The Presbyletter

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

January 2022

Words from Pastor Chris

Words From Pastor Chris

Why Do We Presbyterians Worship the Way We Do?

In the last two months, we’ve been discussing the worship of the church. To be more specific, we’ve sought to understand the rhythm and pattern of worship as we Presbyterians practice it. We could draw out these discussions over the next several months; there’s so much to say about this topic! However, we’ll conclude them here with this third and final part of our series.

In worship, God speaks to us in the reading, preaching and hearing of his Word. What kind of response ought that to evoke in us? We respond to God’s Word by affirming our faith in the words of the Creed. We may say that it’s the Presbyterian “Amen!” to what we’ve heard in the sermon about the goodness and grace of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

God’s goodness inspires in us confidence that he’ll meet all our needs, which we bring before him in the prayers of the people. We believe that God’s goodness extends beyond the circle of the church to encompass the whole world. We pray for the world because God so loved it that he gave his only Son to die for it (John 3:16). As the Presbyterian Book of Common Worship states: “our prayers should therefore be as wide as God’s love and as specific as God’s tender compassion for the least ones among us.”

The service now moves from pulpit to table. We bring forward our gifts in thankful response to the message of God’s goodness and grace to us in Christ, which we heard in the reading and preaching of God’s Word. These gifts consist not only in cash offerings for the church’s ministry, but also bread and wine for communion.

Known also as the Lord’s Supper or Eucharist, holy communion is a vast subject, to which we can scarcely do justice here. Let us for now note that the minister usually introduces the celebration, appropriately enough, with a prayer of thanksgiving. In it God is thanked for the gifts of creation and the redemption accomplished for us by Jesus Christ. Then follow the words of institution, in which the minister repeats the words that Jesus said over the bread and the cup at the Last Supper. The minister asks God to send the Holy Spirit upon us and the gifts of bread and wine, that they may be for us the communion in the body and blood of Christ. Communion is served and the minister concludes the celebration by asking God to make our communion effective through our mission to the world.

I hope that you have seen in this series that we Presbyterians have a rich liturgical heritage. I offer this instruction to help you grow in your knowledge and appreciation of this heritage, so that you may enter more and more deeply into worship each Sunday morning. Our participation in worship should be full, conscious and active. Our great God deserves nothing less!

Blessings of the New Year to you,

Pastor Chris

Events At A Glance

Sunday Worship
10:00 A.M.

Join us for worship:
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.

We ask that you sign in for contact tracing purposes.

Thank you!


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First Presbyterian Church Ionia

Holy Communion
First Sunday of the Month

~Annual Meeting~

January 31, 2022
immediately following worship service



plastic screw caps, caps, plastic-2111253.jpg

We are continuing to collect plastic caps for Carter to be recycled into benches. He has an app on his phone to help identity what container the cap came from. His last delivery of caps weighed 55 pounds! He is excited to have our church family continue the donations. You may
drop your caps into the shopping cart which is located near the coat racks in the church. Thanks!

Penny Project

Our Presbyterian Penny Project is ongoing in the Memorial Room. On a table there you will see a five-gallon 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 church supports to camp. We now will be donating your coins to the Friends of Jesus Fund. This is a fund to which the church’s 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!

Per Capita Dues

With the beginning of a new year, it is time to once again pay our per capita dues to the Presbytery of Lake Michigan. For 2022, the per capita for each active member is $36.73 (General Assembly $8.98, Synod of the Covenant $3.25, Presbytery of Lake Michigan $24.50). 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 2022, our total is $2,093.61. This is based on 57 active members as of 12/31/20 and is due January 20, 2022. 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 do so, please indicate your $36.73 is so designated.
Thank you very much.

Thank You

Dear Friends,
Thank you for the generous  Christmas gift you presented to me on Sunday, December 18! You know that our good God loves to give gifts. He has shown himself to be this kind of God supremely in the gift of his Son. Your gift to me reflects God’s own character, showing the world that you have received God’s gift and with it the spirit of giving. Know that I appreciate you and your gift as you work to support this ministry. May your hearts be filled with peace and goodwill throughout this Christmas season and beyond.
Pastor Chris

2 Jen Furman
6 Jan Arnold
7 Bill Robinson
12 Tyler VanSyckle
19 Nola Patterson
26 Emily Sykes
29 Norma Kilpatrick

Special Dates

New Year’s Day, January 1, 2022
Epiphany, January 6, 2022
Baptism of the Lord, January 9, 2022
Religious Freedom Day, January 16, 2022
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 17, 2022
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January
18-25, 2022

Session Highlights of the November 23 Meeting

~ The Ionia community Friends of Jesus Fund for sheltering the homeless is depleted. The fund administrator asked if our church could contribute now. Session approved sending $430.
~ Communion was served to members and friends who are homebound.
~ The new church year begins on Sunday, November 28 which is the first Sunday of Advent. Session approved services on December 24 (Christmas Eve) and Sunday, December 26 to celebrate the end of Advent and the coming of Christ.
~ The Budget and Finance Chair reported that operating income through the end of October exceeds expenses by $3,247. A deficit is expected by the end of December.
~ Membership and Care reported that Cindy and Margaret attended a visitation for Vince Rosso’s daughter who died from a fall. Jim Bosley is home from rehab after suffering a stroke. Session agreed the committee should send Christmas greetings from the church to all members and friends.
~ Walmart donated 60 pies so the mission committee could give a pie to each HeadStart family.
~ Session approved increases in the hourly wage of the custodian and the administrative assistant.
~ The pastor’s contract was finalized and signed.
~ Stewardship letters were mailed in early November to 36 giving units.
~ Covid safety practices remain in effect.
~ Due to Covid, Christmas decorations will be minimal this year.

Church Building Use

Due to the ongoing pandemic and in the interest of keeping everyone safe and healthy, the Session decided at their December meeting that any outside groups/meetings in the church building must have prior Session approval. There is a form entitled “Church Building and Room Use for Calendar Scheduling” in the tray in the conference room. It must be completed and either given to our administrative assistant, Sara, or placed in her mail tray.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Annual Meeting

January 31, 2022
Immediately following the
Worship Service

The following 49 wishes for the New Year were shared during Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), which began on September 6 this past year. We repurpose them here in the hope that God will grant bountiful blessings to us all in the New Year.

1. May you answer the door when opportunity knocks.
2. May you love your life.
3. May you soon gain something you’ve always wanted.
4. May you know when to hold on and not be afraid when it’s time to let go.
5. May inspiration strike at just the right moment.
6. May you be satisfied with being perfectly imperfect.
7. May you explore new options and open yourself to new possibilities.
8. May the challenges you face strengthen your core.
9. May your false beliefs evaporate and may you replace them with words of truth.
10. May you have time in your week to visit someone in need.
11. May you wear your smile, no matter how difficult today seems.
12. May your mind be filled with great ideas.
13. May you let go of something you no longer need.
14. May you overcome what is holding you back.
15. May your failures lead to success.
16. May you embrace and lovingly accept your body.
17. May you schedule your time wisely.
18. May you invite someone new into your world.
19. May you increase your confidence and boost your self-esteem.
20. May you laugh easily and often.
21. May you have the strength to put forth enough effort to get what you want.
22. May you be blessed with an abundance of love.
23. May you manifest your future by living as if it is already your reality.
24. May you receive encouraging words that elevate you.
25. May you be motivated to set and reach a new goal.
26. May your life be infused with meaning and purpose.
27. May you have strength, courage, and wisdom to do the right thing at the right time.
28. May you be free of financial burdens.
29. May you hear what others say and more importantly understand what they mean.
30. May you redirect angry energy and use it as fuel towards something positive.
31. May you see clearly what you are meant to see and turn away from things not meant for your eyes.
32. May you know the right questions to ask and may you be open to receiving the answers.
33. May your words, actions, or presence bring comfort to someone who is struggling.
34. May your eyes be wide open and may you clearly see the messages that are before you.
35. May you see clearly the obstacles that are before you and may you steer clear of any challenges.
36. May you strengthen yourself, both body and soul.
37. May you carry your physical and spiritual loads gracefully.
38. May you find something wonderful to do this year that inspires you and connects you to great people.
39. May many singles find their soul mate and be satisfied with their choice.
40. May those in need of healing recover completely, mind, body and soul.
41. May your senses be awakened by a pleasing surprise.
42. May you find the perfect place to call home.
43. May you visit exceptional places.
44. May you be satisfied in being uniquely you.
45. May the efforts you make yield the results you desire.
46. May you have a good today and a better tomorrow.
47. May you find your purpose in the world and pursue it with passion.
48. May you harness the wonderful power within you.
49. May you have a huge breakthrough!
Wishing you a blessed 2022,
Pastor Chris 

It’s a very long journey, God of Magi,
from Ionia to Bethlehem,
But in this season of joyful hopes
we arrive with starlight in our eyes.
As we kneel, watch and wonder,
let the radiance of your Child’s face
give us peace beyond understanding
and renewed faith to dare all in His name.
For your name’s sake.
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

*Session Members

 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
Email: [email protected]
Summer Church Office Hours-Tuesday 12-3; Wednesday 9-3
Ph# 616-527-2320 

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