First Congregational Church
(United Church of Christ)
Rev. Toby Jones, Pastor

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- December 3, 2020

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix –
December 03, 2020 

Join us for virtual worship each Sunday at 10:30 am
Click Here for Online Worship and the Digital Bulletin!

From the Pastor…

I’ve been praying for our church family as we continue our march through a very unusual Advent season. I’ve been asking God to keep our spirits up, to keep our attitudes positive, and to bless us with an extra dose of creativity as we prepare for Christ’s birth.

My prayers have also been that we might come to enjoy this quieter, stripped down holy season that Covid-19 has thrust upon us. If we can’t do so many of the things we ordinarily do this time of year, if we can’t enjoy the gatherings of friends and family around lighted trees and tables, can we perhaps draw closer to God in silence, prayer, and adoration?

I’ve been thinking about that first Christmas in Bethlehem so long ago. Too often we forget that the vast majority of the population back then had any idea that this birth was even taking place. Almost everybody missed it! In their coming and going, in their travels to fulfill the requirements of Quirinius’s census, most everyone was simply too busy to notice the star, the manger, the wise men, and the angels. In other words, Jesus’s birth was hardly noticed at all. I suppose one could argue that under “normal,” non-Covid Christmas seasons, the exact same thing is true of us. In all the shopping, decorating, gathering, eating, and traveling, that baby in the manger is hardly noticed at all.

God has shown me wonderful opportunity in this Covid Christmas. Those of us with eyes to see and hearts to hear and feel might just be in the best position ever to experience and truly understand that silent, holy night so long ago. May it be so…Amen.

Advent Bible Study Off and Running…

Thank you to those of you who are participating in our Advent Bible Study focusing on Sabbath practices. In addition to our always reliable Tuesday morning group of 7-10, our Wednesday evening group has 13-14 folks, including some who have never been to our church in person. Julia and I are so excited and grateful to all our participants and encourage you to keep journaling and digging into our Sabbath scriptures as we march through Advent. If you are were not able to sign up and be a part of either of these groups, please remember that we are posting our materials each week on the church website. You can follow along and work through this vital material at your own pace and on your own schedule. Let’s not leave God’s incredible Sabbath gift to us lying unopened under the tree this Christmas.

This Week’s Featured Restaurant Is:

Scovies Gourmet 

111 Bridge Street 
Charlevoix, MI 49720


Special Music Sunday


A native Ukrainian, Iuliia Fetysenko, started to play violin in age 5. During her school years she performed solo pieces and concertos with several Ukrainian symphonic and chamber orchestras and also took part in different Ukrainian competitions.
In 2016 she graduated with a Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Tchaikovsky National Musical Academy in Ukraine. Iuliia performed in Berlin, Germany in a section of a student symphonic orchestra. She took part in Encore summer festival in Gates Mills in 2015 and 2016 with Cavani String quartet.
From 2017 she started to teach private lessons in violin and viola in Cleveland, Westlake, and Huron, OH using traditional and Suzuki approach as well as performing with Canton, Akron and Firelands Symphony orchestras.
In 2019 Iuliia graduated with a Masters Degree in musical performance and Suzuki Pedagogy from Cleveland Institute of Music and after graduation she joined the Dorothy Gerber String Program as a full-time teacher and then moved to Petoskey, MI.

From the Outreach Committee…

No description available.

In the photo, from left to right: Murphy Watts, Betty Wadland, Heather Kage

The Outreach Committee is thrilled to report a very successful “Keep the Kids Warm” campaign! Thanks to the generous donations from our congregation, we were able to deliver more than 40 warm coats, many boots and dozens of beautiful hats to the Charlevoix schools.

At the beginning of our campaign, we asked the school leaders how we might support the students. They confidently identified a desperate need for cold weather outerwear. Our donated items were delivered to the Middle/High school and were added to the Rayder Den inventory. This fantastic “closet” houses a variety of items for the eligible students in need. The Elementary school was thrilled to receive our coats, hats and mittens delivery as well. In addition, 7 pairs of boots were purchased for the Elementary children with contributions from our church’s campaign. The staff will distribute the items to students who need a warm coat, hat or boots.

Marge McGoff secured a generous Walmart gift card during our coat drive. We learned from the school that the “Stuff the Bus” event was not possible this year so school supplies were desperately needed. The decision was made to use the gift card to purchase Spiral Notebooks, colored pencils, zipper style trapper keepers, and other school supplies for the school. 

Thank you to everyone for your donations to the “Keep the Kids Warm” coat drive. Our church Reached Out… and are Keeping the Kids Warm!

Happy Birthday From All Of Us At First Congregational Church!

Click Here To View A Draft Of The Photo Directory

** The online photo directory is password protected. The password was included in the original email. If you need it again, please email the office. We recently emailed a number of folks who are still missing photos and/or contact information. We will be publishing our final draft soon, if you haven’t already please send us a photo ASAP!