|Pstor: Rev. Rodger Allen
Music Director: Susan Farris
Administrative Assistant: Jeanette Levellie
Custodian: Cheryl Clark
|The Presbyterian Church
241 W Court St, Paris IL 61944217-465-5118
Well, We Keep Trying . . .
I have the Pastor’s Letter for the Jan/Feb. 2021 issue of the newsletter in front of me. It speaks of how the adjustments we need to make in our church life continue, as we move into this new year, in these coronavirus times – how our worship services have changed, our Christmas programs, our plans for the Annual Congregational Meeting. Back then, the first vaccinations were just beginning to become available; at least we have made progress on that front!
At each of our last two Session meetings we have tried again to discuss what are the best moves to make, in terms of whether to go back toward “normal.” We agreed not to try to make any more major moves in that direction for our worship – still masking, still singing less, still using communion packets instead of passing plates from hand to hand, still no after-worship Fellowship Times.
At our December 14 meeting, we decided to encourage, beginning in January, church committees and other groups to resume meeting on their pre-covid schedules. And then the Omicron variant came along, and case numbers spiked, and some positive tests showed up among our members and their families – and so we may have to reconsider that “encouragement” at our January Session meeting (sigh. . . two steps forward, two steps
back. . . )
But we continue to be encouraged by those who do feel safe faithfully attending worship (including the distanced choir), those who keep the business of the church moving forward (including, at the moment, Nominating and Budget Committees), and the many who have been able to maintain their financial contributions – quite a few churches have suffered in that aspect as people were laid off or had hours reduced or increased family costs.
We appreciate all who “keep trying,” and we appreciate God’s faithfulness seeing us through all this.
Sanctuary choir news
As promised in last month’s Profile, there was indeed wonderful music during our Advent and Christmas seasons (still in progress).
We were so happy to have Garrett Jones sing for our Christmas Eve service. His beautiful renditions of “Mary, Did You Know” and “O Holy Night,” in addition to the four lovely choir anthems, made the service especially meaningful. Plus – we have to mention Garrett’s duet with dad Larry – SUPERB!
We were treated to even more special music on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 as Mellie McCollough sang for us. We have really missed Mellie in the choir, and we appreciated her willingness to join us while she was home on break.
We plan to continue our 4 P.M. Wednesday rehearsals for the time being – at least until the choir director gets called to Ohio!
Here we go into another year! We ask for God’s blessing on the music we provide each Sunday morning for worship.
Liturgists (Lay Leaders)
Since September 2020 I have had the responsibility of securing lay leaders for our worship services. Beginning in February I am taking a break from that “job,” so I want to use this opportunity to thank all who have served when needed.
During the calendar year 2021, Jerry Benson and Beth Ruff each “appeared” eight times as our liturgist, so they are co-winners of the prize! (Oops! Sorry! There’s no prize!) Tom Hebermehl is right behind them with seven Sundays as liturgist. The others who have helped are Jane Blair, Al Kimball, Steve Benefiel, Larry Jones, Barbara Bergdolt, Joanna Hebermehl, Carol Jones, Liz Gough, and Lisa McCollough.
If I neglected to ask someone who is willing and interested, I apologize. Hopefully the next person in charge will ask you. If not, speak up and volunteer.
Once again, I sincerely thank you for your willingness to serve. Thanks also to our administrative assistant Jeanette for her last-minute help with emails and phone calls on several occasions.
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 Memory of our loved ones Jim & Dona Baumann and Jack Howrey
from Robert and Janet Howrey
- In Memory of Glenn & Shirlee Williams and Wayne Allen
from Revs. Rodger Allen & Laurie Williams
- In Memory of Sandy Harris and All My Loved Ones from Betty Piper
- In Memory of Donald D. Craun, McMinn & Arlene Winans Shaw, Horace and Hortense Craun, and Virginia Zimmerly
from Mary (“Mike”) Craun
- In Memory of Bill & Polly (Coffman) Anthony from Ruth Anthony
In Memory of Orris & Marjorie Kimball, Kenny & Evelyn Griffin, and Stephanie Kimball from the Alvin Kimball family
- 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 from their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren
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 Appreciation for friends, neighbors, and fellow Christians
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 Honor of Mellie McCollough for finishing her first few blocks at Cornell College in Iowa from Lisa McCollough
THE CHRISTIAN CALENDAR
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 27. 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
March 2 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 16 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.
From some Christmas cards received, and currently on the Assembly Room bulletin board:
“Wishing you the blessings of peace, love, and joy at Christmas. Merry Christmas and God’s Blessings for all of you. Love, Joyce Mason.”
“No matter how many happy memories of Christmas we have, there’s always room for more. We appreciate your continued support of the Compassionate Clothing Closet. CCC Board Members.”
“On behalf of the Children, Staff, and Board of Directors of Kemmerer Village, we wish you a very Merry Christmas.”
Items of business at the December 14 meeting of Session included:
- The approval of $2000 in scholarship money to each of two church member college student applicants – from the two church scholarship funds
- The decision to give our Christmas Eve offering to Faith in Action
- Discussion of the timing and format of the annual Congregational Meeting, since we are still in covid times.
- The decision to try a 5:00 to 6:00 time for our second Tuesday of the month Session meetings, for now, beginning January 11.
On February 13th, 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 13th, make your check payable to “The Presbyterian Church” and in the memo line put “Souper Bowl
There is a new flower sign-up sheet for 2022 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.
Please remember to help your faithful, active congregation by paying your portion of our Per Capita.
Thanks to several steps our Presbytery of Southeast Illinois has taken to reduce its expenses, the per capita amount for 2022 has been reduced to $40, from the $42 of the last few years.
This amount is to be paid for each person in your household who is a member. If you can’t pay it all—do what you can! It really helps our budget when our members pay their portion rather than paying out of the church budget. Thanks for your prayerful consideration of this matter. We appreciate it.
Happy January birthday!
January 2 Aaron Davis
3 Heidi McVicker
4 Kane Davis
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 & Ginni Bradshaw
20 Paul & Beth Ruff
HELP A NEIGHBOR
“Red Bird Mission” is a very worthwhile annual mission project of the Otterbein and Vermilion Methodist Churches. They will hold two fundraising meals for the mission soon: a chicken-noodle lunch Sunday, January 16 from 11 to 1, and a “Soup-er Lunch” on Sunday, February 13 from 11 to 1. Both will be held at Otterbein Church, and the cost is a donation.
1 Eric Bradham
3 Layla Sisneros
6 Bruce Willis
7 Ginni Bradshaw
9 Melanie Spung
11 Jenna Lewsader
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
“So I give you now a new commandment: Love each other
just as much as I have loved you.”
–Jesus, John 13:34
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Thank you to the First Presbyterian Church of Hoopeston, IL for compiling this collection, putting it in their newsletter, and sending us a copy.
Consider celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 17 with some of his most poignant quotes. All are worth contemplating.
- We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
- Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.
- I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
- Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?
- Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness.
- Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
- We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.
- Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.
- Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.
- Let no man pull you so low as to
- If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl,
but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.
“OUR” MISSION FAMILIES
A few sentences from the most recent letter from the Seitz Family (Jonathan, Emily, Sam, and the twins), in Taiwan; the whole letter is on the Assembly Room bulletin board:
“In Taiwan, Christmas is a holiday for Christians, but honestly, even for Christians it is mostly a special worship service, along with perhaps an outreach event and some decorating. There are often some public Christmas trees, music and decorations. Still, it is a lot quieter…
Taiwanese churches do sometimes have the tradition of a “year-crossing service” held on the night of December 31, often a time to take stock and evaluate the past year …
Covid Commiseration: Our two worlds are often out of sync. Taiwan began fighting covid before the U.S., then things were fairly normal here for almost a year, but over the summer cases started to spread and we had a hard lockdown. Now we are in the process of vaccinating the country …
This year brought new ministry opportunities. Emily took on a large part of some language courses for theological students. Jonathan attended the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan’s annual general assembly, spoke at one of its mission conferences, and preached some. He has a core set of courses he teaches at the seminary…
We’re planning to return to the U.S. for much of summer 2022, after three years here. We will travel through the Midwest and South and hope to visit churches and presbyteries.”
And from the other mission family we support, whose names we cannot widely publicize due to the sensitive nature and location of their work:
“Please accept our thanks for your gift to us; we appreciate you thinking of us through all this time and distance. We trust that your support will have been faithfully used in the Lord’s service – which we continue to do our best to pursue, as we are sure you do also.
“I have actually been thinking of ‘your Paris’ a bit over the last few weeks – in particular the families who were kind enough to lodge us and provide meals for us during our last visit; please pass on our greetings to them. I wonder also how the Church is doing during this challenging time. Many blessings and greetings to the fellowship.”