“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.