• Community Workshop: Constructive Conversations

    We invite you to a community presentation, “Constructive Conversations: Engaging Our Faith in Public Life” on Saturday, Feb. 29. Rev. J.C. Austin will lead an exploration of some basic commitments and tools that people of faith can use to be active citizens and good neighbors, especially in divisive times. The...

  • Pastor’s Message: Feb. 14, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Youth in Action “What’s going on with youth ministry these days?” I’ve heard several versions of this question recently, and this is a good time to answer it! Over the past few months, we’ve been living into the experiment that our hard-working Design Team...

  • Pastor’s Message: Feb. 7, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Leadership in Action This Sunday, there are two special elements happening in worship of which I want to make you aware. The first is that it is Scout Sunday. First Presbyterian has chartered Troop 302 for over 100 continuous years, beginning just six years...

  • Helping Hands Trip

    Calling ALL HANDS… to participate in a Mission Work Trip to Fayetteville, NC The Helping Hands Care Team of Lehigh Presbytery has scheduled its fourth mission work trip to Fayetteville, NC. The trip will take place between Saturday, March 28 – Saturday, April 4. Volunteers are needed to assist with...

  • Pastor’s Message: Jan. 31, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: An exciting new season for FPCB’s life Last Sunday, we held our Annual Congregational and Corporation meeting and made some very important decisions. First, we elected new Elders and Deacons to serve for the next three years in those crucial ministries of leadership and...

  • 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...

  • 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 – 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...

  • Online Presentation: “Why Are People So Complicated?”

    First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem will offer a free online presentation, “Constructive Conversations: Why Are People So Complicated?” on Monday, April 13 from 7-8 p.m. Instructions for joining the Zoom meeting are shared below. This presentation is a continuation of a series offered by the church’s Discipleship Committee which began...

  • Pastor’s Message: April 3, 2020

    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...

  • Pastor’s Message: March 27, 2020

    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...

  • Children’s Sunday School

    FOR SUNDAY, APRIL 5: We will share details about a ‘live’ Sunday School experience, in our next newsletter. If you need the sign-in details, email us at info@fpc-bethlehem.org. Handouts for April 5: Handout #1: coloring page Handout #2: two page handout “DRIVEWAY SUNDAY SCHOOL” for Sunday, March 29 Three of your...

  • Pastor’s Message: March 20, 2020

    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...

  • Pastor’s Message: March 13, 2020 (Updated)

    CHECK OUR MID-WEEK UPDATE FOR WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18 A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: IMPORTANT UPDATES As I write this important update to all of you, I can’t help but wonder what will be different by the time you read it. Things are changing very quickly in the world as...

  • Pastor’s Message: March 6, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7) I’m starting this pastoral message with that verse because I want to talk about our preparations for and responses to the spread...

  • ONLINE! Lenten Conversations

    THIS EVENT IS NOW ONLINE Wednesday, April 1 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. ** Need help connecting to ZOOM? Try this video (check the text below it for other options): https://bit.ly/2TZxUrM We’re going ONLINE with our Lenten Conversations! Enjoy your meal at home and join us via your computer, laptop, iPad...

  • Pastor’s Message: Feb. 28, 2020

    A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: A Deeper Practice In my Ash Wednesday sermon this week, I talked about how the purpose of spiritual disciplines is to help orient our hearts towards God, to seek the treasure of our lives in God’s presence with us, and purpose for us. The...

  • Pastor’s Message: Feb. 21, 2020

    MESSAGE FROM REV. SUE BENNETCH: “For dust you are…” Next Wednesday, Feb. 26 is the beginning of Lent, a season of fasting and prayer.  In the Christian tradition it begins with Ash Wednesday,  which was officially recognized in the church in the 13th century, a 40 day season of reflection...