Ionia First Presbyterian Church125 East Main Street, Ionia, MI 48846
Words from Pastor Chris
I Am Right, You Are Wrong!
I have often made the remark from the pulpit that we live in politically divisive times. Indeed, that is an understatement if there ever was one. In a recent editorial for the Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby wrote that our times are marked by a “toxic polarization.” We tend to turn every disagreement into a war of good vs. evil in which the outcome of all civilization hangs in the balance.
The default presumption that our fellow citizen with whom we disagree is an enemy of the state is eroding the sense of civic community. That is obvious to anyone who has eyes to see. We have forgotten that we all share a tradition in which each recognizes the right of the other to live in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.
Does that mean that we must compromise our convictions? Does it follow that we must yield ground just for the sake of getting along with others whose convictions we don’t share? Not necessarily. The deep differences among us on controversial issues such as abortion, human sexuality, and gun control, for example, are not going to disappear. But it should mean that we don’t demonize others, imputing to them sick motives for holding the views they do, and treating them with contempt.
In his book, Morality, published posthumously in 2020, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks lamented the loss of civility that is making public dialogue all but impossible today. He writes:
“Civility is more than good manners. It is a recognition that violent speech leads to violent deeds; that listening respectfully to your opponents is a necessary part of the politics of a free society; and that democracy must keep the peace between contending groups by honoring us all equally, in both our diversity and our commonality.”
Sacks issues to us here a warning that we ignore at our peril. If we don’t figure out how we can restore civility, our “toxic polarization” will, I am afraid, ruin what is left of our democracy.
As Americans who will celebrate Independence Day on July 4, let us recommit ourselves to preserving the framework of a free society that our founders have passed down to us. And as Christians who strive to witness to God’s kingdom every day, let us live, if it is possible, so far as it depends on us, peaceably with all (Romans 12:18).
Happy Fourth of July,
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.
Join us on Facebook at First Presbyterian Church Ionia 10:00 A.M.
Holy Communion First Sunday of the Month
Thursday, July 21
Sunday Morning Study
will resume in the fall
Announcements / Birthdays
We are now providing groceries for two of our church families. As always, any contributions, monetary or in-kind, will be greatly appreciated.
Two of our six campers, Lena Cox and Max Hyland, left Sunday, June 26, for Camp Greenwood. The remaining four will be attending during July.
Thanks to all of you who either provided items for the campers’ camp packs or donated money. Your generosity is most appreciated.
2 Carol Shier
7 Lilyth VanSyckle
7 Caiden Sayers
8 Owen Ludwick
8 Dr. Jack Buck
12 Leon Johnson
12 Nancy Bronsema
16 Marley Marrs
16 Lavonna Hoover
18 Lynn Sterner
19 Larry Tiejema
26 Cameron Sayers
26 Dennis Arnold
Hooray for VBS!
For many churches, vacation Bible school (VBS) is a summer highlight. The event leads to lasting memories and changed hearts. It also sparks laughter. Maybe you’ve seen VBS humor online, such as the quote, “I’m tired, I mean like … vacation Bible school kind of tired!” Another post reads, “You know you’re obsessed with VBS when … you’re excited about cardboard on the side of the road.” And anyone with an earworm at week’s end can relate to this meme: “My parents hid my VBS CD. It’s for the best.”
For hungry young learners, snacks make an especially big impression. One excited preschooler shared that she enjoyed “juice and Billy Graham crackers” at VBS. Another boy raved about the first day, saying, “We heard stories and drew pictures. Then we went to play, and when we came inside, God had juice and cookies waiting for us!”
After a two-year hiatus, VBS is back in Ionia! The churches in the Ionia square are sponsoring the long-awaited four-day event, to be held this year at Restore Church. The dates and times are August 1-4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. The theme is “Rocky Railway: Jesus’ Power Pulls Us Through.” For more information, visit www.IoniaVBS.com.
Highlights from the May 10, 2022 meeting
*Communion was served at the homes of three homebound members.
*Active membership rolls were updated. Nola Patterson and JoAnn Fuhrman, who recently died were removed.
*No changes to covid policy. Continue monthly review.
*Our request for website changes has received no response yet . Kathy Van Syckle will follow up with our contractor.
*The departure of the pastor from the Lyons Muir church (who also serves the Methodist church half time) could offer an opportunity to discuss pooling of resources. More discussion is needed and could be impacted by a pastor being appointed quickly by the Methodist church.
*More bell choir performances please!
*Vacation Bible School resumes this summer after a 2 year hiatus. We sent the required $200 to confirm our participation.
*Session voted to appoint an ad hoc committee to draft a “Building and Use Policy”. Three volunteers were appointed to prepare a draft document.
*The budget chair completed last year’s fiscal review. It was complicated by the conversion mid year to a new system. However all is now reconciled, and we can confirm that last year’s deficit was $1845 (covered by general fund monies). This year’s deficit is projected to be $19,069. Lee recommends going to a quarterly review to respond more quickly to issues.
*Building and Grounds is doing a thorough assessment of areas inside and outside needed attention. They will report at the June session meeting.
*Six children will be attending Camp Greenwood this year thanks to the generosity of Grand Haven Presbyterian Church. Mary is putting together camper packs. Donations to help offset costs will gladly be accepted.
*A men’s breakfast was proposed and approved for June 12th after church.
*The children have requested another family night in the fellowship hall after having so much fun at the last one. Session approved moving forward with a plan!
Coffee Hour following worship services has resumed, and we invite folks to sign up to provide some cookies or other goodies to go with the beverages which could include lemonade or iced tea as well as coffee. If you do some baking at home and the recipe allows a sufficient amount, a portion could be placed in the freezer at church for use on Sundays when there is no one signed up to provide the refreshments. Thanks for helping!
July 3, 2022
July 10, 2022
July 17, 2022
July 24, 2022
July 31, 2022
Marcia & Ernie Ross
Judi & Duane Emlinger
Jen Furman and Cindy Rozich
Margaret Gregory and Norma Kilpatrick
Lee Hunsberger & Barb Klenk
God’s gifts of grace come in many forms. Each of you has received a gift in order to serve others. You
should use it faithfully. 1 Peter 4:1
Oxygen for Ministry
Flight attendants instruct airplane passengers that if oxygen masks are needed, we should secure our own before assisting someone else. Why? If we aren’t getting enough oxygen ourselves, we can’t help another person for long.
The Holy Spirit empowers Christians for ministry — the work of loving and caring for our neighbors and God’s creation. But if we aren’t Spirit-fueled on an ongoing basis, we will soon lack capacity to serve. This may manifest as burnout, cynicism, exhaustion or even lack of faith. So how to ensure we’re breathing in the Spirit’s energy and guidance instead of poor-quality “air”?
By taking part in corporate worship regularly, immersing ourselves in the Scriptures (devotional reading and Bible study), praying “continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV) and spending time with Christian friends and mentors. Opening ourselves to the Spirit in these ways allows the Breath of God to flow into us, which turn empowers us to reach out to others in love. —-Heidi Hyland Mann
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
Marilyn McKay* – Mission
Cindy Rozich – * Worship
Keith Sterner* – Personnel
Warren Thompson* – Building/Grounds
Mary Williams* – Christian Education
Margaret Gregory – Clerk of Session
Kathy VanSyckle* – Personnel
First Presbyterian Staff
Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn
Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982