Inner Peace and Joy 

Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn 

Earlier this month I had a conversation with someone in the congregation about worship ser- vices during this time of year. He informed me that in response to the emotional pain with which many struggle during the holiday season, some churches hold “blue Christmas” ser- vices. Singing familiar Christmas carols can serve as a tonic to the Christmas blues, temporar- ily relieving the suffering of those afflicted with them. 

I acknowledged the phenomenon, to which I am no stranger myself, and even drew attention to it in an Advent sermon. Interestingly, very recently I received an email from a marketer who had given to it the name, “seasonal sorrow.” He also provided a simple definition: “a feeling of profound distress caused by one’s own emotional problems, exacerbated by the general ex- pectation that one should be excited and jolly at this time of year.” The tonic in this case was something advertised as an “emotional first aid kit,” which evidently consists of a box contain- ing wise emergency advice for 20 difficult situations in life. I deleted the email before I found out how much the kit cost. 

We need not feel guilt or shame for not feeling excited or jolly at this time of year. But neither need we ever feel we have to forfeit the peace and joy that are ours in Christ. These do not de- pend on external circumstances, but on the promise of God’s word. In this regard, we do well to follow the example of Mary. When hearing the words of the gospel proclaimed by the shep- herds on that first Christmas night, Mary treasured and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19). On another occasion, another Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, listening to his every word. In so doing, she chose the one thing necessary, which she would never have to give up (Luke 10:42). Indeed, Jesus tells his disciple this same “thing” so that in him they may have peace (John 16: 33). On another occasion, he speaks to them so that his joy may be in them, and that their joy may be complete (John 15:11). 

Let us be careful to listen to God’s word during this holiday season, that we too may know the peace and joy that Christ gives, 

Have a blessed Christmas. 

On the Calendar this month…

1/2 10:00 A.M. Travelogue

1/5 10:00 A.M. Worship, Communion, Missions, Sunday School

11:00 A.M. Fellowship and Refreshments

11:30 A.M. Children’s Choir

1/7   9-11:15 A.M. Office hours (Deb has lunch date)

1/8 9:30 A.M. Quilters 

9:00—12:45 Office hours

1/9 1-3 P.M. Prayer Shawl Group

1/12 10:00 A.M. Worship 

11:00 A.M. Fellowship and Refreshments

11:30 A.M. Children’s Choir

1/15 9:30 A.M. Quilters

1/16 5:00 P.M. Soup Kitchen 

Deadline for Annual Reports and February newsletter items

1/19 10:00 A.M. Worship 

11:00 A.M. Fellowship and Refreshments

11:30 A.M. Children’s Choir

1/21 7:00 P.M. Session Meets

1/22 9:30 A.M. Quilters

1/23 1-3 P.M. Prayer Shawl Group
1/26

10:00 A.M. Worship 

11:00 A.M. Fellowship and Refreshments

11:30 A.M. Children’s Choir Congregations Annual Meeting

1/29 9:30 A.M. Quilters

1/30 1-3 P.M. Prayer Shawl Group 

10:00 A.M. Worship, Sunday School

11:00 A.M. Fellowship and Refreshments

11:30 A.M. Children’s Choir

January Birthdays

1/2 Jen Furman

1/6 Jan Arnold

1/7 Bill Robinson

1/12 Tyler VanSyckle

1/19 Nola Patterson

1/26 Emily Sykes

1/29 Norma Kilpatrick

1/31 Ginny Hmay

Soup Kitchen

Time off

Please note the “Presbyterians on the Go” will continue meeting the first Thursday of each month at 10:30 A.M. for a travelogue. Everyone is welcome to come, young or old.

It is a pleasure to announce that seven families from our church were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey dinner compliments of special angels. Additionally, these same families were able to enjoy ham dinner for Christmas 

Congregational meeting notice 

Our annual congregational meeting has been scheduled for Sunday, January 26, 2020 immediately following our worship service. As in the past, the committee chairperson is responsible for writing the yearly report. All reports for the meeting must be submitted to the church office by January 16th at noon. Thank you for your cooperation. Margaret Gregory, Clerk of Session. 

Worship Stewards

January 5—Communion Servers: Mary Williams, Lew Campbell, Lavonna Hoover; Communion Preparation: Kathy VanSyckle, Rebecca Spear; Liturgist: Keith Sterner Ushers/Greeters: Barb Klenk, Lee Hunsberger, Jan Arnold 

January 12—Liturgist: Carol Campbell; Ushers/Greeters: Lew Campbell, Pat Gustafson, Margaret Gregory; Children’s Message: Sue Thompson 

January 19—Liturgist: Kathy VanSyckle; Ushers/Greeters: Bob Sykes, Laurie Sykes, Carol Shier; Children’s Message: Judi Emlinger 

January 26—Liturgist: Jim VanSyckle; Ushers/Greeters: Norma Kilpatrick, Cindy Rozich, Lynn Sterner; Children’s Message: Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn 

Per Capita

With the beginning of a new year, it is time to once again pay our per capita to the Presbytery of Lake Michigan. For 2020, the per capita for each active member is $35.20 (General Assembly $8.95, Synod of the Covenant $3.25, Presbytery of Lake Michigan $23). Along with each church’s shared mission pledge, the per capita finances the General Assembly, the Synod of the Covenant and our Lake Michigan Presbytery. For 2020, our total is $2,428.80. This is based on 69 active member as of 12/31/18 and is due January 20, 2020. As in the past, the Budget and Finance Committee is always very appreciative of members paying their own per capita. If you are able to pay your own per capita, please indicate your $35.20 is for your per capita. Thank you very much.

Congregational meeting notice 

Our annual congregational meeting has been scheduled for Sunday, January 26, 2020 immediately following our worship service. As in the past, the committee chairperson is responsible for writing the yearly report. All reports for the meeting must be submitted to the church office by January 16th at noon. Thank you for your cooperation. Margaret Gregory, Clerk of Session. 

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas child news Greetings to all OCC shoe box participants, Just a quick note to let you know that the Grand Rapids area total for 2019 is 30,956 shoe boxes which is more than last year. Thanks to each of you and your congregations for making it possible to share the Good New of Jesus with 30,956 children who have not heard the wonderful story of God’s Love for them. We heard the following story of how the simple gift of a shoe box changes the hearts of those blessed by the Love of God. A town in Libya had a Main Street and on one side was the Christian community and on the other was the Muslim community and they did not get along with each other. The Pastor was to receive shoe boxes. So he decided to get permission to close the street and to invite the Muslim kids to come to the distribution. The kids came together, played together, and this brought the community closer together. The Muslim Aman was so impressed he gave two acres of ground for the church to build an new church for the community. There really is no limit to what God can do when we serve Him with our whole hearts. Blessing in Jesus to each of you this Christmas Season and thank you for Sharing the Good News of Jesus through the simple gift of a shoe box filled with His Love. We will forward national and international numbers as they become available. Rex and Karen Wambaugh

CAP COLLECTION FOR CARTER 

FYI. I wanted to provide an update on our plastic bottle cap collection for our friend Carter from Saranac. He has been saving the caps to re- cycle in order to make a bench. Each one takes 250 pounds to make. He has collected almost enough to complete one bench and is excited for our help with this school project. His mother, Amy told me he is having a great time doing this and wishes to continue in hopes of collecting enough to make another bench. KEEP SAVING YOUR CAPS. 

Gas and Electrical Expenses for November

Gas  –  $197.80
Electric  –  $197.50

Income and Expense

November Income $14,250.72
Expenses $6982.54
Monthly budget needs $5437.08

Please note our new website address and email address!!

First Presbyterian Church
125 E. Main St.
P.O. Box 125
Ionia, MI 48846

Phone 527-2320

Email: ioniafpc@gmail.com

Church Office Hours – Monday through Thursday 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.

Newsletters, Calendar and more at 1stpreschurchionia.com

 Sunday Services are at 10:00 A.M. 

Parable of the Dead Church

Parable of the Dead Church

A person once called a pastor to say he wanted to join the church. But, he went on to explain that he didn’t want to worship every week, study the Bible, visit the sick, witness to non-Christians, or serve as a leader or teacher.
The pastor commended him for his desire to join, but told him the church he sought was located in another section of town. The man took the directions and hung up.
When he arrived at the church, the man came face to face with the logical result of his own apathetic attitude. There stood an abandoned church building, boarded up and ready for demolition.