In June, I wrote you a pastoral letter about the resignation of our organist Grace Cho, and the arrival of Dr. Mickey Terry. Many of you have had an opportunity to hear Mickey, either through in-person worship or through our live-streamed services on YouTube. You have discovered his talents and skills, and I know you are enjoying his work on the piano and organ. He is a tremendous colleague to all of us on the church staff, and we recently enjoyed spending a day together on our annual staff retreat.
On retreat, we developed a theme that we hope will be helpful to our congregation in the year to come: “Return and Rebuild.” As we come out of the pandemic, we will explore what it means to re-form ourselves as a community through reinventing, reinvesting, and regenerating our church. When we return for worship, education, fellowship, and service projects, we will rebuild our church in ways that restore our relationships with God and with each other, and that rejuvenate us as a congregation.
Speaking of returning, I am so happy that Yena Hwang has returned from sabbatical feeling refreshed and renewed from her well-deserved time of rest. And I was so impressed by the work that Erin Sanzero did in Yena’s absence, serving as our Director of Christian Formation. She was an outstanding coordinator of Sunday Express, strong leader of worship, and powerful preacher on Sept 5! Thank you, Erin!
As a first step in a year of returning and rebuilding, Yena and Erin want to invite you to our FPC Fall Kickoff Picnic on Sunday, Sept 12! Please join us after the 9:30 am single service worship to hang out on the Glebe and share light refreshments and lawn games prepared by the Christian Formation Ministry and Member Connections Ministry. We will be COVID-cautious, therefore, masked and socially distanced. If you're willing and able, please sign up to help supply some Covid-cautious fare for our gathering: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0c4ca8ad29a13-fpcfall
Then, on Sunday, Sept 19, we will begin our Christian Formation program with Sunday Express. Children will be dismissed after the Conversation with Children each Sunday during our single 9:30 am service of worship or can come to Fellowship at 10am (stay tuned for possible changes in the worship schedule as pandemic conditions improve). On Sundays at 11 am, I will offer a class called “The Bible’s Greatest Hits: Top 66 Passages in 33 Weeks,” in Room 110 and also by zoom. On Sundays at 12:30 pm, Elder Ako Cromwell will offer “Contemporary Christian Concerns” at 12:30 pm. Call the church office at 703-273-5300 to request zoom links for either of these classes. At 4 pm, Tempest Brevard and the youth leaders launch Youth Fellowship for the year.
The Annual Meeting of the Congregation will be held Sunday, September 26 at 10:30 am, following the single service of worship. We will elect church officers, receive the annual reports and church budget, vote on the pastors’ terms of call, and vote on a revision to the FPC Bylaws. If you cannot attend in person, email Yena Hwang for the registration link, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The FPC Bylaws have been in existence since January of 1958, but are still only in paper format. The revised version, which will be brought before the congregation in September, remains true to the original content but is now in digital format. This will allow for improved editing and updates in the future and easier distribution when needed. During the thorough review of bylaws that took place in converting them to a digital format, a few necessary changes were made in order to better comply with the PC(USA) Book of Order and some common practices that have been in effect over time. These changes are as follows: (1) All references to the Book of Order were made compliant with the most recent version of the Book of Order. (2) The quorums for Congregational meetings, Session meetings, and Board of Deacon meetings are now listed, but follow what has been common practice at FPC for many years. (3) The position of Treasurer is now addressed in detail. (4) The position of Parish Associate is now addressed in detail. (5) A vote of two-thirds of those present and voting at the September Congregational Meeting is required to approve this revised version of the bylaws. You may pick up a paper copy of the proposed revision of the FPC Bylaws in the narthex. A digital copy is available on the front page of our website.
Also, some personal news: In the next few months, I will be treated for prostate cancer, either by surgery or radiation. This was tough news for me to hear, but it was not completely surprising since the disease runs in my family. I am grateful for your love and support, and with God’s help I look forward to a good outcome. The church staff has rallied around me, and I know that they will advance the work of the church if I need to step away for a time. I will appreciate your prayers as we move forward together.
Henry G. Brinton