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Happy New Year!

Story told by Jim Birchfield on January 4, 2017

Friends in Christ,

The beginning of the New Year is, for many, a time of reflection and the making of new or renewed commitments to people, projects or personal goals that are important to us.

For the First Presbyterian Church family, 2017 finds us not only in a new year, but in a new chapter in the life of our historic church as the result of our dismissal from the PC(USA) and our decision to affiliate with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. As we head into this new season together and as you prepare your list of New Year’s Resolutions, I want to invite you to consider a renewed commitment to the vision and ministry of First Pres.

If you were in worship on November 3, 2016, you would have heard me share three things that I’d like to see us focus on in the coming year, along with all of our ongoing ministries and mission initiatives. First, I’d like to see us endeavor to be more welcoming – to one another, to our visitors and to all whom we might describe as our neighbors. Second, I’d like to see us make a renewed commitment to praying together, gathering in fellowship and serving our community together. Finally, I challenged us to commit to the hard work of coming together as the FPC family.

Toward that end, I’d like to invite you to join the FPC family on Sunday, January 8 first for worship and the sharing together of the Lord’s Supper in one of our four worship services and then again as we gather at 5pm for an “old fashioned” pot-luck dinner and at 6pm as we gather for a time of prayer for our church family and for our city, our country and our world. In the days ahead you will be receiving a series of devotionals written by our prayer ministry team, designed to encourage you in the new year as we seek to love God, know ourselves and serve our context – wherever God sends us.

Our theme for 2017 is “Meant To Be Sent!”– the idea that we are blessed and equipped by Jesus Christ to be a blessing to others. On Sunday, January 8 we will reflect together on what it means to be members and covenant partners in ministry together as Christ’s church. On January 15 we’ll discover what it looks like to be the “church gathered” in order to be equipped to love God, know ourselves and to serve in our varied circles of influence. On January 22, we’ll wrestle with the challenge to also be the “church scattered” – a community of Christ-followers compelled by the love of Jesus Christ and committed to carrying the gospel to Houston and to the world. Finally, on Sunday, January 29 we’ll begin a five-month study of the Luke’s Gospel that we’re calling “Following Jesus”.

It promises to be a great year and I can’t wait to see you all as we kick it off on January 8th!

In Christ,

Jim Birchfield
Senior Pastor