Staff reports

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The Living Well

The FFA and Penn Yan schools had a Souperbowl challenge recently. The FFA challenged the PYCSD to vote for their favorite Super Bowl team and bring an item for the challenge. Over 2,000 items were brought to the Living Well through this challenge. We thank the FFA and the school district as from this challenge we had a win-win for the Living Well and the community.

These Covid-19 times with more students at home and not consistently in daily classes have brought food challenges to many of our families, as many students have had meals provided through the schools. The Living Well has continued to help our families by helping with food, needs and grab-and-go lunches.

February is also support a pet month. We are supporting people keeping pets in their homes at the Living Well by collecting food for Pet Partners. Pet Partners is a wonderful local organization which works with families that need support in keeping their pets at home. Please help us help them if you can!

Thank you to all who continue to support our mission of helping others!

Wow! Look at these wonderful donations for the Living Well from our students.  What a wonderful community we have. The FFA and Penn Yan schools had a Souperbowl challenge, gathering over 2,000 items for people in need.

Penn Yan First Presbyterian Church

As we move into the New Year, we at FPC are beginning to see some positive signs of hope. Most importantly, we are learning that people in our congregation and others locally have been getting appointments for the COVID vaccine or have already gotten their first shots. This is welcome and uplifting news.

In the Presbytery's February newsletter there is more good news. This past week, registration has opened for children's summer programs at Camp Whitman, located on Seneca Lake. This year more than ever, our Presbytery leaders recognize the importance of having children be able to return to organized outdoor activities and interact with other kids and nature, while also encouraging them to develop their self esteem and independence. With a successful 2019-20 capital campaign and the lack of campers due to the shut down last season, many dedicated church volunteers used that time and worked hard to make improvements in the Main Lodge and Dining Hall. In addition, renovations took place in several of the family/guest cabins which can provide lodging for up to 32 people.

Camp Whitman is hoping to re-open on schedule with the "try-out" camps for the little ones and the weeklong programs for older children. They can also provide space for adults interested in retreats, team building events, or even accommodate a small rustic wedding! While membership in a Presbyterian church is not a requirement to stay at the camp, an understanding and respect for the values of our faith and Camp Whitman's core mission is important. If you are interested in learning what Camp Whitman has to offer, signing up a child for summer camp, or becoming a member please check out It's a great asset within our community.

Dresden Methodist Church

The Dresden United Methodist Church service Feb. 14 was started with a prelude called "The Lord Reigns" played by organist, Sheryl Parkhurst. Remember, if you'd like to donate items to either the Living Well or Pet Partners, please bring donations to the church service. Thank you in advance.

The Call to Worship was "He is Lord, He is Lord, He is risen from the dead and He is Lord!, Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." Toby Bond read the scripture reading from Philippians 4:1-7. Sheryl played a beautiful medley of songs which were: "The Way That He Lives," "If That Isn't Love," "Precious Memories," "O How I Love Jesus," "Whispering Hope," "Who at My Door Is Standing," "Only Believe," "The Old Rugged Cross," "Blessed Redeemer" and "Love Lifted Me."

Pastor Marilyn Wood's sermon: Prayer is simply talking to God. When you are alone, talk to God. It's not difficult. God cares that you talk to Him or listen to Him. For some people, it's difficult not to fill a void, but try to be quiet and listen and enjoy the peace and quiet with God. In light of Anne Lamott's book, "Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers", Pastor looked at the three essentials:

1) Help: Sometimes you feel as if you can't talk with God. You feel as if you don't have a direct line to God, but you do. From the miniscule to the major problems, God hears the prayers. Jeremiah 33:3 says: Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." God wants us to come to Him. He equips us with what we need when we need it. Answers come in subtle ways that we may not anticipate, but He answers the prayers. Keep a prayer journal and set it aside. Later, look at it and see how and in what way God answered your prayer.

2) Thanks: It is easy to give thanks to God. In Thessalonians 5:16-18, it says "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." In Psalms 28:6-7, it says "Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him."

3) Wow: The "wow" prayer is that mountain top experience, top of the world, or wow factor. It's hard not to be in touch with God in the wow times. God is also with us when we are in the valley. We awake to see the wonder of a touch, smile or hug from someone. Look around and feel the touches and flutters and know that God is there. God is there through all of these times. God is waiting. The line is open. There are no busy signals between you and God. Pray prayers no matter what they are. God is there. Benediction: Now, go in peace from this place with lips that say "Thank You, Lord, Help Me, Lord, and Wow, that is great, Lord!"

St. Mark's Episcopal Church

Like many churches, St. Mark's Episcopal Church will be observing Lent virtually but still together as a parish. Our pre-Lenten celebration was an at-home pancake supper held on Shrove Tuesday; we sent photos of our pancakes and sausages to the church to be made into a collage for all to enjoy (love those cell phone cameras!). Ash Wednesday we celebrated with an online service so there were no ashes placed on foreheads; instead we prayed at home but with each other.

Our rector, the Very Reverend Dan Burner, sent us a Lenten Calendar, created specifically for us by our very creative Worship Committee. The daily suggestions encourage us to ponder and reflect on various aspects of our spiritual and community lives. Some days, for instance, the prompt is to read a few verses from the New Testament and see how those words relate to our own lives; other prompts encourage us to examine what makes an activity pleasurable; still other prompts suggest we donate needed supplies to our Sharing Shed.

Beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 24, we will hold our first virtual Lenten Book Study, and we will continue to meet every Wednesday evening in Lent. We will be reading N.T. Wright's God and the Pandemic. It is not necessary to read the book to participate in the discussion since the material will be readily available in the discussion. If you would like to join us for the Book Study, or you would like a copy of our Lenten Calendar, please call the office for instructions: 315-536- 3955. We welcome all to join us!

Branchport Methodist Church

As this is being written the number of Covid cases has declined in the area so we are planning on again having in-person worship in our church beginning March 7. We will continue to provide Zoom for those who do not yet feel comfortable being in person and for those who are unable to get out to join us. We have been thrilled to have so many from far away "attend" our services and hope that will continue!

This forced isolation has made us think about our community and how we can stay connected to it. We continue to serve by supporting the Living Well with Grab and Go lunches once a month, filling our Blessings Box with items people may need, provide items like soap for our "Soaper Bowl" collection and donate pet items for Pet Partner Connections. Do you see a need that we have not yet filled? Please let us know what we can do to help.

Our service is Sunday morning at 10:45. Contact Pastor Kim Lyons at for the Zoom invitation.

St. Michael's Catholic Church

We are so happy that many more are joining us for Mass! During Lent we pay close attention to Christ's humanity, entering into His suffering, passion and death, through prayer, fasting and almsgiving. It prepares us for new life at Easter.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available on Saturdays, 4-4:30 p.m. or by appointment. On our website and Facebook page we have listed a chart of opportunities to grow closer to God. There is a little something for everyone. People of all faiths can help feed the hungry and support farming in New York State by signing online petitions in support of Nourish NY. Contact your local assemblyman and senator at this link: Also let the Governor know you support funding for this program at

Many Catholics are concerned about the vast numbers of people who have left the Church. Bishop Robert Barron, head of the Evangelical Council of the USCCBishops, through the ministry of Word on Fire is offering a book outlining what the Church must do to win back those who have left.

By our participation in Operation Rice Bowl we are performing corporal works of mercy. Join us!

Bluff Point Methodist Church

Ash Wednesday is 46 days prior to Easter, a time of repentance. We now are entering the season of Lent. Pastor Sandi explained that there is no testimony without a test. Courage, conviction and faith need to draw us to Jesus. Jesus showed and shared the story with us. At this time, Jesus was somewhat frustrated with the disciples, as Jesus knew what was going to happen in his life. The disciples remained in denial of what was going to happen.

Lent is a time where we must reflect, ask for forgiveness, be with Jesus, and use our time as a sacrifice during this Lenten season. It is nice to do something secretly for someone else during this time, as Jesus did. Don't tell the person, just do it!

Pastor Sandi showed the humbleness of following Jesus. Ash Wednesday is a time of balance. It is a time to give back to God from where we are, and where we hope to be. We do need a testimony!

Lenten service is upon us!  Pastor Sandi led an inspirational Zoom Ash Wednesday service for Bluff Point Methodist.

Milo Center Methodist Church

This week has been a busy one -- Valentine's Day, Transfiguration Sunday, and Ash Wednesday. They certainly all hold different meanings and images in our heads, but the underlying common thread in them is love. Every day should be an opportunity to show love. How is love visible to you? Is it in a Valentine's sentiment or as powerful as the awe of seeing Christ on the mountaintop?

Pastor Kim reminded us through her services for the Transfiguration and Ash Wednesday that we all need to look into ourselves and find what our own journey through Lent will look like. Whether it be enjoying chocolates from someone special, giving up something for Lent or confessing your sins with ashes or a combination of all three, let it be your own choosing. In this embrace a chance to see ourselves as God sees us and to learn to love ourselves and others a bit better. For it is in this love that we are transformed into something we alone could never imagine.

Our thoughts are sent to the people dealing with the storms of our nation, those in weather, illness, and struggle. May our friends Tammy, Laurie, Julie, Dale and Linda continue to feel the healing touch of the Lord with our blessings.

Services will continue through Zoom. All are welcome. Contact Pastor Kim Lyons for details at 585-857-7962.