CHURCH BRIEFS (section header)

Special to The Chronicle-Express

St. Michael's Catholic

Pope Francis’ encyclical letter, Fratelli Tutti, released in October 2020, is an invitation to renewed social friendship and universal fraternity. This encyclical was published as the global community was seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

● Join Pope Francis in praying and fasting for the people of Ukraine.  https://www.usccb.org/resources/fratelli-tutti-study-guide  Fratelli Tutti is an encyclical on fraternity and friendship.  The study guide can be downloaded and used within the family over six sessions or among friends.  A meditation to begin this study can be found at https://www.usccb.org/resources/prayer-experience-good-samaritan-fratelli-tutti.

● Love and pray for the enemy (Putin) (Matt. 5:43-45).  Pray too for the vast number of Russians who are suffering from the selfish decisions of Putin.  

● Do good to those who hate you (Prov. 25:21-23). 

● Make a financial offering through Catholic Relief Services whose workers are responding to the needs on the ground in Ukraine and bordering countries, providing safe shelter, hot meals, hygiene supplies, fuel to keep warm, transport to safe areas, counseling support and more (https://tinyurl.com/2p83jj8v) or any of the many organizations mentioned in the Catholic Courier, the diocesan newspaper of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester. 

● “We urge political leaders, the media and influential voices within the U.S. Catholic community to refuse to beat the drums of war and to not support efforts to justify U.S. or NATO military action nor increase the flow of arms into the conflict. Such a response will only assure that the current violence will spiral ever more deeply and make even more unlikely the possibilities for an end to this war through dialogue and diplomacy.”  (From the PAX Christi Statement of 2/24/22)  Read the entire statement at https://tinyurl.com/3x9kxpyj.

Branchport Methodist 

Pastor Kim’s message for us last Sunday was that Christ is our shelter in times of temptation and fear.  We are all facing times of trial these days and our hope is calling on the Comforter to lead us safely through these trials.

Thank you to all who contributed to this month’s lunch for the Living Well.  We join with other churches and organizations to offer Grab & Go lunches at the Well on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We are also collecting pet supplies for Pet Partners Connection during the month of March. You may bring your donations to church or directly to the Living Well.

Beginning March 9, we are having a Lenten Bible study via Zoom on Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.  We will meet each week until April 6. For information on how to Zoom with us, contact Pastor Kim Lyons at 585-857-7962. Sunday worship is at 10:45 a.m.  All are welcome to join us!

Milo Center Methodist

We lift prayers of healing to Phyllis Hamm. Continued thoughts to the people of Ukraine and their families in the U.S. Birthday wishes to Karen Hallings, Ashlynn Nielsen-Henderson, Elizabeth Kerrick, and Evelyn Little. Our March Mission outreach is Pet Partner Connection. A donation of any kind will be appreciated. 

In this first Sunday of Lent sermon Pastor Kim shared some of the traditions and their meanings of the Lenten season -- Focus on Self, Focus on Others, and Focus on God. We pray to find room in our hearts to do all three throughout these next few weeks and beyond. The purpose of this amazing season is to set time aside for reflection on Jesus Christ. Jesus understands every weakness we may encounter because He was tempted in just the same ways. He chose to share His blessings to glorify God, do you? Take time for self care, kindness to others and love shown to God. 

All are welcome to join our service and Sunday School at 9 a.m.  Sundays. Weekly Bible Study began March 9 via Zoom.

First Presbyterian 

In the midst of what has been an unusually cold winter and with all of the current turmoil in the world right now, a 71-degree, sunny Sunday was a welcome change last week. It was certainly uplifting for anyone attending local church services as well as our collective souls! It reminds us that the Vernal Equinox begins on March 20, the introduction to the renewal of life yet to come during the spring season. “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time for singing has come,” Song of Solomon 2:11-12.

FPC welcomes renewed activities too, as Covid cases continue to recede and mask mandates are slowly lifted. In conjunction with suggested guidance from the Presbytery, FPC Session will continue revising masking requirements within the building as appropriate. They are also evaluating when our choir could return and when choir performances could resume. The Trustees are moving ahead with roof repairs this spring and are monitoring the back slope that was graded and planted last fall, to ensure its adequate growth and stability during the early spring thaw. The Presbyterian Women and Deacons continue to help support the Well with the “Grab and Go” lunch program and this week they have prepared homemade soup. As warmer weather becomes consistent, FPC intends to reinstate our outdoor “Lemonade on the Lawn” fellowship after our Sunday services.

Later this March, the Worship & Music and Memorial Committee’s will put up new banners on the outside pillars of the church to beautify our surroundings for spring and Easter. Nellie and Susan, who maintain our garden areas, are beginning their clean-up. They plan annuals to be planted in time for Easter, especially for Sonja’s garden by the front walkway. Thanks to our Digital Church Committee we are regularly “Celebrating God’s Beauty” through the submission of photos and writings. As we approach spring and Easter, take a moment to look at what’s new and beautiful around FPC on our website, www.pypc.org.

St. Mark's Episcopal

Have you ever wondered about the origins of ministers wearing white collars? The clerical collar, clergy collar, Roman collar, or dog collar is an item of Christian clerical clothing. The collar is a sign of a person's religious calling, and helps others in the community to identify them, regardless of their faith. The clerical collar is almost always white and was originally made of cotton or linen but is now frequently made of plastic.

The traditional collar, or "dog collar," is a full collar that goes completely around the neck and attaches in the back. In more recent times a detachable tab of white in the front of the clerical shirt has been used rather than the full collar and referred to as the tab collar. In the early church during the 8th, 9th, and 10th centuries there was no such tradition. Clergy wore long robes of sackcloth, some with hoods: think of Robin Hood's Friar Tuck, and later, lined winter tunics, then black robes, some with hoods.

Lutheran clergy in Denmark still wear the ruff collars popularized in the 16th century.

A little later, some clergy wore a white, frilled "ruff" collar and others wore a white scarf-like cloth called an "amice" over their shoulders and chest. In the 18th and 19th centuries long black cassocks with a high black collar were common.  In the 20th century, clergy began wearing black suits with the white dog collar. Today, many clergy wear a sport coat with the white collar or just a black shirt and white collar in the warmer weather.

Interim Bishop Stephen Lane of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.

According to history, the detachable clerical collar was invented in 1865 by the Reverend Donald McLeod, a church of Scotland (Presbyterian) minister in Glasgow. Other denominations have adopted the clerical collar including: the Anglican, Methodist, Eastern Orthodox, Baptist, Lutheran and Roman Catholic. In some denominations the white collar is wider or narrower and more or less of the collar is visible. Most ministers wear a black shirt with the clerical collar. But in recent times some ministers have begun wearing a lighter blue shirt with the white collar. In most denominations only ordained individuals can wear the clerical collar although Roman Catholic seminarians may wear it. 

There does not seem to be a strong reason for why the collar is white other than it was an easy contrasting color for the black robes. The color white has different liturgical meanings but none of these seemed to be a persuasive reason for the clergy collar to be white.

Join us at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Sunday mornings at 9 and check out our ministers’ white collars – and now, during Lent, their purple vestments. Stay to hear inspiring homilies and reflections, and to be a part of our caring community. All are welcome!

Dresden Methodist

This past week, Dresden UMC heard a scripture reading from Luke 4:1-13. This passage describes Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert. The devil tempts Jesus with food, power, and spectacle. All things we struggle with today. But where we give in to the things we know aren't good for us, where Adam and Eve failed to stand firm in the face of temptation, Jesus is steadfast. He does not falter. He recites beloved scriptures from Deuteronomy and refuses to give in to the devil. We can imagine this in our lives. Sometimes we have a devil on our shoulder whispering sweet lies into our ears. One line of defense against deceptive forces is to have scripture written on your hearts. If you know what God wants for you and you know how to hear his voice above the attractive lies of evil, then you can persevere as Jesus did!

What's going on around the church? As spring approaches and new life is on the horizon, we are busy here at Dresden. We have added Children's Church back into our services. Our "Bag Ladies" have been busy making walker bags for the First Aid Closet, Bible Study is going strong on Tuesdays at noon, and our decorating team has been busy beautifying our space! Things are buzzing here, and we hope that you'll stop by for a visit on a Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. or Tuesday afternoon at noon!  

Dresden United Methodist Church's First Aid Closet, on Avenue A in Dresden, has many items to chose from.  Everything is free of charge and may be borrowed for as long as you need them.
The First Aid Closet is looking for donations of medical equipment to continue to meet the community's needs - if you have equipment you'd like to donate or have equipment you need to return, please get in touch with Herb and Elsie at 315-536-4794, Bill and Donna at 315-536-9639, or Trudy at 315-536-9434.

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 community's needs - if you have equipment you'd like to donate or have equipment you need to return, please get in touch with the church.

Community Dinner March 30 at 6 p.m. Please bring a dish to pass. Entertainment will be provided by "Mostly Memories."

Penn Yan First Baptist

The America For Christ Offering will be received on March 20, and our goal this year is $600. Drawing on Psalm 22:22 which reads, "I will praise you and testify about what you have done." The support we give enables American Baptist Home Missions Society to provide scholarships, mentoring, tutoring and more to inspire young people to take charge of their future, and so much more!

We hope to have new carpeting installed this week from Cole's Furniture and Floor Fashions. Our first worship service to be held back in the sanctuary will be the last Sunday of March. A double blessing is that we will have several people who will be baptized and become new members! Join us for church Sundays at 10 a.m.

Bluff Point Methodist

Welcome back to Fellowship! A prayer and healing service was held for those of us who are ill or who have faced losses, and for our world, with such devastating turmoil with Russia towards the country and people of Ukraine. UMCOR is collecting for giving for Ukraine. 

Pastor Sandi has both Lenten calendars for scripture readings and also for reverse advent giving for food to benefit The Living Well.  Pick them up at church, or let her know so she can drop these in the mail for you.  Feed-a-pet Sunday is also coming up!

We have begun our kids Sunday School again. Teachers are needed.  Lesson plans are provided for guidance. We also are once again having fellowship after church, which so many enjoy! Sign up lists are in the sanctuary.

Bruce Westerdahl has set up a fund in Africa for a library in memory of his wife and our Christian sister, Nancy.  Nancy spent most of her school life as an elementary school teacher, and was passionate about teaching kids to read. Donations gratefully appreciated to keep Nancy’s dreams alive!

Our recent scripture lesson was from John 11: 3-44. Lazarus was ill, and his sisters asked for assistance from Jesus. Jesus did not come to Judea right away, and Lazarus fell asleep and died. It was felt if Jesus had responded earlier, Lazarus would not have died. When Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead in the tomb for four days. Jesus told Martha that he was the resurrection and the light, and whomever believed in him would never die. In another of Jesus’s miracles, Jesus raised Lazarus from the tomb.

A reminder to take advantage of many studies and opportunities during Lent as we prepare for Easter!