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.

Sundays

  • 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.

March News & Announcements

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.

Church Family Retreat– new date! April 13-14  at Camp Pinnacle. Join us for a church family retreat for time of fellowship and learning together. The theme is friendship with God in the book of James. cost is $38 per person, includes 3 meals, lodging.  Signup until April 1st.

Mission-Learning Trip: we are exploring the possibility of a mission trip together this summer.. We have narrowed the options to two locations within a day drive. If you are interested we would welcome your input and share what we know. The next meeting will be March 18th, 12:30 pm

Worship

March 4th: Worship with celebration of the Lord’s Supper, 11 am.
March 11th: Worship, 11 am day light savings time begins (spring ahead!) or we’ll see you for coffee hour. 1 John 3:1-10
March 18th: Worship 11 am. 1 John 3:11-23

Holy Week
March 25th: Palm Sunday, Worship 11 am,
Maundy Thursday service, 7 pm; remembering the upper room before Jesus’ arrest,  celebrating the Lord’s Supper
Good Friday: Community Stations of the Cross, 12:30 pm walking from the Reformed Church to OLV & Methodist Church.

Easter
Community Easter sunrise Service, at Timothy Murphy Park, 6:30 am.
Worship, 11 am.  (No PreK-8th Christian Education)

Operation Christmas Child

Gift to purchase in March – washcloths
Fellowship & Prayer Group – March 26 at 10:00 a.m. at Ryan’s

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?  

 

February News & Announcements

NET Dinner: Neighbors Eating Together, We are hosting the community on Wednesday, February 7th, 5:30 pm. Come eat, or check out how you can help serve or clean up on the foyer table.

(ed. note- People in our community are increasingly lonely so meeting people in person is needed more than ever. We have an opportunity to address the need through real relationships, with real conversations. And what better way than to meet others over a meal?; especially neighbors that we might otherwise never see? In our own building no less! The vision of the NET dinners was never to merely feed people, poor or not. It was to provide a time and place where we could meet as neighbors together, foster community, and address a more basic need than even food).

Other upcoming NET dinners: 2/28 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

Family Game Night– bring a game or a family and enjoy games and snacks on Friday 6:30 p- 8:30 pm in the Fellowship Hall.

Retreat– March 16-17 at Camp Pinnacle. Join us for a church family retreat for time of fellowship and learning together. The theme is friendship with God in the book of James. Details on the foyer table. Signup coming soon!

Mission-Learning Trip: we are exploring the possibility of a mission trip together this summer. The next meeting will be February 10th, 8:30 am.

Schoharie Reformed Church is dedicating their sanctuary after 6 1/2 years of rebuilding after flooding.  They are hosting a weekend of activities to celebrate: February 24th & 25. You are welcome to attend. See schedule of events on the foyer table and online: http://www.schohariereformedchurch.org/engage/rededication.cfm  There are two events that need RSVP by 2/14.

If you are in need of prayer or a visit, Elders, Deacons and Pastor Jeff are available. If you, or someone you know, have a material need the Benevolence Fund can help.

Book Conversation Group–  join us in reading A Long Obedience in the Same Direction; Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson. We’ve started, but you may still join us whenever you can make it; 7-8:30 pm at the Spencer’s house.  Each meeting we choose the chapter for the following week.

Blurb about the book: As a society, we are no less obsessed with the immediate than when Eugene Peterson first wrote this Christian classic. If anything, email and the Internet may have intensified our quest for the quick fix. But Peterson’s time-tested prescription for discipleship remains the same–a long obedience in the same direction. Tucked away in the Hebrew Psalter, Peterson discovered “an old dog-eared songbook,” the Songs of Ascents that were sung by pilgrims on their way up to worship in Jerusalem. In these songs (Psalms 120-134) Peterson finds encouragement for modern pilgrims as we learn to grow in worship, service, joy, work, happiness, humility, community and blessing. This 20th anniversary edition of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction features these Psalms in Peterson’s widely acclaimed paraphrase, The Message. He also includes an epilogue in which he reflects on the themes of this book and his ministry during the twenty years since its original publication.

Operation Christmas Child
The numbers are in!  11,012,840 shoebox gifts were collected during the 2017 collection season.  Thank you for the role you played in providing children around the world with much needed gifts and the opportunity to hear the Good News.  Your efforts will have an eternal impact on many children, their families, and their friends.  The shoeboxes we packed last fall are touching lives in the Dominican Republic.

We have already begun to gather gifts for our 2018 packing party.  Thank you to everyone who donated their Christmas cards and/or already snagged some bargains for our shoeboxes. And let’s not forget the nimble fingers of Joan Youmans at work knitting hats!  Since February is Dental Health Month, our gift focus will be toothbrushes. We are committed to including more than one in each box. Multipacks are desirable.  If shopping is not your thing, I will be happy to receive your monetary donation toward a bulk purchase of toothbrushes.

Some of you have requested a list of items to assist you in year ’round shopping for OCC.  The following items will be included in each of our boxes.  We will also need an assortment of small toys, games, clothing items, hair accessories, art supplies… for our “Choose One More Gift” table.

  • bars of soap
  • washcloths
  • combs
  • small stuffed animals
  • crayons
  • pencils
  • pencil sharpeners
  • spiral notebooks (full size)

A box is located in the foyer where you may leave the gifts you have purchased.  Please keep in mind that all items must be new.  We may not include glass/breakables, liquids, or war related items such as guns, toy soldiers, or camouflage clothing.

There are many ways in which we are called to support Operation Christmas Child.  The most important is through prayer.  I invite you to join me at my home (3701 State Route 30) on Feb. 26 at 10 a.m. for a time of fellowship and prayer.
Live in hope!
Mary Lou

January News

Mission-Learning Trip: we are exploring the possibility of a mission-learning trip together. If this is something you are even a little curious about, please join us for a conversation. We’ll  assess the interest, possible times, and locations. Everything is on the table: from local to international, from expensive to no expense, any ages and abilities. Have interest? Join us January 14th, about 12:30-1:00 pm in classroom #1.

 

Book Conversation group–  join us in reading A Long Obedience in the Same Direction; Discipleship in an Instant Society by Eugene Peterson. We’ll get together 8 times at the Spencer’s house to talk about a chapter, beginning January 16th, 7 pm.

There are 17 chapters but we’ll be reading select chapters over the 8 weeks. We’ll discuss the first chapter about discipleship at the first gathering and plan the chapters from there. A schedule will be posted. Do you need a book? The church can provide one, just let Pastor Jeff know. Find it wherever fine books are sold, including used book shops and Amazon.

Blurb about the book: As a society, we are no less obsessed with the immediate than when Eugene Peterson first wrote this Christian classic. If anything, email and the Internet may have intensified our quest for the quick fix. But Peterson’s time-tested prescription for discipleship remains the same–a long obedience in the same direction. Tucked away in the Hebrew Psalter, Peterson discovered “an old dog-eared songbook,” the Songs of Ascents that were sung by pilgrims on their way up to worship in Jerusalem. In these songs (Psalms 120-134) Peterson finds encouragement for modern pilgrims as we learn to grow in worship, service, joy, work, happiness, humility, community and blessing. This 20th anniversary edition of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction features these Psalms in Peterson’s widely acclaimed paraphrase, The Message. He also includes an epilogue in which he reflects on the themes of this book and his ministry during the twenty years since its original publication.

Sunday Worship

1/7, First Sunday after Epiphany, Mathew 2:13-15; 19-23, a Child for Us celebrating the Lord’s Supper, installation of Elders and Deacon
1/14: No Christian Education, Worship, 1 John 1:1-4; Life Manifested
1/21: 1 John 1:5-10; Life in the Light
1/28: 1 John 2:1-6; Life in Focus

2018 Giving Envelopes are available in the foyer. If you don’t find your name, let us know and we can assign your a number. The envelopes are helpful for tax recording and reporting purposes.

December News & Announcements

ReFrame Course: Join us to learn how the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ changes our story- indeed, all stories. So, how does our whole life relate to our faith? Explore with us how God’s Story reframes our story. Wednesdays, 12:30-2 pm Schedule posted episode schedule in the Fellowship hallway. Missed some? you can catch up! see Pastor Jeff.

Greening of the Sanctuary– Come help decorate the sanctuary for Advent, Saturday, December 2nd, 1 pm.

Congregational Meeting: 12/3. Join us after worship for our annual congregational lunch and meeting. Hear year-end reports on our life together, election of Elders and Deacons, as well as talking about plans for the future. Meeting packets are available.
There is a signup sheet to help with lunch on the table in the foyer.

Middleburgh Miracle on Main Street, We would like to have a presence as a congregation at the annual festivities in Middleburgh on December 8th. We will setup in Shawn & Kim Smith’s parking lot (chiropractor) serving popcorn and hot chocolate. The event runs from 5:30-8:30 pm. If you would like to help, write your name and time on the paper in the foyer. There will also be invitation cards to our Christmas Eve service for people to take (likely available Dec 3rd). If you could use some cards to invite folks, see pastor jeff know.

Study Group– starting in January we’ll be reading Eugene Peterson’s book, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction; Discipleship in an Instant Society.  Time and place to be determined.

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Consistory: Elders: Susan Pendergast, Kim Smith, Joan Youmans. Deacon: Mary Lou Ryan

If you are in need of prayer or a visit, feel free to an elder or deacon as well as Pastor Jeff. If you, or someone you know, have a material need the Benevolence Fund can help.

Pastor Jeff Kelley: jeffa.kelley@gmail.com, home: (518) 827-8785, cell phone (518) 860-7404.

Get Connected: Receive the weekly email that includes prayer requests, reminders and odds and ends. Sign up through the website: www.middleburghreformed.org.

Advent Worship
December 3rd: First Sunday of Advent, 11 am Worship celebrating Communion. Mark 7:1-13, What do we seek?: traditions
December 10th: 2nd Sunday of Advent, Mark 7:31-37, What do we seek?: images
December 17th, 3rd Sunday of Advent,  Mark 8:1-21; What do we seek?: bread
December 24, 9:30 am 4th Sunday of Advent (with “embellished coffee hour” to follow, see below). Mark 8:27-33; What do we seek? 

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

No Christian Education on 12/24 or 12/31.

Embellished Coffeehour, December 24th after morning worship- If you’d like to contribute, check the signup sheet. Plan to stay a few minutes after worship for low key fellowship with no pressure of white-elephant gifts, holiday sweaters, or hosting.

Get Ready!
Advent is the period of four Sundays before the feast day of Christians. It is a time of preparation and readying ourselves to hear again the significance of the enfleshment of God, God coming among us. Naturally it is a time of examination and to deliberately train ourselves after Christ-likeness.  This could mean times of fasting, taking up times of prayer or generosity. The Season of Christmas begins (not ends!) on the 25th and lasts for 12 days.

Consider pairing your season observances with intentional practices to ready yourself to worship and hear God’s word. God’s example of self-giving love is most evident in the incarnation. It is a model for us. And we become most ourselves when we are least aware of ourselves (not most protective or selfish). Loving God by loving others (and vice versa) is the way he has shown us to become alive ourselves. Advent is a time to pay attention to this. Check out biblegateway.com for Scripture reading plans. Or take up a book of the Bible and read it through over the course of the month- like 1 John or Isaiah. Read a Psalm a day and read through it slowly. Be intentional about being grateful. And not least- look for ways to bless others, seek their good, pray for them, and ask God what He is doing in their life and how you can participate.

Families with children could consider pairing an advent calendar with Scripture reading and prayers. A guide has been copied for help in this, available in the foyer taken from Teach Us to Pray: Scripture -Centered Family Worship through the Year (2017).

October News & Announcements

ReFrame Course: Join us (again!) for the journey of discovering how Jesus is Lord over all things, and what what is means  for every area of of our life. Learn and watch a teaser at www.reframecourse.com. There are 10 episodes. The dates are being decided, so if you are interested let Pastor Jeff know what days are good for you.
First session taking off is Wednesdays, 12:30-2 pm.

Projects! There are several small projects around the church property that need to get done. We need help with small projects around the church property. See Pastor Jeff for list of projects and description. Time and skill required varies- from 2 hours to 10 hours, garden clean to building stuff.

Food Pantry: Needs your help! It is looking for both regular and substitute volunteers. The pantry is staffed with two people on Wednesdays, 4-6 pm & Saturdays, 9-11 am. If you are interested or would like to learn more contact Russ Ryan, 518-827- & rryan@midtel.net .

Elders & Deacons= Consistory. We are in need of Elders and Deacons to serve. Information about these offices can be found on the table in the foyer.

Annual Ham Supper, November 11th. We are beginning to organize for the event. See Susan Pendergast if you would like to help, change your assignment or have any questions.

Operation Christmas Child
Since January we have been collecting gifts for our 2017 OCC packing party.  We are close to having all the gifts needed to reach our goal of filling 300 shoeboxes for children in need.  Check the pledge sheet in the foyer to see what is still needed.  Please deliver gifts purchased for our packing party to the church by October 15.  THANK YOU!

This year we are blessed to be able to use profits from the Trash & Treasure Sale to reduce our cost of shipping 100 of our gift boxes.  Instead of $9 per box, you may sponsor a box for $5.  You will find a pledge sheet in the foyer to indicate that you will sponsor boxes.

Please save these dates and plan to participate in as many activities as your schedule allows.

Oct. 26 , 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.     SHOEBOX ASSEMBLY BEE:  Drop in for as long as you can.    Adults and youth who are good at putting things together are welcome!
Oct. 27, 9:00 a.m. – ?  PRE-PACKING PARTY:  Pack hygiene items and school supplies
Oct. 29, following worship     LUNCH and PACKING PARTY:  Enjoy food and fun for the whole church family!

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September News & Announcements

Youth Education begins! September 10th, 9:30 am-10:45. (schedule available soon)

ReFrame Course: Join us (again!) for the journey of discovering how Jesus is Lord over all things, and what what is means  for every area of of our life. Learn and watch a teaser at www.reframecourse.com. There are 10 episodes. We plan on beginning Wednesday, 9/13. Location to be decided.

Projects! There are several small projects around the church property that need to get done. We need help with small projects around the church property. See Pastor Jeff for list of projects and description. Time and skill varies- from 2 hours to 10 hours, garden clean up to measuring and cutting wood.

Food Pantry: Needs your help! It is looking for both regular and substitute volunteers. The pantry is staffed with two people on Wednesdays, 4-6 pm & Saturdays, 9-11 am. If you are interested or would like to learn more contact Russ Ryan

Nursery: We need help in the nursery. If you would like to be added to the rotation to serve the nursery during worship, contact Lara Kelley. ‘mo’ people, less Sundays for each person!’

Elders & Deacons= Consistory. We are in need of Elders and Deacons to serve. Information about these offices can be found on the table in the foyer.

Sunday Evening Worship, Sunday September 17th. Join us for songs and Scripture in the fellowship hall (informal setting).

Directory Update: Let’s update the directory! To add or change information either include it in the ‘To Edit’ directory on the foyer table or email Pastor Jeff: jeffa.kelley@gmail.com

Operation Christmas Child
In a few weeks, our gift-filled shoeboxes will begin their journey to children who will be told of their Heavenly Father’s amazing love and the Greatest Gift of all – Jesus!  Save the date of October 29 for our packing party.  Some gifts are still needed for the event.  Please check out the pledge sheets in the foyer to indicate which gifts you will provide.  All contributions for our packing party should be delivered to the church by October 15.

Here are some more ways in which you may support our 2017 OCC campaign:

  • Pay the cost of shipping boxes and providing the discipleship booklet, The Greatest Gift.  The cost is $9 per box.  However, thanks to funds from the Trash & Treasure Sale your cost will be $5 per box!
  • Provide food for our packing party lunch.
  • Volunteer at the drop-off site during collection week.
  • Provide refreshments for the drop-off site during collection week.
  • Pray for the children who will receive our gifts and for all who will be a part of the shoebox journey.

THANK YOU for all you have already done and will do to send a tangible representation of God’s love to children in other lands around the globe.
A gift opens doors; it gives access to the great.  Proverbs 18:16

Consistory: Elders: Susan Pendergast, Kim Smith, Joan Youmans. Deacon: Mary Lou Ryan If you are in need of prayer or a visit, feel free to an elder or deacon as well as Pastor Jeff. If you, or someone you know, have a material the Benevolence Fund can help.

Get Connected: Receive the weekly email that includes prayer requests, reminders and odds and ends. Sign up through the website: www.middleburghreformed.org.

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Some Resources: FYE (for your edification)
www.waituntil8th.org – this is a good resource for families wrestling with kids using smartphones (or anyone who has a smartphone).

Also: “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?, Jean Twenge. The Atlantic, September 2017. This article is provocative and, if even partially true, shows how the new  generation is changing faster and more significantly then ever.

 

As you enter a new season (Fall, school, new TV season, whatever), it’s a good time for a check-in on how you are configuring your life to nurture your soul. A few books of note on Spiritual Formation that might help keep going:

Renovation of the Heart, Dallas Willard. A great appeal to our need to be formed by Christ with a sketch of what it looks like. He’s a thinker but accessible and practical.

Practices of Love, Kyle David Bennett. Just published (I haven’t read it all). It’s a needed addition to why and how we undertake spiritual practices: to love our neighbor! If you are feeling stuck and overwhelmed with what to do- this might offer good leverage to personal renewal.

August News & Announcements

ReFrame Course: Join us Sunday mornings 9:30-10:45 am for what is means to follow Christ today. Learn and watch more at www.reframecourse.com. 10 episodes continuing until Sept 3rd. You don’t need to attend all of the sessions, but you will want to! Schedule of episode topics is posted in the fellowship hall.

Summer Lunch Program The Joshua Project has been coordinating a free lunch program at the Middleburgh High School again this summer.  Volunteers from MRC will prepare and serve lunches August 14-18.  You are welcome to join our “crew” that has already committed to give their time in this service to our community.  Join the team for a day or two, or the whole week!  Lunch preparations begin around 10:45.  Lunches are served from noon until 1:00.  Clean-up follows. This is a FUN way to love our neighbors.  If you can slap together a bologna sandwich with a smile, you are qualified for this job!

Trash & Treasure Sale: Saturday, August 19. Donate items for our biennial sale, leaving them in the small classroom no sooner then August 10th. NO Clothing, computers and TV’s. More details to follow.

Operation Christmas Child If our 2017 shoebox campaign were a horse race, we would be approaching the home stretch!  THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased school supplies or pledged to do so.  If you would like to purchase some of these critical items for our packing party, please see the pledge sheet in the foyer.  Other gifts that will be needed are combs, bars of soap, washcloths, small stuffed animals, and items for the “one more gift” table.  You may leave your contributions in the OCC box located in the foyer.  THANK  YOU!

Thursday Bible Study : 3:30-4:30 p.m. at Ms. Lynes’ house

Get Connected Weekly (not weakly!): Receive the weekly email that includes prayer requests, reminders and odds and ends. Sign up through the website: www.middleburghreformed.org.

Worship Committee Meeting: August 24th, 7 p.m.

Consistory Meeting: August 29th, 7 p.m.