Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Corrections to December Newsletter

Dear Huron Members and Friends, 

Some church newsletter corrections and additional information are given below;

The correct day for the lighting of the trees in the Wolcott village Park is Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 6:00 pm.
A group had fun decorating Huron’s own tree after church on last Sunday and it is hoped you will be present to see it lighted with all the others trees. 

Omitted from the monthly calendar was the Huron Session Meeting on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Pastor Russ has asked that you mark your calendar for December 22, 2014  at 7:00 pm for a Blue Christmas Service of Healing.
He explains:

Come and join us for a Blue Christmas Service of Healing. We all love the holidays but with all the stress of the season and the memories of Christmases past, we often go into Christmas with mixed feelings. At this service we acknowledge the difficulties that come with the Christmas season in a way that should uplift and inspire us all in the true meaning of Christmas and the love that comes from God.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Falling to Fall

Weather we like to admit it or not the weather is taking a turn to the cold.  We are quickly approaching winter.  We had an amazing summer.  We had a fun and fruitful Strawberry Festival.  We had great confirmation class / new member class which ended with the welcoming of 4 new members plus a baptism at the lake and we still have 2 members to welcome later this month!  That is an increase in 5% of our congregation!  Amazing growth considering yesterday the Presbytery reported that as a whole the Presbytery is down over 300 members. 

Anchor the Way our Monday Night Worship is beginning to wind down October 13 will be the last Monday Night Worship for the Season.  We hope to pull together a few fun Monday Nights throughout the winter months as we did last year.

We had two successful rummage / boutique sales and the men will once again be holding the men's breakfast - which did amazing last year. 

The Presbyterian Churches on the Ridge will be coming together again to support a youth mission day!  Let's send our youth out into this world to BE THE Church! 

As our days grow shorter, don't forget to begin each week at 9:15 at Huron.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Strawberries and God

This Saturday Russ and Walter began a conversation about how one could theologically connect strawberries and God...Russ and I have since continued that conversation and in doing so have come up with several points to share.  Since we are still all coming down from Strawberry Festival - some having nightmares of mounds of strawberries coming to life, some still dealing with the book keeping of such an event and others feeling excited and relief that it is "over," I thought I would share some Strawberry musings:

1.  The Word of God is like that of the Strawberry plant.  It takes hold, roots in and grows within people, producing good fruit and helping each of us to be the best we can be.  Then when the planet is strong it sends out tendrils.  The word of God does the same thing, sending out new plants, that hopefully land on good soil in which they can take root, grow and continue to spread.  The Word of God thus the Good News of Christ is like that of a spreading Strawberry planet.

2. Likewise, the Love of God is like that of the plant. If you choose to believe instead of the "Word" but that they plant is the "love" of God, love spreads out from the source - God.  The tendrils of love continue to be spread.  Some tendrils will fall on good soil, those willing to feel God's love, some tendrils will fall on poor soil, and never be felt - yet God's love still tried.  God's love is never abandons us, it is us who gives up on God's love. On a plus, many strawberries are the same shape as our hearts - so hey, it is meant to be love, right?

3. Strawberries hold their seeds on the outside, for all to see.  We are called as Christians, not to hid our faith but instead show our faith.  Not to hid our gifts of the spirits or our seeds but instead let them show and sin.  Let us wear our Christianity out for all to see.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Strawberry Festival

This week everyone is reeling in the busy life that is strawberry festival.  Each year we come together, work really hard and have an amazing fundraiser.

So if you aren't volunteering yet, contact Patty there is lots to do! 

If you want to join us for the fun come out to Wolcott park in the morning, noon or afternoon.  Parade at noon :) 

Monday, June 9, 2014

We Lift Ourselves Up

Yesterday the church celebrated Pentecost, tonight at our alternative to Sunday worship, we too will be celebrating Pentecost.  The Birthday of the Church - the celebration of when the Spirit descend to earth and all those baptized in Christ received this amazing and powerful gift.

I was recently thinking of balloons and filling them up with Helium and bringing them to church - for the Church's birthday - because everyone seems to do that on Pentecost, but then I started to really think about this. And I had a revelation for me, but perhaps this isn't new to others.

What happens when we put different thing into balloons and how does that then relate to our relationship with God?  Well when we exhale, we exhale Carbon Dioxide, this is a substance that is the waste of our breathing process.  And what happens when a balloon is filled by our own hot air?  It sinks.  Relate this to God: when we let addiction, sin, food, negative thoughts or general negativity, and the list could go on; then our relationship with God is like that of the balloon filled with Carbon Dioxide it just sinks.

When you fill a balloon of nitrogen, which is what makes up most of the air around us, the balloon, just floats and moves across the air.  It doesn't sink, it doesn't go up it sort of just is.  It is easy to push it around.  Relate this to God: when we just live our lives each day, moving around in the secular world without thought or regard to God.  When we let the busy life of our world let us just float through life without purpose then we are like the nitrogen balloon.  In this analogy, you have the ability to float down a bit or perhaps even float up a bit but that requires the movement by an outside force.

But when we fill a balloon with helium, it raises and keeps on raising.  In fact, when filled with Helium it takes nothing more then the balloon and the Helium to raise, it comes from the essence of what that balloon is.  Relate this to God: when we allow the Holy Spirit to truly work within us - by developing a relationship and trusting it, then we are able to raise above.

A balloon is just a piece of rubber, it has no other purpose until it is filled and becomes an actual balloon.  Our lives can be purpose driven lifting us up by our own faith and relationship to new understandings or our lives can be filled with blah.  Let us dedicate ourselves to following God's purpose and let the Holy Spirit fill us up.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Points of Interest

These are just some things for us to think about:

Only 5.6% of our Gospels contains events that happened upon or after Jesus' resurrection.   Matthew and Mark have only 20 verses in their final chapter while Luke and John both proclaim 53 verses to Jesus' resurrection. 

But over 13% of our Calendar year is dedicated to this season of "After Easter"

So, every year from Easter to Pentecost the same verses are read, the same topics are preached on.  There are 6 Sundays between Easter and Pentecost, according to John Jesus only appears to his disciples 3 times before his ascension.

It is kind of amazing to me that so much of our Christian faith relies on the fact that Jesus did not die on the cross but instead ascended to heaven.  This is important because it proved that Jesus was divine, that Jesus was indeed the Son of God.  But the fact that the Gospel writers, those who followed Jesus the most, spent so much more time telling us about Jesus' life then on his resurrection.
I believe the Good News for us is this - in life Jesus' showed us the way.  In life, Jesus was a perfect example of what a pure relationship with God is.  We are called as Christians to live into that life.  We are called as Christians to proclaim and spread Jesus' teachings.  We do not inherit the Kingdom, if we do not live the way.  We do not inherit the Kingdom by making our minds up after death.  Jesus ascend to new life, in order that all who come to believe may inherit the Kingdom.  His commission to the disciples was to go and spread, go and tell people all that he taught about not just his death and resurrection, which confirmed his divinity, but more importantly about his life.

The passages about the events after resurrection are powerful passages of doubt and truth. About God's love and the amazing grace that Jesus offers.  Jesus appears to Mary, Jesus appears to "unimportant" followers on the road to Emmaus and Jesus appears to his disciples in a lock room.  Such a powerful message to us that no matter who we are, we may experience Christ in our life.  And a stark reminder that Jesus' resurrection was just confirmation of the claims of his divinity but it was his teachings and his life that changed our relationship with God, that gave way to the forgiveness and love that our merciful God has granted.  It was Jesus' death on the cross, the culmination of a life lived in order that we may have new life.

Let us spend the last part of our "Sundays after Easter" trying to discover in new ways what Jesus' resurrection means to us in our life and how these few passages transformed the disciples into fearful, doubtful and lost people into the truth-living and grace spreading founders of the Church today.  Let us let these passages speak anew to us and keep moving us into a deeper relationship with our Savior.  Let us not get caught up in the "familiar" but instead inspired by the power of the Good News!  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Presbyterian Polity Crash Test

Many of you recall about a year ago when we prayed for our fellow congregation in Newark.  Your clerk remembers all too well the 5+ hour meeting in which we as a presbytery voted to place an Administration Commission at the church.  For those who are confused, AC (for short) can be placed in churches and presbyteries for several different reasons, but the one the presbytery voted to in June 2013 was an AC that gave original jurisdiction, essentially taking all authority away from the session. 

This may seem extreme.  And I assure you that the Committee on Ministry did not offer this option to the presbytery with joy but instead a heavy heart.  But we are a member of the PC (USA) which means we are larger than just the few churches.  And in this case, this allowed the church in Newark to bring the Presbytery up on charges - charges of irregularity, both in the process and the decision making. 

Last week I along with 2 colleagues traveled to Albany to represent the Presbytery to Synod along with several representing the session at the Newark church that were replaced with the AC. After a very long day for the trial and another long day of waiting for an answer the Synod found in favor of the Presbytery and the AC at Newark can now move ahead with original jurisdiction.  For the last 10 months much has been in limbo as the decision was waiting to be made. 

Surprisingly, the Bible has several passages that would discourage us as Christians from going to court with each other and to work out our differences.  And yet, so too often we are the first to go against our fellow Christians - our courts and lawyers are full of lawsuits. 

Yet, when we are in conflict, especially a church in conflict with itself, it is easy to triangle your conflict to beyond your group.  This is what happen in this case.  Once one side just got too personal, the other side began to entertain the conflict and before anyone could stop the forward movement of the conflict - it was at a high level and no matter what happened - more conflict was in the future.  Perhaps this ended last week when the Synod found in our favor and everyone can begin steps to move forward.  Hopefully we all learned from this.

Our reading for this Sunday is from Acts 7 and the martyr of Stephan.  We often focus on the murder and the actions of the crowd.  Clearly the crowd had a preconceived idea that Stephan was guilty as they were easily turned.  And we could focus on all the details of the martyr but then we would missed the glory of God.  You see, even in the midst of his martyr Stephan, offers forgiveness to the crowd.

I believe we have learned from this, I believe that Newark can move on for this.  I pray that all those hurt by this can still find the glory of God in the midst of our angry.  I pray that we don't have to go to trial again. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holy Week

Each month we celebrate together the Last Supper, remembering and symbolizing a heavy amount of theological belief.  A lot is wrapped up in this meaningful sacrament.  In fact, this is truly a feast that shaped our Christian life.  As we walk through Holy Week this week, we remember the actual events that lead up to a Resurrection that changed the world and still today changes our lives. 

At the "last supper"  Jesus and his disciples were sharing in a passover feast.  During this feast we have an image that thanks to Renaissance artist we easily recognized today.  This image is one of the most famous of Christian artwork - Michelangelo's Last Supper.  And in the Bible we  have an interesting image here:

We have the disciples and Jesus eating dinner together, something I am sure they did a lot of.  But at this supper Jesus is preparing them for his death.  He is pointing out that someone will betray him, someone will deny him and yet during this one disciples in reclined on Jesus.

In our own lives, when things get tough and when we are in our own darkness of holy week, humans react differently, some will betray their beliefs - leaving their faith.  Some will deny God's blessing in their lives and will not get passed their own problems to see that God is working in their lives.  And others, inclined to God, leaning on their faith to see them through.

Right here, we have this image that seems strange, someone reclining on Jesus.  And yet in this intimate moment, we see the truth to imitate.  So this Holy Week, let us all work on leaning on and towards our God.  That fully taking to heart that "with Christ, all things are possible" believing with our full selves that Jesus has prepared us for life without him.  He taught, prepared and showed the disciples just what to do.  Jesus wants a relationship in which we lean on him, allowing God to carry some of our burdens.  Not a relationship in which when times get tough we abandon our faith.

Hopefully this Lent you spent time developing and working towards a stronger then ever relationship with God.  A relationship that brings you through Holy Week, leaning on Christ, knowing that through everything in life we are stronger and better because of our Savior.  Let's pray that the Judas and the Peter in us is over powered by the love we have for Christ and the relationship built on that in which we have strengthened this Lent.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Church's Future

1 Corinthians 10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.

As many of you know I serve on our Presbyteries Committee on Ministry and each month I meet with several others to help our churches that are in transition.  In fact between that and many of my own church experience it can make one feel like the future of church is pretty grim.  Most churches are not growing, most churches are in fact shrinking.  Most churches are in some form of dispute and many churches lay in the midst of corporation.  Even our little church has questioned why the time of "church" seems to be gone. 

But if we think about church history, we realize that this is just one of many times when a generation has felt that deep weight of what the future has in store.  The command from Paul in the above passage is to take with care how each builder is to build from the foundation that Jesus has laid.  To take with care...reminds me of the motto in the Presbyterian church - Reformed church, always reforming.  You see if each generation didn't question what the generation before built then we wouldn't be holding true to our charge.  We wouldn't be taking care of how we build our foundation if we were not questioning and learning.  This is so important.

The reason why small churches like Huron are not falling into the same statistical traps as other larger churches in denomination is because, smaller congregation don't always get stuck in ruts.  Higher percentage of involvement in smaller congregations leads to more people's ideas being heard.  I cannot help but think of a PR committee in October in which I sat there bringing up one of Russ' concerns: we need to do more mission.  I brought up a problem without any idea of a solution.  We started talking about different demographic groups we could reach out to and the next thing we knew the Advent Gift bag idea was born...that was God's will working in our church and from everyone who received a bag to everyone who put the bags together joy and happiness and the Spirit were felt.  It was an amazing project.

Christ has laid a sure foundation - a foundation that we - each of us and each generation are charged with building upon.  How amazing!  Let us continue to do our good work on building upon the foundation that Christ has laid, having hope and finding encouragement and keeping ourselves out of the statistical pool by holding fast to the commandment to carefully lay our blocks.  Building on what Jesus' has laid and not the wills of others. 

All churches - our denomination and Christian church in general - has hope.  People still believe in God.  Yet now is the time for us to question the builders of the past and looking for God's guidance on where we should be placing our blocks for the future.   For now, Huron needs to hold fast to their Spirit of prayer and corporation; proving that although you may be small in numbers you are proving the sure foundation that Christ has laid in the Huron Church.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beating the Cold Blues

This winter more then any other I question why we live in the cold.  I recently read an article on buzz that proclaimed Rochester #3 out of 7 of the top cities who are prepared to handle the bad weather.  And indeed we continue year after year to be more ready to handle the weather.  In fact this winter is my 11th winter back in the North and I'm so glad that I had 10 winters to prepare my body for the cold this winter has brought. 
But winter brings with it an isolation and also a survive mode that can hinder our relationship with God and each other.  The "normal" rules often get pushed to a limit or broken when winter hits - just take a look at a parking lot and the crazy drivers who park anywhere they choose.  We can easily get into a runt in which we are looking out for ourselves and not really caring about others.  It is easy for us to forget about the other when we are consumed with the every day details of ourselves - the drive is too long, the snow is too deep, I am stuck in my house, I need this in order to be OK...

This season we should challenge ourselves to not only think of the other but reach out.  When we are stuck in our house due to the weather, call a friend/ or church member and see what they are doing to cope.  When we haven't seen someone at church in a while, call on them - send a note through the mail (at least the post office has stayed pretty on top of things this winter).  And when you are feeling isolated, pray - knowing and believing that God is always with us.

Let us listen this winter season to the challenge that Jesus proclaims - to love our neighbors as ourselves!  Let us find ways to show love, even when the weather colds our hearts.  

Friday, February 7, 2014


Sometimes God works in amazing ways - especially in large groups.  God recently moved a group of Presbyterians representing 7 churches across 104 to come together and sponsor a YOUTH mission Day.

We are calling this "Reach on the Ridge" and we are working together to help brighten up peoples home by providing a fresh coat of paint.  We are coming together at the Sodus church at 8:30 for some "get-to-know" you activities and of course a moment to praise God.   Then we are off for the day with lunch (thanks) and we will be the hands and feet of God working in the world.  At days end we will regroup at the Sodus church for dinner (thanks again) and worship together before heading home. 

It should not only be a lot of fun but a great way for our youth to come together and an amazing way for our churches to come together for ministry.  This is our Church (universal) BEING and DOING in the world.

We can help support this WONDERFUL cause by encouraging our youth to participate.  We can help support this by offering ourselves up as an adult volunteer that day and of course we can donate to this cause through our own congregation. 

On this site you can find the release form for anyone interested!  Thanks!

Monday, January 27, 2014

fishers of people

Jesus often refers to his disciples as “fishers” of people.  He gives this illusion and charge for us to be fishers.  This week reflecting on this I couldn’t help but think of the different ways in which we can be fisherman. (or fisherwomen).   There is the fishing with rods, in which you pick your bait, put it on a hook and sit waiting for the fish to come.  This style of fishing is very passive and in fact does not take a lot of work.  This style of fishing is also pretty slow.  The fishing that happens in the Bible is a much more aggressive form.  Instead of just sitting around waiting for one fish to arrive, fishermen put nets into the water and as they scoop around they sweep up bunches of fish at a time.  This form of fishing isn’t choose but instead all types of fish are up for grabs.  And this is the style of fishers we all need to be!  Not passive, certainly not choose and we don’t need any lame bait because the Good News of Jesus is pretty much all we need. 
We are called not to judge because everyone is worthy of God’s love.  We are called to proclaim Jesus to all we meet not just a few because we are not called to evangelize to only one at a time but instead to everyone we meet.  So this week ponder what type of Fisher are you?  And what type is God calling us to be? And how to we move between?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

annual meeting

Annual meetings
Yup it is that time of year again, the time of year when the committee chairs are rushing to get their reports in and the Clerk of Session is rolling in paperwork – Annual Meeting time.
It is really important that we hold this meeting once a year.  In part we do it because we are Presbyterian and it is called for in our Book of Order but more importantly we do it to increase communication and to give ourselves a record of the year.  This is important for our future church members as well as a nice reminder to ourselves of our year. 
I was recently reminded that because bad memories are usually associated with higher energy and/or stress we usually have more adrenalin pumping which is a key factor in helping us remember.  In fact, we remember more bad then good because of our bodies physiology.  And thus, it is essential that we take time each year and reflect; stopping and thinking of all the things that came our way and how they inform our future.  We have had a very successful year celebrating 200 years of church history.  Each year at our annual meeting we conclude with the positive or joys of the year.  Such an important reminder that we have much to celebrate. 
This year we are holding our Annual Meeting in the afternoon after a potluck lunch.  Come out and support us and celebrate in our year. One of the exciting things you will see is the new picture directory. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The familiar

It is the familiar in our faith that brings us comfort and assurance.  Calvin often noted that it was because of ritual and familiarity in our worship services that our faith was confirmed and strengthened.  The thought being that familiarity allowed for us to be more open to the spirit and thus feel the spirit more strongly.  Interesting, is it not?
And I feel that we have all felt that to.  When we are in moments of need or joy stating familiar prayers like the Lord’s prayer or reading familiar passages give us greater comfort.  This is important.  Our worship services are predictable and we all know when we should stand and when we should sit; we know the words to the Gloria and we can easily follow along in a bulletin to any church service, even churches we don’t usually worship at.
Yet, what if we didn’t have faith? Or at least a church to call home? What if we had never been to a church worship service or only attended weddings and funerals…how strange would it feel to you?  How worried would you be that you didn’t make a fool of yourself?

These are important things to think about.  For these are reasons why many of the 49% of unchurched people don’t go to church.  And also such an important part of what is “missing” in people’s life.  You see, as one of your session members asked sometime this year “[unchurched] just don’t know what they are missing” and that is SO true.
Yes our churches have some bad parts – yes we must ask for money, yes some ask too often and some have done some bad things with it.  Yes we have our in fighting but that is just because we are so passionate about our faith and our churches. 
Next time you are talking to someone who doesn’t have a church home, think about this…what would you be missing by not having a church faith to celebrate your belief with? And how can we make worship more comfortable?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beating the Winter Trap


On Thursday of this week the sun was shining bright, the blue skies could actually be seen and at 5pm it was actually still light outside – the first signs to me that it is indeed getting closer to spring.  Outside our windows this week was another story.  The frigid air that hit us a few of these days however was a harsh reminder that it not only is still winter but we do indeed live in upstate New York (or perhaps the North pole?).

This too is the Season of Epiphany.  The sign of God’s revelation to the world and more importantly this Sunday is the baptism of the Lord Sunday.  As Baptized Christians we are called to be born anew in our baptism.  Now, I’m using this phrase knowing well what implications I’m bringing to you.  You see, it is important that through becoming Christians we realize that our lives are different and we are changed.  For by being Christian we are called to live a higher and new life. 

But it is easy for us as Christians to fall into the trap of deception.  You see just like those who sat inside their warm homes on Thursday looking out at what looked like a beautiful day.  We are called to do more than just proclaim our Christianity well living sheltered lives.  We are called to do more than sit in comfort and overlook the obvious – the harsh realities of the world around.  We often put blinders on the realities around us and don’t fully live into our Christian call.   We might be “doing” everything we think we need to and yet if we are not opening our eyes fully we might be missing out on God’s true voice speaking to us.

Another slant to this illusion is that it is easy for us as Christians to judge the world around us by what we see and think we can observe.  But we are called through Jesus to make our Lord the judge of all and are called instead to show love to all we meet.  We must take heed to this call from God for this is what Christianity is all about, isn’t it?
There will be several more days in which the Sun will beat it’s warm rays down upon us and we will be reminded of what Spring and Summer shall bring.  When that happens, let us be reminded that in our life we need to do more than accept things for the way they look. Instead we should search beyond knowing that God, through our baptism, has called us to live anew, to be better and to challenge our understands finding meaning beyond what we think we know.