Pastors Mid week thoughts

Dear Friends in Christ,

The words from Ecclesiastes chapter 3 come to mind as I write this letter, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

As many of you are aware, First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon, IL has been in a season of discernment. Difficult questions have been asked and conversations have been had surrounding the vision for the congregation now and in the years to come. What has been hopeful is that there is a general consensus that it is important for the Mount Vernon, IL region to have a continued Presbyterian presence in the community.

It is with mixed emotions, that I am writing to inform you of my resignation as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Mount Vernon, IL. I have accepted a call to serve as the Pastor at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Endwell, NY outside of Binghamton, NY beginning in mid January of 2018. My last effective date will be January 15th with my last Sunday preaching on December 31st.  (I will be taking the New Year and Martin Luther King Jr. Day holidays in conjunction with 2 weeks of vacation.)

Please know that I am praying for you but in this season of change as of mid January I will no longer be able to perform pastoral duties among you including but not limited to funerals, baptisms, weddings, pastoral care, etc.

I am hopeful, with the partnership of the Presbytery of Southeast Illinois’ Administrative Commission that the FPC Mount Vernon Church family will be able to listen to God’s still small voice in this next season of your faith life together.

I know that wherever God is leading you that it will be grounded in connecting people with God as you do each week in worship and study. Connecting people with each other as I have witnessed you care for people in their moments of greatest joy, sadness, and all the days in between. Connecting people with the broader community as you have opened your doors with monthly community meals, an ongoing clothes line, sending youth to help at Lifeboat Homeless Shelter serve a monthly meal, and sending members out into the world to various places in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

So friends I leave you with these words to go now and love and serve “the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind and to love your neighbor as yourself.”

In Christ’s Humbling Peace,

Rev. Rachel Helgeson








Christ the King Sunday & Hanging of the Greens

Leading Worship:  Rev Rachel Helgeson (FPC Mt Vernon Pastor)



First Sunday of Advent

Leading Worship:  Rev Rachel Helgeson (FPC Mt Vernon Pastor)

Baptism of Hermionne Oldham



Second Sunday of Advent

Leading Worship:  Rev Rachel Helgeson (FPC Mt Vernon)







Pastoral Care



Upcoming dates for your calendar

December 9th -  Cookie walk

December 13th - Advent Festival: Enjoy a meal with friends.  Hear the Gospel Story read again with Carols Sung by the Piano and take home Christmas decoration. Tis the season to get ready for Jesus to do a New Thing!

December 21st - Lessons and Carols Ecumenical Service at First United Methodist Church

December 24th - Christmas Pageant at the 10am worship service and Christmas Eve Candle Light Service at 6pm



Pastoral Care:  Contact the church office at 244-34210  or the Deacons with pastoral care concerns.



Presbyterian Women


Cookie Walk

Save the Date:

Saturday December 9th

First Come First Served!!!






Mission Team



The ongoing Community Meal keeps growing from month to month.  But the story isn't the delicious food (although it is becoming the talk of the town), the story is in the people who come through the doors of FPC receiving a small blessing in the form of food from wherever they have been to wherever they are going no questions asked. 

Even the Presbyterian Church's Synod of the Linclon Trails has been impressed with the effort that they have awarded grant money to continue this ministry and continue to be the hands and feet of Christ through one meal at a time.

The  Community Meals are held the second Monday of every month from 11am-1pm.  All are invted and welcome. Come join us for a delicious meal.






This Last Sunday of every month the M&M Crew helps serve a meal at Lifeboat Homeless Shelter.  We meet at 4:30pm to begin the work and then serve.

Save the Date:

Lifeboat Meals: Last Sunday of the month

Christmas Party: 4:30pm December 3rd  at Emily Cooper's Home






spiritual formation


  Do you like Coffee or a hot beverage?

Do you have questions about faith?


The world?

Your beliefs?

What it means to be a Presbyterian? 

What it meants to be a Christian?

Things about Scripture and how it applies to what's happening today?

Then come and join the Coffee and Questions group every Sunday morning before worship in the fellowship all.

It is always an interesting time, discussing various topics and questions which come up concerning our beliefs, and our world!






If you like to read, discuss, and learn about different religious points of view, join the book study group that meets at 9:00am on Sunday mornings in the Freytag Room.

Marcia Ellison and Susan Gajewski will be leading the discussion.







During the Fall , children will be learning from an Illustrated Earth curriculum where they will study Water Stories, Plant and Food Stories and Animal Stories.  Each of the stories line up with what is being preached and spoken about in worship.

During Advent, children will learn about the story of Christmas through the lens of Joseph, Mary, the Angels, and the Wisemen. 

We are planning a Christmas Pageant on December 24th during the 10am service and wll welcome.

Ultimately each week children will get to learn and grow with various members of our congregation who feel passionate about Christian Education.

  We hope your children will enjoy this new exploration in their faith through relationships with their community of faith!