Youth Groups Gather for Sunday Night Concert

By Dana Waters (Associate for Youth and Mission Fort Hill Church)

One cold and snowy Sunday afternoon, three youth groups from Foothills Presbytery (Anderson/Pickens Region) came together for a concert. Youth from Fort Hill and First Presbyterian traveled to Central Presbyterian in Anderson to see Sam Burchfield perform. Sam, as many of you may know, is a child of this presbytery and of Fort Hill Church. He has been the music leader for our presbytery’s Middle School Conference in Bonclarken and the Montreat Youth Conference.

In spite of the chilly weather and the looming college football championship game, the youth and adult leaders of these three churches made a concerted effort to join together. They broke the ice by playing games in the gym. Then the youth shared a meal and conversation with one another at small tables. Following the meal, they joined in to sing songs of praise and worship as Sam took the stage and played songs both old and new. It was a delightful evening for all.

As the group sang “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” one part of the last stanza stood out in particular on this night:

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love;

Here’s my heart; O take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.

There are so many things around us that lead us to wander. Sometimes we wander away from God. Other times we wander away from church or youth group or perhaps we just lose sight of one another. This multi-church, multi-youth group experience reminded me of how closely connected we are to all of our sisters and brothers in Christ, especially those right here in Foothills Presbytery. I, for one, am eager to see more of these interconnectional church events take place in the year ahead.

Take our hearts, O God. Yes, take them and seal them as you bind us to one another!

Joyfully,
Dana

Many Thanks from UKirk Furman

by Erin F. Farry, Campus Minister, UKirk

 

What an exciting year this has been for UKirk Furman! With the largest freshmen class in Furman’s history arriving on campus this fall, the leadership team worked incredibly hard to get to know and welcome this freshmen class. After several fun events during orientation week, UKirk Furman welcomed over 26 students to our first Tuesday night gathering of the semester. Our moderator, Maddy Gentry, a senior education major and member of Westminster of Greenville, says that “It is sad to think that this is my last year as an active member of UKirk Furman, but I was really excited to welcome new freshmen in because I wanted to have a new base of students to pass this special group along to.” We have been blessed by a dedicated and strong freshmen class and look forward to the many ways that they will grow and expand the ministry of UKirk Furman.

Throughout this year we have visited several congregations for worship, met weekly to share in fellowship, study, and prayer, and participated in once a month mission opportunities through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. We are currently counting down the days for Montreat College Conference in January. I am happy to share that we will be taking a group of 24 students to this weeklong conference—three times the number of students that attended last year from Furman! Of this group, 13 of these students are freshmen and for many of them it will be their first time through those sacred gates (despite many of them being members of PC(USA) congregations).

I have been privileged this year to witness the growth of many college students, the growth of our ministry, and the growth of the Kingdom of God. Freshman Victoria Melin of Johns Creek Presbyterian in Georgia, says that “UKirk Furman is a group of unwavering, kind, inclusive, ready, and keen students who want to be apart of something bigger than themselves. For me, being in this campus ministry has truly strengthen my faith in ways I didn’t know possible while I was beginning a new season of life, and I am so overjoyed to share my highs and lows of the day with my new friends in Christ.”

I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the Campus Minister to UKirk Furman and to work with our many partners throughout this presbytery. We appreciate your continued prayers, gifts and donations of snacks, and for sharing members of your congregation to serve on our support team! Thank you for your care, passion, and support of campus ministry. Together we are loving, equipping, and growing the Church.

~Erin Farry

Foothills Presbytery and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Clean-up in Columbia

by Jennifer F. Sheorn, Associate Pastor of Young Adults and Missions, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Greenville

columbia-pda-2016-4

On Saturday, November 5th, nine of us set out early in the morning to travel to Columbia, SC, to work on a home that needed repairs from the October 2016 floods. columbia-pda-2016-1This particular home, owned by Ms. Davis, had been sitting empty for over a year. Ms. Davis’ basement flooded sending water up the walls to the living area causing mold and mildew to set in.

A wonderful organization, St. Bernard’s Project (SBP), works in several cities across the U.S., including Columbia, to help people rebuild their homes and lives from natural disasters. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) works with SBP to fill volunteers and complete projects. SBP had been working on Ms. Davis home for a few weeks prior to our arrival.

columbia-pda-2016-2We had wonderful volunteers (lay people and ministers) from First Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, Fourth and St. Giles Presbyterian churches. We mainly worked in three rooms dry-walling walls and ceilings. Everyone worked well together and enjoyed the fellowship as well as learning new skills. After working all day, we met in Clinton at the Fatz Café to break bread together one more time and to share laughter from our time together.

If you have any interest in volunteering with SBP or PDA, please check them out at http://www.stbernardproject.org and https://pda.pcusa.org.

VBS in Foothills Presbytery

You may recognize this crazy surfer who helped First Sptg raise money for their mission project...apparently his surfing skills were "limited!"

You may recognize this crazy surfer who helped First Spartanburg raise money for their mission project…apparently his surfing skills were “limited!”

Sharing the GOOD NEWS in the  midst of a long, hot summer!

by LeAnne White and Debbie Foster

All around the upstate this summer, Foothills Presbytery churches held VBS programs teaching children about God through Bible drama, memory verses, snack, recreation, crafts, and music! VBS programs bring out volunteers from all generations, and as Beth Burris-First Sptg said, “I’m not sure which group has a better time.”
Themes included: Cokesbury’ s Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God’s Amazing Love, Group’s Pets Unleashed, Living Waters Water All Around the World and Nuthin’ But Net, Group’s Cave Quest, and some curriculum created by churches themselves.
A few highlights:
  • Central used the youth curriculum Group offered to create a “youth crew” for rising 6th and 7th graders. They had their own curriculum and did lots of mission work around the church! “We also welcomed a child with special needs this year at VBS. She was turned away from other churches before but their volunteers stepped up in a great way to help her celebrate with them!”
  • Eastminster had another successful one day VBS followed by a Sunday morning worship celebration.
  • Easley partnered with First Methodist Church across the street for the third year in a row for their VBS! During the week their tweens collected enough money for 5 wells for Marion Medical Mission ($400 each!) They also hosted a Ten Thousand Villages store at the church at VBS.
  • First Anderson invited their sister church, Salem Presbyterian to join them and they brought 9 kids and 2 adult volunteers! “We are excited about growing that partnership next year!” The children raised $1000 for the SC Sea Turtles Rescue!
  • First Spartanburg children raised $2000 for First Presbyterian’s Winter Warmth project which ensures children in local schools have new winter coats to wear in the fall. “Blessing upon blessing, worth all the hard work.”
  • Fort Hill partnered with their neighbors at First Baptist Church Clemson for a second year for VBS. “We met at First Baptist for most of the program. Nursery and some recreation was held at Fort Hill……We experienced another joyous and happy VBS with one another.” Children learned “Jesus gives us hope, direction, love and courage.”
  • Piedmont pastor Alyson Helvie said, “I continue to be amazed at the adult leadership and volunteering spirit in our small church. The adults at PPC are so willing to give of their time, talents, and resources to share the love of Christ with the children of this community.”
  • Pickens celebrated another successful week with many families attending from their child-development center and had a child and youth led worship service the Sunday following VBS.
  • Second traveled back in time to the Jerusalem marketplace for an exciting VBS experience this year. Participants rotated through play time, music, and visiting the various tents of the marketplace, which was a highlight for their children, youth, and adults.

Most VBS programs were at maximum capacity for space and volunteer-to-child ratios. Over 900 children were served, loved, encouraged & inspired through the amazing efforts of staff and volunteers! Thanks be to God!