First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane

First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
First Press
February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2

First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
Ramblings                                              from the                  Reverend

I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. Part of that is spurred on by reading a book by Humphrey Carpenter
called, The Inklings. It is about the friendship group called, the Inklings that existed in the 1940s and 50s in
Oxford, England. That group was composed of a group of friends that met, in an unofficial sort of way, at a pub
or a professor’s study. CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien were in that group, as was Lewis’s brother, Warren (or Warnie
as he was called). There were other writers and university dons, a physician, and even a clergyman or two.
Many of them were writers and they would read their latest writings to each other and receive affirmations
and creative criticism about what they had written (and, yes, I would have given anything to have been there
when Tolkien was reading his first drafts of what became The Lord of the Rings).

They loved a good argument and would debate theology and poetry and culture. Many of them had a love of
the old things – medieval literature and history. Some of them looked more favorably on “modern poetry and
literature” while others (Lewis in particular) had little tolerance for the new literary expressions.

What truly held them together was mutual encouragement. It welled up from a common Christian faith. They
were for each other. Even when they were being critical of what one of them was writing, it was a criticism
intended to bring out the best in what each other was thinking, teaching, writing. CS Lewis wrote reviews
and forewords for much of the books that they produced and dedicated many of his books to fellow Inklings
or their family members. These words of Lewis were full of joy and enthusiasm, offering to the broader world
what he had experienced in listening to these works and knowing the authors.

Friendship is a gift. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says to his disciples, “I do not call you servants any longer,
because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have
made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.” I get a chill every time I read that passage at
the stunning news that the Lord of the Universe, the Son of God, calls these disciples (and through the Holy
Spirit, you and me) “friend.” True friendship has real intimacy. A friend is someone that you can trust; trust that
they are for you, trust that they will be with you.

That kind of friendship, real friendship, deep friendship, is rare. Our common faith in Christ gives us a greater
hope for those kinds of friendship. If Christ is our friend, should we not also be friends to each other?

We have this value at First Presbyterian, being intergenerational. One of the blessings that can be given by
those of us older in the church to those who are younger is the model of friendship. I see in the lives of some
“veterans” a deep pattern of friendship that is lived out. The years that you have spent caring for each other,
encouraging each other, being for each other in times of hardship, loss, and pain is beautiful. It comes from
years of being with each other. There is joy there, and those who do not have that for themselves, wish they

A small group or a fellowship group is such a natural way to begin those kinds of rich friendships. Many here at
First Pres would attest to the truth that it is in that small group that these friendships were planted, bloomed,
and are being harvested now. If you would like that in your life, contact Brenda Norton and/or Sue Reidt on
our church staff. New small groups are being formed all the time.

In Christian Friendship,
John Sowers

 First Press Newsletter (USPS 197-760) is published monthly, except for June and July when combined, by First Presbyterian Church,
 318 South Cedar Street, Spokane, WA 99201-7030. Periodical postage paid at Spokane, WA. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to
 First Press Newsletter, 318 South Cedar Street, Spokane, WA 99201-7030.
First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
FPC Financial Update
 •   Pledged income is $60,239 favorable to budget. Non-Pledged income is $5,893 favorable to budget. We are
     favorable to budget on expenditures $103,470.
 •   We expected to have a net income at year end of $396,477 and are favorable to this budget by $178,829
     with a net income of $575,306. This favorable outcome is due to Other Income $555,933 from Employee
     Retention Credit refunds from IRS for 2020 and 2021 941s. If this is removed then net income would be
     $19,372 which is $165,171 favorable to budget.
 •   The church received COVID stimulus funds, in the form of Employee Retention Credit (ERC) refunds.
     The ERC refunds will offset expected lower than normal church giving and FPCS enrollment due to the
     pandemic for this year and a possible slow return to prior levels over the next year or two. Year-to-date
     church operating income includes $555,933 of ERC refunds; YTD church income without the ERC refunds
     is currently $1,456,487. This is $61,701 favorable to YTD budget church income. Year-to-date Net Church
     Operations without the ERC refunds is currently a positive of $19,372. This is $165,171 favorable to YTD
     budget of Net Church Operations that was budgeted to be a loss of $145,799 without ERC refunds.

  Financial Update - 2021 Operating Budget

  Church Only                                              Month         Year to Date          YTD Budget
  Income                                      $          192,559 $        2,012,420 $           1,937,062
  Expense                                                129,994          1,437,115             1,540,585
  Income over (under) expenses                            62,565            575,306               396,477
First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
                                      SUNDAYS AFTER WORSHIP
If worship is “Act I” of our Sunday time together as a church, then what comes next is “Act II.” Immediately after worship, we
make our way into a variety of intentionally smaller and more relational communities. We call these “Act II Communities.” The
following options, for adults and teens, are designed for a variety of learning styles and relational needs. Our hope is that you will
find yourself in one of these settings and that your faith will grow and your sense of belonging and being known will be affirmed.

                                      Special Community Gatherings
        Annual Meeting                                                                     Sanctuary
        Join us for our annual family business meeting. We’ll welcome new officers         February 6 only
        (elders & deacons), talk budget and celebrate God’s work among us.

        Budget Q&A                                                                         Fireside Room
        If you have questions about our budget following our Annual Meeting this           February 13 only
        is the place to bring them. Staff and elders will be available to answer.

        Our Campus & Neighborhood                                                          Gym
        This is a second special conversation following our Annual Meeting. Here,          February 20 only
        we plan to talk about our presence in the downtown neighborhood and how
        we continue to navigate the changing needs with wisdom and love.

                            NEW Communities beginning in February
Elder Training … beginning February 20 … Room 213
Our 12 elders will be gathering for Act II in February and March for training, visioning and community building. This group is only
for our elders but we wanted you to know about it. They will be reading and discussing a book called Canoeing the Mountains, by
Tod Bolsinger. This book will give context to where the church is and what challenges/opportunities are in front of us.

Our Caring Presence … beginning February 27 … Room 210
This group will consider what it looks like to be a caring presence. Topics will include: listening well, self-awareness as we come
alongside others, praying with and for others, church-based and local community resources for helping with needs and more. This
group will begin on February 27 and will continue through March. Our Deacons will be a part of this community. All are welcome.

                                            Continuing Communities
                                February 20 & 27 and March 13, 20, & 27
        Family in the Digital World (Intentionally Intergenerational) Fireside Room
        Immerse: Poets                                                                     Room 209
        Knitting Group                                                                     Children’s Library (East Lower Level)
        Presbyterians and the American Revolution                                          Sanctuary
        Taught by Bruce Gore. Also available on YouTube.

        Walk the Talk                                                                      Location Varies
        On February 20 come to the Gym for the conversation on Our Campus and Neighborhood (see text above).
        Location on February 27 will depend on the weather: If weather allows, we’ll begin in the Library and then walk the
        neighborhood with eyes to see God and our neighbors, and engaging with the hope of listening and sharing love and
        maybe even some food. If weather is too inclement to walk we will gather in the Tower Room for discussion, building
        friendships, and prayer.

First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
At the beginning of January we asked …. How is God giving you hope, or purpose, or a sense of joy?
Here’s how Claudia Hamilton responded ….
                               The Lord has given me all three of these lately: hope, purpose and joy. My mother had com-
                               pression fractures in her back the night after Thanksgiving. We spent 10 hours in ER after two
                               weeks with her in extreme pain in our living room, since we could not move her upstairs. Then,
                               a wonderful PT and retired doctor, who is a neighbor of ours and goes to First Pres, got us help
                               from Horizon Hospice. They explained to my mother's nurse practitioner that pain relief was
                               needed very badly. The Hospice team came that evening. They were wonderful: they got us a
                               commode, a hospital bed, and pain medicine that worked. The fire fighters carried her upstairs
                               to her room. She was so tired, no strength at all, but free of the extreme pain.
                               The next two weeks gave me real purpose of taking care of my wonderful, loving, sweet kind
                               mother. Helping her to eat, to take her medications, etc. Hospice had bath aids come twice a
                               week, a nurse comes once a week, and Betsy came to visit from First Pres and a minister from
                               Hospice. We had such hope in her care and God's presence.
My daughter spoke to her friends and neighbors and they all started to send her Christmas cards. She has gotten over 130
cards. We have fun reading them and the notes included. I have them up all over her room. Friends have visited her and flow-
ers have arrived, all bringing us joy. A wonderful person from Big Table (which we have been involved in since Kevin Finch
started it), visited and gave me a Devotional book for hard times.
So in the last several weeks we have had such purpose, hope and joy during hard painful times. I thank those at First Pres for
all their prayers. God is good. My mother is doing well. I was able to set my computer up to her TV in her bedroom so she
could enjoy all the wonderful Christmas services and The Messiah.

First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
Congregational Care
Ready, Set, Cook - and Bless!
By Barb Twedt
One of the great things about being a part of a
church family is the opportunity for the body of
Christ to serve the body of Christ. Here at First
Pres, our Meal Ministry team has discovered how
fulfilling and humbling it is to be the hands and
feet of Christ as we simply prepare a meal and
deliver it to someone in need. (“When God’s
children are in need, you be the one to help them
out.” Romans 12:13) We’d love to have you join us!

Barb Twedt and Patti Aspinwall
serve as co-coordinators
of our Meal Ministry, and we utilize an
online meal schedule called Take Them a Meal. As we receive meal requests or referrals from our
pastors or deacons, we call the recipients, formulate a meal schedule, and then e-mail the info to
you, complete with notes on the person’s needs, likes/dislikes, food allergies, etc. You simply click
on a day on the meal schedule that works for you, fill in your information, and you’ll receive an
email reminder 1-2 days before your delivery date. Patti and I are always available to answer any
questions, explain the sign-up process, and support you in any way we can.

Meals provide a practical and meaningful way to say we care and we support you through this
difficult or challenging time - - or as a way to celebrate new life! For the recipient, it is an incredible
blessing to see a friendly face and receive a comforting meal made with love. Won’t you come be a
part of ministry team? Call or text either Barb (509-710-7712) or Patti (509-9227434).

Thoughts from meal recipients, Ginny & Rich Semler: “The Meals Ministry program at First Pres was
such a blessing for Rich and I after his ‘crash’ down the basement stairs three years ago. When he
came home from the hospital, the “meal angels” stepped up and brought wonderful meals ready
for heating Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I was so thankful and at peace that I didn’t have to
worry about planning, shopping and preparing for two weeks. I could just take care of Rich. We
were so thankful for the dependable, joyful caretakers. Praise the Lord!”

                        Joining the Church Triumphant
                             Jerry Wilmot died December 24, 2021
                             Mike Wootton died December 29, 2021
                                Bob Scheel died January 2, 2022
                              Marie Krebs died January 20, 2022
First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
Stephen Ministry
First Presbyterian’s mission statement of “Embodying and
demonstrating Jesus in fruitful relationship with God and
others to the glory of God” calls us to be actively engaged
in building interpersonal relationships among our church
family. While each of us has a need for personal connection
with others, some are experiencing deep loss that intensifies
this need -- death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, loneliness,
terminal illness or other situations that feel overwhelming.

Stephen Ministers are members of our
congregation who have been trained to walk
alongside others during these times of intense need; Stephen Ministers commit to
a weekly contact for an extended time to listen, care, pray and encourage.

Perhaps you or someone you know might benefit from this compassionate, one-on-one, Christ-centered
care. If so, please contact Betsy Wynne at 747-1058 ext 253 or Meredith Ericson, 630-209-3990.

                                              From the Counselor’s Corner

                                                               During these days of suffering, illness and
                                                                 disappointment it is so easy to give into
                                                             despair. We need one another to hear us, to
                                                          be heard, to be validated and then to know we
                                                          are not alone, that someone is there to sustain
                                                           us, uplift us and be present to a broken heart.
                                                          When all is dark and dreary deep down in our
                                                              soul there is a light that cannot be put out.
                                                            We are a people of faith in a higher power to
                                                            bring us through; we are a people of hope in
                                                            midst of the absurd existential crisis we are
                                                              encountering; and we love still in the most
                                                               unloving behaviors that affront us. Under
                                                            all suffering is a heart of God in every living
                                                             person. May each of us find the pathway to
                                                              the source of life that goes beyond all pain.

         Gary Steeves, M.Ed.—Pastoral Counselor and Licensed Mental Health Counselor
                                    Gary continues to offer counseling via teletherapy.
                                          206-957-4707 or

First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
Serve.                                           “The Word became flesh and blood,
                                                 and moved into the neighborhood.”
                                                  —John 1:14, The Message

Local Look: Walking the Talk
When my friend Kevin Swaim asked me to join him in this new
“ministry of walking the talk”. I thought why not? Taking walks
with other members of our church community into the areas
around our church sounded appealing and somewhat
scary. One aspect that appealed to me
was the unplanned nature of our walks and just
being open to where God would lead us. On
these walks I have greatly enjoyed the chance to
meet and get to know people within our
congregation who I did not know. Furthermore, our
interactions with people on the street have
greatly impacted me. The
problems of the homeless and the people on the street have always
seemed insurmountable to me and I struggled with how I should respond to the problems of
these people. Our interactions with people have helped me to see the people on the street as
individuals and I view these interactions somewhat like the interactions with the people who
live near me. I think the single most important aspect of these interactions is that these
discussions have given me the opportunity to treat the people around our church
neighborhood with dignity. I have not gained any insightful answers to my questions about the
homeless, but I have found that a simple hello and conversation provides a simple connection
to individuals. I am not sure where God will lead us in these walks but I know that I want to
continue walking and see how God will use these walks to bring me closer to my fellow believers
and the people we encounter together on the street. As Eugene Peterson’s translation of John
1:14 says: “The Word became flesh, and moved into the neighborhood.” -Brian Trefry

The “Walking the Talk” group meets in the FPC library each Sunday after worship. If weather is too inclement, the
group will simply circle up for discussion and sharing. But most often, we’ll bundle up and take a walk around the
neighborhood, open to how God wants to use a bit of time we’ve carved out to be present with our neighbors and
with one another.

Local Look: Side by Side
Recently in worship, you heard from David Sittser, son of longtime FPC congregant Dr. Jerry Sittser, about
Side by Side, a new nonprofit ministry here in Spokane. Side by Side’s mission is to create opportunities
for adults with and without developmental disabilities to experience friendship, belonging, and the
life-changing experience of Christ’s love. Central to SBS’s model is bringing together people of all abilities
- not primarily as helper/helped or leader/follower, but as friends who experience life side by side.

In 2022, SBS has a goal of strengthening partnerships with churches such as FPC, and
hopefully launching new programs like SBS Cafe: a group of friends who learn to cook
together and, eventually, host and serve the broader community for pop-up lunches.

First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane
So if the vision of side-by-side life sharing between people
                                             with and without developmental disabilities is compelling
                                             to you, be watching for ways you might work toward getting
                                             involved as a volunteer! Current volunteer needs are for
                                             their weekly programs, especially Tuesday evenings and
                                             Thursday afternoons (3:30-5:00). The contact person for these
                                             opportunities is Janet Neder (509-869-2386). SBS is also seeking
                                             volunteers who have a special interest in food and community
                                             to help us start our new “SBS Cafe” program (see above). For
                                             that, the contact person is David Sittser (509-475-1885).

Global Glimpse: Learn More About Pastor Junior,
FPC Mission Partner in Itapagine Brazil
Around the holidays, we often get updates and correspondence from FPC’s mission
partners — both locally and those around the world. One such update recently came from
Jose Augusto Amorim Cunha Jr., or “Junior,” our friend from Itapagipe, Brazil.

FPC established a relationship with the Itapagipe United Presbyterian Church in 1992 with our primary support
contributing to their community center (AEPPI). Junior is deeply involved as Pastor of the Church and President
fo AEPPI, a vital community organization that
provides courses in music, cooking, handicrafts,
computing, and more. During the Covid-19 pandemic,
AEPPI has responded to both primary needs and
the ripple effects this devastating disease has had
on Brazil, which is among the countries that have
experienced the highest amount of Covid deaths
per million citizens. All of these activities by AEPPI
embody Christ’s call to love our neighbors, and
create opportunities for sharing the gospel.

Specifically in the last year, Junior shared about
the hard work of safely distributing baskets of
food, hygiene supplies, and cleaning products
                                                           Pastor Junior (lower right) spends time with AEPPI
monthly to local families, in partnership with             community members in a photo taken pre-Covid
World Vision and Ecumenical Service Coordination.
As a pastor and through his community work, Junior mentioned speaking out against domestic violence
toward women as a point of emphasis in biblical teaching and advocacy. “There has been a terrible increase
in femicide and violence against women in Brazil,” he writes as he describes this area of AEPPI’s work,
which also focuses on young people who are vulnerable to urban violence and drug addiction. Please
pray for Junior’s work in Brazil empowering the body of Christ to share the love of God that transforms lives.

Want to learn more about Pastor Junior and his team in Itapagipe?
Contact John and Mary Frankhauser, who have seen this work personally and
correspond regularly with Junior. Mary’s email is

First Press February 2022 - Volume 70 - Number 2 - First Presbyterian Church of Spokane

Jesus often told parables to create a clear and
memorable picture of what it looks like to follow
God. It’s as if Jesus was saying, “Picture this—a
man had t wo sons…”

During Picture This, kids will get to interact
with Jesus’ parables by creating a series of
their own fast-paced pictures! Best of all, while
they’re releasing their inner Picasso, they’ll also
be learning and experiencing what it means to
follow our ever-living, ever-loving God.

                                                      First Pres Christian School News

                                                      Board Members 2022-2023
                                                      School Board nominations are being accepted
                                                      until Feb. 7. To apply, please call the school
                                                      office 509-747-9192

                                                                                                   Calling all kids and their grown ups to
                                                                                                    a special convention just for them!

                                                            Spokane for Kids
                                                                     Saturday, March 19, 2022
                                                                            10 AM to 2 PM
                                                           Sponsored by First Presbyterian Christian School
                                                                    318 S. Cedar St. Spokane, WA
                                                                    Local businesses, resources, and            Meet and Greets
                                                                   services just for kids will be there.         Fingerprinting
                                                                  You can sign your kids up for summer            Food Trucks
                                                                  camps, classes, activities, etc, on the
                                                                                                                    and more

                                                                     Call 509-747-9192 or email

                         Malak!                       Spokane for Kids Convention
                                                      A special convention to connect kids with Spokane businesses
                         On January 21st,             just for them. Kids bring your grown-ups to sign you up for new
                         she received her
                                                      activities just in time for summer. If you have a business and
                         US citizenship.
                         Malak is originally          would like to have a booth at our Spokane For Kids Convention,
                         from Syria and has           please email FPCS principal, Gretchen Hausman at
                         been a student at   or call the school at 509-747-9192
                         the Barton School            for more information.
                         for several years.
    Coming Up                                           (509) 747-1058

                                                        Pastoral Team
                                                        John Sowers (250)
    FEB. 2		    FPCS Info Night                         Betsy Wynne (253)
                                                        Director of Administration
                                                        Stephanie Coy (244)
    FEB. 6		    Annual Meeting                          Worship/Music
                                                        Derrick Parker (307)
                                                        FPC Christian School
                                                        Gretchen Hausman (120)
    FEB. 11		   Parents’ Night Out                      Family Ministries
                                                        Ryan Schmall (165)
                                                        Junior High
    FEB. 13		   Gathering                               Kezia Rhodes (175)
                                                        High School
    			         EP Bake Sale                            Brad Hauge (174)
                                                        Preteen Coordinator
                                                        Lydia Halma (162)
                                                        Adult Ministries
    MAR. 19		   Spokane for Kids                        Brenda Norton (243)
                                                        Newcomers Ministry
                                                        Sue Reidt (241)
                                                        Young Adults
                                                        Tegan Brindley (252)
                                                        Missional Engagement
                                                        Ross Carper (246)
                                                        April Egly (
                                                        Barton School
                                                        Becky Rempe (212)
                                                        Deacon Prayer Line: 747-1050

                                                        Office Hours
                                                        Office is open M-Th 8:30-4pm, Fri. 8:30-1pm
                                                        Office doors remain locked. Mask required.

                                                        Sunday Worship Services
                                                        Online and In-person Sundays at 10am

                               For more information about ongoing programs, visit our website
                                    at or pick up a brochure at the church
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