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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- April 29, 2021

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix
April 29, 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… 

                In any organization, there are visible, out-front leaders and there are behind-the-scenes leaders, who often labor in obscurity, without the attention and accolades of their more visible counterparts. The key is for that entire organization to understand and appreciate the invaluable contributions of its behind-the-scenes folks. So, in this edition of our newsletter, I’d like to call our attention to 3 such leaders. I want to make everyone more aware of their massive contributions to the success of our organization and to inspire you to reach out to them regularly with thanks and praise.
                First is Leah Dice, our Office Administrator. It is truly impossible to put into words all that this woman does for our church when no one else is around to notice. She has become our chief communications officer in this Covid era when keeping us all informed is both more important and more difficult than ever. She has initiated and executed countless additions and improvements to our website to get you the information you most need. She has created a new, streamlined system for recording and submitting minutes that has simplified the jobs of all our committee chairs. She has cleaned up and systematized our prayer list and been instrumental in the comprehensive bylaw revision that is soon to be presented to all of you. In recent weeks, she has set up a wonderfully welcoming station for those in need of the Charlevoix Ministerial Alliance’s Emergency Relief Fund, while simultaneously tending to the maintenance of our phones and office machinery. Somehow, in spite of all this, several people in the congregation still manage to complain to Leah on a regular basis. I hope we all can see the big picture where our amazing Office Manager is concerned and offer her the gratitude and encouragement she deserves.
                The next two leaders I’d like to highlight and thank are Chris Gengle and Alice Pletz-Miller. They spend every Sunday quite literally behind the scenes – right behind the organ console – in the financial office taking care of your offerings, memorial gifts, and all of the church’s expenses. Every time you receive a copy of the church budget or our monthly financial statements, try to remember that these reports were painstakingly generated by these two women. What they do goes way beyond Sunday mornings, and rarely do the participants in our congregation get to thank them personally for their tireless service. I hope you will do your part to let Alice and Chris know how grateful you are for their faithful stewardship of our church finances.
                Thank you, Leah, Alice, and Chris! Keep up the fantastic work!

Beeswax Cling Wrap-

Zero Waste Grocery/Produce Bags-

Refillable Products-

Natural Deodorant-

A Message from the Moderator… 

As conditions are changing in the community, I was thinking that I should update the congregation on a number of issues.  So, here we go…

  • Sunday Services – we will continue to hold services in the sanctuary and Fellowship Hall at least until the weather actually improves. Attendance has been pretty steady, and the numbers are such that we have been able to seat everyone in the sanctuary.  We will continue to take RSVPs for contact tracing and to help us plan for the spring surge in attendance.  Masks are still required but [news flash] we can sing along with the leader while wearing our masks.  Just don’t sit on the blue tape!
  • Sunday Services Part 2 – we are looking at how we can hold services out in the garden similar to last summer. With the newest CDC guidance, we should be able to forgo the masks and make it a more friendly service.  We expect to be able to expand our music in the garden.  Don Smith, Larry, and the Trustees will ensure that the grass looks a lot better this year.  The First Light Service at the beach is being evaluated to work it into the schedule.
  • Sunday Live Stream– We continue to (try to) improve the quality of the broadcasts and are adding little touches to the feed. We have now trained Eloise to be a camera operator and Meg to run sound but still need to add a few people to operate the soundboard and BoxCast feed.  At some point, the Hess’ and I will need to be spelled.  Moving out to the garden will require more help.  If you are having trouble opening bulletins or newsletters, etc. get a hold of me and I can help you sort it out.  I can also help you out with the “Donate” button on the feed.  Or, better yet, come on in on Sunday morning and we can hand you a copy of the bulletin!
  • Telephone Service – We were cited recently for not having a dedicated phone line in the elevator. The phone worked but regulations require that it only services the elevator.  As a result, we had to pull 547-1135 off of the normal consoles and isolate it to the elevator.  It was either that or pay for another line.  I don’t expect this to cause any problems other than your calls may go to voice mail more quickly.
  • Tuesday Mornings – I’m hearing great things about the former Bible Study Group that it has evolved into a discussion group and less of a bible study. Attendance is up and I hear that they make a pot of great coffee!  Give it a shot if you have the time!
  • Bylaws– The revision team of Toby, Hugh, and Pam Smith have now completed a revision to our 10-year-old bylaws. They have gotten feedback from all the existing committees and just this week, Council has approved the draft.  The next step is to present it to the Congregation as a whole and convene a Congregational Meeting to approve the update.  Expect that to happen in May.
  • Vaccine – If you need help getting set up or with travel to your appointment, let us know. The sooner we all get our shots, the sooner we will return to normal.

-Bill Trubilowicz 

In-Person Worship Service- May 02, 2021
Sunday, May 02, 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, May 02, 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 may be directed to overflow seating in the Fellowship Hall EVEN IF SPACE IS STILL AVAILABLE IN THE SANCTUARY. 

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.

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
Digital Bulletin – Click Here 


Family and loved ones of Loretta Towsley- She passed away after a lengthy bout of cancer (Julia Heddle) 

Virginia Scharschmidt– recuperating in rehab from a broken hip, prayers for her speedy recovery 

Steve Libert– on the death of his sister Pam. 

Jim Pletz– Alice Pletz-Miller’s brother- suffering from health issues related to Parkinson’s disease & had a fall in February and tore his rotator cuff 

Charlie Johnson– Bruce & Joyce Herbert’s 16 yr old grandson had brain surgery on April 9th. 

Michael Fifelski– Michael is in the Intensive Care Unit at Henry Ford Hospital waiting for a liver transplant (Lani Ochs)

Please click the link below to submit your prayer requests. Include as much detail as possible and use a separate form for each request. Please submit requests prior to noon on Wednesday of each week to ensure your prayer is included in the Sunday bulletin. 

Click Here to Submit your Prayer Request Don’t forget to share both Joys and Concerns! 

Camp Information & Registrations Forms Available HERE and at the church

Thank You Outreach Team! Great Work! 

Proceeds Benefit Joppa House Ministries 




Don’t forget to pick up a new copy of The Upper Room. 

Located just outside the sanctuary doors! 

If you would like us to mail you a copy, please call or email the church office. Thanks! 





Leah will be out of the office on Tuesday, May 4th. for an appointment 

You can reach Leah in the church office by calling 231-547-9122 (ext. 201) or by email at

You can reach Toby by calling 231-547-9122 (ext. 202) or by email at

You can reach the Charlevoix Ministerial Association by calling
231-547-9122 (ext. 204)