Pledge Dedication Sunday

This Sunday is pledge dedication Sunday. Last week you received a letter and a pledge card in the mail. Some of you stayed after worship last week for a stewardship lunch, in which Steven Strength shared the 2017 end of year financial report, questions were discussed, and those there each had opportunity to name one thing they have learned through their association with First Presbyterian Church. Those learnings were placed on a display board which will be at church on Sunday. You’ll have a chance to add to the comments if you weren’t here. This is what people wrote:

Tolling of the bell for Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dear Church,


Last night a group of us gathered at the church to toll the church bell as a way to:

acknowledge the loss of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his murder,

express our appreciation for the great difference he made in this country,

recommit ourselves to working for justice.

In a worship service following the bell tolling, we completed this exercise:

Good Friday

I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you, which shall be the darkness of God.

                                                                                 T. S. Eliot, “East Coker,”

                                                                                  Four Quartets


Dear Church,


Good Friday.


Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.


A poem by Mary Oliver

Dear Church,
Here's a gift to you from a poem by Mary Oliver:
        And that is just the the world, moist and beautiful,
        calls to each of us to make a new and serious response.
        That's the big question,
         the one the world throws at you every morning.
        "Here you are, alive.
         Would you like to make a comment?"

Black panther

One of the follow-ups to our December conversation with Rhodes College is that some session members agreed to host dinner conversations about race and faith in their homes. Tracy Rene Helms-Capasso and her family hosted one such dinner a couple of weeks ago. The intriguing idea below came from their conversation that evening.  I hope that you will be able to join us this Sunday afternoon for some fun at the movies and some serious conversation afterwards, led by our own Wayne Lee:

Silent thoughts

Dear Church,
I want to write to you about all the wonderful things I have noticed during my time on total silence. Maybe I will get there someday; I hope so. What I see right now is difficult, troubling, and sometimes very lonely.

Bed rest

Dear Church,
I am sad to tell you that I have been put on total voice rest by the voice specialist at Ochsner. No speaking at all. I got to see my swollen vocal cords on a big screen TV today. Technology is amazing, but this is just terribly frustrating. Along with rest, I've been put on a new medication that the doctor thinks will help. I sure hope so.

Happy mardi gras!

Happy Mardi Gras!!

I hope that the next 6 days (yes, I am including today) will be full of revelry for all of you, with whatever you need to receive a respite from the ordinary. Whether that means heading to Every.Single.Parade.; or carousing on Bourbon St.; or spending some time in your nice, quiet home; or leaving town on a ski trip, I pray for your restoration and renewal.

Okra Abbey

Dear Church,


I joined the people of Okra Abbey for lunch yesterday. Okra Abbey is a New Worshipping Community of our presbytery. They serve lunch to whomever shows up every Wednesday at noon. They call this time “Greens and Grace.”


We ate outside in their simple side yard in Pigeon Town surrounded by raised beds of beautiful vegetables and herbs. There were beets and carrots and turnips and lettuce and collard greens and cabbage, as well as cilantro and mint and parsley. It was a bounty of freshness, gloriously healthy and beautiful.


When disappointment comes ...

Dear Church,


Well, it’s been quite the week. I still haven’t gotten over that heart-breaking Saints loss on Sunday. What a roller-coaster! A first half in which the Saints looked like they had forgotten to show up…a second half in which the Saints were Super Bowl caliber…a lead 25 seconds before the end of the game that we looked sure to win…a last minute catch and missed tackle that sent Vikings fans into ecstasy and Saints fans into disbelief.




Presbyterian Fun Fact

There are about 75 million Reformed/Presbyterian Christians worldwide and about 2.5 million belong to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).


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