NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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Dear friends,

This past Wednesday, we started our walk towards Easter. It was so good to be in our new space, to make the cross of ashes on your foreheads and to share Communion together. 


In just 40 days Easter will be here. Some of you are giving up something for Lent. Some of you might be taking something on for Lent. All the giving up or taking on is meant to focus you on Jesus and his amazing love for you shown so powerfully on the cross. 


This weekend, to help us focus on Jesus, we're starting a new sermon series called Seven Days. On the Sundays up until Easter, we will literally walk with Jesus through the days of what we call "Holy Week". It is easy to think of this as just a story. It Is easy to jump from Palm Sunday to Easter and miss so much of the passion and purpose of our Lord. This is the week that changed the world forever. This is the seven calendar days when Jesus walked into Jerusalem and gave his life so that we could find our life!  On Sunday, Mark Crumpler will start the series with Jesus' entry into Jerusalem--the day we call Palm Sunday. And each Sunday after, we will see the week unfold, day by day. 

Classic service is at 9 am. Modern at 10:30 am. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee and some home-baked food between the services. You will also find opportunities to grow in your faith and to serve the world at tables in the fellowship area. 


It looks like we may have some snow this weekend. We will communicate any changes to the Sunday schedule via the website, Facebook and our one-call system. 

See you at BECA!

Your pastor and friend,

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Marnie Crumpler
Senior Pastor

 

NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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Dear friends,
It may be cold outside, but it sure is warm inside. That's true because you and I, by God's grace, have a place to lay our heads each evening. We have heaters that work most of the time and food on our tables. But that is not true for everyone in the Lehigh Valley. Yesterday, I had the privilege of touring the Bethlehem Emergency Shelter facility and the joy of delivering your generous gift of $29,000. Remember, you gave that money on Christmas Eve to pay for new bunk beds for the shelter. Now, up to 75 people each night of our cold season are able to spend the night warm inside. Our prayer is that they will know the love of Jesus through the warmth of that place. Already, our church has been host--making meals and staying overnight to welcome people to the shelter. Thank you for playing such a vital role in loving Bethlehem in Jesus' name through this gift. I hope you will consider serving with our team when we host again. Click here for more information.

Cold on the outside and warm on the inside is also true at BECA each Sunday we have worshiped there. Snow... No big deal. Rain... So what. Cold... No problem. I continue to hear from you that you love both services (9 am classic/traditional and 10:30 am modern/contemporary) in the same space, you love running into old friends and making new ones. You even love those comfy chairs. Hundreds of you are volunteering to make this new season a warm and inviting one. Maybe your picture is in the photo collage above! Last week, we got over a hundred new people signed up to serve on a team. Don't miss out. Working together is a great way to go deeper in your relationships. I have never felt it more than now--we are a team on mission--inviting people to find and follow Jesus. 
Click here if you want to find a team.

I reported last week about the ECO National Gathering in Houston. To give you a flavor of the excitement, you can check out the speakers. Our team of pastors and elders learned a lot as we listened to Ed Stetzer and Condeleeza Rice and the others. Click here to see and learn.

I can hardly wait for this Sunday. I'll be wrapping up our ONE ANOTHER series, with "Forgive One Another." You won't want to miss our musicians leading worship. You won't want to miss the introductions of 14 new members to our church family. And you won't want to miss three families presenting their children for baptism. It is so good to see us grow not only deeper in our faith, but also in numbers and across the generations.

It is such a privilege to be your pastor.

See you at BECA!

Your pastor and friend,

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Marnie Crumpler
Senior Pastor

 

NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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This weekend, we will experience one of the biggest divisions in our country-do you watch the Super Bowl for the game or for the commercials?  I confess that many years, I am in the second category-but this year, I will definitely be cheering for my adopted home team-FLY EAGLES FLY!  

All over the country, whether it is for the commercials or the game, one thing that seems to be true for at least 50% of all Americans, is that they watch the game-and 90% of those that watch it, attend a SuperBowl party, where we consume on average 2400 calories.

Every Sunday, we throw a different kind of party.  It's called worship.  We gather together with people we love who have a common love for Jesus Christ.  Imperfect, yet forgiven people.  But, we also have a new guest list each week.  We are hoping that new people-new to our Lehigh Valley community and new to knowing Jesus-will join our party, meet our Jesus and become a part of our faith family.  

This week, we continue in our "One Another" Series, with the message, "Every week. A party."  1 Peter says, "Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms." 

How do we offer hospitality at our weekly worship party?  And how can you jump in and help us throw our party each week?  It's going to be a great party on Sunday.  I can't wait to see you there.  See you at BECA.

Your pastor and friend,

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Marnie Crumpler
Senior Pastor

P.S. I am so grateful for your generosity over the last few weeks.  Your giving is making an incredible difference in our exciting new season.  A few things as a reminder:

1) Please designate your giving to "FPCB-ECO".  Please make your checks out with that designation and also please make sure your on-line "bill-pay" accounts have the correct designation and the correct address:    FPCB-ECO, P.O. Box 1008, Bethlehem, PA 18016.

2) Your membership letter.  Several weeks ago, we invited you to fill out a letter to clarify your membership status.  After meeting with the PCUSA leadership, they agreed that this letter is the only way that the PCUSA will eliminate your personal records including giving records from our former church database, which is now theirs by court order.  Please click here to download a copy of the letter.  You can turn that in on Sundays at BECA or mail to us.  We are keeping complete records of these letters, and will forward them to the PCUSA.

NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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Dear friends,
I am still in awe of the ways God worked last weekend at our BECA launch.  How powerful it was for us to be all together!  One of my many favorite moments was introducing a couple that worships in the contemporary service to a couple that worships in the traditional service. They had never met.  I was so happy to introduce two wonderful couples. 

The morning exceeded even my very optimistic outlook... It was an "only God" morning. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Thanks to each and every volunteer team - from prayer... to set up... to parking... to music... and hospitality... and children... and students... and pack up...  I am so proud of the ways you came together to serve in this amazing next step of our journey - how good it is to see God's faithful and sovereign hand guiding us. I can't wait to be together again on Sunday.  I hope you will join me in inviting people to experience all God is doing in our midst.

The next 3 weeks, in worship, we will turn our attention to God's vision for the church.  We will be looking at the "one another" phrases in the Bible.  "One another" is two words in English but only one in Greek -- ἀλλήλων(ah-LAY-loan).  It's used over 100 times in the New Testament.  47 times it gives instructions for the community - for Christians to know how to live together.  And 60% of those instructions come from Paul. Mark will start this week with:  "Encourage One Another."  What a great series to jump in as God works in our community moving us forward together.

These are exciting times. One of the next steps in our journey together is to name our church.  As you know, the judge ruled that the real and personal property of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem were held in trust for the benefit of the PCUSA, which includes the name.  So, now we have the privilege of claiming our new name! We have engaged a brand specialist to assist us.  Our goal is to reveal our new name on Easter weekend.  We invite you to fill out a survey with your thoughts - click here.

One last thing...

Speaking of encouragement, I bring you greetings back from the ECO National Gathering.  Your pastors and some of our elders went as voting commissioners to the meeting in Houston, Texas. I had the privilege of preaching and telling our story at one of the sessions. When I shared about Sunday at BECA, there was thunderous applause.  People are encouraged by your conviction and your bold step.  And they are praying for us as we continue our 140 year old mission of inviting people to find and follow Jesus.  I met later that night with all the large church pastors and we prayed together and shared how God is at work in our congregations.  I am so glad to be in a denomination that has its focus on growing flourishing congregations.  All of us who went were encouraged, made new friends and exchanged best practices with others we met.  There are now 400 churches in our growing ECO denomination.  


So glad to be on the adventure with you.  Here we go!


Your pastor and friend,

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NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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Last weekend was historic for our congregation.  With God's faithfulness as our net, we now take a leap of faith and launch into a new and exciting season in the life of our church.  I have never seen a group of people more excited.  What a powerful moment it was to have 13 of the 14 surviving members who were a part of our church in the original North Street building lead the covenant moment of raising our Ebenezer stones.  We carry the legacy of this congregation and its commitment to Jesus Christ as we move ahead.  

All week, we have been literally a "church on the move".  We've had our staff meetings and choir practice at our house.  The worship band practice at Paul Ney's house.  Bible Studies are meeting in homes.  Area churches are opening up their doors for many other meetings.  

God is showing His faithfulness in small details and in our big dreams.  It is just like God...

He is faithful.

This Sunday, we will have our first worship services at Bethlehem Catholic High School. Click here for all the details, including parking.  Our classic (traditional) service will be at 9 am and our modern (contemporary) service will be at 10:30 am. 

What can you do to help us on this exciting first Sunday?

  • Be there... And invite a friend.  So many people are watching our story unfold.  It's a great time to invite people to hear and experience the good news of Jesus Christ.
  • Park smart... If you can carpool, please do.  And if you are able, use street parking. There is only one entrance to the BECA campus (on Madison Avenue).  The limited mobility lot is LOT 1 - and the first lot you will come to as you arrive on campus.  Keep driving and there will be another lot -LOT 2 on the other side of the campus.
  • Be patient... this is our first week and we will continue to grow into our new space. We are working to customize our spaces in the best way for our congregation - our hospitality spaces and our children and student spaces.  And there are some exciting upgrades coming.
  • PRAY... I believe that God has led us out into our community so more people can know and follow Jesus.  
  • Don't forget to bring one of your Ebenezer stones to worship this week to build our monument marking this significant moment in the life of our church.  We will have some extra rocks if you missed last week. 

Here we Go!  

Your pastor and friend,

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Dr. Marnie Crumpler, Senior Pastor

P.S.  Last weekend, hundreds of you signed a letter informing the PCUSA group that you have been a part of our congregation and will continue to be.  This letter, requested by the PCUSA, will insure that your personal record will be removed from their rolls and their communications.  The letter is attached.  You may fill it out and bring it on Sunday or mail it in to the address on the letter.  We will present all the letters to the Session of the PCUSA group.  

Click here to download FPCB-ECO Membership letter.

NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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Here we go!

This weekend is a historic moment in the life of our church.  You won't want to miss our last worship on our current campus.  Our service times are slightly altered.

Saturday night
6 pm Kirk Center - Modern

Sunday
8:30 am Sanctuary *** New Time
9 am Kirk Center - Modern
11 am Kirk Center - Modern
 

In the Sanctuary, at 8:30 am, we will have members from our church who were a part of our first campus on Center and North Street lead the way for a special covenant ceremony.  Part 1 of the covenant will be this week at Center but next week, Part 2 of our covenant will be at BECA high school.  


You don't want to miss either week.  I continue to be amazed at your unity and commitment to leap into our future together.  Our meeting this past Tuesday was electric.  The entire Sanctuary was packed full with people ready to be a part of what God is doing in our midst. At the meeting you heard the news about BECA high school as well as the plan to lease purchase a Bethlehem church as our week-day ministry base.  Located on East Locust Street, St. Matthews will be our place for weddings and funerals, special services, choir and worship band rehearsals, next generation programming and office space. As a Presbyterian congregation, the purchase of property is a decision that must be made by the congregation.  


On Sunday, at 10 am in the Kirk Center, we will have a congregational meeting for the purpose of approving the lease-purchase of the St. Matthews property and for the purpose of adopting bylaws for FPCB-ECO.  
 

Beginning next Sunday, January 21, we will launch to our new home next door at Bethlehem Catholic High School.  Our services times will be:
 

9 am--  Classic / Traditional 

10:30 am-- Modern / Contemporary
 

There will be kids programs at both service times.  Head to the Family Check-In in the lobby.  Elementary children will check-in at the Family Check-In and then experience Worship with their parents until leaving for their own Large Group experience. More details coming in the family newsletter.
 

Top 3 things to know about next weekend

1) Parking --- there is handicapped and limited mobility parking on the auditorium side of the high school.  Look for signs.  Beyond the other parking lots at BECA, there is significant parking on the adjacent streets.   Please carpool if you can, especially for this first week at worship.

2) Patience -- thanks for your patience as we settle into BECA.  Countless people are working to make next week a success as God leads us to make this bold move into our new place. 

3) People -- next week Tom Goeman and the choir will be leading the 9 amservice and the Worship Band will be leading at the 10:30 am service.  Marnie will be preaching and Mark and Manuela leading worship.  Join your friends in worship and also in volunteering.  If you want to jump in to serve or if you have a question, email info@fpcbeco.org

OTHER IMPORTANT DETAILS

Our new web address:  FPCBECO. ORG (will be live tomorrow)

Our new phone number: 610-333-5508

Continue to make your financial gifts to FPCB-ECO. You can mail those gifts to FPCB-ECO, P.O. Box 1008 Bethlehem, PA 18016

Here we go!  For over 140 years, we have been a community with Jesus-centered and biblically-based ministry, strong leadership and compassionate outreach.  We are an all-generations church, deep-rooted in our community and committed to loving the Valley and the world in Jesus' name.

See you next week - same community, different address.

So blessed to be your pastor and leaping with you!

In all of our worship services, we will raise our "Ebenezer" and celebrate God's faithfulness to us in the past and his faithfulness to us as we worship at 2344 Center Street for the final time. 

Your pastor and your friend,
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Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Senior Pastor

NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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I got a phone call early this morning.  Snow is in the forecast.  I couldn’t help but think about the message of the Christmas angels—Do not be afraid.  People keep reminding me that last winter was not normal. 

On a serious note, your staff is ready for inclement weather. Our “one call system” will call each member to inform you should services or events need to be cancelled.  Additionally, our website will indicate any necessary closings.  Obviously, your safety is our priority. I am grateful for our team who will communicate and will also work to keep the church campus safe during the winter months and throughout the year.

I can’t wait for this weekend.  We will start with the jam-packed Women’s Christmas Tea on Saturday morning.  We have 200 women who will gather for tea and Christmas fellowship.  Already, our planners are thinking about how to include more women for next year. 

In worship, on Saturday and Sunday, we will continue in our series “Do Not Be Afraid”—this time focusing on Joseph’s angel.  Joseph went to sleep troubled, with his mind made up.  With the angel speaking to him in his dreams, he woke up a changed man—ready to be the earthly father of Jesus.

This weekend will be the last opportunity to participate in the Giving Tree.  We are well on our way to our goal of serving 500 families—but we need your help to serve all of them.

Also, some of you have asked for End of Year Giving information.  As I let you know last weekend, we are looking to end the year strong and in the black.  We estimate that we will need $150,000 of giving in our “Gifts for the King” end of the year special giving (beyond your pledged regular giving) to finish 2017 strong.  I continue to be inspired by your generous giving—and by your commitments for 2018.  Thank you in advance for the difference you are making.  For more information—including info about stock giving and end of the year office hours, click here

Finally, Christmas Eve is going to be glorious.  This weekend, we will have some cards to help you invite your friends to join you.  Some of the highlights include nativity animals, an orchestra, our own incredible musicians (Chancel Choir and worship band) and of course, candles.  Click here for all the details.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! It is a great gift to be…

Your pastor and your friend,

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Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Senior Pastor

NEWS FROM OUR SENIOR PASTOR

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The amazing story of Christmas is that God didn't wait for the world to get right before he came into it as an infant. Jesus came into the world at what could be seen as the worst of times. He was born in a country with a ruler who killed thousands of babies just in case one was a threat. And the ones who made the Christmas announcement knew just the right thing to say.... Do not be afraid. The angel Gabriel said the same thing to the priest Zechariah and the engaged soon to be pregnant Mary. We need to hear the same message. Because our world is still the same. It still isn't right. We can easily find ourselves afraid of the things outside our control- nuclear weapon tests, fires burning in forests and terrorism seemingly everywhere. And we can easily be afraid of the things inside our heart - our deepest fears and powerful longings. Christmas is for a world in need of hope. As we count down to Christmas together, this week we will pull back the curtain on the life of a teenager. Her dreams were coming true. She was about to get married and begin her new life. And then... the angel showed up. On Sunday, we will light the advent candles, listen and sing Christmas music and bask in the beauty of our church decorated for the season. We will also take communion together. The baby Jesus grew up in the world that still needed to hear the angels' message. People still wanted to kill the life-giver. But, Jesus never stopped loving. He never stopped healing. He never stopped giving himself. I can't wait to celebrate Christmas communion with you. I'll be preaching in the Sanctuary and in the Kirk Center. Also this weekend, some very important family business. Congregational Meeting and Reception honoring Beth Case After all the services, we will have a brief congregational meeting for the purpose of concurring with the request of Beth Case to dissolve the pastoral relationship and to transfer her membership to the presbytery of Texas. The meeting is a necessary thing in our Presbyterian polity.... But most important, it is a reminder of the reception we will have on Sunday from 11:15--1 pm. In the Fellowship celebrating Beth. I know you have made plans to be a part of celebrating our friend and pastor, Beth Case. For more information, click here.... Gifts for the King In services, we will have available Gifts for the King envelopes. If you receive envelopes in the mail, this envelope is a part of your envelope box. This is an end of the year opportunity for you to give an extra gift for the mission and ministry of FPCB. I am very proud of our staff and leadership holding down expenses where possible, and also very grateful for your generosity to date. In order to end the 2017 year in the black, we anticipate we will need $150,000 over and beyond your regular giving. Please consider making a gift to help us end the year strong. Your pattern of increased commitments for 2018 lead me to be confident that we can do this together.

With Christmas Anticipation,

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Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Senior Pastor