Page 1

July 2012

Permission to Rest by Jim Gates

Summer is in full swing! Cotton candy, lemonade and snow cones in the Common, Andy Griffith on the TV, permission slips in the bulletin, a children’s garden behind the Northminster house . . . this is a summer to remember! As you rest and relax this summer, I pray that this may be a time for us to reconnect with Christ and one another. Jesus says, “Abide in me as I abide in you.” More than anything, I hope that we will learn to abide in Christ, trusting that it is His Presence with us that can truly bring rest and peace. This is a great season to invite a friend to experience worship at FPC; everyone needs permission to rest!

Big Summer Events Please be in prayer for the following: Kenya Summer Mission Team – June 23-July 8 Vacation Bible School, “Operation Overboard” – July 16-20 The Great Escape Middle School Trip – July 30-August 4 Nicaragua Mission Team – August 4-11 Our pilgrims, youth and children have an awesome summer before them – thanks for keeping them in prayer!

Summer Mission Team is in Kenya! “Isaac is still in the hospital at Nazareth but having a very good day. He was even given permission to come visit us on the porch.” Search this issue of First Impact to discover all the ways you can see what’s happening!

Massanetta All-Church Mission Camp Report We had a FANTASTIC trip to Massanetta! For more stories and pictures, see pages 2, 4 and 5 of First Impact. You can also find a ton of pictures on our Facebook page – be sure to visit and “like” the church so you can get updates from us.


Vacation Bible School July 16 - 20 Operation Overboard Registration is now open to everyone at FPCNorfolk More information about VBS can be found on Page 6 !

From Where I Stand





Massanetta Springs Scrapbook



Children & Families


Adult Discipleship


Bible Conference


From Where I Stand by Jim Wood

Massanetta Trip Was ROCK Solid “And he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell on the path, and the birds came and ate them up. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and they sprang up quickly, since they had no depth of soil. But when the sun rose, they were scorched; and since they had no root, they withered away.” ~ Luke 8: 4-6 The church-wide mission retreat to Massanetta Springs was everything I had prayed for and more. With 100 people from the ages of 8 months to 80 (Zoe Gates to Winston Whitehurst), this was truly an FPC church family event. From s’mores by the campfire to worship, from the zip-lines to working in the fields, from canoeing and tossing Frisbees to packaging meals for STOP HUNGER NOW, the Lord blessed us with a memorable time of fellowship, work, and play. Early Monday we arrived at The Volunteer Farm, with the rain pouring down, to receive our assignment for the morning – to remove ROCKS from the field in preparation for plowing. Squishing through 5 inches of mud, everyone from children to adults worked hard to ready the field so that crops can be planted and the food grown in that very field can be used for local soup kitchens. Our labor was ROCK solid!

Keeping Up with Kenya by Becky Lyle Pinkard

You don’t have to be on Facebook to keep up with our Kenya Summer Mission Team! Just go to the internet and type in, and you will be able to read about everything that is happening. Here is an excerpt from Becky’s first blog: “There was one more small, almost comical hurdle once we boarded in Boston – a huge jet had parked right behind our huge jet. We couldn’t leave until some dude remembered that he had double-parked his jumbo jet. As we took off over Boston Harbor, a rainbow reached down from heaven and touched the ground ahead of us. It took my breath away. It restored my excitement for what lies ahead. Mine are First World problems – airport delays, too much baggage, the weather not cooperating to suit my schedule. Tomorrow I will be with people who are hungry, people who don’t own enough worldly possessions to fill one rolling back pack, much less two. They need hope and they need help. But I think most of all they need to know they are not forgotten. My First World problems are already fading and the work of the next two weeks is coming into focus. I am going to borrow God’s heart and love His people, in His name. So that they will know they aren’t forgotten. It takes my breath away thinking about it, just like the rainbow over Boston Harbor last night.”

Monday evening, we all gathered to take part in STOP HUNGER NOW by packaging 10,000 meals in one hour! Your monthly 5¢-a-Meal donations were hard at work, and the food we packaged will go to those in need in Nicaragua and Honduras. I don’t have room here to tell you about everything we squeezed into these two days at Massanetta Springs, but there are hundreds of photos on the FPC Facebook page (www.facebook. com/FPCNorfolk) that tell the story. I am so thankful for all those who worked to make this dream a reality. Thank you. And if you missed the mission retreat this year, I can assure you that you will have the opportunity to join us in 2013 – we are already looking forward to our next ROCK solid adventure together as a church family!

Let’s Go Check Out The Loft

Book review by Paul Lankford

Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller is available in The Loft. I wondered what could possibly be so good about a book that our church would give it away free to any first-time visitor. What I discovered in this collection of insightful, informal conversations is that this is the book I not only needed to read, but that it is a book you may need to read as well. The title of the book was at first a puzzle for me. I was putting the emphasis on the word What in the title, but now believe the real emphasis should fall on the three words God Knows What. For indeed God knows that we spend our lives searching for proof and affirmation of our own worth. And He waits patiently to give us exactly what will fulfill our quest: an unconditional, eternal, affirming love through a relationship with Jesus! How many times in recent months I have searched for some reason to stay positive and loving and hopeful in a world filled with frightening events. That God has known all along exactly what I was searching for and that He has already given me (already given all of us) — the very thing all of us really seek—well, that’s pretty amazing. Try Searching for God Knows What and see if it doesn’t turn out to be a book you needed to read, too.



The Most Important Day of My Life by Ethan Ellis I had grown up in the church but had not been for several years. I described myself as an agnostic. But on the morning of June 18th, 2011, after another night out on the town, liberated from the conviction or obedience to anyone or anything, I found myself pacing around my room brainstorming. For some reason I felt particularly sharp that morning. My little brother was, at the time, quickly developing a drug problem. I felt part of the blame fell on me, as I didn’t exactly set the shining example of an older brother. After running through different scenarios in my head, I believed that I had found a possible remedy for his situation. I was so proud of myself for figuring this out that I continued to plot routes for my future. I continued to pace for hours,

easily the sharpest I have ever felt. CEO, Senator, President; no matter how high I went in my head, it never seemed big enough. Staring into my own eyes in the mirror, I thought, “What in this world could be bigger than that?”. In that instant, I realized that my life was totally centered on myself, and I felt like I betrayed everyone who had ever loved me. I realized God had been there all these years and I never even noticed. I was shaking all over, falling down to my knees; I was crying so hard that I was dry heaving. I could not say anything but, “Please forgive me”. After I offered that prayer, and asked Christ to be a part of my life again, I felt like every problem I had ever had did not matter any more; I knew at that moment where my real priorities needed to be. I knew if I ever got anything right in my life it had to be this. Despite the tears, it was the happiest day of my life.

New Member Sundays by Jim Gates Each month, on the fourth Sunday of the month, we welcome new members in our worship services. We are blessed to have a growing church, and we typically see 70-100 new members each year. While this is a great gift for our congregation, it also represents a challenge; no matter our size, we want to see every one of our newest family members fully connected to the larger church. One new step in that direction is our New Member Sunday Gatherings. On the fourth Sunday of the month, after each service, we will have a small reception in the Armstrong Chapel for the people who joined the church at that service. Everyone is invited to come and welcome our newest members. In addition, special invitations will be extended to everyone who joined in the last year, so that they might both greet the newest folks, and also have additional opportunities to get to know people in the church themselves. Our first New Member Sunday Gatherings were on June 24th, and it was a great treat to see so many people crowding into the Armstrong Chapel to introduce themselves to our new folks! I hope this will become a valuable and enjoyable tradition. If you are interested in helping with New Member Sunday Gatherings, or in helping our new members get connected to the church, consider joining our New Member Team. That team assists with FPC 101, New Member Dinners, and the New Member Gatherings. For more information, contact me at First IMPACT


Thi s of h has bee ealin n pray g, a a plac e p whe r, and lace of e r a peop e I met place l them e and g more mor ot to k e in tima now t ~ E ely. unic e

I was so excited by not only the closeness of our family but also the closeness of our church family. ~ Vikie

I loved seeing your beautiful faces of all ages working and laughing together for three days. What an incredible experience. I loved Christ being in the spiritual and the ordinary and in ~ Sheryl everything.

we I’m g g eveot to lad tha ryb hel p o t our needdy ~ A help ed udr . ey

I lo ve d t h e muc k y, mu dd y e x p e r ie n c e and t h e le s s o n we p u t to wo r k in t h e mu d a n ho w the d fie p re p a re d ld mus t b e f or t he s e e ds t o ro o t. ~ C h r is

I am grateful for the potatoes I found in the mud. It showed me that even in the mud of life… even among the rocks...even in what seems to be bad soil… Christ can still make strong roots that weather anything. ~ Jane 4


We are gra

I love th at t has awa his kene the need d fo service in r children. our ~ Kobi

teful to Ma ssanetta for showing us how to le t go of control a nd give it to God like you do when you a re on the zip line. ~ Julie

We love that God loves us and we love Him. Also we had fun planning and serving at camp with our friends. ~ Mary Ella and Ann


we hat t d gla th I’m n wi u f e v o ha mily d fa got t n a s help riend f o t r t u o o g still dra and exan l A rs. ~ othe

It was a blessing listening to Jim Gates when he told us that we can look for God in the simple things. ~ Frank

FPC... We changed the world!


CHILDREN AND FAMILIES Where in the World is Jonah? Keep posting all of your photos and the descriptions of Jonah to wherever you go this summer!

Special Day July 29th!

Coffee Kids will serve special flavored coffees with a smile. Any donations you wish to make will support our Joy Home Orphanage in Kenya. Enjoy!



Jonah’s getting around Norfolk! Here he is with our own Miss NATO mermaid at Willard Model School.

Here’s Jonah at his cabin on the Yellowstone River in Emigrant, Montana.

Jonah rode a camel with Ross, Sheryl and Jim Wood in the Sahara Dessert! Ross and Jonah pose with the camel guide.




PRA•X•IS: Not the End... Just the Beginning

FPC: A Big Church that Feels Like a Small Home

by Kristine Rand

by Valena Hoy

Thanks to all who completed the Praxis practices and surveys. Looking upon the results of the survey, I remember a favorite African phrase, “Pole, Pole” (pronounced po-ley, po-ley) which means “Gently, Slowly.” When I ascended Mount Kenya two years ago, my Kenyan guide frequently rebuffed my enthusiastic efforts with the phrase “pole, pole.” As we compare the results of the Praxis pre-survey with the Praxis post-survey, the gentle work of the Holy Spirit is truly evident. Christ is in our midst. The results clearly illustrate that our congregation has progressed in its journey toward Christ. Yet, most of us are impatient with our own slow movements toward sanctification. We must remember to be gentle with ourselves as we move slowly and purposely toward incarnating the Christ in all that we think, say and do. We found that most of our survey respondents are now spending more time talking with God and praying for their needs and the needs of others. It is exciting to be part of a congregation that regularly prays for the salvation of non-Christians which has resulted in more evangelism in the form of conversation and invitation. Additionally, more of our congregation is reading the Bible regularly and relying on its truths for daily guidance. So it is not surprising that as we spend more time talking with God and talking about Him . . . our faith has increased. Consistently, we found that the post-Praxis respondents had a deeper understanding of their own sin and thus their need to rely on Christ as the only means of salvation and strength. This survey reveals that as our hearts have grown closer to Christ, we have grown in our generosity toward others in the form of financial giving and the giving of time in local and global mission work. I am thrilled that God has called me to serve a church that desires to know Christ deeply and become more like him as we express justice and mercy to a hurting world. Hallelujah for who He is and who we are becoming! First IMPACT

The best way to grow and thrive in your life is to be in a small group where you feel at home. A small group is a place to make friends, learn more about the Bible, support one another, and serve the Lord together. We don’t want you to get lost in the crowd . . . come get small so that you can grow strong in Christ.

Come to a small group “Meet Up” and learn more. There is a “Meet Up” the second Sunday of the month following each worship service. Here’s what one of our first time visitors said about our Meet Up last month: “I look forward to joining one of the small groups (at FPC). I did not expect to get such a warm welcome. A young lady introduced herself so that I would know one more person and not feel alone. I have been to a couple of churches, and I have never had that happen. FPC is a big church but feels like a small home.” Come . . . meet up . . . and learn more about how a small group can offer your life hope and meaning. Whether this is your first time at FPC or if you’ve been around for years, you are invited: What: Small Group “Meet Up” When: Sunday, July 8 following each worship service Where: Armstrong Chapel after all three worship service Who: Anyone interested in small groups Why: Learn about the transformative adventure of Christian community found in a FPC Small Group See you there!


If you loved Massanetta or couldn’t make our church Mission Camp this year, here’s another wonderful opportunity!

July 29 - August 3, 2012 Worship? Carolyn Brown will join us for a special forum.

Evangelism? Matt Rich will guide us towards a passionate, heart-filled approach to sharing the good news and inviting others into the community of Christ.

Missions? Professor Rich Hansen, who serves in Ethiopia, will lead us in discovering “Worldviews of the Global South: What Can We Learn from the Emerging Christian Majority?” Affordable vacation? Want to combine your vacation with excellent Bible studies, inspiring sermons, great music, delicious food, and warm fellowship for the ENTIRE FAMILY?

This Bible Conference is right for you! Go to to learn more or contact Sharon Privett (FPC member) who can also answer any additional questions at

Come to the mountains this July

29 - August 3!

Nicaraguan Coffee Time It’s time to order your signature, premium coffee from Vida Joven in Nicaragua.! For $15.00 you can send a Nicaraguan young person to Young Life camp in Matagalpa, Nicaragua AND enjoy a delicious one pound bag of home-grown, robust coffee. Give the gift that keeps on giving. Please give me your order by Sunday, July 15.   Contact Susan Rawls (757) 553-2738 to place your orders by Sunday, July 15.


Presbyterian Women’s Fall Gathering Southside - Saturday, September 8th at First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk Peninsula - Saturday, September 22nd at Community Presbyterian Church Hampton 8:30 am - 1:00 pm (Childcare, breakfast and lunch provided)

Watch for more info in the next First Impact!

F irst P resbyterian C hurch 820 Colonial Avenue • Norfolk, VA 23507 • 757.625.1697

2012 Bible Conference at Massanetta Springs

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PA I D Permit No. 218 Norfolk, VA

First Impact: July 2012  

newsletter, articles, reports, photos, upcoming events