December 2013 Newsletter

First Presbyterian Church of Macomb

December 2013 Newsletter

 PDF version of this newsletter: December 2013


Please pray for family and friends who mourn the death of Carmen Elkin  who died on November 12, 2013.



In November, Session:

• Received new members Pat Crane, Melissa Calhoun, and Patrick Hayes.

• Approved use of the building for a day for navigators to assist people to sign up for health insurance and Medicaid.

• Asked the Personnel and Administration Committee to revisit some provisions of the Child Safety Policy.

• Began a discussion about how we might explore use of the “Appreciative Inquiry” approach to visioning for our congregation’s future.



Who in our congregation wrote this dissertation?  Completions of Lattices with Semicomplementation.  The answer can be found at the end of this newsletter.




As part of the reassignment of pastoral duties, Gene Miller is preaching and serving weekly communion at the 8:00 a.m. worship service in the chapel.  Welcome and thank you, Gene!


Pastor Mark Merrill has also become part of our pastoral team.  Welcome, Pastor Merrill!  A reception was held on November 3 to welcome Mark and Gene.



There will be no Kingdom Kids Sunday School on December 22 and 29.  Merry Christmas to all!

The Christian Education Committee is in desperate need of teachers.  We are willing to work with your schedules, but we prefer teachers and helpers to be available on a monthly basis (for continuity).  Lesson plans and materials are provided.  It is a requirement to have two adults present at each class (preferably a male and female) and for teachers and helpers to have completed the Kid Safety training.  If you have already completed the training at First Presbyterian Church, you are eligible to teach regardless of when you completed the training. Anyone 18 or older is eligible to teach, and the Kid Safety training is provided.

We currently have students from 1st grade through 7th grade.

Please, if you are willing to teach and/or be a helper, please contact Robin Bauerly at or call 309-833-3523 or 309-313-3904.  Also, if you are willing to provide a skill or make a presentation, please let Robin Bauerly know.  All are welcome to visit the Sunday School class which runs from 9:00 a.m. until 10: 00 a.m.

Finally, if you are willing to serve on the CE committee, our meetings are the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 4:40 p.m. usually in Conference Room 1.  Please give sincere thought to helping guide our children in the teachings of the Bible.  Thank you.



The book discussion of The Underground Church takes place each Sunday at 9:00 a.m. in Conference Room 1.   Dorothea Jewell is leading our examination of this book.  Join us for some lively discussion!  A copy of the book is in the church library.



Our Advent emphasis will be the Jesse Tree that displays the lineage of Jesus, including prophets who foretold the coming of the Christ.  The Advent Workshop allowed attendees to create tree ornaments signifying some of these ancestors.  Each Sunday of Advent we will be remembering several of these ancestors/prophets.  On Sunday, December 15th, at the 10:30 service we will celebrate in song and carols Adam, Samuel, Moses, Joshua, and Elizabeth.  With music from the Chancel Choir and Carillon Handbells, a duet from our young people, Annabel Herbert and Sophie Walker, and soloists from the Chancel Choir, there will be music from various eras and genres, including carols from the congregation.



There will be a Longest Night service on Saturday,  December 21st at 7:00 p.m.  This service recognizes the darkness in our lives that comes from bereavement and the receding light of our lives.   The darkness is lifted in candlelight and meditation in the chapel.  Friends of the congregation are invited and welcomed.



On Sunday, December 29th, Rev. Mark Merrill will lead ONE WORSHIP service in the sanctuary at 9:30 a.m.  Families are encouraged to put this special carol service on their calendars.



Poinsettias for Christmas will again be available to purchase in memory and in honor of your loved ones beginning November 24 and ending December 15.  Each poinsettia may be purchased for $8.00.  Names of loved ones will be printed in the church bulletin on Christmas Eve. Forms and envelopes will be located on table across from the office. Fill out the form and drop it into the box and if you have any questions, you may contact Mary Ann Morey at 833-1302.



Baskets for the Christmas Greetings to our church family’s Members to Remember will be available on the table in the main floor hallway beginning Sunday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Dec. 15.  Look for copies of the list of names on the table across from the elevator and on the table by the Conference Room on the main floor.  Return your Members to Remember greetings to the baskets provided before the 10:30 service on Dec. 15.  Items for distribution must be collected a little earlier than usual for the Christmas greetings because of holiday schedules, and our need to make deliveries in time for Christmas Day.

Note: You need not know the people personally to let them know that our congregation appreciates their contributions to the church in years past and/or share God’s love for them even when they cannot physically get to the church building.  Please SHARE the JOY with these long time members of First Presbyterian Church.  A little note, a bit of humor, a child’s drawing, etc. is welcomed.

Thanks to those of our congregation who prepared items for our homebound members.  They appreciate your information and kindness, as reflected in the responses we have received.

“…I thank you for your notes and cards. (Many on the shelf outside my door.)…I wish I could see all of you. “

“Thank you so much for all the beautiful autumn cards.  I looked them over again and again….. “

“[in response to info about Food  for Thought]…. I pray for the blessed work you do for the children. …God Bless you.”

The Board of Deacons thanks you for your generous participation in this service project, and all the Members to Remember appreciate receiving your greetings.



As of this fall, over 42,000 Malawians, Tanzanians, and Zambians in 2830 villages have new wells spouting clean water.  Their gratitude is deep and heartfelt.   Our Christmas Eve Offering last year provided wells for 2 of those villages – approximately 300 people who now have clean water – thanks to you!  Again this year the Christmas Eve Offering will support the work of Marion Medical Mission (MMM).  MMM’s purpose is to show the love of Christ through projects that directly impact God’s people in Africa, stressing self-help and sustainability.   Some of the 2830 wells installed this fall have not yet been funded and we can help.

Only $400 brings clean water, health and life, today, tomorrow and way into the future to a village.  The villagers provide the labor, handmade bricks, stone, sand, maintenance and gratitude; our money covers the well parts they can’t make.  In addition, MMM uses some donations to enhance village schools and medical facilities in Malawi and to send needy, bright students to secondary school.  Please remember that MMM deducts NO administrative costs from our donations.

Are you searching for a special gift for someone in your life?  Perhaps that person would be thrilled to know their gift from you is giving clean water to a whole village of thankful people, or putting a child through school. Whatever you feel you can give will become part of our church’s gift to God’s children in Africa.  You don’t have to be here on Christmas Eve to contribute!  Checks may be made payable to First Presbyterian Church.  Please put WWA (Walking with Africans) or MMM (Marion Medical Mission) or Christmas Eve on the memo line.  Thank you for your continuing generosity!

Here’s a short video about the trip providing wells this fall:

2013 Shallow Well Season



Do you struggle to know what to buy for that loved one who has everything?  Or the grandchildren who have so many toys they trip over them?  If so, consider “alternative gifts.”    For example, if you give your aunt a “cleanup bucket,” you honor her while both of you share the good feeling that comes from helping someone in need, AND somewhere a tornado or typhoon victim gets the actual bucket and essential cleaning supplies.  There are a number of organizations to help you do things like that, including:

Presbyterian Church (USA).

Heifer International: for sheep, pigs, goats or other animals to help the hungry feed themselves.

KIVA:   microloans to individuals (many of them women) who need them around the world .

Habitat for Humanity:  for nails or windows or other parts of houses being built for and by those in need.

Marion Medical Mission: scholarships to attend secondary school or a source of clean water for a whole village in Malawi.

Loaves & Fishes, Etc.:  a day of food vouchers for the hungry people who come to the food pantry right here in Macomb.   309- 837-3515

The possibilities are extensive – and fun to consider.

On the cart in the church library, you can find copies of the PC(USA) Giving Catalog as well as a list of web addresses  or phone numbers for other organizations that will help you with your gift list.  Take a copy home and start your Christmas shopping.



If you missed the fun of November 24th when we decorated the church for Advent and Christmas you can still experience it to “undecorate” the church after the 10:30 service of Epiphany on January 5th.  The “many hands” were great!  See you on the 5th?  If we see you in church dressed to move around and undecorate, we’ll thank you profusely.



WIU graduate student, Angela Holguin Veras Perez, will present a solo cello recital on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, 1:00 p.m. in COFAC recital hall.  Angela will perform works by such well known composers as Bach, Vivaldi, Paccione, and Rachmaninoff.  She will be accompanied by Dr. Narae Joo, staff accompanist at WIU. Angela is presenting this recital as a partial requirement towards fulfillment of the masters of music degree in cello performance.

Angela is well known to this church since arriving in this country from the Dominican Republic in August 2012. She is married to Hermes Mejia, a graduate student in music at WIU, and they have four children who attend this church, Miguel, confirmed in this church last spring, Ernesto, Hermes, and Gisela.


PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) VOLUNTEERS

We want to invite you to take the next step with McDonough County PADS by becoming a volunteer.

We will be offering the basic volunteer training on December 2, 2013 from 5:30- 7:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church.

We will also have a Mock Shelter Workshop for all trained volunteers on December 3, 2013 from 6:00- 8:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church.

We hope to see you there! For more information, call 833-3333 or email



Here’s an opportunity to join the Presbyter of Great Rivers on January 19-20, 2014 for a Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Service and Celebration Weekend.

On Sunday, January 19 from Noon to 6:00 p.m. we’ll be skiing at Ski Snowstar in Andalusia, IL. We will be staying over night at the Broadway Presbyterian Church in Rock Island, Illinois.

On Monday, January 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. we’ll be working on service projects around Rock Island to commemorate Dr. King’s birthday and legacy for service.

The cost will be $25.00 per person for the entire weekend.  This cost includes ski equipment and project supplies.  This trip will be for 7th through 12th graders.  To signup, call Will Wetzel at 309-833-3333 or 309-255-3448.  Please register before December 13.



See our complete calendar here.

Communion Preparation/Cleanup

10:30 a.m. service, December 1 – Pam Huston and Lisa Mooney

November lector schedule

Lector/Usher 8:00 a.m. Worship*

*Please note – Members are encouraged to signup for lector and usher duties.

December 1 – Earle Cramer/ Judy Cramer

December 8 – ?/ ?

December 15 – ? / ?

December 22–? / ?

December 29 Fifth Sunday One Service Only 9:30 a.m. – Cathy Murphy

Lector 10:30 a.m. Worship

December 1 – Linda Miller

December 8 – Donna Quesal

December 15 – Frank Covey

December 22 – Jayne Schiek

December 24 Christmas Eve Service 7:00 p.m.

December 29 Fifth Sunday One Service Only 9:30 a.m. – Cathy Murphy

Jazz Worship Schedule

Sunday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the sanctuary.




SPRING 2014 – April 3 – 5

FALL 2014 – September 25 – 27


Join us on Sunday December 8, 2013 for the Women’s Christmas Tea at 2:00 pm in Fellowship Hall.  Sunday Morning Circle is our hostess for the event.  The afternoon will include music, refreshments and social time.  All women are warmly invited to attend.


Thanks to all who participated in our Mini Chocolate Trick or Treat campaign. You not only gave away first quality treats but also supported families who harvest cacao beans many times children. Remember to consider Fair Trade items for the coming holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Many of our items make useful hostess gifts or treats. Who wouldn’t appreciate hot chocolate, olive oil, a bag of coffee or any of our many flavors of chocolate bars. If you aren’t familiar with the fair trade concept Carol, Judy or Linda will be happy to explain the products. Thank you in advance for supporting farming families around the world. Presbyterian Women’s Coffee Project.


Legacy Christmas is an album of celtic-inspired Christmas carols promoted by Living Waters for the World and Presbyterian Women. LWW is a mission of the Synod of Living Waters which received a Birthday Offering Grant in 2007 to expand a intensive training program. In gratitude they produced the album with the half the proceeds going to each organization as a fundraiser. A number of members purchased copies at our church decorating party. There are a limited number of copies remaining to be sold after the service. More can be obtained if you place an order immediately, prepaid for $15. to Linda Miller. 309-333-2158. (Preferably text message and leave phone number.)


The following thank you note was recently received.  Some of our cash contributions to the Little Red Wagon project are used to meet specific need requests.  Our contributions really do matter!

“I wanted to thank you personally for the help you and your church have given us.  Thank you for being in contact with me and for buying the items and dropping them off at the school.  You are meeting needs and making a difference and we really are grateful.  May God bless you, your church, and the work you all do in the community.”



Thursday, December 5 at 9:30 a.m. at Connie Deener’s home.  Judy Cramer is co-hostess.  Fran Hamilton will lead Lesson 3.


Thursday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m. in the church parlor.  Rosemary Neblock is the hostess and Shirley Knowles is the co-hostess.  Rosemary will lead Lesson 3.


No meeting in December.


Sunday, December 8 (Christmas Tea in the afternoon).  We’ll meet to prepare for the tea at our usual time of 9:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.  Nancy Caldwell is the Hostess and Nancy Chu is the Co-hostess.



100 YEARS!

Elaine Patrick will celebrate her 100th birthday on December 5th.  Currently she resides at Wesley Village.  CORRECTION – Elaine is residing at #104 Grand Prairie.



Sean Elam accepted an offer to be part of the Audiology Team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA.  This is his first job after eight years of college.  He started on August 19 and reports it is his dream job.  Rose and Jeff visited Sean in mid-October and enjoyed seeing Boston for the first time.




Combined Choirs



Ken Mortonson receives a prayer shawl during a reception held in Betty Mortonson’s memory.



The Talk Back group meets at 9:00 a.m. on Sundays in the library area.  For the next few weeks, the Talk Back group will examine the complementary lectionary texts for Advent and respond to the previous week’s worship service and sermon. Join us!


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Jazz Worship at the Art Center


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Kingdom Kids experience JOY!  This lesson looks like fun!



Waiting in the parlor.


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On Sunday, November 24, a wonderful group decorated the church for Advent and Christmas.  Thank you!


On a day of welcoming Rev. Mark Merrill and of the blessing of a canine friend who was departing. So which was giving and which was receiving the blessing?  Nancy Chu’s response: “Thank you, Pastor Mark and Pastor Kathy! This means a lot to Loralei and her friends. That’s the beauty of a true blessing. Each feels that they have been the recipient of the gift.”


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Many enjoy participating in the Advent Worship and Lunch.



Several groups from the community meet in our church, including Soup & MoreSoup & More provides a hot meal, usually on the fourth Sunday from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. for anyone who is hungry.  In addition, Pack-a-Sack food pantry items are available.

As you can see from the pictures below, many volunteers are needed to plan the meals, prepare the meals, set up the dining room, prepare the Pack-a-Sack food items, serve the meals, clean up the kitchen and clean up the dining area.  In addition, a variety of other volunteer opportunities are available.

From the Soup & More website:

“Are you looking for a way to make a difference in Macomb and surrounding communities? Would you like to ease someone else’s daily struggle? Are you looking for a way to add dimension and perspective to your own life by interacting with people from all walks of life?  If so, consider volunteering with Soup & More. Both individuals and groups are welcome. “

To volunteer, contact

For more information, visit Soup & More‘s website:



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Share information from you, your group, or your committee.  Items for the January Newsletter should be emailed to  BEFORE December 25.  Pictures are welcome!