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Summer 2022 Ministry Guide

Welcome Home to FPC for Summer 2022

Now updated for summer! Check out all of our Sunday school classes, Bible Studies, programs and many more ways to get connected at FPC.

Our mission is to glorify God as we continue to Love Jesus Christ, Love One Another, and Love the City. We offer three regular worship services in addition to Sunday school classes for kids, youth and adults of all ages.

Our children and youth students have Sunday school classes (based on age and grade) during the 10:00 AM hour as they dive deep into God’s Word and enjoy fellowship with one another. Additionally, we have several different adult Sunday school classes to choose from, discussing different topics and books of the Bible that will engage adults of all ages in deep learning, fruitful discussion, and meaningful engagement with one another.

NOTICE: Temporary July Sunday Services Schedule

During July, the flooring is being replaced in Westminster Hall. Please note the modified July Sunday services schedule during that time:

Sunday, July 3: 9:00 AM Traditional Service & 11:02 Contemporary Service in Sanctuary. No 11:00 AM Traditional Service.

Sunday, July 10: 9:00 AM Traditional Service & 11:02 Contemporary Service in Sanctuary. No 11:00 AM Traditional Service.

Sunday, July 17: 9:00 AM & 11:00 AM Traditional Services in Sanctuary. 11:02 Contemporary Service is OFFSITE at church plant ACC, Location: Herman Sons Ballroom, 525 S. St Mary’s St, San Antonio, TX 78205

Sunday, July 24 (Resume Regular Schedule): 9:00 AM & 11:00 AM Traditional Services in Sanctuary. 11:02 Contemporary Service in Westminster Hall.

Mission Trip Updates

Uganda Team Update: June 14, 2022

God has been at work in amazing ways! From providing for all our needs to making connections that we could never have planned, it has been pure joy to see God at work.  We have seen some really hard things, and yet the ministries we’ve met with and their Ugandan staff are full of joy and hope in the Lord!

God is doing miraculous things in Uganda right now, and the Holy Spirit is clearly present. The team has been able to spend time with the staff of Operation Uganda, Rescue One More, Andy Agaba , and the Buule Music Ministry. Each team member has clearly seen the hand of God moving as they have spent time with these ministries.

Please continue to pray for the team as they meet with ministries in Uganda and discern how God is calling FPC into collaborative ministry partnership. Pray for God to speak clearly, and that the team would listen well and think creatively. Please also pray that the team would remain healthy and Covid free and be sustained with God’s grace each day.



DR Team Update: June 14, 2022

Hello from the Dominican Republic!

We arrived Saturday evening to Santo Domingo. We ate a delicious dinner and were greeted with a warm welcome from the hotel staff. Sunday morning Christina, a long term partner from AMO, picked us up from our hotel and brought us to church with her family. It felt as if we were at First Pres as the community and fellowship reminded us of home. We went out to lunch afterwards with Christina’s family for some delicious Dominican food. Plantains in every form!

Sunday afternoon the Food for the Hungry staff picked us up and drove us about an hour and a half to a small community called El Cercadillo. Our team consists of 6 members from First Pres: Carrie Everson, Alex Solorio, Danielle Couch, Savannah Schatte, Jake McKenzie, and myself, Paige McKenzie. Our Food for the Hungry staff consists of a team leader and two translators.

Our car ride ended on a red dirt road in front of a small house. Our team leader told us our house was like a castle compared to others. It is a 3 bedroom, one bath home. 2 bunk beds in each bedroom. Cement walls and a tin roof. No running water. Bucket showers. Buckets of water to flush. No AC but some portable fans. This was expected, but also a shock when you see it.

As soon as we arrived, we walked to the local church where the community greeted us so warmly with songs, dancing, and kind words. The children dressed up, decorated, and prepared for our arrival.

Our first full day, farmers showed us their land and plants. We saw and tried so much cacao. We also saw okra, corn, squash, bananas, and plantains growing. The farmers were so kind and excited to show us their land. In the afternoon, we helped with VBS and talked with the local teenagers.

There is a sweetness to the relational and slow-paced way of living here in the DR. There is much time spent outside, playing games, and dancing. The people reflect the relational and servant-hearted nature of our Father.

Please pray as the team learning how First Pres can build lasting relationships with the people of El Cercadillo. Also pray that we can reflect God’s love to the people and see the Spirit move this week.

Do not worry about us as we are eating better here than at home!

Paige McKenzie

Day 2 – Savannah Schatte


Hello everyone! 

On our second day in El Cercadillo, we woke up to the smell of Dominican coffee wafting in from the kitchen adjacent to our rooms. We enjoyed a slow start to our morning with our team, including Lea, Robert, and Pedro from Food for the Hungry. We reflected together on James 2:1-10 as we began our day with God’s sweet Word in scripture and in song (our new friend Pedro has a beautiful voice and led us in worship with a full and joyful heart).

We split into two groups today- some of us went on home visits and some of us took part in a work project. The work project was continuing to dig a trench to bring water to a latrine close to the main road in the area of El Cercadillo that we’ve been staying in. There were about 15 people total, including Paige, Danielle, and Alex, that showed up. The group was less at first, but more people eventually showed up to work together- one older man in his 70s even showed up, ready and able to lend his hands. The sun was hot, but the work was good, and the people were equipped to do what was needed with willing hands and servant’s hearts. 

I had the opportunity to be a part of the group that went on home visits, along with Carrie and Jake. We visited 5 houses and got to talk with people about their families and their presence in the community and ask them what they wanted prayer for. At each house we visited, we were welcomed in and given a seat- a physical extension of our gracious and invitational hosts. At some houses we sat together in a living area inside, and at other homes we sat on the front porch, often surrounded by lemon or cacao trees or under the cover of shade trees or pergolas adorned in vines with bright pink flowers. One couple, who have been married for well over 60 years, offered us fresh lemonade and biscuits- as well as some precious words of wisdom from their endurance of life and love. Our friend Pedro brought his guitar and we sang some contemporary worship songs and some Dominican worship songs together at each house, in English and in Spanish. It was so beautiful to hear people sing because they love God and they love to sing to Him together.

We’ve heard lots of hopes, prayers, and dreams for El Cercadillo from the people who live here. It’s been beautiful. People can see what they have and what’s still left undone, and they dream of ways to couple those two things together for the benefit of their community. I’ve been very encouraged by our time here so far and I’m excited to continue to see how God moves- He’s already been moving in big ways! 


Day 3 – Carrie Everson

Greetings From the Dominican Republic!

Today was our third full day in the community of El Circadillo. Our team split into two groups for the second day in a row – one went to do home visits and the other to work on the water supply project. I was with the latter group. Although home visits are definitely my strong suit , I was eager to get my hands dirty (literally) and serve the community through physical labor. In reality, I don’t think we helped the labor progress much, but the men in charge of the project were gracious and let us try our hand at mixing cement, hauling concrete blocks, and digging a trench for a water pipe. The community has struggled to find a consistent water supply. In the past they had a pump that supplied water for the entire community , but it broke a couple of years ago. Since then community leaders, with the help and support of Food For the Hungry, have been working together to find a way to provide consistent, clean water for their community. Eventually they discovered a spring, so they are in the process of digging a well and making a trench that will hold a pipe to pump water to a central location. We had the honor of seeing the work that has been done so far and getting to pick up shovels and do our small part to contribute. Although my arms are not strong, it was a blessing just to be able to partner with these leaders in a small way.

After lunch and some rest time, we had a meeting with community leaders. This was one of my favorite moments of the week. Our leader asked them to share their hopes and dreams for the community, and their responses were inspiring. They spoke about the need for consistent water and more reliable electricity, as well as having a library, daycare, and community center. They spoke with such passion and conviction about their desire to make a better life for their children and grandchildren. But what impressed me most was their hope and unity. Though they have already encountered many setbacks, they continue to dream and work hard for their community. And they are all in it together. There were around 20 leaders gathered on a Wednesday afternoon, but the president of the neighborhood association said that this was only a fourth of the leaders they have – most were at work at the time. As someone who used to be a part of similar work in an inner city neighborhood in San Antonio, I have never seen so many dedicated, hard working leaders working together with such hope and determination. It was inspiring!

After the meeting we went to the church to lead VBS for the kids and then a session for married couples. A local pastor spoke, and then I was able to share a few of my thoughts as well, through Scripture and my own experiences in marriage. It was beautiful to see so many couples there, eager and ready to learn and engage the topic – they ranged from one year to sixty years of marriage! Then we went back to our place for dinner and time with the team and Food for the Hungry Staff. Continuing on the theme of relationships, one of our translators told us the beautiful and engaging story of how he and his wife got together. What a blessing to have so many varied experiences in one day! Although we participated in several different activities, they all had one thing in common – they all reflected the hope and good news of the Gospel. It is so encouraging to be so far from home and yet to see God so clearly at work. How great and how beautiful is His Kingdom!

 


Uvalde Memorial Fund Donations

FPC is partnering with ministries helping with counseling and other needs in Uvalde, Texas, in the wake of the crisis at Robb Elementary. We have set up a fund for Uvalde in Pushpay, and donations can be made HERE. (Note: select “Uvalde Relief” when making contribution).

Please pray for everyone directly affected by this tragedy.

 

Give to Uvalde here

Sunday Cookie Bakers

Calling all Bakers!

We are again offering home-baked cookies during our Sunday Fellowship time and need your help to ensure we have enough each week for all to enjoy. Please consider signing up for one or more days in the coming months.

Our hospitality reflects the hospitality of God who embraces all people with love and grace. Your delicious cookies can bless someone’s Sunday and make them feel welcome to the FPC family.

Help us Love One Another!

Sign Up to BAKE!

Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! – Hebrews 13:2

Memorial Receptions Support

Memorial Receptions Support

All women of the church are invited to join Circle 18 Circle of Concern. Members of this group of women help set up, serve, provide refreshments, and clean up after memorial receptions held after most of the memorial services at the church. Participation in this service is a wonderful way to show your love and support for members of our church, their families, and friends who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

You can volunteer for any amount of service that your schedule allows.

Contact Char An Witten at (210) 341-1856, or Pat Brodeen at (210) 383-3083, for more information.

Prayer Ministry Events

 

National Day of Prayer WALK | Thursday, May 5 | 10:00 AM | FPC Parking Lot

Celebrate the The National Day Of Prayer at the Prayer Walk, Thursday, May 5th starting at 10:00 AM. We will be walking from FPC to Main Plaza. Shuttles available for the walking impaired.

Prayer Training | Sundays | 5:30-8:30 PM | Room 226

Join us for a three part Prayer Training! We will be having training from May – November! Prayer Ministry will pay for anyone to take this training from ONE Training. Please call 210-508-5714 for more details and questions!

Virtual Prayer Room | Wednesday, May 4 | 11:00 AM | Online

On Wednesday, May 4, we will have our very own FPC Virtual Prayer Room. Fill in the registration form below to receive the ZOOM meeting link & phone number you can call to receive and offer prayer. Please don’t hesitate to ask for prayer. Prayer is effective, not because of the great men & women who pray well, but because of a great God who in Christ graciously hears his people. For more info: https://fpcsanantonio.org/virtual-prayer-room/

Praying with the Ministers 

The Deacons, Elders, and Covenant Partners are encouraged to sign up to pray with the minsters before the Traditional Services. The person is to be in the Robing Room 10 minutes prior to the service (8:50 am and 10:50 am). A short prayer with the Pastors starts when all are present or the Pastor says – go ahead. To sign-up please go the this link for Praying with the Ministers: Sign up here!

“Redemptive Work” FREE Dinner Event

Sunday, May 1 | 6:00-7:30 PM | Westminster Hall
All are welcome for this FREE Men’s Ministry and Tribe event, featuring guest speaker Howard Graham, Executive Director of The Center Memphis (thecentermemphis.org). The Center Memphis helps leaders define reality and offer hope through the truth of God’s Word applied to everyday life and work. RSVP required to receive dinner. To register for this special event: fpcsanantonio.org/men.

NAMI – The National Alliance for Mental Illness

For family members that have loved ones that are suffering from mental illness there is help and hope. The National Alliance for Mental Illness helps family members cope with mental illness in the family. You may contact Amy Joyce-Ponder at 210-734-3349 ext.102.  Also NAMI is sponsoring classes for families coping with mental illness. These classes will be given at First Presbyterian Church. Amy can also give you information on the classes.

 

Special Letter to the Congregation

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

We are writing today to make you, the covenant partners of FPC, aware of an important discussion under consideration by the Session (Board of Elders). The discussion is about our Sunday Morning Schedule and the mission of the church.

At the beginning of the pandemic lockdown in 2020, state and local orders required churches to suspend public gatherings. FPC very quickly moved to online services.

In June 2020, we restored in-person worship and have maintained in-person worship since that time (with the exception of July 2020). As we gradually returned to in person worship, the Session had to address issues of health and capacity while also trying to restore full worship opportunities on Sunday morning.

When we returned to in-person worship, the Session instituted health protection protocols and arranged the worship schedule to allow for “Grace and Space” in our building on Sunday morning. The Session decided to reopen traditional worship by establishing a 9:00 a.m. traditional service in the sanctuary and then to reopen the contemporary service by a service at 11:00 a.m. in Westminster Hall. The hour between services was originally set aside to allow for the cleaning and reset of our worship spaces between services, and to alleviate congestion in the halls by giving people more time to move in and out of the building.

As San Antonio and the nation began to reopen more broadly, the Session renewed our Christian Education program (Sunday school) and restored the 11:00 a.m. traditional worship service. The Sunday morning schedule began at 9 AM with the traditional service, followed by a 10 o’clock Sunday school hour and traditional and contemporary worship services at 11:00 AM. This is the current Sunday morning schedule.

Our current Sunday morning schedule reflects necessary changes that were instituted during the thick of the pandemic. There have been, however, both advantages and disadvantages to the current schedule.

The advantage has been that all worship services have been restored. We have also used this time to revitalize Christian education and discipleship for all ages. Christian education (Sunday school) has been re-developed with new offerings and strong new opportunities for participation. We now have 10 adult Sunday school classes that provide not only content, but training and a context for fellowship. Our classes are led by both lay leaders and by clergy. These classes allow for a mixing of people from the various worship services. Adult Sunday morning small groups (a.k.a. Sunday school classes) provide prayer opportunities, discussion opportunities and small group learning opportunities.

The disadvantage to the schedule is that the activities of the morning are compressed together in such a way to make it difficult to move comfortably between events. It has also truncated teaching time within the Sunday school hour and left no room for a designated or times for church-wide fellowship. The opportunity to connect during the “cookie time” has been missed by many.

In the fall of 2021, the Session decided once again to address the Sunday morning schedule. Rather than simply go back to “the way we’ve always done it,” the elders seized on the opportunity to study the issue. Sunday morning is the church’s “prime time“ for worship, community, growth and mobilization, and we want to prayerfully discern how we can make the most effective use of our “prime time“ hours on Sunday mornings to best fulfill our mission.

 

Members of the Session recognized that this is not simply a pragmatic decision. It is a spiritual decision as well. How does our Sunday morning schedule prioritize our mission to make disciples and reflect values as a congregation while also being sensitive to the challenges families and individuals face each week?

The Session authorized a task force comprised of elders from a broad cross-section of the ministries of the church, to study, analyze statistics, conduct focused group discussions, synthesize information, and return with a recommendation.

The challenge before us was to explore ways we could give sufficient time to three major priorities: worship, discipleship growth and education, and fellowship. A schedule that honors and prioritizes Worship, Education and Fellowship will bear fruit in discipleship. The expectations on our covenant partners will be raised, commitment will become more meaningful, people will be challenged to grow, and our church will be strengthened.

With these priorities in mind, the task force has recommended the following schedule to the Session for approval:

8:30-9:30 – Early Worship hour (Traditional Service)

8:15 – 9:45 – Fellowship Time

9:45-10:45 – Sunday school

10:45 – 11:00 – Fellowship Time

11:00-12:00 – Worship Hour (Traditional and Contemporary Services)

 

First Presbyterian Church will continue to offer both traditional and contemporary services by live stream. During the pandemic we made a significant investment in the resources necessary for this ministry and continue to get positive and grateful feedback.

The Session would also like to remind the congregation that at present and in the future, childcare will be provided for children 0 to five years old. Whatever schedule we have in place, our church values quality, safe, and enriching children’s childcare while also encouraging children to grow as disciples by participating with their families in worship.

Many people have expressed interest in this issue, and the Session wants you, the covenant partners of the congregation,  to be aware of the recommendation under consideration. The elders of the Session take seriously their call to Shepherd the congregation and its mission: to make disciples who love Jesus Christ, who love one another and who love the city. We ask you to join us in a season of prayer and discernment over the next few weeks, until the question is brought to the floor of the Session for consideration on March 14, 2022.

We are blessed and grateful that the Lord has brought our congregation through the many “trials, toils and snares” of COVID. Even as this church has grieved the loss of precious members of our church family, you have remained steadfast to be a light for the city. Thank you for praying with us as we consider yet another step of faith.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

Rev. Dr. Bob Fuller

Senior Pastor, Moderator of Session

 

Dr. Norton A. Stuart III, M.D.

Clerk of Session