First Presbyterian Church of Bismarck

​​​​​Pastor Leanne's Message for the month of May 2024


    Congratulations: 50 Years of Bells!

          I am amazed at things that have many pieces, but work together in harmony; when I was in Germany, I had the pleasure of visiting an antique clock shop, and upon finding out that I was American the excited owner proceeded to open the backs of several clocks and explain the contributions that Americans had made to the inner workings of clocks. He was enchanted and enchanting – clearly  keen on giving me a special treat, with enthusiasm he compared the workings of gears and weights and pendulums, quite pleased to find someone who was interested in his information. It was a wonder to me, hypnotic to watch – all the tiny pieces turning and clicking just as they ought – and he even gave me a good deal on a cuckoo clock. A lot of genius went into those clocks and their intricate workings.

I had the same wonder when I was in China, watching traffic flow from my hotel room which was many, many, floors up. I admit, when I was standing on the curb, the traffic in Beijing was terrifying – I was laughingly told that the first things Americans have to learn in China is how to cross the street! Huge buses and bicycles, fancy sedans, and crazy motorized one-person vehicles, zipped in and out of lanes, and I could discern no rules. But from above, looking down on the traffic, it was a marvel: the cars moved along in a kind of coordinated chaos, and looked like one great powerful snake making its way along with a deliberate plan, all its parts cooperating and moving in harmony. As night fell and the car lights came on, the effect was actually quite beautiful and        mesmerizing – it took my breath away.

I have the same sense of marvel when I watch and see the Westminster Chimes at work. How do they do it!?! It is a wonder to me, how separate people can make up the moving parts of joy and beauty – often with multiple bells in their hands, in coordinated motion, and coming together in harmony to bless the church with their gifts. 

Sometimes I will fix my eyes on one-person, other times I will watch Lael as she directs with a generous spirit, other times I will try to take their playing in as a whole, enchanted by the constant motion as much as the flow of any rippling river. I am always in awe and delight. I have pastored a church with a bell choir before, and now so blessed, I would not like to be without it. I wish all the world worked like a bell choir – each individual playing their part for a unified   glorious whole – that would be so gratifying!

This month our bells celebrate their 50th anniversary of ministry to this church, and I want to personally thank Lael and the ringers who put so much work into the gift of music they give us. Behind each offering of musical wonder, there is an enormous amount of work and practice. Lael and the Westminster Chimes members lug around heavy tables, clean and maintain precious bells, bake caramel rolls to fund their efforts, and much, much more – and with each gift of music, they ask us not to clap (though the urge is strong!) because what they  offer us is worship, not entertainment, and all they do is for the glory of God!

We are so blessed here with amazing musicians – our choir, our organists, and pianists, vocal and directing talent, individual gifted with instruments skill… how thankful I am for the way music focuses the mind and soul on the wonder of God’s love. Thank you SO much to you all! 

Happy 50th Anniversary Westminster Chimes! We appreciate you!  

Leanne  ​

​​​2024 SCHOLARSHIPS

​ The Scholarship Committee of First Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce the availability of a limited number of scholarships for our church community. To be eligible for consideration to receive a scholarship, a student must be an active member of First Presbyterian Church of Bismarck or must have been an active participant in the life of First Presbyterian Church of Bismarck for at least three years. The awards are given for students at any level of study beyond high school. Four years is the maximum for receiving scholarships: these need not be consecutive years. Graduate students may apply for scholarships, providing they are within the four year maximum.

The deadline to apply is May 17, 2024


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First Presbyterian Church

is a Community called to love God through Worship and Prayer, receiving and serving our neighbors with the compassion of Christ, open to new beginnings and the spiritual growth of children, youth and adults. 

First Presbyterian Church
214 E. Thayer Ave. Bismarck, ND
Phone: (701) 223-6091 

OFFICE HOURS: MONDAY-FRIDAY 8:00AM - 4:30PM

Email: firstpresbyterian@fpcbismarck.com 


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​We encourage you to continue to love your neighbor well at this time. Hebrews 13:16 challenges us to“dowhat is good and to share, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”Thank you for being the Church. 

Are you in need of assistance that you can not get help?  Email firstpresbyterian@fpcbismarck or call      701-223-6091 and let us know how we can help.


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