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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- July 17, 2020

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First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix –

Weekly Newsletter July 17, 2020


Welcome to our weekly newsletter!

Adios, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedershen  by Interim Pastor Greg Briggs

            My mother and grandmother both greatly enjoyed the Lawrence Welk Show and the final song each week became one of the ways my mother would sing us to sleep. As we children got older, as some of us took Spanish in school, others took French, and we have German ancestors, the song stuck, and we’d say it to our grandmother every time we left her home.

            As our time together comes to an end, I wanted to share this line from the song with all of you. “Though it’s always sweet sorrow to part, You know you’ll always remain in my heart,” and that is the truth. I am so thankful for my time with all of you at First Congregational UCC. Thank you for your welcome, your hospitality, your passion, your work, your sense of fun, and for our chance to walk together in Christ’s ministry and love.

            Since I first joined all of you, one of my goals has been to help you transition to your next settled pastor. One of the ways I will do that is by making space for the incoming pastor to build their own relationships. So, once my time with the church is done at the end of July 2020, I will no longer be available for weddings, funerals, church activities, or pastoral care. This also includes social media usage. I will unfriendunfollow every church member that I do not already have a prior or ongoing relationship. After your new settled pastor has been in place for a year, you may choose to re-friend or follow me, though I will not initiate this process. If I do have a prior or ongoing outside relationship with a church member, I will not discuss church matters with those individuals. If you wish, you can follow my professional page on Facebook, “Pastor Greg Briggs,” but again, I will not be able to provide pastoral care.

            I know this is a firm boundary, but it is necessary. Firstly, it helps the incoming pastors build relationships with all of you, and vice versa. Secondly, it also helps me as I continue on in my ministry. I have to be present for the next church I am called to serve just as I have been present for you. And that has included saying goodbye to prior congregations and congregants. This isn’t just a switch I flip, or a button I click. I intend to say a blessing and prayer for each of you as I remove you from my social media feeds and as you come up in my memories in the future. This is a practice that is highly recommended for all UCC clergy, and it is shared in the “A Sure Foundation” resource.

            As for what’s next for me? I’ll be taking the month of August as a vacation, since I’m already up here in Northern Michigan. Afterwards, I will begin looking for my next church to serve as Interim Pastor. If you are comfortable, I hope to see you at the outdoor gathering this Sunday, or in the drive-up option the same day. If not, I will still be available to say one on one goodbyes the following week.

I take comfort that you will continue as a living and loving body of Christ. I know that you have many bright days ahead of you, and I look forward to seeing how you will continue to flourish. You will all remain in my heart, and I wish and pray that every dream comes true.

Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen.  Good Night!

Please use the following link to go to a Google Invite Form to RSVP for the Garden Celebration or the Drive-thru Farewell on July 19, 2020.

Of course, you can also just email in your RSVP to the church office at

If you have already completed your RSVP, you do not need to do it again! Thanks!

Betty W. Renton, 94, of Charlevoix, passed away on July 3, 2020 after a short illness.  She and her late husband were active members of our First Congregational Church of Charlevoix where she served the Lord as a pianist, prayer shawl coordinator/leader, member of the prayer chain and member of the Care team.  As a young adult she was an accomplished pianist giving concert recitals and loved playing piano all of her life. 

Betty was known to many from her volunteer work in her community.  She gave ragtime music recitals to nursing home residents.  She was also a member of the Charlevoix Historical Society, and a volunteer hospital chaplain.  She always had a compassionate heart to be of service and give to others in need. She was a theorem painting artist, primitive antique collector and loved decorating with antiques.

A Memorial Service will be announced at a later date, due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Click here to read the most recent publication:  The Upper Room July-August Edition