Special to The Chronicle-Express

St. Mark's Episcopal

The expression “Smells and Bells” refers to two aspects of an Episcopal service that some churches observe while other Episcopal churches do not. The smells come from incense used during the service.  It says to the congregations that you are in the presence of God in this holy place where something special is about to happen. It also symbolizes that the prayers being said are rising to heaven with the rising of the incense. The bells refer to the small hand bells rung when the bread and wine are consecrated. This part of the service is called the Great Thanksgiving and identifies that something important is happening.

When literacy was not as prevalent as today, the bells were used to say to the people: stop what you are doing and pay attention.

Some people say that the use of bells and incense have no biblical or liturgical basis, but others use the example that God often appeared in a cloud or a veil of smoke or was anointed with fragrant oils or perfume, thus the incense denotes God's presence. 

The use of bells and incense was quite prevalent during the 1800s by many who were identified as ritualists. Ritualists were also known to wear fancy vestments during Eucharist services and have the practice of mixing wine with water during the Eucharist as well as using wafers as a replacement for bread. The ritualists were typically conservative and felt that their symbolic ways would bring a sense of decorum to even those churches in poorer communities. This is one of the reasons that today some of the churches that use bells and incense are considered to be High Church while those who do not use bells and incense are thought of as Low Church as a reference of formal vs less formal forms of the service. There are some Episcopal churches who have different services within the same parish. For example, some will have what is called a low mass with no bells and incense, while at other times the parish will hold a high mass where smells and bells are included.

Many Episcopalians today would say they're not ritualists and yet much of the Episcopal Church service still contains many of its other ritualistic origins even though it may not be smells and bells. 

You can experience for yourself an Episcopal Church service by attending Saint Mark's Episcopal Church in Penn Yan at 9 Sunday mornings. Smells and bells aren't normally used other than on special occasions. So come as you are. All are welcome. 

Branchport Methodist 

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!”  Our Easter Sunday worship service was one of joy and celebration of our risen Lord, complete with waving streamers, kazoos and musical eggs.  May we continue to celebrate as we carry on with service to our world.

Our annual Memorial Day weekend Chicken Barbecue will be held Saturday, May 28.  We will begin serving at 4:30 p.m.  It will again be a drive thru, but we offer our picnic table in the gazebo for those who wish to stay and eat.

Plans for the Red, White and Blue 5K on July 4th are coming together.  Watch for more information on our website and on Facebook.

We encourage you to be in prayer for the people of Ukraine, for all those grieving or ill, for our country, and for all those battling in silence.

All are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings at 10:45, in person or on Zoom.

Penn Yan First Baptist

Our May guest preaching schedule is: May 1 - Rev. John Tharp; 8 - Dale Wakley; 15 - Rev. Don Lawrence; 22 - Rev. John Tharp.  

May 29 will be the Combined Ecumenical Service in the Yates County Courtyard. 

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 21, when our Board of Christian Education will sponsor their annual Chicken Barbecue. It will be held at Lyon's National Bank beginning at 11 am. 

On Mothers Day we will receive the Church World Service Blanket Offering. It's how we can make a tangible difference for those in need in the United States and around the world. We worship at 10 a.m. Sunday, please join us!

First Presbyterian 

Those who attended Easter sunrise services around Keuka Lake witnessed a spectacular sunrise. Many beautiful photos were posted on a few local churches Facebook pages and websites. In these special moments, one cannot help but be in awe of the beauty of nature bestowed upon us by our Creator. Following FPC’s sunrise service, our traditional Easter service was equally inspirational. People are slowly returning to in-person worship and Easter Sunday seemed the perfect day to welcome many back to church.

Following First Presbyterian’s sunrise service, the traditional Easter service was equally inspirational.

As May approaches, FPC and many other denominations turn their focus to Church World Service (CWS) Global Ministries. Every year on the Sunday before or after Mother’s Day, partner churches hold a special offering for “CWS Blankets Sunday.” The universal message is to, “Blanket the World in Love.” It began in response to the devastation during World War II and the immediate need for warm blankets throughout Europe. Over the years, it quickly grew in support of crisis situations worldwide and other items like emergency supplies, tools and hygiene kits were added. As this program’s geographical reach expanded and the costs for gathering and shipping goods from churches throughout the U. S. increased, it became impractical to ship individual items.

In today’s world, CWS coordinates these special offerings with each denomination, on a designated Sunday, and the items are purchased and distributed in bulk by CWS. CWS also indicates the current costs of the blankets to help everyone understand just what these donations are able to provide: 

  • $10 buys an individual blanket,
  • $250 pays for blankets for five families made homeless in a weather related crisis,
  • $500 provides enough blankets for a homeless shelter
  • $1,200 is the amount needed for every new group of refugees arriving at a temporary refugee center.

Given the recent refugee crises in several parts of the world, the cost of blankets alone is staggering. May 8 was selected for FPC to collect donations for “Blanket and Tool Sunday.” This is being done prior to Mother’s Day so that for every $5 donated, FPC will offer you a card to give to honor a mother (or father). One CWS volunteer, Carolyn P., expressed the significance of this mission best. She said, “As a mother, I realize the importance of something as simple as a blanket. It not only provides warmth and comfort on a cold night, it is a tangible symbol of the love that God provides.”

Dresden Methodist

The Good Friday Tenebrae Service at Dresden Methodist.

This past Sunday, Dresden UMC celebrated Resurrection Sunday together! There was much joy and excitement as the congregation gathered on the porch of a lakefront property for a sunrise service. While it was pretty cold, the group sang jubilantly as they contemplated the new life they had been offered as Jesus rose from the dead. After the sunrise service, the group gathered in the church for breakfast provided by the "Fidelis class." It was a wonderful time of fellowship and yummy food! After breakfast, everyone gathered upstairs in the sanctuary for a traditional Easter service. Pastor Rachel talked about the hope and joy we have as we reflect on the scriptures and how we can experience the risen Christ in our day-to-day lives. While we can't know exactly how the disciples felt that first Easter morning, we can see God at work in our lives through our gifts, answered prayers, and our growth in discipleship.

Dresden Methodist celebrated an Easter Sunrise Service overlooking Seneca Lake.

If you've been thinking about visiting Dresden UMC, we encourage you to stop by any Sunday at 9:30 a.m. We offer Children's Church during service for the kids - the kids have the opportunity to learn and fellowship together, and parents get a bit of alone time in church!

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.

Milo Center Methodist

Our sanctuary came to life with our young disciples marching in with kazoos and ribbons singing "This is the Day" to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus! A goose-bump moment for sure. Pastor Kim reminded us that above all of our woes and the worry our minds try to understand that God has a plan. He is present through it all. Some of us have the urge to rush through struggles in our lives, much like a butterfly that struggles release from a cocoon. God has set a pace for us. The butterfly needs time to break free and sometimes so do we. Never forget that Jesus' resurrection is not the end of His story but in many ways the beginning. He died and rose again for us!  Be patient, if it hasn't already opened, your cocoon will break free and you as a true believer will be even more beautiful and powerful than you've imagined. May you and your family celebrate the blessings felt this day each and every one of your days to come. 

Prayers continue for the Winslow, Tillman, and Prior families. Congratulations to Seth and Emma Travis on their recent wedding. Tickets will be available soon for the chicken barbecue. The date is June 11.

Come join us for worship and Sunday School at 9 a.m. Sundays. 

Bluff Point Methodist

Easter Blessings!

Pastor Sandi led us in a meaningful Easter service! Easter was an eventful day for both Marys. Pastor Sandi read scripture from John 20: 1-18. The Marys started their day on Easter with grief and sadness, but left with amazement and a proclamation of faith. Mary Magdalene saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. She went to Simon Peter and asked where Jesus had been taken. The angels in the tomb where Jesus had been wondered why she had been weeping.  As Mary was leaving the tomb where Jesus had been initially brought, she heard a voice tell her not to hold onto Jesus, that he had not yet ascended into heaven, but would be going to his God. Mary was directed to tell people about Jesus.  She had seen Jesus standing there and proclaimed that she had seen the Lord.  What a story of faith and hope.

Pastor Sandi told us this scripture-based Easter story.  She remarked after sharing it that we should all tell people about Jesus and acknowledge the blessings and love that come through Jesus.  

We had two beautiful anthems for Easter from our choir.  It is so good to have our choir back with us!

Please let Peggy Beckwith know if you can help with any of the activities and Sunday School with the kids.  We have indoor and outdoor events planned as the weather gets warmer.

Remember to check our website for church events and Bible studies.  All are welcome!

Just a few of the activities at Bluff Point United Methodist Church. All are welcome!