Groups and Committees

Fellowship, study, choirs and committees provide opportunities to grow and practice your faith. We welcome visitors to join our groups also! Meeting times listed here are representative. Please check the event calendar for exact times.

Fellowship and Study Groups

Adult Bible Study – Rev. Dr. Rob Carlson

The Thursday Morning Bible Study is currently reading in the Gospel of John. We meet from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. almost every Thursday morning, and then conclude by sharing joys, concerns, and prayers at 10:30. Rev. Carlson leads this directed Bible Study.

Artist’s Circle – Sue Schnackenberg

Artist”s Circle is open to anyone interested in exploring faith driven creativity.  We meet on Tuesday afternoons from 1-3 in classroom 108.  We share in fellowship, learning new techniques, field trips and book discussion. We will be creating a group piece of liturgical art for the sanctuary.  It is a wonderful group! Please join us.

Book Club – Ron Dorr

These book lovers meet monthly from September through June to discuss a book that group members have selected to read.  Most meetings are during Education Hour  on the third Sunday of each month.  On Jan. 14, we will talk about significant movies that we have seen during the past year.  On Feb. 18, we will discuss Mitch Albom’s book, Have a Little Faith, a comparison between a Jewish rabbi and a street preacher.  On March 18, we will examine People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks, who wrote Caleb’s Crossing, which we enjoyed last year.  On April 15, we will treat Rachel Joyce’s novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frey, which some people consider a modern-day Pilgrim’s Progress.  Selections for May and June remain to be decided.

Our selections are eclectic.  In past years, we have read books about Psalm 137 (Song of Exile), worship (The Future of Protestant Worship), novels (Caleb’s Crossing, Hannah’s Coulter, The Reluctant Fundamentalist), memoirs (Hillbilly Elegy), modern American parenthood (All Joy and No Fun), civil rights (March), immigration (Enrique’s Journey), living and dying (Being Mortal), and the Katrina disaster (Zeitoon).   If you would like to join Ron Dorr in writing book reviews, please let him know so he can include you in an essay for Book Nook in The Grapevine.

Contemplation Class – Rev. Alice Townley

This class meets on Wednesday mornings and uses the ancient spiritual practices of centering prayer, lectio divina, silence, journaling, and shared conversations.

Men’s Group – Doug Paterson, Tom Schaberg, Ron Dorr

The Men’s Group is an informal small group within the PCO that meets Tuesday mornings from 6:45-8:00 am.  It has met every Tuesday since October 1989 (28 years in 2017).  It is informal in that it is open to all regardless of age, and has no pre-set agenda.  It consists of a light breakfast provided by the members, lively discussion, and closing prayer.  Discussion topics run the gamut of personal, faith, political, and experiential issues.  Discussion is done in an atmosphere of mutual respect, civility and a desire to understand and learn.  Occasionally a book is selected to read for discussion topics.  We will also engage in mission projects as a means to serve the community and to foster interpersonal relationships within the group.

Mom’s Night Out – Kelly Locke, Emily Conroy-Krutz, Sarah Mayhew

This is a new, informal group of primarily moms of school-age children who gather on a weeknight at a member’s home for snacks and fellowship with fellow Church women.  Attendance is typically 4-10 people and we would like to reach out and engage with additional women who are interested in this casual group.

Prayer Shawl Ministry – Kathy Richardson, Barbara Carlson

The Prayer Shawl Ministry Group meets on two Friday afternoons each month. This group gathers to knit and crochet together, to share the joys and concerns of the church, and to determine the members and friends of the church who would appreciate the gift of a prayer shawl. The group shares patterns and knitting/crocheting tips and caring conversation.

Youth Group – Sue Schnackenberg

All Jr. High, Middle school and Sr. High youth are invited to be a part of Youth Group.  We meet in Fellowship Hall after Church School until 3pm, we have lunch,together and split our time between mission, education and fun.  Events include preparing and serving a meal at Advent House, going to the Best Corn Maze, Souper Supper for Caring and lock-in.  Our planning session for this year will be on October 8.  Parents and youth with their personal calendars in hand during church school hour.  Hope to see you there.

Women’s Connection – Shirley Rumminger

Women’s Connection meets September to May (excluding December) on the fourth Sunday at 12:30, following Adult Hour. We enjoy lunch provided by one or two women attending, join in a devotional time, then hear a presentation of a PCO member’s life and faith journey. Occasionally the program will center on a mission project or trip participated in by our members, and we are always open to service we can do. The hope of Women’s Connection is to build closer relationships among PCO women as we get to know each other better and learn of, are inspired by, the life experiences and faith which have formed us, and to strengthen our personal faith. There is no membership or expectation, as all women are welcome to attend whenever desired.

Women’s Dinner Out – Barbara Dorr

Women’s Dinner Out occurs at 5:30 in the evening on the third Monday of every month except December.  We eat at different restaurants that are chosen the month before.  There is no set membership.  Whoever can make it that particular month shows up.  Our only agenda is to get to know each other better.

Writing Life Stories – Ron Dorr

Writing Life Stories meets during Education Hour on the first Sunday of every month.  People bring something that they have written or something that they have read and want to share with the group.  This past year, we have been focusing on poems, letters, and autobiographical writing.  One result has been the publication of Eunice Creswell’s book of poetry, now available in our church library for anyone to read.  You do not have to have written anything to contribute in our sessions.  But you are surely welcome to join the discussion after someone else’s contribution.  In that conversation, loss and love, joy and sorrow, renewal and religion, laughter and seriousness often walk hand in hand.  One member once said, “It’s better than psychiatry.”

Choirs

Chancel Choir – Marlene Brewbaker, Cody Miller

The choir performs on Sundays at the 10:00 am worship service from September to May and for a variety of other special occasions, with at least one major work with instrumental accompaniment. Senior high school students and older are invited to join us for music and fellowship.

Cherub Choir – Sarah Mayhew

This choir meets during the 10:00 am worship service following the sermon on Sundays. It gives our children an opportunity to enjoy singing, learn songs that have shaped Christian souls for generations, and ”make a joyful noise unto the Lord

Bell Choirs – Irene Shutt

Two handbell choirs perform at worship services and for other occasions.  The JuBellees meet Monday from 6:00 to 6:45PM. They play mostly level I music ( easy). Ages 8 through 94 played last year! Please join us if you are new to bell ringing to learn techniques etc. The Monday Mallets are the more advanced group meeting each Monday from 6:45 to 7:45 PM.

Standing Committees

Each standing committee is accompanied by (a) leadership contact(s).

Administration – Jeff Arbour, Nancy Frank, Doug Paterson, Patty Wilson

The Administration Committee supports financial and property related activities for the church. Financial responsibility includes preparation of an annual budget for consideration and ultimate approval by Session, investments, and monthly financial updates. Property responsibilities upkeep and maintenance of the church facility as well as the outdoor property as well. This is accomplished through a group of church volunteers and, when, needed outside contractors. The committee also reviews all requests for use of the church facility and sets policy and pricing for such requests. Information technology also falls under this committee.

Christian Education – Laurin Gierman

The Christian Education Committee organizes education activities for both adults in our congregation and community and also educational activities for youth and children. During the school year, Christian education activities are offered for children ages 3 and up through high school beginning with simple Bible stories and concepts for preschool children and progressing through more complex stories and into high school where the classes focus on putting faith into action and understanding the Christian perspective in daily life. Adult education includes both Sunday morning classes and also evening and week day classes in a variety of topics including Bible study, contemplation, current events, book discussions and writing life stories and also a variety of special speakers and topics throughout the year.

Communication and Engagement – Carl Lira, Tom Schaberg

The Communication and Engagement Committee: facilitates involvement by assisting with visitors, new members and the member directory; assures that time and talent survey information from stewardship drives is communicated to committees; improves worship and event participation by assisting with publicity; maintains the web site, Facebook page, Twitter account, and electronic sign-ups. The committee provides web site support and training for committee publicity representatives, and maintains PCO e-mail accounts, e-mail alias, and group discussion lists.

Endowment – Kelly Locke, Jeff Arbour, Doug Paterson

The Presbyterian Church of Okemos Endowment Fund was established to create a mechanism by which the church could generate income from investments of monies for uses outside the normal operating budget. Each year, the committee determines an amount to be made available for use and provides an opportunity for church committees, groups and individuals to suggest uses through a formal grant process.

Mission – Judi Harris, Keith Camann

PCO’s Mission Committee seeks to extend the love and compassion of the congregation to our local community as well as any place in the world where people suffer.  The committee meets monthly to review the local, national and global needs and how we can most effectively contribute and serve.  The committee works closely with dozens of local and international programs and missionaries and offers many areas where members of the congregation can be involved from serving meals at Advent House, to buying Christmas presents for resettled refugees, to walking or rocking in the Crop Walk to benefit the food bank.

Nominating – Tom Schaberg

The nominating committee is tasked with identifying and recruiting the lay leadership within the congregation.  Four elders and four deacons are elected by the congregation each year at the annual meeting.  The elders (Session members) are responsible for the management of the church, and the deacons are responsible for the care of the congregation.  Nominees are formally presented to the congregation at the annual meeting.

The committee typically consists of two assigned elders, and one deacon plus 4 additional members at large who are elected at the annual meeting by the congregation.  It works closely with the pastoral staff to nominate members who would serve as sitting elders and deacons.  A sitting elder or deacon is one who serves a three-year term in active leadership in the church usually by chairing a session committee or an activity within the deacons, and by attending one meeting /month of the general Session or deacon board.

The at-large members of the nominating committee serve a one year term, and it generally requires two to three meetings throughout the year to identify candidates, along with periodic progress updates. In addition, the committee is tasked with extending invitations to not only leadership roles in the church but to increased engagement in the work of the committees as well.

Parish Life – Deb Major

The Parish Life Committee is a vital part of our church family.  It is our goal to build a network of caring relationships between friends, family, and strangers (who won’t be strangers long!)  The best way to do this is to be together.  Parish Life hosts events such as Rally Day in the fall to kick off the new church school year, the summer picnic, birthday celebrations, a chili cook-off, just to name a few.  Join us at these events and many others to make new friends and be with the people of God.

Personnel – Tom Schaberg

The Personnel Committee reflects a diverse group of congregation members charged with developing, coordinating, and implementing a healthy working environment for employees of the church.  Members of this committee are also responsible for supporting employees and ensuring their effectiveness in the work of the church.  Specific responsibilities include: coordinating personnel policy and practices for paid staff; recommending salary packages; establishing and reviewing job descriptions for each position; setting goals and evaluating performance based on those goals annually or more frequently; holding periodic in-person meetings with church staff; and encouraging professional growth and development for all staff.

Stewardship – Bill Given, Doug Paterson

The goals of this committee are to engage members of the congregation toward contributing their time talent and treasure towards carrying out Gods calling by serving the needs of our Church, our Community, and the world at large. The committee assumes responsibility for identification of member’s talent and abilities and to foster generous giving.  We accomplish this through the annual time and talent and giving campaign and through support of special missions of the church. We communicates with the congregation, visitors, and new members the work of the church in the life of the community through annual Impact Budgets, and results of every member visits.

Worship and Music – Jeff Conroy-Krutz

The Worship & Music Committee is responsible for working with staff and congregation members to plan and organize worship services on Sundays and other important days in the church calendar.  We coordinate Communion, greeters, ushers, and flowers for services.  In addition, we work with music staff, members of our chancel and bell choirs, and other musicians to fill our sanctuary with music during our worship services and special events.

Leadership Groups

The following leadership groups are elected by the church members.

Session

Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships. Each standing committee includes at least one ruling elder, typically as chairperson. Ruling elders are generally elected for three-year terms at the annual meeting of the congregation.

Deacons

The ministry of the deacon as set forth in scripture is one of sympathy, witness and service, after the example of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the duty of the deacons to care for those in need.  It is a ministry of caring, a ministry of love, a ministry of compassion and a ministry of prayer.  To be an effective deacon one needs to express compassion, kindness, empathy, sensibility,  patience, courage, enthusiasm, goodness and a passion for caring for others. It is also important that deacons spend devotional time exploring ways to grow in their own faith.  Board of Deacon members serve a 3 year term, are elected and ordained by the congregation to assist the pastors in congregational care with the following areas of focus:  visitations, meals for those in difficult circumstances, worship recordings, transportation, sanctuary flower delivery, cards and special occasion greetings, weddings and funeral/memorial service receptions, valet parking. Deacons always strive to present our church as a welcoming community by visiting with current members and welcoming new visitors.