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News from First Presbyterian Church!
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Advent and Christmas Schedule

Thursday, December 16, Blue Christmas Service
Combined service of FOCUS churches
6:30 pm at The First Church, 110 N. Pearl St.
In-person only

 
Sunday, December 19, Fourth Sunday of Advent
9:00 Education for Youth and Adults via zoom
9:15 Education for children via zoom
10:10 Carol Singing on Willett Street
10:30 Worship Service
In-person and Livestreaming on Facebook

11:30 Fellowship Time
11:45 – 12:45 Carol Sing in the Parking Lot

 Friday, December 24, Christmas Eve
7:15 pm Musical Prelude
7:30 pm A Service of Lessons and Carols
In-person and Livestreaming on Facebook 
 
Saturday, December 25, Christmas Day
11:00 am Worship Service online only
Join us to hear a story, sing carols and pray!
Livestreaming on Facebook  
 
Sunday, December 26, Second Day of Christmas
Virtual Worship Service provided by
The Synod of the Northeast
details to follow
 
Sunday, January 2, Ninth Day of Christmas
10:30am Worship Service
In-person and Livestreaming on Facebook
11:30am Fellowship Time

Opportunities

Do you remember seeing pictures of many of our congregation before and after worship on the Facebook livestream service? This was popular, and we'd like to "see" you again. Please send a selfie or have someone take your picture and send it to Jamie in the church office TODAY! Make sure you identify yourself as you like to be call and include family member names if you want those included. 

We hope all of you will participate, and if you want to include some of your Christmas decorations as backdrop, we would like that too (although not necessary). Looking forward to truly "seeing" you all!

 

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Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is ready to help tornado and storm victims. If you'd like to provide a donation, gifts can be made online at pcusa.org/DT21, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check using the below reply device. You can also text PDA to 41444 to donate.
 

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Finger Labyrinth Walks and Meditations occur 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 16, 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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 Thursday, December 16
6:30 p.m.
First Church in Albany
110 N Pearl Street

The Advent and Christmas season is a wonderful time of year, and yet it is also a time accompanied with grief and sorrow for many. A Blue Christmas service is a time to name and honor our grief during this time. All are invited on Thursday, December 16th starting at 6:30pm for a time of worship, reflection, and fellowship.

The service will be in-person only, and masks will be required. Please park in the parking lot off of Sheridan Ave and Chapel Street. The service will be
held in the Stephen James Chapel.

Please contact the office of The First Church in Albany if you have any questions: (518) 463-4449.

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Assistance for Refugees from Afghanistan

Since the month of November, more than 150 Afghan evacuees have arrived in Albany.  They are being welcomed and supported by USCRI-Albany (US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants – Albany), the official agency that settles refugees in the Capital Region. While each family receives an initial stipend for the first month’s rent and utilities, your donations to USCRI-Albany will help provide funding for these families’ other basic needs during these first weeks and months. 
 
On-line donations can be sent to USCRI Albany through this link: 
DONATE- USCRI Albany - USCRI (refugees.org)
Donations can be sent by mail to:
USCRI-Albany
99 Pine Street, Suite 101
Albany, NY  12207

 
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Would you like to help run the audio-visual systems during the church service? You would control the soundboard, which broadcasts the audio throughout the sanctuary and the Internet broadcasting software that delivers the Facebook livestream. And, of course, you'd receive full training. 

Our team shares these duties so that your commitment would be between 8 - 12 Sundays per year. 

If interested, please contact Dwight Cheu at dwightcheu@gmail.com. We also welcome high school students too -- this would be a great introduction to audio and video broadcasting.

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The Youth are updating their space on the 2nd floor! We are looking for donations of gently used items to update & refresh the space. Please contact Molly or 518-810-3158 if you have any of the following to donate:

Large TV to hang on wall (that works with Roku),
Roku, 
wall mount for large TV,
Area rugs,
Plants and/or hanging contraptions for plants,
Individual seating (bean bags, gaming chairs, comfortable arm chairs),
Cushions for floor sitting.

 

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2021 BOOKS CLOSING Friday, Jan 7, 2022     
All reimbursement requests must be in by Tuesday, Jan 4, 2022 

Advocacy Work

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 
 
  

Capital Region Poor People's Campaign Organizing Call Tuesday, December 14, 6:30pm Join us at our monthly organizing meeting! We'll reflect on recent actions, have breakouts with our working groups, and plan upcoming events.

In keeping with best practice to protect our community, we will NOT be holding an in-person meeting. Instead, we'll have a Zoom conference call meeting for the Capital Region PPC. RSVP and you will receive the call info. You'll be able to call in with just a phone, but if you have access to a computer with a camera and microphone, it is highly recommended. Please reach out if you have any technical questions.

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival is bringing together people across the country who are organizing to build a broad and deep national moral movement — led by the poor, impacted, clergy and moral agents and reflecting the great moral teachings — to unite our country from the bottom up.

Continue Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s work confronting the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, militarism, and ecological devastation. RSVP Here.

 

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State Street Forum

December 16, 2021, 12 noon-1:00 pm

Advocating for Housing Justice

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are just beginning to be evident, especially when it comes to housing.  An eviction moratorium has only postponed the eviction of tens of thousands of families who were  unable to pay their rent due to job loss or other factors during the pandemic shutdown.  The recovery of our economy is dependent on finding a solution to this impending crisis, but the solutions must be more than band-aids.  Can churches and other faith communities be a part of the solution?
 

Our conversation will be informed by the insights of Ted Houghton, President of Gateway Housing, a newly-established not-for-profit organization that seeks to promote expansion of housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in New York City and across the state.  We'll also hear from a minister whose congregation is directly involved with creating affordable housing in its community.

 

 

A Message from Social Justice & Peacemaking Committee

Gift giving time is here! It is also a time to think about all that wrapping paper, bags and bows. The December issue of Real Simple magazine offers several easy ideas for recycling: Avoid buying bags, balloons, and bows made of polyester film, do the quick scrunch test-if you crumple paper and it bounces back, it likely cannot be recycled and think about buying wrapping paper that includes recycled materials. Click here to find more information about recycling during the Christmas season.

The little things we do are just as important as the big ones.

Looking Ahead
January Book Group


FOCUS Churches Book Study
Stride Toward Freedom
Wednesdays in January 2022
7:00-8:30 p.m.
 
 Please join us for a four-part conversation on Stride   Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, Martin Luther King's classic account of the first successful large-scale act of nonviolent resistance in America: the Montgomery bus boycott.  A young Dr. King wrote Stride Toward Freedom just 2 years after the successful completion of the boycott. In his memoir about the event, he tells the stories that informed his radical political thinking before, during, and after the boycott—from first witnessing economic injustice as a teenager and watching his parents experience discrimination to his decision to begin working with the NAACP. Throughout, he reflects on how his Christian faith inspired and sustained his activism, and how his activism shaped his faith.
 
Structured conversation will be facilitated by Joe Paparone, who is the Lead Organizer for the Labor-Religion Coalition and a long-time friend of FOCUS.
January 5 – the context of Montgomery and integration in 1955
January 12 – nonviolence and social change
January 19 – the role of faith communities
January 26 – King’s development between Montgomery and the Poor People’s Campaign


Books may be purchased through  the Open Door Bookstore in Schenectady. (opendoor-bookstore.com) or may be available through your local library.
We'll meet on Zoom, Wednesday evenings in January, from 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Advance Registration required. Click here

Youth Group News


 
High school youth gatherings are TBD for the rest of the year. Please text Molly at (518) 810-3158 to indicate if you/ your youth is available this Sun Dec 19 and/or Sun Jan 2.
 
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Triennium Trip with Albany Presbytery - July 24-27, 2022 -
Indianapolis, IN (high school)

We are starting to gather our delegation of High School youth to make this journey together this summer with hundreds of other
Presbyterians from around the country. 
Please review your 2022 summer calendar and let Molly know if you/your high school youth can join us! Mdowellbaum@firstpresalbany.org

 
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Text @mdowellb to 81010 
To sign up for text alerts about youth events and info!

Calendar

Tuesday, 12/14    9:00am   Men’s Bible Study via zoom
                           11:30am   Clergy Meeting
                             1:00pm   Staff Party
                             6:30pm   Capital Region Poor People's Campaign
                                            Organizing Call
                             7:00pm   Joint Session-Deacon Meeting

Wednes., 12/15  10:00am   Women to Women Small Group

Thurs., 12/16      7:00am   Men's Bible Study (Rose Room)
                          12:30pm   Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation
                            6:30pm   Blue Christmas Service at
                                           the First Church in Albany
                            7:15pm   Soloist/Choir Rehearsal

Sunday, 12/19    9:00am   Adult Education via Zoom
                            9:00am   Youth Education via Zoom
                            9:15am   Children’s Education via Zoom
                            9:45am   Soloists Rehearsal
                          10:10am   Carol Singing on Willett Street
                          10:30am   In-Person Worship Service and
                                           Live Streaming Worship Service on Facebook
                          11:30am   Fellowship Time
                         11:45 am   Carol Sing in Parking Lot
                            5:00pm   High School Youth Gathering (TBD)

Tuesday, 12/21   9:00am   Men’s Bible Study via zoom

Wednes., 12/22   7:00pm   Dads' Small Group

Thurs., 12/23     Pastor Glenn's 60th Birthday!!!
                            7:00am   Men's Bible Study (Rose Room)
                          12:30pm   Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation
                            7:15pm   Soloist Rehearsal

Friday, 12/24     6:00pm   Musicians Rehearsal

                            7:15pm   Christmas Eve Service Musical Prelude
                                           In-Person/Livestream on Facebook
                            7:30pm   Christmas Eve Service Livestream/ In-Person
                                           on Facebook


Saturday, 12/25 11:00am   Christmas Worship Livestream on Facebook

Sunday, 12/26    10:30am   Virtual Worship Service provided by
                                             The Synod of the Northeast details to follow

Monday, 12/27                   Office Closed
                             1:00pm   Covenant Group

Tuesday, 12/28    9:00am   Men’s Bible Study via zoom
      

 
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Albany, NY 12210

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