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April 2021 News & Announcement

Property Help

The Property Committee is responsible for getting our grounds ready for the mowing season. Sticks need to be picked up and stones from the driveway need to be raked off the lawn areas. We could use extra help because this is a big job. A work day will not be scheduled–just come when you can–stay as long as you like-many hands make light work.  Thank you.

Flower Power
As a symbol for our new life in Christ, let’s plant some seeds! The idea is to grow cut flowers to beautify our space and share with others- and help is needed. There is opportunity do everything from seed to cutting. If you are interested in helping let Pastor Jeff know by April 18th. Knowing who’s up for this will help make plans about the size of this project. 

Benevolence Fund is available to help with needs. We’ve used it for things ranging from rent to clothes. Contact a deacon or Pastor Jeff for more information. 

Food Pantry: Open Saturday 9-11 am and by appointment. (518-827-7121) 

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Building Use is limited while COVID infections are high in the community. No social use and a maximum of three groups/ week. 

Consistory Meeting, April 14th

News from Operation Christmas Child

Alyona’s Story

                  Alyona grew up in Ukraine.  She was orphaned at a young age and lived with her grandma.  When her grandma could no longer care for her, Alyona was sent to live with her sister.  Tragically, Alyona’s sister developed cancer and died a few months later.  Alyona was then sent to an orphanage.

                  One day before Christmas, one of the caregivers at the orphanage invited Alyona to go to church with her.  At a special service, Alyona received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  “It was like opening a chest of gold!”  says Alyona.  She remembers that everything in her shoebox was clean and new with a fresh smell.  One of Alyona’s favorite gifts was a little stuffed lamb.  She felt her shoebox was God’s way of giving her hope.

                  When Alyona was 12, she was adopted by a woman from the United States.  One day at church Alyona was surprised to see her new church family getting red and green shoeboxes to fill.  She realized that they were the same kind of boxes she had received!  

Today Alyona is a spokesperson for Operation Christmas Child.  Alyona knows the great impact a shoebox can have on a child’s life and encourages us to keep packing!  She thanks shoebox packers for sharing God’s love with children around the world.

Giving with Gratitude  

$61 in change was collected in March to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!  If you would like to join the effort, empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.

Harvest Bazaar

                  We are pleased to announce that we are planning to host the Harvest Bazaar on September 18, 2021 to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  Please feel free to share your ideas with members of the Fellowship Committee.

Purchasing Gifts

                  The suggested gift to purchase in April is stuffed animals.  You might find some bargains at the after Easter sales!  You are encouraged to purchase other needed gifts when you find a good deal.  An inventory of gifts needed for our 2021 packing party is on the table in the foyer.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Childwith your prayers, resources, and talents!

March 2021 News & Announcements

Worship Matters

March 14th: Gathered Worship day light savings time starts (spring forward). 

Holy Week

Palm Sunday, April 28th 

Maundy Thursday Worship (4/1) 7 p.m. Join us for a prayer service and celebrating the Lord’s Supper together on the day that remembers the events of Jesus and disciples in the Upper Room. 

Good Friday (no service)

Easter Sunday, 11 a.m. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper. 

If you’d like to share flowers to decorate the sanctuary, you may drop them off Saturday morning and drop them off before noon to the small classroom (with piano across from the bathroom).  If you’d like your flowers back, mark them with your name. 

Note: there is a wedding using the building 4/2-4/3. 

Benevolence Fund is available to help with needs. We’ve used it for things ranging from rent to clothes. Contact a deacon or Pastor Jeff for more information. 

Food Pantry: Open Saturday 9-11 am and by appointment. (518-827-7121)

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Building Use is limited while COVID infections are high in the community. No social use and a maximum of three groups/ week. 

Consistory Meeting, March 11th

2021 Consistory (and term ending)
Elders: Sarah Bramer (2021) , Jonathan Meredith (2023), Mary Lou Ryan (2024)
Deacons: Allison Coons (2021), Kathy Jenkins (2022), Tracie Anteman (2023), Leslie Hooper (2024) 

News from Operation Christmas Child

            God is making it possible even in the midst of a global pandemic for the Good News of Jesus to be shared to the ends of the earth!  The shoeboxes we packed last fall along with more than 9 million others are being distributed to children in many countries.  Photos returning to us from distribution events show the delight on children’s faces as they hear that God loves them and discover the contents of their shoeboxes.  Those who accept the invitation to participate in The Greatest Journey course will learn more about God’s Greatest Gift, our Savior.  We pray that the children will become bold disciples sharing the love of Jesus with their families and friends!

            $13 in change was collected in February to go toward the $9 donation requested for each shoebox to be used for shipping and ministry costs.  Thank you for GIVING WITH GRATITUDE!  If you would like to join the effort, empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.

            You will find an inventory of gifts needed for our 2021 packing party on the table in the foyer.  Each month a certain gift will be suggested for you to purchase, but you are welcome to purchase any of the needed items at any time.  Your purchases may be left in the OCC box on the table.  The suggested gift for your purchase In March is washcloths.

            Thank you for the many ways in which you support Operation Christmas Child.  In doing so you are joining with others in living out the Greatest Commandments and the Great Commission!

February 2021 N&A

Operation Christmas Child

Shoebox numbers are in for 2020.  A total of 9,113,853 gift-filled shoeboxes were collected worldwide!  Of that number 7,809,410 came from the United States of America.  Even in the midst of a pandemic, God’s people have provided a tool which pastors in some of the darkest areas of the world will use to share the Gospel.  We are blessed to be able to participate in this ministry!

February is our month to purchase toothbrushes for our 2021 packing party.  Our goal is to include at lease two toothbrushes in each of our shoeboxes.  You may leave toothbrushes in the OCC collection container in the foyer or make a donation toward purchasing toothbrushes in bulk.  You may give your donation to Mary Lou in person or mail it to her at 3701 State Route 30, Middleburgh, NY  12122.  Thank you for providing toothbrushes for children who may not have one or who may have to share one with others.

Last year we began a campaign called Giving with Gratitude to collect money to be used toward the $9 donation that is suggested for each shoebox to cover shipping and other ministry expenses.  Empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer for you to collect spare change.  A collection jar is located by the offering plate for your donation.  Since last fall, we have collected $59.  That is a great start toward our 2021 goal of sending a shoebox to 306 children and sharing the Good News of Jesus with them!

Gifts other than the one suggested each month are most welcome.  Don’t hesitate to purchase a bargain when you find one!  At this time of year you may find great deals on such things as winter hats and mittens or holiday stuffed animals.  Your “finds” may be left in the collection box in the foyer.  Thank you and happy shopping!

To sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Some resources:

Pray as you Go: a 10 minutes daily Scripture reading, with music and questions. 

Book of Daily Prayer, praying the daily office, there are lots of options for this, but the online version serves up the appropriate readings and prayers for the day, https://www.dailyoffice2019.com 

M’Cheyne’s Bible year-long reading plan is available in the foyer or online: https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/mcheyne/next 

Seasons, over the course of a year and a lifetime, call for different practices to help us be attentive to God’s work. How can you attend to those conditions so to cultivate new growth? We are stuck right now waiting until restrictions from COVID allow us to do more things. But now is the time to plan and wonder together. What is God stirring in you? How are we being called to bless our neighbors and community in the name of Christ? Who can you share this with? 

New Directory is available in the foyer. 

Giving Envelopes have been moved to the workroom if you need them. Ask for help if you can’t find them. 

Consistory Meeting, January 14th 

January 2021 News & Annoucements

Operation Christmas Child

The shoeboxes we packed last fall will be distributed in Madagascar and a Hard to Reach Area.  Madagascar is an island nation off the east coast of Africa.  A Hard to Reach Area is a region where the Gospel is unknown or a place where it may be dangerous to teach about Jesus.

Samaritan’s purse has been distributing Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes in Madagascar since 1993.  Since 2010, shoebox recipients have been invited to join The Greatest Journey, the follow-up course developed by Samaritan’s Purse to encourage and equip young disciples of Jesus.

When we close the lid of a shoebox we have filled, our job is not finished.  Please continue to pray for the children who will receive our gifts.  Pray that the contents of their shoeboxes will meet their particular needs or wants and that the children will become followers of Jesus.

Collection week for 2021 may seem a long way off, but we need to begin preparing now.  The following are some ideas for your participation:

  • Donate Christmas cards you received that have religious pictures.
  • Donate used or extra calendars that have pictures of animals or natural scenes.  (Pictures will be used to decorate the inside of shoebox lids.)
  • Save coins in a medicine bottle.  (Money collected will be put toward the shipping donation.  Coins may be placed in the container by the offering plate.  Empty medicine bottles are available in the foyer.)
  • Purchase WOW items when you find bargains.
  • Make a donation toward the purchase of items in bulk.
  • Build, knit, sew, crochet, craft… gift items.

Thank you for the many ways in which you have supported Operation Christmas Child.  I look forward to serving in this ministry with you in the New Year!

 Blessings!  Mary Lou

Giving Envelopes: 2021 envelope boxes can be collected on the foyer table. If you don’t have a box assigned to you, take an unaddressed box and let Lewis Youmans know the number on the box (youmans@nycap.rr.com) 

Year End Financial Statement summary: 
Total income:    $117,684 
Total expense: $130,005
Budgeted:          $128,931
If you’d like a report with categories or budget, ask Pastor Jeff. A 2021 budget is also available. 

Directory Update- you can check the details on the foyer copy and edit anything by January 17th

Consistory Meeting, January 14th 

2021 Consistory (and term ending)
Elders: Sarah Bramer (2021) , Jonathan Meredith (2023), Mary Lou Ryan (2024)

Deacons: Allison Coons (2021), Kathy Jenkins (2022), Tracie Anteman (2023), Leslie Hooper (2024) 

Consistory continues to monitor the COVID situation. 

The local case numbers have gone up in the last month: +47% since 11/25, and the last 14 days (1/6-12/24) are 18% of the total cases since March (for an average of 16/ cases day over last 14 days). Hospital capacity is within a few percentage points (2-5%) of the State promising more restrictions. While we are confident that what we are doing keeps us safer, there may come a point where we need to stay home. We will communicate with email and the website with any change of plans.  

In the meantime, we look forward to when we can get together again more normally. Take time to check in with neighbors and friends. 

Consistory Nominations

Election of Elders & Deacons

We are accepting nominations for Elders and Deacon until November 29th.  We are looking to fill two Elder terms (a 2- and 4-year term) and one Deacon term (4-year term).  

 You can submit a name by putting it into the box on the foyer table or use the online form. Their election is confirmed at our annual meeting (12/6). If you have questions, feel free to speak to a current consistory member. 

What do Elders & Deacons do? 

The Elders are responsible for matters involving the spiritual welfare of the church. Oversight includes providing for worship, encouraging spiritual growth, and visitation to the sick. Deacons steward the gifts of the church. 

Requirements: First, elders and deacons serve the household of God so a basic qualification for an office is for the person to be a Christian that demonstrates a life shaped by Christ. Here are a few Scripture passages describing the qualifications of Elders and Deacons: 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-11. 

Terms: In our church, Elders and Deacons serve one four-year term at a time. Practical expectations include: being available for meetings once a month in the evenings (usually Thursday), devote time to pray and helping on Sunday morning. 

Page to submit names online.

November News & Announcements

Worship Committee Meeting, 11/4, 7 pm in the Fellowship Hall.

Operation Christmas Child

            Thank you for the many ways in which you have supported Operation Christmas Child this year!  We have all felt the impact of the pandemic.  I hope that participating in our traditional outreach to children in other parts of the world has given you some sense of normalcy.  For the children who receive our gifts during these difficult times, it will be a great reminder that they are loved.

            There are a number of ways in which you may continue to participate in OCC this season.

  • Pack a box on your own.  Bring your filled shoebox to church on Nov. 15 for Dedication Sunday.
  • Contribute toward the cost of shipping and other ministry related expenses for the 305 shoeboxes packed at our packing parties.  You may do this by collecting your spare change in a medicine bottle, by sponsoring a certain number of shoeboxes, or by giving any amount you are able. 
  • Volunteer to serve at our drop-off site during collection week (Nov. 16-23).
  • PRAY for collection and processing to go smoothly, for no problems with shipping and customs, that children’s needs will be met, and that hearts would be open to the Gospel.

If you have questions, need shoeboxes, or want to volunteer, please see me or call 518-827-4093.  Thank you again for blessing children with a tangible representation of God’s love.

                                                                                                Mary Lou

Mugs & Muffins Bible Study, continues Wednesdays 3:30-4:30 for a few more weeks, reading Ephesians together in the Fellowship Hall. 

2021 Budget: The Consistory will be reviewing the budget for next year. The budget is one way of making plans and setting priorities for the coming year. Committees have been asked to submit any requests of the budget, due to Consistory by 11/12. 

Consistory Meeting, November 11/12

Upcoming Sunday Worship 

  • November 1st, All Saints Day, celebrating the Lord’s Supper
  • 11/8, Gathered Worship
  • 11/15, Gathered Worship, including shoebox dedication 
  • 11/22, Christ the King Sunday 
  • 11/29, First Sunday of Advent
  • 12/6, 2nd Sunday of Advent

We’ll continue to livestream worship. The link and the bulletin will be at the website, on the page: At Home Resources. Prayer requests can be forwarded to Pastor Jeff – phone, email or text.

Ham Supper: this year we will not be hosting our annual supper. The major factors for this included: 

  • not being able to seat people in the hall (or- it would take a long time to seat the usual numbers with the given restrictions), 
  • preparing and serving together with the given restrictions 
  • not knowing what November will look like. 

All those things, we would be losing too much about the reasons we do this and the ways it is done. Thanks for your understanding and we’ll consider it again next year. 

The Study Hall at the Fellowship HallThanks to everyone who offered to help. The word is out and we are waiting to see if any students need to make use of it. We’ll keep it out there for another month or so and see how things go. Many different scenarios could play out where this would be helpful to families in the MCS district- so thanks for keeping this in mind.  

Annual Meeting December 6th after worship. 

October News & Announcements

Mugs & Muffins Bible Study, continuing Wednesdays 3:30-4:30 for just over six-weeks reading Ephesians together, on the patio or inside in the Fellowship Hall. 

Youth Education:  Plans are being developed to help families, including options of in-person and resources to use at home.

The Study Hall at the Fellowship HallThanks to everyone who offered to help. The word is out and we are waiting to see if any students need to make use of it. We’ll keep it out there for another month or so and see how things go. Many different scenarios could play out where this would be helpful to families in the MCS district- so thanks for keeping this in mind.  

2021 Budget: The Finance Committee and Consistory will begin working on the budget for next year. While it is a best-guess about our spending, we do use it to set our priorities in a practical way. Committees are being asked to think about what they hope to do in next year, and if it requires money, they can request it to be included in the budget. 

Consistory Meeting, November 11/12

Annual Meeting December 6th after worship. 

Ham Supper: this year we will not be hosting our annual dinner. The major factors for this included: 

  • not being able to seat people in the hall (or- it would take a long time to seat the usual numbers with the given restrictions), 
  • preparing and serving together with the given restrictions 
  • not knowing what November will look like. 

Financial Reportavailable on the print copies

Worship, Life Together & Restrictions 

As we to journey through this time of the pandemic, we continue to adjust how things are done. Sunday worship is our central gathering time as a congregation, so we are trying to accommodate each person who wants to participate. Our seating in the sanctuary is a challenge. We are bumping up against fitting everyone with the prescribed distance. So be mindful of 6’- about a two arm’s length. We will work to seat others in chairs around the space. We are also working out how we can use the foyer and the hall. We’ll continue to stream the service for folks staying at home. The State has plans for rolling restrictions as cases emerge. It does not call for houses of worship to ever be closed, but the number of our gatherings could be curbed. We’ll follow whatever we are asked to do as we value setting a good example and loving our neighbor given that we will still be able to worship, though we may have to get creative how that happens. 

As we try to care for one another in this time, the church has funds available to help with financial stress, along with recommended counseling services, and spiritual nurture. You can check out the website for a start under RESOURCES.  

September News & Announcements

How are you? 

Our typical routines have been disrupted everywhere. It is a good time to think how you are – and how you want to- tend to your soul.  In this season consider how you need to be pay attention to God, yourself, and others- Up, In & Out. We are carefully considering out how our life together as a church can support, empower and encourage one another, so we’ll be trying new things.  This includes Sunday worship time and space, format and function, ways of serving the broader community, and time together. You are invited to help, participate and figure this out with us. Share what you need, ideas you want to try and needs you see. You’ll find a few things beginning here and more coming in the next couple weeks. 

Mugs & Muffins Bible Study, Wednesdays 3:30-4:30 for six-week session reading Ephesians or Philippians together, beginning 9/16 on the patio off the Fellowship Hall. 

Youth Education:  Plans are being developed to help families, including options of in-person and resources to use at home.

Consistory Meeting, September 10th, 7 p.m.

(financial update available- just ask!)

Operation Christmas Child

            Countries all over the world have been impacted by COVD-19 in a variety of ways.  For a time, Operation Christmas Child shoebox distributions were interrupted by the pandemic.  Where it is safe to do so, they have been resumed by dedicated ministry partners.  It is critical during this difficult time to spread the Good News of Jesus.  Children and their families need to know that there is Hope!

            In keeping with health guidelines, our shoebox packing will be conducted a little differently this year.  Instead of our usual big packing party, we are having a series of smaller ones.  The first was held on Sept. 2 with masks, social distancing, and a limited number of participants.  We hope that everyone who wants to participate will have an opportunity to do so.  The next packing party will be on Saturday, Sept. 19 beginning at 10 a.m.  Please see Mary Lou to reserve your spot.

            THANK YOU to everyone who has generously donated funds or purchased gifts to meet our goal of filling 305 shoeboxes in 2020.  THANKS also to those who are filling medicine bottles with their loose change to go toward the shipping donation for the shoeboxes.  May God bless you for blessing others!

            Prayer is the foundation of Operation Christmas Child.  Some concerns for you to lift up include:

  • packing parties
  • collection week (Nov. 16-23)
  • processing
  • children who will receive our gifts
  • volunteers who will distribute shoeboxes