CHURCH BRIEFS

Special to The Chronicle-Express

Bluff Point Methodist

Pastor Sandi’s lesson Oct. 31 was from 1st Timothy 1-11. Who was Timothy? Timothy was discovered by Paul, in a crowd. He trained Timothy to be a church planter after he saw his willingness to learn about Jesus. Paul had been encouraging his church planters to stand up for the truth. The goal of church planters is love — faith, a pure heart, and good conscience, away from meaningless talk. 

Pastor Sandi challenged us to look at what stops us sometimes from following the words: Is it day-to-day obligations, or an element of fear? We need to tell the world our faith and remember our purpose. We need to have gratitude, thankfulness and accountability. What will your bumper sticker be, based on the teachings of Paul?

So good to see so many in church, including our little Marian Gaston, who just turned one year old! Remember our Christmas gifts of pillows for RedBird mission.  If you can’t get out to get a pillow, monitory donations are appreciated. Pastor Sandi is still talking applications for the church position working with teaching our youth. If you can fill these shoes, please contact her. 

Penn Yan Methodist

We have been blessed with a series called “The Anatomy of a Disciple” from our Pastor Kristen Allen over the past six weeks. Each Sunday there is a symbolic gesture that represents the reality that a disciple is one who knows, loves, and follows Jesus and helps others do the same.

Beginning with the head, we learned that disciples know about Jesus and know him personally. We have been encouraged to read the Bible, enter into conversation with others, and look for God’s presence in current events. This helps us know Jesus as the creator, redeemer, and sustainer, who has supreme knowledge and power over all things and through whom comes the reconciliation of all things to God. We aim to be disciples who know what the Bible says about Jesus, and who also know Jesus personally.

Following the concept of feet in “The Anatomy of a Disciple” series, Penn Yan United Methodist shares God’s love with pedestrians passing by.

Continuing the series, Pastor Kristen moved to the heart. We do not want our faith just to be a matter of the head; a disciple is one who also loves Jesus. The Gospel of Luke tells of a woman who came, a sinner like we are, and showed her love by anointing Jesus with her tears in a selfless act of love. She elicited from Jesus great compassion, forgiveness, and love, as do we. When we are disciples who love Jesus, it brings us joy to obey him and we love to spend time with him.

Midway through our series we heard from Kim Fitzgerald, our preacher on Laity Sunday. Kim explored with us the miracles of Jesus that were done just for his disciples rather than in public. These miracles all happened on the lake, and helped his disciples understand who Jesus really is. Kim showed us a painting by Rembrandt of Jesus and the disciples in a boat during a terrible storm, and we discovered that Rembrandt painted himself into the picture as the thirteenth disciples – thus inviting each of us to be part of the story as disciples too.

The next week in our series called us to follow with our feet, walking in faith and servant ministry. As we sat in the pews, we touched our feet, hoping to better understand where they were to go to follow Jesus. Pastor Kristen reminded us that Jesus taught us what it means to follow him: denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily. Even though it involves losing our lives, following Jesus really means finding life. As disciples, we have the joy of sharing the Good News and helping to be healers in this world.

Being disciples with our hands is the final part of the anatomy lesson. Disciples do not just know, love, and follow Jesus (head, heart, and feet); disciples help others do the same. Our hands represent how we help others become disciples too as we pass on our faith to the next generation. We explored practical ways that we can learn to help others become disciples, and considered the question of whom we are investing in with our faith. For a long year and a half, we were encouraged to isolate, and keep our hands to ourselves. We are now to reach out to others with the love of God as we journey into each day.

Sunday worship at PYUMC is at 9 a.m. (Contemporary) and 11 a.m. (Traditional) as well as on Facebook, YouTube, and www.PennYanUMC.com. Nursery care is available at both services. Sunday School for grades K-5th meets every Sunday at 9 a.m.. Youth Group for grades 6-12 meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 5-7 p.m. Everyone is welcome!

First Presbyterian 

While November brings colder weather to our region, it also warms our hearts with many reasons to give thanks. Nov. 11 is Veterans Day. Please take a moment to thank the men and women who protected our freedoms by serving in our military.

It is also the month we nationally recognize and honor family caregivers. This year the Caregiving Action Network (CAN) chose to focus on those who provide “Caregiving Around the Clock.” They hope to foster a better understanding of care giving issues and increase our moral support to those dedicated caregivers in our lives and communities. At FPC, we have many members who have given selfless care to loved ones and/or continue to provide ongoing care today. Over the past two years, quite unexpectedly, numerous people were thrust into these roles of providing additional support because of a lack in institutional services due to COVID. So it is important grasp how a sudden change in a person’s life can create a long-term care responsibility for others.

In 2010, 40 million U. S. Baby Boomers turned 65 and the “Silver Tsunami” is growing. In 2019, there were 11 million caregivers, representing 28% of all caregivers, who provided unpaid care to an adult while also caring for children under 18 (NAC-CAG Report 11/26/19). More than one-in-ten parents also care for an adult without pay (Pew Research Center, 2018). Many caregivers additionally have to spend money out-of-pocket to augment care. Half of all family caregivers are women over the age of 50, and are the primary source of care/support for older family members and adult children with disabilities (Administration for Community Living 2020). All of these organizations indicate the numbers of those in need of some level of care have increased significantly since COVID began. This in turn causes an increase in emotional stress, depression, financial and physical strain, and family discord. If a primary family caregiver becomes overwhelmed and doesn’t take care of themselves, than who will?

There are no easy solutions but here are a few organizations available which can offer resources for a caregiver’s self-care and better equip them with coping skills. Locally, Yates County has the Office for the Aging-ycofa@proactioninc.org. Nationally there are: Administration for Community Living (acl.gov), Caregiver Action Network (CAN) (caregiveraction.org), National Alliance for Caregiving (www.caregiving.org), and Mental Health America (MHA) (www.mhanational.org). These websites offer workshops and toolkits. They provide assistive technologies and How To’s on: finding local services, learning to communicate effectively with doctors, creating a caregiving journal and most importantly taking care of your own health in the process. 

All societies and cultures depend on family care givers. There is no greater act of selflessness. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7.

Branchport Methodist Church

Halloween was a great day for us at Branchport Methodist Church!  We had a witch (Joyce Tyler) attend our service in the morning, then we entertained the children and their parents in the evening during the town’s Trunk or Treat celebration.  It was such fun seeing all the great costumes and meeting everyone. We were able to use our gazebo to hand out treats and to sit around a fire to fellowship with one another.

During Branchport’s Trunk or Treat celebration, the Methodist Church was able to use their new gazebo to hand out treats and to sit around a fire in fellowship with one another.
Halloween was a great day for  Branchport Methodist Church!  A witch (Joyce Tyler) attended the service in the morning, then we entertained the children and their parents in the evening during the town’s Trunk or Treat celebration.

Pastor Kim used the day to deliver a message about all the emotional masks we wear during our lives, even though God knows the real us and we don’t need a mask.

We will be celebrating All Saints Day on Nov. 7 instead of Nov. 1. We will be singing favorite hymns and reading favorite passages to honor all the beloved members of our congregation that we have lost this past year.

We are all missing our fellowship dinners because of our caution over Covid, so we are using our annual No Muss, No Fuss event to “share” a meal. We would love for you to take a moment to let us know of a favorite dinner that you have had, whether it be with family or friends, or what you would bring if we did have a dinner together. Share your story and include a donation in the amount of what you would have spent on the ingredients or how valuable you feel the dinner would have been for you. We will be using a portion of these funds for when we hear of a community member in crisis or who could use a care package of love and support. Please join us for this very special meal!

Milo Center Methodist

During church service the Milo Center UMC youth and their leaders went out to visit the homes of our members who weren't able to be at church.

This Halloween service, Pastor Kim shared the history of masks; some emotional and others physical. Psalm 139 states that the Lord searches us and knows us. Within this passage the truth is exposed, the Lord knows us from the inside out. He sees past any mask we may attempt to hid behind. He knows every part of us, even our flaws and loves us unconditionally anyway. Aren't there days that you put on a brave face despite being  hurt inside? It is ok to portray that you are "fine" as long as you allow God to see in your heart and carry your worries for you. As said by Oscar Wilde "Be yourself, everyone else is taken." When we wear masks we carve part of ourselves out and don't allow others to see the missing pieces. Those pieces are what make us who we are. If we put our whole selves forward we may find that we can be in true relationships with each other and with Christ without judgement.

Masks

by Gertrude Jefferies

    Masks are worn to costume parties,

Some are worn for reasons of health.

Others, just to impress people

Of our status, success or wealth.

    But at night before we retire,

And we are completely alone,

We remove the masks we've been wearing

And the faces we wear are our own.

    Faces that speak of our struggles

Of our heartaches, pain and despair

Troubles we'd rather not speak of

We mask them, pretend they're not there.

    Awake in the morning

And we leave to start a new day,

We put on our masks of pretense

Thinking that we've no other way.

    But there is a way that is offered

A way to help us make it through

God wants to walk each day with us

And guide us in all that we do.

    God help us remove the facemasks

And for strength and courage that we

Trusting Him for wisdom and guidance

May now live in reality

    His reality of wisdom

And his strength to face each new day

No need to wear phony facemasks

No need to fear what people say.

Happy November birthday to Nate Henderson.

St. Mark's Episcopal

On Nov. 22 the Episcopal Church celebrates the life and accomplishments of C.S. Lewis, known for his writings as well as his lifelong friendship with J.R.R Tolkien. It must have been a very intellectually stimulating, as well as fun, time in Oxford when the two buddies had their arguments. They were two popular professors, one (Lewis) an atheist later to become a well-known Anglican Church apologist and one a lifelong devout Roman Catholic.  Both had legendary imaginations which resulted in famous works of fantasy. What a good time that oft-spoken-of fly on the wall must have had when the two men were teaching at Oxford. C.S. Lewis also taught at Cambridge. 

C.S. Lewis, seen here on the cover of Time in 1947, helped define the love between God and man.

In his autobiography "Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life" C.S. Lewis said his friendship with Tolkien "marked the breakdown of two old prejudices. At my first coming into  the world I had been told (implicitly) never to trust a Papist, and at my coming to the English Faculty (explicitly) never to trust a philologist."

Yet their different faiths -- one lifelong and one arrived at in mid-life -- very possibly may have helped each one along on their religious paths.  We know, for instance, that they read each other's work and discussed their different views on religion and politics, two subjects which are supposed to be death to friendships. In the case of these two, though, it seems to have contributed to both their companionship and Lewis' conversion. When Lewis embraced the Christian faith in 1929 he described himself as "the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England." 

Clive Staples Lewis was born in Ireland in 1898. His father was an attorney and his mother the daughter of an Anglican priest and great-granddaughter of a bishop. He was baptized in the Anglican church but fell away from his faith, as so many do, in his adolescence only to return to it later in life, again as so many people do. Interestingly, at the same time that he repudiated his Christian upbringing he simultaneously became fascinated with Norse mythology, the flavor of which permeates the kind of story which made him famous and perhaps contributed to his audience reading his later religious apologetics.

In fact, readers of Lewis' "The Screwtape Letters," which imagines a correspondence between Satan and one of his working demons, or "The Great Divorce," an allegory of heaven and hell, can easily see them as a mixture of the myths of paganism and religion.  Lewis wrote about 49 books, several meant for children. Serious about religion even in his humor, Lewis wrote this about the subject of "The Screwtape Letters": "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. [The devils] themselves are equally pleased by both errors…"

Lewis was married for four years to Joy Davidson. When she died of cancer he wrote a book called "A Grief Observed," which was so personal that he allowed it to be published only under the pseudonym N.W. Clerk. Although it is said that his friends recommended the book to him as a possible help for his own grief, the true author was not revealed until after his own death.

C.S. Lewis was interested in putting forward an argument for the existence of God based on reason. People who feel led to faith and yet have a reluctance to enter into what they have become convinced requires a repudiation of their intellectual capacities have found in many of Lewis' writings such as "Mere Christianity," "The Problem of Pain" and "Miracles" a resolution of this dilemma. For all his work, the Episcopal Church has included Lewis in its roster of people to be honored and emulated as saints.