Thursday, August 18, 2016

Louisiana Disaster Relief in Response to Record Floods

Record floods have inundated southern Louisiana parishes since the storms commenced August 11, even surpassing flood levels in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance reports that parts of Louisiana and Mississippi have received up to 20 inches of flooding caused by continuing storms.

Presbytery of South Louisiana after extensive rain and flooding since August 11.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that 20 of the sixty-four parishes in Louisiana are included in the flooding disaster declared by President Obama on August 14. The storms have caused six fatalities and forced over 8,000 people to evacuate to shelters.

PDA reports that it has offered assistance to the Presbytery of South Louisiana and the Presbytery of Mississippi, stating,

“As of August 16th, National Response Team deployments have not been issued, but will do so upon invitation when it is safe. An initial grant and a church damage grant has been sent to the Presbytery of South Louisiana.

Partnered with PDA, the group Washington Emergency Recovery Ongoing Cadre (W.E.R.O.C.) focuses on the needs of residents within Washington Parish. The weekend floods have nearly exhausted the organization’s resources. The group has spent the past three months helping get people back into their homes from March flooding. “Now we’re back to square one. We spent all of the funding we had to take care of the needs from the last flood including replacement of furniture and appliances,” said Joe Kelley, CEO of W.E.R.O.C. “We’re trying to find funds to get these folks back to their homes again.”

Kelley says the biggest problem will be the emotional and spiritual counseling needed for those who are now going through this a second time in as many months.”

The need for assistance now is greater than ever.  Louisiana flood recovery group funds were depleted by storms and flooding in March. 

Donations can be made to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance to help Louisiana flooding disaster recovery effort. To donate to PDA’s flood response efforts in Louisiana, please navigate to

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Introducing Rev. Michael R. Bailey

On Sunday, August 7, the Pastor Nominating Committee held a Congregational Meeting to Call a Pastor following the 11:00 a.m. service. Members of the Pastor Nominating Committee spoke at the congregational meeting and nominated Rev. Michael R. Bailey as FPC Pastor. The congregation voted to call Rev. Bailey to be our new senior pastor.

Rev. Bailey will come to FPC, Tuscaloosa from First Presbyterian Church of Morganton, North Carolina where he has been Head of Staff since 2005.

Michael's wife Laura, children Hudson (13), Charlie (10), Katherine (7) and dog Lola will join him in Tuscaloosa.

First Presbyterian Church, Tuscaloosa warmly welcomes Rev. Bailey and family!

Rev. Michael R. Bailey, Laura, wife, Hudson (13), Charlie (10), and Katherine (7)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

'Presbyterians and Race' by Rev. Lou Ann Sellers

Rev. Lou Ann Sellers
Over the past months, a conversation has sharpened as our nation has witnessed more frequent shootings of unarmed persons of color and the targeted shootings of police officers in retaliation.  Is the social fabric of our country disintegrating?  Or are a larger number of Americans simply becoming aware of a threat and experience under which a minority within our country live?

 Last March, Presbyterians in this area gathered at Covenant Presbyterian Church for an event titled “Presbyterians and Race: a Conversation.”  The youth and adults attending heard witnesses of Tuscaloosa’s “Bloody Tuesday” and discussed their experiences in small groups.  To continue this conversation of “Presbyterians and Race”, two more opportunities are planned.  On August 3 from 6:30 -8:00 pm in Bible 101 at First Pres, Presbyterians are invited to attend a discussion of the book, “More Than A Bird” by Liz Huntley.  Growing up in Clanton, Alabama, Liz, now a successful attorney in Birmingham, tells her story of childhood tragedy and the teachers and persons God placed in her life who enabled her to find a path to succeed.  As she told women gathered earlier this year at our church for the annual Methodist and Presbyterian Women’s luncheon, her spiritual awareness of God’s love for her rang through as she heard Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, ”Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”  Matthew 6:26.

On August 24, youth and adults are invited to First Pres at 6:30 pm in Bible 101 for “Presbyterians and Race:  An Intergenerational Conversation.“   The youth who attended the first event at Covenant have continued to meet with Neeley Lane, discussing Liz Huntley’s book and related topics.

Liz Huntley

‘Perry County Robert C. Hatch School Supply Drive’ by Leslie Miller, Perry County Mission Chair

The Mission Committee announces the SCHOOL SUPPLY DRIVE for classroom teachers at Robert C. Hatch School in Uniontown in Perry County.

Robert C. Hatch School 

The Mission Committee invites you to pick up one or two extra classroom supplies and drop off in Warner Hall now through Sunday, August 28.  This is the second year we are partnering with the CHOICE (“Choosing to Help Others In Our Community Excel”) non-profit, organization founded by Uniontown native Emefa Butler. 

The teacher supply list includes:

Robert C. Hatch School Teacher Wish List

For more information contact Perry County mission committee chair, Leslie Miller at

Breaking News: YMCA Update! by Rev. Mike Anderson

It's official! At 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 2, Sydney Cook, Sam Parks, and Susan Haynes met with officials of the YMCA, and FPC has closed on the YMCA property.
Plans for demolition of the building are moving forward.

'SOC Report' by Susie Engelke, Chair, Strengthening of the Church Committee

It is the mission of your Strengthening of the Church committee to facilitate church-wide meetings, fellowship events, and special programs to promote friendship and offer spiritual development to our members. It is our vision that First Presbyterian be a friendly, growing Church, witnessing to Jesus Christ, and reaching out to all. In the past we have sponsored picnics, receptions, Easter Egg hunts, M&M trips and activities, Spiritual Enrichment Week-ends, and Supper clubs.

But your SOC does so much more than" fun and games". There is always a business side of every committee, and we certainly do what we have to do to keep up with the needs and wants of the church.

Please join us for these upcoming events:

· Ice Cream Social, Wednesday, August 31, 6:00 in the downstairs dining room
·       Annual Picnic Sunday, September 11, Bowers Park-Minnie Sellers Pavilion Fun starts at 3:30, Supper at 5:30 p.m. Please register online at FPC-Tuscaloosa Picnic Registraton
· Ice Cream Social after Neeley's Installation, Sunday, Sept.25
· Rally Day and Reformation Sunday in conjunction with 5th Sunday Brunch, October 30

Sponsored by Strengthening of the Church Committee!

'Children's Programs and How You Can Help' by Jenny Thagard, FPC Director of Christian Education

“I don’t know any of the church kids anymore.” “Who is that young family over there?” “I’d like to do something for the church, but I don’t know what?” These are a few of the things I’ve heard from members recently.  And without sounding too much like a used car salesman, “Have I got something for YOU!”  There are all kinds of ways to plug-in with children’s ministry and get to know our youngest members as well as serve God.  Here are a few opportunities that you may want to consider:
·        Nursery volunteer—We have babies through pre-kindergartners on Sunday mornings that would love to have your attention.  You can volunteer to greet parents, teach Sunday School, rock babies, or serve on the Childcare Committee.
·        Sunday School teacher or shepherd—Kindergarten-fifth graders go to a different workshop each week to experience the stories of the Bible through acting, art/cooking/video, science, and   game show.  Each group has one teacher and one shepherd that commits for one Sunday a month to be with the same group of children on Sunday mornings.  If you don’t want to make that kind of commitment, be an early arrival shepherd and greet and welcome children from 9:30-10.
·        Assist with Children’s Choirs—We have 3 children’s choirs that rehearse on Wednesday afternoons and sing in worship several times a year.
·        LOGOS—Our mid-week children’s ministry takes place from 2:30-7 for approximately 10 weeks in the fall and 10 weeks in the spring.  The children have snack, recreation, Bible, choir, and family dinner time.  Adults are needed in all of these areas as well as driving a bus or car pool, greeting and checking them in, preparing snacks, decorating the dining room, and supervising study hall and recreation. 
·        Bible Buddies—Our 3 year old – Kindergarten children go to Bible Buddies from 6-7 on Wednesday nights for Bible study and fun. Teachers and shepherds are needed.
·        Godly Play—Our Pre-K and Kindergarten children leave the 11 a.m. worship service after the word to the children to attend Godly Play.  It is a structured time of storytelling and responding to the story that takes place every Sunday during the school year.  Door keepers and trained story tellers are needed in this program.
·        VBS—Vacation Bible School  happens every summer, usually during June and needs volunteers for registration, snacks, storytelling, decorations, crafts, etc.
·        Christmas Pageant—The children’s Christmas Pageant has a long history at FPC.  Volunteer help with costumes, props, sets, kid-wrangling, and music is always appreciated.
·        Summer Camp and Retreats—Our children attend our Presbytery’s summer camping and retreat programs at Living River.  Scholarship assistance is always needed.  One week of camp for one child is $500.  We would like as many of our children and youth to participate as possible, and scholarships are necessary.
·        Montreat Worship and Music Conference—Conference fees for 4th and 5th graders are approximately $300 and scholarship help is appreciated.
·        Educational Space Maintenance—Adopt a Sunday School Room, Resource Room, or the Godly Play room to keep straight and clean.
·        Adult and Youth Library—Keep this space usable by shelving books, dusting, and updating the inventory system.
·        Christian Education Committee—We would love to have you serve as an at-large member of the CE Committee.  We meet monthly on the second Monday at 5:15 p.m.
If any of these opportunities sound like something God is calling you to do, please talk with me. [Jenny Thagard,, 752-3531]  All of our volunteers who have direct access to children must pass a background check. 

Below is a listing by age of our Children’s Programs.
 Birth to Walking—Your infant is welcome in our Sunday morning nursery for loving care during Early Church, Sunday School, and “Big” Church in room 111.  Childcare workers have all been screened and had background checks and are supervised by “Miss” Connie, our Childcare Supervisor.  The Childcare Committee oversees our Nursery and Early-childhood ministry.  Parents are encouraged to become involved by serving on the Childcare Committee.

 Walking to Second Birthday (Toddlers)—These active toddlers meet in room 103 on Sunday mornings (when there are enough to split them from the infants).

 Second Birthday to Eligible for Preschool Sunday School—These terrific twos and threes have a brief Sunday School lesson taught by loving volunteers or childcare workers, sing songs, have a snack and play each Sunday during the Sunday School hour.  These children remain in the nursery for worship services.

 Preschool (3 by Sept. 2 until entrance into Kindergarten)—Our three to five year olds have a fun Sunday School lesson taught by wonderful church volunteers, sing songs and have a snack.  Parents should begin taking children to worship for the first part of the service the year before they enter kindergarten.  Pre-Kindergartners (and kindergartners) may leave worship after the “Word to the Children” and attend Godly Play.  Those children younger than pre-Kindergarten may return to their Sunday School room for childcare.  There is also mid-week programming for pre-Kindergartners on Wednesday evenings as well as Cherub Choir at 4:45. Pre-Kindergartners are invited to attend Vacation Bible School.

 Kindergarten—The summer before Kindergarten begins, parents are encouraged to accompany their child to the elementary Sunday School room and remain with him/her a few Sundays to ease the transition. Beginning in August, kindergartners attend elementary Sunday School upstairs in room 209.  Elementary Sunday School begins with an opening assembly for all children and then breaks into smaller workshops by grade. Kindergartners continue with Godly Play during the 11 a.m. worship and begin to transition into remaining for the entire worship service, continue with Cherub choir, Wednesday evening programming, and Vacation Bible School.  Church-league sports programs begin in kindergarten. Parents are encouraged to get involved in children’s ministry by serving as a Sunday School teacher or shepherd, volunteering with the Cherub Choir and VBS.

 First grade—First graders begin LOGOS, our Wednesday after-school ministry, receive a LOGOS Bible story book, remain for the entire worship service, begin Lyric choir, participate in special Christmas music, attend the Presbytery children’s retreat with a parent, attend Presbytery Summer You and Me camp, continue Sunday School, and VBS.  All parents of children in LOGOS serve in some area of the ministry.

 Second grade—Second graders continue LOGOS, Lyric choir, Sunday School, and VBS. They participate in special Christmas music, attend the Presbytery’s children’s retreat, and are eligible to attend the Presbytery’s elementary summer-camping program.

 Third grade—Third graders continue LOGOS, begin Chapel Choir, continue Sunday School , VBS, participate in special Christmas music and children’s choir tour, receive NRSV children’s Bible, are eligible to attend Montreat Worship and Music Conference at the end of third grade, and attend the Presbytery elementary camping program.

 Fourth grade—Fourth graders continue LOGOS, Sunday School and VBS, participate in special Christmas music, children’s choir tour, are eligible to attend Montreat Worship and Music Conference and attend Presbytery elementary summer camping program.

 Fifth grade—Continue LOGOS program, serve as an acolyte, attend special LOGOS graduation dinner, serve as a Youth volunteer for VBS, participate in special Christmas music, children’s choir tour, graduate to Middle School Sunday School in June, are eligible to attend Montreat Worship and Music Conference, and the Montreat Middle School Conference.