The Spire (Newsletter)

July Spire 2019

The Spire

Newsletter of First Presbyterian Church of Garner

Seeking Peace and Pursuing It

For most of us, I’d wager the month of July brings to mind similar things: Fireworks! Celebrations (often around a bountiful table) with family and friends! Red, white and blue! And perhaps most of all, sacred memories and deep gratitude for the debt we owe to those who sacrificed all they held dear in the name and cause of justice and freedom.

This month at FPCOG, our celebrations echo these themes and ideas. While our worship and life together is different than our reembraces of the July 4th holiday, this month is also won full of great joy, or deep gratitude, and thoughtful reflection on what makes for justice, love, and peace.

Just look through the pages of this month’s Spire and you’ll se what I’m talking about:

*There are articles celebrating Brianna Slaughter’s accomplishments as a graduate in the class of 2019 and Jackie Dail’s recognition this past May as an Outstanding Older Adult in our Presbytery

*There’s thanksgiving for the beginning of new ministry in the form of Anabel            Oosterlinck, our new Childcare worker, and Brittany Hayes, our substitute       accompanist while Gloria recovers from foot surgery

*There’s updates on events you do not want to miss like Vacation bible School where we will gather with each other in worship, fellowship, prayer, and service

*And in our worship notes you will see there are opportunities to reflect together on what it means to seek peace, follow love, and to continue to embrace the call of Jesus Christ

As I think about these worship messages especially I am mindful of words        attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, words that you are likely to hear me share at some point in a sermon as well:

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.”

As we continue this month to follow Jesus as best we can, these words help us remember that the peace we seek is never easy. There’s some tension (to put it mildly) involved always in   seeking to celebrate and give thanks, in discerning how best to deal with our struggles and hurts, in loving and serving those who still fight for justice and equality.

But the journey is still worth pursuing. For it is a journey that we are invited to undertake by God’s Holy Spirit of love; a journey Jesus tread before and treads still now alongside us; a journey  where we often discover who and whose we are and the wholeness that such belonging brings to our lives and our world. And that, too, is worthy of fireworks and celebration.

Keep a Good Thought Along the Way,



Earth Care Corner

This month we offer some tips on composting as an earth-friendly way to recycle food waste, leaves, and other materials. The information provided comes from the article, “The Dirt on Composting” in the March issue of the Cary Magazine, pages 53 – 58.

The article points out that the easiest way to get started is to buy a compost bin. Every spring Wake County sells discounted bins (May 1 -31). But you don’t have to wait to get started! You can compost in an open pile or a bin you make yourself (e.g., out of an old garbage can). Not only will you be helping the environment, you’ll be developing a nutrient-rich soil to use in your flower, fruit, or vegetable garden!

We’ll be adding alternating layers of brown and green materials1. To start, add 4 or 5 inches of brown material and water thoroughly. Add some soil to introduce soil microorganisms. Add a layer of green material and then alternate layers of brown and green materials but always top green material with brown material. This will keep flies and other pests away and reduce unpleasant odors. Once a week turn the contents of your bin or pile with a pitchfork or shovel. Check the moisture level. The pile should be damp (“like a wrung-out sponge”). Add water if it’s too dry or brown  material if it’s too wet. In a few months you should be able to draw good, rich soil from the bottom of the pile or bin!

Green and Brown Materials:

Green: Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filter paper, teabags, house plants, egg shells, grass and plant clippings, old floral bouquets

Brown: Dry leaves, wood chips, shredded paper, sawdust and wood shavings, kitchen and toilet roll tubes, straw and hay, cardboard

For additional information about what makes good compost material (and what does not), check out:


Worship News


July Worship Notes: July is typically month full of fireworks, travel, and hopefully also rest and renewal. Our worship will reflect and echo these themes of celebration, peace, and the abundance God gives that provides solace for our souls. Join us and bring a friend!


July 7 (Holy Communion)

Peace often seems such an elusive reality, and yet still long desired by us, by the world, and by God. As echoes of 4th of July celebrations fill our ears, may our hearts also be filled with the words of Jesus, who when faced with betrayal in Luke 22, offers startling new insights into our desire for peace.

Scripture: Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 22:47-51                  Sermon Tittle: The Presence of Peace

Hymns:  331 God of the Ages, Whose Almighty Hand; 337 My Country ‘Tis Of Thee; 753 Make Me a Channel of Your Peace


July 14, Youth and Children Sunday!

On this day, we celebrate our annual worship service led by our young people. Lend your hearts to join in the prayers and praise they developed for us all to offer to God!

Worship Theme: Who Do You Trust?

July 21

Often times our Christian discipleship is timid and cautious, understandably so, in fact!  We don’t always know where to begin; we are not sure we really have what it takes; we are worried about doing the wrong thing. And yet scripture is full of people like Ruth and Paul who have a boldness of a conviction. Their stories inspire us also to let love lead in our own lives of service.

Scripture: Ruth 1:15-18; Galatians 1:1-12                                  Sermon Title: Let Love Lead

Hymns 108 Of The Father’s Love Begotten (verses 1, 5, 6); 729 Lord I Want To Be a Christian; 366 Love Divine All Loves Excelling

*Our service this day will feature two other celebrations: 1) a recognition of our High School and College Graduates and 2) a Commissioning of youth and adults participating in the Montreat Youth Conference


July 28

As we prepare for our “Abundance Orchard” Vacation Bible School over the next few evenings, we return to Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal. This familiar story still has some new truths to tell us about the ways God meets our uncertainty and distress with abundant mercy, love, and grace.

Scripture:  Luke 15:11-32                                                         Sermon Title: Abundance Abounding

Hymns 23 God You Spin the Whirling Planets; 833 O Love That Will Not let me Go; 438 Rock of Ages Cleft for Me


July Flowers


7th       Given to the Glory of God by Bobbie Holland and family in memory of Ray Holland.

14th     Given to the Glory of God by Mary Jo Atkinson in memory of Bob Atkinson.

21st      Given to the Glory of God by Kathy Henderson in memory of Bob Henderson.

28th     Given to the Glory of God by June Christian in memory of her mom and dad, Dorothy and Luke Bernard.



Congregational Care



Prayer Concerns


Members: Carson & Rosemary Carmichael, Joan Young, Georgia Morrison, Stan & Edith Conyers, Martha Harris,   John & Elaine Watkins, Tammy Oelke, Diane Turner & Jeff Cadwallader, Ann & Curtis Hopkins, Gloria Oelke, Joe Prater, Melissa Miley


Members’ Families: Thelma Pleasant (Rose’s mother), Martha Morgan (Emily Lee’s sister), Michael Regester (Losada’s grandson), Annette Hill (Lorrie Icenhour’s sister), Ann Gould (Gould family), Amanda Miller (Ruby Miller-Ousley’s daughter-in-law), Tonya Boykin, Donna Smith (Sandy Lee), Jacquie Glover (Rosemary  Carmichael), Debbie Carmichael (Rosemary Carmichael), Walter Worden (Nancy  Waldrop’s brother), Cheryl  Weber (Jeanne Conner’s sister), Schuyler Tolbert (Nancy Waldrop), Rick Slack (Debra Wallace’s brother), Jim Cole (Trish Holmes), Glen & Gail Schue (aunt & uncle of Carrie Dixon), Michael Gurkin (Rose’s husband), Aleena Conner (Dick Conner), Lisa George (Karen  Lovering’s sister-in-law) Charlye & Doyle Harrington (Marsha Whittington’s parents), Don Gould (Kathy Blue’s brother-in-law), Stella Knabe (Neal’s mother), Lavina Scatton (Jeanne Conner’s mother)


Members’ Friends: Shawn Collier (Debra McHenry), Jeanne Kujawski Schmitz (Sandy Lee), Vanessa Tart (Donna Gould), Mike Brannon (Donna Gould), Chris Woodall (Peggy Wilkins), Maddox Cottle (3 month old friend of Sandra Hodge), Don Niemann (Donna Gould), Cheryl Arnold (Kathy Henderson), Laura Gould-White (Melissa Miley), Gwen Newcomber (Jane Knabe), The Peterson Family (Wanda vanDoornewaard)


July Birthdays & Anniversaries



2nd      Helen Losada

3rd       Cheryl McNiel

4th       Sue Meacham

9th       Robert Berryhill & Jennifer Collins

10th     Tammy Oelke

12th     Sandy Lee

15th     Henry Woodcock

16th     Jim Blue & Brooke Taylor

21st      Joe Shipp & Judy Shipp

22nd    Georgia Morrison & Megan Snapp

26th     Thomas Oriel & Nathan Snapp

28th     Allen Hodge

31st      Barbara Holland





1st        Joe & Lynne Jackson

11th      Ray & Jean Thornton

28th     Stan & Edith Conyers

28th     Tim & Melissa Miley

30th     Philip & Sheree Penny

31st      Charles & Roxann Porter




Presbyterian Women


The Friendship Circle will be meeting on Wednesday night, July 10th. We will gather at 5:30pm for folks who need time to eat, 6:00 pm for the meeting, and finish at 7:30 for those who need to attend the Bible Study. This meeting will be for planning for the year 2019/2020.officers of the Circle need to attend, and others who are interested are very welcome to join us.light meal and refreshments will be served.

The next Lillie Circle meeting will be on Monday, September 9 at 7 PM at the home of Sandra Hodge. We will begin planning out activities for the next year. For additional information, contact June Christian at 919-271-7709.

The Lillie Circle will be collecting canned meats such as ravioli, canned tuna, canned chicken, etc., boxed mixes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, and can openers for Garner Area Ministries during the month of July. The donation box is in the hall outside the Faith Formation classroom. As always, these donations are not in lieu of food donations for Garner Area Ministries but in addition to those donations. Toiletries and other personal care items are often forgotten when people make donations and we are trying to focus on those things that are needed by a family or individual for personal care. Please consider donating especially in this time of great need. If you have questions, please contact June Christian at 919-271-7709. Thank you for your participation.

Prayer Shawl Ministry continues to share God’s love by knitting and crocheting prayer shawls. If you would like to participate with this ministry and assist in making shawls or making a monetary contributions please contact Lynne Jackson (919-889-1227) or Martha Long (919-744-0751).

Quilt Bee and Sewing Bee will meet on July 27th in the Fellowship Hall. The session will run from 10am until 2ish. If you have wanted to learn to quilt or sew now is your chance for free lessons or just come join us and work on a project you have. Please contact Lynne Jackson at or cell 919-889-1227 if you have any questions.


Youth News

Youth Group is on its summer break but there are still some fun youth activities planned and we are working of Fall plans as well.


Youth Traveling To Montreat

Our youth are going to Montreat, NC, July 21-27. We have a group of about a half dozen who will go to explore more deeply their faith, their relationship with god and others, and the theme of “Let Love Lead.” Rev Acton will be one of the adults accompanying the group.

The group covets your prayers as they travel and enjoy this week together. If you are interested to seeing how else you can help—perhaps by providing a meal for the group or a gas card for their travel expense—please contact Rev. Acton at the church office.


Summer time for Scouts!

If you know a rising Kindergarten-5th grade boy who may be curious about joining Cub Scouts, the summer is the perfect time to get to know Pack 392! Drop into any of these summer events. For more information email

Upcoming events are:

Tuesday, July 16th 7pm-8pm Walnut Creek Wetland Park–Discovering Wetlands–learn about what makes a wetland and who lives there. Spend time in the creek with nets looking for crayfish, fish and aquatic insects. Scouts encouraged to bring their own rain boots and a change of clothing. Rain boots available to borrow at the Center. 950 Peterson Street, Raleigh.
Tuesday August 6, 7-8pm at White Deer Park Nature Center: Insect Investigation—collect bugs in jars and learn about their role in our ecosystem.


Honoring Graduates!

Brianna Slaughter

Congratulations to our own church member Brianna Slaughter (daughter of Jeremy and Audrey Denton, granddaughter of Gloria and Bruce Oelke) part of the West Johnston High School class of 2019!

Brianna graduated with a number of accolades and awards including: Highest Average in American    History;  Future Farmers of America (FFA) ; HOSA (organization for future health professionals) Member; Principal’s List Honor Roll;  Participant in the Governor’s Page Program; Highest possible score  on Work Keys Test; 3.05 GPA; Academic Excellence Award accepted Graduation Night. She accomplished all of this while also working a part time and full time positions in area restaurants and completing a program from Johnston Community College to become a Certified Nursing Aide (the cost of which was in part covered by FPCG”s Thompson Scholarship).

After a summer of rest, work, and celebration, Brianna will attend the University of Mount Olive (where she has $20,000+ scholarship money) where after one very intense academic year she will be certified as a Registered Nurse.

This year at UMO, will allow her to discern more deeply if nursing is her true calling, and if so to continue her education through the Watts School of Nursing at Duke or at UMO.

Well done, Brianna! We are so proud of what God has done in your life and look forward to continuing to support you with our prayers and love on life’s journey!


Kasey Wilkins

Kasey Wilkins, granddaughter of Peggy Wilkins, graduated magna cum laude from Clayton High School. She achieved several honors including All Conference, All Region, and All State Soccer in the 3A Conference. She was named Defensive Player of the Year by the Johnston County School Board. During her time at Clayton High School she played on the varsity soccer team, the varsity volleyball team, and the junior varsity basketball team. She was also Volunteer of the Year at Clayton High School for the numerous hours of volunteer work she put into a hurricane shelter, children’s home, and other agencies. She will be attending William Peace University in the fall as an education major, with plans to become a middle school teacher and soccer coach. She earned several scholarships including an athletic scholarship, and scholarships from Clayton High School and Peace University.


If someone else in your family was a graduate this year of high school or college, please e-mail the church office and let us know. We’ll be happy to share a note about their accomplishment and future plans in a future edition of The Spire.


Cub Scout Spring Trip

Cub Scout Pack 392 would like to extend a huge thank you to all of you who donated funds and purchased Camp Cards towards our Spring Trip. 11 Scouts and their families spent time at Myrtle Beach State Park enjoying the surf, trails, and Nature Center. We then went to Ripley’s Aquarium where we spent the night “Sleeping with the Sharks” and got to touch stingrays and learn about ocean life. Thank you for supporting Scouts!!


 Youth & Children’s Sunday

On July 14th Youth and Children will lead our worship service using liturgy prayers, and music they selected and developed.  Youth and Children who would like to help with the planning are invited to a planning session on July 7 following worship. Lunch will be provided.  Please contact Lisa Jackson or Rev. Ben Acton for more information, suggestions, or questions.


 Christian Education

“New Beginnings” Sunday School class: In mid-July the New Beginnings Sunday School class will finish our review of the Book of Esther and transition to the Gospel of John. On stained glass windows, the four gospel writers are typically depicted as a man for Mark, a lion for Matthew, an ox for Luke, and an eagle for John. The eagle was selected based on its penetrating gaze from high in the in our 27-week study as we attempt to view Christ through the eye of an eagle from the rarified air of the Fourth Gospel.

Ogburn Sunday School: If you are not currently attending Sunday School, please consider joining the Ogburn class each Sunday morning. We are currently using the Adult Bible Studies series from Cokesbury. This summer, our lessons focus on how Jesus fulfilled the Law in the sense that it was given full meaning. Jesus emphasized the deep, underlying messages of the gospel; and this same message is continued through the apostle Paul and the writer of Hebrews. Relationships of faith empower us to live the covenant and spread the gospel message. Join us each Sunday at 9:45am for wonderful discussion and fellowship

Wednesday Night Bible Study: The Wednesday Night Bible Study Group will meet during the summer months beginning July 9th. Join us for fellowship and lively discussion each Wednesday night, beginning at 7:30pm, in the New Beginnings Classroom. For more information, please contact Karen Lovering (919-418-3568).

Thursday Morning Bible Study: Our Thursday morning study is taking a Summer break! We will be back in September. Information about our Fall study will appear in the August Spire.

Ida-Joy Bible Study: The Ida-Joy Bible study will be on their summer break and will resume in September with a new course of study. Stay tuned to find out what they will be studying next!


New Faces at First Presbyterian Church of Garner!

Introducing Brittany Hayes

As many of you know, Gloria Oelke has foot surgery on June 10th. Given her recovery time is slated to last 4-6 weeks, the church is blessed to have Brittany Hayes filling in for the next several weeks!

Though Georgia born, Brittany is North Carolina raised and currently is a student at Meredith pursuing a degree in Music Education. She is hoping to obtain a K-12 license so she can teach     choral music in public schools.

Brittany has filled in for local churches throughout the years as pianist and music director, including serving as a Music Director at Milner Memorial Presbyterian for their last 7 months as a congregation. She has also substituted at Ernest Myatt Presbyterian, St. Giles Presbyterian., and Avery Ferry UMC. She grew up in a Baptist church, where she first played piano in church and for choir practice.

By the time you read this she will have filled in on June 16, 23, and 30, and will be with us also on July 7 and 14.  Stop by the piano and make sure to say “hi!”


Introducing Anabel Oosterlinck

Welcome to our new Childcare Worker Anabel Oosterlinck. A native of Venezuela, Anabel has lived in the United States since 2004 and in North Carolina since 2013. She has extensive experience working with pre-school and childcare programs both in the church and outside of it in California and North Carolina. She is certified in both those states as a Child Developmental Associate Teacher and also possesses certifications in CPR and First Aid.

In her work with children, Anabel says, “I believe young minds learn best when they’re exposed to concrete experiences (hands on activities). It never stops fascinating me how children at a young age are trying to understand their world and how it works. I enjoy being part of it.”

Anabel will begin sharing in ministry with us on Sunday, July 7. She will be present in the nursery from approximately 9:15-12:15 for any children who use that space. If no children nursery age are present she will jump in to support our wonderful team of Sunday School teachers and Children; Church leaders to help share the joy of that ministry with our elementary children. We also anticipate her being a presence and help during Vacation Bible School, July 28-30.

Make sure to stop by and greet her in the coming weeks!



Jackie Dail recognized as Outstanding Older Adult!

Every year the Presbytery of New Hope invites churches to nominate individuals or couples who are 60 years of age or older to be recognized for their exemplary service to the church. This year, FPCOG’s Session put forward Jackie Dail for this honor.

It’s easy to understand why! Jackie and her late husband Curtis have served the church in more ways than anyone can count. Jackie has been a Sunday School teacher, deacon, elder, youth advisor, greeter, usher, a member and officer of Presbyterian Women, not to mention a friend, confidante, helper, and support to so many. She even once was a member of the choir even though she admits” I could sing then and can’t sing now!”

To celebrate Jackie and other recipients around the Presbytery, a service and reception was held in Rocky Mount on May 19. FPCOG was well represented and gave a loud hoop and holler (if not a Wolf Pack howl!) when Jackie was mentioned by name. Congratulation and thank you Jackie for your devoted, humble, and outstanding service to Jesus Christ and his church!


The Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet Thursday, July 18th at 6:30pm in the Faith Formation Classroom. The support group welcomes anyone who is a caregiver, a family member or friend of someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, or someone who wants to simply know more about Alzheimer’s Disease. For further information contact Donna Gould at 919 772-0018.

The Men of the Church are invited to join in on some summer Sunday morning gathering times of prayer with coffee and doughnuts. These “Holey Moments” will be held at 9am in the library under the Rev. Acton’s leadership on July 21 and August 18. This time of fellowship and devotion will offer opportunities to gather while the monthly Men of the Church breakfast is on its summer break which is from May-August. Monthly breakfasts will start up again in September when we’ll also begin a discussion on the relationship between Faith and Science.

The Social Committee sponsors a Game Day every Wednesday at 10am in the Fellowship Hall. Please come and enjoy the morning playing your favorite games. Feel free to bring your own games or come and have fun learning new ones. We look forward to seeing you there!

Prayer is Key: The prayer group meets on Thursday mornings at 9am. We welcome new members. This group is an opportunity to learn how to pray, to strengthen your relationship to God and to see God at work in a personal way.

Spire articles and pictures are due by 5pm the 3rd Tuesday of each month unless otherwise stated. Please submit articles to the office in writing or by e-mail to the Administrative Assistant at


Memorial Garden

In the coming months you will be seeing announcements about Memorial Garden workdays. This project is being led by Kian Miley as part of his work towards becoming an Eagle Scout. The Memorial Garden is quite a big undertaking, so we can use all of the help that we can get on the workdays… Many hands make light work! If you are unable or concerned about “swinging a shovel” your presence also makes a difference and encourages those at work. We will be announcing each workday and all the many ways we can use your help such as providing a wheelbarrow or extra shovel, helping with digging and building the wall, help planting, or even bringing water or Popsicles (especially in the summer heat!).

Please come support the work Kian and our Scouts are doing for our church, creating a space we will all come to cherish and enjoy!



Mission Ministry Team Announcements


 History and Purpose of the 2 cents a Meal Project

A number of years ago, Mrs. Catherine Lewis, a member of the Ida-Joy circle, suggested that the circle sponsor the 2-Cents a Meal program. Catherine was our choir director for many years as well as a choir member and a bellringer. She was very active in the Ida-Joy circle. It was suggested that the church members set aside 2 cents for every meal they eat during the month and then the “penny money” is given during worship on the last Sunday of the month. The Ida-Joy Bible Study group then discusses the various needs and decides which organization will receive the money. Since the money collected is based on food consumed, they try to select an organization which provides food for the hungry. Over the years, the money has been given to a number of organizations. Donations have been made to the Salvation Army Food Distribution Center, Garner Area           Ministries, Backpack Buddies, Presbyterian Disaster Agency, Family Promise, Meals on Wheels of Wake County, Hope Ministry at UMC, the Pastor Discretionary Fund, and the Interfaith Food Shuttle. Jesus gave us several examples of feeding the needy. As followers of Christ, when we give we are sharing our faith, and giving hope and love to the less fortunate.


For  H.O.P.E

Homeless Outreach Providing Encouragement


FPCoG…July through August we will be collecting new boxers for men, colored underwear for women and socks for the guests at H.O.P.E.  During the summer months, typically donations at H.O.P.E. decline with people traveling, vacationing, etc.  Let’s help meet the on-going needs and fill the closet again this summer, providing essential dignities for the guests at H.O.P.E.  Last year our gifts of new white towels and washcloths, underwear and socks were an unexpected blessing, coming at a time that this outreach ministry here in Garner desperately needed! Also, with the funds you donated last year, we were able to provide undergarments throughout the winter and spring when the need arose.

The H.O.P.E. Chest will be relocated to the Narthex during July and August for you to place your donations of boxers / underwear and socks. If you would prefer to make a monetary / check donation, for your convenience there are contribution envelopes located in a holder on the H.O.P.E. Chest. Please place your donation in the envelope designated for H.O.P.E. and place your contribution in the offering plate at any time. For checks, please make payable to “The First Presbyterian Church of Garner” and in the MEMO section write H.O.P.E.

Thank you FPCoG for ALL of your generosities to H.O.P.E. through the years, your continued support for H.O.P.E. on the 5th Saturdays…for being the hands of God, maybe the face of God, and just possibly seeing the face of God through those we meet in serving.

In closing, please consider…There but for the Grace of God go I.


July through August

If you have questions about “Seats & Feets” for H.O.P.E. or want more information regarding H.O.P.E., please see / contact:

Julie Tedder        919-622-2120

Sandy Lee            919-522-3416

Lynne Jackson     919-889-1227



Abundance Orchard Vacation Bible School


Join us for a fun-filled week focused on learning about God’s love.

Vacation  Bible School will be held July 28th—30th 6-8pm.

VBS is for all ages of adults and children!

To register your child please contact the Church Office at 919-772-0727 or email Rev. Acton at

Mission Statement for First Presbyterian Church of Garner


Responding to God’s call, we challenge each other to grow in discipleship while embodying the love and grace of Jesus Christ.

We value:

  • Inspiring worship in Word and music
  • Inquiring study for adults, youth and children
  • Inclusive hospitality
  • Community outreach
  • Stewardship