June

June 2019

Dear Friends:

We are poised for the mighty transforming wind of the Holy Spirit as the Day of Pentecost is fast upon us! We choose to look forward with hope while firmly grounded in our faith. We trust God in Christ to be present with us for God’s presence is our stability. I was curious about the source of the oft repeated proverb or phrase which pops up in various forms: If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans.  This is what I found in an article by Saul Levine in Psychology Today:

“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.” Despite our most careful planning, the Road of Life is unpredictable. We might have driving and destination strategies but scenic new vistas might beckon us or unforeseen roadblocks can deter us. 

     Our best-laid plans in life can be upended by unexpected changes, which could be either disappointing or exhilarating. Personal or other setbacks, losses of loved ones, illnesses or accidents, broken hearts or tortured souls, are not uncommon occurrences in our lives. On the other hand, fate can provide unanticipated good fortune or heartening experiences.* 

So, you notice I shared more than just the source of the adage! Saul spoke of it so well I borrowed his words. 

When Tom and I first connected with the Pastor Nominating Committee of Hammond PC and fell in love with them (Lisa Gallagher, Jennifer Gardner, Allison Barrigar, Jackie Washburn, Bridget Sherman), the church, the people, and the geography we knew we would be considering what might be a place for us for many years to come. As you know by now our plans have changed as to longevity here and we will soon be relocating to Gowanda, NY. I will begin a new call with the First Presbyterian Church as of July 1. Exactly three years since I began ministry with Hammond. The Hammond Presbyterian Church is poised for something new and wonderful with current elder and deacon leadership in place and a new pastor to come in God’s time and, manifestation. 

Thusly, it seems appropriate that we all celebrate this transition on June 9, the Day of Pentecost. Please make every effort to attend morning worship on June 9 as we focus our thoughts, energies, worship, praise, thanksgiving, and celebration on the presence and inspiration of Holy Spirit. The morning will begin with a prelude of drumming from 10:00 AM to 10:30 AM. The color of the day is red, so please, come dressed either in red or accessorized in red! You are welcome to join in the drumming as you arrive. The church drums will be available and of course you may bring your own percussion instruments! During the service the Deacons will be recognizing congregation members with the annual Deacons’ Awards. Drumming will close out the service as we make our way to the pavilion for the Annual Picnic. Please bring food to share if you are able. If not, please come anyway! The Deacons will be providing hamburgers, hot dogs, and beverages.

At the close of our time together on June 9, I will have completed my responsibilities to you as your pastor and will no longer be providing pastoral services or functioning in that capacity during the remaining days as Tom and I pack up our belongings and prepare to depart. The movers will arrive June 20. You are welcome to check in on us, say hello, see how we are doing in that process! It would be helpful to us to not be left completely alone during that time, but according to our presbytery policy on leave taking by a pastor, I will not be serving as your pastor in any function. That still gives us freedom to communicate during our remaining days in Hammond. 

If you are in need of pastoral care or services, please contact your clerk of session, Lynn DeCondo 

and she will make the connections to fulfill your need. You are not left comfortless!!

Part of our hope is that during the weeks between the conclusion of my ministry here on the 9th and the beginning of my ministry in Gowanda in July, I will engage in some health recovery time. My Celiac Disease is being managed well and I am noticing a difference. Soon I will complete the steroid treatment for the autoimmune hepatitis and will have testing done to determine the success of that treatment alongside the ongoing medication to support my liver. I can highly recommend the physicians who have cared for me here, so if you need references for a rheumatologist and a gastroenterologist I am happy to give them. They ARE present in the North Country!!

Tom joins me in thanking you for your love, acceptance, sharing in ministry for the three years we have been together, and for supporting us in our new call. You are being blessed and you are a blessing. God is making the way clear in Hammond and for each of us.

Love and peace,

Evon

  Resource: *Saul Levine M.D., is Professor Emeritus in Psychiatry at the University of California at San Diego https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/our-emotional-footprint/201602/man-plans-and-god-laughs 

Y12SR

Y12SR

Tuesdays

6:30 PM-8:00 PM

In the Chapel!

Jackie has returned to provide a weekly Y12SR program!! Each Tuesday evening in June, July, and August from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM a Yoga- 12 Steps to Recovery program will be held in the chapel. Jackie provided this program a few times last summer and all who attended found it to be very helpful. Please share the news and come if you think it might be helpful to you!! If you want to try it out and do not have a yoga mat there are a limited number of mats from which one might borrow.

Al Anon Family Group

 Al Anon Family Group

Wednesdays

9:30 AM-10:30 AM

In the Dining Hall

When the Wednesday morning Paths to Recovery Group began many months ago it was an Al Anon meeting specifically for women. This summer the meeting is open to all and is not gender specific! If you are affected by alcoholism in a family member or friend this is the Twelve Step recovery group for you! The meetings are anonymous and confidential which means what is spoken at the meeting and knowledge about who attends remains in the meeting. Hammond Church members have been and will continue to be supportive and respectful of this time and the location of the meeting each Wednesday morning.

Church Choir Rehearsal

Church Choir Rehearsal

Wednesdays

7:00 PM

In the Chapel

A new night !!!!

Drumming Circle

Drumming Circle

Second Tuesday

June 11

A community drumming circle has been meeting on the second Tuesday of each month since January! The next circle will be held on June 11 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.

If you are interested in more information and the location (which will be shifting around during the summer) please contact Steve Goobic or Rev. Evon.

MISSIONS:

Through our Easter Memorial donations, we were able to sent $420.00 to our Missionary co-worker in West Africa, Josh Heikkila. Thanks to all who helped with this project, as well as to all who gave funds to decorate our Easter sanctuary with beautiful spring plants.

Josh continues to write of his experiences in West Africa. Speaking to some new Christians preparing to partake of the Lord’s Supper for the first time, he discussed how the Apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to examine themselves before coming to the Lord’s table. God has high expectations for us, while showing His grace and mercy for us. Speaking with some church members who sell fruits and vegetables in the market in Accra, he was told of their deep sense of the divine presence in their lives and in the world around them, especially when they have helped people in need and feel blessed by God when they do this. One woman gave away her last best dress to someone needing it for a special occasion. Another gave her last portion of food to someone who was hungry, homeless and living on the street. Could we be so generous in similar circumstances?

While Christianity is strong in southern Ghana, migrants from the north are encouraged to go back home and spread their life-giving faith in the north, where there may be only a small Christian presence, if one at all. In the north, the church has established agricultural, educational and health programs that are bringing transformative development to that part of the country.

Joan Hadlock

Table and Chairs

  With the summer time coming, many events will be happening at our Church and also at other events outside of our Church. To prevent hardship and confusion with our Tables and Chairs that are allowed to be borrowed, Please Contact Tara in the Secretary Office at (315)324-5665 Monday-Friday 9am-12pm or Email at HPC215@gmail.com. Thank you for your help and understanding.

FOOD PANTRY

The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, June 20, 2019, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to come to receive free food. If possible, please bring a box for the food. Also on the same day, the Food Sense program will be held. This is open to everyone who wants to save on their food dollars. Food Sense food must be ordered and paid for by June 7th. All items are listed on a monthly menu, which includes a unit of food for $20.50, and a selection of specials which may be ordered and paid for separately. These foods include meats and fish, fresh produce, canned good and packaged meals. The Food Sense truck comes in around noon on Food Pantry days. Anyone interested in receiving information about the Food Pantry or Food Sense programs may contact Joan Hadlock 324-5517.

Chair Yoga

To my HPC summer family, it saddens my heart to have to say that I will not be teaching chair yoga this summer. I had every intention to start class on 18 June as stated in the May newsletter. However, we were blessed in finding a buyer for our Black Lake camp and will be leaving the North Country for parts south the 1st of July. 

   You have graciously allowed me to enter your chapel several days a week for the last 6 +/- yrs and I will truly treasure our time together.  

   As we all continue on our life's journeys...may our hearts be full of love, peace and joy.

Fondly, Ellen

A New Pair of Shoes By Tara Atherton

 The other day I had to buy myself a new pair of sandals and I’m very picky when it comes to shoes (and socks) that go on my feet. If I’m going to be walking around for hours, I want my feet to be as comfortable as possible. I’ve worn socks that make my feet sweat, sandals that create blisters the size of quarters, and shoes that try to roll my ankle with every step I take. So when I go shoe shopping, I sit in the shoe store for a long time, trying on shoes and pacing the whole store. I’ve learned that there is a specific brand of shoes that I love and will always buy. I don’t go shoe shopping often though, because there’s something about a worn in pair of shoes that fit perfectly to your feet that I have a hard time to part with. I’ve worn a pair of shoes until the sole of it peeled off and even then I was trying to figure out how to repair them so I could continue to wear them, when I realized that I was no shoe repair person. Luckily, I knew that I needed a new pair of shoes and I had already bought a pair. The question though that is my usual question when I buy something in advance and then put it in a “safe place” is, now where did I put them? 

Finding comfort is something that I also found in our Church. Lots of changes are happening this summer, but yet I know when I come to Church on Sunday, that it’s like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes that I’ve owned for years. I may not be a person who can repair shoes, but God knows how to repair all my scuffs, holes, and blisters that I may be carrying around with in my soul, that I don’t know is there. Even though coming to church is like putting on a pair of shoes that I’ve had for years, God has kept those shoes in perfect shape for me to wear when I walk and settle down for Sunday service. Luckily, I have never had to search for these “shoes” that God has given me, since when I get to Church that is my safe place.

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May

 May 2019

Dear Friends:

Resurrection love transforms the world, especially when it happens among us. Isn’t that what the incarnation of God in Christ means? How wonderful to have the reminders during Holy Week and on the Day of Resurrection of the transforming love of God which is present within us, among us, through us, around us, in our natural world and in our global community. 

We learn from Jesus how important it is for us to speak up, to live out and extend this transforming love- to be consciously doing so, even when it means risking our very selves in vulnerability and powerlessness. Brene’ Brown teaches that being vulnerable is an act of courage. Jesus’ death on the cross was courageous and completely vulnerable. The resurrection is what happens all around us when out of that courageous vulnerability comes the joy of knowing God in our midst, knowing the Divine is leading us, preparing the way for us, bringing joy and wholeness as we embrace our authentic and true selves, all while walking through difficulty, upsetting and challenging circumstances- personally, locally, nationally, globally.

Some of you may already know a bit of my own story these past many months, so for some this is an update, for others this may be new. My Lenten journey was one of medical diagnostic exploration to determine why I have been experiencing chronic pain, muscle weakness and immense fatigue for several months. The weeks of Lent provided a framework for me to process the journey. Along the way I began taking medication to treat a problem with my liver which I will treat the rest of my life. Then I learned I have Celiac Disease, another challenge to my liver, so going completely Gluten Free is a life choice. The last of the three determinations has been that I have autoimmune hepatitis, another challenge to my liver. It is no wonder that I have felt quite poorly! My gift on Good Friday was to begin a six week regimen of prednisone- through the season of Easter- which should reverse the 

autoimmune hepatitis.  (I will know more in June.) The doctor’s words during Holy Week gave me hope for a positive outcome, even without a definite answer. However, the challenges to my liver though not curable are manageable with life changes. 

My vulnerability in sharing my circumstances has yielded much grace for which I am truly thankful. Such grace has included gifts of gluten free baked goods at church functions, a gluten free care package, my baker husband who has embraced the challenge of a new method of baking along with creating homemade gluten free noodles! I am employed by an institution, the PCUSA, which provides tremendous health insurance through your congregational support, which has allowed me to receive the care I need and the monitoring I will continue to need. There has also been much prayer support and concern offered in friendship. Thank you!

There is resurrection joy in the midst of holy week circumstances. We not only pray for one and support one  another, we pray for our sisters and brothers who have experienced devastation and whose Lenten wilderness journeys continue (in Sri Lanka, Paris, Louisiana, throughout the USA, and more) with hope because resurrection and new life is God’s incarnational way. May we show up, stand up, walk in peace, speak truth, act justly, extend forgiveness and be courageous and vulnerable, one day at a time.

Go gently, dear friends, but go.

Evon

Our Labyrinth is Now Open for Walking

 As promised and designed, our marvelous labyrinth sits high and dry as the winter and spring waters recede from around it, and flow beneath it. May you be blessed as you walk to the music of birdsong!

“Being must be felt. It can’t be thought.” Eckhart Tolle

Specials for May Sunday Worship

May 5, Guest Preacher, The Reverend David Bennett, Resource Presbyter of the Presbytery of Northern New York; Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

May 12, Service of Wholeness, Blanket Offering

May 19, Deacons Love Offering

May 26, Memorial Weekend

Wednesday Mid-Week Events Beginning May 15 Movement, Study, Creativity MSC

What has formerly been the Wednesday morning 

Bible Study is being transformed to incorporate centering through movement, reading and reflecting 

on scripture, and responding in a creative framework. Please add this event to your weekly schedule as you are able! Each week we will begin in the Pastor’s Study.

Wednesday, May 15, 10 AM-12:00 Noon

A New Commandment: John 13:31-35

Wednesday, May 22, 2:00-4:00 PM

Do You Want to be Well?: John 5:1-9

Wednesday, May 29, 10 AM- 12:00 Noon

Oneness: John 17:20-26

Annual Church Picnic Sunday, June 9,2019

The Day of Pentecost

There will be much celebration, music, 

and food on this day! 

All interested drummers please meet in the sanctuary with Rev. Evon at 9:45 AM for a mini drumming rehearsal for the 10:30 AM worship service.

For the picnic, please bring food to share and dress for the weather! Hot dogs, hamburgers, and beverages will be provided by the Deacons.

The color for the day is RED!!!

Summer dates to remember:

Tentative: Chicken BBQ in the Pavilion, Saturday, 

June 22 (to support our annual mission projects which include: Habitat for Humanity, SPCA, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Noah’s Ark Preschool…) 

Annual Fish Fry in the Pavilion, Saturday, July 27

April Gratitude List

Food Preparers, Helpers, & Program preparers for weekly Lenten Soup Suppers:

Joan Delosh, Joan Hadlock, Evie Saphier

Christine Visscher, Liz Scarlett, Rosie/Doug Salamacha

Tom Gordnier, Sue McWharf, Lisa Gallagher

Nancy Chase, Donna Chase, Evon Lloyd

Easter Sunrise Service

Dick Watson (site guide) 

Tom Gordnier (Donuts & Coffee)

Easter Breakfast, Easter Egg Hunt

Deacons- Randy Kraft (moderator), Liz Bawden, 

Sue McWharf, Linda Schnittger, Kennon Gardner, Tom Gordnier; Rosie Salamacha, Mark Schnittger

Photo Booth- Randy Kraft, Easter Bunny

Photographer of the Day: Evie Saphier

Lisa Gallagher

Sunday Worship- Lily Preparers for the Cross- 

Many, many of you! Thank you! Flower coordinator- Joan Hadlock; Music Director, Bridget Sherman & Choir

Church Office Coordinator and Communication Hub: Tara Cole-Atherton

April 28, Special Presentation during morning worship: Christine Visscher

Weekly Wednesday Morning Al Anon Group

Weekly Wednesday Morning Al Anon Group begins meeting May 8

9:30-10:30 AM in the Dining Hall

FOOD PANTRY

The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to come to receive free food. If possible, please bring a box for the food. Also on the same day, the Food Sense program will be held. This is open to everyone who wants to save on their food dollars. The food must be ordered and paid for ahead of time. All items are listed on a monthly menu and includes a unit of food for $20.50, and a selection of specials which may be ordered and paid for separately. These foods include meats and fish, fresh produce, canned good and packaged meals. The Food Sense truck comes in around noon on Food Pantry days. Anyone interested in receiving information about the Food Pantry or Food Sense programs may contact Joan Hadlock 324-5517.

Mindfulness Meditation

 Mindfulness Meditation started last June and has continued through the winter, at Hammond Presbyterian Church. It continues at 6:30 – 7:30 PM every Monday in the chapel. Bring a small wrap or blanket if you tend to get chilled while sitting quietly. This venue is meant for beginning meditators, but seasoned meditators are welcomed too! If you want to attend, but haven’t made it yet, we are there for instruction and support and actual meditation time.

If you thing you just can’t meditate for variety of reasons, please purchase the book called “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” by Dan Harris. The author is an ABC News anchor who “discovered that meditation made him more focused and less yanked around by his emotions.”

Science suggests that meditation can lower blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of the brain, among numerous other benefits.

Don’t be the last to discover what this is all about! Start training that obsessive monkey mind now!

Submitted by Nancy Chase

If you are interested in ordering Dan Harris’s books: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics and 10% Happier, please let Tara know by May 11th. We can order together. A paperback set of the two costs $17.99

The Strength to Rebuild By Tara Atherton

The other day, I saw on the News, the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral. My heart ached for all the people that were affected by it. I understand the broken feeling people will have with a historical landmark crumbling before their eyes. As the day went on, I kept checking the media about when the fires would finally be put out and if anything could be salvaged. The next morning, I read how the fire barely touched the Alter and pews, and the plan to rebuild. Nothing brings people closer than when they all bring their strength together, to help one another and rebuild, not only a building, but sometimes themselves. I know that I have suffered through struggles in my life with many things and it’s not until I figure out where the light at the end of the tunnel is, do I figure out my new strength that I’ve gain in the process and I try to figure out how I can rebuild myself, so I can either help myself, or others who might be lost in the dark, also looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

It seems like our Church rebuilds and strengthens a little more every year. If we or a family member is sick or struggling, we bring our strength together to help this person in need. If we have a vision of something new and useful, we come together to build and take care of it so we could help bring our community together. There are times when we get so worried about how we are going to accomplish something that is calling to us, and we feel lost and confused but there’s always a light at the end of these tunnels. There is always a hand reaching for you and that hand reaching out to us is God. God is making sure that when we need the extra strength, we get it. When we are lost in the dark, a light is shining. We just need to stop, breath, look, and then keep moving forward. Once we move forward, is when we can help another person to rebuild.

”When you think all is forsaken
Listen to me now (all is not forsaken)
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light “

-David Draiman, The Light

MISSION

Josh Heikkila, our missionary co-worker in West Africa, talks in his newsletter about health care challenges in West Africa. In Togo, a small west Africa country, there is one large hospital and many small, community clinics known in the French language as “medical-social centers”. This name acknowledges that health and well-being have both a medical and a social component. Another challenge facing most west African nations is that many doctors and nurses trained in the region, are lured away to France, England, Canada and the U. S. because of the much higher pay they receive abroad. For example, in Togo, there is one doctor for every 15,000 residents, whereas in the U.S. and England,, there is about one doctor for every 350. Another difficult medical situation in some W.African countries is the “cash and carry” policy, meaning that the patient has to pay for services before they will be treated. In poverty stricken areas, that is often not possible, resulting in further illness and possible death of the patient. Is there some way western countries could help compensate African nations who train many highly qualified medical personnel who then migrate toward higher paying employment? The Presbyterian Mission Agency is working to eradicate systemic poverty, to change laws and structures in society that perpetuate exploitation of the poor. Solutions to these problems will be found only when we work together and listen and learn from one another.

Joan Hadlock

Easter Morning Meandering

Easter morning was grey and foggy.  I found myself with time on my hands before the Deacons‘ breakfast and decided on an overdue walk in the church labyrinth. Although it was far from the first time, I was nevertheless totally unprepared for the beauty of my brief journey to the center and back.  How sweet and refreshing to the spirit is a walk in the labyrinth… to be present with the stones underfoot and those whose striations seem to guide us on our way, present with the songs of birds and the cool morning air, present with the pine trees reaching high.  The labyrinth itself is a gift of pure beauty.  

Walking the labyrinth, meditation feels easy as our minds join the rhythm of our steps and our breath.  Whether with friends or alone, to walk the labyrinth is to step aside from our worldly preoccupations and to allow ourselves to be changed, to be peaceful, to be peace. I am so grateful to all whose vision and efforts have contributed to the creation of this tool.  Now that the weather is warming and the days grow longer. I would like to encourage one and all to give yourself the gift of a walk in the labyrinth!

                   Submitted by Evelyn Saphier

Baptism

~March 24, 2019~

Milo Christopher Charleson

Son of Kelly and Christopher Charleson

Equal Exchange Products

Equal Exchange Products are available for purchase in the Dining Hall. Come check out our Coffee, Tea and Chocolate. 

Chair Yoga

Chair Yoga with Ellen will be held this summer on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the chapel from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM beginning June 18.  You are welcome to attend and find a path to wellness!  Wear comfortable clothes for stretching and an open heart for receiving gentleness from this marvelous teacher!

Poetry

 O Hidden Life vibrant in every atom;

O Hidden Light! shining in every creature;

O Hidden Love! embracing all in Oneness;

May each who feels self as one with Thee,

Know [oneself] is also one with every other.

Annie Besant

Thank you

 Thank you to Hammond Presbyterian Church for letting us hold Emilie Barrigar’s 3rd birthday in the Dining Hall.

Peace and Witness in Colombia

Swami Kena and I traveled to Colombia, South America, from late January through early March of this year giving meditation programs throughout the central, eastern part of the country. This visit was Swami Kena’s 5th year- he was asked by Colombians to come each of the past five years and give his messages of finding the Self, effort in daily life, how to give and be content, conquest of the mind, and going beyond the ego. His core teaching as how to meditate and find the divine self that is in each one of us-the way to help achieve and overcome life’s hurdles and challenges.

The assumption of going to Colombia was not “we are the teachers and they are the students”. Some of the time, we were the students and Colombians were our teachers. On other occasions, Colombians were the students and we were the teachers. We all benefited from the experiences that we shared together. There was a genuine feeling of mutual respect as we worked side-by-side to hold and complete the programs.

Five very energetic and talented Colombians had organized a total of 35 programs through their extensive networking. Programs we held in 14 cities and towns, mainly in the developed area of Colombia, which is located in the western part of the country in the Andes Mountains region. More than 1400 people attended the programs (averaging 40 people per program) in locations ranging from holistic health and wellness center for disabled children, women and children’s shelter, police academy, rehab center for drug addicts, and a city prison.

Challenges Faced:

One of the five persons who set up programs has a 13 year old son with Down-syndrome. There is no government help in Colombia for the disabled. She cared for David and is devoted to him, but she needed help she did not have. She basically had no connections and no safety net. She has a university degree, but since she is over 40, no one will hire her-age discrimination is rampant in Colombia. To offset these challenges, she has created opportunities for others and income for herself by organizing and scheduling people for various types if programs. We gave her advice and suggestions on better networking and having a more positive outlook toward her life and work.

Colombia lacks advocacy programs for poor people. Without family contacts, needy people can end up on the streets begging for food and shelter. Women and children turn to prostitution to survive. In Pereire, to address this need, a women and children’s center was established to give food and limited shelter to these needy individuals, as well as education and training classes in marketable skills. We held a program at the shelter. We spent the time to help find answers and solutions to the many questions they had. The center leaders are looking to expand their networking in order to find additional resources for the shelter residents and visitors.

City Jail Visit-

We had an unusual opportunity to meet with incarcerated men who were serving various sentences. After leaving all of our ID’s and personal information in the jail’s front reception area, we were escorted to a large square prison cell, where we were locked in with men wanting to learn about meditation. After sitting for the meditation hour, several men had many questions concerning relationships and how to reconcile differences with family members. One prisoner in particular explained his being behind bars was due to him being one of three men caught stealing cell phones. Colombia has no public defenders or advocacy for inmates. The other 2 men charged had relatives who paid the required fees to be released, but this man had no help (his girlfriend had stopped seeing him) and he ended up being in limbo, still with no filed charges, but unable to pay to be released. Swami Kena advised him how important meditation was in his circumstance and gave him blessings. (We do not know the outcome of his situation)

What Changes Occurred:

Many of the volunteers, especially those who set up the programs, are looking forward to having regularly scheduled meditation classes and discussion in their locations.

Several people who attended programs have developed new relationships and networking with other people who attended the programs. They are committed to encourage and support each other in their efforts.

Conclusions:

Colombians warmness, politeness, gratitude and generosity seemed unbelievable, especially given their lack of resources and support. Overall, Colombians are very resilient, hardworking and determined to improve their lives and the lives of their neighbors.

                    Please contact me at 540-556-6931 or cvisscher1028@gmail.com should you have any questions about this mission trip. A slide presentation in the Chapel is tentatively planned for Sunday, May 12 following the worship service.

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April

April 2019

Dear Friends:

While tidying my office and making a bit of order after the chaos of painting the walls, I determined it was time to part with the scraggly Poinsettia from Christmas 2017. I sat the forlorn looking plant in the hallway to be taken to the dumpster. My helper looked at the plant and looked at me and asked, “Are you sure?” 

I hesitated briefly, then a few moments later picked the plant up and brought it back into the office and sat it on a table. The next day three new red petals had burst forth overnight from the very tips of the nearly leafless stems. Two petals had been added to the tiny bloom already in place, and another single red petal emerged on a different stem. It has remained that way for the past month. I continue to water it and talk to it, bending in close to observe the promise of tiny sprouts of new red petals and miniature green leaves. Meanwhile, I pick up fallen leaves from the floor and place them in the trash can.

Time is something I often wish I had control over, even as I wonder about the progress of this spindly Poinsettia. Won’t those tiny petals ever grow?  The plant will or will not grow in its own time. The lone robin singing in the Maple tree next to the church driveway I rejoiced in when March began, remains solitary as March closes and April opens. But now I listen to her song each morning as the sun rises. Accompanied by Robin’s song the Red Winged Blackbirds, Grackles, Canada Geese, and Snow Geese have reappeared and are increasing in number.

Day after day, I receive lesson after lesson about leaving the past, moving into the new, and the ultimate significance of living in the now. There are so many teachers who have crossed my path: Eckhart Tolle’, Neale Donald Walsh, the Dalai Lama, Marianne Williamson, the late Louise Hay, Richard Rohr; and in my experience and learning they all seem to articulate the message our beloved Lord Jesus lived and taught. The good news of the Christ, of being present-now- living in faith, trusting God and practicing that trust 

every moment as Jesus’ taught. If God is who you seek then open self to God!!

For did not God become incarnate in Christ Jesus that we might recognize the holy in all people, in all things, even in ourselves? Did not Jesus embody God in human form that we might learn and experience the holy in ourselves and one another? Did Jesus not teach, embody, and model the life-giving practice of trusting God in all circumstances, especially in the only moment we have: now?  If that is true, then right now is an experience of God. Why would I want to live in the past? For God was there, but is now here. Why would I want to orchestrate and conduct the future when God is already doing so? Why would I not desire to open my eyes, heart, ears, taste buds, skin, internal organs, mind and intuition, to all that is holy right now?  To God!

When I look at you, would I not see someone whom God has inspired with holiness by God’s very breath breathing in your lungs and by God’s created stuff of life? I would! When I stand or sit in your presence would our hearts not begin to share the same rhythm? They would! When I embrace you would I not be embracing someone worthy of reverence and respect? I would. When I eat the fruit of the earth and the grain of the field would I not be taking into my own being the holiness of God? I would. And so would you.

During these refreshing, renewing, unpredictable days and nights of spring; during these reflective and challenging steps of our Lenten journey toward  our ritual celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord, might we practice being fully present, fully aware, fully awake for we experience the resurrection of Christ right here, right now, when petals grow and when leaves fall. Might our recognition of holiness be expressed in kindness, in mercy, in compassion. For, today is the day in which you are invited to be and to trust in the now-ness of God. For you are where, and who, you are supposed to be today.

May you open your hearts and minds to your God-given teachers in the presence and love of Christ Jesus who is risen and present among us and in us. May you be.

With love,

Evon

Movie Recommendations (found on Netflix)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (a true story which takes place in Malawi during a time of drought. Remember our Shallow Well project?)

Saving Mr. Banks (a true story about the life of P.L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, the creation of the movie, and Walt Disney’s participation in that process. Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks)

Lenten Program Jesus: Human & Divine

Thursday evenings

5:30-7PM in the Dining Hall

Simple Soup and Bread Supper

Reading and Discussion

April 4: Christ Is Everyman and Everywoman

April 11: The Face of the Other

April 18: Fully Human, Fully Divine; Maundy Thursday; the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper will be part of the evening meal.

Palm Sunday April 14 10:30 AM

 We will be celebrating with Eco-palms as part of our worship service.

Why Eco-Palms?

*Approximately 300 million palm fronds are consumed in the United States annually.

*A congregation of 1,250 members orders approximately 700 fronds for Palm Sunday services.

*Eco-palms are purchased directly from harvesters at five to six times the normal payment per frond.

*Your purchase of eco-palms helps improve standards of living and protect forests.

Eco-Palms and your church: your role in supporting social and environmental justice

More than 300 million palm fronds are harvested each year for U.S. consumption alone — most of them for Palm Sunday, but also for floral displays for church-related events. Your congregation’s commitment to purchase eco-palms plays an important role in protecting forests, local jobs, and sustainable livelihoods in the harvesting communities.

https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/compassion-peace-justice/hunger/enough/eco-palms-2/

The Resurrection of Our Lord Sunday

Sunrise Service 7:00 AM

At the Public Boat Launch on Black Lake

Please bring a lawn chair and dress for the weather!

Coffee and Donuts will be served.

Easter Breakfast 9:00 AM

Church Dining Hall

Easter Egg Hunt 9:45 AM

Morning Worship

10:30 AM

Sunday April 28 Guest Speaker: Christine Visscher

Christine will speak about her recent adventures in Colombia, assisting Swami Kenananda in teaching a practice of meditation. She will share experiences of new life and mercy through her ministry of service.

Sunday

May 5, 2019

Guest Preacher:

The Reverend David Bennett, Resource Presbyter of the Presbytery of Northern New York

Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Church Library

  Many fabulous books are now ready for borrowing from the Church Library and can be located in the Chapel. Various topics and subjects span autobiographies, non-fiction, fiction, self-help, church history, theology, social justice, Presbyterianism, Sunday School and Bible Study resources, World Religions, and more. If you have ever wondered what Martin Luther or John Calvin had to say you can find a book to answer your questions. There are sets of books by Eugene Peterson, Philip Yancey, and Barbara Brown Taylor. If you are in need of entertainment or inspiration, it’s all there. The library is to be used on the honor system, so if you borrow something, please, return it when you are finished!

Talking Drum Drumming Circle

Everyone is welcome!

Hammond Community Center

Tuesday

April 9, 2019

6:30-8:00 PM

Bring a drum and join the fun!!

(maracas, rain sticks, tambourines….; or borrow one when you attend!!)

One Great Hour of Sharing Special Offering

You shall be called repairers of the breach. -Isaiah 59

Sharing God’s love with our neighbors in need around the world by providing relief from natural disasters, food for the hungry, and support for the poor and oppressed.

Around the world, millions of people lack access to sustainable food sources, clean water, sanitation, education, and opportunity. The three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing—Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of people—all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need. From initial disaster response to ongoing community development, their work fits together to provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope.

Received during the season of Lent (March 6-April 21), each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) helps to improve the lives of people in these challenging situations. The Offering provides us a way to share God’s love with our neighbors in need. In fact, OGHS is the single largest way that Presbyterians come together every year to work for a better world.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA)

*Works alongside communities as they recover and find hope after the devastation of natural or human-caused disasters, and support for refugees

*Receives 32% of funds raised.

Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP)

*Takes action to alleviate hunger, care for creation, and the systemic causes of poverty so all may be fed

*Receives 36% of funds raised.

Self-Development of People (SDOP)

*Invests in communities responding to their experiences of oppression, poverty and injustice and educates Presbyterians about the impact of these issues.

*Receives 32% of funds raised.

Our Annual One Great Hour of Sharing Offering 

will be received on Easter Sunday. 

You may take a fish bank home on March 10.

Helping Our Veterans

  Starting in April, the Legion in Alexandria Bay will be hosting a Community Health and Wellness outreach. These presentations will be on the last Wednesday of the month, with different topics each time. Our April 24th presenter will be Brad Frey, director of the River Community Wellness Program. He will speak about military and veterans services at River Hospital.  This outreach is open to the public, and we are encouraging people to attend and help us shape our program to the needs of the community.  Please make plans to attend. For more information, contact Linda Schnittger at 315-777-3152.

The Easter Bunny By Tara Atherton

The other day, my daughter, the cats and I were looking outside at the birds flying back and forth from our bird feeders and trees, when I noticed the Easter Bunny tracks that go around our house. Makes me wonder if the cats have been chit chatting with Mr. Bunny and have given him pointers on how to get into the house when we are asleep. I think the cats are in cahoots with Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy when it comes to letting them into the house, since they are the only ones running around at 3am. But this isn’t about the cats, this is about Mr. Bunny. He’s bringing spring with him by “taking the blue from the sky and mixing it with buttercup dye, and painting green everywhere” as Burl Ives sings in ‘The First Easter Rabbit’ movie that I grew up watching when I was my daughter’s age. Spring is coming and Mr. Bunny is out around the house, doing his job, making sure that the grass is ready to grow, the flowers are ready to bloom, and that the cats leave one of the doors unlocked in my house so he can hide our colorful eggs and maybe even leave a couple of baskets for the kids with candy. Note to self, have a discussion with cats about stranger danger. 

Easter is the time of resurrection, where Jesus is risen from the dead, where old is made new again with beauty and love. Spring is coming and I’m so excited to see the beautiful work that God has planned for all of us with the flowers and the trees, with butterflies and fireflies, with color and warmth. As with the flowers coming back, so are our summertime church families, town festivities, and a feeling of togetherness. Out with the old snow, in with the new rain; Out with the winter boots and in with our summer sandals. God (with a little help from the Easter Bunny) is starting to wake everything up from our winter slumber and like most people; I am ready for our spring resurrection to come to our little community once again. 

April is National Poetry Month.

A celebration of poetry takes place each April. It is a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the U.S. 

Here are some Haiku which capture the images and feelings of the transition from late winter to early spring.


last patch of snow

here and there

my footprints


cattails too

pale and shaggy

winter’s end

  

clothes flapping

on a long line-

more geese


parts of myself

I don’t remember closing

opening bud by bud


back and forth

above the border guards

geese


John Scarlett

“Between Waves”

2015 

“IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT IF YOU SAY ONE PRAYER LET IT BE A PRAYER OF GRATITUDE.”

I have been attending Nancy Chase’s Mindfulness classes since June and while I’ve always felt gratitude in my life, I think that the mindfulness practice has helped me think about this even more. I am grateful for my family, my friends, and my church community. There always seems to be someone who is asking if I would like some support, be it an arm, a hand, a ride, a prayer or a hug. I especially appreciate the hugs. I miss John Scarlett’s hugs. Every time we saw each other he gave me a big hug. Liz said that if I had been much younger, she would have been worried.

Think about the people in your life. Let them know how much you appreciate them and what they mean to you.

Rosie Salamacha

March

  

Dear Friends:

From the recent days of quietness when snow was piled in mounds high enough to ride a sled down, with time to play because school has been closed; from recent nights when the wind sounded like a fast moving train and one was thankful for shelter and warm blankets; from self imposed isolation because of slick ice covered sidewalks, driveways, railings and temperatures too low for the ice melt to be effective, comes opportunity.

The opportunity to create, to be who we are as God’s beloved. Richard Rohr, Franciscan and contemplative Christian brother, has written about taking the incarnation seriously, and recognizing the brilliance of a God who creates things that keep creating themselves; about an imaginative and involved God: 

an incarnate God, who created and who inspired and inspires that same creation to create.

When January and February winters are harsh it is not unusual to see a boost in the birthrate of human babies nine month later. For those who are about creating music, paintings, poetry and being engaged in other artistic endeavors the winter-blessed-opportunity for creation is gift. 

For me, a year ago the winter months yielded a basket full of crocheted birds from nights in front of the television. This year the snow, ice and wind storms provided opportunity to freshen the walls and atmosphere of the Pastor’s Study in the church. It was of less risk to walk next door than drive the roads. Tom helped me complete the task for which I am eternally grateful. After 2 years and 8 months of ministry with you, I am finally at home in my office space. 

Tom’s creative outlet also yielded custom designed and crafted bookshelves for a library in the church. This was also good because we had much less fresh baked bread and sweets to eat at home. Tom’s creative baking endeavors are mouthwatering and impossible to deny.

The books available for borrowing span many topics and will provide hours upon hours of education and joy. It seems appropriate that Pastor Cathy’s books will have found a special resting place and will now serve you along with the many other gifts and sharing’s of folks who are in and out frequently carrying books to borrow, return, or share. Pull up the rocking chair and rest awhile!

Creativity may take new forms for us, but the creative outlet always seems to be life enhancing. For me painting canvases to crocheting with yarn to writing poetry to making music seems to spiral and it is something sacred. My very crafty sister’s creativity has included interior design, sewing (prom dresses, curtains, and dolls) and most recently she has begun painting canvases. My brother’s creativity has included the building of homes and cabinets, the assembly of mechanical parts, singing and playing guitar, and most recently restoring stringed instruments including violins and guitars. 

We, humans have some form of creative need within us. All of us. God is a creating God. God’s creatures are creating beings. During the awakening of spring, I encourage you to allow your creative energies to awaken within you. Try something new or polish a skill you already use. Maybe you would like to write short stories or poetry. (There will be room in the church newsletter for a sample!- note Evie’s and Tara’s) Maybe you would like to create a safe space for people to feel welcome and loved. Maybe your knitting will grace someone with warmth. Maybe your favorite recipe might be prepared for someone hungry for love.

I wrote a poem last spring, a few months after Cassie died. The poem might not be something for everyone, just as whatever we create might not be appreciated by everyone, but those who have had similar experiences might find some connection. The creativity happens because that’s what humans do. Create. And the process is life giving for the creator. You will be able to find “Your Sparkle” at another place in this newsletter.

Sue Monk Kidd wrote: “How did we ever get the idea that God would supply us on demand with quick fixes, that God is merely a rescuer and not a midwife?”

There is something waiting to be born. Might we welcome a new creation? Might it even be God’s incarnation?

Peace and joy, 

Evon

Ash Wednesday Service March 6 in the Chapel 7:00 PM

  

Dear Friends:

From the recent days of quietness when snow was piled in mounds high enough to ride a sled down, with time to play because school has been closed; from recent nights when the wind sounded like a fast moving train and one was thankful for shelter and warm blankets; from self imposed isolation because of slick ice covered sidewalks, driveways, railings and temperatures too low for the ice melt to be effective, comes opportunity.

The opportunity to create, to be who we are as God’s beloved. Richard Rohr, Franciscan and contemplative Christian brother, has written about taking the incarnation seriously, and recognizing the brilliance of a God who creates things that keep creating themselves; about an imaginative and involved God: 

an incarnate God, who created and who inspired and inspires that same creation to create.

When January and February winters are harsh it is not unusual to see a boost in the birthrate of human babies nine month later. For those who are about creating music, paintings, poetry and being engaged in other artistic endeavors the winter-blessed-opportunity for creation is gift. 

For me, a year ago the winter months yielded a basket full of crocheted birds from nights in front of the television. This year the snow, ice and wind storms provided opportunity to freshen the walls and atmosphere of the Pastor’s Study in the church. It was of less risk to walk next door than drive the roads. Tom helped me complete the task for which I am eternally grateful. After 2 years and 8 months of ministry with you, I am finally at home in my office space. 

Tom’s creative outlet also yielded custom designed and crafted bookshelves for a library in the church. This was also good because we had much less fresh baked bread and sweets to eat at home. Tom’s creative baking endeavors are mouthwatering and impossible to deny.

The books available for borrowing span many topics and will provide hours upon hours of education and joy. It seems appropriate that Pastor Cathy’s books will have found a special resting place and will now serve you along with the many other gifts and sharing’s of folks who are in and out frequently carrying books to borrow, return, or share. Pull up the rocking chair and rest awhile!

Creativity may take new forms for us, but the creative outlet always seems to be life enhancing. For me painting canvases to crocheting with yarn to writing poetry to making music seems to spiral and it is something sacred. My very crafty sister’s creativity has included interior design, sewing (prom dresses, curtains, and dolls) and most recently she has begun painting canvases. My brother’s creativity has included the building of homes and cabinets, the assembly of mechanical parts, singing and playing guitar, and most recently restoring stringed instruments including violins and guitars. 

We, humans have some form of creative need within us. All of us. God is a creating God. God’s creatures are creating beings. During the awakening of spring, I encourage you to allow your creative energies to awaken within you. Try something new or polish a skill you already use. Maybe you would like to write short stories or poetry. (There will be room in the church newsletter for a sample!- note Evie’s and Tara’s) Maybe you would like to create a safe space for people to feel welcome and loved. Maybe your knitting will grace someone with warmth. Maybe your favorite recipe might be prepared for someone hungry for love.

I wrote a poem last spring, a few months after Cassie died. The poem might not be something for everyone, just as whatever we create might not be appreciated by everyone, but those who have had similar experiences might find some connection. The creativity happens because that’s what humans do. Create. And the process is life giving for the creator. You will be able to find “Your Sparkle” at another place in this newsletter.

Sue Monk Kidd wrote: “How did we ever get the idea that God would supply us on demand with quick fixes, that God is merely a rescuer and not a midwife?”

There is something waiting to be born. Might we welcome a new creation? Might it even be God’s incarnation?

Peace and joy, 

Evon

Thursday Evening Lenten Programs

  March 14-April 11

5:30-7:00 PM 

Dining Hall

A simple Soup and Bread meal 

and conversation around the subject: 

Jesus: Human & Divine.

(Volunteers to provide a simple crock pot of soup would be appreciated! Which evening would you like to prepare for? Contact Rev. Evon or Liz Scarlett)

Talking Drum Drumming Circle

  Hammond Community Center

Second Tuesdays

6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

March 12 April 9 May 14

No talent required-

Just a willingness to have fun and drum in community!!

If you have a drum or percussion instrument please bring it (maracas, claves, rain stick, tambourine, etc.)

Everyone is welcome!

Questions? ask Steve Goobic or Evon Lloyd

The First Sunday in Lent March 10, 2019

Dedication of Pledge Cards

&

Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

Many thanks to all who have returned a pledge card!

One Great Hour of Sharing Special Offering

  

You shall be called repairers of the breach. -Isaiah 59


Sharing God’s love with our neighbors in need around the world by providing relief from natural disasters, food for the hungry, and support for the poor and oppressed.

Around the world, millions of people lack access to sustainable food sources, clean water, sanitation, education, and opportunity. The three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing—Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of people—all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need. From initial disaster response to ongoing community development, their work fits together to provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope.

Received during the season of Lent (March 6-April 21), each gift to One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) helps to improve the lives of people in these challenging situations. The Offering provides us a way to share God’s love with our neighbors in need. In fact, OGHS is the single largest way that Presbyterians come together every year to work for a better world.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA)

*Works alongside communities as they recover and find hope after the devastation of natural or human-caused disasters, and support for refugees

*Receives 32% of funds raised.

Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP)

*Takes action to alleviate hunger, care for creation, and the systemic causes of poverty so all may be fed

*Receives 36% of funds raised.

Self-Development of People (SDOP)

*Invests in communities responding to their experiences of oppression, poverty and injustice and educates Presbyterians about the impact of these issues.

*Receives 32% of funds raised.

Our Annual One Great Hour of Sharing Offering 

will be received on Easter Sunday. 

You may take a fish bank home on March 10.

Chicken and Biscuit Dinner

  March 26th from 4:30-7pm

Chicken and Biscuit Dinner Fundraiser for the Scottish Festival By the Hammond Historical Museum

Your Sparkle

  I thought I heard your voice today

But I couldn’t find you.

How odd.

After thirteen years of hearing your voice

seeing you

everyday

to not find you here.

Ronnie said, “Brilliant Spirit.”

That, you were indeed.

I miss you

your devotion

your joy

your compassion

your intelligence

your protection

I grew to rely on you,

your eyes and ears.

And you in aging time

grew to rely on my eyes and ears.

I carried you when you could walk no longer.

I fed you when you had little desire to eat.

You knew the time was at hand and yet

Struggle.

I thought I heard your voice today.

I looked for your sparkle

and I couldn’t find you.

Evon M. Lloyd

Spring 2018

HAMMOND FOOD PANTRY

  The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, March 28th, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to attend and receive free food. New guests may sign up at the time. Hammond Food Sense orders should be in to Joan Hadlock by Friday, March 15. Food Sense orders are paid for when orders are submitted. Any questions about these programs may be directed to Joan Hadlock (324-5517)

Nathan By Tara Atherton

  As most of you know, I have a blended family. My husband and I like to say our kids are “His, Hers, and Ours” He has a son, I have a son, and we have a daughter together. My step son is Nathan. He will be turning 13 this March and I couldn’t be prouder of the man that he is turning out to be. He’s been dealt a hand of cards that can be very difficult for a kid his age to handle, but he is a determined young man. There are certain things that I enjoy doing when he comes to visit. In March, the whole family usually goes to Syracuse and spends a day at the mall where sky is the limit on what we do. Last year he had me walk with him on this balance obstacle course thing, called “Canyon Climb Adventure”. Let me explain, they hook you up to a harness and you walk out on balancing poles over a gap in the mall. So if you’re terrified of height (such as myself) and you look down, you realize that 3 stories up in the air is VERY HIGH. Nathan takes off like a rocket because he has already done this before. I, on the other hand, looked down. All the way down. And froze. Thankfully, turning around was an option and that is exactly what I did while I watch him walk around with zero fear through this course. Every year we look forward doing these fun family trips that are labeled as “Only when Nathans home” trips.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. When I feel Jesus in my heart and soul, I feel like Nathan when he took off on the obstacle course. No fear, no worries, just complete comfort. I feel the harness of God, holding me up and making sure if I slip, I won’t fall. And the confidence of our Church family telling me not to be afraid and that I can do this. That we all can do this. We just have to take those first couple of steps with Jesus in our heart and soul and leave the rest up to God.

MISSION COMMITTEE AND PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN

  This year we carried out several important projects. We collected items for twelve school kits, to be sent to Church World Service for distribution where needed. Each kit included several items, such as pencils, ruler, pencil sharpener, eraser, notebooks, crayons and scissors. We then received over $230.00 in donations for the Blanket Fund, to be sent through Church World Service, to areas in our country and throughout the world where natural disasters and conflicts cause great hardship for families.

We were able to provide for two more shallow wells, both located in Malawi, to give life saving fresh water and prevent childhood diseases and death. This year, Marion Medical Mission built 2984 shallow wells to serve 373,000 people in a roughly 57,000 square mile area.. This is an amazing mission for us to be part of.

Our Angel Tree gifts from the congregation provided gifts for many Food Pantry families. Several from our church and the Food Pantry wrapped donated pajamas and helped assemble the family gift bags.

Through the Christmas Mission giving, our sanctuary was made beautiful with several poinsettias, and we sent over $750.00 worth of goods and services to Food for the Poor, Heifer International, Presbyterian Missions and Church World Services. Included in this was a donation to our missionary, Josh Heikkila, Mission co-worker in West Africa. Josh oversees a large area of West Africa, in touch with as many villages and communities as he is able.

The Mitten Tree provided two large boxes of hats, scarves, mittens and head bands, which were divided and sent to Buckhorn Children’s’ Foundation in Kentucky and St. Joseph’s Indian School in South Dakota. Both of these facilities are residential schools giving education and stability for children from difficult home situations.

Among responsibilities for the Presbyterian Women’s Organization are to provide flowers for the sanctuary each Sunday. We also send a $400.00 annual pledge to the work of the Presbytery, Synod and General Assembly. The postage for sending the boxes of mittens is also the responsibility of the PW.

Once again, I am humbled by the generosity of our congregation, and the willingness to support these Mission projects. It is so important to remember that we are part of a larger world.

Joan Hadlock, Presbyterian Women and Mission Committee

The View from the Choir Loft

  Inspired by Tara‘s heartwarming column on the beauty of Sunday at HPC and her feelings of blessedness as she sits in the back with daughter in arms and her to-do list at bay, I thought I too would like to add my point of view from up in the choir loft.

I am a relative newcomer in the choir, and I count myself among those affectionately called ‘the lemmings’.  Our choir members are so experienced and gifted that I feel truly fortunate to be among them.  Since I am an ear-learner, Choir Director Bridget usually finds time in her busy schedule to make me an alto part listening tape and from the time I receive it until the time we sing in church as I learn my part, I find the melodies and uplifting sentiments of our upcoming anthem revolving in my mind and heart.

Most of the congregation gets to sit and look up at the pastor, the reader and the choir. But we are looking at you too! How heartwarming it is to see the love and affection as you pass the peace; to see Randy come up to light the opening candle with child in hand; to see faithful members of all ages at worship; to see the children’s open-eyed wonder as they receive their own special messages.  When Rev. Evon gives her sermon, though our view is only of the back of her head, her all-embracing interpretation of the message of the Gospels enters our hearts.

When we arise to sing our anthem, all eyes are on our peerless Director, Bridget.  I am aware of Tom and Donna to my right, so moved by Donna’s years of experience and dedication to the choir and Tom’s kind service to her as they negotiate the loft stairs; on my left is Joan, my adept and unfailingly kind fellow alto who for decades has been a quiet rock of selfless service in our community; farther to the left are the melodious sopranos—friends all.  As our voices rise in celebration of the love of the One who has come to us incarnate as Jesus, my point of view from the choir loft is one of blessedness and grace, indeed!

Respectfully submitted: 

Evelyn Saphier