Parish News & Newsletters

We will post parish announcements, links to news stories, as well as our newsletters on this page.

Parish Prayer List:

If you wish to have the name of someone added to our parish Prayer List, please contact Joy Ham at 231-386-7531 or email her at with the first name of the person for whom prayers are asked.   The names of those family and friends serving in the military can also be added to the list by contacting Joy.  Please be sure to let Joy know if you would like the person’s name removed from the list.

News Stories:

Feb 11, 2016: St. Christopher’s & other Northport churches host soup suppers during Lent (Leelanau Enterprise)



Click on the following link to read the July and August, 2017 Newsletter:

St Chris 2017 July Aug Newsletter (3)


May and June, 2017 Parish Newsletter:

CALENDAR for May, 2017:

May 4    – National Day of Prayer

May 17  – Vestry Meeting 9:30 a.m. preceded by Morning Prayer at 9:10 a.m.

May 14 –  Mother’s Day.  LCN Diaper Drive ends.

May 29 –  Memorial Day

CALENDAR for June, 2017:

June 1  – Baccalaureate Service at Bethany Lutheran Church, 7:00pm

June 4  – Whitsunday (Pentecost)

June 11– Trinity Sunday

June 14 – Vestry Meeting 9:30 a.m. preceded by Morning Prayer at 9:10 a.m.

June 18 – Father’s Day

June 21 – 1st Day of Summer

June   ?    Parish Swap Sunday, details TBA             

Prayer for a Birthday (from the Book of Common Prayer, Page 830):

O God, our times are in your hand: Look with favor we pray, on your servant (________) as they begin another year. Grant that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen their trust in your goodness in all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


May  3  – Mike Danaher

May  4  – Marilyn Zimmerman

May 10 – Claire Fox

May 13 – Bob Neuharth

May 15 – Mary Lee Miller

May 28 – Alan Kirby

June 24 – Peg Deal


May  5 – Ruth & Charles Bombaugh

May  7 – Ellen & Jim McLean

May 18 – Marilyn & Dave Zimmerman

May 20 – Joy & Jim Ham

June  6 – Irene & David Nelson

June 11 – Jenny & Mike Danaher

June 18 – Sylvia Linde-Guback & Thomas Guback

June 19 – Mary & Ed Ruffley

June 29 – June & Shep Sheppard

June 29 – Carol & Rich Isphording


Spring means not only the return of robins, but also of those parishioners and friends who have been elsewhere for a little while: welcome home.   Summer also means the return of our summertime regulars: welcome back.   Summer means the attendance of visitors who are “Up North” on vacation:  welcome friends.  Finally, very special thanks to those who keep St. Christopher’s home fires stoked, no matter the season.


By Ed Ruffley

The treasurer reported that the parish continues to be in sound financial position. The $30,000 gift to Leelanau Christian Neighbors in honor of Jan Hunt was funded.  Investments continue to increase in market value.

Ed Ruffley discussed the scheduling of an interview with the rector candidate.  The travel plans of various search committee members during the winter months, along with personal obligations of the candidate, have resulted in a revised schedule for an interview.  The candidate is now scheduled to visit St. Christopher’s and Bethany Lutheran on May 19.

Janet Dickerson announced that Bishop Hougland is scheduled to visit St. Christopher’s on August 13.  A committee will be established to coordinate arrangements for the Bishop.

The vestry approved a resolution to pay Bill Cook a bonus in recognition of the many contributions that he makes to our weekly worship services.


By Ed Ruffley

The vestry meeting scheduled for April 12, 2017, was cancelled due to the absence of the majority of vestry members.

A motion was subsequently made by Janet Dickerson to compensate Rev. Phillip Garrison  of Trinity Church for his help with the Soup Supper Service that was hosted by St. Christopher’s on March 16.   This motion, distributed by email, was approved by a majority of vestry members.


By Ed Ruffley

A revised date of May 19, 2017, has been chosen for the interview with the rector candidate.

Winter travel commitments on the part of St. Christopher’s participants and the personal schedule of the candidate eliminated the possibility of conducting an interview in April.

The candidate has been presented to us by our Bishop for the joint position of Rector of St. Christopher’s and Pastor of Bethany Lutheran. The interview will be conducted jointly with the Call Committee of Bethany Lutheran Church.


Please keep in mind, and prayer, the following parishioners: Ethel; Ed; Sylvia; Jeannie; Joanne; Alan; Carol I; Ulrich; Mary F.; Mary R.; and also the following friends and family: Sandy; Don; Les; Christy; Jeff; David; Wayne; Lt. Mark Folchi; John and Family; Harold; Steve; Bob; Doug; Robert R.; Rich B.; Georgia; and Glen.

PLEASE CONTACT JOY HAM (231-386-7531) if you have anyone to add to the Prayer List. If you are seeking particular prayers from the BCP please see page 208, and pages 828-831. Please remember all those serving our country in the military (BCP, page 823). And of course, nothing is more special than your own personal prayers. The prayers and thanksgivings in the BCP (Pages 814-841), include a marvelous array of prayers for so many circumstances, that reading one prayer may well lead the reader to another . . . and then another. Prayerful reading to all.


Your “Go-To” spot for all the doings at St. Christopher’s can be found at its website: Marilyn Zimmerman updates the website with the latest news, the service schedule, vestry meeting minutes, the periodic Newsletter, and much more. If you have any photos which would add interest and information to the website, please send those to Marilyn (mjznorth@gmailcom) for consideration.   We send special thanks to Marilyn for all her hard work in maintaining St. Christopher’s website, our window for the world.


The Vestry is looking for a volunteer to take minutes at the monthly Vestry meeting, held the second Wednesday of every month. The time involved is minimal, but the help is very much appreciated. Please contact Senior Warden Janet Dickerson if you are interested. Thank you!


For any comments, suggestions, corrections, etc. as to the Newsletter: please contact Mary Ruffley (cell 248-202-5363; e-mail

For information as to the Monthly Schedule: Please contact Jill Foerster (phone 213-271-3023; e-mail: PLEASE NOTE that any changes or substitutions as to the Monthly Schedule must be made directly by the listed parties, who are responsible for making those changes or finding substitutes if a problem arises…..and then noting those changes on the Monthly Schedule posted on the bulletin board in the church fellowship hall. Thank you.


There is always a need for flowers for the altar.  Please check the sign-up sheets on the parish hall bulletin board. If you are new to the procedure of supplying flowers, it is easily accomplished with a little planning: 1. On the Sunday BEFORE you are scheduled to provide flowers, take two urn liners from the vesting room as you leave the church. 2. On the Sunday you are scheduled to provide flowers, come early and arrange your flowers in the  urn liners, place the urn liners in the brass urns (box in the vesting room), and place the brass urns on the stands behind the altar. The flowers remain at the church until Monday, and can be picked up on Monday afternoons (1:00-3:00) when the Piece Makers are at the church, or via your arrangement with someone who has a key, or by you very early (following) Sunday morning removal, in order to make way for the new flowers on that Sunday.  At that time, please return the urn liners to the shelf in the vesting room, and place the brass urns back in the box in the vesting room. If you wish to name those who are specifically honored or remembered by your flowers, please call the church office (386-7780) by the Monday BEFORE your Sunday flowers and provide that information.  Flowers, including delivery, are available through Forget-Me-Not Florists in Suttons Bay, if you wish to use their services.

BUT WAIT! If you wish, you can bring your own flowers or plant(s), in your own containers, which you should label. All you then do is: 1. Sign up for your Sunday on the sheet on the bulletin board; 2. Come early enough to place your flowers; 3. Remove per the directions given earlier in this paragraph.


 We are St. Gertrude’s tenant: Altar Guild: Please remember to return the wood candle stands to the end of the altar, and place the candleholders on them. Everyone: Those using the church for any activities must check to see that all is restored and all items returned to original places. Thank you!. General information: Please check the Bulletin Board for the monthly schedule and other information. Flowers for the altar: ALWAYS needed! Please sign up on the Bulletin Board schedule.


Fellowship at Coffee (Half!) Hour is   wonderful; however, as a tenant of St. Gertrude’s we must all remember to conclude the Coffee (half) Hour by 10:30 sharp. Also, for Coffee Hosts, please remember to bring juice and milk, and a non-sugar food item choice, if possible. Tea is also available. Thanks to all Coffee Hosts!


Unless otherwise noted, all Newsletter content is written by Editor Mary Ruffley. Jill Foerster (Thank you, Jill!) prepared the May/June Schedule.



The work of the Altar Guild is central to the order and solemnity of our Sunday service. The parishioners of St. Christopher’s appreciate the dedication of each member of the Altar Guild: Janie Neuharth (Altar Guild Head), Margie Beers, Janet Dickerson, Moonyeen Fitch, Jill Foerster, Joy Ham, Ellen McLean, and Marilyn Zimmerman. Although this dedicated band is small but mighty, the Altar Guild can always use assistance, and welcomes new members to share in its important tasks. Please contact Janie Neuharth if you would like to help.


Senior Warden Janet Dickerson notes the addition of a new book to the library,  The Case for Easter: A Journalist Investigates the Evidence for the Resurrection, by Lee Strobel.  This book was a gift from Covenant Church at a Lenten Soup Supper.   As always, Librarian Ronnie Alff continuously updates the library.  As Father Tom Guback notes in the weekly bulletin:  “Visit our parish Library.  Be astounded.  Borrow a book.  Read it.”


Senior Warden Janet Dickerson recently noted the Episcopal Relief  & Development Fund as a possible recipient/beneficiary for those parishioners who are looking for opportunities to make charitable contributions.  Their address is: Episcopal Relief & Development Fund, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA  22116-7058.  Janet adds that Presiding Bishop Michael Curry recently visited Ghana, one of the places receiving aid from this Fund.

Bishop Hougland and his wife will visit northern Michigan parishes during the period August 12-15.  They will be staying at the Dickersons’ cottage during that time.  Bishop Hougland will conduct the August 13th service at St. Christopher’s.  Additional details of this visit will be made available.


The Piecemakers have changed the weekly meeting day from Thursday to Monday, beginning Monday, April 24.   The meeting time (1:00 – 3:30 PM) remains the same.  The group breaks for tea at 2:00 PM, so please feel free to come in any time and say hello.  The Piecemakers will continue to make quilts as their ongoing centerpiece project, but they are expanding their work to make items (lap robes, pillow cases, baby quilts, etc.) for veterans, homeless shelters, and similar groups.  Please join us!


“A Mighty Fortress is Our God” (page 688 of The Hymnal, 1982) is often considered to be Martin Luther’s “grandest hymn”.  Inspired by Psalm 46, it turned into the “Signature Hymn” of the Reformation.  It was written thirteen years after Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the Wittenburg church door in October of 1517.  Those years were filled with dangers, including attempts on his life, and Luther’s excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.  This hymn acknowledges the love, power and protection that God provides.  [The Complete Book of Hymns, William J. Petersen & Ardyth Petersen, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 2006]


“Love Divine All Loves Excelling” (page 657 of The Hymnal, 1982).  Given the fact that Charles Wesley wrote six thousand  hymns, it is easy to picture him working endlessly at a desk.  However, he was primarily a traveling preacher for most of his life, and he wrote hymns while on horseback traveling from parish to parish.  Using a shorthand writing system and notecards, he would rush into inns when the opportunity arose and then write out the complete hymn.  One time he was thrown from a horse and he regretted missing the chance to compose until he recovered from his injuries.   As a classical scholar at Oxford, Wesley looked to poet John Dryden’s “King Arthur” for the meter of this hymn; but instead of extolling Camelot, Wesley revered God’s divine love. [ The Complete Book of Hymns, William J. Petersen & Ardyth Petersen, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2006]


  1. ABOUT THOSE RINGING BELLS: The March/April 2017 Newsletter noted a New York Times article about volunteer bell ringers (“change ringers”) in churches around the world, focusing on English churches.  An update here notes the dangers that exist:  an item in the March 12, 2017 The Living Church magazine reported an accident that occurred in the bell tower of Worcester Cathedral.  In that incident, a 51-year-old volunteer (one of a two-person team on the tenor bell), was pulled up eighty feet in the air when his foot was caught in a bell rope.  What went up did come down; the change ringer suffered a broken bone in his back, but lived to tell the tale.
  2. FAITH DOWN UNDER: In Sydney, Australia, during the early 1930’s, a homeless alcoholic named Arthur Stace wandered into St. Barnabas’ Church and was converted. He quit drinking and found employment as a janitor at the Burton Street Tabernacle.  At an evening service there, Arthur heard an evangelist preach “Eternity! Eternity! Oh, that this word could be emblazoned across the streets of Sydney!”.  So Arthur Stace did just that, writing “Eternity” in chalk an estimated 500,000 times throughout Sydney from 1932 to 1967, during his nightly walks.  Today, a solid brass replica of Stace’s chalked message is embedded in Sydney’s Town Hall Square.  The “Eternity” message also was the centerpiece of the gigantic illuminated sign on the Sydney Harbor Bridge for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.  To read more about Arthur Stace and the Christian Church’s status in Australia, see the article in the March 26, 2017 issue of The Living Church (page 7) on which this synopsis is based.
  3. DEBTS, TRESPASSES, SINS: The origin and history of these terms as used in prayer are discussed in an article in the March 26, 2017 issue of The Living Church (page 20). The notions of material or financial meaning, the ancient Jewish law of forgiveness of monetary debt, the broadening of the term “debts” to “trespasses”, and the critical importance of forgiveness, are all reviewed in this interesting article.
  4. THE RECTOR SHORTAGE: In a March 26, 2017 article in The Living Church, author G. Jeffrey MacDonald sets out the grim statistics:  “Nowhere is the trend (toward part-time rectors) more visible than in the Episcopal Church, in which forty-eight percent of congregations [in the U.S.]  have no paid full-time priest.”  The article further states, “In northern Michigan, none of the 24 congregations has a full-time priest”.  The article’s focus is on the efforts put forth by parishioners: to take on further responsibilities; to share/rent church space; and to take other steps to stretch the diminishing budgets.  Reading this article can be disheartening; but the continuous efforts of the St. Christopher’s parishioners to forge ahead is only surpassed by the gratitude of the parishioners for its dedicated interim clergy.


While not currently available in our Hunt Library, the following books have been reviewed in national publications and are available in bookstores, local public libraries, and online.

  1. The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America, by Frances Fitzgerald (Simon & Schuster) has been reviewed by both the Wall Street Journal (April 1-2, 2017 week-end edition) and the New York Times (April 2, 2017 Book Review section). Both reviews are thorough and recommend this book.
  1. Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet, by Lyndal Roger (Random House). This book has been very favorably reviewed in the week-end editions of both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.


If you look up “pagan” in any dictionary, the definitions cite “non-Christians”; or those who are “not Christians, Muslims, or Jews”; or an “irreligious or heathenish” person.   Yet, further back in history in Roman times, “pagans” broadly meant “civilians” as opposed to “milites” or soldiers:  any citizen was a pagan, i.e. not a soldier.  That definition  changed, however, after the early Christians called themselves “the soldiers of the Lord”, thereby eventually rendering all others, i.e. non-Christians, as “pagans”. (Dictionary of Word Origins, by Joseph T. Shipley, The Philosophical Library, 1945).


Each season in northern Michigan brings its own special beauty, and our corresponding human response pertinent to that season.  Summer is beaming blue buoyancy, and seems to require the least from us:  like sponges, all we need to do is absorb and enjoy.  Autumn has us carom between the exhilaration of glorious colors and those somber grays and bare trees of November.  Winter holds us in its cocooning grasp as we exercise fortitude in the face of twelve (or more) snowy, overcast days in a row, waiting for the sun to reappear.  But since we know that it is indeed winter, we adjust expectations accordingly.

What does spring require?  Patience.  More than any other season, spring requires patience.  Roller coaster temperatures and change-in-an-instant weather require patience.  There is that warm sunny day bringing hope for continued warmth; such hope dashed when snow arrives in the night … accompanied by its pals, sleet and wind.  Thinking about wearing some lighter spring shoes or a jacket?  Try it and see what happens when caught in unexpected flurries, cold rain, or a north wind.  Patience means that the boots and heavy coat remain handy by the door until mid-June.

Yet, how completely is patience rewarded by spring … not in dramatic overnight brilliant displays, but in small unfoldings:  crocus poking up through the earth; daffodils, trillium, and forget-me-nots in succeeding bloom: and the unexpected warmth of the sun on your upturned face.

So it is that patience implies waiting.  Waiting implies anticipation.  Anticipation awaits spring.  Spring requires patience.  What a lovely circle in which to spin.

By Mary Ruffley