First Presbyterian Church Blog

Ballet Jubilee This Sunday During Worship @ 10:30 am

During our worship service this Sunday, October 18, Ballet Jubilee will perform an interpretive dance to accompany our Chancel Choir, which will be singing “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” as arranged by Gustav Holst. Ballet Jubilee is a dance group from The Ballet Theatre School, a Christian ballet school in Edgewood. Two of the dancers (Rachel Quick and Katherine West) are from FPC, and the school’s director, Kathy Wilson, is the daughter-in-law of FPC member and usher Clay Wilson. Please come and invite your friends!

Suggest a New Name for FPCS

As you may know, our church school is working on becoming an independent K-12 Christian school. In coming years, First Pres will continue to operate its own pre-school, but the rest of its school will be launched as its own independent organization if plans come to fruition. The decision to spin off the elementary school was a decision made by the church’s leadership earlier this year. As part of the transition process, a new name needs to be chosen for the new school, and the transition committee has invited FPC members to submit their suggestions for a new school name by Thursday, October 22. Suggestions can be submitted by sending an email to or by completing a form in the school office.

Message from Camp McCullough

The word “new” has continued to make an appearance to us here at Camp McCullough. It has become our theme. Whether popping up in a simple conversation or being the foundational word in a daily verse, it is persistently seeping into daily life. This word can cause multiple reactions to different people. It can be scary because it most likely represents change or it can bring joy for that very same reason. We have experienced both. DSC_0284
We want to see Camp continue to be used in the lives of people of all ages and walks of life. We want to see it continue to be a place that people love to reminisce about. And we want to continue to see it be a place where Jesus is made real and big in the hearts of those who come. But we have come to a place where we need to look at “new” ways to help these things continue. This is why we are writing you.

One of the new things we are doing is starting a volunteer team for camp—a team of volunteers who would be willing to be called if there are needs for kitchen, cleaning or maintenance needs during weekend groups or special activity needs for FPC youth weeks during the summer. Volunteers could also be a part of a team or small group who come out to do service project days. We are hoping for volunteers who have hearts that have been touched by what God does through Camp McCullough and want to be a part of that continuing. This is not meant to be seen as overwhelming or looked at as “just another thing on your plate”. The more people we can have available, the less the load can be. There are endless stories to be heard of what joy can be found in service, and many of them come from service done at Camp.

This is new for us. We have survived on the sacrifice of the few who have helped us regularly over the years and we are beyond grateful. But it is time for a change. No more surviving. It is time to thrive.-1

Would you be willing to join the volunteer team? What about your small group or missional group?

If you would like to be on this list, please email us at with your name and phone number. We are putting together a list of the different needs and projects and will send that out as soon as possible.

Thank you!

Matt Miller
Camp McCullough Director

Shannon Sullivan
Camp McCullough Assistant Director

September 2015 Update from Mark Barnes

When I last wrote in August I mentioned,  “several major achievements that happen in July that look to move us to regions beyond, into “new possibilities” I want to share some of these with you all now.

#1) We are in the final steps to buy a hotel near Nova Contagem to server as a regional operations base for the deck. We stayed at this hotel during our last outreach in july and are currently using it to run our drug rehab program.
This hotel as a base enables further development of our program on a larger scale focusing on drug and violence prevention, in the metropolitan northwestern part of BH and is close to our pilot project in Nova Contagem. It is in the town of Esmeraldas and located in the middle of some of the most violent parts of in the metropolitan region of BH.

The hotel has 52 rooms, 14 acres and a theme park called the “land of knowledge” where we plan to build a theatrical track/stage called “the drug tunnel” for a  preventive action to take 10,000 students per year on field trips. This together with continuous actions in the same schools ( amigos do bem na escola)  in the generic format of “school chaplaincy” and the equipping and support of a group of missionaries / agents for community development through U of N courses.

the hotel was built 40 years ago, it needs some work, “the land of knowledge” is in great shape and we have already used it to run the drug tunnel.
the mayor of emeralds went through it and cried, he loved !!!

#2) The drug tunnel is a program that connects us with a cross sections of Brazil society, because of the scope it can work with pre teens round drug prevention and murder reduction. ( we think we can do 100 field trips a year for a total of 10,000 kids a year going through this experience.) Right now we are connecting with government, business, education, church, sports, arts and media leaders, institutions and organizations. (Part of this program will include on long term partnership with public schools.)

#3) A new part to the circo manifesto artistic program was something we called “O placo e Voz” (the stage and the voice). This is a community rendition of the TV show “the voice”. We had over 100 people try out  for this singing competition from Nova Conatgem with 20 finalist competing for three weeks ends. These 20 were give special coaching in sing and stage performance by top entertain people during the three weeks. The community turn out for this part of the circo manifesto program was great.  We had over 1000 people come to last performance. we plan to keep this as a core part of how we connect with communities.

Beyond these three big new assets coming on line, what was incredible for me to see was the quality of our artistic missionary company of young leaders that are now working with us. We had well over 100 volunteers with very high quality of artistic performance and spirituality.

Bob Moffit spent most of the month of July with us and told me how impressed he was with what is happening in our midst. Through Bob I also reconnected with Graham Kerr recently and was very happy to share this up date with him as well.

Right now we are working on a business plans for the hotel, the drug tunnel and the deck as a whole. Our next outreaches will be in Maues in the Amazon in January, Nova Conatgem in July and Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic in August. ( I am also hoping to organize a full time 6 month community development school, “FCD” from the U of N, starting in June to be housed in the hotel.)

We are in over our heads, as usual, but taking great joy and comfort in how we see the Lord leading us.

A family note,

Iris and Gabriel were both in Brazil in July. It was so good for iris to see her mother for the first time in 4 years. We are all back into our groove in SC respectively, the kids in school, iris working her day care job and I now have 3 part time jobs that avail me with the flexibility to travel to brazil when I need to but keep me very busy when at home. My jobs are, substitute teaching, working for stop hunger now  running food packaging events and doing wilderness therapy  in the blue ridge mountains of NC, teaching coping skills for troubled teens.
Peace, Mark

Amazon Smile Program–Help Raise Funds for FPC!

If you purchase items at, did you know that you can get .5% of your purchases donated back to FPC? You can do this by using the Amazon Smile program. Note that we aren’t endorsing Amazon or encouraging or discouraging people to shop there… but if you do shop there already, consider doing it through the link provided and your purchases will also help support your church!

Hear Our Organ THIS Sunday

FPC’s magnificent pipe organ is back! Its Static Regulator was rebuilt, and it was reinstalled this past week. (See what it took to reinstall it.) Come to church this Sunday and hear our organist Patrice Barnett play “Now Thank We All Our God” by Karg-Elert and “Prelude in G Major” by Bach. You don’t want to miss this debut of our organ with fuller sound. If you love organ music, also be sure to mark your calendar for the upcoming Organ Recital at FPC by Sarah Duffy from the University of Washington on Monday, November 9 at 7:30 pm.


The Return of Our Organ’s Static Regulator!

It’s back! The Static Regulator for our wonderful pipe organ has been re-built and reinstalled. You can see what it took to get it reinstalled by checking out the picture gallery below. Thanks to everyone who helped out! And thanks to Chuck Hayden for supplying the photos and captions. Be sure to come back this Sunday to hear what our organ now sounds like!

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