A look back at Congregational Church events

First Congregational Church observes Cornerstone Centennial in 1999
By Rhonda Dedyne

Back in 1899 a news article from The Clinton Republican described the laying of the cornerstone for the new First Congregational Church in St. Johns as being an occasion to “charm the intellect, please the eye and ear, and gratify the soul.”

When congregation members gather October 13 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the event, they will try to repeat that uplifting experience from October 13, 1899.

The church invites all members of the community to join with them in an Open House from 6 to 7 p.m. in Wilcox Hall, and participate in the service that follows in the church sanctuary at 7 p.m. The celebration concludes at 8, with a reception and refreshments in Wilcox Hall.

The actual assembly of the congregation dates to 1860, and the first church building was erected in 1865.

Services connected with the laying of the cornerstone in 1899 included singing by the congregation and Sunday School children, prayer by the Rev. M.M. Martin of Ovid, greeting by the Rev. W.C. Allen of Salem who was a former pastor of the church, and separate addresses given by the Rev. J.L. Daniells of Olivet and the Hon. Bryon M. Cutcheon of Grand Rapids.

At the conclusion of the service, the children of the congregation led a processional march to the site of the cornerstone where a box containing various documents and church artifacts was placed into the stone. The stone itself was placed into position by the Rev. William H. Warron of Lansing.

The newspaper account concluded as follows:

“The building will be pushed as rapidly as the weather will permit; and the enterprise needs the aid of every individual member of the church, YPSCE, Sunday School, and congregation. It will require sacrifice of time and money, but it will be richly worth all it costs.”

Construction proceeded throughout the coming year and the new church building was officially dedicated in 1901.

Other important dates in the history of the congregation include:
– 1956, congregation votes to remain autonomous;
– 1975, first Christian Education classes are held in the new Carson Addition;
– 1996, renovations to Mildred Countryman Hall are completed.

The church is located at 100 Maple Street, on the west side of the Clinton County Courthouse.

Remember When – 2019 Lessons and Carols

Letters – Thinking about all the good times

I just found out that my home church, First Congregational in St. Johns, MI, is up for sale. How to say good-bye and still protect the wonderful memories?

I first l became a part of the church 70 years ago. Because I was baptized as a young child, not an infant, I still remember that occasion. Then, there are the other life events which Christians celebrate with their church family: 8th grade and high school graduations, being received in to church membership, walking down the aisle on my wedding day, supporting friends and being supported by friends as we mourned the passing of loved ones and family, working together with fellow church members to make the church strong, serving on boards, presenting my daughter to the Lord at her baptism..

When I married Rev. Gerald Sever and moved away to help him with his ministry appointments, it took nearly 20 years for my heart to mend, and to finally be able to say a fond farewell to “my church”. Even then, I knew “my church” would always be waiting for me to drop by. Or so I thought.

I have already shed tears for what was, and what might still be for such a cherished part of my past and the past of the St. Johns community. Think of the rummage sales, the annual Thanksgiving turkey dinners, banquets for various celebrations, Boy Scouts, choirs and so much more that has happened within the church walls.

Good-bye, my dear friend. You have been a vital part of my life, and will always continue to be a vital part of me. Continue to stand tall and proud as your spire reaches into the sky, beckoning travelers coming in to town. You and your members surrounded me and my family with so much love and helped us to establish a strong foundation with which to go out in to the world. Thank you for all that you have gifted to the community and its people.

Dianne Sever via Facebook

Maralyn’s Pet Corner – 8 Pet Care Tasks That Are Usually Overlooked
Reviewed and updated for accuracy by Katie Grzyb, DVM.

Providing good pet care for your fur babies is essential in ensuring a long, healthy life.

From keeping up-to-date on prescription flea and tick prevention and heartworm pet meds, to scheduling routine dental pet care and getting pet microchips, there are plenty of ways that we can help pets live their very best lives.

Here are eight tips from veterinarians about often overlooked pet care tasks that can help you provide the very best care for your furry family member:

1. Help Prevent Pet Obesity With a Healthy Pet Food

Providing a balanced and healthy pet food that is appropriate to our pet’s needs is one of the most overlooked preventative care measures, according to Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, chief veterinarian at Kleinburg Veterinary Hospital in Toronto.

You should also rethink your pet’s snack intake and exercise routine. “Pet obesity is rising around the world,” says Dr. Greenstein. “A lot of it can come from excess snacks and table scraps and our pets not getting enough exercise.”

The first step, says Dr. Amanda Landis-Hanna, DVM, senior manager of veterinary outreach for PetSmart Charities in Phoenix, is to talk with your veterinarian and choose a pet food that is appropriate for your pet. That way, you can ensure that your pet’s diet is healthy for them, meets their nutritional needs and is appealing to them, too.

Research is key, but so is talking to your veterinarian, says Dr. Bruce Silverman, a veterinarian at Village West Veterinary and founder of the Critical Animal Relief Foundation in Chicago. “If you don’t know how much to feed your pet for optimal health, discuss the proper amount with your veterinarian,” says Dr. Silverman. Knowing the proper portion size is just as important as choosing the right healthy pet food.

Your veterinarian can calculate your pet’s resting energy requirements and come up with a weight loss plan that is slow and steady, as weight loss should never be abrupt.

Another key point is not to add too many additional dog treats or cat treats to your pet’s diet. “It’s amazing; if you look at the calorie count, you could be adding 50-100 calories per treat,” says Dr. Greenstein.

Finally, Dr. Greenstein advises that to maintain your pet’s weight, you need to make sure your dog gets at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. She also recommends that cats get at least three instances of 5 minutes of play each day.

2. Get Pet Microchips That Can Save Your Pet’s Life

There are a lot of misconceptions amongst pet owners about how pet microchips work. Dr. Greenstein explains, “We try to educate our patients that microchips are for helping reunite lost pets with their people.”

A pet microchip is a form of permanent identification that is placed underneath your pet’s skin, between their shoulder blades. It is about the size of a small grain of rice, and your pet will never even notice it is there.

You should make sure that you choose a company that is widely scanned in your area and can be scanned outside of the country if you plan on international travel. ISO-compliant microchips are the type that are accepted internationally. Usually these are 16 digits long, but not always.

Dr. Travis Arndt, the medical director at the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Center of Mid-America in St. Louis, says it’s important to choose a company that won’t charge you for changing your information. “Some companies charge a fee each time,” says Dr. Arndt. “That can deter you from keeping your information current, and that’s critical to return your pet.”

You can talk to your veterinarian for their recommendation on pet microchips.

3. Consider Insurance for Pets That Can Help You in an Emergency

If you’ve investigated your options and think that buying pet insurance is right for you , the most important thing to know is that not all insurance for pets is created equal.

“It’s really important to choose a policy that’s best for your pet; some of the policies are mostly wellness policies and don’t cover costs when your pet has an accident or gets sick,” says Dr. Arndt. “Many pet parents don’t understand what they’re signing up for, and they get frustrated with their policies.”

Find out how you will be reimbursed by the company, whether there are lifetime limits on some conditions, and if there are any exclusions.

“Some pet parents only look at one or two brochures, and I know of at least six different companies from which to choose,” says Dr. Landis-Hanna. “It’s important to do your research.”

4. Use Prescription Flea and Tick Prevention

Dr. Landis-Hanna says she has practiced all over the country, and there is one common misconception she’s heard everywhere. “A lot of individuals use flea and tick prevention as a treatment rather than a prevention,” says Dr. Landis-Hanna.

“Both fleas and ticks carry diseases, and if used as a treatment, your pet may already be exposed. It’s also cheaper as a prevention than waiting until you have a flea infestation and having to clean carpets and other items in your home,” says Dr. Landis-Hanna.

Dr. Arndt also says even if you are not purchasing the preventative from your veterinarian, you should discuss what is best for your pet in your area with your veterinarian. “Some of the over-the-counter flea products do not cover ticks,” says Dr. Arndt.

Also, some products are no longer working well in some areas of the country. “We’ve really moved away from topical treatments as we’re seeing a lot of resistance,” says Dr. Silverman. “We’re working more with oral flea and tick treatments now.”

Dr. Greenstein says that the current thought is that there is no flea or tick “season” now. “With the climate warming all over the world, we recommend prescription flea and tick prevention year round.”

5. Keep Up With Dental Pet Care That’s Vital to Your Pet’s Overall Health

Another overlooked area of pet care is making sure your pet has proper dental care. “I don’t think people appreciate how dental health is linked to overall health of their pet,” says Dr. Greenstein.

Dr. Landis-Hanna says that brushing is the key to keeping your pet’s teeth in good shape. “Just as with people, if your pet eats, their teeth need to be brushed every day; it’s also a great way to bond with your pet.”

She adds that brushing also can help you head off problems before they become too severe. “If you see pink, red or bleeding gums, or discolored or cracked teeth, you can call your veterinarian for a further check.”

The American Veterinary Medical Association says that your pet’s teeth should be checked by your veterinarian at least once a year, and earlier if you see signs of dental problems.

6. Always Stay Current With Prescription Heartworm Prevention

As with flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention must be used to prevent heartworms. It cannot treat a pet that has already been infected with this potential deadly disease.

It’s also key that you choose a prevention option that best fits your lifestyle. “We recommend it to be given once a month year-round, but we’re seeing some 12 month supplies lasting 16 months,” says Dr. Landis-Hanna. “Pet parents need to make sure they’re using it consistently.”

If you let the heartworm coverage lapse, your vet will require that your pet be screened for heartworms before prescribing more.

Dr. Arndt also advises not to forget giving your cats heartworm prevention. “This is often overlooked in cat care,” says Dr. Arndt. “We recommend it for all outdoor, as well as indoor, cats.”

7. Watch for Signs of Pain and Arthritis

As our pets age, they may get arthritis, just as we do, and some people miss the signs. “Pets don’t exhibit pain as we do and they tend to internalize, which can affect their quality of life,” says Dr. Arndt.

If your pet is becoming withdrawn, has a change in bathroom habits, is limping consistently or doesn’t like being touched in certain areas, Dr. Arndt says it’s important to talk to your veterinarian. They can help you to determine if your pet needs to be on a pain management plan, which can improve their quality of life.

8. Create and Maintain a Strong Bond With Your Pet

“When we talk about the human-animal bond, a lot of times, we hear about the health benefits for humans,” says Dr. Landis-Hanna. “A lot of people overlook the health benefits it has on our pets.”

Dr. Landis-Hanna says that creating a strong bond with your pet by petting her, spending time with her, walking her and playing with her can all greatly enhance socialization skills. These types of activities can also reduce your pet’s stress level.

“It’s the same benefit as you’d expect with spending time with a child; it’s a very symbiotic relationship,” says Dr. Landis-Hanna.