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CHURCH BRIEFS

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

St. Mark's Episcopal Church

By the Very Reverend Dan Burner

It had been almost a year since I have regularly presided over Services in our building but the effort of learning how best to worship virtually was all consuming. There were not many weekdays away for rest and recreation. Of course, it has been a most unusual year. Given all this, the vestry insisted that I take two weeks away from my duties, including two Sundays.

When first confronted with this opportunity, I started to think about how that time could be well spent. It’s difficult to go away with restrictions on travel outside of New York and besides. there was a great reluctance to get on an airplane with the close quarters. And who knew what crowds would be found at hotels?

With all this in mind I first gathered the books that I most wanted to read and which had not had the opportunity to address and stacked them next to my comfy chair. Then I set up a schedule. There were no times appointed for the activities on the schedule, rather it was a process of when the time was right. The first item was, “Rise after feeling rested.” Saying the Daily Office followed, then exercise, coffee and the news. Breakfast was next, followed by time for whatever struck my fancy. And so, the days would go.

After several days I longed to wake in a different bed and look out upon a different view from the window. Upon investigation, I decided that one safe place with an interesting view was Niagara Falls. The casino hotel there advertised a set of protocols which included a health check before entering the lobby. So, I determined that to be a safe and yet distant enough venture to create that dissonance which is experienced upon return after one leaves the usual surroundings for a period of time. Several books and the usual necessities for an overnight were packed and the journey began.

The view from the 11th floor was good, but “the Falls are not visible from any of the rooms,” as the front desk clerk informed me. Room service was good but not outstanding. Dessert was excellent, but proved to be too much and the remains were great with coffee in the morning. It was snowing that morning and after the coffee and leisurely shower, bags were packed and room vacated just at checkout.

After a quick visit to the American Falls, the drive home was calm. The remaining days passed quickly until the time that duties needed to be addressed again. What made the “staycation” time well spent was the intentionality of it all. I felt truly rested when I returned. Since then, I am trying to be as intentional in many things, although the rejuvenation is not the same as the last vacation with 14 days in England and Wales, my time away was truly well spent.

The Rev. Dan Burner of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church recounts his break in Niagara Falls as a safe travel destination during COVID-19.

Penn Yan First Baptist Church

Sunday, Jan. 31, the Adult Bible Study class, in discussing the "Words of Jesus," will look at the books of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and Jesus' words about "Salt and Light." Join us for worship Sundays at 10 a.m.

Branchport Methodist Church

One month into the new year! We all looked forward to the new year and hoped that things would return to normal, but that hasn’t happened yet. We need to have patience and trust that everything will happen in God’s time. We continue to worship through Zoom instead of in person and will re-evaluate at the beginning of February. Please continue praying for those who are ill or grieving. Pastor Kim urges all to keep in touch with cards and calls during this time of isolation. This is so important for our mental health! We worship at 10:45 Sunday mornings. If you wish to join us via Zoom, let Pastor Kim know so that she can send you the link. Her email is kjolyons@yahoo.com.

Bluff Point Methodist Church

Happy special Birthday to Bruce Westerdahl of Bluff Point Methodist Church.  Here he is in one of his favorite places, decorating Christmas wreaths for Quantico and Gettysburg National Cemeteries.

Happy 90 years young to Bruce Westerdahl. He and Nancy have graced our choir and BPUMC congregation for so many years, including being its pastor during the late 1980’s and early 1990s. Wishing you Happy Birthday and good health, Bruce, and many more happy years with us! As we see a new presidential administration upon us, we wish all of our leaders peace and good will. We need to remember to follow the truth, while still questioning what is around us.

Our communication center is active with Valentines Day soon approaching. Don’t forget to write out your Valentines and loving messages for fellow church members!

The Living Well is especially in need of bar soap, dish soap, shampoo and other soap products. We are collecting soap products for Soaperbowl Sunday!

Our recent scripture lesson was from 1 Kings 17: 1-16. In this lesson, we see Elijah being fed by the ravens as the Lord told him to go to lands east of Jordan and hide there. Pastor Sandi explained that this was during hard times. There was much power over the people. There was prostitution, fear and also human sacrifice in these times. Pastor Sandi showed that Elijah challenged people to love and believe someone they could not see. He brought a spirit of hopefulness and a new mindset.

Pastor Sandi brought forth examples of Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King as more modern day examples of people who obeyed God’s messages. Mother Teresa helped the poor with obtaining health care and avoiding deadly disease consequences. She ended reminding us that lives end when we are silent about things that matter. What do we do to help others that matters today?

St. Michael’s Catholic Church

This Friday marks the 48th year that abortion on demand has been legal in the U.S. God loves life and desires each of us has it to the fullest. Therefore, we invite everyone to join us as we pray for a greater reverence for life Jan. 28-29. In addition, please write our legislators advocating that Roe v. Wade be abolished. Locally, Bishop Matano invites us to join him Jan. 28 for Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Mass will be televised on our diocesan newspaper’s YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/catholiccourier Alternatively, we can participate in the national Vigil for Life Mass and all night Eucharistic Adoration. Details at www.usccb.org/news/2021/dioceses-across-usa-participating-nationwide-prayer-vigil-life-january-28-29 In place of the national March for Life Jan. 29, we can participate locally. Details at www.liferoc.org/respectlife/march-for-life-2021/.

Milo Center Methodist Church

God Bumps! Yes, you read that right. Not goosebumps, God Bumps! Have you ever encountered something greater than yourself and been overtaken with emotion.? Pastor Kim described that feeling as God Bumps. She related this experience to that of God calling to Samuel. Samuel didn't know who was calling his name at first; he thought it was Eli until He listened within himself. God calls to us from the inside out.

In I Samuel 3:11 the Lord told Samuel He was about to do something that would make those that heard of it ears tingle. Again, God Bumps at work. Only once we are ready and open to listen to the Lord and feel the "tingle" of His love are we ready to love first ourselves and then our neighbors, as the gospel of Matthew 22:37-39 tells us.

Prayers of uplifting are continued for Tammy, Julie, Val, and Laurie and their families. Continued thoughts and love to Dana and Susan Gibson and family.

We are still collecting soup for Souper Sunday. Our goal is 250 cans. We can do it. Thank you to those that donated or prepared food for our mission of lunches at The Living Well this week. We served over 100 people!

Join us for Zoom worship. Contact Pastor Kim for details.