Growing One’s Faith Through the First Presbyterian Church
“Where the Seeds of Faith are Sown” is more than a motto for the First Presbyterian Church of Vernon: it is an axiom by which the congregation strives to live. It begins with worship. Each week the faithful gather to participate in the celebration of the good news of Jesus Christ. With order the worship service is designed around a particular Biblical text in which word and song is determined.
In response to the gospel a number of ministries evolve. The Cupboard by Grace is a food pantry established in cooperation with the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank. Every Monday a full sack of groceries is offered to persons in our county for whom their own cupboard may need to be supplemented. Last year 67 ½ tons of food was given away to a number of families in our community. Cupboard by Grace exists to demonstrate the nourishment of God’s compassion by sharing food that might help feed the body and spirit of families in our community.
Lunch Bunch is another food program in which we offer a free lunch to high school students each month. Students numbering from 150 to 200 gather at the church to enjoy a hot and, hopefully, healthy meal. While this program is not designed to distract from the wonderful service of the school cafeteria, it is intended to offer a different setting with volunteers who simply want to articulate God’s love through hospitality and care.
Each week a group of ladies gather together to knit prayer shawls. The beautiful, soft, cozy, shawls are intended for persons who are undergoing a particular crisis (and sometimes great joy!) in their lives. Common Threads, as they are known, learn of these individuals, pray for them, and then present the shawls at worship on Sunday morning at which time the pastor invokes God’s blessing upon them. Then the shawls are presented to the individuals the following week. To date, nearly 100 prayers shawls have been given away to persons in our community and beyond.
Every other month members of the congregation bake Birthday Cakes for the patients/residents at the North Texas State Hospital. While the church does not have opportunity to visit directly with the individuals, we remain in prayer for their recovery and hope for a little joy by remembering their birthdays with the cakes.
Twice each year the church endeavors to express appreciation to the teachers, staff, and administration of the Vernon Independent School District by providing a special treat or gift of various kinds. The intent is to offer our sincerest gratitude to those persons who spend a great deal of time with our children who are our future.
First Presbyterian Church is an ardent supporter of the Scouting program. Both Cub Scout Pack 87 and Boy Scout Troop 87 use our facilities weekly to help develop the character and citizenship of boys moving into young adulthood.
The church also reaches across the world by sending mission teams and/or individuals into places of particular need. An orphanage in Romania, a Presbyterian church in Belize, and a medical clinic in Haiti are among the recent missions to which support is offered. We currently are financing the education of a young man also in Haiti who will use his education in agronomy to assist his home community.
The Seeds of Faith are also sown as the church engages in ministries enhancing the faith development of its membership. Sunday School, Wednesday night youth, monthly studies by the Presbyterian Women, monthly all-church dinners, and seasonal bible studies, not to mention weekly worship are provided in the effort for enriching the spiritual life of the membership.
First Presbyterian Church is a community of faith with an earnest desire to practice the presence of Christ communally and as individuals. We recognize we do not have all the answers, but we do endeavor to ask the questions and to pursue guidance that may lead to meaningful living.
“Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God’s very own family, citizens of God’s country, and you belong to God’s household ” (Ep. 2:19).