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ta p e s t r y


Weaving Stories of Faith, Hope and Life


openness and spiritual compassion that can only come

from the Holy Spirit


/’grade,t(y)ood/ noun e

the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.


Published quarterly by First Presbyterian Church, Charlotte NC Fall 2018

Fall/Early Winter 2018

ta p e s t r y

what’s inside The season of holidays begins in November. It begins with a day of giving thanks, continues with a time of waiting, for anticipating the gift. And as the nights grow longer, we are blessed with the gift of God among us. Finally, many of us find that the end of a year leads us to reflect on what has been, in order to prepare for where we are going. Your Communications Team wanted to end the year by reflecting on 2018 through some of the photos that remind us what a gift it is to us to tell the story of First Presbyterian Church day in and day out. We also reached out to members of our church to ask what makes them grateful for their faith journey here at First Pres. Your Comm team wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving, followed by an Advent and Christmas filled with comfort and joy!

ta p e s t r y a publication of First Presbyterian Church 200 West Trade St. Charlotte, NC 28202

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editor Peg Robarchek designer Dartinia Hull publications assistant Savannah Jillani

I am thankful for the connections we make and the support we give each other. I am thankful for a safe place to be myself. - Addie Williams member since 2018

“I believe gratitude is an attitude, a choice, a habit and a practice. We can’t experience gratitude in our head. The actual experience of gratitude occurs first in the heart. Our heart expands as a result of recognition of love, of goodness and of grace.

My heart is full when I think about First Pres.

From starting out as youth advisors, youth small groups and mission trips, our kids’ baptisms, CDC, WDS, teaching Sunday school, diaconate, congregational retreats and the amazing community of people, my family has been blessed. - Jenni Byrd Grier

member since 2001 fall 2018 • tapestry • 3

growth and support

I am grateful that First Pres is both

the warm blanket that you can pull around yourself

and snuggle into when needed,

or turn around to use as a cape to have the confidence

to fly off into the future.”

- Frasier Ives

member since 1989

Photo by Ross Loeser member since 1999

I am thankful for freedom however I want.” 4 • tapestry • fall 2018

of religion and being able to worship - Katie Fleischli

“ Photo by Eleanor Hatcher member since 2015

Two things come to mind that I am thankful for at FPC…they both deal with people. 1. The administrative and support staff at FPC, who help me in so many different ways! 2. The mission and outreach of FPC that have brought me together with new friends from all over Charlotte as well as outside our city. My life has been greatly enriched by the relationships

I have made by working and serving in outreach projects. That is why I continue… Oh…three things… Will Young!”

- Marwen McDowell

member since 1992 fall 2018 • tapestry • 5

t h e q ua l i t y o f b e i n g t h a n k f u l

“I’m thankful for a loving church family that has helped to foster my personal growth in an environment that allows for questions and doubts. FPC has supported my entire family during life’s joys and sorrows, while also connecting me to amazing peers and friends with whom to share this journey.

I remain thankful that FPC is asking hard questions about how we are called to serve Christ

going forward into our third century as a center city congregation.”


- Scott Angel

member since 2001

am thankful for the Motherless Moms Support Group.

This year has been particularly difficult for me since I lost my mom. I am thankful for Katherine Kerr’s leadership, support and friendship as we navigate life after losing our moms.” - Sloan Dosser

member since 2000

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This year’s Willard Lecture with the Reverend Dr. Walter Brueggemann (right) launched conversations among clergy in attendance, including (from left) the Reverend Jacob Pierce from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the Reverend Greg Jarrell from QC Family Tree and the Reverend Dr. James Howell from Myers Park United Methodist Church.

We are also grateful for our mission work in Cuba, Mexico, Russia and Haiti (above). In Haiti this year, we visited our mission partners to help establish a new program that supports healthcare for infants and pregnant mothers. All these missions are made possible by the financial pledges of our members.

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o p e n n e s s a n d c o m pa s s i o n

“I'm thankful that FPC

sincerely desires to share love through witness, leadership and helpfulness within the walls of our buildings and in our community. I'm thankful that we don't always get these things right and that we struggle and wrestle with how best to support each other and our neighbors. Even more than this—I’m grateful that we make decisions based on prayer, study and discernment; always with a foundation of love.” - Amy Hockett

member since 2000

“When I think of First Presbyterian Church, I see far beyond the beautiful building and surrounding open space.

Our church is full of kind and considerate people. People willing to open their hearts to other members and our neighbors around the world. I am grateful for that openness and spiritual compassion that can only come from the Holy Spirit. - Marianne Winn

member since 1995

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I am thankful for the

supportive group of people here every Sunday and the great experiences with friends. - Elizabeth Rayner

member since 2016

The Sanctuary Choir processes into worship during the annual service of special music in June.

We are thankful for the service and witness of the Reverend Katelyn Gordon Cooke (left) and the Reverend Erika Funk. fall 2018 • tapestry • 9

service and humility

I am thankful for the members here showing me such hospitality (especially those who let me sit near them and remembered me each week) when I was new, the vast amount of service done in Christ's name by the congregation, the rich history of the physical space (and the inspiring history tour), and the amount of time members, staff, and pastors have spent letting me get to know them, and

helping me find ‘my tribe’ within the congregation. -Ryan Thomas Poag

member since 2018

A few months ago, I found myself alone in the sanctuary, and for some unexplained reason, I stretched out on the carpet. I looked up and was stunned by the chandelier’s brilliance, the ark-inspired ceiling and the shafts of dancing light emanating from the stained glass windows. I wept, and then I was suddenly overpowered by the presence of the countless others who have shared that sanctuary. Today, I am

grateful for their prayers and tears and laughter, because I know that they will always remain in this hallowed place. - Nancy Rogers

member since 2017

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Photo by Eleanor Hatcher member since 2015 Pen Peery and Betty Bradley greet each other during the PW Fall Kickoff Luncheon. And yes, Pen gets around! At left, he examines a piece of stained glass during the weekly history tour of the church, led by Nancy Rogers.

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t r a n s f o r m at i v e p o w e r . h o m e t o g e n e r at i o n s .

Back in early 1983, when my then boyfriend and I first visited the church, we knew we were ‘home.’ It’s been a most blessed place of celebrations, struggles, acceptance, and joy. Over the years we’ve grown spiritually. We’ve grown in understanding. We’ve grown as a family. It’s been the perfect place for our two boys to grow up in the Faith…And now a third generation follows!

We’ve made lifelong friends. We’ve felt the arms of Christ. It’s been an amazing journey of faith so far—can’t wait to see what the next 30-plus years bring. Joys, sorrows, celebrations or frustrations, I know our church family will walk with us through them all, helping us remember we are beloved and held in the palm of God's hand.” - Carla Gambrell

member since 1984

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We are grateful for trees on our lawn, for their shade, their fall glory, their spring renewal and the homes they provide for our uptown squirrels. Two of the trees that had been part of our lawn for generations reached the end of their healthy lives this year. Losing them served to remind us how grateful we are for our comforting green space here in Center City. fall 2018 • tapestry • 13

a s a f e s pac e t o p o n d e r

I am grateful to belong to a church that

honors and encourages ‘wondering’ together as a community of faith. As a Children and Worship leader, I was blessed to spend time with the children of our church wondering about the stories of Scripture we encountered each week. There was such transforming power in being present as the Holy Spirit was at work in all of us through our wondering. Now at a different time in my life, being part of Tuesday Morning Bible Study, I have another safe space to continue wondering and wrestling in community with others about new ideas and big questions of faith. Our discussions challenge, encourage and enrich.

In my life, the permission to wonder and wrestle without need for a right or wrong answer has spoken to my heart and allowed me to be more fully present to the transforming power of God in myself and others. - Melissa Walker

member since 1990

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We are thankful for the children who run through our halls, for the discernment of our leadership, and for the opportunity to bear witness to the resurrection of our Lord.

Photo by The Reverend Katherine Kerr serving as an associate pastor at First Pres since 2008

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u n d e r s ta n d i n g a n d v u l n e r a b i l i t y

I am thankful for the

multitude of opportunities to serve in God’s kingdom. - DJ Harrison

member since 2018

In this season of gratitude,

I am thankful for friends in our community of faith. Fellow young adults and new parents coming together in Covenant Groups and at worship creates a rich environment of familiarity, understanding, and compassion that encourages openness and vulnerability in our faith journeys together. - Adam Kruithof

member since 2016

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Parish Nurse Kristin Foster talks with a neighbor at blood pressure screenings during First Serves, the congregation-wide day of service. Below, church members prepare meals for other members during First Serves, which concluded our Stewardship Campaign. That campaign makes all our mission work possible. Glenna Cook loads supplies in Haiti.

fall 2018 • tapestry • 17

New Members

Ray Berry

Crystal Bishop

Jessica & Marcus Dugaw and Bennett

Carter & Julia Hice

Bernie Hargadon

Katie & Austin Kennedy

Susan & Rob Krebs, children Ian and Madelyn

Barbara & James Esposito

Nancy & Tuffy Henderson

Howard Layson

Andrew Halliday

Kathryn Horn & Taylor Robison

Melissa & Justin Parker, and Briggs

Ray Berry

Melanie & Andrew Pearl

Lucille Pfleeger

Ryan Poag

• Ray was born in New Bern, NC, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1970, retiring in 1994. • He worked for the City of Charlotte as a building maintenance supervisor and retired in 2014. • Widowed earlier this year, Ray is the father of four. • His hobbies are gardening and listening to jazz albums.

Crystal Bishop

• Crystal is the mother of an infant son, Cole. • She is the owner of Backnbalance LLC, an uptown massage and spray tan company. Julie & Sean Ryan

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Ben Sweeney

Walter Yarbrough

Jessica & Marcus Dugaw

• Originally from Southern California, Jessica and Marcus moved here four years ago from Los Angeles. • Jessica works at Davidson College and Marcus works for Bank of America. She attended the University of Texas and he attended the University of Southern California. • They are the parents of 23-month-old Bennett and expect a baby boy in December.

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James & Barbara Esposito

• Barbara and Jim raised two girls while members of First Pres from 1995-2007. • Jim is a musician and a human capital consultant with Summerhill Partners LLC. Barbara is a Realtor with HM Properties. • Their daughters are Dana and Jamie. Jamie was married at First Pres in 2012.

Andrew Halliday

• Andrew is originally from Manassas, VA, and currently lives in Plaza Midwood. • He and Sara Caitlyn Deal were married at First Pres on November 17. • He works for an engineering firm (RK&K) as a senior engineer. • He went to Clemson University and loves watching the Tigers play. Sara Caitlyn went to USC so he admits to a little hostility on game day. • In their spare time they walk their dogs, Gus and Bear, around the neighborhood, try new restaurants, play golf and catch up on the Netflix shows everyone has been telling them to watch.

Julia & Carter Hice

• Both Carter and Julia were born and brought up in Charlotte. • Carter is a financial analyst at US Bank; Julia is a national account executive at Orange Barrel Media. • Carter attended Appalachian State University and went to graduate school at the University of South Carolina; Julia attended the College of Charleston. • Residents of South End, their favorite pastime is cheering on the Carolina Panthers.

Bernie Hargadon

• Bernie is married to member Jill Dinwiddie, who joined in 2017. • He is a past trumpet player and corporate executive.

Tuffy & Nancy Henderson

• Tuffy was born in Charlotte. Nancy is from Asheboro, NC. • A member of Charlotte Country Club for

50-plus years, he worked at Home Realty & Management Company, his family’s business, as a mortgage banker. He was the Secretary/Treasurer of the Mortgage Bankers of the Carolinas for 42 years. • He received his business degree at UNC, where he lettered in both golf and basketball. Nancy received her RT degree at UNC and specialized in neuroradiography at Duke. • Nancy’s children are Kelly and Craig; Tuffy has daughters, Jane, Alice, Amelia & Elizabeth; they have 13 grandchildren and 3 great-grands.

Kathryn Horn & Taylor Robison

• Kathryn and Taylor are engaged to be married in May, 2019. • Kathryn is the granddaughter of Virginia Horn and grew up in Charlotte. Taylor grew up in Wilmington. • Kathryn works in Human Resources for Bank of America. Taylor works in sales. • For fun, they enjoy traveling, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on Taylor’s many sports teams.

Katie & Austin Kennedy

• Katie and Austin were married at FPC in May. They live uptown. • They both graduated from Audrey Kell High School and East Carolina. • Katie works at OrthoCarolina and Austin is with Bank of America. • Katie is the daughter of Sherri and Kent Buzard.

Susan & Rob Krebs, with children Ian & Madelyn

• The family moved to Charlotte from Davidson last year and lives in the Elizabeth community. • Rob is originally from Milwaukee, WI, and Susan is from Red Springs, NC. • Susan graduated from UNC-CH and Rob attended the University of Wisconsin. • Rob works for American Airlines as a pilot instructor and Susan is a physical therapist for Carolinas Rehabilitation. • They enjoy hiking and traveling.

Howard Layson

• Howard grew up in in Detroit, MI, then moved to Arizona and California. He relocated to North Carolina five years ago and now lives in Center City. • He has an MBA from the University of Michigan and has worked with Ford Motor and a couple of consulting firms; he also taught at the Arizona State School of Business.

Melissa & Justin Parker

• Justin and Melissa are parents to Briggs and are excited to have him grow up in the FPC church family. • They are friends with members Deborah and Gibbon Pender.

Melanie & Andrew Pearl

• Melanie attended UNC Chapel Hill and Andrew attended UNC Charlotte. • They recently became new parents to a son, Oliver Graham Pearl, born August 15. • They love to go hiking on weekends with their yellow lab, Coco, who is almost 10 years old.

Lucile Pfleeger

• Born and brought up in western New York, Lucile was a music teacher. She taught at Orchard Park High School, in Salamanca, NY, and in the Glassboro, NJ, school system. • She attended Freedonia State, part of the SUNY system. • She loves music and classic movies. • She moved to Charlotte 2 ½ years ago to be closer to her son, David, who retired to Charlotte in 1998. • Lucile lives at Summit Place of SouthPark.

Ryan Poag

• Ryan is a South Carolina native. • He is in commercial, business, & residential account generation at Burgess State Farm of the Carolinas. He focuses on scouting new business and relationship building. • He is a 2006 legacy alumnus of Clemson University, where he says he “majored in fraternity life, student affairs, and applied economics and real that order.” ... continues on next page fall 2018 • tapestry • 19

... continued from previous page • Ryan says his “son” is a lab rescue named Phoenix who fancies himself a lap dog. • Ryan’s primary passion is to serve those who have a desire to recover from substance abuse in their journey of finding hope, purpose and a relationship with God.

Charles Prendergast (not pictured) • Charles, who is retired, was a member at First Pres in the 1980s.

Julie & Sean Ryan

• Originally from Houston, Sean currently works at Wells Fargo. Julie is from Atlanta and works at McGuire Woods. • They both graduated from Auburn University but did not know each other while attending there. They met many years later in Washington, DC. • They moved to Charlotte in 2016, currently live in NoDa and just welcomed their first baby, Ashling Everly, two months ago.

Ben Sweeney

• Ben’s hometown is Winston-Salem, NC; he currently lives in Matthews. • He is an actuarial candidate, pursuing his ASA designation with the Society of Actuaries (SOA). • His favorite hobby is snowboarding.

Walter Yarbrough

• Walter is an investment banking analyst with North Inlet Group. • A resident of Center City Charlotte, Walter enjoys golf, tennis, yoga and reading.


! n o s a e S e th Alternative Gift Market

Sundays, November 18 - December 16 also Thursday, December 6 Wood Fellowship Hall

Christmas Book Drive

Service for Wholeness and Healing Thursday, December 20, 7:30 p.m. Sanctuary

Welcoming Love at Christmas

Sundays, November 18 - December 16 and also Thursday, December 6

Sunday, December 23, 10 a.m.

Singing in the Season Sunday, December 2

Christmas Eve Services 4 p.m. Worship is open to everyone and is particularly suited for children.

Advent Communion Service

8 p.m. Candlelight Service

Wood Fellowship Hall

Wood Fellowship Hall, or donate online

6:30 p.m., Wood Fellowship Hall

December 6, 11 a.m. The Reverend Katherine Kerr preaching. Sanctuary Luncheon to follow, sponsored by Presbyterian Women. All are welcome. Register online.

Children’s Nativity Play

Sunday, December 9, 10 a.m. Wood Fellowship Hall

Service of Lessons and Carols December 16, 9 and 11 a.m. Sanctuary

10:15 p.m. Handbell Concert, Wood Fellowship Hall 11 p.m. Candlelight and Communion Service

Tapestry Fall 2018  

The Gratitude Issue

Tapestry Fall 2018  

The Gratitude Issue