Weekly Email Archive:
First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown - Sunday January 21, 2018
This morning began with the official announcement of the 189th annual meeting of the congregation, scheduled for next Sunday, January 28, immediately following worship, for the purpose of electing elders and deacons, and receiving the 2017 committee reports. Packets of Annual Reports are available after today's service to take home and read. Other announcements follow below.
Tom and the choir offered the introit "Great is the Lord" and the anthem "Help Us Accept Each Other". Worship Leader Andy Reid led us in the prayer of confession, assurance of forgiveness, passing of the peace, and the responsive reading, from the Book of Jonah 3:1-10.
Rev. Chandler continued her series of introducing the young people to the symbols within the Presbyterian seal by once again showing them her stole (and assuring them that it was not stolen!) and looking in the design at the book, the symbol of the Bible. The young people collected quarters for the goat bank (which is ALMOST FULL!!!!) as James and Silas received the morning offering while Tom played a rousing version of "I'm Gonna Live so God can Use Me".
Rev. Chandler read from the Gospel of Mark (1:14-20), about Jesus calling the first disciples, and then preached on the Jonah story from the responsive reading. She said that the story of Jonah and the whale could be looked at in several ways, for example, as a parable (a story that's got a point), as an allegory (story with hidden meanings) or as historically accurate, and left it up to the individuals to decide how they would view this story. Rev. Chandler gave a re-telling of the story of Jonah and then focused on the last verse, where God changed God's mind and did not bring the threatened calamity to the people of Nineveh. She asked us to consider the questions about whom we might wish the wrath of God to be directed to, and to believe that God is amazing, that God shows up, that God can make things happen, and she pointed to the "Believe" rock, perhaps we can believe that God loves us, that God loves this church, that God is doing something special here. And we sang "Amazing Grace".
We prayed for those who are ill, and for those who have recovered from illness, for traveling mercies for those headed to other parts of the world. We shared the final hymn, "We Are Your People", gathered in a circle for the benediction, and Tom played a lovely improvisation of "The Gift of Love" as the postlude.
- Hannah Bissinger turns 12 this week! We sang Happy Birthday to her!
- Rachel Thompson became a grandmother this week as her son and daughter-in-law in Seattle welcomed daughter Chloe Grace!
- Following the service, we learned that it was Cathy Lim's birthday and sang to her, wishing her well as she travels to Egypt!
- We now have child care for the youngest thru kindergarten available before and during the service.
- There was gratitude shared from Marilyn Schlosser, via her sister Joan, who said how much Marilyn appreciated cards, calls and visits.
- Sunday school teachers are still needed for a few Sundays before the Easter pageant rehearsals begin. And thanks to Diana Geller for taking the lead on the pageant.
- At coffee hour, we were surprised by a quick visit from CJ Geller, traveling through on his way to his next Navy coursework in upstate NY.
"In our lives... in our homes... in our church... in our world, Lord, be glorified today."
Church Notes 1/14/18
Another cold day, but we were warmed by the Prelude played by Lynn Brown on flute and Tom McCoy on piano – “Suite Antique” by John Rutter. Rev. Chandler welcomed us to the service and called for announcements (see below). After the Call to Worship and our Opening Prayer, Andy Larivee, as Worship Leader, led us in our Prayer of Confession and into the Passing of the Peace. The choir’s anthem – “Be Still My Soul”, by Jean Sibelius (music) and Katharina von Schlegel (lyrics) was perfectly lovely, accompanied by Lynn and Tom. Andy then led the Responsive Reading of 1 Samuel 3:1-20, where the boy, Samuel, is called several times by the Lord, but Samuel assumes it is his father in the other room, until Samuel’s father tells his son how to answer God’s call.
In beginning the Youth Sermon Rev. Chandler asked the children if they knew what the name was of the garment that hangs from her neck every Sunday in church. She explained that it is called a stole, and asked them to tell her what they saw on it. They saw a cross, a dove and fire. She explained that when Jesus was baptized, the holy spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove. The children explained to her that the dove also means “peace”.
Rev. Chandler read John 1:43-51, the story of Jesus calling Philip and Nathanael, and she asked the congregation to repeat aloud Jesus’s request to Philip to “Follow me” and then Philip’s invitation to Nathanael to “come and see” Jesus for himself. For the adult sermon, Rev. Chandler told her own story of when she had been called to come to our church. She prayed that people would want to come to our church. Since she has moved to Cold Spring she has been offering an invitation to people she meets that they may want to “come and see” the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown. They may like it or they may not. She gives no sales pitch, no promise of reward. Just “come and see”. Ron Sopyla volunteered that he had heard her say to people, “Come and see what we love.” Are we, as well, offering this invitation for others to drop by and see if this is a place that will suit them, a place they need to be, a place they will love as we do?
For the Prayers of the People, there was a lot of positive prayers: traveling mercies for Joy’s trip, celebration for a family member becoming a new U.S. citizen, a new phase of training and growth. Rachel Thompson mentioned that her brother, who had become mysteriously paralyzed some months ago, was now walking. In the midst of his illness she had told him that our church was praying for him. While mentioning that her brother was never a church-goer, Rachel shared a note he had thought to write to us thanking us for the positive prayers, saying that he was much better, and reminding us to never underestimate the power of positive thoughts. Nice.
After the Benediction, Lynn and Tom had one last treat for us in the Postlude, a serene Bach piece, entitled “Siciliano”. We are praying for more Lynn/Tom duets in our future. Please.
- Joy Albrecht called for all entries for the February-March Newsletter to be submitted to her immediately, as she is going on travel at the end of the coming week and needs to have this done before she goes.
- Food Pantry in need of supplies. This week is ShopRite’s CanCan Sale. Progresso soups are on sale and other canned items. No tomato soup, please.
- Yesterday’s Habitat workday, January 13, went very well. We’ll let you know when the next one is scheduled.
- The Memorial Service for Mary Lou Matthews, friend and former choir member, is taking place in the church today at 1:30 pm, with a reception to follow.
- The third session of the Adult Study Group will take place at 9:00 am next Sunday morning, January 21, focusing on Part 2 of God: A Human History By Reza Aslan. We had a very lively discussion this morning on Part 1.
- Please sign up to be a Sunday School teacher this winter. It is rewarding and sometimes the kids teach you!
- Rene Bailey, who has sung at a number of FPCP Jazz Vespers, recently released a CD. Anyone wishing to hear or purchase it can contact Cathy Carnevale. Copies are $10 apiece.
- The Book Group is meeting for dinner at Cathryn’s at 5:30 pm Monday evening, January 15, with the actual meeting taking place at Cathy Lim’s apartment, 3G, Forge Gate Drive, Cold Spring. There is parking for visitors in front of her apartment and in spaces in the parking lot marked with a “V”. The book is The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Please come whether or not you have read the book and join the discussion.
- Next Sunday, January 21, the Session is meeting after the church service.
- Also next Sunday, we will have the packets available for the Annual Congregational Meeting taking place on January 28. The packets contain annual reports from all the church committees and other information for the annual meeting. Please take the time to read through the packet and bring it with you for the annual meeting.
The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown - January 8, 2018
Another day in the Arctic tundra (aka: Cold Spring) and a large turnout for such a morning of subzero temperatures. Reverend Chandler welcomed us and expressed wonderment that her Alabama-born-and-bred 2004 Ford Expedition ignition actually responded in this cold. Staying on the weather theme, she reminded us that Nor’easters – even in their power and ferocity – harbor a certain beauty if we look for it.
Announcements followed (see below), including a big happy birthday for Tom McCoy, and we were called to worship by Rev. Chandler. Susan Jordan as Worship Leader led us in the Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Grace, the Passing of the Peace, and the Responsive Reading of Isaiah 60:1-6. The Choir sang the Coventry Song, which you may know by the lyrics “Bye, bye, Thou Little Tiny Child / Bye, bye, lullee lullay…” as its anthem.
Rev. Chandler entertained the children during their sermon with a box. She said the wise men brought baby Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. We know there were three gifts but scripture doesn’t tell us how many wise men there were. She asked the children what they might give as a gift to Jesus. They eagerly opened the box that contained a heart, to much excitement and commentary on what this meant!! In a moment they dispersed to collect quarters for goats.
Rev. Chandler, in reading the scripture lesson (Matthew 2:1-12) on the Epiphany for the adult sermon, educated us on the origin of frankincense and myrrh which come from the bark of two different types of trees and what they were used for. They were very expensive and precious, as was gold and, thus, good gifts for this young “king of the Jews”. She also explained that “epiphany” in this context is not an “aha moment” as the term is commonly used now, but is the Christian feast day commemorating principally the visit of the Magi, who were Gentiles, to the Christ child. Thus, this Epiphany, this feast held 12 days after Christ’s birth, signifies that Jesus’s coming was a physical manifestation of God, not just for the Jews, but for all people. Jesus came to make manifest a different way of “being”, Rev. Chandler explained. And the Magi bowed down to him.
Rev. Chandler asked, “who do we bow down to?” “What are you seduced to bow down to?” She probed further asking us to consider, “What do you spend your time on? What do you spend your money on?” In closing, Rev. Chandler exhorted us to come back and see the star as the Magi did. In our daily lives, let’s make sure to “bow down to the thing that matters most.” Alleluia. Amen.
We celebrated Communion, said prayers for the people, and joined hands in benediction. Tom closed with a Postlude that was a jazzy rendition of “We Three Kings of Orient Are” and we walked out to enjoy our friends and neighbors in conversation.
- The monthly church luncheon for January is on Tuesday, January 9 at 12:30 p.m. .All are welcome to gather at the Foundry Café and share in a meal.
- Amy Dul announced another church outing at the Depot Theater with discounted tickets for next Saturday, January 13. Claire Welling, the singer, violinist, pianist and more, has a beautiful, enchanting, lyrical voice and her band – Youth in a Roman Field – will be doing a concert at 7 pm. Tickets are reduced from $25 to $20 for the church. There is also a separate vocal workshop at 4 pm (sit in a circle in the concessions area and learn a part and then sing the harmonies together -- no pressure, all in good fun) with tickets for $15, reduced from $20. Greg's Good Eats Food truck will be outside from 5-7 pm. If you wish to attend one or both events, contact Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lynn Brown announced that our next Habitat workday is Saturday, January 13. Meet at 7:30 am on Saturday to go to Newburgh, Henry Street, to help take down cabinets in a Habitat House. Please sign up ahead of time by emailing the church or Lynn at email@example.com
- The Memorial Service for Mary Lou Matthews, friend and former choir member, is taking place in the church next Sunday, January 14, at 1:30 pm, with a reception to follow.
- The second session of the Adult Study Group resumes at 9:00 am focusing on Part 1 of God: A Human History By Reza Aslan.
- Please sign up to be a Sunday School teacher this winter. It is rewarding and sometimes the kids teach you!
- Renee Bailey, who has sung at a number of FPCP Jazz Vespers, recently released a CD. Anyone wishing to hear or purchase it can contact Cathy Carnevale.
The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, January 2, 2018
Our final worship service of 2017 at The Church of the Open Door, on Sunday, December 31, provided a meditative experience to end the year, culminating in a labyrinth walk. We were warmly welcomed on a very cold but sunny morning by Rev. Doris Chandler. Tom set the tone with his prelude music on the piano, and led the congregation in two opportunities for a "Hymn Sing" to select Christmas Hymns you may not have sung this season, and there were plenty of requests!
Worship leader Lynn Brown led us through the prayer of confession, the assurance of forgiveness, the passing of the peace, and gave a brief tutorial about the process of walking the labyrinth. We shared a reading from Isaiah 61, following which Lynn Brown and Wally Becker received the offering as Tom played "Icarus" inspired by the labyrinth history, and quarters for the goat bank were collected by Lucy and James.
Rev. Chandler opened the prayers of the people with an opportunity for all to share gratitude or concerns from their hearts, to which the congregation responded, "We join in your prayer". Prayers for the New Year, for our world, and the Lord's Prayer were offered, and we sang "Come And Find the Quiet Center", in preparation for the meditation and labyrinth walk. Pastor Doris led the congregation through a guided meditation, which provided for deep breathing, centering, placing all concerns, gratitude and hopes for the new year in our open hands and lifting them up to the Holy One. We shared in silent meditation, and walking the labyrinth with ancient chant music playing in the social hall, and proceeded out to welcome the new year.
In that spirit, we share the prayer from the bulletin cover by Joyce Rupp:
Be not wary of what awaits you as you enter the unknown terrain,
be not doubtful of your ability to grow from its joys and sorrows.
For I am with you.
I will be your Guide.
I will be your Protector.
You will never be alone.”
Guardian of this new year,
I set aside my fears, worries, concerns,
I open my life to mystery, to beauty,
to hospitality, to questions,
to the endless opportunity
of discovering you in my relationships,
and to all the silent wisps of wonder
that will draw me to your heart.
I welcome your unfailing Presence and walk with hope into this new year. Amen."
- We share with the Matthews family in the recent loss of Mary Lou, friend and former choir member of this congregation. She will be remembered on Sunday, January 14 with a memorial service at 1:30 p.m. here in the church, followed by a reception.
- On Sunday, January 7, the Adult Study Group resumes at 9:00 am with a Book Study on "God: A Human History" By Reza Aslan; Sunday School resumes (teacher signup is available); and we will have our regular coffee hour after worship.
- There is a signup for the next Habitat Workday on Saturday January 13. Our 'coins of change' jug for Habitat giving was emptied and we were able to send $200 to Habitat/Presbybuild for a year-end donation. The jug is there every Sunday to collect your loose change!
The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, December 27, 2017
As the year 2017 draws to a close, we are grateful for the many blessings in our lives, and for this community of faith, of which we are a part. Our final worship service of the year at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday December 31, New Year's Eve, will include a meditative labyrinth walk. [Information and photo of last year's New Year's Day labyrinth walk attached]. All are warmly welcomed.
The Church of the Open Door celebrated Christmas in grand style with a standing-room-only crowd, candlelight and spoken word, with carols and with the joyful sounds of praise from the choir and instrumentalists led by of our Director of Music Tom McCoy. Bravo!
December 2017 saw us welcome our new pastor, The Rev. Dr. Doris Chandler, and we look forward to growing together in the new year. Please take the time to introduce yourself to her and welcome her to the community. To contact Pastor Doris, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org and her mailing address is P.O. Box 65 Cold Spring NY 10516.
Thank you to all who so generously share their gifts of financial support, time, talents, energy, and love, on a regular basis both within our doors and out in the world.
Our stewardship drive heard Bruce Geller's call to not only meet our goal but have a vision of what could be if we exceed it! And we did! We are presently at pledges of over $113,000 toward our goal of $110,000, and we know that there are still some pledges to come in! Thank you all for your generosity!
Our facility continues to house the Philipstown Food Pantry and feed those who are in need in our community every Saturday of the year; to be home to the Community Nursery School, a growing and happy place for the very young to learn and grow; and for community groups, such as scouts and AA, to meet regularly.
You may support the church, the Food Pantry, and the Capital Campaign for building improvement by giving online on the church website: www.presbychurchcoldspring.org
Marilyn Schlosser is now recovering from a fall at Wingate at Dutchess 3 Summit Court Fishkill, NY 12524
Room number 227B and her phone is 845-202-5310.She welcomes cards, calls and visits.
- The Sunday morning 9:00 am study group begins a 5-week study of God: A Human History by Reza Aslan on January 7, 2018. All are welcome.
- The January lunch outing, to which all are invited, is Tuesday January 9, at 12:30p.m. at the Foundry Café
- There is a Habitat Workday on Saturday, January 13. Sign up in the church social hall or email the church office email@example.com leaves from church at 7:30 am for Newburgh returns by 1 pm
- The Annual Meeting of the Congregation will take place following worship on Sunday January 28
The Third Sunday of Advent followed our Saturday Evening Jazz Nativity, a fabulous service of music presented by Director of Music Tom McCoy, with gathered guest musicians vocalist Marty Elkins, Gwen Laster on violin, Rob Scheps on sax and flute, Cameron Brown on bass, and Mike LaRocco on drums, with Rev. Doris Chandler leading the service. Many friends from the community joined us, and a festive reception followed.
We were welcomed into Sunday morning's worship with Rev. Chandler's words: "This is a BIG day! And I'm going to get the BEST sermon I will hear", referring to the Sunday School Christmas Pageant!
There were announcements (see below), representatives of the Deacons lit the Advent wreath, and worship leader Amy Dul led us through the Prayer of Confession, the Assurance of Forgiveness and the Passing of the Peace. Rev. Chandler read the "Song of Mary" from the Gospel of Luke 1:46-55 followed by a brief silent reflection. The children received the offering and collected quarters...and filled the tube of the goat bank!
Finally, it was time for the Christmas Pageant: "If We Do It, It Will Work!" The festivities opened with the "Wee Singers", the Nursery thru Kindergarten children, featuring the voices of Gio, Stephano, Eli, and Lucy, singing songs which they had prepared, with the leadership of Lynnette Rajala, Janet Barton, and Bev Taylor.
The Drama opened with God (Cathy Carnevale) and angels Gabriel (Mitch Dul) and Michael (Roy Smith) discussing the game plan for the annunciations about to happen. Filling in for the ailing "Mary" and "Joseph" were gracious last-minute subs Julie Geller and Henry Dul, and Kate Jordan filled in as an angel. (Wishing Elaine and Carolyn Llewellyn a speedy return to health). The Inkeeper was Ryan Duncan, and Brooke Taylor was the Christmas Star. Narrators were Silas Emig, Anya Mercurio and Sophia Taylor; Shepherds were James Llewellyn, Natalie Taylor, Ryan Duncan, and Sophia Taylor and Angels were Sarah Emig, Silas Emig, Anya Mercurio, and Kayla Tangen. Roy Smith also accompanied the two carols which were sung during the pageant on the piano! What a wonderful program, and such a joy to see our children and the cast of all ages presenting the Christmas story!
Kudos to the Pageant Organizer and Director Joy Albrecht and her helpers, who included Sara Dulaney, Karen Tangen, Rachel Emig, Renee Cruikshank, and Carolyn Llewellyn.
The service continued with prayers of the people and The Lord's Prayer, the choir anthem "When He Comes", the Benediction, and Tom's postlude, an original work of his, entitled "Angel Talk".
Our services on Sunday, December 24 include the Fourth Sunday of Advent worship at 10:30 am, and our Christmas Candlelight Carol service with special music at 5:30 pm.
Morning Worship at 10:30 on the First Sunday after Christmas, December 31, will include an opportunity to close out the year of 2017 and prepare for the New Year with a meditative labyrinth walk.
- Concerns were announced for Marilyn Schlosser, still in Westchester Medical Center; Phil Mirabelli (The Larivee's son in law) recovering at home from an accident; the Matthews Family in the loss of Mary Lou last week.
- There was thanks expressed for Tom McCoy's musical leadership of the Jazz Nativity and the upcoming Christmas Eve special music! Also, for those who had decorated the sanctuary this past week, so that our special services are graced with wreaths, garlands, lights, and a beautiful Christmas tree, thanks to Annie and Wally, Betsy, Susan, Linda and John!
- Gratitude for the generosity of the congregation in pledging to the stewardship campaign, now at $107,000 of our goal $110,000. Pledge card is attached if you still need one, and remember that we now have on-line giving through the church website: www.presbychurchcoldspring.org
- The Sunday morning 9:00 am Adult Study resumes on January 7, 2018 with a book study on "GOD: A Human History" by Reza Aslan
- The monthly book club will meet on Monday, January 15, 2018 at 7 pm, at Cathy Lim's home to discuss "The Book Of Joy" by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama.
- The Annual Congregational Meeting has been set for Sunday January 28, 2018, following the worship service.
The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown - December 11, 2017
On the morning after our first snowfall of the winter, there was a lot going on at The Church of the Open Door!
Even before worship began, there was a bustle of activity with the Adult Study Group meeting, Choir rehearsing, pageant rehearsal preparations and set-up for our celebration luncheon!
We were welcomed to worship by Rev. Doris Chandler on her second Sunday with us, and we also welcomed Elder Bruce Mather. from the Beacon Presbyterian Church, who represented the Hudson River Presbytery Commision on Ministry in presiding over a Dedication of Rev. Chandler's Stated Supply Ministry with us.
Tess Dul was the worship leader, and she called for announcements (See below) which included birthday wishes for her dad, Mitch, as well as Maude Kahrs and Mona Smith.
Members of the Session came forward to light the advent wreath for the second week, the candle of peace. Tom and the choir (still growing!) shared "Star Child" as the Introit, and "Lo, How A Rose E'er Blooming" (complete with a jazz interlude) for the Anthem. The responsive reading was Isaiah 40:1-11, also led by Tess Dul.
Rev. Chandler gave the Youth Sermon to a small group of children, who were in the sanctuary while the rest of the young people were out rehearsing for next week's pageant. She brought them up to the Advent Wreath, and reminded them of last week's youth message to look for "O's" reminding them of the One who is coming. They looked at the Advent Wreath from underneath and traced the "O" shape of it, as Rev. Chandler explained that it goes around and around and never stops, just like the love of God. The Offering was received by Annie Becker and Susan Jordan, while Lucy, Christopher and Nicholas collected quarters for the goat bank.
Rev. Chandler read two scripture passages, Mark 1:1-8 and Psalm 85: 1-2 and 8-13, and gave her sermon. She spoke about the 189th Anniversary of this church, and how she is learning the history. A quote by Marcel Proust was shared: " Remembrance of the past is not necessarily remembering things as they were." As an example of this, she gave examples of some reports of the decade of the 1950's as a "sweeter era", an "innocent time" while segregation, the civil rights movement, the cold war and communism were bubbling up in less than sweet or innocent ways. Relating the Proust quote and Psalm 85, Rev. Chandler spoke about how "Surely" there will be something new and better, a grand restoration. We can take our celebratory days and be excited about this church, the light and love and presence in this community. In this moment in time, we can lean forward; keep traditions that bear merit, and also be open to something new. God in the flesh is on the way; God wants to do a new thing in our midst. This building is beautiful but it's not God; it's a means of grace, a place for the beloved community to come together and to be sent out into the world to serve with reckless abandon. God will go where God will go. May WE go with God! Amen.
In our prayers of the people, we observed the 5th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Shootings this week, with "A Litany on the Tragedy of Gun Violence". We also remember in our prayers Phil Mirabelli, who is the son-in-law of Andy and Sandy Larivee, husband of their daughter Rita. Phil was severely injured in a hit and run accident this week. He will have a long recovery, and needs our prayers. Please keep Marilyn Schlosser in your prayers. She took a fall last week.
The postlude was shared by Tom and a few choir members, doing a "mini flash mob" of "Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord" from "Godspell"
A fabulous celebration pot luck luncheon was held following the service. Thanks to all who contributed to the feast!
- Rev. Chandler's local mailing address is P.O. Box 65 Cold Spring, NY 10516 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
- The monthly church luncheon is this Tuesday, December 12 at 12:30 p.m. at The Depot Restaurant.
- Our Jazz Nativity is this Saturday, December 16, at 5:30 p.m. and features vocalist Marty Elkins and instrumentalists Rob Scheps, Cameron Brown, Mike LaRocco and the marvelous Tom McCoy!
- We are grateful for the generosity shown by our pledges for 2018! We now have 28 pledges at over $100,000! Help us meet our goal of 35 pledges and $110,000 this month!
- Our Sunday School Christmas Pageant, with a cast of all ages, is next Sunday, December 17 during our 10:30 a.m. worship service. Don't miss it!
- Sunday, December 24 we will have a 10:30 a.m. worship service for the 4th Sunday of Advent, and our Christmas Candlelight Service with special musical guests with be at 5:30 p.m.
- Remember to check out our website, www.presbychurchcoldspring.org where we now have online giving to the church, the food pantry, and the capital campaign!
Rachel spoke of having reflected this week on gravity and how it surrounds us and holds us, not unlike God, who holds us lovingly in place, grounding us, rooting us, and she came to the conclusion that we who are 'older and saggier' are, therefore, moving closer to God! Hmmm...
Rachel called for announcements (see below) at the conclusion of which Annie Becker took the floor to speak about the last 8 months and how some people wondered how things would work moving forward until we had a new pastor. Annie recounted that things flowed so smoothly without ever missing a beat, and on behalf of the Worship & Arts committee of Session, presented flowers to Lynn Brown, Susan Jordan and Rachel Thompson, all of whom have gone above to have our Sunday worship continue seamlessly, and the congregation responded with a standing ovation!
The choir sang an introit "Rejoice, Give Thanks, and Sing" after which Rachel led us in the Call to Worship and Opening Prayer, and we sang our opening hymn, "I Am Who I Am, I Will Be Who I Will Be". Worship Leader Susan Jordan led us in the Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Grace, the sung response, "In The Lord I'll Be Ever Thankful" and the passing of the peace. There was a brief stewardship update from Lynn Brown (see below), and then Tom and the choir presented the Anthem, "Come Bless Ye The Lord" by Telemann.
In another unique manner of dividing for the responsive reading (of very familiar 1 Corinthians 13), Rachel had the odd numbered verses read by "short people" those 5'6" and under, and the even verses by those over 5'6".
The Youth Sermon was given by Lynn Brown, who showed the children the worship bulletin and pointed out how many times the words "Thanks", "Thankful" "Praise" "Grateful" and the like occurred. They spoke of this week's Thanksgiving holiday, and then Lynn shared the cover of a card which read, "If the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'Thank you' that would be enough". Together, they said "Thank you" and "Thank you, God", and had a prayer. Ryan Duncan and Elaine Llewellyn received the offering as the other children collected quarters for the goat bank project of Heifer International. The young people exited to prepare for the Christmas Pageant (to be presented on December 17), and the service continued.
For the scripture lesson, part 1, Annie Becker read Psalm 78:23-25 about how the skies opened and rained down manna, bread from heaven, on the Israelites. Rachel gave part 1 of the sermon, "Bread of Angels", speaking about the complaining Israelites, and Moses praying for their relief, with the miracle of the life-sustaining grain, the life-saving blessing of the bread of angels!
Part 2 of the sermon began with Annie reading from Numbers 11:4-9, about how a few years later, the Israelites complained that all they ever got was manna, and why couldn't they have something else to eat? Rachel's sermon continued to speak about how the Christianity she grew up in was very 'lukewarm' with emphasis on the New Testament scriptures, and being polite, showing loving-kindness. She spoke of drifting from the church for many years until later, as an adult, studying the Old Testament scriptures at Union Seminary, with scholar Phyllis Tribble, and being drawn in by them. They showed that life was not smooth, seamless or perfect; it was something we could identify with, including the complaining about manna, when we want something different than that which is the abundance of our lives. "Ya gotta love us!" Rachel said, and continued, "God does!" It is possible to be a Christian, follow the path of Jesus and not be perfect; to do our best, to accept and have compassion for ourselves and others.
Rachel closed her sermon with "...and let's talk about ministers. I hope that you all realize that being a parish minister is an almost impossible job! Expectations are high. Projections are strong. And the very job description calls for completely different kinds of people!" She proceeded to mention some of the qualities and expectations: scholarly, reflective, well-read, smart, be inspired and inspire others, be theologically and biblically literate; be a dreamer, an excellent writer of sermons; a practical and responsible person, as what amounts to the head of a small business overseeing staff and financial matters, an administrator. She needs to be open, compassionate, caring, willing to take time to get to know people, and at the same time set boundaries and take care of herself, and let's not forget about being a tireless worker for the justice of all humankind! No one, Rachel said, is brilliantly talented at all of these diverse activities; plus no one has the TIME to do all these things well."
Rachel continued, "Next week, we welcome our new minister, Doris Chandler. The search committee has done a wonderful job and are very enthusiastic about Doris. Expectations are high. I believe that she will be a wonderful fit for this congregation. And, though she brings many gifts, I suspect she's not perfect. I suspect she's a human being who will do her best within the constraints of her life and her time. I predict we will love her because of her humanity and not in spite of it. And I predict that she will love us in our imperfections as well.
And in conclusion, "It's all about love, friends. God loved Moses and the querulous Israelites. Moses loved the Israelites even though they drove him nuts. God loves us, in all our humanity. This church doesn't need to be perfect or even pretend we're perfect. This church just needs to show up, with our whole selves, the light and the dark, and put our arms around each other, to love God and each other, and to move on down the road, heading the best we can toward that distant horizon of perfection, the Promised Land. Amen.
We sang, "O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee", We shared prayers of joy for Karen Tangen's new grandson James, for special moments with children that touch our hearts, for the marriage of Adrienne and Brian; thanksgivings for Tom and the choir, for old and new friends, and concerns for Susan's grandnephew Brayden, for Rachel's brother John, and for Rev. Chandler's dogs Pete and Cole. We sang "Let All Things Now Living", we joined hands for the benediction, and Tom ushered us out with Cesar Franck's "Bread of Heaven".
- Next Sunday, December 3, is the first Sunday of Advent: We welcome our new pastor The Rev. Dr. Doris Chandler in worship at 10:30 with communion; there is an Adult Study Class for Advent at 9 am; and group tickets to "Steel Magnolias" at the Depot Theatre at 3pm. Let Joy know if you plan to attend as we need to book tickets and will receive a discounted rate.
- Stewardship Update: Towards our goal of 35 pledges and a total of $110,000, we began the day at 14 pledges and just over $50,000. Today in our worship service we received new pledges and now have 19 pledges and a total of $72,000. Please join our church family by adding your support. Estimate of Giving card attached.
- Book Group meeting at Susan Jordan's home on Monday Dec. 4 at 7 pm for discussion of Anne Lamott's "Traveling Mercies". Bev Taylor has an extrabook if you need one.
- Order forms for Christmas flowers, of red poinsettias, or white cyclamen, were in the bulletin and are attached. Due by Dec.10.
- Our church anniversary, new pastor, and dedication of pledges will be celebrated at a pot luck luncheon after worship on Sunday December 10. Plan to stay and bring a dish to share.
- Our Jazz Nativity will be on Saturday Dec.16 at 5:30 pm. Don't miss it! Festive reception to follow!
- Carolyn Llewellyn mentioned a local meeting about a possible cell tower, this Tuesday 11/28 at 7:30 pm in the Philipstown Town Hall.
Bruce Geller welcomed us to Stewardship Sunday and asked for announcements (see below). One announcement was BIG NEWS. Lynn Brown and the Pastor Search Committee (see ANNOUNCEMENTS) presented the chronology of steps that had been taken to reach a final decision on our new pastor. And just this week, the Presbytery had unanimously approved our terms of call and the acceptance of our new pastor, the Rev. Dr. Doris Chandler, into the presbytery. (See attached photo and bio as well as a letter to the congregation from her). Everyone erupted with cheers and applause!! The choir sang an introit, we shared in the Call to Worship, Opening Prayer and Hymn "Come Sing, O Church in Joy"!
Next, Julie Geller was our able Worship Leader and led us through the confession and assurance of forgiveness into the Passing of the Peace. Bruce then talked to us about stewardship. He spoke about the vitality of our church and that we are not pledging our hard-earned money just “to keep the lights on” in the church. Think of all we do as a church community! We need to think in terms of our vision -- what we could do with an increase in church funding? Let’s celebrate a new pastor and a new vision for the church as we move forward. (Estimate of Giving form is attached if you have not yet made a pledge)
Diana Geller led both the Youth Sermon and Adult Sermon. She asked the children what they liked about the church, telling them that this church has been around for 189 years. She described how being “good stewards” helps to keep the church and us together as a community, but also allows us to do good things for others. To the adults, Diana reminded us of all the themes the Browns and Gellers had contrived since 2012, starting with “It’s a Wonderful Church” up to last year’s Micah 6:8 that was Norm Brown’s touchstone Biblical verse. Diana asked the adults what THEY liked about our church, and the stories came in: the progressive dinners, the ribbon project, a funny story or two, the incredible music program, the highly successful capital campaigns that gave us the Fellowship Hall in 1967 and the physical plant improvements of the past two years, Leslie’s special services, how welcomed a new church member felt when she came to the church, Riverview luncheons, and mission activities that provide an even greater sense of church community. And, oh, so much more.
Diana recalled the old TV show “This is Your Life” that celebrated a person’s life story. She then held up a book she had made, entitled “This is Your Church” where she hopes to capture a lot of these church stories. In closing, Diana said we knew we had a good match with Rev. Chandler when she described Micah 6:8 as her “scriptural plumb line for considering churches seeking a pastor.” So, here’s to more memories to come. We sang "Blest Be The Tie That Binds", shared our prayers of joys and concerns, sang our closing hymn "God Bless Your Church with Strength" and we held hand for the benediction, in which Lynn repeated the final words of the hymn: "May justice be our aim, and kindness ours to share, in humbleness o may we walk, assured our God is there".
Tom introduced the postlude, by Brahms, by first playing Brahm’s Lullaby (everyone’s first song, no?) and mentioned that Brahms was criticized in his day for not writing good melodies. The postlude, of course, was lovely and we walked into Fellowship Hall humming its melody.
Our new pastor, the Rev. Dr. Doris Chandler, starts on December 1 and is first in the pulpit on December 3. The Interim Pastor Search Committee (which eventually became the Stated Supply Search Committee), led by Lynn Brown, gave the entire story of the search, begun back in March, for a pastor. It was quite a journey, but culminated in the best match for our church and a sterling choice. Annie thanked the Search Committee -- Lynn, Ron Sopyla, Diana Geller, Bev Taylor, and Gareth Guest -- for its long hours of work on behalf of the health and well-being of our church, which was met with much appreciative applause.
In celebration of Rev. Chandler’s first day, Amy Dul is giving us discounted tickets to see Steel Magnolias at the Philipstown Depot Theater for the 3rd of December at 3 pm. Reserve yours now by contacting Joy Albrecht at email@example.com
On Sunday, December 10, we will have a celebration Pot-Luck luncheon following worship. The celebration will be in honor of our new Pastor, celebrating the 189th anniversary of the church, and the dedication of our pledges. Bring your favorite dish to share and invite your friends!
Update on Stewardship: as of Sunday November 19, we are almost halfway to our goal for pledges. We have received 13 pledges totaling about $50,000. Attached is an estimate of giving card which you may return by email or mail to the church at 10 Academy Street, Cold Spring, NY 10516. Help us to reach our goal of 35 pledges and $110,000 by December 10!
The Worship and Arts Committee will meet after church on December 3rd.
The Food Pantry had its Thanksgiving Give-Away yesterday. 38 families received Thanksgiving dinner supplies. It was a great success with both the Garrison and Haldane School Districts dropping off food from their food drives, plus FoodTown had been setting packages of Thanksgiving dinner supplies – minus the turkey – for $10 and the Food Pantry received 22 of these. The Girl Scouts helped with the Give-Away.
Renee mentioned that the Food Pantry needs contributions of rice.
Carolyn Llewellyn spoke about a Nelsonville community meeting this week related to cell towers, and encouraged people to attend: Monday at 7:30 pm in the Nelsonville Village Hall. If you live in the villages of Cold Spring or Nelsonville, please sign the petitions that Carolyn brought with her.
There is a book club meeting on Monday, December 4, at Susan Jordan's home, discussing Ann Lamott's "Traveling Mercies".
The Mid-November-Mid-January Newsletter (attached) came out today!!! It has an insert on Rev.Dr. Chandler. The newsletter, the insert, and a letter to the church from Dr. Chandler are all attached to these Church Notes.
Christmas Pageant rehearsals began today! The children were excited to learn what they will be doing. Joy put out another request this past week for volunteers to assist, as she organizes this wonderful event, entitled "If We Do It, It Will Work". Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
November 12, 2017
It was a chilly Sunday morning, November 12, 2017, at The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, when Ana Silverlinck (assisted by son River) welcomed us, asked for announcements (see below), and introduced our returning guest preacher The Rev. Jennifer Kottler. A special welcome to Barry and Jean Llewellyn, new residents of Cold Spring, and a warm welcome back to Barbara Harrington who has been homebound.
Tom and the choir shared an introit, "I Love You, Lord", Rev. Kottler led us in the Call to Worship and Opening Prayer and we sang :God Is Here" for our opening hymn. We shared in confession, assurance of grace, and the passing of the peace.
Tom began playing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of The Year!" and Lynn Brown, Diana Geller, Julie Geller and Bruce Geller, aka The Stewardship Team, came forward. Lynn began our 'Time for Stewardship' by announcing that it IS the most wonderful time of the year! A time to celebrate all the wonderful things about our church and to make our own commitment to support the life and work of the church in 2018! There was a survey distributed for people to complete (Attached) to share memories about our church and what makes you feel like 'family' here. Lynn spoke of how mission work connects us, specifically living and working with others for a week in Nicaragua and truly becoming family. Bruce spoke about the church family embracing and reaching out to son CJ in the Navy. Julie spoke about being at a Christmas ornament swap when someone gave her an ornament to use when she didn't have one, and that generosity has stuck with her for years. Diana spoke about when they were in the adoption process and needed to include in their portfolio a photo of a large group of their family, smiling, and one Sunday morning everyone in the church came forward to be in the photo, as family. What's YOUR best memory? Please fill out the attached "This Is Your Church" survey. You may email it back to the church or to Lynn email@example.com or to Diana firstname.lastname@example.org There is also an estimate of giving card for supporting the church by pledging money, time and talents, which you may return to church on Sunday or email to the church at email@example.com
The choir anthem, "Bless The Lord, My Soul" by J.S. Bach, was introduced with a brief music lesson from Tom, in how the two separate parts work together - a harmony of voices, where each part is independent yet blended, an example of God's will on earth. Tom also reminded us that it's been said that when you sing, you pray twice, and we were graced with the lovely anthem.
Our Responsive Reading was Psalm 27, following which Rev. Kottler invited the children forward for the Youth Sermon. She asked "What Are You Afraid Of?" and the children shared their thoughts. Jen explained that the words "Do Not Be Afraid" are repeated more than any others in the Bible, talked with the children about trusting God and shared a prayer with them. The children collected quarters for the goat bank as Elaine and James Llewellyn received the offering and Tom played "Come Build A Church".
The children left for Sunday School, and Rev. Kottler read the Gospel lesson, Matthew 14:22-33 from Eugene Peterson's "The Message". It told the familiar story of Jesus walking on water to the disciples in a boat, and of Peter's attempt to walk out to Jesus on the water, but ended up sinking. In the sermon, entitled "What Are You Afraid Of?" Jen spoke about the fear that our media and our society creates and perpetuates, and how it was fear that caused Peter to sink...that he tried so hard, being faithful and fearful at the same time, and so easy for us to relate to! Our own fear can sometimes motivate us to do something, and can also paralyze us at times. Jen shared with us an excerpt of an essay by Tony Kushner "Despair is a Lie We Tell Ourselves" from a collection "The Impossible Will Take A Little While" It was encouraging us to act from the heart, to be a beacon for justice and equality; to, as Christians, do the work of Jesus in the world...to join hands to heal the brokenness in our hearts and in the world. Jen told us that the miracle in the gospel story was not walking on water, the miracle was that Peter was able to respond to Jesus' call and step out of the boat. We can do anything that God is calling us to do. We responded by singing "Called As Partners in Christ's Service".
We shared prayers, for Ron Meek, Gavin's father, and the family; for John Thompson, Rachel's brother, in his illness; for those still trying to recover from hurricane disaster; and gratitude for the search committee and the future of our church. We sang "Take My Life", we held hands in a circle around the room for the benediction and Tom closed the service with a lively Chopin Mazurka.
Both Gareth Guest and Carolyn Llewellyn spoke about community meetings this week related to cell towers, and encouraged people to attend: Wed, 11/15 at 7 pm in the Haldane School Auditorium and Monday 11/13 at 7:30 pm at the Philipstown Rec. Center.
The monthly church lunch is this Tuesday, 11/14 at 12:30 at Café Maya. All are welcome. Call Bev Taylor if you need a ride.
There is a book club meeting on Monday, December 4, at Susan Jordan's home, discussing Ann Lamott's "Traveling Mercies".
The newsletter deadline is upon us! The Mid-November -Mid January newsletter will come out next Sunday November 19. Contact Joy Albrecht if you have something to share.
Christmas Pageant rehearsals will begin next Sunday, November 19 and volunteers are requested to assist Joy as she organizes this wonderful event: "If We Do It, It Will Work" contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Joy thanked all who contributed to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Clean Up Buckets. We have 16 buckets to deliver for distribution to those in need of disaster relief help.
Church Notes 11/5/17
Susan Jordan was in the pulpit on this cool fall day, although Joy Albrecht actually began the service with a slew of announcements (see below). Cathy Carnevale, as Worship Leader, reminded us that it was time for us to elect our “humble servants” whose campaigns often do not focus on who they are serving, but themselves. We, as disciples, make the same missteps in our lives, as we confessed in our Prayer of Confession.
Tom gave us a lesson on “polyphony” (many voices) and the fugue (“one voice hands off to another voice creating a swirling effect”) as introduction into a 16th century anthem and fugue by Wm. Byrd. The choir’s rendition of “Lord Jesus Christ Be Present Now” was nothing short of superb. We need more fugues in our future.
Ron Sopyla gave a mesmerizing story for the Children’s Sermon about a little girl called Gathering Flowers. The children, uncharacteristically quiet, heard how this little girl wandered into the forest and encountered a family of very tiny people called deekatoos, who invited her to their tiny rock home (they shrank her first!) and served her strawberry soup from a pot that automatically replenished itself. In the end the tiny people granted all the little girl’s very kind wishes: 1) to see good in everyone, 2) to never hurt anyone, and 3) to have the always-full pot of strawberry soup so she could feed anyone who was hungry. Ron rewarded the children for sitting quietly with a bowl of fresh strawberries!!
Susan’s sermon, “Do You Want to Stand Out? Then, Step Down” was based on Eugene Peterson’s translation of Matthew 23:1-12, where Jesus is talking to his disciples saying, “The religion scholars and Pharisees are competent teachers in God’s Law. You won’t go wrong in following their teachings on Moses. But be careful about following them. They talk a good line, but they don’t live it.” Susan explained that Jesus is calling the Pharisees hypocrites and phonies who are talking the talk, but not walking the walk. They are not teaching people that what matters is in their hearts. They are not showing people how they should live. Jesus continues to caution the disciples to remember that God is their only Father, and God is the only authority they must follow. Jesus cautions the disciples to not weigh people down with rules, and “don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them.” Instead, Jesus advises that if “you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant… if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.”
We celebrated communion with Susan inviting all of us to the table. We came together with hands held for the Benediction. Then Tom played the theme from the 1986 film, The Mission, by composer Ennio Morricone, which brought tears to some eyes. Then, we walked out into Fellowship Hall to enjoy cookies, pumpkin bread, and each other.
- The next Lunch Bunch is scheduled for November 14, 12:30 PM at Café Maya in Fishkill.
- The Book Group will meet as Susan Jordan’s house on December 4. The new book selection is Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott. The time for the gathering will be given in next week’s announcements and in the upcoming Newsletter.
- Joy announced that the November-December Newsletter is slightly delayed because she was on travel, but we should have it in hand by next Sunday. If you have any last-minute items to give her, please get them to her in the next couple of days.
- The children were photographed today for the newspaper in making the Cleanup Buckets for Puerto Rico hurricane victims.
- Diana Geller stayed home today suffering from an ear-related injury sustained when hiking. We are all praying she experiences a speedy recovery!!
- If anyone finds themselves without Thanksgiving Day plans, please contact Joy and she will connect you up with someone who would love to have an extra guest at their table.
- The Food Pantry is still in need of cocoa and soup (not tomato) whether in cans or dry. If you cannot drop it at the church during hours when the church is open, you can leave it at the front door of the church (if non-perishable) or on Sara Dulaney’s porch (please call Sara at 914-443-4723 to get her address and let her know you are coming.
- As Tuesday is election day, Ana Silverlinck offered to drive people to their polling station after 5 pm, if anyone needs a ride (Phone: 917-279-1831). Others in the church can help, as well, so dial someone. EVERY VOTE COUNTS!!
- Joy Albrecht is organizing the Christmas Pageant and asks for your help. She provided the following information regarding plans and needs –
The First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown, October 22, 2017
Janet Rust welcomed us to church on this beautiful and unseasonably warm October morning and called for announcements (see below). Rev. Joe Gilmore, our guest preacher, called us to worship asking God to “Let wisdom gather in this hour…” Janet led us in the Prayer of Confession and Passing of the Peace. After the choir’s upbeat anthem “Folk Hymn Tapestry”, Ana Silverlinck started the Youth Sermon off with a question – “how many of you have gone on a hike?” She explained that Moses went on a long hike up a mountain and came down with a heavy stone with writing from God telling us how to live as good Christians. Ana had written out a simplified 10 commandments for the young children and proceeded through them – “take at least one day to check in with God, love God, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t give in to the “want” monster …” Quite a message. Greg and Roy Smith received the offering while the children collected quarters for the goat bank and Tom reprised the opening hymn "Morning Has Broken".
Reverend Gilmore’s scripture lesson (selections from Genesis 3) and sermon took the adults in a different direction. The story of Eve taking the God-forbidden fruit, after the serpent told her she would not die but would gain wisdom, is not a story about humans being tossed from the Garden because they could not obey God’s will. It is, however, a story about choice. “Choice” should at the beginning of the story of humankind because choice is necessarily where life begins. The gates of possibility open; depending on the choices we make, which shape our lives, and can open our eyes to wisdom. In the story, Eve, who lovingly shared the apple with Adam, chose to take the bridge from the Garden where she could have lived a perfect “today” over and over again. Instead, she chose to see the unknown and unpredictable series of tomorrows where every choice had consequences. Joe shared a poem about bridges by Nan Cohen (see below) and concluded that the wise storyteller in Genesis 3 is really giving us insights into the lovely and necessary courage that humans have to make choices, just as Jesus did again and again with his own life.
We prayed for our friends and our fears, finishing with a somewhat different Lord’s Prayer from The New Zealand Prayer Book. Tom’s postlude included "Comfort, Comfort Ye, My People"; Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, Yankee Doodle Dandy, thrown in just for fun, and concluded with "How Can I Keep from Singing?"
Rose Champlin is grateful for get well cards, flowers, rides, and prayers.
JAZZ VESPERS RETURNS THIS WEEK!!!!! On Saturday, October 28, at 5:30 pm Sheila Jordan is back at Jazz Vespers. She is joined by Tom McCoy on piano, Cameron Brown on bass, Tony Jefferson on drums, and Rob Scheps on sax. Sheila always brings so much energy to her performances and we look forward to her concerts. Our own Annie Becker is leading the service! Join us.
If you have made a pledge to financially support the church for 2017, we THANK YOU! We also ask you, as we are in the 4th quarter of the year, to be sure to keep it up to date. If you have not pledged, we encourage you to support the ministry of this church, which you can do with an online donation as well, at our website www.presbychurchcoldspring.org scroll down the home page and click the "Donate" button.
Andy and Sandy Larivee’s third grandchild, Ryan Caleb, was born earlier this month. Congratulations!!
Dave Llewellyn’s parents, Barry and Jean, are in the process of moving to Cold Spring. We look forward to welcoming them!
The Food Pantry is in need of cereals (any kind) and soups, but not tomato soup.
We sang a rousing Happy Birthday to Bev Taylor who celebrated her birthday on Saturday.
Tom welcomed Sebastian Von Domele, a distinguished visitor and organist from the Netherlands, who was visiting his son and Cold Spring resident, Aldo.
A Walk/Run for Breast Cancer is being held today at the Haldane School track. Many from FPCP are taking part. Mona Smith, who had just done 30 laps (6 miles) before coming to church, reminded us of people in our community dealing with this disease. A container is in the Fellowship Hall for donations.
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.
Thanks to those who worked at Habitat in Newburgh over the weekend.
The deadline for newsletter articles is October 25. Please send info to Joy Albrecht. email@example.com
The Adult Study group completed a study series 'Christians and Racial Justice' on October 15, but is continuing conversation and exploring ways to make a difference. The discussion continues next Sunday at 9 am.
In the pulpit next Sunday, October 29: Rev. Rachel Thompson.
And finally, the poem which Rev.Joe Gilmore shared with us:
“The simplest of bridges, a promise
that you will go forward,
that you can come back.
So you cross over.
It says you can come back,
So you go forward.
But even if you come back
then you must go forward.
I am always either going back
or coming forward. There is always
something I have to carry,
something I leave behind.
I am a figure in a logic problem,
standing on one shore
with the things I cannot leave,
looking across at what I cannot have.”
(“Girder”, Nan Cohen, from “Rope Bridges)
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.