CHURCH BRIEFS (as a section header)

Special to The Chronicle-Express

Milo Center Methodist

This week as we gathered via Zoom, cozy and warm in our homes while the world iced around us, Pastor Kim  asked us to revisit our Baptisms. As many of us cannot recall our actual Baptism, she asked us to see it from our adult eyes. What would it mean to us today? Would we choose to follow Jesus in a different way? As youngsters we do not comprehend that Jesus is with us every day, as we grow in our faith we can see His touch on things all around us. Do we allow those moments into our hearts? In remembering our Baptism take time to reflect upon the gift of cleansing waters that clear away our sin and draws our heart, eyes and head closer to God. Touch the water, feel the spirit, embrace the gift, take heart!

Birthday wishes to Duane Bauman, Christopher Henderson, and Brynlee Brennan. Congratulations to Drew Bezek on his new appointment at SUNY Geneseo. Thank you to Jill Henderson, Karen Hallings, Jeannine Andersen, and Candy Bezek for providing our January lunch mission to The Living Well.

Join us for in-person service and Sunday School at 9 a.m. Sundays. All are welcome with masks.

St. Mark's Episcopal

In 1940 the Episcopal Church established an international relief and development agency that was called the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief. The agency is still very active, though the name has been changed to Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD). ERD currently works in approximately 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and the Middle East. The way that ERD works is to form partnerships with local Episcopal and Anglican dioceses and related organizations based on need, capacity, and available resources.

The “Relief” part of ERD's work springs into action when there is a specific current need such as the recent tornadoes in the U.S.A., wildfires in Colorado, or tsunamis in Indonesia.  The “Development” part can perhaps be best illustrated with a story from a parishioner at St. Mark's in Penn Yan.

Flocks of chickens purchased through ERD help train families and community groups to raise poultry and sell surplus stock and eggs in the marketplace.

Some years ago, her husband of 50-plus years passed away and the widow requested that in his memory people might contribute to Episcopal Relief and Development. Later, she was deeply moved to find out that at the office where she worked, while she was taking time off for funeral and other arrangements, her co-workers had serious discussions about whether they would buy a cow for someone in Africa or a cell phone for someone in a remote village in the Himalayas so that the person could start a badly needed communication chain there. It was finally decided that they would buy a flock of chickens so that a family could collect and sell the eggs, use the meat to feed their children, and even fertilize their kitchen garden with the manure. One project like this can lift a family out of poverty and create circles of benefit for generations to come.

ERD has many different arms which reach out to our world in varied ways, whether it is providing someone in a desolate area with a bicycle or a village with a clean water source or the ability for a girl to attend school or supporting a campaign against human trafficking, a scourge in so many under-developed nations. Through these efforts and its long history of service, ERD has become known as a reliable and safe way to donate to an agency with a reputation for low expenditures on itself. In fact, ERD is recognized by the Better Business Bureau as an Accredited Charity because it meets all 20 of their Standards for Charity Accountability.  In addition, GuideStar has awarded them their Exchange Seal, signaling ERD's commitment to transparency and accountability.

Bluff Point Methodist

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom! Just a reminder that services at BPUMC will be on the Zoom platform only during the month of January, due to our increased Covid-19 numbers with the highly transmissible Omicron strain. 

Pastor Sandi orchestrates Bluff Point United Methodist Church from her home during this month.

For the next few Sundays, Pastor Sandi will be concentrating on the Gospel of John.  This gospel is very much unlike the other parables. John was written well after the death of Jesus. 

This Sunday, we studied Jesus’s first miracle, the conversion of water into wine, at the wedding at Cana. At this wedding ceremony celebration the guests ran out of wine, and Jesus performed the miracle of transforming water into hundreds of gallons of wine. 

Scriptures from John were models of love and witness. John showed us the way. There were examples of gifts to others in the name of Jesus. Gifts were brought with Christ-like intention, as we should also do, even if we fail. We need to be people of light and love with our gifts to others, and people of encouragement.

Stay healthy, be well. We all hope to be back in person at BPUMC as times allow. If you need a link to weekly zoom services, please contact Pastor Sandi.

St. Michael's Catholic

We have begun the Synodal process.  A synod is a council of a Church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration, or application. 

Pope Francis urged the global Catholic Church to master the "art of encounter" as he announced the launching of the Synod 2021-23. Unlike most synods, Pope Francis is asking all people Catholics, those participating and those who have left the Church, and those of other religions to offer their thoughts, and desires for the Church going forward.

"This Synod then offers us the opportunity to become a “listening Church”, to break out of our routine and pause from our pastoral concerns in order to stop and listen. To listen to the Spirit in adoration and prayer ... Finally, it offers an opportunity to become a Church of closeness. Let us keep going back to God's own style, which is closeness, compassion and tender love. God has always operated that way. If we do not become this Church of closeness with attitudes of compassion and tender love, we will not be the Lord's Church." ~Pope Francis, Oct. 9, 2021 

Learn more about this important invitation and how you can participate by visiting https://ourladyofthelakescc.org or www.dor.org/synod.  

St. Michael's Catholic Church have begun their participation in the Synodal process.  A synod is a council of a Church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration, or application.

Branchport Methodist Church

Winter is here! Our worship on Jan. 9 was held via Zoom because of the travel advisory and icy roads. What a blessing it is to be able to use this technology to worship! It is certainly not the same as in-person worship, but at least we can “see” each other and talk to each other to share our joys and concerns. Pastor Kim is even able to share hymns with us.

We have many concerns in our community at this time. We are experiencing a rise in Covid cases as well as dealing with other illnesses that necessitate doctor and hospital visits. The cold weather is difficult for many to deal with. Our Blessings Cupboard has been stripped of canned food that could freeze in the cold. If you are in need of food, the Living Well is always happy to help. Just give them a call at 315-536-0838. We have included hats, gloves and scarves in the Cupboard to help you get through the cold winter. We pray that everyone will do what they need to do to stay healthy and safe.

Our church’s worship service is at 10:45 on Sunday mornings, in the sanctuary and via Zoom.  We hope you will join us!

Penn Yan First Baptist

On Jan. 9, we decided to cancel the worship service due to the icy road conditions. We didn't want to take any chances with people's safety. We will be thrilled to see you in church on Jan. 16.

An update on our painting project: WBR Painting has been busy in the sanctuary. Scaffolding is built and they are patching and sanding in preparation for the first coat of paint to be applied. The organ pipes have been covered and sealed for protection.

On Jan. 23, Rev. John Tharp will share his message with us and on Jan. 30, it will be Brian Bleiler sharing his inspired message. See you on Sunday. 

Dresden Methodist

This past week at Dresden UMC, Pastor Rachel spoke about Jesus' Baptism and its meaning for people throughout history. Jesus was baptized just like many of us were, but here is the question, why did Jesus, who was perfect, need to be baptized? The simple answer is he didn't need to be washed clean of his sins — he was sinless. However, what Jesus accomplished with his baptism was a symbolic and literal taking on all our mess and sins. As Jesus waded into the waters of the Jordan river, where countless other people had been washed clean as they had been baptized, he stepped into the messiness of human sin. He acts like a filter, taking our sin and making us pure before God. Secondly, Jesus shows us how to be adopted into God's family. After Jesus had been baptized, a dove from heaven came down, and God's voice called out that Jesus was his son and he loved him. When we are baptized or confirmed, we can imagine God whispering these same sweet words to us as we are grafted into the family of God.  

Announcements: Dresden UMC is reestablishing Children's Church during worship so our kiddos can learn together and grow together in fellowship.

Are you in need of medical equipment like hospital beds, wheelchairs, crutches, etc.? Call Dresden UMC and ask for the First Aid Closet — we have equipment available for people to borrow.

Join us for service each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. We'll save you a seat!

First Presbyterian 

This past Monday a wide variety of religious faiths countrywide participated in local service projects to honor Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday and his concept of the “beloved community.” Dr. King always spoke of “economic equity and social justice providing the twin pillars of a healthy society.” In his efforts to reach that goal, he felt life’s most persistent question was, “What are we doing for others?” While he rose to prominence as a Baptist minister, he willingly embraced all faiths, political parties and activist organizations in an attempt to develop what he called “intentional partnerships” to create transformation and promote human decency for all.

From shortly after his death in 1968 and up until 1983, campaigns were pursued to have his birthday declared a national holiday. Even then, it wasn’t until 1994 that Congress officially designated the third Monday in January as a federal holiday known as the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service (MLK Day). He was the first modern private citizen to be so honored.

Initially the national nonprofit, AmeriCorps, coordinated the effort to identify impoverished communities from coast to coast in urgent need of basic human services. They sent in volunteers to help local agencies and churches in providing assistance and labor for these services. Not surprisingly, food, transitional housing, building maintenance and cleaning up entire neighborhoods were often at the top of the list.

Today, many national agencies, businesses, civic groups, and churches have established annual MLK Day events. The U.S.A. Presbyterian Mission Agency has adopted the theme of “Share the Dream” for this year. On the Presbytery of Geneva website you can see what projects various regional churches participated in and find out how to get involved. Obviously these systemic problems such as hunger, homelessness, poverty, drugs and violence cannot be solved in a day. However, a day is a beginning which highlights the needs and opens the door towards solutions. Pastor Paul’s sermon this week talked about “every person simply wanting to be loved, accepted, and affirmed. God fulfills that longing.” One of MLK’s best quotes says it all, “My obligation is to do the right thing. The rest is in God’s hands.” Each of us has the power to inspire and make a difference. So ask yourself, what can YOU do for others?

Penn Yan Methodist

The Penn Yan United Methodist Church continues to provide a nutritious meal twice per month on a drive-through (or pick up outside) only basis. Jan. 25 will feature hot turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes and peas. Pick-up begins at 4:30 p.m. in the church parking lot on Chapel Street. No reservations are needed, but pick-up ends when we run out of meals.