Are you familiar with the term “purple church”? It derives from the concept of red states and blue states. “Red states” are ones who tend to vote conservatively and Republican. “Blue states” lean toward liberal and Democrat. What happens when you mix red and blue? You get purple! Purple: a mixture of “red people” and “blue people.”

     If you survey, politically, the church members of some congregations, you will find that they are “red churches.” Others would turn out to be “blue churches.” And enough turn out to be “purple churches” – that mixture – that several articles have been written on the subject. Some have been in recent issues of “Presbyterian Outlook” magazine. Here are excerpts of three of them:

      First from preaching professor Thomas Long:

“When Russell Moore, the editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, was interviewed recently on NPR, he told a chilling story about preaching. A number of pastors, he said, had reported to him essentially the same experience. They would be preaching on a passage like the Sermon on the Mount, including sayings such as “turn the other cheek,” “blessed are the merciful,” or “love your enemies,” only to have themselves sharply attacked at the church door.

   “Where’d you get that nonsense?” some aggrieved parishioner inevitably would ask.

   “From Jesus Christ,” the startled pastor would respond. “I was literally quoting Jesus Christ.”

   Far from mumbling out an embarrassed apology, the critic would instead walk away, scoffing. “Yeah, but that doesn’t work anymore. That’s weak.”

   Chilling perhaps, but a familiar story. Not only do we find it disconcerting that Jesus’ teachings are openly ridiculed in church, but also many preachers are whispering among themselves that our entire culture’s toxic communicational environment has penetrated the sanctuary. In a new and disturbing way, preaching has become perilous.”

 But in some churches, the toxic environment has not taken over, or become an insurmountable problem. Some congregations work it out.   One is Rev. Eliza Jaremko’s, in New Jersey:

“In the Presbyterian Church (USA), we have a lot of “buzz words” that help us define our church’s identity: welcoming, Bible-believing, affirming, traditional, innovative, friendly, Spirit-led, missional, etc. Some terms come with official designations, while others are proclamations contained in mission statements. Often, the terms are used to place a congregation in one camp or another: left or right?

   The congregation I serve – alongside many others- walks the delicate balance of in-between. We do not have yard signs, website banners or official votes that proclaim us as any of the above. Yet we quietly live out the values expressed in these terms. We stand on the biblical belief that the spirit leads us to welcome all people, to care for one another and serve the least of these. I often say that if you come inside our doors, you must be prepared to be loved and loving, understood and understanding, forgiven and forgiving. This is a place where people come before politics, where grace is a verb, where welcome is genuine, where people find joy in each other.

   Our family of faith is not homogeneous. On any Sunday morning, you’ll find liberal progressives worshiping with far-right conservatives. We are young and old, established members and visitors, spiritually mature and seekers. And all have a place in this sanctuary, in church leadership and in the heart of God.

   We do not all agree about politics or other divisive issues, but we have all vowed to be in Christian community together. Instead of steering clear of divisive political topics, we engage in them, discuss them, and we allow Christ to define us, not politics. Being a genuinely welcoming faith family means appreciating each other as beloved children of God.

   Genuine welcome is hard work. Everyone must give a lot, bend a little, practice grace. Everyone must get curious about others, be vulnerable and listen well. In our life together, we might be uncomfortable, angry, befuddled and even hurt; yet with God’s help we will be loved and accepted (even if we’re the cause of the discomfort or anger). This is the messy, beloved, broken, beautiful church of Jesus Christ.”

   Or as “Outlook” editor Rev. Teri McDowell Ott summarized it:

“Those serving “purple” churches today are doing so in an especially volatile political climate. Purple churches, with a mix of red Republicans and blue Democrats, are ripe for conflict. But I believe they are also places of promise and possibility. Besides faith communities, where else in our society do people of diverse political perspectives voluntarily gather?”

   Whether using colors, or some of the other words which appear above . . . how would you describe our church?



 The lovely Easter flowers are given in Memory or Honor of:



  • In Memory of Reva & Harry Benefiel; George, Glenna, Rick, & Jim Veith from Steve and Debbie Benefiel


  • In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Donald R. Ewart; Sue Ann Ewart Peters; Mr. Glen Brower; & Mrs. Arthur Benson; Mr. & Mrs. Dwight Parkinson; and Annika Boerema from Jerry and Mabel Benson


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


  • In Memory of our parents Charles & Genevieve Willis and Gloria & Bill Hebermehl from Tom and Joanna Hebermehl


  • In Memory of Paul Ruff from Beth Ruff


  • In Memory of Wayne & Lois Jones and Hugh & Lois Cross from Larry & Carol Jones


  • In Honor of our siblings Jeff, Beth, Linda, and Debbi from Rev. Laurie Williams & Rev. Rodger Allen


  • In Memory of Evelyn &. Kenneth Griffin, Orris & Marjorie Kimball, Stephanie Kimball, Melany Wagoner, and other loved ones from Alvin & Juanita Kimball


  • In Memory of Dr. Jim Acklin from his family


  • In Memory of Rosemary & Kenneth Stephens  from Mary Anna Ludington


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

   from the Ken Gough family


  • In Memory of our parents, Elizabeth & Donald Feutz and Bettie & John R. Blair, Jr. and in honor of our children, grandchildren, and great- grandchildren  from Jane & Steve Blair





Mother’s Day/Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday. We will have a gift for each woman present.



       The Methodist/Presbyterian Cooperative Vacation Bible School will take place the evenings of July 7 to 11, at First Methodist Church this year. “Presbyterian Night” to provide the 5:30 dinner and the Bible lesson will be Tuesday July 9, with our church and New Providence working together. Please let your young friends (age 3 through finishing 5th grade) know about VBS; and please let Rodger know if you can help serve the dinner or teach the lesson. The planners are also looking for help with crafts and music – as few or many evenings as you can make it. The next planning meeting is May 8 at 5:30 at First Methodist.



  The “Exploring our Faith” discussion group meets on Mondays from 5:15 to 6:30, through May 20. 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. During May we will look at “Great Themes of the Bible,” which  tell us about God and God’s role in our lives.  Those who attend have the option of going out to dinner together following the sessions.



     The month of May has arrived – how did that happen so quickly?

        We in the choir are very appreciative of the kind and supportive comments that were made in a recent worship service. We like being heard and appreciated! Credit goes to each and every one of our choir members for their willingness to share time and talent week after week. A very rough estimate would be that there are between 350-400 years of singing experience in our choir loft!

        We are so glad to have Marty Jipp back with us on a regular basis, and we are happy to have Robert Howrey back from Florida. There were ten in the choir loft one Sunday – yea!!

        We plan to have a men-only choir on May 12, and a ladies-only choir on June 16. Come and listen! Join us in making a joyful noise to the Lord.




         The seven-week season of Easter runs through May 18. May 19 will mark our return to the season of

 “ordinary time”:  

May 19 – Pentecost. According to Acts 2, it was fifty days after Good Friday (or May 19 this year) that God gave the gift of the Holy Spirit to empower the witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection. This same Spirit is offered to all his disciples, giving us visions of hope, freeing us to serve our neighbors, setting us to love one another. Therefore, on the Day of Pentecost, we celebrate God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, which enables us to observe and proclaim all that God has done and is doing for us, and all people. The first Pentecost is sometimes called “the birthday of the Christian Church.” Some people celebrate by wearing red, symbolizing the tongues of fire mentioned in Acts 2. We will also celebrate the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper on May 19.  

 Trinity Sunday, May 26 – The Sunday after Pentecost each year is Trinity Sunday. It is an annual reminder of the threefold nature of God, so that we will not neglect any of the three persons – Father, Son, or Holy Spirit – or focus on one to the exclusion of the others.



   We will expand the

“Father’s Day” holiday a little, and also celebrate “Men of the Church Day,” expressing our appreciation for all the gifts that all men bring to the church.




   As described in “The Christian Calendar” article in this newsletter, May 19 is the day of Pentecost, often considered to be the “birthday of the Christian Church” because of Acts 2: 41-42.

         May 19 will also be the main collection date for the Pentecost Offering, one of the four special offerings of the Presbyterian Church USA. This offering is divided between programs which help children and youth at risk (poverty, schools, medical concerns) and programs which provide Christian education to children and youth (church camps, regional youth gatherings). Each congregation is to retain 40% of its offering, to go to one of its ministries with children or youth.     


    Rev. Laurie and Rev. Rodger thank all of you who helped plan the April 28 special Fellowship Time, or brought food, or attended – in celebration of the 20th anniversary of their becoming the pastors here.


Request for Clothes

      Board Members of the Compassionate Clothing Closet, Inc. are respectfully requesting church members to please consider donating their good, clean, gently used or new clothing from spring cleaning their closets and drawers. We believe our facility is at its lowest clothing volume ever. Accessories, such as underwear, socks, bras, belts, ties, and purses along with shoes and coats/jackets are always in need, too. Items may be dropped off at the facility located at 211 North Central in Paris (across the street from the county jail  and a few doors south) on Mondays (except for holidays) from 10 until 1 p.m. The generosity of our communities has been amazing and so very much needed by so many. Thank you!



    A “Drive-Thru Pork Burger Sandwich” event (sandwich, chips, cookies, water) will benefit Faith in Action, on Friday May 17, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the First Christian Church parking lot, 201 N. Main St. Price: donation. See the bulletin board for more information. New this year: They will offer deliveries for $7 a meal. Information will be on their Facebook page.



Please remember to be in touch with the members and friends of Paris Presbyterian Church who are at least temporarily unable to join us for worship:


Bob and Alice Sprague

Horizon Health, Room 124

721 E. Court St. Paris


Mary Anna Ludington

520 E. Madison, Paris


Jeff Hodge

Twin Lakes Rehab, Room #3

310 S. Eads, Paris



2    Barbara Palmer  

     Jane Bittner

4    James Feutz

     Jennifer Martin

10  Jared Trogdon

11  Brianna Blair Hasler

12  Larry Jones

14  Mary Anna Ludington

     Kathryn Akerman

15  Betty Piper

16  Sara McCrocklin

17  Adam Clawson

19  Sam Roberts

     Jenni Trogdon McKay

24  Scott Lindsey

27  Ross Penczek



19     Ken & Liz Gough

25     Jeff & Sarah Penczek

29     Brian & Tami O’Bannon



2     Gareth Blair

4     Scott Blair

5     Tony Grimes, Jr.

7     Susan Farris

9     Sheryl Clark

10    Johnathon Franklin

11    Paul Koehler

14    Tom Ballard

       Debra Jipp  

17    Amber Farris

19    Mabel Benson

21    Beth Ruff

       Zach Gough

23    Stephanie Benefiel

24    Krayton Trogdon

25    Steve Benefiel

26    Barbara Bergdolt



15    Tom & Joanna Hebermehl

18    Terry & Barbara Bergdolt

19    Alan & Christie Russell

       Robert & Alice Sprague

23    Steve & Debbie Benefiel

       Tom & Lou Ballard

28    Steve & Jane Blair

30    Brian & Jessica Blair





White mainline/non-evangelical Protestant                                          14.3

White evangelical Protestant                                                                  13.7

Black Protestant                                                                                        7.9

Hispanic Protestant                                                                                  3.3

Other Protestant of Color                                                                         2.1

White Catholic                                                                                           11.8

Hispanic Catholic                                                                                        8.2

Latter-day Saint                                                                                          1.8

Other Christian                                                                                          3.8

Jewish                                                                                                         2.0

Other non-Christian religion                                                                     4.2

Unaffiliated                                                                                               26.0



     Excerpts from thank you notes received in the last couple months:


“I want to give a huge thank you to the church for the scholarship. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

-Brittany Scott”


 “Thank you for your check from the 2023 Christmas Eve Service. Your generosity is so greatly appreciated. Working together we can make a difference in the lives of residents of Edgar County who struggle to maintain their independence.         – Faith in Action”


“Heifer International gratefully recognizes Paris Presbyterian Church for your contribution of healthy animals and training in their care to help struggling families overcome a life of hunger and poverty.”


“The four Presbyterian Church Special Offerings – One Great Hour of Sharing, Pentecost, Peace & Global Witness, and Christmas Joy – draw us together as a Church, building God’s house alongside the vulnerable and marginalized inside our faith communities and among our neighbors. Thank you for your tremendous generosity in 2023.”


“Thank you for giving me scholarship funds to be able to pay off some of my loans. I really appreciate it.

– Emma Scott”


“Thanks to your efforts this year, more dollars have been raised, more lives have been changed, and the nation has seen the impact of people working together to help those in need – The Souper Bowl of Caring”

(Final nationwide totals just came out about this year’s offering: 2233 churches and other groups participated, raising $4,452, 362 for their local food ministries)



Business at the March and April  meetings of the church Session included:

   Learning that the local Boy Scouts troop, who after we had done much responsible research we decided we could host here, had found another temporary home, but would like to discuss our becoming their “permanent home” in the Fall.

   Review of the monthly financial reports. Generally speaking, it’s a little too early in the year (just three months of reports) to evaluate “how we’re doing.”

   Finalizing our Sunday morning church security/door-locking procedures.

   Scheduling the installation of the officers elected at the February congregational meeting.

   Brief reports on recent Presbytery meeting.

   As always, each meeting began with devotions prepared by an Elder, and closed with a time of prayer.