FPCC welcomes our new Senior Pastor!

The Pastor Nominating Committee Joyfully Presents
Reverend Ellen Crawford True
As the next Senior Pastor/Head of Staff of First Presbyterian Church

On Sunday, April 11, 2021, a congregational meeting was held to vote on the minister recommended by the Pastor Nominating Committee. The congregation unanimously voted on Ellen Crawford True to serve as our next Senior Pastor/Head of Staff.  You may watch the full Zoom meeting here or just the PNC report here.

ABOUT ELLEN
Ellen is originally from Nashville, TN. She graduated from Davidson College with a B.A, in English and received a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. She has been the Senior Minister/Head of Staff of Christ Presbyterian Church in Camp Hill, PA since 2012.
During her career Ellen has been a Parrish Associate, a Temporary Supply Minister, an Interim Pastor/Head of Staff, an Associate Pastor of Campus Ministry, and Assistant Director of Admissions at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. She is the Chair of the Commission on Ministry for the Carlisle Presbytery in Pennsylvania; she was the Presbytery Moderator in 2013 and served on the Presbytery Council from 2006-2013. Since November of 2018, she has served alongside other Harrisburg area clergy in a Racial Unity and Action Coalition.

THE TRUE FAMILY
Ellen is married to Dave and they have one daughter, Abby and a dog, Smuckers.
Dave is Associate Professor of Religion at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA where he has taught for almost 18 years. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Dave received his PhD and ThM degrees from Union Theological Seminary in Virginia (now Union Presbyterian Seminary). He serves as co-editor of Political Theology, an academic journal focused on religion and
politics. He has authored and edited two books. He was born in Kentucky and is a fan of UK basketball (yes, even this year).

Abby will graduate in June from Camp Hill Senior High School where she is Student Council president and Editor of The Blue and White, the school’s newspaper. She is still deciding which four-year college she will attend in the fall. Born in Greenville, NC, she has been a UNC Tarheel fan since birth.
Smuckers is a 4 1/2 year old spoiled rotten beagle-springer mix.

FROM YOUR PASTOR NOMINATING COMMITTEE
The Pastor Nominating Committee began meeting in January of 2020. We reviewed over 40 candidates and prayerfully considered each one. When our committee first became aware of Ellen, we knew immediately that she was outstanding. It did not take us long to realize she was who God was calling for First Presbyterian Church and thankfully she felt the same. Your PNC prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide us through each meeting and to the one God was calling for our church. God is good and the Holy Spirit did indeed lead us to Ellen. Please know that the decision by the PNC to call Ellen was 100% unanimous. Ellen is intelligent, serious, funny, engaging, a hard worker, easy to talk to and dedicated. She is also the author of, And So I Kept Living and other Sermons that Matter. Ellen will begin on June 15th. We are excited for you to meet Ellen and her family!
The PNC is grateful for the support and prayers of our congregation throughout this search process. We are sincerely honored to welcome Ellen to our church family.

The Pastor Nominating Committee,

Betsy Liles, chair, Dave Goff, Margaret Hillman, Cheryl Kelling, Rindy Moore, Todd Phillips, Kathy Pilkington, Nathan Woolwine

Update on In-person Worship Services

April 14, 2021 – REOPENING COMMITTEE REPORT TO SESSION

In our October meeting it was approved to allow our committee the latitude to determine dates for safe indoor, outdoor and alternative services of worship when the local data indicated it was safe to do so. Thankfully, I am here to report, we are now at that point.

We want to preface the following announcements with this statement: we all know things can change and as we move forward, we will continue tracking local data and adjust things, when and if necessary.

As you know the campus has been open for small groups and First Kids since the Fall. With all the proper safety measures in place.

Today we report the approval of adding food & drink to such gatherings. Boxed or pre-made foods to start and phasing into buffet style etc. as we see how trends go.

With this news, we are giving the OK to several organized events that are to take place later this Spring and into the Summer. These will all be scheduled for the front lawn of the Fellowship House.

OUTDOORS IS THE GOAL FOR ALL EVENTS.

FINALLY, In Person Worship. As soon as we begin in person worship, we will begin live streaming to our YouTube channel.

Fortunately, there is a detailed plan in place to safely to do this. It has been on the shelf since October. We have followed the local data and trends and are confident in the ability for our church family to do this in a safe way, just as private and public schools have been able to open for students……and that means adhering to these previously set forth guidelines:

  1. If you have not been on campus, there is a mask and social distancing policy –  with posted notices throughout. This applies to the Sanctuary, too.
  2. The pews have been roped off to allow for social distancing and ushers will seat you
  3. You will need to sign up in order to attend worship on Sunday mornings (and at this time we will only have one service at 11am)….there is a limit of 70 people inside the Sanctuary (this includes the specially trained ushers). There will be an additional 40 seats available, outside, that can also be signed up for weekly.
  4. There will be no collection of offering (we will continue to text to give) and there will be no communion.
  5. The choir will sing (masked in choir loft) but at this time the congregation will not
  6. The Minister (s) will not exit down the aisle at the end of service to greet parishioners
  7. PLEASE use the same acts of respect and safety you have used all these months as we begin to reopen for worship….MASKS are a must.

We anticipate being able to begin in person worship on May 16th (with the sign up genius going live a week before), as long as there is not an Easter spike of Covid-19.

We will continue to monitor local data and trends and loosen or tighten restrictions as that data directs. Session will be updated accordingly and NEWS updates for the congregation can be found on the home page of the church website under the “NEWS” tab, beginning this week. So, if you are asked you can direct folks to the website for information and up-to-date protocols.

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April 5, 2021

Hello and Happy Easter to you all. It is amazing to think it has been over a year since we were worshiping, together, in the Sanctuary! During the time away from in person worship, we have formed new ways to communicate and fellowship and simply be a church family. Since last Fall, a group of Session members and medical volunteers from the congregation have been working, together, on a reopening plan for in person worship. We have tracked data and listened to scientific facts, all in an attempt to make the safest decisions for us all!

The work that was put in toward that goal, produced a detailed plan for reopening the Sanctuary! Session approved the campus for reopening to small groups back in the Fall with the same safety considerations in place. Since then, some Adult SS classes have been meeting, the Youth had a successful mission weekend, the Scouting programs have been meeting as well as a circle or two…and we must mention our partnering with the Academic Learning Center to provide a place for after school (and in person!) tutoring to kids since no one has been permitted to be inside school buildings! Lastly, First Kids pre-school re-opened in August and have had a very successful – although different – year.

We are pleased to report that these successful times of in-person learning and being together in person would not have been possible without the commitment to safety and the respect of others that was put into place  and acted out perfectly by children, women and men alike.

It is with excitement that we report to you all that our time of coming together for in-person worship on the church campus is near. While we are not ready to share an exact date, we did want to let you know that it has remained top of mind. The final details are being ironed out now. In the meantime, here is a list of some of the measures that have been and are being taken to do this the safest way and do it only one time:

  1. If you have not been on campus, there is a mask and social distancing policy –  with posted notices throughout. This applies to the Sanctuary, too.
  2. The pews have been roped off to allow for social distancing
  3. You will need to sign up in order to attend worship on Sunday mornings (and at this time we will only have one service at 11am)….there is a limit of 70 people (this includes specially trained ushers).
  4. There will be no collection of offering (we will continue to text to give) and there will be no communion.
  5. The Minister (s) will not exit down the aisle at the end of service to greet parishioners
  6. PLEASE use the same acts of respect and safety you have used all these months as we begin to reopen for worship….MASKS are a must.

Please note that these in-person services will be Livestreamed on YouTube. If you can’t get a spot “inside” on Sunday the service experience will be LIVE for you at home. The ability to offer this is really exciting. It is a technology we will be able to use as we come out of the pandemic and beyond!

Thank you, all, for the amazing patience you have sustained this last year. It has not been easy for anyone. We look forward to announcing this date soon and hope you will be as excited (and cautious) as we are to begin this safe return to Sunday morning, in-person worship!

Grateful,

Amy Woolwine, Carol Hovey, Wade Holland and Hunter Morrison