January 2023

   The Presbyletter

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

January 2023

Words from Pastor Chris

In the Flesh  

One of the passages of Scripture cherished by Christians, not only during the Christmas holidays but always, is John 1:1-18. Known as the Prologue to John, it contains perhaps the most influential verses in the history of Christian theology. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). The depths revealed here inspire in us wonder and awe. Our minds begin to soar. But just as profound is the statement: “And the Word became flesh, and lived among us” (John 1:14).   

Implied in this verse is what theologians have called the doctrine of the incarnation. The Word, the Son of God, assumed our humanity He came to live among us as one of us.   

Of course, the incarnation of the Word in the person of Jesus Christ is a unique and unrepeatable event. But Scripture also refers to us as members of Christ’s body. That is why theologian Louis-Marie Chauvet can say that Christ continues to take on flesh in the members of his body, whom we encounter in the church. In the same vein, theologian Karl Barth refers to the church, in an admittedly rather cumbersome phrase, as the “earthly, historical form of Christ’s existence.”    

The wonder of the incarnation is that God made this One, the incarnate Word, the only begotten Son of the Father, as the site of a face-to-face encounter with God, “in the flesh.” And God has made the church, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as the site of a face-to-face encounter with Christ “in the flesh” in the members of his body.   

Today, in so many ways, our collective sense of connection to each other is badly frayed. An epidemic of loneliness consumes us. Depression and anxiety cripple us, leaving potential unused. We are social beings, not designed to live disembodied lives, spending more time in isolation staring at screens than interacting with the real world in real life (IRL). Addiction to screen-based technologies, whether it be television, computer, smartphone, or social media, disconnects us from others (and from our own bodies), and undermines our mental health.    

Belonging to a church can help. It means encountering Christ where he has promised to be in the members of his own body in ways that are impossible otherwise.   

As author Cheryl Magness notes, in the church, you can:   

Hold a baby for a parent who needs a break  

Place your own child into the aching arms of someone who doesn’t have one to hold 

Lift your voice in song with a unique blend of singers in praise to God  

Smell the flowers on the altar  

Receive Christ’s Body and Blood on your tongue.  

Enjoy coffee and donuts in the fellowship hall 

Get a visit from the pastor when you’re in the hospital.  

We all need these things as human beings “in the flesh.” And our neighbors who no longer or do not yet go to church need them too. Let us pray that it may be one of their New Year’s resolutions to go to church in real life (IRL).   

Blessings of the New Year to you,   

Pastor Chris

Sunday Worship
10:00 A.M.
in the sanctuary.


Join us on Facebook at
First Presbyterian Church
Ionia 10:00 A.M.

Session Meeting
January 17, 2023
2:00 P.M.
Annual Meeting
January 29, 2023
immediately following
worship service

Women’s Study Group
7:00 PM

Holy Communion
First Sunday
of the month

If you are fully vaccinated,
feel free to be mask free!
If you are not fully
vaccinated, please wear a
for the safety of
yourself and others.


A grocery delivery was made in early December to one of our church families.  We will continue these deliveries at least every other month.

As an alternative to a monetary donation…which will still be much appreciated…each month grocery items will be listed which can be purchased and left in the grocery cart at the church.  You can purchase one item or several as you desire.
For January the items are:

  • Cereal/oatmeal
  • Soup (no store brand, please)
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Bar soap

If you prefer to make a monetary donation rather than purchase items, that will be gladly accepted.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.

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

Special Dates

New Year’s Day, January 1, 2023
Epiphany, January 6, 2023
Baptism of the Lord, January 8, 2023
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 16, 2023
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, January 18-25, 2023


Budget and Finance Report to Session, December 2022 

This report covers income, expenses, liabilities  and  fund balances from December 15 2022. This report also summarizes a draft budget for 2023. 

Income and Expenses: 

From 11/1/22 through 11/30/22, we had $2,110 in general fund income;  general fund expenses were $8,771 for a deficit of $6,661.  Year-to-date general fund income as of 11/30/22 is $94,335 minus expenses of $81,135 for a YTD surplus of $13,200 

Mission fund income was $116; expenses were $100.    

The cost to repair the parking lot ($7,475) used the remainder of the capital building fund ($3,879) and $3,596 of the Coe memorial fund. Cost to repair the bell tower roof ($20,855) was charged to the Coe memorial fund.

Assets: As of November 30, unless otherwise noted, these were the assets of the church.

Edward Jones Account                $274,824
Independent Bank Checking             7,697 (as of December 15)
Kosbar Trust                                  100,479 (as of December 15)
Total                                             $383,000 


Fund Balances: As of November 15, these were the fund balances 

General fund balance             $208,143
Memorial funds                           69,945
Dedicated funds                           2,337
Kosbar Trust                            102,182
Total                                       $382,607 

Liabilities:  As of December 15:  Total $393 (unpaid payroll taxes and social security) 

Draft Budget: The draft budget anticipates $89,637 in general fund income.  General fund expenses are estimated at $101,941 for a deficit of $12,304.  An additional $405 is expected to be spent from memorial accounts.  I would like to present a final budget for final consideration at the January session meeting.

Thank You

Annual Meeting – January 29, 2023

At the November 22, 2022 Session meeting, Session scheduled the Annual Meeting for January 29th immediately following the worship service. The deadline for committee reports is January 16th. Committee chairs can email their committee reports as an attachment to the church office or provide a written copy to the church office.

A Note of Thanks from Pastor Chris

Thank you all for your generous Christmas gift! Your appreciation for our ministry here means so much to me. Please know that you are loved and prayed for regularly.


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 2023, the per capita for each active member is $39.10 (General Assembly $9.85,, Synod of the Covenant $3.25, Presbytery of Lake Michigan $26).

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 2023, our total is $2,189.60 This is based on 56 active members as of 12/31/21 and is due January 20, 2023.

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 $39.10 is so designated on the memo line of your check. Thank you very much.

I am convinced that love is the most durable power in the world. It is not an expression of impractical idealism, but of practical realism. Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, love is an absolute necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the universe. Someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through love.


—Martin Luther King Jr.

Another year for God

Another year is dawning; dear Father, let it be,
in working or in waiting, another year with thee.…

Another year of progress, another year of praise,
another year of proving thy presence all the days.

Another year of service, of witness for thy love;
another year of training for holier work above.

Another year is dawning! Dear Father, let it be,
on earth, or else in heaven, another year for thee.

—Frances Ridley Havergal

Session Members / Ministry Team Chairperson / Committee Member

Judi Emlinger*   –  Christian Education, Nominating
Jen Furman*  –  Membership and Care
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
Linda Steele* – Memorial / Investment
Cindy Rozich*    –  Worship
Warren Thompson*  –  Building/Grounds
Mary Williams*  –  Christian Education
Margaret Gregory  –  Clerk of Session
Keith Sterner*   –  Personnel

First Presbyterian Staff

Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn
Sara Hyland
Steve Slaughter

Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982
Administrative Assistant

Newsletter, Calendar and more at 1stpreschurchionia.com
Email: [email protected]
Summer Church Office Hours – Wednesday 9-3
Ph# 616-527-2320 

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