A MESSAGE FROM REV. J.C. AUSTIN: Special Schedule on Sunday, September 22

The Session has called a special meeting of the congregation and corporation of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem for next Sunday, September 22, at 10 a.m. for three reasons.

The first is to act on a report from the Congregational Nominating Committee, which will be nominating a candidate for an unexpired term on the Session and for an open position on the Congregational Nominating Committee itself.

The second is to act on a recommendation from the Session to reestablish a separate Board of Trustees for the Corporation of the church. Currently, the Session is also the Board of Trustees for the Corporation, but the church constitution allows for a separate Board of Trustees to be elected for the Corporation to which the Session can delegate the day-to-day management of the church’s property, endowment and reserve funds, etc.

It was the practice and policy of this congregation to have a separate Board of Trustees for most of its life; we shifted to a “unicameral” form of government during the schism of 2016-18 for reasons of practicality. However, in this new era of the congregation, the Session feels that a Board of Trustees would be helpful in allowing the Session to focus more of its energy and attention on the church’s overall mission strategy and ministry, while the Board of Trustees can focus on managing the church’s financial affairs.

The third reason is for the congregation to hear an update on our overall mission strategy and ministry activity and to respond with questions and feedback. In a typical congregation, such updates happen on an annual basis at the Annual Congregational Meeting. But we are not a typical congregation! Given the speed with which we are growing and changing, we have tried to do such gatherings about every six months over the last two years; with summer schedules the way they are and the other business items above pending, we delayed this one slightly to the beginning of fall.

So, please mark your calendars for next Sunday, September 22 (not this coming Sunday!), at 10 a.m. for this important congregational meeting. Note that the meeting will take place in the Sanctuary.

If you attend the 9 a.m. Contemporary Service, there will be time to move up to the Sanctuary for the beginning of the meeting. The Traditional Service will begin immediately after the meeting concludes, probably in the 10:45 – 11 a.m. range. The Session has established this schedule to make sure that it is convenient for attendees of both the Contemporary and Traditional services to participate in the meeting. I look forward to seeing you there!

Grace and Peace,