CHURCH BRIEFS

Special to The Chronicle-Express

St. Mark's Episcopal

As you know, St. Mark’s has been actively seeking a new priest for close to a year now.   The four “church ladies” as the Search Committee refers to themselves, have continued to meet weekly since June of last year.    

To recap, at our last reporting in January, we had completed our Parish Profile and submitted it to the Office of Transitional Ministry (OTM) at the Diocese for review. Once the OTM receives it, they go through the list of potential candidates and tries to create a match. The Transitional Minister works within the diocese, but must also have relationships nationwide in order to seek out the best candidate for each parish.  

That sounds simple, but it is not. Combine the different personalities and needs of the candidates; ranging from salary needs to years of experience, with the multiple different types of churches, and you get something like a jigsaw puzzle with all different sized pieces. Some churches are big and need a candidate with a strong administrative tendency. Some are chock full of young families and want a candidate with experience with children’s ministries. Some need an all-around person who can minister well to young and old AND have administrative strengths. Then of course, throw in the surrounding community. Who wants to be rural? Who wants to be urban? The task overall, appears daunting. Was it mentioned that there are far more churches than candidates?  

But St. Mark’s has received a candidate! The search committee has interviewed this individual, and this past weekend, had a visit. They toured the Village of Penn Yan, which seen through new eyes, is really quite impressive. They ate at local restaurants – delicious fare. They of course, toured the church grounds and heard a sermon from the new candidate. A moment to share was when the doors opened to the sanctuary, and the light was shining through the beautiful stained glass, and the candidate uttered, “Wow,” reminding us how truly beautiful the space is.  

And as always, we prayed. In particular, the prayer given to the committee by the Dean of Transitions;  

God of all time and places: you have been with this parish since its inception, and you have been with this priest since the call to parish leadership began. We pray your blessing upon their discussion and mutual discovery. Given them wise hearts, good questions, openness, and presence to your activity in the present moment. If they are to be a match for mutual ministry, may it be with good humor, affection, and due purpose. If they find they are not so suited, give them a sense of mutual respect and appreciation as they move on in different directions. In every aspect of this process, let them know that your loving kindness is our greatest gift to one another and to our joint work of being leaders in your Holy church. All this we pray in the name of your beloved Son. Amen.

We hope that you will join us on Sundays at 9 am, as we welcome all new people into our parish.   

First Presbyterian 

Last Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day. It should come as no surprise that Mother’s Day can trace its roots back through religion. It gained popularity in the 1600s, through the Church of England, by religious order, on a specified Sunday during Lent. The holiday was in honor of Mary, the mother of Christ. It was later expanded in scope to include all mothers and was known as “Mothering Sunday.” People attended church to honor Mary and then they were encouraged to spend the day showing appreciation towards their own mothers. When the idea began to gain traction in the U.S. in the late 1800s, four of the five most vocal proponents were women, all active in Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterian churches. The lone male advocate, an administrator at the University of Notre Dame, lent his support by stating, “Throughout history the great men of the world have given their credit for their success to their mothers.” Mother’s Day became a nationally recognized holiday in the U. S. in May of 1914.

Mothers not only have a great deal of responsibility to raise and support great children, they are also huge contributors to the success and achievements of our religious institutions. Take a look around the house of worship you attend. Who organizes committees, staffs rummage sales, fund drives, and events? Who prepares the food and sets up for bake sales, coffee hours and all those church dinners? Who sings in the choirs, comforts babies in the nurseries and teaches Sunday school classes? Who cleans church kitchens, launders the linens, plants flowers, decorates sanctuaries & fellowship halls and thinks to check toilet paper supplies? It’s likely the percentages favor women and most are mothers. They deserve much more than one day!

Speaking of special mothers, this week FPC will host a Celebration of Life for a most beloved and extraordinary mother. Marilyn Fitch was the Secretary at FPC for fifty-six years. The building itself was only two years old when she started! Marilyn adapted to eight ministers, each with their own way of doing things. She outlasted carbon paper, mimeographs, stencils, written ledgers, typewriters, fax machines and literal cutting and pasting. She saw the advent of multi function copiers, answering machines, paper shredders, computers and the internet. How jobs change! More importantly, Marilyn witnessed the joy as multiple generations of families grew and she helped to ease many families grief through the losses they endured, during her years at FPC. Proverbs 31:29 comes to mind for her service to our church, “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” She was remembered this Mother’s Day for her dedication, kindness and grace.

Branchport Methodist 

On May 7, a beloved member of our congregation was laid to rest.  Our prayers are with Louise Payne and her family as we remember her husband, John Payne.

We will be having a work day Saturday, May 14 beginning at 9 a.m.  We are hoping for good weather to be able to do some outside work, but we also have inside jobs in case it rains.  We would welcome extra hands, so if you are able, please join us!

Sunday, May 15, we will have a joint service with Milo Center so that we may celebrate Pastor Kim’s milestone of completing her course of study to become a licensed pastor.  You are welcome to join us for this service and a dish to pass luncheon directly after.

Our annual Memorial Day weekend Chicken Barbecue will be Saturday, May 28.  We will start serving the drive-through meals at 4:30 p.m. Our usual delicious menu of ½ chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, roll, and cookie will be available for $12, with just a ½ chicken at $6, and a child’s dinner (under 10) for $6 also.  Come support our church and its mission work in the community.

Penn Yan Jehovah’s Witnesses

All congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses across the world were encouraged to begin holding in-person meetings during the week of April 1. Congregants of the Penn Yan congregation report being “very excited” to return and worship together. Many expressed feelings of joy and thankfulness upon hearing the announcement.

This Kingdom Hall in Penn Yan, like those around the world, had been empty since the start of the pandemic in 2020. After two years of holding their meetings via videoconferencing, Jehovah’s Witnesses returned to in-person meetings as of April 1, 2022.

“There is a collective shout of joy among Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world right now,” said Robert Hendriks, U.S. Spokesman for Jehovah’s Witnesses. “While we have prospered in many ways as individuals and congregations using technology to bring us together, nothing can adequately replace being together in person. We have longed for this moment for the better part of two years.”

For most of the last two years, buildings for worship have remained closed globally due to the risks associated with meeting in person. Since that time, they have carried on their ministry through letters and phone calls while holding twice-weekly meetings in a virtual format.

“The timing of resuming in-person meetings could not be better,” said Hendriks. “Bringing everyone back together for these special events will have a powerful effect on the worldwide congregation. It has been heartwarming to see the peace and unity among Jehovah’s Witnesses during this very divisive time,” Hendriks continued. “We know resuming in-person meetings will bring us even closer together. We’re anxious to see one another again.”

As of now, Jehovah’s Witnesses have no plans to resume their public ministry, though their “alternative” ministry continues. In fact, since the start of the pandemic through Nov. 2021 in the U.S. alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses spent more than 400 million hours in remote activity.

“No time was wasted in the past two years,” said Hendriks. “Our congregants have been busy and productive helping each other and their neighbors through this most challenging time. That’s what love and unity are all about.”

For more information on Jehovah’s Witnesses go to jw.org.

Penn Yan First Baptist

Saturday, May 21 at Lyons National Bank, our Christian Education will sponsor a chicken barbecue. Gale-Wyn of Canandaigua will prepare the meal. Cost is $12 for half a chicken, salt potatoes, macaroni salad or coleslaw and a roll. Proceeds will benefit the facelift of new paint and carpeting that our historic church has gotten recently. Thank you for supporting FBC.

Bluff Point Methodist

Morning love -- Laurie Prinzivalli and Remington Perry share a hug after church at Bluff Point Methodist.

Our recent lesson was based on Acts 9: 1-6. Saul was still making threats against the Lord’s disciples. He asked for letters to the synagogues in Damascus. He would use what he found to potentially take people as prisoners to Jerusalem. Saul heard a voice asking why are you out to get me?  Answer was that the voice was Jesus, telling Saul to get up, enter the city and he would then be told what to do.

Pastor Sandi asked us about fasting. She wondered how many of us would be able to endure three days of not eating or drinking. Fasting can be a gift. What are we supposed to do?. It is good to be hungry and thirsty while waiting for Jesus. We can do hard things because God has called us to do hard things. What does it feel like to wait patiently for three days?  Can we see the lightening bolts?  The voice of God tells us we can do hard things. This was not an easy transition for Saul. 

Come help us with Route 54A road clean-up for Adopt-A-Highway at 9 a.m. May 13. Many hands make light work!

Spring is here -- a time of new beginnings.  Come join us for worship at 9 a.m. Sundays, in person and also Zoom platform.

Milo Center Methodist

It is said to not hold expectations of others so disappointments won't follow. Interesting!  Have you ever experienced this? Pastor Kim asked us to relate to the expectations that Saul had of Jesus to our lives in the gospel readings in Acts 9. Sometimes our expectations of a person or a situation can encourage, other times it can limit us or even cause frustration. In the end, what expectations does Jesus hold for us? Do our actions produce encouragement in Him or frustration? Jesus doesn't ask us to do anything He wouldn't do or hasn't done. He just asks us to be faithful followers of His word, in other words, just be a good person. Many thanks to all the good people in our lives. 

Prayers continue to the Andersen family, Mildred Koek,  Sue Morris, the Tillman and Winslow families, and Frank Francisco. Many upcoming birthday wishes to send- Mark Andersen, Kathie Spanganberg, Joanne Kennedy, Della Ludwig, Jill Henderson, and Morgan Andersen. Happy Anniversary to Charlene & David DeMarco.

We have been invited to celebrate Pastor Kim's course of study completion with the Branchport UMC family on Sunday, May 15 at 10:45 a.m. with a dish-to-pass luncheon to follow. There will be no service in Milo Center on this day.

The annual chicken barbecue is June 11; signup to help is in the Fellowship Hall.