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Testimonials

These testimonials were given verbally during services on October 15th, 2017 and October 22nd, 2017.

David Watkins


Good Morning!

My name is David Watkins. My wife and I have been members here since 1996 just prior to our wedding here in 1997. From the beginning of our relationship and our church membership, we always hoped to someday raise our family in this church.

A few years after joining, I was transferred away with my job. We moved away and returned to Lumberton in 2002. We attended church here a few times after we moved back but soon thereafter became very lazy and didn’t have an appreciation for the value we were missing by stopping our attendance.

During that ten plus year hiatus from this church, in 2013, my wife and I became pregnant with our first child. While we felt confident we could provide a nurturing and loving home for our child, we also knew he or she would need more.

It was during an eye appointment in October of 2015 with Dr. Mary Ann Masters, an FPC member and mother to two outstanding FPC youth members, when I shared with her our pregnancy news and questioned her about how things were at First Presbyterian. In a nutshell, she told me that David and Eva were great and we should visit. The very next Sunday, Rebecca and I assumed our old seats and have never looked back. When we arrived, Mrs. Peggy Edens was seated on the row behind us as she always had been prior to our departure more than ten years earlier and it was as though nothing had changed and time had stood still.

We feel very welcomed and have from the start. Upon our return, David and Eva have made themselves very available to us. Ms. Heather and Ms. Kay have made themselves very available to us. And, don’t tell Ms. Kay, Ms. Heather, or Ms. Eva, but our son is in love and doesn’t even know it yet. Just speaking those names brings such a smile to his face. Every Sunday morning, Rebecca and I have the opportunity to start our day with Linda and friends in the Experiencing God Sunday school class, our son participates in Sunday School, we share in worship during the 11:00 service, and we usually attend Wednesday night suppers to recently include our son’s participation in F.I.S.H. We have also participated in vacation bible school and various bible studies throughout our many years. The opportunities here seem endless, and as I hope is also true for you, each opportunity individually reinforces the importance of our family’s part in this larger Christian family.

As you might know, our children are so very precious to us. Our three year old loving, kind-hearted Mack and now our five month old beautiful, sweet-spirited Effie. But all credit goes to God, who through the birth of our first, Mack, re-sparked in us a need to be here – and, who, through the recent birth of our daughter, Effie, has re-confirmed in us our desire to be here. I joined in 1996. Rebecca was baptized here in 1996. Mack was baptized here last year. And, Effie will be baptized here soon. I firmly believe God has called us back to this very place. I firmly believe this is where our family is meant to be.

We feel blessed to have received and recognized God’s nudging of an invitation back to this church. We have been able to witness the excitement of our youth within our community and to witness specific outreaches such as Camp Monroe, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, various missions both local and foreign, our church’s response to the community following Hurricane Matthew, and outreach to members of our own church family when they need it the most. And, as a teacher with the Public Schools, I have had the privilege to interact with and teach some of First Presbyterian’s finest outside of this church environment – FPC’s finest as in, our youth. It is always quite obvious to me that these children are being raised in loving, Christian families, and I often hear them discussing their FPC experiences. These youth are wonderful testaments that what we are doing is important; that it is making an impact; that it is working. Proof we should continue to move forward. Reaching young people and turning them on to the love of Christ and their own belovedness should be our mission as parents, as teachers, as community leaders, as members in this larger Christian family.

During this stewardship campaign and always, my family and I are excited to share and give back financially in hopes of helping to ensure that others are able to share in these same blessings. No matter how much we give, it will never amount to any more than just a small, small percentage when compared to what God has given me and my family which includes the blessing of each other, the blessing of our children, the blessing of this church family, and ultimately and most importantly eternal salvation through Jesus’ life given on the cross.

Knowing that I am a beloved child of God makes a difference in my life.

I pray today that you will accept God’s love and commit to sharing it with others.

I give because He gave all for me.


Dan Kenney 
GOOD Morning!
I want to introduce myself two ways
First my worldly introduction-
My name is Dan Kenney –I grew up in Northern
NJ not far from New York City–I went to
college in NC-I HAVE BEEN married to Mira
Kenney for 37 years-am dad to five childrenone
beautiful granddaughter-and have been
blessed to have spent my entire professional
career in higher education.
Now my spiritual introduction-I am a child of
God –the same GOD that first loved you and I.
That love has allowed me to love others and
appreciate GIVING
That love has also guided me on a spiritual
journey that hasn’t always been a straight line. I
am not proud of this self-evaluation but I have
not always appreciated God’s love for me-today
that is not the case. I know God has a wonderful
plan for my life and accept it may not be my
plan.
My spiritual journey eventually led me to First
Presbyterian Church and this wonderful
congregation. Today Mira and I give of our
time, treasure and talents back to the church.
I want each of you to know how much I
appreciate the gifts I have received by being part
of First Presbyterian.
ONE-From 1986 up until 2014 each of the five
Kenney children either attended First
Presbyterian Day School or attended Youth-this
church helped shape their spiritual foundation
thank you for that GIFT of INFLUENCE.
TWO-long before I found my spiritual
destination my wife Mira had arrived and
landed at First Presbyterian. This church took
her in without judging that in the beginning it
wasn’t a husband & wife partnership because I
wasn’t at her side-THANK YOU for that GIFT
of ACCEPTANCE.
THIRD-I am blessed with many friends-a good
number of them are in this congregation-I will
omit some so forgive me if I leave you out but
the Masters-Haskins-Metzgers-Ransoms-
Roach’s Branches-Johnsons-Rozier’s-Neals-
Terranova’s-Osman’s-Miller’s and many others
have been with our family and supported us as
we endured the occasional tough times. More
importantly this congregation has been with us
to celebrate the multiple special occasions GOD
has blessed us with. Thank you for that GIFT of
FRIENDSHIP
Being the recipient of all the gifts I have
received from this church have made me
appreciate and realize that GIVING BACK is
part of the spiritual journey. Giving of your
time, giving financially, and giving your talent
all come with you receiving the gift of JOY.
That JOY is possible because I received the
greatest gift. I am a beloved Child of God.
I am quite certain at different points of my
spiritual journey I had people praying for me.
THANK YOU for the GIFT of PRAYER.
I will close by saying today I pray for each of
you. My pray is simply that you will accept
God’s gift of love, and commit to sharing it with
others.

Stan Carmical 
Could there be a worse Sunday than this Sunday to share a message on stewardship? Seriously, talking about stewardship to Presbyterians on Scottish Heritage Sunday?
We all familiar with jokes about the thrifty Scots. By mistake, Sandy put a 50 pence coin instead of 5 pence in the collection plate at church. Despite his entreaties, the minister refused to give it back to him. So for the next nine weeks, when the plate was passed round, he passed it on saying "Season ticket.”
A Scottish minister, was receiving tithes and offerings. One of his parishioners gave, but had a distinctly stingy attitude when parting with his money. As he put the gift away, the minister commented dryly, 'The Good Book says the Lord loves a cheerful giver, but the Presbyterian Church cannot be so choosy.’
How many Scotsmen does it take to change a light bulb? Och! It’s not that dark!
Has our church been stingy in our giving over the years? Clearly not and we have failed miserably to do our part to uphold the image of the miserly Scots. I have been a direct beneficiary of many years of First Presbyterian Church generosity.
I’ve been a member of this church since I was 12 years old. This congregation, together with several inspirational pastors, has nurtured my development as a Christian through the years and continues to do so today. Many of my most meaningful experiences in this church stem from my time in Sunday school and in Bible studies. As a youth I benefitted from extraordinary Sunday school teachers, notably Gertie Ballou, Kenneth McLean and Jim Hooks. I am grateful today for their dedication, commitment and enthusiasm for teaching the Bible to a group of youth that at times were bored, irreverent and intractable.
As an adult I have similarly benefited from outstanding teachers of the Word, in Lacy McKenzie class with teachers like Henry Hoot, Charlotte Nye, Woody Bowen and many others. Disciple bible study was a spiritual milestone for me and exposed me to the study of the Bible in a disciplined way that I had never experienced before. One of the highlights of my current spiritual life in our church is the men’s Bible study on Wednesday mornings. Brownie McLeod inspires me every Wednesday morning as he cheerfully and generously gives of his own studies of the scriptures, his insights into the Bible and his own deeply personal encounters with faith and life.
Week in and week out, year after year, First Presbyterian Church has demonstrated love of God and people by offering opportunities to read, learn and apply the Bible in my own life. I have no choice but to give back by giving of my time as I attempt to be a Sunday school teacher like the teachers that inspired me and by giving of my treasure to help make sure the doors of this church remain open to all.
Our stewardship theme this year is “We give because he gave all for us.” The only way we can respond to the gift of life that Jesus gave to us is to give joyously and generously ourselves. We First Presbyterians have failed to do our part upholding the reputation of the stingy Scot. We don’t give until it hurts; we give until it feels good.
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