Online Art Auction for Open Wide

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Everyone, this is super exciting. Thanks to the dedication of members, friends and others wanting us to succeed in our OPEN WIDE OUR FRONT DOOR campaign, we are running an online art auction from September 22 until October 21. It all culminates with an Open Wide Open House that closes the art auction and provides a celebration and gathering of friends of the project and the community at large.

Check out the ART AUCTION – Opens Friday September 22!

Check out the event notices on Facebook too!




Weekly Announcements

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now listing these online as well every week – this link will be updated


Linda is in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Every Sunday
Choir Practice   9:00 a.m.
Worship Service   10:00 a.m.

Every Tuesday
Food Pantry Open . 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Bible Study   10:00 a.m.
Pub Theology   7:30 p.m. @ The Livery

Every Thursday
Food Pantry Open   12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Prayer   5:15 p.m.
Community Supper   6:00 p.m.
Choir Practice .  6:30 p.m.


.Sunday, September 17, 2017
10:00 a.m. — Worship ~ Pastor Laurie preaching and commissioning of the choir.
After Worship — Sunday School Teachers’ meeting

Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Women-have your registration for the fall retreat to Laurie by end of Wednesday

Thursday, September 21, 2017
6:00 p.m. –  Community Dinner
6:00 p.m. — COMMUNITY PRAYER MEETINGS FOR BENTON HARBOR AREA SCHOOLS! Meet at 6:00 p.m. at ACA and/or any other school and join local pastors for times of prayer.

Friday, September 22, 2017
Open Wide Online Art Auction opens!  Check it out at!

Sunday, September 24, 2017
10:00 a.m. — Worship ~ Pastor Laurie preaching on Matthew 20:1-15!
George Barfield will be singing in worship!
4:00 p.m. — ARTSBRIDGE!
6:00 p.m. —  ICE Youth Group

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
5:45 p.m. Trustees ~ 6:30 p.m. Session

Sunday, October 1, 2017 —  WORLD COMMUNION SUNDAY
10:00 a.m. — Worship ~ Pastor Laurie preaching and Sunday School begins.
Bring food for the food pantry today!

Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6, 2017
Women’s Retreat at Camp Henry with Westminster Grand Rapids Women and Rev. MaryAnn McKibbon Dana. More details will be available soon!

Sunday, October 7, 2017
10:00 a.m. —  Worship with Pastor Laurie preaching

Thursday, October 12, 2017
11:30 a.m. —  Boys and Girls Club Smart Girls Luncheon at the Youth Campus. See Virginia Maxwell for details.

Saturday, October 13, 2017
Loren Harris and Brian Rzepczynski Wedding in Naperville.

Sunday, October 14, 2017
10:00 a.m. —  Worship with Elder Nancy Thompson preaching.


ARTSBRIDGE  Three Pianists Cncert and Exhibit on Sunday, September 24 at 4 p.m. features pianists Joshua Goines, Susan Burkholz, David Brock and ceramic artist, Jerry Sirk. Admission is free and donations accepted. Bring your friends and family to this program!  

ART AUCTION ONLINE OPENS THIS WEEK! Beginning Friday, September 22, you and your friends can bid on fabulous art to support our Open Wide campaign. There are postcards in the office you can give to your friends. Pass the word around!

LEE HAMILTON has been one of our faithful church custodians for many years and is a long time member. He has a birthday on September 21. Charase Dorsey is collecting cards for him. Let’s get as many as we can and surprise and bless him!

FOOD PANTRY  Through September 14 we have served 111 households comprised of 175 adults and 182 children. We are truly blessed. Each client has been invited to our Thursday night suppers and we know some have come. Thank you for welcoming them!

To make things more uniform — and perhaps easier for those of us who sometimes forget -— beginning in October we are designating the first Sunday of the month as “Sharing Our Blessings” Sunday. There will be a box or basket in the front of the sanctuary for us to place our food pantry donations. Let’s try this for several months and see what happens!  (Note: monetary contributions are welcome too — the funds allow us to purchase meat from Feeding America.)  Bless you All!

OPEN WIDE OUR FRONT DOOR  The Art Auction Committee, headed by former First Presbyterian member Sara Shambarger, is making good progress in preparing for and publicizing the Sept. 21-Oct. 21 online auction of donated artworks. The online auction effort will end with the “Open Wide/Open House” silent auction of local art at our church. The open house will feature live music, food and beverages, and the church will be decorated for the event. We now have about $436,000 in pledges and cash-in-hand toward our goal of $700,000, meaning we are 62% of the way there. We plan to end fundraising by spring 2018 and finish construction that summer. The Major Gifts Team, headed by Ted Hartzell, is extending an open invitation to any member who would like to join this effort. The team now includes Jackie Baker, Bob Barrett, Danny Jennings Jr. and Virginia Maxwell.

FALL WOMEN’S RETREAT with Westminster Grand Rapids and Mary Ann McKibbon Dana. The registration forms are in the narthex. Turn them into Laurie by Wednesday, September 20. There is quite a bit of money available for scholarships from the sabbatical fund. So please let Laurie know if you would like a scholarship.

THE LEAF CAMPAIGN  Have you seen the fabulous tree in the hallway?  Buy a leaf for the tree!   Donations to “OPEN WIDE.” Gold leaves are $100, silver $50, & copper $10. Forms in narthex!





Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.


Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


ArtsBridge Brings Music + Art to You!

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All programs start at 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church and are absolutely free.

Sunday – September 24 – Three Pianists Concert & Exhibit
ArtsBridge presents Three Pianists Concert and Exhibion Sunday, September 24 4:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, Michigan. This program features pianists Joshua Goines, Susan Burkholz, and David Brock plus ceramic artist Jerry SirkAdmission is free and donations acceptedFor more details visit


More great events coming soon!



Grand Haven First Drops By!

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Look who stopped by on Sunday! What a blessing to have so much support from Grand Haven First Presbyterian this past Sunday. George Barfield, former deacon at Benton Harbor First, preached and brought his wife Sara Shambarger and lots of wonderful friends! (Our own Sylvia Van Beek even photobombed the group photo!)


Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Service

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First Presbyterian Church is proud to partner with the Southwest Michigan Ministerial Alliance and the Berrien County Association of Churches to present a service of Unity and Hope in celebration of the life of Dr. King.

Join us TONIGHT at 6:30 at Union Memorial AME Church in Benton Harbor.


Thrivent Choice Donations

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Thrivent members can now dedicate their Thrivent Choice dollars to First Presbyterian Church of Benton Harbor and/or our Open Wide Our Front Door campaign.

Thrivent Choice Dollars® directions can help First Presbyterian Church!

Choice Dollars charitable grant funds can make a world of difference to our ministry as we work together to bring our community together in the racial reconciliation of Christ’s love. By directing Choice Dollars, eligible Thrivent members recommend where they feel Thrivent should distribute a portion of its charitable grant funds. Directing Choice Dollars is easy. Simply go to to learn more and find program terms and conditions. Or call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt.

Thrivent Choice® makes a meaningful impact

Think of the impact you—along with other eligible Thrivent members—can help make by directing Choice Dollars® to First Presbyterian Church. The grant funding we receive from Thrivent Financial through this program can help us expand the space for our youth and welcome the community to partner with us in many ministry programs.

Directing Choice Dollars is easy. Simply go to to learn more and find program terms and conditions. Or call 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” after the prompt. Together, we can do even more to help strengthen communities and change lives.


Art in Worship

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Renowned watercolor artist David Baker led us in worship this past Sunday (September 25) and it was at capacity. More than 75 people participated in a unique art expressions for our worship as we explored our motto — ROOTS DOWN, BRANCHES OUT. What a blessing for David to do this and our own artists, Joan Judd, Arianne Baker, and Peter Helm, pitched in and led a rewarding and exquisite cultural and worshipful experience.

We also dedicate David Baker’s piece, “The Autumnal Equinox,” to our church sanctuary. This watercolor is a meaningful and powerful picture of “Roots Down, Branches Out.”  You can see more of his work at