The Spire (Newsletter)

February Calendar 2019

February Spire 2019

The Spire

Newsletter of First Presbyterian Church of Garner



Letter from the Pastor


Dear Friends,


As February begins, I am aware of a subtle irony here at the beginning of the year: this shortest month of the year at times can often feel like the longest.


There are a number of contributing factors to this phenomenon: the excitement of Christmas and the New Year wearing off (along with a number of our resolutions);  the ground and trees laying  bare; the bitter cold forcing us inside and making us a bit stir crazy,  and every “bug” known to humankind wearing us down with colds, coughs, or worse….just to name a few!


I notice I feel more worn down in such times and more in need than ever for an urgent word and sign of renewal and hope. From conversations I have had with many in our faith family, I know I am not alone in this regard.


For the church the season of Lent (which begins in March) leads us into deep reflection about that urgent hope and how Christ’s life, death, and resurrection brings the renewal we seek. But the truth is, we do not have to wait until Lent begins to bear witness to how the love of God heals and restores our bodies, minds, and spirits.


It is with that thought in mind that the Worship Committee and our Session  have set aside time on Sunday, February 17, at 5:30pm, for a service of “Healing and Wholeness” in our sanctuary.


Our PC(USA) Book of Order describes such a service in this way:

“Services of wholeness and healing are one way of enacting the church’s ministry of pastoral care. The central element in these services is prayer, calling upon God’s saving grace or giving thanks for healing received.”  Further the Book of Order affirms that such a service does not purport to enact healing but rather acknowledges that “healing always comes as a gift from God, not as a product of human prayer.”


The exact details of this service are still being worked out, but in many ways, this service will look a lot like other services of worship we enjoy. There will be scripture, music, prayers.


There will be speaking and listening, silence and sound. There may even be some new elements involving movement and personal petitions of prayer.


The purpose of all these practices is to offer each the extra care and love that each if us need in this and in any time of year. My hope is that in sharing our struggles and vulnerabilities we might become also more aware of how God’s Spirit surrounds and sustains us.


As those plans come together, I look forward to answering any questions you may have, and sharing with you further details.


Peace Be With You,




Worship News



February Worship Notes:

This month in worship, our sermon series finds us “ On The Mountaintop” hearing key passages from Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5-7. These words give life to Jesus’ vision for those who wish to follow him, a vision that may be as counterintuitive for us now as it was for disciples then.

February 3

Text: Matthew 5:1-20

Sermon Title: On the Mountaintop: Be a Blessing

Jesus says that those who follow him and who work for peace, justice, and love, will be blessed. But with that gift comes a responsibility—to share our gifts with others.


610 O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

833 O Love That Will Not Let Me Go


February 10

Text: 5:38-48

Sermon Title: On the Mountaintop: Be Perfect

Sometimes what Jesus calls us to do seems impossible. Be “perfect?” Really? But maybe with Jesus’ help we can do more than we think we can.


14 For the Beauty of the Earth

444 Forgive Us As We Forgive or 438 Rock of Ages Cleft For Me

754 Help Us Accept Each Other


February 17

Text: Matthew 6:1-8

Meditation: On the Mountaintop: Be Yourself

We often face temptation to act and perform in certain ways, hoping that what we do will win the acceptance of others. Jesus teaches his disciples to embrace authenticity and to simply be the person God has made each of us to be: yourself.


620 Praise My Soul the King of Heaven

401 Here In This Place

708 We Give Thee But Thine Own

February 17 (evening) Service of Healing and Wholeness

Text: Matthew 6:25-34

Sermon Title: On the Mountaintop: Be Present

Amid all the concerns and worries we have in our hearts, it can be difficult to be in the moment. Jesus though offers a word of calm and peace that can help us be still and be open to what God is doing now.


792: There is a Balm in Gilead

821 How Can I Keep From Singing?

February 24

Text: Matthew 7:7-11; 24-29

Sermon Title: On the Mountaintop: Be Wise

Wisdom is a trait that is greatly valued. But for Jesus wisdom sometimes looks like folly. Dare we be so foolish to serve him and others before self?


12 Immortal Invisible God Only Wise

175 Seek Ye First

846 Fight the Good Fight



February Flowers



3rd         Given by Bill and Emily Lee in honor of Boy Scout Troop 392, Cub Scout Pack 392, the scouts and                leaders.

10th       Given by Edith and Stan Conyers and Philip and Sheree Penny in memory of Robbie Wright.

17th       Given by Deb McHenry in memory of Rick McHenry.

24th       Given by Kathy Henderson in honor of the Angie’s group, choir, and Shephard group.





Congregational Care


Prayer Concerns

Members: Carson & Rosemary Carmichael, Joan Young, Georgia Morrison, Stan & Edith Conyers, Martha Harris, John & Elaine Watkins, Olive Safrit, Ann & Harold Bagwell, Tammy Oelke, Bruce Oelke, Jeanne Johnson, Parks Icenhour,

Diane Turner & Jeff Cadwallader

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), Karen Safrit (Olive Safrit), Amanda Miller (Ruby Miller-Ousley), Tonya Boykin, Susan (Georgia Morrison’s daughter), Donna Smith (Sandy Lee), Jerry & Brenda Cook (Kevin Wallace), 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), Janice Poole (Diane Page), Jim Cole (Trish Holmes), Marshall & Katie Morgan (Nephew & neice of Kevin & Deb Wallace), Glen & Gail Schue (Aunt & Uncle of Carrie     Dixon), Michael Gurkin (Rose’s husband), Aleena Conner (Dick Conner)

Members’ Friends: Dennis and Janie Eldridge and family, Marjorie Cassada, John Beckley, David Myhre, Joann Overby, Nicole Watson, Fran Tocci (Sandy Lee), Dr. Sherri Edwards (Sandy Lee), 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), Mayo Watts (Kevin Wallace)


 February Birthdays and Anniversaries


3rd         Carol Oriel

9th         Elizabeth Rea Collins

11th       Jerry Monroe

12th       Joe Prater

19th       Gary McInnis

23rd       Brian Meacham

25th       Harold (Trey) Bagwell, III

29th       Braydon Miley


3rd         Carl and Karen Miller

29th       Jerry and Linda Monroe


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


Mission Ministry Team Announcements

Able To Serve

Able to Serve is a faith based nonprofit that helps adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They are located in the Buffaloe Road area so they are one of our neighbors. The program operates Monday through Friday from 9am to 3pm. Able to Serve emphasizes what their participants are able to do and help them continue to learn new skills such as computer skills, cleaning house, using a washer and dryer, shopping, helping others, making friends, exploring the community, and so on. This is a new organization we have reached out to help and want to continue to support in the future. Thank you for supporting one of our neighbors!

Family Promise

It’s time to start thinking about Family Promise again!  Since this will be our third year participating we have most of the big supplies we need.  As we get closer to the date we will send out a list of food items.  At this time, we can start collecting some of the disposable items.  Popular items we went through quickly last year were travel sized hygiene items (especially bars of soap, shaving cream, and men’s razors), diapers, and Clorox wipes. We are also in need of someone willing to chair the laundry committee. Responsibilities include coordinating our list of volunteers,   contacting volunteers if laundry needs arise during the week, and confirming that all bags of laundry are assigned to a volunteer at the end of the week.  If you are interested, contact Lisa Jackson at (919) 274-9414 or

Our week to host is: Sunday April 14, 2019 – Sunday April 21, 2019   

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 year there is even more of a demand for food supplies. We appreciate that so many of you have been remembering to bring items on the first Sunday of the month. Please keep your generosity coming during these winter months.

History and Purpose of the 2 Cents a Meal

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 bell ringer. 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.



Coming In March – The Man of the Year Award Presentation and Breakfast!

Coming March 3rd – The Man of the Year Award Presentation and Breakfast!

Yes, it’s that time of year again to recognize a man in our church who has served our church and community well this past year.  As in past years, this presentation will be made at the March Men of the Church breakfast, to which all are invited.  More details will be coming soon about the nomination process and the breakfast.

Online Giving

There is a new Online Giving option on church website: You can securely pay using a Checking Account, Savings Account or Credit/Debit Card (Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express). An Online Giving Tutorial document is available in the Narthex. This does not replace the ability to pay your pledge by check or cash, it is only an additional payment option. For Credit/Debit Card transactions, the church is charged a 2.0% processing fee of all donations.  There is an option to select giving an additional 2% to cover the processing fee.

Stewardship Campaign Update

The Session approved the 2019 Budget of $238,054 which includes cost of living increase for church staff.

Total 2019 Pledges Received To Date 50+ Households              $367,035.00

2019 Budgeted Income                                                                 $238,054.00

2019 Pledge Amt to be sent to Reserve Fund*                            $155,807.25

2019 Pledged to Non Budgeted Items                                         $3,173.75


Financial Update 2018


2018 Year End Financial Analysis 2018 2018
  Budget Actuals
INCOME – 2018    
Pledges – General Fund $181,694.00 $171,882.26
*   $29,013.04
Unpledged Income (Expected) $41,275.00 $40,775.65
Donations – Restricted   $3,716.48
INCOME – 2018 TOTAL $222,969.00 $249,166.20
EXPENSE – 2018 TOTAL $222,970.00 $193,233.55
Net Ordinary Income – 2018   $55,932.65
Account Balances    
General Checking (includes 2019 funds) $262,876.36  
Memorial $9,647.06  
Endowment/New Covenant $58,058.81  
Merrill Lynch (Scholarship) $4,635.97  
General Checking Account Balance Breakdown    
Total restricted funds: $44,371.87  
Total unrestricted funds: $17,204.49  
Total 2019 funds: $201,300.00  



The Social Committee will be hosting lemonade and cookies in the narthex on February 17th in the narthex after the worship service.  Please take advantage of this opportunity to get to know our visitors, newer members and visit with friends. If you are interested in becoming a part of the committee contact Kathy Henderson, Kevin Wallace, or June Christian.

The Alzheimer’s Support Group will meet Thursday, February 21st at 6:30pm in the Faith Formation Classroom. Anyone who is interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, please feel free to attend. For questions or more information please contact Donna Gould (919-302-3651) or Pat Yelvington (919-779-4989).

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.

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!

From the Clerk- Great progress has been made in 2018 Some of the highlights at FPCOG are as follows:

11 new members

3 Baptisms including one adult

Graduations of our youth

New Pastor and family

Pastor Nominating Committee—Thank you for your service

Transition Team- Thanks to all who       participated in welcoming our new pastor and his family

Directional Signs for the Church

New Infant changing table in the Parlor

New Infant wall changing unit downstairs women’s bathroom

Home Communion Team and Home Communion Kits- if you’re interested in joining this ministry team contact Rev. Acton

Attendance and voting members at all New Presbytery meetings for 2018

Approval of minutes by New Hope for 2016 and 2017

Administration: New Childcare Worker   policy, Administrative Assistant Job description, Staff evaluations and bonuses

Youth: Youth Sunday on June 10th was phenomenal!

Building and Grounds: New shelves in  Storage room, New landscaping in Front of church and Choir room door, Many small projects

Training Program: New Elders and Deacons

Mission: Feed my Sheep bags, Family Promise, Annual Easter Egg Hunt, Habitat for Humanity, Application for Earth Care, Approval of a Scout Recycling Bin,

Christian Education/Spiritual Discernment:

VBS, Faith Formation Sunday- Recognition of teachers and blessing of the backpacks, New Curricula for the Elementary and Youth

Worship: Fabulous Advent Season, Choir Cantata- Awesome job by the choir and Rose,

Social Committee: Church Picnic, Multiple yearly events

Communication Committee: New Phone tree policy

Hospitality: New member meet and greets

Christian Education

Presbyterian 101

Are you new to “being Presbyterian?” Curious as to why our worship service is structured the way it is?  Not sure who John Calvin is? Wondering what an elder or deacon does or what “ministry of membership” entails?

Whether you are brand new to First Presbyterian of Garner or a long time member or somewhere in between Presbyterian 101 might be just the thing to answer those nagging questions or to refresh your memory.

Reverend Acton will lead a 4 week series open to youth and adults covering topics from history to theology to the particular story of First Presbyterian Garner. Each session will take place from 9:45am-10:40am on Sunday Morning in the New Beginnings classroom on the ground floor of the church.

The schedule is as follows—come to as many sessions as your schedule allows:

February 3: Always Reforming: (Some) Things Presbyterians Believe

February 10: PC(USA) And YOU! A Guide to our Particular Presbyterian Outlook

February 17: This Is Our Story: First Presbyterian Garner’s Unique Witness

Come and join us in this time of discovery and learning! Contact Reverend Acton with questions and feedback!


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. Our Winter session begins with lessons on God’s demands for our complete and undivided love as shown in passages from Deuteronomy and Psalms. They proceed with our response to God’s love in the advent of Christ and the Epistles’ interpretations of the nature and extent of our responses to God’s love in Christ. They conclude with passages from three of the Psalms expressing glorification of God.  Join us each Sunday at 9:45am for wonderful discussion and fellowship.


NEW Older Elementary Children’s Sunday School Class:

After a few years of having elementary children of all ages in one Sunday morning space, we now have the resources, teachers, and need to have two classes! This new class for older elementary will be for 3rd-5th graders and will be taught by Rachel Acton with Jane Knabe and others assisting. The class will explore bible stories together, grow as a community, and, more than likely, develop some pretty thoughtful, creative ways of being Christ’s disciple together. The class meets on the ground floor in Room 103 and of course our younger children will continue to have a class and space of their own in room 104 under the excellent leadership of Melissa Miley and Gary McInnis. Bring a Grandchild! Invite a friend! Tell a neighbor! Let folks know about what God is doing and how we welcome children of all ages to find a place where they belong! For more details or questions, contact Roxann Porter (chair of Christian Education Ministry Team) or Reverend Ben Acton.


New Beginings Sunday School

Following the Presbyterian 101 classes on February 24th, the New Beginnings Sunday School group will begin a   series examining Paul’s letter to the Galatians. This letter might be Paul’s earliest one. Or it might not be. Opinions differ. But opinions seem to agree that Paul “has issues” with what’s been going on in these churches. As he addresses these issues, Paul provides insights on justification by grace through faith, the cross as a liberating event, the Spirit’s role in producing fruit, the unity and fellowship of the Christian community, and Christian freedom. Please join us as we delve into these insights.


Ida/Joy Bible Study

The Ida-Joy Bible Study members will meet on Tuesday, February 12th at 10am in the church library. The lessons will continue in the book Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur. These are in-depth studies of the twelve disciples. We welcome anyone who is interested to attend our study group meetings.


Wednesday Night Bible Study

The Wednesday Night Bible Study began their Winter session in January and will be continuing it into February. Join us for fellowship and lively discussion each Wednesday night  beginning at 7:30 in the New Beginnings classroom. For more information please contact Karen   Lovering (919-418-3568).


Thursday Morning Bible Study

The Thursday morning Bible study continues to study the Psalms through the month of February. Come join us as we explore the “Hebrew Hymn Book” and learn how it’s music speaks to us today. We meet in the library at 10am every Thursday and everyone is welcome!


Presbyterian Women

Friendship Circle Lunch and auction raised enough money to purchase (25) $40.00 gift cards for the Homeless     students at Garner High. That is $1000.00 worth of gift cards. There was a from line on each card for us to put our church’s name, so now the kids will know we care about them. Thank you to all that made this happen. This is an awesome Church!

~Lynne Jackson , Friendship Treasurer

The Presbyterian Woman General Meeting will be held in the Ogburn Classroom at 12:30 following Sunday service on       February 24th. Light refreshments will be served. This meeting will be hosted by the Spiritual    Nurture Committee. All women of the church are encouraged to attend. If you have any questions please contact Donna Gould at or Moderator Sandra Hodge at

The Lillie Circle will hold their next meeting on Monday, February 11th, 2019 at 7:00 PM at the church. Donna Gould will be the hostess for the meeting. We will be continuing to plan our activities and projects for 2019. Women of the church who are not a member of a circle are welcome to attend. The copies of the book for our Bible study entitled Praying with Power are still available. June Christian will be doing the lesson from chapter 3 of the book. For further        information, contact June Christian (919-271-7709).

The Friendship Circle meeting schedule: On Saturday, February 2, we will meet to decorate for our annual Soup-er Bowl Luncheon on February 3. The meeting will be a regular meeting, stay tuned for date, time, and location.

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).

The Friendship Circle will be hosting the annual “Soup”er Bowl Luncheon on February 3rd after worship in the Fellowship Hall. The luncheon will     consist of all you can eat soup, sandwiches, and desserts. The requested donation is $8.00 for adults and $3.00 for children (3 to 10 years). Children under 3 eat free. The proceeds will go towards the Refresh of the Downstairs Classrooms & Nursery Project. Thank you for your continued support!

Quilt Bee and Sewing Bee will not meet in February due to the VIP Luncheon but will resume on March16th in the Fellowship Hall. The session will start at 10am. 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.

Copies of the most recent church cookbook, Feast of Goodness, are still available. If you are interested in purchasing one, contact June Christian or any other Lillie Circle member. The cost is $12.00.

The Lillie Circle will be collecting soaps, toothpaste, tooth brushes, hand cream and body lotions, baby diapers larger than small size, and feminine hygiene products for Garner Area Ministries during the month of February. The lotions and creams are needed to offset the effects of the colder weather.  Personal care items are always needed.  The donation box is in the hall outside the Faith Formation classroom. As always, these donations are not in lieu of others 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 these items. If you have questions, please contact June Christian at 919-271-7709. Thank you for your participation in this very worthwhile project.



Youth News

Youth group is off to a great start in 2019!  We are in the planning stages of many different projects for this year.  We also had a great time celebrating Advent with our church family.  We hope you enjoyed our cookies as much as we enjoyed visiting you!

Youth Calendar

February 3, 12:00 – Souper Bowl Sunday

February 10, 12:00  – Dave & Busters

February 17, 12:00 – Regular meeting

February 24, 12:00 – Regular Meeting


Cub Scout Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser


Please join us Friday February 8th in the Fellowship Hall 6-8pm for all-you-can-eat spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert. Plates are $7 each. All funds raised will support Cub Scout Pack 392. Contact Christy Turpin with any questions and thank you for supporting Scouts!