eNews – November 9, 2018

Dear FPC family and friends,

   It has been a season since I last wrote to you.  My last enews announced the hire of a contemporary music leader in August of Tess Miller, and this will announce the hire of a new organist/choirmaster for First Presbyterian.  But first a word about Bruce.  Dr. Bruce Gerlach began his ministry in 1978 here at First Presbyterian fresh out of college.  He stayed for two years before ending up in academia in the Ozarks.  He returned as our interim organist/choirmaster this past March and has made worship fun and meaningful all at the same time.  I personally have enjoyed working with Bruce in a way that I have not experienced in many years.   Thank you Bruce for your service and for your servant spirit while you were here at First Presbyterian.

            Chris Henkel began at First Presbyterian Church over 22 years ago in 1996.  He remained our accompanist and at times choirmaster until 2005, over 13 years ago.  It seems like First Presbyterian continues to be a place where those who at one time began their journey here are returning to find a place of comfort, a place of forgiveness, and a place of peace even while the complexities of life often overtake us.  The same can be said of Chris.  He is an accomplished organist/choirmaster receiving his minor degree in music from Millersville University.  Chris begins a new season with us that we hope will bring the church to new heights in worship and take us from the strength that we are currently experiencing in Bruce, to a strength we have yet to see.

            Bruce will continue to lead the choir through the Advent and Christmas Season and Chris will begin his work in January with his first Sunday being the 13th.  We are grateful to the search committee led by Dave Rineer and peopled by Phil Geiger, Lynn Liggitt, Bette Davis, and Leo Petrokonis, who was able to find both a contemporary music director and an organist/choirmaster and leave the church in very capable hands.  We are grateful for the session as they discussed and examined ways in which this hire would impact the church and the ways in which the church had come a long way since 2005.  I am personally grateful to the session for their willingness to be deliberate and make a decision in a way that was led by the Holy Spirit and which places us in a position to best do the work of the kingdom.

            I have always said that worship has to be the driving force for our work as a church.  Our recent momentum has been a direct result of those who are leading our worship preparing those who come Sunday morning for the week that is to come, and for the life that is to come.  I have always said that it is in worship and on Sunday that we practice how we are to live for the rest of our lives.  Sunday is not the Superbowl, Sunday is not the time to put on a show, Sunday is a time to practice.  Sunday is the time to rehearse and act in ways that we plan to act when we interact with others outside of our community.  We are in a position to see how do we act when we find ourselves surrounded by people on Sunday who want to love God and that love is part and parcel of our worship.

            Please welcome Chris back to our church family, even as we have some time to bring him fully on board.  I am convinced that as we go from the strength that Bruce has provided, to the strength that Chris will bring, that we will experience the Holy Spirit even more powerfully in the days to come.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Bob


Birthday bash for the church, you are all invited!  Come and join us this Sunday as we celebrate the 186th birthday celebration of the church.  Starting after the first service, around 9:30, we will be serving brunch in Fellowship Hall.  Dr. Bruce Gerlach will then lead us in a time of celebration and remembrance through songs and hymns.  We will then honor our 50 year members.  Come and join us.

New 90 Day Challenge coming soon:  It is hard to believe that we are starting another 90 Day Challenge.  We will be going through the books of Jonah, Isaiah, Daniel, Obadiah, and Micah.  Make sure you follow along daily on the blog on our website.

Amazon Smile is up and running for First Presbyterian:  Do you use Amazon at all?  As the Christmas season approaches we have been able to put First Presbyterian on their list of charities so any purchase you make on Amazon, a percentage of that will go to First Presbyterian.  Want to register and start giving to the church while you are giving to others?  Ask Don Johnson at




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