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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- February 4, 2021

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix –
February 04, 2021

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

Message from Toby…

             Happy February, everyone! While Spring isn’t exactly in the air, whenever I flip my calendar from January to February, at least I’m reminded that it is coming… someday. “Here comes the sun…” right?
            But even as the calendar tells us that we are moving steadily toward a time of increased light, there are plenty of people in our church family who continue to dwell in some pretty deep darkness. Just this week, Bob Dominic lost his 57-year-old son Doug to a sudden heart attack, and Joyce Herbert’s 16-year-old grandson Charlie suffered a stroke. On top of that, we have folks recovering from major surgeries, several others fighting off Covid-19, and still others are forced to watch from a distance as their loved ones descend toward death.
            It’s hard to know how to reach out or what to say in the face of real human suffering. But the most important thing is to go ahead and reach out to our suffering brothers and sisters – even and especially when we’re not sure how. For others to know that we are thinking of them goes a long way, even if we stumble through the words telling them so. In one of my devotions for this week, the writer noted that often we say things like “Let me know if there is anything I can do.” She suggested that it might be better to say, “I’m cooking you a meal. Which night would be best for me to bring it by?” I like that.
            One of the best parts about being in a small church family is that we can reach out to one another in times of difficulty and need. None of us needs to endure a dark patch alone, and none of us needs to be an expert care-giver. We just need to remember and live like we’re all in this together, because we are. Thank you for being a caring, generous, loving group of Christ followers.


What I’ve Been Reading Lately…
Think Like a Monk – by Jay Shetty. This author spent three years of his post-college life in a monastic community in India. He has spent the years since that incredible experience sharing the lessons he learned there with those of us who don’t live in such a community. This book is wonderfully practical and truly does help us train our minds in some profoundly helpful ways.

Hannah Coulter – by Wendell Berry. I am a big Wendell Berry Fan. While he is known mostly for his non-fiction writing, his fiction is very tender and profound. This book chronicles the coming-of-age tale of a farm girl, raised largely by her grandmother in a small Kentucky town years ago. Her struggles are significant but so are her human and inner resources.

Message from the Moderator… 

I hope that you are aware of the Annual Congregational Meeting that will be held on Sunday, February 7, 2021 following the Sunday Service.  This write up should spell out the plans we have for conducting the meeting.

This Sunday will be our first in-person service in the church since last November.  We will use the same procedures that we used back then:  limited seating, masks at all times and social distancing.  We will have seating in the sanctuary and in the Fellowship Hall.  The RSVP system will be used – Leah has sent out the link to the RSVP and it is also available below.

The Annual Meeting will follow shortly after the end of the service.  We will stream the meeting to the website just like the services you have watched recently.  Those people seated in the Fellowship Hall will be able to watch the meeting on the big screen.

We will conduct the meeting from the sanctuary following the published agenda and will ask for motions and a vote on four parts of the agenda.  Voting will be conducted by a show of hands from those present in the sanctuary and the hall.  A Google Form ballot will be provided for anyone watching the broadcast from home.

You should have received the link to the 2020 Annual Report and I would encourage you to read it before Sunday and to formulate any questions or comments you may have on the contents of the report or about the operation of the Church.  If you send your questions to me directly, I can answer them as a part of the meeting. 

Send them to:  Please note that there will not be any printed copies of the report at the meeting.

We will take questions and comments from the people in attendance and address them in the meeting, if possible.  It does get a little complicated with questions coming from the Fellowship Hall.  The broadcast is delayed roughly one minute from the actual time in the sanctuary.  So, we have to accommodate this delay when communicating between the two groups of congregants.  Our plan is to have people stationed in the Fellowship Hall that can tabulate votes and bring questions to the speakers.  It could be a bit of a challenge!

As I stated above, sending in your questions before the meeting will help to smooth out this communication issue between the halls. 


The Google Form for voting is located at this link: 

You may vote anytime you are comfortable to weigh in with your opinion.  As an alternative, you can leave a message on the church switchboard with your vote:  231-547-9122

Bill Trubilowicz, Moderator

Annual Meeting Info

Below you will find the link to the 2020 Annual Report. Due to the long length of the report (over 30 pages), there will NOT be printed copies available at the Annual Meeting so please review the report prior to Sunday. We ask that you direct any questions or comments you may have to Bill Trubilowiz at before Sunday’s meeting. This report will remain available on the website for future viewing. If you would prefer your own copy, you can save or print directly from the website. 

2020 Annual Report

*A link to the Annual Report can also be found in this Sunday’s printed and digital bulletin. 

In-Person Worship Service- 02/07


Sunday, February 7, 2021, we will be holding ONE in-person service at 10:30 am with the 2021 Annual Meeting to Follow.

Google RSVP Form- Click Here

*Google RSVP is only required if you plan to attend in-person worship. Please do not submit a form if you plan to watch from home. Thank you! 

*Seating in the Sanctuary is VERY limited and handled on a FIRST-COME-FIRST-SERVE BASIS. Once the Sanctuary reaches capacity, you will be directed to the Fellowship Hall, as space allows.

We cannot take reservations specifically for Sanctuary seating. The best way to guarantee a seat in the Sanctuary is to RSVP online and to arrive early to church on Sunday.

Those who arrive without an RSVP on file will be directed to overflow seating in the Fellowship Hall EVEN IF SPACE IS STILL AVAILABLE IN THE SANCTUARY. 

Seat cushions and bibles have been removed from the pews in the sanctuary, If you need a padded seat or a bible, please bring your own.

Social distancing is required and there will be markers on the carpet in the Fellowship Hall and also in the pews for individual groups. Don’t forget your mask!

Digital Worship bulletins are available as there will only be a limited number of printed copies on hand. 

Should you require the use of the elevator to access the building, the office should be notified prior to Sunday.

Remember that our overall goal is to provide a safe environment for our church family to be able to worship together on Sunday morning. The following practices are still in effect:
-RSVP for contact tracing purposes
-Enter through the Park Avenue doors
-Fill the Sanctuary seats first
-Could be cool in the building
-Masks are required in the building
-Use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing
-One person in the bathroom at a time
-Exit the building at the end of the service
-Nursery is closed

If you have questions, please contact the church office at or 231-547-9122
Hours: Monday – Thursday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The church voicemail and email are not monitored over the weekend.

If you would prefer to join us from home, our Sunday service will be recorded and live-streamed at 10:30 am. 
Virtual Worship- Click Here

An Invitation to a 40-Day Book Study  
February 17 – March 23

The Book – Faith After Doubt: Why Your Beliefs Stopped Working and What to Do About it by Brian McLaren

Target Audience – According to the inside cover of the book, “Faith After Doubt is for the millions of people around the world who feel that their faith is falling apart…Using his own story and the stories of a diverse group of struggling believers, Brian D. McLaren, a former pastor, proposes a model of faith development in which questions and doubt are not the enemies of faith, but rather portals to a more mature and fruitful kind of faith.”

    In other words, this study is not for everyone. If you feel strong in your beliefs and don’t doubt much or wrestle with perplexing faith questions that have no satisfying answers, this study is probably not for you. But if you’ve found yourself increasingly bothered by some aspects of traditional Christianity and have begun to question some of the beliefs and doctrines you grew up with, this book and study group may be just what the doctor ordered.

Course Approach – Toby will lead us on a journey toward this “more mature and fruitful kind of faith,” where doubts and questions are engaged as important portals, rather than criticized as unfaithful or heretical. Participants will need to purchase McLaren’s book and have the first 55 pages read prior to the initial meeting on Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00 pm. This class will be available as a Zoom event for all 6 weeks. If Covid restrictions lift, participants who are in town may be able to meet in person at the church on these Wednesdays from 7:00-8:30 pm. But the in-person dimension will not affect Zoom participation. Remember, this will be a book study rather than a Bible study, and again, since this class is designed to nurture and engage those with significant questions and doubts, it will not be a good fit for those looking to
defend or convince others of their own position or approach to faith.

If You Are Interested in Participating – Get yourself a copy of Faith After Doubt and email Toby at indicating your interest in the course. You may also direct any questions you have to Toby at this email address. Thank you! 

Support our community by shopping local…
Round Lake Book Store
216 Bridge St. Charlevoix, MI 49720


This Week’s Restaurant Of The Week Is:

The Cantina

101 Van Pelt Place 
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Winter 2021 Hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 12-9 PM Indoor, Takeout, & Outdoor Seating


Why am I seeing a QR code in Church? 

QR Codes: What, how, why? 

The past couple of weeks you may have noticed square bar-codes popping up everywhere you go and wondered what they are. They are QR codes and they are an amazing technology to have during this time of Covid. A QR code, which stands for Quick Response Code, can be used in many different ways. They can take you directly to a specific website or web page link, a document, form, or even a restaurant menu without you having to search the web or your email to find it. It is a fast, convenient, and easy way to go digital without much hassle. 

As the church finds new ways to stay healthy while also being efficient, a QR code allows you to view documents directly on your phone or tablet as opposed to having something printed in-hand. On Sunday, this saves us money and resources when it comes to printing bulletins that are ultimately destined for the recycling bin, especially in the event of poor weather that would result in worship being canceled. It also helps protect everyone coming in contact with paper documents from cross-contamination made possible by multiple people handling the same materials. 

Most smartphones, i-phone and android alike, are already equipped to scan QR codes. You either open your QR scanning app already installed on your phone or you simply open your camera, just like you are going to take a photo, and point it at the code, it will scan automatically and open the intended link or file for you. If your phone cannot do this, you can download a QR scanning app for free. 

Like most new technology, there can be a bit of a learning curve. If you would like help using this new asset, please contact Leah in the church office at 231-547-9122 and she would be happy to help! 


Click Here to see the 11 Best QR Code Reader Apps for smartphones and devices.