“Let light shine out of darkness.”
2 Corinthians 4:6
From Your Pastors
As we turned the corner of the new year, we were hopeful to put 2020 and its list of woes behind us. Yet here we are just days into January 2021, having beheld our nation’s Capitol under attack, the darkness seems to be holding on. The Psalmist asked the same question we now ask: “How long, O Lord, how long?”
There was a Presbyterian minister whom you may have heard of named Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers, famous for his television show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” passed away in 2003. Whether you’re familiar with his program or not, we can recommend to you the excellent documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” Of the many powerful parts of this film there is one toward the end in which Mr. Rogers came out of retirement to give a message following the attacks of September 11, 2001. It is moving, first of all, to see the behind the scenes footage showing how deeply shaken he was by the horrendous headlines of that particular day. But he pulled himself together for the camera and spoke, as always, words of encouragement and love.
Mr. Rogers reminded us that, in the worst of times, we need to look at all the people who are at work bringing help. He spoke about the Hebrew teaching “tikkum olam.” Tikkum olam translates as “repair of the world.” Tikkum olam is something God accomplishes, but it is also a responsibility passed on to each one of us. It’s our life mission which we take up on the worst of days, but also every day. Whatever the rest of the world is doing, we are the ones who must never stop repairing the world. We are the ones who continue that task endlessly, because we trust, all appearances aside, God still wins; IS winning.
It is, right now, the church season of Epiphany, which carries two powerful themes. One: God is with us! And two: Jesus is the LIGHT. John 1 tells us that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.” It is further encouraging to hear 2 Corinthians tell us the light shines not only IN the darkness, but OUT of the darkness as well.
This is our salvation through Jesus Christ. This is our hope in these cacophonous times. Whatever the headlines, we promise you this good news will continue to shine for you, and for us, through 2021 and beyond.
Yours in hope and faith and in shared service to Jesus Christ,
Pastor Kirk and Pastor Ben
Update on Indoor Worship
During their December meeting, Session voted to begin holding in-person, indoor worship on Sunday, February 7 at 10:00 AM. While this service will look different from past worship experiences, please join us and SAY YES TO…
- Signing up in advance to attend worship
- Wearing a face mask as you enter and throughout your time at FPC
- Picking up a name tag and Communion Elements at the Check-In Desk
- Worshipping together in the Sanctuary
- Following an usher to your preassigned, socially distanced seating area
- Maintaining a minimum of 6 ft social distancing from people outside of your household
- Using hand sanitizer in the pews
- Enjoying the fresh air from the open windows (You may want to keep your jacket on) during the approximate 30-minutes service
- Following an usher to exit worship as the Sanctuary from back to front
- Chatting with fellow worshippers outside before and after the service
Specific details on how to sign-up online for in-person worship will be coming next week. Virtual services will continue to be made available online.
Final Call to Support and Shape FPC in 2021!
As the holiday season winds down, FPC leadership continues to work diligently on our Stewardship Campaign, Hope Grows Here. In order to assemble the church’s 2021 Ministry Plan/budget, it is essential to have a realistic forecast of income for the new year.
With a slowdown in 2021 pledges, the time is rapidly approaching when the Elders on Session will need to make budget determinations. Unless there is a significant increase in projected revenue during the next 10 days, it will mean a reduction in programs and mission giving that are well known to be among FPC’s diverse strengths. It may also impact the breadth, depth and competitive compensation of our staff supporting God’s work (including new or often more difficult ways of doing church during COVID-19) at FPC.
Your past financial support of FPC is genuinely appreciated. Especially at this time of a budget shortfall, I respectfully ask that you prayerfully consider:
IF YOU HAVE NOT YET PLEDGED
Consider pledging (again) this year to sustain the vital ministry work at FPC.
IF YOU HAVE ALREADY PLEDGED – BUT WERE WAITING TO SEE THE OVERALL OUTCOME
Please consider this notice that programs are at risk, and if you have a strong feeling to support specific ministries or the overall scope of God’s work at FPC, please consider boosting your current commitment.
Should you have specific questions about church financial matters or suggestions on how the Elders might address these difficult decisions, please contact Finance Elder Alan Roberts or Church Business Administrator Sue Gade. Thanks in advance for your consideration.
In Service and Gratitude to God,
Alan Roberts, Finance Elder
Virtual Watch Party Groups for
“The Chosen” is an incredibly well written 8 episode web-series that allows us to see Jesus in a new way – with humor and amazingly creative backstories for his disciples. Children and Teens welcome! (Best fit is likely upper elementary and older.)
Virtual Group 1
Every other Thursday evening from 7-8pm, January 21-April 29
Virtual Group 2
Every Sunday from 4-5pm, January 24- March 14.
Interested in an in-person group? Just let Christa Schmeelk know.
New Virtual Women’s Bible Study
A four-session Bible study going over different Psalms and discovering how to be women that are desperate to know God. Every other Thursday from 7-8pm, January 28- March 11.
Video Devotional: Hope for the New Year
Rev. Jeff Quinto, member of FPC and Executive Director of the Bethel Series, presents his video devotional, “Hope for the New Year,” which gives advice on making resolutions in 2021 and how to access the instruction manual for life, the Bible.
We’re going, you guessed it–VIRTUAL–this year. But we’re going to blast the fun right through your screen! Plan to join us on Wednesday, January 27, 6:30-7:30pm. Zoom link and link to print Bingo cards coming soon!
Virtual African American History Course
Nehemiah, a local nonprofit led by Rev. Dr. Alex Gee, is offering a virtual African American History Course in February and March of 2021 on Monday nights from 7-9pm.
Email Christa Schmeelk if you are interested!
From the Nehemiah website:
“Our purpose is to understand how the African-American experience has shaped the world we all live in, and how allies can find roles supporting racial justice today. We will lead this process without the use of guilt, finger-pointing, or propaganda, and lead from a place of compassion, community, and understanding. Rooting ourselves in our history, and understanding how we got here, will help us move forward together to make a better world and a stronger Madison.”
Christa Schmeelk, Director of Family Ministry at FPC, is happy to be able to offer a connection point for those interested in participating in the class. There will also be an opportunity to continue a discussion through a virtual small group to talk about this topic from a faith perspective. Email Christa through the button below if you are interested or if you would like more information.
We know the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone—raising the level of fear, stress, and anxiety for people all over the world and underscoring the importance of caring ministry. As a Stephen Ministry congregation, we equip and empower lay caregivers to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care. Our commitment to this ministry is extremely important during these uncertain times.
If you, or someone you know, could benefit from this ministry, contact the church office.
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