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Sept/October Newsletter

Pastor:  Rev. Rodger Allen                                                                The Presbyterian Church of Paris

Music Director:  Susan Farris                                                         241 W. Court St. Paris, IL 61944

Administrative Assistant: Jeanette Levellie                  217-465-5118; fax: 217-463-1471

Custodian:  Cheryl Clark                                                  www.parispresbyterian.org



   We have recently received several sets of reports, statistics, and thank you’s about Presbyterian Mission activities. Here is some of that information, as a review of how Presbyterian Mission works:

   The first way we participate in PCUSA mission is by giving from our mission budget. In 2021 we budgeted and gave $1,500 to be divided between Presbytery, Synod, and National/Worldwide Mission. That last category includes ministries such as: financial support of 78 mission co-workers located around the world (including Jonathan and Emily Seitz, who have visited us and been reported on in recent newsletter issues); Theology, Christian Formation, and Evangelism efforts; and ministries of Compassion, Peace, and Justice. Total contributions from congregations and individuals nationwide to this national and world mission work were 37.3 million dollars in 2021.

   Our other two ways of participating involve asking you to make individual donations to particular causes. The first is Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. We occasionally ask you to consider a donation to help a particular place in the country or world following a disaster there, such as people fleeing Ukraine or tornadoes in our country. In 2021 you gave $500 to PDA; in 2020, $700. In 2021, thanks to donations from congregations and individuals nationwide, PDA sent out $2.35 million in response to hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, fires, and storms in the USA, and $744, 000 to 15 other countries experiencing similar things

   The other way we ask for your individual donations for PCUSA mission is for the four annual special offerings. The latest “thank you” we received, in August, for our participation in these, listed how much our congregation gave in 2021 and the total that came in from all congregations. For two of them, Pentecost and Peacemaking, congregations retain a portion for local projects they pick, so the nationwide total is only that part received by the denomination:



Paris Presbyterian Church


One Great Hour of Sharing


$4.3 million







Christmas Joy


$2.8 million


   As the slogan says at the top of that thank you: “If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot!” Thank you for your support of Presbyterian Mission (and our other mission efforts).




Sanctuary Choir News:

        Scheduling special music proved to be a little trickier than usual this summer. I hope you haven’t objected to having yours truly play the piano on more than one occasion.

        We do thank the following people who sang and/or played for us in July and August: Jeanette Levellie, Betty Brinkerhoff, Barbara Bergdolt, Barbara and David Dick, Jennifer Henness, and Rev. Rodger. Paul Lynch is planning to sing for us on Sept. 18, and we will have a ladies trio on Sept. 25.  

        THEN: Our Sanctuary Choir will return to their important duties in our worship services. The first rehearsal will probably be Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 4 P.M. HOWEVER, check future bulletins for any changes or updates

“When we worship God through music,

words of truth we contemplate,

Earth resounds with heaven’s glory,

we rejoice and celebrate!”





2     Kay LeMosy

3     Todd Bergdolt

4     Lisa McCollough

10    Al Kimball

11    Peter Spung

21    Garrett Jones

30    Mary (“Mike”) Craun



 9    David & Becky Hoff ©©

12    Rick & Judy Phillips  ©©      

14    Alicia (Howrey) & Alan Planincic ©©



2 Marisa Hoff                 

4 John O’Bannon        

5 Jim Farris            

6 Terry Bergdolt

7 Laurie Williams 

9 Kailee Gough

   Judy Phillips

17 Sally Acklin

24 Jerry Benson

Carolyn Brown Hodge



10    Marty & Deb Jipp       ©©  

26    Chris & Sheryl Clark  ©©    

31    Fred & Lanee Pfeiffer  ©©




    A recent Daily Hope by Rick Warren was based on 1 Corinthians 12:27 –

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

Rick Warren also said “There are no insignificant ministries in the church.  Some are visible and some are behind the scenes, but all are valuable.  Small or hidden ministries often make the biggest difference. “  

    Rodger said in his message last Sunday – “ We cannot go back to the way it was”.   Yes, we can only move forward. Therefore, let us start meeting and doing the things that we need to do to thrive as Christians.  As we re-start Bible Study, please attend and participate .  As we re-start some Sunday school classes, please attend and participate.  As we continue meeting as a congregation on Sundays, please attend and participate.   Attend and participate in the life of our church in all ways, as we are each a part of Christ’s body with our participation.

    It has indeed been a struggle to be part of anything since 2020 Covid.  Society was pretty much shut down for a year.  We and many other churches did not have services, and we are just now slowly getting back to the way we used to operate with Sunday services, Sunday schools, Bible Study, choirs, as well as starting up other church activities. 

   During the last two Covid years, our giving for normal offerings and special offerings has been consistent and helpful to our ministry.  However, the last three months this year, giving has taken a nose-dive. I don’t know if it is a timing thing, or whether we are just unable to provide individual giving as in the past, but it is certainly difficult for us to maintain our budgeted expenses. 

Please, if you are behind in your giving, prayerfully consider catching up to your pledge.  Moreover, if you are able, please make an additional gift to help us catch up.  I know this is difficult with the increasing household expenses we are all facing now.


   God has called you to a service beyond anything you can imagine. As Ephesians 2:10 says, “He has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do”  (GNT)

   –For the Stewardship Committee.



   Our annual October special offering is one of the four nationwide Presbyterian Church USA offerings; PCUSA describes it this way:

     “Our work of peace and reconciliation is supported by gifts to the Peace and Global Witness Offering. These gifts also unite us with Presbyterian peacemakers across the country and the world who are active, not passive; who are doing, not waiting.

    25% of this Offering stays with individual congregations to support local peacemaking and reconciliation efforts and ministries.

   25% of the Offering will go to mid councils to join congregations in support of peacemaking throughout presbyteries and synods.

   50% of this Offering supports the work for peace and reconciliation being done by Presbyterians across the globe.

We are the peacemakers. We are the Church. Together.

When we all do a little, it adds up

to a lot.

      The Peace and Global Offering enables the church to promote the peace of Christ by addressing systems of injustice in our own communities and around the world. Together we are building God’s household of peace where everyone is welcome; where all can find compassion, peace and justice.”

    We will begin collecting the offering on October 2, and will let you know which local organization “our” 25% will go to.


   The ecumenical women’s Bible Study group conducted by local women affiliated with Bible Study Fellowship International will resume, after its summer break, every Thursday at 11 A.M. beginning September 15. All women are invited.



         Our church has been blessed with two scholarship funds for college students who are members of this church: the Mary Ann Sprouls/Cynthia Ann Idleman Scholarship Fund and the Peg Hall Scholarship. Recipients are chosen from those who apply by the Stewardship Committee and Session. If you are interested in applying, please contact the church office or

Rev. Rodger.


Help Clothe Your Neighbors

      October will once again be our month to provide volunteers for the Compassionate Clothing Closet, on Mondays and Tuesdays. A sign-up sheet is on the table at the back of the sanctuary. Please begin checking your calendars to see when you might take a turn.



Our annual joint outdoor worship service with the New Providence congregation, at New Providence, will take place at 10:00 (note start time!) on Sunday September 11. Please bring lawn chairs if you have them. After the service our lunch together will be entirely  potluck – no meat provided – so please bring a covered dish to share.


Special Offering for Our Deacons

     As many of you know, the Deacons are not included in the church General Budget and must raise their own funds. They do so by selling flowers for Christmas and Easter; and in pre-covid years, through the Ice Cream Social. They also started an annual offering a few years back to give the members/friends of our church another opportunity to support their work. There are several Board of Deacon projects that require funds to complete. This year we will collect this offering on Sundays through September 11. You may use a “Deacons Fund” envelope from the table at the rear of the sanctuary, or any envelope clearly marked “Deacons.”



      Our “Church Family of the Week” program gives us a chance to lift up a different family (group or individual) of our congregation each week, include them in our daily prayer for our families and friends, and to send cards or greetings or in some other way to let them know we

are glad they are part of our church family. The “Church Family of the Week”

is listed in our Sunday bulletins. If you missed one or more of those recent announcements, I’ll bet those families wouldn’t mind if you prayed for them this week. Those recently listed are:


Mabel & Jerry Benson

106 McArthur St., Paris


Mary “Mike” Craun

109 Janice Ave., Paris


Beth & Paul Ruff

904 Clinton Rd., Paris


Bob & Alice Sprague

Attn: Robert Sprague

Room 124, Horizon Health

721 E. Court St., Paris



Our observation of “World Communion Sunday” will fall on Oct. 9 this year. The idea behind the special day is that we feel a connection with Christians of many denominations all around the world as we gather for the sacrament. “The faithful of all races and nations gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. In this holy place, the many are made one, united with Christ and with the church in every place.”



Items from business at the August meeting of Session included:


  • Review and discussion of the last couple monthly Treasurer’s Reports (please see the “Steve on Stewardship” page)
  • As we continue to move back to our pre-covid ways of operating, the decision to encourage our committees to resume regular meetings
  • And the decision to encourage Christian Education activities like Sunday School and the “Exploring Our Faith” discussion group (“Bible Study”) to resume
  • We have become aware that our church Constitution’s requirements for our Nominating Committee are stricter and more difficult to meet than the requirements in the Book of Order, and will be proposing that the congregation, at a duly-called after-worship meeting, vote on a couple changes.
  • Set our next meeting for Tuesday, September 20 from 5:00 to 6:00


“We are a welcoming congregation of dedicated believers who glorify and serve God through meaningful worship, caring for the needs of our congregation, reaching out as good stewards to others in need both locally and worldwide, and promoting Christian Education and spiritual development for all ages. We seek God’s purpose and guidance in our lives through the Holy Spirit and in service to Christ Jesus.”


      Thank you to everyone who helped with or donated items for August 20th’s Free Rummage Sale, and especially to event coordinator Carolyn Brown Hodge.



















September 1st, 2022|

“Back in Time to Jerusalem”

The Bible stories for this summer’s 5-church Cooperative Vacation Bible School were all from Jesus’ final week in the city of Jerusalem, from Palm Sunday to His resurrection. So during the week of July 10 to 14, 27 children visited the first century  Jerusalem Marketplace, to get some idea of what it might have been like there – its customs, its synagogues, its activities. The crafts, for example, were things like carpentry, pottery, and basket-making. The “rabbis” presenting the lessons and the other volunteers were in appropriate costume. The kids were organized into four multiage tribes (plus a pre-school group) to travel to Synagogue School (lesson), Marketplace (craft), and Village Playground, after their opening dinner and singing.

            “Jerusalem’s” location was First United Methodist Church, and the other participating churches were Otterbein  and Vermilion Methodist, New Providence, and us. Counting the dinner providers/servers (each church took a night), I estimate there were 60 to 70 teen and adult volunteers participating at least one evening. We thank those who helped and offered to help from our church – Deb B., Joanna H., Kathy S., Beth R., Tom H., and me – and from New Providence: Rev. Vallerie King, Julie Garver, Rita Goodman, and Aaron Garver.

            This year’s mission was World Vision’s Operation Kid-to-Kid, and with their offerings our kids provided school supplies to kids on Native American reservations. Due to matching funds and negotiated partnerships, each dollar we donated can provide supplies for one child for a whole year.  

            It turned out to be a great week; and this cooperative model is working well. Please take a look at the attached photos to get a feel for the event. Others can be found on New Providence’s Facebook page, and I expect some more soon on Otterbein’s page.       –Rodger


   It can be tempting to sing only easy and familiar anthems the final few weeks of the choir season. But this year, more than half our May and June anthems were newer songs, and on June 26 we sang “The Name of the Lord” for the very first time.

     Some of the text from that final anthem describes very well the “calling” of our choir:

     “Serve the Lord with a joyful heart,

            bring your best to the King…

            use your voice to praise and sing.

      In the precious name of the Lord,

            give your best, give your all,

            and do it in the name of the Lord.”

     Thank you to each and every choir member for their service to the church and to the Lord.

     Following a performance by a smaller choir on July 3, there will be special music from various vocalists and instrumentalists through September.


Four of our Paris Presby-terian  Church “Beauty and the Beast” participants are pictured above: (l to r) Lisa McCollough, stage manager; Barbara Bergdolt, whisk broom (enchanted object) and villager; Eli Brinkerhoff, knife (enchanted object) and villager; and Jane Blair, stage manager. The play delighted packed and over-capacity audiences for four performances in early July. Approximately 2,000 enthusiastic attendees enjoyed the Disney production.

July Birthdays

4     Kinsley Gough     

8     David Hoff

       Kenneth Ludington

11    Sarah Penczek

14    Elizabeth Gough

20    Rick Phillips

31    Misty Smith

July Anniversaries

14    Phil & Karen Scott

20    Rodger Allen/Laurie Williams

22    Jeff & Carolyn Hodge

25    Larry & Carol Jones


      Our “Church Family of the Week” program gives us a chance to lift up a different family (group or individual) of our congregation each week, include them in our daily prayer for our families and friends, and to send cards or greetings or in some other way to let them know we

are glad they are part of our church family. The “Church Family of the Week”

is listed in our Sunday bulletins. If you missed one or more of those recent announcements, I’ll bet those families wouldn’t mind if you prayed for them this week. Those recently listed are:

Juanita & Al Kimball

529 E. Court St., Paris

Carol & Larry Jones

3 Waters Edge, Paris

Jane Bittner

230 W. Madison, Paris

Betty Piper

1 Hillcrest Dr., Paris

August Birthdays

3     Meredith Penczek

6     Jim McColloch

10    Robert Howrey

12    Karen Scott

Autumn Lewis     

13    Mike McCrocklin

14    Clark Piper

       Jeanette Levellie

15    Mindy Lolie

16    Emma Scott

17    Kay McCulloch

21    Melfina McCollough

22    Lanee Pfeiffer

23    Gwyneth Blair    

       Logan Blair       

24    Dodie Turner

25    Seth Gough

27    Alice Sprague

31    Tom Hebermehl

August Anniversaries

8     Kevin & Amber Farris

10    Karol Farris & Chris Schilling 

26    Gaye & Dodie Turner

31    Jim & Susan Farris


            The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA is the every-two-year meeting of elected representatives from all over the country. Half of the voting delegates are Elders, and half Ministers. Our Presbytery of Southeast Illinois, for example, sent one Minister, one Elder, and one Young Adult Advisory Delegate (with voice but not vote).

Due to covid, the 2020 Assembly was entirely virtual with everyone meeting only via computer. This year’s was a combination model: Everyone met together virtually for opening and closing sessions and worship on June 18-19 and July 5-9. In between, four committees at a time came to Louisville for socially-distanced masked three-day in-person meetings – four sets of meetings, to limit the number of people interacting. (In spite of the precautions, there were a few positive tests during the first set of committee meetings, but no severe symptoms.) John Robson, a member here for many years, was an Elder Commissioner from his current presbytery, and was assigned to the Worship Committee.

            The business of the Assembly was a combination of internal structural decisions, like whether to merge two large agencies of the denomination, and prayer and discussion about major issues currently affecting our nation, like gun control and abortion. You can find summaries or detailed descriptions of the actions taken at the website ga-pcusa.org., or we can download and print out a version for you.


Every Sunday:

10:30 Worship

July 28: 10 A.M. Presbytery Meeting,

by Zoom/Phone

July 31: 10: 30 A.M. Worship includes the Sacrament of the

Lord’s Supper

August 14: 11:30 A.M. Our next monthly Fellowship Time after worship

August 16: 5-6 P.M. Session Meeting

August 18: The first of three Presbytery

“Big Conversations,” to help shape the future of our Presbytery. In-person meeting; time and location still to be determined

(the others will be in Sept. and Oct.)

August 20: 10-4 Free Rummage Sale

(see “Session Notes” for details)

August 27: 4-7 P.M. Drive-through

Fish Fry at New Providence Church


Items of business at the May and June meetings of Session included:

  • The decision to resume Fellowship Times after worship, on a monthly basis, beginning June 5.
  • Discussion of the best method for celebrating the Lord’s Supper, since we are no longer using pre-packaged packets, but are still sitting “socially-distanced” and aware of covid cases.
  • The decision to hold the “Free Rummage Sale” again this year, after last year’s success. The date will be Saturday, August 20, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Please bring items you are giving away between 9 and 10 A.M. August 20, or if that is not possible, place them on the covered ramp that leads to the basement on Friday, August 19.
  • We accepted the invitation from New Providence Church to a joint outdoor worship service there September 25 at 10 A.M. The lunch following will be entirely potluck; meat not provided.
  • As always, the meetings opened with devotions and prayer, and closed with a sharing of joys & concerns and prayer.


            One of the mission worker families we support, and who has visited us a couple times, the Seitz family in Taiwan, sent us a couple long letters earlier this year; excerpts were in the May/June newsletter. They included the news that they would be visiting the U.S. this summer for the first time in three years. A letter received this month included some more updates:

            “May saw our middle schooler move to high school and our fifth graders move to middle school. These are small milestones in our life, but ones to celebrate. It is hard to believe that since we last returned to Taiwan three years ago, our kids have seen so many changes, returning from the U.S., starting new schools, and then, for the twins, switching schools last year. Our family also makes our first trip back to the U.S. in three years. We’ve recently all recovered from covid-19 and are now in the process of completing final logistics. I often think of an expression used in Mandarin that ‘the planning can’t keep up with the changes.’”

            The entire letter from Jonathan, and a more recent photo, are on the bulletin board.


            We cannot publicize the names of the other mission family we support, due to the sensitive nature and location of their work. They have also visited us a couple times, and also just sent an update. Excerpts:

            “We write to you with a grateful heart, that we are still on the right path, still walking by faith and still feeling God’s hand on us and our family. The sale of our apartment finally went through, and we are now doing up an old house outside a much larger city. We are currently camping in our new house, joyfully for now! Quite a lot of work remains to be done on it, but we are now able to return to our respective offices while also doing that work.

            We are grateful for the way our son and daughter have adjusted to life here. She is finishing up her double degree and applying for masters courses, here and abroad. He is really enjoying his carpentry-focused high school, and has worked the last two months with a small business which installs cupboards, etc. in people’s homes. Both attend a local church youth group, and he is in the scouts.

            Our work has continued to show great progress, and we ask for your continued prayers for it. As a whole family we will travel halfway around the world (not to the U.S.) in July and August, for meetings and time with family.”

            (Rodger has a copy of the full letter, including recent photos; see him if you would like to take a look at it.)


“Dear Friends,

            It seems that this year more than ever, none of us walk alone, but together, through our gifts and prayers, accompany thousands all over the world whose path is made difficult by disaster. Because of your gift for Disaster Relief – International Refugee Programs – Ukraine, some amazing people of God – and so many others, worldwide and throughout the U.S. – are able to rebuild lives, support neighbors, volunteer in recovery, and exhibit resurrection life. Thank you, in the name of the risen Lord.

            Grace and peace,

            Rev. Dr. Laurie A. Kraus

Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance”


Everyone has their own motivation for supporting a worthy cause. For Dr. Robert “Doc” Sprague, lifelong resident of the Paris community, it was a personal understanding of the need and impact of the Meals on Wheels program. Doc recalls his mother, one of the earliest recipients identified, receiving Meals on Wheels in the 60’s and how much the visits meant to her.

            “This is probably what motivated me to volunteer,” Doc said “the contact with people is the fun thing . . . the visits, people look forward to it.” In addition to his many volunteer and service roles in the community, Doc dedicated over 40 years volunteering to deliver meals; retiring in July of 2021.

Thanks to support from volunteers like Doc, generous donors like you, and dedicated staff:

  • Meals are delivered by volunteers 7 days a week excluding holidays
  • Meals are prepared by Horizon Health staff, with consideration for any special dietary needs
  • A single meal costs $3 a day, a price that has remained the same since as early as 1987
  • Nearly 50% of participants receive financial assistance.

            Last year, donors made gifts totaling more than $20,000; helping to cover the cost of over 6,000 meals. With your help we can continue to actively meet the needs of our neighbors by providing a nutritious meal and a friendly visit from a caring volunteer.

            Thank you for being part of this important mission.

            With gratitude,

            Randi Bohannon

            Executive Director

            Horizon Health Foundation.

We thank our members who are currently serving as officers, and remind you that

we still have a few openings to fill:

       Class of 2023                             Class of 2024                                    Class of 2025


       Marty Jipp                                *Tom Hebermehl                            Jani Howrey

       Jane Blair                                  Kathy Smilie                                    Carolyn Brown Hodge

       *Steve Blair                              Larry Jones                                      *Carol Jones

            There is one Session slot available, and it could be in any of the three classes, so on-, two-, or three-year term:



Deb Benefiel                                    Jane Bittner                                     Joanna Hebermehl

Steve Benefiel                                  Larry Jones                                      Kathy Smilie

Board of Parish Visitors:

Mary Anna Ludington                    Sally Acklin                                      Betty Piper

                                                         Beth Ruff

2022-2023 Nominating Committee Members:

            We need three members of the church who are not on Session or Deacons:




            If you have a nomination, and have obtained the person’s consent, please contact Jane Blair, Carol Jones, or Rodger Allen. You may nominate yourself.

July 25th, 2022|

Announcements week of April 4, 2022

        We are once again hosting a Wednesday Lent series of worship services this year, for the entire Paris community, from Noon to 12:30 (We will not be able to offer the usual lunches after, in this pandemic year). Jeanette & Kevin Levellie will provide the special music for this Wednesday’s service, April 6, and Rev. Mike Dixon the message.

         Lent Devotionals: A variety of daily devotional guides for the season of Lent are available on the table by the Koinonia Kafe. Please select one for yourself or your family, and spend a few minutes with God each day this season.

   There are also online options, from the Presbyterian Church and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary:



 Upcoming Meetings:

            Session – Tuesday, April 5, 5:00 – 6:00

            Vacation Bible School planning – Thursday, April 21, 4:30 (at First Methodist)


       NEXT SUNDAY, April 10: Palm Sunday worship will begin our observance of Holy Week, Palm Sunday through Easter. The Sonshine Puppet team will give us an “Easter preview” with one of our favorite Easter numbers.

         Our April 14 Maundy Thursday service will include the telling of the story of the Last Supper and Good Friday in Scripture and song. If you would like to be a reader of one of the Bible lessons, contact Rev. Rodger or call the church office at 217-465-5118. The readings will be provided on a nice large print page. Readers of all ages are welcome.

 Good Friday services, April 15:

   Noon – Half-hour community service led by Paris Ministerial Fellowship, at First United Methodist Church, who will provide a light lunch after.

   7:00 – Worship with New Providence Church, at New Providence

        The annual One Great Hour of Sharing Offering provides assistance to those in need, through the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Self-Development of People, and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. The main collection date will be Easter Sunday, April 17, but you may contribute any  time. Envelopes, and coin boxes for the kids, are on the table by the Koinonia Kafe and the table at the rear of the sanctuary.

        Thank you for your generous support of the people of Ukraine, through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. In the first three weeks of the campaign, U.S. Presbyterians nationwide donated nearly one million dollars. PDA has partners working in countries bordering Ukraine, so money has already  gone to partners such as Hungarian Reformed Church Aid and International Orthodox Christian Charities in Romania, for food distribution, refugee reception centers, refugee children education and activities, and refugee housing. PDA’s specialty is long-term response, and it will continue to work with the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Office of the General Assembly, to provide ongoing support.




April 4th, 2022|