December, 2016
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Cliff's Notes :: Around First Central
Congratulations and Celebrations :: New Members
December and January Calendar
Cliff's Notes

  Dear FCPC Family and Friends,

I am writing these words reflecting on the recent presidential election. There seems to be only two things on which there is basic agreement: namely, that we are at an utterly unprecedented moment in our national history, and that we are an incredibly divided people.

Take any category you wish – gender, age, race, or locale – there are about 50% of us who feel one way and 50% who see it another way.

I think it would be healing just now if we could remember as a nation all we share in common and not just how differently we feel about certain issues.

Let’s face it – we were all born in the same way – through a father and a mother. We all breathe the same air. We all walk on the same earth. We all need food and clothing and the experience of being loved and of loving.

"A time is coming when people will be insane, and when they see someone who is not insane, they will attack him saying, 'You are insane because you are not like us.'"
Abbot Antony of Egypt
Our differences are real, to be sure, and these differences create the multifaceted texture of our incredible world. Wouldn’t it be terrible boring if we were all alike? Yes, there are differences, but can’t we learn to appreciate them just like we appreciate the multiple differences of a snowflake?

We are all different, yet at the same time, we are all very much alike because we are the sons and daughters of the same gracious God in heaven – which means, quite simply that we are all kin to each other.

I’m just saying that either we must learn to regard each other as blood sisters and brothers underneath our differences, or we are going to die at each other’s hands as fanatical fools.

Harmony celebrates diversity of opinion and differences in doing things. We don’t have to do everything alike in our church. We also don’t have to think alike in our church. One of the wonderful things about being a Presbyterian is that we embrace diversity as we try our best to follow Christ.

Take the disciples for example — what a diverse crowd they were! There were fishermen and zealots and a tax collector, etc. Jesus didn’t choose disciples that were exactly alike.

Disagreements are inevitable. There will always be opposing viewpoints and a variety of perspectives on most subjects. Tastes differ as well as preferences. That is why they make vanilla and chocolate and strawberry ice cream, why they build Fords and Chevys, Chryslers and Cadillacs, Hondas and Toyotas. That is why our nation has room for Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals---and moderates.

The tension is built into our system. It is what freedom is all about, including religious freedom.

I am fairly firm in my theological convictions, but that doesn't mean you (or anyone) must agree with me.

All this explains why I place so much importance on leaving "wobble room" in our relationships. One's theological persuasion may not bend, but one's involvements with others must.
Around First Central

The Christmas Dinner prior to our annual Christmas Pageant will be Sunday, December 4, at 6 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. The traditional Christmas dinner of turkey, dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes, rolls and pecan cobbler is being catered by Sharon’s.  Guests are asked to pay $10/meal. Reservations may be made by calling the church office. This sit-down dinner is hosted each year by the Deacons and coordinated by Judy Miller. Afterward, the Children’s Christmas Pageant is held in the sanctuary at 7 p.m.  

The Children’s Christmas Pageant will follow the Christmas Dinner this Sunday, December 4th, at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. This beloved FCPC tradition is a retelling of the Christmas story featuring some of the youngest members of FCPC! To many in our congregation, the Christmas season has not truly begun until the angels dance. We hope you’ll join us to kick off the Advent season in style!

Christmas Caroling is a fun FCPC tradition where we travel around town on a chartered bus singing some of our favorite hymns of the season to homebound members. We will pass out treats to those we visit as well, so join us from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, December 11th. Fun for all ages!

The Christmas Eve Candlelight Service is a lovely way to celebrate the holidays. Join us for this contemplative service at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Communion will be served, and the service will be preceded by guitar music from Dan Mitchell.

Worship Services on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day will be held at 11 a.m. only in the spirit of the season. We hope you will join us for worship in this time of joy.


Advent Candle Lighters are needed for the Advent seasons! This is a wonderful way to participate in worship for families, friends, or even one or two people. A script is provided—if you can read, you can help lead worship! A sign-up sheet is available in the foyer.

Cookies and Snacks are Needed! Please bring cookies, snacks, nuts, crackers, etc. for the homebound members and those in care centers by FRIDAY, December 9. These will be distributed during caroling on the afternoon of December 11th.

The Advent Mini Mission Market is Open! Please stop by the 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 November 27th, December 4th and 11th.

Don’t Forget About Poinsettias! Memorial and Honorary Poinsettias are a lovely way to pay tribute to loved ones. These poinsettias will adorn the sanctuary and will be delivered to some of our homebound members to help brighten their holiday. Please contact the church office to inquire about poinsettias.

Need Some Help Wrapping Gifts? Gift bags that can be used year-round are available in the foyer. Look for the display with the bright green bags. Notice that they are insulated and perfect for grocery shopping. A gift of any kind “wrapped” in one of the FCPC green bags is like giving two gifts in one! Cost per bag is $3 and proceeds benefit Presbyterian Women (PW).


You Can Make a Difference!
We are heading toward the new budget year of 2017. It might be no surprise to you that in light of political turmoil, economic struggle and general angst in our nation we are behind in our “pledge card” responses.
We need your help if we wish to continue our mission and ministry at the same level as 2016. One of the problems our local church faces is that people continue to give extremely generously to extra-mission giving opportunities. (As you know, we give away, in mission approximately 30 to 35% of our year’s revenues. Not many churches these days even come close to such generosity.) But, without the needed monies to support our local church budget we fear that the foundational underpinnings of our outward ministry will begin to erode. What you give to the budget purchases Sunday school curriculum, supports youth ministry, pays the utility bills, compensates our wonderful church staff, etc.
Please...we need your support of FCPC financially for 2017. A pledge card (estimate of giving) is available by clicking here. By faith are you willing to stretch your giving in this new year?

The 2017 Budget Process Begins Soon and we welcome ALL members of FCPC to participate in setting and reviewing the budget for the coming year. Here’s some dates and times to remember:
   January 8, 2017—4 p.m.
      Commencement of Budget Process. The congregation is invited to attend and give input at this meeting.
   January 31, 2017—7:30 p.m.
      Budget Hearing—Congregation is welcome to participate. This hearing is followed by a Session meeting to formally adopt the budget.


Youth News
November brought two of the best Youth events of the year, the Progressive Dinner and the Advent Fair. On the 13th at 5:00 PM, the church van left from the FCPC parking lot and progressed from house to house for a food course at each home. It was a great time filled with home cooked food and fellowship. This year’s Advent Fair theme was “A Very Merry Mardi Gras” in homage to this summer’s Senior High New Orleans Mission Trip. The entire church was invited to gather together to help our children make crafts, to eat sweet snacks, and to bid on cakes at the cake auction. All proceeds from the cake auction directly fund Youth Missions. Thank you to everyone who made and donated a cake and to those who were generous enough to bid on cakes. This made a HUGE dint in our fundraising effort for this summer’s Senior-High Mission Trip.

December is a month filled with celebrations! We will begin the month with our Great Christmas Escape shopping trip on the 3rd. This year we are staying in town to shop for Christmas gifts for our families. We will also participate in the “Angel Tree” program and buy gifts for children in need in Abilene. After we finish shopping, we will head to the roller-skating rink for some fun. The following night we will help with the annual Christmas Pageant and enjoy a pizza party.

On December 11th, we will have our all Youth Christmas Party. We will exchange Christmas tree ornaments in a “white elephant” gift trade, eat dinner together, and watch a classic Christmas movie.
Starting on December 18, we will take a break from all youth activities until school starts back up in January.

Do you want to keep up with what the Youth Group has going on? Follow us on Instagram @fcpcyouth for pictures and videos. Download the GroupMe app and email Kristen at to receive text messages about events. If you want to receive calendar reminders, send Kristen your email address and she will send you the subscription list.

Emerging Adults Ministry
We have an exciting new ministry at FCPC! Though the members at First Central have been kind and welcoming to our 18 to 25-year-old visitors and members, we have not had a consistent set of ministry activities just for them. This new ministry is called the Emerging Adult Ministry. We are focusing on meeting the needs of those young people in our congregation who have graduated from High School and are taking their first steps into adulthood. We will meet on Tuesdays during the fall and spring university semesters for fellowship, free food, and discussions about faith. If you know an emerging adult looking for a place to explore their faith that lives in Abilene, contact Kristen at or call the church office.


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. Mouw has a broad record of publication. He has been an editor of the Reformed Journal and has served on many editorial boards, including Books and Culture on which he currently serves.
He is the author of 19 books, and serves 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 6 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.

The Food Pantry provided 137 families with turkeys and all the trimmings in our annual Thanksgiving Basket giveaway this past Tuesday. This means that we helped about 800 people celebrate the holiday! Thank you so much for your generosity and care. Looking forward to Christmas, toys will be needed for children of all ages for the annual toy giveaway the Tuesday before Christmas. Other donations are always greatly appreciated also.

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. Year to date BOBS has served 15,600 guests (525 youth) and given out 26,111 sandwiches!

Camp Romania 2017 An application for the 2017 mission trip to Romania for college-aged young adults is available to download on the FCPC website. Just visit and click the link on the home page. If you have any questions or difficulty with the file, contact Kori Barr in the church office for help.
Dear FCPC Family,
Thank you so much for the prayers and concern while Kenneth was in the hospital. We greatly appreciate the care that FCPC has shown to us. God Bless you all.
Sincerely, Elizabeth and Kenneth Barr

We extend our sympathy to Linda Rutledge on the death of her brother and to Sally Arispe on the death of her brother.
Congratulations and Celebrations
We would like to celebrate the birth of Charles Herbster, born November 17 to Emily Feuerborn Herbster.

New Members
We are pleased to warmly welcome Charlene and Paula Fleener to the FCPC family!

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

Each Sunday (Except Christmas Day)

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

Each Monday

  • 7 am: Men's Morning Study (Except 26th)

Each Tuesday

  • 1-3 pm: Garden Ministry Work Time (Except 27th)
  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open (Except 27th)

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 6:30 pm: Handbell Choir Practice (Except 28th)
  • 6:30 pm: All Youth Gathering (Except 28th)
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir Practice (Except 28th)

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 1-3 pm: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 5:30 pm: Guitar Group (1st and 8th only)
  • 7:30 pm: Young Adults, No Children (YANC) (Except 22nd, 28th)

December 4

  • Second Sunday of Advent
  • 3:30 pm: Christmas Pageant Practice
  • 6 pm: Christmas Dinner
  • 7 pm: Christmas Pageant

December 5

  • 10 am: Phoebe's Friends
  • 5:15 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting

December 6

  • 10 am: Wesley Court Bible Study
  • 5:30 pm: CE Committee Meeting

December 7

  •  6 pm: Officer Training

December 9

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out (PNO)

December 11

  • Third Sunday of Advent
  • 3 pm: Christmas Caroling
  • 5 pm: Youth Christmas Party

December 13

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting & New Deacon Orientation

December 15

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya

December 16

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

December 18

  • 9:45 am: Officer Training (Make-Up)
  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court

December 19

  • 5:15 pm: Stephen Ministry
  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

December 20

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee
  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

December 23

  • Church Office Closed

December 24

  • Christmas Eve
  • 6 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service (Communion Served)

December 25

  • Christmas Day
  • 11 am: Worship Service

December 26

  • Church Office Closed

December 27

  • 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 (Except New Year's Day)

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School
  • 5-6:30 pm: Mid-High Youth
  • 6-7:30 pm: Senior High Youth

Each Monday

  • 7 am: Men's Morning Study (Except 2nd)
  • 10 am: Phoebe's Friends (Begins 16th)

Each Tuesday

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

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 5:45 pm: Wednesday Night Dinner/Program (Begins 11th)
  • 6:30 pm: Handbell Choir Practice
  • 6:30 pm: All Youth Gathering
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir Practice

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 1-3 pm: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 5:30 pm: Guitar Group (Except 19th)
  • 7:30 pm: Young Adults, No Children (YANC)

January 1

  • New Year's Day
  • 11 am: Worship Service

January 2

  • Church Office Closed

January 3

  • 10 am: Wesley Court Bible Study
  • 5:30 pm: CE Committee Meeting

January 8

  • 4 pm: Budget Process Meeting with Congregational Input

January 9

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

January 10

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting
January 11
  • 4:30 pm: Worship Committee

January 13

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out (PNO)

January 15

  • Installation of Officers
  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court

January 16

  • 5 pm: Property committee Meeting
  • 5:45 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting

January 17

  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

January 19

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya Fellowship

January 22

  • 4:30 pm: Logos (First meeting of semester)

January 23

  • 5:15 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting
  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

January 24

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

January 27

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

January 28

  • Mid-High Mystery Trip

January 29

  • 4:30 pm: Logos

January 31

  • 7:30 pm: Budget Hearing and Adoption by Session