Pastor:  Rev. Rodger Allen

Music Director:  Susan Farris

Administrative Assistant: Jeanette Levellie

Custodian:  Dale Thomas

The Presbyterian Church

241 W Court St, Paris IL 61944


FAX 463-1471



 Thank You for Giving

As many of you know, donors to Paris Presbyterian Church have the option of designating how much of their gift will be used for in-church expenses (things like salaries, utilities, supplies, building maintenance) and how much will go to “Mission” – helping people outside our congregation. Of the mission dollars, some goes to causes listed in the church budget: Presbytery, Synod, and PCUSA mission; and Theological Education, for example. For other mission money, our Mission Task Force makes recommendations to the Session regarding recipients and how much each should get. The Task Force is very intentional about identifying some local (Edgar County) causes, some national, and some worldwide.

The Mission Task Force met in December, and made recommendations regarding some leftover 2021 mission money, and our 2022 funds, and with Session’s approval, over $8,000 was given to the causes below. We appreciate how generous this congregation is when it comes to mission, and hope you approve of the groups and people helped:

Food for Kids Paris weekend food program 

Faith in Action 

Hopes and Dreams

Clothing Closet 

Kemmerer Village  plus sponsoring a therapy horse for a month

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance  (most of PDA’s help is in the USA)

Church World Service  (worldwide disaster-relief efforts)

United Way of Edgar County

HOPE shelter for domestic violence (shelter in Charleston, office in Paris)

Marion Medical Mission wells 

Seitz family Presbyterian mission workers 

The other mission family we support

Horizon Health’s Meals on Wheels

Heifer International

Paris Ministerial Fellowship Assistance Fund

Paris Lions vision and hearing aids

Survivor Resource Center Healing after Sexual Assault – offices in Paris and Danville

Paris Shop with a Cop

Community Nurse Christmas Food Baskets

Doctors Without Borders



Sanctuary choir news  

     Our special music on January 1 was titled “The Gift.” (Thank you, ladies trio singers: Jane Blair, Jeanette Levellie, Susan Farris.) It spoke of the gifts brought to Jesus by the Wise Men: “incense and gold and myrrh,” as well as the gifts we can bring to Jesus: “music and love and joy.”

     The Sanctuary Choir shares the gift of song with you each week, hopefully with love and joy—and faith—as integral parts of our music. In turn, we appreciate the gifts you share with us: your attendance and listening for the message shared.

     Here’s to a New Year of continued gift-giving to the church and to each other!



Happy January birthday!

January  3   Heidi McVicker

             7     John Kreckman

          10      Brian O’Bannon

          11      Samantha (Turner) Elliott

          12      Sara (Jewell) Mood

          13      Alan Russell

          14      Robert Sprague

          15      Michael Simmons

          18      Elizabeth Sallee  

                   Mike Franklin    

                   Thomas Welsh

          21      Matt Jones

          23      John Robson

          27      Jeff Hodge


Happy January anniversary!

16      Tom & Ginni  Bradshaw

20      Paul & Beth Ruff



1          Eric Bradham

3          Layla Sisneros

6          Bruce Willis

7          Ginni Bradshaw

            Camille Foley

9          Melanie Spung

            Sean Blair

16       Levi Ray       

17       Chris Benefiel

18       Ruth Anthony

20       Cole Hodge

23       Lou Ballard

25       Maurice Johnson, Jr.



11       Jim & Kay McColloch

14       Jeanette & Kevin Levellie



A Prayer for the New Year

   Creator God, at the start of this New Year when thoughts turn again to beginnings, starting afresh, new leaves, and turning skeletons free from cupboards, be with us as we gaze into the distance of fresh mission grounds, of hopes and dreams, opportunities for service, challenges, and uncertainties. Take our fears and turn them into strengths. Take our lack of faith and empower us through the Spirit who breathes life into this world, whose presence is reflected in the icy chill of Winter’s breath, as well as the comforting warmth of a Summer breeze. Walk with us into this New Year of opportunity.

© John Birch, 2022


The lovely poinsettias in our sanctuary during the Christmas Season were given

in Memory or Honor of:


  • In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Donald R. Ewart, Sue Ann Ewart Peters, Mr. Glen Brower; & Mrs. Arthur Benson, and Mr. & Mrs. Dwight Parkinson

from Jerry and Mabel Benson and family


  • In Memory of Reva & Harry Benefiel, George & Glenna Veith, Rick Veith, & Jim Veith

from Steve and Debbie Benefiel


  • In honor of our new grandson, Ari Planincic and In Memory of our parents Jim & Dona Baumann and Jack and Ruth Etta Howrey

from Robert and Janet Howrey


  • In Memory of Glenn & Shirlee Williams and Wayne Allen

 from Revs. Rodger Allen & Laurie Williams


  • In Memory of Bud Shelledy, Bill Piper, Pam Piper-Griffiths, and Jeff Davidson

 from Betty Piper


  • In Honor of Mary Anna Ludington

 from Ruth Anthony


  • In Memory of Orris & Marjorie Kimball, Kenny & Evelyn Griffin, Melany Waggoner, and Stephanie Kimball

from Alvin & Juanita Kimball


  • In Memory of our parents; Elizabeth & Donald Feutz and Bettie & John Blair

from Jane and Steve Blair

  • In Memory of Wayne & Lois Jones and Hugh & Lois Cross

from Larry and Carol Jones


  • In Memory of Rosemary & Kenneth Stephens and Walter Kimball

from Mary Anna Ludington


  • In Memory of Judge Howard & Ruth Ruff, Don Ruff, Janet Jebe Ruff,

 and Rev. Curtis & Laverne Eaker

 from Paul and Beth Ruff


  • In Memory of Charles and Genevieve Willis and William & Gloria Hebermehl

 from Tom and Joanna Hebermehl


  • In Memory of Dr. & Mrs. W.A. Bittner and Bruce & Joyce Bittner Wylie

from Jane Bittner


  • In Memory of Lloyd & Frances Lindsey, David Lindsey, Russell & Genevieve Gough from The Gough Family


  • In Memory of Lloyd & Frances Lindsey, Elmer & Alice Bergdolt, and J. David Lindsey from Barbara and Terry Bergdolt


  • In Memory of All Past Choir Members

 from The Sanctuary Choir


  • In Memory of my mother, Doris Kidgell, from Jeanette Levellie


  • In Memory of Gene & Betty Ogden

from Jim and Susan Farris



            As described in the December newsletter, Christmas is a season in the Christian calendar, not just a day, and runs until January 6. The season is followed by two special days on the Christian worship calendar:


Epiphany is January 6, and is usually observed in the church on the Sunday before, or closest to, the 6th.  The word “epiphany” literally means a revelation, appearance, or showing—specifically, here, a revealing of who God is, a revealing that Jesus is God. 

In the churches of Western Europe and the Americas, the event revealing Jesus as God that is usually considered is the coming of the Magi to see Jesus. The appearance of these special visitors, coming from a great distance, with their valuable gifts, following a sign in the heavens (Matthew 2:1-11), “showed” that this was a special child indeed.

In the Eastern Church, this day is also often set aside to look at the baptism of Jesus, which included a voice from the heavens and the Spirit of God looking like a dove (Matthew 3:14-17); and the turning of water into wine (John 2:1-11)—both of which “show” or “reveal” Jesus’ identity as God.


Baptism of the Lord Sunday is the Sunday following January 6. This event, described in all four gospels, not only reveals who Jesus is, but also begins his public ministry and reminds each of us of our own baptism and incorporation into the community of God, the Church.  After this Sunday, we are back in “Ordinary Time” until we come to the season of Lent.


Transfiguration of the Lord” is Sunday,

February 19. The Sunday immediately prior to Ash Wednesday is an appropriate time to look at the story of Jesus being “transfigured” up upon a mountain (Matthew 17:1-8), because this event marked a transition in Jesus’ ministry: from this point on, he began his journey to Jerusalem, where he would die. In celebrating this Sunday we rejoice in the divine majesty of Christ, whose glory shone even when confronted with the Cross. And then we begin our journey toward Good Friday on the following Wednesday with:

Lent – The season of Lent begins with “Ash Wednesday,” which falls on

February 22 this year. This day gets its name from the fact that ashes are a symbol in the Bible, for reflecting on our behavior and repenting of the things we have done wrong (e.g. Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21).

         The season of Lent is a period of 40 weekdays  and six Sundays; in the early church it was a time for people who wanted to become members to study, pray, fast, and be examined, in order to join the church Easter morning. Later, the season developed into a time for all Christians to prepare themselves for Holy Week, through confession, repentance, and rededicating themselves to Christ. Its name is derived from the Middle English “lente,” which means “springtime.”

         The season runs through the Saturday of Holy Week, April 8 this year; it includes the special days of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. It ends as Easter Sunday dawns, beginning the fifty-day season of Easter.

On February 12th, before/during/after worship, we will invite you to help out the Edgar County Food Pantry by giving to our special offering “Souper Bowl of Caring.” All donations will go to the Food Pantry. Pick the Super Bowl football team you think will win, or want to win, and put your donation into the soup pot with that team’s name on it. If you won’t be here on the 12th, make your check payable to “The Presbyterian Church” and in the memo line put “Souper Bowl of Caring.”



Our December newsletter related how you could see a Christmas card, photo, and the latest newsletter from the Seitz family, the mission family we support in Taiwan. Now we have received the most recent letter from the other mission family we support, who have to remain more anonymous.  Here are a few sentences; please see Rev. Rodger if you would like to see the whole thing.


Dear friends,

   We wish you happy Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s! May the Lord give you much joy in celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus the Light of His People and the whole world.

   As the end of 2022 draws near we have regained strength after a great time going to see family – but with huge difficulties travelling there and back – followed by intensive work needed on our house when we got back. We are grateful that our health has been good all through this period and particularly grateful that the tradesmen who worked on our house while we were away did a great job. We have clear indications that thousands of people are accessing our attempts to share the Gospel and other Bible stories.

   Our children are doing well in their many activities around their studies, church, scouts, and contacts in and around our city. It is great to see them making the most of their opportunity.”



      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:


Deb and Steve Benefiel

201 E. Crawford St., Paris


Liz and Ken Gough

15654 N. 1100th St., Paris


Susan and Jim Farris

19869 Clark Rd., Dennison, IL 62423


Robert and Jani Howrey

124 Blue Heron Rd., Paris




75 Things that Our Per Capita and

Mission Giving Supports:  


     The Lead Presbyter of our presbytery, Elder Dr. Rebecca Blair has put together a list of 75 things that get accomplished through the per capita and mission dollars we send to presbytery. The first 25 were in our December newsletter. Here are the second 25. I realize you may not be fascinated by the details of all 75, but you may want to skim the list to get some idea of what our donations facilitate.

  1. Providing for the editing, printing, and distribution of our latest Book of Order and Book of Confessions, so our processes for inclusion are transparent and accessible to all to be able to participate in the life of the Church
  2. Providing orientation for new mid council leaders serving presbyteries and synods
  3. Resources and support for presbyteries and their elected leadership from the synod, through advice, funding, training and equipping, consultation, mediation, process support, and leadership gatherings.
  4. Support the Evangelism Conference through the work of the Office of Theology, Formation, and Evangelism
  5. Support the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Leadership Retreat
  6. Publishing resources for proposed amendments to the Book of Order as we live out our call, “Once Reformed, Always Reformed, according to the Word of God”
  7. Providing for Student Loan Advising for individuals with student loan debt who have worked at a nonprofit organizations who may be eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, including debt advising and document preparation for all PC(USA) leaders, with webinars for anyone with student loan debt.
  8. Supporting the fair compensation of national staff who work to make sure that standing committees, special committees, taskforces, and other bodies are fairly represented by volunteer membership that reflects the diversity of the church
  9. Ensuring equal access to the decision-making table of the General Assembly, so regardless of wealth or church size, we have representational standing in the shaping of our denomination
  10. Supporting the existence of conferences like the “Unforced Rhythms of Grace” event as part of the Association of Partners in Christian Education (APCE) annual gathering through the Office of Christian Formation
  11. Paying for yearly required boundary training for our pastors to foster a culture of protection and accountability throughout the presbytery.
  12. Providing training, gifts, and encouragement to our General Assembly commissioners providing voice in the shaping of the denomination on the national level
  13. Providing for the resources from the FBI for Parents and Church Staff Who Work with Minors through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

75 Things, cont.  

  1. Paying for annual Moderator Training event for our volunteer moderators so we can conduct the business of our regional witness
  2. Supporting the Presbyterian office at the United Nations so we have access to world leaders through the Office of Public Witness
  3. Advocating for humane immigration policy through the Office of Public Witness and Office of Immigration Issues
  4. Offering of technology grants for enhancing, expanding, and enriching the experience of worship in our congregations
  5. Confirming good standing for minister members seeking new calls in order to affirm the discernment of a good fit for ministry candidates
  6. Supporting triennium for the young people of the church and their faith formation
  7. Running presbytery to presbytery background checks for the protection of our presbytery community
  8. Supporting the new pastor pipeline through supporting the Committee on Preparation for Ministry
  9. Funding initiatives for providing pastoral care of pastoral leaders, honorably retired, specialized ministry. including cohort learning communities, and events around congregational stewardship and youth education
  10. Travel budget provisions for staff so that our resourcing staff have ability to travel onsite to directly interface with our congregations
  11. Maintaining a Stated Clerk’s portal for tracking pastor, congregation, and membership status in the denomination
  12. Providing for translations services for the resources of our denomination to Spanish and Korean congregations.


      There is a new flower sign-up sheet for 2023 on the bulletin board in the Assembly Room. Please sign up if you wish to give flowers in memory of loved ones in the new year.



For many years, our tradition was to hold the Annual Congregational Meeting on the last Sunday in January, after worship. This is the meeting in which we elect officers, look over our written annual reports (including the Budget), and “review the adequacy of the compensation of the pastor.” In 2021 and 2022, due to covid, that meeting ended up taking place later in the year. As this newsletter goes to print, Session is considering scheduling the meeting back on its last Sunday in January, January 29, immediately following the worship service.  A final decision will be made at the January 10 Session meeting, so please watch for further announcements.



Please help us out, if you can, with the “undecorating” of the church Saturday morning, January 14 beginning at 9 A.M., as we take down and put away the Christmas decorations.




“As the Church celebrates the baptism of the Lord, know that you and yours are beloved and pleasing to God. You are known by name. We see you and give thanks for you at the Theological Education Fund. Thank you for the ways you are responding to your own call and helping others do the same as they prepare for their service to the Church and the world.

Grateful, Rev. Dr. Lee Hinson-Hasty”


“Dear Presbyterian family – Thank you for asking me to speak on Sunday (January 1). You are a joy and an encouragement whenever I’m with you! God’s Best in the coming year

– Jeanette Levellie”


 “Thank you for your continued and generous support of Food for Kids of Paris, IL. Your generosity helps us in our efforts to supply food for kids (183) each weekend of the school year. I appreciate your faithful support and your consideration of our program.

   Thank you very much, Kurt I. Speece”


“As 2022 comes to an end, I want to take the opportunity to thank you for your generosity. By supporting the program Meals on Wheels, you helped raise nearly $25,000 to address food insecurities.

   Oliver M. Smith, President & CEO,

   Horizon Health”


From Marion Medical Mission:

When the well program started in Malawi in 1990, we were told, “You can’t build 20 wells in a year.” Then they said: “You can’t build 50 wells in a year.” Then it was 100 wells, then 500 wells, then 1,000 wells, then 2,000 wells, then 3,000. In 2022 they said, “You can’t build 3,460 well this year” . . . however, 3,820 are being built!



“Thank you for your generous donation to the Compassionate Clothing Closet, Inc. (CCC).

   “We are still operating under caution due to the covid-19 pandemic. Masks, hand sanitizers and social distancing remain standard operating procedures to protect our clients and volunteers. We hope you will join us in praying that this virus will cease its invasion on human lives, contain all variants and return us to being a more productive operation for the betterment of our citizens.

   Many thanks to those who volunteered their time in October, have donated clothing or personal funds.

   We hope your Holidays were joyous! May God’s Blessings abundantly come to you and yours.

   Sincerely, Rebecca R “Becky” Kraemer, Treasurer”


“Red Bird Mission”. . .

. . .  is a very worthwhile annual mission project of the Otterbein and Vermilion Methodist Churches. Fundraising meals for the mission will be held at Otterbein on January 15 (chicken and noodles) and February 12 (soup, on “Souper Bowl Sunday”), from 11 to 1.



. . .  with Per Capita:       We encourage you to pay your per capita this year, in addition to your pledge. Per capita is the annual per member “dues” our church pays to the larger governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church – Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly – to allow their mission work to take place.

            Thanks to several steps our Presbytery of Southeast Illinois has taken to reduce its expenses, the per capita amount for 2023 stays at $40, which is down from the $42 prior to 2022.         

        If you are willing and able, please help out our church budget by paying your per capita. You may write a check to “The Presbyterian Church” and indicate ‘per capita’ on the memo line. Special blue “per capita” envelopes are available, or you may use any envelope marked “per capita.” Thank you.

“Exploring Our Faith”

    We will resume the weekly meetings of the “Exploring Our Faith” (Bible Study) group on Monday January 16, 5:15 to 6:30 in the Koinonia Kafe. There is the option of going out to dinner together following the discussion. One item at the first meeting will be to choose our next topic, so come let us know what you would like to “explore.”


This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

I John 4:10, NIV