CHURCH BRIEFS

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

Bluff Point Methodist Church

Feb. 3: Greetings from BPUMC! We will continue with Zoom services during the month of February, and hold on in-person worship for this month, as we continue to follow the Covid situation. Please contact us if you wish a link for joining our on-line or on-phone services.

Our scripture this week was Isaiah 6: 1-8. The topic was about inferiority. Isaiah was saying that he was lost, and feeling inferior, and ashamed of how he was -- although he also had seen the King. We all have seen God in our lives. Isaiah had also seen God in his life. Life was hard for Isaiah as is for us. Pastor Sandi asked us how it feels to be inferior. Did we feel that way the first day of work or school? How would it be if God was not in our life? Many who feel inferior and without God’s hope are angry or depressed. She asked us to look out and reach out to others, and focus on opportunities to help those people and groups who have been made to feel inferior. How do we change ourselves to be the hope and light to others?

We soon will be entering Lent. The Lenten season is not easy, and is a painful path along its way to Easter. During this time we have to remember we are not alone. We are people of faith and are blessed.

Her challenge this week was to look at your bookshelf and pick out and read a selection from a Black author during Black History Month!

Our Ash Wednesday Zoom service will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 17.

Feb. 10: Welcome Peggy Beckwith to our ministry. Peggy joins us as a certified lay minister and will be helping with various services and needs of the church. This past Sunday was communion Sunday. We also studied Luke 7: 1-17. In this scripture we were to look at the centurion, and people he brought to Jesus, including his sick servant. Prior to this passage, Jesus had told one how to be a disciple and follow him. Pastor Sandi explained that the centurion commanded 100 men who were leaders. He recognized worthiness. She asked us if we felt worthy? Do we feel good enough? Do we care enough? These are questions we must examine. Jesus would tell us that we are a beloved child. We are worth it. Pastor Sandi asked us to examine if on a cold day is it is worth going out to the store? Is a particular person worth our time? Are we worth it? Pastor Sandi explained to us that we are all magnificent graces of Jesus. We have compassion for others; we should be nonjudgmental and show love, joy, peace and happiness in our actions. Jesus just wants to show us the way and celebrate with us. We need to question whether we are people of judgment or people of Christ.

Reminder that in February we are supporting Pet Partners. Pet Partners works with families to try to keep animals in their homes by providing support and food in times of need. They are a wonderful local organization. Please leave any donations of pet food this month to the Living Well or inside our church.

February is usually a month where we have supported Habitat for Humanity by purchasing submarine sandwiches for Super Bowl Sunday. Unfortunately this has not happened this year, and Habitat needs our support as well. Dick Smith told us a little bit about oncoming projects for building the next habitat house in Penn Yan. Contributions to Habitat will be greatly appreciated. This may be mailed to P.O. Box 391, Penn Yan, NY 14527.

Stay warm! Winter is upon us! Remember, all Sunday services this month of February will be on the Zoom platform.

Bluff Point United Methodist Church is continuing with Zoom services during the month of February

Penn Yan First Baptist Church

On Feb. 7, we celebrated Scout Sunday. A special recognition of leaders and parents and a history of Pack 44 was heard. The service began with a procession of the flags by the Scout Honor Guard and they led us in the pledge of the American and Christian Flags.Troops 44 and 444 also recited for us the Scout Oath, Scout Motto and the Scout Law. Our congregation brought treats for the Scouts who participated. First Baptist Church is proud to partner with the Scouts of Pack 44.

Dresden Methodist Church

The Feb. 7 service was opened with a very lovely prelude by organist, Sheryl Parkhurst. The beautiful flowers on the altar were given in memory of Sandy Weaver by her husband, Earl Weaver. In answer to Pastor Marilyn Wood's customary question, "Where have we seen God this week?", someone had said that they had seen a bluebird and a robin this week. Pastor said, "Like the bluebird and robin, may we be singing this week for spring and like spring, have new life in us." Toby Bond read the scripture from Matthew 8:14-27. Sheryl Parkhurst played a very lovely medley including: Jesus Savior, Pilot Me, Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart, Cleanse Me, Hallelujah! We Shall Rise, When the Saints Go Marching In, The Old Fashioned Meeting, Fairest Lord Jesus, The Love of God, Come Just As You Are, Just a Little Talk With Jesus, and Until I Met the Savior.

Pastor Wood's sermon - In honor of Black History Month, she let us know that the song, "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," by Thomas Dorsey was Martin Luther King Jr.’s favorite. Thomas Dorsey was an African American composer who wrote the song while going through grief. He lost his wife, who died in childbirth and his infant son who died 24 hours later. So often we say to God that we are tired, weak and we suffer in our soul. When our lives are not the same as we knew it a year ago, we reach out to God. We see in scripture that Christ will lead us on in the storm. He calms the storms. Jesus says "Peace, be still". If you are feeling rage, He gives you peace. Communion: We use prepackaged wafer and juice cups and have Communion in our pews. Benediction: Go from this place with the words, songs, and music that Jesus taught us. He will be with us forever.

Penn Yan First Presbyterian Church

On Ash Wednesday, western Christianity begins the observation of Lent. It is a time for the faithful to prepare for Easter by developing a more intimate connection to the Lord through prayer, penance, almsgiving, self-denial, and repentance of our sin, with a genuine commitment to becoming better human beings. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope;” Psalms 130:5. Given our continued restrictions on limited social interaction and with people spending more time at home during this 2021 Lenten season, we have a perfect opportunity to renew our awareness as to why Lent is such an important season in the liturgical year. We may be able to make more time for peaceful contemplation, find time to read the Bible, or help others in need in some way. Having fewer outside social pressures right now, people have a greater ability to avoid temptations and practice self-control. We can focus on the meaning of the many symbols of Lent and gain a deeper appreciation of the sacrifices Jesus made for us.

Without the benefit of in-person Sunday school over this Lenten period the FPC’s Christian Education Committee, with the help of Pastor Paul and his wife Linda, have decided to host four “Youth Craft Lenten Lessons”. They will be held for our congregation’s children, via Zoom, every other Saturday, beginning this week and up to Easter Sunday. The kids will share Bible readings, prayers, and a craft project incorporating figures that appear during Lent. It should be a fun learning experience.

St. Michael’s Catholic Church

Mardi Gras, the big fling before 40 days of fasting & penance. Join our pancake supper at 6 p.m. on Zoom (ID: 952 7948 0906). Participate in “burying” the Alleluia. Immediately following (7 p.m.) Dr. Tim Gray of The Augustine Institute Show (www.formed.org) invites us to “Prepare Our Hearts for Lent.” Curtis Martin, Founder & CEO of FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) will speak about this fast-growing college outreach apostolate in the Catholic Church. Can’t join live? Watch the rebroadcast on Augustine Institute YouTube channel each Friday following the live broadcast. For the full schedule of shows, go to https://show.augustineinstitute.org/schedule

On Ash Wednesday ashes will be distributed by sprinkling at our Masses. See the schedule on our website, OurLadyoftheLakesCatholicCommunity.org and the offering of Lenten programs as we prepare our hearts and souls to celebrate Easter.

Is addiction a problem for you or someone dear to you? If yes, an online retreat, “An Ignatian Prayer Adventure” may be of help. The retreat is an eight-week prayer/reflection experience. It is based on the book, "The Ignatian Adventure" by Kevin O’Brien, SJ. The book is available at a discount from https://store.loyolapress.com/ by using code 4559. Weekly online reflections are available by Jean Heaton, author of "Helping Families Recover from Addiction," “Coping, Growing, and Healing through 12-Step Practices and Ignatian Spirituality” at www.ignatianspirituality.com/tag/an-ignatian-prayer-adventure/

Milo Center Methodist Church

We were able to come together for a leadership meeting via Zoom to begin planning this years events, although things may continue to look different a bright light will be shed in the name of Jesus. So many blessings are shown through the commitment and volunteerism of our congregation. Stay tuned for upcoming dates… can you smell the chicken barbecue? Our message this week is so important for us each to remember every day. Faith in Christ means letting our lives be shaped by taking God's love to heart. We receive love by becoming loving, just as we receive grace by becoming gracious. Life is an echo, how will our actions come back to us? Our actions matter. Our words matter. Each interaction has the possibility of bringing hope, healing and encouragement to another. Pastor Kim asked us to ponder if we represent Jesus and His life in the legacy we are creating. Take the time to consider how your own actions impact others. Jesus asks us to love others as He loves. Life often gives what we give. It is our choice, what does your echo "look" like?

Prayers of strength for our friends Tammy James, Julie Bishop, Laurie Koek, and Dale Welker as they battle health concerns. Our heartfelt sympathies to Melissa Lilyea and family on the passing of her mother.

Church service will continue via Zoom for the near future. For details to join us, contact Pastor Kim Lyons 585-857-7962. All are welcome.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

Late winter at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church is usually marked by two very different but intimately connected events, Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Shrove Tuesday (this year Feb. 16) is the last “ordinary” day before the beginning of the Lenten season, traditionally a time emphasizing personal devotion and self-denial. Since part of the self-denial practice was fasting and abstinence from rich foods, especially meat, something had to be done with the remnants of that type of food stuffs (food was NOT simply thrown out), it was used to make pancakes (eggs, butter and yes, sausage and bacon), all traditional fare on Shrove Tuesday. St. Mark’s has celebrated Shrove Tuesday for many years enthusiastically with a pancake supper open to the public, with all-you-can-eat pancakes and the famous St. Mark’s hospitality.

For many years, after the last guest has left, and the dishes are done, the floor cleaned, the preparations for Ash Wednesday have begun. The very first of the 40 days of Lent, Ash Wednesday (Feb. 17 this year) gets its name from the custom of placing ashes (made by burning palms fronds from the preceding year’s Palm Sunday) on the foreheads of worshipers. The ashes serve as a reminder of our mortality – and as a mark of penitence to start off the contemplative season of Lent. At St. Mark’s there has been a noon service for many years for imposition of the ashes, a service where parishioners and other members of the local community participate. This year, however, like so many other events, these two high points of late winter will not exist “as usual.” There will be no Shrove Tuesday pancake supper in the Church Hall, and there will be no imposition of ashes in the church at noon (and there will be no outside church sign announcing the opportunity to “Get Your Ash in Church,” either). There will be, though, a standard Ash Wednesday service available online before noon that day as well as a Diocesan Ash Wednesday service online from 7 to 8 p.m.

For St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Penn Yan, the interconnectivity of Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday has long been symbolized by the lingering enticing aroma of pancakes and sausages wafting through the church during the Ash Wednesday service, a service sated with references to abstinence, fasting, and self-discipline. Next year!