Ringing out the Good News from Hammond Presbyterian Church May 2020

Going to Emmaus

I have to be honest Luke 24:13-35 is a favorite passage of mine. Over the years I keep coming back to; it’s as if I’m drawn to it like a magnet. So when it was part of the Scripture passages to read for Sunday, April 26 I jumped at the opportunity to preach it. Why? Why am I so drawn to this part of God’s Word? It’s Jesus’ actions that speak in the ordinary of life.

These traveling companions are leaving Jerusalem on the third day. A lot has happened that they were witness to; an arrest and crucifixion, a shouting crowd to the authorities both of the Roman rule and Temple authorities, and a burial of a dead Jesus. The women had told the others that the tomb was empty thought to be an idle tale; yet not revealed to these travelers and these travelers leave Jerusalem to go to Emmaus. I wonder what their comfort will be there. These travelers leave Jerusalem just like us bearing the emotions of our own life when prayers are answered in a way we may not have anticipated or want to bear; hearing a diagnosis that is unwanted; dealing with the grief and pain of death and all that that entails. Yes, the travelers are just like us. But then as only God can do, the unexpected happens, Jesus is there and present in the midst of their travels and emotions. I think that’s what strikes me about this passage; Jesus just enters in, inserts himself into the middle of it all. In something so common, ordinary, and every day, Jesus shows up as they discuss all that has happened, their disappointment and sadness. He comes as a gardener to a grieving Mary, bringing peace to huddled disciples behind a closed and locked door, to a missing Thomas, and at a fire of coals on a beach. Jesus enters into the ordinary of ever day life.

But then something else happens to remind them of his presence, always with them: Word and sacrament. Jesus reveals himself through Scripture that they had heard over and over again at the synagogue from him, his presence in those Scriptures. In taking, blessing, breaking, and giving bread as he had done before (Lk. 9: 16; 22:19) he is also made known. In this the traveler’s eyes are opened where they were once closed or perhaps unable to see because they indeed were as Jesus said, “foolish and slow of heart to believe.” 

We too are foolish and slow of heart to believe. We too have our moments of flight to run to Emmaus (whatever that is for you) and find solace, peace, or comfort. Yet Jesus meets us on the way and reminds us through the pulpit and the Table of God’s gifts to the believers of Jesus; God’s gifts for God’s people. We enter the church each Sunday coming in our own grief, sadness, and disappointment of not witnessing the resurrection and after our eyes are opened through God’s Word preached and being fed at the Lord’s Table we leave with great joy to proclaim the good news just as the Emmaus travelers rushed back to Jerusalem and to the other disciples: Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Traveling with you,

Rev. Betsy 


The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, May 21st. This is open to any income eligible families in the Hammond, Rossie, Brier Hill and Morristown areas. Our method of distribution has changed during this time of isolation. We now ask clients to remain in their cars and the food will be brought out to them, depending on the number of family members. There will be no Food Sense program in May, and we will wait to hear from the Syracuse Food Bank on their decision on Food Sense for June. But the Hammond Food Pantry will operate on the usual days.

Anyone with questions may call me at 315/324-5517. Joan Hadlock


   Our School Kits have been organized and being readied to take to a CWS depot in Canton and from there will be shipped to general headquarters for distributing wherever there are students in need of basic supplies. Thanks to all who donated, we will have thirty school kits to share.

Because we are not in church, the Easter Memorial deadline has been extended until May 15. We are receiving donations either toward another shallow well in Malawi, or for our missionary in West Africa, Josh Heikkila. Checks can be made out to Hammond Presbyterian Church, with your selection on the memo line, .and sent to me, along with any memorial or honorary names you wish to have listed in next month’s newsletter. Thanks in advance, Joan Hadlock

Missions: One example of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance at work comes from Nepal. Following a devastating earthquake in 2015, the village of Katunje suffered almost complete destruction. A poor economy became worse. Through Disaster Assistance, 280 female goats were distributed to locals to help provide a new source of income families could rely on. Goats are inexpensive to raise and highly adaptable, especially in this mountainous area.  Before receiving the goats, farmers were trained on feeding, common goat diseases and how to build small sheds for the goats. One recipient says that the project made his life blessed. He owns a small piece of land and can now sell and trade goats for a sustainable income for his family.

Are we there yet? By Tara Atherton

I remember being younger with my parents and going on a long (which probably wasn’t as long as I thought it was when I was younger) car rides and asking, “Are we there yet?” Their usual response was “We will get there when we get there. Look out the window.” As a parent now, I have all sorts of ways to entertain my kids in the car so I don’t get as many “Are we there yet?” questions. But right now, we’re still under quarantine and I’m starting to hear the little kid in my mind asking “Are we there yet?” I’ve enjoyed the first few weeks of taking it easy. I’ve caught up on house work and did a lot of bonding with the kids and husband. But now I’m at the point where I wish the long car ride will end. I’ve stretched my legs enough; I’ve gone through all my snacks and went on many bathroom breaks. “Are we there yet?” I’ve napped, I’ve played ‘I Spy’, and I’ve fought with my sibling. “Are we there yet?” And yet I still hear my parents say “We will get there when we get there. Look out the window.” And I’m hoping by the time everyone is reading this, that we have finally reached our destination and we can go back to visiting friends and family without worrying about having to wear a hazmat suit just to go grocery shopping. 

Maybe it’s not my Parents that I am hearing in my head telling me that “We will get there when we get there.” but possibly it’s God (or maybe I’m going stir crazy. All good possibilities at this point). It’s like the cold winter weather, it can’t last forever; or the hard times new parents have when they have a baby, there will be sleeping in your future again. It just always feels like that it is going to LAST FOREVER, but as long as we continue to trust in God and know that we are being watched over, we are being cared for, that we know it will all be over soon. We might be bored out of our minds right now, waiting for everything to open back up for us to go out and enjoy, but when we are able to enjoy everything once again, it’ll be so much more. A barbeque with friends will be the best barbeque of the summer because God made us all stop and appreciate the little things in life and stop staring at the long road ahead of us.

Spring is Here!

The session, practicing social distancing of course, has been looking at our church property and evaluating the need for love and attention. We have found several projects that we feel need more immediate scrutiny.                      

For many years the tree line in the back yard of our church grounds has been accumulating all sorts of debris, scrub bushes and trees.  In an attempt to beautify and cleanup our yard around the back perimeter, we are going to hire a landscape contractor to come in with equipment that will cut the necessary scrub brush and trees, clean up the debris,  and level the area.  The estimated cost for this work will be $3000.   

Another project that we feel is extremely important is the repair and replacement of the retaining wall along the handicap sidewalk leading to the dining hall.  Our plan is to replace the old railroad ties with stone wall.  The down spout along the church wall will be redirected from the flower bed and sidewalk to drain to the street to prevent water retention along the retaining wall.  The estimated cost of this project is $7000.   

In preparation for a new minister’s arrival in the future, we need to repair and paint the exterior of the manse including the porches, ramp, and garage.  The estimated cost for this project is $16,500.  

One of the responsibilities of having all this beautiful property is being a good steward.  Our expenses have been significantly reduced in the absence of a minister.  We see this as an opportunity to undertake some of the projects that have been neglected due to previous financial obligations.  

We will be planning some future fundraising to help defray costs of these projects but we welcome and appreciate any individual donations from our church family.  Your prayerful consideration is greatly appreciated!  

Lasagna Dinner!


In keeping with the social distancing and still kicking off some church fundraising, we will be hosting a takeout only Lasagna Dinner with all the fixings on Wednesday, May 13th beginning at 4:30 until gone.

Dinner will include:  lasagna, garden salad, garlic bread, and black bottom cupcakes.

Adults  $10

Children 5-12  $5

4 and under   Free

Roadside and Church Cleanup

 Many thanks to those who helped with roadside cleanup over two days last week. Our church is responsible for Rt. 37, from the Hammond Museum to two houses beyond the Triangle Rd. Included in the workers were Denise Diana, Marilyn Hunter, Ann Root, Elizabeth Barrigar, Diane Ayotte,

Nick and Jen Gardner, and Kennon, Nolan, Jensen and Vivian Gardner, Liz Gardner, Cherie Hadlock, and Nancy Hadlock. Joan Hadlock drove the “chase car” with flashers. Nancy Hadlock coordinated the effort and Craig McLear from the State Highway crew provided the vests, gloves and hats to wear. A big job and well done by many helpers.

And another big thank you to 

Allison Barrigar, Ann Root,Nick and Jen Gardner, Jen McGregor, Joan Hadlock, Joan Delosh, 

Denise Diana, Marilyn Hunter, Pete Atherton,

Nolan Gardner, Vivian Gardner, Jensen Gardner, Elizabeth Barrigar, and Emilie Barrigar for helping with the Church and Manse Cleanup. Many hands really do make light work and we couldn’t do it without all of your support and help.


Ringing out the Good News from Hammond Presbyterian Church April 2020

We’re all in quarantine now and it looks like we won’t be gathered together as the body of Christ for Easter Sunday either; or will we? During this time of the unknown I’ve continued to preach from my sermon series on the Book of Judges. What starts of in great hope with judges leading Israel as they try to live in the promised land with other pagan nations scattered in their midst, Israel becomes more like those nations. God wants Israel’s obedience and yet there is the slide into darkness, to the point one may think God isn’t seeing Israel anymore. 

The Book of Judges feels much like our days that we are living now. We too may sense a great deal of disobedience to God. We live in a land with many gods and idols in our midst whether we realize them or not. This season of Lent is a great time to reflect on where we are in God’s story of salvation. In these days of quarantine and our lives being tossed upside down, of living in the unknown, we too may sense a lack of God’s presence. Jesus himself felt that lack of presence and cries out the words we long to have permission to speak, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) 

But God is a God of love and hope. We are not left in the depths of darkness or death, disobedience and sin. The story of Jesus’ crucifixion doesn’t end there. We arrive with Mary at the radiant with light of an empty tomb. By the work of the Spirit we come to have new life in this resurrected Jesus when we believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. We participate in the mystery of God. 

These are uncertain days we are living in to be sure. Yet in Jesus Christ we will be together for Easter; we will lift our eyes to the hills and know where our help comes from.

Peace be with you,  Rev. Betsy 


This month, the Hammond Food Pantry will distribute food to eligible families on Thursday, March 26, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. at the Hammond Fire Hall. New consumers may sign up on that day. The food consists of meats, produce, cereal, butter, cheese, pasta, canned fruit and veggies. Also the same day, the Food Sense program is held. These items must be ordered from a monthly menu and paid for ahead of time. The food is delivered around noon on Food Pantry days. There are no income guidelines for the Food Sense program, which is a great way to stretch your food dollars. For information on Food Pantry or Food Sense, contact Joan Hadlock at 315/324-5517.


This year our Easter offerings will be sent either to Marion Medical Mission for a shallow well, or to our missionary co-worker in West Africa, Josh Heikkila, who is working to spread the word of God through his work there. 

A word about wells. Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related diseases. One in five children dies before the age of five because of contaminated water. Over the years, Marion Medical Mission has built over 35,000 wells providing an estimated four million people with a sustainable source of safe drinking water in Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. This year, 37 U.S. volunteers went on the mission trip to Africa with a goal of building 3700 wells in 3700 remote villages. Before the November rains stopped the work. 3000 wells would mean that 375,000 of the extreme rural poor, (225,000 children) would have safe drinking water. These wells go along with the message that Christians are sharing the love of Jesus with all these people. These wells mean healthier people, able to produce more food meaningless starvation year after year, after year, after year. Each well now costs $450.00. Let’s see if we can fund another well.

Quarantined by Tara Atherton

What a crazy time we are having right now. Schools are closed, church is closed, and it’s just another Thursday to me, except I have my munchkins tagging along with me everywhere I go. I’ve been trying to do the whole working mom, school mom, and home mom thing all at once. Luckily, my husband is home during this crazy time to help lighten my load, but as a mom, you want to feel like you can do it all. And with the feeling of being able to do it all, my sanity slips more and more and I find myself welcoming bedtime just a bit earlier every night so I can lay back and not hear my name being called every 10 seconds. “You literally walked past your dad, who is as capable as I am to help you with your issues, just to find me in the bathroom.” is a sentence that I knew one day I would be saying; I just didn’t realize how often I would be saying it. This also makes me appreciate my children’s teacher just a bit more than I already did. But we are making the best of the situation. A lot of joking around going on, and having kids home all the time, you find it hard not acting like a big kid also. They miss their friends at school and church, and I’m the next best thing to a little kid that they have. 

I wonder if God is creating all this craziness for a reason. Maybe I need to be spending more time with my kids. Maybe I need to be a little more thankful for everything and everyone I have in my life. Maybe it’s a little bit of everything, mixed with having to be quarantined. Should we all just take a moment and appreciate that the trees are starting to sprout buds, that the grass is starting to turn the ground green again, that we can open our windows and let the fresh clean air of spring come into the house? There has to be reasoning behind all of this. We may not know what it is right now, but there’s a reason standing right in front of us. Maybe once we slow down since that’s what everyone is telling us to do, is when we have questions answered, stressful times calmed, and just catching up on some much needed family time. .

Easter Memorials

Names for Easter flowers or donations to our Missionary or Shallow Well project should be gotten to me no later than April 5th for inclusion in our list of memorials and honoraries.

Our Easter Donations deadline is being delayed until April 15th. Our list will be in the next Newsletter.


Donation to Missionary___________________________

Donation to Shallow Well_____________________­­­­­­­­­­____

Easter Plants______________________________________

Names to be Listed________________________________

Happy Spring!

The robins are singing, the streams are flowing, and green is returning. It’s that time of the year to refresh as everything comes alive after a long winter’s rest.

HPC has some spring clean up to do after the long winter. On Saturday, April 25thbeginning at 9:30, we will hold a yard clean up at the church for any and all to come help make our church yard ready for the wonderful rebirth of all things spring!

Bring rakes, shovels, garden trimmers, gloves and lots of enthusiasm!

March 2020

Flaws, Messes; Flawless and Mercy

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

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

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

Peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Joan Hadlock

Spring Cleaning By Tara Atherton

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

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

New Membership Class

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

Mindfulness Meditation

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


Are We There Yet?

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

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

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

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

Peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joan Hadlock, Mission and Presbyterian Women

After the Storm Ends By Tara Atherton

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

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

January 2020

Ringing out the Good News from Hammond Presbyterian Church

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

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

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

Peace be with you,

Rev. Betsy

Annual Meeting Reports

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

Hammond Food Pantry

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

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

Joy By Rosie Salamacha

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


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

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

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

Back By Popular Demand by Tara Atherton

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

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

Per Capita

 What is Per Capita…

Per Capita is “the tie that binds”- annual giving that unites the entire church in the ongoing and essential work that guides the Office of the General Assembly, the life of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) and benefits every congregation and every mid council ministry. Per capita is the primary source of funding for the Office of the General Assembly, and is how Presbyterians mutually and equitably share the costs of coming together to discern the Spirit’s leading for the future. The 2019 Per Capita fee for our Presbytery has been confirmed at $25.00. Each per capita payment is divided, with $8.95 for General Assembly, $4.10 for the Synod of the North East, and $11.95 going to the Presbytery of Northern New York.

Many members of our church have already made their per capita payments. Our Church must pay per capita for each member, whether or not the member pays us. Your contribution helps Hammond Presbyterian Church cover our portion. Per Capita payments can be mailed to the church or dropped in the Offering with “Per Capita” written in the memo line. For more information about Per Capita and how it is accessed and allocated, please go to:

For any questions concerning Hammond Presbyterians Per Capita amount or giving’s, Please contact Tara in the office at (315)324-5665 Mon-Friday 9am-12pm or email at 

Thank you for helping us to have more funds available for local ministry by providing your share of the per capita.