July 2020 Newsletter
Ionia First Presbyterian Church, 125 East Main Street, Ionia, MI 48846
Words From Pastor Chris
Bearing With One Another
“I urge you to live in a manner worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” With these words the author of the Letter to the Ephesians begins the second half of his missive, which coincides in our Bibles with the opening of the fourth chapter.
This language invites further reflection. In several places in the Bible, we are commanded to love. For example, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:39; Mk. 12:31) and to love one another as Christ has loved us (Jn. 13:34). Husbands are commanded to love their wives, even as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25).
This is straightforward enough; no one can mistake the content of what is commanded here. But to bear with one another in love? We know that while the command to love is easy enough to understand, it is not always so easy to carry out. If that neighbor, that fellow member of our church, or that spouse was at his or her best, most winsome, and lovable self, the command to love would be a joy. But that is not reality, at least not all the time. Those whom we are to love are sometimes tense and irritable, struggling with their own burdens, or wracked with their own pain. And this describes us too, those to whom the command to love is addressed!
Due to our collective failure to respond effectively to the public health and social crises that have engulfed our world in recent months, we are living in a period of anger and frustration. We inhabit a culture of fear. We have fostered a climate of moral panic. As a result, social trust is eroding. Poor leadership at all levels of government has only served to accelerate this process.
I have said before that the church is meant to be an alternative to the world. To be sure, none of us is perfect; we inevitably bring the world into the church– so much so that too often the two appear indistinct. But imagine how powerful our witness to the world would be if we were to bear with one another in a love seasoned with humility and patience!
The Apostle Paul tells us that those who comport themselves in this way will shine like stars in the universe (Phil. 2:15).
The period in which we are living may continue into the foreseeable future. It will be challenging for us to be the church in the world. So let us be wise. Let us not neglect to encourage each other whenever we have the opportunity. We have resources at our disposal in God’s word and Spirit. Over time these produce in us the qualities that enable us to obey God’s command to love. To be sure, it can often be a burden. But we do not carry it in our own strength. Thankfully, we have a God who daily bears our burdens (Ps. 68:19).
May God generously provide you with all that you need to serve him and his people in this challenging season.
Death in the Church Family
Following a courageous six year battle with kidney cancer, David Furman, husband of Jen Furman, died June 1, 2020 surrounded by Jen and his daughters, Natalie and Emily. While David was not a member, Jen has been a long time member, and they raised their daughters in our church. A Celebration of Life was held in Ionia at Applewood Farms June 18, 2020 from 2-4PM. Following the service, which was officiated by Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn, the church provided a luncheon. Salads were donated by Sue Thompson, Sue Reglin, Marilyn McKay, Judi Emlinger, Lynn Sterner, and Jan Arnold. Desserts were provided by Nadine Tiejema, Cindy Rozich, Norma Kilpatrick, Marcia Ross, Mary Williams, Linda Hood, Laurie Sykes, Ami Cox, Kathy VanSyckle, Jan Arnold and Margaret Gregory. A special thanks to Barb Klenk and Lee Hunsberger, who went the extra mile. We couldn’t have done it without them. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Ionia or Spectrum Health Foundation “Attention: Palliative Care”.
Kosbar Scholarship Fund
The virus which has hit the world for the last three months has affected the stock market along with many other things. The Will states that we are to use the income only for Kosbar Scholarships.
The market had lost all the income plus $8000.00 of the principal by March 31, 2020. Therefore, there will be no Kosbar Scholarship awarded this year.
The Committee regrets this situation, and we hope for things to be better next year.
Budget and Finance
These are estimates since we have not used our Quickbooks since the end of February. For income and expenses, the twelve month report at the end of May was: Income $78,849; expenses $77,947. So, for the 12 months ending in May, the church’s income exceeded expenses by $902.
Readily available assets have decreased from $113,061 on December 31, 2019 to $111,422 as of June 11, 2020. A general fund CD matures in August; some of that money will be put in the checking account if necessary. Investment assets suffered in February and March but started to bounce back in April and May. As of June 11, Investment assets were $193,784; still down almost $6,000 from the end of 2019.
Presbytery Speaks To Racism
In these troubled times, we have witnessed in our nation terrible spectacles of extrajudicial killings of African Americans. People throughout the world were especially appalled and horrified by the torture and killing of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis Police Department officer, on May 25. This event was the catalyst that touched off demonstrations and riots in cities across this country and throughout the world. In response, the Presbytery of Lake Michigan issued on June 10 a Statement on Racism, which we reproduce in its entirety here. We invite you to read and ponder it prayerfully.
Presbytery Statement on Racism
George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Emmett Till, and the list goes on and on back past the founding of our nation; individuals created in God’s image who were killed because of racism. Add to these the countless names of those deprived of opportunities for education, employment, housing, and community because of racism. We can and must do better in eliminating personal, organizational, and systemic racism. Most especially, the church must end its complicity in supporting and perpetuating racism in all its forms.
It is not enough to: hold our Bibles while standing in front of our churches, tell ourselves that we are not racist, make our private statements expressing sorrow and remorse. We can and must do better.
It is not enough to: gather in the comfort of our lounges to study recommended resources, affirm that our best friends are not racist, post our public statements expressing sorrow and remorse. We can and must do better.
We repent of: keeping the Word of God at arm’s length rather than having it permeate our hearts and actions, declining to identify the racist roots and tendencies in our hearts and structures, talking and writing while failing to listen and learn from those we have hurt, failing to act justly, failing to love mercy, failing to walk humbly with our God and with God’s Image-bearers. We can and must do better. We ask forgiveness from: those whom we have hurt by our actions, those we have allowed others to hurt and ignore our God whose desire for diversity and unity we have not honored. We can and must do better.
We must make recompense to: those whose wealth and lands we have stolen, those we have forced to live with little or no resources, God who has provided in abundance for all of creation’s needs. We can and must do better.
We commit ourselves to: a relentless pursuit of truth about ourselves and how we can do better, listening to the voices of all God’s people regarding their needs and desires, creating the environment where all can breathe in the spirit of love and peace. We can and will do better.
So help us God!
Birthdays / Announcements / Thank You
Carol Shier 2
Caiden Sayers 7
Jack Buck 8
Owen Ludwick 8
Nancy Bronsesma 12
Leon Johnson 12
Lavonna Hoover 16
Marley Marrs 16
Lynn Sterner 18
Larry Tiejema 19
Amanda Miller 21
Dennis Arnold 26
Justin VanSyckle 30
After a couple years on the bench, First Presbyterian will be back in the game for 2020.
Someone in the congregation will coordinate with the local committee and recruit walkers or sponsors within the congregation.
Crop Walk will be October 4, 2020. More details will follow after our August meeting. Crop Walk raises funds for food banks.
Update on Church Families
We continue to take groceries and meals to our four church families. The girls are always excited to see us. Aliya has a tough time not hugging!
A special thank you to Jen Furman, Jan & Dennis Arnold, Lew & Carol Campbell, and David & Sarah Jane Hanson for the money they donated. We also received 10 pounds of ground beef from Jamie Meyer. We will be making that part of our food delivery on the 24th.
A big thank you (again) to Sue Thompson, Marilyn McKay and Margaret Gregory for their help. I could not do it without them. Mary Williams
Session Highlights from the Minutes of the May 5, 2020 Zoom Meeting
- Communion was served virtually on Maundy Thursday April 9, 2020.
- The April 6, 2020 death of member #531, Bill Fuhrman, was recorded in the official record book. On April 11, there was a private family only graveside interment at Breckenridge, Michigan. When gatherings are permitted, his family plans to have a Celebration of Life service at the church. A memorial to our church in Bill’s name has been established.
- Pastor Chris’s report included church in the time of the coronavirus continued, the Ionia Ministerial Association, and the church’s website. During the pandemic, Pastor Chris continues to upload onto Facebook videos in which he proclaims the theme for the day through the prayers, scripture readings, and sermons. He has been in contact with Pastor Nancy Patera, chair of the IMA, who has scheduled their meeting May 7th. He is suggesting the association develop a diagnostic to assess community needs as a result of the pandemic. Julie Adgate continues working with us on the church’s website. The website now features a PayPal DONATE button. Offerings can now be given remotely through PayPal. A PDF version of the newsletter is now directly available from the website.
- Lee Hunsberger, Co-Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee, has been able to pay necessary bills from his own checking account and will submit a voucher for reimbursement once the church reopens. The Kosbar fund was a little over $94,000 and the memorial account was a little over $150,000. Treasurer, Barb Klenk, made a deposit for about $400 to the general fund and $1000 for memorials. There was also an $800 donation via PayPal from our website.
- Judi Emlinger, Chairperson of Christian Education Committee, reported four kids have expressed interest in going to Camp Greenwood this summer. As of this meeting, Camp Greenwood is planning to be open this summer. There is $1,700 in the Shaver Children’s Fund for scholarships. Judi didn’t have the figures for the coffee fellowship fund or the coin fund.
- Marilyn McKay, Chairperson of the Mission Committee, reported the committee in February sent $1000 to the Friends of Jesus fund and since then, another $500 was sent to them.
- Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mary Williams, Sue and Warren Thompson, Marilyn McKay, and Margaret and Perry Gregory have organized food and gift card deliveries to four of our kid’s families. Except for one parent, they are all either not working or laid off. In addition to the organizing individuals, cash donations for purchasing items have been given by David and Sarah Jane Hanson and Pam and Jim Rogers. The families are aware of the local food pantries and the monthly food distribution at the Ionia fairgrounds.
- Lee Hunsberger, a member of the memorial committee, reported two new memorials have been established. They are for Jim McKay and Bill Fuhrman. Kenneth Rudolph sent a check for $750 for the Rudolph memorial. The only expenses were the purchase for a safe and the website redesign by Julie Adgate.
- A special church reopening committee was developed. Pastor Chris will chair the committee. Serving on the committee will be Cindy Rozich, Lee Hunsberger and Norma Kilpatrick.
- The next meeting is June 16, 2020 at 7:00PM.
Submitted by: Margaret Gregory, Clerk of Session
*It should be noted because of the (COVID-19) pandemic, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has extended her executive order to “Stay Home Stay Healthy” until the end of May. The Presbytery of Lake Michigan is considering extending virtual worship until July 5.
Ionia First Presbyterian Church Building and Grounds Report-2nd Quarter June 30, 2020
Though our building and its grounds have not been utilized the prior three months, the required maintenance and weekly grooming has been done in anticipation of our return.
There is always a flurry of activities these second three months of the year. The lawn mower was serviced this spring with an oil change, filter, lube and blade sharpening as normal along with a new set of front tires. The push mower was also serviced. The lawn was then raked, thatched, and rolled twice. An application of fertilizer with crab grass preventer was applied.
Perry Gregory sprayed to kill the weeds and Preen was applied to the landscaping to keep them free of unwanted growth. Duane Emlinger has taken responsibility for the mowing and continues to mow as necessary while Perry has already edged the walkways.
The Committee has retained a lawn service to apply the four yearly fertilizer and weed killer applications. The $200.00 bid is less than the cost of us purchasing the chemicals and doing it ourselves.
Be sure to thank our volunteer flower gardeners. Margaret Gregory has planted and continues to water and maintain the planter by the East door. Sue Thompson has planted flowers in the four planters at the main entry and continues to maintain them. Linda Hood not only helps with our flowers but also coordinates with Van Bros to maintain, turn on, and program the sprinklers.
The Girl Scouts will again use the same area of our lawn to plant their Community Garden to provide for those in need. Casey Allen is our contact.
The building is lonely. With no activities its temperature inside has gone from the set 50 degrees starting early in March to occasionally a stuffy eighty-something as we experience an episode of hot summer temperatures. We will need a thorough spring cleaning prior to our return.
The humidifiers are now working in the lower level and the air conditioner has been installed in the office.
Perry Gregory has been working with roofers and the leaks have been identified. Once the bids have been received and approved, the repairs will be completed during our warm weather months.
Our work continues: please thank those mentioned for all their volunteer service to keep our building functional as we await our return. Again, you are our eyes and ears. As you see a need for our committee to address, please let us know.
Building and Grounds Committee Perry Gregory, Duane Emlinger, Linda Hood, Warren Thompson
Grace-giver, holy Friend, give us the sense to want you, the eagerness to seek you, the patience to wait for you, the insight to recognize you, the passion to meditate on you and deeds that praise you, through the dynamic of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
St. Benedict of Nursia, monk, Italy, 480 – c. 547
First Presbyterian Staff
Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982
Deb Montgomery Secretary
Steve Slaughter Custodian
Newsletter, Calendar and more at 1stpreschurchionia.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgChurch Office Hours-Monday through Thursday9:00AM-12:00PM, Ph# 616-527-2320 Currently, closed due to COVID-19