Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 (www.middleburghreformed.org) 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

jeffa.kelley@gmail.com  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

www.middleburghreformed.org                                    hello@middleburghreformed.org

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: middleburghreformed.org

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!

April News & Announcements

Spring Work Days: join us for getting the church yard ready for mowing season and building cleaned up after the winter. 

  • Move branches and sticks from lawn
  • Rake stones off lawn
  • Wash windows and door entrances

 Group work days are set for April 6 and 13, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m., or come anytime. 

Men’s BreakfastMen eating breakfast together, Saturday April 6th,  7:30 a.m. in the hall.

Consistory Meeting- April 11th, 7 p.m.

Mother-Daughter-Sister-Friend Tea

            The fellowship committee cordially invites all women and girls of the church and the special ladies in their lives to attend a tea on Saturday, May 11 beginning at noon.  The tea is being catered by Nancy Williams’ son, Jeff. In order to know how much food will be needed and how many tables to prepare, the committee is asking you to make reservations for you and your guest(s) by April 14.  A sign-up sheet is in the foyer.  Attendees are encouraged to wear their “Sunday finery” including hats.  There will be no charge to attend the tea.  We hope there will be a large turn-out for this event which will celebrate our relationships with the special women and girls in our lives!

Operation Christmas Child

JOG with Operation Christmas Child!

Enter the Joy oGiving by purchasing gifts to be included in our shoeboxes for 2019. 

Suggested gifts to purchase in April are:

bars of soap, combs, small stuffed animals (Look for after-Easter clearance!)

You are asked to also give your prayers for Operation Christmas Child.  Some new prayer needs include:

the area church relations team that is seeking to engage more churches

the Connect Conference for OCC volunteers that ML will attend May 2-4

                  plans by the area team to be at Troy’s Riverfront Festival in June

                  Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child!

Sunday Help: there are spaces available to help in the nursery, reading Scripture, ushering and coffee hour. See Pastor Jeff to help with nursery or ushering. Signup in the foyer to read Scripture and coffee hour.  

Mission-Planning Team

Red Cross blood drive, Thursday, May 16th, 2 pm- 7 pm.  As this is our first time hosting an event for the Red Cross, we are looking for 45 appointments and 35 actual donors.  We need helping setting up tables and chairs, registration table, and snack table help. 

Ronald McDonald Housein Albany help, Saturday, June 15th. 10 am-12 pm, up to 15 people total between baking and cleaning/odd jobs.  All bakers must be at least 16 years old.  Sign-up sheet is in the foyer.  

Mission TripAugust 21st– 25thto Barnet, Vermont.

  We will be staying at the Green Mountain Retreat Center (about a 4 hour drive) and helping in different areas, for all abilities.  $25/ per person includes room and food. All ages welcome. 

Contact Tracie Anteman with questions about the mission opportunities. 

Trash & Treasure Sale

Spring cleaning?  Time to De-clutter?

Please remember to save items for our church Trash & Treasure sale on August 17.

Please do not bring your items to church until August.  Sorry: no clothing, TV’s, Computers, and the like.  Questions? contact Leslie Hooper

Personal Hygiene Items

Thank you for offering hygiene items for students & families in the Middleburgh District. We will continue to maintain the supply for the schools, so look out for particular needs at the items are used up. 

March News & Announcements

Financial Peace University Course – March start date! (3/3 or 3/10)

FPU is a 9-week course on personal financial management by Dave Ramsey. You’ll learn how to budget, save for emergencies, pay off debt and save for the future. For more information see: http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/

We would like to meet on Sundays beginning this month, but we need to hear from those interested in what works best. Ron Barnes has offered to facilitate again. Please let Pastor Jeff or Ron Barnes know. $129.99 for first time, free for repeats. Scholarships are available- we don’t want anyone not to participate because of the cost.  

Fellowship Committee

  • Our committee welcomes new members with new ideas! Our next meeting will be on Monday, March 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m.  We meet at the church in the library.  Please join us!
  • One of the events the committee is planning is a Mother-Daughter-Sister-Friend Tea.  The tea is being catered by Nancy Williams’ son, Jeff. It will be held on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend, May 11, beginning at noon.  In order to know how much food will be needed and how many tables to prepare, the committee is asking you to make reservations for you and your guest(s) by April 14.  A sign-up sheet will be in the foyer.  Attendees are encouraged to wear their “Sunday finery” including hats. There will be no charge to attend the tea.  We hope there will be a large turn-out for this event which will celebrate our relationships with the special women and girls in our lives!
  • Another event in the works is the Harvest Bazaar.  The bazaar is held to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  Some new vendors will be participating this year as well as returning vendors.  The date is September 21.  You may help us prepare by attending our crafting bees which will be held on March 23 and April 27 beginning at 9:00 a.m.  in the fellowship hall.  See Marian Bouck, Karen Miller, or Allison Coons for more information.

Operation Christmas Child

            Many shoeboxes that were packed in 2018 have already been delivered to children in many nations, but many more are still on their way to the hands of children. They will be transported by ship, plane, camel, dugout canoe, bicycle, and several more ways.  Our continued prayers are needed to cover these precious gifts and those who are delivering them.  We pray also for the follow-up classes, The Greatest Journey, which will guide and nurture the children as they learn about Jesus.

            The suggested gift to purchase this month for our packing party is small baby dolls.

Men’s BreakfastMen eating breakfast together, pretty simple, very delicious, Saturday March 9th7:30 a.m. in the hall.

Sunday Help: there are spaces available to help in the nursery, reading Scripture, ushering and coffee hour. See Pastor Jeff to help with nursery or ushering. Signup in the foyer to read Scripture and coffee hour.  

Trash & Treasure Sale

Spring cleaning?  Time to De-clutter?

Please remember to save items for our church Trash & Treasure sale on August 17.

Please do not bring your items to church until August.  Sorry: no clothing, TV’s, Computers, and the like.  Questions? contact Leslie Hooper

Personal Hygiene Items

We are starting a new effort of supplying the Middleburgh Schools with personal hygiene items for students and their families. A shopping list of things we’d like to provide is in the foyer for you to take. Items will be delivered to the school nurses and counselors for any student who needs them. Providing these basic things 1) helps practically their very limited budget 2) shares in a tangible way that these students and families are valued and support is available. 

Suggested Hygiene Items

  • Bars of soap
  • Shampoo & Conditioner 
  • Toilet paper (individually wrapped)
  • Deodorant/ Antiperspirant – for girls and boys
  • Washcloths
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Face wash
  • Shaving cream- for men and women 
  • Nail clippers
  • Dental floss 
  • Tampons and feminine pads
  • Hair brushes
  • Hair ties

Leadership Team Meeting,March 28th, 7 pm. Any committee chairs or anyone who organizes ministry in our church is invited to come. Please forward written updates to Pastor Jeff by 3/21 to be distributed in advance of the meeting.  

february news & announcments

Financial Information 

2018 Summary

We were blessed to finish 2018 being able to do the ministry that we wanted to do this year and without dipping into our reserves or investments. We received $147,294- across all the accounts. 90% came in through plate receipts (and general donations).  The expenses were $128,000. A full financial report is available- ask Pastor Jeff. For 2019, the general fund budget is about $125,000 (does not include things like Food Pantry or other accounts). 

Giving Envelopes

what are they for? They are more than a way to keep your giving a secret- they are a way to register your giving for a charitable giving statement for tax purposes at the end of the year. This is how it works: each set of envelopes has a number that is assigned to a giver. That number is connected to your name by our Financial Secretary, Lewis Youmans. When used, the envelope number and amount is recorded and passed on to Lewis. At the end of the year, you’ll receive a statement.  Using the envelopes is not necessary, but if you you’d like to use them, pick up a box without a name and let Lewis Youmans know who you are: name, address, and envelope box number.  We accept cash and checks. Bitcoin currently not accepted. 

Worship

2/17: No youth Christian Education 

Adult Christian Education, 10 a.m. studying the Beatitudes in Matthew- now until March 24th

March 6th– Ash Wednesday, (beginning of Lent)

Financial Peace University Course 

FPU is a 9-week course on personal financial management by Dave Ramsey. You’ll learn how to budget, save for emergencies, pay off debt and save for the future. For more information see: http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/

We would like to meet on Sundays beginning this month, but we need to hear from those interested in what works best. Ron Barnes has offered to facilitate again. Please let Pastor Jeff or Ron Barnes know. $129.99 for first time, free for repeats. Scholarships are available- we don’t want anyone not to participate because of the cost.  

Committees 

You are invited to consider serving on a committee. For the next three weeks, signups and descriptions will be in the foyer. 

Ushering 

We are opening up the ushering task to anyone who is interested in helping. It is a ministry of hospitality which basic responsibilities include: opening the prepping for worship, welcoming people, handing out bulletins, arranging for the bell to rung, receiving the offering. We don’t actually seat people anymore, but you get the idea.  

A list of specific duties are in the foyer next to the door. An orientation can be held if anyone has not done it before. 

Men’s Breakfast: Men eating breakfast together, pretty simple. 7:30 a.m. in the hall, Saturday February 2nd& March 2nd  

Fellowship Opportunities in February

Feb. 6 (5-6:30) – NET Dinner  

Join with others from the community to enjoy good food and conversation.  This is a great time to catch up with those you know and to meet new friends!  See the sign-up sheet in the foyer if you would like to contribute to the meal or to serve.

Feb. 8 (6-8 p.m.) – Family Game Night 

Put down the remote and load up the car with your kids and your favorite board games!  If you don’t have kids, you are also invited to have a fun night with your church family!  Bring a dessert or snack to share.

Feb. 11 (6:30 – 7:30) – Fellowship Committee Meeting

Come and share your ideas with the committee. We are happy to have new members join us in planning to bring our church family and the community together in fellowship!


Leadership Rejiggering We are adjusting our organization in how planning and decisions are made. Consistory (made up of Elders and Deacons) has traditionally been the body to formally make decisions for ministry. The work has been done for many years with the help of committees. In an effort to broaden and share the work committee chairs, consistory and others will be meet together every other month. In the opposite months, Consistory will meet for a Consistory meeting. Elders will still have oversight of the membership and worship and the Deacons managing the gifts of the church. One way to understand it is that the leadership meetings and work will run parallel to Consistory meetings and work. Outcomes we are hoping for include better communication, more people participating in serving and developing ways to address need both within and outside our church.