The Presbyletter

Ionia First Presbyterian Church125 East Main Street, Ionia, MI 48846

April 2021

Message From Pastor Chris

Convenience or Quality of Life?

The “virtualization” of the physical world has been a powerful trend in recent years. So much of the work we used to transact and the play we used to enjoy together in public has migrated online. With the onset of Covid, the trend has only accelerated and likely will not reverse even after the pandemic recedes. Now at the pandemic’s one-year mark, we ought to pause to reflect how far we want or are even able to accommodate ourselves to this trend.

When it became clear that the spread of the coronavirus posed a public health threat, our governor issued a series of executive orders to close public gathering spaces. All at once, the shops and businesses on which we used to depend for the purchase of goods and services were shuttered. The schools to which we used to send our children to be educated were closed. Bars and restaurants where we used to go to meet our friends were shut down. And last but not least, the churches where we used to gather for public worship were forced to stream services online. Granted, at no time were we prevented from going to the grocery and the big-box stores for our basic necessities. But soon, more and more of us discovered websites and apps through which, with one click, we could have much of what we got there delivered right to our doorstep.

Observers of this trend point out that it has made life so much more convenient in many ways. That may be true, but at what price? In his upcoming book 4,000 Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, Oliver Burkeman notes that our increasing reliance on our electronic devices thanks to the greater convenience they bring to our lives, can, ironically enough, diminish the quality of them. He argues that it is often the unanticipated friction in life that slows us down long enough to forge meaningful connections with others.

For example, instead of opting for direct deposit, I indicated recently to the church that I still wanted to receive a paper check in the mail each pay period. This affords me the opportunity to go to the bank at least twice a month and chat with the tellers about people, places, and things. While they deposit my checks week after week, month after month—well, it’s the accumulation of all these “inconvenient” encounters with actual human beings that generates a sense of community and rootedness in one’s life. I know each of them by name, as they do mine. One of them even has my account information memorized, sparing me from having to produce it for her when it’s my turn in line.

Burkeman draws the conclusion that the introduction of widespread conveniences at scale (like direct deposit) deprives people of opportunities to serendipitously engage with the people in their communities.

This is not to deny how important—even necessary—our electronic devices have been during the lockdown. In times of pandemic, in which we must limit our contacts with others to prevent spread, they’ve enabled us to carry on our daily lives with little or no interruption.

But there will be a time post-pandemic. Most of us will not give up our Amazon Prime or Uber Eats memberships then, but will we at least consider how we can re-organize our Covid lockdown routines to make time for the face-to-face encounters?

Holy Week is approaching. On Maundy Thursday, we will hear the “new command” that Jesus gives to his disciples: that they love one another (John 13:34). For Jesus and the disciples, fulfilling this command apart from the face-to-face encounter was unimaginable. Can we still imagine it? Are we willing to make time for it post-pandemic?

Events at a Glance

10:00 a.m.

Join us for worship: We are offering worship in-person with precautions

or join us for online services on Facebook at First Presbyterian Church Ionia 

Palm Sunday Worship
March 28 10:00 a.m.

Maundy Thursday
Communion Service
April 1    7:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday Worship
April 4  10:00 a.m.
Session Meeting
April 27   7:00 p.m. 

PerCapita Dues

It is never too late for you to pay your portion of the per capita to the Presbytery of Lake Michigan. For 2021, the per capita for each active member is $35.23 (General Assembly $8.98, Synod of the Covenant $3.25, Presbytery of LM $23.00). Our total of $2,360.41 is based on 67 members as of12/31/20.

As in the past, the Budget and FinanceCommittee is always very appreciative of members paying their own per capita. If you are able to do so, please indicate your $35.23 is for your per capita.

Maundy Thursday Service

During Holy Week, on Thursday, April 1, we will be meeting in the sanctuary at 7 p.m.for in-person worship including communion. Alternatively, people may access the online version of the service on Facebook.

We will continue to be vigilant and follow the corona virus CDC guidelines and protocol. We will take temperatures, require masks and complete questionnaires for contact tracing. Social distancing is also part of our protocol. 

1     Cindy Rozich
6     Ian Rozich
11    Shelly Reglin
12    Mary Williams
15    Emily Rozich
Duane Emlinger 

~ Pastor’s Vacation ~

Pastor Chris will be on vacation from April 12 to April 24. While Pastor Chris is gone, Steve Zeoli will be our guest preacher on both the 18th and 25th. A recent graduate of Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI, Steve is a documentary filmmaker and ruling elder at Westport Presbyterian Church in Kansas City, MO. He is currently undergoing his examinations for ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Mission News

Simply Give Campaign 

Beginning April 3 and continuing through April 10, the Meijer Store is again sponsoring a Simply Give program. During this time, Meijer matches whatever amount of money a participant gives. For example, if one gives $10, Meijer also donates $10. However, for one day only, Saturday, April 3, Meijer will double match each donation; so for every $10 given, Meijer will donate $20!

These funds are donated to the Zion Methodist Food Pantry which serves all of Ionia County. The last Simply Give campaign was able to donate $20,000 to the Pantry! The funds are used to supplement the items which are needed to supply the Pantry.

When you are doing your last-minute Easter grocery shopping on April 3, why not take the opportunity to donate whatever amount you like, so this worthy cause receives the double match from Meijer. Those hit hardest by the pandemic thank you!

Grocery Ministry

Pastor Chris, Margaret, and I will deliver groceries to our families on March 31st. Because it is so close to Easter, we will include items for a complete Easter dinner. 

Because we are now servicing four families, there is an even greater need for support. Please prayerfully consider assisting with this project. A very heartfelt thank you to Sarah Jane Hanson and family, Norma Kilpatrick, and Jen Furman for their recent donations. Your generosity is very much appreciated.     Mary Williams

Our Volunteers

These volunteers will greet folks at the door, check temperatures, take questionnaires for contact tracing, and have masks available if needed.

April 4: Margaret Gregory and Norma Kilpatrick
April 11: Kathy VanSyckle and Carol Campbell
April 18: Cindy Rozich and Judi Emlinger
April 25: Margaret Gregory and Norma Kilpatrick


We are happy to welcome into our church Zach Naab and Alexandra Spooner. Both will be received into full communion with us through the sacrament of baptism on Easter Sunday. Be sure to give them a warm reception!

Holy Hilarity

Easter is the only time when it’s perfectly safe to put all your eggs in one basket.

Knock knock. Who’s there? Hatch. Hatch who? God bless you!

What should you do after eating so many Easter treats? Eggs-ercise!

Why shouldn’t you tell an Easter egg a joke? It might crack up!

Loving God, we thank and praise you
         for the wonder and mystery of Easter:
Baffling our human wisdom
         yet filling our minds with immortal truth,
bringing many unanswerable questions
         yet uplifting our faith,
challenging our religious assumptions
         yet creating in us a cup overflowing with grace
to be eagerly shared with thirsty others
        irrespective of status, color, or race. 
In the name of Christ Jesus;
         Amen!                       -Bruce D. Prewer 1931-2018

Session Members / Ministry Team Chairperson / Committee Member

Judi Emlinger*   –  Christian Education, Nominating
 Perry Gregory   –  Building/Grounds
Lee Hunsberger*  –   Stewardship/Budget and Finance
Norma Kilpatrick*  –  Treasurer/Budget and Finance
Norma Kilpatrick   –  Memorials and Investments
 Barb Klenk  –  Treasurer

 Marilyn McKay*   –  Mission
Cindy Rozich    –    * Worship
Keith Sterner*   –  Personnel
Warren Thompson*  –  Building/Grounds
Mary Williams*  –  Christian Education
Margaret Gregory  –  Clerk of Session
Kathy VanSyckle*   –  Worship

First Presbyterian Staff

Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn
Sara Hyland
Steve Slaughter

Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982
Administrative Assistant

Newsletter, Calendar and more at
Church Office Hours-Monday through Thursday
9:00 AM-12:00 PM, Ph# 616-527-2320 

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