July, 2015

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Musings by Rev. Janice Six :: Gratitude :: Congratulations
New Members :: Around First Central :: July and August Calendar

Musings by Rev. Janice Six

As a cradle-roll Presbyterian I have grown up in the loving arms of the church. I have wonderful memories of childhood in the church over on Grape Street. One of my favorite areas of the church building was what we referred to as the Undercroft, which was just a fancy name for the basement. Rev. Dr. Harry Sarles was the pastor about the time I was old enough to have a memory and I have two vivid memories of him.

One memory is of him in his formidable black robe, standing in the pulpit. He had a full head of black hair that looked kind of spongy on top. Now I realize it must have had some natural curl that caused it to rise up off his scalp what looked to be a good six inches. Anyway, it made his head look really big, which didn’t seem particularly odd for anyone wearing a big black robe. I don’t remember anything he ever said but nonetheless I always knew he was someone my parent and all their friends looked up to—and not just on Sunday mornings when he stood in the pulpit. He was someone whose name or something he had said or done came up in conversation throughout the week and never do I remember hearing a disparaging word. Even though I can’t tell you one thing the man ever said, I still to this day remember him with fondness, which may have more to do with my memories of him in the Undercroft than in the pulpit.

In the Undercroft Dr. Sarles didn’t wear his robe. Most of the time he didn’t have on his suit coat either. He was relaxed. He smiled a lot and even his voice sounded different than when he was wearing that big black robe. He didn’t sound nearly so serious. In the Undercroft he told stories and there was always lots of laughter coming from the grown-ups. I admit that I don’t remember anything he ever said, but when I think of him, I immediately hear the laughter and I smile. The absolute best memory of him is when he’d take my little bitty hands in his giant hands and spin around so fast that my feet would fly off the ground and I’d be parallel with the floor! He did this with all the kids. He loved making us fly and we loved it even more than he did. I don’t remember anything he ever said to me but I’m sure he knew my name. In fact, I’m convinced that he knew more about me than I knew about myself at the time.

Now when I realize how little I actually knew about Dr. Sarles, it’s surprising the impact these few seemingly insignificantmemories of him have had on my understanding of the church as family. Even though I don’t remember one thing he ever said, I remember his stature in the pulpit as earnest; his laughter in the Undercroft as loving; and the way he took me by the hands and spun me around so fast I thought I could fly. I remember this as joyful, free, and live-giving.

I invite you to rummage through your earliest memories of being among God’s people and see who comes to mind. What is it you remember about him or her? I’d love hearing your stories. Maybe we can plan a time this fall to swap stories some Wednesday evening or on a Sunday afternoon.

Dear FCPC members,
Time has gone by fast. Our family came first to Michigan in March 2014, and then to Abilene last June. We, as a family represented by Fidele Kanayo, have appreciated your efforts made by providing transportation for us from Michigan to Abilene; and many other ways you have helped through the year. We deeply recognize your concerns for our integration into Abilene. In addition, with a huge happiness from our hearts, we say thanks for making our trip last month to Lubbock, for the first step in our becoming American citizens, successful through your provision of a van, gas, the driver-advisor and coordinator for the trip Briggs, and lunch as well. God bless FCPC.
Fidele Kanayo family: Fidele, Francine, Diane, Delphine, Denyse, Baraka, Sami, and Symphorien "Jean" Angha.

You have been quite a blessing to this ministry by opening your church to our banquet. Thank you for helping to make this a special time for the women. We appreciate you.
New Beginnings—Big Country

Dear Friends at FCPC,
At Connecting Caring Communities, our desire is to restore strong and healthy neighborhoods by listening well and responding in love to our Abilene neighbors. Thank you for choosing to support our work in north central Abilene by sponsoring the Valley View Friendship House! Your recent gift will be put to great use as we unite and empower Valley View residents to create positive changes in their neighborhood. By joining alongside our other Friendship House sponsors, you are helping to provide the needed support for concentrated community renewal to continue in a vulnerable area of our city. Thank you for your ongoing friendship and prayers. CCC has some exciting things happening this year and we invite you to be a part of them! We would also love to learn more about the people of FCPC and how we can be mutually supportive. I look forward to discovering where God’s love will lead us!
Blessings, Lori Thornton (Executive Director)
New Members
We warmly welcome Les and Fran White, who joined our church family on June 14.


We would like to congratulate the following graduates: Evelyn Sullivan, who graduated Magna cum Laude from Angelo State with a degree in communications and has been accepted to San Jose State to work on her masters; Sarah Elizabeth Church, who graduated with a Master of Education in Kinesiology, Sports and Recreation from Hardin-Simmons University’s Irvin School of Education; Taylor René Church, who graduated from Abilene High School; Clayton Jago, son of Suzy & Michael Jago of Niceville Flordia, who graduated from Rocky Bayou Christian High School in Niceville Florida; and John Charles Maerz IV, great-grandson of Bill & Karyl Rister, who graduated from high school in Georgia and will be attending the University of Georgia. Congratulations!

We also congratulate the Nickel family on the birth of Harper Kate Nickel, daughter of Mark and Kaila Nickel; grandparents at FCPC are Dave & Clare Nickel and Lynda Gabriel, and aunts and uncles are Allison and Nick Gonzales, Reagan Gabriel and Grayson Gabriel.In addition, we congratulate Natalie Walker Brown on the birth of a baby boy, Matthew Walker Brown.

Around First Central

Great News!
NOROC has been accepted as a program partner by the board of "Aflatoun," an award-winning international program that addresses root causes of poverty, empowers children at risk in cultures of violence, and communicates the message that all children can do great things if they are included, resourced, and brought into relationship with adults who care.
Saturday 23 May, 2015, NOROC hosted an "Aflatoun Roll-out"--an informational session for both NOROC staff and interested teachers and administrators in Tulcea institutions. Project coordinator Anca Oancea and three NOROC staff presented at the roll-out.
After August training, NOROC will begin a pilot program, delivering the "Aflatot" program weekly to over 50 younger children. In addition, small groups of middle schoolers will participate in the "Aflatoun" program, and teens will participate in "Aflateen."
We congratulate the Aflatoun organization for being named in the top 100 international NGOs.
We congratulate NOROC ("New Opportunities for Romanian Orphaned Children") for successfully partnering with a powerful international program with proven results.
Leaning forward in faith . . . . .
Liz, Anca Oancea, and all at NOROC

2015 Festival of Faith
Announcing our 2015 FCPC Festival of Faith with Dr. Ted Wardlaw. Dr. Wardlaw is a popular presenter, pastor, author and seminary president. This will be the second time he will be with us in Abilene. Sunday and Monday, October 4-5, 2015. Dr. Wardlaw became the ninth president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the fall of 2002, having come to the Seminary from the position of Pastor of Atlanta’s Central Presbyterian Church, a historic downtown congregation directly across the street from the Georgia Capitol.  He is much in demand as a guest lecturer and we consider ourselves fortunate to have him in Abilene. Mark your calendars now.

2015 Pentecost Offering A Success
The Peacemaking Offering at First Central Presbyterian Church on Pentecost was dedicated to Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services. Once again our congregation was very generous – and a gift of $1300 was sent to this organization dedicated to helping children in the name of Christ.
We continue to be filled with gratitude for the work of Thelma Gray here in our community. We simply cannot repay her for her services that make a difference in the lives of many.

Breaking Ground with Seed Money for Garden Ministry
Enthusiasm is growing and ideas are sprouting for what we can do with the vacant lot on the northwest corner of Beech St. and North 4th. Here are some of the comments we have heard:
“Keyhole gardening. Ever heard of it? It’s ideal for conservation of water and energy!”
“We could plant vegetables that grow easily in this climate and share with people through the Food Pantry or maybe folks who live in the neighborhood.”

“What if some of the neighbors want to help work in the garden--wouldn’t that be a good way to make friends in this area?”
“What about water?”
“There was once a house on this lot…there’s bound to be water available!”
“When I think of a garden, I imagine a bench and a shade tree—a place to be still and know God.”
“With so much space we could have a labyrinth! Have you ever walked a labyrinth?”
“What about creating a sanctuary for butterflies? Flowering plants, trees, and herbs that butterflies need grow easily in this climate—even in a drought!”
“Can you imagine the children of our church family eager to arrive early on Sunday mornings to run see if the beans they planted the week before have sprouted?”
“I can see some of our members who once loved to garden but are no longer able to get down on their hands and knees being excited about waist-high planter boxes that will allow them to once again turn the earth with their hands.”
“Can you imagine a sunrise service at Easter…a lovely place for an outdoor wedding?”
“This ministry is ideal as outreach to the community…nurturing healthy relationships within the church family…serving as hands-on learning opportunities for children and youth…a great project for Helping Hands that enjoy outdoor work building planters, laying stones, etc.”
“This ministry has such potential for bringing all ages together!”

Which of these ideas, thoughts or questions are taking root in your imagination? We invite you to join the conversation and share your expertise. If you’d like to get involved, please contact the church office (677-3501) and we’ll add your name and email address to our growing list of garden enthusiasts!

Are You In The Loop?
Exciting events and opportunities are being planned for September and October and we want to make sure you know all about each! Please take a minute to send Barbara McLean an email with your current mailing address and best daytime and evening phone numbers.  If you do not use email, please give her a call at (325) 677-3501. Even if you think we have your correct information, we’d still appreciate the confirmation.  Barbara’s email address is bmclean@fcpc.net.

Everest…Conquering the Largest Challenges with God’s Mighty Power. Vacation Bible School this year is only a few weeks away! July 19-24th, join a trekking crew as our 1-5th graders navigate through Base Camp Sing and Play, Imagination Station, KidVid Cinema, Mountain Munchies, Glacier Games, Bible Expeditions, and Summit Celebration. Find our Pre-Registration Table in the Foyer and let your trekkers take a photo with Klymer the Snow Leopard. VBS will begin Sunday the 19th at 2:30 and will be held from 9:00-12:00 Monday-Thursday.

Student Assistance Fund
The Student Assistance Fund at FCPC provides funding assistance to FCPC members that will allow them to pursue undergraduate or technical studies. These funds are open to all eligible church members who maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher while attending any accredited college, university, junior college, nursing school, or trade school with a minimum 2-year graduation requirement. Forms are available in the church office.  Please submit your application form by the deadline on August 15, 2015.

LOGOS Is Coming!
Calling all K through 5th grade students to begin our 2015-2016 Logos year.  This is year three....and we are in the process of calling a wonderful staff of adults who will make a difference in the lives of these children.  A typical Logos Sunday afternoon starts at 4:30 pm and concludes at 7pm.  Don’t miss non-competitive recreation, creative Bible study, rewarding worship skills and a family night supper.  Mark your calendar now for Sundays afternoons this Fall semester.  We invite children from both our church and community.

July and August Calendar
(Click Here to Download)

Each Sunday

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

Each Tuesday

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group

Each Thursday

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

July 10

  • 6 pm: PNO (Parents Night Out)

July 15

  • 4 pm: Garden Ministry Gathering

July 17

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

July 19

  • 2:30 pm: Vacation Bible School

July 20

  • 9 am: Vacation Bible School
  • 5:15 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting

July 21

  • 9 am: Vacation Bible School

July 22

  • 9 am: Vacation Bible School

July 23

  • 9 am: Vacation Bible School

July 24

  • 5:30 pm: PNO (Parents Night Out)

July 25

  • 9 am: Garden Water Installation

*As August approaches, be sure to watch Pew Sheet and future calendars for updated dates on Youth Events, YANC, and more!

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

Each Thursday

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

August 3

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Meeting

August 4

  • 5:15 pm: CE Committee Meeting

August 10

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

August 11

  • 5:30 pm: Deacons Meeting

August 12

  • 4:30 pm: Worship Committee Meeting

August 14

  • 6 pm: PNO (Parents Night Out)

August 16

  • The Big Splash (Tentative, Time Not Set)

August 17

  • 5:15 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting

August 19

  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir

August 24

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

August 25

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

August 26

  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir

August 27

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya

August 28

  • 5:30 pm: PNO (Parents Night Out)
  • 6:30 pm: CANO (Christian Adults Night Out)

August 30

  • 12 pm: Welcome Luncheon