CHURCH BRIEFS (as a section header)
Now that the hustle and bustle of the Christmas and New Year season is over, it is time to reflect on the past and look to the future. The last year was a hard one for everyone. Many suffered losses of loved ones, health issues and depression from isolation. As we look forward to this year, we still have the same problems but perhaps we can work through them with the help of our Lord. We can bring Christ more deeply into our lives by going to church more often and reflecting on what our faith means to us. As Pastor Kim tells us: “Do not hesitate to reach out and lean upon one another in prayer. One of the greatest gifts Jesus has offered us is relationship. We do not journey alone.”
Our congregation is a welcoming one where friendships abound. We have missed our fellowship meals and fun times together, but we are looking forward to a better year in 2022. Won’t you join us on Sunday mornings at 10:45 as we share our faith? We meet in person and through Zoom. If you are interested in the Zoom information, contact Pastor Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year to all!
St. Mark's Episcopal
Let there be light. So said Penn Yan's St. Mark's Episcopal Church parishioners about their parish hall and conference rooms new LED lighting. Thanks to a generous parishioner’s donation and volunteer parishioners’ help, new lights were installed. Maintaining a church building is not an easy matter these days.
St. Mark's has been fortunate to have expert volunteers to help with certain upkeep projects and also to find expert contractors for special repair projects. But St. Mark's has given their building upkeep a high priority.
Masonry work on the exterior has been a special priority to mainly prevent water damage to the interior. St. Mark's was able to find a mason who specializes in restoration. A new roof is currently on their agenda.
It becomes difficult for a parish sometimes to determine whether to spend time and money on a building or on outreach. St. Mark's tries to reach a happy medium.
Some might say the outreach is more important in order to do God's work. But for St. Mark's their building is an important place to meet, worship, plan, study, and build a community of people who do God's work.
Bluff Point Methodist
We had New Years Day communion this week, to bring in the new year 2022, on our all-Zoom service. Pastor Sandi showed a video of the Shepherd’s Wife. The angels proclaimed the Good News of Jesus’s birth. The shepherd told his wife and many others of the stars and angels proclaiming the birth of Jesus. The shepherd was certainly brave to tell the story. He was not worried to think of what others would think, or to share what he had experienced.
How do we today share our faith story? Do we think others would think we need a mental health evaluation if we shared our faith with others or told this story? Sometimes it is hard to tell our faith story. We need to look at what sometimes keeps us from sharing our faith. Are we afraid of what others will think?
Pastor Sandi sent us and shared John Wesley’s covenant. Some important points are to set apart time to be with the Lord. Don’t lie to God. Resolve to be faithful. Renew your covenant with the Lord. The beginning of 2022 is a good time to honor these resolves.
Happy New Year! Hopefully a healthier one, and hopefully a flattening of the Covid curve so we may again worship in person together.
This past week, Dresden UMC brought in the New Year by considering the wise men's journey to Jesus. The book of Matthew shows us that the wise men who set out to find Jesus arrived at his house to find a toddler. We don't know if they knew how long it would take them to find Jesus, but we do know that it took them about two years to make their way to Bethlehem. In life, we set out on many journeys, some are short, like our commutes to work, and some are long, like the journey of parenting. Sometimes our journeys take longer than we expected. Like the wise men, though, if we are faithful and follow God's lead, we can arrive at our destination having learned something along the way. Pastor Rachel Patchen shared about her most recent journey — returning to school as an adult. As she has just finished her MA in Theological Studies, she reflected on how a two-year journey to complete her Associate's degree turned into a nine-year journey and three degrees. Sometimes faithfully following God means taking detours and paths we had not foreseen. We all have journeys like this, ones that take longer than we expected, ones that take us to unexpected places and lead us to growth and depth in our lives. May we all be patient enough to hear God's voice in our journeys and see his hand at work!
Announcements: Thank you to all the visitors we had on Christmas Eve; we hope you will join us again soon! Join us this Sunday, Jan. 16 for service at 9:30 a.m. We'll save you a seat.
Given the ongoing social-distancing limitations still necessary within churches, FPC has decided to try something new this year for our youngest future members. The Christian Ed Committee began hosting an On-line Sunday School Program via Zoom this past Sunday morning. It will be offered every other Sunday morning at 9 a.m. prior to our regular Sunday service at 10 a.m. All are welcome at either event by calling 315-536-8235.
Members of FPC’s Deacons and Presbyterian Women will continue to support the Grab-n-Go lunch program twice each month in 2022. These two groups purchase and prepare a balanced lunch which is then delivered to The Living Well for distribution. Last week they made hot meatball sandwiches and on Jan. 19, minestrone soup will be on the menu. The Well continues to fulfill this vital need with take-out lunches three days every week and serves approximately fifty people each time. It requires the ongoing support of several area churches and agencies in our community to keep this important Mission going and volunteers are always needed.
The Epiphany was celebrated on Jan. 6. The dictionary defines an epiphany moment as, “A life changing realization which changes the rest of the story.” In Isaiah 60:1, he prophesied that all of mankind should, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” In January’s newsletter, Pastor Paul wrote of the persistence of the Magi to follow the star, and in today’s uncertain world, the persistence different faiths have continued to show in order to worship together and fulfill their ministries. A Life Coach Blogger, Shannon Kaiser, wrote of epiphanies, “These are the mental moments about the state of our lives that provide instant clarity and motivate us to charge forward creating positive change.” May this year provide ample epiphany moments allowing individuals to rise and shine and to help others by sharing their positive light.
Penn Yan First Baptist
A reminder that our services are being held in the Great Room during the months of January and February while the sanctuary gets a makeover with a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting. Those wishing to make a contribution towards this work, please make checks payable to First Baptist Church of Penn Yan and note in the memo line "Restoration 2022".
Jan. 16, we welcome hearing a message from Dale Wakley. Jan., we will hear from Rev. John R. Tharp; and Jan. 30, from Brian Bleiler. Worship services begin at 10 a.m. All are welcome to join our family.
Milo Center Methodist
"Arise, Shine, for your light has come." Isaiah 60:1
Epiphany Sunday, Pastor Kim reflected on the days following Christ's birth and how we can relate to it. Just as the wise men trusted God and followed his word through messages sent, they found Jesus Christ. They humbled themselves and presented a child with gifts. They didn't know that the child they visited would be The One, The Christ that would one day save us all but they trusted in God and followed the North Star.
It reminds us to also trust in God and share our gifts with others. It makes no difference what the future holds for another or their position in life, if we can offer help we should. Use Christ as our guiding star, it isn't enough to just know where He was born, we must also live to glorify His name.
Prayers for strength to our returning college students, friends facing medical issues and as Covid illness and deaths touch our lives. January birthday blessings to Kerry Brennan, Judy Jones, Alex Lyons and Charlene DeMarco.
Our Christmas Mission offering to UMCOR was a great success. Thank you all that supported relief to the U.S, tornado areas.