April 2015 First Presbyterian Church
Return to Main Page

Schedule 2015
  9:30 - Sunday School
10:15 - Fellowship
10:30 - Worship

Inside this issue:
Page 2
Newsletter Staff
Education Comm Report
Inreach/Outreach Report
Page 3
Easter Brunch
Page 4
Building & Grounds Report
Page 5
Session Minutes
Page 6
Important Dates
Always in Our Hearts
Study Group Planned
Page 7

Dear Church Family,

Outside my bedroom, about 30 feet from the porch there is a tree. As trees go it isn’t the most majestic or beautiful, but it’s a big, good tree nevertheless. As is so often the case here in the sort of south of East Texas (I believe its zone 9 in the gardening books) the leaves stay on our trees way into winter and sometimes into spring. This year the leaves just hung around, even with all the rain. Then a month or so ago down they came --- rake, rake, rake, then a wind and the ground is covered again.

When the leaves have finally fallen there it is--- the spare see through of winter. But with this particular tree there is something else. There’s this mess --- the vine that grows up from beside --- also with no leaves. The graceful lean of the branches is obscured by this asymmetrical mess on the right side. Craggy and every which a way and no leaves --- it looks like a narly knot of brown bark –braided and twisted – rope-like with twigs in every direction. And then, Saturday there it was ------ the beautiful, variegated, pendulous globules of petals. Against those ugly bare branches – here are the most exquisite blossoms. It’s the wisteria. And more and more I notice the announcers of spring. Isn’t it weird how so many pop out of bare, rough textured branches – ahead of the freshness of soft, green, new leaves. Forsythia, bridal wreath, flowering quince, redbud and more.

The wonders of God’s creation. I always hum to myself the Sunday School song of childhood –

Oh who can make a flower?
I’m sure I can’t, can you?
Oh who can make a flower?
No one but God it’s true.

I know it wouldn’t be the same if we lived in the southern hemisphere, but I just love the coinciding of Easter and spring. Spring is such a visceral reminder and demonstration of our God who makes all things new ---- over, and over and over again. Flowers blooming, spring rains, new soft leaves, bees, birds and wonderful odors – the incense of spring. And our attention is brilliantly called to the blooming of Glory – a cross and resurrection. And we are made new – craggy, crusty, jaded, tired, stuck, worn, imperfect, prickly, rough bark and all. Oh who can heal the broken? No one but God it’s true.

Blessings of the season,


         Page 2
Newsletter Staff

Carole Cook

Kathy Barker

Larry McCarroll
Carole Cook

Tolly Wildcat; Carole Cook and anyone else who would like to share a church photograph in the Newsletter.

All Moderators of Sesson Committees and anyone else who would like to participate. The office and the editor have the session approved guidelines for what may go in the newsletter. Any exceptions to the guidelines will be sent by the editor to the session for approval. No political article, please. We always need helpers for putting the newsletter together each month: labeling; stamping and mailing. Many thanks to Angie Goodpasture for offering her services in this area and helping out.

Sunday School is continuing with downloadable studies from The Thoughtful Christian. We have just completed five sessions on the history of racism. The next two or three sessions will look at “Biblical Accounts of the Crucifixion.” We will continue to use The Thoughtful Christian studies for the rest of the year, with an emphasis on social gospel subjects, interspersed with more traditional Bible study and theological subjects.
OUTREACH/ INREACH - Mary Alice Adamson, Moderator
MARCH, 2015

1. The Mission Advisory Board of HOPE met 3/12/15 and the information for the congregations represented is as follows:

A.The churches are asked to participate in March Madness which will include collecting food items or cash donations for the feeding programs from March 17th – April 6th. This will be a competition between the churches. One food item will equal one dollar when all is tallied.

B. Local businesses will be asked to have a similar drive in April and May.

C. To Your Health Luncheon at the Kitchen of HOPE will be Wednesday, 3/25/15. The subject is colon cancer. There is no charge for the luncheon; reservations are required and may be made by calling HOPE.

D. Holy Week Services with donations benefiting HOPE will be held at noon at the Trinity Episcopal Church. Lunch is provided.

E. A Celebrity Host Event, HOPE GOES TO THE MOVIES, will be held on Saturday, 4/18/15, 7 PM, Central Baptist Church Family Center. To be a host, sign up for a table ($200/table) and invite friends to come (8 per table).

F. Life Enrichment Classes are scheduled for May. More information later.

2. A Memorial Concert honoring Helen Fordyce is being arranged and is scheduled for Sunday, April 26th, at 4 PM in our sanctuary.

Return to Top

         Page 3

Easter Brunch
We had a delicious breakfast prior to the Easter Service on Sunday, April 5th. Kenneth Cook was in charge of the kitchen and made three breakfast casseroles, cheesy hot biscuits, a fruit dish, and other delights. He and Mary Alice Adamson planned the occasion with careful detail. Kenneth arrived at the church kitchen by 6:30 AM to get the cooking started. Many others brought others dishes and our hungry group ate virtually everything. It was a good way to start the day, especially since it was pouring rain outside. Many thanks for Tolly and Wayne Wildcat for decorating the tables and the room for our brunch feast. Fresh dogwood blooms were a good reminder it was Easter. Martha Kelly and Mike Vaughn also brought food so we were in no danger of going hungry that day. And a special thanks for all who helped clean up the tables and kitchen. It was a true group effort which made our Easter even more special.

Return to Top

         Page 4

BUILDING AND GROUNDS - Wayne Wildcat, Moderator
March 19th report:

Motion was made to allow Sterling Steelman to renew Reliant Energy contract for another 3 years at their quoted 7.2 cents per unit (vs. 7 cents they charged the last three years.)

KEYS - Keys have been made. Old keys were made for new doors. Most people’s old keys work in the locks; if your keys do not work, return them and get a new “old” key. Please bring any wrenches back.

AC/Heating system - We bought new filters, which will need to be changed about every 6 months. We will show people how to do this, and where the supply is (in the Boy Scout room).

We should have a more efficient system with clean filters. Filters had not been changed for years. We cleaned the room itself and may clean the coils or get Maddox to do that.

Bid and Bills to Building and Grounds Committee - We have asked that bids and bills be emailed or sent to Building and Grounds, top 2 members. Treasurer will continue to get the bids and bills as well. Since Building and Grounds is usually present for bids and work, they can closely monitor if bills reflect work done.

Refer problems you see to a B&G committee members, or let us know you are fixing it. Lists of members on all committees on bulletin boards, Kathy’s window.

Building and Grounds Committee (Facility and Grounds):

Wayne Wildcat
Larry McCarroll
Tolly Wildcat
Ken Cook
Sterling Steelman
John Ross
Ann Chandler
Patrick Matthews
Martha Kelly
Worship Service Field Trip Planned to FPC Tyler for Special Program & Music
On April 19th we are planning to travel in a caravan and worship at First Presbyterian Tyler. We will meet in the parking lot at 9:30 and car pool up. You may drive on your own if you would like. It will be dynamic Sunday.

On that day FPC Tyler has a tradition of celebrating our Scottish heritage. There will be kilts and bagpipes and lots of singing. This year the Lyon College Bagpipe Band will lead in the worship service. Last year they were awarded second place in worldwide competition.

Return to Top

         Page 5

SESSION NOTES - Carole H. Cook, Clerk of Session
Session met on March 19, 2015 for its regular meeting in the church’s session room. Rev. Victoria Griffin called the meeting to order at 6:30 PM and opened the meeting with a prayer and a reading. A quorum was present.

Elders present were: Sterling Steelman, Treasurer; Carole H. Cook, Clerk of Session; John Ross; Ann Chandler, Mary Alice Adamson, Wayne Wildcat, Ken Cook and Patrick Matthews.

Rev. Griffin went over the Consent agenda process since the session will now be using that type agenda. Session will now meet at 5:30 PM, 3rd Thursday of the month at the church.

Treasurer Sterling Steelman presented the March financial report, reviewed it with the session, and answered questions pertaining to the report. Report was noted by consensus as received. Sterling made the motion to recover HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement) of 12-31-14 and continue annually. Seconded. Passed.

Items were lifted from the consent agenda that needed discussion. Vote on consent agenda passed. Minutes of the February 19 session meeting were approved as amended. Rev. Griffin brought the session up-to-date about members and regular visitors in the hospital or ill at home. Cynthia Durrett had knee replacement surgery and is going home soon.

Rev. Griffin gave her pastor’s report. She attended Presbytery meeting March 7 along with Ken and Carole Cook, Patrick Matthews and Martha Kelly. Rev. Griffin also reported on her conversation with 1st Tyler regarding lunch bunch in Bullard to reach out to that community. Tentative launch week of April 20th. Music is being arranged for Worship. The Helen Fordyce Memorial Concert will be April 26th.

Wayne Wildcat gave the Building and Grounds report. He moved that Sterling Steelman be allowed to renew Reliant Energy contract for another 3 years, at their quoted 7.2 cents per unit (vs. 7 cents they charged the last 3 years. Seconded. Passed. Rest of report may be found in another section of the newsletter.

Personnel and Finance Committee had no report. Outreach/Inreach (Mission) report is elsewhere in this newsletter.

Ann Chandler reported reported for the Worship committee that we now have new communion serving ware as a gift from a member. There may be some changes made in communion with details to be announced later.

Christian Education is continuing its adult classroom study of the Thoughtful Christian. Class regularly has twelve attendees. Report elsewhere in newsletter.

Patrick Matthews brought up the question as to why there was no communion at the Presbytery meeting. Rev. Griffin is going to look into the situation.

Session had no unfinished business. No communications. Session meeting was adjourned with prayer by Rev. Griffin at 7:25 PM.

Return to Top

         Page 6

Important Dates

April 1 - Wednesday of Holy Week
April 2 - Maundy Thursday; service at church starts at 6 PM; Communion
April 3 - Good Friday
April 4 - Great Vigil of Easter
April 5 - Easter/Resurrection of the Lord; Communion
April 9 - New Beginnings Team Leaders Meeting at church at 6 PM
April 12 - 2nd Sunday of Easter; Lynette Soloman preaching
April 16 - Session meeting at 5:30 PM in session room
April 19 - 3rd Sunday of Easter; Field Trip Worship Service to FPC Tyler to hear the Lyon College Bagpipe group from Scotland.
April 26 - 4th Sunday of Easter
* Kay Steelman’s mom, Marge Magouyrk, at Bonner Place and not feeling well.
* Mary Johnson has moved to a Retirement Village in Longview.
* Mary Louise McGaughey is in Angelina House.
* Paul McElhaney and Ann McElhaney both continue to have health difficulties and need our prayers.
* Willie B. Paine continues rehab at Senior Care and is feeling much better

Please keep all in your hearts and your prayers.
Study Group Planned
You are not finished yet. You are “in the making.” You have the capacity to learn, mature, think, change, and grow. You also have the freedom to stagnate, regress, constrict, and lose your way. Which road will you take?”

“…all of us play a role in choosing and creating our futures –as individuals and as communities. We don’t need to wait passively for history to happen to us. We can become protagonists in our own story. We can make the road by walking” “…we are in the early stages of a new moment of emergence, pulsing with danger and promise. In this catalytic period, all our spiritual tradition will be challenged and all will change---“

These are quotes from the preface to Brian McLaren’s latest book We Make the Road by Walking. Truer words could not be spoken. We are on the threshold of change (always), and in the midst of change (always). You are invited to form with a group of people who want to meet change intentionally and to welcome the wider community to the rich life of disciples of Jesus Christ. All are welcome to come and have lunch at 1pm at the Four Way Café in Flint on Thursday May 7th. We will gather in fellowship and begin to develop new connections while studying together. Each person is responsible for their own meal and you are welcome to come only for the fellowship. This is a joint adventure of First Pres Tyler and First Pres Jacksonville. It grows out of a calling to enrich our own lives and to offer something close by for folks in the Bullard/ Flint/Gresham area. Rev. Vicki Griffin will serve as convener. The staff of 4 Way Café welcomes various groups that meet informally around the tables in the afternoon and assure us that there will be plenty of room. We invite and encourage anyone affiliated with our two congregations to come and bring friends. We will also welcome anybody who notices and wants to join the conversation. Brian McLaren states he wrote We Make the Road by Walking “to help individuals and groups seize this moment and walk wisely and joyfully into the future together” and we intend to do just that.

We will use scripture and his book as a framework for discussion. The book is widely available either in Kindle or hardcopy format. Bring your favorite Bible translation to add to the fun.

Return to Top

         Page 7 - Calendar, April 2015           Join in on Praying for Our Church Family

Sterling Steelman
Angie Goodpasture
Jerry Barnett

Guest Minister








Palm / Passion Sunday

Holy Week

Prayers for Ann Chandler

ALANON Meeting 5PM



Maundy Thursday


Good Friday


Great Vigil of

Larry McCarroll
Patrick Matthews
Martha Kelly

Easter Sunday Sunrise service
Love's Lookout

Easter Breakfast
Fellowship Hall

Prayers for the Cook Family

Trinity Circle

ALANON Meeting 5PM





Lynette Soloman
Mary Peacock
Wayne & Tolly Wildcat

Prayers for Shannon Smyrl


ALANON Meeting 5PM




Goes to the Movies


Worship Service
Field Trip
to FPC Tyler

Prayers for Patrick Matthews


ALANON Meeting 5PM


Session Meeting at Church at 5:30 PM




Mary Alice Adamson
Sara Hadskey

Prayers for Sara Hadskey


ALANON Meeting 5PM



Return to Top