November, 2015

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Cliff's Notes :: Around First Central
Gratitude :: Sympathy
Congratulations and Celebrations
October and November Calendar

Cliff's Notes
One of my colleagues in the Presbytery quipped: “the worst thing about being a Presbyterian is that you have to associate with them!”

Well, my friend was saying that partly in jest – but I get the point!

Consider this – that the power of congregational life comes precisely from this involuntariness of association. We look about our church and realize that many of these people are not friends or even acquaintances. We do not agree with them about everything – they are simply people we are stuck with!

Clarence Jordan once said that he wondered how many times Jesus, out on the road, had to sleep between certain opinionated disciples to keep them from killing one another!

You know it is a different kind of love that holds us together in the church. It is not a natural “friendship” love. Instead it is “agape” love that loves another not because they are like us, and agree with us. When we “agape” one another we do not love because..... We do not love if.... We simply love one another as Christ loves us.

Yes, in a way we’re all stuck with one another. And this generates a special kind of love, both more intense and more complicated than the voluntary variety. These members of our community, just like the people in our own family, literally make us who we are.

As your pastor let me say that I value the wonderful variety of people in our congregation. We don’t see everything the same way. We come at life with different perspective. This is true for our faith also. God is so great and wonderful that no one can see the whole picture. Like a precious diamond we individually see facets of a magnificent jewel – but we don’t see exactly as another sees from where they are standing.

Disagreements are inevitable. There will always be opposing viewpoints and a variety of perspectives on most subjects. Tastes differ as well as preferences. That is why they make vanilla and chocolate and strawberry ice cream (I like them all, you know!). That is why our nation has room for Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals---and moderates.

The tension is built into our system. It is what freedom is all about, including religious freedom.

I am fairly firm in my theological convictions, but that doesn't mean you (or anyone) must agree with me. All this explains why I place so much importance on leaving "wobble room" in our relationships. One's theological persuasion may not bend, but one's involvements with others must.

Think about it....

Around First Central
Cleaning Out Your Closets?
Remember the upcoming Coat-Off-Your-Back Clothing Give Away! The give-away will be Sunday, November 15, 2 p.m. – 4p.m. in Faith Hall. Clothing for all sizes is welcome! In high demand each year is clothing for infants and children. Accessories are always enjoyed, i.e. neckties, purses, scarves, costume jewelry, shoes, and boots. Whatever clothing is not taken on November 15 will be donated to Love and Care Ministries’ Mission Thanksgiving.

Hanging of the Greens
The Hanging of the Greens will be Tuesday, November 24 beginning at 9:30 a.m. All are welcome to come help us decorate the church for Christmas! A light lunch and devotional will follow, and childcare will be available.

Thanksgiving at the Food Pantry
Turkeys will be needed for the Food Pantry Thanksgiving baskets. Each year we give away over a hundred baskets to families in need. Please bring turkeys to the Food Pantry on Tuesday, November 24 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Advent Fair!
The Advent Fair will be here before you know it—join us on Sunday, November 29th at 5 p.m. for this beloved FCPC tradition! We will have crafts for the kids, food, hot chocolate, and wonderful fellowship for the whole FCPC church family. Then, after everyone’s had their hot chocolate, the Youth Cake Auction will begin! This is a wonderful opportunity to support our youth mission trip fund and get a delicious cake in the process!

Advent Candle Lighters Wanted!
Advent is coming—would you like to participate in worship by lighting Advent Candles? Individuals, groups, and families are all welcome! Please check the sign-up sheet in the foyer for dates and times.

A Message from Jacob Snowden, Director of CE
Know that I am on your side. Sometimes I struggle to trudge through everything in The Alert because there are just so many good things going on, and there is so much to put on the calendar, and so many good thoughts to try and hold together.
Take this month in CE for example. If you heard any strange flatulence in the pews that is probably because the most popular item in our newly opened Bible Bucks Store was “Noise Putty”. Noise Putty only makes one noise. Bible Bucks is a great program that would be great to write about, but we also have a Children’s Stewardship program that parents will be hearing about, and it would be great if everyone was able to know more about it. The program discusses how we give more than money and the power of everyone uniting together, but then I couldn’t write about Advent Fair. Advent Fair is a beautiful part of the Church calendar, especially when children and families can work on crafts. We auction cakes which go to support the Youth Ministry’s Mission Fun. Also worth mentioning is how being in tune with the seasons and the Church Calendar helps to ground our memory in a cycle of seasons. However, if I talked about Church seasons, then you wouldn’t hear any details about how Claudia Walker is beginning to prepare for the Christmas Pageant that will be Sunday, December 6th. Pageants are such an underappreciated art—children aspire to play roles that are given to those who are just a little older. They literally embody the Christmas story year after year, giving them unforgettable memories of church life and the beauty of Christ’s incarnation. But I was supposed to be talking about Bible Bucks?
There are some many things worth mentioning, what is really worth your attention is Light and Leaven, the new Christian Education Newsletter. So much is going on in First Central’s Christian Education department that the newsletter allows you to catch up on the latest happenings, find family crafts, read a devotional, see the most important parts of the CE calendar, and there is plenty of space to read about everything C.E. Look for the newsletter in your email, your Sunday School classrooms, at the church website,, and if you would like, you may request your copy of Light and Leaven to be mailed straight to your door. Simply email Kori at to get the next issue.
There is no shortage of activity in CE, which is always due to the work of our volunteers and the support of the entire church family. Good things are happening, and you should be proud to know that you play a vital part!

Youth Ministry News
The Holiday Season is upon us and we have a ton of fun events coming up for our youth.
On November 7th, our youth joined the rest of our church community during the Garden Work Day. They assisted in leveling the ground and other needed tasks.
To celebrate Thanksgiving as a group, the youth and their parents will participate in our annual Progressive Dinner on November 22nd. During this Thanksgiving themed dinner, each course will be served at a different home of a youth parent or church member. Host volunteers are still needed. Email Kristen at if you are interested in helping!
In honor of the Senior High Summer Mission Trip to Staten Island, this year’s Advent Fair Cake Auction theme is “Christmas in New York!” All proceeds go into the youth mission budget so please bring a homemade cake to the auction on November 29th.
The group is continuing through its normal Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening schedule and curriculum. We’ve explored interesting topics like the Syrian Refugee Crisis and the importance of patience in an increasingly digital and impatient world during the Church School hour.
On Sunday evenings we’ve also been “echoing the story.” Echo the Story 36, our curriculum, explores the overarching narrative of the Bible by examining 36 major tales from scripture through creative writing, drawing, and conversation exercises. We also have a meal provided by either our wonderful LOGOS volunteers or by youth parents!
On Wednesday evenings, we are working through the story of the early church as we read through the book of Acts and examine how our small group and our church might come to be more like those early believers.
Also, FCPC Youth is now on Instagram! Follow us @fcpcyouth to keep up with all of our events.

Stewardship 2016
Our stewardship theme this year is “Stewardship is HEART Work”. If you have not yet—please prayerfully consider filling out your “estimate of giving” card for 2016. Pledge cards are available in the Friendship Books during the Sunday worship services or at the church office.
At FCPC we do not ask you to give to a budget. Instead we ask you to give to God. Your Session then promises to gratefully receive all that is given and make a budget that reflects our priorities for the coming year. Our ministry is something we do together...and we do it as sisters and brothers in Christ.

Information Gathering
If we didn’t get in touch with you about a reservation for the Consecration Luncheon, we may not have good contact information for you! Please call or email Barbara McLean in the church office (677-3501, to update your information so you don’t miss out on other important church activities.

Garden Ministry News

Gardeners are invited to work side-by-side each Tuesday from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. in the Meditation and Community Garden currently under “construction.” Wear closed-toed shoes and bring a shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, or whatever might be helpful to move dirt. Or just show up, ready to measure, mark pathways, etc. Remember to bring gloves!
Recycle newspaper, shredded paper, and cardboard by donating it to the garden project. Place paper products in the large metal trough on the garden site or drop off in the large box just inside the church entrance by the office area. Paper will be recycled to serve as compost and fill when preparing the soil for planting.

Thank You from Presbyterian Women!
Many thanks to the congregation for the generous donations for the Presbyterian Women’s Military Salute! We were able to send 13 boxes of goodies to our deployed military men. Thank you for spreading God’s love from miles away!

Sanctuary and Foyer Flowers
Purchasing flowers to be displayed in the sanctuary and foyer on Sunday mornings is a wonderful way to provide a memorial or honorarium for a loved one. After the Sunday services have concluded, the flowers can be taken home or left at the church to be distributed to our homebound members. If you would like to provide the sanctuary or foyer flowers for a Sunday in 2016, the sign-up sheets with pricing information are available at the information desk in the foyer.

Prayer Requests

Praying throughout the week for you and the concerns of your heart is a group of people we refer to as the Prayer Chain or Prayer Band. Each Monday the prayer requests submitted on the BLUE PRAYER CARDS in the pew rack are sent to each member of this group (unless specified on the card that the request is for pastors only). Throughout the week as people contact the church with prayer requests, these are also shared with the Prayer Chain. If you would like the Prayer Chain to join you in prayer for a particular person or situation, complete one of the BLUE PRAYER CARDS and place it in one of the PRAYER BOXES located by the side doors of the sanctuary and also in the foyer.

First Central,
Thank you for letting me come speak at your Wednesday night program! It’s always such a delight to reconnect with everyone and remember all God has done for my family within the church.
Thank you for receiving my stories so well, asking questions and your generous continued financial support. I’m so blessed to be able to continue to serve God this way. Thank you for helping make it possible.
Blessings, Kate Perkins Denson
Intervarsity, Washington D.C.

Hello from San Angelo. We are settled in our new home. It has taken longer than we expected, no, it has nothing to do with age! There are no words to thank you for all of the love and friendship we have felt being a part of the FCPC church family. We shall always miss and love each one of you.
God’s Blessings, Carl and Bonnie Williams
We extend our sympathy to Nick Gonzales on the death of his mother Lynda Gonzales, to Melissa Russell on the loss of her grandfather Mac Axe of Sweetwater, to Jon Pate on the loss of his mother, Joann Connor Pate, and to Ray and Martha King on the death of their daughter Jill King.

Congratulations and Celebrations
We would like to celebrate the baptism of Jackson Walker Crawford, baptized October 20. Jackson is the son of Lindsey and Blake Crawford of Dallas and the grandson of Gary and Claudia Walker.
We would also like to celebrate the birth of the following children: Jenson Eugene Eckert, born October 15 to Jessi & Mitchell Eckert in California. Grandparents at FCPC are Dan & Jean Eckert.
Jaycee Lynn Jameson, born September 30 to Isabell Cavazos and Benji Jameson. Grandparents at FCPC are Dean & Lois Jameson.
Samuel William Core, born October 31 to Nichole and Daniel Core of Abilene. Grandparents at FCPC are Bill & Sara Core.
Allie Ann Tipps, born November 5 to Brandon & Julie Tipps of Keller, Texas. Grandparents at FCPC are Ray & Nancy Butler.

November and December Calendar
(Click Here to Download)

Each Sunday

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School
  • 4:30 pm: LOGOS (Ends Nov. 15)
  • 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 (Ends Nov. 18)
  • 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 pm: YANC (Young Adults, No Children)

November 9

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

November 10

  • 5:15 pm: LCMC Meeting
  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

November 11

  • 4:30 pm: Worship Committee Meeting

November 13

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out

November 15

  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court
  • 2 pm: Coat-Off-Your-Back Clothing Drive

November 16

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

November 17

  • 10 am: Mary Circle
  • 6:30 pm: Deacons/Session Joint Meeting

November 18

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting

November 19

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya

November 22

  • 5 pm: Youth Progressive Dinner

November 23

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

November 24

  • 10 am: Hanging of the Greens
  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

November 26-27

  • Church Office Closed for Thanksgiving Holiday

November 29

  • 5 pm: Advent Fair

*As December 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

  • 1-4 pm: Food Pantry Open

Each Wednesday

  • 10 am: Knitting & Crochet Group
  • 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)

December 1

  • 5:15 pm: CE Committee Meeting

December 6

  • Christmas Dinner
  • Christmas Pageant

December 7

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Committee Meeting

December 8

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

December 10

  •  6:30 pm: Ultreya

December 11

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

December 12

  • Youth Christmas Escape

December 13

  • Christmas Caroling

December 14

  • 5:30 pm: Property Committee Meeting

December 15

  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Committee Meeting
  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

December 16

  • 12 pm: Finance Committee Meeting

December 21

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

December 24

  • 6 pm: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
  • Christmas Eve: Church Office Closed

December 25

  • Christmas Day: Church Office Closed

December 28

  • Church Office Closed

**January 1, 2016

  • New Year's Day: Church Office Closed