Sunday, February 21: First Sunday in Lent

We were honored and blessed to have Dr. Michael Lancaster, our Director of Worship and Music, provide via video a special musical offering as our Prelude this morning. He played a marvelous viola rendition of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Ave Verum Corpus.”

Pastor Emily Wilmarth welcomed all to worship, after which Jennifer Regner and Marty Boone offered the Opening Litany, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace. A February 18, 2018 recording of ”Down Galilee’s Dark Roadways,” by Michael Burkhardt, was the morning’s Anthem. It was sung by the Chancel Choir and accompanied by Angie Jenkins, Organist, with Dr. Michael Lancaster directing.

Pastor Emily gave a Scripture reading of Mark 1:9-15, which recounts John’s baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River and his subsequent time of fasting and temptation in the wilderness. She related Jesus’ experience to our own Lenten journey and the transforming power of our wilderness experiences. We emerge from them with a deeper understanding of who we are and a profound reminder of our dependence on God. This journey provides us with the opportunity not only to do the work of repentance, but also to acknowledge the angels who attend us through the experience.

Pastor Curtis Fussell led the congregation in the Prayers of God’s People, the Lord’s Prayer and Offertory Prayer. Angie Jenkins closed the service closed with the Benediction Hymn, “God Be WIth You Til We Meet Again” and Handel’s beautiful Postlude, “March in C Major” on the pipe organ

.A reminder: the Monday morning Prayer Group will be making origami butterflies to bedeck our live cherry tree in the Sanctuary, each Sunday at noon. We have asked the congregation to send us your prayers via email, or drop them off in the church office, to be printed out and incorporated into the origami art. This observance will continue throughout the season of Lent.+639People Reached11EngagementsBoost Post

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Sunday, February 14: Transfiguration of the Lord

The Church Paraments on this Sunday were white, signifying the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountaintop.

The morning’s Prelude was “As the Deer,” composed by Martin Nystrom and arranged by Larry Goss. It was performed on February 11, 2018 by Larry Black, Trumpeter and Angie Jenkins, Organist. The Anthem was “This Glimpse of Glory” by David Ashley White. It also was recorded during the February 11, 2018 worship service, sung by the Chancel Choir under the direction of Dr. Michael Lancaster, and accompanied by Larry Black and Angie Jenkins.

Cheryl and Carl Parlato offered the Welcome, Opening Litany and Prayer of Confession from their home. We are always grateful for and blessed by our members’ and friends’ contributions to our worship service, and we truly appreciate Cheryl and Carl‘s participation this week.

The Scripture reading was the recounting of the Transfiguration of Christ, with Peter, James and John present on the mountaintop, found in Mark 9:2-9. Pastor Curtis Fussell’s sermon, “Transfigured Listening,” focused on our journey to the mountaintop with Jesus: the vantage point from which we can see deeper into our lives, and where we are given the challenge to listen to and live according to Jesus’ word. It is in our striving to live into God’s commandment and truly listen to Christ, that we are transformed into a deeper, more meaningful and more abundant life.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth led the congregation in the Prayers of God’s People and the Offertory Prayer. The service closed with the Benediction Hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the Postlude, “Praise the Lord With Drums and Cymbals” by Sigfried Karg-Elert, played live by Angie on the pipe organ

Sunday, February 7: The Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

This Sunday’s service included the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The congregation was invited to join in this celebration of Holy Communion by taking the bread and cup in their homes, trusting in the power of the Holy Spirit to join us as one with the body of Christ.

The Prelude was offered via video by members of the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School Orchestra. The students performed “People Need the Lord,” written by Phil McHugh and Greg Nelson, and arranged by Sharon Wilson. Allegra Boggess conducted.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth gave the Call to Worship, followed by Debbie and Andy Mason, who offered the Opening Litany, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace from their home. We were delighted to have the Masons’ contribution to our worship service.

Composer Philip Stopford‘s arrangement of “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” was the morning’s Anthem. It was sung by the Chancel Choir, directed by Dr. Michael Lancaster and accompanied by Organist Angie Jenkins. The Scripture reading was Mark 1:29-39. Pastor Emily’s sermon title was “Holy Healing” and reflected on our call to serve our neighbor in love, and to bring one another to Christ for healing. Rather than reacting judgmentally toward another’s need for healing, Christ asks us to respond with love and support, recognizing that all are beloved of God, valid and valuable members of the body of Christ.

Pastor Curtis Fussell led the congregation in the Prayers of God’s People and the Offertory Prayer. He and Emily then together introduced the sacrament of Communion with the Prayer of Great Thanksgiving and the Lord’s Prayer, encouraging all to join in taking the bread and cup of salvation.

The service closed with the Benediction Hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the glorious Postlude, “Prelude in Classic Style” played live by Angie on the pipe organ.

Sunday, January 31: Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

The Prelude this Sunday was “Theme of the Blessed Spirits” by Christolph W. Gluck, arranged by Mike Magatagan. It was performed by Linda Lancaster, Flutist, and Angie Jenkins, Pianist, and was recorded on February 23, 2019. Pastor Curtis Fussell gave the Call to Worship, followed by Celia McCullough and Gary Caplan, who offered the Opening Litany, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace from their home. We are truly grateful for Celia and Gary’s faithful contributions to our worship services.

A 2017 recording of ”Be Thou My Vision,” arranged by Philip Stopford, was the morning’s Anthem. It was sung by the Chancel Choir and accompanied by Linda Lancaster on flute and Angie Jenkins on piano. Dr. Michael Lancaster directed.

Pastor Curtis preached on “Acting With Authority” based on a Scripture reading of Mark 1:21-28. He emphasized the call to live our lives in the authority of Jesus Christ, with faith and commitment to his word, and directed by his unfailing compassion for all humankind. We keep in mind that the authority by which we live is not power or coercion, but love, in humble service to others

Pastor Emily Wilmarth led the congregation in the Prayers of God’s People, the Lord’s Prayer and Offertory Prayer. The service closed with a recording of John Rutter’s Benediction Response, “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” performed by Pebblebrook High School’s Phoenix Vocal Ensemble on September 1, 2019. As Postlude Angie played the magnificent “O Lord God, Heavenly King” by J.S. Bach, on the pipe organ.

The annual Congregation Meeting followed the service, with the congregation participating via Zoom.

Sunday, January 24: Third Sunday After Epiphany

Angie Jenkins opened the worship service with a live organ rendition of “Andante Tranquilo” by Felix Mendelssohn.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth gave the Call to Worship, and Donna Philips offered the Opening Litany, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace from her home. It was a blessing to see Donna’s face and have her participation in the service.

Chancel Choir Soprano Intern Christine Reeder sent in a video recording in which she gave a glorious solo rendition of “The Lord’s Prayer.” We are sincerely grateful to Christine for this beautiful and uplifting Musical Offering.

Emily gave the Assurance of Pardon, and preached on a Scripture reading of Mark 1:14-20, in which Jesus called the first of his disciples and preached on repentance and the assurance that the kingdom of God is near. Emily’s sermon, “A Change of Mind,” urged us to be willing to change our ingrained ways of thinking and acting, to admit that we may be wrong and open ourselves to Christ’s call to repent and follow him.

Pastor Curtis Fussell led the congregation in the Prayers of God’s People, the Lord’s Prayer and Offertory Prayer.

Angie closed the service with the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Heavens Are Telling” arranged by Ellen J. Lorenz, on pipe organ as Postlude.

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Sunday, January 17: Second Sunday After Epiphany

The beautiful red roses in the sanctuary were given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Wayne Coleman, longtime choir member and friend, by the Chancel Choir.

The service opened with a 2017 recording of William Monk’s “Abide With Me,” arranged by Gary Lanier and played by Mike Brubaker, Hornist, and Angie Jenkins, Pianist. Oboist Kelly O’Dell joined in to accompany the Chancel Choir’s Anthem, “O God, You Search Me and You Know Me” by Bernadette Farrell.

Paul and Linda Schowalter offered the Welcome and Call to Worship, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace. Their contribution to the worship service is of tremendous value and much appreciated.

Pastor Curtis Fussell gave the Assurance of Pardon, and preached on Jesus’ calling of Philip and Nathanael as disciples, found in John 1:43-50. His sermon, “Seeing with Jesus,” dealt with our calling to “see” Christ with our heart and mind, and with our hands and feet in ministering to one another. In so doing we are filled with his spirit, empowered to leave behind our old ways and become the body of Christ, ushering in the Kingdom of God in our lives.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth led the congregation in the Prayers of God’s People, the Lord’s Prayer and Offertory Prayer. She and Curtis then conducted the Service of Ordination and Installation of Elders. The candidates, Carol Hughes, Scott McDuff, Paul Schowalter and Cindy Trevathan, were asked and responded to a series of Constitutional Questions, after which they knelt for prayer and the symbolic Laying On of Hands. The red vestments and paraments evident in the sanctuary on this day signify the Spirit’s role in call and ministry.

Angie Jenkins closed the service with the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and as Postlude, David Paxton’s “March in G Major” on pipe organ.

Sunday, January 10th, 2021: Baptism of the Lord

This week’s service opened with a 2019 recording of “This Is My Father’s World,” arranged by Sandra Eithun and rung by the Sacred Sounds Handbell Choir, as the Prelude. Dr. Michael Lancaster directed the choir.

Special music was provided by our Chancel Choir Intern, tenor Jay Bowman, who submitted a beautiful recording of “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by William Runyan. Faith Garner accompanied Jay on piano. We deeply appreciate Jay and Faith’s contribution to our worship service.

Kat Evans and Annelize Giliomee offered the Welcome and Call to Worship, the Prayer of Confession, and Passing of the Peace from their home.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth gave the Assurance of Pardon, and preached on the Scripture reading of Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River, found in Mark 1:1-11. Emily‘s sermon spoke of the transforming power of baptism by the Holy Spirit, and the commitment to a life of compassion and service to God that it entails, binding us together, entreating us to reconcile our differences and reach out to one another in love. This baptism in the Spirit is a lifelong journey that continues through our death and resurrection in Jesus Christ.

Pastor Curtis offered the Prayers of God’s People and led the congregation in The Lord’s Prayer and the Offertory Prayer.

Angie Jenkins played the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.” She played a magnificent organ rendition of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s “Te Deum” as the Postlude.

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021: The Second Sunday of Christmas

The morning’s Prelude, performed by bagpiper Cameron Nixon and organist Angie Jenkins on August 18, 2019, was “Highland Cathedral” composed by Ulysses Roever. The Anthem was “Lift High the Cross,” arranged by Paul Leddington Wright. The Chancel Choir, directed by Michael Lancaster and accompanied by Angie on organ, sang this anthem on May 27, 2018.

Hilda and Pat Patrick offered the Call to Worship and led the congregation in the Prayer of Confession. Hilda and Pat, it was truly a blessing to have your contribution to our worship service.

We were especially blessed to have a charming musical offering sent to us by little Savanna Bubenick. She sang a lovely solo rendition of “Christmas Medley,” arranged by Chris Tomlin.

Pastor Curtis Fussell read Scripture from Jeremiah 31:33-34, which contains God’s promise to the Israelites of a new covenant with them, which would be written on their hearts. His sermon, entitled “A Heart Filled With Promise” affirmed this covenant and God’s empowerment of us to know and follow God with our whole heart, and the assurance that although we may break promises that we make, God always fulfills God’s promises to us. He reminded us of Jesus’ promise to his disciples that “I am with you, even unto the end of the age.”

Pastor Emily Wilmarth offered the Prayers of God’s People and led the congregation in The Lord’s Prayer and the Offertory Prayer. Emily and Curtis together offered the Sacrament of Holy Communion, inviting the congregation to join in taking the bread and cup of salvation in their homes.

Angie closed the service with our Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again” and the beautiful Postlude, “Praise Ye, the Lord of Hosts” by Camille Saint-Saens.

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Thursday, December 24: Christmas Eve Service

A service of prophecy and fulfillment, of darkness and light, of the word of God sung in carols and seen in the breaking of bread, was offered at 5:00 pm in the First Presbyterian sanctuary.

Harpist Jillionna Bailey Plemmons opened the service with a video in which she played a medley of “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Gustav Holst, and “Gesu, Bambino” by Pietro Yon.

Pastor Curtis gave a word of welcome, followed by Carol and Jimmy Grantham who gave the Call to Worship, the lighting of the Christ Candle, Prayer for Christmas Adoration and Passing of the Peace of Christ. We are truly grateful for their vital contribution to this special worship service.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth nestled at home with her children, Clara and Elliot, to read a children’s book on the Christmas story as the Children’s Moment. The book was “All the Colors of Christmas” by Matthew Paul Turner.

Pastor Curtis read the familiar Christmas story found in Luke 2:1-7. His Meditation was on “God’s Christmas Gift” — the gift of abundant life given through the humble birth and life and death of Jesus Christ.

A musical offering was performed on December 24, 2019 by baritone Stell Huie, singing Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night.” Violinist Isabelle Burkhart accompanied the congregation in singing “Silent Night, Holy Night.”

Both pastors offered the Sacrament of Holy Communion, after which the lights in the sanctuary were dimmed and candles lit, reflecting the Light that has come into the world.

Angie Jenkins closed the service with the Benediction hymn, “God Be With You Til We Meet Again.” Her Postlude on the pipe organ was “And the Glory of the Lord” from “The Messiah” by G.F. Handel.

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