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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- April 8, 2021

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix
April 8, 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… 

               This coming Sunday, we’ll begin a new sermon series on the parables of Jesus. Each Sunday throughout April and May, we will dive deeply into a different parable from the gospels. As you may remember, parables are stories Jesus told to get us first to think differently and then to act differently. Often we forget that Jesus came as a Rabbi to reform Judaism. Because of that, his teaching or his “yoke” was quite a bit different than that of other Rabbis. His parables weren’t just different…they were shockingly different. Some even found them offensive. But Jesus knew what his Father wanted, and he knew that the status quo 1st Century Judaism in Israel was not what his Father intended.
                Most of Jesus’s parables were designed to get people to think about God and God’s kingdom in a totally different way than they ever had before. Even today, as we encounter these parables, we must be prepared to be shocked and maybe even offended by the kingdom logic out of which Jesus operates. We will need open hearts and open minds to embrace and be transformed by the parables of Jesus. I am genuinely excited to take this 8-week journey with you, my church family.

Join Us for “Puzzling Over the Parables”
                For the next 8 weeks, our Tuesday morning group of spiritual explorers will dedicate one hour to discussing the parable for the week. Join us from 10-11 am every Tuesday from April 13 through May 25, as we explore the richness and possible meanings from Jesus’s parables. Toby will facilitate these discussions, but it is your ideas and questions that will set the tone for these exciting discussions. These gatherings will take place both in person and on Zoom. Hope you’ll join us!

A New Look for Our Deacons…
        For the last 8 months or so, our Deacons have been in the process of reflecting on their ministry and refining their purpose. In the sixth chapter of Acts, the Apostles got together to discuss the fact that as they became increasingly consumed with preaching the gospel, they no longer had the time to take care of the orphans, widows, and other needy folks in their community. So in this dramatic and transformative moment, they appointed 7 others who would focus on such pastoral care – a key dimension of Jesus’s teaching. Responding to the clear call of Acts 6 – where the word “deacon” is used for the first time in scripture – our Diaconate is beginning to focus on caring for our congregation. They will do this with prayer, phone calls, care notes, and other forms of checking in.

       There are a couple of things that all of us can do to help our deacons execute this important ministry. First, if you know of anyone in our congregation who is going through a tough time or might appreciate a call or a note, please let one of our Deacons know. Second, if you would be willing to assist our Deacons in reaching out to folks in our church family through gestures of care and kindness, let Joyce Herbert know. Here is our current slate of Deacons for your reference: Tina Bowen, Sue Fowler, Steve Hansen, Ellen Hess,  Joyce Herbert, Nancy Kline, Carrie Minch, Linda Weller, and Sally Whitley. Thank you!

PS – Thanks to all of our church leaders who made Easter check-in phone calls to our congregation. If during your calls you encountered any pastoral needs, please be sure and let Toby know right away.

What’s Happening in Outreach?

A heads up to let everyone know that there will not be a Noisy Offering in March/beginning of April. The Noisy Offering will happen again at the end of April, with the contributions going to “Heifer International”.

Instead, Outreach will be accepting contributions to “One Great Hour of Sharing”, which provides help in places that are lacking health and education resources and/or where disaster has struck. Be sure you earmark your contributions for “One Great Hour of Sharing”…

Outreach is providing 125 water bottles to the Charlevoix schools, so students can carry water with them. 

Outreach also has provided funding to help a dozen +/- 8th graders with the yearly trip to Washington DC.

-Jack Webber 

In-Person Worship Service- April 11, 2021
Sunday, April 11, 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, April 11, 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 Worship Bulletin- Click Here 


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

MaryAnn Ogden– Underwent breast cancer surgery on April 6th. 

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

Dan McCotter- Shelley Fisher’s son is experiencing complications in connection to Covid-19

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! 


Announcing an Exciting Opportunity!
Nature Camp for Kids
First Congregational UCC, Charlevoix

Our planning team is formed and working toward offering a terrific children’s camp for our church and the community. 

We are using 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.

If you have children, grandchildren, or neighbor children who might be interested in this experience please let Betty Wadland know. You can reach Betty at or call 517-410-9922. Here are a few details about the program; more will follow in the coming weeks. 

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.


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 is: 

Grey Gables Restaurant & Catering 

308 Belvedere Ave. 
Charlevoix, MI 49720



As of April 5, everyone 16 and older in Michigan is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. See how to get yours at

If you need assistance registering for your Covid-19 vaccine or would like help with transportation to and from your vaccine appointment please Click Here 

Zoom Reminder:

Just a quick reminder that you may have to enter a Meeting ID number and Passcode when joining a Zoom meeting. These numbers are provided within the Zoom invite just below the Zoom link. Due to security concerns, Zoom now requires you to log into each meeting you join. Also, if you are hosting a Zoom meeting using the church’s credentials, please remember to log out and do not autosave the church’s passwords. By not properly logging out, your computer may automatically log you in as the church the next time you go to use Zoom, even if you are not hosting and it is not church-related. Click Here for more information on disabling your remembered passwords in your internet browser settings. 

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