CHURCH BRIEFS

Special to The Chronicle-Express

Penn Yan First Baptist

In October we will focus on the World Mission Offering which we will receive on Oct. 17. Like all gifts to the International Ministries General Fund, 85% are used for mission programs, 10% for administrative support and 5% for development costs. Our WMO also helps to keep global servants in the field and covers ministry expenses such as education, training and pastoral care. Our Mission Board will share a brief message during worship that will bring to light some of the ways our gifts help share the gospel around the world.

Good news! After-church coffee hours are back. Be sure to stay with us after worship for a light snack and coffee to visit with each other. We've missed you!

Are you being blessed by some of our ministries? Connie shares her special talent by enhancing the sanctuary with mood-boosting, worshipful messages of hope and love in a variety of ways. Barbara has been sharing her love of poetry, Baptist history, and mindful meditations each week in our bulletins. Everyone has a gift to share. What might yours be? How can you share it with our congregation? 

We have a prayer group that meets at 10 a.m. Wednesdays in our church chapel. Join them as they share how God is working in their lives, prayers answered and praying for each other's concerns too. Our Milly's Pantry Backpack item for October is applesauce cups. They appreciate our support. We invite you and your family to our worship services on Sundays at 10 a.m. We are wheelchair accessible and provide hearing assists for those who would benefit from them. See you Sunday in church!

Bluff Point Methodist

We participated as part of our church mission in the Yates County Road Clean-up Sept. 18. It was a beautiful fall day, and we got the job done in about an hours time! Participants were: Edie Achenbach, David Achenbach, Jean Murdock, Dana Schillinger, Helen Schillinger, Dick Smith, Stacey Wyant, Meredith Nielsen, Sherri Hunt, Blanche Fingar, and Joyce Wiedrich. Thanks to all!

Meredith Nielsen, Stacey Wyant, Blanche Fingar, Dana Schillinger, and Sherri Hunt were part of Bluff Point Methodist's road clean-up crew on Yates County road clean-up day.

We continued with Zoom and in-person worship. Jo Jaeger was the Zoom greeter, and Eric Detar provided Zoom IT. Scripture was Philippians 1: 21-30. We certainly have learned a lot about Paul these past few months! Peggy Beckwith continued her message with more tales about Paul. Paul was fortunate to have been born into the Roman Empire. This meant he could appeal any case. In Acts 27,  Peggy showed us that Paul was arrested for his undertakings and tried by a local judge. He appealed, and was jailed in Rome, shackled to a soldier. Paul remained in jail for the remainder of his life.

With Paul it was not about him, but about Christ. Paul remained the optimist, despite the negative things that had been happening in his life. The words and teachings of Paul still echo through the centuries to today’s time. Paul showed us how to hear and absorb the acts of Christ. He had no sorrow for what he could not control in his own life. Peggy shared Paul’s message to overcome our fears and negativity, and let the light of Christ fill our being.

Our call to action was first to continue to pray for the person whose name we pulled from a basket last week, and secondly to reflect on how it is with your soul and your personal walk with God in life.

Peggy is planning a small group Methodist Class meeting, possibly zoom or in-person, in October. More information forthcoming. Enjoy these last glorious early fall days!


St. Mark’s Episcopal

Why do some people attend mega churches? What is a megachurch? According to the dictionary a megachurch is a large church of over 2,000 people.

Some people say they attend because the services are relevant. What does relevant mean in this case? Is it because they deal with contemporary subjects? Do the sermons make you feel good? Some experts say that the megachurch is appealing because of the social environment for families and single individuals. Others indicate that the technology used in the services is appealing to younger individuals. Sometimes there are multiple-instrument bands with the accompanying technology and multiple viewing screens in order to follow the songs and prayers. Because many of these churches ask parishioners to tithe, this provides resources for this technology and to establish many small groups with different contemporary topics from which parishioners can pick. Many smaller churches do not have these resources, but nevertheless, some analysts say families feel more connected and willing to serve in a smaller church.

Many times at a megachurch there is a cafe available before and after the service that is appealing to Sunday morning families. Some megachurches are affiliated with a particular Protestant religion, but others are not. Some megachurches have problems sustaining themselves because they focus too much on the pastor and not on the people. Again some analysts feel smaller churches are more people oriented and generate more active lay people.

If you are a person who is drawn to larger crowds, then maybe a mega-church is a good fit. You may also be drawn to a louder, more concert-like contemporary music performance that is normally a part of a megachurch service. If you are a person used to a more eucharistic-based service or a particular denomination style then maybe a smaller church is a better fit.

We live in a changing world with many alternatives for many experiences including religion. Experts say two things should be considered when choosing a church. One is what is the role of the church? The second is what is the mission of the church? So if you are thinking about a church consider visiting St. Mark's Episcopal at 9 a.m. Sunday mornings.

Branchport Methodist 

“The wisdom from above calls us to peace and gentleness, kindness and mercy, goodness and service.” These are the words that Pastor Kim used to gather us for worship last Sunday. Those who are wise are those who seek the wisdom that God can give us through meditation on His word.

We have been blessed to have many visitors recently. Our friends from Florida, Bob and Donna Walwork, who usually join us on Zoom, have been in the area for a vacation to visit family and friends and have joined us in person. A couple from Michigan, camping in the area, came on Sunday because they saw our unusual sign out front that says worship at 10:46 and were curious about that. We told them it’s just because we ran out of 5s!  Another traveler stopped by on Saturday because his grandfather used to be the minister here and he was reminiscing about his memories of our church. It was truly a “God moment” because we had stopped to drop something off at church at the same time, so were able to invite him in! The Lord works in mysterious ways!

So, all are welcome to join us for Sunday worship at 10:45 (or 10:46!).

Milo Center Methodist

Have you ever agreed to disagree? At times, that is the only way to settle a confrontation. We are reminded as we share the Serenity Prayer with Pastor Kim this week that we can't control others. Their emotions, their ideals, their choices are theirs. We often don't go to God first when we come to a crossroad of handling a conflict with another or simply within ourselves. Especially fitting in todays world, as there seems to be disagreements everywhere, to learn to let go and give our thoughts to God. He should be our first resort and not our last. We may not know what the greater outcome will be but God does. The puzzle pieces will all fit in time. And our small part of that puzzle -- whether a straight edge, a corner or an inside piece -- will fall easily into place. Trust God with all your heart and grant yourself the serenity to change what you can and have the courage to let go of what and who you can not.

It was wonderful to see our young people back to church for Sunday School this week. Prayers are lifted to Frank Francisco and Judy Jones. Happy retirement wishes to Norm Koek.

Our September collection is for kidCARE. Youth sizes of socks, underwear, sweatpants, 

diapers, and monetary donations are all welcome. Church services and Sunday School are at 9 a.m. each Sunday. Join us! 


First Presbyterian 

Once again, news reporting on the wearing of masks, COVID-19 vaccines and now booster shots is beginning to dominate the national scene. As children have returned to school, the wearing of masks has become a hot button for many school districts. In regards to vaccines, many in the medical and scientific communities agree that all three available vaccines have helped to slow the spread of COVID or lessen the severity of breakthrough infections. There is still considerable disagreement on the need for booster shots and who should get them. Much has yet to be learned.

With this in mind, the Past Chair of our Presbytery’s General Council, a doctor, provided his thoughts on guidelines about gatherings, church attendance and meetings. The letter appeared in September’s newsletter from the Presbytery of Geneva. His suggestions include the continuance of outdoor gatherings whenever possible, for as long as our regional weather cooperates. The wearing of masks indoors and maintaining social distancing is still highly recommended. Virtual options for both church services and meetings should remain in place for the foreseeable future. Sadly, choir practices or group singing of hymns should be delayed awhile longer. The goal to get as many people as possible fully vaccinated was stressed above all else. That is the surest way to avoid hospitalization, intensive care, or death. Protection for all eligible persons should be our main objective and he states, “We can’t eliminate all risk, but we can limit risks to each other and to the more vulnerable among us.” The Bible also encourages us to do so, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4.

The current policies at FPC were outlined by our Worship and Music Committee in the September Vine Newsletter. FPC continues to live stream Sunday services on our website (shorturl.at/irvMN), at 10 a.m., along with conducting limited in-person services, averaging about thirty people. If attending in person, we are once again recording names as you enter the Sanctuary, for contact tracing purposes. Weather permitting, we are still gathering outdoors after the service for lemonade on the lawn. Masks are required at all times, for all activities, in the building. Our Choir rehearsals remain cancelled until further notice. It is certainly everyone’s hope that by the spring of next year we can ease up on many of these restrictions and safely join together.

The Living Well

We thought we would share with you a special lady that has been helping Kim Lyons and others with some of our mission work at The Living Well. Each week, Fritz comes to the Living Well and gets some Grab-and-Go lunches for herself and some of her neighbors at St. Mark’s Terrace in Penn Yan. She comes to the Well with a big smile, and is so grateful for the food that is provided. Although there is a grocery store near the high-rise apartment complex, some of her friends and neighbors at this senior complex have a hard time getting out. We love to see Fritz come to the Well, and appreciate what she is doing to help others.

Kim Lyons and Fritz help with food and lunches from The Living Well for their clients in need.

The Grab-and-Go lunch program has been an important part of our mission at The Living Well since March, 2020; the program has continued to grow through the support of our community. We now provide hand-out bagged lunches on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, and occasionally Tuesdays starting at 11:30 a.m. and continuing until the bags are all gone. Each bag provides a main dish, a fruit or veggie, and always a sweet treat for dessert!

The Living Well could not make this happen without the amazing and continued support from the Yates County Churches, local service organizations such as the Penn Yan Rotary, and our community. The Well extends a heartfelt thank you to all that help with this needed project, and invite you to do as Fritz does -- come and grab a lunch, brighten the day, and bring a smile to someone in need!

Dresden Methodist

This past week at Dresden UMC, Pastor Rachel Patchen continued working through the book of Mark. In the passage this week, we see the disciples arguing about who will be the first, or best, in the Kingdom of God. Later, Jesus asks them what they had been arguing about, and they are embarrassed to come clean and tell him. Understandably so, they knew that their discussion would have disappointed Jesus. After this, Jesus decides to give them a visual about how the Kingdom of God works. He embraces a child and tells the disciples that the way to serve God is by serving the "least of these." In Jesus' time, children were property, and they were as honorless as slaves. Jesus embracing a child would have been a radical image, and it demonstrates the "upside-down" nature of God's Kingdom. The "least of these" are considered first in the Kingdom of God.  

This means for us today that a community shows its worth in how it treats the lowest in society; the young, the old, the sick, the imprisoned, the different, the poor, the drug-addicted, etc. Our church communities should strive to serve those whom society deems unworthy because in the Kingdom of God, the unworthy hold seats of honor. So let us embrace Christ this week by serving the "least of these."

Several congregation members attended a Safe Sanctuary Training this week to prepare for the reinstatement of Children's Programming. We are excited to be offering Sunday School, children's sermons, and events soon! Also, on Sept. 26, there will be a service and chicken barbecue at the Duck Hunter's Club at 1 p.m. in memory of Harper Daggett. The proceeds from the barbecue will go to help with medical costs.