First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Greg Briggs,
Interim Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Easter Sunday – Digital Worship Bulletin – April 12, 2020

Sunday April 12, 2020

Mary Magdalene in the garden with Jesus

LeCompte, Rowan and Irene LeCompte. Mary Magdalene in the garden with Jesus, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved April 11, 2020].

Easter Sunday

Welcome to First Congregational, United Church of Christ in Charlevoix’s online worship experience. Though we are separated physically for one another’s physical health, we still join together to worship God, be inspired, and care for our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

You are invited to find a comfortable place in your house and set aside a time for worship and prayer. This could be your usual Sunday morning time, or at sunset. Light a candle if you wish, or get a cup of tea.

Take your time as you read, listen, watch, sing, pray, and share in this worship of God.  Whether you worshiping on Sunday morning or whenever you have time, we are glad you are a part of our community.

As always, we want your feedback on how we can worship better with you in this time of physical distancing.  Feel free to give feedback and suggestions to  Ok, let us begin!





Welcome – Rev. Greg Briggs



Introit “Christ Is Risen”



Call To Worship – Thom Shuman

read aloud. If you are worshiping with someone else, alternate readings.

We are still isolated,
still feeling like we have been left alone in a shadowed place,
but this is the day:
hope tiptoes us awake;
light guides us through the shadows.
We are keeping a safe distance from others,
we are quarantining ourselves, we are not gathering as God’s people,
but this is the day the Lord:
joy is planted in our winter hearts;
laughter drowns out despair’s cries.
This is a time of uncertainty and fear,
we wonder what today will bring, we worry about the coming tomorrow,
but this is the day the Lord has made:
grace does cartwheels in graveyards;
resurrection wonder outshines the brightest sun;
an empty tomb fills us with good news.

Opening Hymn – “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”


Prayer of the Day – Mindi Welton-Mitchell

God of All Seasons, we are reminded that Your time is not our time.
As we are in the midst of a difficult season, resurrection is at hand.
In a time when we are called to stay indoors, we shout out loud that Christ is Risen.
We wander in the darkness of uncertainty, wondering when restrictions will be lifted.
We remember how the women discovered the stone was rolled away.
We remember those who gathered at the tomb, their trembling and fear, their wonder and amazement.
We remember their witness in the face of the unknown. Be bold in us, O God, to proclaim the resurrection now.
Be bold in us, O God, to live out our faith by doing our part to care for our neighbors and loved ones.
Be bold in us, O God, to trust in a future with hope that is beyond what we can perceive right now.
Be bold in us, O God, to proclaim that Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen Indeed, and that the season of new life and resurrection has begun. Amen!




Gospel Reading – John 20:1-18

Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. She ran to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they’ve put him.” Peter and the other disciple left to go to the tomb. They were running together, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and was the first to arrive at the tomb. Bending down to take a look, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he didn’t go in. Following him, Simon Peter entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. He also saw the face cloth that had been on Jesus’ head. It wasn’t with the other clothes but was folded up in its own place. Then the other disciple, the one who arrived at the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They didn’t yet understand the scripture that Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples returned to the place where they were staying.

11 Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying. As she cried, she bent down to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels dressed in white, seated where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head and one at the foot. 13 The angels asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” 14 As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.

15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold on to me, for I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. Go to my brothers and sisters and tell them, ‘I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

18 Mary Magdalene left and announced to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord.” Then she told them what he said to her.

(CEB Translation)


Sermon Notes

Further Reading for Sermon Discussion:

Hymn – “In The Garden” 



We are witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit and the glory of God, 
and now we turn in thanksgiving to share the good news of forgiveness and grace to all the world. 
Let these our gifts be a living testimony to those who most need the healing grace of Christ this morning, 
cornerstones of faith and joy for the entire world.

You can mail your donations into the church, and you can also give online by clicking here: Donate to the church

Anthem “Worthy is the Lamb that Was Slain”


Easter Prayer: by Elizabeth Dilley

Good News God, 
your angels appeared to the faithful women of Jesus’ company, 
bringing them news more wonderful and awe-inspiring than they could imagine – 
Christ is Risen! 
Surely your angels can interrupt our lives, too, 
breaking into our losses and sorrows 
and offering a message of tremendous joy to change our lives! 
Come this Easter morning, we pray, 
and fill us with the joy of the women disciples, 
the first witnesses to your resurrection, 
that our lives may also be renewed in hope and glory. 
Let us roll back the stone of the grave 
and sing Alleluia once again! 
In Christ we pray, Amen. 

Prayers of the People:  by Thom Shuman

Each morning,
we are putting on those comfortable garments of burdens and worries,
but now they we are dressed in joy and wonder, 
which we will wear every day!

Each day,
we walk through life, alone, apart, afraid,

our good and faithful friend, death, at our side, constantly whispering in our ears,
but now death has lost its power, now a new Friend walks with us!

Each evening,
we empty our worries out of our pockets, leaving them on top of the dresser,
but now, the dresser has been wiped down, everything has been sanitized with joy!

We could continue to live in the same old ways, the same old days,
but now, resurrection life is ours, and we can sing, dance, and rejoice with you,
God in Community, Holy in One,
as we pray together, saying,

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Join us this Sunday at 11 am on Zoom for us to have a virtual coffee hour and share our joys and concerns.

We will also have a sermon discussion on Monday at 11 am, and our weekly Bible study on Tuesday at 10, via zoom.

Check your email for instructions for zoom, or email if you’d like to join our discussions. They are truly open to everyone, but we are not posting the link publicly to discourage zoom bombers. Yes, that is now a thing. 

Hymn of Parting


Go forth on this Easter Sunday, knowing God has always loved you, loves you now, and will always love you. No matter what.


Easter Egg Present

Hello First Congregational Church!

I pray this finds you well in the midst of such chaos. Knowing we are able to gather and worship online together is a beautiful blessing! Just wanted to send along a greeting to you all and a little update for those of you who have watched me grow up in Charlevoix! My family and I have recently located to Sheboygan, WI for my husband Geno’s position as a Worship Pastor! We spent the last 5 years in Hilton Head Island, SC where we now have two boys, Noah (4) and Nico (17 months).  My husband and I have been writing and recording original and worship music together all this time and have been so encouraged how God uses the gift of music to minister to others. Thinking of you during this time and hope we encourage you to fix your eyes on Christ and the Cross. It’s because of this that we have nothing to fear! 


Andrea (Rizzo) Miller