We continue to worship on Facebook live for the time being. We also have worship on our website and by CD’s. If you need help connecting, let the office know.
In May we continue a service called Heart of the Matter. There are some ways you can prepare at home for this celebration.
The following are items we will be using in May. A heart or worry stone. A candle to light and something to eat. We invite you to participate in worship this way.
During May we will also be spotlighting our Food Pantry. A number of guest speakers will be sharing a short presentation at the beginning of worship.
Pastor Mike Tupper will be preaching. Pastor Dick will be participating in the service and Ann Habicht will be playing the handbells. Patricia Kerr and Adam Peterson will also be providing music. Doug Gruber from the Board of Trustees will be assisting with the offering.
The May/June Upper Room has arrived. We also have the most recent copy of These Days. If you would like a copy of either of these daily devotionals, you can stop by during the Food Pantry Hours (M/W/F from 10 to noon) or call the church office and one can be delivered to you.
Tuesday Prayer Group
The Tuesday Prayer Group continues to meet online and by phone Tuesdays at 1:30. If you would like to connect give Pastor Dick a call, 214-8924.
If you have prayer requests, please let us know. These will be added to the Tuesday and Sunday lists .
Please hold the following in your prayers this week:
Rick (Lynda Sharpe’s brother in hospital)
CJ Johnson and his wife Verlene
Elsie Hoffman—3 yr. old great-granddaughter of Ann Gruber
All affected by the Coronavirus. (CoVid 19)
We pray for our brothers and sisters at First Congregational in Athens.
Family of Art Bennett, grandfather of Matt (Jacquelyn) Bennett.
The Trustees will meet on Tuesday by Zoom.
Food Pantry News
The First Congregational/We Care Food Pantry faced a large challenge in April 2020. January and February had been normal months, with 125 or so families needing help each month.
In March, things began to change as the COVID-19 virus arrived in our area. New pantry policies had to be established. Pick-up foods were done at the door. Each family is now to be given a large bag of food once a week, if needed. With the generous support of the Marcoux family, local restaurant owners, our neighbors in need may receive a meal on the other two days we are open. Thus, a family could come three times a week.
This policy has led to almost 600 family visits in April alone. The heavy demand on our pantry supplies has been met with amazing generosity from the South Haven community. From the last week of March through the month of April, the pantry received over $ 25,000 in monetary donations as well as many generous drop-offs of food products.
We want to thank our hard-working volunteers for their dedication to helping the South Haven area’s needy families. Those volunteers are Don Kitchen, Sue Murphey, Ann & Scott Raue, Terry Tatsch and our pastor, Jeffrey Dick.
These difficult times have reinforced our belief in the goodness of God’s people.
-John and Sue Gillett
Open and Affirming by Pastor Jeffrey Dick
Back in October, the Church Council voted to begin a process of exploring our church becoming an Open and Affirming Congregation in the United Church of Christ. Open and Affirming (ONA) is the United Church of Christ’s (UCC) designation for congregations, campus ministries, and other bodies in the UCC which make a public covenant of welcome into their full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.
There are a variety of aspects about this designation. First, it is a public covenant. Which means the church will state on its website and publications that all people are welcome to be a part of this church. Many in the LGBTQ community do not know where they are welcomed. This is especially true in churches. That a church is open and affirming means that all people are welcome to not only participate, but to be actively involved in ministry and leadership.
Our church has begun this process by forming a core team, conducting some interviews with people, meeting with a small group from our sister church, Phoenix Community Church in Kalamazoo and making plans for some sermons and educational opportunities. Originally the plan was to conduct these through the summer and bring this matter for a vote at the November Annual Meeting. Due to the current situation with no in person worship or large gatherings, these events have been put on hold. Over the next few weeks, the members of the core team will be sharing more information and thoughts. The Core Team members are: Marcia Claggett, Terry McGarr, Joyce Hagen-McIntosh, Mike Tupper and Jeffrey Dick.
Sincerely, Jeffrey Dick
Church Building: Here at church the doors are locked and the church building is closed. Victoria will be here in the office M/W/F from 9:30—1:30 to do the most needed work. Pastor Dick will be here as well on a limited basis.
The Food Pantry continues to be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 10 to noon. Very steady flow of people coming through. We are very thankful for the many donations of food and money from members and friends. Thank you.
How Can We Help
You should be receiving a call from a member of the church each week to see how you are doing. If there is something at the church we can assist you with, please let them know or call the church.
How Can You Help
You can mail weekly church offerings to:
First Congregational Church
651 Phoenix Street
South Haven, MI 49090
Jeffrey Dick 269-214-8924
Mike Tupper 269-303-3743
Church Office: 268-637-3804
During these times of staying home, we trust that you are taking care of yourself, getting outside for a walk when the sun is shining.
May God’s blessings be with you.