January 2015 First Presbyterian Church
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Schedule 2015
  9:30 - Sunday School
10:15 - Fellowship
10:30 - Worship

Inside this issue:
Page 2
Page 3
Miracle Rex Ryan
Page 4
Building & Grounds
Page 5
Session Notes
Worship Committee
Page 6
Education Committee
Always in Our Hearts
Page 7

Dear Church Family,

Welcome to 2015. In this issue of the newsletter are reports on 2014 committee activities and soon we will finish up this first phase of News Beginnings and get an idea of what we want to happen in the next phase. Your new session is meeting for a half day retreat on Saturday to work on plans for the ongoing work of the church and to imagine what other ways we will deepen our spiritual growth and wisdom.

Committees will be reforming for the year and it is a great time to strengthen or shift your engagement and relationship in our community. There are all kinds of tasks and we need all kinds of ideas ----- from small one time tasks all the way to complicated ongoing tasks and always the need for ideas. I urge you to call me and let’s be in conversation about how you hear God calling you.

The passage from John below is taken from Eugene Peterson’s translation entitled “The Message”. This passage makes clear that we harvest (reap benefits) from the sowing of others and we sow for ourselves and others. It is a circle of love. It tells us that the joy is in participation.

34-35 Jesus said, “The food that keeps me going is that I do the will of the One who sent me, finishing the work he started. As you look around right now, wouldn’t you say that in about four months it will be time to harvest? Well, I’m telling you to open your eyes and take a good look at what’s right in front of you. These Samaritan fields are ripe. It’s harvest time!

36-38 “The Harvester isn’t waiting. He’s taking his pay, gathering in this grain that’s ripe for eternal life. Now the Sower is arm in arm with the Harvester, triumphant. That’s the truth of the saying, ‘This one sows, that one harvests.’ I sent you to harvest a field you never worked. Without lifting a finger, you have walked in on a field worked long and hard by others.”

My prayer is that we will all link arms this year and experience the joy of life as a particular community of welcoming followers of Jesus. Let us learn and grow and work and play in intentional service.

With much joy,

Pastor Vicki Getting a "Birds Eye View" in the Bucket

         Page 2

Outreach / Inreach Year End Report - Mary Alice Adamson, Moderator

This branch of the committee began by asking all in our church family to lift one another in prayer as we walked this faith journey together and to especially remember those of our congregation who are ill, grieving and in need of support. Prayers were requested for our congregation as we explore the possibilities which are open to our church through the New Beginnings program. Planning and arrange-ments were made for congregational gatherings, such as the Lenten pancake breakfast and Thanksgiving luncheon, and for participation in such events as the Empty Bowl.


Close association with the mission programs of HOPE was sustained through regular attendance at the meetings of the Mission Advisory Board at HOPE. This relationship not only kept our congregation advised of the mission needs at HOPE, but also aware of the mission activities of other participating congregations. Our congregation provided volunteers who served quarterly in the Kitchen of HOPE, packed Brown Bags monthly for end of month distribution to those in need, drove the HOPE van weekly, provided case management, assisted with the Post Office food drive for HOPE, participated in the Feinstein Food Challenge and the Souper Bowl of Caring for HOPE, packed Christmas baskets, served on HOPE boards, and supported the various programs of HOPE with donations. Our adult Sunday school class has supported the Back Pack program at HOPE with weekly contributions. Church members have participated in various fund raisers for HOPE, including the Castle Event, Empty Bowl, Not-a-Dinner, Back Pack Christmas Ornaments, and the Zumba-thon.

Two of our members served as volunteer tutors for elementary students at Father’s Love. Church members served on the Cherokee County Family Enrichment Coalition advisory board for the Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY)/Parents as Teachers programs and as instructors for the Parents Anonymous of Tyler which meets at our church. The Pentecost Offering was taken on 6/8/14 and 40% of this offering was used to support youth needs in our community.

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         Page 3

Rex Ryan
of FPC Member
Ann Chandler
Son of
Lesley and
Casey Ryan

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         Page 4

Building & Grounds Year End Report - Wayne Wildcat, Moderator
We end 2014 with about 60% of our restoration project completed. The project began in 2013 with an audit of the physical condition of the building. A report was prepared and presented to the session. Bids were sought and received and a small critical part of the project was done in order to help with roof leaks. That repair was funded through reserved funds earmarked for building maintenance. In May of 2014 the session gratefully received a major gift from a congregation member who wished to support the preserva-tion of the building and to ensure our church was a place that continues to serve God. The previous bid was slightly revised and work began in October. Much of the work is not visible but important to the integrity of the structure. Some of the highlights are painting and replacing rotten wood on the sanctuary (exterior), repainting the central hall and stairway, sandblasting, repainting and powder coating the stair rails, removing rust and repainting the fire escape, wall switches to control lights in fellowship hall, pointing the brick, removing and replacing exterior siding on the wall of the scout room, replacement of roof edge capping, restraining of concrete molding on education building (at the top), and replacing the fellowship hall exterior doors, the garden entrance door, and the back alley door. The back alley door will be reversed to open outward and a small extension to the top step will make it more even and reduce the fall risk. The steeple has been repaired and the clear story windows restored.

Throughout the year necessary maintenance was handled. In June there was a second floor leak that did quite a bit of damage to the upstairs floor and the copier room ceiling. The light fixture had to be re-placed and the ceiling will be repainted in the current project. In October our winter preparation for the heating system revealed the need to drain and clean the boilers and that was done. All the HVAC filters were replaced.

We are having to do fairly frequent lighting/electric repairs due to age mostly. This will be ongoing. We are consulting electricians on the advisability and affordability of ballast or fixture replacements and the possibility of greater energy efficiency. Many thanks to all who have assisted in maintenance and repair and to the team that makes sure the building is comfortable by coming up and turning the systems on and off the night before worship and for meetings and events.

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         Page 5

Session Notes - Carole H. Cook, Clerk of Session
The Personnel and Finance committee has had a busy year since it handles both Personnel and also Finance. Committee members have remained the same for the past 3 years although all are going to rotate off the session at the end of this year and one rotated off the year before and remained an active member of the committee.

Members of P & F are Sterling Steelman (Church treasurer), Mike Vaughn, and Carole Cook, Moderator.

According to the church’s web site, the function of the P & F committee is:

PERSONNEL AND FINANCE: In the area of Personnel, this committee generally oversees the employees of the Church and performs annual reviews, all in accordance with Session approved position descriptions and guidelines. In the area of Finance, this committee assists the minister and Session in formulating policies and procedures to properly manage our resources in accordance with the polity expressed in our Book of Order, and as good stewards. It has oversight in the management of Church finances and works closely with the Treasurer, and conducts our annual stewardship campaign.

This year the committee has been exceptionally busy with financial matters and have been working with the Texas Presbyterian Foundation. Funds were transferred to TPF when it was shown that TPF had greater consistent returns in our investments with them when compared with many other institutions. We also conducted the Pastor’s Annual Performance Review with Rev. Victoria B. Griffin the last two years and the reports were given to every member of the session. We have talked extensively with Rev. Griffin about a Stewardship Campaign and have worked with her to set up our own campaign. Our members are also actively involved in New Beginnings. Personnel and Finance is not an easy job, but it is one that demands attention every year as the church changes and adapts to the current financial times.
Year End Worship Committee Report - Ann Chandler, Moderator
Communion was held 6 times since Thanksgiving. Served communion to 16-20 people each time. Next communion will be January 11 (Baptism of the Lord).

Sunday, December 21, instead of Joy Offering, congregation gave money to aid families in need (local).

Advent candles lit with members in charge 5 times, ending with Christmas Eve. The last candle will be the Christ Candle.

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         Page 6

Education Committee Year End Report, 2014 - John Ross, Moderator
The Christian Education Committee plans and conducts the educational program of the church. During 2014, the Sunday school class met at 9:30 on Sunday mornings, using primarily downloaded lessons from the Thoughtful Christian. These lessons were disseminated to the members of the class beforehand by email. These lessons are a mixture of traditional Bible study, Bible history, and application of Christian prin-ciples to contemporary life. John and Madeleine Ross alternated teaching the classes. When they were out of town, Mike Vaughn conductive a series of studies of the confessions of the church. When he was not available, Ray Cryer led the class. During much of the fall, Ray also led an informal discussion group on Thursday evenings.

The Committee seeks to help create well-rounded disciples who grow spiritually through learning what ex-pectations for Christians are and learning how to apply them in daily life in the local Jacksonville community as well in the wider world through the connectional church. As an exercise in application, the Sunday school class collects a weekly donation for the Backpack Program at H. O. P. E., which provides food over the weekend for disadvantaged students of the Jacksonville Independ-ent School District.
* Kay Steelman’s mom, Marge Magouyrk, at Bonner Place and not feeling well.
* Mary Johnson has moved to a Retirement Village in Whitehouse.
* Mary Louise McGaughey resides at Angelina House and is enjoying herself.
* 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.
* Jerry Barnett injured his wrist and has surgery scheduled the first week of January.

Please keep all in your hearts and your prayers.
How About Some Personal Spiritual Growth in 2015?

With the burgeoning of the Internet there a many, many opportunities to receive daily devotions, Bible verses, daily lectionary, essays and everything imaginable. Most of these are free. A couple that might be of interest that are without cost:

On the PC(USA) website you can subscribe to Daily and Weekly Lectionary Readings and there are also sub-scriptions to newsletters and updates from both our national agencies, the mission field, and news about ongo-ing efforts on many of the ways the church works in the world.

There is a website called BibleGateway.com where you can Bible study in many ways and there are subscrip-tions to various reading schemes for Bible study ----- like reading the Bible (or Old Testament of New Testa-ment) in a year or a 90 days. This website has available a good portion of the different Bible translations and you can read passages in your preference or compare different versions.

If this a little daunting but sounds good - come see me and I'll show you how or give me a call and I'll walk through it with you.

A note - websites are published by individuals and organizations. Both have a point of view - keep that in mind as you read. I'm also available to share some of my favorite sites for commentary, essays and study.

Growing with you,


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

Dennis Durrett
Nasi Kombos
Martha Kelly
Ann McElhaney

Guest Minister















Shannon Smyrl
Ann chandler

Prayers for Martha Kelly

Epiphany of the Lord
Trinity Circle

AlAnon meets in Session room 5:00PM

Parenting Class meets in fellowship hall 6-8PM






John & Madeleine Ross

Baptism of the Lord

Prayers for the Steelman Family

AlAnon meets in Session room 5:00PM

Parenting Class meets in fellowship hall 6-8PM






Patrick Matthews
Martha Kelly

Prayers for Vivian Nichols

Martin Luther King Birthday

AlAnon meets in Session room 5:00PM

Parenting Class meets in fellowship hall 6-8PM






Ken & Carole Cook

Prayers for the Peacock Family

AlAnon meets in Session room 5:00PM

Parenting Class meets in fellowship hall 6-8PM





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