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CHURCH BRIEFS

The Chronicle-Express

Bluff Point Methodist Church

Sincere condolences to Karen Drumm and family on the recent passing of her brother Steve Drumm. The Drumm family have been long-term members of our church family.

Our study this past Sunday centered on Jonah. Most of us remember the children’s story of Jonah and the whale, but not the background of Jonah fleeing from Jesus at this time, and how his misadventures came about. Pastor Sandi told how Jonah was told by Jesus to go to Nineveh. There was much evil going on in Nineveh at that time, and clearly Jonah did not want to go there and get involved in the struggles there. Jonah tried to run away from the strife, and set off towards Tashiah. Pastor Sandi asked us to ponder how we feel when we are running away from God. Maybe there is a nagging voice in our head which we try to ignore. Maybe we just don’t sleep well, or feel sick. Jonah got another message to get up and go. Jonah eventually found his voice and saved a city. Pastor Sandi correlated this experience to the common scenario that you can run, but you can’t hide from God. She asked us all what our voice can do within our family, church, community and world. We need to show courage, strength and sacrifice, as Jonah eventually did. There is so much to be done in terms of helping with ending poverty, racism, wage inequity, education issues, and housing, to name a few topic areas.

New Bible studies are coming soon and others are continuing. Have you tried a Zoom Bible study? They are a great way to learn about the Bible and share with others. Contact Pastor Sandi if interested.

We are helping the community with lunches at the Living Well on Wednesdays and Fridays. The grab and go lunches serve about 60 people each day. Contact Babs if you can help on Feb. 19. Deserts and main meal help are needed.

Here is the Bluff Point Methodist communication center dressed up for Valentine’s Day. Thanks, Chris and Stacy, for putting this all together for us.

Penn Yan First Presbyterian Church

As FPC has again paused in-person Sunday services in favor of streaming, we are finding other ways to stay connected. We have now added an after service coffee hour, via Zoom, to our Sunday virtual gathering. It allows our members the opportunity to enjoy their morning beverage, in their Sunday best loungewear, and gives everyone face time to keep up with each other’s families, activities, concerns, and future plans. Happily after a month, the group continues to grow and we hope to attract even more people from our congregation.

The Deacons continue to periodically send cheerful cards to members living alone or in care facilities. Also, Deacons reach out through the phone tree to provide personal conversation. With Valentine’s Day approaching, the PW are mailing our college students and those in the military a gift card and words from home. They are planning a Zoom “Heart” gathering too.

Given the unconventional ways people have had to accept and deal with the grief over the loss of a loved one, friend, or companion this past year, the Geneva Presbytery will be hosting an upcoming GriefShare Program via Zoom. This program will provide ongoing support and valuable information to use as one takes the journey towards a new normal. Beginning on Feb. 25, there will be 13 sessions, meeting each Thursday, at 4 p.m., for about an hour. Anyone within the Geneva Presbytery and our local community is warmly welcome to join, at no cost. Please contact: officeadmin@presbyteryofgeneva.org for info on how to enroll and register.

All of these activities help us in reaching out to emotionally support each other. Proverbs 12:25 reminds us, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a kind word makes him glad.” FPC will continue to try and cope in positive ways to minimize isolation and maintain hope. There still may be several months to go, as the vaccine slowly reaches those in our area, before we can be together again but with faith and the support of each other, we will get there.

Dresden United Methodist Church

The Dresden United Methodist Church service on Jan. 24 was opened with a prelude by organist Sheryl Parkhurst. Call to Worship: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from God, who alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in God at all times, O people; pour out your heart before God who is a refuge for us.”

Toby Bond read the scripture, which was Jonah Chapter 3. Sheryl Parkhurst played a medley of African American Spirituals as a Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Nobody Knows the Trouble I See, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Lord, I Want to be a Christian, I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray, Rise an' Shine, Free At Last, I've Got a Robe, He's Got the Whole World in His Hands, Let Us Break Bread Together, Give Me that Ole-Time Religion, Joshua Fit de Battle of Jerico, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Standin' in the Need of Prayer, Deep River, and Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit.

Pastor Marilyn Wood's sermon was about Jonah. Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh, which is where God wanted him to go. He headed in the opposite direction, but the wind came up and the sailors thought Jonah was the cause of the storm and threw Jonah off the the boat. He was swallowed by a whale and was in there for three days and nights. He prayed and said he would do whatever God says and the whale spit him out on shore. When you say you can't, God says you can, and he helps you. Jonah preached to Nineveh and they repented. Jonah was angry at God for not sending destruction to Nineveh. God sent a plant to protect Jonah in a shelter, but it withered and died overnight. Jonah was angry and God said, "shouldn't I be concerned about you as that plant? There is no place you can flee from God's presence. He's everywhere. There's no one that God doesn't love. He made a rainbow of people. He's a universal God with a universal love. Even if you have a hard heart, God says he loves you anyway. There is a correlation between the old and new testaments -- Jonah was in a whale for three days and three nights and Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights.

Benediction: We are blessed by the Lord who loves each and every one of us, whoever and whatever we've done. Go in peace.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Since March 2020 everything has been like no other time in memory. St. Mark’s has worked to support as many local programs that help anyone in need as possible while considering how we could offer help directly without duplicating existing services. What was decided is that needs don’t always arise during “business” hours. The solution we determined would be to have some necessities available 24/7.

Therefore, on February 1st St. Mark’s will be opening the reMARKable Sharing Shed located near the door on the Clinton Street side of the church building. We are starting with a small shed and with the hope that we will be able to have it meet urgent needs. As our sign says: “Take what you need, Share what you can.”

The new Sharing Shed has been installed on the Clinton Street side of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Penn Yan, dedicated to the motto, “Take what you need, Share what you can.”

Penn Yan First Baptist Church

On Sunday, Feb. 7 we will celebrate Scout Sunday with members of Pack 44. We will honor the Scouts, past and present and their families who have made contributions to scouting. Troop 44 has been a charter of First Baptist Church of Penn Yan for over 90 years. Wear Blue and Gold or Red, White and Blue!

Last week our church office sent out a Phone-Vite call to our congregation with information available regarding Covid-19 vaccines. In the call we provided contact numbers and websites that we can use in an effort to stay informed.

We continue to meet in person for 10 a.m. Sunday worship service. Please wear your mask when attending. Hope to see you on Sunday!

St. Michael’s Catholic Church

We began Catholic Schools week on Sunday. Children, faculty and supporters celebrated together at Mass on Monday. The children will also be able to enjoy bowling at Brock’s during the week. It will be their first outing since the pandemic began.

Feb. 2 was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. Do we recognize God in the faces of others?

We thank all who learned about poverty and took steps for change in January using the daily calendar from povertyusa.org. Hitting closer to home, our diocesan Public Policy Committee has selected Nourish NY as our focus for political action this year. Do you understand the importance of Nourish New York? It’s a state program providing support to local food producers AND food banks. Food insecurity is real. Can we stand by while others don’t have enough to eat? Learn more about it at https://agriculture.ny.gov/NourishNY. Although Gov. Cuomo’s budget request is $10 million more than our advocacy calls for, it is still necessary to sign the petition at www.dor.org/petition/. Click the appropriate drop-downs to get your petition to the correct representative. Also let the Governor know you support renewed funding for Nourish NY by contacting him at www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form.

For more state-wide Catholic action, visit the New York State Catholic Conference’s Catholic Action Network at www.nyscatholic.org/action-center. There you can see all the active alerts and register for updates. You can also sign up for text alerts by texting CAN to 50457. Share your activism on your social media using the hashtags #DORPublicPolicy #Catholic #FoodInsecurity #Feedthehungry #CatholicActionNetwork.

Marking the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph being declared patron of the universal church, Pope Francis proclaimed a yearlong celebration dedicated to the foster father of Jesus. In the Dec. 8 apostolic letter, “Patris Corde” (With a Father’s Heart) the Pope said Christians can discover in St. Joseph, who often goes unnoticed, "an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble."

To help us learn and celebrate, Sister Eileen McCann, CSJ, will present “Joseph, Dreamer or Believer: Is There a Difference?” via Zoom on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. Zoom Code: 370-458-9985. Join us!

Through the Diocese of Rochester, Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community offers a free, online training: Creating A Safe Environment (CASE). It consists of eight segments which include signs of abuse victims, abusers, avoiding situations in which abuse could happen, protecting, and reporting. It is designed for anyone wishing to minister voluntarily to children, youth, and vulnerable adults through Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic Community.

Milo Center Methodist Church

In this week’s message Jonah's story reminds us that it is ok to pick a new path or change direction along our life’s journey. Pastor Kim shared how even God sometimes chooses a different path, as he did for the people of Nineveh. A short and meaningful story in the verses of Jonah 3. It is important for all of us to remember that a different direction is not always the wrong direction. Sometimes it is in the ways of change that we find our true direction. Only God and ourselves know what is best. Trust that your refuge is in God. Per the familiar hymn, we must stand on the promises of Christ our King, for in Him we cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail.

Our prayers of love and strength continue for Julie, Tammy, Laurie, Linda, and all those dealing with Covid challenges. Blessings for success and safety to our returning college students. Happy February birthday celebrations to Pastor Kim, Robin Travis, Jennifer Bellis, and Jeannine Andersen. Happy Anniversary to Paul and Lois Sprague on the 3rd.

Our young disciples will be holding a "drop off drive through” at the church from 1-1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7  for any soup donations towards our goal of 250 cans. We are almost there!

Branchport Methodist Church

The Administrative Council of our church has decided to continue having online worship through the month of February.  Our Zoom worship has been working well and we are able to have members and friends from all over the country join us on Sunday morning, which is a true blessing. Even though we can’t wait to see each other in person, we believe it is the safe thing to do to remain remote. We will continue to evaluate the situation each month.

To join in our Zoom worship, contact Pastor Kim Lyons at kjolyons@yahoo.com or at 585-857-7962 and she will give you the necessary information.

We have also been enjoying our Thursday evening Fellowship time on Zoom. It is a good chance to visit with each other and catch up on our joys and concerns as we travel these Covid roads together!  It’s amazing what an hour of socializing with friends will do for your well-being.

Please continue to keep each other in your prayers and reach out with calls and cards.