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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- June 3, 2021

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix
June 3, 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!


There will be a Safe Conduct Policy Meeting held 15 minutes after worship ends this Sunday, June 6th. Meeting in the Fellowship Hall. 

A Message from Toby…

            As many of you know, I am a voracious reader. I’ve always got a book with me wherever I go and one anxiously waiting in the on-deck circle of my bedside table. Recently, I’ve read two fantastic books that I’d like to recommend to you.
            The first is called Who Stole My Church? by Gordon MacDonald. MacDonald has over 40 years of experience as a pastor, and he uses that wisdom to craft a beautiful and fictionalized depiction of a congregation in New England going through some significant transitions. In the book’s foreword, MacDonald explains that he wanted to write about the difficulty of change in the church but from the perspective of those who are resisting the change. There are tons of books about managing and navigating difficult transitions in the church, but they all tend to be written from the perspective of the change agent, the pastor, or those advocating the need for change. In this book, MacDonald has deep empathy and profound compassion toward the faithful church folk who would just as soon keep things the way they’ve always been. I absolutely loved this book and fell in love with MacDonald’s deeply drawn characters. Perhaps we could use Who Stole My Church? as the focus of a reading group in either the summer or fall.
            The second book in which I am currently engrossed is Doug Pagitt’s latest, Outdoing Jesus: 7 Ways to Live Out the Promise of Greater Than. Until very recently, Doug was the founding pastor of one of the churches I studied and wrote about in my second book The Way of Jesus. He even wrote the Foreword for me. Outdoing Jesus focuses on John 14:12, where Jesus tells the disciples that they will do even greater things than Jesus himself has done. Pagitt takes that word from Jesus very seriously and draws out its implications through a penetrating and insightful journey through the Gospel of John. There are 7 “miraculous signs” in John’s Gospels that are both carefully chosen and intentionally ordered by the disciple. These signs form the structure of Outdoing Jesus. I have been so affected by Pagitt’s analysis, that I’m thinking about a fall sermon series on the Gospel of John. I’m confident that you will be both challenged and edified by Outdoing Jesus too. Happy Reading!

Shop local: Round Lake Bookstore
216 Bridge St. Charlevoix MI 49720

You already know that we are in need of a second childcare provider to work with Lynette Webb. But we have some other needs as well. Is God calling you to step up and fill one of them?

Office Helper – Leah is looking for a person or two who would be willing to come in and get trained on some of the computer and office tasks she performs. It has become very difficult for Leah to get away with her family, because no one else can do any of the things she does to keep our church running so smoothly. It would give her a great deal of peace of mind if she could call upon a couple of trained volunteers when she is not able to be here. This could be your chance to unlock the mystery of things like Facebook Posts, all-church emails, and posting our recorded streamed services to the website. Please talk to Leah if you are interested.

Deacon Do-ers – our Deacons are a group of dedicated folks who focus on caring for our congregation. They are the ones who send cards out to our participants during both difficult and celebrational times. They also have traditionally provided and set up our communion meals once a month. (Remember communion???) They could use a few volunteers who could help with writing and sending care notes and birthday cards every couple of months. It would also be great if our Deacons had a handful of individuals or families they could call upon to provide and set up communion when Deacons aren’t available to do so. Please talk to Joyce Herbert if you are interested.

Thank you for making a difference!

In-Person Worship Service- June 6, 2021

We will be holding TWO in-person worship services on Sunday, June 6th. Our FirstLight Service will be held at 8:45 am at the Michigan Beach Gazebo. Our second worship service will be held OUTSIDE on the church lawn, weather permitting, at 10:30 am.  

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! 

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 

Sunday Worship Preview: 

*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. 


Participation in this church is defined as: any involvement in any of the ministries, events, or programs of the church

First Congregational Church/UCC of Charlevoix understands that the idea of “membership” carries with it many associations, both positive such as a sense of belonging and of family, and negative such as being exclusionary and subject to the judgment of others. Any who participate in the life and work of this church and feel uplifted by the concept of membership are fully supported in being members, in their own eyes and anyone else’s. Any who so participate and feel burdened by the concept of membership are likewise fully supported in being here with no such label. The church makes absolutely no distinction of worth or welcome based on an individuals’ concept of membership.

A Word from Our Pastor About the Transition to Our New Bylaws…

First, a HUGE thank you to all of you for affirming the work done by the bylaw revision team of Hugh Hansen, Pam Smith, and me. The congregation’s unanimous approval affirms the work we all have done, and recognizes that the time is right for the kind of restructuring work we are undertaking.

Perhaps the biggest conceptual and practical change our new bylaws will bring is with our Council. In the recent past, our Council was made up of the heads of a dozen or so committees, along with some officers as well. But moving forward, we will have far fewer committees, and the Council’s focus will be long-range planning and big picture thinking. Plus the Council will be much smaller – 5 people instead of 12-14. But we cannot get from where we’ve been to where we’re going overnight, nor should we, so here is a look at how we will gradually and thoughtfully transition from our previous Council to our future one.

Bill Trubilowicz and Betty Wadland will continue to serve as Moderator and Vice Moderator through the remainder of their terms – through the end of this calendar year. Linda Weller will continue on as Clerk, keeping records of all that transpires during this gradual transition. Bill Wadland, as the chair of trustees, will stay on Council through the transition, helping the group consider financial ramifications of our structural changes. While our amazing and dedicated treasurer Alice Pletz-Miller will no longer officially be on the Council, she will be called upon regularly as a key consultant. The focus of Alice’s detailed work moving forward will be with the Trustees, but she will be updating the Council monthly on where our finances stand through a one-page summary report.

Sue Fowler will stay on the transitional council as the chair of outreach, largely because as we make our way toward the next bylaw revision in early 2022, her team will likely transition into the Reaching Out Team, and thus she’ll be able to help us manage that change as we move through it together. Similarly, Joyce Herbert will stay on the transitional Council as chair of diaconate with an eye toward the next revision, when Diaconate will become the Reaching In team, the team that will coordinate and support all in-house events, once we get to that Reaching In/Reaching Out format.

We’ve also asked Hugh Hansen to stay on the transitional Council since he played such a key role in the bylaw revision. Hugh will help the transitional Council understand how to get from where we’ve been to where we are going. He will also continue to work on the subsequent bylaw revision with Pam Smith and me, which we’ll be getting started on in the next few weeks.

So that gets us from 12 or so, where we are now, down to 7 with some good consistency in key places. Our transition plan also calls for the soon-to-be-elected Council folk – who will be nominated and elected in October – to come aboard at the end of this calendar year, so they can be up and running by January of 2022, when we’ll officially get the rest of the way down to five Council members.

There are a few folks who have been regularly serving on Council who will now move into more of periodic consulting roles. A prime example of this would be Julia Heddle, as she continues to head up our Safe Conduct Policy team. Julia will give our Moderator highlights and updates of her team’s important work in writing, and when a significant step in her team’s work approaches, she may be invited to come and share that with the Council in person. Similarly, when either the Personnel or Nominating teams kick into gear for their important annual work, they may be asked to submit a written report or come to a meeting in person in the fall.

Change is always difficult, and many of us are likely to have differing emotions and responses to the changes these bylaws bring. Some of us will be happy and relieved to get some much-deserved time off from leadership responsibilities. Others may feel a sense of loss, seeing a committee they’ve loyally served essentially transforming into a far less structured entity under the new bylaws. Wherever you are on this emotional spectrum, please try to remember that whoever you are and whether you will still be serving on a particular committee or not, there will always be plenty of ways for you to be as involved as you want to be with the planning and executing of key events that will be the lifeblood of this church in the future. Never forget that the whole point of this bylaw revision is to make it easier for EVERYONE – not just officers and Council members – to bring vital events and ministries to this church and the larger community. So not being on Council or a committee should not be seen as limiting one’s ability to bring exciting events and ministries to our congregation! We are all in this together, and our future has never been brighter. Thank you for your flexibility, support, and good faith!

An Important Financial Update from Your Board of Trustees

          We wish to thank everyone for your time, talent, and treasure, as we transition toward fully re-opening our church during these trying times of a global pandemic. Our church, along with so many non-profits and small businesses, has greatly benefited from two cycles of the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loans, as a part of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief funding. Alice Pletz-Miller, our Treasurer, has done a truly remarkable job in applying for these loans and providing the proper documentation for our 2020 loan to be forgiven. It was only because of these loans that we were able to cover the additional, transitional costs of our interim pastor and new settled pastor and still finish 2020 with a balanced budget.
           Our second PPP loan has helped us start 2021 by meeting all our payroll expenses from January through May. However, we have already exhausted those funds. Without the loan support going forward, we are likely to have a significant fiscal shortfall in the remainder of 2021. We are going to need everyone’s help and generosity as the pandemic wanes and as we resume gathering together more fully. We have planned some fantastic outdoor services in our beautiful garden through June, July, and August, in hopes of welcoming everybody back. There is a sense of a new beginning, and we ask that you use it to review and update your commitment of time, talent, and treasure to our beloved church. Thank you for doing your part as we enter our 140th year of ministry in the Charlevoix community.

WANTED: An Assistant Childcare Volunteer

        Most of us know Lynette Webb. She has been our childcare point person for many, many years. She has done a great job, not only when we’ve had children present during our worship hour, but even when we haven’t. Lynette has been faithful by being here, ready and waiting, so that if a family with young children shows up, there is a safe and fun place for them to go.
       But in today’s world, there are higher standards for safety where childcare is concerned. No longer is it an acceptable practice to have a lone adult supervising even a single child. We must always have two trained adults on hand in order to meet the legal criteria for safe conduct as our church insurance policy establishes.
       If you or someone you know might be interested in working with Lynette, even if it’s only one Sunday a month, to provide for any children who would prefer not to be in the sanctuary, we’d love to talk to you. In the short term, this position might not require anything of you. But once we start effectively attracting younger families with kids, or once some of our grandkids start showing up for the summer, we’re going to need a helper for Lynette. Please talk to Julia Heddle if you are interested. Thank you! And be sure to thank Lynette as well, who continues to be present week in and week out.

Do you need a nametag? 

Please contact the church office at if you need a new nametag! There will also be a sign-up sheet available on Sunday morning. 
*nametags can be found outside the sanctuary doors. 

Thank you! 

Jeannine Wallace- Additional health difficulties, living at Boulder Park 

Jack Lehmkuhl- Ron & Linda Moore’s brother-in-law, has state-4 liver cancer. 

Doug McPhearson- Diagnosed with lung cancer & severe back problems (Roger Caylor)

Michael Fifelski– Michael is home 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 RequestDon’t forget to share both Joys and Concerns! 

Stay Up-To-Date With The Church Calendar 

FirstLight Service Reminder!

    *Note – this group with not be meeting on Sunday, June 13th or July 18th