A MESSAGE FROM THE REV. J.C. AUSTIN: No better way
As many of you know, when Keith Brown, our beloved Pastor Emeritus, died a year ago, a number of people wanted to make memorial gifts to the church to honor Keith’s life and ministry. As those gifts came in, the Session felt that it was important that they not simply get deposited in the Memorial Fund, but be used in a way that specifically honors Keith’s life, ministry, and legacy as the long-time pastor of this congregation.
Accordingly, the Session made two decisions. The first was to name Fellowship Hall at the church after Keith. One of the key themes throughout Keith’s decades of ministry was the importance of koinonia for Christian congregational life. Koinonia (koy-no-NEE-ah) is a Greek word to mean “fellowship,” not simply in the sense of social interaction, but as a relationship of deep mutual sharing of one another’s joys, challenges, faith, and hope.
There seemed no better way to memorialize Keith’s commitment to and call for our congregation to embody a spirit of koinonia than to dedicate the room specifically intended to host such ministry in his memory.
Second, the Session decided to direct any gifts that are given to the church in Keith’s name to a fund that will support badly-needed upgrades to Fellowship Hall to make it suitable for multimedia ministry and worship in the 21st century. This also means that memorial gifts for Keith are not simply looking back to his ministry, but his legacy continues to fuel the future ministry of the church.
These two decisions were made with the blessing of Keith’s family, and a letter was sent out this summer explaining these decisions so that those who were considering a gift in memory and honor of Keith would know how such gifts are being utilized.
So, I want to thank those of you who have made such gifts so far, and let you know that plans are coming together well for what we might do in Fellowship Hall to realize the vision of how that space can support our current and future ministry more faithfully and effectively through upgrades and renovations.
I want to give special thanks to David Macbeth, who has been working tirelessly with consultants on issues related to acoustics and audio/video systems, and to the Property Committee for their work on infrastructure questions, especially Bud Newton, Bob Hunsicker, and Kevin Konczyk. I look forward to seeing how these plans unfold as we enter the fall!
Grace and Peace,
TO DONATE TO THE KEITH BROWN MEMORIAL FUND:
- Mail a check (made out to FPCB with “Brown” in the memo line) to First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, Attn: Business Office, 2344 Center St., Bethlehem, PA 18017.
- On the Narthex tables you will find offering envelopes marked “Brown.” You can use one to place your check in the donation box (also on the Narthex table) or offering plate.
- Use our online giving portal and put “Brown” in the “notes” box below the payment