January 2019 News & Announcements

Happy New Year!

Christian Education
Youth CE continues on Sundays from 10-11 a.m.
Adult Christian Education resumes January 13th, 10 a.m.

Season of Christmas: 12/25-1/5
January 6th: Epiphany, celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
We are also celebrating the sacrament of baptism for Tracie, Craig and Audrey Anteman before worship at 10:45 a.m. We are doing this before 11 a.m. worship because Tracie has some anxiety about standing up in front of people. Anyone is welcome to come for the baptism, though. During the worship service we will welcome them and Ed and Kathy Jenkins into membership.

Consistory Meeting: 1/17, 7 p.m.

We are in process of reconfiguring an aspect of leadership in the church- which includes the committees and the committee chair. The outline of the idea is to have leadership meetings that would include the committee chairs and others who take the lead in various areas. This team would meet every other month with members of Consistory. Opposite those months, Consistory would meet. Look out for a meeting in January so we talk through both the idea and the details together. If you have questions in the meantime, feel free to contact Pastor Jeff.

Game Night- Saturday February 1st, 6-8 pm.

Operation Christmas Child
The shoeboxes we packed last fall have been or will be distributed on two continents! Children in Ukraine and Malawi will be blessed by our gifts and the Gospel message.
One example of how Operation Christmas Child has had an impact on children in Ukraine is the work being done within the Roma community. As well as receiving shoeboxes, many children are participating in The Greatest Journey discipleship program where they are learning to follow Christ – and how to read!
Malawi is a small nation located in Southeast Africa. It has a population of 19.2 million people. 46% of the population is 14 years old or younger. In 2014, a 12-year-old Muslim girl named Angelina received a shoebox. Inside she discovered the school supplies that she and her siblings desperately needed but their parents could not afford to buy. The flashlight Angelina received meant a great deal also as the family did not have electricity in their home. Angelina learned of an even greater Light as she read the booklet she received with her gift. The Greatest Gift encouraged her to start attending church where she began to study the Bible. “I felt sweet in my heart because I was filled with the Word of God!” Angelina’s witness eventually led all ten members of her family to Christ!
Please save your Christmas cards with religious pictures for the shoeboxes we will pack in 2019. You may leave them in the basket in the foyer. THANK YOU!

Save the date of September 21 for our second Harvest Bazaar. Our purpose for hosting the event is to raise funds to ship our OCC shoeboxes and provide discipleship materials and training. Please see Mary Lou if you know a vendor who would like to participate.
We will have a work bee on Jan. 26 to begin making Christmas decorations to sell at our booth. It will begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude at noon. Come when you can, and leave when you have to! Helpful to bring, but not necessary to attend: straight pins, fabric, ribbon, cutting mat, rotary cutter. It may also be helpful to Google “folded star Christmas ornament” and watch some of the YouTube videos to be inspired!

Fellowship Committee Meeting – Jan. 16 at 6:30 in the Sunday school room opposite the restrooms

We thank Karen Miller for serving as an Elder whose terms has concluded.

December 2018 News & Announcements

Annual Meeting: December 2nd Join us after worship for our annual congregational lunch and meeting. Meeting packets are available with reports. Lunch is potluck- bring something (anything!) to share.

Greening of the Sanctuary- Come help decorate the sanctuary for Advent Saturday, December 1st, 2 pm

Mission planning group meeting, 12/9 after worship.

Christian Education
No Adult Christian Education in December.
No Youth Christian Education 12/23, 12/30

Operation Christmas Child
We will soon know the country of destination for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes! We continue to pray that each gift will reach the hands of a child without incident or delay. We pray for those who are tasked with the transpor-tation and distribution of the shoeboxes. Most of all, our hope is that the children will welcome the Greatest Gift of All – Jesus into their lives.
Collecting gifts all year long is one way in which we prepare for our annual shoebox packing party. A suggested gift to purchase will be posted each month, but you are always encouraged to grab a bargain when one pops up! A box is located in the foyer where you may leave your contributions. Please save Christmas cards with religious pictures for January’s gift collection. THANK YOU!

Election of Elders & Deacons
In our tradition our local government is called the consistory. The consistory is made up of the board of elders and board of deacons. Minsters are of a special kind of elder. The consistory has oversight and care of the ministry and the congregation. The mission of the church is accomplished with theses working in harmony.
What do Elders & Deacons do? Under Christ the elders have supervision of the church. They are responsible for matters involving the spiritual welfare of individuals and the church as a whole. Oversight includes celebrating the sacraments, encouraging spiritual growth, and visitation to the sick.
The deacons administer the gifts of the church for those in distress and need- both in the church and world.
Elders and deacons serve the household of God so a basic qualification for an office is for the person to be Christian and demonstrate a life shaped by Christ. An elder should be one inclined towards spiritual discernment, wisdom and grounded in God’s Word. A deacon should be inclined towards compassion and mercy while able to steward the gifts God has given us. Here are a few Scripture passages directed at elders and deacons:
1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Peter 5:1-11.
In our church, elders and deacons serve one four-year term at a time. Consistory meets about once a month and each board meets other times. To nominate someone, submit their name on a piece of paper into the box on the foyer table. Their election is confirmed at our annual meeting (12/2) on a single slate. If you have questions, feel free to speak to a consistory member. We are looking to fill two Elder terms (a 2 and 4 year terms) and three Deacon terms (a 1, 2, 4 year term).

Advent Worship
Advent is a season of preparation to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ- as in the Incarnation and in the Second Coming; recalling and anticipation. It is also the beginning of the church year. The season of Christmas is Dec 25th– Jan 6.

Advent Series: Living in Waiting, Matthew 24-25

1st Sunday, Dec 2nd: celebrating the Lord’s Supper, Matthew 24:1-44

2ndSunday, Dec 9th, Matthew 24:45-25:13

3rdSunday, Dec 16th: Youth Christian Education Christmas program, Matthew 25:14-30

4thSunday, Dec 23rd: including time of remembrance, Matthew 25:31-46

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, 7 pm, service of readings and carols. Matthew 2:1-12

October 2018 News & Announcements

Fall property work days- Saturdays, 10/20 & 11/3, 9 am – 12 pm.  Join us when you can to help out doing some light maintenance work and cleaning. 

Ham Supper Planning:It’s on! but we need your help. Keith Wynia has taken the lead on organizing things and there are regular chair meetings to coordinate and share the work. But whether you are in your 39thsupper or the first- ask what you can do. 

Christian Education

Youth Educationseason has begun with grades PreK-9thgrade. NEW time! 10 am -10:45 am. All are welcome! 

Teachers are for grades: 

PreK-1: Sarah Bramer

2-3: Lara Kelley

4-5: Maria Funiciello 

6-9th: Jonathan Meredith  

Adult ClassSundays, 9:45-10:45 a.m. beginning a conversation about Spiritual Practices.  

Nursery – we could use some help caring for our little ones during worship. There are a some open Sundays, so see the calendar in the foyer for availability. Join us if you like kids and having fun! 

Godspeed: the Pace of Being Known: Join us for a video-based discussion on topics like place, presence, pace, identity, stability, names and mission. Wednesday at the Kelley’s house, 7-8:30 pm beginning September 26th for 7 weeks

Improved Coffee Hour Setup: we’ve replaced our commercial brewer to make hosting coffee hour easier and more productive! Instructions on how to use the brewer are posted next to the brewer. Pastor Jeff is also happy to give you a personal tutorial.  

  We want your mug! &If you have ceramic mugs that are cluttering your cabinet, we could use them for coffee hour. Using mugs will reduce cost, reduce waste and make drinking a hot beverage more enjoyable.  

Operation Christmas Child

            Thank you for supporting our Harvest Bazaar!  We were able to raise $1,058 toward our donation of $2,718 to accompany the 302 shoeboxes we will pack on October 28 at our packing party.   Our monetary donation will do more than ship our gifts to their countries of destination. It will be used to provide each child with The Greatest Gift, a colorful booklet about Jesus printed in the child’s own language.  It will also be used to provide teaching materials and training for those who will lead the shoebox distributions.

            In addition to the money raised at the bazaar, the Benevolence Fund contributes $900 toward our donation for shipping and discipleship materials and training.   We have also received a gift of $150 in memory of Araxi Dutton Palmer.  That leaves $610 for us to raise.  You may pledge toward reaching that goal by using the pledge sheet in the foyer.  Pledges will be due by Nov. 11.

            THANK YOU to everyone who has generously purchased gifts for our packing party.  Please deliver any remaining gifts to church or my home by Oct. 7.

You may recall that as our packing party has grown, so has the preparation!  A shoebox assembly party will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday Oct. 25.  Families may come and go to accommodate their family’s mealtimes and bedtimes.  Dessert will be served!  On Friday Oct. 26 beginning at 9:00 a.m., we will pre-pack school supplies and hygiene items.  

We hope our entire church family will be available to participate in our packing party on Oct. 28. Plan to stay after worship for a delicious lunch followed by shoebox packing.  If you would like, a sign-up sheet is in the foyer to indicate what you may contribute toward the meal.

Your greatest contribution toward Operation Christmas Child is prayer. Please pray for all who will be involved in collecting and processing this year’s harvest of shoeboxes.  Lift up Allison as she tackles her new role as drop-off site team leader.  As we work here, church leaders and volunteers in other countries are planning for the distribution of our gifts.  May they be guided by the Holy Spirit as they decide where to deliver the shoeboxes and the Good News, and may the children who will receive those gifts have their hearts softened to receive that message!

                                                                        Serving together!

                                                                                                            Mary Lou

Consistory Meeting: Thursday, 10/11 

Sept ’18 News & Announcements…

Ham Supper Planning:Join us September 2ndafter worship for a conversation about the future and planning for our annual fundraiser in November. If you can’t make it but have input to share, forward them to Susan Pendergast.  

Christian Educationbeginning September 16thfor grades PreK-8thgrade. NEW time! 10 am -10:45 am. 

Teachers are for grades: PreK-1: Sarah Bramer, 2-3: Lara Kelley, 4-5: Need a Teacher!, 6-9th: Jonathan Meredith

There is an opportunity to teach 3-5thgrade! The curriculum is well laid out and easy to follow. Each week is planned with activities and readings. We need someone who is patient, flexible and likes to have fun with kids.   

Adult Education Class: Sundays, 9:45-10:45 a.m. beginning 9/23 with topic to be decided. 

Godspeed: the Pace of Being Known: Join us for a video-based discussion on topics like place, presence, pace, identity, stability, names and mission. Wednesday at the Kelley’s house, 7-8:30 pm beginning September 26thfor 7 weeks

Financial Peace University: as a new season it is a great time to commit (or recommit) to growing in personal financial stewardship. We are exploring offering the class this Fall (October/ November). If you are interested, see Ron Barnes or Pastor Jeff with your availability. For more information see: www.DaveRamsey.com Scholarships for first-timers in the class are available (and its free to take again). 

Directory Update: We are updating thedirectory! To add or change information fill out a form found on the foyer table or email Pastor Jeff: jeffa.kelley@gmail.com

Fall newsletteris in process. If you have anything to include, forward it to Sarah Bramer by 9/15.

The Great Workroom Clean Out: The workroom is being cleaned out 9/1-19.If you know of things that are needed to stay in the workroom, set it aside and let Pastor Jeff know. 

Consistory MeetingThursday, 9/13 at the Kelley’s house, 7 pm. 

Consistory: Elders: Susan Pendergast, Sarah Bramer and Karen Miller. Deacon: Allison Coons. If you are in need of prayer or a visit, contact an Elder, Deacon or Pastor Jeff. If you, or someone you know, have a material need the Benevolence Fund may be able to help. 

July & August News


July 1st: Church Picnic, worship & lunch 11 am-2 pm, Timothy Murphy Park

July 8th: Christian Education on Prayer: 9:30-10:45 am, Worship, 11 am. Celebrating the Lord’s Supper

July 15th: Christian Education on Prayer: 9:30-10:45 am, Worship: 11 am

July 22nd  : Worship 11 am, with guest Kitt Jackson, Preaching Elder, leading worship

July 29th: Community Worship Service, 11 am @ MCS High School lawn 

August 5th , Christian Education, 9:30- 10:45 am, Worship, 11 am, Celebrating the Lord’s Supper

August 12th, Christian Education, 9:30- 10:45 am, Worship, 11 am

August 19th Worship, 11 am, guest Rev. Brian Dykema leading worship

August 26th
Christian Education, 9:30- 10:45 am
Worship, 11 am


Christian Education on Prayer: Join us for conversations around Christian prayer, looking particularly at the Lord’s Prayer. Target age is 13 and older.
July & August, Sundays, 9:30-10:45 am. 

Godspeed: the Pace of Being Known  Join us for a video-based discussion on topics like place, presence, pace, identity, stability, names and mission. Tuesdays at the Kelley’s, 7-8:30 pm. 

Mission Trip: Please be praying for the mission trip going to Youngstown, OH, July 18-22nd. 

Ice Cream at the Friday Band Concert, we be servin’ July 20th. Donna Wynia is organizing.  

Community Worship Service- Sunday July 29th, 11 am. Join the community for a worship service on the MCS High School lawn, organized by the local churches, bring a friend and a lawn chair to sit on

Summer Lunch Program Help: if you are interested in helping the Joshua Project’s summer lunch program, serving June 25- August 24 11 am-1:30 pm, contact Bonnie Jorgensen (518) 827-6430 or Stephanie Tinker (518) 827-4352.  

Welcome to our Space
When the addition of the foyer and Fellowship Hall was completed twenty years ago, part of the intended purpose was to share it with the community including groups like AA and Scout,  whatever their purpose or need may be. This includes family and social gatherings such as birthday parties and ARC dances. Our motivation is to be generous like God, which will address deep needs that touch on issues like justice (what is fair) and discipleship (how we live with what we have). 

We have continued to ask ourselves: how do we offer this space to others? The answer has been: with the help of many people! Financial contributions help pay for utilities. Help from paid and volunteer labor, regular and occasional, keeps this place running and clean. We are grateful for the help and it’s amazing we have accomplished so much and continue to offer a well kept and clean facility. It is something many visitors notice about our space.

We continue to figure out how this works. These are a couple of upcoming projects that we could use some help on: 

Signage: we need signage in and around the building directing where places are. Would you like to help think about what and where it goes? Then you are qualified! Let Pastor Jeff know if you’d like to help. We hope to do this during the upcoming Fall. 

Cleaning: we are still needing help cleaning the sanctuary, two classrooms, foyer, and nursery on a regular basis. Contact Leslie Hooper for more details.  

Website: an extension of our real life, the website is  a virtual front door for our life together. We need help filling our content and including information . Only needed ability is to think like a curious visitor and desire to share who and what we are to others. contact Pastor Jeff if you are interested.   

Our prayer is that as are hospitable to others in the name of Christ so that people may be drawn in to God’s life as we do these things well. 

June News

June 1st: Appreciation Dinner for the Library staff and volunteers. 

Christian Education: June 3rd, celebration and recognition (and final) Sunday for this (school) year. 

2018 Baccalaureate Service at St. Mark’s Lutheran church, June 17th, 7 pm.   

The Property Committee: sadness & gladness

As we say farewell to Doug Kingsbury, we can not thank him enough for the time and talent he has shared as the MRC Property Caretaker. We wish him and Arleen the best in their move to Virginia.

We are happy to announce that Kellie Rogers will be taking over the cleaning portion of the property caretaker position.  She will be responsible mostly for the fellowship hall, nursery and bathrooms.   Thank you to those of you who have volunteered to clean the sanctuary and other rooms.

We are also happy to announce that John Funiciello will be taking on the maintenance portion of the caretaker position. He will be responsible for ensuring that our buildings and grounds are in good shape for use by our church family and the community. Thank you to those of you who are assisting with this as well.

We are blessed to be able to share our buildings which are used by many groups on a regular basis. We are blessed to have a beautiful church on a beautiful piece of property.  While Kellie and John have agreed to take on these positions of responsibility, they will still need all of us to participate in various cleaning and maintenance projects.

Mission Trip! July 18th thru 22nd to Youngstown, Ohio area. Preparation meetings: June 24th, July 8th, 15th after worship. details available on blue sheet on Foyer Table .

Billy Brown Camp Scholarship

The scholarship was established in memory of Billy to support kids to go to any Christian* camp. Forms are available in the foyer and can be returned to Pastor Jeff or Ron Barnes (deadline: June 30th). (*as to what is “christian” is a conversation Consistory has been having. If you have questions about this, please see Pastor Jeff). 

Church Picnic: July 1st at Timothy Murphy Park Pavilion (Route 30 & Rt 145), 11 am-2 pm, [11 am worship, lunch at 12]. hotdogs and hamburgers and drinks provided, bring a dish to share. Help needed for set up and provisions, see sign up sheet. You may also want to bring lawn chair and yo’wn kite.

  • Pastor Jeff will be away June 7-12th for the RCA General Synod in Grand Rapids, MI. 
  • Senior Recognition & Blessing in worship June 17th.

Operation Christmas Child submitted by Mary Lou

I was speaking with Cecil Polydore, the NE director of OCC, following his return from Ukraine.  I asked about his most memorable experience of the trip.  He shared this with me.  One day as his group was heading to a shoebox distribution, they encountered a funeral procession.  It was a very mournful scene. The OCC group’s interpreter told them that it was the custom for the priest to put a note in the deceased’s pocket granting permission to enter heaven.  Later, at the church where shoebox recipients heard a Gospel message, eight children made the decision to accept Jesus as their Savior.  Cecil was struck by the contrast between the funeral and the shoebox distribution.  Those children who gave their lives to Christ could live the rest of their days with the assurance of eternal life.  They don’t need a note to enter God’s Kingdom.  They are already there!

Our goal for 2018 is to send a GO (Gospel Opportunity) box to 302 children.  The best time to purchase school supplies for those boxes is the summer months.  Please see the pledge sheets in the foyer to indicate what you will purchase.  THANK YOU!

Save the date of September 15 to support our Harvest Bazaar to benefit OCC.  Watch for more information about how you may be involved!

and looking ahead to summer… 

Summer Christian Education begins June 24th, 9:30 am-10:45 am. Join us for learning and discussion about prayer; how to pray, what to pray, is there a wrong way, when, what for…  (not meeting July 1st, 22nd, August 19th) 

We are hosting the ice cream & desert table at the summer band concert on the HS lawn July 20th. 

July 29th: Community Worship on the Lawn, 11 am

May Happenings & Announcements

I Love My Park Day, as a way to bless our neighbors, we are organizing a group to join the park clean-up day at Minekill State park. Choose from several projects including  planting flowers, weeding, planting ground cover, light lawn work, and more. Wear work clothes, bring gloves. Join us May 5th, 10 am- 4pm. Sign up in the foyer by April 30th.  Questions? contact Maria Funiciello at: 201-250-6007

Mission Trip is scheduled for July 18th thru 22nd to Youngstown, Ohio area. Details and signup coming this week. Information meeting after dates are confirmed. 

Mission/ Vision Path Gathering, More than a platitude and nice sounding gibberish we are endeavoring to put feet  to our mission and vision statement. Join us in answering: What does the mission and vision statement look like for us, now? God is at work in us and the world and we want to discern and follow God’s will together. So you are invited to come Saturday May 12th, 8-10 am, fellowship hall. Coffee and pastries provided

Billy Brown Camp Scholarship
The scholarship was established in memory of Billy and supports kids to go to any Christians camp. Forms are available in the foyer and can be returned to Pastor Jeff or Ron Barnes. 

NET Dinner
Plan to join your church family and our neighbors for dinner and fellowship on Wednesday, May 2.   Dinner is served from 5:00 until 6:30.  See the sign-up sheet in the foyer for opportunities to serve in making this event a blessing in our community. 

Save the Date
We are continuing our practice of recognizing folks who serve and enrich our community.  The fellowship committee is planning an Appreciation Dinner for June 1 at 6:00.  This year’s honorees will be the Middleburgh Library and Dr. Best House staffs and volunteers.  To help  the fellowship committee with their planning, we are asking you to indicate by April 29 how many in your family plan to attend.  Please look for the reservation sheet in the foyer.

Worship Committee Meeting, May 16th, 7 pm at the Youmans house.

Classis meeting, we are hosting May 22nd.

Youth Education– Sundays 9:45 am. Not meeting May 27th (Memorial Day Wknd), June 3rd: Family Breakfast

April News

Church Family Retreat– due to scheduling conflicts the retreat has been postponed until Fall.

Mission-Learning Trip: next meeting! April 15th, 12:30 pm-ish. Come to hear about our tentative plans and help iron out details to. We are looking that the week of July 15th, number of days to be determined. see the developing plan online.


  • April 1st,Easter
    • Community Easter sunrise Service, 6:30 am
    • Worship, 11 am.  (No PreK-8th Christian Education)
  • April 8th, No Christian Education, worship 11 am. Easter worship with scripture & songs.
  • April 15th: 1 John 4:7-12; What Happened on the Cross? 
  • April 22nd: 1 John 5:1-12, Real Spirituality

Billy Brown Camp Scholarship
The scholarship was established in memory of Billy and supports kids to go to any Christians camp. Forms are available in the foyer and can be returned to Pastor Jeff or Ron Barnes. (if you are considering Camp Fowler, please see Pastor Jeff)

NET Dinner
Plan to join your church  family and our neighbors for dinner and fellowship on Wednesday, May 2.  Dinner is  served from 5:00 until 6:30.  See the sign-up sheet in the foyer for opportunities to serve in making this event a blessing in our community.

Save the Date
We are continuing our practice of recognizing folks who serve and enrich our community.  The fellowship committee is planning an Appreciation Dinner for June 1 at 6:00.  This year’s honorees will be the Middleburgh Library and Dr. Best House staffs and volunteers.  To help the fellowship committee with their planning, we are asking you to indicate by April 29 how many in your family plan to attend.  Please look for the reservation sheet in the foyer.

 Save the Date!
Ladies, save the date of Saturday, April 14 for the 3rd Annual Women’s Assembly at the Glen Reformed Church.  You will be blessed by a day of worship, fellowship, and learning!  This year’s theme is: God is my Engine, but where are my keys?


 Operation Christmas Child Updates
There have been some changes in our area team for OCC.  For some time, the New York Greater Capital District Area Team had been limping along without an area coordinator.  In January, Darleen Albertine accepted God’s call to fill that role.  Here at home, Allison Coons expressed her desire to take on the role of drop-off site team leader.  Since 2008, Mary Lou had been filling that role and serving as a church relations volunteer.  Mary Lou has moved into the position of church relations coordinator for our six-county team.  We ask for your prayers as we transition into our new positions and our area team grows.  Our purpose is to join in God’s work of spreading the Gospel among our neighbors here and abroad.  To God be the Glory!

We have been gathering items for our 2018 packing party.  Our focus will be bars of soap for April and combs for May.  Thank you to everyone who has already purchased toothbrushes and washcloths.  We will continue to collect those items as well as those mentioned for April and May.  There is a box in the foyer where you may leave your contributions.

The foundation of OCC is prayer.  A group meets monthly for fellowship and prayer centered on the project.  The next prayer group meeting will be Monday, April 23 at 10 a.m. at the Ryan’s.  Join us for a cup of coffee, great conversation, and prayer!


from the Property Committee
Our very talented and dedicated property caretaker, Doug Kingsbury, has submitted his resignation from that position as of April 30. We can not thank him enough for his years of hard work here at the Middleburgh Reformed Church. The Property Committee is beginning the process of finding a way to clean and maintain the property.

Meanwhile, there are still many opportunities for everyone to join in caring for our church property.  Once the snow is gone, there will be yard work to do before the mowing season begins.  A list of tasks will be posted.

Spring Yard Work

Get lawn ready for mowing:

  • move tree branches and large sticks from the lawn to a pile by the dumpster.
  • Rake stones off lawns and back onto driveways

Get gardens ready for flowers:

  • Island garden–lay cardboard to keep weeds down and cover with mulch.
  • Other gardens–spring maintenance and planting.

Group workdays are set for Saturdays in April (if the snow is gone)

April 7 and April 14  from 9 AM to 11 AM–bring rakes and gloves, though we have some.

But if that time doesn’t work you are welcome to come anytime you choose.  Welcome Spring!

Helping Out

Thank you to everyone who has signed up to do some voluntary cleaning in some areas of our church buildings.  Sharing this responsibility has multiple benefits.  We are still looking for a “team” of volunteers to take on the nursery. This is a very special room for our children and needs to be in good condition all year long. Members of this “team” can decide how they will divide the work to be done.  Sign-up sheets and guidelines are on the table in the foyer.  Please see Leslie Hooper if you have questions or suggestions.  The next meeting of the Property Committee is Thursday  March 8 at 4:30 PM.