CHURCH BRIEFS

Special to The Chronicle-Express
Every summer, LeTourneau Christian Camp welcomes about 20 students to join us for eight weeks of ministry and service.

LeTourneau Christian Camp 

THE WAY Summer Discipleship and Service Program is an exciting ministry for teenage students and college-age adults to grow in their relationship with God and make lifelong memories at LeTourneau Christian Camp. The goal of THE WAY Summer Program is to establish youth and young adults in their faith that Jesus really is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Every summer, we welcome about 20 students to join us for eight weeks of ministry and service. Each student will have daily opportunities for a deeper relationship with God through personal devotions, regular worship, and constant interaction with designated cabin leaders who will mentor and encourage them. Students will also find their cabinmates to be a great source of joy and encouragement as well as potential lifelong friends as they spend their summer serving and living together.

Apply today, you won't be disappointed! Visit https://www.letcc.org/theway-discipleship/

Bluff Point Methodist

A few souls braved the cold and snow for in-person church Sunday, Feb. 6.  Good to see folks, whether on Zoom or in-person!  And some of our Zoom folks are Florida snowbirds enjoying sunshine and warmth during strawberry season.

By the time this is published the Super Bowl will be history, but it’s not too late to support soup collection at the Living Well, or Habitat for Humanity, Yates County.  Remember to consider Witness at the Cross, a Bible Study beginning in March. This will be an excellent study during advent. Ash Wednesday service will be March 2 on Zoom. 

Our scripture lesson was John 4: 46-54. This scripture showed the second of Jesus’s miracles where he healed an official’s son.  Jesus came back to Galilee where people had heard of Jesus’s miracles.  When his son was dying, the official could have gone to King Herod, but he trusted Jesus instead.  Jesus wondered why people had to see things that he did to believe him.  Pastor Sandi asked us if we believe in Jesus because of the signs or because of the words? The official (father) came as a believer.  Seeing is believing … or is it?   We don’t always see our faith, either.  No matter what the day brings, Jesus will be with us. Pastor Sandi told us that signs and wonders are an invitation, not the end point.  What are we doing in terms of our own beliefs?  Do you believe because of the Word, or do we have to see physical evidence to believe?

Milo Center Methodist

Have you ever heard the quote, "If you always do what you've always done, you will get what you've always gotten."  A favorite of many! However, so many of us don't want to see change in  ourselves or around them. Pastor Kim discussed how a change in mindset can be a  powerful revelation of the good to come. Just as Jesus told Simon Peter to believe in Him at the lakeshore, we may also find change if we believe in ourselves and others. What can you do to get what you've never gotten?  It may be as simple as opening our eyes to the God moments around us and take them in. Don't ever stop being in awe of the works of Jesus. Feb. 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day, a great time to start spreading kindness, beginning with yourself. 

Prayers lifted high for Mary Lilyea, Leon Nelson, Dale Welker, Chuck Ackley, and Steve Eskildsen. Our gratitude to all healthcare workers. 

Our soup mission is going strong. Our goal is in sight. We will collect through February, can you help? 

Service and Sunday School are at 9 a.m. All are welcome. 

First Presbyterian 

Regular participation in religious houses of worship was once a key component in the fabric of American culture. However, in recent generations the number of people involved with organized religions has dwindled significantly. This has been attributed to many factors such as our aging population, lower birth rates, the decline of small towns, increased geographic mobility of people, etc. Now add pandemic restrictions to the list. We are becoming a society that connects more often through social media than in-person involvement. How do we still keep religion relevant today and encourage membership in our community’s houses of worship? Post pandemic this becomes an even tougher question.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has identified this situation as a critical area of concern nationwide that must be addressed immediately. PC(USA) felt so strongly they created a specific committee and mission, the Matthew 25 Initiative, to help our churches come back stronger and bolster shrinking congregations throughout the country. PC(USA) seeks to build a common identity of our mission through this initiative. By offering specific methods that will help each congregation flourish, they can hopefully become more active in their respective community and reach a wider audience. To further a successful program, PC(USA) is hosting a livestream series, “Being Matthew 25,” which began in January. Grant funding has been made available to individual churches for specific projects that address the three “Points of Focus” of the Matthew 25 Initiative: 1.Building Congregational Vitality, 2. Dismantling Structural Racism and 3. Eradicating Systemic Poverty.

On Feb. 17 at 1 p.m., “Revitalizing Congregational Vitality” will be the next topic of the series. Anyone is welcome to tune in on the PC(USA) Facebook page or PC(USA) YouTube channel.

Church vitality is not just about increasing membership, offering programs, or managing the finances and building, though those issues certainly contribute. Rather, it addresses a church’s spiritual strength and the bigger picture of aligning our churches practices to create a healthy system prepared to engage in Christ’s missions, with a fully open heart and mind, for the betterment of our communities and the world. Matthew 25:40, “The King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’”

Branchport Methodist 

We are all called to use our talents and treasures for God’s work. Here at church we try to fulfill this by the outreach work that we contribute to, the upkeep of the church building and the necessary paperwork that is essential to the smooth running of the business side of the church. Others use their talents to reach out to our friends and neighbors that are shut-in during this continued isolation time. Others are prayer warriors that are sadly needed right now.

A special shout-out goes to our community “church mice” who have been taking care of cleaning the snow off of our parking lot and sidewalks - Frank Fitzwater and Bill Pinckney!  What a joy it is to come to church on Sunday morning to see it ready for us to open the doors to everyone! 

Thank you to all who are able to use their talents to help others!

We welcome all to our Sunday service at 10:45 am in person and on Zoom.

Dresden Methodist

This past week at Dresden UMC, the congregation heard the story of Jesus calling the first of his disciples. Pastor Rachel talked about the story and how God calls the most unlikely of people to serve as his representatives in the world. In the Bible, God called people like Moses, who had a speech impediment and begged God to choose someone else; David, who struggled with sin and immorality; Jonah, who ran the other way when God told him to go to Nineveh and preach a message of forgiveness; and fishermen who were uneducated to preach Jesus' message of love and mercy. God calls us too. We might feel like we have nothing to offer God, but we do. Simply because when we work for God's Kingdom, God gives us his strength. God enables us to do things we couldn't do on our own. God sends us on a journey to gain the skills we need. You may have heard the phrase, "God doesn't call the equipped; he equips the called." Well, the good news is, it's true. We can see it in the biblical narrative, and we can see it in our own lives. Consider today how God can use you to reach your neighbors, family, and friends with love and mercy.

Announcements: Dresden UMC is now offering Children's Church during Sunday Service. This is an excellent opportunity for our kids to grow together in discipleship and enjoy each other's company in fellowship! We hope to see your kids soon!

Are you in need of medical equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, crutches, canes, etc.? Call Dresden UMC and ask for the First Aid Closet. We have equipment available to borrow for free.

Join us for Worship Sundays at 9:30 am; we'll save you a seat!

Penn Yan First Baptist

We had an awesome Scout Sunday on Feb. 6. Many Scouts were in attendance with their families and several took part in the service with readings and reciting of the Scout Oath and Pledges. There were special treats for all at our fellowship time after the worship service. We were very honored to have so many with us on that special day to honor our Scouts of Pack 44. Our Missions Board will be sending $800 to Yates County Habitat for Humanity this week.

Due to Covid-19 virus we will be suspending our Super Sub Sunday fundraiser for the second year. We encourage all those who normally partner with us at this time of year, if you would like to make a contribution you may send it into First Baptist Church of Penn Yan at 224 Main St. and mark in the memo line, "For Yates County Habitat for Humanity".

On Feb. 13, Rev. Don Lawrence shared a message of, "Did I Do It?" and referencing Matthew 25:40: "I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important brothers of mine, you did it for me!" Food for thought for all of us.

On Feb. 20, we will hear from Dale Wakley and on the last Sunday of the month we will hear from Brian Bleiler. Take care everyone and we hope you'll come visit us in person on Sundays at 10 a.m.