March 28, 2020
The bulletin and a link to the latest worship service will always be available here:
March 19, 2020
Worship this Sunday will be online only at 10:30 am. Click here to download the bulletin.
A note from Pastor Mike:
Friends in Christ,
For what is, I’m sure, the first time in many generations, our doors will be closed this Sunday morning. This is for the safety of our people and for the benefit of our community. While we will not worship in person, we will worship virtually in many homes throughout Conway and beyond. Attached to this email is a link to worship with us Sunday morning at 10:30. We hope you will join us then!
Please bear with us as we learn to “do” worship virtually. We are also looking into video conferencing options for Sunday School and small groups. That will not be ready for this Sunday, but should be up and running in the coming days–so stay tuned! Even while we practice social distancing, we can still practice community using the technology we have.
Friends, I would much prefer to meet with you in person for Sunday School, fellowship, and worship, but this is our present-day reality. This is a new normal we’ll have to get used to–hopefully for a relatively short period of time. There is also a great opportunity in this. Many people out there are scared, anxious and lonely. They are looking for assurance, hope, community and love. We can offer that, even if only online. Please share this message with any and all that you care about–whether they live in Conway or not. We will worship a God of love and hope this Sunday. Everyone is welcome! I hope we will have lots of “visitors” with us this Sunday morning.
On Ash Wednesday, I shared with you a list of Lenten “Fastings and Feastings” written by Pastor Greg McDonell of Austin, Texas. I had the privilege of serving as a pastor intern years ago under Greg. Several of you asked for that list, and I thought I would share the list here.
As we move toward the glories of Easter, the empty tomb, and the Risen Lord, may the Lenten season be a time of earnest preparation for you. I hope you find this list helpful in that. Have a meaningful and blessed Lent.
Lent is a reminder and an opportunity, as Greg writes, to:
Fast from worry, and feast on divine order by trusting God.
Fast from complaining, and feast on appreciation.
Fast from negatives, and feast on affirmatives.
Fast from unrelenting pressures, and feast on unceasing prayer.
Fast from hostility, and feast on tenderness.
Fast from bitterness, and feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern, and feast on compassion for others.
Fast from idle gossip, and feast purposeful silence.
Fast from judging others, and feast on the divine within them.
Fast from emphasis on differences, and feast on the unity of life.
Fast from greed, and feast on generosity.
Fast from thoughts of illness, and feast on wholeness.
Fast from words that pollute, and feast on the phrases that purify.
Fast from discontent, and feast on gratitude.
Fast from suspicion, and feast on truth.
Fast from the thoughts that weaken, and feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from problems that overwhelm, and feast on prayer that undergirds.
See you Sunday!
Pastor Mike Ulasewich
I have truly been enjoying our sermon series this past month on “Seek…” I hope you have, too. It’s been a real joy to ponder what we are seeking in life and from our lives of faith together. I hope we’ll continue to discuss how FPC can be a place for people to grow, to connect, and to serve (remember those 3 P’s—personal growth, people and purpose).
In February, we’ll move into the season of Lent. We wanted to build on our “Seek…” series by offering a series on spiritual practices. What better way to grow, to connect with God and to listen for the Lord’s purpose for our lives than to practice some of the spiritual activities that have been passed down to us. Each week, at the conclusion of my sermon, we’ll have an opportunity to briefly practice one spiritual discipline. We’ll try a different practice each week during the six weeks of Lent. One week we might try singing Taizé. Another week we might journal, or have a guided meditation or even silence for a few minutes. Our hope is fourfold. First, that this will help us to continue considering what we are seeking and how we might find whatever that is. Second, these spiritual practices will help us prepare for Easter and the victory of the empty tomb. Third, they will give us a chance to tend to our souls—offering healing and wholeness to all who partake with us. And finally, we just might learn a new practice or two that we can incorporate into our daily lives and become ever more deeply spiritual people.
I hope you will join us each week in Lent (starting Sunday, February 14) for a look at some spiritual practices.
God Bless You,
Editor’s note: You can view the sermons in the “Seek…” series below.
As Presbyterians, we acknowledge our individual and church responsibility as stewards of this earth. In large and small ways, we make an impact through our daily actions. When First Presbyterian began its journey to the 2400 Prince Street location in 199xxxxx, church leaders recognized the importance of applying practices that would limit the carbon footprint in the new building and grounds.
Our faith urges us to strive to defend and heal creation while working to assure justice for all of creation and the human beings who live in it. This call is rooted in the human vocation of “tilling and keeping” the garden from Genesis 2:15, as well as Christ’s charge to work with and for the most vulnerable.
To become an Earth Care Congregation, a church completes an audit that provides work accomplished in four areas: Worship, Education, Facilities, and Outreach. Worship actions include worship services that incorporate prayers, hymns, sermons and readings with an intentional component of earth care. FPC Conway has a prayer garden to the west of the sanctuary with the gazebo and memorial garden.
In 2013, ten trees purchased by FPC members to honor and/or memorialize family were planted and dedicated in an outdoor service. Working with local experts, native trees were chosen: four shumard oaks, two legacy maples, three alta magnolias, and one black gum. The trees replaced several large oaks lost to city street expansion. These young trees are consistent with FPC’s landscape overlay plan formed by a committee that embraces our stewardship mission into worship, facilities, and education. Church members who are also Master Gardeners participate in design and implementation.
Education activities at FPC include participation in Earth Day activities, and members have volunteered at Ecofest and Arbor Day. Our church library also has materials with an earth care focus.
Facilities at our Prince Street location incorporated geothermal energy, which is generated by the earth. FPC’s zoned HVAC systems and efficient lighting also contribute to its green efficiency. Other ways we conserve energy include church newsletter by email and online and choosing reusable dinnerware and offering water in pitchers instead of plastic water bottles. Additionally, two large water heaters were replaced with a tankless model.
Looking beyond FPC, we find many current and future opportunities to address stewardship of God’s creation. Our youth have had camping trips, and individual members serve as Master Gardeners and participate in Ecofest and Arbor Day. We also participate in Habitat for Humanity and recycling in local food and clothing drives.
What more can we do? LOTS! The FPC Green Team encourages church members and friends to participate in local environmental organizations and events. Let’s consider a community garden or volunteer at other gardens at the Conway Library and McGee Center. We can take a stand in support of alternative transportation or write our elected officials about earth care legislation. Mission trips – locally and away from Conway – can include a green component. How about sponsoring a stream clean-up or offer a recycling drive?
To learn more about FPC’s journey and how you can help, contact Betsy Gillaspy-Williams.