OUR VISION AND MISSION
Worshipping, Connecting, Educating, Serving
“Through God’s love and power revealed in Jesus Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit, we are called into a community of lively faith. Honored with a rich Presbyterian heritage, and committed to an enduring Christian witness, we respond to God’s grace through ministries of:
— Celebration–Worshipping God with gratitude and vitality, and participating thankfully in community with each other;
— Fellowship–Connecting people with each other and God in a Spirit of wholeness and care in Christ’s name, and welcoming and encouraging all;
— Spiritual enrichment–Educating and engaging people of all ages for growth in faith and service;
— Outreach–Serving others in local and global mission in Christ’s name.”
The Historic Meeting House on the Square is where deep roots are nourished and growing branches are celebrated in Christ’s name.”
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CHILDREN & YOUTH
9:30 AM, Sunday Mornings (except Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day weekend). During summer months, children are encouraged to remain in worship, or they may go to the nursery. Separate Youth Bulletins, Children’s Bulletins & Children’s Worship packets are offered each week to enhance the worship service for our youth. Other than during the summer months, there are education classes for all ages, from toddler through senior high. Opportunities for youth service, worship, and fellowship are announced monthly and posted.
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CHILDREN’S CHURCH — Many youth & children’s activities are available throughout the year, to include a “SuperKids” activity typically held monthly (dates to be announced). We believe that Christian Education is more than what happens in the classroom…it’s what happens whenever we are together!
— Kindergarten thru 5th Grade: During the school year, we offer a time when these “older” children are able to learn about worshiping our God. Each Sunday, following the anthem, an adult leads the children to their worship center in the lower level where they continue worshipping using their own bulletins. Children’s Church includes a Scripture reading, a responsive reading, Bible story, prayer, hymn-singing, passing of the peace, and benediction. The goal is to prepare these children for worship with the larger community in the sanctuary. Children in this age group are always invited to Communion; there is no Children’s Church on Sundays when the Lord’s Supper is served. They also return to the sanctuary to observe the Sacrament of Baptism.
— Ages 3-5: These children are excused from the sanctuary immediately following the Children’s Sermon to go to the toddler play area in the lower level for supervised playtime. Then, a pre-school leader meets with them for a brief Bible story and a coloring or craft project.
Our Nursery (for ages birth to 3) is staffed during both the education and worship hours throughout the year. Children’s Church is provided during the worship hour, except during summer months (Memorial Day thru Labor Day weekends).
CHURCH MISSION OPPORTUNITIES
BOOKS FOR BABIES: Each baby born at Carlisle Reg’l Medical Center is gifted with a book and a baby hat. Hats are handmade by members/friends of First Church; and books are bought from proceeds of the ongoing book sale held in Fellowship Hall.
DEACONS’ PROJECTS: To benefit Project SHARE, donate powdered infant formula (Good Start DHA or AHA or Similac-Advanced), and diapers (sizes newborn thru 5.) There is also a current need for baby food (stages 1 and 2), and baby cereal. First Presbyterian is responsible for donations of soup to Project SHARE, year-round. Monetary donations are accepted, as well.
Additionally, the Board of Deacons & Friends serve periodic meals at The Salvation Army’s “My Brother’s Table”. The congregation supports this effort with donations of time, food, prayer and money. A specific event is held each Father’s Day, called “Buy Dinner for Dad”, where donations go toward the purchase of items for “My Brother’s Table.”
Ongoing fundraisers include the sale of “sticky cleaners” (cell phone cleaners) and note cards.
PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE: For more detailed information, go to: www.pcusa.org/pda.
HANDCRAFTERS: Baby hats and blankets are knitted & crocheted, then donated to Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Holy Spirit and Harrisburg Hospitals as gifts to newborns.
LEND A HAND TRIPS: Travel to sites where help is desperately needed to rebuild homes/lives. Details can be found at www.lendahandmissions.org.
BLOOD DONATIONS. First Church has an account with the Central PA Blood Bank, which means that members of participating groups can draw on the account in times of need (at participating hospitals) at little or no cost. Members making contributions to the account by giving blood should indicate that you are giving for “First Presbyterian Church.” Find locations to give at www.cpbb.org.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Q: What do you, at First Church, believe regarding the Sacrament of Baptism, and how is it observed?
A: Jesus Christ gave his disciples the command to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19-20).
Baptism is a sign and seal of incorporation into Christ. It is a participation in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Baptism enacts and seals what God proclaims: God’s redeeming grace offered to all people.
In the Presbyterian Church, baptism is authorized by the session, administered by the pastor, and celebrated in a service of public worship. Infants, children, teens and adults may be baptized. Ordinarily at least one parent shall be an active member of the congregation. Baptism is received only once (Ephesians 4:4-6) For older children and adults, baptism is an affirmation of faith in Jesus Christ and leads to active participation in the worship and service life of His church.
The water used in baptism at First Presbyterian is drawn from Meeting House Springs, near the site of the founding of the church. Contact the pastor for further conversation about the sacrament of baptism.
Q: Likewise, can you tell me about the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper?
A: The Lord’s Supper is also called Communion, Eucharist, and the Breaking of the Bread. Based on Jesus’ words and actions, bread is broken and the cup is poured. In worship, the community of faith is nourished and strengthened at the Lord’s Table. This sacrament is observed many times throughout the year and in a variety of ways.
All who confess faith in Jesus Christ and who have been baptized into Christ’s community may come to the Lord’s Table. Baptized children who have been instructed by their family may also commune with family permission.
The pastor presides at all celebrations of the sacrament, while ordained elders and deacons of the church distribute the elements. Communion is celebrated ten to twelve times throughout the year.
Q: What is your church’s wedding policy?
A: Christian marriage is celebrated in the community of faith. As a service of Christian worship, the marriage service is under the direction of the pastor and supervision of the Session. The Session needs to approve the service if held at the church. Sufficient time needs to be provided before a proposed date so appropriate action can be taken by the Session, staff, musicians, pastor, and the couple.
Ordinarily, a service of Christian marriage is conducted for members of the congregation and their families, with the pastor of the church presiding. The church facility is not available for “rental”.
Counseling sessions are required. Contact the pastor for further information.
Q: How does one become a member of First Presbyterian?
A: Individuals become members of the congregation in several ways:
— AFFIRMATION OF FAITH occurs when an individual affirms faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This affirmation is recognized in the sacrament of baptism.
— RE-AFFIRMATION OF FAITH recognizes that a person has already been baptized and has been an active member of a community of faith but may no longer be an active member in any congregation. Joining the church anew includes a re-affirmation of faith in Christ and a commitment to active membership.
— A LETTER OF TRANSFER can be requested from the church where a person is already enrolled as an active member and who, for example, may have moved to this community.
In all cases, the Session acts upon requests for membership and all new members are welcomed during a service of worship. “INQUIRERS” groups meet several times through the year to share more information about the life of the congregation.
“CENTURY SERVICE” SERMONS
(sermons preached during the 275th Anniversary year, 2009)