At its May stated meeting, the Session, based upon recommendations from the COVID task force, voted to update our guidelines for in-person activities. These updates come on the heels of the new CDC recommendations for vaccinated people, and balance both our desire to move toward “normalcy” and the reality that our community contains people with varying comfort levels surrounding in-person activities. These updates are by no means comprehensive for every possible situation, but they are meant to guide us in our shared life together.

In their own words, the Session says:
Being mindful that the CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals is so new and because we have visiting ministers who have agreed to preach under conditions that masks are worn, the Session at this time wants to continue asking worshipers to continue wearing masks while we evaluate the practical effects of the new guidance from the CDC.

The decision to continue wearing masks in worship, as well as the decision to allow groups flexibility in mask wearing in non-worship spaces (see below for more details), recognizes that we are navigating a unique and challenging transition. Please read these details as to what you can expect when you come to church for worship and other events, and thank your current elders for their faithful leadership on these difficult issues! 

What will worship look like? 

Worship will look much like it has for the past few months, with some changes. For in-person worship, masks are still required in the sanctuary, but we have opened the balcony and reduced the distance between family units from 6 feet to 3 feet. This will ensure more people have opportunities to worship in-person, if they desire. Sign-ups are still required and will be sent out on Thursdays.  

Other changes include a print version of the bulletin available in the narthex, and Bibles available in the pews. Finally, masks are optional in the courtyard and other outdoor areas. 

What will non-worship activities look like? 

Non-worship activities will also function similarly as they have over the past few months. Groups must still register their group in advance and take attendance during their meeting. Please see the staff list as to who your group should contact in order to schedule an in-person meeting. 

However, there is one significant change to our policy. Adult groups meeting in the building may decide as a group whether masks are required or optional. We leave it up to the leaders and participants to make these decisions, mutually bearing in mind one another’s feelings. 

Undoubtedly, this summer will bring more news and recommendations. Along with the COVID task force, the session continues to monitor and, when needed, re-evaluate these practices. I am grateful for this encouraging step we are taking and for the wisdom and leadership found within our church family. 

Grace and peace, 
Caroline Barnett
Reminder - Steve and Karen Hickok to Retire on May 31, 2021

We hope you will all join us, whether in person or via livestream or simply in prayer, in celebrating the ministries of Steve and Karen Hickok on their final Sunday, May 30. Steve and Karen have served our church with energy, intelligence, imagination, love and endless creativity and musical talent. Life at First Presbyterian Church of Auburn simply will not be the same without them!

(In addition to a special moment of recognition during the May 30 worship service, we look forward to hosting a more official retirement celebration this fall when COVID restrictions will allow more members of the church to gather in person.)
Co-Pastors' Sabbatical Update

A few days ago a church member sent me an email with this phrase as they wished blessings on my upcoming sabbatical…“Retreat, Reflect, Re-energize, Re-calibrate, and Rejoice.” I am beyond grateful to this congregation for providing our family a space of Sabbatical. Thank you so much for your prayers, and all the ways you offer our family love and support. I will miss you all and can’t wait to see you all in August! I hope you all have wonderful summer!

Grace and Peace,
Sunday, May 23 - Welcome Guest Preacher, Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich

Throughout this summer we are grateful for the presence of Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich in our pulpit. In order to help provide some consistency throughout the Co-Pastors' Sabbatical, Rev. Goodrich will preach for us once a month in May, June, and July. Below you will find a bit more about Rev. Goodrich and her calling as a minister member of our presbytery.

Rev. Elizabeth Cole Goodrich, is a minister member of the Presbytery of Sheppards and Lapsley and a co-owner of Thank You Books in Birmingham. Elizabeth is an active community and Presbytery volunteer, and she serves on the board of trustees of Columbia Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Mike, have three children, Catherine (18), Gibson (16), and Andrew (11). They are members of First Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

✵ 11:00am: In-Person, Indoor Worship -  If you attend one of the indoor services in coming weeks you will notice many differences from our "normal" sanctuary worship. At this time, based on recommendations from our COVID Task Force and Session, we will have a very simple service without congregational singing, passing of the peace, and several other elements you might be looking forward to sharing with your church family. However, as local conditions and guidelines continue to improve it is our greatest hope that we will begin adding back in all these elements of worship we know and love. Thank you so much for your patience and grace as we try to maintain the greatest level of safety for our congregation, musicians, worship leaders, and our greater community.

In worship this Sunday, we will celebrate the sacrament of communion. For those worshiping in-person, prepackaged elements will be available for all. If you are worshiping from home via the live-stream, you may wish to have your own bread and juice on hand for the service.

At the sign-up link below (and the email containing the sign-up sent on Thursday), you will find detailed information on our current protocols for worship attendance. As always, masks and social distancing are required at all times.

✵ 11:00am: Virtual Worship - We are pleased to announce that we have begun live-streaming our worship service at11am. What this means is that those worshiping from home will be able to watch the service live as it is happening in the sanctuary. To view the service you can go directly to our church’s YouTube Channel via your computer, smartphone, or Smart TV app ( or you can access the worship service through our website or Facebook page.

If you are unable to watch live at 11am, a recorded version of the service will be available at these same links later in the day.
Pentecost Special Offering

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. Psalm 71:5-6

Recently, we had the privilege of being lead in worship by our UKirk students and our youth. In recognizing our high school seniors, they were reminded this church will always be home. They are grounded here. The patterns and lessons established here, during their formative years, will continue to bear fruit throughout their lives.

On Sunday we will receive the Pentecost special offering which helps to nurture the faith of those who are the church to come – children, youth, and young adults. Your gift helps the church encourage, develop, and support young people, and it addresses the needs of at-risk children. 40% of our Pentecost offering is retained to make an impact in the lives of at-risk children here in our community. Our mission committee discerns the needs of partner agencies in Lee County that address those needs, and provide the money retained from your offering to help make that impact. As an example, in the past we have provided our Pentecost offering gift to Auburn Daycare.

Please consider a gift to the Pentecost offering on Sunday. Your generosity makes an impact. In addition to our traditional ways of giving, you may also click here or go to and click on Give to donate online.

If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot. Thank you.
Guest Speaker and Preacher, Rev. Dr. Martha Moore-Keish
Saturday, June 5 at 4pm
Sunday, June 6 at 9:45am and 11am

Join us to hear outstanding scholar and lecturer, the Rev. Dr. Martha Moore-Keish. Dr. Moore-Keish will explore Christian Prayer through the lens of the Reformed Theological Tradition. If you have ever longed to revitalize your prayer life, engage more deeply in prayer, and seek a deeper encounter with God through the exercise of prayer you should not miss this event. Please utilize the sign ups below to attend in person. Sanctuary events will be live-streamed through our YouTube channel as well as the church website and Facebook page.

Congratulations to Hatcher Herring as he presents his senior piano recital on Sunday, May 23. He will be performing a variety of music from Beethoven through the contemporary arranger Kyle Landry. Hatcher has completed 10 years of piano study and intends to continue organ lessons in the Fall.  
Our House Shoe Drive
May 14 – June 14

The Mission Committee’s annual Our House Shoe Drive is underway! Remember how much fun it was to get your new school schools? It’s still exciting for little kids and we want to make sure all the kids at Our House get to experience the pride in having new school shoes.

Want to be part of this very worthy effort? Here’s how:
· The very best and most efficient way to provide the gift of new school shoes is to give a gift certificate or card.
· Click here to choose a child and get their shoe size. Suggested amounts are $40 for youth size, and $50 for adult sizes.
· If you choose to purchase shoes, please provide athletic shoes only. No sandals or dress shoes.
· A sales or gift receipt for shoes and gift cards/certificates is required.
· Deliver your cards and shoes to Cheryl Grisham at 530 Forestdale Drive, Auburn AL 36830. **Please include a personal note or card with the child’s name so they know the shoes were chosen especially for them.**
· Questions? Contact Sarah Hill (704.995.49620) or Kate Irwin (334.663.7323)

The Mission Committee extends it thanks to the congregation for considering being part of this effort in what has been an especially difficult year for families in need.
Adult Christian Education Opportunities

Office Hours Bible Study, Psalms -
Wednesdays, 12PM via Zoom (*if you are interested in participating but cannot attend at this time, please contact Harriette Huggins - the meeting day and time are flexible!)

The Office Hours Bible Study series on the Psalms livestreams on Sundays at 8:30am on FB Live and Zoom. You can join the course on the Faith Formation Network here: Once you've joined, you'll have access to the syllabus as well as learning resources for going deeper. Be sure to check it out and then join FPC Members for weekly discussion via Zoom.

Old Testament Walkabout Class
9:00am via Zoom

The Old Testament class has followed the story of Israel from its beginning as a people through the establishment of its nation to the downfall of that nation and the dispersion of its people. We are now in the period of the Exile. In this section of our study, we will explore exilic and post-exilic writings to try to gain a better idea of what exile was like and, also, attempt to see the impact of this new chapter in the history of Israel’s life and faith. To receive the zoom link for this class, please contact Gayle Andress .

Bible Journaling Small Group
Mondays, 12pm, Baird Hall OR Zoom

You do not have to be an artist to find a great deal of meaning in the practice of Bible journaling. Join us in Baird Hall (or, if you are more comfortable, via Zoom) every Monday as we reflect upon the previous Sunday's sermon and Scripture text and explore various kinds of drawing, painting, and journaling techniques. For more information, please contact Susan Fillippeli.
CE News

VBS registration is now open. Please register as soon as possible so we can get a good idea of numbers and begin planning and ordering supplies. Registration is open for rising Kindergarteners through rising 5th graders.

There are no Children and Youth activities this Sunday evening and we’ll break for the summer. Stay tuned for fun and fellowship opportunities throughout the summer!

Children Pre-K through 5th grade
Every other Sunday through May, we will have in-person Sunday school in Baird Hall from 10:15 – 10:45. We will be alternating Sundays with Jr. and Sr. High Youth since Baird Hall is the only large space available as of now. As always, masks are required and social distancing will be observed.

There will also be a Zoom option at 9:15am on the days that class meets.
Children’s Sunday school class schedule
May 30

Jr. and Sr. High Youth

We rejoice with the families of our High School graduates, class of 2021! Please be in prayer for them as they set off on the next step of their life's journey.
Wheeler Garrett
Hatcher Herring
Gigi Irwin
Connie Mitchell
Emma Pope
Nathan Stewart

Jr. and Sr. High Youth will meet in-person every other Sunday through May from 10:15 – 10:45 in Baird Hall, alternating Sundays with children since Baird Hall is the only large space available as of now. As always, masks are required.
Youth Sunday school class schedule
May 23

Parents, don’t forget to join other parents of youth and children in the courtyard at 10:15 for a BYO coffee hour of fellowship!
Procedures for In-Person Meetings in Church Facilities

As you read the information below, please note that the church building is NOT yet open for general use. PLEASE do not enter the building without first contacting a staff member (preferably as outlined below, via email at least 48 hours in advance) so that we can continue to provide the greatest level of safety and sanitation.

If I am a part of a small group (circle, committee, bible study, etc.) that would like to meet on site, what steps should I take? 
  • PRIOR TO YOUR GATHERING - Contact your group’s designated staff member (please see below for a full list of staff resource persons for each ministry area). Work with your staff person to schedule a time and space for your group to meet. They will explain to you which entrance, exit, and restrooms your group should utilize for the time you are schedule to meet at the church. 
  • DURING YOUR GATHERING - Masks must be worn at all times, proper social distancing (6ft apart) should be observed, no food or drinks may be provided, and we ask that, before you leave, your group wipe down all surfaces with cleaning supplies provided by the church.
  • AT THE END OF YOUR GATHERING - Coordinate with your designated staff person to ensure that a list of all attendees is submitted to the church (for contact tracing purposes), the space is properly cleaned and the church doors are locked upon exiting.

Who is my designated staff person and how do I contact them?
Please send an email at least 48 hours before your group would like to gather so staff members have plenty of time to communicate and avoid overlapping groups.

Sabbatical Summer Staffing Plan
from May 23 until August 8,

Please contact the following staff members with any questions or concerns in the
following areas:
Ministry Area | Staff Contact
Children and Youth | Chris Sarkowski
Music | Damion Womack
UKirk/University Ministry | Caroline Barnett
Worship | Damion Womack
Mission | Caroline Barnett
Adult Education and Presbyterian Women | Chris Sarkowski
Congregational Life | Caroline Barnett
Property | Chris Sarkowski
General Office | Kathy Rushing
Generosity | Caroline Barnett
Finance | Kathy Rushing
Personnel | Caroline Barnett
Pastoral Care/Blessings Bunch | Caroline Barnett

We thank you in advance for your patience and grace as we do our best to transition into this next (exciting!) phase of our reopening. Please know that in the weeks ahead we may find need to institute a more formal scheduling system in order to facilitate groups that desire to meet in the building. We will use the weekly email newsletter as a place to share these updates.

With much gratitude, The FPC Staff

May 24 - Ken Autrey, Spencer Kaye, Mary Simon
May 25 - Catherine Wolfe
May 26 - Nick Reed
May 27 - Gayle Andress


May 29 - Peter and Terri Rouillard
Prayer Concerns & Celebrations

For the time period in which our church family is worshiping virtually, our pastors have decided that prayer concerns will be shared via weekly email. These individuals will most certainly be prayed for during our Sunday worship service, but their names and specific concerns will not be shared via broadcast.


• Prayers for Vicki Throckmorton as she prepares to move from Auburn to be near family. We are so grateful for the many ways Vicki has shared her gifts and presence with FPC Auburn over the years. We will miss Vicki so much, but so glad she will be able to be near family. 
• Prayers for Margaret Craig-Schmidt and her family as they travel and gather together for a Memorial Service for her brother, Tommy Craig. Tommy died in January, but the family waited to hold a memorial service until most people were vaccinated for COVID-19. The service will be held in our hometown, McComb, Mississippi, at the J. J. White Memorial Presbyterian Church.  
• Prayers of healing for Tom Webb’s sister as she recovers from successful surgery. Prayers for Tom as he cares for his sister in Oregon.
• Prayers of healing and rest for Kevin Wells as he recovers at home from successful cardiac surgery.
• Prayers of healing and comfort for Joy Elam who is now home after successful surgery.
• Prayers of healing and recovery for church members who had successful surgery and are now beginning the rehab process of their recovery.
• Continued prayers of healing and wholeness for many in our church family and their loved ones who are dealing with significant health and wellness issues but do not wish to be mentioned by name at the moment.
• Prayers of healing for Mary Dalrymple’s brother-in-law Charles Otto. Charles suffered a serious stroke and is currently in a hospital in Rhode Island. Prayers for Mary’s sister Carol as she tends to her husband’s health. 
• Prayers of healing for Amy Well’s friend Suzi Bonifay undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
• Prayers for Carolyn Williams’ family friends Carole and Mallory who are undergoing cancer treatment.
• Prayers for the Revs. Reed as they embark on their sabbatical adventure!
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