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 – Ewen and Zora Todd
The Thursday Morning Bible Study meets from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. almost every Thursday morning, and then conclude by sharing joys, concerns, and prayers at 10:30. Ewen and Zora Todd lead 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.
Members of the book club at our church meet monthly from September through June to discuss books that members have recommended. We usually meet in room 108 at 12:30 p.m. on the third Sunday of the month. Sometimes the discussion becomes the regular adult education class at 11:30 a.m. Our selections are eclectic. Book reviews in The Grapevine can supplement our discussion. Discussion is both spontaneous and moderately directed.
Here is the list of books which were discussed during 2018-2019, as examples of previous reads: Sonia Sotomayor, MY BELOVED WORLD; Kent Haruf, PLAINSONG; Yeon-mi Park, IN ORDER TO LIVE: A NORTH KOREAN GIRL’S JOURNEY TO FREEDOM; Wendell Berry, FIDELITY: FIVE STORIES; Kate Bowler, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON AND OTHER LIES I’VE LOVED; Lan Samantha Chang, ALL IS FORGOTTEN, NOTHING IS LOST; Teeda Butt Mam with Joan Criddle, TO DESTROY YOU IS NO LOSS: THE ODYSSEY OF A CAMBODIAN FAMILY.
Contemplation Class – Rev. Alice Townley
This class meets on 10:00-11:30 am 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 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. It has met every Tuesday since October 1989 (30years in 2019). 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 or more 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 also knits and crochets scarves and hats for the Giving Tree for our refugee families. The group shares patterns and knitting/crocheting tips and caring conversation. Please join us. We can teach you how to knit or crochet and would welcome your presence.
Retirees Group – Tom and Jane Bobay
The Retirees group meets the fourth Monday of each month from noon to one o’clock in Fellowship Hall to share conversation over a packed lunch. Discussions over the past year have focused on how time is spent, now that a full-time job isn’t demanding the entire day, what kind of exercise is helpful and enjoyable, what the nutritional needs are for the retiree age group, what travel tips and destinations might be interesting to others, changing roles in family life, and spiritual development in later years, favorite books and movies, day trips, and goals for later years. Topics are chosen by those attending. Feel free to drop in when you can or attend regularly. Watch for upcoming discussions in the Grapevine and weekly e-mail announcements.
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 often include preparing and serving a meal at Advent House, going to the Best Corn Maze, Souper Supper for Caring and lock-in.
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. At one recent meeting, we discussed how to stay positive and write faithfully in troubling times. In another session, two visitors not only added valuable contributions but also complimented the keen observation, poetic language, and therapeutic value of our conversations.
Chancel Choir – Marlene Brewbaker, Connor Koppin
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.
Children’s Choir – Sarah Mayhew
This choir meets in the Chapel during the 10:00 AM Sunday worship service following the sermon. We invite children of all ages to participate, but most of the children in the choir are between 4 and 13 years old. The choir gives children an opportunity to enjoy singing and to learn songs by contemporary composers and traditional Christian songs sung by generations of children. We encourage children to attend whenever they are able, whether every Sunday or just a few times each year. The children have fun making 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.
Each standing committee is accompanied by (a) leadership contact(s).
Administration – Jeff Arbour, Doug Paterson, Patty Wilson
The Administration Committee supports financial and property-related activities for the church. Financial responsibilities include preparation of an annual budget for consideration and approval by Session and oversight of investments, income, and spending. Property responsibilities include upkeep and maintenance of the church facility and grounds. This is accomplished by church volunteers and, as needed, outside contractors. The committee also manages use of the church facility by outside groups, and maintains policies and procedures for numerous activities.
Christian Education (Children and Youth) – Laurin Gierman
Christian education activities are offered for children 3 years of age through high school. Our programs begin with simple Bible stories and concepts for preschool children and progress through more complex stories as our children mature to youth classes where the focus is on putting faith into action and understanding the Christian perspective in daily life.
Christian Education (Adults) – Laurin Gierman
The Adult Christian Education Committee organizes learning opportunities for adults in our congregation and community. Classes are available on Sunday morning and throughout the week on a variety of topics including Bible study, contemplation, current events, book discussions, interfaith dialogues, writing life stories, and also a variety of special speakers throughout the year.
Communication and Engagement – Bill Given
The Communication and Engagement Committee: facilitates involvement by: assisting with visitors, new members and the member directory; maintaining photos and the historical scrapbook; improving worship and event participation by assisting with publicity; maintaining 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 – Gary Sturk, 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 – Nancy Frank, 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 – Patty Wilson
The nominating committee identifies and recruits members of the congregation to serve on standing committees of the Church. 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. The committee extends invitations to church members to be involved in the work of the committees of the church.
Parish Life – Paula Zichi
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 – Emily Conroy-Krutz
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 communicate 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 – Gretchen Hill
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.
The following leadership groups are elected by the church members.
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.
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.