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Sunday, September 13th: the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Scott McDuff and Pastor Curtis prepared to record the worship service.

The exquisite flowers in the sanctuary today were given to the glory of God by Angie Jenkins in loving memory of her parents, Alan and Jane Lewis.

For our Prelude,we were treated to a beautiful video recording of J.S. Bach’s “Prelude in C” performed by Kela Walton, harpist.

Pastor Curtis offered the assurance of pardon.

David and Sherry McCullough gave the Welcome and Call to Worship, as well as the Prayer of Confession and Passing of the Peace. Thank you so much for participating in this meaningful way, David and Sherry.

Our Musical Offering was a prerecorded solo by Stella Zimbalis taken from the September 10, 2017 worship service. Stella performs with several leading opera companies throughout the U.S., and is Artistic Director of Highlands’ Bel Canto opera series. Stella brought the congregation to its feet with her breathtaking rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer” by Albert Hay Malotte.

Pastor Curtis preached on “Settling Accounts Or Forgiveness” based on Matthew 18:21-35.

Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the Postlude, “Lift High the Cross” by Sydney H. Nicholson, arranged by Lani Smith, on the pipe organ.

We are thankful as always to Scott McDuff who continues to record our services for YouTube, incorporating music from our past services with accompanying photos.

Sunday, September 6: the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The lovely flowers in the sanctuary were presented to the glory of God by the Cochran and McDuff families in loving memory of Bill Cochran.

Angie Jenkins opened the service with a beautiful organ rendition of “Reflection on Austria” composed by John Newton and arranged by John Jordan.

George and Catherine Manning gave the Welcome and Call to Worship, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace from their home. George and Catherine, we are very grateful for your contribution to the service!

The anthem was a recording of Alice Parker’s arrangement of “Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal,” performed by The Phoenix Vocal Ensemble on September 1st, 2019. The Phoenix Vocal Ensemble is a select chorus at Pebblebrook High School in Mableton, Georgia, and is conducted by Nathan Medley. The Ensemble also sang the Benediction hymn, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” by John Rutter.

Pastor Curtis’ sermon was taken from a reading of Matthew 18:15-20, and titled “Jesus Among Us, Listening.” Curtis also gave the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving and offered the Sacrament of Communion, inviting the congregation to join in this celebration of the Lord’s Supper by breaking bread and drinking the cup in their homes.

Angie concluded the worship service with the postlude, “Triumphal March” by G.F. Handel.

Sunday, August 30: the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The service opened with a July 21, 2019 recording of Jules Massenet’s “Meditation from Thais” beautifully performed by Mariya Potapova on violin and Patricia Black on piano.

Tom and Delaine Nelson gave the Welcome and Call to Worship, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace from their home. We are grateful for your participation in the service, Tom and Delaine!

The anthem, taken from June 30 of 2019, was Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “O How Amiable,” was sung by the Chancel Choir under the direction of Michael Lancaster and accompanied by Angie Jenkins on pipe organ.

Pastor Curtis preached on “Trusting God Where We Must Go” based on a Scripture reading from Matthew 16:21-26.

A special blessing this week was brought by Jay Bowman, tenor, singing “How Great Thou Art” via video from home, accompanied by pianist Faith Garner. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jay and Faith for this beautiful addition to the worship service.

George Manning, First Presbyterian Elder for Membership, stepped up to the pulpit with a short update on the continuing suspension of in-person worship services in the sanctuary, necessitated by the ongoing pandemic and our governmental mandates. He emphasized the shortfall in the collection plate offerings due to the lack of seasonal visitors, and urged prayerful attention to our contributions to First Presbyterian. These continued offerings are critical in order that we may meet our operating budget and uphold the commitments we have made in supporting our various local, regional and worldwide missions.

Angie Jenkins brought the service to its conclusion with the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Till We Meet Again” and the Postlude, “Fugue in C Major” by G.F. Handel/arr. Hal Hopson.

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Sunday, August 23rd–12th Sunday after Pentecost


The beautiful arrangement of dahlias in the sanctuary was presented to the glory of God by Betty Fisher in loving memory of Mary Thompson, longtime faithful servant of First Presbyterian Church and friend to Highlands.

The service opened with an August 25, 2019 recording of the Sacred Sounds Handbell Choir’s rendition of the “Theme from Brahms Symphony No. 1,” arranged by Sharon Rogers and directed by Michael Lancaster.

Obie Oakley gave the Welcome and Call to Worship, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace from his home in Charlotte. Thank you for your participation in the service, Obie!

The anthem, also from August 25 of 2019, was Cesar Franck’s “Panis Angelicus,” sung by the Carolina Women’s Chorale and directed by Michael Lancaster. Susan Clearman accompanied on piano. This arrangement of “Panis Angelicus” was by Andris Solims.

Pastor Curtis’ sermon was titled “Who?–Did you say?” based on the Scripture reading from Matthew 16:13-20, in which Jesus asks his disciples who people say that he is, and who the disciples themselves believe he is.

Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the glorious Postlude, “Fanfare in C Major” by Henry Purcell.

Sunday, August 16th–Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan

To view the YouTube video of the “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan” parade, please click on this link:
https://youtu.be/abpp4ODrDkw

Every year, First Presbyterian Church commemorates our denomination’s Scottish heritage with a Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan service, in which participants carry banners representing their clan’s tartan and receive the Church’s blessing.


Because of our current social distancing mandates, we were unable to hold the Kirkin’ service in the sanctuary this year as we traditionally do. Instead, we held a “Kirkin’ Parade” down Highlands’ Main Street and to the Kelsey-Hutchinson Founder’s Park, where Pastor Curtis Fussell conducted a brief service, offering a portion of the Scots Confession and prayer. Duncan Greenlee, as Beadle, carried the great Bible, and Bagpipers Margaret Tooke and Glen Morris led the standard-bearers, pealing out hymns from the Scottish Highlands throughout the route and at the park. For more information on the origins and details of this tradition, please click this link: http://www.fpchighlands.com/docs/KirkinTartans.pdf


During the worship service in the sanctuary, Pastor Curtis and Marty Boone offered a Litany for the Tartans, praising God for the families represented by the tartans and the heritage of the lands of our ancestors. The service also included a Necrology and Memorial Prayer for all those in our congregation who have passed on into the Church Triumphant since last August. Pastor Emily Wilmarth, Kevin Gates and Hope Wilmarth, with the help of Clara and brand-new-to-the-world Elliot, participated in the service from home. They offered the Welcome and Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession and Passing of the Peace.

The service opened with a recording of “Highland Cathedral,” performed as the Prelude by bagpiper Cameron Nixon on August 18th of last year. The anthem from the same day was composer Philip Stopford’s “Christ is Our Cornerstone” directed by Michael Lancaster and sung by the Chancel Choir, with organist Angie Jenkins accompanying.

Pastor Curtis’ sermon title was “Great Is Your Faith” based on a reading of Matthew 15:21-28, regarding Jesus’ conversation with the Canaanite woman whose faith caused Jesus to grant her request to heal her daughter.

Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.” The Postlude, “Scotland, the Brave” was previously recorded and again featured Cameron Nixon on bagpipes.

Sunday, August 9th–10th Sunday after Pentecost


The lovely flowers in the sanctuary were presented to the glory of God by Kat Evans in honor or Annelize Gilliomee’s 50th birthday.

Members of the church staff and Pastor Curtis continue to meet on Fridays to record the worship services for YouTube. Scott McDuff is our videographer, Pat Mulherin manages the sound, Marty Boone takes the still photos (and occasionally adjusts the pastor’s stole), and of course, Angie Jenkins is our superb and faithful organist.

The service opened with a recording of a harp solo, “Angelus,” performed as the Prelude by Kela Walton on March 24, 2019

Leslie and Skip Randolph offered the Prayer of Confession and Passing of the Peace via cellphone video from their home. We appreciate your participation in the worship service, Leslie and Skip!

The Chancel Choir’s anthem, also from that day, was “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” by Philip Stopford. Michael Lancaster directed, and Angie Jenkins and Kela Walton accompanied on pipe organ and harp.Pastor Curtis preached on the familiar story from Matthew 14:22-23, in which the Apostle Peter asked Jesus to bid him walk on the water. Curtis’ sermon was titled “Peter Got Out of the Boat.” Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the Postlude, “Te Deum” by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, arranged by Janet Linker.

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Sunday, August 2nd–9th Sunday after Pentecost

On this first Sunday of August, Pastor Curtis offered the Sacrament of Communion, inviting all to participate at home.



The breathtaking flower arrangement in the sanctuary was provided and presented to the glory of God by Betty Fisher in loving memory of Jane Lewis.

Scottie and Darlene Scott gave the Call to Worship, offered the Prayer of Confession, and performed the Passing of the Peace via cellphone video from their home. Thank you for this valuable addition to our worship experience, Scottie and Darlene!

Trumpeter Larry Black and organist Angie Jenkins were our musicians providing the prerecorded Prelude, “There is a Balm in Gilead” which opened our service on August 4, 2019. The anthem from the same day was “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” sung by the Highlands Men’s Chorus. Michael Lancaster directed, and Susan Clearman accompanied on piano.

Pastor Curtis preached on a reading from Matthew 14:13-21, recounting the story of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. In his sermon, “Not Leftovers, But Abundance,” he used a handmade basket to illustrate the many baskets full of leftover food that were collected. Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.” The prerecorded Postlude, “Trumpet Tune,” was played by Angie and Larry Black at the August 4, 2019 worship service.+1044People Reached15EngagementsBoost Post

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Sunday, July 26th–8th Sunday after Pentecost

The spectacular flowers in the sanctuary today were cut, arranged and presented to the glory of God by Ann and Claude Sullivan in loving memory of their parents.

A highlight of this week’s service was a video contribution by Betty Fisher along with her daughter Caroline and grandson Connor. In an effort to let our worshippers “see” one another and feel a little less isolated during these difficult times, we have begun to ask willing members to participate in the service from home. As our inaugural contributors, Betty, Caroline and Connor gave the Call to Worship, performed the Passing of the Peace, and offered the Prayer of Confession. Thank you so much, Betty and family!

The prerecorded Prelude was a medley of “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and “When the Saints Go Marching In,” performed by Garrett Whipkey on saxophone and Angie Jenkins on piano. As a special musical offering, Chancel Choir intern Wesley Walker, baritone, sang Moses Hogan’s arrangement of “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” accompanied by Angie on piano. The Prelude was taken from our October 8, 2017 worship service, and Wesley’s solo from the October 6, 2019 service.

Pastor Curtis’ sermon was titled “It’s Still a Great Mystery” based on Scripture readings from Matthew 13:31-32 and 44-46. Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the Postlude, “Gavotte” by Samuel Wesley on the pipe organ.

A big thank-you as always to Scott McDuff, our unflagging worship service videographer and editor.

Sunday, July 19th–7th Sunday after Pentecost

The flowers in the sanctuary today were given to the glory of God by Betty Fisher in loving memory of Don Fisher on their 55th wedding anniversary.

This Sunday’s prerecorded music consisted of the Prelude, “Be Thou My Vision” arranged by Gary Lanier, and the anthem, “O God, You Search Me and You Know Me” by Bernadette Farrell. Both were taken from the June 3, 2018 worship service, and featured Mike Brubaker, hornist, Jonathan Wilkes, pianist, Kelly O’Dell, oboist, and Angie Jenkins, organist. The anthem was directed by Dr. Michael Lancaster and sung by our Chancel Choir.

Pastor Curtis led the worship service, as he plans to do for the duration of Pastor Emily’s maternity leave. His sermon, “What About Those Weeds Among the Wheat?” was based on Matthew 13:24-30. Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the Postlude, Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” on the pipe organ.We are thankful to Scott McDuff who continues to record our services for YouTube, incorporating music from our past services with accompanying photos.

Sunday, July 12th–6th Sunday after Pentecost

The beautiful flowers in the sanctuary today were given to the glory of God by Betty Fisher in memory of her father and brother, James H. and Charles N. Crawford.

Prerecorded music featuring the Sacred Sounds Handbell Choir opened the service with a bell peal and prelude from June 30, 2019. The anthem was “Speak, O Lord” by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, sung by our Chancel Choir on May 13, 2018.

This week marks the last Sunday Pastor Emily will be with us for a few months, as she prepares to give birth and take a leave of absence to begin the journey of life with her newborn child. We keep Emily in our prayers and wish her family a blessed time of bonding with the new little one.

Pastor Emily’s sermon, “A Word of Joy and Peace,” was based on readings from Isaiah 55:10-13, and Matthew 13:1-9.

Pastor Curtis offered prayers and assurances of pardon, and Angie Jenkins played the closing hymn, “Blessed Jesus, At Your Word,” the Benediction, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the Postlude, “Marche Royale” by Jean-Baptiste Lully, on the pipe organ.

Scott McDuff continues the recording of services for YouTube, incorporating prerecorded music from our past services with accompanying photos.