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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