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There is No Longer Jew nor Greek....

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness;...” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. - Genesis 1:26a; 27

As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. - Galatians 3:27-29

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. - Acts 10:34-35

I was angered with much of America over this past weekend concerning the events in Charlottesville where a few hundred hatred filled white nationalists and self proclaimed neo-nazis descended upon that town to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee from a park. It quickly became clear that their reason for gathering was just an excuse to push a larger agenda of hate and bigotry; and they came looking for a fight.

As a Christian, I firmly believe that all people are created in the image of God including those who look different than I do and who think differently than I do. Every child of God is precious in God’s eyes, and it is our responsibility to look at people as God does. There is no place in our faith or country for any ideology that lifts one race or people above another.

Paul wrote that in Christ all distinctions of one person over another no longer matter: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Faith in Christ overcomes distinctions of ethnicity, economy, and gender. While some of the agitators in Charlottesville may claim faith in God, their attitudes and behavior do not reflect the teaching of Jesus and the practices of the early church. Instead, they reflect the priorities of the evil one who “comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” - John 10:10

As Christians, we need to stand firmly against all hatred and bigotry and bear witness to the love of Christ in our interactions with all people. We still have a long way to go to fulfill Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of a country where people are judged not by the color of the skin but by the content of the character; yet I believe it will be through the witness and action of Christians that we will move closer to King’s ideal.

The good news is that in a country of over 300 million, the numbers of those who identify with the fringe ideas of this group are infinitesimally small. Eventually, their ideas will be left in the dust bin of history. But in the meantime, let us be a witness to the world of the love of God as we look at the world with the eyes of Jesus, speak with the mouth of Jesus, and serve with the hands of Jesus.

May the Lord bless each of you.
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

Presbyterian Table - Summer/Fall 2017

The Presbyterian Table meets Thursday nights at 6:00 PM, reserving a table at a different restaurant each week. Anyone who wants to eat out is invited to come sit at "the Presbyterian table." This is an informal group open to all with each person being responsible for his or her own expense. We invite you to join us any week for good food, fellowship, and lots of laughter.

SCHEDULE:

Looking for the Blessing in Change

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” - Isaiah 43:19

While it is a cliche, it is true that, apart from God, the only constant in life is change.

This past weekend our family experienced some events that gave evidence of this truism. First, my youngest daughter, who was just 4 years old when we arrived in 2005, turned 16 years old on Sunday. This fall she will be entering her Junior year in high school and will begin driving by herself. This major milestone in her life signals to me that she will be with us at home only two more years. Life is changing.

190 Years and Counting!

This month we will celebrate 190 years as a church! That’s a long time!

On July 15, 1827, First Presbyterian was officially organized as a Presbyterian church with two elected and ordained elders among nine members who had been meeting in a log house south of town. During the first few years growth was slow. However, in 1832, the church added 24 new members and began to grow.

By 1840, this increased membership led to the construction of a one room, rectangular brick building on the site of the church today. The only remaining portion of that building is the wall between the sanctuary and the office suite. In 1869, a house for the minister was built located on W. 3rd Ave. just behind the Sanctuary.

It Is For Freedom!

Next week we will celebrate the 241st birthday of the United States of America. Even with all our problems, our country is still the shining city on a hill serving as a beacon for liberty and freedom in the world. Around the world, people oppressed by despotic leaders or crushing economic conditions long for the freedoms we enjoy in our country.

The Influence of One Life

In the Spring of 1991, I was finishing my last semester of seminary, taking ordination exams, and looking for a church to serve. I interviewed with churches that spanned the country from Denver, Colorado to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, it was a phone call that came out of the blue from a church I had not even known about that forever changed my life.

208th Army Band in Concert Memorial Day Weekend

We are pleased to have the 208th Army Band with us in concert again this year. They will join us on Saturday, May 27 in our sanctuary, presenting an evening of patriotic and sacred music.

Based in Concord, North Carolina, the primary mission of the band is to promote the espirit de corps of U.S. fighting forces, and to serve as a goodwill ambassador throughout North and South Carolina. The concert will be in the sanctuary and will begin at 7:00 p.m.

As we seek to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom to worship God, we encourage you to join us and bring a friend or two. There is no cost, and the concert is open to everyone.

Family Sunday School for Summer - All Ages Welcome!

Our CE Team is planning an epic Bible bonding experience for this summer, and we want YOU to be part of it! Come Learn, Laugh and Grow together spiritually with a new video series called What's In The Bible?

We will be using the hilarious, fast-paced videos by the creator of Veggie Tales. Phil Vischer has set out to teach kids (and parents) the story of the Bible-God's great rescue plan! We know the stories of Moses, Noah, David, and Jesus, but in this groundbreaking new series, we learn how they all fit together to tell one big, redemptive story.

This new Sunday School is based around families learning together, so children must be accompanied by an adult. We encourage other church members (who may not have young kids) to be a part of our Sunday School Family too. Having a larger group will make activities and discussions more fun!

ALL ages (birth-senior citizens) are going to be entertained while finding themselves learning “Bible Basics” each week. Families will keep a notebook of all the activities, notes and family discussion guides used this summer. This is one journey through the Bible you won't want to miss!

Dates:      Sunday mornings, June 11 - August 27
Time:       9:00 - 9:50
Location:   Fellowship Hall
(The other adult Sunday School class will meet in the parlor)

2017 Summer Music Schedule

We are pleased to have the following musicians sharing their musical gifts with us this summer:

August 6       Alison Lawson, violin
August 13     JoAnn Hill & Betsy Cowan, duo piano
August 20     Jack Harman or the Gathering Band
August 27     Jack Harman or the Gathering Band

September 3      OPEN

The Chancel Choir returns to the loft on September 10.

A Full May of Activity!

We have a lot going on in the life of the church in the next 30 days, and I don’t want you to miss any of it. So let me list some of the highlights:

• We are nearing the end of the early service season with three Sundays to go. Thanks to everyone who has helped make the early service meaningful. I especially want to thank the worship team: Jack Harman, Ken Davis, Ed Snider, Betsy Cowan, Amber Manzella, Melissa Smith, Ben Kiefer, and Alex Snider for their dedication and commitment to leading early worship. The team will be participating regularly in the one service during the summer.

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