Category Archives: Uncategorized

July News & Updates

Coffee Hour is back! before and after Sunday worship. (You can also sign up to help)

Christian Education – July edition– for all ages, though geared for 11+: Creation and Climate Change and Hope (what’s a Christian to think?). A four-session introduction (sprint) to the theology of creation and our part in it. If you miss a session- no worries! A worksheet and the videos are posted on our website.  Find it under the tab:  What We Do (course)

Back to the Future As we anticipate a return to pre-pandemic church activities and building use, the cleaning requirements of our building are being reviewed.  For Kellie to have time to focus on our fellowship hall, meeting rooms, kitchen, nursery, and bathrooms, we want to revive the practice of other members of our church family cleaning the sanctuary.  We are seeking volunteers to sign up for a month.  Guidelines provided and participation greatly appreciated.

Community Worship Service on the Lawn– July 25th11 a.m. in the Middleburgh Jr/Sr. High greenspace. Bring a chair or blanket. (We will not be meeting for worship that morning.) 

Food Pantry: Open Saturdays 9-11 am and by appointment. (518) 827-7121. If you would like to volunteer for a regular shift, contact Russ RyanTo sign up for the weekly emails that include prayer requests along with some announcements, the front page of the website has a signup form.

Bahati’s Story

            Bahati lives in Tanzania.  After receiving an OCC shoebox, she ran home to show her mother the beautiful gifts.  Her favorite items were pens, pencils, notebooks, and crayons.  Bahati’s favorite school subject is math, and she hopes to be a teacher one day.  The school supplies she found in her shoebox will help her reach that goal.  Bahati’s mother was amazed at how many gifts were included in the shoebox, and said the gifts blessed the entire family!

            Bahati accepted the invitation to attend The Greatest Journey classes.  Her favorite lesson is one about loving others.  Since attending the classes, Bahati invited her whole family to attend church.  It makes her happy to know that now they all know the love of Jesus.  Bahati is thankful for the person who packed her shoebox and started her family on their walk with the Lord.  She says, “Please remember to pray for us.”

Giving with Gratitude  

$17 was collected in June 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 and the back of the sanctuary.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary. 

Harvest Bazaar

            Save the date of September 18, 2021 for the Harvest Bazaar to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  A planning meeting for the event will be held on Tuesday, July 20 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the church library.  Newcomers are welcome to bring fresh ideas and service!

Purchasing Gifts

            Please see the pledge sheets in the foyer for the gifts needed for our 2021 packing parties.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child

with your prayers, resources, and talents!

June news & updates

Christian Education for 2 classes: grades 4-6 & 7-12 has started Sunday mornings, 10:15-11 a.m. see Maria Funiciello or Jonathan Meredith with questions. 

Food Pantry: Open Saturday 9-11 am and by appointment. (518) 827-7121. If you would like to volunteer for a shift, contact Russ Ryan

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.

Modified Coffee Hour is back! before and after Sunday worship. (You can also sign up to help)

“War on Weeds”—a special opportunity for all

Goal—To Beautify our church property by eliminating the weeds in the stone apron around the base of our buildings ( using no poisonous herbicides).  It would be great to get started before Memorial Day as the weeds are loving this warm weather and will grow like crazy over the next few weeks.

Benefits of participation in this program

  •  Good safe outdoor exercise
  • Great stress/tension reliever
  • Flexible schedule—whenever you can

Back to the Future

As we anticipate a return to pre-pandemic church activities and building use, the cleaning requirements of our building are being reviewed.  For Kellie to have time to focus on our fellowship hall, meeting rooms, kitchen, nursery, and bathrooms, we want to revive the practice of other members of our church family cleaning the sanctuary.  We are seeking volunteers to sign up for a month.  Guidelines provided and participation greatly appreciated.

Middleburgh Central School Baccalaureate Service: June 13th, 7 p.m. at the Middleburgh United Methodist Church

News from Operation Christmas Child

Sarita’s Story

                  Sarita is a 6-year-old who lives in Ecuador.  She received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox and was enrolled in The Greatest Journey, the discipleship course which is offered to shoebox recipients.  Sarita has a speech impediment for which speech therapy was prescribed.  However, when her parents contracted Covid 19, Sarita and her parents became isolated from their community, making it impossible for her to attend school or receive the needed therapy.

                  Sarita’s classmates in The Greatest Journey classes were moved to action.  THEY PRAYED FOR SARITA AND HER PARENTS!  Their prayers were heard, and Sarita’s parents recovered.  Additionally, Sarita’s diction has improved as a result of speaking with her TGJ friends!

                  God has great plans for the shoeboxes we pack for children like Sarita and her friends.  Imagine the impact that having her parents’ health restored and improved speech will have on Sarita’s life.  Imagine also the faith and trust in God that is growing in the children who turned to the Great Healer when their friend was in need.  To God be the glory!

Giving with Gratitude  

$55 was collected in May 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 and the back of the sanctuary.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.  

Harvest Bazaar

                  Save the date of September 18, 2021 for the Harvest Bazaar to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  A planning meeting for the event will be held on Tuesday, June 15 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the church library.  Newcomers are welcome to bring fresh ideas and service!

Work Bees

                  Our May work bee was productive and also and wonderful time of fellowship!  We will meet again on Monday, June 7 beginning at 10 a.m. in the fellowship hall.  Please bring scissors and a one-hole punch if you have one.

                  Making jumpropes from old t-shirts is one of our projects.  There is a box in the foyer where you may leave your clean used t-shirts.

                  A future project in which we hope some of our youth will participate is to tie-dye some new shirts.  We will need MANY rubber bands for this.  There is a container on the table in the foyer where you may leave your donation of rubber bands.

Purchasing Gifts

                  Please see the pledge sheets in the foyer for the gifts still needed for our 2021 packing parties.

Thank you for supporting Operation Christmas Child

with your prayers, resources, and talents!

Church Treasurer

Church Finance Manager- 
We are seeking a Finance Manager to work with Consistory so that the mission and ministry of the congregation are supported and strengthened. The right person for this role will be comfortable with the basics of accounting, self-directed to ensure timely fulfillment of duties and committed to the mission of the MRC. Computer skills and experience with financial software preferred. The current Treasurer will work with the new person, as much as possible, during transition. This is a part time responsibility, encompassing an average of an hour per week, depending on church activity and time of year.
The general responsibilities include: 

1. Ensure that all bills and church expenses are paid on time, keeping accurate records of how funds are spent and assigning expenses to proper budget categories.     

– this includes payroll for church employees and any necessary payments for benefits, insurance payments, missionary pledges, monthly bills, reimbursement of one-time expenses

2. Prepare accurate monthly reports prior to consistory meetings indicating activity of the General Fund (and reserve funds if necessary). 

3. Work according to the guidelines established by the Consistory (ie, reporting schedule, expense tracking, expense approval procedure).

4. Participate with the Finance Committee and Consistory in preparing the annual budget and reports for the annual congregational meeting. 

5. Ensure there are adequate records documenting the assets of the church for insurance and other purposes. 

6. Oversee transfer of fund to and from investment accounts (if necessary). 

7. Complete necessary audits in insurance policies (average of 3 per year).

8. Ensure that all governmental taxes, reporting forms, and regulations are met on a timely basis. (Quarterly IRS filings, W2/W3 forms

May News & Announcements

Christian Education for 2 classes: grades 4-6 & 7-12 has started Sunday mornings, 10:15-11 a.m. see Maria Funiciello or Jonathan Meredith with questions.

Extra Seeds: We have extra seeds for anyone who wants to plant flowers, vegetable and herbs- take what you could use from table in the foyer. If you have extra time and space but don’t need the produce, consider growing it to give away. 

Hannaford Fight Hunger Bag Program: For the month of May 2021, the food pantry will receive a $1 donation from each purchase of the $2.50 reusable Fight Hunger Bag at the Hannaford store located in Esperance (11140 Western Turnpike).

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.

Consistory Meeting, May 13th

News from Operation Christmas Child

Bryce’s Story

            Bryce, now a teenager, is from the Philippines. He received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox when he was four years old.  Although his family was not Christian, his mother encouraged him to attend the church where he had received his gift to learn more about God.  At seven years of age, Bryce gave his life to Christ.

            Receiving a shoebox gift led to a transformation in Bryce’s whole family.  As he learned more about our Heavenly Father’s love, he shared what he was learning with his parents and brothers.  His mother says, “Before that shoebox, we did not know God.  Our life was just full of traditions.  I am so grateful for the person who packed that shoebox.”

Giving with Gratitude 

$29 in change was collected in April 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 and the back of the sanctuary.  A container for your contribution is found near the offering plate in the sanctuary.  You may trade in your full bottle for an empty!

Harvest Bazaar- Save the date of September 18, 2021 for the Harvest Bazaar to benefit Operation Christmas Child.  

Purchasing Gifts
Suggested to purchase in May is WOW gifts for 10–14-year-old girls.  WOW gifts are those larger gifts that may last for a considerable time.  Since they last over time, they continue to remind the child of God’s love.  WOW gifts for older girls include such things as a soccer ball and pump, a Barbie doll, an outfit, craft kit (no liquids), advanced coloring book and colored pencils….  Ask your daughter or granddaughter of that age for more ideas!

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!

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, https://www.dailyoffice2019.com 

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

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

New Directory is available in the foyer. 

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

Consistory Meeting, January 14th 

January 2021 News & Annoucements

Operation Christmas Child

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Blessings!  Mary Lou

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

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

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

Consistory Meeting, January 14th 

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

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

Consistory continues to monitor the COVID situation. 

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

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

Consistory Nominations

Election of Elders & Deacons

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

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

What do Elders & Deacons do? 

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

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

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

Page to submit names online.

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