Ionia First Presbyterian Church125 East Main Street, Ionia, MI 48846
Words from Pastor Chris
One of Those Churchy Words
We come to church and hear and recite words that we almost never use in our everyday conversation. If we’ve been coming to church long enough, we have a basic grasp of the meaning of those words, at least most of them. But if we’ve not been in church for very long, then not so much. And we won’t even mention how confusing it must be for the occasional visitor, whose experience in the church may be scant or totally lacking.
We who speak about our faith need to be careful about the words we use. We want above all to communicate clearly with those to whom we are explaining our faith. This, of course, can be challenging, especially because certain “churchy” words are central to the message and therefore cannot be so easily avoided.
One of those words is “righteousness.” It is an obscure, even archaic word, one that we do not use outside of church, but one that we cannot help but use within church. We first encounter the word in the Old Testament. In the original Hebrew it is tsedeq. If a person is tsedeq, then his or her ways are in keeping with God’s ways and commands. This is true so far as it goes, but it may still seem somewhat vague. We need an illustration that opens up for us the meaning of this important word.
Author Joseph Sittler tells of taking his car to a garage in Israel. When he went to pick it up, the mechanic came out to announce to him that his car was ready. It was tsedeq! By this word, the mechanic meant that the car was now properly aligned. When a car is out of alignment, its wheels are pointing in different directions. This in turn causes the car to pull to the right or the left. The car no longer runs true. It is not “righteous.”
Apart from Christ, we don’t run true. We “pull” to the right or the left, because we are not properly aligned. But the good news is that we no longer have to rely on our own tsedeq, which cannot fix the problem. We have the tsedeq of God, which God gives to us freely as a gift through faith in Christ. “For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
May we who have received this gift make sure that we communicate clearly what it is to those who also need to receive it.
Events At A Glance
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.
with refreshments following the service
September 24, 25
The Ladies of Harmony
benefit play in the Fellowship Hall
First Sunday of the Month
Tuesday, September 21
Mission / Youth News
We continue to deliver groceries each month to our church family. Also, we have taken the opportunity during the summer vacation to plan some special activities with our families.
On July 30, twenty-nine members of our church family traveled to Holland and spent the day at the Outdoor Discovery Center. We not only got to get up close and personal with mammals, birds, and snakes, but we spent a great deal of time enjoying the grounds and having a picnic lunch. Everyone enjoyed the day, including the picnic lunch and free time to tour the grounds.
On August 17, I hosted six children at my home to make tags for the backpacks supplied by the church. We also had lunch, which included making your own pizza and ice cream sundae.
Afterward, the girls made some cards to be sent to some of our senior members.
On August 22, Pastor Chris conducted a blessing of the backpacks during the worship service.
September Worship Information
Lew and Carol
Kathy and Jim
The Ladies of Harmony Are Coming This Month!
Save one of these dates to laugh and enjoy the play coming to First Presbyterian Church – September 24 or 25 at 7:30 PM or September 26 at 3:00 PM. The Ladies of Harmony are six gossipy church ladies planning a small funeral dinner for a man they dislike, but when a large crowd arrives the next day, they endure a most embarrassing situation!
This mission project is being planned along with First United Methodist Church and Lyons-Muir Church as a fundraiser for a homeless shelter coming to Ionia. It has become an ecumenical event with several churches represented by the director as well as the cast members.
We hope all of our members will plan to attend one of these performances, not only to experience a fun evening with several surprises in store but to support the fundraising effort. See ticket information below.
Mission Project Recipient
The recipient of the Ladies of Harmony project is Have Mercy, Michigan, the Director of which is Kim Cain. Their goal is to have a shelter for homeless families. They have a building located at 346 4th Street, Ionia. It was formerly a credit union and they will be turning it into 6 units of family transitional housing. The idea is to provide a temporary home for families for up to 90 days. Families will be connected with a case manager to help them get into permanent housing on their own.
Money is being raised through grant writing and other donations to rehab the building, the cost of which is approximately $180,000. At this writing, the only grant which they have received is $40,000 from Consumers Energy. Any proceeds from The Ladies of Harmony will go toward this goal.
Ladies of Harmony Tickets
Tickets for the play, The Ladies Of Harmony, will be available from Sara at the church office during regular office hours in September which are Tuesdays: 12-3, and Wednesdays: 9-3.
They will also be available on Sunday mornings following worship beginning September 5. Show times are September 24 and 25 at 7:30 PM and September 26 at 3:00 PM.
5 Pat Gustafson
5 Garrett Emlinger
8 Libby Hyland
12 Margaret Gregory
12 Orion Parvin
12 Linda Steele
16 Savannah Parvin
18 Mary Lou Hopkins
19 Alyia Hubbard
21 Sara Hyland
22 Perry Gregory
22 Keith Sterner
24 Ellaina Bowyer
27 Lena Cox
28 Deb Montgomery
28 Nadine Tiejema
29 Laurie Sykes
Fall KickoffGet ready to resume regular worship services on September 12! On that day we will return to our normal style of worship including ushers, greeters and liturgists. There will be a special reception with coffee and refreshments after the service to mark the occasion! Come and worship with friends and fellow Christian sisters and brothers as we rejoice getting back to normal after a long hiatus due to covid.
Budget and Finance News
The pandemic has been a knockout blow for many small churches. Various articles predict that 20% may close permanently due to a drop in donations.
Our church has been spared this trial. Friends and members continue to donate faithfully. Year-to-date donations have covered more than 97% of our expenses. We still have savings to cover this modest deficit.
Bless those who continue to support God’s work through this church. Thank God.
July Session Highlights
~ The Ladies of Harmony, a joint outreach effort with the United Methodist Church, will be presented September 24, 25 and 26. Pam Robinson is in the cast. Jody Rewa is the director. Pie will be served at intermission.
~ Four applications were received for the Kosbar Scholarship. Final award amounts will be determined before the end of July and checks mailed in early August.
~ Regular in-person worship will resume September 12 including Sunday school, greeters and liturgists. Fellowship hour will begin again if we have a volunteer. The number of people attending both in-person and live-streamed services has been down this summer.
~Our administrative Assistant has been accepted to the Master of Social Work program at Spring Arbor College. She has a field placement with the church.
~ Session discussed the need for an updated policy on use of the church by non-member groups.
~ Both contractors who worked on the roof will be returning to investigate the source of a leak. Repairs will hopefully be covered by existing warranties.
~ Presbytery announced that some funds are available to focus on youth mental health, an area of growing concern during the pandemic.
Thank you, God, that I have lived
in this great world and known its many joys:
The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay
and cooling breezes in the secret dusk,
the flaming sunsets at the close of day;
music at night, and moonlight on the sea,
and wild, white spray, flung high in ecstasy;
The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,
the love of kin and fellowship of friends,
and all that makes life dear and beautiful.
I thank you, too, that there has come to me
a little sorrow and, sometimes defeat,
Dawn breaking after dreary hours of pain,
as morning light breaks through to me again.
Because of these and other blessings poured
unasked upon my wondering head,
because I know there is yet to come
an even richer and more glorious life,
and most of all because your only Son
once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me –
I thank you, God, that I have lived.
Elizabeth, Countess of Craven, England, 1750-1828
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* – Worship
First Presbyterian Staff
Rev. Dr. Chris Dorn
Pastor Tel. 616-610-5982