At a Glance
Sunday Worship: 10:00 a.m.
All worship services within the physical walls of the church remain suspended, through May 18. Online services will continue to be broadcast at 10:00 a.m. live on the First Presbyterian Church of Ionia’s Facebook page.
A statement about COVID-19 from our Presbytery is posted below.
At a Glance
Sunday Worship: 10:00 a.m.
All worship services within the physical walls of the church remain suspended until further notice.
Online services will continue to be broadcast at 10:00 a.m. live on the First Presbyterian Church of Ionia’s Facebook page.
Words from the Pastor
The Continuing Ache for Each Other’s Presence
It has been more than two months now since we last met together at church. In the meanwhile, we have streamed abbreviated liturgies on Sunday mornings in an attempt to sustain our devotion to God in these difficult times. Some of you have sent comments to me about these productions, telling me that they have helped you maintain your focus on the truths of our faith. It is good that we live in an era in which communication technologies enable us to exchange content with one another instantaneously. Devices provide pastors a platform on which they may continue to proclaim the good news of God’s love demonstrated in Jesus Christ. Martin Luther once called Christianity a “religion of the ear.” If he is right, then presumably the voice of the preacher carried by radio and now light waves should be more than enough for promoting and celebrating the faith we profess.
But is it really enough? How long can faith thrive or even survive without corporate worship? Throughout the centuries the church has taught us through word and deed that faith is embodied. This is a lesson we show we have learned each time we gather in our church for worship. But social distancing has meant no contact with each other. The greeting at the door, the passing of the peace, the conversation in the memorial room—all these rituals have been marked by handshakes and hugs. Observing the “six-foot” rule is meant to stop the spread of the virus. But one wonders if it does not propagate an illness of its own.
There is wide consensus among social researchers that the Millennial generation is the loneliest one. The paradox is that it is also the most digitally connected. One can draw at least one obvious conclusion from this research: connecting by means of our electronic devices is no substitute for embodied presence to one another. The look in the eye, the touch of the shoulder, the hug of the neck—these communicate our presence to one another in a way that video chat or text messaging simply cannot. The hard sciences corroborate our point here: gentle or “safe” touch has been shown to downregulate the sympathetic nervous system, restoring the body to a state of calm and relaxation. Without touch, we can be in a constant state of stress, which gives rise to a host of health problems and even fatal illnesses.
God knows and cares about our bodies. After all, he created them. Even if we have been lonely and deprived of touch in these last two months, we can still commit ourselves to our faithful God and continue to trust and hope in him. And let us continue to pray to him for an end to this pandemic, so that we may be restored, both in body and soul, to one another.
Blessings to all,
A Message From The Church
Where are you? It’s ghostly quiet here… and lonely… and cold (50 degrees). Oh, the odd soul will do a walk through, but no laughing and singing or sharing His Word. Perry found a leak in my roof and has talked to the roofers. Everything else is ok. I look outside and see the work is being done. The yard has been raked, thatched, and rolled twice. Perry has edged the lawn and Duane Emlinger is doing the weekly manicure. The professional application of herbicides and fertilizer this year should help. Sue planted some flowers in the beds
around the main entrance. Brightens things.
Please come back soon with renewed
spirits to share the Word of the Lord.
Peace…from 125 East Main
On April 6, 2020, Bill Fuhrman, a long time member of Ionia First Presbyterian Church, died at Green Acres Retirement Living in Ionia. At the time of his death, an email message was sent to the Members and Friends of Ionia FPC. Due to an
oversight, this notice did not appear in the May newsletter. On April 11, a family only graveside interment service was held. Cards may be sent to Joann Fuhrman at Green Acres Retirement Living, 2550 Meijer Apt #10, Ionia, MI 48846. She also welcomes calls at 616-340-9146. Please keep Joann and her family in your prayers.
I would like to thank all who have donated toward the purchase of groceries for several of our church families. Warren & Sue Thompson, David & Sarah Jane Hansen, Marilyn McKay, Cindy Rozich, Lee Hunsberger & Barb Klenk, Margaret Gregory, Norma Kilpatrick and Bruce & Jean Mulder. We also received donations from Barb Furton and Ann Henriksen. A special thanks to Sue Thompson, Marilyn McKay and Margaret Gregory for their help in cooking and baking food for the meals we deliver along with the groceries. I could not do this without their help. We continue to deliver groceries every other week. They are always excited to see us, and we receive many thank yous. God bless all of you.
6/3 Barb Klenk
6/6 Caitlin Rozich
6/18 Maxine Bosley
Session Highlights from the Minutes of the March 31, 2020 meeting
1. For his Pastor’s report, Pastor Chris Dorn reported during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our church will comply with the directives of the state and national government officials. We will refrain from gathering in our sanctuary through April 13th, which is Governor Whitmer’s new directive. Pastor Chris’ memorandum sent in an email to our members and friends, is on our website as well as our Facebook page. He will be providing a “virtual” worship service, which he will upload onto the church’s Facebook page via a video. The video has parts of the liturgy, the gospel lesson designed for the day, and a brief sermon. The liturgy will be sent in advance via email. For his professional development, he used the funds to attend a theology conference February 18-20 at Providence Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island, SC. The theme was “Confessing Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life in a Pluralistic Culture.” He also acknowledged a debt of gratitude to the church for granting him permission to take an extended two week vacation (2/24-3/18) to travel and visit Israel as part of a tour. In the near future, it is his hope to share this experience with the congregation.
2. On February 9, 2020, a Certificate of Transfer was received from Rev. Philip Van Dop of the First Congregational Church in Sheridan indicating that Pam Rogers is a member in good standing. He hereby commends Pam to our Christian fellowship. Her membership in his church will cease as soon as she is received into membership at Ionia First Presbyterian, which will be as soon as we are able to do so.
3. Lee Hunsberger, Co-Chairperson of the Budget and Finance Committee, has been to the church once since the state’s “Stay Home Stay Healthy” order. He picked up the mail. The only bill due is the AT&T bill, which he paid out of his own checking account. He will submit a reimbursement voucher.
4. Dr. Warren Thompson, Co-Chairperson of the Building and Grounds Committee, reported Chris Bredice of Bredice Electric completed the work that was approved at the February meeting. The thermostats have been reset to 60. It may be possible to set them at 50. Cindy will check to see if that is appropriate for the piano.
5. Judi Emlinger, Chairperson of Christian Education Committee, reported two kids have expressed interest in going to Camp Greenwood this summer. Judi is attempting to contact the camp to see if it will be open. Due to COVID-19, the Men’s Garage sale has been cancelled.
6. Marilyn McKay, Chairperson of the Mission Committee, reported the two Sundays of fill the pew for the IM 3rd Meal will probably no longer be needed as it doesn’t appear that school will resume for the rest of this school year. The items donated on March 15th will be saved. The federal lockdown has been extended through April. This will affect our Spring Into Reading book collection as well. A former school teacher donated a lot of very nice books, which will be saved.
7. A motion to approve the 2020 communion schedule was made, seconded and approved.
8. A motion was made that Mike Kaufman’s employment with Ionia First Presbyterian Church as its organist be terminated effective immediately so that he can devote his time to his other business interests. There was a second. Discussion followed, which included Mike’s request for 6-7 Sundays off beginning the Sunday following Easter. All were in favor; the motion carried. While Keith would prefer to have an in-person conversation with Mike, given the governor’s executive order, this is not possible. Keith will advise him via a phone conversation.
9. The next meeting is May 5, 2020 at 7:00PM.
Margaret Gregory, Clerk of Session
It should be noted because of the coronavirus (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 5th.
Ed. Note: At this writing, Gov. Whitmer has extended the “Stay Home Stay Healthy” order until June 12 with gatherings limited to no more than ten people.
Steve Slaughter Recognized
The following article appeared in the Ionia Newspaper, the Detroit News, and was highlighted on Wood TV about our faithful Custodian, Steve Slaughter.
Well done Steve!
Ionia – A man is working behind the scenes as a first line of defense for Ionia Police officers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Steve Slaughter was a part-time contracted custodian at the Ionia Department of Public Safety, WOOD-TV reported. It was a job he volunteered to do for free. In wake of the
pandemic, Slaughter was promoted to full time.
“I just see the need and I approached the need as my responsibility,” Slaughter said. “I’m willing to make a sacrifice if that’s the case that will get things done, so we can protect everybody as a whole.”
Slaughter uses a disinfectant spray machine and wears gloves and masks to clean nearly every surface officers come in contact with, including patrol cars. He prepares the mixture himself from chemicals provided by the department.
“The mist makes hard to reach areas much more accessible. We’re able to clean everything,” Slaughter said. “It’s reassuring that we have this equipment. … We can
protect the staff, protect the officers, protect the firefighters that serve the Ionia community so well.”
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Shelly Reglin Graduates
Shelly is a 2020 graduate of Ionia High School. She has been a competitive swimmer since age 6, including 4 years on the Ionia High School Girls Varsity Swim Team. She also played the flute in the IHS symphonic and marching bands.
Shelly has been active in church since she was a young girl. She attended Sunday school, and participated in Christmas pageants, most recently portraying Mary, mother of baby Jesus. She has participated in the church’s overnights for the youth. Shelly has helped with field trips including plays in downtown Grand Rapids, Anderson and Girls and The Animal Sanctuary.
As part of worship services, Shelly has been a liturgist as well as an usher/greeter. She has helped with child care in the nursery, and has also helped with the family nights and crafts.
She plans to go to Montcalm Community College in the fall to pursue a career in the healthcare field.
We wish you God’s Blessings
as you embark on the next stage
of your life.
The following message from Pastor Chris appeared on Facebook:
Dear friends, yet another Covid-19 update… We recently updated the church’s website to reflect the new extension to Governor Whitmer’s stay at home executive order, which now goes through June 12. I want to inform you that our Session has appointed a four-member team to study the issue of re- opening the church. The session will meet on June 16, after which I am sure I will have more news to share about how First Presbyterian Church, Ionia, is planning to approach the prospect of re-opening. Keep us, the team, and the church in your prayers, as you know that you are in ours.
Having celebrated Memorial Day on May 25th, and with the continuing Covid-19 pandemic, this quote seems relevant for today.
“May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.”
Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall, 1902-1949, Presbyterian Minister and Chaplain of the Senate
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
Church Office Hours-Monday through Thursday
9:00AM-12:00PM, Ph# 616-527-2320
Currently, closed due to COVID-19