so we, who are many,
are one body in Christ,
and individually we are members one of another.
For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function,
Sub-headline with tag line
Love in the Heart of Durham
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
Message from the PASTOR:
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us. So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you — see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:1-7
I am grateful for the grace of giving that is so evident in every part of your lives and for the love of Christ you share in your life and work. Thank you for your vision, your faith, and your generosity.
Grace and peace to you all,
When Paul writes about the church in Macedonia, he refers to their “very severe trial.” This Greek phrase means to be crushed by life. We do not know much about their great affliction, but when we hear these words in 2020, we can immediately relate. This year has been, and continues to be, a very severe trial for us all, in many and different ways. Somehow, during their trial centuries ago, the Macedonians continued to overflow with joy and rich generosity, supporting the mission and ministry of the church of Jesus Christ. You, my friends, have done the same.
The Macedonians found such joy in giving that they urgently pleaded for the privilege of sharing. First, they gave themselves to God, then to one another and the ministry of the early church. Your generosity has shown that you also excel in this “grace of giving” and find joy in the “privilege of sharing.” Such generosity connects us to our history, as we do ministry centuries later in response to that same grace given so generously in Christ Jesus to us all.
Though we are not gathering in person, we continue to be the church, the Body of Christ – one body with many parts – bearing grace, mercy, and peace to the world as we work to serve with justice and love.
As we look toward 2021, with its many unknowns, we move forward in faith, knowing God is with us and will guide us along the way. Our 2020 budget reflects this faith. It supports a full staff, adds funding for upgrades to our current 2008 computer equipment, and continues to increase our Service and Mission budget as we care for the deepest needs among us.
In 2016, I visited First Presbyterian Church looking for a new church home. I had just moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma, a place I had lived for most of my life and I literally knew no one in Durham. For me, finding a community of faith was an important part of my transition.
Although clearly, many members had spent years together, there was also room for new connections. A key element for me was finding the Women’s Spiritual Formation Class. The class is a safe space for me to explore all aspects of my faith, those that come more easily and those where I struggle. We strive together to grow in Christ and to apply our faith in everyday life. I thank God each day for leading me to this small group and to FPC, a faith home that allows me to believe, to belong and to become by asking me to evolve as a Christian.
Durham has felt like home to me since that first Sunday in June 2016. I could have found a number of churches to attend, but First Presbyterian is a home where I am a part of a church that is committed to all individuals and to our community while fostering a connection to Christ, Durham and the world at large.
- Leah Graves
Vibrant Worship and Christian Education
When I think about Love in the Heart of Durham, I think of the Racial Equity Task Force (REFT). This summer REFT is leading a class on a book on reparations by William Darity and Kristen Mullen. More than 50 people attend each week including some members of Judea Reform.
We recognize that there is much work to be done, and we are only scratching the surface to uncover the institutional racism and structural inequality that permeate our lives now and have for centuries.
Fortunately we stand on the shoulders of those at FPC who previously reached out and established relationships with congregations of color and civic groups. We build on their efforts and on the contributions and learning we receive from our members of color and others in Durham.
I am grateful to be part of a church with a commitment to listen, to learn, to act, to reflect, and to repent. I invite you to join in support of this work and the other important work of FPC.
- Jon Abels
We first visited FPC on a warm Sunday in October. Newly transplanted in Durham, we were eager to find an inclusive church committed to social justice; one that challenged us to give of ourselves, grow in faith, and translate that faith into action. And for long-time church musicians, a traditional, music-rich worship service was non-negotiable! By the end of that first visit, we'd found our church home.
That was many years ago now and the decision feels as right today as it did back then. Teaching Sunday school and being involved in the work of the church have been highly rewarding, but it’s the worship that rejuvenates me. Children are celebrated, scripture comes alive from the pulpit, and hymns and anthems restore me.
Our time in worship is different these days, yet the vibrancy remains. We celebrate backyard baptisms, sing hymns, and witness Mindy, John, and Susan bring scripture to life from their living room pulpits. We are still the church. With gratitude, I support the work of FPC and invite you to join me.
- Lesley Curtis
Increase capacity for congregational care
Increase technology capacity to keep us connected
SERVICE & MISSION
Increase operating budget for neighbors in crisis
Functional allocation of operating budget