February, 2016

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Cliff's Notes :: Around First Central
Gratitude :: Sympathy
Congratulations and Celebrations :: New Members
February and March Calendar

Cliff's Notes
Dear Friends,

I enjoy introducing you to some of my favorite books. I have told you about Rachel Remen before. She is a medical doctor and the author of Kitchen Table Wisdom. It’s a book you would enjoy reading. Dr. Remen has written another book quite similar to her former one, entitled My Grandfather’s Blessings. Her short stories, looking deeply into life, are worthy of great contemplation.

Rachel remembers the visits of her grandfather when she was a little girl. He would bring her presents, but not like the normal dolls and stuffed animals.

Once, writes Rachel, my grandfather brought me a little paper cup. She looked inside it expecting something special and only found dirt! Rachel was disappointed because she was not allowed to play with dirt. She told her grandfather who simply smiled in response. He took her to the kitchen where he moistened the dirt with water and then put the paper cup on the windowsill, handing Rachel a teapot, saying “If you promise to put some water in the cup every day, something may happen.”

Rachel relays that this made little sense to her at the ripe old age of four. She looked at grandfather with questions in her eyes.

“Every day, Rachel” he reminded her.

 So she promised to put water in the cup every day. At first, curiosity helped motivate her. But as the days went by, and nothing changed, she said it became harder and harder to remember to put water in the cup. An entire week went by (a long time for a four-year-old) and Rachel saw no difference. She inquired if it was time to stop yet and her Grandfather said, “Every day, Rachel.”

The second week was harder. Rachel became resentful that she promised to put water in the cup. When grandfather came she tried to give it back to him, but he said it again, “Every day....”

By the third week, Rachel began to forget to put water in the cup. Sometimes she would remember only after she was in bed and would have to quietly get up and water it in the dark. It became harder and harder to remember, but she did continue to moisten the dirt every day.

And then, one morning, there were two little green sprouts that were not there before. Rachel was amazed. Each day the green leaves got bigger. She could not wait to tell her grandfather when he came for his next visit. She thought he would be so surprised! But of course he was not. He explained to Rachel that “life is everywhere, hidden in the most ordinary and unlikely places.” A delighted Rachel responded, “And all it needs is water, Grandpa?!”

Grandfather lightly touched the top of Rachel’s head and said, “No....all it needs in your faithfulness.”


What a wonderful lesson for Rachel...and now for you and me. Is this a parable for you in your life now? Where and when do you need to remember first and foremost the need for your faithfulness? Where do you need to water some dirty corner of the world, every day, faithfully –even when it is dark and nothing seems to be happening?



Around First Central
Year-End Contribution Statements
The 2015 year-end church contribution statements have been sent out.  If your address is wrong or if your name needs to be changed for next year for tax purposes, please contact Barbara in the church office. Also, our accounting software will not let us do a mass mail-out for our contribution statements, but if you will verify your e-mail address with Barbara, we will try sending them individually.  We will not send them without verification as we don’t want to send them to someone else accidentally if your e-mail address has changed.

New Member and Visitor Celebration Luncheon
At noon on February 28th we will be having a luncheon following the 11 a.m. worship service. All new members and visitors are our guests! This is a wonderful time to hear about the church and opportunities for worship and service.

Lenten Small Groups
Why give up something for Lent when you can add something instead? If you are considering options for Lent—devotional, educational, or social—then join an FCPC Lenten group. Group details will be made available next week. Consider a book study, video discussion series, prayer circle, or other options as we prepare ourselves for Easter.

LOGOS is taking a break on Superbowl Sunday, but February 14 (Valentine's Day!) has the theme "God is All Heart". Children from age 5 through fifth grade are invited to attend this Sunday afternoon program beginning at 4:30 PM. LOGOS includes noncompetitive games, creative Bible study, delicious food and worship skills. We finish at 7 PM and send our children home wiser and happier. It's not too late to enroll.

Ash Wednesday Service
We will have a special Ash Wednesday service on February 10 at 6:30 PM in the sanctuary. The service will include the imposition of ashes and anointing of oil. We did this service last year and it was attended by both young and old alike. Children participated and found it meaningful. All are invited to come.

Special Wednesday Night Lenten Series
February 17 & 24, March 2 & 9
Our Lenten series on Wednesday nights this year is focusing on “Christian Formation Inspired by the Jewishness of Jesus.” Background for this series is Lauren Winner’s book: “Mudhouse Sabbath.”
Cliff Stewart, Janice Six and Jacob Snowden will team teach this series dealing with religious practices within the context of our Judeo-Christian heritage.
A catered dinner is provided at a reasonable cost at 5:45 PM each Wednesday evening. Reservations are needed by noon on Tuesday. You are invited to bring your own sandwich and a place will be set at the table for you. The program begins each Wednesday at 6:30 PM and concludes by 7:30 PM.
Week One: Shabbat
Week Two: Mourning
Week Three: Hospitality and Eating
Week Four: Doorposts

A Special Request from our Choir Students
Two of our scholarship students, Ariel Adams and Stephanie Hord, have the wonderful opportunity to travel to Ireland and Scotland this summer with the Concert Choir of Hardin-Simmons University. As a part of this choir, they will be performing in some of the most beautiful and sought after venues in all of Great Britain. These performances will be full-length advertised concerts, and some of them will be in collaboration with some local choirs. This is a rare opportunity and we are excited that they have this chance.
This trip is not cheap however. The cost is $3600.00 per person and each participant has to pay their own way. These students are raising funds in whatever way they can and HSU is encouraging students to seek church sponsorship to help with the cost of the trip. We will have a table set up in the narthex several Sunday’s over the next few months, and if you would like to help sponsor these two students you can make a donations at the table. Those helping sponsor Ariel and Stephanie will receive a DVD of Concert Choir in concert at Heavenly Rest Episcopal Church.

Congregational Meeting
A congregational meeting will be held on Sunday, February 21 following the 11 AM worship service for the purpose of hearing the annual report, receiving the 2016 session adopted budget, approval of changes for pastors’ compensation and election of Congregational representatives for the 2017 nominating committee.

Youth Ministry News
January was a busy month for our youth as they headed back to school for the spring semester. Our first big highlight for the month was the creation of our Youth Church School Leader Team. You know you are a part of a wonderful community when you can find not only one, but five sets of Church School Leaders ready and willing to invest their time and energy in your youth ministry! Starting on the 31st of January, our mid-high and senior-high groups were divided into separate classes to allow for more age appropriate discussions, and they were introduced to their new Church School Leaders.
An important part of spiritual growth in the Christian life is multi-generational relationship development. We followers of Jesus, both young and old (or seasoned and sprightly for those who do not like the word “old”), have much to learn from one another. We are happy that our youth are meeting new people and developing mentoring relationships with our adult members, and we are excited for the new Church School Leaders to meet these amazing young people!
After weeks of planning, updating, and training, the grand reopening of The Mug Stop occurred on the 31st! Visitors in the shop were very generous, and our senior-high kids had a fun time meeting new people and practicing their customer service skills. We look forward to many more Sundays like that one as the senior-high students raise funds for the summer mission trip to Staten Island, New York.
There are several youth events coming up in February. The first big day of the month is Sunday, February 7. We will begin by collecting funds and canned goods in big soup pots and bowls on Sunday morning for the Souper Bowl of Caring as we work to fight hunger in Abilene and across the nation. Since 1990, young people have been leading the charge and inspiring others to collect dollars and food before the Big Game. Teaming up with local partners, our youth group will give 100% of donations to local charities, changing the nation's largest weekend of football into the largest weekend of caring.
Next, we will celebrate the baptism of three youth members, Denyse (12th grade), Baraka (9th grade), and Sami (6th grade) Kanayo, at 4:00 PM in the First Christian Church sanctuary! A reception will follow the service in the FCPC Minter Room where church folk, friends, and family can come to fellowship with one another and eat a light buffet dinner.
After the baptism reception, we will be throwing a fun Super Bowl party for our youth in the youth room. We will provide a dinner, comfy seating, and a giant screen on which our students can watch the big game.
On February 14 at 5 PM, the youth will have a rom-com movie and candy exchange night in honor of Valentine's Day. Come prepared to decorate your own Valentine’s bag, to share candy and cards with one another, to eat some great Valentine’s themed food, and to watch the romantic and comedic classic, Princess Bride.
FCPC Youth is now on Instagram! Follow us @fcpcyouth to keep up with all of our events.

A Word from Jacob Snowden, DCE
Why should you consider joining a Lenten Group? What a great question! I’m glad you asked! There are clearly two parts to a Lenten Group. First is Lent—what is it and why should you care? Second, why a group? I hope you consider a few thoughts on this topic.
“Lent” is probably from an Old English word meaning “spring,” which explains the reason Lent is often considered a season. Perhaps you’ve heard someone say something like, “as we approach the season of Lent.” In the life of the church, Lent is a season of preparation as one approaches Easter. Fasting or abstaining from meat has been a traditional way of remembering the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of Jesus. With every hunger pang or the smell of a sizzling steak, one is called to remember the hardships and passion of Christ. In this season of Lent, I would encourage you to think of how you might call yourself to the mysteries of the faith surrounding Easter.
One excellent way to do that might not involve giving something up. This year FCPC will be hosting Lenten groups, groups designed to experiment with Christian Education outside of Sundays and Wednesdays. According to a well-respected small group expert (ask me or Cliff who that person might be) Lenten Groups (or small, discipleship, covenant, life groups if you are more familiar with those terms) provide something that can be hard to find—meaningful conversation. Lenten groups provide opportunities for participants to share their past experiences, their hopes for the future, their pilgrimage of faith, their day-to-day situations, sorrows and joys. The emphasis is not on sharing ideas and concepts but on sharing yourself. Lenten groups help us to discover that we are not alone in our thoughts and complexities. The road of faith is a little easier to travel with someone to chat with. The purpose of Lenten Groups can be described as a journey inward and a journey outward. Looking inward to discover who we are in relationship with Jesus is an exciting exercise, but if we only look inward, self-exploration can become self-centeredness. The journey outward embraces how people who are loved and cherished by God may reach out to those outside the circle of a Lenten group, outside the Church, and outside of other communities of support. The journey outward is considerably more effective and enjoyable when done in the company of others who have traveled the road inward together.1
Whatever your interests around Lent, whatever your time restraints, Lenten Groups give more flexibility in schedule and content than Sunday School. If you are interested in learning more about a group, please check the pew sheet throughout Lent, or visit the information desk outside of the sanctuary. And as always, you can call the office to request more information.
If you would consider hosting or facilitating a group, either by offering your home or starting discussion, a training session will be offered on Saturday, February 6th at 10 am in the Minter Room. Attendance is not commitment; simply come to learn a bit about groups and say yes to what you feel God might be leading you to do.
Jacob Snowden
1 Significant portions of this paragraph were adapted from A Covenant Group Handbook. Cliff knows the author very well. You might ask him for information on the author.

BOBS Report
BOBS had a busy 2015 and January started off the same! We served 1,311 guests in January and a total of 18,392 in 2015.  That's 1,621 Meat and Cheese sandwiches in January, 23,481 of those sandwiches in 2015, and 530 PB&J sandwiches in January, 7,488 in 2015.  That's a grand total of 2,151 sandwiches in January and 30,974 sandwiches in 2015! Children are included in the total guest count, but 554 visited in 2015. Your donations help so much, but do you feel a calling to be a part of this ministry? Thursday is our day. If interested contact Margaret Beasley  at 692-4149.

Dear FCPC Members,
Just before Christmas day, a beautiful poinsettia was delivered here from FCPC. The following day, a gift package from FCPC and the women of the church.
One more time I will say how much I appreciate all the attention — flowers, treats and many nice cards from people I’ve yet to meet. My thanks to each of you.
Sincerely, Dora L. Henry

Many thanks to Cliff and Janice as well as the congregation for all the prayers, cards and calls while we were in Plano for two and a half months. It seemed like we were a long way from home for a long while. However we had a first class facility and a professional and caring group taking care of both of us.
Our neighbors, Andy and Deborah Brown sent our mail weekly. It brightened our day to receive a card or note along with the bills.
Our Sunday school class (King David) kept us up to date on all the happenings around the church.
We feel so blessed to be a member of such a caring church family. It’s great to be back home!
Karyl & Bill Rister

Dear friends at First Central Presbyterian:
Thank you so much for your generous donation. You are a blessing. God bless you for your thoughtfulness. I pray God’s richest blessings on you in 2016.
In Christ, Russ (The Salvation Army)

Dear Friends in Christ,
On behalf of the BOBS Board members, I extend a very heartfelt “thank you” to you for your generous support of the BOBS mission. Your recent members’ generous contribution for December will be a tremendous help in meeting our monthly expenses that are constantly on the rise. We value your support, financially as well as through so many BOBS volunteers who are members of FCPC.
Gratefully, Terry D. Stremmel, BOBS
We extend our sympathy to Bill Rister and family on the loss of his brother Bob; to the family of Lunelle Robinson, who passed away January 25; to the family of Dan Duke, who passed away January 28; to the family of Marietta Martin, who passed away January 29; and to the family of Jerry Johnson on the loss of Jerry’s sister.

Congratulations and Celebrations
We would like to celebrate the birth of Lorelai Kay Leedy, daughter of Krystal and John Leedy, the birth of Hannah Kate Russell, daughter of Melissa and Andy Russell, and the birth of Emma Grace Thompson, daughter of April and Robert Thompson and great-granddaughter of Charleen and George Thompson.

We would also like to celebrate the baptism of Olivia McKinna Villajuana, baptized January 31. Olivia is the daughter of Kim & Cisco Villajuana.

We also congratulate Emily Thompson Strong on her graduation from Ashford University with a degree in Accounting. Emily is the daughter of Tricia & Stephen Thompson and granddaughter of Charleen & George Thompson.

New Members
We extend a warm welcome to Tyler & Janelle Edwards and their daughter Molly. The Edwards family joined the FCPC church family on January 31.

February and March Calendar
(Click Here to Download)

Each Sunday

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School
  • 4:30 pm: LOGOS (Except Feb. 7)
  • 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
  • 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)

February 6

  • 10 am: Lenten Small Group Training Meeting

February 7

  • 4 pm: Kanayo Baptisms
  • All Youth Superbowl Party
  • Souper Bowl of Caring

February 8

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

February 9

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

February 10

  • 4 pm: LifeLine Council Meeting
  • 6:30 pm: Ash Wednesday Service
  • Ash Wednesday

February 12

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out

February 14

  • 5 pm: All Youth Gathering

February 15

  • 5:45 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting
  • 7 pm: Stephen Ministry Meety

February 16

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

February 17

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting

February 18

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya

February 21

  • 12 pm: Congregational Meeting
  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court

February 22

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

February 23

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

February 26

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

February 28

  • 12 pm: New Member/Visitor Celebration 

*As March 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 (Only March 6 & 20)
  • 5 pm: Mid-High Youth
  • 6 pm: Senior High Youth

Each Monday

  • 10 am: Phoebe's Friends

Each Tuesday

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 5:45 pm: Wednesday Night Dinner & Program
  • 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)

March 1

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

March 7

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Committee Meeting

March 8

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

March 11

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out

March 13

  • Daylight Savings Time - Spring Forward

March 14

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

March 15

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

March 16

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting

March 17

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya

March 20

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

March 21

  • Holy Week Luncheons
  • 5:45 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting
  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle
  • 7 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting

March 22

  • Holy Week Luncheons

March 23

  • Holy Week Luncheons

March 24

  • Holy Week Luncheons
  • 7 pm: Maundy Thursday Service

March 25

  • Holy Week Luncheons

March 27

  • Easter Sunday

March 28

  • Church Office Closed

March 29

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting