CHURCH BRIEFS

The Chronicle Express

Branchport Methodist 

It’s almost here!  The planning is done, the sponsors are lined up, the runners are signing up – we are ready to celebrate the return of our Red, White and Blue 5K Run/Walk!  After a two-year hiatus, it is good to be able to welcome everyone to Branchport to commemorate the 4th of July.  The race begins at 8 a.m., followed by the fire department’s famous chicken BBQ, the parade at 2 p.m., and the fireworks at 10 p.m.  Check out their Facebook page for more information.  It looks like they have included another exciting event to that day.  It is sure to be a fun-filled day.

On Father’s Day we remembered that God is father to all of us and He is always with us, even when trouble and sorrow come.  We praised him with prayer and song.  So many of us have seen too much illness, death and hardship, but we still thank God for all that we have.

We welcome all to worship with us on Sunday mornings at 10:45.

St. Mark's Episcopal

St. Mark's new Rector, Columba Salamony.

St. Mark’s has a new Rector! After nearly a year of hard work by the Search Committee, aka the self-named “Church Ladies,” we have been blessed with a wonderful new priest, Columba Salamony. The yearlong process was defined by the Diocese of Rochester and went smoothly and with great joy, the process concluded with the approval of the letter of Agreement by the Bishop on June 10, 2022. Columba begins to share our journey on July 1.  

Of interest, the preamble of the letter of agreement describes the position as follows: “The Rector shall lead St. Mark’s as full-time pastor, priest and teacher, sharing in the councils of this congregation and of the whole Church, in communion with our Bishop. By word and action, informed at all times by the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Constitution and Canons of the General Convention and our Diocese, the Rector shall proclaim the Gospel, love and serve Christ’s people, nourish them, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come. The Rector shall help spread the Diocesan vision of Joy in Christ as a way of life and remain committed to the mission of the Diocese to grow and develop congregations spiritually, numerically, and in missional leadership through relational welcome, servant leadership, spiritual stewardship.”

There is so much to write and say about this wonderful young man who is coming to fulfill that position, and his wonderful spirit.  Columba wrote a letter to our parish, and it speaks volumes about who he is and why we believe that he was chosen especially for us. His letter follows.  

To the ReMARKable people of Saint Mark’s, Penn Yan:

Warmest greetings to you in the name of the holy and undivided Trinity: our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. I write to you with tremendous joy and excitement as we prepare together for what lies ahead. I look forward to being with you soon and getting to know each of you better!

The 9th of June is celebrated on some Christian calendars as the feast day of Saint Columba of Iona. Columba was a sixth-century Irish missionary who has been remembered in Christianity as the person who introduced Christianity to Scotland. He is also the notable founder of the religious community on the Isle of Iona, a small island on Scotland’s western coast, which was both a monastery and a hub for evangelism and mission for spreading Christianity among the Picts (the early tribal peoples of Scotland) and to the Angles, Saxons, Britons, and Danes in Northern England. The legends around Columba say that the monk and his companions drifted across the Irish Sea from Ireland to Scotland in a coracle (a small and lightweight boat made of woven willow rods). He is said to have landed along the northwestern coast of England, but he lamented that he could still see Ireland from the shore. The men packed up their coracle again and traveled north, eventually landing on Iona at its southern face.

St. Columba of Iona

It does not feel to me a coincidence that today, the 9th of June, would be the day where our stories begin to (officially) intersect. Like our beloved Columba of Iona, I have made a long, long trek across the country from beautiful Berkeley, California — where it is always 65º and sunny — to the hot and humid Chesapeake Bay, where I called home for twenty-five years. And now, like our fabled saint, I am preparing to go out into a new land and join you in remarkable ministries of pastoral care, missional leadership, prophetic evangelism, and spiritual enrichment. This is the heart of my call for the proclamation of God’s love to the people of the Finger Lakes.

While this has been a long journey for you, you are turning the page to a new chapter — one that I will help you write. This is an exciting, promising, and invigorating prospect for us! But we absolutely must remember one thing: the church we love has changed. As I have preached from your pulpit, the church that we remember from 2018 is not the church of 2022, and the church of 2024 will look so very different again. But this isn’t something to be afraid of or shy away from; it is something we should embrace and live into. It is an invitation from the Spirit to embrace the unknown, to look beyond our walls for new ways to be a “church,” and to grow together as the beloved children of God who gather in Penn Yan.

As I spend the next few weeks preparing to move to Penn Yan to join you at the start of July (so soon!!!!!!), I ask you to ponder the following questions: How is God calling me to participate in this changed church? What things do I have to give up, and what things do I need to take on? Where is God’s Spirit asking me to go, and how can I trust the Spirit to guide my feet?

I so look forward to joining you and ministering with you. May God continually bless us in this venture!

May you know much joy,

The Rev. Columba Salamony

Please join us on Sundays at 9 a.m. as we welcome him!   

Bluff Point Methodist

Good to see friends at Bluff Point Methodist Church! Chris Wyant chats with Jean Morehouse and Helen & Dana Schillinger before church.

So glad to see a steady group back in church on Sundays, and on Monday we also had a celebration event for our kids ending school this week.Our Sunday scripture lesson was from Acts 18: 1-3. Pastor Sandi gave us insight into the life of Priscilla. Priscilla was a Jewish woman who was evicted from Rome.  She was no longer felt to be worthy.  Paul found Priscilla and her husband to be co-workers. Priscilla was a leader and a pastor in her home.  She does not censure people or fire those she does not like.  She was told by Paul to help make disciples. Pastor Sandi asked us what a Christian team looks like? We come together in Jesus’s vision, with a focus of hope and grace. Pastor Sandi asked us to look at our lives and the teams we belong to. Remember to call or send a card to our home bound folks, or people who need encouragement.  Some people still are joining church on Zoom, and not yet comfortable attending church in person.  We have several church members who are ill, and those who have had recent losses. 

First Presbyterian

With summer officially underway and the weather warming, FPC is throwing open the windows and doors and welcoming back more and more members each week. Of course, we always welcome new faces too! For the moment FPC is still encouraging, though not mandating, that people wear masks during Sunday services. FPC continues to monitor the recommended guidelines of both the CDC and Yates County as we begin to plan future in-church activities.

It’s a great feeling to see a semblance of normalcy returning, and June has already bestowed on FPC some good tidings. The Blanket and Tool Sunday collections that were held on Mother’s and Father’s Days saw contributions made of over $1,100. This money is given to Church World Services to provide supplies “that help to transform the lives of mothers, fathers and children struggling to build a better life.” There was also good news for our organist, Chris Han. He was offered an advanced music study program, in Paris, for the months of June and July. Chris has pre-recorded music for several of those Sundays and FPC was fortunate to welcome back Idelle, as guest organist, last Sunday. Idelle will sit-in again on July 31.

Given the “pause” that the Covid pandemic caused for far too long, many churches have been unable to gather to commemorate traditional rituals such as baptisms, weddings and funerals. The importance of families and congregations coming together to share in the blessings, joys and sorrows of life cannot be overstated. Therefore, after more than four years, FPC was very excited to have a wedding held in our sanctuary last Saturday. For many observers, seeing a bride and groom emerge from a church evokes in us shared feelings of joy and happiness. Weddings serve to remind us there is always hope for the future. “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7. Our FPC congregation would like to extend our best wishes to Ryan and Ann Marie for a lifetime of happiness together.

Penn Yan First Baptist

Vacation Bible School is in full swing with plenty of children and volunteers! "Monumental" is our theme and we are celebrating God's Greatness! The Summer Concerts on the Courthouse Lawn are also back and the Trustees from First Baptist Church will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers before the concerts so you can come early, buy your dinner and relax before the concerts begin and not have to cook!

Weather permitting, First Baptist plans to hold our Sunday 10 a.m. worship services outdoors on the Courthouse Lawn also. Bring your lawn chair and let's praise God in the outdoors!

Penn Yan Methodist

June 19 was a joyful day at church, as we celebrated our graduates, Father’s Day, our Sunday School children and teachers, and the end of another wonderful year of choir and Gabriel’s Bunch. We honored AnnaBelle Colf, a member of our youth group and a senior graduating from Dundee High School. Rev. Kristen Allen presented her with a scholarship on behalf of the Penn Yan Area Council of Churches. This award goes each year to a student who is active in a church in Penn Yan. AnnaBelle will be attending Finger Lakes Community College in the fall to study in their sign language program.

Our current sermon series, called “Mountain Movers,” is helping us learn to pray with power, based on Jesus’ promise in Matthew 17:20, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” The topic for the day was “Praying for your Family” which was fitting for Father’s Day. We learned how to use Colossians chapter 1 as a guide to praying for our families.

Two of the littlest members of the Sunday School at PYUMC.

This was also the last day of the Sunday School year. We gave a special thank you to our Sunday School teachers, and our children finished our contemporary worship service by singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” along with sign language, accompanied by our praise band. At our traditional service, this was the final day for our instrumental ensemble “Gabriel’s Bunch” and our Sanctuary Choir, who both take a break for the summer, and we gave thanks for their wonderful ministry that helps draw us all closer to God. After both services, our youth were “grillin’ for dads.” In honor of all fathers and those who step into the gap to be like fathers, the youth served hot dogs, macaroni salad, baked beans, chips, and brownies to everyone as they left the building. What a day of celebration and thanksgiving!

PYUMC has worship Sundays at 9 a.m. (contemporary) and 11 a.m. (traditional) as well as on Facebook, YouTube, and www.PennYanUMC.com. Nursery care is available at both services. Youth Group for grades 6-12 meets twice a month on Saturdays. Contact the church office for details at 315-536-6711 or pennyanumc@gmail.com. Everyone is welcome!