May 2015 Newsletter

First Presbyterian Church
of Macomb


…. a Christian community for people of all ages who, through spiritual growth, Bible study and prayer discover our potential for glorifying God and empowering others to serve God in the image of Christ.


May 2015 Newsletter

Please pray for the family and friends of
Jayne Schiek who died April 9, 2015


32ef5e76-e74d-453a-a4da-5f2ac021cb02from PASTOR MARK

I express my gratitude and heartfelt thanks for prayers, well-wishes, cards and greetings as I was gone to be with my mother. It was most caring and supportive to experience these things as she was dying and after her death.
I continue to cherish your support and care in the coming weeks and months.
Rev. Mark S. Merrill

May 2015 will be the fifteenth month of my interim ministry with First Presbyterian Church.


My first undertaking with you was to hold the series of meetings. It was decided not to run these in the summer months due to the concern of attendance. The meetings were held in September, October & November of 2014, and January of 2015.


Another group of meetings was to be held in February 2015, but after holding the first meeting, that group and I decided that the questions asked were appropriate only after the Pastor Nominating Committee has a candidate to present to the congregation.


With the time demands on me from Ash Wednesday through Easter, I decided that my goal was to present the data collected from the meetings to the Session at its April meeting. Copies would also be made available to the congregation.


Then my mother had health concerns which led to her eventual death. So I am a month behind on my target date. My goal now is to have the data to present to the Session at its May meeting, with copies available to the congregation.


This is the first step in the process. Once the Session receives the data, it is charged to see that the Mission Study is completed. The Committee on Ministry of the Presbytery must then receive a church financial report and the completed mission study in order for the church to take the next step. The session calls a congregational meeting to elect a Pastor Nominating Committee [PNC]. The session recommends to the congregation the number of people to serve on the PNC, and ordinarily asks the congregational nominating committee to nominate members of the congregation to serve on the PNC. The PNC must be representative of the whole congregation. At the time of the congregational meeting to elect a PNC, nominations from the floor of the meeting are in order, provided that members so nominated have given their consent in advance.


The Pastor Nominating Committee, with guidance, is charged with filling out a Ministry Information Form [MIF]. Once the PNC has completed this, the Committee on Ministry must sign off on it. The MIF is sent to the national office of the Presbyterian Church. This form is posted in a section of the website of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Ministers, seeking a call, will look on this section of the website at all of the MIFS posted by the churches looking for a new pastor. Pastors seeking a call have to fill out a Pastor Information Form [PIF]. All of these are posted in this section of the website. These forms are accessible only to people who have a pass code. A PNC of a church is given a passcode. Through several different means, the PNC will receive numerous PIFS to review. Through an involved process, and with much, much prayer, the PNC will eventually present a candidate to the congregation to become the next installed pastor of the First Presbyterian Church.


It is hard to predict the time it will take the Session and the PNC to accomplish the work each has to do.


Please remember, in the Presbyterian Church, the local church is extending a call to a person to serve as an installed pastor. The local congregation, the Presbytery, and the candidate are all involved in this process. It is God. The work of the Session, the Presbytery and the PNC will be accomplished in God’s time, not ours.



Many of you have already received the information below in an email. The decision was approved by the Session at a called meeting on Sunday, April 26, 2015. One effect of this vote is that the church will have no one to direct a youth ministry program and mission trips.


In light of our inability to secure funding and appropriate staffing, First Presbyterian Church of Macomb deeply regrets that all associated programs and activities of the Food for Thought Out of School Program will cease May 29, 2015.


The positions of the Youth and Mission Director of First Presbyterian Church and Director of Food for Thought Projects, will be discontinued as well on May 29, 2015. Will Wetzel currently holds these positions.


First Presbyterian Church is working with three other churches to provide a one day mission outing for youth and a mission trip to the Rockaway area of New York City. This is the same site that hosted the 2014 Mission Trip. In all likelihood, the date for the one day outing is Saturday, May 31; and the dates for the Mission Trip to Rockaway are leaving Saturday, June 6, returning Saturday, June 13.


First Presbyterian Church is serving as a drop off site for a book drive sponsored by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at Spoon River College. This book drive is to benefit the Macomb Public Library. Please drop off your book donations by Friday, May 8. The white plastic laundry basket, where the books are to be placed, is by the desk in the reception area of the main floor of the church.


The May 3rd service will be at the Arts Center on the Square. A couple of Byron McChord’s piano students from the F4T program will be playing in the service. The theme for this service is “Freedom and Gratitude.”


Rev. Mark Merrill
Interim Pastor


• Met with Felipe N. Martinez, Transitional General Presbyter and Stated Clerk, Presbytery of Great Rivers. Rev. Martinez had a conversation with Session about his interim period, strengths of our ministry, gifts, where we shine as a church, where we shine as a community, how we leverage the strengths of the community and of the church, and partnering. He said, “In holy places, there are conversations. Listen. Don’t be so busy with the busy.”

• Approved the hiring of Kelsey Flynn as new nursery worker.
• Received the resignation of Traci DeWitt as nursery worker and thanked her for her years of caring service to the children of our church.
• Asked Service & Justice and staff for a revised plan for summer Food for Thought in light of the ICCS withdrawal from funding, recognizing the urgency for immediate action.





15eb0c4f-a477-4c08-8fe3-b87031d93f51The chart should make it pretty obvious that we continue to spend more than we take in. In March the Session authorized moving $19,000 from the Good News investment account so that we could pay for the
down payment on the new fire alarm system and what we owed to Pastor Mark’s 403b plan for last year.
We did not spend any memorial money in March.

For the full financial statements, see the green Finance, Stewardship, & Memorials binder on the parlor table.


Sunday, May 3 we will hear our Children’s Choir sing “Consider the Lilies”, the Knox Handbells on “Ovation of Praise”, and our WIU students Caitlin Pennington and Alyssa Burno singing “Jacob’s Ladder” as communion is served by intinction.


Sunday,May 10 (Mother’s Day) we will hear the Westminster Bells ring “Simple Gifts” and the Chancel Choir will share a rousing “If I Got a Ticket, Can I Ride” with soloist Leo Villarreal, another of our WIU students (expect some good hand clapping and foot stomping!). As always, Linda Andrews will be sharing beautiful organ selections on these Sundays as well as Sunday May 17.


Jim Caldwell will play a trombone solo at the 10:30 service on May 17th.


Sunday, May 24 Nancy Colvin, soprano, will grace us with a beautiful solo to celebrate Pentecost.


Sunday, May 31 Jen Edwards will share a heartfelt selection.


We are so fortunate to have wonderful musicians in our congregation and hope they will share their talents this summer. Please feel free to contact Jan Lucie ( or 309/331-3468) if you have family members visiting who would also like to share their music with us. It is always helpful to know this at least a week or two in advance for our planning.


Families with children and youth are invited to a dinner and board games social night on Sunday, May 3 from 5-8 p.m. in Fellowship Hall. Bring your favorite board game! We will start playing games at 5:00 and dinner will be served around 6:00. RSVP to Donna Locke ( by Wednesday, April 29 so we know how much food to prepare.


The dates of July 25-28 have been selected for this year’s trip to the Current River in Missouri. Saturday is a driving and setting up camp day, Sunday and Monday are paddling days, and Tuesday is the return to home day. If you are interested in joining our group of about 25, contact Kim Johnson, Cindy Cavett, Lisa Mooney or Rose Elam. There will be one or two meetings prior to the trip. If you are an adventuresome sort, if you like camping and spending the day on the water, then you will enjoy this trip to a beautiful part of Missouri. Note: it is recommended that you be a good swimmer.


bc236837-c5ef-4d33-bbea-d023bc2ff968PW NEWS

At our Spring rummage sale, we made a profit of $3800. That is much less than we have become used to making at our sales. This time we had much less rummage donated and fewer customers. We are planning for another sale this fall, Oct. 8,9,10, 2015. Please put the sale on your calendar.



Sunday Morning Circle
Sunday, May 3 at 9:00 a.m. in Fellowship Hall. Jeanne Stierman is hostess and Donna Locke is co-hostess.


Evening Circle
Wednesday, May 6 at 5:00 .m. at the home of Nancy Krey, 1148 Debbie Lane. Nancy Colvin is co-hostess and Nancy Krey will provide the “food for thought.”


Morning Circle
Thursday, May 28 at the home of Connie Deener, 1319 Woodland Trail, with Charlotte Hamm as co-hostess and Linda Miller leading the lesson.


Afternoon Circle
Thursday, May 28 at 2:00 p.m. in the Church Parlor with Rosemary Neblock as hostess and Verna Smith as co-hostess. Pat Elam will lead the lesson.


Please let Sylvia know of any change of your street address, e-mail address and/or phone number so it will be correct in the Glossary section of the PW booklet. All women of the church are listed whether or not they are Circle members. Sylvia’s e-mail address is, phone is 837-2559, address if 234 Scotch Pine Drive. Thank you.


It’s not too late to sign up to attend the 2015 Churchwide gathering of Presbyterian Women to be held at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, MN on June 18-21, 2015. Registration closes June 1. Rooms at the Hyatt are $169 per night (plus tax) for up to 4 people. Money is available from our local PW to help defray costs. The theme is One Body, One Spirit.


Replies from Members to Remember have been posted on the bulletin board by the office door. Please stop to read them, and realize how much your card or note means to our long-time members.


Rides are available each Sunday for people who want to attend the 10:30 service. An usher will pick you up and take you home. Drivers would like to get to know you, and welcome more riders. Unfortunately, we do not have a van with a lift, so we cannot pick up those who cannot get in a private vehicle. Call the church office and provide your name, address and phone number so we know where to find you. 🙂 Please share this with your friends who may not be on a computer much. Thanks!


Lectors: May 3 – Jennifer Edwards
May 10 – Ray Krey
May 17 – Cathi Murphy
May 24 – Linda Miller
May 31 – Matt Blankenship


Communion: May 3 – Jeanne Stierman/Becky Fitzgerald


Jazz Worship Service: Sunday, May 3rd at the Arts Center on the Square.


Western Illinois University Singers and Concert Choir Works for Choir and Organ First Presbyterian Church.


On Saturday, May 2 at 7:30pm the Western Illinois University Concert Choir and University Singers will present a program of choral works for organ at First Presbyterian Church located at 400 East Carroll in Macomb. Linda Andrews, Instructor of Organ at Western Illinois University and organist for First Presbyterian Church will accompany the choirs.


Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Brad Pierson, assistant professor of Choral Music Education at WIU will perform two works by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt; “Solfeggio” and “Missa Syllabica.” University Singers, conducted by Dr. James Stegall, Director of Choral Activities and the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer at WIU will perform “Requiem,” Op. 9 by French composer Maurice Duruflé. “Requiem” soloists include mezzo-soprano Dr. Angela Hand, Instructor of Voice and Opera at WIU, baritone Saul Nache, an alumnus of WIU and adjunct professor of voice at Augustana College and cellist Eli Roth. The University Singers have recently returned from an April performance and recruiting tour of Boulder and Denver, Colorado where they performed the “Requiem” with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra.


NEW CONTACT INFO: Roger Barclay is now living at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy, IL. His address is: IL Veterans Home Elmore Building, Room 202, 1707 N. 12th Street, Quincy, IL 62301.


HAVE YOU NOTICED? Our halls and worship spaces are tastefully decorated according to seasons, plants are carefully attended to; and, as Worship Committee chair, she works hard to see that worship services come off as planned. It takes many hours of preparation and work, so it is not uncommon to see Mary Ann Morey at church working in one place or another. Thank you Mary Ann.



Welcoming a visitor!

bcdaeb3c-f878-437b-9fef-135fa6a98f1b30d4cab4-e9d8-4ae8-8657-9bc0c4f02b66 a2b36efd-3af2-4306-89f6-c60ab624137f943d0ae9-873c-4d9b-92c9-6d1a629de32739a60353-50ac-4889-b4fd-8e4452a6fe3c

Lunch after church

Please have your items for the June Newsletter emailed to by Wednesday, May 27.