October, 2015

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

Cliff's Notes
Stewardship Is HEART Work

   An old professor said in a seminary class one day: “Functionally speaking, there are no atheists. Everyone has some reality that is more important to them than anything else in and around which they proceed to organize their lives.”

   Isn’t that the truth? We organize our lives around any number of things – success in the eyes of others, amassing a fortune, pleasing a parent, pursuing personal pleasure, or any one of 10,000 things that we prize above all else and choose to place on the high altar of our souls. Make no mistake about it – this action is of ultimate importance spiritually.

   The first of the 10 Commandments addresses this issue directly when God says: ‘I am the Lord your God, who delivered you out of the land of Egypt. You shall have no other gods before me!’ This means that the question: “who or what is God?” functionally and not just verbally is the question above all questions that everyone of us must ponder and finally answer.

   How do you find out who is your “functional God”? Maybe it’s not that hard! Maybe all you have to do is take a look at how you live your life on a daily basis. Frederick Buechner once observed: “if you want to determine what a person really believes, look at his or her feet; that is, simply notice what they do with their days and their nights.” Harry Emerson Fosdick once wrote: “You can put off making up your mind, but you cannot put off making up your life. Every morning, when you get out of bed, you wind up doing something, and consciously or unconsciously what you value most will get expressed in the shape of your behavior.”

   I would invite you to let what you are doing with your money give you some insight into this whole crucial area of who or what is your true “functional God”. One member of our church confided to me recently that his country club bill was three times as much each month as his gifts to our church, and before realizing this fact he would have sworn that our church was at the top of his hierarchy of values! Another person confessed to me once upon a time that he realized on the flight home from a family ski trip that he had spent more in seven days in the mountains of Colorado than he had contributed to anything in seven years!

   In our stewardship season we consider again how our values reflect on our faith. We may think we are being more generous and self-giving than our actual behavior reflects.

   The final quality of our joy as human beings grows directly out of how well or how poorly we allowed the true God to become our real God in practice. I invite you to let the process of filling out your pledge card on November 1st be the occasion for looking honestly at what the way you are handling your resources reveals about what you actually value the most.

   The ideal is that at least 10% of what we have been given is to be given back in gratitude. If that ideal seems completely out of reach in light of your present habits – then a decision to begin growing toward that goal by one or 2 percent a year is better than remaining stuck largely as a “taker” of the goodness of others in the universe. Growing incrementally is highly acceptable in the eyes of God, as is the goal of becoming a cheerful giver as God most assuredly is and always has been.

Remember – “Stewardship is HEART work!

Around First Central
LOGOS—Sunday Night Live
Each Sunday night from 4:30 PM 7 PM we enjoy the presence of children age 5 through grade 5 for a comprehensive program which includes noncompetitive recreation, Bible study, family time with a theme-based meal followed by an experience where children learn to worship.
This year we are adding a new dimension to LOGOS. Nancy Diggs and Janice Six are leading a worship time for parents at 6 PM in the Chapel. Then the parents join with the children for the final 30 minute worship segment of the evening.
One of the highlights of the evening is the “Dinner Dean” who presides over Family Time. Our Dinner Dean is a real “Dean”! Dean Jamison comes in a crazy get up, welcoming the children to the tables. Dean always has some amusing stories to share. We are not sure where he finds the corny jokes – but we love them!
Here are our upcoming themes:
Candy Land – October 18
All Saints – November 1
Recycle Night – November 8
Thanksgiving – November 15
LOGOS is designed to welcome children from the wider community – not just our church. Friends are welcome.

Stewardship Is HEART Work
Consecration Sunday is November 1. Mark your calendar now for this important time in the life of our church.



A Short History of Halloween

The nights are getting longer, and you might have felt a slight chill in the air. That must mean it is about time for Halloween. Depending on who you ask, Halloween falls somewhere between Satanic worship and a conspiracy by candy companies to sell more product. In fact, Halloween is short form for Hallows’ Evening or All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints’ Day. Halloween night, like Christmas Eve, is a Christian holiday—or the night before a Christian holiday!
All Saints’ Day can likely be traced back to the early seventh century, when Pope Boniface IV consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Virgin Mary and all the martyrs and ordered a yearly celebration to commemorate it. This happened on May 13, which coincided with the final day of Lemuralia, a festival in Ancient Rome during which the Romans attempted to exorcise ghosts of the dead from their homes.
In the eighth century, Pope Gregory moved the day to November 1 to mark the dedication of an oratory in St. Peter’s Basilica. Some argue that this was an attempt by Gregory to Christianize Samhain, a pagan festival of the dead observed by the ancient Celts.
Although the focus and purpose were quite different, the common theme of the dead was present in all three festivals. As time passed, no doubt the Christians influenced the pagans, and vice versa. So is Halloween a “purely” Christian celebration? No, but the Easter Bunny didn’t exactly scurry out of the resurrection tomb either. And Jesus didn’t feed the apostles peeps by the lakeshore.
In an attempt to make Halloween more family friendly, many groups (including churches) moved from neighborhood tricks and treats to parking lot trunks and treats. First Central is no different! On October 31st from 4:00-6:00pm, you can find a host of decorated trunks and a swarm of costumed kiddos in our parking lot. This is not our way of saying Halloween is evil but a way of offering a bit of joy and service to our downtown neighborhood, which is difficult to navigate for masked children and robed parents. There are a thousand ways to help on this special Halloween—donate money for candy, donate candy itself, paint faces, wear a costume, decorate your trunk, or hand out candy corn—your imagination is the only limitation so come to the celebration without the least hesitation. If you would like to be a part and would like details or costume ideas, call the church office. I look forward to hearing from you!
Jacob Snowden

Youth Ministry News
As the school year is back in full swing, the youth are back into the rhythm of Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening meetings. We explore current events and topics of interest like the Papal visit and the pressure of standardized testing during the Church School hour. Our current curriculum for Sunday evening is a unique series called “Echo the Story 36.” This curriculum explores 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 work 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.
On the weekend of October 16-18, the youth will be on the road at YouthFest West in Glen Rose for a weekend in fellowship and fun with other Presbyterian youth groups. It’s not too late to sign up! Contact Kristen at kbridwell@fcpc.net for more details.
The youth will also be assisting with this year’s Trunk N’ Treak on October 31st. Come out and get your face painted by one of our awesome youth members!
FCPC Youth is now on Instagram! Follow us @fcpcyouth to keep up with all of our events.

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. We will begin accepting clothing Monday, November 2nd. 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.

Weatherization Day 2015!
Join members of FCPC as we will again, with other groups in Abilene, go about weatherizing people's homes. It happens Saturday, October 24, beginning at 7:30 a.m. at the church with a breakfast send-off. We will have several teams working sites in Abilene. All teams will have experienced members as well as less experienced ones, so come on... even if it is your first or second time! Or you can attend a training session on your own--see posted notice in foyer area. Please sign up soon at the Information Desk to help us compile work teams. Questions? Ask Garrett Briggs (701-4709) or Ken McComas (668-9332). It is a great way to help others and to meet more church friends!

Halloween Candy Wanted!
Trunk-n-Treat will be here before we know it, and we’ve begun accepting donations of candy! Please place bags of candy in the Trunk-n-Treat boxes in the foyer area anytime between now and October 25. Monetary donations for candy are welcome also! Please make your check out to FCPC and write “CANDY” on the memo line.

Garden Ministry Update!
Congratulations PW for the $4,500 grant from Synod of the Sun for the construction of a labyrinth in the meditation/community garden!
Watch for an upcoming workday now that we have electricity, water, and growing enthusiasm!

First Presbyterian Church of Baird Celebration!
FPC-Baird invites all to a celebration dinner and dedication of their new pavilion! This event has been appropriately scheduled for All Saints Day, November 1, at 5 p.m. Reservations for the steak dinner are required and the cost is $35/person. There will be live entertainment and the steaks will be grilled on site. Members of the congregation are providing homemade desserts. It’s truly a time to celebrate with this small congregation that has been blessed with a renewed spirit! For reservations, call 325-893-5500. Please make reservations by Thursday, October 29. Please join the celebration of our sister congregation!

Food Pantry Update
Your church food pantry provided food to 145 families (455 individuals) over the month of September! Thank you for your support!

Bless FCPC for opening your doors to Men’s Bible Study Fellowship. This year has started out with a larger number of men and children than years past. It’s exciting to open God’s Word with a diverse group of men.
Terry St. Pierre, Treasurer

Praise God! And God bless the deacons and members of First Central Presbyterian Church. Thank you for taking care of my concerns so graciously and with such a “can do” attitude. I was able to spend the week of September 13th with Allison, Nick and baby Blaine. During that week we were fed like royalty with delicious meals from 4 of your deacons or members. I am not sure how the coordinating of everything was put together but it worked perfectly I am impressed. The lovingly prepared meals warmed our full tummies, but more comforting to me was how the ladies warmed Allison’s heart and left her emotionally stronger. Thank you so much for your ministry.
Love in Christ, Martha Lane

Dear brothers and sisters,
Greetings from Lomé. Our hearts are full of gratitude as we are writing you this message. It was another source of joy when Joseph and Francoise sent us the donations from you. With that money we bought again rice, oil, sugar and concentrated tomatoes. We distributed it all to 182 people. Each family received rice, oil, sugar and concentrated tomatoes according to its capacity. All recipients were very joyful and asked us to tell you that they are thankful and very happy for your gift. May the Almighty God bless you abundantly and restore you a hundredfold!
Brethren, as you responded to the will of God by helping the needy, so are the blessings that await you here on earth and in heaven also. You have been for us a source of relief; be sure that your action will be remembered as long as we breathe, even in heaven. In the name of the beneficiaries, we thank you from the bottom fo our hearts and pray that you will never lack anything in this life, in Jesus’ name. Amen!
For Refugees Distribution Committee
Rev. Simon Pierre Gatera,
Rev. Philemon Kayumba, Mrs. Marlene Uyisenga, Mr. Jean Paul Karangwa

Dear FCPC Members,
I wish to thank each of you that took the time to sign several cards and to those responsible for sending flowers—they were lovely.
I’ve returned to Royal Estates and everyone has told me all repairs “just take time”.
Looking forward to being in church with you again.
Dora L. Henry
We extend our sympathy to the Wally Pilcher family in Georgetown, to Nick and Allison Gonzales on the death of Nick’s mother Lynda, and to Melissa Russell on the death of her grandfather.

Congratulations to Frances Buzard on the birth of a new great-grandson, Charlie Gray Jakus, born to Ted and Kimberly Jakus of Dallas, and to George and Jan Woodward on the birth of a new grandson, Thomas George Woodward, born to Richard and Carrie Woodward of Dallas.

New Members
We warmly welcome the following new members to the FCPC Family: Kristen Harris-Bridwell, James Bridwell, Cliff and Cynthia Hale, Dan Duke, Ann Giddens, Penny Gerds, Annalise Abma, Tori Cummings, and Jay Roberts.

October and November Calendar
(Click Here to Download)

Each Sunday

  • 8:30 am / 11 am: Worship Services
  • 9:45 am: Church School
  • 4:30 pm: LOGOS
  • 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
  • 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)
October 17
  • Dinner for 7
October 18
  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court
October 19
  • 5:45 pm: PW Coordinating Team Meeting
  • 7 pm: Stephen Ministry Meeting
October 20
  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting
October 22
  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya
October 23
  • 6 pm: PNO (Parents Night Out)
October 26
  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

October 27

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

October 30

  • 6:30 pm: Christian Adults Night Out
October 31
  • 4-6 pm: Trunk-n-Treat

*As October 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
  • 4:30 pm: LOGOS (Ends November 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
  • 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)

November 1

  • 12 pm: Consecration Luncheon
  • 2 pm: Crop Walk
  • 6 pm: Abilene Chamber Singers Concert

November 2

  • 5:15 pm: M&E Meeting

November 3

  • 10 am: Wesley Court Bible Study
  • 5:15 pm: CE Committee Meeting

November 8

  • 2 pm: PW Thank Offering Tea

November 9

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting

November 10

  • 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 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

  • Advent Fair