Week of June 25, 2017


  We are still praying “What next, God?” and listening and talking.  Last week, I talked about staffing as a part of the answer to “what next?”.  This week, let’s talk a bit about our worship schedule.

We are several weeks into our summer worship schedule, which runs through August 13.  The Session will make a decision on our regular worship schedule at its July 18 meeting.  Thanks to our Congregation Worship Team [CWT] for their solid work over the past months in helping our elected leadership look closely at our schedule and for everyone who provided them with such vital input and feedback.

It’s been my experience that talk of making any changes to the worship schedule in the life of a congregation generates apprehension.  That’s understandable.  It’s also been my experience, however, that a congregation’s worship schedule is organic which means it is never static.  It changes, develops and grows in response to the congregation’s own changes and development.

In my twenty-two year tenure as your associate pastor, our worship schedule changed about six times.  We have gone from two services to three to four.  Sometimes with a great deal of intention, other times less so.  Some of you can remember when we had one service.  We changed what used to be the 8:45 a.m. Sunday sanctuary service to 8:30 a.m.  We also experimented with Saturday evening and Sunday evening worship, which is something we may wish to revisit in order to better reach out to and engage the community beyond our current congregation.

A helpful way for me to think about our worship schedule is with the image of seasons.  Worship schedules, like many things, have their seasons and seasons change requiring corresponding and necessary change.  For example, there was a season — when we had three pastors instead of the now one pastor and hopefully soon to be two pastors when we call our interim associate pastor — in our congregation’s life when four services on a Sunday morning was more of an organic fit for us, which at present is not necessarily the case any longer.

I know that worship is more than things like time and numbers and room capacities but quantitative data is helpful nonetheless.  So, here are some numbers we need to consider.  Prior to our previous head of staff’s retirement in the summer of 2015, on average, our regular worship schedule involved about 400 to 425 persons attending four services each Sunday.  The number of people in worship was less than 50% of each room’s capacity.  In some instances, far less.  My strong suspicion is that if we were starting from scratch we would probably not jump immediately to a four service model as the best possible model.

I believe that when it comes to worship dividing our congregation less instead of more is desirable.  I believe that when we went from one service to two something was lost — unity, perhaps; shared purpose, perhaps; a sense of connection with others who attended another service, perhaps.  When we went from two services to three still more was lost.  And when we went from three services to four something even more was lost.  I also believe that connecting with more and new and different people in worship rather than less can foster the bonds of unity and purpose as one congregation.

Members of the Session, the CWT, and I will be available at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 23 in Loudoun Hall to listen to any concerns folks may have about the revised schedule as well as to talk about our hopes for the worship life of our congregation.



Greetings Everyone!

This Sunday, June 25th is the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost. The Scripture reading is Matthew 10:24-39, and the sermon title is “Fearlessness.”  Dan McCoig is preaching all three services:  7:30 a.m. Boyd Chapel, 8:30 a.m. New Stone Gathering in Fellowship Hall, and 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary. Songs at NSG will include songs from Vacation Bible School.  Music in the Sanctuary will be led by Giovanna Reyes-Mir and Kelley Connelly. The Four Cents-a-Meal offering will be accepted.


8:30: Grace Holmes & Colleen Stearns

10:00 Lacy & Olivia Morise

VBS THANKS!  Thanks to everyone who was involved in making our VBS a tremendous success.  We had over 150 participants take part and over 150 volunteers take part before or during VBS.  It was an exceptional week

DID YOU KNOW that last week’s refugee figure 21.3 million was for 2015?  At the end of 2016 there were 1.2 million more refugees in the world for a total of 22.5 million.   Did you know that less than one percent will ever be resettled in a third country?

CCAP SUMMER UPDATE:  Each summer, we collect school supplies for the over 700 students in grades Kindergarten – High School who are in need of supplies to begin the new school year in August.  Families will be able to receive needed school supplies at the CCAP building the week of July 17th.  Any new school supplies are welcome with the greatest need for book bags.  Lists of needed items are available at the Mission Kiosk in the Gathering Hall. Your donated items may be placed in the CCAP bins in the hall. With school out for summer, there is a great need for food for local families. Healthy snack foods, and easy to prepare lunch foods are especially needed. Your generous donations to CCAP are always appreciated.


First Church has benefited immensely by talented persons coming on staff and serving ably for a long period of time.  Strong congregations have a way of attracting and keeping the best people.

  • Pat Snapp, our Administrative Assistant to the Staff, joined the First Church staff in 1981.  On June 19, in a letter to our Staff Relations Team Pat announced that her last day with us will be July 31.  I have had the privilege of serving with Pat for more than half of her nearly four decades of dedicated service to our congregation.  Please join me in wishing Pat and her husband Larry all the best in this new chapter of their lives.
  • Lara Davis, our Weekday School Director, has accepted an exciting new position in early childhood education with Frederick County Schools.  Our loss is indeed their gain.  Lara has been our school’s director for more than a decade.   Godspeed, Ms. Lara.

FIRST CHURCH IS HIRING:  Interim Youth Director to lead and support the comprehensive programming for growth and faith development of children from grades 5-12.  For additional information about the position or to submit a resume or to refer someone, please contact Ann Burkholder, the leader of our Staff Relations Team, at annburkholder@gmail.com.

WEEKDAY SCHOOL CHAPEL POSITION:  FPC is seeking to hire someone of our congregation to provide leadership for the Weekday School Chapel program.  We are looking for an individual with a love for children, experience in teaching, and a desire to minister to preschool children.  The chapel teacher not only has the opportunity to share the stories of the Bible to children, but to create an environment where kids can wonder about God and experience God’s presence.  Chapel occurs two weekday mornings per week two weeks out of each month, which is in addition to preparation time.  If you would like more information about the position, contact Todd Bowman, (540) 662-3824, todd@fpcwinc.org.

FLOWER DATE OPENINGS:  Sundays, July 2, 9, 30, August 6, September 3, October 1, and December 3 are  available if you would like to place flowers on the worship center in the sanctuary either in memory of a loved one or in honor of someone special.  If interested, please contact Pat Snapp at 662-3824 or patsnapp@fpcwinc.org.

SUMMER SUNDAY FOR KIDS begins Sunday July 9th.  It is intended for children age 3– 5th grade and will be held in the Stine Room at 10am.  Summer Kids Sunday School will run at the same time as the 10am sanctuary worship service.

WINCHESTER HOUSE BIBLE STUDY: Winchester House (our senior housing neighbor just down the block on Cameron Street) is looking for folks to help lead their weekly Bible study, which meets on Tuesday mornings from 10 to 11. Ideally, volunteers sign up for a month at a time, but any help is appreciated. For details, call WH’s Resident Manager Patricia Bettis at 667-4667.

CONSIDER ATTENDING MASSANETTA SPRINGS THIS SUMMER!  If you’re looking for a summer camp for your child and he/she is interested in music and making life long connections, this camp would be perfect for you. Are you an adult interested in deepening your faith through music or bible study and coming together in fellowship? This week long opportunity is what you’ve been looking for. Massanetta Springs is hosting its 94th annual Bible and Church Music conference the week of July 23-29.  We attend this conference as a church and can offer a $150 incentive for anyone attending.  For more information, please contact Giovanna Reyes-Mir, Director of Music Ministry at Giovanna@fpcwinc.org.

STAFF AWAY THIS WEEK:  Todd & Amy Bowman are on vacation June 26 through July 3 and Jennifer White is on vacation June 26 through June 30.

STEPHEN MINISTRY?  Are you going through a time in your life where you are juggling many responsibilities?  Do you have the “Calgon take me away!” feeling?  Start with taking care of YOU.  Call today to learn more about what a Stephen Minister can do for you…a Christian friend to be there to just listen, not judge, a confidant, someone who can just be there, to pray with you. For more information call First Presbyterian Church to speak with one of our Pastors 540-662-3824, or a Stephen Minister Leader Jan Smith 540-662-7979, Patti Keeton 513-490-5677, Sandy Cleaver 540-550-3584  www.stephenministries.org.

HOSPITAL: If you know of friends or family who are in the hospital, please let the church office know at info@fpcwinc.org or 662-3824.

FPC HAS CHANGED OUR INVESTMENT MANAGER:  If you are planning to give a stock donation, please contact Jennifer White in the church office to get the updated information.  Her email is jennifer@fpcwinc.org or you can call the church office

PARISH NURSE NOTES: The first of June marks the beginning of National Fireworks Safety Month, which runs until July 4. It is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America, to educate those using fireworks on the dangers and injuries that can result from careless behavior.  There are numerous types of fireworks, and despite the dangers, some of them are actually aimed for use by children. Though thought to be a safer firework for little ones, the sparkler actually is one of the most dangerous, because it burns at almost 2000 degrees. The fireworks most often used by adults include fountains, cakes, roman candles, rockets, and artillery fireworks. They are meant to be stuck in the ground and the fuse lit when standing nearby. They are not meant to be held when shooting them. Of course, when handled properly, all these fireworks can create a beautiful and dazzling display for observers. These types of fireworks are legal to buy, and legal to use in most areas, but before lighting them, be sure to check any city or town regulations. There are also illegal fireworks, and these should never be used.  Included in this list are anything that starts with an M, such as the M-80, M-100, and M-250, as well as cherry bombs. When using fireworks, it is best to follow a few simple rules to keep everyone safe from harm.  Be sure to read and follow all directions before using them.

  • Children should never be allowed to handle fireworks.
  • When lighting fireworks, put on safety glasses to protect the eyes.
  • Only use fireworks outside in an open area.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby at all times to soak duds with, and do not try to relight them.
  • Don’t light fireworks in any type of container, and never carry them in a pocket, because the friction of movement can cause them to light.
  • Keep a first aid kit handy, and if serious injury is suffered, seek medical attention.

For more information, go to: www.consumersafety.org/news/products/national-fireworks-safety-month/

To contact Pam or Glenn, parish nurses, their email address is:   parishnurse@fpcwinc.org or you can leave a message for them at 540-662-3824.

Hope to see you at church!  Bring a guest.

Beth Kane

Leader of Welcome Ministry