The usual annual schedule for the meetings of the Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois is four meetings, often in February, May, August, and November. Since March 2020, almost all of those meetings have been by ZOOM/telephone. The usual activities of these meetings include a worship service; conducting business such as the election of officers and committee members, and passing a budget;
welcoming new pastors to the presbytery; and often an educational component. On August 18, September 22, and October 22, however, there were three special meetings (also by ZOOM/phone) that were about something other than the usual activities. They were called “Big Conversations,” and gave elders and ministers the opportunity to discuss their hopes and dreams for the future of
the Presbytery. Questions included things like: What are the best ways for
Presbytery to use its resources? How can it best support its congregations? What is
the most important work of the Presbytery? What kinds of structure and processes
would best facilitate that work?

    At each meeting the participants were divided into four groups, to have a series
of conversations with each other about these kinds of questions.
By the time we began the third conversation, on October 22, we had been
presented with a long list of possible action steps and priorities, and were asked to
pick our top four choices in each of four categories. Examples of the possibilities
included “Providing training opportunities to equip church leaders,” and “Make
grants available to churches to help them buy technology,” “Develop weekly
newsletter to share successful initiatives in our churches,” and “Develop networked
youth ministries in regions of the Presbytery.”
      Leaders kept track of which ones got the most “votes” and the reasons people
gave for choosing what they did. Now the General Council of the Presbytery will
use that input to develop some proposals to bring to future Presbytery meetings.
If you would like to read more about the possible priorities (there were forty
altogether), let me know. And I will keep Session and others who are interested
posted on where the “Conversations” go from here.

“. . . FALL BACK:” Be sure to turn your
clocks back this Saturday evening,
November 5, so you won’t arrive at the
wrong time for worship November 6. Or
don’t turn them back, and be here in plenty
of time to visit before the service!

“Gratitude is the key to miracles.”

First, let’s backtrack a little. In the last Profile, I said that Paul Lynch was
planning to sing for us on September 18 –and he did indeed! – and that we would
have a ladies trio on September 25. The members of that ladies trio were Jane
Blair, Jeanette Levellie, and Susan Farris. We thank them for adding special music
to our worship.
    The choir resumed singing in October, and they have sounded great (in my
humble opinion) even with absenteeism playing havoc with our numbers.
     The traditional Community Advent service is set for December 4 at 3 P.M. in
our sanctuary. The community choir will begin rehearsals soon, all at 7:00:
Mondays, November 7 & 14
Tuesdays, November 22 & 29
And Thursday, December 1.

   All interested singers are welcome to join us.
   We hope you will see an attitude of gratitude on our faces this month, and
that we will see it reflected in your faces as well!
Sing praises to the Lord! –Susan

During October, members of our church volunteered at the Paris
Compassionate Clothing Closet. THANK YOU to
Tom, Joanna, Deb, Larry,
Jane, Kathy, and Liz.

November birthdays
1 Amy Church
6 Joanna Hebermehl
7 Drew Bradshaw
9 Vicky (Jewell) Wilson
12 David Boland
13 Michae Jewell
16 Wilma Johnson
25 Marty Jipp
27 Jani Howrey
29 Steve Blair
30 Phil Scott
November anniversaries
11 Jerry & Mabel Benson
29 Kirby & Chris

Happy Birthday to US!
On November 6 this congregation celebrates 198 years of its founding.
This banner often hanging in our sanctuary notes its 1824 founding,
the 1900 date of the dedication of our current building, and our 175th
celebration in 2000. Our thanks to Jane Bittner for the design and Alice Sprague for creating
the banner!

November 20 is “Christ the King” Sunday,
and reminds us that Jesus is Lord over all
things: “Christ reigns supreme. Christ rules
in peace. As Alpha and Omega, the
beginning and the end, Christ is the center
of the universe, the ruler of all history, the
judge of all people. Christ triumphs over
death and, in the end, over all the forces of
evil.” (The Liturgical Year, PCUSA). You
might think of hymns like “Crown Him with
Many Crowns,” “Rejoice, The Lord is King,”
and “Majesty.”
November 27 is the first day in the Season
of Advent, which will be described in the
December newsletter.

We heard from both the missionary families
we support in October. The Seitz family
(Jonathan, Emily, Sam, Eva and Eli) were able
to spend a good part of the summer in the U.S.,
their first trip back from Taiwan in three years,
due to covid. A letter listing some of their
activities here is on the bulletin board. It also
mentions they are planning another trip to the
U.S. next summer.
   The other family we support was also able to
travel halfway around the world to their home
country, where they were able to “reconnect
with many Christian friends, who had much to
give us in terms of encouragement. We came
away feeling strengthened.” (We cannot post
their letter, since some around them are hostile
to their work. See Rodger if you would like to see
it, including a recent photo of the parents and the teens.)

“By your generous gift to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, you
have spoken the language of love in a
tangible, impactful way, offering a gift that
helps to bring renewed hope and joy to
those individuals and communities
suffering from disaster and its aftermath.
On behalf of them, we thank you. Please
know that your gift blesses those who
walk the hard road toward recovery,
letting them know they are not alone,
helping them to find hope in the midst of chaos.
Rev. Dr. Laurie A. Kraus
Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance”

“The world’s problems can seem so big that
people think they are insurmountable. I
can’t solve world hunger, cure mental
illness, or stop child abuse. Fortunately,
God never asked us to do any of those
things. He asks us to do our part, one step
at a time. Even though you can’t fix the
world, your contributions to Kemmerer
Village are saving a child. Your
partnership allows Kemmerer Village to
start a new year of educating children who
need the opportunity. Donors like you
make so much possible in our Village, and
we are grateful for you. Thank you for
supporting these children!
Autumn Warren”
(The full letters are on the bulletin board.)

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:

Barbara and Terry Bergdolt
15110 N. 1100th St., Paris

Jeanette and Kevin Levellie
17475 E. 390th Rd., Paris

Jane and Steve Blair
4 Waters Edge, Paris

Phil, Karen, Brittany & Emma Scott
1712 S. Ten Broeck, Paris

Items from business at the October meeting of
Session included:
The date for Christmas decorating of the
church was tentatively set for Saturday,
November 26 at 9 A.M. Property Committee will
be checking with our usual participants to see if
that day works for them.
Thank you to Carolyn Brown Hodge for
offering to serve as the Session representative to
the Nominating Committee. We still need one
church member not currently on Session or
Deacons for the committee.
Our next celebration of the Sacrament of
the Lord’s Supper will be Sunday, December 4.
At our September meeting it was reported
that financial support from the congregation had
fallen off in the last three months from its usual
level. The September Treasurer’s Report showed
some recovery, but we are still below last year’s
income at this time.
The next Session meeting will be Tuesday,
November 15, from 7 P.M. to 8 P.M.