Special to The Chronicle-Express

St. Mark's Episcopal

An integral part of our Sunday services at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Penn Yan is music. Our worship is almost always enhanced by either organ or piano music – sometimes both. On special occasions, we have had cello and guitar pieces. Only a few years ago, we had a small but mighty choir and we certainly hope to re-establish that treasure in the future.

For the past few years, though, we have enjoyed music every Sunday provided by dedicated and talented organists like Lisa Gibson and Carrie Ahearn. Lisa’s music is now gracing Trinity Church services in Geneva and Carrie recently moved out of the area for a new, exciting job. It is not easy to find organists in the Finger Lakes but St. Mark’s has certainly been blessed to employ Connie Gibson (Lisa’s mom) as our regular musician.

At a recent Sunday service, the mood in the congregation was a bit somber. We had been without a rector for almost a year, COVID numbers were on the rise again, and we had heard news that one of our parishioners was in failing health. The congregation wasn’t singing at that point, due to the risk of COVID infection. And it was Lent, not exactly the season for jubilation. Connie seemed to sense our sadness and played a beautiful, evocative hymn whose words we knew, a hymn that focused on faith and hope – and there were many of us who looked at each other and said, with our eyes and smiles behind the masks, “How did Connie know we needed this music today? We can’t sing the words ourselves but she is making the words appear in our hearts and souls.”

We are back to singing now, though sometimes with masks. But we have Connie’s music to listen to when we arrive at the church, during the few hymns we sing, and at the end of our service there is always a postlude, when Connie puts a punctuation mark on the Sunday service – usually her choice of music makes it an exclamation point!

Come to St. Mark’s any Sunday at 9 AM and see (and hear) for yourself.

Branchport Methodist Church

Chicken cooked to perfection by the Branchport firemen, coleslaw made with Rev. Barb Gifford’s “secret” recipe that she so lovingly passed on to us, baked beans prepared by our members, cookies baked by our excellent cooks – what more could you ask for?  Oh, yes – we are missing Rev. Barb’s homemade rolls.  No one has ventured to out-do those creations, so we have had to settle for store bought rolls for a few years now.  If this menu makes your mouth water you can enjoy it on Saturday, May 28th beginning at 4:30 pm. We look forward to seeing you!

Our Mother’s Day service celebrated all the women who have influenced our lives, whether they gave birth to us or not. The beautiful weather and the pansies donated by our “flower fairy” brought joy to everyone.

We were able to host the Payne family on May 7th in celebration of Jack Payne’s life.  We keep the whole family, especially his wife Louise, in our prayers.

All are welcome to join us for worship on Sunday mornings at 10:45.

Dresden UMC

This past week at Dresden UMC, the congregation heard a reading from Acts 9:36-43. It is the story of a woman named Tabitha, who was devoted to good works and charity. In the story, she dies, and the disciples call for Peter to help. Peter arrives, sends them all out, prays to God, and then commands Tabitha to rise. And she does! After this miraculous event, many more people began to follow "The Way."

Pastor Rachel spoke about how people knew Tabitha for her good works and how there is a group of notable women known for their works as well — mothers. But mothers are more than just people who give birth to children. Mothers are defined by their ability to love and nurture, so whether you care for children, grandchildren, pets, aging parents, nieces and nephews, or anyone else, caring and loving makes you motherlike. What better day to celebrate the works of women in the church and our lives than on Mother's Day?

Pastor Rachel shared about some of the moms and mom-types in her life and encouraged the congregation to be inspired by the mom-types in their lives and try to be motherlike in their own lives of discipleship.  

Our Children's Church program continues to grow. The kids are now starting to think about some community service projects they can do to help the folks of Dresden. If you have children and are looking for a church, we invite you to come and check us out. The kids meet during the church service.

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. The First Aid Closet is also looking for donations of medical equipment to continue to meet the community's needs. If you have equipment you'd like to donate or have equipment you need to return, please get in touch with the church.

We invite you to join us on Sunday for service at 9:30 a.m. We'll save you a seat.

Penn Yan First Baptist

On May 8, we received the Blanket Offering for Church World Service Organization. To date we have received $350 — that is enough to purchase 35 blankets to help people in the United States and around the world when they face difficult situations due to weather or calamities or war.

A reminder to visit our Christian Education sponsored chicken barbecue on Saturday, May 21 in the parking lot of Lyon's National Bank. Dinner cost is $12 and serving begins at 11 a.m.

Coming up on May 29, at 10 a.m. will be an Ecumenical Worship Service on the courthouse lawn with the First Presbyterian and United Methodist churches. Everyone is welcome to join us.

And, looking a little further ahead, at the end of June will be the Community Vacation Bible School! Watch for more information regarding that.

Milo Center UMC

Psalm 23 is a well known bible verse that many people can recognize or even recite at will. If you take the Psalm apart and think of what each verse means, what do you find?  Much of the verse can hold the same meaning for a mother's love. Regardless of how a woman becomes a mother, the natural instinct is to gather your children close, rest with them, walk with them in dark and light and live with goodness and mercy all the days of our lives. Pastor Kim drew this comparison and shared how a mother's voice can be recognized as a voice of comfort, just as Jesus was to say "My sheep know my voice" and the intention of care that it holds. Whomever in our lives has been a mother figure or to those you one to. Thank you for being the guiding shepherd.

Blessings to the Andersen family on the passing of Jeannine. Prayers of healing to Brian Winslow, Les Travis and other held in silence close to our heart. 

May birthday wishes to Vivian Little, Kristen Noble, David Andersen, Les Travis and Valerie Lerch.

Happy Anniversary to Fred and Phyllis Hamm and  Charles and Joyce Chapman. 

Thank you to Charlene DeMarco, Linda Francisco and Karen Hallings for providing our May mission for the lunch to The Well. 

Chicken barbecue countdown has begun. It is June 11th- presale only. Get your tickets.

First Presbyterian 

The Presbytery of Geneva’s May newsletter began with the announcement of our new regional leader. The Reverend Marjorie Ackerman is a Michigan native. She should be right at home in our area, having grown up in a small farming community and completing her undergraduate degree at Lake Superior State University, located on the Upper Peninsula. She then earned her MDiv in Pittsburgh. Marjorie has worked extensively with small Midwest congregations and “is looking forward to working with congregations throughout the Finger Lakes region to discern together what God is calling the Church to become.”  We at FPC welcome her insight and guidance in these changing times. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrews 13:2.

One of Reverend Ackerman’s first opportunities to meet some of the Presbyterian Women (PW) in our area, and from FPC, will take place at the “Spring Gathering Tea,” to be held next week at the United Church, in Canandaigua. This event will be a uniquely exciting way to welcome a new woman Presbytery leader, as in 2022, PW celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the PC (USA) PW Birthday Offering program.

The Birthday Offering is one of two national PW Mission Pledge events held each year to raise funds, which can help to strengthen the ministry of the church and expand boundaries of PW missions through the awarding of grants. The PC (USA) PW works with Presbyteries and Synods to identify mission partners whose goal is “to provide opportunities which improve the lives of women and families the world over.” The grants have funded up to five projects in a single year and range from $75K to $150K each. One of this year’s grants went to help renovate a transitional housing location in Maine. It can host up to four families for as long as a year. It provides a safe and healthy living space while a family gets back on their feet after job loss, eviction or medical issues. Another grant went to install a generator, solar panels and refurbish a kitchen in a Presbyterian Church in Lares, Puerto Rico. Much of the town’s population is elderly or infirmed and this church has become the main location for the community to access food, purified water and toiletries. The town has yet to recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and again after further devastation occurred in a 2020 earthquake. Many still rely on the church for necessities.

The work our Presbyterian Women do on a local, national and international scale is nothing short of amazing. FPC wishes them a Happy 100th Birthday and a huge Thank-You to all the Presbyterian Women. \