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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- July 15, 2021

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix
July 15, 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 my devotions earlier this week, I was reintroduced to Psalm 139:23-24 which says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
            We’ve been exploring discipleship throughout this month, and as I encountered this verse, it occurred to me that one of the hallmarks of a true disciple is genuine, humble self-examination. Followers of Jesus are constantly reviewing their thoughts, words, and deeds in hopes of becoming more like Jesus every day. In this verse, the Psalmist invites God into his deepest places – his heart, his mind, and even his thoughts. He welcomes God into those places often thought of as secret or private – the heart, where one’s deepest feelings abide, and the mind where anxiety and all kinds of other negative, selfish thoughts live.
           Implicit in this invitation for God to enter into his most private places is the confidence that this God is forgiving, compassionate, and full of love. God is not going to come into our hearts and minds with criticism and judgment. She will come in to repair, restore, and reinvigorate all that is inside us.
            I struggle with anxiety and worry from time to time. When I invite God into my anxiousness, I know She will sooth it and redirect my thoughts to a healthier and more productive place. That “way everlasting” the Psalmist asks to be led back to is the abundant life that Jesus promised and wants for us all.
            I am also moved and challenged by the line “see if there is any offensive way in me.” This is a line of humility. It recognizes that all of us DO offend others from time to time. We hurt others – often unintentionally – and the true disciple of Jesus wants to be called out and made aware when that happens. Otherwise, if we don’t engage in regular, humble, self-examination, we might keep offending and hurting others.
            I would encourage all of us in this church family, as we continue to walk the path of discipleship, to use this prayer daily. Put it on your refrigerator or your computer screen saver, and invite God to search and know your heart, to know your anxious thoughts, and to reveal any offensive ways in you. Don’t be afraid; ours is a God of love and encouragement. Amen.

Thank you for listening and tuning in!
            It looks like we are beginning to get the hang of tuning into the Prelude as the beginning of worship. The tolling of the bell will continue to be our cue to quiet down, get comfortable in our seats, and let Shelley’s Prelude usher us into silence and the spirit of worship. Similarly, remember that the Postlude – after the benediction – is to be experienced in a silent, reflective spirit as well. Once the last note is hit, make the most of your opportunity to share coffee, conversation, and hugs with your church family, with a special eye toward any visitors who might appreciate your special welcome. Thank you!!

The Safe Conduct Policy Team is Nearing the Finish Line!
           As you may remember, a 5-person team has been working diligently to draft a Safe Conduct Policy for our church. This document will help ensure that everyone who enters our building for any of our ministry programs will be safe and well treated. The policy puts its priority on children and vulnerable adults, but it creates an atmosphere that is safe and positive for all of us.
          In a couple of weeks, after our Council signs off on it, the policy will be uploaded to our website and hard copies will be available in Leah’s office. Any of us who work with kids or vulnerable adults will need to be familiar with the policy and abide by it at all times for the protection of all our people and those who visit with us.
         Please give a huge thanks to Julia Heddle, Ellen Hess, Kelley Householder, Ron Moore, Betty Wadland, and Lynnette Webb for leading this critically important effort.

A Note on Some Staff Vacation Time…

Leah will be out of the office on Monday, July 19th, and Tuesday, July 20th. Linda Weller will be in the church office those days to cover. 

Toby will be working from home on all Mondays this summer. Feel free to email him at or to call or text on his cell phone on Mondays at 231-881-6734. Monday is the day he usually does all his writing – sermon, bulletin, newsletter, etc., so doing this from home will be no problem. Thank you all for your support!

Kingdom Building Opportunities

Now that we are back to full capacity and without masks or restrictions, we need volunteers to help us with things like hosting coffee hour, being lay readers, ushering, greeting, and helping set up and run outdoor services. Please do your part and sign up on the sheet near the greeting table. Thank you!

 Assistant Childcare Volunteer – a few people have volunteered to help one Sunday a month so we are getting there! For your convenience, we have added childcare to the sign-up sheet available during coffee hour so you can sign-up there as well. If you have questions please reach out to Lynette Webb or the church office 

Outdoor Worship Service Volunteers – Our outdoor services are fantastic for all of us and for potential visitors, but they do take a lot more work to set up and execute than our in-the-sanctuary gatherings. We are looking for individuals or families who would be willing to help one Sunday a month or so. We are especially in need of folks who can help run the sound and some of the technological aspects of the service. We can teach you how! The time commitment is from 9:30 am to noon. Please let Bill Trubilowicz or the office know if you can cover a Sunday or two. We’ll get you trained on the ins and outs. We’ve added this volunteer opportunity to the sign-up sheet available during coffee hour! Thank you!

Hosting the Venetian Fest Foot Race – We’ve offered up our building once again as the registration site/home-base for runners on the July 24th foot race. Linda Weller has come forward to coordinate the hosting of this event, but she still needs a small team of helpers. Foot Race Volunteer Sign-up- Click Here or there are sign-up sheets available during coffee hour! 

The Muffin Sale for the Waterfront Art FairWe currently do not have anyone to champion this event! The Muffin Sale is held on August 14 and still needs a coordinator, an army of bakers, and a team of people willing to prepare, set up, be on hand to sell, and then to clean up afterward. Muffin Sale Sign-Up- Click Here or there are sign-up sheets available during coffee hour! 

If you believe in either of these events enough to champion them with your time, energy, and leadership, please let the church office know right away. Time is running out!

The Northern Chaplain Services Board, which oversees the Chaplains’ ministry at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey, is looking for a board member. This is the board that oversaw Toby when he was a chaplain at that hospital before joining us here. The board meets every other month for about 90 minutes to support and guide the chaplains in their vital ministry there. If you think you might be interested in this opportunity, please call Toby (231-547-9122 ext 202) to talk about it. Thank you! 

A Message from the Kitchen Coordinator…


The return of Coffee Hour after church each Sunday has given us a time to gather and visit after such a long time not being able to do so.

A big thank you to those who have signed up to host coffee hour.  A procedure is posted for making coffee in the urn.  Coffee is provided and stored in the freezer.  Sugar, sweetener, and cream are also available.

The kitchen is committed to being ‘green’ and limiting any trash that would be dumped into a landfill.  The best choice is to use our china cups and plates and then use the dishwasher (a procedure is posted).  However, if you’re serving outside on the patio, compostable or recyclable cups and plates are available.  Receptacles will be available for these items once they are used.

We also have a punchbowl, trays, carafes, and pitchers available for your use.

A reminder that Coffee Hour food does not need to be elaborate. Simple store-bought cookies, or crackers and cheese, or fruit is much enjoyed and appreciated.

Sign-up sheets for coffee Hour are in the Fellowship Hall.

-Marty Trubilowicz, Kitchen Coordinator

In-Person Worship Service- July 18, 2021

We will be holding ONE in-person worship service on Sunday, July 18th. At 10:30 am we will be gathering for worship OUTSIDE on the church lawn, weather permitting. There will NOT be a FirstLight Beach Service on the 18th. 

Masks are not required for outdoor worship and you do not need to RSVP. Please remember to bring a lawn chair, umbrella, sunglasses, a cup of coffee, and anything else you may need to be comfortable outdoors! Don’t forget your nametag. A limited number of padded chairs are available for use on the porch and are accessible from inside the building, where an elevator is also available. 

If you would prefer to join us from home, our Sunday service will be recorded and live-streamed at 10:30 am. 

A Family Devotional for the Week


  1. Set up and execute a “trust fall” for your child or children. Perhaps use a picnic table outside as the place from which your child will fall back into the safe and waiting arms of the rest of you.
    * You may want to recruit a couple adolescent or adult neighbors to help you do this super safely.
  2. Sit down at the picnic table and debrief the experience. Ask questions like:
                  What was hardest about that for you?
                   When were you the most scared?
                   When did you feel your fear go away? 
                   What did you learn from this experience?
  3. Read Matthew 14:22-33 from a family translation like the NIV or The Message. Discuss the following questions:
           What do you think it would have been like to be a disciple on that boat?
           What separated Peter from the other 11?
           Why do you think he reacted to the situation and Jesus walking on the water the way he did?
           How was Peter’s experience like the trust fall that we just did?
           What do you think Peter learned from this experience?
  4. Close with the following prayer:
    Dear God, trust can be really hard. Thank you for giving us parents that we can trust. Thank you for a mom and dad’s hands that catch us when we are falling. Thank you for giving Jesus for us to trust as well. Thank you that he will always be there to catch us like he caught Peter when we are trying to follow him. Amen.

Posted weekly on our website. Click Here to check it out! 

A Word About Our New Videos:  

You may have noticed we have begun creating a video that is both on the church website and delivered to you on a weekly basis. It summarizes what is going on in and around this church that week. For church insiders – those who already worship here – some of the video may cover things you already know. But imagine seeing this video as a church outsider, someone without a church who may be looking for one. We think this could be another outreach tool for every one of us to use. Share it with your friends and neighbors, people outside this church. That is a major part of its purpose and you can help. So don’t keep these terrific videos to yourself; forward them onto others who have no church family. Thank you!

*If you are watching this video and would like to make it larger, click the brackets button [ ] at the bottom right of the video. This will make the video full-screen. To exit the full-screen view, hit the ESC button on your keyboard. 

To copy and share this video, first, you would right-click on the video, then select the “Copy URL” option. Now you can paste the video link into an outgoing email, or onto your Facebook or other social media page. 

Prayer List:

Nomis Mol- passed away on July 7th. Please pray for her family & loved ones.Obituary – Click Here
Michelle Steffey- was diagnosed with breast cancer (Lani Ochs) 
May Lee Drost– Passed away on July 7th.  Please pray for her family and loved ones.  (Julia Heddle) Obituary- Click Here
Jack Lehmkuhl- Ron & Linda Moore’s brother-in-law is now in hospice care.  
Cynthia Postmus- is now in hospice care in Traverse City, please pray for Cynthia, Roger, and their family. 
Alex Dumbauld- is experiencing an acute episode of Crohn’s Disease. (Grandson of Ted & Marilyn Dumbauld) 

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 RequestDon’t forget to share both Joys and Concerns! 

EarthKeeper Nature Camp 
August 9-13, 2021

The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra
The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons 
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 – 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Great Lakes Center for the Arts: 800 Bay Harbor Dr. Bay Harbor, MI 49770


Click Here for Tickets

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