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.
While we’ve been absent physically in the church sanctuary, the church year has been slipping by. I’m amazed that the Easter season is already gone & I’ve only had the chance to greet you through technology. We ended worship half way through Lent, have missed the entire Easter season, and now are on the brink of Pentecost (5/31). Thankfully the season of Pentecost stretches from June through November. While one Sunday is designated for the day of Pentecost and the color is red to remind us of the flames of the Holy Spirit, the actual season color is green and lasts five months. Green is an appropriate color for Pentecost as it’s our visual reminder to grow. That’s right, Pentecost is a growing season and I’ve chosen a few activities to help guide your growth.
If you turn to Acts chapter 2 you’ll find the disciples have and are doing as Jesus asked of them prior to his ascension (Acts 1: 4-11). They are in Jerusalem gathered together when he appears to them one last time. Jesus gives three promises which they will receive; 1) gift of the Holy Spirit 2) witnessing in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth and 3) Jesus will return. So, yes, we do need a few months to grow and be God’s people in Jesus and through the work of the Holy Spirit. We as the disciples in and of Jesus have a great deal to do in this growing season guided by the gift of the Holy Spirit, going into all ends of our communities and witnessing to the gospel, and all as we await Jesus’ return.
As we wait the re-opening of church and enter into a new season of the church year let’s do so with these promises in mind. Let’s burn with the flames of Pentecost as we slowly re-gather the church to boldly proclaim the good news of a crucified, resurrected and ascended Lord. Let’s proclaim our story as God has worked in and through our lives by this same Jesus and Spirit. Let’s use this season of Pentecost to grow in the Lord and be the witnesses that God calls us to be. Grow well my friends!
Growing with you,
Hammond Food Pantry for June will be Thursday, June 18th between 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to take part. Those coming for the first time will sign in and receive their food. We will have pre packed bags of food and clients will drive by outside and pick up their food. As of now, there is no Food Sense program for June. If I find anything different from Syracuse Food Bank, I will contact all former Food Sense customers. Any questions may be directed to Joan Hadlock at 324-5517
Are your customers raving about you on social media? Share their great stories to help turn potential customers into loyal ones.
Many thanks to all who donated toward our Easter Mission projects. We raised $300.00 towards a new shallow well, which, along with the $200. previously donated, means that we can sponsor another new well in Malawi, Tanzania or Zambia. We also have contributions for our Missionary in West Africa, Josh Heikkila in the amount of $610.00. I know Josh will be very appreciative of the support for his work there. To quote Edward, Everett Hale, “I am only one.
I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I will not let what I cannot do prevent me from doing what I can”.
Another month of quarantine, but at least the temperature is starting to get warmer and I’m so excited to be spending most of my day outside. I figured, once it gets nice out, I’ll at least be able to bring the kids out camping to the State Parks, but they are still closed also. The kids have been begging to go camping since February, and now with the weather being so nice, I don’t really have an excuse other then, “We can’t do this because of the virus” that they take as an acceptable answer. And even with that excuse, I think my kids believe that I’m just making this up as I go because the looks of “really mom, that line again.” has been a new constant look. So this morning, while I was outside enjoying my breakfast, I said “How about a camp out tonight, in the back yard.” Time to turn lemons into lemonade. As much as I’ve been pretty positive with all the negative going on, I’m tired of seeing my kids want just the little joys in life and having to tell them, “sorry we can’t.”. I know everything will be opening soon, I know that everything will get back to normal soon, but to the kids, this is taking FOREVER. So, it’s time to get creative.
A lot of lemonade is being made with the helping hand of God at our little church. We’ve started to get our priorities in order on what needs to be done to keep our church moving forward. From flowers being planted in our planters at the front of the church to organizing another amazing dinner, we keep on moving forward. These little joys, that I’ve been taking for granted for the past few years, have been so wonderful to witness. And that is God squeezing the lemon into a cup that has some sugar and ice in it, and is continuing to make lemonade for us during a time where we have so many lemons in our lives. I’m excited to see what else we will be able to do, with God’s help, to bring everyone together safely.
Doug and Joan Delosh, in memory of our parents, nephew and sister.
Dot Weber, in memory of Wayne Weber and deceased family members
Lynette and Ron Thompson, in memory of Hugh Pitcher and Aaron Thompson
Wayne and Lana Storie, in memory of Milo and Eleanor Hollister, Lewis and Grace Paddock,
and Orphia Hollister
Ann Root, Allison, Elizabeth and Emilie Barrigar in memory of deceased members of the Cuthbert, Root and Barrigar families
Gary and Marilyn Hunter in memory of Robert and Alice Bickelhaupt, Robert and Dorothy Hunter, Maurice Maloy and Paul Young
Mariel Goodwin in memory of Earle Goodwin and other deceased family members
Joan Hadlock in memory of Ed Hadlock and other deceased family members
In memory of deceased members of Hammond Presbyterian Women
I am sure many of you are wondering about our progress in calling a new minister. The committee has met several times. We have called references for some candidates, have spoken with a couple of candidates and are continuing to review forms from applicants. There are many good people out there. We are trying to discern which one God is choosing to come to Hammond. Keep praying for our work. Joan Hadlock
Take-out Lasagna Dinner update…
Our Take-out Lasagna Dinner was a BIG success! Thank you for coming out to support our Church Beautification project! We are over whelmed with all who called to pre-order, pick up, drive up, just showed up, to purchase dinners and donated to our cause! The dinner yielded $1,500+.
The response was so fantastic that it’s been decided to have a take-out Fish Fry dinner, so, mark your calendar June 26th 4pm-7pm The menu includes fish, salt potatoes, cole slaw and dessert. Adults are $10 Children ages 5-12 $5 and children 4 years and younger are FREE.
We are very appreciative to have to have the community support that we do; our projects wouldn’t be possible without you! We are well on our way to giving our church, grounds and manse properties the attention it has so desperately needed and deserved.
Let’s make it shine together,
HPC Session Members
Last month we listed needed repairs and up keep for our church and manse. The session has been busy putting our plans into actions.
· In June the needed boiler replacement will be done.
· DK painting will begin painting the manse in the next few weeks.
· The work of clearing the property line should also commence in the next few weeks.
· The new retaining wall and friendship garden will be refurbished in July.
· Thos fall the gutters on the church will be replaced to better control rain water drainage.
· We have had an electrician in to make some simple and not so simple repairs to the system.
We will keep you up to date of our progress in the newsletters to follow.
An anonymous donor has offered us a
matching grant for up to $10,000. This
money will be designated for church and manse up keep. Donations can be mailed to:
Hammond Presbyterian Church
PO Box 193, Hammond, NY 13646
The Session is deeply grateful for this
I have to be honest Luke 24:13-35 is a favorite passage of mine. Over the years I keep coming back to; it’s as if I’m drawn to it like a magnet. So when it was part of the Scripture passages to read for Sunday, April 26 I jumped at the opportunity to preach it. Why? Why am I so drawn to this part of God’s Word? It’s Jesus’ actions that speak in the ordinary of life.
These traveling companions are leaving Jerusalem on the third day. A lot has happened that they were witness to; an arrest and crucifixion, a shouting crowd to the authorities both of the Roman rule and Temple authorities, and a burial of a dead Jesus. The women had told the others that the tomb was empty thought to be an idle tale; yet not revealed to these travelers and these travelers leave Jerusalem to go to Emmaus. I wonder what their comfort will be there. These travelers leave Jerusalem just like us bearing the emotions of our own life when prayers are answered in a way we may not have anticipated or want to bear; hearing a diagnosis that is unwanted; dealing with the grief and pain of death and all that that entails. Yes, the travelers are just like us. But then as only God can do, the unexpected happens, Jesus is there and present in the midst of their travels and emotions. I think that’s what strikes me about this passage; Jesus just enters in, inserts himself into the middle of it all. In something so common, ordinary, and every day, Jesus shows up as they discuss all that has happened, their disappointment and sadness. He comes as a gardener to a grieving Mary, bringing peace to huddled disciples behind a closed and locked door, to a missing Thomas, and at a fire of coals on a beach. Jesus enters into the ordinary of ever day life.
But then something else happens to remind them of his presence, always with them: Word and sacrament. Jesus reveals himself through Scripture that they had heard over and over again at the synagogue from him, his presence in those Scriptures. In taking, blessing, breaking, and giving bread as he had done before (Lk. 9: 16; 22:19) he is also made known. In this the traveler’s eyes are opened where they were once closed or perhaps unable to see because they indeed were as Jesus said, “foolish and slow of heart to believe.”
We too are foolish and slow of heart to believe. We too have our moments of flight to run to Emmaus (whatever that is for you) and find solace, peace, or comfort. Yet Jesus meets us on the way and reminds us through the pulpit and the Table of God’s gifts to the believers of Jesus; God’s gifts for God’s people. We enter the church each Sunday coming in our own grief, sadness, and disappointment of not witnessing the resurrection and after our eyes are opened through God’s Word preached and being fed at the Lord’s Table we leave with great joy to proclaim the good news just as the Emmaus travelers rushed back to Jerusalem and to the other disciples: Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Traveling with you,
The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, May 21st. This is open to any income eligible families in the Hammond, Rossie, Brier Hill and Morristown areas. Our method of distribution has changed during this time of isolation. We now ask clients to remain in their cars and the food will be brought out to them, depending on the number of family members. There will be no Food Sense program in May, and we will wait to hear from the Syracuse Food Bank on their decision on Food Sense for June. But the Hammond Food Pantry will operate on the usual days.
Anyone with questions may call me at 315/324-5517. Joan Hadlock
Our School Kits have been organized and being readied to take to a CWS depot in Canton and from there will be shipped to general headquarters for distributing wherever there are students in need of basic supplies. Thanks to all who donated, we will have thirty school kits to share.
Because we are not in church, the Easter Memorial deadline has been extended until May 15. We are receiving donations either toward another shallow well in Malawi, or for our missionary in West Africa, Josh Heikkila. Checks can be made out to Hammond Presbyterian Church, with your selection on the memo line, .and sent to me, along with any memorial or honorary names you wish to have listed in next month’s newsletter. Thanks in advance, Joan Hadlock
Missions: One example of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance at work comes from Nepal. Following a devastating earthquake in 2015, the village of Katunje suffered almost complete destruction. A poor economy became worse. Through Disaster Assistance, 280 female goats were distributed to locals to help provide a new source of income families could rely on. Goats are inexpensive to raise and highly adaptable, especially in this mountainous area. Before receiving the goats, farmers were trained on feeding, common goat diseases and how to build small sheds for the goats. One recipient says that the project made his life blessed. He owns a small piece of land and can now sell and trade goats for a sustainable income for his family.
I remember being younger with my parents and going on a long (which probably wasn’t as long as I thought it was when I was younger) car rides and asking, “Are we there yet?” Their usual response was “We will get there when we get there. Look out the window.” As a parent now, I have all sorts of ways to entertain my kids in the car so I don’t get as many “Are we there yet?” questions. But right now, we’re still under quarantine and I’m starting to hear the little kid in my mind asking “Are we there yet?” I’ve enjoyed the first few weeks of taking it easy. I’ve caught up on house work and did a lot of bonding with the kids and husband. But now I’m at the point where I wish the long car ride will end. I’ve stretched my legs enough; I’ve gone through all my snacks and went on many bathroom breaks. “Are we there yet?” I’ve napped, I’ve played ‘I Spy’, and I’ve fought with my sibling. “Are we there yet?” And yet I still hear my parents say “We will get there when we get there. Look out the window.” And I’m hoping by the time everyone is reading this, that we have finally reached our destination and we can go back to visiting friends and family without worrying about having to wear a hazmat suit just to go grocery shopping.
Maybe it’s not my Parents that I am hearing in my head telling me that “We will get there when we get there.” but possibly it’s God (or maybe I’m going stir crazy. All good possibilities at this point). It’s like the cold winter weather, it can’t last forever; or the hard times new parents have when they have a baby, there will be sleeping in your future again. It just always feels like that it is going to LAST FOREVER, but as long as we continue to trust in God and know that we are being watched over, we are being cared for, that we know it will all be over soon. We might be bored out of our minds right now, waiting for everything to open back up for us to go out and enjoy, but when we are able to enjoy everything once again, it’ll be so much more. A barbeque with friends will be the best barbeque of the summer because God made us all stop and appreciate the little things in life and stop staring at the long road ahead of us.
The session, practicing social distancing of course, has been looking at our church property and evaluating the need for love and attention. We have found several projects that we feel need more immediate scrutiny.
For many years the tree line in the back yard of our church grounds has been accumulating all sorts of debris, scrub bushes and trees. In an attempt to beautify and cleanup our yard around the back perimeter, we are going to hire a landscape contractor to come in with equipment that will cut the necessary scrub brush and trees, clean up the debris, and level the area. The estimated cost for this work will be $3000.
Another project that we feel is extremely important is the repair and replacement of the retaining wall along the handicap sidewalk leading to the dining hall. Our plan is to replace the old railroad ties with stone wall. The down spout along the church wall will be redirected from the flower bed and sidewalk to drain to the street to prevent water retention along the retaining wall. The estimated cost of this project is $7000.
In preparation for a new minister’s arrival in the future, we need to repair and paint the exterior of the manse including the porches, ramp, and garage. The estimated cost for this project is $16,500.
One of the responsibilities of having all this beautiful property is being a good steward. Our expenses have been significantly reduced in the absence of a minister. We see this as an opportunity to undertake some of the projects that have been neglected due to previous financial obligations.
We will be planning some future fundraising to help defray costs of these projects but we welcome and appreciate any individual donations from our church family. Your prayerful consideration is greatly appreciated!
In keeping with the social distancing and still kicking off some church fundraising, we will be hosting a takeout only Lasagna Dinner with all the fixings on Wednesday, May 13th beginning at 4:30 until gone.
Dinner will include: lasagna, garden salad, garlic bread, and black bottom cupcakes.
Children 5-12 $5
4 and under Free
Many thanks to those who helped with roadside cleanup over two days last week. Our church is responsible for Rt. 37, from the Hammond Museum to two houses beyond the Triangle Rd. Included in the workers were Denise Diana, Marilyn Hunter, Ann Root, Elizabeth Barrigar, Diane Ayotte,
Nick and Jen Gardner, and Kennon, Nolan, Jensen and Vivian Gardner, Liz Gardner, Cherie Hadlock, and Nancy Hadlock. Joan Hadlock drove the “chase car” with flashers. Nancy Hadlock coordinated the effort and Craig McLear from the State Highway crew provided the vests, gloves and hats to wear. A big job and well done by many helpers.
And another big thank you to
Allison Barrigar, Ann Root,Nick and Jen Gardner, Jen McGregor, Joan Hadlock, Joan Delosh,
Denise Diana, Marilyn Hunter, Pete Atherton,
Nolan Gardner, Vivian Gardner, Jensen Gardner, Elizabeth Barrigar, and Emilie Barrigar for helping with the Church and Manse Cleanup. Many hands really do make light work and we couldn’t do it without all of your support and help.
We’re all in quarantine now and it looks like we won’t be gathered together as the body of Christ for Easter Sunday either; or will we? During this time of the unknown I’ve continued to preach from my sermon series on the Book of Judges. What starts of in great hope with judges leading Israel as they try to live in the promised land with other pagan nations scattered in their midst, Israel becomes more like those nations. God wants Israel’s obedience and yet there is the slide into darkness, to the point one may think God isn’t seeing Israel anymore.
The Book of Judges feels much like our days that we are living now. We too may sense a great deal of disobedience to God. We live in a land with many gods and idols in our midst whether we realize them or not. This season of Lent is a great time to reflect on where we are in God’s story of salvation. In these days of quarantine and our lives being tossed upside down, of living in the unknown, we too may sense a lack of God’s presence. Jesus himself felt that lack of presence and cries out the words we long to have permission to speak, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)
But God is a God of love and hope. We are not left in the depths of darkness or death, disobedience and sin. The story of Jesus’ crucifixion doesn’t end there. We arrive with Mary at the radiant with light of an empty tomb. By the work of the Spirit we come to have new life in this resurrected Jesus when we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. We participate in the mystery of God.
These are uncertain days we are living in to be sure. Yet in Jesus Christ we will be together for Easter; we will lift our eyes to the hills and know where our help comes from.
Peace be with you, Rev. Betsy
This month, the Hammond Food Pantry will distribute food to eligible families on Thursday, March 26, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Hammond Fire Hall. New consumers may sign up on that day. The food consists of meats, produce, cereal, butter, cheese, pasta, canned fruit and veggies. Also the same day, the Food Sense program is held. These items must be ordered from a monthly menu and paid for ahead of time. The food is delivered around noon on Food Pantry days. There are no income guidelines for the Food Sense program, which is a great way to stretch your food dollars. For information on Food Pantry or Food Sense, contact Joan Hadlock at 315/324-5517.
This year our Easter offerings will be sent either to Marion Medical Mission for a shallow well, or to our missionary co-worker in West Africa, Josh Heikkila, who is working to spread the word of God through his work there.
A word about wells. Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related diseases. One in five children dies before the age of five because of contaminated water. Over the years, Marion Medical Mission has built over 35,000 wells providing an estimated four million people with a sustainable source of safe drinking water in Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. This year, 37 U.S. volunteers went on the mission trip to Africa with a goal of building 3700 wells in 3700 remote villages. Before the November rains stopped the work. 3000 wells would mean that 375,000 of the extreme rural poor, (225,000 children) would have safe drinking water. These wells go along with the message that Christians are sharing the love of Jesus with all these people. These wells mean healthier people, able to produce more food meaningless starvation year after year, after year, after year. Each well now costs $450.00. Let’s see if we can fund another well.
What a crazy time we are having right now. Schools are closed, church is closed, and it’s just another Thursday to me, except I have my munchkins tagging along with me everywhere I go. I’ve been trying to do the whole working mom, school mom, and home mom thing all at once. Luckily, my husband is home during this crazy time to help lighten my load, but as a mom, you want to feel like you can do it all. And with the feeling of being able to do it all, my sanity slips more and more and I find myself welcoming bedtime just a bit earlier every night so I can lay back and not hear my name being called every 10 seconds. “You literally walked past your dad, who is as capable as I am to help you with your issues, just to find me in the bathroom.” is a sentence that I knew one day I would be saying; I just didn’t realize how often I would be saying it. This also makes me appreciate my children’s teacher just a bit more than I already did. But we are making the best of the situation. A lot of joking around going on, and having kids home all the time, you find it hard not acting like a big kid also. They miss their friends at school and church, and I’m the next best thing to a little kid that they have.
I wonder if God is creating all this craziness for a reason. Maybe I need to be spending more time with my kids. Maybe I need to be a little more thankful for everything and everyone I have in my life. Maybe it’s a little bit of everything, mixed with having to be quarantined. Should we all just take a moment and appreciate that the trees are starting to sprout buds, that the grass is starting to turn the ground green again, that we can open our windows and let the fresh clean air of spring come into the house? There has to be reasoning behind all of this. We may not know what it is right now, but there’s a reason standing right in front of us. Maybe once we slow down since that’s what everyone is telling us to do, is when we have questions answered, stressful times calmed, and just catching up on some much needed family time. .
Names for Easter flowers or donations to our Missionary or Shallow Well project should be gotten to me no later than April 5th for inclusion in our list of memorials and honoraries.
Our Easter Donations deadline is being delayed until April 15th. Our list will be in the next Newsletter.
Donation to Missionary___________________________
Donation to Shallow Well_________________________
Names to be Listed________________________________
The robins are singing, the streams are flowing, and green is returning. It’s that time of the year to refresh as everything comes alive after a long winter’s rest.
HPC has some spring clean up to do after the long winter. On Saturday, April 25thbeginning at 9:30, we will hold a yard clean up at the church for any and all to come help make our church yard ready for the wonderful rebirth of all things spring!
Bring rakes, shovels, garden trimmers, gloves and lots of enthusiasm!
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.