May-June, 2015

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Cliff's Notes :: Gratitude :: Sympathy :: Congratulations
New Members :: Around First Central :: May and June Calendar

Cliff's Notes

Pentecost is this coming Sunday, May 24...and I am sure you know by now that it is one of the church festivals I enjoy the most. Certainly it has been the most neglected.

One of my minister friends feels that Pentecost is problematic because it describes an experience where we seem to be somewhat out of control. After all...the Spirit took over the disciples. They were overwhelmed. They even appeared to be intoxicated (see Acts 2:15). And we don’t like to be controlled by the Spirit or anyone else for that matter. Perhaps being overwhelmed by the Spirit is akin to being drunk and under the influence?

A couple of things to notice about Pentecost. First, there were those who were there who “caught” the Spirit. Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? It was incredibly difficult and then, all of a sudden, you caught on. My earliest memory of riding a bike was in the back alley behind our home...with my dad chasing after me. I had no idea how to stop it after I got the bike going! Remember when you first learned to caught on all of sudden. Someone has said that the Christian faith is not so much taught as it is “caught”!

Not only did the first disciples catch the Spirit...the Spirit caught them! The Spirit catches us like the wind catches a sail. We call this enthusiasm or inspiration. “They are not drunk...they are simply carried away.”Like the football team which goes into the locker room at half time and then emerges as a different team in the second half. They are carried away. What does it mean to be caught up by the Spirit? Ernest Hemingway wrote: “Most of the time I write as well as I can, sometimes I write better.” This has something to do with what it means to be caught by the Spirit. There is nothing more exciting than being caught up by something and then looking back later and saying: “Now where did that come from?”

Finally, I think it is important to realize the Spirit is “catching.” I mean by this that it is contagious. Have you ever looked at a health special on the evening news that mapped out the spread of influenza across the United States. It started with one who gave the germ to another. Then each “infected” person gave their germ to another and then another. Blink you eye...and we have an epidemic! I hope there is something contagious about our worship this Sunday on Pentecost.Why don’t you invite a friend or two? Wear RED. Come to the party!


PS. While you are partying on Sunday, Evie and I will be at Austin Seminary. Josh, our son, will be receiving his Doctor of Ministry degree on Sunday afternoon!We are proud of him. His doctoral emphasis is intriguing. Will share more about that at another time.

To the First Central Presbyterian Church:
I want to thank Cliff and others of the church for all the attention you gave me after my fall.
To the person who made and baked the delicious rye bread and to the delivery man, Bill Core, thanks to each of them. I shared my loaf of bread and it was enjoyed by several friends.
You have made me feel welcome to Abilene and First Central Presbyterian Church. All I have to offer in return is my presence on Sunday mornings.
Sincerely, Dora L. Henry
To Cliff Stewart & FCPC Members,
Just a note to say a huge “Thank You All!” for allowing Bible Study Fellowship to conduct classes every Monday night and leader’s meetings on Friday mornings.God is using this ministry to reach men through His word.That’s so exciting to me and to hear how He’s changing lives through His word. Next year’s study is on Revelation. It has been the prayer of our leaders and class members that more men in Abilene and the surrounding areas as well as men at First Central Presbyterian would attend. Thank you all again.
To God Be the Glory, Robbie Spencer
To Cliff and FCPC,
Our Bible Study Fellowship class on Monday nights comes to the close of another year spent in God’s word. This year’s study of the life of Moses has been a blessing to see how a man of God led his people from 40 years of wandering into the promised land.This was my 17th year in BSF. I just wanted to say thanks for use of your building. It is such a blessing to the men and children.
Peace be with you,Terry St. Pierre, Treasurer
To the FCPC Congregation,
It’s impossible to adequately express my gratitude for all the prayers, cards, kind words and expressions of condolence after the death of my mother, Patricia Wilson. Doug and I are truly blessed with our church family and the ministry of Cliff and Janice.
Yours in Christ, Frances Williamson
Fellow members of First Central Presbyterian Church,
Thank you so much for the lovely cards and visits during my recent hospitalization. They were very much appreciated.
Renate Wrobel
Dear Silent Chefs,
Thank you so very much for the delicious dinners and desserts y’all sent our way. We enjoyed them all.Austin was especially happy since he was doing most of the cooking after my last stroke. Bless you all and thanks again.
The Schusslers (Austin & Roxie)
Thanks to Bev and Don for delivering the flowers — very much appreciated! And thanks to all for the cards and notes from the church and LifeLine Council. Would love to do more!
Gladys R. Dillard
We extend our sympathy to the family of Ron Knaus, to Kenneth Barr and family on the death of his brother Don, to the family of Jo Spencer, and to Jennifer Rigoulot on the death of her step-grandmother.

New Members
We warmly welcome the following new members to the FCPC Family: Dora Henry, Kenneth and Elizabeth Barr, and also Connor McCray and Carlee Lamb who joined with the church following their Confirmation on May 3rd.We also welcome Mary Collins Wilson, daughter of Julie and Casey Wilson, who was baptized May 3rd.

We would like to congratulate the following graduates: Joshua Matta, 2015 graduate of Abilene High School! Josh is our only student to graduate from high school this year. We also congratulate Julia Six on her graduation with a Master of Fine Arts degree from Temple University in Philadelphia, Josh Stewart on his graduation with a Doctor of Ministry degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and Spud Robertson with a Bachelor of Science degree from Hardin-Simmons University.
We would also like to congratulate Axel and Holly Lewis on the birth of their daughter Mayzee June Lewis.Mayzee was born on April 12.

Around First Central
Bring a Friend to the Party!
On Pentecost Sunday, May 24 we are going to have a party! It is a Pentecost Party! We are asking you to bring a friend. This will be one of the best times ever for you to invite a friend or acquaintance, who does not attend a church elsewhere, to join you for worship and fellowship at our church.
Our dinner at noon in Faith Hall will be particularly enjoyable. We are having hot dogs and all the trimmings....with ice cream for dessert.We will have a short program including lots of fun which will make folks feel right at home.
Start thinking now about who you want to invite. Put them on your prayer list. Look for the right time to say — “would you like to come with me to church on Sunday? It’s going to be a special day — and we are going to have lunch together at noon.”

FCPC Special Pentecost Offering
The Larger Church Missions Committee would like to dedicate a special  Pentecost offering  to the Presbyterian Children Homes and Services Ministries for children at risk here is Abilene.  Presbyterian Children's Homes and Services  supports licensed counselor Thelma Gray who offices in our church. Thelma is assigned with the mission to reach out to families in trouble in the Abilene area as an in -residence counselor.
If you would like to contribute to this can make your check out to Pentecost offering - FCPC.  100% of what you give will be used to help undergird Thelma's counseling services that are provided at no cost to the recipient.

Nepal Earthquake Aid and Relief
Thousands are dead or injured from the massive earthquake and aftershocks that shook Nepal and neighboring countries on April 25th. The quake, the worst in more than 80 years, struck just west of the capital of Kathmandu and destroyed towns and mountainous villages.  The government of Nepal has officially requested international assistance and declared a state of emergency. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance's (PDA) local partners through ACT Alliance have been working in Nepal for several years and are on the ground assisting many who have survived the quake by distributing immediate life-saving supplies such as water, food, shelter and medication.If you wish to help in this effort please make your check out to FCPC with the notation Nepal Assistance. 100% of what you give will be used to help victims.

Where is Anathoth?
In the 6th century BCE, the Babylonians were coming for Judea, and it was at this time that the prophet Jeremiah decided to take up gardening. Anathoth, located just three miles north of the soon-to-be-sacked Jerusalem, seemed like a good place to put down roots. Jeremiah told all of those going into exile, “Buy houses, plant gardens, and seek the shalom [meaning peace, prosperity, welfare, or wholeness] of the city.”
Jeremiah turns his words into action when, during the seize of Jerusalem, he sees the perfect opportunity to buy a piece of land in Anathoth. We can read in Jeremiah 32, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.”
Jeremiah’s garden was a symbol of growth in the context of destruction. It represented hope and foresight when turmoil and suffering were most present. Jeremiah called for peace by planting a garden.
Perhaps you have taken notice of a garden gathering here at First Central. While Abilene is not exactly under threat of an invading Babylonians, heirloom tomatoes are nice at any time. Perhaps you’ve read an article or two about the benefits of local and organic food. Maybe you take notice when hearing about the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in children’s diets. Possibly you’ve been looking for an opportunity to get a little dirt under your fingernails. There is a chance that you’ve wanted to be beautify your neighborhood and put down roots. I, for one, have been thinking that cultivating a garden and seeking to be healthier could be a fruitful way to cultivate a healthier inner life.
Whatever may have you reading this far along, know that a new community garden is in the brainstorming phase here at First Central. Scripture begins with God as the creator, seeking those who would tend to a garden. God asks the first people, themselves made of dirt, to be stewards of the creation from which they arose. On the best days, a garden is a sign of a rooted life, and it serves as a foretaste of a messianic feast, where all are fed from the Lord’s Table.
If you have any interest or skill in gardening, then here is a place for you. Catch me or Janice to express your interest, so that you can work for the peace of our city. And something tasty.
Jacob Snowden

Honoring Graduates
We would like to honor our 2015 graduates of all levels of education.If you have a graduate in your family, please let Kori in the church office know so that we can list them in the next Alert.Thank you!

May CANO Information
CANO (Christian Adults Night Out) is a wonderful opportunity for fellowship with other families at the church while enjoying a meal. May’s CANO will be Friday the 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Ralph and Beverly Hoover, 4610 Sunflower. To RSVP, call the Hoovers at 692-4988.Childcare will be available at the church from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.We hope you’ll join us!

Food Pantry News
The Food Pantry served 127 families and a total of 365 people in April!There is still a need for pots, pans, skillets and small kitchen appliances to meet the needs of our community.Thank you for your support!

Volunteer Opportunity for FCPC
Join the downtown churches as we volunteer for the Children’s Arts and Literacy Festival or C.A.L.F.!  9 volunteers are needed at the Grace Museum on Friday, June 12 to work with groups of children making a craft after the reading of David Shannon’s book A Bad Case of the Stripes.  The shifts are: 8:40-11:00; 11:00-1:30; and 1:30-4:15.  We will need three volunteers per shift.  If you are interested in this exciting volunteer opportunity, please call Laura King at 669.6620.  The C.A.L.F. is a wonderful weekend full of excitement as Abilene welcomes David Shannon, best-selling children’s author and illustrator!

Father’s Day Bible Reflections 2015
Several years ago, the Esther Bible Study Group sensed a calling to reach out to the people that come into our Food Pantry in a way that would nourish them spiritually.We placed a prayer box in the waiting area, a few Bibles, and a sign that said, "Please feel free to take a Bible."  Each week we would pick up the prayer requests, email them to the Study Group’s members, and put out more Bibles.  Although we do get prayer requests, it became apparent that the real ministry was putting Bibles in peoples’ hands.  We look for Bibles that have print large enough to read easily and more modern translations.  We started with donated Bibles, but soon exhausted that supply and began buying Bibles.  We finally established a fund to be sure that we could keep up with the demand.  God is faithful, and though the demand has grown, we have always had nice Bibles for anyone who wanted them.Through additional contributions, we would like to ensure the continuation of this outreach.To date, the average cost of a Bible is $6.00.
If you would like to honor your father, grandfather, or someone special through this ministry,please ask for a form at the church office or look for them in bulletins soon.The deadline is noon on Wednesday, June 17th.On Fathers’ Day we will list, in the bulletin, those fathers we are honoring.

April and May Calendar
May (Download PDF)
June (Download PDF)

May Events

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

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 6 pm: Youth Worship Team
  • 7 pm: Youth Bible Study
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir Practice

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 7:30 pm: YANC (Young Adults, No Children)

May 22

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

May 24

  • Pentecost
  • 12 pm: Pentecost Luncheon / Bring a Friend!

May 25

  • Memorial Day: Church Offices Closed
  • All Normal Monday Events Cancelled

May 26

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

 May 31

  • 5 pm: Youth Back to Summer Party

June Events

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

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 7:30 pm: Sanctuary Choir Practice

Each Thursday

  • 5:30 am: BOBS (Breakfast on Beech Street)
  • 7:30 pm: YANC (Young Adults, No Children)

June 2

  • 5:15 pm: CE Committee Meeting

June 7-10

  • Buffalo Gap Camp Staff Training
June 8
  • 5 pm: Property Meeting

June 9

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting


June 9-12

  • Buffalo Gap Camp : Mini-Camp

June 12

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out


June 14-19

  • Buffalo Gap Camp: Elementary Camp

June 15

  • 5:15 pm: PW Coordinating Team  Meeting
  • 7 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting

June 16

  • 10 am: Mary Circle

June 17

  • 12 pm: Finance Meeting


June 21-26

  • Buffalo Gap Camp: Middle School Camp

June 22

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

June 23

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

June 25

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya

June 26

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


June 28-July 3

  • Buffalo Gap Camp: High School Camp