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. – 4:00 p.m.

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

Every Monday
Laurie’s Sabbath; call for emergencies ONLY.
Other needs
can wait or call Elders Catherine Ravitch or Shirley Hagelberg-Klemish

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.


Thursday, October 19, 2017
5:30 p.m. — Meeting of Session members working on the 2018 Budget

Saturday, October 21, 2017
5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  – ART AUCTION EVENT

Sunday, October 22, 2017
10:00 a.m. — Worship with Laurie preaching
After Worship — New Members’ class meets
6:00 p.m. — ICE Youth Group

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
7:00 p.m. — Major Gifts Team meeting

Wednesday, October 25, 2017
5:45 p.m. — Trustees meet; 6:30 p.m. — Session meets

Saturday, October 28, 2017
10:00 a.m. — Major Gifts Team meeting — All Welcome!
12:45 p.m. — Meet at church to carpool to Barbott’s Corn Maze. Cost is $9.00/person.  This is a youth trip but all are invited!  See Julie for details.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017
10:00 a.m  — Worship with Laurie preaching
After Worship — CONGREGATIONAL MEETING to elect officers for 2018

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. — YOU ARE NOT ALONE! The Benton Harbor Women’s Health Council presents an evening for men and those who care about them to dialogue about mental illness.  We are hosting this event.

Sunday, November 5, 2017
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS — “Fall back” your clock at 2 a.m.
10:00 a.m. — ALL SAINTS CELEBRATION —  Worship w/ Laurie preaching + the Lord’s Supper.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
6:00 p.m. — 8:30 p.m. — State Police Citizen’s Academy

Sunday, November 12, 2017
10:00 a.m. — Worship with Laurie Preaching
3:00 p.m. — 5:30 p.m. — All God’s Children Choir rehearsal
6:00 p.m. — ICE Youth Group




ADVENT DEVOTIONAL  The Spiritual Life Committee will be creating a devotional again this year, made up of writings and reflections from members and friends of our congregation.  This year’s Advent theme will be “Light in the Darkness.”  How has the light of Christ shown up in dark places in your life?  Please consider writing a piece or drawing a picture for this devotional.  See Gloria Winn  or Pastor Laurie for details!

THE “OPEN WIDE OUR FRONT DOORMajor Gifts Team has added the following members: Charase Dorsey, Isabel Jackson, Lois Peeples and Bob Ziebart. They join Bob Barrett, Ted Hartzell, Danny Jennings Jr. and Virginia Maxwell. The first meeting of this enlarged team will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the church. Also, the team will host a “Treasure Chest”-style meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, in Goff Hall. This will be a brainstorming session to come up with names of possible significant donors. Everyone is welcomed to this session. The “Open Wide” campaign is about 62 percent of the way toward its goal of $700,000. Plans are to finish fundraising by next spring and build in the spring or summer.

OUR BUILDING WILL BE HOPPING this November as we serve as the site for a seminar by the Benton Harbor Women’s Health Council on November 1, as we  serve as the host site for the Michigan State Police’s “Citizens’ Academy” each Wednesday night from November 8 –  December 13, and as we serve as a host site for a parenting seminar for the OutCenter on November 14.   Author Telaina Eriksen will talk about her book, “Unconditional:  Supporting Your LGBT Child.”   YOU CAN HELP BY BEING HERE as a HOST/HOSTESS  for any of these events.  There is a sign-up sheet in the office and more information in the office.

OVER THE HUMP  Church members and friends are invited to bring coffee and brand name dish soap for the kitchen during the month of October.  

NEW MEMBERS CLASS  A new members class will be gathering beginning October 22.  Let Laurie know if you are interested in being part of this class.

STEWARDSHIP SEASON —  ANNUAL STEWARDSHIP LUNCHEON & POTLUCK will be November 12.   How is God inviting you to share your talent, time and money with our congregation?  Our  church doesn’t just exist on its own.  Your resources and talents are needed to keep us going!  Please be in prayer about this.  Also, keep an eye out for the stewardship letter which will come from the trustees soon.  You will be asked to make a financial pledge for 2018.  Please be in prayer about this, too :)!

HURRICANE, EARTHQUAKE and MASS SHOOTING VICTIMS need our help and support. Giving money to Presbyterian Disaster Relief is a reliable and helpful way to offer this support.   Check out or call (800) 858-6127 to learn more about the work and make donations.


Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

TODAY’S SCRIPTURE EXODUS 33:12-23                NRSV

Moses said to the Lord, “See, you have said to me, ‘Bring up this people’; but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ Now if I have found favor in your sight, show me your ways, so that I may know you and find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” And he said to him, “If your presence will not go, do not carry us up from here. For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people, unless you go with us? In this way, we shall be distinct, I and your people, from every people on the face of the earth.” The Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing that you have asked; for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.” Moses said, “Show me your glory, I pray.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, ‘The Lord’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live.” And the Lord continued, “See, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock; and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by; then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen.”

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 – October 15 – 9th Annual Poetry Reading

ArtsBridge will present its 9th Poetry Reading at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, October 15, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church, 475 Green Avenue on Morton Hill in Benton Harbor, MI. Poetry lovers of all ages are invited to attend and read a poem they wrote or simply listen. Possible topics may include nature, feelings ranging from love to loss, diversity, spirituality, and more.

Isabel Jackson Photo

Isabel Jackson, who is the event organizer, commented: “This (event) will take place in an intimate and non-intimidating setting. Attendees may read their own work or have someone else read it. Participation is highly encouraged. All present will have the option to simply listen.” Some of the past participants include George Barfield, Pearl Blaylock, Bill Brady, David Brady, Penn Campbell, Debra Davis, Sue Goens, Darlene Hawkins, Marnie Heyn, Jeanette Holton, Isabel Jackson, Rev. Laurie Hartzell, Julie Kortidis, Eileen (Bean) Klusendorf, Linda Lobik, Gary McCormick, Maggie Mendus, and Rev. Emeritus Doug Petersen, students from St. Joseph High School and Lake Michigan College.

Rev. Hartzell, who is the minister at this church, commented about ArtsBridge: “In a community that is often known for its racial and socio-economic divisions, ArtsBridge provides a safe space where people can come together through the creative and performing arts. There is incredible talent throughout our community—what a joy to share in it together.”

Admission is free, donations accepted. A reception will follow the program.

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

Past Events of this Season:

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!)


Pub Theology – Tuesdays at 7:30

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Come join us at The Livery in Benton Harbor’s historic Arts District.


Questions for each week are on Facebook.

PubTheologyBH 2016

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.