Past Ten Weeks

  • FPC Weekly eNews - April 12, 2024

    Posted Apr 12, 2024

    The Spirit is on the move at First Presbyterian! This weekend twenty-five ninth graders will complete their Confirmation journey with an overnight retreat followed by a meeting with the Session on Sunday morning. We rejoice with these young leaders in our congregation as they make professions of faith in Jesus Christ and are received as full members of the church. We also say thank you to our pastoral team – Revs. John Daniel DeBevoise, Leslie Lang, and Craig Foster – and the adult mentors who have walked alongside them in this process. Please join us for worship on Sunday, April 21 when we will recognize and celebrate all our Confirmands!

    We are also thrilled to welcome nearly a dozen new members this Sunday. Many of you have heard me talk before about what a blessing it is every time we receive new members. Each person God leads into our fellowship brings with them new energy, ideas, questions, and gifts that serve to strengthen the ministry God is calling us to. What a joy and blessing! If you or someone you know is interested in joining this week or down the road, please be sure to reach out to our Visitor and New Member Coordinator, Cathy Bagwell ([email protected]).

    Finally, looking to later this month, we will recognize 10 years of the C.A.S.T. Ministry here at First Presbyterian. C.A.S.T. (Care. Accept. Share. Teach.) came into existence under the vision and leadership of church member Gloria Close, and across that timespan has transformed the lives of numerous children and families in our community. I encourage you to read more about the history and impact of C.A.S.T. in the latest edition of First News. During the 11:00am worship on April 28, we will celebrate this ministry and say thank you to Gloria as she retires from its leadership. Stay tuned for more details as we look forward to what God has in store for the next season of this vital ministry!

    Hope to see you in worship. Invite a friend. All are welcome.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - April 5, 2024

    Posted Apr 05, 2024

    Dear Church Family,

    From Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday and from Good Friday to Easter, we remembered the events of the last week in the life of Jesus. On Easter Sunday we raised the glad shout, “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed.” Now our challenge and our calling is to live an Easter life every day of the year. An Easter life is a resurrected life in which we claim with Paul, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

    Christ is made visible when we care for one another, serve our community, teach our children and youth, share the faith with others, and worship together. A particular calling is to support the effort to raise up strong leaders, educators, and pastors for the church. We are honored to have the Rev. Dr. Victor Aloyo, the President of Columbia Theological Seminary, with us this Sunday to preach at the 9:00am Contemporary Service and the 11:00am Traditional Service. Also, he will lead a Combined Adult Sunday School class at 10:00am in Fogartie Hall about the seminary’s mission to equip a new generation of church leaders. He will challenge us to join as partners in this calling.

    Please see all of the opportunities below to grow in life together as an Easter people.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - March 29, 2024

    Posted Mar 29, 2024

    Why Jesus? That is the question we have been exploring this Lent. Our answers have been varied and, perhaps at times, surprising. “Why Jesus?” we ask, “Because…

    “Jesus meets us where we are,
    “Jesus shows us true peace,
    “Jesus invites us to the party,
    “Jesus makes room for us at the Table,
    “Jesus rides straight into the messiness of our lives.”

    Today, Good Friday, we mark the fact that Jesus also knows what it means to suffer, to feel pain and anguish, and, yes, even to experience death itself. We call this day good because it is through the events of Jesus’s arrest and execution that we come to know fully a God who does not skirt around the most jagged edges of the human experience. The cross reveals to us the fact that there is no hardship, grief, or hurt we can endure in this life that God does not intimately know. God knows what it is like to sit in darkness so complete that it feels as if the light might never return. But, of course, the story does not end today…

    This Sunday, we will proclaim the most important and consequential answer to that question: Why Jesus? Because Jesus is the Risen Savior. Simply put, Easter is the central event of our faith. Jesus’s rising from the dead reveals a Love so great that nothing – not even death – can separate us from it. The good news of the empty tomb is not just that Jesus is alive but also that God is on the loose, even now, bringing new life to all those places in our lives and in our world today that feel life-less. As the Gospel of John puts it: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not (and does not) overcome it!”

    Hope to see you in worship. Invite a friend. All are welcome!

  • FPC Weekly eNews - March 22, 2024

    Posted Mar 22, 2024

    This Sunday – Palm Sunday – marks the start of Holy Week. Beginning with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we will spend the coming days traveling Christ’s path of servanthood through the Lord’s Supper and the suffering of the cross toward the glory of Easter. Each step of that journey underscores the inseparable link between the death and resurrection of Jesus and our lives today. I hope you will join us in worship as we walk down that path together!

    Please also be sure to note the worship opportunities ahead on both Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. In lieu of our normal WAF program on Wednesday, we invite you to instead join us for a Maundy Thursday meal and worship around tables. Details about this service can be found below – please be sure to RSVP ahead of time. On Good Friday, we will gather for a Tenebrae Service in the Sanctuary at 7:00pm.

    Blessings to you all. See you Palm Sunday. All are welcome.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - March 15, 2024

    Posted Mar 15, 2024

    Dear Church family,

    My note today is one of celebration and invitation. First of all, I am very excited and humbled to say that we exceeded our Witness Season goal for the Bethlehem Center, raising over $41,000 for their Outdoor Learning Lab! It is a wonderful example of God’s abundance and how God works through this church to serve others. Thank you to all who contributed!

    Secondly, I am writing to invite you to a couple of different mission and service opportunities coming up soon. Just around the corner on Monday, March 25 is the Cleveland First Grade Literacy Day. This will be a day full of joy and energy, and volunteers are necessary to make it a success! You can click here to sign-up.

    Another opportunity that is just around the corner is our Second Annual Churchwide Day of Service on Saturday, April 13 from 9:00am-1:00pm. This day is open to all ages, and there are places to serve all around Spartanburg. We hope that you and your family will consider joining in the fun! The deadline to register is March 30. Click here to register!

    Finally, please keep Haiti and our mission partners at Haiti Outreach Ministries in your prayers. Their prime minister has resigned, and a state of emergency has been declared due to increasing violence and attacks. Oh Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers for peace and for order in the midst of chaos.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - March 8, 2024

    Posted Mar 08, 2024

    This Sunday, March 10 is a special one in the life of First Presbyterian. Dr. Will Willimon will be preaching at both worship services as well as teaching combined adult Sunday school at 10:00am in Fogartie Hall. Dr. Willimon is a retired bishop in the United Methodist Church, an accomplished author, and he currently serves as Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry and Director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Duke Divinity School. His book Why Jesus? has been guiding our worship and learning through this Lenten Season. Please remember that we will have only two worship services this Sunday – 9:00am Contemporary and 11:00am Traditional. A full schedule for the morning can be found below.

    We will also be celebrating Girl Scout Sunday this week. Scouting has a rich history at First Presbyterian Church. In fact, the Girl Scout program has been a part of the church since 1936 when Troop 4 was formed under the leadership of Miss Mary Price. In 1937, members our church joined with other churches to organize a Girl Scout Council, and the official charter was granted in February 1938. We look forward to seeing and hearing from our Girl Scouts this Sunday, and as an added bonus, you can pick up some delicious cookies in the Family Life Center lobby at the same time!

    Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has supported Witness Season. Last Sunday, we challenged you to go the extra mile to help us get to our goal of $40,000. As of yesterday, we have almost reached that goal with a total of over $36,000. What an incredible outpouring of love as we seek to support our neighbors in Highland through the good work of The Bethlehem Center. If you would like to learn more and/or help us realize our final goal you can click here.

    Blessings to you all. Hope to see you Sunday. All are welcome.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - March 1, 2024

    Posted Mar 01, 2024

    A big thank you to everyone who has participated in this year’s Witness Season supporting the construction of an outdoor learning lab at the Bethlehem Center. Patrena Mims, Executive Director of the Bethlehem Center, joined us for worship and Sunday school last week to present about the good work they are doing in the Highland neighborhood of Spartanburg and how this project will support their mission moving forward. You can watch a recording of her informative Sunday school presentation by clicking here. Unfortunately, we are still about $18,000 short of our $40,000 goal. So if you haven’t given yet, or are in a position to give more, would you consider helping to shrink that gap by supporting this wonderful mission partner? See below for more details and for a link to give online.

    Friends, here on the first day of March, I am mindful that the month in front of us is a busy one – after all, Easter Sunday is only thirty days away! Our Lenten journey at First Presbyterian continues to be chock full of opportunities for learning, fellowship, and mission. Information about all the ministries happening now and coming up can be found below. As always, know that each and every opportunity is open to each and every person. This is a wonderful time to bring yourself (and invite a friend) to church as we walk together once more towards the events of Holy Week and the joy of the empty tomb!

    Blessings to you all. Hope to see you Sunday. All are welcome.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - February 23, 2024

    Posted Feb 23, 2024

    This Sunday is Witness Season Sunday. This year’s Witness Season is supporting The Bethlehem Center, which is a hub of positive activity in Spartanburg’s Highland neighborhood. With your support we are helping to fund the construction of an outdoor play space with a natural playground. This effort will help to foster learning and imagination, promote social and emotional growth, and provide creative engagement as well as more accessible green space for our neighbors in Highland.

    A big thank you to everyone who has already made a gift towards this effort. Please know that it is not too late to support Witness Season. You can either make a gift online or put one in the offering plate this Sunday. Our goal is to raise $40,000. I also encourage you to join us for our combined Sunday school class in Fogartie Hall at 10:00am this Sunday where we will hear from Patrena Mims, Executive Director of The Bethlehem Center.

    Finally, we are off and running in the Season of Lent. We are spending these forty days leading up to Holy Week focusing on the question: “Why Jesus?” This series is following a book of the same title written by Rev. Dr. Will Willimon, who taught a packed house at our Wednesday night program earlier this week – click here to watch a recording – and will be back with us preaching and teaching on March 10. The Lenten Season is a wonderful time to bring yourself and invite others to join you at church as we seek to better understand who Jesus is, and in so doing, begin to learn why following him is the only way to discover the true meaning and purpose of our own lives.

    Blessings to you all. See you at church. All are welcome.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - February 16, 2024

    Posted Feb 16, 2024

    On Wednesday, we began the season of Lent and marked the beginning of the season with the imposition of ashes in the shape of the cross, reminding us of our mortality. And the cross reminds of the resurrection and that whether we live or whether we die, we are marked as God’s beloved children.

    Our church has put together a number of ways to enrich and deepen your faith and discipleship this Lent. First, of course, is worship. We began Lent with the Ash Wednesday Service, and in worship each Sunday during Lent we will look at the person of Jesus through the lens of one of the 12 depictions of Jesus found in Will Willimon’s book Why Jesus?. We will also explore more of those depictions of Jesus through our Wednesdays at First Programs on February 21 & 28 and March 6 & 20. Will Willimon himself will be with us this coming Wednesday to kick off that WAF series. Our study group that is studying the book just had a delightful conversation with Will, and you are in for a treat next Wednesday! Dr. Willimon will also be preaching and teaching a combined Sunday School on March 10. Please note that we will only have two services at 9am and 11am that Sunday.

    If you would like to read the Why Jesus? book during this sermon and WAF series, copies of the book are available at cost near the staff and officer mailboxes.

    Additionally, we have printed copies of the Lenten devotional entitled Local Pilgrims produced by the Presbyterian Outlook. These daily scripture, reflections, and prayer invite us to explore where God may be present and at work in the everyday (and not so everyday) places we find ourselves. This series is also available by daily email. See the information below to sign up.

    Of course, there are many other ways to deepen your faith and discipleship this Lent. For instance, our church library has a wealth of Lenten resources to check out. Simply search for “Lent” in the online catalog. And, in fact, any way that you engage in the life and ministry of the church can help you to deepen your faith and discipleship this Lent. So whether you give something up and/or take something on during Lent, let us walk this journey to the cross with deepening faith and faithfulness this Lenten season.

  • FPC Weekly eNews - February 9, 2024

    Posted Feb 09, 2024

    Happy leap year to all, but especially those who have a February 29 birthday – we’re glad to be able to celebrate you this year. This Sunday, February 11, we celebrate the gifts and talents that God has given the youth in our congregation. Our 6th-12th grade youth will lead us in all of our worship services that morning. We are thankful for Foster Neely (12th grade) and Elise Deberry (11th grade), our preachers for Youth Sunday, as well as all of our liturgists, musicians, ushers, and support crew!

    Some churches don’t have a Youth Sunday. We are incredibly lucky to have a community of young people who are curious and enthusiastic about the church and the faith. It is a gift and privilege that we get to have an entire Sunday morning dedicated to creating intentional space for our youth to take the reins of worship leadership. This isn’t a time where we should focus on the future of the church. Rather, this Sunday is a reminder of the powerful ways God is working in and through our youth – here, today, right this moment.

    Every conversation, every moment in fellowship, and every encounter with our youth opens my eyes to God’s grace and creativity. I mean it when I say that in this call, I minister alongside this crew. They are constantly teaching me what it means to live with gratitude and determination. I hope that this truth shines through to each of you who join us for worship this week!

    On another note, February is Witness Season at FPC. Be on the lookout for plenty of information about the ways God is moving with an ambition for mission in our midst.

    On Wednesday, February 14, we hope you'll join us as we gather for Ash Wednesday – marking the beginning of the Lenten season. I look forward, with anticipation, to witnessing Christ’s reckless love in this world alongside you all.

    Peace be with you,