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

101 State Street
Charlevoix, MI 49720

Weekly Newsletter- May 09, 2021

First Congregational U.C.C. Charlevoix
May 06, 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…

           Last Sunday was truly special for me. It wasn’t just the powerful Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard, nor was it sharing the personal story about my conversation with my dad a few months before his passing…It was the SINGING! I wish I could convey to you what happened inside of me when the congregation hit that first note of Amazing Grace. It was like a jolt of energy and light went straight to my soul. It felt like a resurrection!
            It has been more than 14 months that we have been unable to sing in worship. I knew I’d been missing it; but until last Sunday at 10:35 AM, I didn’t know how much. It brought to mind a wonderful hymn we need to sing soon called “How Can I Keep from Singing.” I love the final verse especially:

           I lift my eyes, the cloud grows thin, I see the blue above it
           And day by day the pathway smooths, since first I learned to love it
           The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing
           For all things are mine since I am his, how can I keep from singing?

          I hope we all feel that way – like we just can’t help ourselves from bursting into song. God has been so good to us, so constant, so steadfast, so patient, and so “with us” through this entire pandemic experience. As the clouds of Covid-19 begin to lift, I hope we don’t simply return to normal. I hope, instead, that we burst back to life energetically, passionately, and with a profound depth of gratitude.
          Our church is an amazing collection of people doing incredible things throughout our community. Are we telling others about it? Are we sharing the sermons and services with friends and neighbors each and every week? Are we inviting others to join us in our outreach efforts? What’s going on around here is pretty amazing! How can we keep from sharing it?


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 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.

Beeswax Cling Wrap-

Zero Waste Grocery/Produce Bags-

Refillable Products-

Natural Deodorant-

Correction: ** In my sermon from Earth Day I confused a book and its author. I mentioned The Zero Waste Lifestyle by Amy Korst, which is a perfectly good resource. However, the one I meant to reference was The Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. She is the one who did the Ted Talk. 

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 relaxed 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.  We hope to have the First Light Small Group Fellowship up and running by Memorial Day Sunday. 
  • 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 Hesses 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 theme-based discussion with the bible as our primary text.  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 on May 23rd after worship 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 

There will be an all-church meeting held immediately after worship on Sunday, May 23rd for the purpose of approving a new Articles of Association. 

In-Person Worship Service- May 09, 2021

Sunday, May 09, 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 09, 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 


Jack Lehmkuhl- Ron & Linda Moore’s brother-in-law is undergoing radiation treatment for liver cancer. 

Sara Stoughton- Ron & Linda Moore’s granddaughter is graduating from USF with a B.S.N. Degree. She is very excited to be an RN ♥

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

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, recovering from recent brain surgery & stroke. 

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

Here’s A Great Opportunity to Support
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! 


“If everyone played the ukulele, this world would be a much happier place” – Jake Shimabukuro ♥


Reminder: The office email inbox is not monitored outside regular office hours, if you need to get in touch with Toby, please call the church at 231-547-9122 and dial extension 202, or you can email him directly at For urgent matters, you can reach him on his cell phone.