FESTIVAL OF FAITH
Enjoying What God Enjoys
First Central Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce that 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.
Before coming to Fuller he served for 17 years as professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Mouw has a broad record of publication. He has written 19 books including his popular Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World
Princeton Theological Seminary awarded Mouw the Abraham Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Life.
The theme of the Festival of Faith is:
“Enjoying What God Enjoys.”
Sunday morning, March 5 at both the 8:30 and 11 am worship services:
“The Authority of the Risen Christ”.
Sunday evening at 7 PM:
“Enjoying What God Enjoys”.
Monday noon lunch, 11:45 AM-1 PM:
“Christian Civility In a Polarized Culture.”
Lunch is $6. Please RSVP at email@example.com or call the church office 325-677-3501.
At 1:15 PM Dr. Mouw will visit with interested ministers, seminarians and professors in Room 209 with a focus on how we can deal as the church with present tensions and confusions and polarities in our culture-and even in our own congregations.)
Monday night lecture at 7 PM:
“Seeing What God Sees.”
All presentations are free of charge and open to the community. First Central is pleased to present this world-renowned scholar to Abilene.
Our Ash Wednesday service will be held this week in Fellowship Hall at 6:30 p.m. This service marks the first day of Lent and includes the imposition of ashes. All ages are invited to participate as we begin the journey to Jerusalem. Those coming early for the dinner will gather in the Minter Room. To make a reservation for dinner, please sign up at the information counter in the foyer or contact the church office by noon on Tuesday.
A MESSAGE FROM JACOB SNOWDEN, DIRECTOR OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION
Spring is emerging both literally and figuratively. Through a particularly short winter this year, my yard has already begun shooting up henbit and dandelion regardless of how many bags of weed deterrent I have scattered across the lawn. Perhaps those weeds are a graceful reminder that life finds a way to emerge from death in unexpected ways—whether we want it or not. Life emerging from death is not just a Springtime theme, it is also the focus of Lent.
This Lenten season has me reflecting differently than last year. Last Fat Tuesday I learned my grandfather died after an eighteen-month bout with cancer. I struggled to prepare myself for Easter celebrations when I was in the process of grieving. Of all the difficult things to give up for Lent, a family member should not be one of them.
Whether through giving up something or watching the shifting of the seasons, I am reminded of the unofficial Presbyterian motto—The church reformed and always reforming. Ecclesia Reformata, Semper Reformanda. God is constantly making things anew. Another way to say this is that things change. We cannot hold on to the way things are forever, which is why during Lent it is important to prepare for the new things and new life that comes as other things pass away. I am becoming convinced that Christian hope is not about immortality, but resurrection. Even Jesus had to pass through death to overcome it. Passing through death rather than going around it is part of the Easter story.
From Ash Wednesday to Easter Egg hunts held on Easter morning and Holy Week Luncheons in April, Lent is a time to search for places where life seems to emerge from death. Look for life during our Festival of Faith on March 5 and 6th. Join in a Sunday School Class or Parents’ Night Out. If you ever have questions or ideas about what could be something new at First Central, let us hear them over coffee.
I know I see life enriching things emerging all over First Central. Whether in flower beds, mended relationships, or redoubled efforts to serve others, God can be found working on the side of what is lifegiving. Join in the search.
Director of Christian Education
UPDATES FROM THE YOUTH AND EMERGING ADULTS MINISTRIES
The Youth had an amazing February! We began the month with the Mid-High Mystery trip to Fort Worth. This is a long-standing tradition and is one of the few events that is specifically targeted to our Mid-High Youth. On the 3rd and 4th, the Mid-High Youth had an evening of high-flying fun at the Flight Deck Trampoline Park, a special morning during which they ate breakfast and watched a movie at the Hulen Movie Tavern, and an afternoon of adventurous exploration at the Fort Worth Zoo. On Sunday the 5th, our Senior-High Youth had their turn for fun with a Senior-High-Only Super Bowl Party.
Not everything during Youth meeting times is centered around thinking about faith. Life in the Way of Jesus the Christ is often about doing something kind for others. On Sunday, February 12th, the Youth helped clean the Austin Youth Room by wiping off surfaces, vacuuming the floors, picking up trash, and washing dishes. They also vacuumed out the church van, giving it some desperately needed TLC, and they cleaned the Mug Stop. The goal was to teach them the importance of taking care of this shared space that is so generously provided by our church family, as well as to give our dear Sextons a much-deserved break.
Our Youth continued to engage their minds and bodies in acts of faith with their participation in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine on February 24th and 25th. What an AMAZING weekend! Before the weekend began, FCPC’s Youth participated in fundraising efforts to help support hungry children across the globe. Though donations are still arriving in the mail, the Youth raised at least $2000 dollars! These gifts have the capacity to feed at least 4 children for one year.
Once the funds were raised, the Youth gathered together and committed to a 30-hour juice fast. This was a HUGE challenge, but these young people handled the strain with humor and grace (and with only a little complaining). The program consists of learning about hunger through the presentation of statistical data, developing empathy through a shared experience of hunger and through imagination engaging activities, a service project of cleaning the Presbyterian Food Pantry, and Bible study. They learned to lean on one another when challenges arise and to support one another in achieving a shared goal. The event ended on Saturday at 6:30 PM with a delicious pasta dinner provided by FCPC’s Deacons. Thank you to the FCPC family and to others who supported us financially and/or with their time!
The Youth schedule in March has many irregularities, but is filled with interesting opportunities for learning and fellowship. First, we cancelled our regularly schedule Wednesday night programing on March 1st so that the Youth could participate in the Ash Wednesday service alongside the entire FCPC congregation.
The Youth are also encouraged to attend the Festival of Faith events on March 5th and 6th to learn about uncommon decency in discussions between Christians with differing opinions. To this end, no regularly scheduled Youth events will occur on Sunday evening. March 8th’s Wednesday night meeting will follow our regular schedule, but we will not meet Sunday, March 12th and Wednesday, March 15th due to Spring Break. We will resume again on Sunday, March 19th and Wednesday, March 22nd.
The Youth Spring Retreat to Mo Ranch, one of the Mid- and Senior-High’s favorite traditions, will be held on March 24th-26th. This retreat is a one-day, two-night event during which the Youth will get out of town, stay in a large cabin, play outdoor games, listen to a special speaker brought in specifically for this event, eat food cooked by several parents, and have an all-around great time. Spaces are limited! Applications are due March 12th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the necessary forms.
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 email@example.com 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
The Emerging Adults have completed our second month of Tuesday night meetings for the Spring semester. We are growing in numbers and in relationship! This Ministry is comprised of young people who have graduated from high school and are currently in the work force, university students, and a few individuals pursuing master’s degrees. This diversity has led to some very interesting conversations about Biblical genre, the complexities of interpreting the Bible, and the importance of grace. We meet every Tuesday during the university school calendar from 7:30-9:00 pm. At these meetings, the Emerging Adults eat a free meal and discuss a lesson topic. If you someone in this age group looking for a place to explore their faith that lives in Abilene, contact Kristen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the church office.
EVEN MORE NEWS AND EVENTS FROM FCPC
Bequests & Planned Giving
The Bequests & Planned Giving Committee oversees, for the Session, special gifts that have been given to the church that are not designated for a specific purpose. Each year the committee seeks mission oriented requests from members of our congregation. The Bequest Committee reviews the requests and makes a recommendation to the Session who approves the distributions. To apply for a portion of these funds, a one-page written request must be received from a member of the congregation, stating the suggested amount requested, along with an explanation as to how these monies will be used in the cause of Christ. Your written requests should be sent to the church office – Attention: Bequests and Planned Giving. Requests due by March 30.
We’re sending a little “HOME” to our deployed military personnel. This program is called “MILITARY SALUTE!” Please drop off goodies at the church office or in the basket in the foyer area near the elevator by March 26th. We’re collecting the following items:
Magazines ● Puzzle books (crossword, Sudoku, word search) ● Beef Jerky ● Trail Mix ● Peanuts ● Drink Mix Packets (water bottle size) ● Soft washcloths ● Peanut butter crackers ● Poptarts
PW will pack and ship goodies to our military folks. A card from home is always a welcome thing as well—so let’s overwhelm our deployed military with words of encouragement and signs of God’s love for all of us and show our gratitude for their difficult work done far from home.