• May2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Bound together by the power of the Holy Spirit It has become a cliché of this quarantine period of the pandemic that it is difficult to keep track of time: telling the day of the week is hard; things that feel like they happened...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Some Good News The word “evangelism” has acquired a negative connotation to many people in the last few decades; certainly beyond the Church, but even within it. That’s mostly because evangelism became associated with particularly visible and influential elements of Christianity in the United...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Beautiful Questions to Explore One of our congregation’s four Core Values is having “An Inquiring Faith.” In elaborating on that value, we have said: “Following Christ’s example in Scripture, we believe that curiosity and questioning are essential practices of faith, and that some of...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: On this journey together This Sunday will mark the start of the ninth week that we’ve been a fully digital church. In that time, we’ve found ways to authentically worship together, including celebrating Communion; we’ve moved existing ministries of education and service online and...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Connected by Communion Friends, this Sunday is the first Sunday of May, so we will be celebrating the sacrament of Communion together during both livestream worship services. You may remember us doing this for the first time on Palm Sunday last month. Theologically, for...

  • Apr2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Love in the Time of Coronavirus We are now in the season of Easter for the church year. In the Lectionary, the schedule of Scripture readings that covers most of the Bible in a three-year cycle, the season of Easter unsurprisingly focuses on stories...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Behind the scenes Earlier this week, I was on a videoconference call with the rest of the Advisory Board of Macedonian Ministry, a national and ecumenical clergy development organization that was started by the Rev. Dr. Tom Tewell, whom some of you know from...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Completing the Lenten journey In our Mid-Week Update, I explained something of what Maundy Thursday and Good Friday would look like this year during Holy Week observances with First Pres this year. Today, I want to talk about what will happen on Holy Saturday,...

  • The Discipleship Committee of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem continues its learning opportunities, with an interesting variety of presentations. Each session is free, open to the public, and will be offered via Zoom videoconferencing; see the log-in information below for each session. Registration is requested but not required. Our Choice...

  • Read Pastor Austin’s Mid-Week Update for Wednesday, April 1 A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: A different kind of journey Friends, we are about to enter Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday this Sunday. This, obviously, is going to be a different experience of Holy Week than we’ve ever had...

  • Mar2020

    Mid-Week Update: March 25, 2020 Contemporary Service bulletin to print (for March 29) Traditional Service bulletin to print (for March 29) Sunday School experience (not live) A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Connecting in all kinds of ways Last week, one of our Elders wrote me a note responding to...

  • Many thanks to our Sunday School teachers and friends for bringing our Sunday School experience to us at home! Please share this with a friend who may like it too. DRIVEWAY SUNDAY SCHOOL for Sunday, May 31 Miss JoAnne, Mr. Steve and Mr. Ted are here to bring you this...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Just Getting Started! Dear Friends, Last Sunday, in our first digital worship service together, I said that church is not getting cancelled; church is just getting started. I’m pleased to tell you that, less than a week later, we are already well on our...

  • Nov2019

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: ALREADY BEGINNING TO HAPPEN When I was a child, Advent always made a lot more sense to me than Lent. In the Christian church, we typically talk about Advent as a season of waiting, and that’s exactly what Advent felt like: waiting for Christmas...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY This coming Sunday is the last Sunday of the Christian year; “New Year’s Day” on the Christian calendar is the first Sunday of Advent, which is December 1 this year. But it is not simply the last Sunday of the...

  • Thanksgiving Eve Service

    November 19, 2019

    Wednesday, Nov. 27: Thanksgiving Eve Service, 7 p.m. On Thanksgiving Eve, we gather together in worship to celebrate the many ways God has blessed us to be a blessing. This is a joyous service of music and praise, with heartfelt testimonials from members sharing stories of thankfulness.

  • This Sunday (Nov. 17) First Pres is hosting an event by the Bethlehem Interfaith Group from 2:30 – 5 p.m. The event is focused on the theme of stories of immigration, and will include several people from different faith traditions sharing their own immigration story, an opportunity to reflect on...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: PLEDGE DEDICATION SUNDAY For the last few weeks in worship, we’ve been exploring the mission priorities that the Session has identified for First Pres over the next couple of years: engaging new people and nurturing their faith and discipleship; ministry with children, youth, and...

  • As you know, this year our annual stewardship campaign is focused on the mission priorities the Session has identified for our congregation over the next few years, and on an ambitious and exciting plan to help us answer God’s call to us through those priorities. If you haven’t already received...

  • Oct2019

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: BUILDING OUR CAPACITY Last week I spent three days at the “Stewardship Kaleidoscope” conference of the Presbyterian Church (USA). I’ve taught and/or spoken at the conference since it was created about a decade ago, and it is still one of my favorite dimensions of...

  • A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY What unites us is greater than what divides us The first Sunday in October is celebrated by many different Christian denominations as World Communion Sunday. We observe World Communion Sunday as a way of lifting up Christian unity and the commonality...

  • Apr2019

    NEW LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: “How to Support LGBT Spirituality” Wednesday, May 8 6:30 – 8 p.m. in Fellowship Hall NOTE: You are welcome to come to the May 8 session even if you did not attend the one on May 1. Join in two lively and engaging presentations on supporting the...

  • Mar2019

    Community Lenten Suppers

    March 6, 2019

    As we did last year, we will be offering a Community Lenten Supper series, beginning Wednesday, March 13 through Wednesday, April 10. All are welcome. We’ll gather at 6 p.m. for a simple meal. This will be followed by a brief reflection, led by one of the pastors in our church, focusing...

  • Nov2018

    Jim and Minnie McKnight were Presbyterian missionaries who served for 15 years prior to World War II in the Sudan region of Africa. Their family and friends established an endowed fund at First Presbyterian to honor the McKnights and to encourage individuals to participate in the life-changing experience of visiting...

  • Aug2018

    Hearts and Minds

    August 31, 2018

    HEARTS AND MINDS will start this year in room 400 with an examination of Quaker author Philip Gulley’s provocative and engaging classic, “If the Church were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus.”  As Gulley notes, “It is apparent, after several millennia of experimentation, that the Ten Commandments we Christians all know and...

  • Jul2018

    By Leslie Pohl FPCB Elder Imagine for a moment that you have to walk two hours just to get to a doctor’s appointment.  Imagine for a moment that your children can’t go to school because you can’t afford their uniforms, books, or lunch.  Imagine for a moment that your cataracts are so...