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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- May 14, 2020

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix –

Weekly Newsletter May 14, 2020

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Welcome to our weekly newsletter!

With the changes in our life because of the COVID 19 virus, we need to develop new ways to communicate to replace what used to happen naturally when we gathered together. So, we are giving a weekly newsletter by email a try! We will post this to our web page and email it out to all of our members. Please be patient as we figure this new thing! If you have suggestions for improvement or notes you’d like added, let us know!   

Pastor Greg Briggs and Leah Dice.

How to care for yourself by Ron Moore

Recently, Pastor Greg and I were talking about the mental toll that self-quarantining could be taking on many of us, and he wondered if I could collect the wisdom of mental health professionals, much as others in the church have done with our medical professionals. He was worried that because he’s the age of our children and grand children, some people might not feel comfortable reaching out to him if they were struggling.

So, I reached out to some of our church members and we remotely put our heads together. While none of us are experts in pandemic mental health, I have been a school counselor and psychologist for over 40 years, and we have retired social workers and psychiatrists in the congregation as well. So, we have some experience and skills.

First, consider the things we are all dealing with: social isolation, changes, finding the new normal, empty shelves at the grocery store, stores closed, people out of work, quarantine. Recognize the feelings you are experiencing: anxiety, stress, loneliness, anger, frustration, confusion. Identify them, name them, “own” your feelings, know that it’s OK to feel that way, accept them. Deal with them as best you can. Ask for help if you need it.

Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

Here are some other thoughts and ideas that may help.


  • Get some exercise. Get out doors. Be active. Stretch. Movement can raise your level of endorphins, the chemicals that promote a positive mind set.
  • Find or get some intellectual stimulation. Read a book, learn a foreign language, or try musical instrument, work a puzzle, paint a picture
  • Find or get some spiritual stimulation. Consider daily prayer, meditation, our weekly Bible study discussion, or a daily devotional. You can sign up for the UCC’s daily devotional by email at
  • Get plenty of rest and sleep
  • Be good to yourself. Do something you enjoy, treat yourself.
  • Be good to others. Do something that cares for others in the community, including sewing face masks, growing vegetables,or donating to non profits. Be the Church!
  • Reach out. Stay connected with others. Call, write, go online, text, email
  • Take short time outs during the day to recharge. Schedule longer breaks for fun and relaxing activities.
  • Start a journal.
  • Take breaks from the news media and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting
  • Seek out uplifting stories – like this collection from the BBC –
  • Stay with your established routine for structure and consistency.
  • If you use a smartphone, there are many apps that help with mental and spiritual health.
  • Remember that staying home is a choice. We choose to help others and ourselves by staying home, especially if we are high risk.

This article may also help. “How to comfort a loved one during covid 19”

If figuring it out by yourself is too much, ask for help. Pastor Greg is available. If I can be of any help, please feel free to contact me any time (almost) Ron Moore, (231) 675-2011. Even talking to a friend can be helpful. And if you’ve found something that is helpful, share it with others! This would be a great time to start up new small groups in the church, and you can use the church’s zoom account!

Remember, these things will not last forever. We’ll get thru it – together. And always remember, you are not alone. And that you are loved. Always.


An Update on the Candidate’s Weekend (Sunday): 

On Monday night’s Council Meeting, Council approved conducting the online Candidate’s Sunday in principle.   We have a number of details to work out but none of them are showstoppers.

Members of the Council and their committees made calls to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day and to gather information about each members ability to connect to access a biography, for an online church service, a Zoom meet & greet and casting an on line ballot by email.  The results were encouraging as to the numbers of members with the necessary skills to accomplish the task.

We would want you to continue to “practice” working with the technology by attending the online church service and the various Zoom calls that the church holds every week.  If you need help in connecting online, contact the church office and we will figure out a way to help you with the technology.

If you do not have the skills or equipment to participate online, we have the ability to hand you a written biography and a transcript of the sermon on that Sunday morning.  You will then be able to vote via telephone.

As far as the schedule, we had tried to target, the first Sunday in June but scheduling conflicts on the part of the Candidate will prevent using that date.  The date we are committing to as the Church and the Candidate is now Father’s Day, June 21.  This does open up some addition possibilities such as conducting the service out on the lawn behind the fellowship hall.  We make no promises about other options at this time.

Watch this newsletter for continued updates as we approach the day.

Bill Trubilowicz


What Books Have You Been Reading?

Share your recommendations by emailing the church office at or by commenting on our Facebook page

Time To Check In- Virtual Office Hours With Pastor Greg

Hi everyone, while I’m always available to talk via phone or zoom, I also know that sometimes the effort to schedule a meeting can seem like too much. So, I’m setting aside two times on Wednesdays to be on zoom, and people can pop in as they’d like.

They are:

  • Check-In Over Coffee – From 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 
  • Check-In and Chill Out- From 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

If you want to chat for a few minutes, or ask a question about something going on in church or in the world, I’ll be here.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Greg

Other Ways to Stay Connected

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


Even though we cant be together face to face right now, we are still doing the work and living the life of the church. There are several opportunities for us to gather each week, using the website, Facebook page and Zoom teleconferencing. 

Bible Study– Every Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom 
Sunday Morning Virtual Coffee Hour and Joys and Concerns – Our weekly worship service is emailed out to all members and posted to the website early Sunday morning. We hold a virtual Coffee Hour at 11:00 a.m. via Zoom. 
We also regularly post information both on our church’s website and on our Facebook page

For more information on how to use zoom please visit our website at

Information For Community Supporters

Ever want to get people help, but don’t know where to direct them? Here is a community flyer that can be printed and distributed far and wide. The church and the Charlevoix Ministerial Association are also able to help. Reach out to Pastor Greg if they need help and can’t find it.

For more information or to view the full Family Resource Guide Click Here

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash- Created By Leah Dice on