If you haven’t been upstairs on a Sunday morning recently, you are missing out! Our nursery is full of our youngest members and our elementary sunday school class growing! Here are a few photos from last Sunday (2/17). Click here to see more photos!
Join the Bible Challenge
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to read the Bible from cover to cover, you are not alone. Dani Howard and Dick Liberty began their journey through the scriptures during Advent, using the book The Bible Challenge as their guide. Their experience has been so great that they invite you to join them!
Check out the daily posts on our FPCG Facebook Group to help remind you.
Daily reading of the Bible will change you personally, but can it bring transformation to our church as well? There’s only one way to find out: Take the challenge!
Contact Dani Howard, Dick Liberty, or Rev. Porter if you would like to get more information.
The Bible Challenge provides participants with a daily meditation “along with questions and prayers to stimulate reflection on the readings and help readers apply God’s wisdom,” editor Marek P. Zabriskie explains. In addition, the website offers tips on how to make best use of the daily meditation, ways to connect with other readers, and other resources for your enrichment. Periodically, FPCG members and friends who take the challenge will gather to share with and support one another.
“Hymn Notes” Bible Study with Sharan Knoell
Have you ever wondered about the stories behind some of your favorite hymns? Who wrote them and what inspired them?
If you love Amazing Grace, you’ll appreciate it even more after hearing Seminarian Sharan Knoell share the dramatic story of the composer’s life. In addition, among other aspects, she’ll examine how the music interprets the text, how the hymn has been used in contexts beyond worship, and its theological significance. After experiencing this class, you will never sing or hear Amazing Grace the same way again!
Let Sharan know if you have suggestions of other hymns you would like her to illuminate. Your favorite may be the focus of the next offering of Hymn Notes.
By Rev. Nancy Muth
Happy New Year! Edith Lovejoy Pierce wrote this about a new year: “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”
What a great way to begin 2013, by seeing it as a book whose pages are blank and we will each write the book both for ourselves and our church by seizing the opportunities that which God presents to us.
As friends and members of The First Presbyterian Church in Germantown I encourage you to recognize the many opportunities to participate in things like Bible Study, prayer, choirs (Chancel, Gospel and Bell), working with our children and youth, serving on one of our many committees, volunteering with our outreach programs like the Crisis Ministry and Interfaith Hospitality Network, being regular in your attendance at worship, calling or writ-ing a member or friend of our church who is not able to attend any longer, attending special events, introducing yourself to someone you do not know very well in the church, inviting someone to come to worship or a program at First Church.
Oprah Winfrey said, “Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.”
Cheers! Let us all take advantage of this opportunity to be more involved in the life and ministry of our church -of Christ’s Church that he has entrusted in our hands. Let us start this new year ready to roll up our sleeves and jump into the opportunities for ministry that are before us.
Contemplate the words of this poem written by William Arthur Ward:
“Another fresh new year is here Another year to live! To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me To live each day with zest
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!”
Happy New Year! I look forward to seeing you in church.
Book titles for the new year!
By Deborah Thompson
As Christmas is the season of peace, the books in this month’s column focus on peace, the absence of peace, hopes for peace, singular instances of peace, and peacemakers. Although most books are for grades K-5 (*mark titles for older or advanced readers), all readers will find them inviting.
Amnesty International. We Are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures. Frances Lincoln, 2008.
Brooks, Jeremy. Let There Be Peace: Prayers from Around the World. Illustrated by Jude Daly. Frances Lincoln, 2009
- DeLisa, Jolene. The Children’s Peace Book: Children Around the World Share Their Dreams of Peace in Words and Pictures. Blue Point Books, 2010.
- Dolphin, Laurie. Neve Shalom, Wahat Al-Salam: Oasis of Peace. Photographs by Ben Dolphin Scholastic, 1993.
- Durell, Ann & Marilyn Sachs. (Eds.). The Big Book for Peace. Dutton, 1990.*
- Ellis, Deborah. Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak. Groundwood, 2006.*
- Greenfield, Eloise. When the Horses Ride By: Children in the Times of War. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Lee & Low, 2006.
- Hamanaka, Sheila. On the Wings of Peace: Writers and Illustrators Speak Out for Peace in Memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Clarion, 1995.*
- Hines, Anna Grossnickle. Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace. Henry Holt, 2011.
- Judge, Lita. One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II. Hyperion, 2007.
- Katz, Karen. Can You Say Peace? Henry Holt, 2006.
- Kerley, Barbara. A Little Peace. National Geographic, 2007.
- King, Martin Luther Jr. I Have a Dream. Illustrated by Various Artists. Scholastic, 1997.
- Marx, Trish. Sharing Our Homeland. Photographs by Cindy Karp. Lee & Low, 2010.
- McCutcheon, John. Christmas in the Trenches. Illustrated by Henri Sorensen. Peachtree, 2006.
- Near, Holly. The Great Peace March. Illustrated by Lisa Disemini. Henry Holt, 1997.
- Murphy, Jim. Truce: The Day the Soldiers Stopped Fighting. Scholastic, 2009.*
- Nivola, Claire A. Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai. FSG, 2008.
- Parr, Todd. The Peace Book. Little Brown, 2009.
By Don Carlin
The shepherds were in the fields, slightly bored,
Keeping distracted watch over their flocks by night,
When one of them suddenly spotted an interesting video on the internet -
A video of an angel choir announcing the birth of a baby in a nearby town.
“Nice touch,” the shepherds thought, “A neat way to make a birth announcement!”
Unable to abandon their night jobs,
And unmotivated to take a good brisk walk anyway,
The shepherds all texted words of congratulations
To the number posted on the bottom of the screen.
The choir video went viral,
And an old preacher in Jerusalem made his own sermon video,
Forwarding it to the baby’s parents.
In the video, he extolled the baby’s virtues,
Made predictions, and offered unsolicited parenting advice.
Celebrate the Season with FPCG
Christmas Festival: You are invited to the FPCG Christmas Festival for all ages on Saturday, December 15 at 11:00am-3pm. Invite your neighbors along to join this celebration of Christ’s birth. There will be a Christmas play featuring the children of First Church, gingerbread house construction and other crafts, a live nativity in our parking lot, a Christmas carol sing, and perhaps a cameo appearance from the North Pole. Lunch will be provided but please bring some Christmas cookies to add to the menu.
Staff Christmas Gift: Most of us have experienced the “extra” each of these staff members put into their job. Staff Appreciation Christmas Gifts will be given to Kevin, Eileen, David, Christian, Heidi, Terry, Harry and Whaley just prior to the holiday. You can share in these appreciation gifts by sending your contribution (checks made out to The First Presbyterian Church in Germantown) to the Personnel Committee.
Memorial Poinsettias: The poinsettias in the sanctuary during the Christmas season are in memory and honor of our loved ones. As is our custom, these plants will be delivered after Christmas to the sick and shut-in of our congregation. Please contact Brent Haddix at the church office if you would like your family members’ or friends’ names included in the worship bulletin. The cost is $15 per line. Listings will be accepted until Tuesday, December 18.
Sunday, December 2nd at 3:00pm
Join us for this annual tradition as we celebrate season (and the first Sunday in Advent) a performances of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah.
Our Germantown Oratorio choir, together with The Philadelphia Sinfonia, will perform Handel’s classic work. As always, we will close the concert with a rousing hymn sing. You won’t want to miss it!
After the concert, all are invited to gather in Longstreth Auditorium for our Christmas Dinner!
Don’t you love seeing someone with a big smile on his or her face?
What is it that makes people smile? Children smile at the simplest of things. Maybe just by being offered a chocolate chip cookie at coffee hour or getting an invitation to a friend’s birthday party or receiving an A on a spelling test.
What types of things make adults smile? When they watch something they love like a sporting event or a concert or a movie. Maybe a grin will show forth when they see that special someone or when they receive a compliment.
What makes you smile? Does it make you smile when you do something for someone else? You might surprise them with a phone call or help them out with a project or visit them when they are ill. How do you feel when you are the reason that someone is joyful?
In the 6th chapter of the Old Testament book of Numbers it reads: “The Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.” One biblical translation interprets that verse as “The Lord smiles on you, and will be gracious to you.”
What do you think would cause God to smile on you?
Might it be when you are kind, helpful, loving or generous? I can see God smiling on us when we use the gifts and talents with which we have been blessed for the good of others. These are the types of things that would cause God to be joyful. And if God is joyful, that gives us good reason to be joyful as well and to smile!
This month we will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a day to remember our blessings and to be thankful for them. It is also a time to be a blessing to others and give them a reason to be thankful and in so doing to make God joyful.
This month is also the time in the church when we are invited to make a pledge to our church-to God’s Church-that we will financially support the ministry and mission which God calls us to do here in Germantown. Our stewardship theme is Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity.
May we be joyful in our giving, smiling as we share what we have been given so that it can both spread the message of the Gospel and also be a blessing to others. Together let us make God smile!
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
See you in church!
Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (NPIHN) is holding its 20th anniversary Empty Bowl Dinner on Wednesday, November 14 at Chestnut Hill College’s Sorgenti Auditorium from 4:30 until 8:30 p.m.
You’ve never made it to an Empty Bowl Dinner? This Newsworks article will give you a good idea of the fun we have had over the years at each Empty Bowl Dinner.
This is always a wonderful event and one that truly results in helping NPIHN make a difference in the life of families transitioning from homelessness to stability.
Last year over 2,400 people attended the Empty Bowl Dinner, with 120 local restaurants donating soup, desserts and refreshments. $24,000 was raised to support NPIHN families and this year’s goal is $50,000.
You can help reach that goal by supporting this special event. Individual tickets are $20 per person and $8 for students and children.