Special to the Chronicle-Express

First Presbyterian

Our beautiful area is now well into these lazy, hazy days of summer. Around the Finger Lakes it’s a great time to be outdoors. This is the time to slow down, recharge and connect with family and friends.

For this reason, many churches also dial back the level of activity during the summer months. Services are often combined, with other churches, to allow clergy to take vacation time. Some services are held outdoors and at earlier hours, so as not to conflict with people’s summer plans. Lots of churches hold summer picnics. At this writing, FPC is hoping this recent much needed rain comes to an end so we can enjoy our annual July picnic, held at Keuka State Park. After a two year hiatus, FPC is especially looking forward to this year’s gathering.

In FPC’s summer newsletter Pastor Paul talked about the enjoyment of outdoor summer reading, a favorite pastime for many. One of Pastor Paul’s inspiring choices this summer was Luke’s writings in the Bible. Luke wrote toward the end of the first century. He penned both his Gospel and the Book of Acts. Luke was also friends with the Apostle Paul. Paul later wrote and spoke about the Gospels and the Book of Acts in Ephesians 3:4, “When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ.” Regardless of the genre you prefer, be it fact, fiction or fantasy, biographies, romance, mystery, history or the Bible itself, reading expands our horizons, our knowledge and can take us to faraway lands. As Dr. Seuss wrote, “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”

There are so many outdoor options locally, at low or no cost. Support a barbecue fundraiser, wander at The Windmill, take a hike along the scenic Keuka Outlet Trail for a different perspective, bike a portion of the lake, camp at Keuka Lake State Park, visit any of the local park beaches for a swim, explore the wetlands at the Finger Lakes Museum or attend a kayak paddle event on Sugar Creek. So, whether your preference is picnicking, having barbeques, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, swimming, boating, or just chilling in a backyard hammock or beach chair with a good book, do what you enjoy!

St. Mark's Episcopal

From the Rev. R. Columba Salamony, (new!) Rector of Saint Mark’s;

Pastor Kristen Roth Allen (PYUMC) and I recently met for lunch. We talked about the Isle of Iona, a profoundly spiritual place we have both visited and for which we hold fond memories. The Isle of Iona is a tiny strip of land measuring about one mile wide and three miles long. It is off the western coast of Scotland, part of a group of islands called the Inner Hebrides. (The adjacent Outer Hebrides is where my maternal ancestors resided before emigration.) In some strands of Christianity, we find the idea of a “thin space” — a location where the boundary between the Human and the Divine is very thin — and Iona is undoubtedly one of many. It is a most sacred little island, thoroughly saturated in the histories of Celtic and Scottish Christianity.

To get to Iona from Glasgow (the nearest large city), you must commit to a pilgrimage! From Glasgow’s Queen Street Station, you take a three-hour train to Oban, a western port city. In Oban, it’s a short walk to the ferry terminal, where you catch a 45-minute ferry to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. For 90 minutes, a bus winds you across Mull on the single-track roadways between Craignure and Fionnphort. Fionnphort’s only features are a small carpark (no visiting cars are allowed on Iona), a café, and the ferry terminal. From the port in Fionnphort, you get the most beautiful view of Iona before you board the ferry. Thankfully that journey is only ten minutes! As I said, it’s quite the pilgrimage!

In the June 24 edition, I wrote a brief history of Columba of Iona, my namesake. Saint Columba turned this little, green-and-grey island into a place of deep spirituality, profound learning, and a hub of service, outreach, and mission. But very often, I get a bit of a puzzled look when I introduce myself as Columba. “Could you spell that?” some ask. Or they’ll say, “Oh, Columbo, like the TV detective.” Well … not quite.

St. Mark's new Rector,

What I omitted from the previous edition was why I’m called Columba. Several years ago, before seminary, I explored a vocation to the religious life in a semi-enclosed monastic community in the Episcopal Church. During that time, I was known as Brother Columba of the Joy Unspeakable. (The “Joy Unspeakable” dedication references 1 Peter 1:8.) For various reasons, I eventually discerned that monastic life wasn’t part of my call to serve God’s church at this time. But I still felt a profound closeness to the name Columba. Because, after all, I consider myself to be a pilgrim along a long, winding spiritual journey (not unlike the long pilgrimage to Iona), but I have also discovered within me a bit of missionary zeal — a desire to get out into our community and share God’s love with those who need it most.

I hope that you and I might have time for a chat at some point. If you see me around town, do stop and say hello. And if not, you can always find us at worship on Sundays at 9 a.m.

Penn Yan First Baptist

Sunday, July 31, we will welcome B. Dale Wakley as our guest speaker. We continue to meet outside on the Yates County Courthouse lawn for our worship service at 10 a.m.

Over the summer months we do continue our collections for the Backpack Program foods for the school kids, cancelled stamps to benefit U.S. Veterans in rehab, and loose change for Milly's Pantry Backpack Program. During the month of August our pulpit supply will be as follows: 7th - Rev. John Tharp, 14th - Rev. Don Lawrence, 21st - Rev. Mark Slomski, 28th - Rev. Mark Slomski.