June 2023

   The Presbyletter

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

June 2023

Words from Pastor Chris

Growth in the Spirit

On the last Sunday of May, we celebrated Pentecost, a day dedicated to the theme of the Holy Spirit. In both Hebrew and Greek, the languages of the Old and New Testaments, respectively, the word “Spirit” is literally “wind.” That is perhaps the first image that comes to mind when we contemplate the Spirit. But another important image that is especially helpful in understanding the Holy Spirit, especially during this time of year, is water. Look around and you will see lush and profuse growth in fields, in gardens, and in forests. All that you see would not exist apart from the spring rains. Indeed, we realize how dependent we are on them when our plants and flowers wilt and our lawns and fields turn brown due to lack of water. 

The land of the Bible is arid during much of the year. When the seasonal rains do come, Israel joyfully acknowledges God as their source. The Psalmist cries: “You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it (Psalms 65:9). 

What God does for the dry land, he does also for our souls. Read again the words of the Psalmist: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water” (Psalms 63:1).  The water that satisfies the longing of our souls is the living water about which Jesus speaks in the Gospel of John: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said: ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water'” (John 7:37,38). The Gospel author explains that Jesus refers here to the Holy Spirit, who was to come when Jesus was glorified (John 7:39). 

The Holy Spirit is living water.  And over time this living water produces growth in our lives, causing them to blossom and bear fruit. Scripture characterizes this fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). 

Just as the earth soaks up the rains when they come, so also let us drink deeply of the living water that Christ gives us. Let us be like a tree planted by that water that sends its roots by the flowing rivers. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries when drought comes and never fails to bear fruit (Jeremiah 17:8). 

Blessings 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.

Holy Communion
First Sunday of the Month

Strawberry Fest
June 25

Nursery Care Provided
Children are welcome in the worship service

No Session Meeting in June


Thank you for everything you have done for me. I am excited to be going to Washington D.C. this summer, and it is thanks to you all that I can. I am grateful for this opportunity, and I will try to help around the church as much as possible. I am so happy that I have you in my life!

 Sunny Pennington


Once again during the month, we helped two of our church families with groceries. Our funds are rapidly depleting. While grocery items are requested each month, donations have been minimal. Please consider donating monetarily or purchasing requested items.

This month the grocery items being collected are:

     Canned veggies   
     Canned fruit
     Toilet paper

Any grocery items will gladly be accepted, so feel free to stray from the suggested list.
Thank you for helping with this ongoing service to our friends in need.


A huge thank you to Lynn Ross for providing $25 to the camp store at Camp Greenwood for each of our eight campers. Lynn asked to help with camp using funds from her mother, Alice Fox’s, memorial.  Alice was very fond of children, and Lynn felt the donation was something her mother would like to do. Thank you so much for your generosity. Our first camper leaves the second week of June.

One of our youth, Sunny Pennington, has the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. with a group of her fellow eighth-grade classmates. Several members of our church provided donations to make this trip possible for Sunny. She leaves on June 15 and returns on June 20.  

Sunny has written a thank you note to the church which is on the table in the Memorial Room.


On June 11th, we will be bringing back the tradition of the greening of the cross. Early in the service, the congregation will be asked to come forward and decorate the cross with cut flowers. If you are able, please bring a few flowers from your garden or better yet, bring enough to share. If you are not able to bring flowers, the church will have some available. Please join us for worship as we celebrate the beauty of God’s green earth.


Here are highlights from the April 2023 Session meeting: 

* Pastor Chris and Elder Cindy served in home communion to two members in April. 

* The elevator has been officially tested and certified for continued use. 

* Our church was contacted by the historical society about being one of four churches in   downtown Ionia to participate in a historic walk May 21.  We gladly accepted. 

* We will celebrate our high school graduate T. J. Cox on June 4.  Congratulations T. J.  

* We continue to receive much positive feedback from our Maundy Thursday service with two other churches. 

* Pastor Chris met with the directors of Soaring Above Teen Center and was enthusiastic about their mission and accomplishments. A visit for all session members is planned. 

* Church security was discussed and Session recommended inviting a representative from the  sheriff’s office to meet with session. Pastor Chris will follow up. 

* Marilyn McKay delivered 118 books to Head Start on behalf of the church. 

* The church provided two families with food for Easter. 

* A detailed report was shared by the budget and finance chair. Some minor issues remain with   the year-end Church Windows release.


If you need to change your scheduled date and are unable to find a replacement, please contact the church office (616) 527-2320.  


June 4

June 11

June 18

June 25


Margaret Gregory
Norma Kilpatrick

Cindy Rozich
Jen Furman

Kathy CanSyckle
Carol Campbell

Marcia & Ernie Ross


Cindy Rozich

Carol Campbell

Lew Campbell

Kathy VanSyckle

Communion Servers

Norma Kilpatrick, Jen Furman

Communion Preparer

Judi Emilinger

Barb Klenk            3
Caitlin Rozich       6
Maxine Bosley    18


Choral Society Concert in Portland

The Lakewood Area Choral Society will present a concert of sacred choral music on June 25, at 3:30 p.m., in the Portland First Baptist Church. This group last year celebrated thirty-five years as a choral society. They have performed in various locations in the area, throughout several states, and also abroad. The chorus consists of adults of all ages and numbers 75 voices this year.

Its conductor, Dr. Robert Oster, is a retired public school choral director and is currently the organist at the Hastings Presbyterian Church. The accompanist is Ethan Holmes, also a gifted musician and currently a high school English teacher.

This audience-friendly concert includes titles such as Softly and Tenderly, Make Me a Blessing, Ancient Words, The Omnipotence, and Great is Thy Faithfulness, among others.

Several Ionia area residents are a part of the chorus including Jen Furman, Lew and Carol Campbell, Pat Klein, Evie Proulx, Vicki Pontz, and Elaine Caswell.

The concert is free and open to the public; a free-will offering will be taken. Come and enjoy some superb and inspiring music only a short distance from Ionia. You will not be disappointed!


At the May Session meeting, Lee Hunsberger, Budget and Finance Chair, reported that $5,000 was moved from the Edward Jones money market account to the checking account in order to cover expenses. Whenever income is insufficient to cover expenses, the deficit is covered by reducing assets. In April, total general fund income from donations, per capita, and refunds was $2,029, and expenses were $5,265 for a deficit of $3,236.


Plan to enjoy all sorts of strawberry goodies at the fellowship time following the worship service on June 25!

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: ioniafpc@gmail.com
Church Office Hours – Wednesday 9-3
Ph# 616-527-2320 

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