CHURCH BRIEFS

Special to The Chronicle-Express

Branchport Methodist Church

The message for us Sunday, Feb. 27, was one of “shining.” We ask God to make us shine like the sun to inspire ourselves and others to follow Jesus’ example to do good in this world.

Our prayers for healing are many – healing of those who are ill, are grieving, or are just brought down by the world today.  We especially pray for peace in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world.

We were able to gather a good amount of soap products for the Living Well during our “Soaper Bowl” collection for the month of February.  It is a new month now and we are now collecting pet products to benefit the Pet Partner Connections’ annual pet food drive to support the pet food pantry and Home Assistance program that provides for the special pet needs of the elderly or disabled who are homebound.

Good news!  We have decided to again hold our annual Red, White and Blue 5K this year on the 4th of July!  After a Covid hiatus for two years, we decided our community needs to run off the blues of hibernation!  We will have lots more news for you soon, but keep us in mind when you are making summer plans.

We hope you will join us for worship in person or via Zoom on Sunday mornings at 10:45.

St. Michael's Catholic

The Lenten study for adults will be “Around the Lenten Circle.”  It is based on Sunday’s Scripture readings with reflection and discussion.  Attend in person over lunch on Tuesdays, 12:30 p.m. in the Church Hall (call 315-536-7459 by Monday noon to reserve your space) or attend by Zoom on Wednesdays, 7-8 p.m. (Call 315-595-6133 to request the link.) 

“A Quick Thought on Lent” on FORMED (a library of videos, audios, talks, programs and more) helps viewers (Tweens to adults) to understand what Lent is about.  View it, and all the other content, by going to formed.org/signup, enter 14527, enter your name and email!  You will be prompted to create a username and password.  (Save both, especially if signing out at the end of your session.)  Especially recommended are the series called “The Search,” or “Forgiven.”  Our free gift to you! 

Do you feel fractured, disconnected from God and others, anxious, overwhelmed?  The “Stability” speaker/discussion series offered by Paraclete Press may be just right for you. Stability is a “Benedictine value rooted in a deep commitment to a people, a place, and a purpose.”  Online speakers are Wednesdays, March 9, 16, 22 and April 6 at 7 p.m. Register weekly at https://stability2022.com/  On these dates at 8 p.m., Patty will lead discussion using the accompanying guide.  Use this Zoom link for the discussion:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81633105302 Meeting ID: 816 3310 5302 

Explaining Lent to children may pose a challenge.  On Tuesday and Thursday nights, 7:30 PM join Patty, our faith formation director as she reads chapters from "Trouble with Lent" on Our Lady of the Lakes Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ourladyofthelakescc) live.  It’s part of the Hope Springs series of “The Adventures of Nick & Sam”(antha), twins whose family has relocated.   

Another great resource for children is the Brother Francis videos on Formed.

Deacon Roger will lead the Stations of the Cross on all Fridays, except March 18, at 7 PM at St. Mike’s. Join us as we recall Christ’s passion and death, true God and man who wants us to rely on Him.  Rather multitask, like during your commute?  An audio Stations of the Cross is also available on Formed.  Just use the search tool.  Brother Francis also has them for kiddos. 

Open wide your heart so that you can participate with us as our theme for this Lent is “Return to Me with Your Whole Heart.” 

St. Michael's encourages people to join in the Novena for all traveling the path to adoption.

We also encourage people to join us in the Novena for all traveling the path to adoption.  Of the over 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., 114,556 cannot be returned to their families and are waiting to be adopted. Go to https://www.respectlife.org/adoption-novena to register and get more info. 

St. Mark's Episcopal

With all of our study of scripture and so many shelves of scholarly works about Jesus, as we are aware we know comparatively little about most of his life. It is estimated that his entire public ministry, including His resurrection, 40 days of appearances and Ascension add up to a total of three and a half years. How fascinating to imagine what his day-to-day life as a child, adolescent and young man might have been like as he developed an awareness of his vocation and, many believe, his destiny.

The people who gave us our strongest legacy in terms of the story of Jesus' life – the vivid pictures in our minds left to us by those who walked the earth with him and were there to leave us with the words and scenes that we treasure in a million paintings and the prayers and songs of generation after generation of Christians – those names are very well known to us:  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the others of the 12 disciples and of course Paul, who did not know Jesus in person but left us the teachings that constitute the groundwork of the early Christian church. The name, however, that brackets Jesus' life in terms of birth and death, with quiet prominence, is the name of Joseph. 

At the beginning – and even before the beginning – at the announcement by the angel to Mary of what was to take place – there is the name and figure of the faithful earthly father, steadfast Joseph the Carpenter. We can only guess – and few have dared to do even that – at the influence this quiet man may have had on the growing boy as he grew to manhood. 

St. Joseph the Carpenter is celebrated March 19 in the Episcopal Church.

The little that we know about Joseph the Carpenter, from Matthew Chapter One, is that he was an excellent earthly example of integrity and righteousness as well as a man of strong beliefs. When he received the first message from God he stood by Mary and Jesus in spite of what anyone else thought. We know that he passed on the carpentry trade to his son and raised him in the Jewish traditions and spiritual observances. The last time this Joseph is mentioned is when Jesus was 12 years old. 

But we can find in our own parishes today examples of him; hardworking and plain people who don't, in their own lives, gain prominence, but simply can be counted on by us and, we instinctively know, by God, to do what is needed, to do it with humility and to do it right.

The Joseph at the other end of Jesus' life (we might say Joseph the Rich Man) comes to us as Joseph of Arimathea who assumed responsibility for the proper care and burial of Jesus after his crucifixion.  Matthew describes him simply as a rich man and a disciple of Jesus but according to Mark, Joseph of Arimathea was “a respected member of the council who was himself looking for the kingdom of God.” John speaks of him as a “secret” disciple but he may have been known to important people because he “asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus and Pilate gave him permission.” Joseph purchased a linen shroud and he and other followers of Jesus bound the body with expensive spices. Such care, it would seem, that might be given to the body of a king. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Nicodemus tell us that the tomb was one that Joseph had purchased and prepared for himself.

Stories and legends continue about this Joseph, including that he traveled to Britain and was the founder of Christianity there even before it had taken hold in Rome.

Two men with very different histories but the same name, both given the task of ministering to Jesus, one at the beginning of his earthly life and one at the end. The Episcopal Church has deemed both Josephs Saints (Joseph the Carpenter is celebrated March 19, Joseph of Arimathea Aug. 1). At St. Mark’s in Penn Yan, we honor people like the two Josephs as being exemplary. Come worship with us any Sunday at 9 a.m. – all are welcome!

Bluff Point Methodist

Spring is on the way! We will be starting in-person Bible study soon, Witness at the Cross, on Thursdays.  Contact Pastor Sandi if you wish to join. Sunday School will begin in church on March 13. Contact Pastor Sandi or Peggy if you can help out. It will be great to see more of the kids back in church!  We will be preparing the children for Easter with Kid’s Camp. Many of us enjoy fellowship - coffee and snacks after church.  There is a sign-up to help with this as well. 

Our recent scripture lesson was John 9: 1-41, read by Marguerite, about the man born blind and given sight, another of Jesus’s miracles.  It was proclaimed that those who are blind will see, and those who see will become blind. Pastor Sandi reminded us that Jesus sees the bigger picture. Blindness is not only physical, but spiritual, emotional and financial.  We need to let Jesus into our lives and pay attention.  We may have a shelf of books about Jesus, but do we look at them? We have stuff, but what do we do with it?   We have tools, but we may choose to ignore them. Jesus does not give up on us, as he did not give up on the blind man. Pastor Sandi gave us homework to look for our own blind spots.  Where do we come in judgement of others when we should help? There are many opportunities during lent as we prepare for the Risen Christ.

Hope to see you soon at Zoom or in-person church.  Our parishioners are always welcoming!

First Presbyterian

Our local church brief columns follow a set of established guidelines in how they are written each week. The various denominations and ministries will normally publicize programs being held within their walls or the groups that we host. We all highlight specific accomplishments of our members or significant events in their lives. The various contributors to these columns also focus attention on their outreach ministries outside of our community that serve the greater good and help others in need worldwide. Sometimes we do explain the liturgical events we celebrate and the traditions associated with them. Many writers also share the points of a particular sermon that was relevant to our times and they found to be soul-stirring. We all offer information on dates and times of our services and welcome anyone who wishes to attend. What each contributor strives not to do is proselytize about our beliefs or involve ourselves in any political points of view.

Sadly, over the last three years, some subjects affecting our world have been too consequential to ignore. They have or could have a devastating impact on the world as we know it. The most obvious is the COVID-19 virus which has affected millions and cost as many lives. The crisis in Afghanistan is another tragedy still slowly unfolding. Two weeks ago the invasion on Ukraine began. Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, these events impel people’s comment.

Pastor Paul focused his Feb. 27 sermon on prayers not only for the Ukrainian people but also a vast majority of Russians who will suffer great hardships. He quoted from a Ukrainian mother, who spoke in Russian, to implore Russian mothers, “Please don’t send your sons, husbands and fathers to kill ours.” That statement has little to do with religion or politics but it speaks directly to our humanity. This sermon was given on Transformation Sunday. Pastor Paul ended the sermon by suggesting that positive transformation can only occur when we are willing to listen to God, to each other and put our humanity for others first and foremost. Only then will we find peace and understanding. All people of faith are offering prayers and support to the Ukrainian people for their safety, freedom and independence as a sovereign nation. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12: 18.

Penn Yan First Baptist

Sunday, March 6, Rev. Don Lawrence delivered a message titled, "He Understands," with a reading from Luke 4:1-13. On March 13, we will be visited by Mark Slomski of Bristol, NY, as he shares his inspired message.

The painting is complete in our sanctuary and after the ladies so some deeper cleaning, Cole's Furniture and Floor Fashions will be installing new carpeting. Our first service in the newly rejuvenated sanctuary should be on March 27, at which time we will receive three new members by baptism.

The America for Christ Offering campaign has begun and our goal this year is $600. The call is to work together to bring more hope into our broken world  with leaders and disciples who are the hands and feet of Jesus.

We would like to share a prayer for the Lenten Season. Gracious God, in whose image we have been created - the image we see personified in Jesus, the Christ - in this season of Lent we come to rededicate ourselves to follow Jesus and to be willing to deny ourselves for the sake of others. Strengthen us to help bear the burdens of those less fortunate than we, for we know that when we love and serve them we love and serve you. We pray in the Spirit and seek to follow the example of the one who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, even Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

Dresden Methodist

This past week Dresden UMC joined with many other churches in thinking about Jesus' Transfiguration. As we hear about Jesus' transfiguration, we should also reflect on our own. We change throughout our lives; sometimes, those changes are good, and sometimes they aren't. No one is the same person they were ten years ago. In the same way that Jesus was changed on the mountain top as he was joined by Elijah, Moses, and God, we too experience mountaintop moments where we are close to God, and these moments help prepare us for what is coming next. For Jesus, this moment of closeness with God and clarity on his mission helped to prepare him for his eventual death. For us, our moments on the mountaintop are often followed by valleys of darkness. The closeness with God prepares us and sees us through the dark moments. You can probably think of a time in your life when things went from really great to really bad. I hope you can see God's hand in the good, preparing you and giving you the stamina and strength to persevere through the bad. If you have trouble making sense of the ups and downs of life, try talking to a friend or a friendly local pastor to help you sort out the details!

Announcements: Join us for a community dinner with entertainment provided by Mostly Memories on March 30 at 6 p.m. Bring a dish to pass and enjoy some music and fellowship!

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 or that you have borrowed and need to return, 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 a.m. We'll save you a seat!

Milo Center Methodist

WOW! Our MCUMC family did it again -- 287 food items were collected for distribution at The Living Well. What a "souper" job!  Thank you to all who contributed.

Birthday wishes to Brenda Nielsen, Candy Bezek, Janet Johncox, Graham Hallings, Damon Brennan, and Joe Lyons. Healing prayers continue for Frank Francisco, Ruth Riehl, and Craig Prior.

Pastor Kim shared the journey that was taken by Jesus and his disciples through the Transfiguration to begin the season of Epiphany. Can you imagine the emotions of that time among Jesus' followers? It makes our prayers even stronger to the people affected by conflict in Eastern Europe and their families in the U.S. filled with worry. We hope that those hurting can see the glory in God clearly to find comfort and that peace will soon prevail.

Bible study begins via zoom on March 9. All are welcome.