CHURCH BRIEFS (as a section header)
Penn Yan First Baptist
On Sunday, Jan. 30, we look forward to hearing a message from Brian Bleiler. The congregation loves the Spiritual Moments during the worship service during which uplifting messages are shared or a story told that this relevant to preparing ourselves for worship.
The Missions board reports that in the last year we collected $150 in pennies for the Backpack Program and from extra contributions $496 was added to that for a total donation of $646 in 2021.
The painting facelift in the sanctuary is going well. WBR is moving along at a good rate. The ladies of the church have put on a lunch or two for the workers or provided coffee and donuts for their breaks. Appreciation goes both ways. During this time our worship services take place in the Great Room.
Milo Center Methodist
Pastor Kim asked us if we believe of Jesus or have belief in Jesus. An interesting thought. You wonder how His followers viewed it. She shared the story of Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana. This was recorded in the book of John as the first miracle that Jesus Christ performed which made His followers believers if they were not already. It was a visible reminder of His gift. How do we keep the reality of Jesus and His word in our minds? We don't see visible miracles like that performed at the wedding. Is it in a fresh snowfall, a newborn baby's eyes, a caring hand, medical recoveries...?God's touch is all around us. "Open my eyes so I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me."
Congratulations to Frank and Linda Francisco on the birth of a beautiful great granddaughter. Prayers of strength to our friends and families dealing cancer treatments, illness, or recent surgeries. Get better soon, Valerie, we missed you.
Collection continues for our sunshine and community caring funds. Thank you to all we have offered support thus far.
St. Mark's Episcopal
A funny thing happened. As we reported recently, the parishioners of St. Mark’s were to be treated to cupcakes on the Sunday following Epiphany. There were to be enough cupcakes for each attendee, with three “special” cupcakes containing a special treat. Those three who received the special cupcake were to represent the Three Kings. Well….
Prior to the event, the cupcakes were baked and set aside. Because the Baker does not bake cupcakes frequently, she decided that she would frost them at church before the service so that it would be easier and less messy to transport.
As you recall, Sunday morning, Jan. 9, there was a Sheriff’s advisory to stay off the roads because of an ice storm, so the Sunday morning service was cancelled. The baker of the cupcakes, quite relieved that she had not frosted them, bagged them to freeze them for the following week. The special cupcakes went into one bag and the other cupcakes went into another. Sunday chores in the house took over her time, and the day passed without the cupcakes making it into the freezer.
Sunday evening, after dinner, the baker’s husband said “Boy, those cupcakes were good!” The baker stopped, and glanced at the bags, noticing that not only had her husband stolen a cupcake, he had stolen one of the special ones! The Baker was horrified! Who would not make it to the Epiphany? Would it be Melchior, Casper, or Balthazar?
After chastising her husband, the Baker came to realize that even those humans that were present at the birth of Christ were imperfect. In fact, the goal of Christianity is to love one another always, not in spite of imperfections, but because of them. We are each perfectly imperfect, and we celebrate both that spirit of love and the condition of the human spirit, a.k.a. imperfection, weekly at St. Mark’s. The Baker certainly hopes that the two kings selected, and all others in attendance when we do get to celebrate epiphany, will be forgiving. We hope that you will join us.
Bluff Point Methodist
We all enjoyed staying warm at home on a January Sunday, learning more from the Gospel of John, while on the internet Zoom platform. Pastor Sandi told us that it is thought that the Gospel of John was written late in the 1st century. John 2: 13-25 looked at Jesus’s public ministry of prayer, sacrifice and gathering. This scripture involved Jesus clearing the clutter at the temple. He told the people that they would not use the temple in the manner that they were gathering, on days of worship.
Pastor Sandi wanted us to start this New Year reflecting on how we prepare our body for Jesus in our bodies of our own temple. We need to tend to our body and mental health, which can transform us. We need to prepare for Jesus in body and spirit. Are we properly using books, people and conversation as tools to cleanse with Jesus? When we are clean with Jesus our heart, mind and soul clear. Some suggestions to do this are to go for a walk, read devotions or purposely take deep breaths. We need to want to make more time to spend with Jesus.
Thank you to our IT team, led by Phil Pearce, our choir, organists, and Pastor Sandi for providing music and our Sunday services during this Zoom pause. We all hope we are back in our sanctuary soon. One good thing with the internet is that the Zoom platform has allowed us also to worship with our snowbirds and our home-bound parishioners.
Stay well and stay safe! The Living Well has a supply of K95 masks if anyone needs them. The Yates County Health Department and local drug stores have many primary and booster Covid vaccine opportunities. We can get through these times together!
Houses of worship, like all public spaces, continue to navigate a host of safety suggestions, restrictions or mandates imposed to deal with COVID-19 and its variants. In our region, many activities take place fully indoors throughout the winter season. Therefore, since early December, we have seen a sharp increase in COVID cases among unvaccinated people, the emergence of more breakthrough cases and weekly positivity rates rising. Monitoring of the NYS Health Department and YCPHD has become more frequent to provide necessary guidance. FPC’s Session met last week to review current policies surrounding in-person attendance at Sunday services and the use our building.
Currently, FPC continues to require masks and distancing at the Sunday service. There is also a sign-in sheet, in the event contact tracing is needed. Beautiful live music is being provided by our organist, Chris Jooyoung Han, with solos from Megan Bailey, our choir director. For those unable to attend in person, we invite you to our live-streaming of each service at 10 a. m., via our website (http://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/oK5wCADXvPfrly2j9UGRbvv?domain=pypc.org). All services are later posted on YouTube. This has now become a standard activity and will remain in effect indefinitely. For others entering or using FPC’s building, masks must be worn at all times and a 6 foot distance between individuals should still be maintained.
It is interesting this year that the Chinese New Year, which begins on Feb. 1, is “The Year of the Tiger.” A tiger is known for the attributes of being fierce, powerful, patient and efficient. Here’s a thought provoking question, now that scientists have reasonable evidence to support that vaccines make a difference. What if people around the world adopted a tiger’s characteristics in a concerted effort to end the pandemic? Each of us could be fierce by insisting to those we live with and love that they be fully vaccinated. One could act powerfully by using the power of persuasion to encourage friends/acquaintances to get vaccinated or boosted. We could all show greater patience in our wearing of masks and following new restrictions for the protection of others. Finally, become more efficient by quickly adapting to changing guidelines and methods of dealing with COVID, as new facts about its evolution come to light. In Proverbs 19:20, the section concerning Life and Conduct cautions Christians to, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future.” Working together, we could sing out loud and socialize freely again, in the not too distant future!
This past week at Dresden UMC, the congregation reflected on the Wedding at Cana. The moment Jesus turned the water into wine for the wedding feast mentioned in the Gospel of John, his ministry became public. Before that moment, Jesus had been revealing himself to individuals as he gathered his disciples. With this miracle, though, Jesus made himself known to many. His life would get increasingly difficult from that point on as the spotlight was shown on every action. Once people realized there was something different about Jesus, they would begin talking, gathering around him, criticizing him, asking questions. Jesus would find little time for peace and quiet once the cat was out of the bag.
The life of discipleship is similar. As Christians and ministers to a broken world, our lives are on display for many to criticize and evaluate. God doesn't expect us to be perfect, but the way we act can either draw people to God or push them away. Have you ever heard someone say something like this: "Bob did this crazy thing! And can you believe it? He's a Christian?" Once people know you are a Christian, they will judge your behavior against how they believe a Christian should act. We should not take too much stock in what others think of us, but if our bad habits or behaviors are a barrier to others as they pursue God, we should sincerely desire and strive to change.
Announcements: Children's Church will now be offered during Sunday Service. This is an excellent opportunity for our kids to grow together in discipleship and enjoy each other's company in fellowship! We hope to see your kids soon!
Are you in need of medical equipment such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, crutches, canes, etc.? Call Dresden UMC and ask for the First Aid Closet. We have equipment available to borrow for free.
Join us for Worship Sundays at 9:30 a.m. We'll save you a seat!
The weather cooperated on Sunday the 16th so that we could worship in person again. We remembered our baptisms by reaffirming our baptismal covenant. We were urged to fill the emptiness of our lives with the love of God and as we are filled, we should fill the rest of the world with love, hope and Christ.
We continue to stock the Blessings Cupboard with warm hats, gloves and scarves during these cold winter days. Canned food does not go with freezing temperatures, so we will wait until warmer weather to put them out.
We will continue to meet in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings at 10:45, wearing masks, and also through Zoom. For the Zoom information, contact Pastor Kim Lyons at email@example.com. We look forward to seeing you!