May 2022

   The Presbyletter

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

May 2022

Words from Pastor Chris

The Travails of Mothers  

Mother’s Day is this month. We certainly welcome this special day on which we honor and celebrate our mothers. Even though it is not a holy day in the strict sense, this national holiday is always observed on the second Sunday in May—since the time that President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation on May 9, 1914, making it the day for the “public expression of our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”  

On this Mother’s Day we will remember our mothers in worship, giving thanks to God for the special place they have (or had) in our lives. But we will also bring before God in our prayers those mothers who live in regions of the world that have been ravaged by the violence of war.  

We think of those mothers in Mosul, whose children are denied recognition in their communities, because their fathers, now imprisoned or dead, fought on the side of the Islamic State (ISIS) against the Iraqi Security Forces. Refused identity papers, these children are ineligible for enrolment in school. If a reconciliation process is not undertaken there, these innocent children will have to suffer their entire lives for actions in which they had no part.  

We think of those mothers in Mariupol, who are huddled together with their children in shelters underneath the Azovstal factory, the last holdout of Ukrainian forces, which continue to come under assault from Russian belligerents determined to capture the city. In video footage released at the time of this writing, a mother pleads desperately for a temporary halt of the hostilities, so that she and the other mothers can bring their children to places of safety.  

We are in the Easter season, also known as Eastertide. It is the greatest and most festive season of the Christian year. During these days, the church not only remembers the appearances of the risen Jesus to his disciples during the forty days between his resurrection and his ascension. It also looks forward to the renewal of all life, of which the resurrection of Jesus is a sign and pledge.  

On Easter Sunday we drew our Old Testament lesson from Isaiah 65:17-25. In these verses we heard that in God’s new creation the sound of weeping shall no more be heard, nor the cry of distress (19). Mothers will no more bear children for calamity; for their offspring shall be blessed by the Lord (23). And in this new creation, God’s peace will prevail. This is depicted in a vivid image in the last verse: “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent–its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord” (25). 

How we long for God to fulfill this promise—for our mothers, for us all.  

Eastertide blessings to you,  

Pastor Chris 

Sunday Worship 10:00 A.M.

Sunday Worship
10:00 A.M.

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

Sunday Morning Study
“Understanding the New Testament”

immediately following worship each week in the Memorial Room

Session Highlights

~ Pastor Chris will be gone the last half of May. He anticipates receiving a revitalization grant from Holland Classis of the Reformed Church in America to attend a retreat for part of the time.

~ There was a discussion regarding Maundy Thursday service. The decision was to tape a service and post it on Facebook.

~ After discussing changing Covid 19 policy, session decided to stay with current policy and review at the next meeting.

~ Tyler and Kelly VanSyckle asked and were granted their request to have their daughter Lilyth Anne baptized at the May 8th service.

~ The budget chair has completed the 2021 financial review. A written report will be submitted at the April meeting.

~ Two children will be attending Camp Greenwood this summer!

~ The Memorial and Investment chair reported it was time to award Kosbar Scholarship monies.  She plans on convening the committee and moving forward to solicit applications.

~ Zion Church will be reinstituting the Thursday Soup Kitchen. Our team will be part of the rotation.

~ Book collection for Head Start kids was VERY successful.

~ Flyers for people wishing to order Easter flowers will be available in the Fellowship Hall.


Lilyth Anne VanSyckle, daughter of Kelly and Tyler VanSyckle will be baptized on Sunday, May 8, Mother’s Day.  We rejoice to be welcoming this little one into Christ’s Kingdom and to our fellowship at Frist Presbyterian, Ionia

Kosbar Memorial Scholarship

It is that time of year when we are soliciting applications for Helen Kosbar Scholarship monies. Helen was a long time member of the church who left a sizable endowment that has provided scholarship grants to Ionia students for several years. Applicants will need to have a connection to the Presbyterian Church and complete an application. To apply for a grant, an application may be requested by calling the church office at 616-527-2320.

Mission News

Groceries were delivered to one of our families in March, and will again be delivered at the end of April. Easter hams were delivered to two of our families. As always, any donations to this ministry will be joyfully accepted.

Christian Education

Pastor Chris is continuing to meet with Sunny and Aliya  Sunday mornings for Sunday school.  On Easter Sunday we also had Sunny’s brother, Owen, join the girls.

Confirmation has been received from the  FPC in Grand Haven for our six children attending Camp Greenwood this summer.


May 1, 2022               Norma Kilpatrick & Marilyn McKay 
May 8, 2022               Judi & Duane Emlinger 
May 15, 2022            Lew & Carol Campbell
May 22, 2022            Lee Hunsberger & Barb Klenk 
May 29, 2022            Marcia & Ernie Ross


May 1, 2022               Marilyn McKay 
May 8, 2022               Barb Klenk
May 15, 2022            Cindy Rozich 
May 22, 2022            Lew Campbell 
May 29, 2022           Carol Campbell

Special Dates

National Day or Prayer, may 5, 2022
Mother’s Day, May 8, 2022
Ascension Day, May 26, 2022
Memorial Day, May 30, 2022

3 Amy Cox
6 Jeremiah Helsius
9 James Bosley
16 Marsha Kohloff
18 Evelyn Ransom
19 Kathy VanSyckle
21 David Kohloff
21 Rebecca Speer
24 Wade Arnold
24 Marilyn McKay
25 Marcia Brown
25 Robert Sykes, Jr.
28 Laela Agostini

Pastor Chris will be on vacation from May 15 to May 29.
The Rev. Bert Nelson will be leading our worship services in his absence.

Head Start Book Drive

First Presbyterian has for many years had a close involvement with the local Head Start, a pre-school program for low income children. Due to Covid in the last two years, our volunteering and other contact with the children and families has been minimal. Despite this unfortunate situation, last month 88 books donated by our members and friends were delivered by Marilyn McKay to the Head Start location. Teachers in the program indicated that this year the books would be given to each child when home visits are made at the end of the year. They are very appreciative of the church’s continuing support in this way. 

Many thanks go to all who have donated to this effort either with books or financially. Please take time to view the thank you poster from the Head Start children which is on display at church in the Memorial Room.

A Prayer For Racial Harmony

God and Father of all,
in your love
you made all the nations of the world
to be a family,
and your Son taught us to love one another.
Yet our world is riven apart
with prejudice, arrogance, and pride.
Help the different races
to love and understand one another better.
Increase among us sympathy,
tolerance, and goodwill,
that we may learn to appreciate the gifts
that other races bring to us,
and to see in all people
our brothers and sisters for whom Christ died.
Save us from jealousy, hatred, and fear,
and help us to live together
as members of one family at home in the world,
sons and daughters of one Father
who live in the liberty of the children of God;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Order of the Church of Scotland

(Edinburgh: St. Andrew Press, 1994)

A Mother’s Day Hymn

Sing praise to our Creator God!
Earth prospers from the way
God “mothers” each new child into
This world day after day.

God fabricates in motherhood
A channel from above
That longs to share with every child
God’s comfort, grace and love!

Sing praise to our Creator God,
Who “mothers” us from birth!
Providing what we truly need
Throughout our lives on earth.

—Peggy Ferrell


Session Members / Ministry Team Chairperson / Committee Member

Judi Emlinger*   –  Christian Education, Nominating
Jen Furman*
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*
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
Sara Hyland
Steve Slaughter

Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982
Administrative Assistant

Newsletter, Calendar and more at
Summer Church Office Hours-Tuesday 12-3; Wednesday 9-3; Thursday 9-1
Ph# 616-527-2320 

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