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Women of the Word Fall 2015 - The Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer

Women of the Word returns for its 14th year with a new Bible study by Priscilla Shirer, "The Armor of God." All women interested in studying God's Word are invited to join us and grow deeper in their faith. The evening session begins Monday, September 21, 6:30-8:15 pm at First Presbyterian, and the morning session begins Tuesday, September 22, 9:15-11:00 am. Please bring your Bible, a pen, and $12 to cover the cost of your study book.

Questions? Please contact Katherine Team (336-242-4019) or Ann McMurray (336-239-4042). Childcare is available for the morning session, please contact Meredith Trout to reserve your space. The study brochure may be viewed or downloaded here.

Let Us Worship Together!

While there are as many different types of churches as there are belief systems, there is more that unites those who follow Jesus Christ than divides them. Certainly it is God’s desire that those who follow Jesus dwell together in unity.

Experiencing unity, however, is not something that just happens. It takes initiative and a willingness to step beyond the comfortable spheres in which we live. Over the next month and a half we will have two opportunities to take this initiative and join with other churches in shared worship events.

Ministry in Our Community

Here we are in the middle of summer, and I have been reflecting on the past year...since last July. We have accomplished much, and I wanted to highlight some of what our church did specifically in and for the community in the last 12 months. This list is in no particular order, but it illustrates our commitment to our community.

Monetary gifts


  • The following local organizations received a portion of $40,000 allocated for local support: Pastor's Pantry, Family Services Center, Cancer Services, Crisis Ministry, Prison Ministry, Davidson Medical Ministry, Life Center (Adult Day Care), Lexington Community Development Corp., Meals On Wheels, CHILL, Hospice, Grace Episcopal Sunday Meal for the homeless, & Communities in Schools.
  • In addition, the Minister’s Discretionary Fund helped more than 100 people for over $9500. This fund is used to help emergency needs of utility bills, rent payment, insurance, or other needs.
  • We also received over $1,400 for the 2 cents a meal offering which was sent to the hunger office at Salem Presbytery. Both Pastor’s Pantry and Crisis Ministry each received $2000 back from the Presbytery in hunger grants. Our contribution to the work of Presbytery was $14,300.
  • We also received over $1,200 for the various special offerings we had throughout the year (Souper Bowl, One Great Hour of Sharing, Peacemaking.)

Capital Dreams

A few months ago, I asked the Session to dream. My prompt was simple: “If money were no object, what capital related projects would you like us to undertake?” The answers ranged from refurbishment ideas all the way to new construction. Below are some of the suggestions by members of the Session. These were not “voted” on by the session, and they reflect the dreams of individuals. However, many were suggested by multiple people. Some of the dreams have an estimated price next to them, but costs have not been researched thoroughly.

As you read through them, I would encourage you to dream yourself. I would love to hear what you envision, so please email your dreams to me. I’ll include them in the list. Our goal is to come up with a top ten list of dreams for our church. (click read more)

Summer Sunday Schedule

Summer Schedule  
Beginning Sunday June 14th, we will begin operating on a “summer schedule” through the end of August.

Sunday School will begin at 9:00 a.m., and Traditional Worship in the sanctuary will be held at 10:00 a.m.

 
Following is the full list of changes that the summer schedule will bring:

  • The early service will “go on vacation” until September 13th when it will return for its official debut.
  • Sunday School will begin at 9:00 a.m. (June 14-Aug. 30).
  • The sanctuary worship service will begin at 10:00 a.m. (June 14-Aug. 30).
  • The adult Sunday School classes will be combined into one class.
    • We will have all Children's Sunday school classes through June.
    • We will NOT have Children's Sunday School at all in July or the first week in August.
    • Starting Sunday, August 9th until Kick off Sunday, September 13th, we will have a preschool class and the K-5th grade class will be combined.
    • We will return to our regular Sunday School classes and traditional schedule on Sunday, September 13th.

The Session made the decision to move church school and worship an hour earlier during the summer to encourage people to continue their church attendance on Sundays, at the same time giving everyone an opportunity to start their summer Sunday activities earlier.

Presbyterian Table - Summer/Fall 2015

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:

Vacation Bible School 2015

Cokesbury's G-Force VBS
WHERE:    First United Methodist Church
WHEN:      June 22-25, 9:00 am-12:00 pm
THEME:     Cokesbury's "G-Force: God's Love in Action"

The registration deadline is June 14! Forms may be obtained from the lobby or narthex at First Presbyterian or by clicking here; completed forms should be submitted to Jeanna Carlton or Meredith Trout.

We need LOTS of volunteers! If you would like to help with VBS, please contact Meredith Trout via email or phone (248-2140, ext. 203).

Don’t Take A Summer Break from Faith!

I am so excited about what God is doing here at First Presbyterian. The month of May has just been spectacular in the life of our church. Our new early service is being well received; we had a number of enjoyable church wide meals; we recognized 8 senior high graduates of our congregation; and we confirmed 10 youth in the faith.

The Story is Finished; The Story Begins!

Well we are done! We have finished the journey begun last September as we collectively read through “The Story.” As you know, “The Story” is a chronological condensed Bible formatted in easy to read chapters. It began with the creation of the world and ended with a vision of the full establishment of God’s new heaven and new earth where every tear will be wiped away.

The Persecuted Church

Each week on Thursday a faithful group of church members gathers in my office for prayer. We pray for church members, their families, the church’s ministries, and the community of Lexington. Our prayer list changes each week, but one area of prayer remains the same each week: we pray for the persecuted church.

While it is difficult to believe, each month, 322 Christians are killed for their faith, 214 church properties are destroyed, and 772 forms of violence are committed against Christians. (https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/). I suspect the numbers are much higher than these. Our prayer group has prayed for Kenneth Bae who was imprisoned in North Korea and finally released last November; and we continue to pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini who is still imprisoned in Iran after more than 2 years.

The rise of ISIS/ISIL in the last 18 months has brought the persecution of our faith brothers and sisters to the forefront. In February, ISIL killed 21 Coptic Christians on a beach along the southern Mediterranean coast. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has received many reports of ISIS systematically torturing and killing children and families from Christian communities.

The persecution is not just limited to countries where ISIS has gained power. In 2014, China saw some of the most aggressive anti-Christian persecution since the times of Mao, which involved incarceration, the demolition of churches, and the systematic removal of crosses. North Korea is at the top of the list of countries that have the harshest persecution of Christians.

Following World War Two, the phrase “never again” was coined to remind the world not to stand by while a population was systematically persecuted and destroyed. Of course, this was referring the Holocaust of the Jews; but I wonder if we are seeing the beginnings of a new kind of holocaust against the Christian church world wide.

As your pastor, I would like to encourage you to do three things in response to this growing persecution of Christians: 1) Do what you can to educate yourself on the plight of your Christian brothers and sisters around the globe. For many years, I have subscribed to monthly newsletter “Voice of the Martyrs,” and I would encourage you to as well. There are also many other sources of information you can find including Christianity Today; 2) Reach out to your elected officials, and let them know your concern for these persecuted followers of Jesus; and 3) Pray. Pray for the protection and presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and pray that Jesus would return and establish his kingdom of peace on earth.

Grace and peace to each of you.
Your friend and pastor,
Pastor Lee

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