“The Secret of Making a Meeting FUN”
On August 9, I was part of what I believe was our first in-person church committee meeting in seventeen months! (Who would have thought Presbyterians could make it that long without a committee meeting?) And one of the comments at the end of the meeting was that it had been FUN!
The meeting was your Mission Task Force, and the reason it was fun is that it was one of those meetings where we got to propose giving money away, to people we know need it and will benefit from it. We gave money to local organizations like the Food Pantry, United Way, Faith in Action, Meals on Wheels, and Hopes and Dreams. And to Presbyterian efforts like Kemmerer Village (the home and school for youth, in Assumption IL) and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and worldwide efforts like Church World Service (including disaster relief) and Marion Medical Mission (wells in Africa).
The only reason we could have this “fun” is that you the congregation have stayed so faithful in your church giving, including the amount that you designate for “Mission.” There have been many stories during this pandemic time of churches struggling financially, because when people couldn’t come to worship during lockdowns, or chose to stay home out of caution, they stopped all church participation, including their giving. Some of them, of course, had no choice because the pandemic also shut down their workplaces.
But you all as a group have stayed very consistent, according to our monthly Treasurer’s Reports, allowing us to continue not only with our (somewhat-limited) activities and our building maintenance, but also our desire to reach out and help people in need – as the Bible tells us to do. So thank you for allowing the Mission Task Force to continue its work. If you would like a complete list of the places where the money went, and the amounts, please let me know.
Sanctuary Choir News:
Thanks to those who provided special music for us in July and August: Susan Hiddle (on three occasions), Jeanette Levellie, Mellie McCollough, Mabel Benson, Betty Brinkerhoff, and Barbara Dick (plus her sister and two nieces). Chandler Dorjahn performed an impressive oboe piece for us back in June.
Tentative plans were to resume choir rehearsals on September 29 at 4:00 p.m. and sing for worship on October 3. Those plans are somewhat in jeopardy right now with the mask mandate again in effect.
We will take matters a week at a time and keep you posted. Input from you choir members out there would be appreciated.
2 Kay LeMosy
3 Todd Bergdolt
4 Lisa McCollough
10 Al Kimball
11 Peter Spung
21 Garrett Jones
30 Mary (“Mike”) Craun
9 David & Becky Hoff ©©
12 Rick & Judy Phillips ©©
2 Marisa Hoff
4 John O’Bannon
5 Jim Farris
6 Terry Bergdolt
7 Laurie Williams
9 Kailee Gough
17 Sally Acklin
24 Jerry Benson
Carolyn Brown Hodge
10 Marty & Deb Jipp ©©
26 Chris & Sheryl Clark ©©
31 Fred & Lanee Pfeiffer ©©
Help Clothe Your Neighbors
It’s that time of year again for The Presbyterian Church to volunteer for the Clothing Closet. As of now we are anticipating the Clothing Closet will be open in October. If the status should change, you’ll be notified. The October sign-up sheet will be placed at the back of the church for volunteers to sign. Please note the change of time, format, and number needed to participate on Tuesdays only. Your assistance in volunteering would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Liz
Send a card or letter:
Marshall Rehab and Nursing
410 N. 2nd St.
Marshall, IL 62441
305 S. Jefferson
Paris, IL 61944
2020 Mission Giving
The Pastor’s Letter of this issue describes where some of our 2021 mission money has gone so far. We also, earlier this year, wrapped up our allocations of the mission money which came in during 2020. Here are the people, organizations, and causes we supported with our 2020 mission funds:
- Hopes and Dreams (Paris Youth)
- HOPE domestic violence protection
- Faith in Action
- Food Pantry
- Clothes Closet
- ECHO homeless shelter
- Paris schoolchildren weekend food program
- Hygiene kits
- Kemmerer Village
- Theological Education Fund (PCUSA seminaries)
- Church World Service
- Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
- United Way of Edgar County
- Presbytery/Synod/General Assembly mission
- Marion Medical Mission well
- First Methodist Church mission trip
- Seitz missionary family
- The other mission family we support
The following essay was written in answer to a prompt on a scholarship application. Mellie McCollough chose to write about our own Susan Farris:
Vocation and Avocation: How Susan Farris Demonstrates Both in the Church and Serves as a Role Model by Mellie McCollough
The definition of Christian vocation has changed over the years (1) from being a job (2) to what one can do in his or her life to serve God, (3) to somewhere in between. However it is defined, we frequently regard it as a personal calling from God to serve Him.
People serve God in countless ways: attending church and working within it, performing volunteer work through careers, or on their own time. A special type of person is necessary, however, to do all of these. The organist at my church, Susan Farris, is one of those special people. She feels that she is fulfilling God’s call. She plays piano and organ at church and directs the choir.
Every week Susan changes the outside bulletin board. She organizes events, sets up and decorates tables for meals, and organizes committees/members to prepare meals if required. She is ready to offer assistance wherever it is needed. To illustrate, she plans our church’s community-wide, ecumenical Lenten services, scheduling the ministers and the musicians for the weekly services. She sometimes fills in for other organists and plays for weddings and funerals. She has been our church treasurer for almost forty-one years!
Susan is a devout Christian. She goes to church every Sunday (except the first part of the pandemic). During this time, worship changed from cancellation to wearing masks and practicing social distancing. As worship began again in a restricted way, Susan played (and accompanied soloists). Initially, though, she alone played special music and hymns with no singing.
On Sundays Susan arrives early to set up whatever is needed and lights the candles; she stays late to snuff them, to collect money from the offering plates, or to do whatever remains to be done.
Before coming to church on Sundays, Susan usually first attends a small rural Presbyterian church which her husband and family have attended for many years. She often plays for their Sunday School, directs their choir, and accompanies/directs them for special services. Any guest would be forgiven for thinking that Susan attends that church.
Besides all these tasks, she is secretary for the city band and plays in the band herself, first chair clarinet. She also introduces numbers at the performances. Susan is at our church several days a week to help with the bulletin, take care of the choir folders, practice the organ, decide which songs the choir will sing for upcoming Sundays, change the bulletin board, and work on church financial information. She spends numerous hours in the choir room, by herself, at a small card table covered with music and financial papers. Susan shows a level of dedication to her vocation, her volunteer activities (avocation), and her faith that I have not seen from anyone else. Through her, I see how she fulfills vocation and avocation.
Susan majored in piano performance with the intent to teach students privately, to perform, and to accompany students. She does these things, although not as much performing; however, her journey took her to working first as our organist at church—beginning in high school! Next she became the choir director, and lastly, she added the responsibilities of treasurer. Teaching private lessons and accompanying many students for school contests and some teachers for concerts make her well known in the community.
Sometimes when she plays for district solo and ensemble contests, those in charge of the schedule find it somewhat challenging. Times, room locations for musicians, accompanists, and judges create logistical challenges because Susan accompanies so many different soloists. She must move quickly from one place to another. Leaving her immediate past soloist, she literally scurries all over the building with her folders containing the agenda and her music.
Although she is not officially on the puppet team, when we are shorthanded, she willingly assumes the role of propateer. When we realize at our run-through before church that we don’t have enough people, she hurries from the organ to the side stage to handle her props and then hurries back.
I know Susan well as I have attended The Presbyterian Church of Paris for most of my life, moving to Paris as an infant, leaving for a short while, and then returning. Thus, I have known Susan for approximately 16 years. She gave me piano lessons for a number of years, and she occasionally helped with my violin and French horn playing. Frequently, she was my accompanist for music contests. In addition, she accompanied me recently for my virtual college music audition.
When I got older, I began to realize all the other church and community responsibilities Susan fulfills. I should also mention that she is extremely kind and works well with all age groups. She even writes beautiful personal notes! She has cheered me when I’ve been grumpy, helping me to gain the proper perspective for the situation; she has also been an excellent role model. I call her my special mentor. When I looked at the essay prompt, I determined immediately that I would write about Susan.
Yes, Susan Farris uses her music degree as she wished (vocation) because God called her. She also has chosen to devote time and talents to other service, indicating God’s faith in her (avocation) or to other duties that are combination vocation/avocation. Most of these tasks are not on her contract, but she fulfills them willingly. Our church and other groups and people in our community are blessed to have Susan Farris among us.
Mellie McCollough’s new address:
810 Commons Circle SW,
Mt. Vernon, Iowa
Worship at New Providence: Our annual joint outdoor worship service with the New Providence congregation will take place at 10:00 (note start time!) on Sunday September 26. We will not be able to enjoy a picnic lunch together this year, but can enjoy the worship together. Please bring lawn chairs if you have them.
OCTOBER 3 WORSHIP
We will join Christians in churches of many denominations all around the world in the celebration of “World Communion Sunday,” in which “the faithful of all races and nations gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. In this holy place, the many are made one, united with Christ and with the church in every place.”(We will once again use individual wafer/juice packs, instead of passing trays.
WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY RESUMES
The ecumenical women’s Bible study group conducted by local women affiliated with Bible Study Fellowship International resumes, after a summer break, at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, in the Assembly Room. It will meet every Thursday at that time; all women are invited.
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
SPECIAL OFFERING IN OCTOBER
Our annual October special offering is one of the four nationwide Presbyterian Church USA offerings; PCUSA describes it this way:
“Our work of peace and reconciliation is supported by gifts to the Peace and Global Witness Offering. These gifts also unite us with Presbyterian peacemakers across the country and the world who are active, not passive; who are doing, not waiting.
25% of this Offering stays with individual congregations to support local peacemaking and reconciliation efforts and ministries.
25% of the Offering will go to mid councils to join congregations in support of peacemaking throughout presbyteries and synods.
50% of this Offering supports the work for peace and reconciliation being done by Presbyterians across the globe.
We are the peacemakers. We are the Church. Together.
When we all do a little, it adds up to a lot.
The Peace and Global Offering enables the church to promote the peace of Christ by addressing systems of injustice in our own communities and around the world. Together we are building God’s household of peace where everyone is welcome; where all can find compassion, peace and justice.”
We will begin collecting the offering on October 3, and will let you know which local organization “our” 25% will go to.
Session held its first in-person meeting in nearly a year and a half (socially-distanced, in the Assembly Room) on August 24. Business included:
- This being only our second meeting since Clerk of Session Jerry Benson retired, we discussed how the Clerk responsibilities will be fulfilled. We came up with a division-of-duties among several people, with Barbara Bergdolt being officially listed as Clerk for correspondence purposes. (In other words, yes, it takes at least four people to do what Jerry was doing for us!)
- We discussed several possible “going back to normal” worship options (e.g. passing offering plates), but decided with the current delta COVID variant and rise in local cases we would hold off for now and discuss again in a couple months.
- We will go to New Providence for our annual September outdoor worship service together on Sunday September 26 at 10 a.m. (but no picnic this year).
- We decided the Free Rummage Sale had gone well and we will plan on it again next year, but ask people to bring their items in the last couple days before the “sale” and not collect them here in advance.
“Pastor and members of the Presbyterian Church,
‘What you did was thoughtfulness in full bloom’ (card). On behalf of the people of the Dominican Republic, I want to give you thanks for your financial support of First United Methodist’s mission to the D. R.” –Pastor Pablo, FUMC”
(The money went to buy backpacks with school supplies for children, food for families in need, and Bibles to distribute)
“Dear Paris Presbyterian Church,
On behalf of Horizon Health and the Horizon Health Foundation, our sincere thank you for your generous support of the Meals on Wheels program. Your donation helps put food on the table for families in the community.”
“Dear Family in Jesus,
‘Your kindness is greatly appreciated’ (card). Thank you for inviting me to preach in July. It’s always an honor to share with you, and your smiles and comments encourage me!
Lots of love, Jeanette
P.S. Also thank you for the love gift.”
“Dear Paris Presbyterian Church,
On behalf of Presbyterian Mission, please convey our appreciation to your mission committee, pastor, session, and congregation for your gracious and faithful support of this year’s One Great Hour of Sharing and Pentecost special offerings. Thank you for your support, dedication, and partnership in furthering God’s mission around the world.”
From the Prairie Press 4-H special section
50203 4-H Cooking 401:
Champion, Grand Champion General Food and Nutrition, State Fair Delegate – Mellie McCollough
Grand Champion, Champion, Visual Arts Grand Champion, State Fair Delegate – Mellie McCollough
The Presbytery of Southeast Illinois met by ZOOM/phone on Saturday morning August 28. Barbara Bergdolt and Rodger Allen represented our congregation. Business included:
- Marion Medical Mission (wells in Africa) invited us to join in their online daily devotions 1 to Oct. 31.
- A 45-minute worship service included the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
- Thank you for your generosity! Only 4 of the Presbytery’s 79 churches gave more to the One Great Hour of Sharing (and they are from “bigger places”: Urbana, Decatur, Carbondale, Champaign).
- Rebecca Blair was introduced and approved as our new Lead Presbyter for Transformation and Stated Clerk (LPTSC). She comes to us with 25 years’ experience as a college professor and stated clerk, most recently in the Presbytery of East Iowa. She describes herself as a “lifelong Presbyterian with roots in Central Illinois.” She will begin half-time and virtual on Oct. 15, and move to full-time in Illinois Jan. 1 (Note of interest: In response to a question from Rodger, she mentioned that her ancestors include founders of Paris Presbyterian Church, who are buried in Edgar Cemetery).
- Two Commissioned Pastors (Elders who have taken classes to prepare them to serve in pastoral roles at churches) were approved for service in two of our churches (both part-time).
- The Synod of Lincoln Trails presented the Presbytery with a $70,000 check, to assist PSEI in it work and mission.
FOOD DRIVE FOR FOOD FOR KIDS
With the closing of our local Save A Lot, Food for Kids is looking for support from the Paris community to help us feed our young people each weekend. We are looking for the following items in single serve size with easy open containers (does not require a can opener), and are prepared in microwave. Food donations can be dropped off at the Edgar County Farm Bureau office.
Fruit cups Applesauce cups
Breakfast bars Apples
Canned soup Beef stew
Individual crackers and cheese or peanut butter
Microwave Mac and cheese
Microwave ramen noodles
Chicken salad and crackers
Tuna salad and crackers
Potato chips, individual sizes
Small boxes of raisins
Packets of oatmeal
We currently serve 210 young people, some of whom are preschoolers, so we need to keep the weight of our bags light. If you’d prefer to give a financial gift you can give to Food for Kids, Prospect Bank Trust Dept., P.O. Box 400, Paris, IL. 61944. We work under ECCF, so your gifts are tax deductible.
MORE ON VBS
A bulletin announcement told you a little about the cooperative Vacation Bible School in which we participated in July. Volunteer Glenna Taylor, from First Methodist, prepared a nice write-up for their newsletter; here are some excerpts:
2021 VBS WAS A SUCCESS!
Hosted by Otterbein UMC and additionally sponsored by Vermillion UMC, Paris First UMC, Paris Presbyterian, and New Providence Presbyterian, the “Knights of North Castle” VBS was a successful venture full of good food, singing, science experiments, crafts, Bible lessons and games. The event occurred July 11th– 15th and ran from 5:15-8:00 each evening.
Our Knights were divided into three age groups. Supper, music, science, and games were done together; crafts and Bible study were divided by age groups. Over 30 children participated, along with adult and teen planners, lesson presenters, food providers, food servers, and other activity leaders and helpers.
The Knights, who were in frozen wonderland all week, were led by head Knight, Debbie Sturgell. What a blessing she was to the VBS program; Her Christianity simply shone through her actions! The Knights were also teased and sneezed at by Sparky, the dragon: Dan Vice tweaked his voice and had them laughing all week.
The gist of the program was that many Knights had searched and failed to find the armor at the King’s request. They were searching for pieces of metal. Our Knights were smart and figured out they didn’t have to search for metal armor at all. They simply needed to put on the supernatural Armor of God. Our Knights found the Belt of Truth, the Breastplate of Justice, the Shoes of Peace, the Shield of Faith, and the Helmet of Salvation. We only had five nights, or I’m sure we would have also found the Sword of the Spirit too! And, we prayed every night so we definitely used that supernatural tool that we have at our disposal.
The Knights raised over $400 to send to the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky . . . What a blessing! I’m sure their true King is pleased with their generosity. If anyone would like more information about the Red Bird Mission, I bet Pastor Troy Horne from Otterbein UMC would be more than happy to tell you about their latest mission: 217-463-2515