Ionia First Presbyterian Church125 East Main Street, Ionia, MI 48846
Words from Pastor Chris
A Winter’s Tale In Summer
The Hallmark Channel, which my mom is fond of watching, features for two weeks in July movies about couples falling in love during the Christmas holidays. The movies collectively are presented under the theme “Christmas in July.” In the spirit of “Christmas in July,” then, I relate the following story, which takes place in winter. Now, at the risk of disappointing you, I have to say at the outset that a beautiful young couple does not profess their undying love for one another at the end. Nevertheless, the story is still worthwhile for us to ponder, and so I encourage you to stay with it until the end.
Long ago, a famous bishop paid a visit to a king in winter. The purpose of the visit was to evangelize the king and his realm. But before the bishop finished his presentation of the gospel, the king interrupted him, pointing to a sparrow that had just flown into the hall. “This is how our lives can be compared,” said the king, “with the time unknown to us.” He then went on to explain. “I am with my courtiers and advisors in wintertime, with the fire burning in the middle, and the hall heated, while winter storms are blowing everywhere outside and it is either raining or snowing. This sparrow has flown into the hall quickly; it came in through one door and will go out through the other. While inside, it is untouched by the winter storm, but that is only for a brief moment. Then it vanishes, from winter back into winter.” The king then looked away thoughtfully for a moment and then turned again to speak to the bishop. “This is how human life appears: just for a moment. What comes after or what went before we do not know at all. So, if this teaching you are presenting to me brings something more assured, it is right that we should follow it.”
Ecclesiastes 3:10 tells us that God has set eternity in the human heart, yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. But this is no reason to dread. For God has once for all revealed his intent for human life in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). This is the teaching “more assured” and it is right we should follow it.
Events At A Glance
Join us for worship: We are offering worship in person.
If you are fully vaccinated, feel free to be mask-free!
If you are NOT fully vaccinated, please wear a mask for the safety of yourself and others.
Join us on Facebook at
First Presbyterian Church
First Sunday of the month
Tuesday, August 17, 7:00 p.m.
Zion United Methodist Church soup kitchen is again serving a free meal on Thursdays at 6:00 PM. The church is located at 423 W. Washington Street. Everyone is invited to attend.
Our church has teamed with St. Johns Episcopal Church and Mercantile Bank to serve the meal provided on the 3rd Thursday of each month. Team members are Cindy Rozich, Judi Emlinger, Norma Kilpatrick, Marcia and Ernie Ross, and LouAnn Riesbig. Our thanks to these members who give of their time to help feed the hungry in the community.
We are resuming our Presbyterian Penny Project! On a table in the Memorial Room, you will see a five-gallon Culligan water jug that has been converted into a piggy bank. In the past the change we collected in it has been used to send the children our congregation supports to camp. We now will be donating your coins to the Friends of Jesus Fund. This is a fund to which the churches represented by the Ionia Ministerial Association contribute to help Ionia area residents in times of emergency. The amount collected in our jug will be designated for a homeless shelter, for which the churches are currently raising money. Thank you!
We continue to deliver groceries to two of our families. We also have two families that we stay in close contact with to see if any assistance is needed. They are determined to make it on their own and are to be admired for their effort. A big thank you to Jen Furman and Norma Kilpatrick for their continued support.
I was totally blown away by the generosity of Chuck and Mary VanLoan. Mary went to Costco and did some shopping on our behalf. She went far beyond what can be imagined. The table in the room adjacent to the kitchen is loaded. If you get a chance, stop by and look at the blessing she bestowed on us. It is so heartwarming to know that our church family is working with me on this project. I can never thank any of you enough for your support and assistance.
Get ready to resume regular worship services on September 12! On that day we will return to our normal style of worship including ushers, greeters and liturgists. There will be a special reception with coffee and refreshments after the service to mark the occasion! Come and worship with friends and fellow Christian sisters and brothers as we rejoice getting back to normal after a long hiatus due to covid.
The Ladies of Harmony Are Coming!
Save one of these dates to laugh and enjoy the play coming to First Presbyterian Church – September 24 or 25 at 7:30 PM or September 26 at 3:00 PM. The Ladies of Harmony are six gossipy church ladies planning a funeral dinner for a man they dislike, but when a large crowd arrives the next day, they endure a most embarrassing situation!
This mission project is being planned along with First United Methodist Church and Lyons-Muir Church as a fundraiser for a Homeless Shelter coming to Ionia. It has become an ecumenical event with several churches represented by the director, Jody Rewa, as well as the cast members. Crucial to the project is our own Pam Robinson who has done a yeoman’s job of recruiting participants! Cast members include Katie Lytle, LaFonna Kananen, Chris Horvath, Chandra Polasek, Emily Perry, and Pam Robinson with special guest Helene Dunn.
We hope all of our members will plan to attend one of these performances, not only to experience a fun evening with several surprises in store but to support the fundraising effort. Tickets are $10 and will be available beginning Sunday, August 29.
August 1 – Margaret Gregory and Norma Kilpatrick
August 8 – Judi Emlinger and Cindy Rozich
August 15 – Kathy VanSyckle and Carol Campbell
August 22 – Jen Furman and Cindy Rozich
August 29 – Margaret Gregory and Norma Kilpatrick
5 JoAnn Fuhrman
5 Megan Ransom
8 Brand Bronsema
8 Braxton Renucci
9 Susan Shaver
15 Thomas Cox, Jr.
19 Faraiya Hubbard
25 Warren Thompson
27 Lee Hunsberger
28 Patrick Folaron
28 Sally Wilcox
Session Highlights from June
~ Alexandra and Zach were officially married in the church May 29.
~ Pastor Chris noted we have started to introduce new music in our Sunday services.
~ The Ionia Ministerial Association welcomes new pastor Bill Johnson to Zion UMC. Bill replaces retiring pastor Larry Nalett.
~ Four applications for Kosbar Scholarships were received. The committee will meet in late July or early August to determine award amounts.
~ Soup kitchen is resuming at Zion Methodist Church. Our church will provide a volunteer team every third Thursday.
~ Summer office hours will be adjusted for summer. Summer hours will be posted at the entrances.
~ Fully vaccinated congregants no longer need to wear a mask at worship. We still recommend a mask if you are not vaccinated. People will be asked to sign in their contact information.
Outdoor Discovery Center
A trip to the Outdoor Discovery Center is scheduled for July 30. We will have an individual working with our group. The program is Up Close and Personal. It will include reptiles, mammals, and birds. This is open to all of our church family, young and “semi-young!” Please try to join us. We will be having a picnic following the program. For more information, please contact Mary Williams, at 269-838-6671.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for linking us together
in the fellowship of your church;
where we can find those honest enough to help us
recognize our own follies and biases,
and where we can learn to assist others
without patronizing them,
and to help the needy without humiliating them,
to forgive as we are forgiven,
and to be all things to all people
by meekly serving without qualification.
Through Christ Jesus, our masterly servant.
– Bruce D. Prewer 1931-2018
Session Members / Ministry Team Chairperson / Committee Member
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
Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982
Newsletter, Calendar and more at 1stpreschurchionia.com
Summer Church Office Hours-Tuesday 12-3; Wednesday 9-3; Thursday 9-1