A Happy Progress Report
The Pastor’s Letter in the May/June 2021 newsletter was a “progress report” reflecting on how far we had come since the early days of the pandemic in May 2020, when we were still in lockdown and there were no gatherings for worship – and no newsletter.
With this letter, I get to report on some more progress, as Session has made some decisions recently to try to move us more “back to normal”:
- We have taken steps to get our worship services back to pre-pandemic practices. We are standing and singing our hymns again, without omitting verses only for the sake of reducing health risks. We have put back into the service other musical responses, after the Assurance of Forgiveness and Benediction. The hymnals that had been placed on the pews to indicate where to sit for social distancing have been returned to their racks (though individuals can certainly still choose to sit distanced). We have enjoyed a couple puppet presentations. And we used the last (we hope) of our pre-packaged communion packets at our Maundy Thursday service, intending to return to our previous communion practices.
- We are asking the congregation for their feedback on whether to return to our after-worship Fellowship Times. Please let any Session Member know what you think; we anticipate making a decision soon.
- We are moving toward summertime, when we have always had fewer meetings, classes, and other group activities than the rest of the year, but Session is encouraging our committees and groups to consider resuming the regular schedule of their meetings. Each group can determine if their members are comfortable with this.
We continue to be grateful to the congregation for keeping up its financial support over these last two odd years; many churches have struggled in this area, especially if they have members who were laid off due to lockdowns and other covid-related developments. And we are aware that we will have to continue to monitor things like surges and possible new variants, and possibly return to some precautions – but we are certainly hoping and praying not!
The lovely Easter flowers are given in
Memory or Honor of:
- In Memory of Reva & Harry Benefiel; George, Glenna, Rick & Jim Veith
from Steve & Debbie Benefiel
- 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 & Mabel Benson
- In Honor of all the special friends, co-workers, and people who have come into my life
from Lisa McCollough
- In Memory of Lloyd & Frances S. Lindsey, J. David Lindsey, and Elmer & Alice Bergdolt and In Honor of our children and their families
from Barbara & Terry Bergdolt
- In Memory of our parents Charles & Gen Willis and Gloria & Bill Hebermehl from Tom & Joanna Hebermehl
- In Honor of the Sanctuary Choir and in Memory of past choir members
from Susan Farris
- In Memory of Wayne & Lois Jones and Hugh & Lois Cross
from Larry & Carol Jones
- In Honor of Susan Farris’ music ministry
from Rev. Laurie Williams &
Rev. Rodger Allen
- In Memory of Donald D. Craun, McMinn B. & Arlene Winans Shaw, and Horace & Hortense Craun, and Virginia Zimmerly
from Mary (“Mike”) Craun
- In Memory of Evelyn &. Kenneth Griffin, Orris & Marjorie Kimball , and Stephanie Kimball
from Alvin & Juanita Kimball
- In Memory of our parents, Elizabeth & Donald Feutz and Bettie & John R. Blair, Jr.
from Jane & Steve Blair
- In Memory of Rosemary &
from Mary Anna Ludington & Family
- In Honor of Charles Ruff and family & Tim Ruff and family
from Paul & Beth Ruff
- In Memory of Susan Cecelia and
Dr. Jim Acklin from Sally Acklin
- In Memory of Lloyd & Frances S. Lindsey, David Lindsey, and Russell & Genevieve Gough
from Liz Gough & Family
- In Memory of Pam Piper-Griffiths and Jeff Davidson from Betty Piper
Red Bird Mission Team Fundraiser:
Pork Burger Meal Drive Thru
Friday, May 6, 2022, 11 A.M. – 1 P.M.
Otterbein Methodist Church Parking
Lot, 406 W. Washington St.
More information on bulletin board.
Sunday, May 8:
We will celebrate “Mother’s Day/Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday,” to express gratitude for all the gifts that mothers and all women bring to the church. We will have a gift for each woman in attendance.
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
The annual National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 5. For our local observance, the Paris Ministerial Fellowship is organizing a Noon gathering outside the courthouse, for anyone who would like to come pray together.
Planning is underway for the cooperative Paris Methodist and Presbyterian Churches Vacation Bible School. Dates have been set, for the evenings of July 10 through 14, and the location this year will be First Methodist Church. Please let your young friends know – age 3 through entering 6th grade. And we will be looking for volunteers to help with VBS. “Our night” to provide the dinner and lesson will be Tuesday, July 12. Other opportunities include:
- Helping with music or crafts or games any or all of the evenings,
- Helping serve dinner on any of the evenings,
- Accompanying one of the age groups through all their activities, any or all of the evenings.
Please speak with Rodger Allen if you would like more information. The next planning meeting will be Thursday, May 12 at 4:30, at First Methodist, if you would like to attend.
SANCTUARY CHOIR NEWS
Thank you, thank you to our choir members for the wonderful music shared in our worship services this past Lenten and current Easter season. Each anthem had a particular message to convey, and we hope you were blessed by each song. Our Maundy Thursday anthems were especially beautiful – one included instrumental accompaniment of flute, soprano saxophone, French horn, and baritone. It was disappointing that more people were not in attendance; the music was exceptional!
Our Wednesday noon services were well attended again this year. It’s hard to believe we started those services way back in 1994!
The choir will continue to sing through May and June – maybe longer if the director can talk them into it!
We thank Paul Lynch, who sang with the choir on Palm Sunday and Easter; and we thank Larry Jones, who returned from Florida to sing with us on Maundy Thursday and Easter. Thanks to each of these choir members for their faithful time, talent, and dedication to the choir:
Mabel Benson Rodger Allen
Barbara Bergdolt Robert Howrey
Jane Blair Marty Jipp
Liz Gough Larry Jones
Sing and be joyful! –Susan
2 Barbara Palmer
4 James Feutz
10 Jared Trogdon
11 Brianna Blair
12 Larry Jones
14 Mary Anna Ludington
15 Betty Piper
16 Sara McCrocklin
17 Adam Clawson
19 Sam Roberts
Jenni Trogdon McKay
24 Scott Lindsey
27 Ross Penczek
MAY ANNIVERSARIES ©©
19 Ken & Liz Gough
25 Jeff & Sarah Penczek
29 Brian & Tami O’Bannon
THE CHRISTIAN CALENDAR
The seven-week season of Easter runs through June 4. June 5 will mark our return to the season of “ordinary time”:
June 5 – Pentecost. According to Acts 2, it was fifty days after Good Friday (or June 5 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 June 5.
As described in “The Christian Calendar” article in this newsletter, June 5 is the day of Pentecost, often considered to be the “birthday of the Christian Church” because of Acts 2: 41-42.
June 5 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 a local program or project.
Trinity Sunday, June 12 – 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.
SUNDAY, JUNE 19
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.
The Paris High School Baccalaureate Service for graduating seniors will take place Wednesday evening May 18 at 7:00 at Lake Ridge Church. A cookies reception will follow the service, and the organizers are hoping that each church can provide three dozen cookies. They would need to be delivered to Lake Ridge on May 18. If you can be a “cookie provider,” please let the church office or Rev. Rodger know. We could help with the delivery part if necessary.
FAITH IN ACTION FUNDRAISER
Drive-Through Pork Loin Sandwich Meal:
Friday, May 20, 2022
4:00- 6:30 P.M.
Lake Ridge Christian Church
All proceeds go to Faith in Action of Edgar County.
More information on bulletin board.
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
17 Paul Ruff
19 Mabel Benson
21 Beth Ruff
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
“Dear Presbyterian Church Members,
Thank you for your generous March 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 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. Should any of you have any concerns with our operations, please convey this to any of us on the CCC Board.
May God’s Blessings abundantly come to you and yours.”
“Dear Paris Presbyterian Church Family,
Thank you for your donation to HOPE of East Central Illinois. We are grateful for your gift.
Survivors of domestic violence have such varied needs, and the obstacles in their path don’t always look the same. Your financial support allows HOPE to meet survivors where they are, and to assist them in their journey towards well-being, safety, and independence. Your gifts ensure that some of the most vulnerable members of our community are cared for and valued.
We are truly grateful for your support of our mission: to empower persons to live independent, non-violent lives through the provisions of Housing, Outreach, Prevention, and Education. We look forward to continuing in service to our community, with the help of generous and engaged community members, organizations, and congregations like yours.”
Maybe it’s just me (Rodger), but this line from another Paris church’s newsletter struck me as funny: “Just for Fun – The Ten Plagues” (It was introducing a little puzzle).
BIG DAY COMING
The 200th anniversary of the constituting of the Paris Presbyterian Church will be November 6, 2024. The first worship services were held in a school house, and until 1834 the congregation was without a church building, worshipping in the court house, school house, in private homes, or in a grove of black walnut trees in a campground.
The Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church released its annual statistical report in late April. The numbers are as of January 1, 2022. The total number of churches in the US is 8813, and the number of active members is 1.2 million. The covid-19 pandemic caused the cancellation or delay of many new members’ classes and professions of faith in the last couple years, affecting the membership numbers.
NEWS FROM SESSION:
In addition to the decisions and discussions described in the Pastor’s Letter, the Session, at its March and April meetings:
- Scheduled our second congregational meeting to elect officers, and set the date for their installation
- Heard a report on the special Presbytery meeting March 19 from our two representatives who attended, Kathy Smilie and Rodger Allen. New Lead Presbyter/Stated Clerk Rebecca Blair was installed during the worship service
- Reviewed the monthly Treasurer’s Reports prepared by Susan Farris and Steve Blair
- As always, opened the meetings with devotions and prayer, and closed with a sharing of joys and concerns and prayer.
“OUR” MISSION FAMILY
One of the mission worker families we support, the Seitz family in Taiwan, sent us long letters in the past couple months. The full letters, plus an updated photo, are on the bulletin board. Here are some excerpts, written by Emily:
“We are happy to report that we are all doing well. We hope and pray the same for you and for your communities, especially as you continue to navigate the pandemic with new challenges each season.
Seitz letters, cont.
“2021 brought some changes to our family life and ministries. As of this year, all three children are attending the same Christian school; this was what the twins needed for their learning going forward. The kids are very involved in music at the school. Jonathan taught trumpet to all three over our summer of lockdown. Eli has continued to improve on trumpet and is in the elementary band. Eva started violin a while back, has taken it back up, and is in junior orchestra. Our eldest, Sam, continues on violin in the secondary orchestra. All three kids also study piano.
A change in our work life is that Jonathan and I have been co-teaching this semester, which has been a real blessing. I have also become involved in the Taiwan Ecumenical Forum, headed by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. Academic highlights of the past year include Jonathan’s participation last spring in a mission-equipping event at the Presbyterian center in Hsinchu, where Jonathan was able to connect with many of his former students.
We are beginning to plan to return to the US this summer after 3 years abroad (we are completing home assignment over two summers), and we especially ask for your prayers as we plan since it is quite a bit more challenging given the pandemic.”