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The following is what’s going on at First Presbyterian Church in Rochester, Minn.

First Presbyterian Church/Good News in Brief for September 21, 2017 – September 29, 2017

Posted by on Sep 19, 2017 in News | Comments Off on First Presbyterian Church/Good News in Brief for September 21, 2017 – September 29, 2017

First Presbyterian Church/Good News in Brief for September 21, 2017 – September 29, 2017
     #  Congratulations to Derald and Sandra Holloway who will celebrate their 53rd wedding anniversary September 26. 
     #  Happy Birthday to Edith Albrecht who will celebrate her 105th birthday September 27. 
     #  Happy Birthday to Louise Bastron who will celebrate her 94th birthday September 30.
*Wednesday, September 20*
     #  Priscilla Circle meets at 9:15 a.m. in the lounge.
     #  Crafters Group meets at 3 p.m. in the social hall. Bring your own project or help make cards to send to C.A.R.E. members of the congregation. All supplies for the cards are provided. Questions? Call Mary Huie (282-9712).
     #  Wednesday activities
          4:15 p.m.: Alleluia Ringers (grades 2-5)
          5:00 p.m.: Youth Choir (grades 6-12)
          5:45 p.m.: Middle School youth group (grades 6-8)
          5:45 p.m.: Senior High youth group (grades 9-12)
          6:30 p.m.: Adult Bible Study: “How Doth Thy Neighbors Dress?” (Al Depman)
          7:00 p.m.: Joyous Praise handbells (grades 6-12 and adults)
*Thursday, September 21*
     #  Jubilate Deo (6:15 p.m.) and Chancel Choir (7:30 p.m.) rehearse.
*Friday, September 22*
*Saturday, September 23*
*Sunday, September 24*
     #  Worship at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Preaching: Rev. T. J. Parlette. Message: “The ‘unfair’ nature of grace.” Scripture: Matthew 20.1-16.     
     #  Singing: Chancel Choir at 11 a.m. 
     #  Nursery and child care for infants through 3-year-olds is provided from 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
     #  Education Hour:
                  9:40-10:45: Nursery – preschool (3-year-olds)  
                  9:40-10:45Sunday school/education hour for grades 6 through adults
                  9:40-10:20Sunday school for PreK and Kg/1; Calvin Choir rehearsal for grades 2-5
                  10:20-10:50: Sunday school for grades 2/3 and 4/5; Cherub Choir rehearsal for age 4-grade 1 
     #  Adult Education: (1) Current Issues (lounge): “Current Events: beyond the headlines” (Al Depman); (2) Kerygma (south fireside room): Bible study of Matthew (Jane Goodfriend and Ruth Walts); (3) The coffee pot will be on in social hall.
     #  Coffee and donuts will be available in the social hall between services and in the atrium after the second service.
     #  50+ Solo’s Faith and Fellowship Group will meet for lunch at noon in the Sheldon Jackson Lounge.

#  Our final group walk for this summer will be at Root River Park at 1 p.m. Root River Park is a relatively new park, and is another of Olmsted County’s best kept secrets. We’ll check out the old stagecoach bridge and the 90-foot tall limestone bluffs. The trail is about 2 miles long and is a nice wide grass-covered trail. You might want to bring a camera. (Mark Mueller)
Directions to Root River Park (4012 80th Street SE):
Go South on County Road 1 through Simpson
Go under the underpass
Go about 2 miles, take a left (go East) on 80th Street SE (there is a small gray shed on the corner)
The Park is located at the end of the street
There is a sign on CR 1 and at the entrance to the Park

*Tuesday, September 26*
     #  Chancel Guild meets at 1 p.m.
*Wednesday, September 27*
     #  Wednesday activities
          4:15 p.m.: Alleluia Ringers (grades 2-5)
          5:00 p.m.: Youth Choir (grades 6-12)
          5:45 p.m.: Middle School youth group (grades 6-8)
          5:45 p.m.: Senior High youth group (grades 9-12)
          6:30 p.m.: Adult Bible Study: “Being Humble” (Al Depman)
          7:00 p.m.: Joyous Praise handbells (grades 6-12 and adults)
*Thursday, September 28*
     #  Jubilate Deo (6:15 p.m.) and Chancel Choir (7:30 p.m.) rehearse.

*Sunday, October 1* (World Communion Sunday)
#  Worship and communion at 8:30 and 11 a.m. 

     #   “What it means to be a Sanctuary Church.” The Social Concerns Committee will lead a discussion during the education hour at 9:40 a.m. in the social hall. Everyone is invited to this discussion on a relevant issue.
     #  One of our parish nurses will be in the library between services to take your blood pressure and answer questions you might have about your health.
     #  Peace and Global Witness Offering will be dedicated at both services, although you can contribute to it anytime through October.
     #  Five Advanced Directives workshop on end-of-life planning, sponsored by parish nurses in the area, at 1 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kasson. Contact Ariel Boswell ( for more information and to reserve a place.
*Tuesday, October 3*

     #  Grief Support Group meets at 11 a.m. in the library.

     #  Deacons meet at 7 p.m. in the south fireside room. 
     #  Most committees meet. Check with your lead elder if you aren’t sure about yours. 
*Wednesday, October 4*
     #  Worship and communion at Charter House at 1 p.m.
     #  All Wednesday activities are on as scheduled.
     #  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: responding to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast a week ago, bringing lashing rain and sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. Harvey brought historic flooding, forcing rivers and streams from their banks, submerging homes, churches, businesses and roads, stranding thousands of people. Irma followed close behind, weaving a path of devastation, wiping out islands in the Caribbean and bringing damaging winds and storm surge to Florida. There are buildings that are no more than shells and boats where boats should not be. Years of recovery lie ahead, and your commitment will help PDA extend the hands of Christ. Please stand in the “GAP” (Give, Act, Pray) for the people affected by these catastrophic hurricanes. PDA’s emergency response and specialization in long-term recovery is fueled by your generous gifts. 
    To give, make a check to First Presbyterian Church and designate it for PDA or hurricane relief. You can also designate it to GIVE-Harvey or GIVE-Irma. Unspecified donations will be be divided between the two causes.
     #  Book giveaway continues. As the church library revitalization project continues about 50 books that were donated to the library the last few years have been added to the library collection. Outdated books are continually being removed and made available for free. Look for the “free books” note on boxes in the library and the foyer and the cart in the atrium. (Jay Rowland and Al Dollerschell)
    #  Pick up your all-church calendar for 2017-2018 so you can plan for the church’s yearlong cycle of activities.
     #  “True luck consists not in holding the best cards at the table; luckiest is he/she who knows just when to rise and go home.” (John Hay) 
     #  “Good news isn’t usually as good as it sounds and bad news isn’t usually as bad as it sounds.” (Steve Saunders) 

Put on your walking shoes and come take a hike!

Posted by on Jul 11, 2017 in News | Comments Off on Put on your walking shoes and come take a hike!

Put on your walking shoes and come take a hike!

This is a fun way to get outdoors, learn some local history, and spend time with other church members.  Don’t forget to bring a hat and water and wear sunscreen!  Please feel free to invite your friends to come along.  If you have questions, contact Mark at

If an activity needs to be cancelled, we will leave a message on the church’s answering machine.

July 23, 2017 –  1 p.m.  – Cascade Meadow Wetlands

The group walk for July will take place July 23 at Cascade Meadow Wetlands.  Meet at Cascade Meadow (2900 19th St NW) at 1 p.m. Cascade Meadow sits on a 100 acre site of which 90 acres of natural areas have been restored.  A system of approximately 2 miles of trails winds its way through seven different types of wetlands and three upland communities.  Renewable energy systems on site include electric generation with wind and solar, as well as solar thermal hot water and geothermal heat pump for heating and cooling.

August 27, 2017  – 1 p.m. –  Willow Creek Reservoir

Meet at the Willow Creek Reservoir in SW Rochester at 1 p.m.  The parking lot is at the end of Lone Pine Drive SW.  We will hike the trail that goes around the reservoir.  We might even get to see the eagles that have a nest in the area.

September 24, 2017 – 1 p.m. – Root River Park

Meet at Root River Park (4012 80th SE) at 1 p.m.  The Root River Park is a relatively new park and is another of Olmsted County’s best kept secrets.  When we get to the park we’ll check out the old stagecoach bridge and the 90-foot tall limestone bluffs.  The trail is about 2 miles long and is a nice wide grass covered trail.  The scenery is beautiful.  You might want to bring a camera!





Sunday worship returns to 8:30 and 11:00 AM on September 10

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in News | Comments Off on Sunday worship returns to 8:30 and 11:00 AM on September 10

Sunday worship returns to 8:30 and 11:00 AM on September 10

 We will get started with a brief presentation followed (approximately 10:00 a.m. ) by Sunday School Open House/Meet the Teacher and/or Children’s Choirs.  During Open House, parents and students will be visiting classrooms, meeting their teachers and other parents and students.  Many will also be getting (re)started with our children’s choirs.

Our annual Ministries Fair is returning to the social hall this year.  So look for the information tables hosted by FPC committees.  You’ll find useful information and conversation about our many wonderful opportunities, activities and ministries.  Get involved and meet people who share your interests.

Catch the Kick-off Sunday excitement September 10.

PreK through high school Sunday School meet for their full session times beginning September 17.  Please contact Jay Rowland or Susanna Stone(Christian Education) and Lee Afdahl or Katie Kruger (choir/music) with any questions for concerns.


Festival of Music Announces Schedule of concerts for 2017-2018 Season

Posted by on Apr 3, 2017 in Music | Comments Off on Festival of Music Announces Schedule of concerts for 2017-2018 Season

Festival of Music Announces Schedule of concerts for 2017-2018 Season

 October 15, 2017 4:00 p.m.


LYRIC BARITONE                                            

As Executive and Artistic Director of Opera Orlando, Gabriel Preisser serves the company in areas of growth and development, artistic vision and planning, and administration. He draws from performance experience in over 40 operatic and music theatre roles. Preisser graduated from Florida State University in Vocal Performance and Business and completed a Master’s degree in Voice at the University of Houston.

Preisser has been praised for his beautiful, luscious baritone and his compelling, commanding stage presence.   He has received rave reviews for his performance of Lt. Gordon in Kevin Putz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night with Minnesota Opera.

This season, Mr. Preisser reprises the role of Lt. Gordon (Silent Night) in his Michigan Opera Theatre début.  He will sing Maximilian (Candide) with Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra,  Mercutio (Roméo et Juliette) and Dandini (La Cenerentola) with Opera Tampa. He will also sing the title role in Don Giovanni with Opera Orlando and Skylark Opera,  narrate HK Gruber’s Frankenstein and sing the baritone solo in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Colorado Symphony.

Outside of his performing career, Mr. Preisser co-founded Angels & Demons Entertainment, an opera/music theater production company focusing on semi-staged and site-specific opera and music theater presentations. He currently lives in Winter Garden, FL with his wife and son.


November 19, 2017 4:00 p.m.



Rachel Laurin was born in St-Benoît des Deux-Montagnes, Québec, Canada. She was Associate Organist at St-Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal (1986-2002) and Titular Organist at Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa (2002-2006). She now devotes herself to composition, recitals, master-classes and lectures.

Rachel Laurin has performed organ recitals in major cities in Canada, the United States and Europe. Well known as an improviser, she has had many opportunities to teach this art in schools, workshops, and academies across Canada and USA. She has been an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre since 1989 and “House Composer” at Wayne Leupold Editions since 2006. She has composed more than a hundred works for various solo instruments, voice, instrumental ensembles, choir, and orchestra, including a piano Concerto and a Concerto for organ, string orchestra and timpani. Her compositions are recognized internationally and have been performed and recorded on the five continents. She has won many awards, including the “Prix Conrad-Letendre,” the Holtkamp-AGO Composition Award, and first prize in the Marilyn Mason New Organ Music Competition. A feature-length program devoted to her work as a composer and organist, titled “Rachel’s Children”, was broadcast by American Public Media’s PIPEDREAMS presented by Michael Barone in October 2012. Laurin composes almost exclusively on commissions and always has a work in progress.

Rachel Laurin has been a member of the “Comité d’Honneur de la Fédération Francophone des Amis de l’Orgue” (FFAO) since 2016.


February 11, 2018 4:00 p.m.



Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Dr. Grigor Khachatryan graduated from Barsej Kanachyan’s Music School of Yereva. Shortly thereafter, Dr.Khachatryan moved to the United States and continued his education in musical studies at Indiana University, earning degrees in Piano Performance, Composition and Music Theory. During his graduate studies, he served as Junior Faculty of Piano at the Jacobs School of Music, where he taught undergraduate and graduate piano courses.  Recent highlights include Dr. Khachatryan’s debut at Carnegie Hall, supported by the Armenian General Benevolent Union, as well as a concert tour with the Concordia Symphony Orchestra. Dr. Khachatryan is now working on recording and publishing two piano sonatas and is also on faculty at the Northern Lights Music Festival.  Dr. Khachatryan is equally passionate about composing new music and educating young musical minds at Concordia College, where he serves as Assistant Professor of Piano.

Dr. Dina Maria Neglia-Khachatryan earned her Doctorate in Violin Performance at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music and enjoys a multifaceted musical career.  Dedicated equally to teaching, scholarship, and performance, Dr. Neglia-Khachatryan has taught at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Vincennes University and North Dakota State University.  As a performer, Dr. Neglia-Khachatryan is immersed in a variety of musical mediums.  She has been featured on MPR Classical Radio and has appeared as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and Europe.  She regularly performs with her husband, Dr. Grigor Khachatryan, as a member of Duo Neglia-Khachatryan.


March 18, 2018 4:00 p.m.



The Wartburg College Castle Singers have been hailed as a model of musicianship, performing a wide variety of choral literature with flexibility, stamina, and dramatic flair.  Under the direction of Dr. Nicki Bakko Toliver, this chamber ensemble sings everything from Byrd to the Beatles and beyond.  Comprised of advanced vocalists who are dedicated to exploring challenging choral literature, the Castle Singers enjoy performing both on and off campus throughout the academic year.

For the second year in a row, the Castle Singers will be joined by Wartburg’s chamber orchestra Kammerstreicher (in German, literally “chamber strings”).  This string ensemble’s repertoire is equally as eclectic as the Castle Singers, playing traditional music by classical giants like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, as well as arrangements of songs by contemporary artists, such as Radiohead.  Kammerstreicher’s conductor, Dr. Jacob Tews, is also a gifted composer, regularly writing music for his ensembles in addition to many other music ensembles at Wartburg.

April 15, 2017 4:00 p.m.



Lee Afdahl is Director of Music and Organist at First Presbyterian Church of Rochester, Minnesota, a position he has held since 1991. A graduate of Luther College, Decorah, IA, Lee is a church musician with forty years of experience in leading choral and handbell ensembles in Michigan and Minnesota.  Currently he and his part- time music assistant are responsible for leading four vocal and three handbell choirs, an elementary instrumental program, and a church orchestra.  He also advises the church’s annual concert series.  Lee Afdahl is frequently a conductor and clinician for handbell conference, choral workshops, and church music conferences internationally.  He has conducted festival conferences for the Handbell Musicians of America (HMA) at the local, area, and national levels.  He has also conducted handbell classes of American Guild of Organists, Fellowship of United Methodists and international handbell events in England, Japan, South Korea and Australia.  Mr. Afdahl is the immediate Past President of the Handbell Musicians of America.  He represented the organization as a conductor at the International Handbell Symposia in Australia, England and South Korea.  Lee has taught intermediate and advanced conducting for HMA Seminars and currently teaches conducting for certification.  Lee is an active organ recitalist and published composer and arranger of handbell, instrumental, and choral music with over seventy compositions and arrangements in print.  Joining Lee this season will be Christopher Boswell, handbells; Paul Kosower, cello; Jan Matson, piano; Mary Schneekloth, harp and Timothy Wells, basson.


Lenten Organ Recital Series 2018

Noon-day thirty minute recitals, 12:15-12:45 PM

February 21, 2018

Jeffrey Daehn, freelance organist, Rochester, MN

February 28, 2018

Sebastian Modarelli, organist, Church of St. John the Evangelist, Rochester, MN

March 7, 2018

Paul Kosower, freelance organist, Eau Claire, WI

March 14 2018

Ceri Benson, organist, St Luke’s Episcopal Church, Rochester, MN

March 21, 2018

Lois Marsh,  freelance organist, Rochester, MN


Youth Ministry Update – April 2015

Posted by on Jul 6, 2013 in Youth Ministry | Comments Off on Youth Ministry Update – April 2015

Youth Ministry Update – April 2015


FPC Youth Group ~ Strengthening Youth through Faith & Service

Youth Group News:  The middle school group is currently discussing a video study entitled “Why Jesus” by David Nassar.  The senior high youth are currently discussing a video study entitled “Dare to Dream:  Creating a God-sized Mission Statement for Your Life.”

The groups are also planning a hands-on service project to fill meal-packs with the organization Feed My Starving Children this spring.

Wednesday Evening Dinners: If you are interested in providing a meal for FPC youth and adults who attend Wednesday Evening Activities, please call the office, (507) 282-1618.

Sunday School News: During the Gathering Time, tithing (donating) was discussed with the Sunday School youth. We discussed how we can use our donations to help others. It is awesome to see how the youth have responded to this discussion. Thank you to all the parents who allow the youth to locate spare change in the sofas and cars!

Youth Art Work Project: Can you draw, paint, color, and/or take pictures? If you can answer yes, please consider working on an art piece for the Youth Activity Lounge. It would be nice for the the walls to be covered with artwork from the Youth and the leaders.