The Presbyletter

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

October 2021

Words from Pastor Chris

Although I have never tried it myself, I always found rock climbing fascinating. When I first began to research it, I learned that the climbers make their ascent in pairs. They do this so that each can provide belaying assistance to the other. The word “belay” refers to the task of taking up slack in the climbing rope, so that if the climber slips, he does not fall very far. Sometimes the one in charge of this task belays from below, and, at other times, after he reaches the top, and his partner is climbing towards him, he belays from above. In either case, it is clear that his partner is depending on him to carry his weight. Each step in the belaying process is critical, but by far the most critical one is to be sure to anchor oneself in the rock first, so that, if the climber falls, he doesn’t pull his partner over with him.  

If you spend enough time watching an intrepid pair of climbers scale a rock face, you will likely see one lose his grip, pop off the wall, and dangle from the rope in mid-air. It is a sight that makes your heart pound in your chest as you react in fear for the life of the climber! But then you will likely also see that his partner was anchored in, and therefore could hold his weight. And as you shift your focus on him, you will watch him look up patiently, 

in the confident expectation that the climber would soon get his hands and feet on something secure and resume the ascent. 

It is noteworthy how often the Bible describes God as a rock. The Psalmist declares that the Lord is his rock, his fortress, and his deliverer (18:2). Elsewhere the Psalmist announces he will cry out to the Lord, his rock (28:2). He hopes to find in God his rock of refuge, to which he can always go (71:3). For he knows that since God is his rock and his salvation, he will not be greatly moved (62:2, 7).   

The imagery here impresses on us that the Psalmist’s God is immovable, one on whom we can always depend. If we tie our own lives to this God, if we depend on this God to carry our weight as we scale the difficult walls in our own lives, we can move forward in confidence. Even when we lose our footing and trip, as we invariably do from time to time, we can resume the climb, for our God will never let us fall.  


Pastor Chris

Events At A Glance

Sunday Worship
10:00 A.M.

Join us for worship:
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.
Thank you!

Holy Communion
First Sunday of the Month
October 3, 2021
World Communion

Session Meeting
Tuesday, October 19
2:00 PM


~ Thank You ~

Dear Kosbar Scholarship Committee, 

Thank you very much for the scholarship award and for thinking of me during the application process. I greatly appreciate your support and encouragement as I continue to progress through my education. 

Currently, I am a third-year doctoral student in Central Michigan University’s School Psychology program. This past year, I graduated with my Master of Arts degree in School Psychology, and completed a practicum placement in Ionia Public Schools. This year, I have a full course load and a practicum placement at Eastern Elementary School in Traverse City, MI. At the university, I try to stay involved with various clubs and organizations. I am the President of our program’s school psychology professional organization (Student Affiliates of School Psychology) and Treasurer of the Psychological & Training Consultation Center (PTCC) Outreach Committee. Starting in October, I will also be teaching an online course through CMU’s Global campus. 

I am continuing to work on my research as well. My research pertains to CHARGE Syndrome: a rare, genetic syndrome that is associated with developmental delays, medical challenges, and multi-sensory impairment. My thesis project, titled “Medical Experiences and Subsequent Behaviors in Children and Adolescents with CHARGE Syndrome,” was defended in May 2021. I am currently working on my dissertation, titled “Bullying in CHARGE Syndrome,” which aims to better understand the experiences of bullying at school for youth with CHARGE Syndrome. I hope to continue to be a member of the CHARGE Syndrome community as they are a wonderful group to support. 

In the future, I plan to become a School Psychologist within the Michigan public schools so that I can support students with disabilities in reaching their full potentials. I enjoy working at the elementary level, as well as helping with systems-level work that occurs at the lSD. As I progress through my education, I continue to learn so much. I hope to use this knowledge to best serve children and adolescents in Michigan, and to help them have successful and bright futures. 

Thank you again for the wonderful scholarship—it will be put towards tuition and books for the semester. Again, it means a great deal to me that I have support and encouragement from the church. I hope to see you all very soon. Stay healthy. 


Sarah Sykes

Hello Kosbar Committee,

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Science in 2020 with University Honors from the University of Michigan. While working in a research lab, I co-authored one paper, with a second paper currently under review. I will be finishing my master’s in biomedical engineering this year. Following graduation, I intend to begin a career in research and development. I am, as always, very grateful for the support of my church family.


Emily Rozich

Thanks to all who contributed in any way to The Ladies of Harmony project! 
We are so happy to report that a check in the amount of $3,185 is being sent to Have Mercy for the homeless shelter here in Ionia. A special debt of gratitude goes to the cast and the director of the show as well as the pie bakers and behind-the-scenes workers.

To those of you who attended, thanks for your support, and we hope it brought a little levity to you along the way.

The steering committee including Pastor Chris Dorn, Kathy VanSyckle, Sue Manciu, Adam and Jody Rewa, and Carol Campbell is grateful for the support of all of you!


We are planning a Halloween outing for our church families at the Outdoor Discovery Center near Holland. On October 23 the Center will be hosting their annual Treats ‘n Trails event. We will leave from the church around 11:30 and stop at McDonalds for lunch (located at our exit from I-96). After lunch we will proceed to the Center. You are encouraged to wear a costume… especially the children. There will be treats, games and many other things to enjoy during the afternoon. Please contact Mary Williams if you have any questions or to let me know you will be attending. I hope many of our church families will be able to attend this event.

We continue to deliver groceries to one if our church families.  As we near the holidays, any monetary donation will be greatly appreciated.

The knitting group is once again meeting on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.  We invite all who like to knit and/or crochet to join us.  We are seeking a person to crochet around the blankets once assembled.  This can be done in your home if you do not want to attend on Thursdays.  Please contact Mary Williams (269-838-6671)  if interested in helping us out.

2     Alexis Parvin
 4     Ernie Ross
 6     Jim VanSyckle
 8     Nancy Satterlee
10    Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn
12    Anna VanSyckle
20    Sue Thompson
29    Mike Fuhrman

Special Dates

World Communion Sunday
October 3, 2021

Reformation Sunday
October 31, 2021

Pastor Appreciation Month

Session News

 August Session Highlights

~Laura Schoemboel and her sister, Linda, who are members of the Ionia First Assembly of God Church, will be distributing packages of gospel material in bags to be hung on doors throughout neighborhoods.  Our church information will be included in these bags. 

~Budget and Finance Committee Co-chair, Lee Hunsberger, reported operating income for July was $6,692 and expenses were $7,061 for a deficit of $369.  Year-to-date income is $43,227 and expenses are $44,494 for a deficit of $1,267.  

~Warren Thompson, Co-chair of the Building and Grounds Committee, reported the boiler has been fixed.  Spartan Commercial Roofing made the required roof repairs at no charge.  

~Membership and Care Committee Co-chair, Margaret Gregory, reported the committee met July 22, 2021.  The birthday list, the care and concern list, the prayer chain and the funeral luncheon volunteers were updated.   Church membership rolls were reviewed.  There were no changes.  Pastor Chris and Elder Cindy Rozich have been serving in-home communion on communion Sunday.

~The Kosbar Scholarship Committee awarded $9,000 in scholarships.  The recipients were Emily Rozich, Sarah Sykes, Megan Ransom and Sara Hyland.  

~Zion Methodist Church has had to postpone resuming the weekly soup kitchen meals because of the increase in COVID cases.  August 4th a letter went out to all the churches about the new homeless shelter in Ionia for families, which is through Have Mercy.  The Ladies of Harmony play is a fundraiser for this shelter.  

~The Fall Kick-Off Sunday is September 12th.  Postcards are being sent announcing this kick-off.  Liturgists and greeters/ushers will be scheduled, and there is a sign-up sheet in the Memorial Room for coffee hosts.

October Worship Information

October 3, 2021

Margaret Gregory
Pam Rogers
     Jim VanSyckle

October   10, 2021

Marcia Ross
Ernie Ross
    Marilyn McKay

October 17, 2021

Judi and Duane

    Cindy Rozich

October 24, 2021

Margaret Gregory
Norma Kilpatrick

    Kathy VanSyckle

October 31, 2021

Jim and Kathy

      Lew Campbell

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 4:10

Appreciating Your Pastor

Many people have complex relationships with their pastors because faith, church, and God involve a mix of emotions. We have particular ideas about church practices, congregational priorities, the minister’s use of time, money, authority, and more.
But most pastors are deeply devoted to Christ and believe that God has called them to serve in a certain place. They have the best of intentions and work hard to share the good news of the gospel. So in honor of Pastor Appreciation Month in October, consider the following:

God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies the called. Your pastor may need time to learn and develop certain skills. (Everyone does!) Bless pastors with your patience.

We don’t change the message; the message changes us. You probably won’t like all your pastor’s sermons or newsletter columns. But instead of complaining, ponder that something may rub you the wrong way because God is trying to change you. Keep an open mind and heart.

If a church wants a “better” pastor, it just needs to pray for the one it has. Pray often and caringly for your pastors, church leaders, and their families. The role is challenging, so support them spiritually and ask God to reveal his love and grace to these special servants.

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

*Session Members

 Marilyn McKay*   –  Mission
Cindy Rozich    –    * Worship
Keith Sterner*   –  Personnel
Warren Thompson*  –  Building/Grounds
Mary Williams*  –  Christian Education
Margaret Gregory  –  Clerk of Session
Kathy VanSyckle*   –  Worship

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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