CHURCH BRIEFS

Special to The Chronicle-Express

Penn Yan First Baptist

At First Scout Sunday at First Baptist Church of Penn Yan, the Scouts led the congregation in reciting the pledge to the American Flag and to the Christian Flag. In this photo the Scouts are reciting the Scout Oath, Motto and Law. The Scouts are from Pack 44 Color Guard. Taking part in the service were: Aiden Green, Jackson Green and Nathan Mineses. Many other Scouts, parents and leaders were in attendance.

One item in our Mission budget is the PSALM (Pastors' Salary and Local Ministry) Fund and is focused on two areas: to provide grants for pastoral support to congregations whose pastors' salaries are below a minimum level and to provide emergency grants directly to pastors. Over the years the PSALM Fund has provided support for a variety of ministries and programs including ecumenical inner-city ministries and migrant ministries.

The Adult Bible Study class meets several times each month after the worship service discussing the "Words of Jesus." 

On Feb. 27, we welcome Brian Bleiler as our pulpit supply to share a message with us. You are invited to join us as well. Service beings at 10 a.m.

St. Michael's Catholic

March 1 is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday. Christians bulk up on rich foods because the next day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of another Lent.  But will it be “just another Lent” or will the practice of love bring us to Easter Sunday more alive, like Jesus?     

Consider beginning Lent is with a retreat.  We are offering “How Lent Can Help Us,” by Mariana Miller from Creighton U. It is available here: https://bluecast.hosted.panopto.com/Panopto/Pages/Viewer.aspx?id=8941071f-36da-4767-9932-aa73012f7eea or shorturl.at/gipLX. It was recorded a few years ago, but is just as relevant today as it was then. 

Catholics have certain practices: participating at Mass more often, receiving ashes on the forehead on Ash Wednesday (to remind us of our need to repent our sins), giving up a well-loved thing (food or activity), or taking on an act as a way of penance. (Kids, do you make your bed?  Might be something you could do.)  Additionally, we fast (one full meal or two small meals, with no snacking) on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  We abstain from eating meat on all Fridays of Lent. 

At St. Mike’s, we are encouraging all parishioners to join a study group. The study  selected for this year is “Walking with Jesus.” It has something for everyone of every age.   

We also invite you readers to take advantage of our subscription to the online platform, FORMED https://signup.FORMED.org.  There is no cost to you! Input our parish code 14527 along with your email address.  (Call the parish office if you need help.)  The “Forgiven” series, movies, e-books, audios, the Stations of the Cross, videos for kids, a section for teens.  The possibilities are endless!  

As we pray, fast and offer alms, let it change us and we change the world. 

Milo Center Methodist

During service, Milo Center Methodist's  young disciples visited some of our church family who can't attend service. They made heart shaped bird feeders for each to spread their love.

"Because He lives I can face tomorrow,

Because He lives all fear is gone,

Because I know He holds the future,

And life is worth the living just because He lives"

On this the eve of Valentine's Day we were reminded that because God loves us  unconditionally we can face anything. We enjoyed having our guest pastor this week.  Laurie Prinzivalli brought light into her service with her reflections of how dark days can be brightened in God's sight. Even what seems to be the darkest days. Look for signs of God and His love. They can be given to us in the most unexpected and unusual ways. We are all a gift of God. During service, our young disciples visited some of our church family that can't attend service. They made heart shaped bird feeders for each to spread their love. 

Prayers continue for Mary Lilyea, Leon Nelson, Dale Welker, and Steve Eskildsen. Happiest birthday wishes to Jeannine Andersen as she celebrates being 92 years young on the 28th.

We are a few cans of soup behind our goal. Let's rise to the challenge in the next two weeks and reach the end zone strong. 

St. Mark's Episcopal

Almost all Christian denominations are familiar with the day we call Ash Wednesday, the first day of the 40 days of Lent.  But not all denominations acknowledge the day before Ash Wednesday, or even know that it has a particular name:  Shrove Tuesday. The word “shrove” comes from the old English “shriven” which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by means of confession and penance.  The day before Ash Wednesday, therefore was named after the custom of early Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent, in imitation of Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness facing and resisting worldly temptations before entering Jerusalem to face his destiny of trial and crucifixion.

For Episcopalians, Shrove Tuesday (or "Mardi Gras") means pancakes!

But why the pancakes? Believe it or not, the tradition comes from the same idea as Mardi Gras or “Fat Tuesday.” Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, serves the dual purpose of allowing Christians to repent of their sins before the start of Lent and also giving them the opportunity to engage in a last round of merriment before the start of the somber Lenten season. In some countries the “merriment” part has become the famous Carnival (literally “goodbye to meat”) of Rio de Janeiro with its costumes, parades and general excess of merriment. In perhaps tamer places like England the day became associated with using up ingredients such as eggs, milk and fat and sugar – hence pancakes.

Here is an English Shrove Tuesday tradition which is said to have originated in 1445 and continues through till today: Supposedly a housewife from Olney, Buckinghamshire was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the Shrove Tuesday service, after which there would be a pancake supper.  She raced out of the house to church while still carrying her frying pan and pancake, tossing it to prevent it from burning. The pancake race remains a festive tradition in England where participants with frying pans race through the streets tossing pancakes into the air and catching them in the pan while running. Not exactly Mardi Gras madness, but still a fun start to a somber time.

At St. Mark's Church, Penn Yan, as is the case in many Episcopal churches, the tradition of a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper survives, though like so many things in our pandemic world, it has been modified by reaction to virus. Last year, for instance, members of St. Mark's made their individual pancake suppers at home and sent pictures to one another. This year there will not be a pancake supper at St. Mark's but we will be offering an Irish supper (corned beef and cabbage with home-baked cupcakes for dessert) on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 from 4-6 p.m. It will be pre-order and takeout only so call 315-536-3955 to order $12 tickets as soon as possible.

And for 2023, how about returning to the olden days with a pancake flipping race down Main Street?

First Presbyterian 

Several new FPC banners were acquired with the leadership of the Presbyterian Women. The first to be revealed in 2022 was displayed on Feb. 6, for our communion service. This banner features the verse “Do this in remembrance of me” superimposed on an open Bible sitting next to a stone cup and heel of bread. The colors are soft and warm making it a beautiful addition to our celebration of communion, held the first Sunday of each month. Other banners that were purchased through funds from our Memorial Committee will debut throughout the year. They provide a gentle reminder of the members FPC has lost these last two years and will enhance our surroundings for brighter days to come. With Easter’s arrival, two different banners will be hung at the front of the sanctuary. We encourage all to join FPC for these celebrations, Sundays at 10 a.m. and view our new look. You can live-stream from our website at: *www.pypc.com* or in person. As a reminder, in-person attendance still requires a mask at the moment.

During the upcoming Lenten season FPC will also begin our next book study program via Zoom.  Discussions will take place on Tuesday nights, from 7 to 8 p. m., on March 8, 15, 22 and 29. The book selected for this session is “The Busy Christian’s Guide to Busyness” by Tim Chester. It speaks to how many of us often overextend our time to be “people-pleasers” rather than do what God has called upon us to do while on earth. This book will challenge us to stop wishing for more time and help us to re-prioritize our lives in a Christian centered way. It directs us to think about what we really need to do and for whom we are doing it. In Chester’s introduction he states, “It’s important to manage our time but it’s more important to manage our hearts.” Or, in God’s words, Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” If you are interested in joining the discussion or obtaining a copy of the book please contact FPC by calling 315-536-8235 or via email at *firstprespy211@yahoo.com*.

Dresden Methodist

The Dresden Methodist Church's First Aid Closet has a team they call "The Bag Ladies" who make hold-all bags for the walkers loaned out by First Aid Closet. From left, Tobey Bond, Sue Morris, Devie Russell, Elsie Goodman, and Sheryl Parkhurst. Not pictured: Bonna McMahon, who was taking the photo.

This past week at Dresden UMC, the scripture reading came from the Gospel of Luke where Jesus is teaching his disciples, and a large crowd listens on. Jesus says some things to his disciples that seem confusing. He says that the poor, the hungry, and those who weep are blessed. Biblical scholar N.T. Wright tells us that Jesus is giving his disciples some general rules to live by. He compares Jesus picking his disciples to a coach picking a football team. A coach would likely provide some basic rules of the game initially, so the players had a foundation to build the rest of the rules. Jesus is doing this same thing. Jesus calls his disciples to a life of simplicity — in simplicity, we see our need for God and community. Jesus is calling his disciples to a life of hungering for God — in filling ourselves with the words and will of God; we become better people and better disciples. Jesus calls his disciples to hope for a better future — to turn their weeping into laughter as they recognize the hope that a life centered in Christ can offer. These guidelines, given to Jesus's disciples in the first century, are the same ones we should be looking to follow today. We should try to live simply and give the extra we have to those in need. We should desire to know more about God. And we should have a hope rooted in the gospel promises of Jesus.  

Announcements: 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. The First Aid Closet is also looking for donations of medical equipment to continue to meet the needs of the community - if you have equipment you'd like to donate, please get in touch with the church.

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!

Join us for Worship Sundays at 9:30 am. We'll save you a seat.

Branchport Methodist 

Many thanks to Rob Heselton who filled in for Pastor Kim last Sunday while she took a day off.  Sharing your talents is a great way to be a Christian and so many of our members are doing that every day. Whether it be preaching, doing maintenance, keeping in touch with shut-ins, providing lunches for the Living Well, or one of the many things that are necessary to keep the church a positive place in the community – it is greatly appreciated.

During February we have been collecting soap products for the Living Well in honor of the “Soaper Bowl.”  We also continue to collect snacks for the elementary school Snack Pantry and money for the Humane Society as well as items for our Blessings Cupboard.

We continue to hold service in person and via Zoom so that our friends and members who are out of town can worship with us.  Thank you to Pastor Kim and Dave Thorn for making this possible.

We hope to see you at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday.