March 2020

Flaws, Messes; Flawless and Mercy

That’s our 2020 Lenten theme here at Theresa Presbyterian Church. We will undertake a journey over the next six weeks to come to the roughness of the cross and the light and brightness of Easter morning. Our journey will take us through the Old Testament book of Judges in both our Bible study (Judges; The flawed and the flawless by Timothy Keller) and our worship. We will see and experience the flaws and messes in not only other people’s lives, as found in Judges, but reflect and see our own flaws and messes as well. We will experience some of the Old Testament heroes found in Judges like Samson, Gideon, and Deborah as well as some who are less well known like Othniel, Barak, and Jael and discover the messes of both heroes and non-heroes. Our worship will find us during our time of confession confessing the mess of our own life as each week we attach a piece of junk representative of the story and our messy life onto an old wooden door. On Maundy Thursday we will strip away the mess and leave it at the foot of the cross and on Easter morning during our time of assurance we will hang white lilies on the revealed cross on the door.

Why this different worship format; because it causes us to be real with ourselves, each other and most importantly with God. We will be able to touch, feel, and smell the messes that we make. Ultimately in all our human mess, it’s God’s mercy and Flawless Son that we meet by and with the work of the Spirit. God works our mess and transforms our lives into the people God means for us to be. 

The church is filled with messy and flawed people, as is the pastor who comes to serve with the congregation. Do we see God’s mercy in the ways a church’s congregation and pastor are transformed and made to be what God intends the church to be? I wonder how you will be transformed on this Lenten journey that sits before us. 

Peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy

HAMMOND FOOD PANTRY

 Hammond Food Pantry will be open on Thursday, March 26th from 9:30 to 11:00 at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are welcome to come and receive free food, consisting of several meat offerings, cereal, cheese, margarine, canned fruit and vegetables, pasta, and fresh produce. New consumers may sign up the day of food distribution.

Also, the same day, the Food Sense program is held. Items must be ordered from a menu and paid for before the food is delivered on Food Pantry days. This menu includes meats and seafood, canned food, meal packages and fresh produce. There are no income guidelines for Food Sense, which is great way to stretch your food dollars.

For information on Food Pantry or Food Sense, contact Joan Hadlock 315/324-5517.

MISSIONS COMMITTEE

News from our Mission co-worker in West Africa, Josh Heikkila, concerns agriculture.

He writes: In this part of the world, farming is especially difficult, using simple tools, still forged by hand. Due to lack of irrigations, crops grow at the mercy of rainfall. Agriculture is the main economic activity for 50 % of the population in Ghana, and for 80% of those in Niger. Even in the crowded cities, people keep chickens, goats and even sometimes a cow. Seeing farmers tending crops, growing them in places where it doesn’t seem easy, makes me appreciate their hard work and helps me realize that God helps make a way when there might not seem to be one.

In Ghana, they are working on plans to teach agricultural skills to women who have been accused of witchcraft, and who had to flee their homes and farms, often ending up in places with poor soil, where they struggle to make a living from farming.

In Niger, we are starting to build wells and grow tree seedlings to help stop the spread of the desert and provide firewood, cutting down on deforestation of the land. These projects will be pioneered in Ghana as well.

These projects are being undertaken by Presbyterian Church (USA) World Mission and partners in the region. Let’s keep our West African partners in our prayers.

Joan Hadlock

Spring Cleaning By Tara Atherton

I have been doing some much needed spring cleaning in my office. With my daughter going to school and not being my big helper at work anymore, it was bitter sweet taking all the toys out of my office and putting everything in the nursery for everyone else to play with. I scraped all the old stickers off the cabinets and scrubbed off all the crayon that accidently missed the paper that she would color on. I remember my first couple of weeks working in the office and how I went through everything and tried to organize everything to have things make sense. You know, putting all the paper together in one spot, envelopes with envelopes, folders with all the other folders, stuff like that. When I do this at home, my husband likes to joke and say that I “Taraized” something. The poor man comes home from work and tries to help me, only to be completely lost with where everything is in the house because I decided to Spring Clean. I like to tell him that I’m keeping him on his toes, but I’m slowly helping him go down the road of madness, as all people do to their loved ones.

God has a big “To Do” list when it comes to spring cleaning. Think about it. Snow needs to melt, grass needs to grow, flowers need to bloom, birds need to sing, the sun needs to shine, the temperature needs to rise, so much needs to be done and yet we all take this for granted. It’s going to happen sooner or later. We always hope it’s a lot sooner than later, but God will get to his list when the time is right. So we may have a couple more snow storms and more days when the temperature doesn’t go over freezing, but God will be Spring Cleaning soon and we will be rewarded. And while we wait for things to warm up, nothing will be out of place and we won’t be driven to madness looking for where Spring is being kept.

New Membership Class

  Plans are underway for a New Membership Class to be held after Easter in April. If you are participating in the life of the Hammond Presbyterian Church and would like to officially join this congregation, please let our church secretary Tara know. Please stay tuned to learn the details of when this class will be offered and what it will include. 

Mindfulness Meditation

 Just a reminder that March 2nd will be our Last Mindfulness Meditation class (from 6-7pm) until further notice. Thank you to all who came and please keep your eyes peeled for when we will begin our classes again. 

February

Are We There Yet?

I’m always amazed at how fast time flies. Whether it’s time for the newsletter article (already?) or the realization it’s Thursday (already?) or the arrival of my birthday this month (already?) or my older son’s upcoming wedding this year (already?) time flies; for whatever reason it just does. 

The life of the church is no exception. I still feel the flurry of activity from Advent and due to an ice glaze and the cancellation of worship on 1/12, the church at Theresa is still sitting dressed in its Christmas finery. Hmmm… now I have the onslaught of Lent and Easter resources abounding in the mail and my computer inbox (already?) And the church in Hammond sits perhaps wondering at the slowness of time or the crawl that the search process often seems to move at. We often move at a pace that is hurry up and wait; running and crawling; frantic and sleeping. 

The Bible is filled with this tension as we reflect on the Israelite’s set free from Pharaoh as they live for years in that tension of crying to God yet questioning and wondering over God’s plan on the journey out of Egypt. Are we there yet? In the season of Moses to be given the Law and wondering how they were to live as God’s people, yet waiting to come into the Promised Land. Are we there yet? To be living in the time of the Prophets and waiting to return to Jerusalem and have the Exile ended, to wait for a Messiah. Are we there yet? A crucified Jesus placed in an empty tomb and the arrival of the women on that first day of the week who come with their spices to prepare a risen Jesus for burial. Are we there yet? A church that waits longingly and hopefully for a new pastor, wondering who and when. Are we there yet? A kingdom that God has been gathering for 2,000 plus years that leaves us to wonder, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Are we there yet?

As we continue to journey in this season of transition, of rushing days and weeks, months and year, may we take time to enjoy the journey and not ask are we there yet, rather, God make your ways known to us. Let us sit gathered in prayer seeking God’s guidance to prepare Hammond Presbyterian for who is to come and that God is also preparing the person coming. God has a plan, let’s not be rushed, nor tarry on the journey.

Peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy

HAMMOND FOOD PANTRY

The Hammond Food Pantry operates once a month, on a Thursday, either the third or fourth week, depending on the dates given to us by the Food Bank of Central New York in Syracuse.

We are open from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. and have served from a low of fifty-five families to a high of ninety-five families each month. Our food is ordered from the Food Bank and is delivered by tractor trailer the week before our food pantry. We pay an average of $1000.00 each month for the food. There are always several USDA free food items, which we include in our order.

During the year, we have received several wonderful donations from individuals and organizations. The Morristown Thanksgiving Dinner collects a large quantity of food, as does the Lights on the River project in Lisbon. We also receive monetary donations from both of these. Other funding contributions come from Northern New York Community Foundation, the Thousand Islands Young Leaders Organization and Hammond Central School’s personnel Dress Down Days, and student food donations...

When food is delivered, a few volunteers load the food into the Food Pantry building on Lake St. On Food Pantry day, cases of food are then taken into the Hammond Fire Hall for distribution to the families. Again, we have a fine group of volunteers who take care of this process.

New families can sign up on Food Pantry days. We also are available for emergency food needs when called.

Our foods include cereal, juices, butter and cheese, canned fruit, vegetables, soups, spaghetti sauce, pasta, mashed potatoes, four meat items such as ground turkey or beef, fish, hotdogs, chicken, tuna and bread, fresh produce and other miscellaneous items as available. We serve families from two people to eight or nine people. A few orders are delivered to those without transportation.

The Food Sense program is held the same day as Food Pantry. Food Sense sheets offer a unit of food for $20.50 plus several specials. Items offered include several meats or fish, produce, canned goods, frozen meals and produce and protein boxes. All Food Sense food must be ordered and paid for ahead of time and can be put on food stamps. Food Sense has no income requirements and is a great money saving program.

For information about Food Pantry or Food Sense, contact Joan Hadlock (324-5517)

PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN AND MISSIONS COMMITTEE

As I put together this report, I am once again amazed at what we have done this year. All we accomplish is dependent on your generosity and support. The Mission Committee plans for the next project, and everyone joins in to make it happen. Here is what we have done in 2019.

We have put together twenty-five school kits to be distributed by Church World Service, for children with little access to school supplies. Our next project was the Blanket Fund on Mothers’ Day. The $180.00 we raised helps provide blankets for warmth and shelter in areas of crises, natural disasters and homelessness.  This is administered by Church World Service as well.

Our Angel Tree gifts from our congregation went to over fifty children of our Food Pantry families. Several people also helped assemble the Food Pantry family gift bags.

The Christmas Mission Tree provided nearly $650.00 for a variety of gifts, as well as poinsettias for the sanctuary. The agencies receiving the donations were: Heifer International, Church World Service and Presbyterian Missions. 

Our Mitten Tree items were sent to St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, S. D. This is a residential school, housing and educating children from difficult home situations.

In addition, Hammond Presbyterian Women provides funding to send the mittens, sends a $400.00 annual pledge for mission work through Presbytery, Synod and General Assemble, and arranges for sanctuary flowers each week.

I certainly am proud of all the outreach work our church family has accomplished. You are a very giving congregation, helping our community as well as so many throughout the world.

Joan Hadlock, Mission and Presbyterian Women

After the Storm Ends By Tara Atherton

 Every January, I run faster than any Olympic track star. I have so much to accomplish and pull together, that by the end of the month, when it’s all over, I look at everything that I’ve thrown together and start to clean up. It’s like after a bad storm; you go outside, assess the damage, pick up broken tree limbs and just breathe for a moment that it’s all over with. That is until the next storm, but who knows when that will be and it’s nice to relax and think that I made it through another one. I’ve made it through another January. January is like a hurricane. You see it coming from a distance and you know when it hits to just hold on. And as things start to settle down for a moment, you realize that you are in the eye of the storm and that another blast of busy is going to be coming any minute. As I write this, I know I’m in the eye of the storm. I’ve caught up on several things that I was behind on, but I’ve been putting off doing a big job because I know it’s going to take me a while to accomplish. “That’s a Monday job..” I keep telling myself. No one likes Mondays to begin with, and that’s when I’m letting the other half of my storm hit, but that’s nothing that me and a large coffee can’t accomplish since Mondays are my slow day.

Whether it was an easy week, a hard week, a long week, a quick week, a stormy week, or a beautiful week, the week starts with a calm before any storm. Being with my church family every Sunday is the calm that is needed before the storm of the week hits. God watches us all week with the sleepless nights or the early mornings, the sick kids or the rushed mornings, the bad days or the great ones and when Sunday comes around, the storm is over, the rainbow is out, God calms our souls, assess the damage that we might have endured through the week, and starts cleaning up so that maybe next week, the storm God gives us is just a little flurry that we can sit back, watch and admire, verses falling apart at the seams. 

January 2020

Ringing out the Good News from Hammond Presbyterian Church

  “And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the City of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11) These words are proclaimed to the shepherds who were out in the fields tending to their flocks of sheep. The shepherds were going about their everyday activity doing what they would be doing on any night of the week. They were watching over the sheep to keep them safe from predators. It’s dark and probably the night contained some sounds they would know because they had heard the night sounds before. Then something extraordinary happens in the ordinary; God breaks into the darkness with the brilliant light of an angel, one of God’s heavenly realm comes to visit the shepherds. These words are offered to the shepherds that God was active and they were to take part in what God was doing.

T he good news of Christmas is one of great joy and for all people. God’s news of grace and the gift of salvation was for the people of Israel and those outside Israel. God was doing something new and continues to be active and doing new things that amaze and surprise us and leave us to respond with praise and glorifying God. In our weakness, in the darkness, in our laments to God, God is present and actively at work healing and restoring; bringing new life in ways and by means that surprise us and catch us off guard.

As we enter into the new year of 2020, the same God who sent a baby to save and redeem the world one life at a time is the same God who continues to call His gathered people together to be the church with Jesus as the head. God has plans and ministry to be done at Hammond Presbyterian Church. May we respond and be faithful to God’s call, praising God and witnessing to all we have seen and heard.

Peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy

Annual Meeting Reports

 Just a friendly reminder that our Annual Meeting will be held on February 2, 2020 following our infamous Pot Luck after Service. Please remember to send in your Annual Reports to Tara in the office by January 15, 2020. Thank you all. 

Hammond Food Pantry

Thanks to the many people who helped with the Hammond Food Pantry in December. Our church family provided eighty-eight Angel Tree gifts for Food Pantry families. The twenty-eight older children received gift cards. On food distribution day we had ninety-five families, who received an abundance of food as well as a bag of fruit and a large bag of hygiene/ health products. Many of the families also received the bags of children’s gifts. There were approximately fifteen volunteers who helped everything go very smoothly. So, once again, many thanks for all who helped make this a merrier Christmas for many area families.

Food Pantry and Food Sense in January will be January 23 at the Hammond Fire Hall. for further information on these programs, contact Joan Hadlock 315/324-5517.

Joy By Rosie Salamacha

On December 15th 2019, I was home with friends from Montana and family. As we were relaxing on that cold windy day, there was a knock at the door. When I opened it, I was pleasantly excited to see the Christmas Carolers at my door singing to me. I called for my friends and family to come out and listen to the few songs that the Youth Group and adults were singing. It is always such a joy to have them come to my house every year and sing. They always sing beautifully and it really helps with the Spirit of Christmas. After the Carolers left, my friends who were visiting from Montana were so amazed that our little town had carolers and they had never had anyone do this where they live. It’s always a joy to have the carolers come every year and I look forward to it again in December of 2020.  

MISSIONS

Appreciation goes out to all who contributed to the collection of school kits. We have twenty-nine school kits assembled, which will be taken to a drop off point and then sent to Church World Service for further distribution. Our church has become known for its Mission Program and it happens because we have such a generous congregation, willing to help others. Again, many thanks for the support. 

Our Christmas Mission will provide many needed gifts for families worldwide. We gave a total of $632.00 in donations of animals, school and health supplies, farming tools, jerry cans, and kitchen kits, as well as beautiful poinsettias for the sanctuary. The various donations will go to Heifer International, Church World Service and Presbyterian Missions. This could not happen without the generosity of so many of you. Many thanks for thinking of others beyond our walls.

The mitten tree items have been sent to St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, SD. Most of the children there are from broken homes and these gifts will remind them of the love and caring we send along with the warm items to see them through the cold winter. Joan Hadlock

Back By Popular Demand by Tara Atherton

I like to think that I do a little bit of everything in the Church while I’m working. I have a list that has to get accomplished and another list of stuff to spruce up and put my little twist on things. One of the things that I started to handle a little more of is our Facebook page. There are a couple of us that post things on the site. Whether its information, pictures, and back by popular demand, our inspirational daily posts. With our daily posts, I decided to add my own little fun twist on things. The Saturday Silly posts. I’ve had people send me silly posts for our Facebook page for a couple of years now and never knew when would be a good time to post them online. Now is my time to shine. I enjoy being silly, I enjoy being a kid, I enjoy people laughing. Jimmy Durante even says “Make someone happy, Make just one someone happy, And you will be happy too” And I find that, I, myself, am very happy and feel that even if it’s just one person that gets a giggle from the Saturday Silly, then I did my job well for the day. 

I like to think our Church Family has a great sense of humor. There’s never a time where if there was a hiccup in our service, or stressful times during the week, that I haven’t seen someone giggling about “what’s the worst that can happen…” attitude. Like water off a ducks back, we find the silly in the chaos. And I think God gave us this sense of humor to make us stronger as a congregation. And as we laugh and have a good time, I wonder if God is looking upon us, also with a grin and a chuckle at how we handle all of our situations. It’s a wonderful feeling in our Church that we can sit back and laugh with each other and fill our church up with happiness. 

December

Ringing out the Good News from Hammond Presbyterian Church December 2019

I’m currently at Camp Fowler, one of the five Reformed Church in America camps. I’m in Speculator, N.Y. in the Adirondacks. It snowed yesterday and is Arctic cold today. The wind has picked up and the snow is being blown off the pine trees surrounding my prayer cabin. It’s a good time for me to be on a week of pastoral study. I’m behind on what I’d like and need to read as well as get some programming done that is need of my attention. Here in this warm and cozy prayer cabin with a gas burning stove for heat, I can be still and listen for God’s voice. I can be still and encouraged about the serving and ministry God has sent me out to live. I can be still and listen and dream and imagine at what God is doing next, not only in my life, but in a greater context, a larger circle.

It’s important that we take the time to be still and listen for God’s voice; for the God of creation who breaks in to challenge and call us to do the work and ministry that God needs us to do where we are. Winter, with its time of hibernation for most animals and people is a wonderful time to brainstorm and dream and imagine what God potentially has in store. It’s a great time to think out of the box and perhaps take a long time ministry and revamp it. What does it look like when something long term that perhaps the congregation or those outside the church are bored or disinterested is given a transformation or new life? 

This happened you know. The minor prophet Haggai prophesied as the exiles returned in a slow trickle from Babylon back to Jerusalem and was close to the end of the prophets. The lands were devastated and the Temple where the people gathered to meet with God lay in ruins. The funny thing is in all those years of exile, the people came back to Jerusalem and had to be reminded to be obedient to God. They restored their own lands and homes first, God wasn’t the priority. Haggai asked the people of God, “How’s that working for you?” 

We too need to hear Haggai’s message from God perhaps on a more regular basis than we may know or want to acknowledge. The word of the LORD through the prophet Haggai in 1:4, “Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your ceiled [paneled] houses while this house lies in waste?” So take heart as in verse 13 Haggai continues God’s message to the people, “I am with you, says Jehovah.” Indeed Jehovah stirred up the spirit among the people and its rulers “and they came and did work on the house of Jehovah of hosts, their God.” (1:14) Was the Temple different than the one of former glory? Yes, however, God was also at work redeeming, transforming, and restoring the Temple to be something different and new in a new community and era. “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former, says Jehovah of hosts; and in this place will I give peace says Jehovah of hosts.” (2:9). 

God indeed through his Son Jesus and by the work of the Spirit is busy and at work to bring forth God’s kingdom as we take time to be still and listen. Peace be with you as we work and wait in and for God’s kingdom together.   Rev. Betsy

MISSIONS

Angel Tree cards for gifts for Food Pantry children are in the dining room Please have wrapped gifts along with their cards back to the dining room by Dec. 8th. Our Mitten Tree is in place and will be receiving your gifts any time. These will be sent by mid-December. 

Our Christmas Mission Tree list follows. There will be donation forms in the dining room. I will need the names for the Memorial List by Dec.15th. You may also call me (315/324-5517) if you wish to place an order and have names for the Memorials.

10 Jerry Cans (for carrying water) $25.;Farming Tools $10.00; Family of Chickens $25.00; Kitchen Kit $25.00; School Supplies $25.00; Fishing Net $15.00; Corn Seeds $10.00;  500 Fishlings $25.00; Child Health $15.00; Books for 10 students $20.00; School Supplies $25.

Share of a pig, a sheep, goat or rabbits $10.00; Share of an Alpaca or Water Buffalo $25.00.

Please let me know how you wish to help the many unfortunate people in the world.

Joan Hadlock

Hammond Food Pantry

  Hammond Food Pantry will be held Thursday, Dec. 19th between 9:30 and 11:00. We will have gifts for the children, as well as fruit boxes and self care items.

PASTOR NOMINATING COMMITTEE

Your PNC has been meeting and reviewing many Pastor Information Forms which have been sent to us. We have been in touch with several of the candidates to confirm their interest in our church. We will continue to read new forms as they come to us. As Pastor Marti Montovani encourages us, we will find the person that God is preparing to come to Hammond. Keep us in your prayers. Joan Hadlock

Christmas Caroling

Any who are interested may join Christmas carolers at 2:00 p.m. on

Sunday, Dec. 15th. Following caroling around the village, there will be refreshments ready back at the church. Come join us for a fun, meaningful time together.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree By Tara Atherton

It’s early November as I write this and I’ve been chewing my cheek to put up my Christmas tree. I don’t want to do it too early, and be judged, but we just had our first snow fall and I have Christmas Spirit bursting out of me. All my Christmas shopping is mainly done, and I have almost half the presents wrapped, but my living room is begging to have a tree in the middle of it. It’s one of my favorite things to wake up to in the morning when I’m getting the kids ready for the day. It’s that colorful glow that comes from the living room because the Christmas tree is lit. I become five years old again, hoping to see something magical happen. I think of my daughter, who is now four years old and my partner in crime, who would have had the tree up before Halloween, and has been asking “if Santa will visit soon” since June, if she has that same bursting feeling in her body when she sees the tree all lit up, or if it’s all about the goodies and gifts that are soon to come. 

Once a week, while I’m in the office, I get to be all holiday crazy with one of my favorite people, Randy Kraft. He decorates our dining hall for the holidays, special dinners, and everyday use. When he comes into the church with his bags of goodies, I can’t help myself but to fell all festive. Is it luck that our church has to have such a strong hearted man who loves his church or is it God at work yet again, putting things in place as he does for everyone, to set Randy on the path to our church to make it so welcoming and warm? I’d like to think it’s both. It’s God who has been laying down this path for our church to walk down together and for us not to worry about what tomorrow may bring because he put the right people where they need to be in our church. Whether it’s me in the office, Randy decorating the dining hall or the many people who take time out of their busy day to help keep our church running so smoothly. The best is, Christmas is coming and the feeling of wholeness is only going to become stronger, and it feels like God is decorating our path in life, as one does to their Christmas tree.

November

It’s been 502 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. To say he was upset may be a little mild. He wanted reforms from the Church for the common person. After all, why should the pockets of the higher ups in the Papacy be lined with the money collected from indulgences (the money used to reduce or get a loved one out of purgatory)? Shouldn’t the Bible be read or Mass and the Communion liturgy spoken in their native German? Imagine afterward the thrill of the parishioners to be able to participate in worship simply by hearing their native tongue. These were reforms indeed!

As I prepare for this Sunday’s worship (10/27) we celebrate Reformation Day. The Scripture I’m using comes from Hebrews 11-12:3. We hear a litany of voices who “by faith” responded to God in God’s plan of salvation history. We also hear of the call to persevere, to focus on Jesus when the going gets tough or we are weary. I have to wonder if Martin Luther didn’t become weary. He certainly had to account for his actions in the aftermath of nailing his theses to the door. 

In your season of in between I encourage you to read this Hebrew text; to share your stories of those who have come before. What were the vision and the history of Hammond Presbyterian Church? I encourage you to persevere and continue to be the body of Christ as you wait patiently for the PNC to do the task before them of finding a new pastor. I encourage you to pray for your community of faith, your leaders, the PNC, and that God is preparing the new pastor who is coming. Weary or worn, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses both past and present, turn to Jesus who endured the cross and the hostility of sinners. Be strong in Jesus and rely on your faith as God works out God’s plans for you.

Peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy

ELECTION NIGHT DINNER

Tuesday November 5th from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Menu includes: Roast Beef, Mashed Potato and Gravy, Coleslaw, Vegetable, Desserts and Beverages.

Adults are $10.00 Children are $5.00, Children 4 years and younger are FREE.

Hammond Food Pantry

Hammond Food Pantry distributes food and used clothing once a month to income eligible families from the Hammond, Rossie, Brier Hill and Morristown areas. We average 70 families, with new families signing up each month. At Christmas time, we served 95 families with the usual items, plus bags of fruit, packets of health goods, gift cards from Save a Lot, and gifts and gift cards for the children of Food Pantry families. Each month, a group of volunteers brings all of the food into the Fire Hall from the Food Pantry building next door, and several volunteers help by manning the food line and distributing the food. Most of our food is purchased from the Food Bank of Central NY in Syracuse, which delivers our order of food once a month. We take advantage of any free or USDA foods that are available and have received some grant funding from the Food Bank, But we spend an average of $1100 per month on the food. We appreciate the monthly donations we receive from our church and other donors.

Another program for which anyone is eligible is the Food Sen$e program For $15.50, consumers may purchase a unit of food consisting of meats and/or fish, pasta goods, fresh produce and other items. This is an outstanding way to stretch your food dollars. There are also eight specials which can be ordered separately. Food Sen$e goods must be ordered and paid for before the food arrives. 

Food Pantry this month will be Thursday, Nov. 21st, from 9:30 to 11:00 at the Hammond Fire Hall. Anyone interested in signing up for the Food Pantry or the Food Sen$e program may contact me at 324-5517. Joan Hadlock

Mindfulness Meditation Time Change

Starting November 4th, and Mondays thereafter, Mindfulness Meditation will be held at 6pm instead of 6:30pm. Meditator, Christine Visscher will facilitate. Open to beginning meditators and long time meditators. Come learn how to use your mind to work FOR you instead of against you, by employing simple techniques! You’ll be glad you did! Submitted by Nancy Chase.

MISSIONS

Our Missionary, Josh Heikkila, co-worker in West Africa, writes about some very dark history of Ghana, W. Africa. 

Along the Ghanaian coast line are several white castles, now places of beauty. But the history of these structures is in stark contrast to the atrocities that took place there. For two centuries, between between 1640 and 1840, an estimated 1.2 million human beings were taken as cargo and shipped from Ghana’s castles to the Americas, coming from Senegal to Angola, captured, enslaved and brought to North and South America. Through complex business partnerships, ethnic groups like the Asante (Ghanians) would take captives during intertribal warfare, shackle the prisoners and march them hundreds of miles to the coastal forts where the Fante people (Ghanians) sold them to Europeans for manufactured goods. The captives were then taken across the Atlantic Ocean and sold into slavery.

Josh wonders what powerful, business partnerships exist today that allow for dehumanization and subjugation of people? What is there that requires our attention and needs to be stopped? There are many forms of trafficking and servitude, although much different, taking place today. Perhaps these castles in Ghana can remind us that we must remain vigilant to see that the poor and vulnerable among us are not taken advantage of again and again. The Presbyterian Church in West Africa strives to improve the well being of people, thereby preparing communities to address societal forces that can degrade people in their midst. What do we see around us that needs to be addressed?

Joan Hadlock

Sick Days By Tara Atherton

My morning routines are usually the same every day. Wake up, make breakfast for the kids, wake them up, make sure they get dressed, feed them, send them on their way to school, and go to work. Monday through Friday, that’s what I do. I feel like I hit the ground running when I wake up. This morning was a little different. It started off the same, get up, make breakfast, but when I went to wake up my son, the poor guy was running a fever and wasn’t feeling very well. So back to bed for him as I got my daughter up and moving so she could at least go to school while I started to Clorox wipe everything down and spray enough Lysol in the air that anything that might make anyone sick, didn’t have a chance of survival. As the day progressed, my son finally asked for food and I knew that recovery was just around the corner. It’s always nice when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that the worst is over. But for the first half of the day, all I could do is worry. I start wondering if my daughter or I is next in line to get sick. I think about the last 24 hours and what was touched or shared by my son that I must decontaminate and hope that everyone else’s immune system in the house is on high alert so we don’t get what my son has. As of right now though, it’s nice to see the end of the tunnel for my son.

There never is a sick day at our Church though. It’s always progression and togetherness. Recently, I missed a few Sundays in a row, not because of illness, but because life is busy and I had prior arrangements made for that time. When I came back, it felt so good to get back into my Sunday routines with everyone. To see my Church family was like seeing the light at the end of a very busy tunnel. Every Sunday, God brings us together with love which shines so brightly that it’s hard not to be able to relax knowing that whatever the worst of the week threw at you, it was over, even if it was only for a few hours. A few hours of relief can make such a difference in how you might handle the week that is coming your way. Especially when you have a sick day.

Per Capita

 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.

A BIG Thank You

We asked, and you came. A BIG Thank you to Randy Kraft, Jen McGregor, 

Joan Hadlock, Marilyn Hunter, Joan Delosh, Ann Root, Elizabeth Barrigar, Pete Atherton, Sabrina Atherton and Tara Atherton for coming out and helping to clean and winterizing the Manse. Many hands helped to make light work. There were lots of giggles and the feeling of accomplishment when finished. Thank you all again.

Another BIG Thank you is for everyone who volunteered their time and donated their desserts to help with the Deacons Annual Harvest Dinner. We couldn’t have been successful if it wasn’t for all of you.

Poetry Corner

May we feel God’s presence every day. A poem to remind us.

For Old Age

By John O’Donohue

May the light of your soul mind you.

May all your worry and anxiousness about your age

be transfigured

May you be given wisdom for the eyes of your soul

To see this as a time of gracious harvesting.

May you have the passion to heal what has hurt you,

And allow it to come closer and become one with you.

May you have great dignity,

Sense how free you are;

Above all, may you be given the wonderful gift

Of meeting the eternal light that is within you.

May you be blessed;

And may you find a wonderful love

In yourself for yourself