Greetings Hammond Presbyterian Church! My name is Rev. Betsy Westman and I serve as the installed pastor at Theresa Presbyterian Church. I am coming up on my one year anniversary for both my ordination and installation and it’s been quite a journey to those events. But it’s also been quite a journey as my husband and I moved to Theresa after spending 25 years in our home in Glen, New York (Montgomery County) where we raised our sons. Moving after being in one place for all those years has been quite interesting. I knew at some point we’d have to move for me to serve with a congregation, so over the last few years, I have been preparing by cleaning, purging, donating, gifting, and moving “stuff” along. Even after moving and in the unpacking, I was still sorting and donating. What was the reality of needing and thereby keeping several different cookbooks where I was only using one recipe from the book? A better solution was to write down the recipe and put it in my recipe file and donating the cookbook.
That’s how it is in the life of the church. There are seasons and times of moving, packing, saying goodbye, and preparing. That is where you are now. You have leaders in place in your Session and members of the church in place who are willing to serve on the PNC. While I’m not a transitional or interim pastor in the life of your congregation, I am here to serve with the Session as well as provide pastoral care and any needed administrative functions. I will lead worship for four Sunday’s in both July and August.
In the Bible both Israel, Jesus, and the early church apostles were on the move. All of these people and more covered a large amount of territory by boat, foot, camel, and donkey. God calls the church to be on the move (Acts of the Apostles). By the work of the Spirit, we don’t stay put in one place. As Christians and the community of faith we too are on the move. We have new people to meet and ministry to share as God sends us into new places and people’s lives.
So during this time of transition and preparation may we all be open to the movement of the Spirit as we spend time worshiping, praying, and caring not only for the Hammond Presbyterian Church, but also those who come into our presence.
Peace be with you,
Dear Hammond Presbyterian Family,
On our last Sunday with you, the children sang God is bigger than the Boogey man and it was so appropriate.
When twists and turns happen in our life’s journey, it’s helpful to remember God’s fierce and compassionate love which is like a Mother Bear.
Thank you for the kind loving expressions of your care for us: The song!; The fingerprint Tree; the Blessings cake & Best Wishes Gluten Free cake. The tree necklace, the Lowe’s gift card, the photo opportunities, the Amazing grace throw, the cards and embraces.
You are always in our hearts. God bless you always.
Love Evon & Tom
Until We Met Again!
It appears summer is finally here. With summer comes get togethers with friends and family. The church is happy to assist with your plans. Tables and chairs can be borrowed, but need to be signed out and back in with Tara. There is a sign out sheet to help us keep track of them.
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.
*It is how Presbyterians are trained to become better ruling elders, deacons, and ministers of word and sacrament/teaching elders.
*It is how Presbyterians come together to discern God’s call in their lives.
*It is how Presbyterians participate in the life of the wider church by serving on General Assembly committees and commissions, regardless of distance or financial resources.
*It is how Presbyterians participate in the life of the Church universal as we commit ourselves to work and live in fellowship with “all persons in every nation” (BOOK OD ORDER, G-4.0101)
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
The Hammond Presbyterian Church would like to offer you the opportunity to reserve a spot to sell your items inside the church basement on Saturday July 13th during our Town Wide Yard Sale. There is no fee for hosting your sale at the Church, but monetary donations will be accepted if you wish to offer. For more details and to reserve your spot, please call Anne at 315-324-5485
Last year, I did a lot of debating on whether to take my kids to go see the fireworks. With my son being special, he’s not very keen on waiting around for fireworks to start and he’s also very uncomfortable when it comes to very loud noises. He has his noise cancelation headphones, but when it’s early July and a bit on the toasty side, the last thing he really wants to wear is something on his ears that’s going to make him sweat. Then there’s my daughter who is still young enough that if she stays awake past 9pm, my sweet little girl turns into a small little monster. So I started thinking, what can I do for my kids to satisfy everyone’s love for fireworks, without the noise, late night, and waiting time? Bed time came around and I had snacks laid out in my living room, looked online for some firework displays and had the air conditioner cranked. After my kids went to bed at a normal bedtime, I felt a bit guilty. Should I have brought them out to enjoy the fireworks? Should I have done something different? The next night, before bedtime, my kids both asked me if we could watch the fireworks again. It was at that point that I realized that they had a great time and wanted to continue to do it. We ended up watching fireworks for the rest of the week that way and the kids were so happy. Will I do continue to do this with the kids in the future, maybe. Nothing is set in stone, especially as the kids grow.
With all the changes going on in our church, it seems that we are all questioning ourselves. Should we do this…? How do we do that…? Lots of questions have been asked. Luckily, God has been answering all of our questions as we grow closer as a congregation. Everyone is working together to do the right thing when it comes to our Church. As long as we continue to lean on one another, the small changes that we might be making might be our new traditions as a church. Will we continue question ourselves, maybe. Nothing is set in stone, especially when God is watching us as children continue to grow.
Church World Service School Kits are again being promoted by Hammond Presbyterian Women. Contents for the kits are listed here and on sheets in the dining room. We will be collecting items throughout the summer. After assembling, kits will be taken to a drop off place in Canton for shipment to Syracuse. If anyone would prefer, funds are needed for insurance and shipping to final destinations. Checks may be made out to Hammond Presbyterian Women. Let me know if there are any questions.
One pair blunt scissors with rounded tip
3-70 count spiral notebooks
1-12 inch ruler
1 hand held pencil sharpener
1 large eraser
6 new pencils with erasers
1 box of 24 (only 24) crayons.
Place in plastic bag and leave on table in dining room. .
OR you may bring several of one item to be combined with others when the kits
Kits make such a difference in the lives of children whose schooling has been interrupted by some disaster. Let us help restore some order to their lives. Thanks for your help!
We are pleased to announce the 16th Annual Summer Music Camp sponsored by the Hammond Presbyterian Church under the direction on Ms. Bridget Sherman, Director of Music for the church and Music Instructor for Hammond Central School. An amazing week of music has been planned for the week of July 22nd-26th from 9am-noon so sign up for the fun! We will be singing songs, exploring instruments, dancing and playing games!! This will be another fun year of music making so kids don’t want to miss out on the fun.
As a program of the church, and as a gift to the children of our community, we offer Music Camp each year for children having completed grades 3-6 for only the $10 cost of the Camp T-shirt. Should that expense create a hardship for your family, please let us know. There are scholarships available to cover that cost.
To register, complete the following registration form and return it to Ms. Sherman ASAP, call the church office at 315-324-5665 between 9am and noon or you can email Ms. Sherman at email@example.com We look forward to seeing all the children in July!!
The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, July 25th, 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 July 5th. 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 goods 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.
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,
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
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
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
In the Chapel
A new night !!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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
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
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
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!!!
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
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
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 begins meeting May 8
9:30-10:30 AM in the Dining Hall
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 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 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
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.
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
~March 24, 2019~
Milo Christopher Charleson
Son of Kelly and Christopher Charleson
Equal Exchange Products are available for purchase in the Dining Hall. Come check out our Coffee, Tea and Chocolate.
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!
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.
Thank you to Hammond Presbyterian Church for letting us hold Emilie Barrigar’s 3rd birthday in the Dining Hall.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.
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.
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)
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.
We will be celebrating with Eco-palms as part of our worship service.
*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.
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
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.
May 5, 2019
The Reverend David Bennett, Resource Presbyter of the Presbytery of Northern New York
Celebration of the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
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!
Everyone is welcome!
Hammond Community Center
April 9, 2019
Bring a drum and join the fun!!
(maracas, rain sticks, tambourines….; or borrow one when you attend!!)
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.
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 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.
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
pale and shaggy
on a long line-
parts of myself
I don’t remember closing
opening bud by bud
back and forth
above the border guards
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.