CHURCH BRIEFS

Special to The Chronicle-Express

Bluff Point Methodist

Our scripture lesson this Sunday was from Acts 16: 16-34.  This scripture dealt with Paul and Silas. Paul healed a slave girl and then was beaten and sent to jail with Silas. They both got a taste of the oppression of the slave girl before God sent an earthquake, breaking the shackles and liberating Paul. The slave girl was young, unnamed, and living in an oppressive world.  Peggy Beckwith gave the sermon, and told that she was looking at the scripture in a different way - not from the perspective of Paul, but from the perspective of the slave girl.  Paul and many of us miss the spirit of God that lies in front of us.  Peggy felt that Paul went for the quick fix, remedying the wrong problem, and not the source of the girl’s oppression. The slave girl was unknown, and never mentioned again in the Bible.  Peggy reminded us to listen to the enslaved and learn from their mistakes.

We thank Peggy Beckwith and Babs Steinert for their leadership and Sunday messages during Sandi Perl’s recent vacation.

Congratulations to our Anna Detar and Billy Lavin on their recent engagement, and to Anna in her recent graduation with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Keuka College.  Best wishes to Noah Detar as he begins his summer at the Northampton Community College Theatre in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, performing in three plays.  Several of us plan to catch a play or two down there to watch him perform this summer.  For anyone interested, you can see play details, dates and ticket information on the Northampton Community College Summer Theatre website. Busy times for the Detar family!

Jeff Stempien played Taps for Bluff Point Methodist's church service on Memorial Day weekend. Dana Schillinger and Bruce Westerdahl presented the colors.  "We remember all."

We thank Bruce Westerdahl and Dana Schillinger for presenting the colors and leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance on our Memorial Day weekend.  Jeff Stempien continued with musical flourishes, and concluded the service with Taps.  

Branchport Methodist

On Memorial Day weekend we took time to remember all who gave their lives to keep us free.  We also celebrated Ascension Day, when our Lord ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God.

Our congregation lost another member recently. Louise Payne joined her recently deceased husband, John, in heaven.  Please keep the family in your prayers as they grieve this double loss.

Our Chicken Barbeque was a great success!  We so enjoyed visiting with the people waiting in line in their cars for their turn to get a meal.  The lines were so long that we actually tied up traffic a bit.  Apologies to those waiting to get by!  As usual, we thank everyone who helped make it such a success – the chicken cookers, the cookie bakers, the coleslaw makers, those who donated rolls and beans, those who dished up the meals, and especially those who took the time to come and purchase the meals!  We can’t forget a big thanks to Marlina and her mother Theresa Dick-Doster for bringing some fun to the BBQ in her chicken costume. Thank you all for helping to keep our church an important part of our community.

Ted Hall and the chicken welcome everyone to the Memorial Day Chicken Barbecue at the Branchport Methodist Church on May 28.

The 5k posters are going up around town, sponsors are lining up to support the event and racers are signing up!  Are you ready for all the 4th of July events going on in Branchport?  Start your day with us at the church for the Red, White and Blue 5K Run/Walk at 8 am.  Go to our website (branchportumc.org) to register.  You can also print off a form to mail in if you wish.

All are welcome to join us for worship on Sundays at 10:45 a.m.

First Presbyterian 

The doctrine of The Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is one of the oldest and most argued concepts among the Christian denominations and individual believers.

This Sunday, all Western liturgical churches will celebrate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinity created the central focus of our faith and the triune God is the basis for what we believe and how we conduct our lives as Christians. Trinity Sunday is important because it embodies all of God’s mighty acts that we have observed in the past few months, from Lent until this upcoming Sunday. It began with Jesus’ suffering, crucifixion, death, resurrection, and the arrival of the Holy Spirit. It marks a transition period into a quieter period of the liturgical calendar, when we settle in to carry on God’s work in our daily lives. While the word “Trinity” never appears in the Scriptures, most Christians would be able to paraphrase the last three verses of Matthew 28 or, the last verse of 2 Corinthians 13, both mentioning the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as one.

In the FPC monthly newsletter, Pastor Paul spoke of June as being a month of many of today’s traditional celebrations, including weddings. In some ways that is no accident, based on the earliest Christian practices. In original Codes of Canon Law, some denominations forbade church weddings on specific Holy days, or periods in the year such as the Lenten and Advent seasons. Even today, weddings can be discouraged during these seasons because “the penitential and/or preparatory nature of these times renders them inappropriate for the joyous celebration of a wedding.” If they are held, they are significantly toned down in deference to the church. Hence, if historically there weren't a lot of church weddings allowed in April and May, and then June became a very busy month! FPC is happy to announce later this month Ryan, who grew up in our church, will marry Ann Marie. Since June is a popular wedding month, FPC also has two wedding anniversaries to celebrate, the Gillespie’s and the Malles’.

June is also a time of school graduations. On Sunday, we will recognize two PYA seniors, Elle and Sierra Harrison. Both girls were confirmed in our church and will be heading off to college this fall. To all our members celebrating such happy occasions, “May the Lord grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfil all your plans! May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfil all your petitions!” Psalms 20:4-5.   

St. Mark's Episcopal

Many churches have changed their worship services to include contemporary music and instruments and multimedia presentations in an effort to stem waning congregation numbers.

Many of us have a picture in our minds when we hear about Contemporary versus Traditional church services. One aspect of these services is music. Some people feel that guitar and drum driven music is essential to contemporary vibrant churches and the corollary is that churches that retain traditional worship with their hymns from a hymnal will decline and die. A study by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary showed that about 40% of Protestant churches use electric guitars and drums in their worship while about 70% of Evangelical churches use guitars and drums. So some leaders of today's Protestant churches question, "Is it time to start a contemporary worship service?"

Traditional Protestant churches have some beautiful aspects to their service that are steeped in age-old liturgies. Now, could St. Mark's find some different music for us to sing and for our organist to play? Absolutely. But do we need guitars and drums? Could we project on a screen from YouTube some beautiful music being played by a Christian musical group?

Some pastors and lay leaders suggest that maybe the point is not to serve the tradition, but for the tradition to serve the people of the church.

A number of years ago, the South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas hired a consultant who told them they should begin a contemporary service, which they did. However, they soon found they didn't have enough competent people to lead such a service. South Main Baptist Church instead found that some of their members had classical music skills which blended wonderfully with their traditional service.

Who knows what hidden talents and gifts the parishioners of St. Mark's possess? Perhaps our services could be enriched by our members - or other local people.  Join us on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. to find out what the Spirit might bring about....

Dresden Methodist

This past week at Dresden UMC, the congregation gathered together for a potluck breakfast and hymn sing. Every fifth Sunday during the year, they gather together to join in fellowship and worship. Sheryl played many beautiful hymns, and Pastor Rachel shared a brief message on how our actions reveal what we truly believe. When Paul was imprisoned and an earthquake broke the foundation of the jail and loosed his shackles, he did not flee. Knowing that the guard would likely be to blame if he did, he selflessly stayed in his cell. This self-sacrificial kindness impressed the guard, who became curious about God’s love reflected through Paul. He eventually believed in God and converted because of Paul’s kindness. Our actions could prompt others to come to God, too - we need to choose good instead of harm, love instead of hate, and inclusion instead of exclusion.  Let’s bring more people to God.

This past week the Town of Torrey and the Village of Dresden joined together for the 100th Annual Memorial Day Service.  It was a beautiful day and a humbling service. We thank everyone who helped make it possible. Dresden UMC also held their chicken barbeque, which was delicious and a great success!

This week, Dresden UMC also got some unexpected news as Pastor Rachel informed them that she was being appointed to a different church. This news shocked both Pastor and congregation as Pastor Rachel has only been at Dresden UMC for a little less than a year. While this transition is unexpected and shocking, everyone is trying to faithfully follow where God is leading. Please pray for Dresden UMC, Pastor Rachel, her family, and the new Pastor God would bring to Dresden UMC. Pastor Rachel’s last Sunday at Dresden UMC will be June 26.

Penn Yan First Baptist

First Baptist Church will sponsor a chicken barbecue Saturday, June 18 at Lyons National Bank beginning at 11 a.m. until sold out. Dinners are $12 for 1/2 chicken, salt potatoes, macaroni salad or coleslaw, and dinner roll.

Our Board of Trustees will also sponsor the hot dog and hamburger cook out before the summer concerts on the Courthouse Lawn. It's been two years and they are ready to grill for you again this year. The concerts begin June 22. On Sunday, June 19, we will celebrate Dads, Grads, and our Sunday School Teachers. Our Penn Yan Summer Happenings June 27 thru July 1 is only a few weeks away. Get your kids registered today on our website: firstbaptistchurchpy.com.