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 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:

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   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 




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 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.

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 May 2019

Dear Friends:

Resurrection love transforms the world, especially when it happens among us. Isn’t that what the incarnation of God in Christ means? How wonderful to have the reminders during Holy Week and on the Day of Resurrection of the transforming love of God which is present within us, among us, through us, around us, in our natural world and in our global community. 

We learn from Jesus how important it is for us to speak up, to live out and extend this transforming love- to be consciously doing so, even when it means risking our very selves in vulnerability and powerlessness. Brene’ Brown teaches that being vulnerable is an act of courage. Jesus’ death on the cross was courageous and completely vulnerable. The resurrection is what happens all around us when out of that courageous vulnerability comes the joy of knowing God in our midst, knowing the Divine is leading us, preparing the way for us, bringing joy and wholeness as we embrace our authentic and true selves, all while walking through difficulty, upsetting and challenging circumstances- personally, locally, nationally, globally.

Some of you may already know a bit of my own story these past many months, so for some this is an update, for others this may be new. My Lenten journey was one of medical diagnostic exploration to determine why I have been experiencing chronic pain, muscle weakness and immense fatigue for several months. The weeks of Lent provided a framework for me to process the journey. Along the way I began taking medication to treat a problem with my liver which I will treat the rest of my life. Then I learned I have Celiac Disease, another challenge to my liver, so going completely Gluten Free is a life choice. The last of the three determinations has been that I have autoimmune hepatitis, another challenge to my liver. It is no wonder that I have felt quite poorly! My gift on Good Friday was to begin a six week regimen of prednisone- through the season of Easter- which should reverse the 

autoimmune hepatitis.  (I will know more in June.) The doctor’s words during Holy Week gave me hope for a positive outcome, even without a definite answer. However, the challenges to my liver though not curable are manageable with life changes. 

My vulnerability in sharing my circumstances has yielded much grace for which I am truly thankful. Such grace has included gifts of gluten free baked goods at church functions, a gluten free care package, my baker husband who has embraced the challenge of a new method of baking along with creating homemade gluten free noodles! I am employed by an institution, the PCUSA, which provides tremendous health insurance through your congregational support, which has allowed me to receive the care I need and the monitoring I will continue to need. There has also been much prayer support and concern offered in friendship. Thank you!

There is resurrection joy in the midst of holy week circumstances. We not only pray for one and support one  another, we pray for our sisters and brothers who have experienced devastation and whose Lenten wilderness journeys continue (in Sri Lanka, Paris, Louisiana, throughout the USA, and more) with hope because resurrection and new life is God’s incarnational way. May we show up, stand up, walk in peace, speak truth, act justly, extend forgiveness and be courageous and vulnerable, one day at a time.

Go gently, dear friends, but go.


Our Labyrinth is Now Open for Walking

 As promised and designed, our marvelous labyrinth sits high and dry as the winter and spring waters recede from around it, and flow beneath it. May you be blessed as you walk to the music of birdsong!

“Being must be felt. It can’t be thought.” Eckhart Tolle

Specials for May Sunday Worship

May 5, Guest Preacher, The Reverend David Bennett, Resource Presbyter of the Presbytery of Northern New York; Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper

May 12, Service of Wholeness, Blanket Offering

May 19, Deacons Love Offering

May 26, Memorial Weekend

Wednesday Mid-Week Events Beginning May 15 Movement, Study, Creativity MSC

What has formerly been the Wednesday morning 

Bible Study is being transformed to incorporate centering through movement, reading and reflecting 

on scripture, and responding in a creative framework. Please add this event to your weekly schedule as you are able! Each week we will begin in the Pastor’s Study.

Wednesday, May 15, 10 AM-12:00 Noon

A New Commandment: John 13:31-35

Wednesday, May 22, 2:00-4:00 PM

Do You Want to be Well?: John 5:1-9

Wednesday, May 29, 10 AM- 12:00 Noon

Oneness: John 17:20-26

Annual Church Picnic Sunday, June 9,2019

The Day of Pentecost

There will be much celebration, music, 

and food on this day! 

All interested drummers please meet in the sanctuary with Rev. Evon at 9:45 AM for a mini drumming rehearsal for the 10:30 AM worship service.

For the picnic, please bring food to share and dress for the weather! Hot dogs, hamburgers, and beverages will be provided by the Deacons.

The color for the day is RED!!!

Summer dates to remember:

Tentative: Chicken BBQ in the Pavilion, Saturday, 

June 22 (to support our annual mission projects which include: Habitat for Humanity, SPCA, HIV/AIDS Awareness, Noah’s Ark Preschool…) 

Annual Fish Fry in the Pavilion, Saturday, July 27

April Gratitude List

Food Preparers, Helpers, & Program preparers for weekly Lenten Soup Suppers:

Joan Delosh, Joan Hadlock, Evie Saphier

Christine Visscher, Liz Scarlett, Rosie/Doug Salamacha

Tom Gordnier, Sue McWharf, Lisa Gallagher

Nancy Chase, Donna Chase, Evon Lloyd

Easter Sunrise Service

Dick Watson (site guide) 

Tom Gordnier (Donuts & Coffee)

Easter Breakfast, Easter Egg Hunt

Deacons- Randy Kraft (moderator), Liz Bawden, 

Sue McWharf, Linda Schnittger, Kennon Gardner, Tom Gordnier; Rosie Salamacha, Mark Schnittger

Photo Booth- Randy Kraft, Easter Bunny

Photographer of the Day: Evie Saphier

Lisa Gallagher

Sunday Worship- Lily Preparers for the Cross- 

Many, many of you! Thank you! Flower coordinator- Joan Hadlock; Music Director, Bridget Sherman & Choir

Church Office Coordinator and Communication Hub: Tara Cole-Atherton

April 28, Special Presentation during morning worship: Christine Visscher

Weekly Wednesday Morning Al Anon Group

Weekly Wednesday Morning Al Anon Group begins meeting May 8

9:30-10:30 AM in the Dining Hall


The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, May 23, 2019, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to come to receive free food. If possible, please bring a box for the food. Also on the same day, the Food Sense program will be held. This is open to everyone who wants to save on their food dollars. The food must be ordered and paid for ahead of time. All items are listed on a monthly menu and includes a unit of food for $20.50, and a selection of specials which may be ordered and paid for separately. These foods include meats and fish, fresh produce, canned good and packaged meals. The Food Sense truck comes in around noon on Food Pantry days. Anyone interested in receiving information about the Food Pantry or Food Sense programs may contact Joan Hadlock 324-5517.

Mindfulness Meditation

 Mindfulness Meditation started last June and has continued through the winter, at Hammond Presbyterian Church. It continues at 6:30 – 7:30 PM every Monday in the chapel. Bring a small wrap or blanket if you tend to get chilled while sitting quietly. This venue is meant for beginning meditators, but seasoned meditators are welcomed too! If you want to attend, but haven’t made it yet, we are there for instruction and support and actual meditation time.

If you thing you just can’t meditate for variety of reasons, please purchase the book called “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics” by Dan Harris. The author is an ABC News anchor who “discovered that meditation made him more focused and less yanked around by his emotions.”

Science suggests that meditation can lower blood pressure, mitigate depression and anxiety, and literally rewire key parts of the brain, among numerous other benefits.

Don’t be the last to discover what this is all about! Start training that obsessive monkey mind now!

Submitted by Nancy Chase

If you are interested in ordering Dan Harris’s books: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics and 10% Happier, please let Tara know by May 11th. We can order together. A paperback set of the two costs $17.99

The Strength to Rebuild By Tara Atherton

The other day, I saw on the News, the burning of the Notre Dame Cathedral. My heart ached for all the people that were affected by it. I understand the broken feeling people will have with a historical landmark crumbling before their eyes. As the day went on, I kept checking the media about when the fires would finally be put out and if anything could be salvaged. The next morning, I read how the fire barely touched the Alter and pews, and the plan to rebuild. Nothing brings people closer than when they all bring their strength together, to help one another and rebuild, not only a building, but sometimes themselves. I know that I have suffered through struggles in my life with many things and it’s not until I figure out where the light at the end of the tunnel is, do I figure out my new strength that I’ve gain in the process and I try to figure out how I can rebuild myself, so I can either help myself, or others who might be lost in the dark, also looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

It seems like our Church rebuilds and strengthens a little more every year. If we or a family member is sick or struggling, we bring our strength together to help this person in need. If we have a vision of something new and useful, we come together to build and take care of it so we could help bring our community together. There are times when we get so worried about how we are going to accomplish something that is calling to us, and we feel lost and confused but there’s always a light at the end of these tunnels. There is always a hand reaching for you and that hand reaching out to us is God. God is making sure that when we need the extra strength, we get it. When we are lost in the dark, a light is shining. We just need to stop, breath, look, and then keep moving forward. Once we move forward, is when we can help another person to rebuild.

”When you think all is forsaken
Listen to me now (all is not forsaken)
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light “

-David Draiman, The Light


Josh Heikkila, our missionary co-worker in West Africa, talks in his newsletter about health care challenges in West Africa. In Togo, a small west Africa country, there is one large hospital and many small, community clinics known in the French language as “medical-social centers”. This name acknowledges that health and well-being have both a medical and a social component. Another challenge facing most west African nations is that many doctors and nurses trained in the region, are lured away to France, England, Canada and the U. S. because of the much higher pay they receive abroad. For example, in Togo, there is one doctor for every 15,000 residents, whereas in the U.S. and England,, there is about one doctor for every 350. Another difficult medical situation in some W.African countries is the “cash and carry” policy, meaning that the patient has to pay for services before they will be treated. In poverty stricken areas, that is often not possible, resulting in further illness and possible death of the patient. Is there some way western countries could help compensate African nations who train many highly qualified medical personnel who then migrate toward higher paying employment? The Presbyterian Mission Agency is working to eradicate systemic poverty, to change laws and structures in society that perpetuate exploitation of the poor. Solutions to these problems will be found only when we work together and listen and learn from one another.

Joan Hadlock

Easter Morning Meandering

Easter morning was grey and foggy.  I found myself with time on my hands before the Deacons‘ breakfast and decided on an overdue walk in the church labyrinth. Although it was far from the first time, I was nevertheless totally unprepared for the beauty of my brief journey to the center and back.  How sweet and refreshing to the spirit is a walk in the labyrinth… to be present with the stones underfoot and those whose striations seem to guide us on our way, present with the songs of birds and the cool morning air, present with the pine trees reaching high.  The labyrinth itself is a gift of pure beauty.  

Walking the labyrinth, meditation feels easy as our minds join the rhythm of our steps and our breath.  Whether with friends or alone, to walk the labyrinth is to step aside from our worldly preoccupations and to allow ourselves to be changed, to be peaceful, to be peace. I am so grateful to all whose vision and efforts have contributed to the creation of this tool.  Now that the weather is warming and the days grow longer. I would like to encourage one and all to give yourself the gift of a walk in the labyrinth!

                   Submitted by Evelyn Saphier


~March 24, 2019~

Milo Christopher Charleson

Son of Kelly and Christopher Charleson

Equal Exchange Products

Equal Exchange Products are available for purchase in the Dining Hall. Come check out our Coffee, Tea and Chocolate. 

Chair Yoga

Chair Yoga with Ellen will be held this summer on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the chapel from 10:30 AM to 11:30 AM beginning June 18.  You are welcome to attend and find a path to wellness!  Wear comfortable clothes for stretching and an open heart for receiving gentleness from this marvelous teacher!


 O Hidden Life vibrant in every atom;

O Hidden Light! shining in every creature;

O Hidden Love! embracing all in Oneness;

May each who feels self as one with Thee,

Know [oneself] is also one with every other.

Annie Besant

Thank you

 Thank you to Hammond Presbyterian Church for letting us hold Emilie Barrigar’s 3rd birthday in the Dining Hall.

Peace and Witness in Colombia

Swami Kena and I traveled to Colombia, South America, from late January through early March of this year giving meditation programs throughout the central, eastern part of the country. This visit was Swami Kena’s 5th year- he was asked by Colombians to come each of the past five years and give his messages of finding the Self, effort in daily life, how to give and be content, conquest of the mind, and going beyond the ego. His core teaching as how to meditate and find the divine self that is in each one of us-the way to help achieve and overcome life’s hurdles and challenges.

The assumption of going to Colombia was not “we are the teachers and they are the students”. Some of the time, we were the students and Colombians were our teachers. On other occasions, Colombians were the students and we were the teachers. We all benefited from the experiences that we shared together. There was a genuine feeling of mutual respect as we worked side-by-side to hold and complete the programs.

Five very energetic and talented Colombians had organized a total of 35 programs through their extensive networking. Programs we held in 14 cities and towns, mainly in the developed area of Colombia, which is located in the western part of the country in the Andes Mountains region. More than 1400 people attended the programs (averaging 40 people per program) in locations ranging from holistic health and wellness center for disabled children, women and children’s shelter, police academy, rehab center for drug addicts, and a city prison.

Challenges Faced:

One of the five persons who set up programs has a 13 year old son with Down-syndrome. There is no government help in Colombia for the disabled. She cared for David and is devoted to him, but she needed help she did not have. She basically had no connections and no safety net. She has a university degree, but since she is over 40, no one will hire her-age discrimination is rampant in Colombia. To offset these challenges, she has created opportunities for others and income for herself by organizing and scheduling people for various types if programs. We gave her advice and suggestions on better networking and having a more positive outlook toward her life and work.

Colombia lacks advocacy programs for poor people. Without family contacts, needy people can end up on the streets begging for food and shelter. Women and children turn to prostitution to survive. In Pereire, to address this need, a women and children’s center was established to give food and limited shelter to these needy individuals, as well as education and training classes in marketable skills. We held a program at the shelter. We spent the time to help find answers and solutions to the many questions they had. The center leaders are looking to expand their networking in order to find additional resources for the shelter residents and visitors.

City Jail Visit-

We had an unusual opportunity to meet with incarcerated men who were serving various sentences. After leaving all of our ID’s and personal information in the jail’s front reception area, we were escorted to a large square prison cell, where we were locked in with men wanting to learn about meditation. After sitting for the meditation hour, several men had many questions concerning relationships and how to reconcile differences with family members. One prisoner in particular explained his being behind bars was due to him being one of three men caught stealing cell phones. Colombia has no public defenders or advocacy for inmates. The other 2 men charged had relatives who paid the required fees to be released, but this man had no help (his girlfriend had stopped seeing him) and he ended up being in limbo, still with no filed charges, but unable to pay to be released. Swami Kena advised him how important meditation was in his circumstance and gave him blessings. (We do not know the outcome of his situation)

What Changes Occurred:

Many of the volunteers, especially those who set up the programs, are looking forward to having regularly scheduled meditation classes and discussion in their locations.

Several people who attended programs have developed new relationships and networking with other people who attended the programs. They are committed to encourage and support each other in their efforts.


Colombians warmness, politeness, gratitude and generosity seemed unbelievable, especially given their lack of resources and support. Overall, Colombians are very resilient, hardworking and determined to improve their lives and the lives of their neighbors.

                    Please contact me at 540-556-6931 or should you have any questions about this mission trip. A slide presentation in the Chapel is tentatively planned for Sunday, May 12 following the worship service.

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