Friday, October 21, 2016

Fifth Sunday Brunch

Mark your calendars for the Fifth Sunday Brunch on Sunday, October 30, 9:30-10:45 
in the Family Life Center! 

This for the whole family! 
There will be a scavenger hunt (with PRIZES!!!) for children and youth! 

Good food and fellowship and lots of information on church groups and ministries!

Get Plugged In!




'Angel Tree 2016' by Becky Compton

Angel Tree 2016


Presbyterian Women will once again provide our congregation with an opportunity to bring joy to those less fortunate this Christmas season with our
Angel Tree Mission Project
Please visit our tables in Warner Hall on Nov. 13th and Nov. 20nd and select your angel.  Make sure to register it with our PW members.  Return your wrapped gifts with the angel tag to the Family Life Center before Noon on December 4th.  Presbyterian Women and Men will deliver your gifts the following day.  We will be serving 150 children this year.
In the spirit of fairness to all of our angels, we are striving to have each child receive gifts with a total value of $75 - $100.  If you prefer to spend less than this, please consider “sharing” an angel with a friend or family member.  If you would like to spend more, please consider adopting more than one angel.  Also for those who would like to participate, but do not want to shop and wrap, monetary donations in any amount are welcomed and a PW member will be happy to shop and wrap for you.  
Deadline for monetary donations is November 20nd with checks payable to PW.
Thank you!
Your generosity is greatly appreciated.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

‘Commitment Sunday is Oct 16’ by Bess Miller

“We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers” - Seneca

Well, Church family, Commitment Sunday is this Sunday, October 16th. I hope you and your family have given serious and prayerful consideration to what your financial commitment is going to be to our Church for the next year.  In a meeting recently, Mike Anderson told me that when the discussion turned to our finances and Stewardship, (as has been happening a lot lately), someone on the Committee said, “we just need every family to have a goal”, and Mike answered, we do have that; it is called A Tithe”. You received an email message from Cal Holt, and Stacy McCants spoke at both services last Sunday about what a blessing tithing had been to their family and to their faith life.

The phrase “we are in transition” has been used a lot the last two years, and I get that, in that our long-time senior pastor retired almost two years ago. And we are now anticipating the arrival of our new Senior Pastor Michael Bailey. BUT on the other hand, I think our church has continued to thrive these last two years. Weekly worship, Baptisms, weddings, and funerals have all continued to be meaningful opportunities to celebrate and worship. And in other cases mourn some of the saints of this church, but celebrate their lives. Our Sunday school classes have continued to teach us how to be more faithful Christians. The numbers of our Youth who are involved in our Church has grown in great numbers! Our college students are more involved than ever before in the life of this Church and in their UKirk worship and programs on campus. We have purchased a valuable piece of property across the street. The UPERK coffee shop is on the horizon. We have been and are involved in numerous local mission projects and continue to seek out new ways to be involved in Service, here in Tuscaloosa and beyond.

This sounds to me like a vibrant Church of Jesus Christ, not one in transition!!

We want all of this to continue and to grow, but that gets difficult when we, the members, are not growing in the giving of our money to our beloved First Pres. I would like to challenge each and every family to prayerfully consider increasing your pledge to this church in 2017. And if you have not been making a pledge to this church, I would ask you to please consider making that a priority for 2017.

George and I feel so blessed to have our First Pres church family. This church has been with us and helped us in good times and in hard times. You helped us raise our children and taught them how to be good and faithful servants. We are ALL blessed in so many ways by this church, and so we must bless it by being generous givers to its ministries, its programs, its beautiful building and grounds, and its mission here in the heart of Tuscaloosa.

I hope that you will be in church on Sunday for our Chest of Joash Commitment Service. (You can read about the chest of Joash in 2Kings 12 and 2 Chronicles 24.) I hope you will be prepared to walk past our own Chest of Joash and place your pledge card in the chest, as we commit ourselves to becoming fully devoted disciples.

As we prepare to receive our new pastor, let us trust God with the future and come with expectant hearts, knowing God will, “open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing." 

Bess 



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Great Programs on the Agenda at First Presbyterian Church


Wednesday, October 5, 6:00 p.m.
Supper @ 5:15

'Beginnings, History and Situation of Christianity Today and our Relationship with Judaism'
led by Dr. Thomas Herwig
in McCain Classroom (Room 208)

'Marriage and Family Counseling Workshop'
led by Dr. Blake Berryhill in Bible 101 (Room 203)
If you did not purchase a book for the Marriage Workshop, do not worry, it is not required!! Please come. All are welcome!!

Supper catered by Taco Mama taco bar at 5:15 p.m.
Programs at 6 p.m.

Kid's table and childcare available

$7 (12+ yrs.) ~ $4 (4-11 yrs.) ~ Free (3 yrs. and younger)

We'll see you here!




'Tithing Has Its Advantages': Stewardship Message from Cal Holt

About 40 years ago, Vicki and I made one of the best decisions in our life. It was evident that we needed church in our lives.  We joined the membership of First Presbyterian Church due to heavy influence of Dr. McCain and the friendship of Tommy and Beth Smith.  We were welcomed and taken under the wings of many wonderful people who nurtured and encouraged us.  No one ever told us how to live, what to believe, how to interpret the Bible, or what to give from a stewardship standpoint.  It was somewhat comforting to know that when stewardship season came up that first year, the statistics shared with us showed the average gift was only about 2.5%.   We could do that!  Tithing was encouraged, but by suggestion not necessity.
  
A few years later I was elected to the Board of Deacons.  Dr. McCain assigned me to the Stewardship Committee.  That was not my choice.   I learned from that three year experience the importance of giving of time and money.  But, still rationalized my family’s giving of less than 10% due to the time we gave to the church.
 
I am not sure just when we started tithing to the church; however, I remember a conversation with another couple at a church dinner where the discussion of tithing came up.  They testified that once they started tithing money just seemed to be there when they needed it most.   Vicki and I had just gone through one of those three event experiences where three things broke down in our home in sequence.  My Baptist influenced background caused me to have a guilt verses grace moment.  That week we started tithing.  We have ever since.  In fact most years we give more than 10%.
  
Has it always been easy?  Absolutely not.  Have we done without?   Not hardly!   In fact we have been so blessed.   Tithing forced us on live to a strict budget and to plan big purchases.  We have never wanted for anything.   We choose to belong to the church fully rather than belong to other social organizations.   We could not do both, but we have been richly rewarded.
 
So, what do we have to show for our investment?   More than I can say in mere words.   Through collective giving of our congregation, our church has giving at least 25% of our budget to benevolences spread throughout the world.   This year’s budget shows a decrease in that 25% and that breaks my heart.   The evidence is visual and historical as to what has been done with the monies given to the church.  Personally speaking, the real value and return on investment is far greater than monetary.
 
This church helped Vicki and me become Christ centered at an early time in our marriage.  We were headed in a different direction in 1977.  We have been so blessed by so many in all times of our marriage.  The church has been there for us through good times and bad.  How do you put a dollar value on those moments when the church saves you during a very difficult time?  How do you put a value on having the honor to sing in the choir for over 30 years or teach a Sunday school class for almost 38 years?  How do you put a value on friends meeting you at the hospital at 4:30 in the morning to pray over you before surgery?  How do you put a value on the peace that passes all understanding moments you feel in worship?  How do you put a value on those mentors that listen or observe your pain and comfort you?  How do you put a value on like believers helping you raise your children?
 
At the turn of the century, we found out about Vicki’s cancer.  Our story turned out well, but the journey was none the less difficult at best.  I would have given everything I own along with my own health for her to be cancer free.   What I learned most during that time is that the folks at FPC know how to do church.  They know how to share their gifts, their love, their compassion.   I fell more in love with my wife during those trying times due to the faith that grew from this church and our buy-in to the understanding of tithing.  “Give, and it shall be given to you.”
  
I encourage all people to tithe to the Lord.  According to the Bible it is not a choice, it is a directive.  Experience the feeling of giving what you are told to give and God will give back to you.  Your days will not be trouble free, but your spirit will be.  Praise be to God for the opportunity to tithe to His church.


Cal Holt

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Stewardship Emphasis Month
By Bess Miller

 We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly,
 and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit
that sticks to the fingers” -  Seneca

Well, Church family, it is October; it is Stewardship Emphasis Month, and it is the time of year that our Church family gives serious and prayerful consideration to what our financial commitment is going to be to our Church for the next year.  In a meeting recently, Mike Anderson told me that when the discussion turned to our finances and Stewardship, (as has been happening a lot lately), someone on the Committee said, "we just need every family to have a goal", and Mike answered, "We do have that; it is called a Tithe".

The phrase "we are in transition" has been used a lot the last two years, and I get that, in that our long-time senior pastor retired almost two years ago. And we are now anticipating the arrival of our new Senior Pastor Michael Bailey. BUT on the other hand, I think our church has continued to thrive these last two years. Weekly worship, Baptisms, weddings, and funerals have all continued to be meaningful opportunities to celebrate and worship. And in other cases mourn some of the saints of this church, but celebrate their lives. Our Sunday school classes have continued to teach us how to be more faithful Christians. The numbers of our Youth who are involved in our Church has grown in great numbers! Our college students are more involved than ever before in the life of this Church and in their UKirk worship and programs on campus. We have purchased a valuable piece of property across the street. The UPERK coffee shop is on the horizon. We have been and are involved in numerous local mission projects and continue to seek out new ways to be involved in Service, here in Tuscaloosa and beyond.

This sounds to me like a vibrant Church of Jesus Christ, not one in transition!!

We want all of this to continue and to grow, but that gets difficult when we, the members, are not growing in the giving of our money to our beloved First Pres. I would like to challenge each and every family to prayerfully consider increasing your pledge to this church in 2017. And if you have not been making a pledge to this church, I would ask you to please consider making that a priority for 2017.

George and I feel so blessed to have our First Pres church family. This church has been with us and helped us in good times and in hard times. You helped us raise our children and taught them how to be good and faithful servants. We are ALL blessed in so many ways by this church, and so we must bless it by being generous givers to its ministries, its programs, its beautiful building and grounds, and its mission here in the heart of Tuscaloosa.

Bess

Monday, September 26, 2016

'Mature Member Ministry' by Carole and Bill Henry

Carole and Bill Henry

WOW! 

That’s the word that comes to mind looking back over fourteen years with the M&M (Mature Member) Ministry. It was nothing but an honor and a blessing to share in these grand experiences with our Church seniors. To give some enlightenment to that “Wow”, the following are some randomly chosen places and ventures we enjoyed. They are not in order or sequence, but given as such to show the range of our travels here and yon.

Through the tunnel in Mobile Bay and the Mardi Gras Museum to Seattle’s Pike’s Market, up the Space Needle, and a mobile duck-boat ride into the Bay; from the Barron’s baseball games to barbecue and the Blues on Beale Street, the Pink Palace, to the ducks strutting through the lobby at the Peabody Hotel, to Elvis’ Graceland; from the Tallahassee Bridge in Greenwood, Mississippi (Ode to Billie Joe) where scenes from the movie “The Help” were filmed, not to mention the Viking Plant, and our stay in the Alluvian Hotel to North Alabama’s Lions, Helen Keller’s home and her life's reenactment;  from the Monroeville courthouse production of "To Kill a Mockingbird” to swaying with the Temptations in Meridian at the Opera House Theater and to Weidmann's Restaurant;from Bellingrath Gardens to the gardens on Victoria Island; from the Ironclad battle ship in Vicksburg to reenactments of the Battle of Shiloh near Corinth, Mississippi; from atop Stone Mountain and Princess Diana's exhibition to Rudy Valley and the Jersey Boy Musicals in Branson, Missouri from cherry ice cream at the Cherry Festival in Macon, Georgia to Natchez on the River tours; from lunch with Paula Deen in Savannah to lunch at the Blue Willow in Social Circle; from local tours of Mercedes and Jim Walter Mines to caverns and caves in Asheville’s Black Mountains and fun times and snowfall at Montreat; from Alabama wooden bridges to the Top of the River restaurant.

If that’s not enough “wow”, look at the grand ones:  Up the East Coast to New York City and Broadway plays, night in Times Square, and seeing ourselves live on the morning Today Show; viewing Ground Zero then departing on the Princess Cruise ship out of New York Harbor on the upper deck looking as if we could reach out and touch the Brooklyn Bridge as we passed under. How very surreal and profound it was to see in the distance Staten Island and the Statue of Liberty passing out of view behind us as we headed up toward Rhode Island. We saw the reversible river with its famous low and high tides at the Bay of Fundy. We made it all the way to Halifax and to the far outpost light house in Nova Scotia’s Peggy’s Cove. M&M’s have cruised twice on the Princess North west to Alaska. We went all the way to Alaska to catch-a-can. I mean, Ketucan. We visited Vancouver, Juno, Scagway; saw glaciers, elks, eagles, and then river-boated up the first gold rush river. We docked to pet some of the descendants of Husky, Granite, the famous lead dog for the late and great Susan Butcher, four time winner of the thousand plus mile Iditarod Dog Sled Race.  We became part of the fifteen percent of tourists who were fortunate enough to see Mt. McKinley, now Mt. Denali, come totally into view.

Yes, Wow! God has indeed been so good to us all. We thank Him and First Presbyterian for making these experiences possible. Thanks to our Church for prayers, support, donations, and help. Several members over the years have opened their homes and hospitality for lots of fun and joy to our M & M‘s. Members have helped build wheel chair ramps, helped with trips to doctor's appointments, to the grocery store and with the smallest of tasks like replacing light bulbs.

​It’s with inexpressible gratitude and humility that we give thanks for First Presbyterian and the M&M Ministry. We pray that it continues to be a blessing to our seniors. We plan to continue to be a part of our M & M’s and help out as needed, but we feel it’s time for us to allow others, maybe younger, to take up the reins and enjoy leading this Ministry.

​We’ve learned that the meaning of “Church” is probably best discovered through the process of regular smaller group functions. For church really is becoming closely bonded in shared experiences in which there becomes a love for one another. Love is the end product that our Lord wants of His Church.  We experienced God's presence at First Presbyterian Church, and, through these many journeys discovered God's precious love with this special Ministry of Mature Members.

​May the Lord continue to bless all the ministerial arms of His Church at First Presbyterian and in all these things may the LORD BE MAGNIFIED! 
​​​​​​​​
In God Speed,
​​​​​​​​​Carole & Bill​  




Please join us for a reception honoring
Carole and Bill Henry
to celebrate
14 years of Mature Members Ministry!
Sunday Oct 23 after the 11:00 a.m. Service 
in the Family Life Center.
All are invited!