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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- March 11, 2021

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix
March 11, 2021

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

A Message from Toby…

            As most of you may remember, the Charlevoix Ministerial Association (CMA) has been struggling to find an administrator for our Emergency Assistance Fund. This fund helps local Charlevoix County residents with things like paying heating and utility bills, rent assistance, emergency housing, auto repairs, and other vital needs. In most years, we offer between $20,000 and $25,000 to local people in need.

            The money for this fund comes from a variety of sources including The Rainbow Shoppe, a handful of local churches including ours, and other corporate and individual donors. But since December of 2020, this fund has been put on hold, because we have no one to administer this fund. Ginger Stevens, who had handled this for the last ten years, had to step aside to focus on the growing Joppa House ministry here in Charlevoix.

            As this fund – and the needs it is designed to meet – has been frozen, I have felt increasingly called not only to find a solution, but to be a part of the solution. This kind of front lines need-meeting work seems 100% in line with our 1st Congregational Church’s ministry and mission. Over the last several months, I have been working with the CMA, with our moderator Bill Trubilowicz, and with Leah, our Office Manager, to craft a workable solution. I think we have found one, but I’m going to need a little help to make it work.

            I would like to step up to the task of administering this Emergency Assistance Fund. To do so I would need one or two people who are willing and available to join me in meeting with clients in need of assistance in my office on Tuesdays and Thursdays between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm. Volunteers would not need to be here every Tuesday and every Thursday during these 3-hour chunks, but more on an as-needed, on-call basis. I will be handling most of these meetings myself but having an extra set of eyes on these very personal, sensitive, and often complicated situations would be super helpful to me. And, of course, there will be times when I won’t be able to be here and will need to have people to call on to fill in for me.  If you are a person who leaves town for part of the year, you could still help during the months when you are here in Charlevoix. I’d like to build a small team of folks willing to support this vital, frontlines ministry. Please pray about this, and if this kind of work resonates with your spirit, please call or email me to discuss it further.

Thank you!

More on Faith After Doubt

If you’ve been enjoying the sermon series based on Brian McLaren’s book Faith After Doubt, why not pick up a copy of this profound book and read it cover to cover? Over a dozen people from our congregation already have, and they’ve found it incredibly helpful for their spiritual journey. You can get a copy through Diane at Round Lake Bookstore downtown, or, if you prefer, through Amazon.


A Message from the Moderator…

Note 1:

As conditions continue to improve in the community as more people get vaccinated, we believe that we can allow a few people to utilize the balcony during the Sunday Service.  For now, we will limit it to two “pods” of people up there besides the video crew.

We would ask that you separate and not sit in the front row.

We will continue to RSVP and require masks and distancing in the building.

Note 2:

To clarify the requirements for holding meetings in the church when holding combination Zoom and in-person meetings:

It is fine to have a combination meeting when one or more members are away from the church.  The computers that we are using on Sunday morning will be stored in the office and are set up with the Zoom program with the office account information on the white sticker.  Feel free to use one of them but please return it to the Office when the meeting is complete.

-Bill Trubilowicz, Moderator 

Special Musical Guest
Sunday, March 14, 2021 

Sunday, March 14th we welcome Maureen Delaney- Lehman to the keyboard.

 Maureen has been involved in music all her life. After teaching for five years, she spent the rest of her career as a librarian at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie. During her Upper Peninsula years, she was organist at Central United Methodist Church, sang and soloed with the Chamber Singers of Algoma, and performed on stage in Sault Opera productions. She has remained busy since moving to Petoskey as a member of the Little Traverse Choral Society, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, and as a librarian and harpsichordist for the orchestra. She is involved with the music program at the First Presbyterian Church in Harbor Springs as a substitute organist, choir member, and soloist. In the summer she is an organist at Redpath Church in Cross Village.

In-Person Worship Service- March 14, 2021

Sunday, March 14, 2021, we will be holding ONE in-person service at 10:30 am with services also being live-streamed

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! 

Sunday, March 14, 2021, we will be holding ONE in-person service at 10:30 am

*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 and during regular office hours.

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
Office 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

Announcing an Exciting Opportunity!
Blue Water Camp for Creation Explorers: 
First Congregational UCC, Charlevoix

A small planning team is forming to bring a one-time children’s event to our church and to the community this August. We’d love your help and input!

We have discovered a really cool VBS-like curriculum for kids, designed to help them freely explore and develop a relationship with the natural world. Using the outdoors for observation, wonder, and play, this 5-morning experience will give 10 lucky kids a deeper understanding of their Creator and a genuine appreciation for the natural environment.

We are looking for a couple of planning team members and several other volunteers who are interested in developing and executing a pilot program for this coming summer. We plan to meet twice a month in March, April, and May, and then as needed in June and July.

Camp Dates:  August 9-13, 9 am-Noon
Where: Meet at Church covered porch and walk to the Pavilion Michigan Beach
Resources: This is an excellent model from which to choose activities, music, prayers, and family involvement. Please explore by clicking on the preview.

If this project interests you and you would like to help plan it, please contact Betty Wadland at or call 517-410-9922. The first meeting of the Planning Team will be announced soon.




If you need assistance registering for your Covid-19 vaccine or would like help with transportation to and from your vaccine appointment please click the link below and complete the form.

2021 Easter Garden Gala


Each week we will be featuring a new local restaurant that needs our support. Restaurants have been among the hardest-hit industries of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Let’s help our friends and neighbors during this difficult time by ordering take-out, donating to servers and employees who rely on tips, or buying gift cards for future use or as gifts for others. Together we can make a difference for those who have always been there for us with a hot meal, friendly service, and a warm smile!

This Week’s Restaurant Of The Week Is:
East Park Tavern


307 Bridge Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Open 7 Days 11:30 am – 10:00 pm

Winter: The Endurance Test, A Prayer 
-By Molly Tate

Lord, Here I go again thinking in absolutes,
winter being all bad
but the beauty… 
especially on a sunny day 
is breathtaking! 

Winter is so beautiful. 
The first snowfall 
is so exciting. 

The sparkle of the snow as the wind
blows it into sculptures. 
Sitting around a fireplace, 
fellowshipping with a friend, 
learning to cope together. 
A source of accomplishment
as I survive. 

Winter is so long, 
it goes on forever. 

But the enjoyment of spring, 
O how great!!

Enjoyed so much because of the 
sacrifices during winter. 

The feeling of renewal 
of life starting anew, 
a rebirth. 

Life will come back, 
there is hope. 

Enjoyed so much more because of our suffering. 

What a blessing!
What a gift! 
The Cycle of life, 
it makes my heart sing! 
It makes my life complete! 
It mirrors my moods, 
my feelings. 
It compliments me. 
It gives my life meaning. 
It helps me to grow. 

Lord, help me to be content with the bad times. Help me to see they are part of the cycle of life. They have a purpose. They help me to grow. 

Help me to ride down the river of life moving between the good times and the bad times. Help me to not get stuck on either side too long.
Give me the courage to keep moving on down the stream for I know you have many wonderful experiences for me. 

Help me to understand the bad times are part of the cycle of life.

Life is fluid, it is always moving, 
always changing. 

It is about the process. 
There is no beginning or ending. 
Life just keeps going. 
It is a continuous circle. 
It is about lessons,
lessons learned. 
Some are easy, 
some are hard, 
some need to be brought up over and over. 

Lord, help me to see that where I am now is not where I will be forever. 
As the seasons change so will I change
and over time as in nature. 
I will grow as nature grows, 
all experiences are important. 

Growth comes from adversity. 
Growth comes in spite of adversity. 
Give me the courage to survive the winters in my life as I grow in my faith and understand new ways to reach out to hurting people. 

Help me to embrace change
and give me the courage to let go 
of old ways and step out into
a newer richer life. 


Be Prepared: Spring means wet and icy walking surfaces 

These tips can help you maintain your balance and move safely and confidently across melty, icy, or wet surfaces this spring! 

Safe Walking Tips

  1. Wear smart footwear. Avoid high heels and shoes with smooth soles. Flat shoes or boots with good traction are the way to go!  
  2. Be careful when exiting your vehicle or a building. Your footwear is warm and will be very slippery when you step on the snow or ice. Use your vehicle for support when exiting your car.
  3. Be careful when entering a building. Remove as much snow from your shoes as possible.  Remember that wet shoes plus a tile floor equals a slippery situation.
  4. Walk like a penguin. It may sound funny, but you don’t see these ice-dwelling waddlers falling. Bend slightly and walk flat-footed. Keep your knees relaxed. Point your toes out and take small steps.
  5. Keep your hands free. If you have items to carry, use a backpack. Keep your hands out of your pockets and ready to help with your balance.
  6. Take your time. Give yourself a few extra minutes to get where you’re going. Rushing or running could be your downfall (literally).
  7. Be aware of your surroundings. Keep a lookout for black ice, snow-covered ice, uneven surfaces, and unsalted areas. Focus your attention on walking and put your phone away.
  8. Be prepared to fall. This may sound contradictory, but if it’s going to happen, here’s how to do it: Relax your muscles and fall on your side. Try to avoid landing on your hands, knees, or back.