Weekly Email Archive:
Church Notes October 15, 2017
Greetings Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown,
We were welcomed on this mid-October morning by worship leader Pat Guest, who called for announcements (see below) and introduced our guest preacher, Rev. Richard Reifsnyder. He introduced himself as a retired pastor (from a long-time pastorate in Virginia) now residing in Connecticut, and brought greetings from former pastor Bill Weisenbach, with whom he golfed recently!
Tom and the choir presented the anthem "Come Ye That Love the Lord" and Bev Taylor gave the youth sermon, which followed our responsive reading of Psalm 23. Bev spoke about how the thought of the green pastures and still waters are calming to us when we may be afraid or anxious. Tom continued the thread of Psalm 23 by playing a musical setting of it while Roy Smith and Wally Becker received the offering.
Rev. Reifsnyder read from Paul's letter to the Philippians (4:1-13) which led into his sermon "Security in an Anxious World". The words of the scripture told us to have no anxiety about anything, which is difficult in the face of natural disaster and violence which seem to be daily news for us these days. The sermon posed questions such as, What kind of faith says 'have no anxiety "? and Are we any less anxious for being people of faith? The scripture tells us that there is peace, security and strength in a greater source; that in spite of everything we need to be in constant touch with the one who transcends the worst. The only thing truly strong enough to defeat our fears is the love of God. We are also told that perfect love casts out fear. In times of fear, Christians can tend to become strangely silent, but we are charged to have the courage to consider another way; to truly believe that God rules the world. We live our faith imperfectly, but that's why we come together on Sunday mornings to worship week after week: we are shaped by an alternative hope, that there is strength in knowing that God is in control and that God's kingdom will come.
We sang the hymn "Give Winds to Thy Fears", we shared prayer concerns and thanksgivings, we sang "How Firm a Foundation", and held hands to receive the benediction. Tom gave an improvisation on "Don't Worry, Be Happy", "Feelin' Groovy" and "Give Winds to Thy Fears". And...we went into a coffee hour with special pastries from Erica McCoy!
How wonderful to have Maude Kahrs well, back in church, and looking great today!
Rose Champlin had cataract surgery this week, and Barbara Harrington is still home with a fractured knee.
We are still collecting, throughout the month of October, materials for disaster cleanup kits (see attachment for items to bring to church)
There is a book club meeting on Monday October 23 at Joy Albrecht's home, on "What's so Blessed about Being Poor?" There is a copy of the book in the office for anyone who would like to borrow it to read.
There is a Habitat workday this Saturday, October 21, leaving from church at 7:30 am and returning at 1:30 pm.
The deadline for newsletter articles is October 25. Please send info to Joy Albrecht. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Adult Study group completed a study series 'Christians and Racial Justice' but is continuing conversation and action around this issue. Members of the group are attending a forum on racism at St. Philip's in Garrison today at 2 pm and all are welcome to attend. The discussion continues next Sunday at 9 am.
In the pulpit next Sunday, October 22: Rev. Joe Gilmore and on October 29: Rev. Rachel Thompson
Church Notes October 8, 2017
Sara Dulaney opened our service and welcomed back Rev. Peter Surgenor to the pulpit. He is recently retired from Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center, and is the 2017 Moderator of the Hudson River Presbytery. Sara also served as Worship Leader and was surprised when her birthday was celebrated with a rousing “Happy Birthday” chorus. She took the opportunity to thank everyone for their help following her surgeries this past year and to express her delight in taking a turn working at the Food Pantry the previous day. “People just walk in donating food, and even the people getting food join in to do some of the work there!”
After the choir sang “A Song of Praise”, Rev. Surgenor led the responsive reading from Isaiah 5:1-7 – the story of the landlord who gave a vineyard to tenants to farm, but the tenants did not water nor care for the vineyard and had no fruit to give the landlord when he returned. Bev Taylor continued on the Isaiah theme in the youth sermon, defining for the children what landlords and tenants were before focusing on the story’s lesson: that God gives us gifts to steward, to care for, not to squander or destroy.
In his sermon, Rev. Surgenor said he had thought of the Isaiah passage and Jesus’ similar parable about the self-serving farmhands (Matthew 21:33-46) during the events of the past few weeks. We should all be living as faithful servants of God’s vineyard. Instead, many people today seem to make decisions based only on what is good for them, not what is good for others or good for the world. How do we counteract the greedy servant syndrome that is so prevalent today? One answer: we must recognize that God’s love is more powerful than greed and more powerful than self-interest. God loves us, forgives us, and changes us. And we must remember this and carry this message as we move forward in the days and months ahead. Rev. Surgenor’s inspirational sermon was followed with thoughtful Prayers for the People and the Benediction.
Tom McCoy treated us to a Postlude that he entitled “Snoopy’s Dream”, which he described as a “work in flux”. Tom also admitted that this was his chance to rehearse the piece for a concert the following day, so we were guinea pigs. The piece combined both modern tunes -- a little Gershwin, a little Rodgers and Hammerstein, “Linus and Lucy” -- with several classical refrains, e.g., 1812 Overture. It was a very ambitious concert piece, not to mention postlude, but very Tom McCoy…and received wild applause.
Our guest in the pulpit this coming Sunday, October 15, will be Rev. Richard Reifsnyder.
The Tuesday Lunch Bunch is meeting at Whistling Willies this week, October 10, at 12:30 PM. Enjoy good food and good conversation.
Remember, Barbara Harrington has a fractured knee and is home-bound and bored, so keep those cards and calls coming. [10 Hy Vue Terrace Cold Spring NY 10516]
Carolyn Llewellyn and Tom McCoy are playing at a benefit concert for the Chapel Restoration on Monday October 9 at 4 pm, among a number of others.
We still need Sunday School teachers. Contact Carolyn at email@example.com
There is a signup sheet in Fellowship Hall for our next Habitat group workday on Saturday, October 21.
Joy Albrecht has a copy of the book to circulate for a book group on What's So Blessed about Being Poor? The discussion will be on Monday evening October 23, at Joy’s home. firstname.lastname@example.org You are welcome to come even if you don’t get a chance to read the book this month, but are interested in the group.
Bring materials for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) Cleanup buckets to the church. We are collecting throughout the month of October. Our Sunday School kids will be sorting and packing the buckets on Sunday, November 5. Each 5-gallon clean-up bucket with resealable lid will contain: 5 scouring pads, 7 sponges,1 scrub brush, 5 dust masks, 50 clothespins, 100 feet clothesline, 1 box dry laundry detergent, 1 pair work gloves, 2 pair latex gloves, 12 oz. liquid household cleaner (e.g., Lysol) 1 25 oz liquid disinfectant dish soap, 1 package reusable cleaning towels/wipes, 24 count heavy duty trash bags, insect repellent. All these supplies are needed, including the buckets themselves. Thanks for your support!
The deadline for the November-December newsletter is October 25. Please submit your articles ASAP.
The Adult Study Group – “Christians and Racial Justice continues for one more Sunday, concluding on October 15.
Weekly e-news from October 1, 2017
On the sunny and cool first Sunday in October, there was a lot of activity at The Church of The Open Door!
The Adult Study "Christians and Racial Justice" met at 9:00 am for the 3rd of 5 weeks. During that hour, items for the food pantry were very generously dropped off, people began bringing items for the clean-up buckets to be sent to Hurricane-ravaged areas of Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico (see list of items needed to fill the buckets attached, and the choir was in rehearsal.
By the worship time of 10:30, it was clear that the "service" had already begun! Worship leader Susan Jordan welcomed our guest in the pulpit Lori Hylton and her son Cameron, and announcements were shared (see below). The choir sang an introit "Open my mouth...open my heart..." to prepare us for worship. Tom and the choir offered "Kyrie Eleison" as the anthem, and we read Micah 6:6-8 as the responsive reading.
For the youth sermon, Lori asked the gathered children what they thought is the most important part of the body, and there were wonderful responses, such as the brain, the heart, and the whole body. Lori agreed that the whole body is important because all parts are meant to work together. In that same way the church is the body of Christ, and every person is important. We all have different jobs that we do . We are all meant to serve God, and we are all children of God. The children collected quarters and received the offering as Tom played an improve on "If I Only Had A Brain!"
In her sermon, Lori told a bit about her own faith journey, growing up in a church which offered lots of belief, but no engagement, questioning, or action. She said that Jesus calls us to act and to step out! When you are engaged in the world on behalf of Christ, it changes you, as it changed her. In commenting on the scripture she had read (Luke 20:9-19), Lori observed that the Pharisees couldn't tend to the needs of the people; couldn't see beyond their structures, and many churches today are unwilling or unable to hear the voices of the poor, of immigrants, unchurched, children, and more. We are not the owners, but the stewards. We have been blessed with many resources, and we are the managers of what God has given to us. We have the opportunity to share from our abundance.
Lori observed that in her work on behalf of the Hudson River Presbytery, in food justice advocacy, she has led film screenings, bible studies, planted gardens, and encouraged asking questions about why so many don't have enough to eat; why the people who pick our food can't afford to buy it. She said that churches can be better and stronger when we ask these questions, and when we ask ourselves to give more of ourselves and our time, and to collaborate with other churches around issues of racial and social justice. Lori closed with a passage from Isaiah, which led into the hymn "Here I am, Lord".
Rev. Rachel Thompson, assisted by Lori, celebrated communion with us on this world-wide communion Sunday, as Tom improvised on "Let Us Break Bread Together". We sang our closing hymn "O For A World", we joined hands and Lori offered a benediction, charging that "We all have a role to play as the Body of Christ in the world". Tom followed with a medley of Pachelbel Canon and "What Does The Lord Require of You?".
Many of us then proceeded to Riverview restaurant for our annual church luncheon there, thanks to the organizing of Joy Albrecht.
Our guest in the pulpit this Sunday will be Rev. Peter Surgenor.
Barbara Harrington sent a message, thanking everyone for cards and calls, clarifying that she has a fractured knee (not a broken leg) but is home-bound and bored, so keep those cards and calls coming. [10 Hy Vue Terrace Cold Spring NY 10516]
Carolyn Llewellyn invited all to a benefit concert in which she is performing at the Chapel Restoration on Monday October 9 at 4 pm. Also, we need Sunday School teachers for the next 2 weeks. Contact Carolyn at email@example.com
There is a signup sheet for our next Habitat group workday on Saturday, October 21.
Joy Albrecht has a copy of the book to circulate for a book group on "What's so Blessed about Being Poor?". The discussion will be on Monday evening October 23, at her home. firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring materials for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) Cleanup buckets to the church. List of items is attached.
Finally, how proud we are of our own Julie Geller, whose tennis coach was quoted in the recent Highlands Current as saying that, "One key to the team's success is sophomore Julie Geller, a doubles player, who...keeps everyone in high spirits and is the linchpin to having the best team spirit in a highly individualized sport."
Weekly E-news from Sept. 24, 2017
We gathered, on the first Sunday of Autumn, for a worship service focused on mission, primarily reflecting on the Midnight Run which our congregation (with St. Philip's Church) had participated in on Saturday.
We shared announcements (below), sang "Today We All Are Called to Be Disciples of the Lord". Worship Leader Annie Becker (who had made a hundred sandwiches the day before for the run!) welcomed Art Labriola back to the piano, subbing for Tom, and she led us in our confession based on the Prayer of St. Francis. The Assurance of Grace: "It is in giving that we receive..." was a theme that carried through the rest of the service.
The youth sermon, by Lynn Brown, was about giving and receiving. The children shared when they had given something, what it felt like, and how it was received. They were all given a quarter to put in the goat bank, and then all of our offerings were given and received. Our scriptures for the morning were Isaiah 58:6-9a and Matthew 25:35-40, both on the theme of service to others as serving God.
The Sermon time was led by Lynn, with reflections from some of those who had been on the Midnight Run: Janet Barton, Andy Larivee, Sandy Larivee, and Ron Sopyla. A reading from Mother Teresa, "Jesus Distressing Disguise" was the opening for the reflections. Lynn spoke, as the leader of the caravan on the run, about the journey as metaphor for out life, sharing "23rd Street" about the challenges of "the road" (attached).
Janet shared blessings and gratitude for Lynn's leadership, and spoke of the people she encountered who were so kind and grateful.
Andy thanked the entire congregation who had participated by donations of food, clothing, money, preparation work, and prayers for the run. It was truly a congregational experience, not only for those who were actually there on the run. He spoke of the gratitude of the homeless, as one man who said to him, "You didn't give up on us".
Sandy spoke of gratitude for our church family and the opportunities that offers for mission. She spoke of the blessing of looking directly in the eyes of the homeless and making connection. She also spoke about how the stops at the parks were places where she has taken her grandchildren to play during the day, and the contrast to what it's like overnight.
Ron spoke about seeing the city as God's world in a microcosm, again the contrast, at 2 am, between the "overdressed and underdressed" young people waiting on long lines to get into a nightclub, and around the corner the homeless people sleeping on benches - all God's world.
We sang "Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve" We shared prayers, sang "The Spirit Sends Us Forth to Serve", held hands for the Benediction and were sent out with Art's rousing improve of "I'll Fly Away".
- Barbara Harrington is home with a broken leg. Keep her in your prayers and if you want to send a card, her address is: 10 Hy Vue Terrace Cold Spring, NY 10516
- We will be, through the month of October, collecting supplies for "Clean-up kits" to send to Hurricane areas through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance(PDA). See attachment for items you can contribute. We have the buckets but need the contents.
- Next Sunday, October 1, we will have our annual church luncheon at Riverview Restaurant. Email Joy Albrecht to reserve your spot. email@example.com
- There is a signup for the next Habitat workday October 21.
- The Session has approved the Search Committee's recommendation to request the Presbytery Committee on Ministry (COM) to change our position to a Stated Supply Pastor, rather than Interim Pastor. Several factors were cited, including discussion at our congregational conversations, among the committee, and with others, about not necessarily needing specific interim work. It was also noted that should we bring on a person we would like to have a longer-term pastoral relationship with, that could happen from a stated supply, but not an interim position.There are 2 final candidates at the moment, and we are hopeful for a new pastor soon!
“I'm convinced of this:
Good done anywhere is good done everywhere.
For a change, start by speaking to people
rather than walking by them
like they're stones that don't matter.
As long as you're breathing,
it's never too late to do some good.”
- Maya Angelou
Weekly e-news from September 17, 2017
It was a foggy morning, but with the promise of a beautiful day. Elder Andy Larivee opened the service and welcomed back Reverend Jennifer Kottler as our guest pastor. Announcements followed (see below). Andy continued as Worship Leader acknowledging another difficult hurricane week with major damage in Florida and the Caribbean, following on the heels of Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
After a rousing, “Alleluia, Praise the Lord”, anthem, Pastor Jen focused the Youth Sermon on Matthew 20:1-16, presenting Jesus’s parable to the children where the vineyard owner pays his workers the same amount, regardless of how many hours they worked. She pointed out that God, also, doesn’t always give you what you think you deserve, but does give you what you need.
In the adult sermon “Grace Upon Grace”, she explored this further saying that we, as humans, generally feel people should be rewarded for being good and punished for bad behaviors. At one point, Pastor Jen stepped down from the pulpit and became a young woman who had lost her job when she had to stay home to care for her sick daughter. As she told us her personal story, we became engaged in her plight of no money, no electricity, and relying on food
pantries. She explained that she just wanted to work and be able to provide for
her daughter. In this story, the woman did find a new job, and her employer was generous enough to pay her a full two week’s pay although on one of the day’s she had only worked a few hours. She was grateful for her employer’s kindness.
Back in the pulpit, Pastor Jen explained that God’s justice is different from what we, ourselves, may conceive as fairness. From God, we may not receive
what we think we deserve or we may not deserve what we receive, but God knows exactly what we need. And we receive God’s grace again and again.
We prayed for joys, sorrows, and solutions and then joined hands in Benediction. Tom played “We Are One in the Spirit” as our Postlude. Then we went into the newly painted Social Hall to enjoy conversation, coffee, and the last boxes of Girl Scout cookies until next year.
The church choir is back, and today Sunday School and Adult Study classes began after the summer recess. The 5-week long Adult Study class at 9 -10 am is participating in a study about racism prepared by the editors of Sojourners magazine. The articles are available ahead of time to read from Lynn Brown firstname.lastname@example.org. The sign-up sheet for Sunday School teachers is in the Social Hall after the service. We need teachers! Joy has agreed to take the lead in organizing the Christmas pageant!!
Our next Midnight Run is this Saturday Sept 23. We are collecting good used men's clothing (jeans, sweats, sneakers, etc), blankets, sleeping bags, backpacks, and there is a posting of food we need contributed. Place donations (other than food) on the back pews of the church this week.
Don’t forget! The 3rd Annual Fall Sunday Luncheon is at Riverview Restaurant
is on October 1 at noon. Cost $30/person. Joy announced that someone volunteered to pay for any people who had cost concerns. So, please come, one and all!
The next Habitat workday in Newburgh is Saturday October 21. Please sign up.
The Food Pantry is currently in need of pasta, cereal, peanut butter and jelly.
The Interim Pastor Search Committee is progressing in its interviews and consultations with the Presbytery. It is hopeful that it will have a new pastor in the pulpit in the near future.
The Young Adult Volunteers sent us a thank you note for hosting them the last Sunday of August and promising to stay in touch.
A new Book Club begins in October with the book What’s So Blessed About Being Poor? Seeking the Gospel in the Slums of Kenya. The first meeting is Monday,October 23rd, 7 PM at Joy Albrecht’s home. Contact Joy at email@example.com for more information.
Remember that we now have online giving on our website www.presbychurchcoldspring.org
Weekly e-news from September 10, 2017
That was the message we heard and felt over and over again at the Church of the Open Door today! We were greeted with a spectacular display of chrysanthemums all over the sanctuary, and warmly welcomed by Rev. Rachel Thompson as she called us to worship, preached the sermon and invited us to lunch and conversation afterwards. We shared announcements (below), sang our opening hymn "God of the Sparrow" and were led into confession, assured of grace and encouraged to pass the peace by worship leader Sandy Larivee.
Tom and the choir (on their first Sunday back) treated us to a hymn medley entitled "Come Home".
We read the first 4 verses of Psalm 84, responsively as two groups - the "indigenous" (those born within 50 miles of here) and the "immigrants" (those born further away) at Rachel's direction! We offered our gifts and the children collected quarters for the Goat Bank.
Leading into the sermon, Rachel read familiar words from Matthew 16, when Jesus says that Peter is the rock on which he will build his church. In her sermon, Rachel examined who Peter was (tried to walk on water and sank; needed explanations of the parables; couldn't stay awake as Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, and finally, denied Jesus three times as Jesus had predicted. He also reportedly witnessed the first appearance of the risen Christ, and died in Rome as a martyr. Peter was presented as a good role model for we humans: fallible but redeemed; cracked and broken, as we all are.
Rachel continued an examination of why people come to church, to this church in particular: to gather together, to encourage themselves to be better people, a kind of 'support group for ethical life'. We band together to help others in the world, to make a positive difference with prayer, compassion for the outcast, and love...though we need to examine ourselves, particularly looking at the issue and presence of racism in our society. We come together here because we hunger for the presence of God and the inspiration found in the teachings of Jesus. We hold the possibility of being at home in God, and creating a home for God in ourselves. Gathered for different reasons; community, justice, God, what it is that ties us together is that God has called us to be here. We belong too each other, and the tie that binds us to God and each other is sacred. We followed Rachel's sermon singing "Blest Be The Tie That Binds".
We prayed for those in harm's way or recovering from the disaster of Hurricanes in the south; for those we know and love experiencing illness. We shared joys of new births in family and friends, and some recovery from illness. We prayed for our interim search committee and candidates they are interviewing.
Tom sent us out to our luncheon and conversation with a rousing "America" from West Side Story.
We were fed by the word and the spirit, then by a fabulous pot-luck luncheon, and finally, by celebrating all that goes on here at First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown. So glad to be HOME!
Next Sunday, the Rev. Jenn Kottler will be in the pulpit, and Sunday School and Adult Study class will begin. The Adult class at 9 am is participating in a study about racism prepared by the editors of Sojourners magazine. The articles are available ahead of time to read from Lynn Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Our next Midnight Run is Saturday Sept 23. There are 2 spots available to go on the run and we are collecting good used men's clothing (jeans, sweats, sneakers, etc), blankets, sleeping bags, backpacks, and there is a posting of food we need contributed.
The next Habitat workday in Newburgh is Saturday October 21. Signup will be available next Sunday.
Andy Reid gave a summary of the Capital Campaign Phase 2 completion and thanked everyone for donations. Andy in return was thanked for all of his hands-on management of the summer projects.
Remember that we now have online giving on our website www.presbychurchcoldspring.org
Weekly e-news from September 3, 2017
It was a rainy Labor Day Sunday, but much goings-on in our active church (see Announcements below). Elders Lynn Brown and Susan Jordan, who recently received training in serving Holy Communion presided over the entire service this first Sunday of September. After a meaningful Call to and Prayer of Confession, we Passed the Peace in our usual jubilant way. Tom played “The Oxcart”, a lumbering piece, in reference to the Labor Day holiday, and one of the movements of Mussorgsky's suite “Pictures at an Exhibition”.
The theme of the scripture readings (Isaiah 65:17-25 and Romans 12:9-12) focused on how God intends that we live, “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” Lynn’s reflection centered on the Presbyterian Church USA’s approach to Racism and Reconciliation. She had
placed on the front of this week’s bulletin an excerpt from The Confession of 1967, PC(USA), (below) which had taken the church 11 years to write. We read it together as a congregation.
Lynn reminded us of the scripture that led us into her reflection: Isaiah providing guidance for a new creation and the Romans passage directing us how to live as one family. Plainly, she said, racism runs counter to the ministry of Jesus Christ and, therefore, racism is a sin to be overcome. We also read responsively The Confession of Belhar, a Christian statement of belief written in Afrikaans in 1982, which in part states, “We praise God that the gospel does not separate people on the basis of race, gender, class, or culture, but is the power of reconciliation in Christ”. Lynn ended with some words that Rev. Gavin Meek,the Hudson River Presbytery’s Interim General Presbyter, had recently prepared in response to what had occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. Paraphrased, he noted that the church should never preach partisan politics, but the church must always be true to preaching the gospel. And the gospel requires that we must denounce hatred for what it is -- an evil separating us from the love of God.
We shared the communion meal and a time of prayer. We held hands around the sanctuary for the benediction. Tom’s postlude was the familiar “Promenade”, also from the “Pictures at an Exhibition”, and played beautifully to send us out into this rainy day.
From the Bulletin cover, an excerpt of The Confession of 1967:
“God has created the peoples of the earth to be one universal family. In his reconciling love, God overcomes the barriers between sisters and brothers and breaks down every form of
discrimination based on racial or ethnic difference, real or imaginary. The church is called to bring all people to receive and uphold one another as persons in all relationships of life: in
employment, housing, education, leisure, marriage, family, church, and the exercise of political rights. Therefore, the church labors for the abolition of all racial discrimination and ministers
to those injured by it. Congregations, individuals, or groups of Christians who exclude, dominate, or patronize others, however subtly, resist the Spirit of God and bring contempt on the faith which they profess.”
Capital Campaign – Phase 2 is almost completed!. Please take the time to see what your
contributions have accomplished. We still need donations for the Phase 2 fund. Thanks to the Cap Campaign Committee, and especially Andy Reid and Wally Becker for their tireless work!
The next Midnight Run is September 23. We still need people to donate clothing: men’s jeans, new men’s underwear and sweat socks;backpacks, blankets, sleeping bags, rain ponchos, are needed and may be left in the back pews of the sanctuary during the week. Also, people are needed for food preparation and sorting of clothing. A couple of places are still open to go on the Midnight Run. A sign-up board is in the Social Hall.
Next Sunday, September 10, is Homecoming Sunday. Rev. Rachel Thompson is preaching. In addition to the chrysanthemum-filled sanctuary, we are having a pot-luck luncheon afterwards and another “Community Conversation” to gather input on the future of our church.
Sunday School begins September 17.
Adult Study also begins on September 17 at 9 AM. We are starting the year with a 4-week study published by Sojourners, entitled “Christians and Racial Justice”.
Thanks to Joy Albrecht for her work in organizing this Friday evening’s dinner and Saturday breakfast for the group marching from NYC to Albany with the “Allianceof Families for Justice”. Joy, in turn, gave all the credit to our congregation who generously provided the food.
Thanks, again, to Joy for preparing the September/October Newsletter that just
came out today. (attached)
A Presbyterian Disaster Assistance/Presbyterian Mission flyer (attached) was handed out for donating money and other volunteer efforts to help in the Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. Go to presbyterianmission.org/pda to follow recovery efforts. You may call 866/732-6121 or email email@example.com for more information on volunteer opportunities.
Butterfield Library is renovating the children’s room and dedicating it to Jean Marzollo, author of children’s books and part of our church. Joy has reserved a table for our church at the celebration in honor of Jean at The Garrison, 7 PM, 11/17/2017. Contact Joy if you want to be at the table and receive emails on the event.
A new BOOK CLUB featuring social justice issues begins in October with the book What’s So Blessed About Being Poor? Seeking the Gospel in the Slums of Kenya. The first meeting is Monday, October 23rd, 7 PM at Joy’s home. Contact Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
The 3rd Annual Fall Sunday Luncheon is at Riverview Restaurant on October 1. Cost $30/person. Invite family and friends!
We now have ONLINE GIVING on our website! You may access donating to the church, the food pantry, or the capital campaign at www.presbychurchcoldspring.org
If you enjoy singing, please join the choir. It is a lot of fun! On Wednesday,September 6, at 7 PM, the choir will resume its regular schedule of Wednesday evening practices.
The next Lunch Bunch luncheon will be held at the Yankee Clipper in Beacon at 12:30 PM on
September 12. All are invited. Call Bev Taylor if you need a ride (914/523-0597.
Weekly Email from 8/28/17:
We gathered once again on a glorious sunny Sunday morning—the sanctuary a comfortable temperature.
We were welcomed to worship by the melodious strains of music of Tom McCoy, returning from vacation, and Gareth Guest. Susan Jordan opened the service with announcements (see below). Carolyn Llewellyn announced that Joy Albrecht will lead the Christmas Pageant, which was met with a round of applause!
Susan then welcomed our special guests for the day, three amazing YAVS (Young Adult Volunteers)—Lauren Robinson of Chicago via Cleveland, Martha Fulp-Eickstaedt of Falls Church, Virginia (but born in Warrensburg, NY), and Bryan Bergman of Tuscaloosa, Alabama by way of Cincinnati. As in previous years, each of the YAVs is unique as is their call and response to serving God’s people. They demonstrated the theme for the day — responding to God’s call to service — right here at FPCP by helping put away a large donation to the Food Pantry before the service!
Each of the YAVs participated in leading the service as well as shared their stories:
Lauren Robinson, a graduate of Northwestern University (theater major) and McCormick Theological Seminary (MDiv), will serve her year in Visayas, the central region of the Philippines, working to combat human trafficking. Lauren is returning to the Philippines after having gone there during her second year in seminary because of her interest in human trafficking and what is being done to combat it. She will work with a missionary couple that she met on her first trip to the Philippines who have a young adult theater group that perform pieces related to social justice — a perfect fit for her theater training and her interest in human trafficking. She will also work with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines on social justice issues. Lauren is very excited to return to the Philippines as she loves the people, doing mission work with the indigenous people, and having a fellow YAV (Emma) serve with her. She is not excited about the huge cockroaches!
Bryan Bergman, a graduate of the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, was raised Jewish and became a practicing Christian while in college. He initially attended a Baptist Church but found his way to Grace Presbyterian Church in Tuscaloosa last fall where he feels welcome. Bryan is going to Indianapolis, a city he knows well, but will be working in communities in the city unfamiliar to him. He does not know his specific assignment in Indianapolis, but will be interviewing with several groups/agencies such as Habitat for Humanity and the Center for Community and Interfaith Partnerships. He would like to work with the latter as there is a large immigrant and refugee population in Indianapolis, groups he feels called to help. Bryan is both excited and fearful about the year ahead since he does not have a specific assignment yet.
Martha Fulp-Eickstaedt, a graduate of the University of Virginia with a dual major in psychology and creative writing, is going to Atlanta. Her home church is Trinity Presbyterian in Arlington where her mother serves as the pastor (her father is also a pastor!). While she seems reserved, she told us she was the wild PK (preacher’s kid) while her sister who is more outgoing was the tamer PK. Martha will be working at a furniture bank, which provides furniture to homeless/low income persons who are transitioning into a home or apartment. She is not sure yet of her specific responsibilities but is looking forward to her work in Atlanta. City life is new to Martha so she is both excited and apprehensive about going to Atlanta.
Carolyn Llewellyn led the children in an impromptu singing Youth Sermon and picture taking. Elaine and James also sang the ‘Handel Chant’ they learned in choir school at their grandparents church in New Jersey. Tom picked up the Handel theme for the music during the offering. The theme for the Special Music and Postlude by Tom and Gareth were ‘traveling tunes’ in honor of the YAVs. Among the tunes were ‘We Walk by Faith;’ ‘O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee;’ and ‘Savior Lead Me.’
In our Prayers of the People, we prayed for the people the YAVs are likely to serve — the poor and disenfranchised; those divided by political, social, or historical barriers; and we prayed that amidst our diversity, we might recognize the gifts of others and find unity. Lauren asked us to keep Mindanao in our prayers; Bryan asked for prayers for the immigrant and refugee communities in Indiana; and Martha asked that we pray for the homeless in Atlanta. Kathleen Hickey thanked us for our prayers for her son James injured in a bicycle accident and all those who ministered to his medical needs. We pray for those affected by the recent disaster in Texas. [See message from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance below on how to help]
We closed our service by Commissioning Lauren, Bryan, and Martha to their year of mission work. As they promised to accept those whom they serve right where they are, we promised to support them and hold them in prayer. They had an opportunity to talk with everyone after church before going to lunch at the Depot with Joy, Gareth, Bev, and Susan. We wish these amazing young adults God speed as they travel on Monday to their assignments.
Next Sunday, September 3, we return to our worship time of 10:30 am We will celebrate communion, and we will share in a special service designed by the PCUSA, "A Service of Justice and Peace" prepared in response to recent violence in Charlottesville and around our nation.
· On September 1, this Friday evening, we will be hosting, for dinner, an evening program, and providing breakfast for a group that is marching from NYC to Albany, with the Alliance of Families for Justice. To help, contact Joy Albrecht at (352)-988-4586 or email@example.com
· We now have ONLINE GIVING on our website! You may access donating to the church, the food pantry, or the capital campaign at www.presbychurchcoldspring.org
· The Capital Campaign Phase 2 is nearing completion and we need some additional funding to complete this summer's work. If you can help, send a check to the church, labeled Capital Campaign, or visit the Capital Campaign page on the website to give online. Thank you in advance!
· HOMECOMING SUNDAY, September 10, will feature a pot-luck luncheon following worship with some conversation about our church as we move forward towards an interim minister.
· MIDNIGHT RUN: Our next run is Saturday, September 23. There are signup sheets to provide food and to go on the run. Donations of good used men’s clothing, primarily jeans, sweats, and sneakers; new men’s underwear and sweat socks; backpacks, blankets, sleeping bags, rain ponchos, are needed and may be left in the back pews of the sanctuary during the week.
A new BOOK CLUB featuring social justice issues begins in October with the book What’s So Blessed About Being Poor. Date/time of discussion to be determined; anyone interested, let Joy Albrecht know whether a day or evening discussion works best.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is in touch with presbyteries affected areas of Texas to offer assistance. We are standing by with resources and National Response Team members ready to deploy upon invitation and when it is safe to do so.
For those who wish to support PDA's emergency response and recovery efforts, gifts can be designated to DR000169-Harvey. We need your help. Please give generously.
If you prefer to mail a check, you may send it to:
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) PO Box 643700 Pittsburgh, PA, 15264-3700
You may also call us Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (EST), at 1-800-872-3283 and donate by phone. For updates, please go to pda.pcusa.org.
Please join us in praying for courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we respond to the deep human needs left in the wake of the storm.
Weekly Email E-News from 8/21/17:
We were 'warmly' welcomed to worship on this summer Sunday, especially since the heat had accidentally been on! Windows, fans, a/c all kicked in and the sanctuary became more comfortable, if not cool!
The warmest welcome, however, came from Elder Diana Geller who led the service, with Art Labriola at the piano for the vacationing Tom McCoy, and Julie Geller as our worship leader. There is much going on and there were many announcements (see below). We welcomed former pastor Bob White and his wife Allison who worshipped with us as they passed through the area.
Diana wove the theme of kindness into all of the prayers, readings, hymns, and sermon, especially important in light of the recent events in Charlottesville and around the world. Her sermon, entitled "Kindness is simple, right?" was preceded by scripture readings Matt 7:12-14 and Philippians 2:3-8. Diana spoke about all of the ways we encourage kindness, citing the Golden Rule, the model of Jesus in his life and ministry, and how in the school where she teaches, the students recite and oath daily, "not to bully, but to show kindness, consideration and respect." Do we need all of these reminders? It doesn't seem like it would be difficult to be kind, but there is a vulnerability in it; it takes courage and confidence sometimes to reach out in kindness and maybe faith is what gives us this confidence.
Diana spoke of the film "Race", about the olympic champion Jesse Owens, and how the kindness of a German competitor led him to win the gold medal in 1936, Berlin, in front of an unhappy Chancellor Adolf Hitler. The competitor, a man named Luz Long chose kindness over his own glory during a time of great division. And she spoke of Jesus healing the centurion's ear , which had been cut off in the process of his arrest; always choosing kindness and compassion.
The quote on the cover of the bulletin, by children's author Roald Dahl, reads "I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I'll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else...kindness - that simple word. To be kind - it covers everything, to my mind. It you're kind, that's it." May we be so.
We sang "Help Us Accept Each Other" We prayed our joys and concerns for ourselves, our church family, our community and our world. We sang "I Danced in the Morning", held hands for the Benediction, and Art closed with an improvisation on "This Little Light of Mine" to send us out into our day and week.
- Next Sunday, August 27, we will welcome 3 Young Adult Volunteers who will participate in our worship service and be commissioned for their year of volunteering in mission. All are invited to join a lunch with them at The Depot following worship. Please let Joy Albrecht know if you will be attending.
- We now have ONLINE GIVING on our website! You may access donating to the church, the food pantry, or the capital campaign at www.presbychurchcoldspring.org
- The Capital Campaign Phase 2 is nearing completion and we need some additional funding to complete this summer's work. If you can help, send a check to the church, labeled Capital Campaign, or visit the Capital Campaign page on the website to give online. Thank you in advance!
- On September 1, a Friday evening, we will be hosting, for dinner, an evening program, and providing breakfast for a group that is marching from NYC to Albany,with the Alliance of Families for Justice. To help, contact Joy Albrecht at (352)-988-4586 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- HOMECOMING SUNDAY, September 10, will again feature marvelous mums to decorate our sanctuary! To order, you may mail the attached form with your payment to the church at 10 Academy Street, Cold Spring NY 10516, or bring it to leave in the offering plate next Sunday, August 27. In addition, Homecoming Sunday will feature a pot-luck luncheon following worship with some conversation about our church as we move forward towards an interim minister.
- MIDNIGHT RUN: Our next run is Saturday, September 23. There are signup sheets to provide food and to go on the run. Donations of good used mens clothing, primarily jeans, sweats, and sneakers; new mens underwear and sweat socks; backpacks, blankets, sleeping bags, rain ponchos, are needed and may be left in the back pews of the sanctuary during the week.
- Save the date Sunday October 1, for our annual church luncheon at Riverview Restaurant after worship.
Weekly Email E-News from 8/14/17:
It was another beautiful day in Cold Spring and all is green from the much-needed dousing Friday night.
Rev. Joe Gilmore was our guest in the pulpit, Ezra LaFleur our guest at the piano and Renee Cruikshank was our
worship leader. We read the Call to Worship (in full below), the Opening Prayer, the Prayer of Confession, and we passed the Peace of Christ. Ezra LaFleur graced our worship with music of Satie, Schubert and Barber. Applause, applause.
Rev. Gilmore began his sermon with the caveat to bring a light heart to his sermon, entitled “Jesus and Mae West”. He wanted to discuss the “very human life of Jesus” beyond the usual church perspective of adulation and leaning towards
emulation (“walk this way”). Joe started with Jesus’s baptism. Jesus had gone into the wilderness and then sought out a sun-crazed man in the form of John the Baptist to baptize him. At that event, something settled on Jesus and he felt deeply affirmed and loved. Do we know others, like John the Baptist, whose souls are so large, so grateful, who love deeply, and are fully
alive? Jesus did and saw it where others did not. The social distinctions that made some people invisible enraged Jesus.
Time and time again in the New Testament, we see Jesus treating the less fortunate with respect and love and asking his followers to do the same. Jesus lived out his love of God and fellow man to reveal to his followers that we are all one, the same in the eyes of
And now to Mae West. Joe shared with us the poem “Mae West” by Edward Field, and asserted that, like Jesus, she provoked the world. We knew her, not by her preaching but by her presence. Like Jesus, she was in love with life. Both Mae and Jesus were enjoyed being themselves, as they were and as God intended they be. They were fully alive and lived abundantly, as Jesus exhorts us -- every day -- to do. Rev. Joe reminded us that these are “our once and never again lives”. We should live them fully, as ourselves, and with the knowledge that we are loved. And he repeated the quote, “The Glory of God is the human being fully alive.”
We shared many prayers for our nation and our world, for those who are ill and for the joys of our lives. We held hands for the
benediction, and Ezra -- soon to be auditioning for his college symphony; we wish him the best! -- played a postlude of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. We walked out to refreshments, conversation, and a most promising day!
Call to Worship:
Out of a spangled dark today is come on the wings of morning.
It is a day which never existed nor ever will again.
It will have only the shape we give it,
It will go only as far as we take it.
It will be as human as we make it.
It has been spun for us by the heavens of light and possibility.
Make us worthy of so great a gift.
There was an update on the Phase II Capital
Campaign progress, citing all the work on the manse; the Social Hall roof is
done; the nursery school and bathroom windows are here and ready for
installation; the insulation and dry wall is up in the nursery school; the
ceiling and lighting is going in; the Social Hall, hallway, nursery school,
bathrooms, and office are being painted in the near future. We are currently short on the Cap Campaign budget
by about $6000, so donations are very welcomed.
The church has received a thank you letter from Bill Mayer’s colleagues for the “acts of loving kindness” related to
his Memorial Service on July 15. They recognized the church’s importance to Bill and vice versa, and sent a contribution in his name that will go to the Capital Campaign. The search for an Interim Pastor is progressing. The committee will continue
to update the congregation at Sunday Services.
The next Midnight Run is September 23. The lists are on the boards in the Social Hall for contributions of used and new clothing, as well as toiletries. Food contribution sign-up lists are also on the board for the usual food donations for the sandwich bags. Helpers needed the day of the Midnight Run to organize clothing and prepare food bags. A special request was made for the disposable rain ponchos, deodorant, and nail clippers.
Dedication of the 8th Presbybuild House for Habitat is at 1 PM in Newburgh (tour of the house is at 12:30 PM).
Save the date!
Butterfield Library is renovating the children’s room and dedicating it to Jean Marzollo, author of children’s books and part of our church. Joy has reserved a table for our church at the celebration in honor of Jean at The Garrison, 7 PM, 11/17/2017. Contact Joy if you want to be at the table.
The YAV (Young Adult Volunteers) Service, on Sunday, August 27, will feature 3 YAVs who will describe their individual service
programs for which they have been chosen to serve over the coming year. Please contact Joy if you would like to be in the group that takes them to lunch following the service.
The sign-up sheet for flowers needs names for the next month.
Joy is exploring the possibility of a church-sponsored book club to meet, perhaps, every other month and focus on
books that are inspirational or stimulate thoughtful discussion on meaningful topics. She has searched online for lists of such books from which the club could choose or find their own. She was clear that the book club would not be reading novels and it would NOT be boring.
Entries for the church September-October newsletter are due the third week of August.
Weekly Email E-News from 8/7/17:
It was a beautiful sunny day – low 70s with a light breeze coming off the river – as we began our annual outdoor worship service and picnic at Constitution Island. Rev. Deke Spierling welcomed us, and Lynn Brown started us off by thanking Deb and Roddy MacLeod for their generosity in hosting us on the island. She noted that Rachel Thompson and Joy Albrecht were absent today, being with family members who needed care. We welcomed the LeFleur family with us, ,and Ezra on the keyboard. Lynn introduced Norm Jr and his wife Ami who were visiting with her, as well as Deke’s wife Wendy Spierling, and guest Sue Varden from the Goshen church, a team partner on the Habitat/presbybuild home. We shared announcements (see below) and sang “Morning Has Broken”.
Rev. Deke Spierling, a frequent guest pastor, told the story of the fish and the loaves (Matthew 14:13-21) and, then, recited a poem, “The Brooklyn Museum of Art”, by Billy Collins (in full below) about a person who envisions himself walking into a painting, coincidentally of the Hudson River, where we were currently listening to Deke. Weaving between the two topics -- of Jesus’s miracle in providing, out of almost nothing, an abundance of food to feed the crowds who came to hear him and the miracle of a poet’s mind yearning to experience the fullness of nature in a Hudson River landscape painting -- Deke considered that both were expressions of God’s immeasurable love. And it is God’s immeasurable love every day that unleashes compassion, that allows us to “see”, and that heals and liberates us.
Deke’s invitation to the Communion table began with “This is not my table.” Turning to Lynn, he said, “This is not Lynn’s table”, to which Lynn responded, “Actually it is”. But Deke persevered, “It is Christ’s table” and Deke with Lynn served communion to our gathering. Ezra LaFleur, as our guest keyboardist, played the last hymn (“Let us Talents and Tongues Employ”) with the chorus of “Jesus lives again, earth can breathe again, pass the Word around, Loaves abound.” The hands were held, the benediction was given, and, with that, the picnic festivities began. Thanks to all who provided food, and to Wally Becker and Sandy Barton, who were the ‘grill-masters’ of the day. Deb led a tour around the island, allowing us to share in its beauty and historical significance. We have been abundantly blessed! What a great day!
Renee asked for help at next Saturday’s Food Pantry, as two helpers will be away. Just show up at 9 AM.
The Habitat/Presbybuild home dedication is in just under 2 weeks and there are opportunities for individuals to go over and volunteer on Wed and Sat from 8-1. Contact Lynn Brown to find out how to sign up.
The Phase 2 Capital Campaign work is going strong with lots of spackling and sanding, soon to be painted, the classroom, hallway, bathrooms, office and social hall. We are in need of donations to meet the current expenses, so if you are able to contribute, please note Capital Campaign on any check that you may send to the church (FPCP 10 Academy Street, Cold Spring NY 10516). Gratitude was expressed to “Project Managers” Andy Reid and Wally Becker for all of their time and effort this summer.
The Church Lunch Out for August is this Tuesday 8/8 at Angelina’s (next to Foodtown) at 12:30. All are welcome!
Next Sunday, August 13, Rev. Joe Gilmore will be in the pulpit, back at the church, for 10 am worship.
Here is the poem which Deke had shared with us:
The Brooklyn Museum of Art
I will now step over the soft velvet rope
and walk directly into this massive Hudson River
painting and pick my way along the Palisades
with this stick I snapped off a dead tree.
I will skirt the smoky, nestled towns
and seek the path that leads always outward
until I become lost, without a hope
of ever finding the way back to the museum.
I will stand on the bluffs in nineteenth-century clothes,
a dwarf among rock, hills, and flowing water,
and I will fish from the banks in a straw hat
which will feel like a brush stroke on my head.
And I will hide in the green covers of forests
so no appreciator of Frederick Edwin Church,
leaning over the soft velvet rope,
will spot my tiny figure moving in the stillness
and cry out, pointing for the others to see,
and be thought mad and led away to a cell
where there is no vaulting landscape to explore,
none of this birdsong that halts me in my tracks,
and no wide curving of this river that draws
my steps toward the misty vanishing point.
Weekly Email E-News from 7/31/17:
On the last Sunday in July, a sunny mid-summer day, Elder Susan Jordan welcomed us to worship, as we greeted each other, visitors, and friends Geraldine and Bob Barton visiting from Texas! Gareth Guest on the clarinet and Tom McCoy on piano provided the music for the service, beginning with a prelude of “Summertime”. Announcements were shared (see below), we prayed an opening prayer of gratitude for God’s presence in whatever has been thrown at us this past week, and the delights of the world that have made us smile. We sang “Come, Come, Everybody Worship” and so we did.
Annie Becker was our worship leader, and she spoke of the blessing of she and Wally having spent an afternoon this past week at West Point with Lynn Brown, visiting Norm’s final resting place, the cemetery and the chapels. We shared confession, were assured of forgiveness and grace, and we passed the peace with each other. Gareth and Tom played a Debussy Arabesque for the special music. We read the beginning versesof Psalm 105, and Diana Geller and Wally Becker received the offering, while Sarah collected quarters for a new goat, the tube having been filled last week to buy our 9th goat throught the Heifer project!
Susan read from the Gospel of Matthew (13:31-33;44-52), the parables of Jesus as pertaining to the Kingdom of God. Her sermon was entitled “Imagine the Unexpected” and focused on the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven, as unlikely choices to describe the Kingdom of Heaven. Susan related how big things can come from small beginnings (who knew that one man, Jesus, would eventually have over 2 billion followers worldwide?), and how the Kingdom upsets things, contrary to our expectations; things change and are transformed. ‘Imagine the Unexpected’ – the daily news is discouraging, but we can focus in and see small ways that the kingdom is present. The works of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter were given as examples. Susan reminded us of Mother Teresa’s message that we can’t all do great things, but we can do small things with great love; and that “Calcuttas are everywhere if we have eyes to see.” Susan shared a story about eye surgeons who developed a procedure to help people see again that is now used in more than 20 countries, and of the difference it makes in peoples’ lives, particularly in developing countries.
Susan shared some examples of how we, together, do small things that may not make the news, but that touch peoples’ lives, such as the Midnight Run, Food Pantry, San Miguel Academy tutoring, PAPA meal, Habitat house building and on and on. She related the story of the man throwing one starfish at a time back into the ocean to save it, on a beach covered with starfish as the tide was going out, and how it made a difference to the one that was saved. Every life matters, every caring act matters. Susan encouraged us to be patient, and to find the small seed of importance that will allow the spirit to shine through us, to be the Kingdom of Heaven, right here, right now! And applause broke out at the end of her message!
We sang “Let There Be Peace on Earth”, We prayed together, we sang “Be Thou My Vision”, we joined hands for the benediction, and were led out into the rest of the day with Tom and Gareth playing Debussy’s “La Fille Aux Cheveux De Lin” (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair)
Next Sunday August 6 we will worship on Constitution Island, gathering at 9:30 at the far end of the Cold Spring train station parking lot to caravan in the gate together. Bring a salad or side dish to share.
The Food Pantry needs small bags of rice.
The Habitat/Presbybuild House in Newburgh will be dedicated on August 19, and there's plenty of work to be done before then. To volunteer on an individual basis, on a Wed-Sat morning, go to www.habitatnewburgh.org register on the VOLUNTEER HUB and choose an available date to work on "Ann Street" or contact Lynn Brown email@example.com
The work of the Interim Search committee and of Phase 2 Capital Campaign were highlighted, as was the September SYNOD event “Come to the Table” at Stony Point Center, in a midsummer newsletter insert.
Finally, from the bulletin cover:
Let us all become a true and faithful branch on the vine Jesus, by accepting him in our lives as it pleases him to come: As the Truth – to be told; As the Life – to be lived; As the Light – to be lighted; As the Love – to be loved; As the Way – to be walked; As the Joy – to be given; As the Peace – to be spread; As the Sacrifice – to be offered” – Mother Teresa
Weekly Email E-News from 7/23/17:
At ‘The Church of the Open Door”, aka The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, we were welcomed on a mid-summer Sunday morning by Lynn Brown, our worship leader, as she thanked Elder Gareth Guest for preparing and delivering this morning’s reflection. Announcements were shared, we prayed for understanding and clarity of vision, and we sang “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise” ala Tom McCoy jazz style!
We were led into confession with the words, “Summertime, and the living is easy, or at least maybe easier. But we all need to remember that each of us has a special gift that needs to be nurtured, even in the
summer. It is easy to get busy with the outdoor activities that are only possible
during the summer, but those special gifts and the skills needed to implement
them are really important. God gave us the gift, the rest is up to us.”
We passed the peace, had an offering of special music “Morceau
de Concours” by Gabriel Faure, played by Lynn Brown on the flute and Tom McCoy
on the piano. We sang “We limit not the truth of God…” and read verses from Psalm
139 (1-12, 23-24) responsively. Our offering was received by Susan Jordan and
Wally Becker as the children, Sarah, Brooke, Christopher and Nicholas,
collected quarters for an almost-full goat bank!
Gareth’s reflection followed the Gospel reading from Matthew
(13:24-30 and 36-43) where Jesus told the parable of “The Weeds in the Wheat”.
Gareth asked us to recite together – with conviction! - the words we had sung earlier, suggesting that they are as relevant now as they were when written 450 years ago:
“We limit not the truth of God to our poor reach of mind, by notions of our day and sect, crude, partial and confined. No, let a new and better hope within our hearts be stirred, the Lord hath yet more light and truth to break forth from the word.”
(Anglo-German Psalter, 1556)
In his reflection, entitled “Understanding”, Gareth explained that the crowds were unreceptive to Jesus’ teaching, even heated and confrontational, and so Jesus began to use Parables to speak to the crowds.
When the disciples asked why he did so, he quoted Isaiah, “You will indeed listen but never understand…” Gareth suggested that when we ‘understand’ something, we mean that it makes sense to us and it fits into our day-to-day experience.
Even though Jesus used this story about farming, the people were still not likely to understand. They were amazed to discover that it was not a story about farming but about good and evil in the world. The existence of evil in the world is something that continues to trouble and confound us, and our desire to understand is insatiable! In natural phenomena, there are things that
make sense to us and fit into our daily lives – gravity and weather, for example. A further example was about how electrons make up both particles and waves, which are very different, but which can change from one to the other because of the movement of electrons (something a physicist such as Gareth understands!). Point being, there are some crucial things that we will never understand, how the Resurrection of Jesus took place being one. To believe it is myth or reality is a personal choice, but its impact cannot be denied, and how it transformed the
disciples and Paul; and for those who do believe it is the ultimate good news!
Thanks to Gareth for his reflection! We continued worship by singing the hymn “We
Know That Christ is Raised”, we shared in prayers for each other, our families
and friends, our church, our community, our nation, our world and its leaders.
We prayed The Lord’s Prayer, we sang “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me”, we gathered in a circle for the Benediction, and we heard Tom’s rendition of J.S. Bach’s ‘Courant’ (or ‘Jumping Dance’).
Our Capital Campaign Phase 2 is going well! The exterior work on the manse, and a new roof on the social hall have been completed. The back classroom has been gutted, insulated, and is about to have new sheet rock installed. Interior work continues for the next month. Donations are welcome to complete this work and to accumulate seed money for next year’s phase 3.
Next Sunday, July 30 Elder Susan Jordan will be in the pulpit, with Annie Becker as the worship leader.
On Sunday, August 6, we will gather on Constitution Island for our annual outdoor worship and church picnic.
Weekly Email E-News from 7/17/17:
At First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, it was a sunny July morning full of promise, and Elder Lynn Brown, who presided over the service and gave the reflection, welcomed us to the day. Ana Silverlinck served as Worship Leader, saying that “The dialogue with God which begins with the confession of one’s own failures is not depressing; it is liberating! At last, perhaps even for the first time, we have been honest with ourselves about what we are; and we have been honest with the One before whom there is no deception.” [See today’s Announcements and full text of Prayer of Confession below.]Lynn chose Psalm 23 (“… My cup runneth over…”} as the Responsive Reading and Matthew 20:20-22 (“…You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”) as the Scripture Lesson for her meditation, “Can You Drink the Cup?”. Lynn pointed to a communion cup in front of her that had been broken and repaired as a symbol -- as humans that are broken, can also be repaired. She shared the teaching of Christian writer Henri Nouwen, who, in his book “Can You Drink the Cup”, says that we need to HOLD our cup - look at what our life is; LIFT our cup – share our lives with others in community; and DRINK our cup – live our lives and callings as fully and authentically as possible. The cup of our lives holds sorrow and joy, often both at the same time. She said that his words speak to her today on her own faith journey, and to us as a church family, as we all move forward together into a future quite different than we expected a year ago, in so many ways, on a personal, congregational, community, national, and global level. Last July 16, we were gathered at Norm’s memorial service to celebrate his life. She recognizes that, not only her, but many of us, whose lives were touched by Norm, have had to deal with changes that followed his passing. On a personal note, Lynn stated her appreciation for the support she has received, her sense of both Norm's absence and his presence, and the certainty she has that love is truly stronger than death.
Lynn also noted that our “little church with a big heart” also said farewell to our pastor of 14 years. We are now searching for interim pastoral leadership. But, in this year of loss and living God’s will, we have found joy in the knowledge that we are thriving as a community of faith. The ambitious Capital Campaign, for example, is a reflection of our mission strength and sense of spiritual community. While Lynn expressed the personal importance of “silence, words, and action” in dealing with the recent changes in her life, she was hopeful for the future of the church in its time of transition. Just as each of us have choices in how we respond to inevitable changes that occur in our lives, our church community has lifted our cup of joy and sorrow and is holding it high. To quote Nouwen: “When we listen in silence to God’s voice, and speak with our friends in trust, we will know what we are called to do and we will do it with a grateful heart.”
Tom’s special music in mid-service was Clair de Lune, by Debussy, which he had played on this same day last year during Norm’s memorial service. At the end of the service, after Lynn’s benediction citing Norm’s recorded words on Change, Listening for God, and Acting on Faith, Tom dedicated his rendition of Debussy’s The Girl with the Flaxen Hair to Lynn – for her strength and love and service to our church.
Prayer of Confession: God of compassion, when I hesitate to be with another, strengthen me. When I question the quality of my presence, assure me. When I want to show my worth through action, humble me. When I miss the needs of the one who suffers, awaken me. When I forget the beauty of a loving presence, remind me. When I run away from the call to be there, bring me back.
- The memorial service for Bill Mayer was the previous day, with so many memories to share about his full life provided by church members, fellow professors, and his grateful students. Renne talked about the numerous photos that Bill’s brother had brought and invited attendees to review and take the ones that held meaning for them.
- Prayers of sympathy to the Matero family on the passing of Melanie's Mom.
- The church’s Habitat Build day was yesterday, on July 15. Lynn said our group worked on a house that would be dedicated on August 19, when the owners receive the keys and everyone has a chance to walk through the house. This is the 89th Habitat Build house in Newburgh.
- Don’t forget the August 6th service and picnic at Constitution Island. Postcards were sent out last week with all the details. We meet at the Cold Spring train station (or at church to carpool) at 9:30, and be at the gate at 9:45 to go in. Please bring a salad or side dish to share. Tom will be on vacation and we are excited that Ezra La Fleur has agreed to play keyboard in his stead.
- Lynn thanked the Interim Pastor Search Committee and Session for work done on pulling together the Interim Search documents, which have now been approved by the Presbytery for posting. We should start receiving resumes in the near future for an interim pastor. Yay!
- The Phase II work of the Capital Campaign is well along. Take a peek into the nursery school room that has been completely demo’d. Work on the manse was essentially completed in June, as well as a new roof on the social hall.
- In the pulpit next Sunday, July 23: Elder Gareth Guest.
Weekly Email E-News from 7/10/17:
With Gareth on clarinet and Tom on piano, the service began with a smooth, soft jazz version of “Precious Lord Take My Hand”. Joy Albrecht, as worship Leader, welcomed us and our guest pastor, Rev. Pam Lupfer, and called for announcements (below). After Passing the Peace, Tom and Gareth treated us to another duet -- a medley called “We Walk by Faith” incorporating “Amazing Grace”. Beautiful!
Rev. Lupfer’s responsive reading was Psalm 145:8-14 and scripture lesson was Matthew 11:16-19; 25-30, where Jesus exhorts to his followers, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. He also says “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, …for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Rev. Pam considered, how could Jesus claim this? A yoke commonly would be seen as heavy and being tied to a hard life. But Jesus was calling followers into a new relationship with God; a new life that gives us the gift of God’s grace; and a yoke that is shared by all that do God’s work and feels light to those who follow Jesus’s teachings. Pam postulated that the “yoke” Jesus presented was not one of bondage, but a yoke that connects us to Christ and a life of richest fulfillment.
After prayers for the people and a meaningful, hand-held benediction by Rev. Lupfer, we all sat back down for the postlude. But wait…a surprise performance!!? Carolyn and James Llewellyn marched down the aisle, held up a poster with sing-along words, gave us some instructions on when to join in on the chorus, and then 7-year old James sang several jaunty song verses solo! The congregation performed its part quite well -- “I was made for this…God has a purpose for my life, without a doubt…oh, oh, oh, ohhhhhhhh!”, but James was definitely the star. As the postlude, Gareth and Tom performed their final duet of the morning to much appreciative applause. What a day!
- August 6 – Constitution Island Service and Picnic, a postcard is coming out this week as a reminder. Bring a dish, church providing hot dogs and hamburgers.
- Habitat Workday is Saturday, July 15. There are still a couple of spots available on church team.
- Memorial Service for Bill Mayer on July 15 at 11 am.
- Please weed and water the vegetable garden (Inspiration Garden). No need to request permission in advance. Just do it when you can.
- Joy Albrecht provided the exquisite flowers today, arranged by the new Cold Spring Florist.
- The Capital Campaign Phase II is in progress. The manse work is completed except for a bit more landscaping (new tenants moved in July 23). It looks great! Social Hall roof completed. Nursery school is demo’d. We will give updates as we move along. Donations still needed for this phase as well as Phase III.
- Church office hours are Mondays 8:00 – 11:00, Wednesdays 8:00 – 11:30 and Thursdays 8:00 – 12 noon. If you need to speak to someone at other times please contact Clerk of Session Lynn Brown or email the church (contact info below). There is a Church Care Network to assist members with emergency needs. You may contact Lynn Brown, Joy Albrecht, or one of the Deacons.
Weekly Email E-News from 7/3/17:
We gathered at the Church of the Open Door at our summer
worship time of 10:00 am on this first Sunday in July, welcomed by the Rev.
Rachel Thompson who led us in singing “Happy Birthday” to US, observing the 241st
birthday of our nation. Our call to worship, from the writings of Dag Hammarskjold,
was “Give us a pure heart that we may see thee, a humble heart that we may hear
thee, a heart of love that we may serve
thee, a heart of faith that we may love thee.”
Bev Taylor was our worship leader, who led us into the prayer
of confession, assured us of God’s grace and began passing the peace, which we continued
throughout the sanctuary. Our responsive reading, from Luke 14: 7-11, subtitled ‘Humility
and Hospitality’ laid out the theme for the remainder of the service. Tom
improvised his own “Variations on ‘America’” at the offertory, where Annie and
Wally Becker received the offering and Renee collected quarters for the goat
bank (in the absence of children).
The scripture before the sermon was the very familiar Micah
6:6-8, which includes the words: “What does the Lord require of you, but to do
justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Rachel’s sermon, “The
Task Above My Talents” was introduced as a re-purposed sermon from 4th
of July 2011, thus being a disclaimer that it was not written with any reference
to today’s political situation (however appropriate it seemed), and the title
comes from the words of Thomas Jefferson. Rachel wove biblical teachings about humility, as foundational
in both Judaism and Christianity, with examples from some of our greatest
Presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and John F.
Kennedy) of their awareness of their flaws and their placing the good of the
nation above their own personal gain or power.
She also quoted Christian writer Richard Rohr, who wrote, “I have prayed for
years for one good humiliation a day, and then I must watch my reaction to it.”
Rachel suggested that little humiliations educate us, remind us of our humanity
and fallibility, and may cause us to judge others less. Humility allows us to
act with patience, compassion, care for others, and brings us to our knees
We shared in the sacrament of communion, during which Rachel
was assisted by Ron Sopyla, and Tom improvised on “Let Us Break Bread Together
on our Knees”. We joined hands for the Benediction, which was followed by Tom’s
postlude, an amazing medley, which included (among other works) “Rhapsody in
Blue”, “Linus and Lucy”, “America the Beautiful”, “What Does the Lord Require
of You?”, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and Beethoven’s 5th Symphony.
It was truly remarkable and greeted with thunderous applause!
Rev. Deke Spierling is hosting the Habitat bus tour this Saturday, which is from 10:45-noon in Newburgh. Reservations are required. Contact Lynn Brown.
The Memorial Service for Elder Bill Mayer will be on Saturday, July 15 at 11 am.
There are a few spaces open on our Habitat workday for Saturday July 15, leaving from church at 7:30 am and returning between 12 and 1. Contact Andy Larivee or Lynn Brown or sign up on the bulletin board.
The Session meeting for July is next Sunday, the 9th, following worship.
The Church Luncheon for July is Tuesday the 11th at Juanita's on Main Street in Nelsonville at 12:30. Contact Bev Taylor if you need a ride.
Weekly Email E-News from 6/26/17:
Music Sunday marks the end of the church’s 2016-2017 music season and we were in for a treat. The bulletin’s cover had a Robin Williams' movie quote: “You know what music is? God’s little reminder that there is something else besides us in this universe; harmonic connection between all living beings, everywhere, even the stars.”
Lynn Brown led the service and Tom McCoy directed the full choir and eight musicians playing three flutes, sax, percussion, two violins, two cellos, bass, and piano. Even the hymn selections were about praising God with music. And was there variety! We had Haydn, a South African introit, a bit of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and a jazz rendition of “God Be With You ‘Til We Meet Again”, to name just a few. Tom dedicated the choir’s anthem “Seasons of Love” to Ethan LaFleur, who recently passed away at age 19, and whose brother Ezra honored us by participating in the choir today.
Allie LaRocco, who just graduated from Haldane as class Salutatorian, sang “Blue” by Joni Mitchell. Laura Bach sang “Bist Du Bei Mir” . Tess Dul performed “Sonnet” by Jules Massenet. Each piece and soloist met with well-deserved applause. Tom commented that, despite the unique qualities of each voice, the three soloists did have one thing in common … their voice coach was Linda Speziale, also a member of our church community (not present today). Tom applauded Linda for bringing out the best in her students as evidenced by these artists today.
Lynn – when not playing the flute -- provided continuity in the service by carrying the music theme into the Call to Worship, Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Grace and the Responsive Reading. Her Meditation began with a Joyce Rupp reflection about a musician who stated “I have spent many days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” Lynn said that many of us get so preoccupied with the details and busy-ness of our days that we do not sing the songs that God intends be sung through each of us. John Cimino followed with his song “The House I Live In” with lyrics he wrote telling the story of our little church.
Tom McCoy dedicated the choir/ensemble’s rendition of “The Impossible Dream”, featuring John Lane as soloist, to John Cimino for his commitment to this church in putting on fundraising concerts and bringing his considerable vocal talents to the church over the years. John surprised his wife, Rachel, by adding another song to commemorate their 12th wedding anniversary. He sang “Younger than Springtime” from South Pacific, and it was beautiful. After the benediction, Tom finished with a jazz postlude, and we went out into the newly roofed Social Hall to eat trifle, made by Tom’s wife and the church’s unofficial pastry chef, Erica McCoy.
- Andy Reid that all the improvements on the manse came together before the new tenants moved in on June 23. The Social Hall roof was completed as wellsaid. He thanked everyone for continuing to give to the Capital Campaign.
- Lynn stated that our Habitat workday is coming up on July 15. The signup sheet is in the Social Hall. Also, Deke Spierling is taking those who want to go for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” tour of Habitat houses in Newburgh on July 8.
- Church Sunday services will start at 10 am beginning July 2 with Rev. Rachel Thompson in the pulpit.
- The Girl Scout troop thanked the church for allowing them to meet at the church during the school year. They also planted the vegetable garden (Inspiration Garden) to provide fresh vegetables for the Food Pantry over the summer. Anyone who wants to pull weeds or water the garden should feel free to stop by any time.
- Susan Jordan reminded us that the Memorial Service for Bill Mayer will take place on July 15 at 11 am.
- Lynn congratulated the recent graduates, and especially Allie LaRocco, who was at today’s service and was Haldane Class Salutatorian.
- She also thanked Tom and the choir for all their work and bringing us joy throughout the year, as they go into their summer recess.