Mitchells Presbyterian Church Monthly Newsletter

January 2021

Pastor’s Corner

Grace to you and peace!

“And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’”

— Revelation 21:5

Happy New Year everyone! What a year it has been. I think there was a world-wide sigh of relief as the clock struck midnight and 2020 finally ended. Unfortunately, COVID is still with us, but there is some hope on the horizon that the vaccines, along with our continued diligence with masks and social distancing, can put this pandemic behind us. It will take some time. So, we continue to pray for our leaders, our front-line workers, our hospitals, and medical personnel, and all those whose lives have been impacted by this deadly virus.

I ran across this devotional on December 31st, and it seemed an appropriate one to share as we collectively release the past and embrace what will be unfolding in 2021. Here it is:

“As the year comes to a close, I take time to review how I responded to a period of time that challenged me more than usual. Perhaps my compassion was awakened and I felt moved to serve. Maybe my heart felt full as I prayed for loved ones and for people I’ve never met. Looking back, my heart feels full as I recount the lessons that prompted my spiritual growth and the blessings I discovered as I worked through my hardships.

I meet the coming year with a positive, hopeful attitude and an openness to new ways of thinking. I feel ready for a fresh start and a new beginning. No matter the obstacles that may come my way, I remain committed to realizing all that God has in-store for me and my life.”

May it be so!

A big “thank you” to everyone who had a hand in making our Advent and Christmas programming a success. I love how, even in these most unusual times, the folks of Mitchells come together to make it happen. That’s resilience!

A special thanks to Chuck Gyory for all his help, week in and week out, recording and editing our videos. Thank you, Chuck! You will see that Chuck and I have included a very brief survey with this newsletter. It’s our hope that the feedback that you all provide can help us continue to improve what we do. Please return them to the church office by January 15th. Thank you!

Blessings all as we begin our journey together in 2021!

Pastor Mike

Epiphany House Blessing

On Sunday January 3rd, we will celebrate “Epiphany”, the manifestation of God’s saving purpose to all the nations of the world. Just as the magi came from a distant land to worship the Christ child, God’s covenant of grace is extended to all. The symbolism of light is important as it suggests the bright dawning of God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ AND it reminds us that we are called to bear Christ’s light in the world.

In the early centuries, the birth of Christ did not have its own feast. It was originally part of a great feast on January 6 called “Epiphany” that celebrated several “manifestations” of Christ – his birth, his recognition by the Magi, his baptism in the Jordan, and his miracle at Cana.

Around the 4th century, Christians in the Western world pulled Christmas out of the Epiphany celebration and gave it a feast of its own on December 25. The time between this new feast on December 25, and the feast of the Epiphany on January 6 became the Christmas season – the “12 days of Christmas.”

In many parts of the world, Epiphany is time when gifts are exchanges and our houses are blessed with a custom called “Marking the House”. After saying the prayer below, chalk is used to mark above the door frame with the following:

20 + C+ M + B + 21

The numbers are for the year (2021) and the letters signify the traditional names of the three Kings (though not mentioned in Scripture) Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. The letters also stand for “Christus Mansionem Benedicat” which is a Latin blessing for “May Christ bless this house”. I like that! May Christ bless all of our homes!

God of doors and homes,

bless this home this year and every year.

Bless all who come and go through this door,

both those who live here and those who visit.

May all we enter through this door

come in peace and bring joy.

May all who come to this door

find welcome and love.

May the love and joy in this home overflow

and spread into the community and the world.

And may Jesus the Christ watch over us all.


Session News

• Pastor Mike thanked the Gyorys and Alan Wohlleben for their help in preparing and recording the Worship Services for the past several months. Thanks were also extended to those who decorated the Sanctuary for the Advent Season, and for all those who have helped keep things moving during 2020.

• The new sign for the church yard has been manufactured and will be installed as soon as weather permits. (It should be noted that the foundation for the new sign has been installed during the last week of December and will need to cure before the new sign is attached. Thanks to the guys who are doing the installation.)

• Session approved an audio/visual survey to be sent to members with the January 2021 newsletter to help it determine what is working and areas that could be made better.

• The next Session Meeting will be Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Presbyterian Women

The Presbyterian Women have not been meeting in person. However, the Christmas card sales were a huge success, and we are donating all of our profits to the Culpeper food closet. Thank you once again to Janet Miller for sharing her artistic talents. This will take the place of the January soup collection. We are hoping that 2021 brings us the blessing of once again being able to meet in person.

Men of the Church

The Men of the Church will meet on Thursday, January 7, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. for a boxed dinner and will be discussing Sausage Sales this year. Ron Evans has been informed that the arrangements for processing are already being discussed.

Let’s start off 2021 with the MOC Sausage Sales.

An email asking for confirmations of attendance will be sent to out shortly.

Safety and Security Committee (SSC)

Buildings & Grounds and Safety & Security Joint Project

A two-committee effort has installed a new sign for MPC. The group was torn as to what the sign should say, so by majority vote of the installation crew, the responsibility for writing the message is being forwarded to Session. This is the best we could do:

Actually, the hard part of installing the new sign is now complete. Two holes 4’ deep were filled with over 2300 pounds of concrete, all mixed by hand. After about a week of cure time, the new sign will be installed along with new electrical service. So far, there is not much to show since it’s all underground:

Church Events/Information

PNC Nominating Committee

The Mitchells PNC would like to update you on the progress as we continue to search for a new minister. The PNC has been meeting since May and works closely with Fred Holbrook, on a regular basis, regularly. The survey was developed and distributed in June and July and then the results were formulated into the ministry information form. This form was then submitted to the Presbyterian Church USA data base where it is matched with countless pastor information forms. Since August, the committee has reviewed over 150 pastor information forms and followed that process with research on pastors via their social media platforms, sermon videos, church websites, and more. The PNC has invited 24 pastors to meet with us and discuss the needs of Mitchells Presbyterian Church. Several declined the invitation and we met with four candidates who declined future meetings.

Our committee is dedicated to the future and we know that God has a specific and exciting plan for our church. We ask that everyone continue to pray daily for our church, the candidates, and the future of Mitchells.

Bless you all in the New Year.

Brett Massey, Becky Payette, Roxy Mitchell, Mary Lou Phillips, Vicky Tidman, Jimmy Walker, Vickie Wallace.

Worship Committee

The worship committee would like to thank all those involved in planning, decorating, and participating in the Christmas season during this especially hard time for our church. COVID did not stop the church from decorating, putting on the tree of lights and hosting a live nativity scene. I know I can’t name all the people involved, but I’d like to mention the special efforts of some of the people involved.

Thanks to Janet Miller for church decorations and the nativity costumes.

Thanks to Dot for coordinating the tree of lights – which was made more difficult by having to be done by mail.

Thanks to Janet Miller and Susan Wollheben for spearheading the live nativity scene. The costumes were superb (with lights even!), the narrative was inspiring, and the actors were well rehearsed. And what a delight to see so many children in the program!

Thanks to the security team for the purchase of the outdoor sound system.

Thanks to Jimmy and Ann Walker for putting up the lights.

Thanks to Chuck Gyory and Allen Wollheben for manning the cameras for services and the nativity.

Thanks to Mary Scott for digging through the archived audio files to find the hymns and anthems broadcast in services and the nativity and of course her wonderful music.

Of course there many more who helped – too many for me to remember. Please forgive me if I forgot to mention them all.

Barbara Waters, Chairman – Worship Committee

Donations to MPC

Any donations to the church can be mailed to:

Mitchells Presbyterian Church

P. O. Box 98

Mitchells, VA 22729

All mail is being picked up twice a week and deposits are being made by Ron Evans, the church treasurer.

Mitchells Presbyterian Email Prayer Chain

The church has developed an online prayer chain. If you wish to be a part of this prayer chain, please send an email to and your name will be added.

This prayer chain is being overseen by Patti Weaver. If you have prayer requests, you may email Patti at the above email address or call her at 540-547-9319.

Please note that this prayer chain is not to be confused with the Presbyterian Women’s email chain. While the PW’s email chain does include prayers, its main purpose is to keep the PW informed as to what is going on within their group.

The Prayer of Mitchells prayer chain is for prayers and will reach out to anyone wishing to be included.

Survey About Audio/Video Services

For those who do not use the internet

How often do you read the weekly mailing?

——- -Never

——- -Once or twice

——— Sometimes

——— Regularly

Do you receive the weekly mailing in a timely manner?

___ Yes ___ No

 If weekly “Parking Lot” services were held at a convenient time would you attend?

___ Yes ___ No

If a showing of the video recorded for YouTube were set up in the Fellowship Hall each week, would you attend assuming that all precautions would be taken with masks and distancing as well as limiting the number of persons at each showing?

___ Yes ___ No

If a Chromebook (a small portable computer) were made available to you AND someone delivered the service to you so that you could watch it on this device, would that be of interest to you?

___ Yes ___ No

What else would you like to see?



For those who do use the internet

Do you listen to the audio of the service attached to the weekly email?

———- Never

———- Once or twice

———– Sometimes

———— Regularly

Is the length OK?

___ Too long ___ About Right ___ Too short

Is the sound OK?

___ Yes ___ No ___ So‐So

What device do listen to the audio service on?

___ PC ___ Tablet ___ Phone

Survey About Audio‐Video Services

Do you watch the service on YouTube?

———- Never

———– Once or twice

———– Sometimes


Is the sound OK?

___ Yes ___ No ___ So‐So

Is the video OK?

___ Yes ___ No ___ So‐So

Is the length OK?

___ Too long ___ About Right ___ Too short

What device do watch the video service on?

___ PC ___ Tablet ___ Phone

Do you use the “Order of Worship” that is provided?

____Yes ____No

 Your suggestions for improving the format of the service:



 Any other suggestions:



If weekly “Parking Lot” services were held at a convenient time would you attend?

___ Yes ___ No

 If a showing of the video recorded for YouTube were set up in the Fellowship Hall each week, would you attend assuming that all precautions would be taken with masks and distancing as well as limiting the number of persons at each showing?

___ Yes ___ No

Please return your survey to the church office by January 15th:

Mitchells Presbyterian Church

PO Box 98

Mitchells VA 22729