC is among the most treasured.
Thank you again, Janice
Sympathy
We extend our sympathy to the family of Mark Diggs on the death of his mother Patsy Diggs, to Ray and Martha King on the death of their daughter Jill Ann King, to the family of Sharon Riley on the death of her mother Millie Sayers, to Barbara McLean on the death of her brother-in-law Waldo Holden, and to Samuel Niyongabo on the death of his brother Jean Claude.

Congratulations and Celebrations
We would like to celebrate the birth of Allie Ann Tipps, born November 5 to Brandon and Julie Tipps. Great-grandparents at FCPC are Ray and Nancy Butler. We also celebrate the birth of Jesse Wade Beckham, born November 12 to John & Diane Beckham of San Antonio. Jesse is the great-grand-nephew of Audrey Perry.
In addition, we celebrate the baptism of Jaycee Lynn Jameson, daughter of Benji Jameson and Isabell Cavazos. Jaycee was baptized on November 29.

December and January Calendar
(Click Here to Download)
December
January

Each Sunday

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School

Each Tuesday

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group (Except Dec. 30)
  • 6:30 pm: Bell Choir (Except Dec. 23 & 30)
  • 7 pm: All Youth Gathering (Except Dec. 23 & 30)
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir (Except Dec. 23 & 30)

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)

December 6

  • 5:45 pm: Christmas Dinner
  • 7 pm: Christmas Pageant

December 8

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

December 10

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya
  • 7:30 pm: YANC (Young Adults, No Children)

December 11

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out (PNO)
  • 6:30 pm: Christian Adults Night Out (CANO)

December 12

  • 8 am: Mid-High & Sr. High Youth Christmas Escape

December 13

  • 12 pm: Reception for Gloria
  • 5 pm: Youth Christmas Party

December 14

  • 5:30 pm: Property Committee Meeting
  • 7 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting

December 15

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

December 20

  • 3 pm: Christmas Caroling

December 24

  • 6 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
  • Church Office Closed

December 25

  • Church Office Closed

December 28

  • Church Office Closed

*As January 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 January 10)
  • 5 pm: Mid-High Youth
  • 6 pm: Senior High Youth

Each Monday

  • 10 am: Phoebe's Friends (Begins January 11)

Each Tuesday

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 5:45 pm: Wednesday Night Dinner/Program (Begins January 13)
  • 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)
  • 7:30 pm: YANC (Young Adults, No Children) (Begins January 14)

January 1

  • Church Office Closed

January 4

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Committee Meeting

January 5

  • 5:15 pm: CE Committee Meeting

January 8

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out (PNO)

January 11

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

January 12

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

January 13

  • 4:30 pm: Worship Committee Meeting

January 17

  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court

January 18

  • 5:15 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting
  • 7 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting

January 19

  • 9:45 am: Mary circle
  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

January 20

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting

January 22

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out (PNO)
  • 6:30 pm: Christian Adults Night Out (CANO)

January 25

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

January 26

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

January 28

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya