Ionia First Presbyterian Church125 East Main Street, Ionia, MI 48846
Words from Pastor Chris
Why Do We Presbyterians Worship the Way We Do?
(This is the second of a three-part series)
We’ve begun to reflect on what we Presbyterians do when we gather together to worship God. We want to continue to delve into this subject in this second of a projected three-part series. Consider it as an important piece of instruction. The ancients called it “liturgical catechesis,” by which they meant instruction in the rhythm and meaning of worship.
Last time we saw that in the immensity of his power, in the splendor of his majesty, God evokes our awe, wonder and praise. What can be a more fitting response than singing a hymn of adoration? God is in our midst! But in this very action, in which we discover that God is really among us, we become aware that God is perfect in justice, goodness and holiness. What then should follow as our response?
If your answer is “Confession of Sins,” then you show a good grasp of the rhythm of Presbyterian worship. As God’s image-bearers, we ought to be just, good, and holy ourselves. But we are not, at least not perfectly. That is why we confess our sins before God. To sin, according to one definition, is to “miss the mark.” In our confession, we bring before God the many ways we “miss the mark” in our thoughts, words and actions.
Having confessed our sins, we recall the promises of God’s redemption, in which we hear about God’s desire to forgive our sins and restore us to new life. We call this the Assurance of Pardon. The assurance of God’s forgiving grace is declared to us in the name of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. By his death, Christ removed our sins. By his resurrection, Christ restores us to new life.
The Gloria follows. It expresses our grateful acknowledgment of the God of our salvation, who is Triune. Salvation comes from the Father through the Son, with whom we are united in faith by the Holy Spirit. Having been reconciled with God through Christ in one Spirit, we now have peace with God and with one another. Thus, we share with one another the Passing of the Peace.
Our worship then moves into the reading, preaching and hearing of God’s Word. Important in this regard is the Holy Spirit. Apart from the Holy Spirit, we cannot hear and discern God’s Word clearly. That is why we ask God to make his Word understandable to us by the power of the Holy Spirit. We refer here to the Prayer for Illumination.
Events At A Glance
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First Presbyterian Church Ionia
First Sunday of the Month
Christmas Eve Service
Then the lessons for the day are read, and the sermon based on one or both of them is preached. Worship has often been described as a dialogue. We speak to God in our singing and praying, while God speaks to us in the reading and preaching of the Scriptures. Together these serve to communicate God’s Word to us. The Presbyterian tradition has a high view of this part of worship. Indeed, in the Second Helvetic Confession, we read: “The preaching of the Word of God is the Word of God.”
God wants to speak with you and me. Amazing, isn’t it? He wants to declare to us his love. He wants to assure us of his grace and mercy. He wants to encourage us by his promises. He wants to correct our course by his parental discipline. He wants to guide us on the right path by his wisdom. All this he does and more through his Word read and preached. The great Creator of the universe wants to speak to us both personally and corporately. This is beyond imagining! What kind of response should this evoke in us?
Hold that thought, because we will return to it next time in the third and final part of our series.
Local Mission News
Groceries were still being delivered to our church families during November including turkeys for Thanksgiving. A huge thank you to Shalyn Ralston for the donation of a deer. Venison has been provided to three of our families, and we have more for future delivery. This donation was definitely a blessing.
Thank you to all who continue to support this ministry.
Mary Williams, Coordinator
IONIA HEAD START NEWS
Sixty Ionia Head Start families received Thanksgiving pumpkin pies in November. Please know Ionia Walmart generously donated all 60 pies which they have not done previously, so THANK YOU. (The cost of one pie was $3.98.) A separate Mission offering was collected for pies before Walmart’s decision was disclosed; therefore that $127 will be used for future Head Start needs or requests.
Due to COVID they are unable to have classroom volunteers at this time. Head Start would welcome boys/girls warm coats, snow pants, hats and gloves size infant thru 6 or 7 for their students. If you are able to provide new or gently used items, please put them in the shopping cart soon since cold weather is here.
Our congregation has partnered with Eight Cap, Head Start programs for many years understanding the importance of early learning. You have been supportive of the book collections in the Spring. Thank you for your continued support.
Sue Thompson, Head Start Liaison
The Advent season has begun! Join us as we prepare for our Saviors birth. The Advent candles will be lit each week, celebrating the season of hope, proclamation, joy, and purity. We will be having a Christmas Eve service on December 24th at 7:00 pm. The service will be live streamed and posted on our Facebook page.
The poinsettias you will see in the sanctuary will be donated.
A Session member donated $20 to wrap a lamppost with the tag indicating First Presbyterian Church in memory of Sue Reglin and David Hanson.
Sunday Worship Workers
December 5 Ushers/Greeters Margaret Gregory, Norma Kilpatrick
Liturgist Lew Campbell
December 12 Ushers/Greeters Jim and Kathy VanSyckle
Liturgist Cindy Rozich
December 19 Usher/Greeters Jen Furman and Cindy Rozich
Liturgist Jim VanSyckle
6 Pam Robinson
9 Marcia Ross
29 David Hoover
The Annual Congregational meeting is January 30, 2022 immediately following the worship service. All reports need to be emailed or delivered to the administrative office no later than January 17th.
Session Highlights for October 19
~ Pastor Chris and Cindy Rozich served in home communion to four members and friends who are unable to attend in-person worship.
~ Session sent a thank you and gift certificate to Dave Williams who made and donated the walnut racks for care notes.
~ Two members have indicated a willingness to teach Sunday school during the worship. Christian Education and Pastor Chris will work out a coordinated plan since he is meeting with the same youth to explore confirmation.
~ The play,The Ladies of Harmony, performed at our church raised $3,145 for the group pursuing a homeless shelter in Ionia.
~ The church continues to show a positive cash flow through September. Donations have exceeded expenses.
~ Several church members and friends voluntarily maintain the church grounds tending the lawns and gardens. When the opportunity presents itself, we should thank Warren, Duane, Perry, Margaret and Marilyn.
~ Food delivery to one family will continue at least through the end of the year.
~ Membership and Care members have been visiting members who have been unable to attend in-person worship.
~ The bell choir has resumed practice to the joy of all the players and the director. They look forward to their first performance in early December. Their first number will be “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”
~Session voted to change how the offering is collected. Rather than passing an offering plate, a basket will be placed at the entrance to the sanctuary.
The Greatest Gift-Giver
When we give each other Christmas presents in [God’s] name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans — and all that lives and moves upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused. And to save us from our own foolishness, from all our sins, he came down to earth and gave us himself.
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
Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982
Newsletter, Calendar and more at 1stpreschurchionia.com
Summer Church Office Hours-Tuesday 12-3; Wednesday 9-3