Dear Members and Friends of HPC,
We come to you today hoping that everyone is safe and healthy. In this time of uncertainty and fear brought on by the COVID19 pandemic, please know that God is with us always. We don’t have to be in the physical church to feel His presence and His strength.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)
In this time of closed businesses and churches, quarantine, and social distancing, we hope you have been able to take advantage of online services for church. Rev. Betsy Westman from our sister church in Theresa has provided a link on our website and Facebook page for her weekly service, as well as Rev. Marti Montovani from her services with the Sacketts Harbor church.
The HPC session members have been discussing and planning how and when our church will open for services. Our main priority moving forward is to worship together without fear. We will have many restrictions and strict guidelines we must follow in order to ensure that everyone remains safe.
We are planning to begin services on July 12 at 10:30 in the pavilion. This outside setting will provide a more open space.
The following guidelines will be followed:
· A shortened abbreviated service
· No hymnals, no Bibles, no bulletins, no singing, no choir
· A power point projected on a screen will provide service highlights
· Mandatory masks and hand sanitizer will be availableif needed
· Music will be played but no singing will take place
· Everyone will bring their own chair and sit in the marked positions 6 feet apart
· No collection of offering but a basket will be available
· Individual prayer requests can be emailed or phoned ahead to Tara for reading at the service
We realize that there are many of our friends and members who are not ready to return and are fearful. We respect your personal choices. You return when it’s the right time for you.
Your session members want you to feel safe. The health and well-being of our congregation and our community is our primary concern. We will assist you in any way we can to make this transition comfortable for all.
Prayers and blessings,
Members of the Session
Lynn DeCondo, clerk
Rev. Betsy Westman, moderator (pastor, Theresa Pres. Church)
Robert Swift 8-12
Debbie Richards 8-12
Elizabeth Barrigar 8-12
Roger Hadlock 8-13
Nick Winchester 8-14
Evelyn Saphier 8-25
Ann Root 8-26
Jen McGregor 8-26
Art Davidson 8-27
Viktor Cole 8-28
Greg & Arielle Demick 8-5
For Such a Time as This!
Of all the verses in the ten chapters of Esther this is most likely the most well known. Really, ever since the Covid 19 pandemic picked up and has remained in our midst, maybe far longer than anyone anticipated, I’ve heard this phrase too many times in denominational circles and from clergy colleagues. It’s Mordecai’s request to his cousin, Queen Esther to speak to King Ahasuerus about the impending plot and decree ordered by the king through trickery to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the Jewish people, both young and old, women and children in one day (Esther 3:14), and that even Queen Esther herself wouldn’t be spared (4:13). Queen Esther has kept her identity a secret to this point as she has always obeyed her cousin Mordecai. Now, however, he needs her to step up to the plate in a really big way. Now is the time to reveal her heritage. Esther is caught between the law of her own death in the king not extending his golden scepter to her and annihilation of not only herself, and her family, but a whole group or population of people. After Mordecai points out that no one, not even her being queen is exempt from the decree, Queen Esther snaps out a plan. It’s as if a switch is triggered and she now leads and takes command of the horrific situation that lies ahead. Being who I am I want to know her thought process and what caused her to shift. Perhaps it was Mordecai’s words that no Jewish person would be spared, including Esther, queen or not. Perhaps as Mordecai points out she was placed by God (not mentioned) in the palace to save the Jewish people, herself included for such a time as this. Can it be that God is taking action in people’s lives in such subtle ways that God doesn’t get mentioned, but maybe it’s just assumed?
Interestingly enough, God is never mentioned in all ten chapters of Esther. I encourage you to read this book tucked in between Nehemiah and Job. It’s a fast paced and absorbing book to read. I also encourage you to read from a study Bible to help guide you as a study Bible will aid your understanding. So why point to Queen Esther? We too find ourselves living in an unknown time filled with a virus, ever present political tensions, fear to speak to each other if we don’t hold to the same thoughts, rioting, looting, protests, injustices, and oppressions, along with days filled with questions of so much unknown. While God may not be mentioned in the Book of Esther, God’s divine presence is there and here with us today. While I don’t see the many seed I plant through my years of ministry, I know God sends me as an agent in the name of Jesus and by the guidance of the Spirit to plant seed each day. I don’t see the fruit of the seed necessarily, but I know God’s presence is being made known, placing me in the places where God needs seed planted. I trust and have faith that God’s plan is just that, God’s plan and God will bring the harvest in, in God’s time, not the time I’d like it to be.
So, friends we are on this journey of life together, trusting in God’s time to harvest and bring forth God’s completed kingdom, that Jesus will return and make all things a new creation. As we wait in such a time as this, let’s turn to God for strength and share the light of Jesus in our dark world as the Spirit directs, guides, and empowers us.
Peace be with you, Rev. Betsy
The next Hammond Food Pantry will be Thursday, Aug. 27 between 9:30 and 11:00 at the Hammond Fire Hall. All income eligible families are encouraged to participate and receive the free food. New comers from the Hammond, Rossie, Brier Hill, Morristown areas are welcome.
We are doing drive by pick up at the back of the Fire Hall. There is no new news on the Food Sense program, discontinued at this time.
For information, call Joan Hadlock 315/324-5517.
COLLECTING WATER AND WOOD
In western Africa, the intense rainy season may last for three months, with the remaining months very arid. Wells are often dug by hand and may be 100 feet deep or more, if there is a well. Especially for the women and girls in the village, one whole day may be used in gathering enough firewood to cook for the week. They go out early in the morning while it is cool and search most of the day, returning home at dusk with a full load of firewood carried on their heads. The task of fetching water falls to the children who go out early in the day, and again at the end of the afternoon to fill jars and canisters with the water needed for cooking, drinking, bathing and cleaning. Hopefully the children attend school during the day in Ghana and Togo. But in much of Niger and Nigerian many children, especially girls, must work in the household and cannot go to school. The collection of water and food is essential to these families. Any problem, such as an illness, can send a family into a spiral of poverty that is difficult to escape.
When was the last time you had to spend the day foraging for wood or collecting water so essential to life? Even in our present difficult times, let us appreciate our abundant lives and God’s precious gifts to us. We complain about the weather, but we really do not depend on rain or sunshine for our lives to carry on. We truly are blessed. Joan Hadlock
The other day I was talking to my mom and she was telling me about how she video chats with my Aunt, who I’ve kept in contact with but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen her, and they hang out and talk, watch TV together and reminisce about “the good old days”. So, I downloaded the app, signed in, and noticed that I can make a group video chat session with my mom and my Aunt. They both come on and we start talking about things we used to all do together and some of our favorite memories with each other, and that’s when my aunt says, “Can you add one more? Your cousin would like to join in.” My cousin and I were thick as thieves growing up, but again it’s been a very long time since she and I talked, let alone seen each other. So I quickly jumped at the opportunity to see my cousin on the video chat. I laughed so hard that night that my tummy hurt the next day when I woke up. We were all reunited for an evening, in the comforts of our own homes and telling stories, goofing around, and picking up exactly where we left off so many years ago when we all had our lives pulled us in different directions away from one another.
This week, I had a different family reunion at Church. No more video service for me, (which was lovely to watch in bed in the morning and not having to leave my house) but I was ready to see my family once again. It was a different kind of service, for our familiar hugging and chit chatting wasn’t included, but again, I jumped at the opportunity to be with my loved ones that I so very much miss, even if it was under different circumstances, we were still being brought together with love. I went home that Sunday, feeling as though my soul finally got to come out of bed and stretch off the feeling of being bottled up. I look forward to things going back to normal again. It might still be a long road ahead, but God has laid out the road, all we have to do is walk it.
Friday Fish Fry on August 28th. For more details, Check out our Facebook page for the Event or Call Tara at (315) 324-5665
The annual Per Capita Assessment is based on the membership reported by each church. The 2020 Per Capita fee for our Presbytery has been confirmed at $30.00. Each per capita payment is divided, with $8.95 for General Assembly, $4.10 for the Synod of the North East, and $16.95 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. If you have any questions about Per Capita, please contact Tara in the church office. Thank you!
Back in May, we asked you for help on beautifying our Church and its Grounds. We have started some of the projects, which couldn’t have been done without your help. We thank everyone who has donated time and money to making our projects become reality. Please continue to keep watch for more after pictures to come.