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Friday, July 5, 2024 Newsletter


10:00 a.m.: Summer Worship Service in the Sanctuary

(in person and livestreamed on Facebook and our website)


On behalf of the General Presbyter Search Committee and the Boards of Lehigh and Lackawanna (Administrative, LVT), we are excited to introduce you to our new exec, the Rev. Denise Pass. She was unanimously approved by both the committee and the boards.

Special thanks is offered to the members of the search committee: Lynn Ingram, Dave Oriel, Deb Prince, Jim Thyren, Susan Gilbert Zencka, Marge Ziegler and personnel team member, Kim Miner (from First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem). They worked very hard, completing a search in six months with an outstanding candidate.

Denise self-referred to this committee, finding herself intrigued by our merger process and our search for ways to best do ministry together in the coming years.

People spoke very highly of her skills and her heart for relationship and ministry; one comment was, “She is a bright green GO!”

Born in Fort Worth, TX, but moving to Denver with her family, she calls Colorado home. As a single mother, Denise raised her son and daughter in Littleton until 2003 when they moved to Princeton, NJ, so that she could attend Princeton Theological Seminary.

Graduating with a M.Div. in 2006, she served congregations in Cincinnati, OH, and Garden City, KS. Most recently, she served as Executive Presbyter in the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks (the front range of the Colorado Rockies to parts of western NE).

She has been privileged to serve the broader church and higher governing bodies in a variety of ways, including as a Teaching Elder Commissioner to the 222nd General Assembly (Portland, 2016), and the 225th GA (Louisville, 2022). Denise has cared for large urban and small, rural congregations, and coordinated preaching and care-giving workshops for elders and deacons in those communities. She’s fully trained in Transitional Ministry and holds one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education.

Denise is Level 1 Certified through the Kansas Leadership Center’s “When Everyone Leads” program and has 60 hours of training for Coach-Specific Training by the International Coach Federation. Denise hopes to complete that certification in the near future.

One highlight of Denise’s ministry was the receipt of a $50,000 grant from the Eli Lilly Foundation through their Clergy Renewal Program. She then spent the summer of 2017 traveling abroad experiencing “Creativity and Community: God, the Arts, and Us.” She’d love to tell you about her sabbatical!

Denise’s son, Edward, is finishing his third year of research toward a Ph.D. in Forensic Psychology at the University of Kingston, London, UK. Her daughter, Katy, is an actor in the Colorado Front Range area, specializing in work as a Standardized Patient for the University of Colorado Medical School. Sebastian, a 1½ year old Scottish Terrier, rounds out Denise’s family.

Denise says, “So much about my ministry has been about building relationships and finding creative ways for us to be the Church. I am thankful for all the faithful, innovative, and dedicated colleagues I have been privileged to minister with in so many places and soon as the Shared General Presbyter of Lehigh and Lackawanna Presbyteries!”

This emphasis on relational ministry and her openness and easy approachability were things that attracted the committee. Paired with her experience, love for smaller churches, apparent skill in creative ministry, and eagerness to serve with this soon-to-be-new presbytery, the committee felt God had provided an excellent candidate and the boards agreed.


We are excited for you to meet Denise and share your hopes and dreams, while considering how you can participate in God’s new creation to serve NEPA. Two meet and greets have been scheduled in early August when Denise starts, one in each presbytery (to make it geographically easier to get there). All are welcome to

either meet and greet! NO excuses (says the personnel chair) for providing her with a warm welcome and nurturing this new partnership which God has provided.

  • First Presbyterian Church of Stroudsburg: Sunday, Aug. 4 from 2-4 p.m.
  • First Presbyterian Church of Clarks Summit: Sunday, Aug. 11 from 2-4 p.m.


If you are worshipping from home and would like to participate in Communion, you can prepare your own elements: bread or a bread-like item (cracker, pita, bagel) and grape juice, wine or water.


Luke 10:1-11

  • Sermon: Peace Be With You by The Rev. Lindsey Altvater Clifton
  • We post the video of each week’s services and sermon text on our website: fpc-bethlehem.org

TO DOWNLOAD AND PRINT on 8.5" x 11" paper:

Summer Worship Service (5 pages)


Join us after worship for our social time, “Lemonade on the Lawn” – everyone is welcome to come and connect. If weather permits, we’ll gather on the west side (front) of the church building, otherwise in Fellowship Hall.

Thank you to “The Kitchen Crew,” who are hosting on Sunday. We are looking for other groups or families to take on the hosting duties for future dates (the next Sunday, July 14 is open).

Basically, you will need to:

  • Provide simple treats for about 40-50, such as: grapes, clementines or cut-up fruit; cheese and crackers; easy-to-eat baked treats (homemade or purchased) like cookies, mini muffins, bars, or granola bars.

  • Get the beverages, cups and napkins, ice, and coolers out of the church kitchen and set them up (we typically serve lemonade, iced tea and water – these are provided).
  • Return items to the kitchen and clean up (tables will be provided and taken down).

It doesn’t have to be a “formal” group, like a K group, committee, or the choir – it can be a family or group of friends. It’s easy to sign up on this online form or call the church office at 610-867-5865. We’ll also have a paper sign-up form at each event.

Thanks for considering this request! If you have any questions about what’s involved, contact us at info@fpc-bethlehem.org or 610-867-5865 and we’ll connect you with a ‘veteran.’


“Because our neighbors are hungry year round” and local food pantry inventories are traditionally low, First Pres is serving as a donation location for the Summer Harvest Food Drive. The collection will run through the month of July.

Our donation boxes – located near the main office, in the Narthex, and in the Kirk Center Rotunda – are already starting to fill up. Thank you!

The list of suggested donations includes canned food items, boxed cereal, diapers and wipes, rice, and personal care items; the complete list is available HERE, as well as on the donation boxes themselves and copies are on the tables in the Narthex. 

In addition, donations will be accepted at all free concerts during the month of July at the Levitt Pavilion, located at Bethlehem’s SteelStacks campus, 789 E. First St. (including the Night with Sinatra event – see below for details). The list of events is HERE.


by David Macbeth, Director of Music Ministries

In collaboration with the Artefact Ensemble and First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, we are proud to present the second annual Artefact Scholars Summer Choral Intensive, an opportunity for 8th-12th grade musicians to work with professional vocalists, conductors, and composers for five full days of immersive learning experiences. First Pres will host the intensive from Tuesday, July 9 – Sunday, July 14. 

The vocalists will present a concert on Sunday, July 14 at 4 p.m. in the First Pres Sanctuary – this event is free and open to the public to enjoy the culmination of their week’s work.

With special thanks to the The Jared L. Wily Fund for High School Choir Ministries of First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem and the Raymond Cryder Fund of the Lehigh Valley Foundation for their support, we plan to feature distinguished instructors and artists from around the country for many summers to come.

The 2024 program faculty features: David Macbeth (FPCB director of music ministries), vocal/choral faculty of Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, and Artistic Director of Concord Chamber Singers; Tynan Davis, accomplished Broadway and jazz vocalist and GRAMMY® award-winning opera soprano; Dr. Christopher Jackson, Artistic Director and Conductor of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem; and Timothy Parsons, GRAMMY®-nominated countertenor, and longtime member of the GRAMMY®-nominated Choir of Trinity Wall Street.


The Deacons have issued an invite to everyone to join them for ”A Night of Sinatra with Rich DiMare & The Ron Poster Trio” coming on Friday, July 12 at 7:30 p.m.

They’ll be performing outdoors at the Steel-Stacks’ Levitt Pavillion, so bring your chairs or blankets for this free concert under the stars!

The show delivers Frank’s iconic and beloved songs that include “My Way” and “New York, New York.” Rich and Ron’s understanding of the Sinatra songbook, coupled with their interactions on stage makes this Old Blue Eyes experience something Rat Pack lovers won’t forget!

No sign-up needed, just come and bring your friends! And if you’re so inclined, consider bringing a donation to the Summer Harvest food drive (see above) – there will be donation boxes at the Levitt Pavillion.


The church’s Fund Committee awards scholarships through the Barry Brandt Memorial Fund, and a recent recipient is Avery Power. She is the granddaughter of Larry and Angie Van Hise, retired PCUSA ministers who worship at FPCB. Avery writes:

“Currently, I am an intern athletic trainer with the University of Houston’s football team, while also working on getting an M.S. in Sport and Performance Psychology. I hope to continue in the field of athletic training for a few more years, then go to Physician Assistant school to further my education in order to help a larger population.

“The grant I received from the Fund Committee allowed me to focus on my undergraduate studies without the financial anxiety. I am blessed to have received the grant because it allowed me to graduate with less debt, so I will forever be thankful for it!”


The family of Carol Freebairn, who passed away last Wednesday, has extended an invitation to attend these two events in her memory:

  • Thursday, July 11 from 6 - 8 p.m., calling hour at Ashton Funeral Home at 14th and Northampton Streets in Easton
  • Friday, July 12 at 3:30 p.m., memorial service at Kirkland Village with reception to follow 


Please help us share information about this open position on our church staff (as a reminder, church members are not eligible to apply for staff positions).

The Facilities Associate II Manager is responsible for the care and maintenance of church facilities, equipment and grounds. Cleans building areas, configures facility for events and assists event participants when needed. Maintains grounds and performs routine mechanical maintenance. Reports breakdowns or major problems.

Work per week will vary between 15 and 25 hours; salary from $22 per hour. Contact Kevin Konczyk if interested. .

If you are hospitalized, please tell the hospital our church code is 724. Also, please call the church office at 610-867-5865 to let us know as the hospitals do not always collect this information.  After hours, leave a message or call our answering service at 610-778-7003.

Send any prayer requests to prayer@fpc-bethlehem.org or call 610-867-5865 and leave a message.
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  • Visit our Facebook page and look for the post with our live feed
  • If you don’t have a Facebook account, go to our website to view the service - click on the "Watch the Service" button
  • Please check in with a comment so we know you’ve joined us!
  • Captions will now be available on our livestream, for those who would like to use that feature

To watch a video – available after the services have aired: Visit our website archives


  • Child care will be available from 9:45-11:15 a.m. this Sunday morning; please ask an usher for directions.

  • Your children are a joy in our worship services, and should the need arise, “kid bags” are available for their use while they are visiting. They are in the Narthex.

  • We offer nametags for folks to wear – these are for everyone! You can pick up as you enter the worship space; please clearly PRINT your first name.


  • 9:45 – 11:15 a.m.: Child Care (ask ushers to direct you)
  • 10:00 a.m.: Summer Worship service, in-person in the Sanctuary and livestreamed on Facebook and on our website
  • 11:00 a.m.: Lemonade on the Lawn gathering, front of the church – all are welcome!

WEDNESDAYS: 7 p.m. - Overcomer’s Outreach Christian 12 Step Recovery Group weekly meeting, via Zoom.com (meeting #: 868 2214 2960; passcode: OO-Beth)


Regular office hours are Monday - Thursday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Many of the office staff are working remotely for some of the time, so please make an appointment if you need to see someone specific. The answering service (610-778-7003) can take your urgent pastoral concerns, 24 hours a day. 

IN CASE OF BAD WEATHER: Look for updates on our website (fpc-bethlehem.org), Facebook page, and WFMZ (channel 69 and wfmz.com). We will also put the info on our church phone message, 610-867-5865.

First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem, 2344 Center Street, Bethlehem, PA 18017 610-867-5865 | info@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. J.C. Austin, Pastor/Head of Staff: ext. 213, JAustin@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. Lindsey Altvater Clifton, Associate Pastor for Justice and Community Impact; LClifton@fpc-bethlehem.org

The Rev. Suzanne Trump, Pastoral Associate for Formation and Compassion; STrump@fpc-bethlehem.org

David Macbeth, Director of Music Ministries: ext. 202; DMacbeth@fpc-bethlehem.org

David Crook, Director of Church Administration; ext. 210; DCrook@fpc-bethlehem.org

Kevin Konczyk, Facilities Manager; KKonczyk@fpc-bethlehem.org

Carol Burns, Communications Manager: ext. 238; CBurns@fpc-bethlehem.org

Tracy Leszcynski, Preschool Director; phone: 610-867-2956; TLeszcynski@fpc-bethlehem.org

Brenda Robinson, Bookkeeper; BusinessOffice@fpc-bethlehem.org

Marianne Zarillo, Finance (interim); ext. 211MZarillo@fpc-bethlehem.org

Website:  www.fpc-bethlehem.org