Weekly Email Archive:
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 email@example.com
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.