First Presbyterian Church
Volume LXVII No. 7 November 2009
Light in the Darkness
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned (Matthew 4:16)
A world of darkness? The world into which Jesus was born was very dark. Society languished in the grip of a cruel and corrupt government. Racial and religious prejudice abounded. Ignorance was rampant. What’s more is that the faithful began to doubt God. It had been four centuries since the Word of the Lord had last been heard from the prophet Malachi – nothing from the Lord of Hosts but deafening silence. If there really is a God, why would he abandon us like this?
Into this world of hopeless despair Jesus was born. In this time and place of sin and deep darkness the living Word who moved across the waters on the day of Creation and hung the most distant star in the night sky chose to enter our world.
And when He did, the silence was shattered and the Light chased away the darkness. Beginning with the humble and most likely frightened assent of a young girl from a dirt water town, the Good News of Light and Love and Life reclaimed turned the world upside down:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers." (Luke 1:46-55)
May D. Smith and Joan B. Daly
Continued from page 1
I hear it said that we live in a time of darkness: Economic woes, unemployment, environmental worries, and daily violence in much of the world all lead us to believe that we are living in a place of shadows. Even on a congregational level, we are confronting what in many ways are unprecedented issues. As a church we are struggling through a maze of uncertainties that seem mostly to be leading us into an inevitable dark night.
It is probably small consolation that the same thing has perhaps been said in every era. Five centuries ago Martin Luther felt that the world had reached such a height of evil that it could not go on for another 50 years. But then again, the Millerites and Shakers of the 19th century knew the end of the world was imminent at the turn of the century and in 1965, Barry McGuire was convinced we were all standing on the eve of destruction.
Perhaps every era in our world is
one of darkness. Perhaps much as Jesus
spoke of the poor, the darkness will always be with us. (Matthew 26:11). Perhaps
A Light in the Darkness. It’s been said that a light shines most brightly in the darkness. Jesus’ day, for many reasons, was very dark. Our day, for many reasons – some the same – some different also may be very dark. But Jesus is coming into our midst to dispel our darkness – Jesus is looking for us to, like Mary, give our assent – meekly; boldly; with certainty or uncertainty, but just to say ‘Yes’ to His birth in the stable of our hearts.
The Good News is no less capable today of turning the world – our world; our towns and cities; even our church upside down. The Light can still lift up the lowly and put down the despots. The Lord can still do wondrous things in us!
As we enter this Holy Season, I pray that we may all be mindful of the Child of Bethlehem, Who still comes to be born that all may live in the Light: Let us worship together, pray together and move forward together in the ways that our God has prepared.
Wishing you all light, life, love and the peace that goes beyond all understanding.
Anthony Mark LaMort
Minister of Music
Our CROP Walk on Sunday, October 18th, was held indoors, because of the rain that day. Some walkers walked many, many laps around the Sanctuary after the Worship Service ended, to “earn” your support. Others found other ways to fulfill the concept of “We walk because they walk”, earning the donations made by many members and Friends of the Congregation. Our total earnings this year were $425.00.
Thank you to the walkers, and thank
you to the donors! Of the money earned
throughout the country, 75% goes to those in need around the world, and 25%
stays in the local counties, including our own
Your Missions Committee, chaired by Elder Elfriede Ehricke, prepared and submitted to the Session and Congregation a 2009 proposed budget of $8,300. We are pleased to report to you that we are now within $500.00 of completing this proposed budget, with our most recent disbursement of $1,850. This does not include your generous support of One Great Hour of Sharing, Christmas Joy (2008), Souper Bowl Sunday, and the Annual CROP Walk, which together amounted to an additional $1,975.
We are indeed blessed to have a Congregation which, though smaller in number than in the past, continues to support our Missionaries and other programs throughout the world who reach out to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, and those who come to know the love of Jesus Christ.
Our annual participation in the Christmas Joy Special Offering will begin on Sunday, November 29th, the first Sunday of Advent. Inserts will be in your bulletin each week until Christmas Sunday, December 20th, telling of how this yearly offering is distributed.
One half of the total will go to six
Presbyterian schools and colleges to provide scholarships to deserving students
as well as help with basic operating costs.
These schools include two primarily Native American schools in
The other half of the total goes to the Presbyterian Board of Pensions. It is used to supplement the pensions of retired clergy and other church workers whose pension incomes are inadequate for their needs, especially if they have serious health problems. It also goes to help church workers who experience floods, tornado, or unexpected family expenses.
The Christmas Joy Offering will be received and dedicated on Christmas Sunday, December 20th, as part of the Worship Service.
The Congregational Meeting for Elections is Cancelled
At the January 25th congregational meeting we elected three at-large members to the Church Officers Nominating Committee. Finally, at the September 20th congregational meeting we added another member. At the November 7th Session meeting we selected the elder moderator, received a member of the Board of Deacons, and commissioned an inactive elder to complete the committee. This was in preparation for the November election of church officers and members of the 2010 Officers Nominating Committee.
On November 7th the session requested Presbytery, through the Committee On Ministry, for a one year extension be granted to those church officers whose terms of office were expiring. We will therefore not hold a congregational meeting for elections this year.
Congregational Forum on
With Advent here and the New Year near, our Session will report and dialogue with our Congregation on the status of our future on December 6, 2009 after morning worship.
There still may be choices left to us but time is rapidly removing them. The input of all of us is crucial to the Session’s understanding of this community of believers. Each possible choice demands and produces a different kind of congregation.
Please, come and hear the Session’s presentation and respond in dialogue to help them discern who we are as a congregation and His choice for them to present to you for a decision.
JESUS is the reason for the Season!
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the holiday preparations … shopping, parties, cooking, decorating … to the extent where we might almost misplace the One to Whom we are giving thanks; the One Who’s birth we are celebrating. During this season, make time to focus on the Reason for all the excitement…. Remember to let the holidays also be Holy Days!
First Presbyterian Church in
Weds 25. Nov. 6:00 PM. Service of Thanksgiving. Sermon: “His Mercies are Forever New”
Sat 28. Nov. 10: AM. Hanging of the Greens Help decorate the church for the season.
Weds 2. Dec. 6:00 PM. Advent I. Sermon: “The People That Sat in Darkness”
Weds 9. Dec.
6:00 PM. Advent II. Sermon: “On
Weds. 16. Dec. 6:00 PM Advent III. Sermon: “Mary Said ‘Yes’!”
Weds. 23. Dec. 6:00 PM Advent IV. Sermon: “Savior of the Nations, Come!”
Thurs. 24. Dec. 6:00 PM Christmas Eve Service. Sermon: “Heart-stable”
Fri. 25. Dec. 11:00 AM Christmas Day Service. Sermon: “The Glory of the Lord, Revealed!”
Fri. 1 Jan. 2010 11:00 AM New Year’s Day Service. Sermon: “New Beginnings?”
Of course, Sunday Morning worship continues as usual, each week at 11:00 AM in the main sanctuary.
Greetings from Christian Education
Our church school has a tradition of giving to a special cause on Christmas. This year we are asking for winter gloves, mittens, hats for children. The Orange Police Association distributes to the needy in its community outreach program. For further information contact Toni Abrams at 973-677-14-5. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Christmas Pot Luck Luncheon
Please join us on December 13th at 1:15 in Fellowship Hall for a Pot Luck Lunch. Contact Toni Abrams at 973-677-1405 for further information.
Decorating for Advent
not Just Christmas
Responding to a great idea from the congregation, the session has decided to enjoy most of the Christmas decorations in the main sanctuary for the entire Advent season. We will “hang the greens”, the non-living wreaths, roping, candles, etc., in a party atmosphere beginning 10 a.m. Saturday November 28th thereby extending the flavor into Advent. We will not have the help of First In Orange so please come and enjoy!
The live decorations, the poinsettias and trees, will be added nearer to Christmas as has been our tradition. Do not to forget to place your orders in time. You will be receiving a Christmas mailing for the poinsettias and the Christmas Joy offering.
Annual Pledge & Envelopes
The annual appeal letter for the 2010 pledge year will be mailed the week of November 23rd to be returned by December 11th. This letter will be going only to those who have pledged in the past year. If you are not on that mailing list and wish to pledge or receive envelopes please contact the church office.
in the long standing
The Concert Series Continues
First Presbyterian begins “Poet’s Corner”
In October of 2009, in conjunction with the Concert series we begin a monthly event called ‘Poet’s Corner’ highlighting the poetic offerings of a ‘featured’ reader and an ‘open mic’ for audience participants. Upcoming performances include:
addition to the formal concerts the church also offers a series of ‘Drop-by
Recitals’ on the second and fourth Sunday’s of each month at 12:30 pm. These
brief programs feature the church’s 4 manual
Orders for Memorial Poinsettias are now being accepted. Please fill out the form below and mail to the church office as soon as possible. We hope many of you will join in this tradition.
contribution of $6.00 for each plant is requested. Please make checks payable to First
The firm deadline for orders is December 15.
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In Memory of _________________________
In Memory of _________________________
Abiding Peace Throughout the World.
Phil Lindquist (nephew of Rev. Dr. Raymond
who served as Pastor at
1934 – 1953) recently underwent major heart
Family of Elsa Lloyd former member of First
Richard Maharaj and family
Phoebe Nwangw (mother of Elizabeth Achebe)
James Oswald (Joan Daly’s Brother)
Willie Mae Perry – recovering from open heart
The Pierce Family
Roosevelt Jr. and family –Toni’s son
Emmanuel Shu (Joan Shu-Osobo’s brother)
DISPATCH DEADLINE JANUARY 15, 2010
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