The Spire (Newsletter)

July Spire 2017

The Spire

Newsletter of First Presbyterian Church of Garner



Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park

On Friday, June 16 we loaded up a van of folks to make a day trip to Scotland Neck.  We had a fabulous tour driver – Philip Penny!  After traveling through our state’s farmland, we arrived and were guided through the park by a most knowledgeable young lady.  We learned that flamingos get their pink/orange color from the food/vitamins they ingest.  We delighted in the colors of peacocks and learned about endangered cranes.  We watched blue billed ducks play and parrots dance.  After our fabulous tour we stopped and had great southern cooking at Abrams Seafood and Barbeque in Scotland Neck.  We even stopped to buy fresh corn on the way home.  It was a fabulous day.  Please join us for our next adventure!


New Presbyterian USA Hymnal

Every twenty or so years our    denomination compiles a new hymnal for use in worship. The 216th General Assembly (2004) of the Presbyterian Church USA gave authorization to the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation to research the feasibility of a new hymnal in cooperation with the denomination’s Office of Theology and Worship and the Presbyterian   Association of Musicians. The    results of this study were reported to the 217th General Assembly (2006) which authorized the    publishing company to proceed with preparing a new hymnal.  The collection was presented to the 220th General Assembly (2012), which commended it to the church.  So the process takes about 8 years to complete. The committee to propose the new hymnal spent three and a half years considering thousands of hymns and songs.  Each item under consideration was sung and thoroughly discussed.  They reviewed every entry         anonymously, with all author, composer, and copyright       information blocked.  When the committee felt ready to make a decision, a vote was taken and if a two-thirds majority approved, the hymn or song moved      forward.  Glory to God  is the culmination of this multiyear endeavor.

The Session of the First  Presbyterian Church of   Garner approved the use of the new hymnal, Glory to God, at their June stated meeting.  We are blessed to be able to purchase the  hymnals using the memorial gifts for Mitzi Gray.  We will be introducing the new  hymnal to our congregation and dedicating them in memory of Mitzi later this summer.


Worship News


Music Notes

The choir takes the summer off from hot choir robes and their weekly practice….but not from their worship responsibilities. The choir will continue to sing each Sunday. A short practice each Sunday before the worship service will be vitally important to our continued success.

Summer is here and vacations have begun! Choir members are no exception. We could use a helping voice this summer…since choir members will be away at times celebrating the summer.  As often as you can, please join us in the choir room at 10:40 on Sunday mornings for a quick rehearsal before the service.

Handbell rehearsals will resume in September. We need new ringers! Katherine is terrific but even she can’t play all of the bells at once.  If we have new ringers we will have a basic training event later this summer. Contact Rose if you are interested.



We have some very faithful members who have ushered for us this year, but we have a couple of folks on the injured list who cannot do it right now and of course vacations are coming up. If you can help out this summer, please see Sandy Lee or email her at Let me know what dates work best for you and I will put you in. It is a simple task but one that is very much needed to make folks feel welcome when they come to worship with us.


Congregational Care

Meet our newest members, Dick and Jeanne Conner. They met while in the Army, she a nurse and he a GI. They have lived in    several places such as VA and Texas where they lived for 30 yrs.  Both were originally from PA. Jeanne has retired from nursing and Dick is a retired scientist (Ornithologist) They moved to the area to be closer to 2 of their children who live in the Raleigh area and to be a day  closer drive from their youngest in FL. Dick is also our newest choir member. Take a moment to introduce yourself to them if you have not already.


July Flowers

2nd    Given by Parks Gray in loving memory of Mitzi Gray

9th     Given by Peggy Wilkins in honor of the members of the Lillie Circle

16th   Given by Mary Jo Atkinson in loving memory of Bob Atkinson

23rd   Given by Marvin & Suzi Perkins in honor of all the ministers of FPCoG

30th   Given by June Christian in loving memory of her parents, Dorothy & Luke Bernard


July Birthdays and Anniversaries


2nd     Helen Losada

4th      Sue Meacham

9th      Robert Berryhill & Jennifer Collins

10th    Tammy Oelke

12th    Sandy Lee

13th    Terri Carpenter

15th    Henry Woodcock

21st    Joe Shipp & Judy Shipp

22nd   Georgia Morrison

26th    Thomas Oriel &  Cassandra Cubilla

28th    Allen Hodge & Elizabeth McHenry

31st    Barbara Holland



1st      Joe & Lynne Jackson

11th    Ray & Jean Thornton

12th    Rick & Terri Carpenter

28th    Stan & Edith Conyers

28th    Tim & Melissa Miley

30th    Philip & Sheree Penny

31st    Charles & Roxann Porter


Prayer Concerns

Members:  Carson and Rosemary Carmichael, Gabe Adams, Jeanne Johnson, Carol Sims, Joan Young, Georgia Morrison, Dr. Andy Cook, Barbara O’Hare, Adam Miller, Pat Yelvington, Mary Jo Atkinson, Ann Bagwell, Edith Conyers, Terri Carpenter, Carol Miles, Stephen Mendoza

Members’ Families: Stella Knabe, Glenda Creech, Thelma Pleasant, Martha Little, Naomi Lee, Betty Monroe, Martha Morgan, Michael Regester, Annette Hill, Lillian Dever, Ann Gould, Karen Safrit, Morgan Miles

Members’ Friends: Dennis and Janie Eldridge and family, Marjorie Cassada, Mimi and William Prickett, Peg & Dixon Earley, Sylvia Harrison, John Beckley, David Myhre, Joann Overby, Skye Reece (2 1/2 year old anticipating third open heart surgery), Nicole Watson        



Where Two or More Are Gathered: The weekly prayer group will be meeting on Wednesday mornings at 9:00 a.m. during the month of July. Everyone is welcome to participate.  The meeting is held in the parlor of the church.

The Lillie Circle is still collecting recipes for the next church cookbook, and we would really like to have a recipe from everyone in the church.So, if you haven’t submitted one yet, please do so.You can give them to June Christian, Karen McCauley, or Sandra Hodge.We can’t wait to try all the great recipes!!!

The Social Committee is looking for people interested in being on the Social Committee.  We are looking for new idea get-togethers.  Please contact Judy Pittman at or 919-661-3600. Or you can contact Kathy Henderson.

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

The Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet Thursday, July 20th at 6:30 in the Faith Formation Classroom. All who are interested in learning more about  Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias are encouraged to attend. For further information please contact Donna Gould at 919 302-3651.

The Men of the Church will be taking their summer break and will resume their activities (and breakfasts) the second Sunday in September (Sept. 10th).

Prayer Shawl Ministry continues to share God’s love by knitting and       crocheting prayer shawls. If you want to participate with this ministry and assist in making shawls or making monetary contributions, contact Lynne Jackson or Martha Long.

QUILT BEE will meet on July 15th at 10:00AM till you need to go or 6:00PM in the Fellowship Hall. If you have wanted to learn to quilt now is your chance for free lessons. Please contact Lynne Jackson at or cell 919-889-1227 if you have any questions.

The Friendship Circle is taking their summer break but will be getting together later in the  summer to start thinking on their fall activities. If you have any questions or would like to join this group please feel free to contact Carrie Dixon.

The Lillie Circle met June 12th to plan upcoming activities for the summer. We will be holding the VIP luncheon for the Very Important People of First Presbyterian Church of Garner on Saturday, August 5th at 12:00. The theme this year will be “Celebrating the beach and then end of summer.” All in the church age 60+ are invited and will receive special invitations shortly. If you are 60+ and we missed you on the invitation list, please accept our apologies and contact Donna Gould,   Helen Losada or Sandra Hodge so we can get one in the mail to you. The event will be held in the church fellowship hall.

We also have a special bridal shower planned on Saturday, August 26th in honor of Karen McCauley and her fiancé, Gary Lovering. The shower will be at 2:00pm in the church fellowship hall. All who would like to attend are welcome. Please contact the church office, Donna Gould or Sandra Hodge regarding information about where the couple are registered.

There will be no regular meeting of the Lillie Circle in August but we will resume our monthly meetings in September.


Nominating Committee Elected

At our congregational meeting on Sunday, June 25, we elected the following folks to serve a one year term on the Nominating Committee.  Carrie Dixon (chair) and Philip Penny were elected as the Session representatives, Judy Pittman is the Deacon representative, Ken Summerville represents Men of the Church, Donna Gould represents the Presbyterian Women, and Carol Oriel and Sandy Lee are Members-at-Large.  The Pastor serves as an ex-officio member.  It is the role of this committee to present a slate of names to serve as elders and deacons in the class of 2020 for election by the congregation in September.  Please keep these folks in your prayers as they prepare to engage in this crucial role in the church – the discernment of ministry leadership.


Finance and Building & Grounds

            There has been much discussion over the past year by the Session and members of the congregation about the installation of an elevator to assist those with mobility issues move more easily around the church.As you can imagine, this is not an easy, quick, or inexpensive process.The Building & Grounds committee has been in contact with elevator companies.However, all they are able to do is supply the elevator. church will need to hire an architect / engineering firm to come up with plans for the installation, and then, hire a general contractor to oversee the installation.Members of the Building & Grounds Committee are talking with acquaintances in the engineering and architectural fields to get guidance on how to best move forward.But, before we can officially hire any professionals to begin consultation and design, we will need a good base of money to cover their fees.

A request has been made to the Finance Committee and Building & Grounds Committee to set up a special fund to cover the cost of these expenses.But, did you know we already have an elevator fund in place?That’s correct.As part of the new Memorial Fund Policy, a list of recommendations and opportunities was created to assist families in deciding where donated funds might be spent.And, one of the items on the list is an elevator!So, if you would like to contribute toward the design & installation of an elevator, all you need to do is make a donation to the memorial fund and note that the monies should be directed to the elevator.

As we move along in the process, please remember that in addition to the need of an elevator, the church has other on-going building maintenance projects that need to be addressed… painting, HVAC systems, and general upgrades throughout.And, those maintenance projects may take precedence over the elevator.Please be patient with the committees, and we will do our best to keep things moving along so we have the best building for the ministries the Lord has in store for us.


Many thanks from the Finance and Building & Grounds Committees!



Mission Statement for First Presbyterian Church of Garner

At the stated meeting of the Session on May 21st, we adopted the following Mission       Statement. You will begin to see this newly adopted Mission Statement on our worship   bulletin, web page, and the Spire.  This will be our guiding principle as we move into future ministries.

Mission Statement

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


BOOK LOVERS, check out the book exchange shelves in the New Beginnings classroom.  Help yourself to books, bring in some of yours, and read and share.  There are all kinds of stories awaiting you.  Men, the top shelf is for you! More books come in each week.  Enjoy!

Submitting information for The Spire or the Bulletin:  When    submitting information to be placed in the bulletin and/or the Spire, please submit to the office in writing or by   e-mail to Stephanie Taylor at  Spire articles and pictures are due by 5:00 PM the third Tuesday of each month unless otherwise stated.


Christian Education

Thursday Morning Bible Study

We are taking a brief break and returning on July 13th so come join us on Thursday mornings at 10:00am in the Church Library for Bible study and lively conversation.  We are beginning a study of The Book of Acts, the  story of the early church. Acts is the only biblical book that chronicles the      history of the church  immediately after Jesus’s ascension. Join us as we follow the lives of key apostles, especially Peter and Paul, in the decades immediately following Christ’s ascension into heaven. Hope to see you here!!

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

Beginning June 28, the Wednesday Night Bible Study Group will begin reading and discussing The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.First published in February 1942, the story takes the form of a series of letters from veteran demon, Screwtape, to his nephew and protégé, Wormwood, a Junior Tempter.The uncle instructs the demon-in-training in the fine points of leading a new Christian astray.Please join us for lively discussion and lots of fellowship each Wednesday at 7:30pm in the New Beginnings Room.For more information, please contact Karen McCauley.


Adult Sunday School

If you are not currently attending Sunday School, please consider joining theBeginnings – Ogburn class each Sunday morning.We are currently studying Perfectly Imperfect: Character Sketches from the Old Testament by David Busic.How can someone be perfectly imperfect? Isn’t that a contradiction? The Bible is filled with stories of people with all kinds of flaws and imperfections. The astounding thing is what happens when God changes their lives.They are flawed, real people, but then God enters their lives and everything changes.Through the examples of Abraham, Moses, Rahab, and many others, we learn how God works with us. We discover something about the way God transforms us from what we are into what we can be.Join us each Sunday at 9:45am for wonderful discussion and fellowship.



Mission Ministry Team Announcements

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”

 ~Mother Teresa

2 Cents-a-Meal

Collected on the last Sunday in each month, the Two Cents-a-Meal offering invites the congregation to prayerfully contribute a few cents at each meal to help alleviate hunger and poverty.  Participation in Two Cents-a-Meal is a commitment to share with others in response to Jesus’ command, “You give them something to eat.”  The contribution of two cents (or more) per person at each meal, reminds us of the needs of others and our call to respond as Christians to their hunger. The money collected is dedicated during the morning worship service, and then distributed by the Ida Joy Bible Study Group to local hunger initiatives including Garner Area Ministries and Interfaith Food Shuttle.
The Presbytery’s Hunger Fund Team is now accepting applications for local agencies/projects that fall within the bounds of New Hope Presbytery and have been endorsed by a church within the bounds of New Hope to apply for the 2017 New Hope Presbytery Hunger Grant. The application deadline is Monday, August 21, 2017.


Food Donations Needed

We thank you for the generous amounts of food and hygiene supplies you have donated throughout the year, but especially at this time of the year. We appreciate that so many of you have been remembering to bring items on the first Sunday of each month as challenged by Reverend Debbie.


First Aid Kit Mission Project

As a mini-mission project to kick off the summer, the youth will be collecting several items to be turned into first aid kits for housing insecure individuals in Asheville, North Carolina. These items, listed below, will be assembled into kits by the youth during their drive to Montreat, setting the tone for spiritual growth based in service. The items we are looking for are:

Cough Drops


Gallon Size Ziplocks

Nail Clippers



Gauze Bandages

First Aid Tape

There will be a box for these items in the Narthex, and we would love anyone who is willing to participate by donating just one of these to please do so by July 2nd. This is so we can purchase whatever is necessary to have all the supplies we need before we leave for our trip. Thank you!



Youth News

“The Mountains are calling and I must go…” – John Muir

This quote of John Muir’s is one that is very near and dear to the heart of many of those in our church family. While to the youth it is deeply connected to Montreat, (I know what you’re thinking, “Montreat, Montreat, Montreat, do these kids even have any other words in their vocabulary?!?”) to me this quote has always meant a little more. When I was a kid and in my church’s children’s choir, a song that we brought out once a year was called “Go Ye Into the World.” While I haven’t sung it in over 10 years, the lyrics are imprinted on my brain forever.

“Go ye, go ye, into the world and make disciples of all the nations.

Go ye, go ye, into the world, and I will be with you there.

I am the vine, you are the branches, ever the fruit to bear.

I am the light, you the reflection everywhere.”


This was one of the first clear  pictures of God that I received as a child, and still one of the visuals that comes to mind when I      picture my relationship with Him. A strong, sturdy vine, with myself as a branch. The vine is my base, transfers some of its strength to me, gives me nourishment from its roots, provides my foundation to the earth. And with all of that provided to me, I the branch am able to reach out far, and bear the fruit of the vine.

The Mountains are calling for each of us. The question is, what are YOUR Mountains? What is it that challenges you to grow, to reach further into the world than you have before? Where is it that God is calling you to reach out that you might bear fruit there? Our church family was positioned with intention to reach the world around us, it is just up to us to take that step, to listen to that call, and to go.


Youth News

Summer Vacation has arrived, and this Summer is already shaping up to be a very special one for the young people of this church. There is a level of vitality and   excitement that only comes along with the Summer, and the joy of young people, temporarily unencumbered by their usual routines, is contagious. While regular weekly youth group meetings take a break during the summer months, there is still so much  going on to take note of!


After a year of anticipation, months of planning, several fundraisers, and prayerful preparation, the time has finally come for our High School youth to answer the call of the Mountains and attend the Montreat Youth Conference. The youth would like to thank everyone who has supported them in this journey, whether it was with their gifts, their talents, their participation, or their prayers. The Chinese Auction and Craft fair was a delightful time and an incredible success, bringing in over $1,100 to go towards this trip. While our fundraising journey is not done, everyone’s generous participation in that event brought us much closer to our goal. The group attending Montreat this year is Cassie, Susie, Angela, Brianna, Braydon, Kian, Carmen, and Kathryn. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel to Black Mountain, NC for what will surely be a week-long transformative experience.

Youth and Families Picnic

Summer Picnics are a fun tradition for this church and it’s families alike. All of the youth, children, and families of our congregation are invited to join in a cookout after church on July 23rd. We will have outdoor games, fellowship, fun, and hot dogs galore. If you would like to bring a side along or help in manning the grill, please let me know at so we can make sure we are well   prepared! See you there!

Youth and Children’s Schedule for July

July 2nd – First Aid Kit Mission Project supplies due

July 9th – Youth attending Montreat leave at 10am

July 15th – Youth return from Montreat at 5pm

July 16th – No Youth Group

July 23rd – Youth and Families Picnic After church – 2pm