First Presbyterian Church
Forward to Friend
Vol. 49 No. 20
May 18, 2016

Preaching Schedule

Sunday, May 22
8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

The Reverend Mr. David T.A. Strain
Collision: “Bored With God”
Malachi 1:6-14

6:00 p.m.
The Reverend Mr. David T. A. Strain
Behold, A Throne: “Lukewarm”     
Revelation 3:14-22

Wednesday, May 25
6:30 p.m.
in Miller Hall

This Sunday at FPC

9:40 a.m.  
New Young Adults Sunday School
Study Center 313A

6:00 p.m.
Malawi Mission Trip Report

7:30 p.m. 
No Senior High Insight

Coming Up

  • May 25 – Q&A
  • May 30 – Church Offices closed
  • June 5 – New Members Received
  • June 6-10 – Vacation Bible School
  • June 10 – Students and Families Geyser Falls Trip
  • June 21 – WIC Luncheon 

This Week's Features


Please Join us in Miller Hall
May 25 6:30 p.m.
For a time of Questions and Answers

David Strain, Senior Minister, along with other ministers, will answer your questions regarding Bible and Theology on Wednesday, May 25, in Miller Hall at 6:30 p.m. Submit your questions to or call the receptionist at 601-353-8316 no later than noon on Tuesday, May 24. Please note that neither the adult and Junior High D Groups nor the Prayer Meeting will meet that evening.

Vacation Bible School - June 6 - 10, 2016

We are gearing up for VBS! Please help us prepare:
Donations for crafts: 
  • NEW – washed round nut containers
  • old t-shirts (all colors are welcome!) 
There will be a collection box beside the Information Desk. Thank you for donating cardboard paper towel tubes; we have enough for our craft!!

Teacher Refreshments:
If you are unable to help during the week of VBS, please consider bringing snacks for our adult volunteers. Email VBS Director, Genneysa Case or call (601) 540-2370 as to which day you prefer to deliver food items. 

Teen Helpers:  
Parents please register your Junior and Senior High students to be Teen Helpers during VBS.

T-shirts will be ordered this week. Register now so you get one!
Register Now!

Pastor's Perspective

Session Statement on Racial Reconciliation

by David Strain, Senior Pastor
As a congregation, First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, has been a leader in our denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, from its inception. That ongoing leadership role requires us to acknowledge our errors as well as our successes.  Across our denomination there is an important ongoing conversation taking place about race and racial reconciliation, and we have a vital part to play in advancing that discussion for the glory of God. 

We believe that the founders of our denomination, many of whom were prominent and beloved members of First Presbyterian Church, are heroes to be admired and for whom we must be deeply grateful to God. They defended the inerrancy of Scripture, upheld the Reformed faith, and advanced the cause of global mission at a time when all three were under fierce attack. Yet we also acknowledge that even our heroes have feet of clay, and that while we honor God for their faithfulness in many areas we freely recognize their failures, often finding the mirror image of those failures still lurking in our own hearts also. This is sadly true on the question of race and racial reconciliation.  

As many of you know, at last year’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America our own Dr. J. Ligon Duncan III, along with Dr. Sean M. Lucas of First Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, introduced a “Personal Resolution on Civil Rights Remembrance.” The resolution called on the PCA to acknowledge and repent of the sinfulness of racial prejudice found in many of our churches during the Civil Rights Era. The resolution urged the Assembly and the Presbyteries and Congregations of the denomination to engage in self-examination and prayer, and, where appropriate, to take steps to address this sinful past. 

The discussion of this question was committed to the forthcoming Assembly to be held in Mobile, Alabama, in June, and the process of self-examination was commended to the churches in the meantime.  Our own Session, taking the Assembly’s advice seriously, erected an Ad Hoc Committee on Racial Reconciliation. The committee began to read, discuss, and reflect on the complex history of race relations in our country and denomination, and the prior actions of our own church during the Civil Rights Era.  A ‘town hall’ meeting was held, to which all our officers were invited, where Dr. Duncan and Dr. Jim Baird spoke frankly about our past and helped inform the elders and deacons about the resolution and its implications.  

After much discussion and prayer the Ad Hoc Committee then brought two motions to the May meeting of the Session. The first motion rescinded and repudiated actions recorded in our Session Minutes from the 50’s and 60’s that excluded African Americans from worship in our sanctuary. The second motion made a public statement to express our stance as a church on this important subject.  Both motions were approved, and the public statement, which is the substance of the second motion is included below.

We desire to stand with our African American brothers and sisters in gospel partnership and to offer, where we can, our encouragement and support for the small but growing number of ethnic minority ministries in the PCA. As a congregation we have been laboring for racial reconciliation in a variety of forums for many years, and we do not believe the public statement below reflects a change of stance or conviction. Rather, prompted by the welcome discussion across the denomination, it is an attempt to put into words what has long been the settled conviction of our hearts. If, by these few words, we can take small steps towards healing old wounds for our African American brothers and sisters, we rejoice, even as we pray and work to make our congregation as diverse as the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
“We, the Session of First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, Mississippi, being cognizant of our duty to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God,” acknowledge and confess the sin of racism. In particular, we repudiate the 1954 actions of our Session affirming segregation of the races and upholding an unbiblical tradition of worship that was divided according to race. We deeply regret the injury such actions have given to the cause of Christ, the way they have undermined our ability as a church to minister effectively to all people, and the harm such actions have done to the spiritual welfare of our African American brothers and sisters over the years. 

We believe that dealing with our past in humility and honesty before God is often the key to spiritual progress in the present, and so we praise Him that, by His grace, the slow and often difficult work of sanctification continues among us. We recognize that there remains progress to be made in our congregation and a great deal of work to be done in our community to deal with the biases of the past. Nevertheless, as we pursue reconciliation and meaningful partnership in the gospel with our African American brothers and sisters, we earnestly desire and renew our commitment to become a congregation that reflects the beauty of the ethnic and cultural diversity of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. This we do for the honor of Jesus’s name, the salvation of sinners, and the advancement of His cause at First Presbyterian Church, in Jackson, and around the world.”

Weekly Missionaries

Please remember in your prayers...
Thomas and Erna Dreyer - Serving as a church planter with Reformed Church Randburg in Johannesburg, South Africa. Please pray that:
  • God would grant wisdom for new connecting strategies.
  • God would encourage the leadership team as they serve and lead the church.    
  • God would give success to their evangelistic conversations with those that are curious about the gospel, and that they may come to trust in Jesus as their Savior.
  • God would grant a spirit of wisdom as they navigate cross-cultural relationships with gospel grace.
  • God would add many more to the number of those who believe in the church.
Seth and Julie Still - Serving as Campus Minister with Reformed University Fellowship at Delta State University. Please pray that: 
  • God would bring strength to their marriage and blessings upon their three children: John Everette, James, Anne Allen.
  • Good financial support would come in over the summer.
  • Students would become disciples of Jesus and for good leaders to be raised up. 

Women and Children

Working Moms Bible Study

Recognizing that time is at a premium for working moms, we are offering a short Bible study for the summer on Wednesday nights from 6:30-7:30 p.m, June 15–July 27.  It will be in the format of a book club, studying The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa Kruger.  This book has been studied and well-received by our MOMS group as well as our Thursday group. Our own Shirley Windham has graciously offered to lead this study.  Wednesday nights offer a great, time-friendly venue for your family and schedule. Supper, nursery, and children and youth programs are available. If you are interested, please email Omega Stephens in the Women and Children’s Ministry Department or call 601-973-9115.

Sewing Camp

Sew and Sow will sponsor two sewing camps during the week of June 20-24. Beginners (ages 11 and older) can attend from 9 a.m.–noon. Ages 8-10 may come if they are accompanied by an adult. The beginner class will make a bag, pajama pants, and a pillowcase. From 1:00-4:00 p.m. will be the quilting class for those who have sewing experience. A nursery will be available by request. Please email Cindi Alexander for more information or call 601-201-9278.

Missions in May

Our current 3-year-olds through fifth graders will spend Wednesday nights in May learning about and praying for God’s work around the world! We will hear from missionaries from places such as Romania and Africa, and we will participate in craft projects, music and other activities relating to these various cultures. Our children will also learn how they can share their faith with others right here in Mississippi. This year, we will provide weekly “take home” projects in which the entire family can participate (see below), as well as an emphasis on praying for some of our FPC missionaries currently serving in some of the hardest places in the world. We will meet in the first-floor classrooms by the Coke machines (M122 and 123) at 6:30.  You are welcome to join us for dinner in Miller Hall from 5:00-6:00, and the playground or gym will be open from 5:30-6:30.  The lesson will be from 6:30-7:30.  Drop your child off on the playground (or in the classroom if you come at 6:30) and pick them up in the classroom.

Missions in May Project Week Three

Though the call to the mission field is a joyous one, the life of a missionary family can also be difficult, lonely, and unglamorous. It is very easy in our day-to-day activities to forget that our brothers and sisters across the country and world are in need of encouragement from the body of Christ.  This week, your child will be bringing home a booklet with basic information about several of our First Pres missionary families serving through MTW and MNA.  As a household, choose a family to pray for on a regular basis. Reach out through sending an email or letter to your missionary family.  Let them know that your family has “adopted them” for prayer and learn how you can be praying more specifically! Our prayer is that this would lead to long-term prayer relationships between our families here and far!  (If you would prefer to handwrite a letter, or if the children would like to make cards for the kids, get these to Anna Henson or Kelley Beth Prabhakar, and we will make sure they are mailed to your missionary family!)

Children’s Sunday School Offering

The children’s Sunday School offering for May and June is designated to Palmer Children’s Home. The funds will allow their traveling choir the ‘Treble Makers’ to purchase musical equipment for the group. Parents, please encourage your children to bring a weekly offering.

Four-Year-Old Churchtime Ends

Sunday, May 29, will be the last Children’s Church for the four-year-olds.  Beginning, Sunday, June 5, these children will go with their parents to morning worship.  This promotion is a wonderful opportunity to lay the foundation for corporate worship with the body of Christ. Please remember to pick up your child from Sunday School by 10:45 a.m. If you have further questions, please email Kimberly Wilkins or call 601-973-9105.

Young Adults

Summer Supper

New to Jackson? Recent college graduate? The Young Adults ministry of FPC Jackson is a place primarily for 22-28 year olds, both single and married, from recent college graduate to married with kids. We would love to have you join us for our first summer event, June 2, at Joe and April Johnson’s home (4320 Henderson Circle) for BBQ, homemade ice cream, and a cornhole tournament. It will be a great opportunity to cultivate friendships and get stitched into community in this ministry and in our church. Email David Felker, our Minister of Young Adults, for more details. Bring some friends, and come on out at 6:30 p.m. on June 2.

Students and Families

Geyser Falls

The Students & Families Ministry will take its annual trip to Geyser Falls Friday, June 10, at 12:30 p.m. following VBS clean up. The cost is $42, and the trip is open to all students, rising seventh graders to rising college freshmen. Students should plan to bring a sack lunch and money for snacks and dinner. To sign up, visit our Upcoming Trips page.

Mission and Outreach

Mission Conference 2016
Finish the Mission

In order to maintain our current missionary support our mission pledges need to equal $632,152. Thus far, we’ve received 220 pledge cards totaling $631,341.00 toward our 2016-2017 mission giving. Our desire is to not only maintain the current number of supported missionaries but to add new missionaries in strategic areas among unreached, unengaged people groups.  Please prayerfully consider pledging to support our giving to local, national, and international missions and missionaries.

Congregational Care

New Members

If you are interested in joining First Presbyterian Church, please note that our next joining date is Sunday, June 5, 2016. Each person joining FPC is asked to fill out a new member form and turn it in by Wednesday, May 25. Any forms received after May 25, will be held for the next joining date. The new member forms can be obtained in the Session Room (located off the Greeting Courtyard) after the morning worship services. If you have any questions, please email Lisa Walters or call 601-973-9102.


Pray for One Another

Mr. and Mrs. Michael (Wendy) Russ and family
Mr. and Mrs. Bryan (Ceci) Rutledge and family
Mr. and Mrs. John (Carolyn) Satcher II and family
Mr. and Mrs. John (Natalie) Saucier and family 
Mr. and Mrs. Tom (Ann) Saucier
Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm (Adrienne) Saxon III and family
Mrs. Emily Saxton

In Sympathy

Our prayers and loving sympathy go to the family and friends of Gwen Williams.

Welcome to our World

William Kennedy Griffin V
born April 29, 2016
to Elizabeth and Kennedy Griffin
Grandparents *Amanda and *William Griffin

Saylor Simmons Nicholas 
born April 25, 2016
to *Maris and *Reed Nicholas
Grandparents *Alice and *Mark Nicholas Great grandmother *Francine Greenlee

Lowry James Lomax 
born May 4, 2016
to Lauren and Christopher Lomax
Grandparents *Joy and *Donnie Cannada 
Great grandmother *Peggy Cannada

Evelyn Lovelady Davis 
born May 12, 2016 ​
to *​Mary Linley and *Jonathan Davis
*FPC Member

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The First Epistle

The First Epistle ia a weekly publication mailed and emailed each Wednesday. Deadline for article submission is close of business the Thursday prior to the week an article is to appear. Submit articles to The First Epistle editor, Mary Ball, at

To notify the church office of church members in the hospital or of births and deaths, please contact Lisa Walters at or 601-973-9102.

If you have a change of address or name, please contact Marie Phillips at or 601-973-9191.

Please note: All conferences and special events sponsored by any affiliated organizations of The First Presbyterian Church (Session-approved ministries) must obtain Management and Session approval prior to promotion or publicity via The First Epistle. Please submit articles to the Management Committee which meets the first Tuesday night of each month.
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Summer RUF

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