Sunday, August 29th: The Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The flowers in the sanctuary were presented to the glory of God by Karen and Steve Castellaw, in loving memory of Kay Smith.
The Sacred Sounds Handbell Choir opened the service by ringing “Our Lord and King Adore!” by Douglas Wagner.
Pastor Curtis Fussell read Mark 7:1-6 and 17-21 as the morning’s scripture, dealing with the Pharisees’ tradition of ceremonial handwashing, and their admonishment of Jesus and his disciples for not following the letter of the law in that ritual.
Pastor Emily Wilmarth spoke with Katherine about rituals in our daily life and their effect on us, in the Moment for Children.
Curtis preached on “Rituals for Spiritual Living” calling us to make habits of rituals that bring us to a closer walk with God.

Pastor Emily offered the Prayers of God’s People and the Lord’s Prayer.
The Handbell Choir rang out “How Can I Keep From Singing?”–an English folk tune arranged by Sondra K. Tucker. Angie Jenkins closed the service with “Fugue and Harmonization on St. Anne” by J.S. Bach.

Sunday, August 22: The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

The flowers in the sanctuary were given to the glory of God in loving memory of Betty Outerbridge by her daughter, Laura Doherty.
We were thrilled to have Flora Cole, granddaughter of Andrea and Carlton Cole, open the worship service with a harp Prelude this Sunday. She beautifully played an arrangement by Kim Robertson of “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”
Flora also played Gustav Holst’s “I Vow to Thee” as the Offertory. Flora is a rising 6th grader and lives with her parents in Annapolis, MD. She has been playing the harp for almost three years.
Pastor Emily Wilmarth invited all to enter into worship with the Welcome, Opening Litany, Call to Confession and Assurance of Pardon.
Pastor Curtis Fussell brought a sparring outfit to demonstrate “putting on the whole armor of God” in his Moment for Children.
As the morning’s scripture, Emily read Ephesians 6:10-20, in which Paul advised the Church to be strong in the Lord to stand against evil.
Emily’s sermon, “Love Matters,” emphasized our calling to use God’s gifts not as a war cry but as tools by which we may live into God’s grace, reclaiming the truth that we are chosen by God to stand together as the beloved body of Christ.
The Reverend Tom Tewell offered a “Moment of Gratitude” and referenced our Zick Pastoral Scholars Retreat this coming week.
Pastor Curtis offered the Prayers of God’s People and led worshippers in the Lord’s Prayer.
Emily gave he Benediction
Organist Angie Jenkins closed the service with the powerful “Voluntary in Bb” by R.G. Thompson.

August 18 Interlude—Georgia State University School of Music presents “Opera: Funny, Serious and More”

W. Dwight Coleman, Artistic Director, GSU School of Music

Georgia State University vocalists Maria Margiolakou, soprano, and Ryan Henry, baritone, under direction of W. Dwight Coleman and accompanied by Rolando Salazar, pianist, performed a selection of opera pieces including a humorous sketch dealing with a young woman’s obsession with the telephone, to the dismay of the young man attempting to ask her to marry him.

Sunday, August 15: Kirkin’ Sunday

The flower baskets on the chancel wall were given to the glory of God by Obie Oakley’s family in celebration of his birthday.

Each year, First Presbyterian Church commemorates our denomination’s Scottish heritage with a Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan service, in which participants process into the sanctuary carrying banners representing their clan’s tartan, and receive the Church’s blessing on their clan. You may find more information on the origins and details of this tradition at this site: http://www.fpchighlands.com/docs/KirkinTartans.pdf

The standard-bearers pose for a group shot.

Beadle Duncan Greenlee led the processional into the sanctuary carrying the great Bible. Accompanied by Angie Jenkins on organ, bagpipers Margaret Tooke and Glen Morris marched ahead of the standard-bearers, piping “Highland Cathedral” as the Prelude.

The Processional
Pipers Glen Morris and Margaret Tooke
Standard-Bearer Scott McDuff
Standard-Bearer Pat Patrick

Pastor Curtis Fussell offered the Opening Litany, Prayer of Confession and Assurance of God’s Grace. The morning’s scripture reading was Ephesians 1:17-23, and Curtis’ sermon considered the ways in which God’s hand directs our path, comforts and holds us in every aspect of our lives.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth spoke with Katherine Lancaster during the Children’s Moment.
As Offertory, the Chancel Choir sang Philip Stopford’s “Christ Is Our Cornerstone.”
Pastor Emily Wilmarth offered the Prayers of God’s People and led the congregation in The Lord’s Prayer.

The worship service included a Necrology and Memorial Prayer for all those in our congregation who have passed on into the Church Triumphant since last August. Bagpipers Margaret and Glan played “The Flowers of the Forest” as a Remembrance.

Pastor Curtis closed the service with the Charge and Benediction.
The Recessional

Immediately following the worship service, a “Kirkin’ Parade” took place down Highlands’ Main Street. Beadle Duncan and the bagpipers again led the standard-bearers, pealing out hymns from the Scottish Highlands as they marched.

Margaret Tooke and Glen Morris

Sunday, August 8: The Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

The flowers this morning were presented to the glory of God by Kat Evans in celebration of Annelize Giliomee’s birthday.
Special thanks to our guest musicians, Mariya Potapova, violinist, and Lillian Buss Pearson, pianist.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth offered the morning’s Welcome, Opening Litany, Prayer of Confession, and assurance of God’s grace.
Pastor Curtis Fussell and Kathryn Lancaster engaged in the Children’s Moment.
The Chancel Choir sang “Our of the Depths” by Richard Frost as the anthem.
The Chancel Choir was accompanied in the anthem by Mariya Potapova on violin and Lillian Buss Pearson on piano.
Pastor Emily read Ephesians 4:25—5:2 as the morning’s scripture.
Emily’s sermon focused on Paul’s words to the Ephesians to be “imitators of Christ.”
Mariya Potapova and Lillian Pearson performed “Vocalise” from Opus 34, No. 13 by Sergey Rachmaninoff as the Offertory.
Pastor Curtis led the congregation in the Prayers of God’s People and the Lord’s Prayer.
A short congregational meeting was called to elect members to the Nominating Committee, after which Emily closed the service with the Benediction. Angie Jenkins played “Rigaudon” by Andre Campra on the Pipe Organ.

Musical Interludes and Concerts, Summer 2021

We have been happy to bring back our summer Interlude program this year, after missing out in 2020. On July 7 the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival presented two concerts in our sanctuary: “Musical Fireworks” with Dr. William Ransom, pianist and director of the festival, Charae Krueger, cellist, and Alice Hong, violinist, performing.

Dr. William Ransom, pianist and festival director

Will Ransom and Charae Krueger, cellist

Will Ransom and Charae Krueger, cellist played to a full house.
Alice Hong, violinist, and Will Ransom
ice Hong and Charae Krueger
Will Ransom, Alice Hong and Charae Krueger

On July 8 a Children’s Concert, also offered by the Chamber Music Festival, featured a performance of “Peter & the Wolf” and “Ferdinand the Bull” narrated by Lois Reitzes with musicians Alice Hong on violin and pianists Julie Coucheron and William Ransom. A child-pleasing ice cream social sponsored by Kilwins followed in Coleman Hall.


Lois Reitzes with Alice Hong, violin
Alice Hong, violinist

Lois Reitzes with musicians Alice Hong on violin and pianists Julie Coucheron and William Ransom
Volunteers serving up Kilwin’s ice cream
Enjoying the after party!

On July 21 the Trey Clegg Singers offered a stirring vocal concert entitled “Lift Every Voice.”

Trey Clegg with the Chamber Singers
Trey Clegg on piano

The August 4 Interlude featured Stell Huie, baritone, Angie Jenkins, pianist, and Larry Black, trumpeter. Stell performed a varied selection of love songs, show tunes, spirituals and patriotic hymns.

Larry Black and Angie Jenkins provided “intermission” music on trumpet and piano.
Larry Black made Stell a presentation
Larry presented Stell with a treatise on flugelhorns, addressing a previous question by Stell.

Sunday, July 25: The Ninth Sunday after Pentecost


The beautiful flowers in the sanctuary this morning were presented to the glory of God by Jean and Bob Markley in honor of their family.

The Sacred Sounds Handbell Choir opened the service by ringing an arrangement of “Jesus In the Morning” by Bill Ingram, as the Prelude.
Later in the service the Bell Choir rang “Raindrop Prelude, Opus 28, No. 15” by Chopin as the Offertory.

Pastor Curtis Fussell spoke with the children about being rooted in God’s love.

Curtis used a live flowering plant to demonstrate his points to the children.

The Chancel Choir sang Philip Stopford’s “For He Is Our Peace” as the morning’s anthem.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth preached on Ephesians 3:14-21, in which Paul exhorts the church at Ephesus to be “rooted and grounded in love” and thus to be filled with the spirit of Christ and strengthened with his power to live in that love. Emily asked the congregation to pray for our church, that this body also grow from strong roots to vibrant, living branches that reach out to the world in love.

Curtis offered the Prayers of God’s People and the Lord’s Prayer.

Angie Jenkins closed the service with the Postlude, “Marche Royale” by Jean-Babtiste Lully, arranged by Hal Hopson.

Sunday, July 18: The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost


We were blessed this Sunday morning to have Cameron Nixon, bagpiper, with us to provide our Prelude, “Hyfrydol” by Rowland Prichard.

It was a joy to have our Chancel Choir back in the choir loft after an absence of over a year.

Pastor Curtis Fussell gave the Welcome, Opening LItany, Call to Confession and Assurance of God’s Grace.

Pastor Emily Wilmarth gave the Children’s Moment.

Emily unwrapped a gift box to demonstrate the greatest gift we can receive: God’s grace.

The Chancel Choir joyfully sang out “With a Voice of Singing” by Martin Shaw.

The Chancel Choir also sang a beautifully contemplative rendition of “Amazing Grace” in response to the sermon.

Organist Angie Jenkins accompanied the choir, and played Carol Tornquist’s “Hymn Medly” as the Offertory and “Voluntary on Engelberg” by Charles Stanford as Postlude.

Pastor Curtis preached on the gift of God’s grace for all, regardless of our deserving, based on a reading of Ephesians 2:1-10.
Curtis gave the Charge and Benediction, with an invitation to lunch!

Following the worship service we were treated to a congregational luncheon prepared by Marty Rosenfield and the Congregational Care committee.

Sunday, July 11: The Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

The flowers in the sanctuary were presented to the glory of God by Betty Fisher in loving memory of the Crawford and Fisher families.
Betty Fisher lovingly grew and tended these beautiful flowers in her own garden.
Organist Angie Jenkins opened the service with the Prelude: “Reflection on Bunessan” arranged by Andrew Moore.
The sanctuary was nearly full to capacity this morning. We have been slowly working through the transitional period after the Covid interruption of services.
Pastor Emily Wilmarth welcomed all worshippers and gave the Opening Litany, Prayer of Confession and Assurance of God’s Grace.
Her sermon was based on Ephesians 1:1-14, and focused on the assurance that we were chosen by Christ before the creation of the world, to dwell in the love of God. This “chosen-ness” in no way is meant to exclude certain people, but rather is a promise that God’s grace is given for all.
Pastor Curtis offered the Prayers of God’s People, The Lord’s Prayer and the Offertory Prayer.
We were blessed to have baritone Steve Ozcomert with us to sing an arrangement of “Deep River” by Harry Burleigh.
Angie Jenkins accompanied Steve on piano.

Following Emily’s benediction, Angie closed the service with “Alleluia from Exsultate Jubilate” by Mozart as the Postlude.
All were invited to “Pass the Peace on the Patio” with coffee, lemonade and pastries after the worship service.