First Congregational Church looks to the future

Much has been made of the recent revelation that the First Congregational Church building is for sale or lease. The following is an explanation for the public to dispel any misinformation that may be discussed.

First Congregational Church of St. Johns was founded in April of 1860 and a church building was build shortly thereafter about one block west of where the current building stands.

When the congregation outgrew the initial building, the current church was built and has been in continual use since 1899. However, as time has marched on, maintaining the current structure has become a huge financial burden on the church congregation.

It was determined some time ago that we would need to do something to remain solvent as a church.

Then the pandemic hit, and we were forced to hold our services remotely using Zoom.

While we have considered what First Congregational Church will be as a church in the near and distant future, we must address the fact that the cost of maintaining and operating the church building we have called home for generations is beyond our means.

Rather than pouring all our energies and resources into the building, we, the members of First Congregational Church, need a new focus on the role of the church in everyday life.

The decision to make a change did not occur overnight and was an extremely difficult one. However, the pandemic has shown us there are other, new ways to worship. We need to explore what our new forms of worship can and should be while also examining our role in God’s plan.

We believe it is essential to help people see God’s work in their lives, to help bring God into their lives more and more each day, to offer the community a different way of living in the world today, and to help God’s children realize the centrality of God’s truth and presence in their lives.

This goes beyond a building and we believe that channeling our resources to spiritual growth and living God’s word is the most important element of what we call our church.

Our congregation is strong, and we are financially solvent. Therefore, it was determined that we should move forward as a church without our current building to fully meet our goals and roles for the future.


Special MMDHD COVID update April 1

In his latest video Mid Michigan District Health Department’s Health Officer Marcus Cheatham talks about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Michigan.


Drive-Thru Easter Egg Event is April 3

The St. Johns Lioness Club will be hosting a Drive-Thru Easter Egg Event on Saturday, April 3 at 1:00 p.m. at the St. Johns City Park.

Following recommended health and safety precautions, workers will be distributing bags of plastic eggs to children through the age of ten. Eggs will contain toys, wrapped candy, or coins. There will be special eggs provided for children under age three.

– Children ages 4 to 10 will receive a bag of plastic eggs containing toys, candy, or coins.
There will be special eggs for children under 3. Workers passing out the bags will be following
all recommended health and safety precautions.
– A few children will be awarded prize baskets, and many cars will be surprised with gift cards!

This is strictly a drive-thru event; passengers must remain in cars and no walk-ups will be permitted.This community event is made possible through the support of the City of St. Johns and local businesses and groups.


Salmonella risk from spring chicks

It can be hard to resist fluffy chicks and ducklings, but they should be handled with care, because under all that cuteness Salmonella germs may be lurking.

Salmonella is a common bacteria found in the droppings of poultry. While Salmonella usually does not make the birds sick, it can cause illness when passed to people. Salmonella can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps lasting four to seven days or more. Infants, seniors, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness, so they should be extra cautious.

Chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys can carry the Salmonella germ in their droppings and on their bodies, even when they appear healthy and clean. Salmonella germs can also be found in cages, coops, and the environment where the birds live and roam. All poultry can carry Salmonella, but chicks are especially likely carriers.

Follow these recommendations to help protect yourself and others:

– Children younger than five years of age, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems should never handle or touch live poultry.
– Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after touching poultry or anything in their environment. If handwashing is unavailable, use hand sanitizer until you can properly wash your hands.
– Supervise children when they handle poultry and make sure they properly wash their hands afterwards.
– Do not snuggle or kiss the chicks.
– Do not touch your mouth or eat or drink after handling live poultry until you have a chance to wash your hands.
– If you raise poultry, make sure to remain outdoors when cleaning any equipment, like feed and water containers, and cages.
– Do not keep live poultry inside the house where people live, eat or sleep.
– Always keep poultry away from areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored.


Register for youth summer camp

Registration is now opened for the City of St. Johns Recreation’s youth summer camps, and the afternoon camps are very popular this year.

Camp sizes are limited, so you may not want to wait to sign up if you have multiple kids who want the same camp.

Sign up online at https://stjohnsmi.myrec.com/info/default.aspx


Big Brothers Big Sisters hosting virtual breakfast event

Big Brothers Big Sisters Michigan Capital Region is pleased to invite Mid-Michigan community members to attend their virtual BIG Breakfast event on the morning of April 13. The BIG Breakfast is a free half-hour fundraising event, where guests will hear moving testimonials from Bigs, Littles, and parents in the program, and have the opportunity to make a gift if they feel so moved.

“We are very excited to host our virtual Big Breakfast event on April 13th at 8am, in partnership with Good Fruit Video, and thanks to the generous support of our Title Sponsor, Jackson” says Big Brothers Big Sisters Board Member and BIG Breakfast Committee Chairman, John Varilek. “We know that providing an avenue for our young people to learn and grow through mentoring, increases their chances for future success. We are focused on expanding the reach of our program in an effort to have a greater impact on the lives of our youth. This can only be accomplished through the continued generosity of local businesses and individuals where we work and live.”

Like many organizations in the area, Big Brothers Big Sisters has felt the impact of COVID-19. However, despite the challenges of social distancing, Big Brothers Big Sisters has found new and creative ways to provide mentorship services, including virtual engagement opportunities, online volunteer recruitment, and consistent wellness checks to all matches and families. While mentorship may look a little different these days, Big Brothers Big Sisters is committed to ensuring that mentorship remains available and accessible to all youth in Mid-Michigan.

The 2021 BIG Breakfast will be held online on Tuesday, April 13 at 8am, and is generously sponsored by Jackson and facilitated in partnership with Good Fruit Video. To RSVP for the event, please visit www.bbbsmcr.org/2021breakfast. Please contact Persis at development@bbbsmcr.org or 517-372-0160 with any questions.


SafeCenter needs your support

April is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the United States.

SafeCenter needs your support on Thursday, April 22, 2021 from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. to continue providing these essential services to adult and child survivors. SafeCenter will be hosting their first ever virtual fundraising event on their Facebook page.

All are welcome to attend. Donations will be accepted online via their website www.thesafecenter.org, in-person at the Owosso and St. Johns Office, and/or by mail: PO Box 277, Owosso, MI 48867 before, during, and after the event.

By attending this event and giving to SafeCenter, you partner in the mission to Empower, Advocate, Educate, and Prevent and provide essential services to adults and children who are in dangerous and potentially lethal situations. Your contribution also provides SafeCenter with the ability to partner with other community organizations across the area and hold those who seek to do harm to others accountable for their actions. We can’t do this work alone. Take a stand against Sexual Violence this April, support SafeCenter, and help make our community a safer place to live,

SafeCenter Domestic and Sexual Violence Services of Clinton and Shiawassee Counties is the area’s designated agency for providing advocacy, counseling, awareness, and education to adult and child survivors, and the greater community. Since the onset of COVID-19, the need for SafeCenter’s services has increased as many victims have been isolated and quarantined with their abuser(s). SafeCenter staff have been on the frontlines, offering 24-hour emotional support via the crisis hotline, providing emergency shelter to those actively fleeing dangerous situations, responding to the hospital for domestic and sexual violence emergencies, as well as providing ongoing advocacy and counseling sessions to adults and children.

Sexual Assault includes any type of unwanted sexual contact, ranging from sexist attitudes and actions to rape and murder. Forms of sexual violence include rape or sexual assault, child sexual assault and incest, sexual assault by an intimate partner, unwanted sexual contact/touching, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and trafficking, nonconsensual image sharing, among others.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds, and every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only 5 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. In addition to this, 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime, and 3% (1 in 33) of American men have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. 9 out of every 10 victims of rape are female, and the majority (55%) of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home.