September, 2015

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

Cliff's Notes
Dear friends,

Our current sermon series on Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians has really been important to me personally. I have appreciated trying to read between the lines of this letter of the apostle to his friends in Corinth. In between the lines I see an imperfect church. But I also see Paul appreciating that God works through imperfection.

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels.” (Second Corinthians 4:2) this is Paul’s word picture of the gospel and the church. The treasure is the gospel. The earthen vessel is the church. If we get that mixed up we are in a whale of a lot of trouble! If we start to think that the church is a perfect ornate golden goblet then we are living in an illusion. Disillusionment will be the inevitable result of misunderstanding what and who the church is. I like to say that disillusionment is the child of false illusions.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer called our unrealistic images of the church “wish dreams”. He said that the sooner we dump these unrealistic expectations the better. The sooner we realize that what keeps us together, the glue, is the grace of Jesus Christ.

On our trip to Scotland a year ago I discovered this poetic vision written by someone in the Iona community. The title is “Cracks in the Walls”.

I had a vision of a house. Every time a crack appeared in the wall, or damage in the house, I dashed out to repair it as quickly as I possibly could, like most of us do, so that the inside of the house was protected and kept safe from the weather and the storms. And the Lord said to me, 'This is what your Christian life is like. Whenever any cracks appear in the wall that has been built up around you over the years by the world and by yourself dash out and you fill in the cracks so that no one is able to see what is inside. But I want the world to be able to see what is inside. I want to be able to come in through the cracks into your life and I am not going to fill them up either! I am going to flow in and out of these cracks.

So when you see the cracks appear in your life, do not rush out and fill them in. Let Me come in.’

Remember – God writes straight with crooked lines. God uses earthen, fragile, imperfect, cracked people like us to do His perfect work in this world.

Think about it...

Around First Central

A unique drama experience is coming to FCPC next week, September 13-14. Curt Cloninger will “preach” at both Sunday morning worship services on September 13. Then in the evening of September 13 at 6:30 PM in Fellowship Hall he will perform “Godviews” which will be enjoyed by an audience of all ages. Guaranteed – everyone will enjoy and learn from what we will see. Then on Monday evening, September 14 at 7 PM in the sanctuary, Curt Cloninger will perform his widely acclaimed show – “Witnesses.” “If I had known in advance how incredible this guy is, I would have invited ten people to come with me!” That’s a common audience response after seeing one of Curt Cloninger’s performances. Don’t miss out!


Join us this Sunday during the Sunday School hour for the Celebration of Education! Each year we celebrate the importance of Christian Education at our church, so join us for some breakfast and learn a little bit about different ways to learn and grow in Christ as we honor our upcoming 4th graders, welcome 6th graders to youth, and encourage members of every age to look forward to the coming year.

YANC (Young Adults with No Children) meets every Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the home of Cliff and Evie Stewart, 1125 Glenwood. Join us for a devotional and a snack! We’ll see you there!


LOGOS “Sunday Night Live” BEGINS SOON!
Beginning Sunday night, September 13 from 4:30 to 7 pm is an exciting, stimulating experience for children from Pre-K through the 5th grade.
Sunday Night Live will be a weekly intergenerational experience for children that will create an intentional arena where all ages, together, can learn about and practice the art of Christian relationships. In these cross-generational gatherings, everyone will eat together, play together, study together, and pray together.
The scriptural basis for this program comes from Act 2:24…"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayers."
This passage beautifully describes the four components of Sunday Night Live. 
Bible Study which will be a time for digging into the scriptures as our model for Christ-centered living.
Family Time where there will be a shared meal as everyone gathers together in “table families” of various ages to eat together each week for the entire program year. Kitchen teams will prepare dinners that will be served family style—with table settings and serving dishes- as we practice the art of serving one another.
Worship Skills where the children will rehearse choir, drama, bells, or other arts and then present what they have learned  regularly in our worship service.
Recreation where everyone will have loads of fun in a cooperative atmosphere, often drawing on the hobbies and interests of adults in the congregation who might be willing to share their passions on a one-time basis or longer.
The Fall semester is as follows:
Sunday evenings from 4:30 pm to 7pm. Here's the schedule:
      4:30 – 5:00 p.m. - Recreation
      5:00 – 5:40 p.m. - Bible Study
      5:40 – 6:30 p.m. - Family Time
      6:30 – 7:00 p.m. - Worship Skills 
Beginning Sunday, September 6 and concluding on November 15.
Tuition cost is $20 per child and includes 10 dinners, craft supplies and a t-shirt. Scholarships are available upon request.
You can register by completing a registration form and a Leader/Volunteer/Ministry covenant. These are available at the church office.
This marvelous Christian Education experience is open to members of First Central Presbyterian and the community. Something this good needs to be shared.
“I cannot contain my excitement at the prospect of a vital LOGOS program in our church. I hope that many will find this to be a Christian Education program that makes a difference in young lives.”
Cliff Stewart, Senior Pastor

Announcing our 2015 FCPC Festival of Faith with Dr. Ted Wardlaw. Dr. Wardlaw is a popular presenter, pastor, author and seminary president. This will be the second time he will be with us in Abilene Sunday and Monday, October 4-5, 2015.
The theme for the Festival of Faith is “Listening Again.” Dr. Wardlaw will be speaking on familiar texts which we’ve all heard many times before – perhaps so often that we’ve decided that there’s nothing new to discover from them. And, yet, he is suggesting that we listen again, listen more deeply – wrestle with them – for the possibility is good that there is yet new insight that can emerge!

Sunday (8:30 AM & 11 AM): 
“A Dead Calm” (Mark 4:35-41)
Sunday evening: 
“Is Judas Really That Bad?” (Matthew 26:14-16; 47-50)
  Monday evening: 
“Living As If the End is Near!” (Mark 13:32-14:10)

The highlight of the Festival of Faith is the luncheon on Monday. "When the Church Has Spirit!" Lunch begins at 11:45 AM. Dr. Wardlaw will speak in a more informal manner at 12:10 PM and conclude before 1 PM. The cost of the lunch is $6. Traditionally many from the community attend this luncheon.

Dr. Wardlaw became the ninth president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in the fall of 2002, having come to the Seminary from the position of Pastor of Atlanta’s Central Presbyterian Church, a historic downtown congregation directly across the street from the Georgia Capitol.  He is much in demand as a guest lecturer and we consider ourselves fortunate to have him in Abilene.

Mark your calendars now. Invite your friends.

Dolly Marting will be speaking at our September 16 Wednesday Night Dinner and Program. She is a humorous and motivational speaker. One of her maxims is “What you cannot change, rearrange.” Her stories about rearranging what life places in her path are delivered with wit and style.
Dolly is a passionate advocate for the mentally challenged and donates all honoraria from corporate speeches to their cause. She is sure to be a hit.
Join us on September 16 for Dolly’s program entitled ‘One Small Voice’. Dolly’s presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an optional dinner beforehand at 5:45. If you would like to sign up for dinner, please do so by noon on Tuesday, September 15. The menu is as follows:
Menu: King Ranch Chicken ● Steamed Veggies ● Salad ● Rolls ● Lemon Cake

Dinner for 7 is coming Saturday, October 17! This is a great opportunity to get to know other members of the FCPC church family. One person provides a main course and opens up their home for 5-6 others to bring sides and desserts. Breaking bread has always been one of the best ways to get to know other people and that’s what this is all about — food and fellowship. If you would like to participate, look for sign-up sheets in the foyer later this month. Hosts and their guests will be matched up and notified by Monday, October 12. Childcare will be available at FCPC. Don’t miss out on the fun!

What do Presbyterians Believe?... and other questions you may have about the church will be addressed in the Inquirer’s Class led by Cliff Stewart. This class will begin on September 20th and meets on Sunday mornings at 9:45 a.m. in the office suite across from Faith Hall. Visitors and new members are encouraged to attend the class, and long-time members are welcome too.

Our Garden Ministry is growing with enthusiasm! Check out the display in the foyer and see who’s already had a hand in preparing the way for the meditation and community garden to come to fruition. 
Water and electricity will soon be accessible to the lot, then it’ll be time to plant the wind blocks the end of next month. Be watching for news of the next Garden Gathering and an opportunity for you to get involved! 
The Garden Ministry is overseen by Presbyterian Women and open to the entire congregation. 

CALLING ALL MASTER GARDENERS! Rumor has it that FCPC has several Master Gardeners among its members. If you have earned this distinguished designation, please let us know by signing your name on the roster at the GARDEN MINISTRY display in the foyer. Your expertise is invaluable and your suggestions are welcome! If you are interested in gardening but not a Master Gardener, your suggestions and enthusiasm for this intergenerational ministry are also very welcome! Please sign the roster at the display and we will be in touch!

Your church food pantry provided food to 133 families (399 individuals) over the month of August! There is a special need for canned meat and travel-sized toiletries at this time, and monetary donations are always appreciated. Thank you for your support!

Thanks to all of you who prayed for my recovery, sent cards, visited me and called me. All these acts of love and kindness and knowing you were thinking of me helped speed my recovery. I am ready to join you now in the worship service.
Berta Farmer

Dear FCPC,
I know I already told you this in person, but I still wanted to write and express my sincerest gratitude for choosing to support me and my education and for awarding me with a Seminary Scholarship for the following school year.
Katy and I are so blessed to call FCPC home. We look forward to our next visit.
Once again, thank you!
In Christ, Seth Saathoff
We extend our sympathy to Bill Keeble and family on the death of his uncle, Judge Floyd C. Dobson.

Congratulations to Eddie and Pam Mitchell on the birth of a new grandchild, Caroline Ray Beck, and to Gilbert and Dottie Korman on the birth of a great-granddaughter, Avery Blake Jasinsky.Avery is the daughter of Ryan and Ashley Korman Jasinsky.We also congratulate Allison & Nick Gonzales on the birth of their son, Blaine David Gonzales.

New Members
We warmly welcome the following new members to the FCPC Family: Ann Giddens, Penny Gerds, Annalise Abma, Tori Cummings, and Jay Roberts.

September and October 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)

September 13

  • 10 am: Celebration of Education
  • 5:30 pm: Youth-Parent Meeting
  • 5:45 pm: LOGOS Parents Meeting
  • 6:30 pm: Curt Cloninger - "Godviews"

September 14

  • 5 pm: Property Committee Meeting
  • 7 pm: Curt Cloninger - "Witnesses"

September 15

  • 10 am: Mary Ciurcle
  • 5:30 pm: LCMC Meeting

September 20

  • 12 pm: Homecoming Lunch
  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court

September 21

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

September 22

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting

September 24

  • 6:30 pm: Ultreya

September 25

  • 5:30 pm: Parents Night Out
  • 6:30 pm: Christian Adults Night Out

September 28

  • 6:30 pm: Martha Circle

September 30

  • 4 pm: LifeLine Council Meeting

*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
  • 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)

October 4

  • Festival of Faith
  • 7 pm: Festival of Faith Service

October 5

  • Festival of Faith
  • 12 pm: Festival of Faith Luncheon
  • 5:15 pm: M&E Committee Meeting
  • 7 pm: Festival of Faith Service

October 6

  • 5:15 pm: CE Committee Meeting

October 9

  • 6 pm: Parents Night Out

October 12

  • 5 pm: Property Commitee Meeting

October 13

  • 6:15 pm: Deacons Meeting

October 14

  • 4:30 pm: Worship Committee Meeting

October 16

  • Youthfest @ Glen Rose

October 17

  • Youthfest @ Glen Rose
  • Dinner for 7

October 18

  • 1:30 pm: Worship at Wesley Court
  • Youthfest @ Glen Rose

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

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

October 24

  • 9 am: Silent Chefs in the Kitchen

October 25

  • Trunk-n-Treat

October 26

  •  6:30 pm: Martha Circle

October 27

  • 7 pm: Session Meeting