July 2019

July 2019

Our Faithful God Goes Before Us

By Dr. Chris Dorn

Last year I traveled to India to visit mission sites in Odisha, an eastern state on the Bay of Bengal. The remote terrain was like nowhere else I’d ever been before. I knew neither the language nor the people. I found myself in conditions in which I had no choice but to entrust myself entirely to God, who had to prove himself faithful in providing for my basic needs. If God had not come through for me, I would have been left exposed to potential dangers. But God proved himself faithful. Let me tell you how.

The last two days of my trip I spent in the small village of Chelligada, at a school whose construction my donations helped to finance. When we arrived, my guide led me to one of the classrooms, unlocked the door, and as he showed me in, announced that it was in this room that I would be staying for the next two nights. The room was furnished with a bed, and two dilapidated chairs. There was a ceiling fan, but the room was unbearably hot. When I asked how to turn on the ceiling fan, my guide showed me. The fan offered some relief, but within a few moments, the power cut out, and the fan stopped running. The guide then explained to me that the power source was unreliable, as is the case in all of the villages we visited. One had to try to sleep when the electricity was working, because when it was lost, one invariably woke up in a sweat, and found it difficult to go back to sleep until it came back.

When we arrived again at the school later that first evening after a visit to one of the sites, I was apprehensive about the night that faced me. It was a very hot, and I was worried that I would not have a fan, without which I would be unable to tolerate the heat. And so I was relieved to find that the power was

working. I turned on the fan and went to bed. I fell asleep promptly, and when I woke up, the fan was still turning. My guide told me that the power continued without interruption the entire night, an unusual occurrence. I told him I felt compelled to attribute this to the grace of God. Not only did I enjoy a restful first night, but also a second one, because on that night too the power remained to keep the fan running, an even more unusual occurrence.

The afternoon before my flight departed, I spent at the rented house of one of the guides. It was in Bhubaneshwar, to which we drove from Berhampur earlier in the day, so that he could take me to the airport there later that evening. The first leg of the trip consisted in a short flight from Bhubaneshwar to Delhi, which was pleasant. I purchased a business class upgrade for only $51, a deal made possible by the strength of the US dollar relative to the Indian rupee. But when I looked at my second boarding pass, which was for my flight from Delhi to Chicago, I saw that my seat was in economy class. I asked the desk attendant if she could upgrade me to a seat in an emergency exit row, because my long legs make it uncomfortable if not impossible for me to sit in a standard seat in economy class. She informed me that there was nothing that she could do there, but that when I arrived at Delhi, I should go to the Air India desk there to see what they could do for me. Before the boarding time, I approached the desk and asked the woman there if she could upgrade me. She replied that the plane was absolutely full, and that there was nothing she could do for me. Desperate, I asked her if I could upgrade to business class. Rather impatiently, she told me that they did not handle transactions at that desk, and that I’d have to be content with the seat to which I was assigned. Dejected, I boarded the plane and found my seat. A few minutes into the flight, the man in front of me adjusted his seat to lean back, and I suddenly found myself without the space I needed to sit comfortably. It occurred to me that this flight was at least thirteen hours, and just then I began to feel beads of sweat form on my face and forehead. What was I going to do? I got up and walked towards the front of the plane. I then noticed in the emergency exit row an American woman seated in one of the two chairs. I immediately asked her if there was anyone seated next to her. She replied that there was no one, and that I was free to sit there next to her. I could not believe this stroke of good fortune, which again I felt compelled from the perspective of faith to attribute to the gracious provision of God for me.

These are only two of several examples I can cite to show I have good evidence to believe that the faithful presence of God accompanied me during the trip. The experience on the plane suggests to me a metaphor. If we are fortunate to have a home, a neighborhood, a workplace, and local institutions that receive us, then we can say that we have an environment in which we have a niche, a space to live. These make it possible for us to thrive as human beings. When we travel to distant lands that are very unlike our own, we are temporarily deprived of our environments, and necessarily have to depend on alternative ones in which to find a niche. If we are not in a position to manipulate them to make them suitable for us, we are vulnerable, and necessarily have to depend on others we may not know very well to accommodate us in environments that are unfamiliar and even threatening. In these conditions, I found myself turning to God. “O God, you have shown yourself faithful to me before, I trust in you to create and preserve a space for me in which to live during this time.” He did. And he will, because he is faithful. We can risk stepping out in faith, for he has promised to provide for all our needs.


7/3          9:30 A.M. Quilters

7/7          10:00 A.M. Worship, Communion, Missions offering, Sunday  School

               11:00 A.M. Fellowship & Refreshments

7/10        Office closed—Deb has appointment in Grand Rapids

               9:30 A.M. Quilters

7/11        1 P.M. Children’s Choir

               1-3 P.M. Prayer Shawl Group

7/13        3 P.M. Memorial Service in memory of Oscar Johnson

7/14        10:00 A.M. Worship, Sunday School

                11:00 A.M. Fellowship & Refreshments

7/16           Office hours 9-11:15 (Deb has lunch) 7/17 9:30 A.M. Quilters

7/18           1 P.M. Children’s Choir

                  1-3 P.M. Prayer Shawl Group

7/21          10:00 A.M. Worship, Sunday School

                  11:00 A.M. Fellowship & Refreshments

7/24           9:30 A.M. Quilters

7/25           1 P.M. Children’s Choir

                  1-3 P.M. Prayer Shawl Group

7/28           10:00 A.M. Worship, Sunday School

                  11:00 A.M. Fellowship & Refreshments

                   2-5 P.M. Mary & Dave Williams have Fellowship hall reserved

7/31          9:30 A.M. Quilters


2    Carol Shier

7    Caiden Sayers

8    Jack Buck

12  Leon Johnson

16  Lavonna Hoover

18  Lynn Sterner

19  Larry Tiejema

23  Nathaniel Morris

25  Linda Kaufman

26  Dennis Arnold

30  Justin VanSyckle

Prayer Shawl Group News
Just a reminder that blankets are available for all ages. Recipient does not need to
be a church member. If you know of someone who could use a blanket, please
contact Mary Williams or Evelyn Ransom.
Prayer Shawl Group

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.

                  Soup Kitchen

July 18, 5:00 P.M.

Team #3

Captain, Chris Desgranges

Income and Expense Report for May

Income $3947.00
Expenses $3776.91
Monthly budget needs $5,437.08


July 7        Liturgist: Keith Sterner; Communion Preparation:  Lee Hunsberger and Keith Sterner; Communion Servers:  Margaret Gregory, Warren and Sue Thompson; Ushers/ Greeters: Perry and                    Margaret Gregory, Linda Hood

July 14       Liturgist: Sue Reglin; Ushers/Greeters:  Norma Kilpatrick, Shelly Reglin, Jim VanSyckle; Children’s Message:  Sue Thompson

July 21       Liturgist: Marilyn McKay; Ushers/Greeters:  Lee Hunsberger, Barb Klenk, Bill Robinson; Children’s Message:  Judi Emlinger

July 28       Liturgist: Jim VanSyckle; Ushers/Greeters:  Warren and Sue Thompson, Marilyn McKay; Children’s Message:  Lee Hunsberger

Session Highlights

These minutes are of the March 18, 2019 meeting.

  • Member #214 Jean Smith died March 1, 2019. Her death has been recorded in the official membership rolls.
  • During the worship service on January 27, 2019, David Hanson, Norma Kilpatrick, and Dr. Warren Thompson were install by Rev. Linda Male as the new session class of 2021. They have all previously served on session.
  • Rev. Havlik gave a report on the March 16, 2019 Lake Michigan Presbytery meeting in Jenison. She provided a diagram of the PLM’s new organizational structure, which identifies the teams and commissions plus some of the committees and groups. She also provided a booklet entitled “God’s Got This”, Camp Greenwood Capital Campaign 2019-2022. The purpose of this campaign is for Greenwood Ministries Association to raise sufficient funds to purchase from PLM the most essential portions of the camp.
  • The 2019 Ministry Teams were approved.
  • A motion was made, seconded and approved to allow Girl Scout troop #8109 to use the Adam St. lot for their 10X10 community garden. Dr. Warren Thompson volunteered to be the contact person. The scouts and their leaders will maintain and clean-up the garden.
  • At this time, the session decided not to participate in the Presbytery’s Vital Congregation Initiative.
  • Lee Hunsberger, Co-Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee, passed out three hand-outs, which were presbytery minimum pastor compensation, anticipated budget with half-time pastor, and items the session may wish to see in a monthly budget and finance summary. To pay a half-time pastor, there is a deficit of $11,437.00. For a half-time pastor (20 hours per week), cash compensation is $22,085 plus $8,505 (37% of cash compensation) for a total of $31,390.00. In addition, the presbytery requires a minimum of $800 per year for professional development, $300 for books, and other professional expenses. Pastors also receive 30 days of paid vacation to include 4 Sundays and 14 days professional development to include two Sundays. Other compensation, which needs to be negotiated is mileage, SECA offset, and other vouchered expenses.
  • Lee Hunsberger, Stewardship Chairperson, stated he has written an article for the newsletter about qualified charitable distributions. QCD’s are for taxpayers 70 ½ or older, who are required annually by the IRS to take a required minimum distribution from their IRA. Your IRS financial institution can make a check payable to our church (a 501C3 organization) and the donation is not subject to federal income tax. This most likely will make a difference in your federal income tax liability. In case the IRS wants you to prove it is a QCD, request a receipt from the church to prove the donation came directly from the financial institution.
  • Otis Elevator completed the every three year test on the elevator. There were no problems.
  • Consumer’s Energy rebate check for $1,050.00 was received on February 6th. The purchase of the new furnaces resulted in our eligibility of this rebate.
  • The next meeting is May 20, 2019.


Submitted by:

Margaret Gregory, Clerk of Session

Thank You!

We currently have 22 children in our shelter and I am sure all the stuffed animals you donated found new homes! We appreciate your continued support.

Relief After Violent Encounter-Ionia/Montcalm, inc. (616) 527-3351


Newsletters, Calendar and more at www.1stPresChurchIonia.com
Email: Welcome@1stPresChurchIonia.com or ioniafpc@gmail.com
Church Office Hours – Monday through Thursday
9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.  Phone 527-2320

Dine to Donate



4:00PM — 8:00PM

Enrich of Ionia and Olivera’s Restaurant are collaborating to assist Enrich to amass the funding required to fix their roof. Enrich will be receiving 10% of ALL food sales on Saturday, June 29th to go toward the necessary fixtures.




David & Mary Williams will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on July 26. There will be an open house here at the church, Sunday, July 28 from 2-5 pm. Please join them and their family. No gifts please.



Here are inspirational lyrics to June 16’s Offertory written and per-formed by Mary Williams. Mary, thank you for that, and for all you do at FPC.

Father’s Day Song (sung to tune of 2016 hit, Hallelujah)

From the start you were the very first. He loves you at your very worst,
because He is like the Heavenly father. I see God in my father’s eyes.
Like the father up above. He loves you like the Heavenly father.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

He shows you what love really is.  Saw your dreams before you did.

He will give everything – -your father. And when it starts to go all wrong,
He’ll stand by you and keep you strong, just like the Holy Father up above.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! He feels your pain when you do, that is when He will carry you, just like
your Heavenly Father. I saw God in my fathers eyes like the Father up above,
He loves you like the Heavenly Father.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!

Prescription for Revival

If all the sleeping folk will wake up,

If all the lukewarm folk will fire up,

If all the dishonest folk will confess up,

If all the disgruntled folk will cheer up,

If all the depressed folk will cheer up,

If all the estranged folk will make up,

If all the gossipers will shut up,

If all the true soldiers will stand up,

If all the dry bones will shake up,

If all the church members will pray up…

Then we can have a revival!


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