CHURCH BRIEFS

The Chronicle Express

Bluff Point Methodist

Kids church continues on Saturday. Contact Pastor Sandi if your child or grandchild would like to attend. This past week the children celebrated their mothers, speaking of goodness, faithfulness and love.

It is great to see people returning to church at Bluff Point Methodist. Baby steps!

Our scripture lesson was from Genesis 29: 15-30. Pastor Sandi’s sermon for Mother’s Day Sunday looked at Rachel. Rachel was small and the youngest daughter in her family. She also was a shepherdess. She had authority in her life. She, however, had a lot of pent-up anger and could have a mean spirit. She was graceful and beautiful. Rachel was Jacob’s favorite. Sandi asked if we were a Rachel? God created us for goodness. We learn every day. We are not perfect, but often make our lives complicated.

Little by little we are coming back from the Covid year. Hymnals and Bibles will now. reappear. We also will be able to write prayer requests on our prayer cards. After services, weather permitting, bring a lawn chair for distanced socialization and fellowship in the parking lot. You can also bring your own refreshments. 

We have had several recent anniversaries, including the Morehouse’s, the Westerdahl’s and the Sutherland’s. Congratulations to all. Billy Lavin has recently graduated from Geneseo with an engineering degree, and Anna Detar will soon graduate with a degree in Social Work. We are proud of our graduates!

Continuing with our study of women, Pastor Sandi examined Leah, as described in Genesis 30. Leah was Rachel’s older sister. How do you feel if you know you are first but you are treated as second? Jacob did not love Leah.  Leah was also jealous of Rachel, as she had taken away her husband Jacob. We looked at God having a plan and a kingdom. God used Leah and Rachel as producing sons for his kingdom.  Leah’s tragedy reminds us how important love is. God worked through this troubled family to accomplish his will, even though there was much suffering involved. 

The children have plotted out their gardens at church. They will be growing strawberries and various vegetables in their plots. We will enjoy seeing the fruits of their labors!


St. Mark’s Episcopal

Readers of this column have seen descriptions of the beautiful stained windows in the sanctuary at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – and have heard the stories behind those pieces of colored glass. There are other meaningful objects in the church that remind us of those who have gone before us, like the marvelously simple wrought-iron sanctuary lamps crafted by Frank Wheeler – better known as Bud – over 70 years ago, in 1949. Those lamps illuminate the church’s inner space on gloomy November Sunday mornings and for Christmas and Easter vigil services: reliable, sturdy, and lovely to look at.

Those lamps have gotten a recent update – as have many of our treasured objects: one of the last chores our rector, the Very Reverend Dan Burner, completed before his retirement was to install LED bulbs in the lamps.

For St. Mark’s not only looks to the past but plans for the future; we are working very hard to create and maintain as sustainable practices as possible.

Interestingly, about two years ago, the Vestry at St. Mark’s endorsed a project within the church to be sustainable.   The church stopped using paper towels in the bathrooms and began using small hand towels. The use of paper plates in the kitchen had been switched to real china years before, but we bolstered that with fabric towels and wipes instead of paper products. The effort continues in spite of COVID-19, though we definitely strayed to paper towels during the early phases! A more substantial project is the change of all the lights to LED fixtures or bulbs, reducing our use of electricity significantly. Anyone who has purchased LED fixtures knows that they are several times the cost of a standard incandescent bulb but will last virtually indefinitely. Because of the cost, this has taken us some time, but we are very close to using all LED fixtures – including Bud Wheeler’s lamps.  

Sustainability is part of the way that we, at St. Mark’s, are stewards of our community. We take seriously our commitment to caring for the well-being of one another, our building and grounds, our community at large, and our earth. We hope that these small acts contribute to the long-term health and beauty of our environs. During the course of your day, we encourage you to think about ways you can create a sustainability routine. As always, we would love to see you on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m.

St. Michael’s Catholic

We are so pleased that our school’s Cash Bash was a sell-out!  Congratulations to all the winners, which is all of us who support Catholic Christian education. Additionally, two of SMS’ most popular fundraisers will return this year. “Bike the Bluff” had some modifications, so it will now be known as “Bike for St. Mike.” It will be in June.  The golf tournament will be Aug. 18 at the Lakeside Country Club.  As always, your participation and prayerful support are appreciated. 

Three of our school children were interviewed by our diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Courier Journal about their teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Congratulations to Ryan, Willamena and Olivia who gave shout-outs to Mr. Prather, Ms. Egburtson and Ms. Hurley. 

On Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church, a few of our youth received Jesus in the Sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time. Congratulations to Claire, Alyana, Aubrey, Levi, Jackson and Denis and their families! May it be the beginning of many more times you will be enlivened by this sacrament! 

We are so pleased that loosened restrictions have resulted in many more of us returning to Mass in person. This weekend we expect to see additional people because of the Memorial Day holiday. Overflow seating will be available in the Church Hall. Although not a liturgical holiday, those remembered, who have given their lives in service to our nation, were also God’s children. May they have eternal rest.  

If you are a Yates County resident 13 years or older, please complete the Community Survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RL9NNHJ  The survey is to help us become a healthier community. It should take 15 minutes. Thanks for contributing! 

Branchport Methodist Church

Pastor Kim Lyons has been taking us through the book of Romans in both her messages on Sunday morning and during our Zoom fellowship time on Thursday evenings. It has been a good way to reflect on our faith and how we can become better Christians. All are welcome to join us! Contact Pastor Kim (kjolyons@yahoo.com) for information on how to join us.

It’s that time of year again! After having to cancel our annual Memorial Day weekend chicken BBQ last year, we are so looking forward to our drive-thru event this year on Saturday, May 29. It will be the traditional delicious menu of ½ chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, roll and cookie for just $10. Children under 10 get a meal for just $5 and if you only want the chicken it’s also $5. While we can’t yet invite you into our fellowship hall to eat, we look forward to seeing you “drive by” in your car! We will start serving at 4:30 p.m. and go until we are sold out. Thank you in advance for helping to support our church!

Dresden Methodist

The service for May 16 started with an organ prelude by Sheryl Parkhurst. The Call to Worship and Scripture of John 17:6-19 were read by Toby Bond. Musical Selections included: 2 Corinthians 3:18; Something Beautiful; We Have Come into this House; Make Us One; Beautiful Savior; Shepherd of Love; He Has Time; Goin' to Build My Life; You Also Do for Me; and O Cross of Wondrous Love.

Pastor Marilyn Wood's Message: ”It is Ascension Sunday. It is the opposite of Christmas. On Christmas, Jesus came down to earth. The Ascension is when Jesus goes back to the Heavenly Father. Pastor Marilyn told a story about a pipe organ which could be heard all over a valley. One day it became silent and needed repair. No one could repair it, except for one older man. He got it working again. He was the one who made the organ. He fixed it. People try to fix people, but Jesus is the only one who can really fix people. He made us. He knows us.  After Jesus' Resurrection, He appeared several times. Jesus can open our minds, like he opened the disciples' minds. A fog was lifted, they caught on. His followers became witnesses to all that happened to Jesus. During the Ascension, Jesus gave His disciples guiding words and while He blessed them, Jesus was lifted up before them and He went up to Heaven.”

Benediction: “As you go forth from this place, The Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you and give you peace.”

There will be a drive-through Chicken Barbecue after the Memorial Day service in Dresden at the United Methodist Church May 31 at noon. Come down Main Street and turn left onto Cornelia Street. The meal includes: Chicken, macaroni salad, baked beans, and a roll for $10.

Penn Yan United Methodist Church

Spring is here and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. Most people consider that cleaning drudgery, but the Penn Yan United Methodist Church created a way to make it fun through fellowship and, of course, food. On May 15, members of all ages gathered to do spruce-up projects inside and outside the church buildings.

The crew who put much work into Clean-up Day at Penn Yan United Methodist included Sandy McKay and Helen Stewart.
The crew who put much work into Clean-up Day at Penn Yan United Methodist included  Kim Heitman and Tony Gray.
The crew who put much work into Clean-up Day at Penn Yan United Methodist included Sherry Lawn on window duty.
The crew who put much work into Clean-up Day at Penn Yan United Methodist included Shaf Habeeb and Nancy Zwetsch.

“It is a way we can be good stewards of the church campus - facilities, buildings, and properties,” said Nancy Zwetsch, chair of the church’s Board of Trustees, which organized the event. She noted that normally there are two work days each year, but because of COVID, none were held in the past year, so there was lots to do. She added, “The day brought together members of the church family to accomplish some tasks, but also to fellowship and get to know each other in a setting different from Sunday morning services.”

The Board of Trustees, consisting of nine members -- Zwetsch, along with Beulah Decker, Rodger Francis, Jack Gleason, Tony Gray, Kim Heitmann, Cecily Lefkus, Sandy McKay, and Helen Stewart -- formed teams to work on various projects. Among those projects was grounds work completed by three of the trustees prior to the work day to coincide with the village debris pickup schedule. Then on May 15, each of the trustees led small groups to wash more than 30 windows; paint the entryway to the office; plant flowers; and deep clean the kitchen including counters, cupboards, the oven, and more.

Additionally, the day started what Zwetsch calls “friendship plantings” on the church grounds, with parishioners sharing various outdoor plants as they thinned their own gardens at home and then planted them at the church.

The Rev. Kristen Roth Allen noted that the work day “reflects the church’s active congregation full of dedicated and generous people.”

Penn Yan First Presbyterian 

Could we imagine a world without music? Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” There are as many types of music as there are cultures. Music evokes joy and helps to ease sorrow. It can lift spirits, hearts, and moods. We sing to babies, in groups and to ourselves. People will always raise their voices in song. However for many months, most of us attending “virtual” services have been unable to sing in unison, in a church. Thankfully for FPC, the organ and piano are still being played live at Sunday services, regularly pre-recorded solos by members have been uploaded on our website and FB page each Sunday, and the words to the hymns are printed in the bulletin for people to follow along. There has been the continued inspiring sound of music to get us through the uncertainty of this period.

FPC is fortunate to have such devoted and unbelievably accomplished musicians in our midst. Megan, our Choir Director and an extremely talented singer in her own right, has been lending her voice to the videos for most weekly solos. Chris, our current organist, was hired just as this pandemic began and he has persevered, under these highly unusual circumstances, to master our organ and FPC’s new piano. Pastor Paul, who has likely heard many renditions of Joy to the World over the years, said of Chris last week, “I have never heard Joy to the World played in such a way, it sounded so amazing on the new piano, people thought it was a duet.” Idelle, our former long-time organist, continues to graciously step in when Chris is away.

Chris has just completed his Master’s Degree from the Eastman School of Music and has taken a well deserved trip back to South Korea to celebrate with family. He will return to FPC and then begin his PHD studies at Eastman. So, Idelle will again be filling our sanctuary with her masterful playing for a few weeks and Megan will hopefully be back in-person in the near future to perform live, as our church continues this careful reopening phase. On this Trinity Sunday, Megan will perform “Loyal,” reminding us that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’s love for us remains unwavering. We encourage you to tune in to the website (pypc.org) on Sundays at 10 a.m. to hear the service and glorious music or catch up on previous weeks you may have missed. We give thanks for FPC’s talented trio and pray that sooner than later our choir and all of us will be able to raise our voices in song together once more. “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” Psalms 98:4.


Milo Center Methodist

"The past is where you learned the lesson, the future is where you apply the lesson, don't give up in the middle." This saying can relate to so many of us. You may call it hindsight even. Pastor Kim asked us how we choose to focus our faith by  sharing Abraham's journey. Abraham believed that God could make the impossible possible. He chose to put his faith in that promise from God. Nearly everyone believes in faith of one kind or another. Some may believe in idols, luck, fate or simply have faith in themselves. Whatever and however you believe it is important to convey that faith in your life through action. Above all else, God is who promises to make the impossible possible to those who know Him.

The sunshine brings about long hours to our farming community. Safety and success to them as they prepare their crops. So great to see our winter birds back. Wilma Freeman and Mary Lou Hessney, we missed you. Prayers for all needing strength to fight illnesses big and small. We offer gratitude for the blessing of Valerie Lerch for her musical talents each week. Our young disciples are collecting small change for their next mission project. It's not too late to contribute.


The Living Well

Thanks to all of you that have continued to support us at The Living Well. Times have been certainly different this past year, but with more people getting vaccinated we are taking baby steps getting back to a more normal operation schedule.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Nazareth College ‘21 graduate Abigail Lyons has prepared a thoughtful and decorative storefront display at The Living Well to promote mental health awareness. This has sparked a lot of community conversation on this topic of how one can have safe conversations around emotions and mental health concerns. (If you are interested in more examples of Abigail’s work her Instagram account is a.lyons_art). Thank you Abigail for your sensitive work on this topic!

How are you doing with mental health issues during this year of separation and Covid isolation? So many have been holed up without access to friends, family and their normal support systems during this time. Do you have questions? Are you feeling sad, angry, depressed, or lonely? Stop in at the Living Well. We can listen! We are all in this together.

Our Second Saturday event for June will be held at the Vineyard Apartments, 100 McKinley Ave., from 2-3:30 p.m. We will be giving away soccer balls and other goodies, along with having hamburgers to eat. Please join us. All are welcome!

Our grab-and-go lunches continue each M-W-F at the Well. We also still are offering help with utilities, pantry items and needs at the Well. Call 315-536-0838 for further information.