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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!

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, 

M’Cheyne’s Bible year-long reading plan is available in the foyer or online: 

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 ( 

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.

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

Public Worship Canceled- COVID-19

March 17, 2020

Dear Middleburgh Reformed Church family and friends, 

We are honoring the request by the Schoharie County Department of Health that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not gather for worship for the next two weeks. There will be no public worship March 22nd and 29th. This includes all activities and meetings. 

This does not mean we are canceling church or worship! Actually, we believe this is impossible. Worship will happen, even if the rocks have to cry out. What we can do is not to miss out! I will be putting together an order of worship for you to use in your own home. This way we can still pray together this Sunday, read Scripture, and listen to God’s word. I will send out an email and post this to our website ( later this week. 

In the meantime, I’ll be checking in on you. I’ll start calling people Wednesday to make sure you received this message, unless you reply first. We have people in our church willing to help with any needs, including errands, like grocery shopping. I would even be happy to share toilet paper. 

We are also closing the building to social gatherings at this time. This does not include AA meetings. 

And finally, a word of encouragement. For some, this situation is adding to our already full life of anxiety and kicking up fears about the unknown for us and those we love. For others, it’s a news headline that is disrupting our regular routine. Wherever you are, hear again that God has you, He cares for you, and He is willing your good. How do we know? Because of his great love for us that even while we were still sinners (estranged and far from God), he sent Jesus Christ into the world for our salvation. When we come to know this it’s a wonderful moment! We also set out in a journey for a lifetime of knowing this more and more. This is something you can say with all the assurance one can muster to others: trust this anchor, Jesus Christ, instead of the other anchors that are coming loose. Times like this kick up ways that we can still trust God more, refining our desires and thinking. This moment can become an opportunity that we can prayerfully get clear on things we trust in, but that will disappoint. A favorite psalm to read at a graveside service is 121: “I lift my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?” (v. 1) The mountains and high places were positions of strength, protection, military advantage. Today we might say our mountains are money, health care, governments. Does our help come from them? Perhaps some, but not ultimately. These other things are temporary and will not hold the weight of Life. As those who have faith in Christ, our protest is: “My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.” (v.2) We may stop meeting for a couple weeks for a short-term social good and in obedience to the government. But we remind ourselves that our life is more than health, wealth and safety. “The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life” (v. 7). 

If you have any questions, concerns, or need anything, let me know. I look forward to seeing you again soon, 

In Christ, 
Pastor Jeff Kelley  cell: 518-860-7404 (call or text)

December 2019 News & Announcements

Operation Christmas Child
11,178 Reasons to Celebrate
When the trailers at Grace Fellowship Church were sealed on November 25, they contained 11,178 gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!  Of that number, 1,456 came from the drop-off site at MRC.  Thank you, Allison and all the volunteers, for all of your work during collection week.

Over the years, God’s provision has allowed us to grow the number of shoeboxes we have filled for children in need.  This year 304 shoeboxes were filled at the packing party.  Several folks also packed shoeboxes on their own bringing our total to 395. Thank you for generously sharing your blessings!

Glasses for Guatemala

During OCC collection week, one of the donors spoke about a medical mission trip she will take in February.  She is a nurse and will be assisting doctors who will be performing eye surgeries and fitting patients for eyeglasses.  Your old glassed are needed!  Please leave them in the basket in the foyer by January 12.  Thank you!

Congregational Meeting December 8th.  All are invited to come to share lunch and hear about our life together. After worship, childcare provided. Packets with reports are available. 

Leadership Meeting, 12/11, 7 p.m.

Reverse Advent Calendar to help out the Food Pantry: count down by setting food aside each day for the food pantry. Pick up a calendar on the foyer table.

A Night of Caroling- Advent Activity for the whole family. 4:30 pm- meet at church and ride on a wagon around town singing- return to church 5:15 for food and fellowship. Come for either part or both! We are canvasing for the best time: Sunday 15th, or Friday 20th. Let Susan Pendergast know which works for you by marking on the paper or in person. 

Advent and Christmas Worship 

Worship, Sundays 11 a.m.

Advent Wreath reading: Sign up to lead the Advent wreath readings on the foyer table.
12/1: Advent begins. No Youth Christian Education.
12/8: Advent 2, Isaiah 64:1-9, With Us in Sin
12/15: Advent 3, Isaiah 6:1-4; 10-11, With Us in Suffering
12/22: with Youth Education program. 
12/24 Christmas Eve Worship, 7 pm. Isaiah 43:16-21, With Us to Make a Way
12/29: First Sunday after Christmas, 11 a.m. worship. No Christian Education, youth or adult. 
1/5: 2nd Sunday after Christmas, 11 a.m. Youth and Adult Christian Education 10 a.m. Isaiah 9:1-7; With Us to Reign

Updated Directories are available on The Table. Forward corrections and additions to Pastor Jeff. Some corrections are already available on labels. 

study phone: 518-827-5134                                           food pantry: 518-827-7121                          

PO Box 112      Middleburgh, NY 12122

September News & Announcements

Youth Education begins September 15th All youth, PreK thru High School are invited join us Sunday mornings, 10-10:45 a.m. The schedule for the year is available and on the webpage. 

Lunch & Vroman’s Nose Hike, September 15th Join us after worship for a light lunch and a Sunday constitutional up the Nose. (lunch is not limited to the walkers) Sandwiches fixings provided. RSVP on the sheet in the foyer and we invite people to provide other things like vegetables or chips. 

Nursery: We value being hospitable. An important part of welcoming one another is providing a space for children to be during worship. And we need help staffing the nursery, especially if you don’t have children. The more we share the Sundays, the easier it is. The master scheduler is in Google Sheets, or check the paper copy in the foyer and let Pastor Jeff know a Sunday you can help. There will be an information session/ tour for volunteers on September 22ndafter worship.   

RCA Futures Conversation: Join Pastor Jeff to talk about possible outcomes the of the present discussions in the RCA. We’ll also possible ways that we are called as a church. The recent 1-pagers are a helpful introduction to the whole thing, but not necessary to read or understand. Saturday September 28th, 10 a.m., Fellowship Hall. 

Adult Education continues to meeting Sunday mornings, 10 a.m. We are currently exploring Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. 

Update your details in the directory: September 22nddeadline. Let Pastor Jeff know or use the directory on the foyer table and scratch out the old and include the new. New directory will be available October 6th. New feature!: Include your contact preference and whether you text the cell phone.  

Sign up for the weekly news & announcement email. It’s much the same as you find here, plus weekly prayer requests and occasionally other things of interest. You can sign up through the website:

Meetings & Planning 

Mission Trip Debriefwith Scones, September 8th after worship

Consistory Meeting, 9/12, 7 p.m.

Ham Supper Planning Meeting- First planning meeting for this year. 

If you organized an area last year, please come! We have a new chairperson and we need all hands-on deck to get this project off the ground. September 17th, 6:30 pm

Nursery help brief– 9/22, for 10 minutes after worship in the nursery. 

Operation Christmas Child
Getting Ready for Our 2019 Packing Party

          In a few short weeks, it will be time for our annual OCC packing party!  If you have not yet delivered the school supplies you pledged to purchase, please do so by next Sunday.  Pledge sheets for the remainder of needed gifts may be found in the foyer.

Harvest Bazaar  Plans are well underway for our event to raise funds to be used toward shipping this year’s shoeboxes. Your support is crucial to the success of our event.  Please consider participating in one or more of the following:

  • Help to stock the Harvest Café.  (Please see Ellie Spencer about what is needed.)
    • Fill a basket for the basket raffle.  (Please see Karen Miller for details.)
    • Say, “YES!” when a team leader asks you to serve.
    • LIKE and SHARE the Harvest Bazaar page on Facebook.  
    • INVITE others to attend the event.
    • Build a scarecrow to decorate the bazaar.  (See Maria Funiciello for more information.)  After the bazaar the scarecrows will be displayed on the church lawn with a special message for the community!
    • On September 9thbeginning at 7 p.m. there will be a meeting to price items made by the Harvest Bazaar crafters.  If you have been making items for the bazaar on your own and would like help to price them, please plan to attend.
    • Enjoy the Harvest Bazaar with your family and friends on September 21st!

A Rare Opportunity The area OCC team will host a collection season kick-off event at Grace Fellowship Church (20 Delatour Rd., Watervliet) on September 14 beginning at 9 a.m.  This will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the project and connect with others who support it.  A highlight of the morning will be a talk by a young man who received a shoebox as a child.  You are invited to attend to hear how a simple gift impacted his life.  Since 1993, more than 168 million children have been blessed with an OCC shoebox.  You have the opportunity to meet one of those precious children!