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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Digital Worship Bulletin – April 26, 2020

Sunday April 26, 2020

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Third Sunday of Easter

Road To Emmaus – Hearts on Fire 

Welcome to First Congregational, United Church of Christ in Charlevoix’s online worship experience. Though we are separated physically for one another’s physical health, we still join together to worship God, be inspired, and care for our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

You are invited to find a comfortable place in your house and set aside a time for worship and prayer. This could be your usual Sunday morning time, or at sunset. Light a candle if you wish, or get a cup of tea.

Take your time as you read, listen, watch, sing, pray, and share in this worship of God.  Whether you worshiping on Sunday morning or whenever you have time, we are glad you are a part of our community.

As always, we want your feedback on how we can worship better with you in this time of physical distancing.  Feel free to give feedback and suggestions to  Ok, let us begin!


Welcome – Rev. Greg Briggs



Introit “Christ the Lord has Risen Today” by John Warstler



Call To Worship – Mindi Welton-Mitchell

Please read aloud. If you are worshiping with someone else, alternate readings.

Christ is Risen!
     Christ is Risen Indeed!
Christ is with us on the journey,
     Christ is with us at the table.
Christ is with us when we rest,
     Christ is with us when we wake.
Christ is with us when we grieve,
     Christ is with us when we rejoice.
Christ is Risen!
     Christ is Risen Indeed!

Opening Hymn – “Christ Be Beside Me”


Prayer of the Day & Blessing of the Day – Mindi Welton-Mitchell

Almighty One, we come to You confessing our weariness, our unease, our struggle in this time. There is so much that is unknown, so much to be afraid of. We worry about illness, about death, about finances and education. We worry about our future because we cannot plan for it, we cannot perceive it. We confess to You that we are waiting for some sort of sign, some sort of assurance, and this is difficult for us. But we also confess that You are the Risen Christ. You are with us on this journey, even when we are not sure where we are going or for how long. You are with us when we collapse with exhaustion and when we rise because we must. You remain faithful, even when we do not. Guide us into a deeper faith—not one where we have the answers, but one in which we have the assurance we are not alone, and that You will see us through. In Your name, Risen Christ, we pray. Amen.

In the times we think we are most alone, Christ is with us. When we are most distraught, Christ is beside us. When we are grieving, Christ is silently listening. When we rejoice, Christ is celebrating with us. Know that you are never truly alone. Know that you are always loved. Know that the hairs on your head are accounted for. You are God’s beloved. Live with the assurance of God’s steadfast love, now and always. Amen.



Gospel Reading – Luke 24:13-35

13 On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. 15 While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. 16 They were prevented from recognizing him.

17 He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast.

18 The one named Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?”

19 He said to them, “What things?”

They said to him, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. 20 But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. 22 But there’s more: Some women from our group have left us stunned. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 and didn’t find his body. They came to us saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who told them he is alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women said. They didn’t see him.”

25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. 26 Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets.

28 When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. 29 But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”

33 They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” 35 Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread.

Common English Bible Translation




Hymn – “Exodus” 



We are witnesses to the power of the Holy Spirit and the glory of God, 
and now we turn in thanksgiving to share the good news of forgiveness and grace to all the world. 
Let these our gifts be a living testimony to those who most need the healing grace of Christ this morning, 
cornerstones of faith and joy for the entire world.

You can mail your donations into the church, and you can also give online by clicking here: Donate to the church


Jesus, God has made you both Sovereign and Christ. 
Therefore we pray your blessing upon these gifts, upon us, and those whose lives will benefit from them. 
May your victory over death empower all whom you call to trust in God. 
In faith and hope we pray. Amen.

Anthem “Ye Watchers/Borning Cry” Arr. Warstler



Prayers of the People by Cameron Wiggins Bell

May we who are merely inconvenienced
remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury to work from home remember those who must choose
between preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close
remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market
remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for a quarantine at home
remember those who have no home.
During this time
when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other,
let us yet find ways
to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors.


Every day is Easter by Roddy Hamilton
When Thomas touched the wounds
and set himself free
it was Easter day
When Peter’s three “yes’s” to Jesus
finished his three denials
it was Easter day
When Mary ready to embalm the dead
ran in fear from the empty tomb
it was Easter day
When the disciples looked from afar
at a breakfast of fish on the beach
it was Easter day
When Emmaus became synonymous with welcome
and the breaking of bread with strangers
it was Easter day
When Paul was blinded by the light
and recognised the voice niggling in his head
it was Easter day
When the hungry are fed at the table
the same table as the rich
it is Easter day
When weapons are beaten to ploughshares
and peace is a word to be shouted
it is Easter day
When the stranger is welcomed in community
and the lonely are restored to relationship
it is Easter day…

Now, let us pray the words Jesus taught us:

Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.

Join us this Sunday at 11 am on Zoom for us to have a virtual coffee hour and share our joys and concerns.

We will also have a sermon discussion on Monday at 11 am, and our weekly Bible study on Tuesday at 10, via zoom.

Check your email for instructions for zoom, or email if you’d like to join our discussions. They are truly open to everyone, but we are not posting the link publicly to discourage zoom bombers. Yes, that is now a thing. 

Hymn of Parting “God of Our Life, Through All the Circling Years”

Choral version

Instrumental accompaniment version




Go forth on this Easter Sunday, knowing God has always loved you, loves you now, and will always love you.

No matter what.




Hello First Congregational Church!

John Warstler

I am hoping all of you are doing well in these crazy times.  On the personal side there has been a silver lining from my family’s perspective.  I became a first time grandfather in September of 2019.  Simon Gillespie came into our life as a very healthy boy and he continues to thrive and bless us daily with his great spirit. At Simon’s six month well baby check up his pediatrician suggested that if possible, it would be best for my daughter and Simon to move in with us due to the Covid-19 virus. This is because Simon’s father is an RN at Munson in Traverse City and the move would limit their family’s exposure to Covid-19.  So today marks the end of their three week stay which has been most enjoyable. Another blessing is that my daughter Alison is a School Psychologist for Traverse Bay Area ISD has also been blessed as she is now off from work due to the Covid-19 and she can be a full time mother for Simon.   

What I hope you hear is easy listening music consisting of traditional hymns with decent guitar playing on great vintage instruments. It is my hope that Solace & Grace can put your mind and heart in a good place. What you will hear are the true voices of each guitar, much like what you would hear if you listened to my playing in my living room. The only difference is that there is more than one of me on each track. The arrangements of these hymns are all original and this recording process allowed me to do what I do best, backup another player. In this instance, I accompany myself. Some of the hymns have very sparse backing tracks of guitar and mandolin, while other hymns are more akin to guitar duets.

John Warstler