What’s New at FPC?
What’s New at FPC?
Church Updates Celebrating the great things happening at FPC
Holy Week was an amazing time of worship, celebration, and reflection. There was phenomenal engagement and energy throughout the week.
We welcomed 42 first-time visitors on Easter Sunday but also had visitors with no prior connection to the church come to our Maundy Thursday service just from reading about it on our website. We noticed that our people are inviting people more, too. We are excited to see our faith family growing!
Easter Sunday attendance was much higher than last year at close to 1,000 people worshipping in person!
During the 10 a.m. hour we had our Annual Egg Hunt. Over 12,000 eggs were hidden (or scattered) in First Hall, the Sanctuary, and the Preschool Wing. We also had games and crafts set up outside, with cotton candy and popcorn machines manned by our youth rolling throughout the morning.
Community groups and Sunday school classes did not meet, but the Basic Bible class pitched in to serve 400 breakfast biscuits, orange juice, and pastries, which folks enjoyed as they mingled outside.
To cap our Lenten theme of Grace Upon Grace, we gave out 400 glass vases/bottles with tags reminding us to ‘Pour out Grace’ as our Easter giveaway.
On Saturday, 26 volunteers had come out help hide eggs, set up games, and otherwise prepare the church for the 10 a.m. hour.
Over 450 pictures were taken at our Flower Cross. Special thanks to Rebecca Easter for being our photographer! This year, we were also blessed to have Diane Liedman, Peggy Mackey, and Lin Jones step in to flower the cross when our housekeeper and florist extraordinaire Barbara Watson came down ill during the week.
Our children’s choir sang and led us in worship on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Easter, opening Resurrection Sunday services with ‘Victory in Jesus.’ Special thanks to Whitney Davis for leading our children’s choir and for our organist Benjamin Garner who stepped in to accompany our kids so beautifully!
We welcomed two brass players to our traditional Easter services, bringing a triumphant air to the choir’s amazing rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus at the end and a joyful presence throughout the service.
Hunter did a fantastic job of having children’s packets at all of our services (with the exception of Good Friday) to help kids learn about the events of Holy Week.
We had 44 Easter Lily dedications in honor or memory of loved ones.
Over 200 people came to the Maundy Thursday service. Valena worked with our families and youth to have them lead the service, and we also shared a meal and celebrated communion, just as Jesus did with his disciples on the night he was betrayed.
On Good Friday, we again had over 200 people join us for an overwhelmingly haunting and beautiful choral narration of the events of that day. The Chancel Choir was joined by a string quartet and ended the evening with a duet of ‘What Wondrous Love is This?’ sung in the Narthex and echoing throughout the Sanctuary.
Thanks to our Facilities Team for staying on top of all the moving pieces during Holy Week! From setting up tables, pulling out chairs, and putting up/taking down crosses throughout the week, we couldn’t have done it without them!
On April 16, 23, and 30, we hosted three iGen seminars, focusing on how technology affects our kids and how we can develop Christ-centered solutions to some of the issues that arise from growing up so connected. 62 people attended the sessions. Out of these seminars, we are putting together a Community Hour group to continue learning and discussing the best ways to help our kids. The class will be taught by James Hoy and Megan Foard and will be using the book Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp.
Over 300 folks came out to help pack 45,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger on April 27! In addition to our FPC family, we were joined by troops of Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, as well as a local insurance business that wanted to contribute 5,000 meals but lacked the manpower or space to host their own event.
The April 10 Cents a Meal offering raised $2,506.95 to pay for our Rise Against Hunger meals, and contributions from others have brought the total up to $11,031.95; however, we still need close to $5,000 to meet our $16,000 goal! If you can help, click here to donate (choose Rise Against Hunger from the dropdown menu)!
The Women’s Group and the Military Families Group tied to win our Community Group Challenge for bringing the most folks to Rise Against Hunger. Their prize was being treated to doughnuts and juice during their class meeting on Sunday. Thanks to everyone who came out!
We had 44 people complete the B90X Challenge, which started in January. Each person who completed the challenge got a certificate of achievement and, of course, a great new perspective on the story of our faith!
Over 40 guys came out for the Men’s Breakfast on Saturday, April 1. It was a great time of fellowship, catching up over eggs, bacon, biscuits, and of course, grits.
Longtime FPC partner YOURS Ministry (Youth Outreach Urban Resources and Services) held its 14th Annual Youth of Excellence Awards on April 21 in First Hall. The event honored 19 senior students for their achievements and character. Steel drum performance by Gary Garlic.
Our monthly Men’s Breakfast will be on Saturday, May 6 @ 8 a.m. in First Hall. After the breakfast, any of the guys who are able are encouraged to join us at Jacox Family Day to help grill!
Jacox Family Day will be Saturday, May 6 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., FPC and the URC are partnering to bring the fun! We will bring a grill to cook hamburgers and hotdogs, a bounce house, and more! Volunteers are needed throughout the day and any time you can give would be a big help! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can join us!
On Sunday, May 7, we will host an FPC 101 class for folks who are interested in joining the church. Contact email@example.com for more information or to attend. Childcare and dinner provided.
Also on Sunday, May 7, we will hold a Prayer Training class from 12:15 – 2:30 p.m. to give participants Biblical foundations and practical instruction to help you grow in both personal and corporate prayer as led by the Holy Spirit.
On Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. the URC Community of Learning will present Sold Down River, a forum featuring research from NSU professor Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander. The event will take place in First Hall.
Calling all men! Save the date for a Men’s Baseball Outing to the Norfolk Tides game on Wednesday, May 31. Register and buy your tickets here.
Coming up soon is FUGE Camp for our youth! From June 22-26, Jackson and chaperones will travel with our youth to the mountains of North Carolina for a great time of fun and fellowship as they grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The URC will have its fourth concert in the Black Sacred Arts Series on Sunday, June 25. Stay tuned for more details. You won’t want to miss it!
Save the dates for Vacation Bible School, July 30-Aug. 1! We’ll have programming for kids and adults, plus meals to share together and sweet summer treats. It’s one of our favorite times of the year!
It’s not too early to start thinking about our Massanetta All-Church Mission Camp! We’ll travel to the Shenandoah Valley Aug. 10-13 to work, worship, and have fun as a church family! There are projects for ages 5-95 and childcare for those under 5. If you are interested in coming, sign up here so we can send you an info packet!
IN THE CHURCH
In addition to the 42 first time visitors on Easter, we had an additional 21 first-time guests in April, for a grand total of 63!
On Sunday, April 23 we baptized Charlotte Virginia Harding, Covenant Daughter of Jordan and Andy Harding.
On Saturday, April 15 we held a Service of Witness to the Resurrection for Susan Johnson, who passed away unexpectedly on March 29.
We had two new members join in April, Jake and Lisa Saunders.
Our Psalm 23 series is going great with a soul training exercise for people to engage in throughout the week. We also blessed beautiful prayer shawls from Kenya that will be used by our First Prayers Ministry for a reminder that God carries our burdens. On Sunday, April 30, we prayed over 100 prayer shawls during all three services.
The A/V team is looking for new members to help run the camera, light, and sound systems on Sunday mornings and at various events throughout the week. Anyone interested in serving should contact email@example.com.
Contemporary worshippers might notice that the stage seems a bit bigger lately. That’s because the piano has been taken away for renovation and upgrading. We are installing a MIDI system, adding electronic capabilities, such as the ability to store and transmit information digitally.
In April, our Parish Associate, Dorothy Hood visited 8 members, sent 22 cards, and had over 60 phone calls and texts to check up on folks. We are so grateful for her love and care for our congregation!
After a wonderful and exhausting Holy Week, the choir has moved from the frying pan into the fire and we are now eyebrow deep in music by Paul Aitkin which a group of 16 of us will be singing in Carnegie Hall on May 26th! We are excited to be learning most of this music with the whole choir and preparing it to sing in worship starting this Sunday, May 7th and continuing on the 14th, and 21st.
Our group of 16 singers and 3 significant others, will depart for New York on May 23rd. We will be rehearsing and performing the music under the baton of the composer himself! It is challenging but wonderful music and the choir is absolutely up to the task!
Joanne said that she is overwhelmed by the continued enthusiasm, dedication, and commitment of our choir members. We continue to enjoy a full choir loft and amazing fellowship, camaraderie, prayer time together, and the joy we find in serving the Lord through music!
It’s a busy time at First Presbyterian Preschool! The end of year program will take place on May 24 and Kindergarten Graduation is coming up on June 7
Also, the Preschool Calendar and Parent Handbook for the 2023-2024 school year are complete and will be sent to print in late June/early July.
And caterpillars have arrived for all preschool classes to help them learn about metamorphosis and the life cycle of a butterfly. The kindergarten class is also learning about growing vegetables in their little plot outside in Andy’s Garden.
IN THE CITY
Coming up this Sunday, May 7 from 4-6 p.m. the URC will have an IMPACT Youth Arts Open House and Cookout at Trinity Presbyterian Church. IMPACT Youth Arts invites all Norfolk kids to come on Tuesday evenings for programs like dance, theater, and baking! Participation is free and dinner is served each Tuesday. Click here for information.
The URC Community of Learning will host the forum Sold Down River, with NSU professor Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander, examining the history of Norfolk in relation to the slave trade. The event will be Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. in First Hall.
The fourth concert in the Black Sacred Arts will be Sunday, June 25. Details to come!
From February through April, the URC’s Homeless Employment Program has helped 27 people get job offers. Participants have also earned 2 Food Handlers Certificates and 5 Forklift Certifications.
URC Vice President for Community Engagement, Rachel Cropper, is working with FPC’s Director of Communications and volunteer Emily Christopher to put together a regular Community Engagement Newsletter to share the progress and successes of our many programs throughout the area.
IN THE WORLD
On Sunday, May 21, Rev. Dr. Tom Boone, Associate Director of the Outreach Foundation, will visit FPC. We have worked extensively with the Outreach Foundation to support their relief efforts in Syria, Turkey, and Ukraine. During the 10 a.m. Faith Matters class, Joel will do an interview-style class with Rev. Dr. Boone. Come to learn more!
The dates for our October Tree of Lives pilgrimage are October 6-20, 2023. Please contact Jim Wood if you are interested in going!
CHURCH ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
Preschool and facilities staff did a walkthrough in April to go over summer projects and any updates needed for our fire inspection.
Stewardship follow up letters have gone out, and, to date, we have gotten back 175 pledge cards for a total of $1,150,394 in pledges.
Below are charts showing attendance numbers for worship, Children’s Church, Community Hour, and Youth Group. Please remember that online worship numbers are for all three services and include both website and Facebook connections.
Please note that on Easter Sunday, April 9, no adult or children’s Sunday school classes or Community Groups met, hence the 0 attendance numbers.s Norfolk private schools’ spring break, hence the lower numbers, as many people were away.