February 27, 2020

First Presby Funny

February 2020
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You Can Still Register!

Our spiritual formation and renewal includes all of us.  If you have yet to register for any kind of Lent Growth Group (art tour, movement, study, etc.) you are invited to do so by TODAY, February 27.  Growth Groups start today, and we’d like to have as good idea as possible of preparations for this holy season.  Thank you for being a member who engages with the ministry opportunities at First Presby.  You can register with the button below.
Lenten Growth Groups


Catch Up and Keep Up

Daily Devotional Reading during Lent is encouraged because we do not find God’s will – it is revealed.  God always takes the initiative.  All around us – we are able to notice simple, biblical messages coupled with lives through which God demonstrates God’s power.  Scripture, the life of Christ, faithful people, inspired situations - can point us to our relationship to God. 

Please remember to visit the church website ( every day in Lent, to read all the assigned Scripture texts in the Daily Lectionary, and to be inspired by the written reflection from one of your brothers and/or sisters in Christ.  The Online Daily Devotional began on Ash Wednesday, February 26 and continues through Easter Sunday, April 12.


Women in Religious Leadership


Lent 2020

The Dining Room ceiling reflects our liturgical season of Lent!  When Janet Chambers returned from the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Conference, she was inspired by one feature of the Spirituality Center at the APCE Conference: tissue paper "stained glass". At our "Fat Tuesday" celebration this past week, the entire church family was invited to make "stained glass" - representing our unity in diversity, and also representing all the new beautiful perspectives God invites us to see as we yield to God's Word and perspective during the holy season of Lent.


Teacher Wanted

The First Presbyterian Church Preschool Ministry is now accepting applications for a weekday preschool teacher.  An education degree and experience working with young children is desired.  Interested candidates will be expected to use developmentally appropriate practices and use project approach methods of learning. We are an equal opportunity employer and provider.  For more information visit our webpage at and click on the preschool tab OR send email inquiries to


Festival of Faith

The 2020 Festival of Faith, Hopes and Dreams: God’s Church in the World, will be held Saturday, March 28, from 9:30 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. at Charleston First Presbyterian Church. Presbyterian Outlook Editor Jill Duffield will be our Keynote Speaker, focusing her presentation on what people beyond our walls are saying about us, members of the Presbyterian Church (USA). She will also lead a workshop around being the church for the sake of the world. In addition, there will be several other workshops offered, plus fellowship, learning, and worship for all.

There will be two registration options this year: you may either register and pay online below, or send a completed registration form and your payment to the Presbytery office; you cannot register online unless you pay by PayPal and vice versa. Save money by registering by the advance deadline of Thursday, March 12

Register for Festival of Faith


PDA Wear Blue Sunday

This Sunday is Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Blue T-Shirt Sunday.  The Presbyterian Church is invited to wear blue t-shirts (or any blue garment) in support of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.  Those of you that have worked on a PDA project may already have one of the blue tees that they distribute to volunteers, but any blue will do!
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crisis and catastrophic event.  This has included local physical efforts in rebuilding after the 2016 floods and national interfaith efforts like providing counseling and care after the synagogue shootings.  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is the emergency and refugee program of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The core budget, including staff and administrative costs, is funded through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.


Children's Lenten Project

In the same spirit of giving as our Children for Chicks Challenge, Piglets for a Purpose, and Kids for Kids we are inviting you, along with our elementary age children (and all others) to participate in another Lenten outreach project this year- Links of Love!  The Presbyterian Giving Catalog recognizes how the power of each individual gift, when joined with others, makes a significant and lasting impact for people and communities around the world.
This year we want to demonstrate this truth through an activity that will make visible the collective efforts of generous Presbyterians. The Links of Love activity will begin at our church on the farm inhabiting the Mission Bulletin Board and then be joined with the efforts of churches like ours in the halls of the 224th General Assembly (2020) in Baltimore, Maryland.  This is an excellent opportunity to provide our “youngest disciples” with a model of how we give – complete with a visual aid!  We’ve raised a large variety of animals in the past and now we are trying to fill the whole farmyard!   

Beginning this weekend, you will find the Links of Love bulletin board in the main hallway of the church. When you give to this Children's Lenten Project, please take a "farmyard pal" from the basket located on the board, and sign your name and place him in the farmyard with the other farmyard friends. You will notice our "goal-ometer" on the board as well. We can track our progress as a church here! There will also be a "Links of Love" paper chain that will reflect our progress that goes along with the General Assembly chain that will be constructed in Baltimore this summer! 


Fridays at 7:00 a.m.

The Men of the Church meet each Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. in the church Dining Room. We choose thought-provoking, Christian-based books to read and discuss, while enjoying a great hot breakfast. Small group study is a fantastic complement to our wonderful Sunday services. Please join us!


First Presby Female Chorus

The Presbyterian Church USA designates March 8 as “Gifts of Women Sunday” and in celebration of that here at First Presby we will convene a “First Presby Female Chorus”.  Women, youth and girls are invited to sing together as one large female chorus.  Please participate!  There will be a “read-through” brief rehearsal on Wednesday, February 26 from 7:40-8:00PM  (following Ash Wednesday worship).  The second rehearsal will be on Sunday, March 8 at 6:30PM  in the sanctuary.  All girls, youth, women, sisters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, daughters are encouraged to participate.  Let us celebrate the Gifts of Women on Sunday, March 8!

LENT 2020

Sermon Series: This I Believe


Panera Bread, Sundays, 12:00 p.m.

Every Sunday from March 1 through April 5 there will be a “sermon discussion group” at the Community Room at the Panera Bread (downtown mall location).  Listen carefully on Sunday mornings at 10:30am, and then come enjoy a bowl of soup and a theological conversation regarding Scripture and the Apostles’ Creed.  Everyone is welcome to attend. 


A Note from Nancy

Dear Friends in Christ,

Several years ago I heard a preacher tell a story about a man in New York City who was kidnapped. His kidnappers called his wife and asked for $100,000 ransom. She talked them down to $30,000. The story had a happy ending: the man returned home unharmed, the money was recovered, and the kidnappers were caught and sent to jail.

The preacher asked, “Don’t you wonder what happened when the man got home and found that his wife got him back for a discount?” The newspaper columnist Calvin Trillin wrote about this incident. He imagined out loud what the negotiations must have been like: “$100,000 for that old guy? You have got to be crazy. Just look at him! Look at that gut! You want $100,000 for that? You’ve got to be kidding. Give me a break here. $30,000 is my top offer.”

The preacher of the day concluded his rendition of the story with this thoughtful comment:

“I suppose there are some here this morning who can identify with the wife in that story, but for some reason I find myself identifying with the husband. I’d like to think if I were in a similar situation, there would be people who would spare no expense to get me back. They wouldn’t haggle over the price. They wouldn’t say, ‘Well, let me think about it.’ I like to think that they would say, ‘We’ll do anything for you.’”


The point of that story is this: sometimes it is okay to be extravagant! Now, that is precisely what this story in the 12th chapter of the Gospel of John is all about. Remember the story with me. Jesus is on His way to the cross. It is just a few days before Passover. The chief priests and scribes are plotting against Him. Judas is about ready to betray Him. The crucifixion is less than a week away and Jesus knows it. Jesus and His disciples stop at Bethany… just a few days before, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead there in Bethany. Now, as they are having dinner, a woman comes to Jesus and does a beautiful but extravagant thing for our Lord. The Gospel of John tells us that the woman was Mary, (the sister of Martha and Lazarus). Mary brings an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment. She breaks open the jar and pours the costly perfumed oil on Jesus’ head… she anoints His head with oil.


Why did she do that? Some say it was an act of gratitude in which she was thanking Jesus for raising her brother Lazarus from the dead. Some say it was an act of consecration in which she was baptizing Jesus to encourage Him to go into the Holy City and do what had to be done. Others say it was a foreshadowing, an act of preparation, in which she was anointing His body for the death which was to come in Jerusalem a few days later. All say it was an act of love and kindness.

As we remember it together, we remember the story doesn’t end there. Mary (after doing this beautiful thing) is criticized by some of the folks in the room. Judas reprimanded her for being so wasteful. And then Jesus reprimands Judas for being so “stingy.”

Usually we think of “stingy” being unwilling to give or concerned about money… sort of like the kidnapped man’s wife, who obviously felt that money is the very important issue.

Maybe she reasoned like this: "Which is easier to replace, a husband or $100,000?" That would reflect stingy thinking, materialistic thinking. That is the Judas mind-set. That reflects the way Judas thought. "What a waste! Look what we could have done with all the money we could have gotten for selling that perfumed oil. Think of how many poor people we could have fed!"

Now, Judas didn’t intend to do that… in fact, it wasn’t even his oil, but it sounded good… and Judas was probably surprised and taken aback when Jesus complimented Mary on what she had done.


One message from the story in John’s Gospel is this: sometimes it is okay to be extravagant. That’s Mary’s mind-set. If you lived strictly by the Judas mind-set, you would have no dome in the sanctuary, no flowers on the altar, no art on the walls, no robes for the choir, no fine pipe organ, no beautiful weddings. Your daughter would come to you and say, “I’m in love and I’m so happy… I want to get married.” And you would say, “Well, why don’t you just elope? It’s much cheaper. It would be wasteful to have a wedding.” But the Mary mind-set says, “Sometimes in the name of love and kindness and gratefulness, it is a fine idea to be extravagant. Indeed, it’s beautiful to be extravagant.” 

In the spirit of the extravagant generosity of the 12th chapter of John, let us be grateful for the wonderful gifts others bring to serve Christ and us.

Thank you to the families who provided funds to upgrade the sound in the sanctuary, and thank you to all of you who have been kind enough to notice and to say something.  

Thank you to Byron and David for volunteering hours of time and energy for the upgrade project and to serve as sound engineers and recorders for many of our worship services and events.

Thank you to the families who provided funds to polish the Susie Early Room.  Thank you for serving all of us with a lovely accessible meeting space in proximity to the Sanctuary and Chapel.

Thank you to Lee who completed a deep clean in the Susie Early Room and prepped the space for its updated look.

  Thank you for the extravagant love of all those members and friends who attended the interfaith forum “Who is Jesus?” and the Presbyterian Women for serving us all in the wonderful reception for us and our guests.

Thank you for those who prepared and served “Pancakes and Piggies” and for our special stained glass installation.  It takes all the members of the family to show up and be a family, and your extravagant love for one another is appreciated. (Hugs and handshakes to the Hawkins family, the Pollack family, Doug and Janet, Blair and Ginna, Art and Taylor and Lyle – and – to the staff for their helpful prep work with the stained glass art installation).

Thank you to W.I. “Bill” Hairston for inviting the special music group “Worship Only Him” to First Presby, and to Glenn for his inspirational message, to Nora, Hoy and Katherine for their joyful dancing, and everyone for their presence at worship on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

Thank you for the great group of women participating in the first rehearsal of the First Presby Female Chorus, and for those who will come to the final rehearsal on Wednesday 3/4.

It is okay to be extravagant.  It is good to be generous. And it is a sign of God’s presence to be grateful.

What might it look like if every week, we made a special effort to say “thank you” to someone for making a difference in our church family? 

What might it look like if we said “thank you” to parents who bring their young children to worship week after week, and we are so inspired by their presence with us?

What might it look like if we said “thank you” to people for serving at the Panera table?

What if we acknowledged the hours and energies that staff devote to making it easy and nice for others?  “Hey there, noticed you made a special effort and I appreciate your loyalty.” How about that?

The more grateful we can be, without concern for reciprocity or resentment, but with a genuine and sincere heart - - we would multiply the joy experienced at First Presby overnight.  Little notes of gratitude floating around the congregation. Simple emails of thanks shared with the Staff. Brief words of appreciation shared with the Ruling Elders of the Session, and the Board of Deacons, and the Trustees.  Can you imagine?


It would be okay to be that extravagant during Lent 2020.  It would be okay to go the extra mile. To give the extra dollar.  To share the extra smile. To share the extra kindness. It would be okay for each of us to take our turn in being extravagant with the church family, and in doing so, to be extravagant with Christ, who gave us one another.


For the sake of the gospel,


Reverend Dr. Nancy Kahaian

Interim Pastor/Head of Staff

First Presbyterian Church

Charleston, WV


Closures & Dismissals

If Kanawha County Schools are closed due to weather, all meetings and activities in the church are cancelled. If public schools dismiss early due to weather, all meetings and activities in the church are cancelled for that evening.  Please do not come out if it puts you at risk for injury. Worship services will not be cancelled.
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