News

Perhaps you missed the information that Daphne Saul who served for 10 years as our Challenger editor resigned.  She had other pulls on her time and we released her with gratitude for her years of service.  We are currently looking for someone or a team of someones who would like to fill that role.  We are exploring new avenues of delievery and welcome your input!  Contact Terry Jaurena, also our Communications Director.

Until that happens, check here from time to time for Challenger Like reports.

 

      

Terry Jaurena
Mission/Outreach Director

Dear First Pres,

I loved getting a chance to hear folks reflect on what God is doing in their lives and how they are particularly thankful this year during worship on Sunday morning. Yes, it can be a bit awkward to wait for the next person to stand up and say something. But who cares? Sometimes the awkwardness is what God uses to push us to a new place. So, thanks for sharing with each other your thanksgiving; it sure made a sweet smell in the sanctuary.

I will be praying that a sweet aroma is what continues to emanate out of your gratitude this week. For some of you it will be particularly challenging these next few days as you spend time with or without your families. May God's grace abound to each of you. Remember, generous gratitude always emanates a sweet fragrance.

Finally, Sunday is the beginning of our Advent season when we anticipate the coming of our Lord. Our focus will be on Making Room for new expectations, new courage, new news, new worshippers, and new life. My prayer is that this Advent season will be a wonderful time of growth for our church as we make room for the work that God is doing among us.

There is so much to be thankful for this year. I hope you are ridiculous in your grateful praise to God.

Happy Thanksgiving,  

Jeremy Vaccaro
Senior Pastor

Dear First Pres, 

I was very grateful for our Session on Tuesday night.  It was late; we were tired.  But still, when the 2014 budget was adopted unanimously, everyone burst into applause. The elders and staff have been working hard these past few months to finalize the 2014 budget.  

The final decision belongs to the Session, which is our church’s leadership board.  The first volume of our denomination’s constitution, the Book of Order, gives the duty and power to Session, in maintaining the spiritual supervision of the church, to determine the budget of the church (BOG.S16-10.G). This is one of the most important things that a Session does because it sets the direction of how the local church stewards the resources given by God’s people.

I believe the Session has done some great work this year in preparing for 2014.  The 2014 budget reflects the Session’s wisdom, vision, prudence, and faith. The full rollout of the church budget to the congregation happens at our annual meeting in January, but we’ll be sharing some of the highlights of that budget in the weeks to come. I’m confident that all the particulars of the budget won’t please everyone (something very difficult to achieve in leadership), but I think everyone will appreciate the diligence and precision with which the 2014 budget was built.  Way to go, Session!

I’ll be talking about money this week during the Education Hour. It won’t only be about money; I’ll be talking more generally about giving.  If you hate it when pastors talk about money, you should be in the Fellowship Hall at 9:40.  If you love it when pastors talk about money, yes, you should be there too.

If you feel guilty about your financial contributions to the church, or if you feel like you have this part of your discipleship nailed, you should join us for this one Sunday class.  Even if you’re one of those who just doesn’t think about it very much, you should join us for this important discussion that I’m calling “How Do We Give?”.  

See ya this Sunday. This Sunday’s worship service will be a bit different.  Come ready to celebrate God’s goodness with thankful hearts.

Jeremy Vaccaro
Senior Pastor

Dear First Pres,

Our travels take us to many churches, and I can honestly say FPC is exceptional.  The staff and congregation were joyous, loving, and servant-oriented; it was a true joy to be a small part of what you are doing.” Way to go FPC Fresno!  This is a portion of an email from Dawn Leonard; she was one of the World Vision staff folks for the Kisongo Trek.  I am so grateful for the strong response that was generated from the presence of the Kisongo Trek.  What a great reminder of the way that God can use us in our own community and in other communities around the world.  The dream of partnering with World Vision, several Fresno churches, and the people of the Mahlalini, Swaziland to forge a new and better future together is more alive than ever.   I can’t wait to see what God does.

Now that the Kisongo Trek is behind us, there are several other things that I think are important for you to have on your radar.  Please check out the whole of this FPC Weekly for details on upcoming events.  Here are two I want to highlight: 

  1. This Saturday night is Get Right Date Night. I hope every person who is married or engaged will at least consider attending this important night.  Everyone’s marriage can get better; let’s work together toward that end.  Remember, we need reservations for those of you who need childcare.
  2. On November 24, during the education hour, I will be teaching on giving.  I’m confident we won’t cover all there is to cover about giving, but I hope we can work together to recognize what the Bible teaches about the foundation of our giving.  I’ll give you a hint; it connects well with Thanksgiving.

Be encouraged, First Pres.  The Holy Spirit is at work in us.  Still, may our prayer be “Come Holy Spirit; reign in us.”

Blessings, 

Jeremy Vaccaro
Senior Pastor

Dear First Pres, 

I have a couple of important things to let you know about.  The first is a reminder that World Vision’s Kisongo Trek is in our parking lot RIGHT NOW!  The Kisongo Trek is open for you and anyone to experience.  If you’ve ever wondered how your sponsorship dollars for a World Vision child are being used or if you’ve ever wondered how community development works in Africa this is the perfect experience for you.  And, if you’ve never wondered about those things or thought much about them, it’s also a perfect experience for you.  Of course, there is an opportunity to sponsor a child through World Vision at the end of the experience.  All the children being promoted for sponsor- ship while the Trek is in our parking lot are children from Swaziland.  We’re hoping to generate some renewed interest in the Mahlalini development project which was visited by some of our members in 2011.

I experienced the Kisongo Trek yesterday.  It was fantastic.  And, imagine my surprise when I noticed in the pictures and video a fellow Presbyterian from Seminary.  When you experience the Trek, you’ll have the opportunity to here from Dr. Moses Pulei. Moses was studying at Fuller Theological Seminary while I was there, we were involved together in the Presby- terian fellowship group.  He grew up in Africa as a sponsored World Vision child.  Look for his story on one of the video story monitors toward the end of the Trek.  Also, the Vaccaros chose to sponsor another World Vision child.  We're excited, especially Rebekah, to start sponsoring 7 year old Temacanca from Swaziland. I hope you'll also consider this.

The second thing I want to bring to your attention is a fun opportunity for you to participate in an important change we’re making to our church campus.  One of the things I noticed when I first arrived at our church is that the campus isn’t intuitive for newcomers.  It’s not clear, on a Sunday morning, where kids should go or where classes are meeting.  The Session had already been working on a plan to improve this on our campus, and we’re getting ready to take a few steps.

However, one thing that has become clear is that it is time to rename the Adult Lounge.  We use the Adult Lounge for several different kinds of activities: Session/Deacon meetings, Sunday School classes, prayer meetings, the Kisongo Trek pastors’ preview breakfast, etc.  And, in today’s world, the name Adult Lounge is … well … dated.  So, consider this an official announcement; we are changing the name of the Adult Lounge to _______.  We don’t know yet.  We’d like your help.  We are opening up a contest over the next few weeks to see who can come up with the perfect name for the room currently known as the Adult Lounge.

Please submit your idea via email tostaff@fpcfresno.org.  If we choose your idea, we’ll think of some special prize to award you.  Put on your creative thinking caps Church, and send us your best idea.  And, just in case you were thinking like me, the Session already rejected my suggestion – “The Next to the Sanctuary with Kitchen, Bathroom, Fireplace, Piano, and lots of Brick Room.”   Let the games begin.      

Blessings,

Jeremy Vaccaro
Senior Pastor

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