Bluff Point Methodist
Spring is upon us! Can’t you just feel it in the air? We are planning to have Zoom and in-person church following CDC recommendations beginning Sunday May 2. Please text or phone Babs Steinert for your reservation and place in the sanctuary!
Our scripture lesson from Acts 6: 1-7 today showed us the life and faith of Stephen, someone we don’t speak of often. Stephen was chosen as a deacon. He brought cultural diversity to the church. He lived his faith openly and was steeped in God. He was well-versed in God’s word.
Pastor Sandi asked us if we are bold in our love for God. Do we show courage and love? Are we willing to possibly annoy people to show our love for God and what we believe in? Stephen had the strength he needed to stand up for God. Stephen even pleaded for forgiveness for those men who stoned and eventually killed him!
We need people to beautify the church yard when we are able to plant flowers. We also are planning for our bi-annual Adopt-a-Highway clean up for early in May. Consider helping with these missions!
St. Mark’s Epsicopal
The joy on Easter Sunday at St Mark’s was palpable. Even those who were not in attendance physically, but enjoyed the service via You Tube, could feel it. It was as if the only emotion in the building was JOY.
We all have a list of “shoulds” in our life. We should eat right. We should exercise. We should get enough sleep. We should go to church. And when we don’t eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, or go to church; we feel bad. We feel like we let ourselves down and we feel like we may in some way, have let someone else down. We might even feel like we missed something important. But Easter Sunday was different. We all had been absent and missed services. We did not feel like we let someone down. We felt, maybe, a bit like the Prodigal Son. We were welcomed back with great love.
There is much written about the power of a small shift in perspective. Instead of “I have to go to church,” after Covid 19, it became “I get to go to church.” That shift in so many created that sense of joy that we all felt. Perhaps the lesson is that each time we return to church, we return with that sense of joy at being able to go, not be required to go; and simply acknowledge that we are loved just as the Prodigal Son was loved upon his return home.
We can share that love by serving others, and there are several options to do so at St. Mark’s! You “get to” choose from the Communications Committee, the Columbarium Committee, or the Hospitality Committee. You can become a Lector or a Chalicist. You can participate in the Altar Guild. You can become part of our Pastoral Care Team, or join the Bereavement Support Group. You can work with the Stewardship committee, or the Worship committee. But the greatest offering is simply to join us on Sunday and include us in your prayers. There are so many things that you can choose from at St. Marks. We hope that you will join us!
Penn Yan First Presbyterian
This Friday we will celebrate Arbor Day, a secular day of observance that is not only useful but it can easily be held while social distancing. It’s a great reason to get together outside, with family and friends, to do something positive for the environment, like planting trees and picking up litter. Over the years, this day (now often combining with Earth Day) has evolved into a tradition of cleaning up unkempt sections within neighborhoods and/or planting a tree which we dedicate to someone special in our lives. FPC has such a tree outside the church’s entryway, to honor the life of a person from our congregation, Sonja, who loved to garden.
The founder of Arbor Day, Julius Sterling Morton, came from this area, in nearby Adams, NY. It’s up in the 1000 Island Seaway region, near Lake Ontario, home to many fruit orchards and dairy farms. When Julius headed west in the 1850’s to seek his fortune, he settled in the Nebraska Territory. Julius quickly noticed the stark absence of trees, especially fruit trees, which he’d grown-up around and loved. So he proceeded to plant thousands of trees and create orchards on his 160 acre parcel. Julius spread the word of the planet’s need for all types of trees to anyone who would listen. By 1872 in Nebraska, he was able to get a special day during April designated and on that day alone one million trees were planted throughout the state. Soon thereafter Mr. Morton proclaimed, “Other holidays repose upon the past; Arbor Day proposes for the future.” His idea literally “spread’ around the world and Arbor Day is now observed in many countries on the last Friday of April.
As people of faith, we are often reminded of the planting of the very first trees on earth in Genesis 2:9, “And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food…” This weekend is a great time to look towards a better future and begin to see positive growth, so why not plant a tree and celebrate someone you love.
Penn Yan First Baptist
At First Baptist Church we begin each service with a spiritual moment. A few weeks ago Erik Miller took a few moments to relate to us how producing maple syrup is much like life. It is hard work but, if we use care and do it right it comes out sweet.
Pastor Karen would like her parishioners to know that she will have office hours on Tuesdays from 1 to 4 pm. If you are a home-bound church member and would like to have a communion service at your home, call Deacon Betty Johnson at 315-224-5102 or Deacon Barbara Burke at 315-694-7548 to schedule that.
First Baptist will observe Blanket Sunday on May 9. You may be surprised to know that in 2020 Church World Service distributed 63,967 Blankets and Kits in the United States alone! And, CWS was able to immediately provide kits and blankets at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic too.
We invite you to join us for worship Sundays at 10 a.m. We have children's and adult Sunday School also. See you on Sunday!
Milo Center Methodist
As our congregation returns to a "new" normal, it is great to see so many attending services. What a joy we have in our church family. We miss our young disciples, but they are busy behind the scenes planning an outreach to our members.
Pastor Kim reflected on the stories we have been told of the resurrection and days that followed from the Bible. Thankfully gospel has been written to share the events, now the rest is up to us. Do we believe? There are things none of us believe until it's our own experience. Perhaps we aren't mentally or spiritually prepared to accept Jesus and His story. Just as the Bible helps us piece together the life of Jesus and events of that time, we are called to share the good news and continue telling others. Our readings this week were from the gospel of Luke 24:36-48. May peace be with you.
Thank you to Karen Mann, Jill Henderson and Susan Andersen for providing our lunch mission to The Living Well this month. Prayers uplifted for Dana and Lisa Gibson and family, Laurie Koek, David Bellis, Dave Perl, Kristine Mattison, and the McGuire family. We ask for settled hearts as times of decision making come upon us.
The service on April 18 started with a prelude by organist, Sheryl Parkhurst. The Call to Worship was led by Louise Bond:
Leader: When we are confused
People: Lord, Give us peace.
Leader: When we are afraid
People: Lord, Give us Peace.
Leader: When we are lost in grief
People: Lord, Give us peace.
All: O God, meet us in this room
and Grant us Peace!
Louise read the scripture: Luke 24: 36-48, then Sheryl played the piano while Louise sang, "I Believe" very beautifully. Sheryl also played the following selections: I Expect a Miracle; Something Good is Going to Happen to You; Cleanse Me; Glory, Hallelujah, Jubilee; Reach Out to Jesus; I Heard About; My God and I; He Keeps Me Singing a Happy Song; and Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul.
Pastor Marilyn Wood's sermon: There were people throughout scripture who had the opportunity to be with Jesus. The five senses that are realized in the scripture from today. Sight and Touch: They saw Jesus and thinking that He was a ghost, Jesus said touch me and see I'm flesh and bones. Smell and Taste: They smelled and tasted broiled fish as they gathered around Jesus. Hearing: They heard Him talking. Jesus wants you to connect with Him. He walks with us and touches us in times of hurting and in times of joy.
Benediction: Go from this place knowing that Jesus is there to lead and guide you. He is with you always.