Wanting to preach from the New Testament and hear the gospel witness in another voice and perspective I turned to the Lectionary (church’s engagement with Scripture for the year) readings as we finish the season of Pentecost, which began back in May and ends on November 15, from Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians. Interestingly enough, this is the earliest writing in the New Testament. Yes, even before the Gospels, or any other book. I encourage you to read 1 Thessalonians all 5 chapters. Notice the movement in his letter to the people of Thessalonica. From the opening greeting in 1:1 to the reception (1:2-10) Paul and his team of Silvanus/Silas and Timothy are greeted with in Thessalonica, moving into Paul’s ongoing care and concern for them in 2:1-3:13. In his letter Paul strengthens them in their witness and the teachings of Jesus’ return, 4:1-5:11, to finally in 5:12-22 encouraging them to give strength to each other as a new community of faith in how they would live their lives in the midst of what for them would be countercultural.
In this first letter from Paul who is responding to a report from his co-worker Timothy after his return from Thessalonica we get to see the beginnings of a church plant. We get to see how the early apostles went about to spread the gospel message of a crucified, dead, risen, and yes returning Lord.
Paul and his team infiltrate Thessalonica working and living among them. This was a major port city along a main thorough fair under Roman rule. While Greek in law and culture, they were under Roman authority. Pagan worship or cults along with some Jewish population or communities (Acts 17) were the reality of the day. Arriving in Thessalonica having been chased out of Philippi (1 Thess. 2:2), they arrive to proclaim Jesus where they are initially well received. Yet, all doesn’t end well. There are dueling loyalties with the Roman government, pagan worship and a Jewish synagogue. This doesn’t deter Paul and his team. They make relationships with the Thessalonians as they live, work, and move among them. They make themselves known through their characters and as witnesses to Jesus. They announce the good news of Jesus’ return which creates a challenge for people to hear. Paul, Silas, and Timothy offer something different and will also be sent away from Thessalonica. If we are honest, not much has changed in the mission field.
We are not told about any conversion as far as great numbers, but we do know there are Christian believers left to make a community of faith and carry on the work that Paul and his team had begun and I imagine it struggled in its identity to go against the culture of the times, against family, and even work. We find a similar circumstance today as the church, to keep our identity in Jesus Christ as we proclaim the good news of Jesus in his life, death, and resurrection, along with his return that often is anti-cultural. Our culture is filled with “something else” that clamors for our time, attention, and loyalty. Paul offers this fledgling community encouragement and gives thanks for them, “remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I encourage you church to not fret over numbers within the church, the din of our society that clamors for your loyalty and attention but encourage you and give thanks for the ways in which you faithfully work, labor in love, and the steadfastness of hope that is in our Lord Jesus as we live in the reality of the in between; a risen Lord and a not yet Lord who is coming. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
With you on the journey,
The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, Nov. 19th at the Hammond Fire Hall from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. All income eligible families are encouraged to take part and receive the free food. Please bring your own boxes or bags if possible. The Food Sense program has resumed and is held after noon on Food Pantry days. For Food Sense, there are no income requirements and a great food value for the money. A unit of food is $20.50, with monthly specials to be ordered separately. All Food Sense must be ordered from a monthly menu and paid for ahead of time. Food Stamps may also be used for Food Sense. For further information on either program, contact Joan Hadlock at 315/324-5517.
This year, we will not be doing the usual Angel Tree gifts from the church (due to Covid, what else?). We will be accepting any monetary donations toward gift cards for the Food Pantry children. Donations may be given to me or left in the offering basket at church with Food Pantry on the memo line. We will be doing the Mitten Tree, with donated gifts of hats, mittens and scarves to be sent to needy children. Any questions? See Joan Hadlock
We are once again collecting for a shallow well in West Africa. Each well costs $450.00 and this will be our seventh well donated. Please make checks out to the church with "well" on the memo line. Checks can be given to me or put in the offering basket at church. Clean, sustainable water eliminates childhood illness and death due to poor water, and improves the health and well being for a whole village. Please give generously. Joan Hadlock
The following was written by a Marion Medical Mission American volunteer:
“Before my first trip (to Africa), my fear was being able to do the job, withstand the heat in Africa, and to not continually cry at witnessing starvation, intense poverty and babies that were malnourished. I thought I’d be digging wells in the heat side by side with Africans. You can’t imagine my relief that I didn’t have to do that, because I do not have the strength for that endeavor. Instead, what I got to do was drive a truck, which I admit was so scary at times,
(between the mud, the brush, etc.), shake hands with all the villagers, being allowed to share their village walking together to the well, hold babies and often sing and dance with the women and children. So much joy, laughter, smiles and, of course, occasional tears. When I am put in situations that are unfamiliar and scary, I call upon the Holy Spirit, get out of the way, and allow God to be with me. Oh, what I would have missed if I had succumbed to my fears and doubts. Feeling God’s presence in all we do seems simple in Africa.”
Our church is collecting donations toward another Marion Medical Mission Shallow well in Malawi, Tanzania or Zambia. A well costs $450.00. Checks may be made out to the church with “Well” on the memo line. Many thanks for your help with this most important project
I do a lot of waiting. I wake up in the morning, turn on my coffee machine and wait. Pop my kid’s waffles in the toaster and wait. I wait for my kids to get dressed, I wait for the bus, I wait for the caffeine to kick into my system. At night time, I wait for dinner to finish cooking, I wait for the kids to be done with showers, I wait for bedtime, I wait for peace and quiet after my chaos filled day. Some things happen and I don’t mean to have them wait, for example, today is when the newsletter articles are due. I know this, because I scheduled it. For whatever reason, I have waited until the last minute to write my newsletter article. In all fairness, I’ve had writers block and I’ve been hoping all month to have something inspire me. Something that would make me says “isn’t that such a great story to share….”, but I have nothing. So now I waited until the last minute to come up with something to talk about and here we are, waiting for me to get to the point.
Their time like these that I think God has something up his sleeve. Almost as to say, “Just keep waiting a little longer, because something is going to happen...”, and like a child waiting for their birthday, I sit and wait and wonder “What can it be?” The gifts I wait for from God, I’ve never been disappointed in. Right now, I waited for the cool fall breeze and to see the beautiful reds, orange and yellow colors in the trees. I’m waiting now for the first snow fall. I know many people grumble at the thought of snow, but there’s something so beautiful about waking up to everything white and sparkly. I wait for God to show me the lesson that I need to learn when I’m having a hard time, and how to appreciate that whatever I may be going through, he will not let me fall. I wait for God, because I know I’m safe with God, and I will continue to wait.
We are pleased to announce that the remaining balance of $1,338.22 has been donated to the project fund.
We are extremely grateful to all who have given their time, talents, and funds to bring this endeavor to fruition.
Putnam Seamless Gutters has replaced the rain gutters with larger ones and installed an additional down spout. ($2,490)
The manse painting is nearly completed. Please pray for a few more days for the painters to be able to finish their work.
There is still flower bed and yard clean up to be done at the manse. Please contact Marilyn Hunter 315-324-5743 if you are interested in helping with weeding.
Thank you again to all those who have contributed in any way to make these improvements possible.
The first Sunday in November is traditionally celebrated as All Saints’ Day. It is a time to collectively remember our deceased loved ones by lighting candles in their honor. Kerri Weldon, our supply minister, will light the first candle. Keeping a distance of 6 feet apart, anyone who wishes to, can come forward in silence and light the candles from the flame of the large candle. Each person will use a separate long match and place the used match in a container when finished. Families may come forward as a group. Bridget will play soft music while we do this.
People at home or people, who are more comfortable staying in their pews, may join us by spending that time in silent prayer.
We will be having a Harvest/Election Night Turkey Dinner on November 3rd. Pre-Order Pick-Ups will be from 4:00pm to 5:00pm. Anyone who doesn't Pre-Order can pick up meals from 5:00pm until we sell out. Everyone is welcome to order!! In keeping with social distancing this dinner will be TAKE OUT ONLY!!
RULES AND GUIDELINES TO BE FOLLOWED PLEASE
Preorders are not mandatory, (but they are appreciated) and will be scheduled between the hours of 4-5pm. To schedule a Preorder pick up time, please called (315)324-5665 at ANY TIME (if leaving a message please leave your name and number and I will get back to you with your pick up time) or you can message me (Tara) on the Church Facebook. If you are not Preordering, pick up time is from 5pm until we sell out!!!
We are doing preorder pick up time first to make the traffic coming into the church go a little more smoothly, and we ask that if you do not preorder to please wait until 5pm to come pick up your meal so we can cut back on the traffic and wait time on the food. For any questions about this, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ASK!!!
Menu Includes: Turkey, Gravy, Potato, Dressing, Scalloped Corn, Cranberry Sauce, and Pumpkin Dessert
Children ages 5-12-$5
Children 4 years and younger are FREE!!!
My mask is pretty
My mask is good
It fits my face
The way it should.
Though I can't breathe
I keep it tight
Making an effort
To do it right.
My nose it itches
I do not scratch
I elbow the door
I don't touch the latch.
And when I'm home
And free to cough
I untie and fling
Heirs of the Kingdom
The weekend of 9/18-19 was Yard Sale days in the Village of Theresa. As I was participating to clear away childhood toys and books for my younger son, now 23, I had time on my hands as I waited for shoppers. I decided to clear away a couple years worth of accumulated magazines all church related. I came across a catalogue from Lifeway with a variety of Bible study resources. While the booklet was printed on 9x12 paper the last 2 pages were boldly printed across the full width of the 12 inches stating:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7
Since curiosity always gets the best of me I decided to investigate this Bible passage since it seems so appropriate for the days we find ourselves living in. I find more and more I’m giving reassurance to God’s love, light, and life as people, including Christians need reassurance. So here’s what I found surrounding this text.
1) While 2 Timothy is included in the Pauline or Pastoral letters of Paul, sandwiched in between 1Timothy and Titus, most likely it’s someone using Paul’s name to lend credence or authority to the letter. Study reveals this was common in this day and time perhaps around the 2nd century, and the style is different from Paul addressing not the church or order, rather a suffering that seems personal. The language is different and more in keeping with the time of the Hellenist philosophy (see 1:7 and the use of the word self-discipline (NRSV).
2) The opening of this letter calls on the cloud of witnesses in Timothy’s life, his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, and now an assumed faith that Timothy possesses. After spending countless time with Timothy in the mission field, Paul is reminded of Timothy’s faith in 2 Tim. 1:5, but the style of writing at the end of vs. 5 differs as the writer assumes lives in Timothy. Interesting!
3) Verses 6-14 are the writer’s encouragement to Timothy to be strong in the face of affliction, trial, or tribulation.
As Christians this letter becomes our encouragement by the Spirit and in Jesus Christ. God indeed hasn’t instilled in us a spirit of fear. Then why as Christians do we fear and not trust in the God of creation? Why do we fear and not trust in God’s fulfilling God’s plan of salvation? Why do we fear what God is creating; God’s full kingdom that is present, but not fully manifested or made known? Why then as Christians do we fear when we are given the promise of Jesus at his ascension that he would return? Why then as Christians in our days of personal trials whatever they may be do we fear? Perhaps its fear of the unknown or being on a pathway we have never traveled before. It’s not to say we can’t have fear, we are human, but what happens if in our fear we rely on God’s steadfast love for us, trust in God our creator whose presence is made known at the Table when we come to feast. Let’s trust in God and rely on our inheritance that we are given in our salvation found in Jesus, an inheritance that is eternity, an everlasting life that goes far beyond the days we will live here on earth. What happens when we reach out like the author of Timothy and encourage and pray for one another when the fear threatens to swallow us? Let’s spread hope of the life to come.
Just as the author of 2 Timothy encouraged Timothy, I encourage you as the church, the community of faith to live lives not driven by fear for the days we are now living, but to live lives of hope and be witnesses in the life to come as redeemed, resurrected people who are part of God’s coming kingdom in Jesus with whom we are heirs of the kingdom. Traveling with you in love and hope,
Hammond Food Pantry for October will be Thursday, Oct. 22nd from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. All income eligible families are welcome to be there to receive free food. We will still park out back of the Fire Hall and come in to pick up the food one or two people at a time. This may take a little longer, and we ask for your patience. We will still require the wearing of masks and observing social distancing.
The Hammond Food Sense program is underway again. This is open to anyone with no income guidelines. A unit of food, consisting of two or three meats, fresh produce, some canned items and some family meals, comes at a cost of $20.50, a very good price for the amount of food.
Food Sense is ordered from a monthly Food Bank newsletter, which I have, and must be ordered and paid for ahead of time. Food Sense is the same day as Food Pantry and usually comes in around noon.
For further information on either program, contact Joan Hadlock 324-5517.
The kitchen renovation committee is meeting this week to begin exploring ideas. If anyone is interested in sharing some thoughts about the kitchen, please see Joan Hadlock.
Does anyone have any extra fabric---any type---or yarn? For someone in the community who crochets lap robes and makes quilt tops to give away to hospitals and nursing homes. If you do, call me at 324-5517. Joan Hadlock
Marion Medical Mission has been forced to make the decision not to send U.S. volunteers to Africa this year for the first time in 35 years. This is due to the pandemic. They are still planning to install 3000 shallow wells, relying on the African staff in place to do the work.
These new wells will provide an estimated 375,000 people (225,000 children) with a sustainable source of safe drinking water. Below are some statements from some of the African staff continuing with this work.
“The well program is a gift from God for the people of Katete. It is my prayer that God will continue to bless the donors to continue supporting this program” Moses Nthala, Zambia
“The MMM Well program reaches the neediest people in the rural villages of Zambia, providing communities with safe drinking water with the love of Jesus Christ.” Chrispin Mhango, Zambia
“Working with MMM is a huge blessing to me and my family. My life has changed since I joined the program. I am proud to show the love of God to the people of Iringa.” Eden Ngiluke,
“The love of Christ that you share with the people in the communities symbolizes we are
all God’s people.” Jordan Banda, Malawi.
Last weekend, I adopted 2, 3 week old baby kittens. To make a long story short, they needed me, and I found that I didn’t need my sanity as much as I thought I would need it. I never thought I would be back to doing midnight feedings, after my daughter grew out of that phase, but here I am, every 4 hours, waking us to these cute little fur balls meowing at me. What possessed me to do this, you may be asking yourself. I ask myself that same question every now and then and I keep coming up with the same answer, life. With fall now being here and the trees are turning their beautiful shades of oranges and red, I know soon that everything will be bare, cold and dark. Outside life, will soon be hibernating, dying off, or going south for the winter. These 2 little cuties needed a warm forever home, where they would be spoiled rotten, like my other animals, and I was given the opportunity to be able to give them this. Am I drinking coffee like it’s my job now? Absolutely. Am I happy to have expanded my family? 100%.
So where does that leave me with liberty? God gave me the liberty to love. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says “Let all that you do be done in love.” Love has no limits. Stop and think of all the things you love. It could be anything between, loving your partner, kids, pets; to loving the new pair of shoes you bought, a favorite TV show or movie, a favorite song on the radio; to loving the smell of a cup of coffee on a cold day, the sound of a thunder storm in the summer time, or the beauty of fallen snow that hasn’t been touched. God is behind all of these things and there is no limit behind how much love you have for everything. God was behind me when I picked up my kittens, because the minute I saw them, I felt love. That warm feeling I get in my chest, I feel is Gods way of saying, “This is love, this is what life is all about, this is why I put you here.” My life, my liberty, my chaos, is all a part of Gods plan and I love him for it.
We have been extremely busy this summer fund raising and making improvements to our church and manse property. We appreciate the outstanding support from the community and our church members and friends for our take-out dinners during this time of uncertainty and social distancing.
Our fund raising goal of $10,000 is in sight. The August fish fry netted $1,420.91 and a donation of $100 brought our total funds raised to $8,661.78, leaving a balance of $1,338.22. Our anonymous donor has another $5,000 check waiting for us as soon as we reach our $10,000 goal.
The manse water softener has been repaired. ($75) This takes our total projected expenses to $17,383.96.
The tan shed has been painted.
The painter has begun work at the manse...power wash, scrape, repair and paint the front and back porches ($10,500).
Yet to be completed:
Mulching and grass seeding the church and manse lawns
Putnam Seamless Gutters, fall or spring 2021 ($2,666)
We hope the painter will be able to complete all the necessary work on the manse this fall, before the weather becomes an issue. With that in mind, his estimate is our greatest expense. It is crucial at this time for us to reach our $10,000 goal in order to meet the offer given to us by our anonymous donor.
When sending donations, please put “Building and Grounds Renovations” on the memo line. We appreciate your prayerful consideration.
September 13 was the third year anniversary of my husband John’s death and September 28 was the birthdate of his birth so I wanted to submit one of his poems as a tribute to him. The poem “The Real News” was written 2016, but it could have been written in 2020 during the Covid 19 Pandemic.
The Real News
I have decided to avoid the news
as presented on the internet, radio,tv,newspapers.
Why indulge an old habit
when the present becomes “the olds” in fifteen minutes?
Longer and longer it seems to take
to repair heart’s muscle
torn by compassion.
The real news is what I hear listening to you
and what you hear listening to me.
Submitted by Liz Scarlett
You may not realize it, but for many years there has been a prayer chain in our church. It currently consists of Joan Delosh and Liz Scarlett. For a long time Miriam Bariteau was a part of the prayer chain. Thank you. The purpose of the prayer chain is to help people be aware of the need for healing prayers on a daily basis in our church community and greater community. Joan Delosh is the contact person ( 315 324 5188 ). She will then notify the next person in the chain so prayers can be lifted for particular needs. This works in conjunction with the deacons. Rosie Salamacha and Christine Visscher have expressed interest in being a part of the prayer chain. We are looking for anyone else who feels called to this kind of work. Prayer is a powerful healing resource. If this is something you would like to participate in, call Joan Delosh ( 315 324 5188 )
Our Finance Committee has an opening for a new member to join. We meet every second Tuesday of the month at 9:30am. If you are interested in joining our group or have any questions, please contact Tara in the office at (315)324-5665
No, pastor hasn’t flipped through too many pages in the calendar and no, you didn’t suddenly become Rip Van Winkle and sleep through a whole season. Like you I was caught off guard by Advent. Hardly mid-August, Advent resources appeared in the church mal, it’s never too early to plan for the church year. For several years I’ve always wanted to do an Advent focus on the Jesse Tree and so here at Theresa Pres we will do that as together we will create our own Jesse Trees and have online resources available to journey daily through Advent and hear again or for the first time the stories of Jesus’ genealogy.
At Theresa we have spent five weeks this summer exploring some prominent people of the Old Testament and to hear God’s stories and see God’s actions in the lives of various people. We’ve discovered God acts in loyal outsiders in Israel’s life (Rahab, Tamar, and Ruth) and that loyal insiders (Achan-Joshua 7) struggle. God acts to keep God’s promises in times of war and violence to take the land God has Promised to Israel (Joshua) as well as God’s presence whether known or unknown in circumstances when humans fail or abandon one another including family (Joseph). We’ve discovered crossroads where people have to make difficult, even at the risk of their own death and that of family members, life decisions on behalf of others to save their people (Esther) and we’ve discovered God in times of terror (Jeremiah) and that in exile Judah would live in Babylon’s culture for seventy years and return to Judah; not the same people or live in the same way, indeed life would be different. God’s church is part of these stories as we live in such a time as this (Esther 4:14). The church continues to evolve and meet the needs of the world. No, we are not the same disciples as we deepen our faith and trust in God living in such a time as this.
In all of these stories we have discovered a link to Jesus’ humanity and divinity; God’s action of entering into our humanity in a very divine and saving way. I hope you will join us this Advent season as we explore Jesus’ roots and the places where your story, my story, and the church’s story all intersect in one life: Jesus, our Messiah and Savior. I encourage you to begin a look at Matthew 1:1-17 and take a slow read of all the names (yes, even the ones we stumble over and have trouble pronouncing) and go back into the Old Testament and read about the ancestors of Jesus. The Jesse Tree ties these stories together and the following Old Testament readings will help Jesse Tree pieces click into place (Jesse is part of that root): Esther; Genesis 38; 39:21-40:8 (Joseph); Joshua 7:1-15; 24:1, 14-15; Ruth; Jeremiah 29:1-14. Allow the Spirit to guide you down bunny trails and to question and wonder over all these readings.
Peace be with you as we journey and grow together,
School Kit Depots (where we take our kits for further shipment), have finally opened. Our church put together thirty-eight school kits which I took to a church in Watertown. Many thanks to all who contributed the items included in the kits. Especially at times like we are in now, these school supplies will be most welcomed by children in many places around the world.
Your PNC has looked at and talked with many interesting ministerial candidates. We continue to search for the person God is calling to come to Hammond to serve our congregation. Please continue to pray for our work and progress. In the meantime, thanks to all who are keeping our church functioning well. We are blessed to be worshiping together again. Joan Hadlock
Hammond Food Pantry for nest month will be Thursday, Sept.24th from 9:30 to 11:00 am at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to come to the drive by food distribution behind the Fire Hall. New families may register that day. I am happy to report that the Food Sense program is back in service. This program is for anyone, regardless of income. A unit of food, usually including 3-4 meat products, fresh produce, and some packaged and canned items, costs $20.50. There are also several special items which may be ordered and paid for ahead of time. Food Sense food is delivered about noon on Food Pantry days. For further information about either program contact Joan Hadlock at 315/324-5517.
In the early 1990's, Tom Logan, Director of Marion Medical Missions, was taken to a rural village in Malawi where 137 children were seated on the sandy ground, being taught the alphabet by an untrained teacher. The villagers explained that if they had 2 teacher houses and a 2-room school block, the government would provide two trained teachers. Marion Medical Mission gave the village the tin roof and cement, and the village did the construction. The government gave them four teachers instead of the two they requested. Over the years, MMM, in partnership with the village, built 8 teacher houses, a headmaster’s house, 8 school blocks, a library, a boys’ hostel and a girls’ hostel. After many years, 1200 students now attend the Chizimya Full Primary School, grades 1-8. So while the money we donate to MMM goes for shallow wells, that agency contributes so much more to African communities.
For further events, information and church happenings please check out our Facebook page. If you have any prayer requests or events that you would like us to post, the Hammond Presbyterian Church Session members ask that you send requests to our Church Administrative Assistant Tara and she will happily help you.
Renovation the church kitchen has been a long term goal. The many dinners that we have put on this summer have made us more aware of the changes that need to come into our present kitchen setting. If anyone is interested in becoming a member of the Kitchen Committee please get a hold of will Joan Hadlock (315)324-5517. We will meet in September. Will those interested please call with good days and times. Let’s get this going!
The railroad ties along the handicap ramp have been replaced with stone pavers. A drainage pipe was installed in the friendship garden to reroute the water from the rain gutters under the sidewalk and driveway, through the lawn, and out under the village sidewalk to the street.
The plants all had to be removed from the bedding area. New topsoil was brought in once the drain and pavers were in place. The plants survived amazingly well in the heat, due to faithful waterers, while the plants awaited their fresh bed. They have been replanted and mulched and are adapting to their new home very well. They have really perked up with the recent rainfall.
These improvements were covered by money from the Memorial Fund. ($6,762.50)
The first phase of our projects was clearing some trees, brush and debris from the outlying grounds behind the manse. ($3,000)
The manse kitchen sink and faucets have been replaced, as well as the dryer hook-up. ($452)
Electrical issues in the pastor’s office and the sanctuary have been resolved. ($450.86)
Still to be completed:
Repair or replacement of the water softener in the manse- still to be determined (?)
Power wash, scrape, repair, and paint the manse and front and back porches ($10,500) if we don’t have to paint the siding.
Putnam’s will be installing larger gutters on the church and increasing the number of gutters to two on each side of the church this fall or spring of 2021 ($2,666)
Paint for the tan shed ($132.11)
Total projected expenses thus far $17,308.96
Grass Seed to reseed the church yard and manse landscaping (?)
We have received $5,000 from an anonymous donor toward our building and grounds renovation projects. Donations from our church congregants and profits from our three dinners have matched the donors initial $5,000. We have $2,140.87, leaving us a balance of $2,859.63 to satisfy the donor’s requirements to qualify for an additional $5,000.
We still need your help to complete the necessary work around the church grounds and pastor’s homestead. When sending donations, please put “Building and Grounds Renovations” on the memo line.
Thank you for your thoughtful consideration in support of these projects.
With music, I can do anything. If I am falling behind on work, I turn on something that’s quick paced and it’s amazing how quickly I catch up on work. If I’m having a hard day, a couple good pick me up songs and I’m feeling much better. When I want my kids to go to sleep, we have a special song for that. With music, I can remember a certain place in time, a friend or relative. And I’m not picky when it comes to music. My husband has walked into a room where one minute I’m blasting the best of Elvis, to the next minute dancing around to the new Shinedown song, singing on the top of my lungs (I pity my neighbors that hear me on these days. I know I sound like a howling cat in the middle of the night), to dancing the waltz in the kitchen with my husband to classical music. I’ve even been known to shake a leg with the kids in the living room blasting “Baby Shark”. With music, everything around me almost melts away, I think clearer, I’m empowered, and I’m ready to continue to move forward.
During the year, if you listen hard enough, you can hear God playing music to us. It could be the way the wind blows, or the sound of leafs falling around you. It could be the birds singing or the crickets chirping. Some people view this as white noise, but if you listen closer, you can hear the beauty that God has orchestrated for every creature to hear. And even though every state is so different from one another, the common theme is the same. You hear the soothing sounds of God music around you, that when you hear, if you close your eyes, can bring you back to a certain place, or being with certain people all over again, the way music always does for me.
“Rock and roll music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t help it.” –Elvis Presley
Of all the verses in the ten chapters of Esther this is most likely the most well known. Really, ever since the Covid 19 pandemic picked up and has remained in our midst, maybe far longer than anyone anticipated, I’ve heard this phrase too many times in denominational circles and from clergy colleagues. It’s Mordecai’s request to his cousin, Queen Esther to speak to King Ahasuerus about the impending plot and decree ordered by the king through trickery to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jewish people, both young and old, women and children in one day (Esther 3:14), and that even Queen Esther herself wouldn’t be spared (4:13). Queen Esther has kept her identity a secret to this point as she has always obeyed her cousin Mordecai. Now, however, he needs her to step up to the plate in a really big way. Now is the time to reveal her heritage. Esther is caught between the law of her own death in the king not extending his golden scepter to her and annihilation of not only herself, and her family, but a whole group or population of people. After Mordecai points out that no one, not even her being queen is exempt from the decree, Queen Esther snaps out a plan. It’s as if a switch is triggered and she now leads and takes command of the horrific situation that lies ahead. Being who I am I want to know her thought process and what caused her to shift. Perhaps it was Mordecai’s words that no Jewish person would be spared, including Esther, queen or not. Perhaps as Mordecai points out she was placed by God (not mentioned) in the palace to save the Jewish people, herself included for such a time as this. Can it be that God is taking action in people’s lives in such subtle ways that God doesn’t get mentioned, but maybe it’s just assumed?
Interestingly enough, God is never mentioned in all ten chapters of Esther. I encourage you to read this book tucked in between Nehemiah and Job. It’s a fast paced and absorbing book to read. I also encourage you to read from a study Bible to help guide you as a study Bible will aid your understanding. So why point to Queen Esther? We too find ourselves living in an unknown time filled with a virus, ever present political tensions, fear to speak to each other if we don’t hold to the same thoughts, rioting, looting, protests, injustices, and oppressions, along with days filled with questions of so much unknown. While God may not be mentioned in the Book of Esther, God’s divine presence is there and here with us today. While I don’t see the many seed I plant through my years of ministry, I know God sends me as an agent in the name of Jesus and by the guidance of the Spirit to plant seed each day. I don’t see the fruit of the seed necessarily, but I know God’s presence is being made known, placing me in the places where God needs seed planted. I trust and have faith that God’s plan is just that, God’s plan and God will bring the harvest in, in God’s time, not the time I’d like it to be.
So, friends we are on this journey of life together, trusting in God’s time to harvest and bring forth God’s completed kingdom, that Jesus will return and make all things a new creation. As we wait in such a time as this, let’s turn to God for strength and share the light of Jesus in our dark world as the Spirit directs, guides, and empowers us.
Peace be with you, Rev. Betsy
The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, Aug. 27 between 9:30 and 11:00 at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to participate and receive the free food. New comers from the Hammond, Rossie, Brier Hill, Morristown areas are welcome.
We are doing drive by pick up at the back of the Fire Hall. There is no new news on the Food Sense program, discontinued at this time.
For information, call Joan Hadlock 315/324-5517.
COLLECTING WATER AND WOOD
In western Africa, the intense rainy season may last for three months, with the remaining months very arid. Wells are often dug by hand and may be 100 feet deep or more, if there is a well. Especially for the women and girls in the village, one whole day may be used in gathering enough firewood to cook for the week. They go out early in the morning while it is cool and search most of the day, returning home at dusk with a full load of firewood carried on their heads. The task of fetching water falls to the children who go out early in the day, and again at the end of the afternoon to fill jars and canisters with the water needed for cooking, drinking, bathing and cleaning. Hopefully the children attend school during the day in Ghana and Togo. But in much of Niger and Nigerian many children, especially girls, must work in the household and cannot go to school. The collection of water and food is essential to these families. Any problem, such as an illness, can send a family into a spiral of poverty that is difficult to escape.
When was the last time you had to spend the day foraging for wood or collecting water so essential to life? Even in our present difficult times, let us appreciate our abundant lives and God’s precious gifts to us. We complain about the weather, but we really do not depend on rain or sunshine for our lives to carry on. We truly are blessed. Joan Hadlock
The other day I was talking to my mom and she was telling me about how she video chats with my Aunt, who I’ve kept in contact with but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her, and they hang out and talk, watch TV together and reminisce about “the good old days”. So, I downloaded the app, signed in, and noticed that I can make a group video chat session with my mom and my Aunt. They both come on and we start talking about things we used to all do together and some of our favorite memories with each other, and that’s when my aunt says, “Can you add one more? Your cousin would like to join in.” My cousin and I were thick as thieves growing up, but again it’s been a very long time since she and I talked, let alone seen each other. So I quickly jumped at the opportunity to see my cousin on the video chat. I laughed so hard that night that my tummy hurt the next day when I woke up. We were all reunited for an evening, in the comforts of our own homes and telling stories, goofing around, and picking up exactly where we left off so many years ago when we all had our lives pulled us in different directions away from one another.
This week, I had a different family reunion at Church. No more video service for me, (which was lovely to watch in bed in the morning and not having to leave my house) but I was ready to see my family once again. It was a different kind of service, for our familiar hugging and chit chatting wasn’t included, but again, I jumped at the opportunity to be with my loved ones that I so very much miss, even if it was under different circumstances, we were still being brought together with love. I went home that Sunday, feeling as though my soul finally got to come out of bed and stretch off the feeling of being bottled up. I look forward to things going back to normal again. It might still be a long road ahead, but God has laid out the road, all we have to do is walk it.
Friday Fish Fry on August 28th. For more details, Check out our Facebook page for the Event or Call Tara at (315) 324-5665
Plea & Praise is the title for my sermon Sunday 6/28. It’s a sermon from Psalm 13 as the Psalmist makes a plea to God. The Psalmist has an unknown enemy and cries out or makes a plea to God because all the Psalmist has a sense of is the lack of God’s presence in the Psalmist’s distress. We’ve all been there at one time or another. We want an end to whatever the distress may be or whatever we name as our enemy. We even cry out like the Psalmist, “How long, O Lord?” The unknown writer of this Psalm spells it out to the Lord as being forgotten and turned away from him/her. Yes, we have all been in this place. We hear a diagnosis (enemy) that we just can’t process. We face life (enemy) as a widow or widower wondering how long this feeling of sorrow will last. We lose hope as we despair and wonder how long, O Lord, we will be a church without a pastor. We lose trust in God’s (hesed) steadfast love. Yet as the Psalmist discovers rather than God turning away, God turns toward, rather than forgotten, God remembers as the Psalmist is delivered and God’s goodness is made known. I want to encourage you to look at the three parts of Psalm 13 of this song of lament. 1) Complaint or plea in verses 1-2, 2) the petition or asking God for deliverance in verses 3-4, and finally 3) the praise (verses 5-6) for God in whom the Psalmist trusts (present tense denoting the trust is ongoing). Write your own song or prayer of lament.
As you complete one year of being without a pastor, formed a PNC, and continue to live through a pandemic, trust in God, God’s hesed, and deliverance. Sing praise to God for God’s presence with you and for you. Lift each other (PNC, Session, and leaders of the church) in prayer. How long, O Lord, may be the plea, praise God for God’s goodness and presence in turning toward you and not forgetting.
Peace be with you,
Food Pantry for July will be Thursday, July 23rdfrom 9:00 to 11:00 at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to participate to receive free food. As with the past three months, we will have the food all pre-bagged, so clients can drive up, give their names and receive the food. I have not heard anything from the Food Bank in Syracuse regarding the Food Sense program, so this is still on hold. I will let former Food Sense customers know when this resumes. Any questions about Food Pantry may be directed to
Joan Hadlock, 324-5517.
Marion Medical Mission was founded in 1985, focusing on medical needs, hospital supplies, building a new clinic in Zaire. By 1990, a need for clean water was realized, turning to preventative measures in health. That first year 13 wells were provided. Since then, the numbers have grown. Last year 3,140 wells were installed in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia covering 60,000 square miles, providing almost 400,000 people with clean water. Since 1990, MMM has built 39,040 wells in partnership with the local communities, serving nearly 5 million people. . Along with the wells, Marion Medical Mission, working with local communities, has build 9 schools in Malawi, including the first in the country school for the hearing impaired, and, has provided over 5000 secondary school scholarships. Earlier this year massive flooding took place in Northern Malawi leaving many starving just as the quarantine hit. MMM sent $50,000. to purchase large bags of maize to sustain the families during this time, with a two to three day turnaround from purchase of the maize to delivering to the families. So Marion Medical Mission is at the forefront of assisting needy families in this African region. Jesus said loving your neighbor as yourself is like loving God, the first and greatest commandment. As they say in Malawi, when we pray, we move our feet. Thanks again for the help with our latest shallow well.
One other Mission note, in the past, Hammond Presbyterian Church has sent $1000 to mission work through the Presbytery. This program has all changed, so our church now supports five missions with $200.00 each. These missions are Renewal House, Watertown Urban Mission, Helping Hands of Potsdam, Canton Church and Community (Food Pantry and Thrift Shop) and Malawi Early Literacy Team. We surely are a “Mission” church.
There are some things in life that when certain things hit your senses, it can bring you back to when you were a young child. I love when these things start to happen. It could be a meal that my mom used to make, that I now make, and every time I take a bite of the meal I brings me back to my early childhood. Or it could be something as simple as a smell. If I walk past a man who’s wearing Old Spice Cologne, I immediately think of my dad. Taste and smell are my favorite senses that will bring me back in time to such wonderful memories. Right now, my favorite is smell. Every time I do laundry, in the summer, I like to hang out my laundry on a clothes line in my backyard. The best is hanging my sheets outside and when they dry, bringing them in and putting them on my bed. I get so excited for bedtime to come because I just want to lie on my bed and inhale the fresh sweet smell of the sun as I fall soundly asleep. It’s a smell that brings me right back to being a little kid, in the summer time, who is overly tired from running around outside all day and flopping face first onto my bed and smelling the fresh smell of my bedding that was cleaned and hung outside to dry.
Another thing that brings me right back to my childhood that happens so often in Church is the Lord’s Prayer. I remember having to memorize the prayer so I could receive communion and I remember getting stuck on the word “trespasses”. “What does that mean?” I would wonder every time I would say those words. I might have even asked my dad what it meant, but it never got absorbed because I know I would say the prayer again and again I would think “What does it all mean?” But God has a hand in this memory and as I got older and understood the words that I was saying, I get brought right back to being a little kid and I catch myself giggling. It makes me wonder if, when I’m giggling at that memory in church, God is looking down upon me and giggling also since I get to share one of those favorite memories of mine with him.
We have been discussing the renovation of the church kitchen, with some ideas being brought up.
If anyone is interested in being on the “kitchen committee”, let Tara know.
The Hammond Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee continues to meet and review information from candidates. We have had on line conversations with some, have checked references as well. We continue to pray that God will help us discern who will be coming to be our shepherd in Hammond. As a reminder, in the past we have had an interim pastor for two to three years while this process was taking place. So we remain hopeful and hope you will also.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had to make some changes to how we will serve the needs of people in the North Country this summer.
Because no outside groups will be traveling to the area this summer, we will depend upon local volunteers to accomplish the work.
We plan to work 8 weeks. Our work coordinator, Katie Grose will be on site to teach, encourage, and help complete the work.
We will work Monday thru Thursday 9 am to 4 pm. No volunteers will arrive before 9, and all must leave at 4 pm.
Volunteers will practice appropriate social distancing at all times or wear masks.
Volunteers will bring their own food and drinks – water, Gatorade, etc.
Volunteers must sign standard “hold harmless” agreements. MINC does carry insurance for volunteers, but your own insurance is expected to pay first, with ours picking up co-pays, etc.
So, if you want to volunteer, what is the process?
EXPERIENCE IS APPRECIATED, BUT NOT NECESSARY! REMEMBER, WE TEACH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO DO THIS WORK EVERY SUMMER.
Select from the work projects below. You can work as many or as few days as you wish. Even half-days are fine.
Call the Presbytery Office at 315-713-4343, select MINC Outreach Worker, and leave a message. Rachel will return your call and get you scheduled. In order to protect our volunteers, the number of volunteers on a project at each time will be limited to that which we feel can work safely and practice safe social distancing.
Dates and work projects: all subject to change. We will adjust if projects are completed more quickly or more slowly or if weather is an issue.
Insulation and board and batten siding
June 29-July 2
Insulation and board and batten siding
*Roof work is all single story. We install metal roofing over existing roofing. We need people on the ground to cut wood and hand things up to people on the roof. We also need people willing to work on a gently-sloping roof.
**Ramp work is all done on the ground. Involves cutting with power saws and using battery-operated screw guns and drivers.
What is Per Capita…
Per Capita is “the tie that binds”- annual giving that unites the entire church in the ongoing and essential work that guides the Office of the General Assembly, the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and benefits every congregation and every mid council ministry. Per capita is the primary source of funding for the Office of the General Assembly, and is how Presbyterians mutually and equitably share the costs of coming together to discern the Spirit’s leading for the future. The 2019 Per Capita fee for our Presbytery has been confirmed at $25.00. Each per capita payment is divided, with $8.95 for General Assembly, $4.10 for the Synod of the North East, and $11.95 going to the Presbytery of Northern New York.
Many members of our church have already made their per capita payments. Our Church must pay per capita for each member, whether or not the member pays us. Your contribution helps Hammond Presbyterian Church cover our portion. Per Capita payments can be mailed to the church or dropped in the Offering with “Per Capita” written in the memo line. For more information about Per Capita and how it is accessed and allocated, please go to: http://oga.pcusa.org/section/ecclesial-and-ecumenical-ministries/per-capita/
For any questions concerning Hammond Presbyterians Per Capita amount or giving’s, Please contact Tara in the office at (315)324-5665 Mon-Friday 9am-12pm or email at HPC215@Gmail.com
Thank you for helping us to have more funds available for local ministry by providing your share of the per capita.