Easter shows up earlier on our 2024 calendars than it does many years – March 31. This means, logically enough, that the season of Lent leading up to Easter also begins earlier – in February this year. So here in this newsletter is the list of our  early Lent  activities:


  • Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14 – The season of Lent begins with “Ash Wednesday” on Feb. 14. We begin this season of preparation for Holy Week with a worship service at 7 P.M. which includes an introduction to the Season of Lent. It features the imposition of ashes, various forms of prayer, an anthem from the choir, and the opportunity for prayer together for our joys and concerns.


  • Sunday worship in LentOur Sunday morning worship services in Lent begin with

our Feb. 18 service, which includes the celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. The choir will feature special anthems about Jesus’ journey to the cross throughout the season.


  • Daily DevotionsA variety of daily devotional guides for the season of Lent will be available on a table by the Koinonia Kafe. Some are specifically for children, some for families to do together, and some for adults. Please choose one, and make your observance of this season a daily event.


  • Wednesdays, Feb. 21 through March 20, Noon

       The annual Wednesday Noon Lenten worship services, open to the whole community. All are held in our sanctuary. A half-hour worship service begins at Noon, featuring special music by a soloist or small group, the opportunity for prayer and reflection, and a short (only five minutes!) message from one of our Paris church ministers. Another feature this year: the return of the lunches, immediately following each service! For the first time since covid interrupted them in 2020, lunch will be available downstairs for $5. Please consider attending and invite a friend from another church or with no church home to come with you.


  • Helping Those in Need – During Lent we distribute envelopes and fish-shaped boxes for the “One Great Hour of Sharing” offering. Our main collection date is Easter Sunday, so you can drop coins into your “fish” throughout the season, or you may turn in your donation any time. The income is divided between the Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, and Self-Development of People (more information is available at



 Sanctuary choir news

   I always look forward to January as a “slow-down-a-little” month, but that has certainly not been the case so far this year. And with the Lenten season beginning early this year (Ash Wednesday is Feb. 14), there will be precious little time for any slow-down in church activities.

     Our 31st year of Wednesday noon Lenten services will begin on Feb. 21 and conclude on March 20. We hope to resume the luncheons this year after each service and  will be looking for helpers to prepare and serve.  We intend to keep the meals simple so that no one person has to do all the work. Please plan to participate in the services and the luncheons as much as you are able.

     The carnations in church on Feb. 11 will be in honor of our choir members who continue to give of their time and talent to add music to our worship. Thank you!!    



Happy January birthday!


  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  

21     Matt Jones

23     John Robson

27     Jeff Hodge


Happy January Anniversary!

16       Tom & Ginny Bradshaw



1          Eric Bradham

3          Layla Sisneros

6          Bruce Willis

7          Ginni Bradshaw

9          Melanie Spung

            Sean Blair

16       Levi Ray       

17       Chris Benefiel

18       Ruth Anthony

20       Cole Hodge

23       Lou Ballard

25       Maurice Johnson, Jr.


Happy February Anniversary!

11       Jim & Kay McCullouch

14       Kevin & Jeanette Levellie


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, Rick, & Jim Veith from Steve and Debbie Benefiel
  • In Memory of Paul Ruff from Steve & Debbie Benefiel
  • In Memory of our parents, Jim & Dona Baumann and Jack & Ruth Etta Howrey from Robert and Janet Howrey
  • In Honor of Sandy Allen from Revs. Rodger Allen & Laurie Williams
  •  In Memory of Wyn & Bud Shelledy, Orval & Veda Gore, Mary McCloud, and Pam Piper-Griffiths, from Betty Piper
  •  In Memory of Don Pruiett from Jeanette Levellie 
  • In Memory of Orris & Marjorie Kimball, Kenneth & Evelyn Griffin, and Stephanie Kimball and Melany Waggoner from Alvin & Juanita Kimball
  • In Memory of our parents and in honor of our children and grandchildren from Jane and Steve Blair
  •  In Memory of Wayne & Lois Jones and Hugh & Lois Cross from Larry and Carol Jones
  •  In Honor of Mary Anna Ludington from Ruth Anthony
  • In Memory of Charles & Genevieve Willis and William & Gloria Hebermehl  from Tom and Joanna Hebermehl
  •  In Memory of Lloyd & Frances Lindsey, David Lindsey, Russell & Genevieve Gough from The Gough Family
  • In Memory of J. David Lindsey, Frances S. & Lloyd Lindsey, Alice & Elmer Bergdolt, Frank & Emma S. Sunkel, and Arthur & Minnie Lindsey from Barbara & Terry Bergdolt
  •  In Memory of All Past Choir Members from The Sanctuary Choir
  •  In Memory of Kenneth and Rosemary Stephens from Mary Anna Ludington
  •  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 11. 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 14 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, March 30 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.


We Need Your Help 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 2024 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. There is a blue envelope in the offering boxes for this purpose, and additional blue envelopes are available on the table by the Koinonia Kafe. Thank you.


“Presbyterian Church Family,  

       Thank you for the wheat swag. It will help me remember we are weak & perishable, but we are raised in God’s power.         

  Thank you! –Beth and family



  The “Exploring our Faith” discussion group meets on Mondays from 5:15 to 6:30. Each session is “stand alone,” rather than continued from last week, so please feel free to drop in any time, or just occasionally; you wouldn’t feel like you were “behind” or jumping into the middle of something. We will follow our tradition of choosing together a study for Lent, when we reach that season. Until then, we are using DVD’s and print studies to look at some of the lesser-known disciples of Jesus and early church leaders, such as James the Brother of Jesus, Priscilla, and Martha and Mary. Those who attend have the option of going out to dinner together following the sessions.


“Dear Friends,

‘Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God’ (Isaiah 40:1). How many times do we yearn to fulfill that command when we see the devastating effects of war, floods, storms, and earthquakes?

            I am grateful today that you have put love into tangible action, giving with extraordinary generosity to support those in need, through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. From families in Hawaii, Florida, Turkey, Syria, and now Palestine, Israel, and Mexico, please know that your contributions are greatly appreciated by those who  have been left with nothing. Your gifts make divine comfort real.

   Rev. Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo

   Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance”


“2023 Well Season – Another Record Year

Marion Medical Mission builds wells that provide safe drinking water in rural African villages 8,500 miles away, where there is no electric power; where many times there are no roads or bridges; where the extreme poor live; where there is no medical care. Marion Medical Mission built 4,146 wells in 2023, providing an estimated 400,000 people (240,000 children) with safe drinking water! Thank you for your support.

Tom Logan, President”

“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink.” – Matthew 25:35


Annual Meeting

The three main things that need to be done in advance of our annual congregational meeting are:

  • the preparation of this year’s budget;
  • the Nominating Committee gathering a slate of officers for the congregation to vote on; and
  • the preparation of our annual written reports.

     Tentative plans made by the Session at our January meeting are for the Session to meet after worship on January 28 to review the budget and set a date for the congregational meeting. If it looks like everything will be ready, the most likely date for the annual meeting will be February 11 or 18 following our worship service.

On February 11th, 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 11th, make your check payable to “The Presbyterian Church” and in the memo line put “Souper Bowl of Caring.”


 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



We received Winter/Christmas letters from the two families we support. Brief excerpts are below; if you would like to read the whole letters, please contact Rev. Rodger. First, from the Seitz family in Taiwan: Jonathan, Emily, and their three children Samuel, Eva, and Eli.

“Dear friends,

   Taiwan Seminary sits about a 10-minute drive up a mountain at the edge of Taipei. The seminary moved here in the 1950’s to get more space, and it is a very green campus. I am often oblivious to my surroundings, and it can be easy to forget how beautiful the campus can be. Taiwan is semi-tropical and stays green year-round, but there are some seasonal changes, such as the burst of cherry blossoms in the spring, or rainier seasons in the spring and late summer. The land has been a gift to the seminary, letting it host innumerable graduations, student weddings, retreats, church gatherings, symposia, and other events.

    The campus houses lilies, rhododendron, chrysanthemum, sorrel, wormwood, maples, and camphor. In the past, I have seen golden serpent-crested eagles on campus as well as Taiwan barbets and blue magpies. Like many city folk, I love nature but do not spend a lot of time in it.

   What is a seminary? Sometimes I repeat a summary that I heard about how it is a mix of vocational, technical and community formation. However, the seminary is also a type of garden for the growth of faith, and it serves not just the students, teachers and workers, but also the larger church. The motto of Taiwan Seminary is “Faith in God, Loving People, and Compassion for the Land.”

   Let us pray: We thank God for the world and all that is in it. We thank God for holy places, for spaces to gather, pray, learn and grow. We pray for Taiwan and its people, its church and its future. Amen.”

Our other mission family has to remain more anonymous, due to the location of their work and the potential for hostility toward Christians. They report that they are all doing well: Dad, Mom, and the two in their late teens, all  of whom some of you met during their visits here. They also share that they were “very affected” by the outbreak of the war in Israel/Palestine. “We are very concerned about the current bloodshed; please pray for everyone who is caught up in this nightmare scenario.

   Thank you for your interest, your support, and your prayers for our work.”


“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.”