July, 2016

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

Cliff's Notes
Dear Friends,

Someone put it this way: ‘Life is completely fair; it breaks everyone’s heart.’

Our hearts these past weeks have been breaking over such tragic news. Each day we almost dread to read the morning paper. A special report announcement interrupts our TV programming and we say ‘Oh, no....not again.’

How do we make sense of it all? We don’t! Forgive the way it sounds, but God’s heavenly plan doesn’t always make earthly sense. What better answer do we have for events that defy explanation? I can only admit that I don’t know how the puzzle pieces of this thing call life get put together.

How about this –‘our job is to trust instead of trying to make everything fit’?

Now some will say, “Well, if God knew how it was going to turn out, He should have never created us, because everything from cancer to concentration camps just isn’t worth it.”

Yet when we say such things, we betray how little we know of true love. Yes, God took a risk. Yes, the choice God gave each of us has resulted in pain and heartache and even tragedy. Yes, it would be tempting to say that it would have been easier on everyone – including God – never to have endured it.

But that’s not the way love works.

When one loves, there is risk – risk of suffering, risk of loss, risk of rejection. But without this willingness to be wounded on the deepest of levels, there cannot be authentic relationship on the deepest of levels.

As C.S. Lewis once observed,

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless -it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable...The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers...of love is Hell."

Frederick Buechner put it this way: “Like a father saying about his sick child, ‘I’d do anything to make you well,’ God finally calls his own bluff and does it.” The ultimate deliverance, the most significant healing, the most strategic rescue, has come. My greatest and most terrible affliction has been addressed. God has given me the greatest answer to my questions. He has given me Himself.

So the real question is whether I will allow the reality of pain and suffering of this world to drive me away from God, or to God, where He can wrap his arms around me and walk with me through its darkest night toward the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

I leave you with this: “The edges of God are tragedy. The depths of God are joy, beauty, resurrection, life. Resurrection answers crucifixion; life answers death.” Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki  

Around First Central
VBS Is Coming!
Join us for Cave Quest, where we’ll gear up for an over-the-top underground adventure that grounds kids in the rock-solid foundation of God’s love, a love that takes us through life’s dark times. This year’s VBS will begin on Sunday, July 24 from 2-5 p.m. and continues Monday through Thursday, July 28 from 9 a.m. to noon. K-5 students are welcome to join us, and sign-up forms are available now in the foyer!

Youth Ministry News
Summer is here and our young people are VERY busy! The Youth Group took a little break during the month of June to make room for summer camp out at the Buffalo Gap Presbyterian Encampment where many of our Senior-High Youth serve as counselors and counselors in training, and for Mission Trip preparations. Sunday and Wednesday night meetings were placed on hold until the end of July when the Senior-Highs get back from the Mission Trip. Instead of these school-year meeting hours, we started a summer series of weekend days or nights out on the town called “Instead of Church!” Each weekend, on either a Friday evening or a Saturday afternoon, there were fun trips to the skating rink, the bowling alley, the drive-in movie theater, and to the mini-golf course!
July has a lot instore for our young people. First, we have scheduled a final Mission Trip meeting in the Youth Room at 4 PM on July 10. This meeting is incredibly important so make sure not to miss it if you have committed to the trip or if you are a parent of one of our trip attendees.
On July 13 at 7:30 PM, the Youth Group will meet at the Sonic on North 1st for tasty beverages and for sand volleyball. Youth are encouraged to please bring money for any drinks or snacks they might want to purchase.
Our first Sunday night meeting of the summer will occur on the 31st at 5 PM. This will be a fun night of catching up with our friends with games in the gym, a lesson in the youth room, and chatting over dinner.
The week for which our Senior-Highs have prepared and waited for about a year has come! We will fly out of the DFW airport the 17 of July to head to Staten Island for the Mission Trip! Since all of our baristas will be out of town, the Mug Stop will be closed on the 17th and 24th. Church School will occur for our Mid-High youth while the Senior-Highs are away.
We are incredibly thankful for the generous members at FCPC with the support you all have given to these young people in preparing for this adventure, both relationally and financially. It will be a long, tiring, exciting, and fruitful week filled with hard work during the daytime hours and fun times in the city during the evenings—none of which would be possible without the support of this church community. We can’t wait to come back and share our stories with you all!
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.

Breakfast on Beech Street 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 June 1,701 guests received breakfasts and lunches which included 2,972 sandwiches plus cookies, fruit and a scripture.

Community Garden News
The FCPC Meditation and Community Garden seeks to...
  • Nourish both body and soul
  • Nurture healthy relationships with nature and neighbors
  • Sow seeds of gratitude for God’s creation
Gardeners are welcome to work side-by-side in the Meditation and Community Garden each Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-11 a.m.  The garden, which is under construction, is located on the corner of N. 4th  and Beech St.

Gardening To-Dos
A to-do list for the FCPC Meditation and Community Garden is available in the foyer at the information counter if you have some time and energy available for an outside project.
You’re welcome anytime and instructions for projects that currently are begging for attention are included on the “To Do List!”

Flower Ministry
Sanctuary and foyer flowers are a beautiful way to provide a memorial or honorarium for loved ones. After the week’s services have concluded, the flowers can be taken home or left at the church to be distributed to our homebound members. We have some Sundays left in 2016 for Sanctuary Flowers and many more for foyer flowers. If you are interested, please see the sign-up sheet at the information desk.

Save the Date
Coming Soon to a Stage Near You! Love, Loss, and What I Wore—by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, and Directed by Steve Faehnle. All proceeds benefit the patients of the Presbyterian Medical Care Mission! August 20th at 7:30 p.m. and August 21st at 2:00 p.m. at the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Center of McMurry University. For more info, please visit www.medicalcaremission.org.

Change of Address or Phone Number?
Information updates are greatly appreciated by the church office! Have you recently moved, changed phone numbers, or set up a new e-mail address? Just contact Doreta, Barbara or Kori in the church office and let us know your new details. Thank you!

Lost and Found
We have a Lost and Found basket at the information desk that collects items individuals have left in the church building. If you’ve lost something just stop by or give us a call to see if we might have found it!

Dear First Central Presbyterian,
We at Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) so appreciate your very generous support! Thank you for providing such a significant donation that will continue to help fund our Child & Family program. Thelma Gray does such amazing work—it’s so great to see families getting the help they are in need of.
With Sincere Appreciation, Ginny Lynch

Dear FCPC,
On behalf of FCPC Presbyterian Women, I thank you for the generous gift for the Community Garden fence project. With grateful hearts, we continue to move forward in this ministry. Thank you for making this possible!
Sincerely, Laura King, PW Moderator

Dear First Central,
It is with a grateful heart that I thank you for the generous gift to go towards a family mission trip to Community! First Village in Austin, Texas. We are eager to build our team of families and move forward with plans. We anticipate a wonderful time of serving alongside residents of Community! First Village. Thank you again for contributing to this ministry!
Sincerely, Laura King and Susan Pate

Thank you dear Abilene Presbyterian friends!
Menaul School greatly appreciates your support. Your contribution definitely makes a great impact.
Blessings, Lindsey R. Gilbert, Jr.
President and Head of School

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Presbyterian Children’s Homes and Services (PCHAS) extends our sincere appreciation for your prayers and support. Thank you for your recent donation. It will enable a variety of programs.
For the Children,
The Rev. Peter D. Crouch

Dear First Central Presbyterian Church,
Disability Resources Incorporated is blessed in many ways. One of these is to have friends like you who ensure that we are able to carry out our mission. On behalf of the board, staff, and especially the folks at DRI, thank you so very much for your support.
With Sincere Appreciation,
Kelly J. Young, Prsident/CEO

Dear Friends at FCPC,
On behalf of the board of directors and staff of Connecting Caring Communities, thank you for your continued support! Your recent gift is greatly appreciated!
Lori Thornton, Executive Director
Dear FCPC,
We are grateful for your support of the ministry of your Mo-Ranch. You are making a difference in the lives of real people.
Grace and Peace,
Dick Powell, President and CEO

First Central Presbyterian,
I am humbled by your generous, gracious gift towards my work with college students in DC. I appreciate your commitment to missions and seeing young people specifically reached to consider Jesus and how Jesus will factor into their lives as adults. This summer I have the privilege of leading a team of 13 students and 3 younger staff in missions to low income areas of DC. Please pray that their hearts and minds will be opened. I’m excited to see new partnerships forming with organizations in DC as well as developing younger staff to love missions and the city. Thank you for continuing to support me, I’m so blessed to serve God this way!
Kate Perkins Denson

To the Members of FCPC:
This morning a mom and her kids woke up in a safe place, ate a wholesome breakfast, and considered what life would look like without the fear of abuse that has been part of their daily routine. This scenario is repeated by survivors of family crises each day at Noah Project. Thank you for your generous gift. Your compassionate act makes you an active part of our advocacy for victims and our work to end domestic violence. Because of you, our services continue to be free to all who have need.
Gratefully Yours,
Ian Cox, Director of Development.

Dear Friends at First Central,
Thank you for furnishing our family with such a lovely lunch. Spud would have appreciated your kindness to all of us.
Linda and Sterling Robertson
We extend our sympathies to Kenneth Barr and family on the loss of his sister Erma Faye Kemper and his sister Cathron Bennett; to Jacob Snowden and family on the loss of his grandmother; to Gene Six and family on the loss of his parents, Charles and Maxine Six of Stamford; to Viola Shields on the death of her sister, Vera McFadden of Snyder; to Ethan Wamsley on the death of his grandmother, Patricia Lee Sinsel in West Virginia; to Ray King and family on the death of his brother, David, in Arkansas; and to the family of Carl Williams who passed away recently.

Congratulations and Celebrations
We would like to celebrate the baptism of Hanna Russell and Suzanne & Kaitlyn Strain.
We would also like to celebrate our graduates: Joyce Wascom, daughter of Carl & Sandy Martin, received a Doctorate in Education and Administration; Meghan Martin, who graduated from Hardin-Simmons University in May with a Bachelors of Psychology and a Leadership Studies Minor; Claire Egan, who will complete her Masters in Organizational Development from Abilene Christian University in August; Allen Maxwell Prachyl, III who graduated from Hardin-Simmons University on May 7 with a degree in Sports Management; and Mykaela Lara, who graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and will be continuing her education at Angelo State University where she has been accepted into the Masters of Applied Psychology Program where she will study to become a Behavior Analyst.
We also celebrate the graduation of our associate pastor, Janice Six, who received her Doctor of Ministry degree from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky on May 15th. Congratulations to all of our graduates!
If you know of additional graduates that should be honored, please contact Kori in the church office and we will list their names in the next Alert.

New Members
We warmly welcome the following new members to the FCPC family: Ethan Wamsley and Marie Ngirimana.

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

Each Sunday

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

Each Tuesday

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

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 9-11 am: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 5:30 pm: Cursillo Guitar Group

July 17

  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court
  • Youth Mission Trip - Staten Island, New York

July 18

  • 5:30 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting
  • Youth Mission Trip - Staten Island, New York

July 19

  • Youth Mission Trip - Staten Island, New York

July 20

  • Youth Mission Trip - Staten Island, New York

July 21

  • Youth Mission Trip - Staten Island, New York

July 22

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out
  • Youth Mission Trip - Staten Island, New York

July 24

  • 2-5 pm: Vacation Bible School

July 25

  • 9am-12pm: Vacation Bible School

July 26

  • 9am-12pm: Vacation Bible School

July 27

  • 9am-12pm: Vacation Bible School

July 28

  • 9am-12pm: Vacation Bible School 

July 31

  • 5-6:30 pm: Mid-High Youth
  • 6-7:30 pm: Senior High Youth

*As August 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
  • 5 pm: Mid-High Youth
  • 6 pm: Senior High Youth

Each Tuesday

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

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 9-11 am: Garden Ministry Work Time
  • 5:30 pm: Cursillo Guitar Group

August 1

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Committee Meeting
  • 5:30 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting

August 2

  • 5:30 pm: CE Committee Meeting

August 8

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

August 9

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

August 10

  • 4:30 pm: Worship Committee Meeting

August 12

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out

August 14

  • Communion Served at Worship Services
  • Big Splash (Time TBD)

August 15

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

August 16

  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

August 17

  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir Practice

August 18

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

August 21

  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court

August 22

  • AISD: School Begins

August 23

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

August 24

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir Practice

August 25

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

August 26

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

August 29

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

August 31

  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir Practice