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The Chronicle Express

Penn Yan First Baptist Church

Sunday, Jan. 24, our adult Bible Study class will discuss "The Sermon On The Mount," Matthew 5:1-12 and Luke 6:20-26. We hope you can join our class at 11 a.m. after the 10 a.m. worship service. Everyone is welcome! At First Baptist Church of Penn Yan, our mission is to create a caring community to honor and to serve God.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Florence Li Tim-Oi, not a household name even in the Episcopal Church, was the first woman ordained in the Anglican Communion and was an inspiration to all of us in the Episcopal church who were working for women’s ordination. Li attended Canton Union Theological College for her theological education before she returned to Hong Kong in 1938. After working for two years in All Saints Church, in Kowloon, helping refugees in Hong Kong who fled mainland China in the midst of the Second Sino-Japanese War, Li was sent by Bishop Ronald Hall to help with refugees in Macau at the Macau Protestant Chapel. Six months into her new post, she returned to Hong Kong to be ordained as a deaconess on 22 May 1941 by Bishop Hall at St. John's Cathedral, where she had received her first call.

The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong and of parts of China had made it impossible for Anglican priests to get to neutral Macau, where there was no resident Anglican priest; Li was, despite not being ordained a priest at that time, given permission by Hall to give the sacraments to Anglicans. Hall explained to the Archbishop of Canterbury at the time, William Temple: "I have given her permission to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. If I could reach her physically, I should ordain her priest rather than give her permission … I'm not an advocate for the ordination of women. I am, however, determined that no prejudices should prevent the congregations committed to my care having the sacraments of the Church."

In January 1944, Li travelled through Japanese-occupied territory to the small town of Hsinxing, as yet unoccupied by the Japanese, to meet with Hall; from there they proceeded to Shaoqing where he regularized her administration of the sacraments by ordaining her as a priest on 25 January 1944. To avoid controversy, she resigned her license (though not her priest's orders) after the end of the war.

The Communist government in China closed all churches from 1958 to 1974, during which time Li was compelled to work on a farm and then in a factory. She was forced to undergo political re-education because she was designated as a counter-revolutionary. Li Tim-Oi went to the mountains to pray during that era because she was scared to be seen with her fellow Christian friends. She said that she nearly committed suicide during those long years of persecution.

When Hong Kong ordained two more women priests, Joyce M. Bennett and Jane Hwang Hsien Yuen, in 1971, Florence was officially recognized as a priest in the diocese and moved to Canada. She was appointed an non stipendiary priest in Toronto in 1983, where she spent the remainder of her life.

St. Mark’s, and the Episcopal Church, celebrate her life and ministry on Jan. 24 each year and give thanks for her example.

The Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, in 1984.

Penn Yan First Presbyterian Church

At the December meeting of our district Presbytery of Geneva, their General Council voted to maintain no in-person gatherings and to hold their committee meetings only on-line through Aug. 31, 2021. Following that decision and due to the increased level of COVID cases in Yates County, FPC’s Session met the first week in January and made the difficult decision to again suspend in-person worship until further notice.

FPC’s Church Officers and committees have continued to grapple with the best ways to comply with Presbytery recommendations and also fully adhere to New York State guidelines, with the purpose of maintaining the health and well-being of our members. Their flexibility in being able to change direction, as needed, will likely remain with our leadership for the foreseeable future. We, as a congregation, appreciate their continuing work and commitment.

World religious leaders have also had to learn how to navigate multiple issues to better serve their fellowships during this period of great uncertainty. Pastoral leaders have worked to master entirely new skill sets to continue to reach out and comfort the members of their congregations. They too are only human and have had to deal with this unprecedented stress while finding ways to maintain a balance between their calling and personal lives. This week, our Presbytery held the first of several planned online retreats for its group of Presbyterian ministers. The subject was “Expecting the Unexpected, Establishing Trust and Setting Boundaries in These Unique Times.” The Reverend Billy Graham noted of spiritual leadership, “A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a true Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord. They still thank God in the midst of trials and every persecution.” Recent events remind us to say a prayer and give thanks for all religious leaders who provide their unwavering dedication, spiritual leadership, and compassion through their service not only to their congregations and communities but for the greater good of humanity. May God Bless our own Reverend Paul Malles and all members of the clergy.

Milo Center United Methodist Church 

Wow, our Milo Center UMC family has been busy at work. As we prepare our reporting for 2020, we are reminded what an amazing year of outreach to others we had in our community and around the world. We are beginning this year off just as strong, we are collecting for the Yates Christmas Program, Soup-er Sunday and providing lunches for The Well all in this month of January. Great job!

Happy Birthday wishes to Duane Bauman, Christopher Henderson, and Brynlee Brennan. Prayers of healing to our friends Sarah, Tammy, Julie, Linda, Steven and Laurie and their families. Our hearts are full of love and strength for you all.

The Lord will give strength to His people, the Lord will bless His people with peace. Psalm 29:11 Are you one of His people? Jan. 6 celebrates Epiphany, a moment of revelation or insight. Especially on this Jan. 6, we needed to look into our faith to see Jesus Christ and find Him revealed. Actually, as we look back on much of 2020, we can see revelations at work everywhere. Did you see every day things in a new light, suddenly realize how special or meaningful common things in our lives were? Often we don't see things are THEY are, we see them as WE are. Let's try to be the visible evidence of Christ in the world. We will continue to worship via Zoom. Stay safe at home and listen in. Just as the hymn has taught us ... “I am the church, you are the church, WE are the church together.” The church is not a steeple, it is the people. We can worship anywhere! Contact Pastor Kim for details if you wish to join us, or check our page on Facebook.

St. Michael's Catholic Church

Recently people of all faiths around the world began the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This practice has over a 100 year history and is especially important for people living in the Middle East.  It is to accomplish Jesus’ prayer at the Last Supper, “...that all may be one.” (John 17:21)  

When we look upon the Crucifix we see the graven image of Christ dying. We must remember that this is to remind us of His great love for us!  We return our love by developing a relationship with Him through prayer, study and action. We prove we are disciples by how well we care for others, especially those who are suffering.

Slavery is still a problem in today’s world. Will we let it continue? Kailash Satyarthi couldn’t stand by and watch children in his country be abused in that way. He took action. Eventually he got the United Nations to adopt the Convention on the Rights of the Child. All countries of the world have ratified it, except our own!  Will this be the year when we advocate for the US to be on board with it?

On Jan. 21 we begin our Novena for the Protection of Human Life. To help build a culture of life, go to 9daysforlife.com.  

On Jan. 22, we observe the annual “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” We pray for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life and of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion. “Only with prayer that storms the heavens for justice & mercy, that cleanses our hearts and souls -- will the culture of death that surrounds us today be replaced with a culture of life.” USCCB Plan for Prolife Activities

If it was any other year, we would be joining the March for Life in DC on Jan. 22.  This isn’t any other year!  Local pro-life advocates invite others to the Stand Out for Life peaceful, prayer rally that happens every fourth Saturday, from 9 -10:30 a.m. outside of the Regional Headquarters of Planned Parenthood of Central and Western N.Y. (114 University Ave., downtown Rochester). Saturday’s event will include testimonies from women who chose life because of those who make this a regular part of their lives. If you go, wear a mask, practice social distancing, and consider bringing a friend! 

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is Jan. 18-25.