March 2014 Newsletter

First Presbyterian Church of Macomb

March 2014 Newsletter

You can find a PDF version of this newsletter here:  March2014.

NOTE: The party will not be held on March 2 due to weather.  We are rescheduling and will announce the new date soon.

Kathy Celebration-1-page-0Kathy Celebration-1-page-1



The Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Macomb has called a congregational meeting for Sunday , March 2, 2014 after the 10:30 a.m. worship service to act on the pastor’s request to dissolve the call of Rev. Kathryn Stoner-Lasala and any other related motions.



Please pray for the family and friends of Ruth B. Morgan who died February 21, 2014 in Marietta, Ga.




When you hear the word “Lent” what comes to mind?

            40 days

            time for the preparation for the celebration of Easter.

            Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday

            Giving up something [my mother gave up smoking one Lent and never smoked again]

            Meatless Fridays

            Somber, penitential, maybe even gloomy or joyless

            Reflection on our sinfulness

            A period for increased religious reflection and contemplation

            No “Alleluias” in worship until Easter services

Christians have always observed with great devotion the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection. It became the custom of the church to prepare for Easter by a season of penitence, fasting, and prayer. This season of 40 days provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for baptism into the body of Christ. It is also the time when persons wo had committed serious sins and had been separated from the community of faith were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness and restored to the fellowship of the church.

The whole congregation is thus reminded of the mercy and forgiveness proclaimed in the gospel of Jesus and the need we all have to renew our baptismal faith.

The season of Lent shows forth the full and dynamic meaning of dying and rising with Christ.

Lent is a time for growing into Christ through repentance, fellowship, prayer, fasting, and concentration upon our baptismal vocation to be signs of God’s reign in this world. But Lent is not merely giving up something, but taking upon ourselves the intention and the signs of true participation in the mystery of God-with-us.

“Early on, the Christians began to designate Lent as 6 weeks when the people (most of whom could not read and depended upon words, practice and teaching) could do some spiritual musing and remembrance to aid them in doing the day-to-day work as well as the spiritual work needed to keep body and soul together.

We are still dependent upon the oral tradition more than we imagine if we keep Lent only to study, more dependent upon the Monastic tradition if we ‘give up’ for Lent, but by making use of quality time for spiritual formation (the original Lenten ideal) we may balance spiritual and material in a well-conditioned self.

You are invited to begin your Lenten journey by joining others in the Ash Wednesday service on March 5 at 7:00 p.m. The service will include the imposition of ashes and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.



This year our journey through Lent to Easter will also be a time for us to pray and reflect on what it means for us to be stewards of all that God has given to us. Noted Presbyterian poet, writer and servant to the Church, Ann Weems, has written the following:

“Our stewardship means more than taking a few dollars from our pockets to drop in the plate. Our stewardship means more than putting our checks in the weekly offering envelopes. Our giving includes:

                        Giving up our pettiness

                        Giving up our cynicism

                        Giving up our pessimism

                        Giving up our agendas

                        Giving up our self-indulgence

                        Giving up our fault-finding.

Our stewardship asks us to give away:

                        Encouragement to others

                        A loaf of bread to feed the hungry

                        Time to visit the sick and the lonely

                        A letter to someone in prison

                        A home for the homeless

                        A smile, a hug, a song, a trombone solo, words on someone’s behalf

                        Our money for the mission of the church

                        Our goodwill to a world in need of peace.

                        Our hands in partnership with those the world over who are living in faithfulness.

Our stewardship asks us to abound in the hope of our Lord Jesus Christ that we might all be faithful stewards!



In 2014 First Presbyterian Church will pay $28 per member as a part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to support the work of our denomination in the Presbytery, Synod, and General Assembly.

Your special per capita contribution for each confirmed member in your household will help to offset this expense in the church’s budget. As you contribute, please clearly mark your contribution for ‘per capita.’

Per capita is a set amount of money per member that congregations pay to the larger Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

This money is part of the glue that holds Presbyterians together. It is the money that enables us to work with other Presbyterian churches in our presbytery and across the country. It is also money that allows us to partner with other churches to further the mission of Jesus Christ around the world.

By contributing your portion of per capita, you will free up dollars in our regular budget for the work of our congregation in our community.



At its meetings in February, Session:

• Received Pastor Kathy’s request to dissolve the pastoral relationship with First Presbyterian Church.

• Approved the terms of dissolution to present to the congregation.

• Called a congregational meeting for March 2, 2014 to act on Pastor Kathy’s request to dissolve the pastoral relationship.

• Heard Pastor Kathy’s valedictory report.

• Acted to change Pastor Mark’s compensation package in light of his expanded duties.

• Heard Pastor Mark’s report on the completion of moving pews in the sanctuary to improve accessibility.

• Approved a new adult study, “Living with Questions 2.0—Rethinking Christianity.”

• Approved expansions of the Food for Thought program, including a Thursday program at Prairieview Community Room in partnership with the McDonough County Housing Authority, day-off programming for school holidays and in-service days in partnership with WIU student athlete volunteers and the YMCA, and a STEM program in partnership with 4H.

• Approved mission trips this summer to Jamaica, Queens, New York; Honduras; and the Quad Cities.

• Called the Annual Meeting of the Congregation for Sunday, April 13, 2014, Palm Sunday.

• Heard a report on progress of the 2014 budget.

• Heard a report on the plans for the upcoming stewardship campaign.



As this year’s budget task force, we have been intentional about being more inclusive. Our dialogue has incorporated the chairs of each of the committees of Session (Christian Education – Robin Bauerly, Building & Grounds – Earle Cramer, Service & Justice – John Nelson, Personnel & Administration – Angie Thornton, Finance, Stewardship and Memorials – Jim Lucie, and Worship – Mary Ann Morey) along with other members of Finance (David Shane, Melissa Calhoun), Treasurer Jeanne Stierman, and Pastor Mark Merrill.

During Worship on Sunday, March 9, we invite you to begin a six-week journey of gratitude for, and remembrance and discovery of who we are as a faith representing five generations.  During the next six weeks, members of our staff and our congregation will share stories of our abundant life together and visions for our future.  We will invite each of you to invest yourself in the congregation’s life and our ministries through the resources God has bestowed upon each of you.  We will conclude on Palm Sunday (April 13), when the annual congregation meeting will follow the 10:30 worship service.



Who in our congregation spent the first 15 years of his/her life growing up on Indian reservations in North and South Dakota?  The answer can be found at the end of this newsletter.



by Jim Caldwell

Nancy and I moved to Macomb in 1985 and joined First Presbyterian Church soon after. In the time we’ve been in the church, we’ve participated in several rounds of self-study, visioning, re-visioning, discernment, and various kinds of strategic planning. One of the ideas that often comes up in these processes is the conviction that we ought to be doing campus ministry, have relationships to WIU and Spoon River, serve young adults. I think our vision for campus ministry, when we have thought about it, has been a traditional college fellowship and study group—led by a charismatic, vibrant leader—who would then sit in the pews on Sunday mornings. Sure, sometimes we have had a college group, and many of us have provided meals or transportation for small groups of students. But that model has never become a successful sustained program.

While most of us were not paying attention, however, something exciting happened. WIU adopted Social Responsibility as one of its core values. Service learning became an established approach to education, and college students have embraced programs like Make a Difference Day and Alternative Spring Break. Our congregation’s Food for Thought and the Soup & More program we host have tapped into that new student culture. Someone else will tell you about how many books have been given away or how many meals have been served. I’m fascinated by how many college age volunteers have participated.

The February Soup & More meal attracted about 25 student volunteers. Delta Sigma Pi, a business fraternity, donated $300, raised in their own fundraising events. In addition to two students from that fraternity, the volunteers included students from O.A.S.I.S., Theta Xi, the Blue Key National Honor Society, some regulars, and a social work student interning with University of Illinois Extension. In other months, students from the WIU nursing program have run wellness booths to take blood pressure and provide information about antibiotics. The Food for Thought volunteer corps runs to 112 students representing diverse majors like social work, dietetics, communication sciences, and LEJA.

While we were thinking about literacy, food security, and community, the Spirit’s agenda apparently included campus ministry. It seems that college students are not looking to us right now for study groups and fellowship. Turns out that what college students are seeking is the opportunity to volunteer.



Although we cancelled twice for poor weather in January, Food for Thought is doing well. We have established a core group of 20 children that have been consistently attending Food for Thought this semester.

In the past two months we have:

• Served 210 meals

• Handed out 120 sacks of groceries

• Recruited and Trained 17 Volunteers

• Presented to 4 community and students groups

• Purchased nearly $3,000 of new equipment to expand our STEM education components .

As Will Wetzel and Kylie Davenport have strengthened the Friday program, many other community organizations have noticed our successes and have invited us to partner with them. These program expansions will allow us to double the size of the children we are serving and will incur little to no extra cost to the Food for Thought Program.  Watch for details of future plans.

The Food for Thought After School Program is currently seeking the donation of a gently used couch for the reading nook in Kingdom Hall. The couch will be used for both Food for Thought and Sunday School.



This summer will be one of Mission and Mission Trips. There are several ways for you to get involved with mission and outreach this summer.  This year’s trips include:

June 7-15, 2014 – Intergenerational Mission Trip on a National Scale.

July 7-19, 2014 Intergenerational Multi-Presbytery Mission trip to Honduras.

TBA – Presbytery-Wide Local mission trip for youth in 6,7,8th grades.

If you need more information, please call Will Wetzel at 309-255-3448.


 See below for information and photos from our January Service and Ski trip.



Genesis Garden’s Reboot Computer and Technology program is currently accepting donations of computers newer that 2007 to be refurbished and given to families in need.



In place of the potluck on March 2, we invite you to join the party in honor of Pastor Kathy from 12:30 until 2:30 p.m. at the Community Center at Wesley Village.

Our next regularly scheduled meal is April 6.  All are welcome!  Join us!

potluckmealOur potluck in February.



Dear church family,

Thank you for your overwhelming support of my upcoming trip to Europe with the Blue Lake International Orchestra!  I have MET MY GOAL and my trip is officially paid in full, thanks to the generosity of my church family, friends and my relatives from the Midwest and East Coast.  I will be gone almost all of June/July this year performing in approx. 7 cities selected from Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Denmark, France, Spain and Italy.  We had one rehearsal weekend in Michigan in November and will have two more full weekends in April and May.  In June we’ll meet for an intensive rehearsal week right before we fly out of Detroit.  I’ve been practicing every day (the music is really hard!) learning symphonies by Brahms and Beethoven, and pieces by Copland and Barber.  This is going to be an amazing experience and I am so grateful to everyone for their support!  I can’t wait to share my stories, pictures and music when I get back.

You can read more about my journey thus far at the website I made:


Sophie Walker (9th grade)



Lilies for Easter will again be available for you to purchase beginning March 30 in memory and honor of your loved ones.  You may purchase a lily for $8.00 each.  Names of donors and loved ones will be printed in the church bulletin on Easter Sunday.  To purchase a lily, please fill out form found on the table across the hall from the church office.  Deadline for purchase is no later than April 13.



Join us in our discussion of Living the Questions 2.0.  Recently updated to include Diana Butler Bass, Brian McLaren and Robin Meyers, Living the Questions 2.0 is a popular video and internet-based small group exploration of progressive Christianity featuring premier religion voices of our day. This series will ”help people wrestle with the questions they hear asked in their congregations – questions for which there are no easy answers but which stimulate exciting possibilities for practicing the Christian faith in the 21st century.”

Ron and Linda Peters will lead our weekly meetings at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings in the conference room beginning on March 9.  Drop in anytime.  Participate in the lively discussion or just sit and listen.  All are welcome.



This is the 17th straight year the Feinstein Foundation has contributed $1 million to fight hunger in America.  The Feinstein Foundation seeks to stimulate local donations by granting cash awards for your gifts of food and cash. During March and April there will be a chart on the L&F pantry door for volunteers to use to record your gifts.  All canned foods and dry non-perishable items as well as cash donations will be recorded.  Bring in your donations during pantry hours 1:15 to 4:00 weekdays, or leave cash/check donations in the collection plate (marked for Loaves & Fishes) or in the drop box in the First Presbyterian Church office.  If you have questions about making donations or need help coordinating large food donations please call Matt Blankenship at 309-331-4113.

Remember; the more we raise the greater the gift from the Feinstein Challenge…Thanks!



If you happen to see new faces in the choir, you are absolutely correct! We are pleased to welcome three WIU music students to the Chancel Choir, Kaselyn Hart, Caitlin Pennington, and Katie Caldwell.   Welcome, Kaselyn , Caitlin, and Katie!


Kaseyln (left) and Caitlin

Kaselyn Hart is a freshman at WIU studying music education. A voice student of Charolette Megginson, Kaselyn sings in the WIU Concert Choir.  She graduated from Elmwood High School and has been singing since a very young age.  She grew up listening to her grandfather play the harmonica. Kaselyn has two sisters, Holly and Lily and a brother, Cory, and her parents are Tony and Diana Hart. Her hobbies include crafting, dancing, and being with her friends. Kaselyn says, ” I am very excited to be able to join your congregation and sing with all of you!”

Caitlin Pennington is a first year Music Therapy major with a primary focus in voice and a minor in dance. She’s a member of University Singers and is currently a spring candidate for membership for Mu Phi Epsilon. She’s from Kirksville, MO and has one brother, Adam, who attends Northwest Missouri State University and one sister, Megan, who is a freshman at Kirksville High School. Her parents are Nancy and Steve Pennington. She has danced for fifteen years and began to teach dance four years ago. Caitlin competes in pageants through the Miss America Organization and currently holds the title of Miss Western Missouri. Her favorite animal is the owl and she really likes sock monkeys! 🙂


Katie Caldwell

Katie will share her information in a future newsletter.

You are welcome to join the choir, also!  If you enjoy singing and can read music, consider joining the Chancel Choir.

Rehearsal is Thursday at 5:30 until 6:30 p.m. with warm-up on Sunday mornings at 10:00.  All of us have obligations that keep us from singing EVERY Sunday but we read ahead at rehearsal and we are very adaptable!  Come try us on for size!



Olivia Bishop will be sharing her talent as a pianist on Sunday, March 9 and Jim and Jan Lucie will be singing a duet.  On Sunday, March 23 Joseph Brown, one of our new choir members, will be directing the Chancel Choir.

During Lent the Chancel Choir will be offering various arrangements of “Love Came Down at Christmas” (the poetry of Christina Rosetti) and “What Wondrous Love Is This?”, a hymn from the shape-note tradition of America.



The Western Illinois University Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present a recital of solo and ensemble music at 5 p.m., Saturday, March 1, at the First Presbyterian Church, 400 E. Carroll Street in Macomb.

The recital is free and open to the public.

Solo organ music from the 18th century will include J. S. Bach’s Fantasia on “Komm, heiliger Geist” and Prelude in C major, as well as John Stanley’s Voluntary V.

Nineteenth century music will include “Arabesque” by Louis Vierne, two chorale preludes by Max Reger, and Franz Liszt’s dramatic and virtuosic “Prelude and Fugue on BACH.” Three of Robert Schumann’s “Studies in Canonic Form,” originally written for solo organ, will be performed in an arrangement for horn and organ.

Music by living composers will include three works based on familiar hymns: Variations on “Wondrous Love” by John Eggert, Toccata on “Amazing Grace” by J. Christopher Pardi, and Variations on “Kum Ba Yah,” arranged by Joel Raney for organ/ piano duet.

The WIU Chapter of the American Guild of Organists is comprised of organists, choir directors, teachers and students from west central Illinois. It is part of the 18,000- member national professional association which serves the organ and choral music fields. The purposes of the AGO are to promote the organ in its historic and evolving roles, to encourage excellence in the performance of organ and choral music, and to provide a forum of mutual support, inspiration, education, and certification of Guild members.

AGO members performing on this recital are Cristina Werling, horn; Claudia McCain, piano and organ; and organists Linda Andrews, Ethan Ivey, Aritta Oh, Mark Ross, Lynn Thompson, Yihui Wang, and Anita Werling.




Ash Wednesday Worship Service

You are invited to begin your Lenten journey by joining others in the Ash Wednesday service on March 5 at 7:00 p.m. The service will include the imposition of ashes and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.


 March 30 – 5th Sunday     Please note that we are returning to two services on fifth Sundays.  We’ll have our regular 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. worship services.


See our complete calendar here.


Communion Preparation/Cleanup

10:30 a.m. service, March 2 – Rose Elam and Donna Locke

7:00  p.m. Ash Wednesday, March 5 – Linda Miller/ Mary Ann Morey


March Lector Schedule

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

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

March 2     Earle Cramer/?

March 9     Connie LaRue/Norman and Connie LaRue

March 16

March 23

March 30*

Lector 10:30 a.m. Worship

March 2          Matt Blankenship

March 9          Donna Locke

March 16        Frank Covey

March 23        Cathi Murphy

March 30*      Connie LaRue

*  Please note that we are returning to two services on fifth Sundays.  We’ll have our regular 8:00  and 10:30 a.m. worship services.







SPRING 2014 – April 3 – 5

FALL 2014 – September 25 – 27



As winter comes to an end, there is the promise of spring and its many activities. Of course, there is the PW Rummage Sale on April 3-5. Prior to the actual sale dates, there will be lots of volunteer activity geared toward sorting of donations, pricing, set-up and getting the kitchen ready for serving a variety of delicious goodies. Donations are rolling in and now is the time to become involved if you aren’t already.  Many hands and willing spirits are needed to make this event as successful as it has been in years past.

Following a busy rummage sale week comes the annual PW Spring Tea. This event will be held on Sunday, April 6 at 2:00 p.m. in the church parlor. All women of the church are invited for a time of sharing, reflection, fellowship, and, of course, an array of treats.  We hope to see everyone there.



The PW Spring Gathering for Presbyterian Women and friends will be Thursday, March 13 at noon in Fellowship Hall. The gathering will begin with a salad luncheon. The program will be the viewing of a documentary TRIGGER: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence. The documentary was produced by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Presbyterian Mission. These two organizations within our denomination frame gun violence as “Disaster” and “Public Health” issues. You will not only learn how gun violence impacts families but also “What we can do to prevent gun violence”. The documentary will begin about 1:15. All persons interested in this topic are welcome.




Our next PW book choice is The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes   The novel entwines two love stories set 90 years apart, connected by a painting called The Girl You Left Behind.  It’s a story of love, loss and sacrifice.
“Moyes’ twisting, turning, heartbreaking novel raises provocative moral questions while developing a truly unique relationship between two people brought together by chance.”

Nancy Krey will lead our discussion at noon on Wednesday, April 23.  Copies of the book will soon be available in our church library.




Thursday, March 27 at 9:30 a.m. at Linda Miller’s home.  Alta Sargent is the co-hostess.  Charlotte Hamm will lead Lesson 6 & 7.


Thursday, March 27 at 2:00 p.m. in the church parlor.  Pat Elam is the hostess and Verna Smith is co-hostess.  Sylvia Hofer will lead Lesson 6 & 7.


Wednesday, March 5 at 5:00 at Lois Shane’s home.  Mary Ann Morey is co-hostess.  Lois Shane will lead the Food for Thought.


Sunday, March 2 at 9:00 a.m. at the church.  Cindy Cavett is hostess and Lisa Mooney is co-hostess.






Rosemary Neblock, Connie LaRue, Norma Kentner, and Betsy Nicholson, The Louisville Six, recently met for lunch.  In 1997, six women from First Presbyterian Church of Macomb attended the PW Churchwide Gathering in Louisville, Kentucky.  The special bond of sisters in faith that was created during those few days remains with us and we have met periodically since 1997 to renew our connection.  Sadly, two of our members, Katie Simpson and Joan Bell, are no longer with us.  The next PW Churchwide Gathering is in June, 2015, in Minneapolis.  Give some thought to attending. We highly recommend the experience!




Rob, our head of maintenance, is very busy working on several projects, including solving electrical problems, attending to roof leaks, and coordinating plans to shampoo the carpets when the weather allows.  In addition, the information from the Architectnics, Inc. reports is being used to prioritize maintenance issues that Rob will address.



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Traci DeWitt, Judy Calhoun, and Nancy Chu prepare the delicious cake balls to be served at Pastor Kathy’s celebration.




Shannon shares her talents with our congregation.



afternoon circle groupafternoon circle group2

The PW Afternoon Circle meets monthly in the parlor.




The choir warms up before worship each Sunday at 10:00.  We appreciate all our choir members!




Broadway Presbyterian’s sanctuary morphed into the women’s sleeping quarters. The main sanctuary floor is tile, but an ingenious heating system installed under the floor kept us toasty and warm. We felt right at home here, as the woodwork in the pews, the lecturns, and most of the chancel is very similar to ours at Macomb First Pres.  A portable large rear projection screen is tucked away at the left side.  Each Sunday, between the early traditional worship and mid-morning Mosaic worship, Broadway takes a couple of minutes to move the projection screen into the chancel.  The screen conveniently folds into a compact case for storage for weddings and Christmas music fundraisers.



Cookies. A pay-it-forward project baking and delivering cookies to staff at fire stations and hospitals.


Hats.  Broadway operates a clothing center.  Each month they give away clothing to their community.  We unpacked many boxes of never-before-worn clothes and hats for their next event.



Shoes.  In the foreground of this photo of the guys’ sleeping quarters are boxes of shoes.  The shoes are also distributed to the Broadway community.






Ski Photos.  Near Andalusia.  The smiles say it all!



The answer is Leon Clements.



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