• Pastor’s Message: Jan. 24, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Interesting – and exciting! As you hopefully know, this Sunday is our Annual Congregational and Corporation meeting, immediately following a combined worship service (with elements of both contemporary and traditional worship) at 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary. I have to admit, “Annual Meeting” is...

  • Pastor’s Message – Jan. 17, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Learning more about Baptism Last week I reflected on some of the typical questions that come up about the sacrament of Communion. I heard some positive feedback about that as well as some requests for something similar about Baptism, so I thought I’d do...

  • Jan. 26 Special Schedule

    On Sunday, Jan. 26, we will gather as a community for a 10 a.m. Combined Worship Service, followed by our Annual Congregational and Corporate Meeting. All members are encouraged to attend this important meeting, at which we will address business of the congregation and corporation. It will conclude by noon....

  • Pastor’s Message: Jan. 10, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Learning more about Communion Recently, we have had several opportunities, scheduled close together, to share Communion as a congregation. That also means that we’ve had several opportunities in which people have asked different questions about why we do what we do in celebrating Communion,...

  • Pastor’s Message: Jan. 3, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Practicing our faith Well, it’s that time of year again: with the new year comes the discussion of New Year’s resolutions. And the most popular resolutions never seem to change: lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, stop smoking, etc. Now, there’s nothing wrong with...

  • Pastor’s Message: Dec. 27, 2019

    The poet W.H. Auden summed up how many people view the week after Christmas in his poem, For the Time Being. As he sits in the aftermath of Christmas celebrations, he reflects: Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree, putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes...

  • Pastor’s Message: Dec. 20, 2019

    Christmas is almost here! The busyness of the season is in full swing, I know, and that is certainly the case here at First Pres over the next few days. But in the midst of that busyness, I hope that you will both seek and find time for reflection, celebration,...

  • JC_preach-Advent

    Pastor’s Message: Dec. 13, 2019

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: AN EXPERIENCE OF HOPE Advent has become an increasingly unusual season in the Christian church because it stands in significant contrast to the way in which the general culture prepares for Christmas. In terms of our theology and worship, Advent is not simply intended...

  • Pastor’s Message – Nov. 27, 2019

    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...

  • Pastor’s Message – Nov. 22, 2019

    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

    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.

  • Pastor’s Message: Nov. 15, 2019

    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...

  • Pastor’s Message: Nov. 8, 2019

    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...

  • Pastor’s Message: Nov. 1, 2019

    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...

  • Pastor’s Message: Oct. 11, 2019

    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...

  • Pastor’s Message – Oct. 4, 2019

    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...

  • Presentations: “How to Support LGBT Spirituality”

    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...

  • Community Lenten Suppers

    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...

  • Funds Available through McKnight Scholarship

    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...

  • Hearts and Minds

    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...

  • Mission Notes: La Entrata, Honduras

    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...

  • Preschool Registration Opens

    The First Pres Preschool and Extended Care program is now registering for fall 2020. They are offering an informational session and Open House on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. to learn more about their programming for 2, 3, 4 and 5 year olds. If you know someone who might...

  • Students Assisted Financially

    Two college students are the recipients of financial assistance from First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem. Elizabeth Escott is the recipient of a $10,000 award from the Barry Brandt Educational Assistance Fund of our church’s endowment. This grant, which is awarded on academic standing and financial need, will be applied to...