In between

Whether you call it in between, transition, or interim, it feels like we are caught. After all, we are neither here nor there. The past for all that it was is behind us and the future has yet to be. Summer has just ended by the solstice today and fall is here. So we are caught still feeling the warmth of summer and yet the coolness of fall. 

That’s also how it was for God’s people the Israelites. They had left the bondage and oppression of Pharoah, with the security of the routine in Egypt and being led by Moses into an unknown future. However, they weren’t there yet to the Promised Land as God prepared them on how they were going to live with God and each other. So for forty years they wandered about where ever God led them with the cloud and providing manna for sustenance. 

Now, my hope for Hammond Presbyterian is that you are not in between or wandering for the next forty years! However, you are presently in between. You have a rich past and deep connection with the Hammond community, yet you also have a future where God is preparing you now to go. As you sit, neither here nor there, may you continue to be the community of faith (reaching out to one another and the surrounding community) God is molding you into (open to challenges and trying new ideas). As you prepare for a new pastor, may you be in continuous prayer, listening for God’s voice and being guided by God’s Spirit. As you prepare for an unknown future may you continue to support, encourage, and care for one another as well as your neighbors. As you prepare for the future, know that a new pastor is also being prepared for you. With God’s divine intervention and plan, you will both connect and as one in the interim and on the in between journey with you, I can’t wait to see God’s plan for your future as Hammond Presbyterian Church.

Grace to you and peace,

Rev. Betsy

Harvest Dinner

Our Hammond Presbyterian Church Deacons will be putting on our Annual Harvest Dinner on October 24th 2019. Our delicious menu will include Turkey, Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, Squash, Scalloped Corn, Cole Slaw, Beverages, and (the best part of any meal) Dessert. Dinner starts at 4:30-6:30pm. Adults are $10, Kids are $5, and Children 4 years and younger are FREE!!! If you can’t stay for Dinner, we also will be offering Take-out. 

Hammond Food Pantry

Hammond Food Pantry continues to serve the Hammond area community. There are an average of seventy income eligible families served each month.. The food we order from the Food Bank of Central New York in Syracuse, costs us approximately $1000.00 each month. We also order USDA, or free, items from there, as well. We have applied for and received some grant funding to help with the food costs. Once a month our food is delivered by tractor trailer truck to the Food Pantry building. There, a group of our volunteers carries the usually three pallets of cases of food into our building.

We are always in need of additional funding and donations of non-perishable food items. Donations may be given to me or placed in the offering plate, made out to the church and marked “Food Pantry”. Food donations may be left at church on the bench in the upper hall by the driveway.

Our Food Pantry is staffed by more than a dozen faithful volunteers, who show up each month, some to bring the food from the Food Pantry building into the Fire Hall for distribution, and others to oversee the handing out of the food as the clients sign in and move along the table. 

Hammond Food Pantry fills a vital need in the lives of many area families. We also do emergency food distributions when someone calls in need of food. Deepest gratitude goes out to all who help and support the Hammond Food Pantry. The need continues.

Hammond Food Sen$e is another program which stretches your food buying dollar. There are no income guidelines for this program. For $20.50, you may purchase a unit of food, to include some meats, produce, canned and packaged items. There are also many reasonable special items which may be purchased. These orders are delivered the same day as the Food Pantry and must be ordered and paid for ahead. 

The next Hammond Food Pantry and Food Sense will be Thursday, Oct. 24th. Food Pantry from 9:30 to 11:00 and Food Sense around noon the same day.

Anyone interested in signing up for Food Pantry or Food Sen$e programs may contact me at

324-5517. Thanks. Joan Hadlock

Manse Clean Up

With winter coming on, traveling can be challenging. Reverend Marti Montovani has graciously agreed to continue to be our Spiritual Leader for 2 weekends a month. We would prefer her to not have to travel in inclement weather on Sunday mornings, so we are going to tidy up the Manse for her. She will be here on Saturday evenings, for worship on Sunday morning. Clean up day will be on October 19th, at 10am until completed. Many hands make light work so we hope to see you there.  


Thanks to all who have contributed to the School Kits. We will be collecting through the month of October. These will be distributed throughout the world, where ever the need is greatest.

The Marion Medical Mission team of volunteers is currently in Africa, hoping to install 3,000 shallow wells in 3,000 remote villages before the rains begin, in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia. Each day, while the team is at work, a devotional is posted on line, sometimes listing thoughts from the staff. The following was written by one of the American volunteers. “Glory to God”.

“This is written on the top slab of every well installed by Marion Medical Mission,. Every volunteer, builder, Field Officer or maintenance man has seen it many times. Every well proclaims Glory to God in English and the local language. Do the villagers think about this profound phrase each day that they come to the well for water? This sparkling water seems like a miracle. We hope God is glorified every day. Honor, respect..that is what we should give to God every time we install a well. He, who brings the water to the villages. Do I thank Him? Do I remember His generosity as I drink this wonderful water? I hope the words “Glory to God” are written on our hearts. For Marion Medical’s wells are truly God’s wells.”

Welcome Fall By Tara Atherton

It seems like, since we came into September, Fall started immediately. There were only a couple of days where I could send my kids to school wearing shorts, and the rest of the time they were in pants. I’m always cold. It could be the middle of summer, and once the sun goes down, I’m looking for a blanket to snuggle under. My husband will have the air conditioner cranking and there I am in a pair of sweats and a sweat shirt, shivering. But the fall cold is a different kind of cool. You’re expected to wear the jeans and a sweater. It’s okay to have another warm drink in the morning. And it’s fun to turn on the oven first thing in the morning to make blueberry muffins for the kids while they sleep, only to have them wake up to the tasty smell and the house all nice and toasty warm. Fall is definitely my favorite season. It’s almost like, it gives you a reason to snuggle more, it gives you a reason to enjoy more, and it gives you a reason to relax more. 

Our Church continues to thrive with the seasons change also. I love coming with my children to the Church for Halloween so they can go trick or treating from table to table and warming up from the chill of being outside to long. Then there is the harvest dinner that is served, which is probably one of my favorite times, because I get to sit in my office and smell all the food cooking. The whole Church fills up with the smell of love and Turkey, the whole Church fills up with love and support, the whole Church fills up with love. It feels like the warmth of the love in our church is making our congregation stronger and more united. We have all learned that it is okay to lean on each other for support and help, everything else that is out of our control, we just pray and let God handle the rest. Our future might be the changing colors of the leaves on a tree, but it is beautiful to look at. 

Pastor Nominating Committee

We want to keep everyone up to date as to our progress in our search for a new minister. Our Minister Information Form (about the church) is completed and has been approved by the Presbytery Committee on Ministry and our Session. Next, we will put our form on line and hope for many responses from candidates who are interested in us. It is quite a process, but we are well on our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers. Joan Hadlock

World Communion Sunday

October 6, 2019

Since 1940, World Communion Sunday is an ecumenical celebration of oneness 

in the Spirit and the Gospel, of Jesus Christ, bringing churches together in Christian unity.

We will receive the Peace and Global Witness Offering

25% of the Offering stays with local congregations and 25% with mid-councils to unite congregations to support peacemaking in their regions.

50% of this offering supports the work of peace and reconciliation being done by Presbyterians across the globe.

Poetry Corner

Mighty Oak

Stand tall, oh mighty oak, for all the world to see.
Your strength and undying beauty forever amazes me.
Though storm clouds hover above you,
Your branches span the sky
In search of the radiant sunlight you
Count on to survive.
When the winds are high and restless and
You lose a limb or two,
It only makes you stronger.
We could learn so much from you.
Though generations have come and gone
And brought about such change,
Quietly you've watched them all,
Yet still remained the same.
I only pray God gives to me
The strength he's given you
To face each day with hope,
Whether skies are black or blue.
Life on earth is truly a gift.
Every moment we must treasure.
It's the simple things we take for granted
That become our ultimate pleasures. 


Life Interrupted

From Luke’s Gospel 13:10-17, was the text we heard read and preached in Theresa on August 25. As I was preparing the sermon I was reminded yet again that we need to take our time when reading Scripture. Why? Because here as throughout the Bible it’s easy to read too fast, skim through because the text is all too familiar, and the words or story have been heard so many times (take the Christmas and Easter stories for example). When reading any text from the Bible we need to savor every word, reflect not only on the whole passage, but also each word, sentence, and phrase. How is God being revealed to us in the reading of God’s Word? 

In this text from Luke as we look closely we see Jesus calling, inviting, speaking, healing, restoring, redeeming, and bringing new life to a woman doubled over eighteen years from an infirmity of Satan. She is unable to be straight, looks only at the ground, is outside of relationships, and Jesus values her life not only in the healing, but in reminding those gathered at the synagogue and in particular the leader of the synagogue that this woman has value and worth, more than the animals, more than the other six days of the week; the Sabbath is the day to set this woman free. She is a daughter of Abraham. 

As disciples of Jesus we are reminded in this text of the value of human life and God’s work of calling, inviting, speaking, healing, restoring, redeeming, and bringing new life. How are we engaged in the lives of the people we encounter? How are we building relationships with people who don’t know Jesus? How are we a disciple of Jesus and by the work of the Spirit restoring people, giving value and honor? 

The response in the story by the bent woman and the multitude is one of glorifying God and rejoicing in what Jesus was doing. The shame for this woman was gone, she’s been set free and she glorifies God. The bent posture of this woman has been made straight and the multitude rejoices. May we all glorify and rejoice each day in what God is doing as God breaks in and disrupts life. May we as disciples continue to serve where God calls us to serve by caring and loving all whom we meet.

With you on the journey; peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy 


  Many thanks to all who helped with the Fish Fry Dinner. It was delicious, well attended and served with our usual efficiency and friendliness. Special thanks to Pat Gallagher and Lisa for cooking the fish to perfection. Our profit was close to $900.00. Putting on a dinner like this takes at least two days of preparation, along with shopping, cleaning, and the rest. It takes a village...it takes a church. Thanks to all! Joan Hadlock

Hammond Food Pantry

The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, Sept. 26th, 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 Sept. 6th. 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.

Triennium Travels

 Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a gathering of Presbyterian High School aged Youth from all over the country and the world.  This exciting opportunity takes place every three years at Purdue University, and Kennon, Nolan, and I (Jen) were able to take part in July.  We headed out by plane the morning of July 16th and were registered, checked in, settled in to our dorm rooms, and ready to go by that evening.  The 5 day event kicked off with an opening worship service.  Awe inspiring is an understatement as we joined with about 5000 other youth, along with their adult chaperones, in a lively, energetic, faith filled service.  The next three days were filled with small group gatherings, with each of the three of us in separate small groups, discussing and working through the scripture theme for the day.  There were fun events each night, centered around the theme for the week, "Here's My Heart".  We also spent time in the Prayer/Meditation Center, reflecting on what we were experiencing.  Each day we took part in the whole group worship, and Kennon even joined the PYT choir, performing at one of the services on Friday night.  A tradition at Triennium is for delegations (groups from presbyteries) to bring pins to exchange with other delegations.  Kennon and Nolan now have a collection of pins from around the globe.  We want to say a huge thanks to the Presbytery of NNY, who generously supported our travels.  Also, thanks to all of you who were praying for us on our trip.  I have seen the future of the Presbyterian Church, and it is amazing!  

With many thanks and much joy,

Jen Gardner


Our Mission co-worker in West Africa, Josh Heikkila, writes of his life there. He talks about the importance of fish in his life and in the life of Jesus. Familiarity with Biblical images–eating fish and inviting others to join and eat–helps Jesus come to life for the people of West Africa who are listening to Scripture. What Jesus said and did, people will explain to you, they still say and do to this day. Scripture touches peoples’ lives and speaks to them in ways that resonate deeply. When Josh speaks in the United States, about his work , he tells people how Scripture comes alive in places like Ghana. You can see women and children at wells, carrying water home, fishermen in boats on the shores, mending their nets after a long day on the water, women pounding their harvest with mortar and pestle. The proverbs, parables and experiences of Jesus make sense to West Africans. The way Jesus taught, fed and healed the people around him continues to teach, feed and heal West Africans today. For those of us removed from a simpler life, engaging with West African partners can help bring the Jesus of the Bible to life once again. 

Josh has sent his thanks for our support for his work. Joan Hadlock

Learning to Swim By Tara Atherton

All summer long, my 3 year old daughter has wanted to swim. She can wade through the water with no problems, but when the water gets high on her, she becomes a little koala and climbs up your back and holds on for dear life, life jacket on and all. We recently went to the family cottage to enjoy some family time and did a lot of swimming. As we played in the water, my daughters’ confidence started to grow and slowly, she started to trust in her life jacket and started to let go. Of course, as she starts to let go, we are all praising her. Her little legs were kicking, her little hands were paddling, and she took off and started to putter around on her own, constantly telling all of us that “I can finally swim with my life jacket”. It was such a proud moment for all of us. Now, when she goes into the water, there is no hesitation. She knows that her feet aren’t going to touch the ground, but as long as she has her life jacket on she was safe. 

It seems like God has been watching our church family start to swim on our own as we start. Our search for a new Pastor has us starting to kick our feet. We know we can do this, we know we are safe, but now, with all of our confidence built back up; we are floating and swimming again. It’s an exciting new adventure to be on. An adventure, which has God watching over us and cheering us on, making sure that we continue to push forward, take breathes, relax when needed, and then start kicking our feet again and continue to move forward. This may not be our first time learning to swim again, but with the love and help of those around us, we will always be safe in our ‘life jackets’.

PNC (Pastor Nominating Committee) Update

The Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) of the Hammond Presbyterian Church including: Bridget Sherman, Joan Hadlock, Allison Barrigar, Jen Gardner, Randy Kraft, and Jen McGregor, has held its initial meeting to begin the process of the search for our new pastor.

The meeting was held with the Reverend David Bennett, Resource Presbyter of the Presbytery Of Northern New York. Reverend Bennett outlined the process and the many resources available as we begin the search.

Updates will follow…


Ringing out the Good News from Hammond Presbyterian Church August 2019

Pastor’s Reflection

I’m presently at Calvin Seminary and have been here all week engaging in my gift from Theresa Presbyterian Church; pastoral study time. I say a gift because when I use the time not only do I as a pastor benefit from further learning, but the congregation and larger community do as well. How I am spending my week is with other pastor’s as we engage in the topic of grief. How do we lead the congregation in times of grief? How do people grieve? What gets said or done (or not) during a time of grief? Perhaps not a topic one wants to hear about during the summer when life tends to be lighter, less hurried, less programmatic. However, grief is a reality that doesn’t take time off. Grief will happen and continue no matter what season we are living. Grief still affects a person’s life, even in the summer.

As I reflect and ponder I share some highlights with you… 

1) People grieve loss. It may be the death of a loved one. But there are other forms of death and reasons to grieve, loss of a job, a broken relationship, something that has caused a change in life such as aging, moving to a care facility, or health. Take time to reflect on what you have or presently are grieving at this time…

2) Words and actions matter by both what we say and do as well as what we don’t say or do. Our words and actions while often well intended can cause further grief by inflicting harm and yes, more pain to an already grieving person. Words and actions (or the lack of) can cause embarrassment, anger, more pain, and yes, create joy, be uplifting, and be a source of comfort. There can be judgment, either by the church or the members of the congregation, made about the grieving person or a family. Reflect on your response (or lack of) when someone you know has been grieving….

3) Faith in times of grief. We like to think in a time of loss, a person’s faith is strengthened. However, that’s not always the case. In times of grief there is often great questioning for the person grieving. Faith can be re-shaped, transformed both positively and negatively. What is believed scripturally about God based on what’s been learned over the years? The church plays a role here. Is there room for a grieving person to express emotions and question or wonder about their faith? Reflect on discipleship/faith formation and your own response when a grieving person questions God…

The Bible is filled with stories of grief or loss of one type or another. The Psalms are great proof of lament and grief, crying out to God in pain. 1/3 of the Psalms are Psalms of lament, yet we fail to lament in worship or give space for lament. Worship tends to be filled with praise, joy, and be upbeat. What does worship look like when over time, when occasssionally there is space for people to cry out? What programs are offered by the church to give space for the grieving?

Grief changes life and the order of it. Psalm 30:10-11 says the following, “Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me! O LORD, be my helper! You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,” As we continue our journey together during this season of transition for HPC let’s reflect together over grief. For those who grieve in this day and at this time, know that God indeed is on your journey of grief with you as the Psalmist testifies in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff -they comfort me.”

Peace be with you,

Pastor Betsy


 Our Annual Fish Fry Dinner will be held Thursday, Aug. 15th from 4:30 to 7:00 at the church pavilion. Fish, Mac and cheese, salt potatoes, cole slaw, desserts and beverages for $10.for adults, $5.00 for ages 5-12. Take-outs are available. We will be looking for workers the day before the dinner to help prep foods, set up and prep kitchen, beginning at 9:00 a.m. Any questions? Call Joan Hadlock 314-5517 

Hammond Food Pantry

The next Hammond Food Pantry food  distribution will be Thursday, Aug. 22, from  9:30 to 11:30 at the Hammond Fire Hall.  The food items include juice, butter, cheese, cereal, fruit and vegetables, soups, pasta, fresh produce if  available, bread and three or four meats. We hold the Food Pantry once a month for anyone eligible. The Food Sense program is held the same day, with a set package of items including meats, produce, vegetables and variety items which anyone can order regardless of income at $20.50 for the package. Food Sense must be pre-ordered and pre-paid. This is an economical way to stretch your food dollars. There are also specialty items which can be ordered and pre-paid. Food Sense truck comes in about noon on Food Pantry days. 

In addition, there is a table with used clothing and some household goods available.

Anyone wanting a Food Pantry schedule, the Food Sense order form or information may call Joan Hadlock at 324-5517.

Church Yard Cleanup

 Anyone who has an extra few minutes–or more–, there is some yard work needed at the church. The spirea bushes need to be trimmed, side church garden along driveway needs some weeding, sides of the pavilion need to be weeded. Anything else you see needing work, please go ahead. Thanks in advance! 


    One of the places we send our Mitten Tree items is St. Joseph’s Indian School in

Chamberlain, So. Dakota. In May, the school celebrated a nice group of 8th grade graduates. Graduating from 8th grade is huge for some Native American children, especially due to the obstacles many of them must overcome. The students were awarded completion certificates and presented with a star quilt by their families. This represents honor and generosity. Also in May, a group of students participating in the High School program graduated from Chamberlain High School. For some, the future will be college, military or the work force. Fr. Anthony, Chaplain for the school, realizes that,” only the Great Spirit has complete knowledge of what the future has in store for our students.” He states that those of us who support their program help feed, cloth and educate the children, and help carry out their mission to care for the whole child-- mind, body, heart and spirit. This school has educated and cared for over 200 Lakota children each year since 1927. So the little part that our Hammond church plays, has a big impact on the lives of these children so far away. Joan Hadlock

Swimming By Tara Atherton

At the end of June, my children were playing Tee Ball at the school and my son, who is special needs, had a couple of his aides from his school come and watch him on his last “game” to show support. I love meeting up with his teacher or aides outside of school so I can hear some of the stories that my son does in school. One of the stories that I was told, was that my son can swim in the deep end of the pool without and support. When I bring my son swimming, I let him wade up to mid chest and that’s about as comfortable as I feel without turning into a worry wart. So when his aide told me that he swam without anything to help keep him afloat, my heart went straight into my stomach. To me, there are certain accomplishments that I don’t hold my breath on, because I don’t want to be disappointed that he didn’t reach a certain mile stone. You really learn that all the little things are tremendous steps, and big things that are accomplished, is almost like the feeling Neil Armstrong must has felt when he walked on the moon for the first time. Anyways, with this information in the back of my mind, I decided to bring the family out to a beach where they have a floating dock in the deep end. I tell my step son that if he wants to go out to the dock, he can, but that my son might follow him for the first time. I sat on the beach and watched both boys, swim out to the floating dock, climb up onto it, and then jump off and swim back to me. It was one small step for my son, but one giant leap for this mommy.

This summer with our Church family, it almost feels like, we are my son, and God is our mother watching from the beach. We are kicking our feet, and paddling our hands in the water, God looking on to us with pride and love. You can feel the hope and love that God gives when you walk into Church and everyone is being supportive, helpful, and loving to one another. “Ás I have loved you, love one another” John 13:34, might be his way of saying, “keep swimming, I see you, you’re doing great.” It might just be that we are taking these small steps that we normally take, that we don’t think of as anything important, but in Gods eyes, we might be taking those giant leaps that gives a parent so much love and pride.


 There is a story behind this poem. I met its author, Myron Jackson in Bradenton, FL last winter. He and his wife Natalie led a drumming workshop for families at the local library. He recited from memory this poem he had written. At the end of the workshop I asked if he would send me a copy of the poem and permission to share it with others. He said, “Yes.” and sent me a copy.

The tone of the poem is playful with an important message. It is a prayer of gratitude thanking God for the flavors of the global community. He prays that the world can live as one.

“Because there’s nowhere under God’s sun

that’s void of variety,

Except that which

Man imposes on society.”

Liz Scarlett


If God is willing and I am able,

I thank him for life, family, friends, shelter, clothing, transportation, sound body and mind

And provisions placed upon my table,

Dining offers a great opportunity to commune with the flavors of the global community,

At breakfast,

I ponder over my Peruvian coffee with Irish cream,

Whether to have French toast, Polish sausage or Chinook salmon,

Freshly caught from a mountain stream,

Belgian waffles with Vermont maple, a Danish or Canadian bacon,

In a manner of speaking I may go vegan,

Washington apples, Georgia peaches,

or California raisins,

I’m thinking while drinking Jamaican rum punch 

during lunch,

As to how to paint my palette,

Will I choose Maine lobster, a Frankfurt on Italian bread, Russian dressing on a Greek salad?

Swedish meatballs, or Wisconsin cheese, 

Tandori chicken or fresh English peas,

My hunger doesn’t discriminate too tough and my mouth welcomes all of these,

At dinnertime I’m inclined to employ 

the same method and means

Of integrating Blackened grouper with Red beans, Brown rice, Yellow corn and turnip Greens,

Jewish rye, Dutch Apple pie, topped with

Blueberry ice cream,

And before long,

I’m getting my taste on with Florida Orange juice,

With a pinch of Carolina White lightening,

Doing yoga exercises on my Persian carpet

Watching that amber sun meld into an 

indigo night time,

Chillaxing in my Mexican hammock sipping on a

Cuban cigar,

Munching on Turkish delights, Brazil nuts and strumming my Spanish guitar,

Before too late I incorporate

Feeding my Siamese cat and 

walking my Australian shepherd,

Watering my African violets and play the kids in 

Chinese checkers,

And I crash-out on Japanese futon at the end of the day,

With my lovely lady from Montego Bay,

I pray the world can live as one,

Because there’s nowhere under God’s sun 

that’s void of variety,

Except that which

Man imposes on society,

But it’s words of King to which I’m drawn,

And by the way that’s Don, Rodney, Martin, 

Nat, and BBKing,

Carol, Burger, King Arthur, and 

Stephen King and King James,

Whose quotations combined reminds us that

That not just

“Only in America…,”


“Can’t we all just get along?”


“Have a dream today,”


“So unforgettable”,


“The thrill is gone.”

Let’s not sing

“It’s, too late baby”,


“You can have it your way,”

And Have

“A freedom we can embrace with honor”

Instead of

“Nightmares and dreamscapes”


Myron Jackson

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Ringing out the Good News from Hammond Presbyterian Church July 2019

Pastor’s Pondering

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,

Pastor Betsy  

Until We Met Again!

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!

Pavilion, Tables and Chairs

 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.

The pavilion is also available. You need to let Tara know the date you would like in advance to be sure it will not already be in use. There is a simple contract with terms of use to be signed. There is no fee, but donations would be gratefully accepted. 

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.

*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 

Yard Sale

 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

My Fourth of July By Tara Atherton

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. 

Joan Hadlock

School Kits

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

are assembled.

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!

Joan Hadlock

Music Camp

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 bsherman@hammondk12.org   We look forward to seeing all the children in July!!

Food Pantry

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.


June 2019

Dear Friends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love and peace,


  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

 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

Church Choir Rehearsal


7:00 PM

In the Chapel

A new night !!!!

Drumming Circle

Drumming Circle

Second Tuesday

June 11

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

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


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

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

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

Joan Hadlock

Table and Chairs

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


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

Chair Yoga

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

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

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

Fondly, Ellen

A New Pair of Shoes By Tara Atherton

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

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