At a recent choir rehearsal, it was noticed that the heading for one of the anthems was “In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church, Kettering, Ohio.” Music Director Susan said, “Well then, it’s time for one of  you to get busy writing an anthem.” Why would she say that? Because . . .

          ONE YEAR from now is OUR 200TH BIRTHDAY! From our church history book, written on the occasion of our 150th birthday, in 1974:

“In a meeting held at the school house in Paris, Illinois November 6, 1824, after public worship, the following persons, members of the Presbyterian Church, were by prayer solemnly constituted into a church, by the name of the Presbyterian Church of Paris.” Twelve names are then listed, and on the next day, a Sunday, fourteen more people were examined and admitted to membership.

“The services were held in a school house, while preaching a very uncommon solemnity and deep attention prevailed. Numbers were affected to tears. After the sermon the church was constituted.”           “Until 1834 the church was without a building, worshipping in the court house, school house, in private homes, or in a grove of black walnut trees on the east side of N. Main Street. The log school house in which the church was organized was on Washington Street; services were held once or twice a month by Rev. Montgomery, a Presbyterian minister who came across the prairie on horseback from near where Oakland stands.”

      “The first church building, a plain brick structure on a sandstone foundation, was erected on a lot at 114 East Washington Street.” You can find a painting, by Jane Bittner, of that building on the piano in the Assembly Room.

    Following a long list of “Stated Supply Pastors,” many of them serving less than a year, the Rev. Samuel Newell became the first “regular pastor” in 1853, serving until 1871.

   The history book goes on to describe many other years, of course, including successive church buildings and some entertaining anecdotes about how church discipline used to be administered! We have several copies, If you would like to borrow and look through one.

     But for now – someone better get started on that anthem! You have until November 6, 2024.




“. . . FALL BACK:” Be sure to turn your clocks back Saturday evening, November 4, so you won’t arrive at the wrong time for worship November 5. Or don’t turn them back, and be here in plenty of time to visit before the service!


“Gratitude is the key to miracles.”




   Those who attended the memorial service for Camille Foley in early October heard a lovely anthem – “Sanctus” by Charles Gounod. The last time we had sung this piece was in February 2000 for our music celebration Sunday. The time prior to that was November 1985, when we dedicated our current organ.

   Camille always liked this anthem and hoped we would sing it again. We were able to recruit extra voices so that we could sing it in her honor. It was glorious to have a choir of 18 voices that day! Some of the guests had known Camille, others sang because they were willing to help. We thank them all, and are so pleased we could remember Camille in this way. 

   Looking ahead, it is time already to start planning for this year’s community Advent service, which will be at 3 PM on December 3 in our sanctuary. The first practice is Monday, October 30 at 7 PM. Please spread the word to all interested singers.  

     I recently read the following  about hymns (not an exact quote). Hymns were written for people: to express their prayer and praise; to find strength and courage for life’s responsibilities; to find solace and comfort for life’s trials. Hymns are our expression of Christianity.  

     May we sing joyfully and sincerely!



  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 Clawson


FROM PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER  ASSISTANCE Humanitarian Response in Israel/Palestine:

   We have witnessed the millions of people caught in the middle of the devastating conflict between the government of Israel and Hamas. This is a dire humanitarian crisis and the loss of life is unimaginable. Through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Church USA is providing assistance to those most vulnerable – innocent civilians, children, and families enduring the pain of violence and unrest. Special account “DR000081 – Israel/Palestine” has been established. You may contribute through our congregation; please write the account number or “Israel/Palestine” on your check or envelope.



November 26 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.”

Advent Choral Service

          We will host the annual Community Advent Choral Worship Service once again this year, on Sunday December 3 at 3:00. All singers who would like to be part of the community choir are invited to participate. Rehearsals will take place here at 7:00 on the following dates:

  • Monday, Oct. 30
  • Monday, Nov. 6
  • Monday, Nov. 13
  • Tuesday, Nov. 28
  • Thursday, Nov. 30



          The Paris Ministerial Fellowship thanks the Nevins Christian Church for offering to host and organize a Community Thanksgiving Worship Service. It will take place at 7:00 on Tuesday evening November 21. The church is located on Lower Terre Haute Road: 17475 E. 390th Rd. For more information please call 217-463-8770.



From the September and October Meetings:

  • Summary of Treasurer’s Reports: “We’re tracking where we expected to be,” in terms of income and expenses. Giving to special mission offerings is well ahead of the last three years.
  • The three outside groups which use our building weekly, with Session approval, have resumed their meetings: Tuesday morning women’s Bible Study; Tuesday evening TOPS; Thursday morning women’s Bible Study (“Bible Study Fellowship”)
  • Thank you to those who offered to serve on the Nominating Committee, which will begin its work soon
  • Update on our new security measures: Cameras have been installed, and doorbells on the new addition doors will be soon. Some doors will be locked during worship services
  • The next meeting will take place Tuesday, November 14, from 5 P.M.to 6 P.M.



      Discussion is underway among our “Exploring our Faith” (formerly “Bible Study”) participants, and it looks like we will continue with our Monday 5:15 to 6:30 time, resuming Oct. 30. Those who attend have the option of going out to dinner together following the sessions.


        Steve on Stewardship

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 tells us “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”

Indeed, how often have we been by ourselves or in a small group that needs help or is in trouble and someone may often make the statement that “we are all in this together.”  It is true that getting out of trouble or making progress with a problem takes all of us. Ecclesiastes does tell us that two is better than one.  I would go further and say that many are better than two.   We remind each other at each church service of concerns of members and friends.  Many of you will take time to visit or care for someone that needs help, or just a friendly word.  That is all of us working together for the common good of our neighbors.

ALL OF US TOGETHER is our stewardship theme for 2023. 

Consider what Craig Groeschel says in his writings:  “The Bible consistently and directly indicates that when we give generously, we’re serving, honoring, and glorifying God. After all, generosity is fundamental to God’s nature.”

Please think about how all of us together can support our church with our time, talents, and treasures.  We may be fewer, but together we can continue to do great things in our nearer and larger community.


For many years we’ve had the tradition of recruiters finding liturgists for worship services. We thank all of those who’ve diligently recruited over the years. We are now moving to a volunteer method. If you would like to serve as a liturgist this year, please sign up at the sign-up sheet in the back of the sanctuary.        



         Our church has been blessed with two scholarship funds for college students who are members of this church: the Mary Ann Sprouls/Cynthia Ann Idleman Scholarship Fund and the Peg Hall Scholarship. Recipients are chosen from those who apply by the Stewardship Committee and Session. If you are interested in applying, please contact the church office or Rev. Rodger.


          Pastors of the Paris Ministerial Fellowship take turns writing a column for the Prairie-Press church pages, each one writing for a month at a time.  Rev. Laurie has been doing the October columns, and shares with you here a sample of one of them:

Women of the Bible:  Deborah

I find Deborah fascinating because in the ancient Israeli male-dominated society, she was highly esteemed. She was known for her wisdom, intelligence & courage.  Deborah was a prophet in Israel before there were kings ruling.   They were the  loosely joined 12 tribes of Israel.  At that time, the Israelites were led by “judges.”

       We remember the often used Old Testament phrase that the Israelites repeatedly “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” They were oppressed by stronger nations and sometimes adopted their ways. Their morality was greatly suspect.  As a prophet, Deborah was trusted to speak God’s words to the people, calling them back to God and morality.  She was extremely unusual for a woman in that era.

       Under a tree, in a high traffic area, Deborah carried out the office of judge to which God called her. People traveled to her for advice and guidance.  She was also an advisor to the military.  In fact, Barak, the Israelite army commander, told her he would not go into battle against the strength of the Canaanite army which threatened them, if she did not go with them. She did go with them and was the one to receive the glory and honor when they defeated the Canaanites.

We read of the unabashedly positive treatment of a female character during a time when women were silent and in the home.  Down through the ages, too many commentators tried to explain away her significance by saying, for example, that the men were weak at the time so a woman had to take on a usual male role.  But Scripture doesn’t say that.  It acknowledges Deborah for her spiritedness,  strength and wisdom.  A good sermon title for the story of Deborah may be “Awaken the Sleeping Ones.”  Rather than reinforce stereotypes, we Christians should embrace woman’s’ roles in the church.

        For an exceedingly long time, I’ve been inspired by the strength of women in the Bible.  They helped to shape my strength as a minister, as a pastor, called by God to lead God’s people by preaching and teaching, by caring and comforting, by listening and assisting.  I will forever be grateful for my time as a minister in God’s service to people in the two churches I served over my time in pastoral ministry.  I thank Paris Presbyterian Church for a wonderful ministry with them.  May all the people, of whom are called into leadership service in the Lord’s name, be empowered to do God’s work and follow God’s way.

–Prairie Press PMF article week of 10-16-23, Rev. Laurie Williams, retired from The Presbyterian Church, Paris.