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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 November 16, 2017 – November 24, 2017

Posted by on Nov 5, 2017 in News | Comments Off on First Presbyterian Church/Good News in Brief for November 16, 2017 – November 24, 2017

First Presbyterian Church/Good News in Brief for November 16, 2017 – November 24, 2017

“Stewardship 2018: Gratitude.” Our ability to accomplish our goals is dependent on the generous financial support of the congregation. Please do your part by making a generous pledge and returning your pledge by mail or in the offering plate any Sunday before the end of November. Thank you! And special thanks to those who have already made their commitment. To date we have accounted for 190 pledges for $636,737 toward a pledge goal of $743,318.
#  Happy Birthday to Lucille Bill who will celebrate her 95th birthday November 20. Lucille’s address is 30 Silver Lake Place NW #201 / 55901.
#  Happy Birthday to Elaine Davis who will celebrate her 91st birthday November 23. Her address is 204 North Oak Street / Lake City 55041.
#  Happy Birthday to Betty Dobyns who will celebrate her 91st birthday November 25. Betty lives at Charter House / 211 2nd Street NW #917 / Rochester 55901.
#  We extend our condolences to Char and Dave Ellefson on the death of Char’s brother, Robert Lawrence (Larry) Brown, on November 15.
*Thursday, November 16*

#  Jubilate Deo (6:15 p.m.) and Chancel Choir (7:30 p.m.) rehearse.

*Saturday, November 18*

#  Ruth Circle meets at 10 a.m. in the lounge

*Sunday, November 19*
#  Worship at 8:30 and 11 a.m. Preaching: Rev. Jay Rowland. Message: “More Than We Can Stand.” Scripture: Psalm 123.
#  Singing: Chancel Choir at 8:30; special music at 11. Ringing: Jubilate Deo at both services.
#  Adult Education: (1) Current Issues (lounge): “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.
#  “Stewardship 2018: Gratitude.” Our ability to accomplish our goals is dependent on the generous financial support of the congregation. Please do your part by making a generous pledge and returning your card during worship today; by mail; or in the offering plate any Sunday before the end of November. Thank you! And special thanks to those who have already made their commitment.

#  Coffee and donuts will be available in the social hall between services and in the atrium after the second service.
#  A Festival of Music presents organist Rachel Laurin in concert at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary. From Quebec, Canada, Laurin is known world-wide as a composer, organist, and improviser. She has taught the art of improvisation in schools, workshops, and academies across Canada and the United States.

#  The Sharing Tree will be in the atrium and decorated with paper ornaments, each representing a charitable program in Rochester. Select a gift tag from the tree and follow the instructions on the back of the tag. Attach the tag to your gift and return it to the church. Gifts will be designated for Dorothy Day House (for homeless adults – unwrapped – due December 15); Family Promise (for homeless families – unwrapped – due December 15); Alternative Learning Center (for infants – wrapped – due December 15); MedCity Foundation (general assistance for blood cancer patients and their families for lodging, food, and other financial needs – DUE DECEMBER 8).

*Monday, November 20*
#  Esther Circle meets at 1 p.m. in the lounge.
*Tuesday, November 21*
#  Session meets at 7 p.m. in the south fireside room.

*Wednesday, November 22*

#  All Wednesday activities are canceled because of Thanksgiving break. The church and church office will be open.
*Thursday, November 23*

#  The church will be closed in observance of Thanksgiving.
*Friday, November 24*

#  The church will be closed.
*Sunday, November 26*   (Christ the King Sunday)

#  Worship at 8:30 and 11 a.m.
#  Advent Creations
*Tuesday, November 28*

#  Chancel Guild meets at 1 p.m.

*Wednesday, November 29*

#  All Wednesday activities are back on schedule.
#  Advent Bible study at 6:30 p.m. Rev. Parlette will lead the study from the book “Faithful: Christmas through the Eyes of Joseph.” If you ordered a book for the study you can pick it up in the church office.
*Thursday, November 30*
#  Jubilate Deo (6:15 p.m.) and Chancel Choir (7:30 p.m.) rehearse.

*Saturday, December 2*
#  Help us decorate the halls of First Presbyterian for Advent beginning at 9:40 a.m. We have trees to decorate, wreaths to hang, and poinsettias to put out. There are jobs for all ages and interests. We will have light refreshments to keep us going.
#  Join us for a special Christmas program, “Celebrate the Child,” presented by Curt Cloninger at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. The show is open to the congregation and the community as our gift to the community this Christmas season. There is no admission fee.
#  Greeters needed for Sunday services. Be a greeter at a Sunday morning service and welcome members and visitors to worship. To volunteer, please contact Jeff Remfert ( or write your name and e-mail address on the Greeter Sign-up Sheet at the Welcome Desk. You will receive an e-mail from SignUpGenius showing a calendar where you can sign up for one or more services. Thank you

#  Help celebrate the Advent season with a $15 donation to the Poinsettia Fund. The plants will decorate the sanctuary in December and then be delivered by the Deacons to our many C.A.R.E. members. To contribute, put your check for $15 (note for poinsettias on the memo line) in the offering plate or mail it to the church office.

#  Run Hide Fight. In response to the shooting at the church in Texas, below is a link to a video produced by the FBI. “Run Hide Fight” dramatizes an active shooter situation to provide instruction about how to survive. Warning: this is a very realistic, disturbing but very effective video. It portrays a gunman shooting people and what it would be like to be caught in this situation. As we struggle to accept the reality of this phenomenon, it’s important to be prepared and have a plan. First Presbyterian would follow this policy in the event of such an event. (Jay Rowland)

> Search active shooter resources

> Search: run hide fight

> Click the video

—————————— ——-
#  “Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” (Madame Curie)
#  “Silence is golden, unless you have kids, then silence is just plain suspicious.”

Special Youth Group Events: save the dates

Posted by on Oct 24, 2017 in News | Comments Off on Special Youth Group Events: save the dates

Special Youth Group Events: save the dates

Lock-in and Service Project:

Friday, January 5-Saturday, January 6

We’ll have a lock-in in Hayfield at a barn that has a basketball court, arcade and 50’s diner.  On the 6th, we’ll head up to Eagan for 2 hours of service at Feed My Starving Children.

Snow Tubing and Pizza

We’ll start off with two hours of snow tubing at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch followed by lunch at the Stewartville Pizza Ranch

Registration is required for both special events.  Contact Susanna (507-282-1618) if you are interested in attending either youth event.


“Celebrate the Child” with Curt Cloninger on December 2

Posted by on Oct 22, 2017 in News | Comments Off on “Celebrate the Child” with Curt Cloninger on December 2

“Celebrate the Child” with Curt Cloninger on December 2


Many of you may remember when Curt was here with his program “God Views”.  Curt is a Christian and an actor who will present his one-man show for all.  The program will be held in the sanctuary and projected into the social hall for overflow audience.

The show is open to all congregation members and the community as our gift to the community.  No admission will be charged.  No reservations will be necessary.  It is yet to be determined when the doors will open.  Following the program there will be a dessert reception in the atrium.

Needed: an infant to play baby Jesus

The Welcoming and Nurturing Committee is looking for an infant to play baby Jesus during the Curt Cloninger program.  The baby will be used during the monologue during the end of the show.  Curt will be holding the child, talking to it, then handling him or her back to the parents.  If you have a friend or family member who has or will be expecting their child in October or November we would love to be able to contact them about this.  Any questions can be forwarded to Jane Murl (507-259-1726)


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.