Church Briefs

The Chronicle Express

Penn Yan First Presbyterian 

On the third Sunday of Advent we rejoice. Originally in the ninth century, that Sunday was given the name Gaudete Sunday, for the Latin word meaning rejoice.  Gaudete Sunday Mass begins with the opening words from Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” During the rise of the Anglican Church in the seventeenth century the third Sunday also became known as Rose Sunday. At that time, the Anglican’s formally adopted wearing the special vestments of a rose or pink color rather than the traditional violet or deep blue worn during Advent. From this, the tradition of lighting the pink candle on the Advent wreath also originated. Since the third Sunday is the midpoint of Advent clerics felt it appropriate to take a moment from penitential activities to celebrate the joy and gladness in the promised second coming of Christ.

The week of “Rose Sunday” we are encouraged to worry less about expectations and the preparations surrounding Christmas and just experience the sheer joy of its anticipated arrival. On Gaudete Sunday in 2014, Pope Francis said in his Vatican homily, “Instead of fretting about all you still haven’t done to prepare for Christmas, people should think of all the good things life has given you.” How appropriate to be appreciating the Christian joy our lives hold during this week. On Tuesday, our First Presbyterian Women did just that by holding their Advent Tea. They came together, some in-person and others via Zoom on a big screen TV in Crosier Hall, to enjoy each other’s company while decorating personalized Christmas ornaments. They took the time to share family news, current events and a review of several successful missions from this year. This camaraderie was savored over cookies, cocoa and other treats and beverages.  It was a joyous evening and some beautiful handmade ornaments now adorn our Giving Tree in the sanctuary. Take a moment this week from your own busy schedule to find joy, count your blessings and know that you are unconditionally loved.

Branchport Methodist

Many hands helped to decorate the sanctuary at Branchport Methodist the Saturday before Advent.

Many hands helped to decorate the sanctuary the Saturday before Advent.  The nativity scene is on the front lawn again, the gazebo is lit up with its own little Christmas tree and soon the Memorial tree will have its lights also. This is a 45-year tradition with our church where you may help shine Christ’s light on the community by honoring someone with our Lights of Love project.  Just send your contribution of $2 for each person you want to honor to Branchport Methodist Church, c/o Dave Thorn, Financial Secretary, P.O. Box 2, Keuka Park, NY 14478.

 The first Sunday of Advent centered on Hope.  We are encouraged to share the hope of Christ with all we meet, by noticing, listening, and praying.

 May the blessings of the Advent season be with you all.  You are welcome to join us for Sunday worship at 10:45 am.  Our Christmas Eve service will be on the 24th at 7:15, both in person and on Zoom.

Milo Center Methodist

The scripture tells us to bring branches of cedar and holly, evergreens and a pine tree, hand wreaths and garlands. Make the church fragrant with the smell of living things. During service this week, Pastor Kim asked our church family to do just as scripture tells us and prepare our beautiful church for the Advent season.

What a wonderful way to begin the celebration of Christ's birth with Melissa, Elizabeth and Garrett Lilyea lighting the first candle of Advent. We are excited to be partnering with the Second Milo Baptist Church to honor this magical season. 

Birthday wishes to Morris Reddout, Jake Reddout, Bailey Kennedy, Linda Collins, Linda Francisco, and Jim Henderson. Prayers of healing to Ken Hale. We lift up our college students and send our love as they prepare for their final exams before break.

We send prayers for peace to the Delores Sutherland family and Ovens family as they grieve.

Middlesex Methodist

CANDLELIGHT SERVICE - The Middlesex United Methodist Church will hold its annual Candlelight Service on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. The church is located at 1162 Rte. 245 in Middlesex.  Refreshments served following the service in the Fellowship Hall.  All are welcome to attend.

Bluff Point Methodist

Blanche Fingar and Michele Covert, from Bluff Point Methodist Church, ring the bells for Yates County Christmas.

We had an inspired group of bell ringers Nov. 23 to raise funds for Yates County Christmas including Blanche Fingar, Michele Covert, Sheri Hunt, Jean Murdock, Gene and Marilyn James, Dana and Helen Schillinger, Joyce Wiedrich and Millie Albertson, Sue Spoor, Peggy Beckwith, and  Chris and Stacy Wyant and grandkids for participating in this annual mission!  We were blessed by a beautiful sunny day!

We have an Angel Tree family consisting of five children from infancy through 8 years old.  Please take an Angel with suggested requests so we can give this local family a Merry Christmas!

Pastor Sandi read the Christmas scripture, and focused on a video she showed us on the mother of Mary, and the feelings Mary’s mother must have had.  Mary had told her that an angel had visited her and that she was pregnant with Jesus.  Did the mother think that Mary was telling her the truth?  Was she excited or saddened by the news?  How would you feel if Mary were your daughter and came to you with this story?

Remember to collect food items on your reverse Advent Calendar and bring them to church.  All donations welcomed, even if you can’t provide for all the items on the list.

Our Choir is back!  So great to hear Bluff Point's singers belt out beautiful Christmas music this season.

Pastor Sandi announced that Peggy Beckwith will be our new youth ministry coordinator.  Peggy asks for help with ideas for the kids.  She has already planned holiday activities for Dec. 23 at 9-11:30 a.m., and another prior to the New Year with wishes for hope.  Contact Peggy or Pastor Sandi for more information or if you can assist in these activities with the kids.

Our scripture and sermon lesson included Pastor Sandi looking at the events of Jesus’s conception and birth through the eyes of Joseph.  Pastor Sandi used an internet video to show Joseph’s reaction to the events.  God sent an angel.  Would Joseph believe this?  When God called, there was a knock at the door.  Joseph opened the door, rather than keeping it shut. 

Pastor Sandi asked us if we keep people out or let people into our lives.  Are we willing to lay down our dreams for the plans God has for us?  How many twists and turns are there in our journey? 

We need to consider what would have happened if Joseph had not had faith and had taken a different route.  How much time do we waste wondering what others are saying, instead of acting on our own?  Pastor Sandi also interviewed Dana Schillinger and Gordon Bascom, who both gave reflective ideas on how it would have felt to be Joseph in this situation.

Remember to take an angel from our tree and bring your gifts to help our chosen local family in need.  This family has four children from a baby to pre-teen ages who will so appreciate our help.

St. Mark's Episcopal

Oh the joys of Christmas!   So much to do and so much to get ready for! So much focus on the gifts of the season – where to go and what to buy and who to buy for.  

Each year, as the decorations come out, and each is lovingly handled, there is another type of gift. The gift of memories. The creche, handed down from a mother or grandmother, evokes memories of childhood. The careful unpacking by Mom and the stories of how the creche came together. One can practically see that corner of the house and hear the sounds of laughter and joy from those long gone. And the mind wanders to that year in Church when the children were putting together a creche and one little girl could not find the baby Jesus and walked up and down the pews asking if anyone could help her find Jesus. The entire church smiled collectively.  

As you decorate the tree, each ornament tells a story. That plastic shell filled with glitter, once layers of green and red, but now a sickly brown, still holds a place of honor at the very front of the tree because it was made by a sticky handed little boy for his mother thirty or forty years ago. Or the glitter covered ice cream sticks in the shape of a steeple, made by that little boy’s sister about that same amount of time ago. Visions of those young children, now grown, swim in front of your eyes as you place the ornaments on the tree. Just like the glitter that still somehow falls everywhere, and stays there forever, those memories come out of the box every year.  

During the Christmas season, we all seek to find the perfect gift. And the great hope, every year, when those ornaments are removed, and placed back in the box, is that next year, the gifts of those same memories are as pure as they are today – unsullied by loss or pain. I cannot imagine a greater gift.  

We hope that you will join us at St Mark’s on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. as we share the gifts of the season with one another.  

Penn Yan First Baptist

We are pleased to invite you and your loved ones to join us for our special Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 7 p.m.  This is a special evening of carols and a celebration of Jesus' birth. At the conclusion of the service we circle the sanctuary with our candlelights and together we sing Silent Night. We hope to see you here in worship.

Branchport Methodist Church

As Advent continues and we are anticipating the birth of Christ, we center on a different theme each week.  The first week was Hope, the second was Peace, the third Joy and the fourth Love.  “Hope becomes Peace, Peace becomes Joy, Joy becomes Love and Love becomes Christ.”

After worship we came together to discuss “The Heart That Grew Three Sizes” by Matt Rawle, a book about finding faith in the story of the Grinch. The conversation has been thought provoking, funny and insightful.

Don’t forget to add to our Memorial Tree lights of love!  It’s not too late to let Dave Thorn know who you want to honor with a light on our tree.  The deadline is the 19th, so it would be best to call him at 315-595-2526 or email him at dthorn@frontiernet.net.  The Memorial Tree booklet will be available at our Christmas Eve service, Dec. 24 at 7:15 p.m.  At this time we are planning on worshipping in the sanctuary but plans could change at the last minute depending on the number of local Covid cases. 

We hope that you are all having a blessed Advent season.

LeTourneau Christian Center

REVIVE is our youth ministry for middle and high schoolers (grades 6-12). We focus on sharing the love of Jesus Christ through evangelism and discipleship. Individuals and groups arrive on Friday, Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. and will stay till Sunday, Feb. 13 at 10 a.m. This will be a time of fellowship, worship, food, activities and focused time in the Word. The retreat will be two nights, Friday and Saturday, and will consist of five meals, Friday dinner then breakfast, lunch, & dinner on Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday.

For questions and to register, please call our office at 585-554-3400 or go to our website

www.letcc.org. Early Bird Price: $89 Dec. 1-31. Regular Price: $99 Jan. 1-Feb. 8. Registration closes at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Penn Yan Methodist 

Penn Yan United Methodist Church was excited to see the return of StarShine this year! We were thrilled to welcome the community and share the joyful message of Christmas in several different ways. Our Church building and the Memorial Building next door are decorated beautifully to provide a warm welcome this season. During StarShine, there was a “Nativity Walk” in our sanctuary, featuring about 40 Nativity sets from around the world. People could walk through and contemplate the beautiful variety of art depicting the scene of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus on Christmas night. Just outside in the middle of Main Street, our youth and young adults depicted a “Living Manger Scene” with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, shepherds, angels, and Wise Men. Children especially enjoyed coming over and saying hello to the characters of the Bible story brought to life. In the Memorial Building, with its stunning architecture decorated for Christmas, there were free cookies and cocoa, and a place for the community to warm up during the cold evening. And from the balcony outside, musicians played live Christmas carols on the trumpet and keyboard. Thank you to everyone who came and shared the joy of Christmas during StarShine!

Penn Yan United Methodist Church participated in StarShine with a live Nativity scene.

PYUMC’s Christmas Eve Candle Light Service will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 24, both in-person and livestreamed. Nursery care will be available. On Sunday, Dec. 26, we will have one service only at 10 a.m., both in-person and livestreamed.

Our normal Sunday schedule is worship 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 twice a month. Contact the church office for details at 315-536-671. Everyone is welcome!

Dresden Methodist

This past week at Dresden UMC, Pastor Rachel Patchen spoke about peace. The second week of advent is the week of peace. The definition of peace is "a state of tranquility" or "no fighting." As we mature and grow older, many of us learn that peace is not so much a stage of life or life experience as it is a state of mind. With more and more things constantly demanding our attention, it can be hard to find peace. What if peace wasn't a thing to be achieved but rather a way of operating in the context of chaos and turmoil? The peace of Jesus makes this possible. We can operate in our crazy world with the peace and assurance that, in the end, all will be well because God is walking with us amid our chaotic lives.  

This coming week is the week of Joy. We hope you will join us Sunday at 9:30 a.m. to hear about the fulfillment of a promise that gives us joy as we approach Christmas! Pastor Rachel will also be reading a book for the kids - this week, the book is "Room for a Little One." All are welcome to join us!

Announcements: We are taking donations of hats, gloves, and scarves for the Living Well. Our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will take place Dec.24 at 9 p.m. - all are welcome!