A MESSAGE FROM PASTOR J.C. AUSTIN: Annual Meeting and More

I want to draw your attention to some big and special things that are happening on Sunday, February 10.

First, the Session has called the Annual Meeting of the Congregation & Corporation of First Presbyterian Church for that Sunday. One of the crucial responsibilities of the congregation as a whole is to elect its leaders, and so we will hear and act upon the report of the Congregational Nominating Committee regarding people to serve as Elders and Deacons in the life of the church. More details on those nominations will be provided next week in advance of the meeting. As required by the Book of Order, nominations may also be made from the floor at the meeting, though if you want to nominate someone from the floor, you must have secured their agreement in advance that they will serve if elected.

We will also hear reports from the Finance Committee, the Deacons, and me as both Pastor and Moderator of Session. In my report, we will talk not simply about the past year and the one before us, but also about some of the larger strategic initiatives of the Session, including an opportunity to provide feedback on the current draft of our congregational Mission Statement, Values Statement, and Strategic Priorities. As always, there will be time for questions and comments about each of these reports.

Second, in order to make the Annual Meeting as accessible as possible to the whole congregation, we are combining our worship services on February 10 into a single service that will take place at 10 a.m. in the Sanctuary. This service will have elements of both traditional and contemporary worship, and should conclude promptly at 11 a.m., with a short postlude to allow non-members to exit before the meeting starts. The Annual Meeting will begin immediately following the postlude.

Finally, you may have already heard that over these next two weeks we are celebrating the “Souper Bowl of Caring” initiative to raise funds to help people in need, with a collection taken on February 3 and a simple lunch on February 10 after the Annual Meeting. This lunch on February 10 is intentionally simple, as a way of promoting both fellowship and solidarity with those who struggle to provide the basic necessities of life for themselves and/or their families.

And, with the grant we’ve received from Thrivent, we are able to cover the costs of the meal and pass almost all of the $10 suggested donation from attendees along to our partner organization, Northeast Ministry. What a wonderful model of stewardship and a great opportunity for fellowship after the Annual Meeting!

I hope you will make a special effort to participate in these important events in two weeks, and I look forward to seeing you there!

Grace and Peace,