"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)
What we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3)
And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25).
First Church is a family. The children are OUR children. The problems are OUR problems. The joy is OUR joy. The Love is OUR love. We share our lives one with another, not because we are commanded, but because it is a joy to do so. Our children are friends with each other and play in the halls and in the yard. Our adults hang out and chat. We rejoice in new births, marriages, and graduations, but we also pray for and comfort those that have lost loved ones. We hold each other up, encourage each other in the things of God, help one another with struggles, and generally accept one another just as we are (warts and all), because that's what families do. None of us are perfect, so we don't rush into judging each other's shortcomings. However, we are commanded to strive for perfection, so with an abundance of love, we stand together and look to Christ to help us grow.
Fellowship as a ministry is often overlooked by churches but, at FPC, we take it seriously. Before the Sunday morning worship service, we gather in the fellowship area, where we also share refreshments after worship and before Sunday School. We enjoy a meal together regularly (usually weekly on Wednesdays). Some members meet together in their homes to sing hymns, others just to hang out with each other. You might even find some of us going fishing with the youth, having a bonfire (we try to do that at least yearly), or hanging out in the church office building (the "Manse") enjoying time in front of the fireplace.
Know this about us. We enjoy being a part of God's family and welcome others to fellowship with us, both on Sundays and at any other time we may be gathering for fellowship. If you don't know anybody, don't worry. We are quick to introduce ourselves and say hello.
About our heritage as a family, God's eternal covenant of peace.
"Sing, O barren one, who did not bear;
break forth into singing and cry aloud,
you who have not been in labor!
For the children of the desolate one will be more
than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
and strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
and your offspring will possess the nations
and will people the desolate cities.
“Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
For your Maker is your husband,
the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the Lord has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,”
says the Lord, your Redeemer.
“This is like the days of Noah to me:
as I swore that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth,
so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you,
and will not rebuke you.
For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,”
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
“O afflicted one, storm-tossed and not comforted,
behold, I will set your stones in antimony,
and lay your foundations with sapphires.
I will make your pinnacles of agate,
your gates of carbuncles,
and all your wall of precious stones.
All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children.
In righteousness you shall be established;
you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;
and from terror, for it shall not come near you.
If anyone stirs up strife,
it is not from me;
whoever stirs up strife with you
shall fall because of you.
Behold, I have created the smith
who blows the fire of coals
and produces a weapon for its purpose.
I have also created the ravager to destroy;
no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed,
and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord
and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”