Second Sunday of Advent

December 6, 2015

10:00 AM Worship

Holy Communion

       Rev. Kathryn Kibbie Laird preaching

       First Presbyterian Church Choir  

 10:15 AM Sunday's Cool for grades K-7

11:15 AM Coffee Hour

11:30 AM Christmas Pageant Rehearsal

11:30 AM Worship, Music and Arts Committee


Third Sunday of Dove Program

Dove boxes provide holiday food to families in need. This year marks the 47th year of the Person-to-Person Dove Program. Christmas Doves would never have been possible without the enthusiastic support of area churches. You can take a Dove and prepare gift- wrapped box(es) of food  ­­-- this is a wonderful way to enlist children in the joy of giving; Participation is open to everyone. Or can be as simple as making a direct donation to families/adults through P2P.  

Each year, the First Presbyterian Church joins with other churches, to participate in P2P’s Christmas Dove Program. Through this program, participants respond to the needs of families and seniors in our community who might otherwise go without this Holiday Season.  Simply select a White or Green Dove on Sunday, December 6. Then follow directions printed on it -- and bring joy into another home this Season. 

White Dove: Fill a box or two with food and love for Christmas Day. All necessary food items and directions are on the reverse side of the Dove. A $15 contribution is required so P2P can purchase a supermarket gift card for each family to buy their own choice of meat.  The Doves will be hung on tree at the narthex.  Fill in the back dove with your name, e-mail & telephone number and return it (along with the $15) to the “Dove Lady” Karen Hanson (and her team).  

Green Dove: A financial contribution to P2P’s Scholarship or Emergency Assistance Fund. Scholarship will enable eager students to continue their education. Emergency Assistance Fund will help someone with a fuel bill, rent or a medical bill not covered by Medicaid.  Please mail your financial contribution directly to P2P; the address being on the Green Dove. 

RETURN your filled, closed, wrapped box to the Narthex on Saturday, December 12. If you fill your box prior to December 12, you may certainly bring it to church earlier. If you have any questions regarding the P2P  Christmas Dove Program, please contact the church office (203) 966-0002.





Choose welcome, not fear

November 17, 2015

Office of the General Assembly, Louisville, KY

Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church USA

We are a world grieving. We mourn the many deaths, not only in Paris, but also in Beirut, Baghdad, and Egypt. Any sense of security we have had is badly compromised by these horrific events; moreover, our fear of ISIS grows with every successful execution of its violent agenda.

Much has been taken from us but we still hold the choice as to how we react in our grief and fear. Many politicians have rushed from grief to fearful judgment. More than half of the governors of our states have attempted to protect their citizens by issuing declarations denying entry of Syrian refugees into their states (as if all of the potential terrorists are Syrian). Some have gone so far as to call for denial of entry to all refugees at the present time, as if that will guarantee safety to the citizens of their state.

As U.S. governors pledge to refuse Syrian refugees within their states and some presidential hopefuls promise to abandon the refugee program altogether, we the people have a choice to make. We can choose to follow those who would have us hide in fear or we can choose hope.

Our nation, for decades, has chosen hope and welcome for those fleeing war and persecution. Since 1975, more than three million refugees have found safety and security within our nation’s borders. Right now 11 million Syrians cannot go to school, tend to their land, or raise their children in the place they know as home. They cannot do these things because they, themselves, have been terrorized for far too long by numerous factions, including their own government.

Do we choose to abandon our plan to protect these Syrians because the people who have been threatening them are now threatening the West as well? ISIS has taken lives; they have taken our sense of security. Do we now hand over our hope and compassion to them?

Obviously, we need to move forward with a disciplined response, expediting security checks such as those employed by the U.S. refugee admission program. To refuse certain persons who are fleeing terror and persecution because they are “Syrian” or of some other particular ethnic group is unjust and may be illegal under U.S. law. We can be disciplined and, at the same time, led to love beyond our own limited, fearful vision.

After the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples hid in fear. They locked the doors but God had another plan. Jesus appeared to them and said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (Jn. 20:21). We were not meant to hide. We were meant to walk out in hope and compassion.  Author, poet, and peace activist Wendell Berry wrote, “Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of Creation” (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays, “The Body and the Earth,” p. 99). The way to end terror is to prove that those who demonize us are wrong. We are not a heartless secular culture. We must witness to the Gospel with generous hospitality. To hide in fear is a mistake. Fear is the ammunition of terror. Hope is the best defense.






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