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News from Pastor Spencer

September 8, 2019

Dates & Times

  • Sep 8, 2019
    6:00pm - 7:00pm

About News from Pastor Spencer

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

In early January of this year, when the Ways of First Presbyterian Church were first introduced to you, I wrote this about the value and importance of culture: At this important moment in our congregation’s history, we’re giving intentional and focused attention to how we can better “be the church.” This means we’re thinking about the atmosphere or culture of our congregation. We’ve identified twenty-five culture statements or “ways” that we’ll consider week by week. You’ll hear about our Way of the Week in worship and at almost any meeting or study that happens. The idea is that we’re all trying to learn or be reminded of how we can be the strongest and healthiest people for God’s purposes and glory.

I know that you never have to wait very long to think about or work on the culture of a congregation. Opportunities come daily, sometimes hourly. But as we’ve walked through all 25 Ways in the past twenty-five weeks, I’m so grateful for this venture we’ve begun. I see the positive difference the Ways have made. I hear people referring to the Ways, I observe young people grasping the Ways with excitement; I find that other churches and church leaders are interested and excited by what we’re doing here.

As I share with you a few important pieces of information, I hope we’ll live into the Ways with renewed purpose even when we may not agree. Let’s remember to #2 Speak the Truth with Love; #5 Assume Positive Intent; #10 Join Hands, and #20 Find Strength in Belonging.

Worship Schedule: At its June meeting Session approved the Worship schedule for the coming program year. Beginning on Sunday, September 8th, we’ll return to the schedule we followed last year. There will be two worship services: 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in the Sanctuary and an 11:00 a.m. Contemporary service in Miller Commons. The Educational Hour, for children through adults, will be from 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. This is the same worship schedule that we’ve followed for more than a year.

Our Worship and Music Committees carried out a worship survey that garnered feedback from 200 people. Here’s some of what we learned from you:

• Style of worship: 60% prefer Traditional, 23% prefer Contemporary, 14% attend both, and 3% would like the styles to be blended or would prefer an evening worship service.

• Time of worship: 53% prefer to stick to the current worship times (8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship and 11:00 a.m. Contemporary Worship), while 32.5% also prefer the above, but desire to add a third Worship Service from 10:00–10:45 a.m.

• What Sunday worship offers: When asked what is most exciting about Sunday worship, 65% said they appreciate everything that’s offered, including worship and fellowship, choirs and music ministry, adult and children’s education hour, and the sermon series. The other 35% selected just one of the above answers as the thing that most excites them.

Realizing that there are no perfect solutions to when we worship, Session sensed that we would do well to keep things as they are for one more year. We’re still in a pastoral transition as we wait for the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee to complete its work. Our Worship and Music Committees will continue to work together, listening for feedback, as we all think and pray about our Worship service schedule moving forward.

Security: Please note that effective August 1st, current keys to the church will no longer work. The building doors will be unlocked from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (if events are scheduled). Entry doors will be one of the glass lobby doors and the back staff lot door. After August 1, please return your keys to the box outside Missionwares for recycling.

Parking Lot: The start date (weather permitting) for the parking lot reconstruction will be Monday, July 29th. The July 28th departure for the Denmark trip will unaffected however no vehicles will be able to be left here. The contractor anticipates finishing the two smaller lots (estimated 1-2 days each) before beginning work on the large lot. The primary lot will take up to two weeks, or one Sunday. The goal (again weather permitting) is to complete the milling, grading, etc. July 28-Aug. 3. If work moves along there may be limited parking on the first Sunday (August 4th) but just on a layer of gravel and sand. The second week will be paving, striping, etc. For questions please contact Earl Gage at (856) 235-1688, Ext. 106.

Yours in Christ,


Stuart H. Spencer