News from First Presbyterian Church!
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You know those great pictures of your fellow congregants that scroll on your screen before our on line Sunday services?  Don’t you love seeing their smiling faces after all this time?  We really want MORE!
Please take some family pictures on your phone and send them digitally to our church office.
Pets included? Great!  Christmas decorations featured? Fantastic!  (we would especially love this!)

Deadline for submission is December 10 to be included in the televised Sunday services.  

If you are not confident taking the picture and submitting it digitally, we will help you out!  Contact Jamie at the church office or at 518-428-8261, and we will set you up with one of our esteemed photographers.  Those pictures will be taken safely outdoors.  
Thanks for helping us with this beloved bit of Sunday mornings. 

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Would you like to sponsor a poinsettia plant to decorate the sanctuary in Advent and Christmas this year?  You may do so in honor or memory of a loved one, and that dedication will be noted in the worship bulletin on December 20, 24, 25 & 27. There are two ways to make your dedication. 1) By mailing a check to the church for a minimum of $16 per poinsettia, along with a note that spells out the dedication as well as name of the dedicator. It MUST arrive at the church by December 13. 2) By emailing the church office a note that spells out the dedication as well as name of the dedicator. Then visit the website and make your payment on line. Deadline is December 13.
Our goal is to have all the flowers sponsored as well decorate the sanctuary for our celebration of Jesus’ birth and the 12 days of Christmas.

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Finger Labyrinth Walks and Meditations continue on each Thursday in December at 12:30pm via Zoom. Pastor Miriam, Certified Advanced Labyrinth Facilitator, leads each session. and our time together is 30 minutes. This time is open to all, whether you’ve walked a labyrinth in the past or not. 
Register here for Thursday, December 10, to receive the zoom link. Please have a Finger Labyrinth available - you can download a paper version if you don't have your own or Jamie in the church office. Join us!

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Mark your calendars now!
Virtual Carol Sing
Friday, December 18, at 6:30pm
Zoom link to follow
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Blue Christmas Service

with the FOCUS Churches

Sunday Evening, December 20

6:00 p.m. via Zoom

 Look for zoom link in future eblasts.

 We have experienced unprecedented loss   this year  Family and friends have   succumbed to death in the pandemic.     Thousands have lost economic security;   some have lost businesses built over a   lifetime  Most of us have lost  beloved   rhythms of life that enriched us with   variety in our activities and with the   presence of others.  We can also name many losses related to hatred and violence.  Join the FOCUS community for a short time of worship on the longest night of the year.  Through scripture, prayer, music and candlelight, we will acknowledge our sorrow and grief and take comfort in knowing that God came and dwelt among us in the midst of hardship.


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 Buy fair trade handcrafted products for your loved ones this holiday season at Mayan Hands.   Products from Mayan Hands represent the work of human hands that, in contrast to that of machines, is done in painstaking detail through a slow and careful process.  Our lives are filled with machine made products, coming from factories where workers produce thousands of the same item very quickly. Handmade products, made one at a time, and characterized by their integrity and meaning, are borne from the deep wells of the artisan’s culture. Through these items you get to know the producers, their love of color, their esthetic sensibilities, their ancient handcrafting traditions.  And because Mayan Hands products are fair trade, you support the producers in their quest to transcend poverty and live within the culture they cherish.  Shop on the website, and Mayan Hands will ship the items to you or to your loved ones. You can include a gift message if you’d like.

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First Pres, through the Social Justice and Peacemaking Committee, has been working with the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. Here are opportunities for education and advocacy:
National Union of the Homeless Launch of the Winter Offensive
Thursday Dec 10, 7pm, Online
Friday Dec 11, 7pm, Online 

The National Union of the Homeless (NUH) and the National Welfare Rights Union (NWRU), as part of the NUH 2020 Winter Offensive, will host a Human Rights Day Political Education and Panel Discussion Virtual Gathering in celebration of the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This event will highlight the USA's history of struggle for our basic needs as human rights such as housing, health, a living wage, and an adequate standard of living and our general welfare. The panel will include national organizers from various fronts of struggle discussing their work to unite our class, build our politically independent organization and build this movement lead by the poor & dispossessed as a united social force, across all lines of division to end poverty and homelessness NOW.

More info at the Facebook page.

Then on Friday Dec 11, the Rochester Homeless Union and NYS Poor People's Campaign will be releasing a new short film titled “The Road We’re On” which chronicles a day in the life of organizers with the Rochester Homeless Union who grapple with a housing and homelessness crisis which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The short film explores the unique and necessary approach the Rochester Homeless Union takes to ending homelessness through developing leadership of those directly impacted, practicing “projects of survival”, and through political education and direct actions that challenge the economic system that creates homelessness. There will be a Q & A portion as well as speakers following the showing of the short film.

More info at the Facebook page.

Drive-Thru Food Distributions Catholic Charities, along with many other community partners, have been holding multiple, weekly, drive-thru food distributions throughout our region. We've been invited to distribute materials about the Poor People's Campaign and help support this needed work. If you are interested in participating, reply to this e-mail.

Capital Region Monthly Organizing Meeting
Tuesday Dec 15, 6:30pm, Online

Join us for our monthly organizing meeting - we'll reflect on recent actions, and plan for the new year. RSVP for the call info here.




Tuesday, 12/8   9:00am   Men's Bible Study
                          5:30pm   Property Committee Meeting
                          7:00pm   Session Meeting

Wednes., 12/9 12:00pm   Staff Christmas Luncheon
                          6:30pm   Women's Small Group
                          7:30pm   Dad's Small Group 

Thurs., 12/10    7:00am    Men's Bible Study
                         12:30pm   Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation

Sunday, 12/13   8:45am    Adult Education 
                           9:15am   Children’s Education  
                         10:00am   Live Stream Worship (communion)
                         11:00am   Virtual Youth Group

Tuesday, 12/15  9:00am   Men's Bible Study

Wednes., 12/16 10:00am   Woman to Woman Small Group

Thurs., 12/17     7:00am    Men's Bible Study
                         12:30pm   Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation
                           4:30pm   Anti-Racism Task Force       

Friday, 12/18     
6:30pm   Virtual Carol Sing
Saturday, 12/19 10:00am   Church Cleaning

Sunday, 12/20   8:45am    Adult Education 
                           9:15am   Children’s Education  
                         10:00am   Live Stream Worship (communion)
                         11:00am   Virtual Youth Group

                           6:00pm   Blue Christmas Service

Tuesday, 12/22 6:30pm   FOCUS Board

Thurs., 12/24   7:30pm   Christmas Eve Worship Service

Friday, 12/25  11:00am   Christmas Worship Service

******* All meetings will be held via Zoom.*******
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Contact info: please use this number 518-439-7492 (instead of church phone)

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362 State Street
Albany, NY 12210

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