News for the Church, 1/6/23

Good Day to you, Church–

Happy Epiphany– the day when some people celebrate the magi finding Jesus, others celebrate the birth of Jesus (The orthodox Church), some celebrate John baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River, and others take down their Christmas decorations. Do you celebrate? If so, I’d love to hear what your traditions are. 

Here’s the news for the week: 

Moving into the Center for Worship

When you come to church this Sunday, make sure you turn into the Community Center instead of heading to the sanctuary. For the next few months we will enjoy the warmth and cozy feeling of the Center for worship. 

Also for this Sunday– Since we weren’t able to celebrate Christmas Eve together, the choir will be singing their special selections this Sunday, so bring whatever leftover stirrings of Christmas/Epiphany cheer you might still have for one final celebration of the Baby Jesus!

Congregational Meeting and Potluck February 5th

Plan to bring a dish to pass the first Sunday in February to share while we hold our annual congregational meeting. We will review the year 2022 and vote on both our budget for 2023 and Pastor Katrina’s terms of call for 2023. 

p.s. There’s really good news on our financial front, but I’m going to keep it secret for another couple of weeks and let it be a surprise! 

Festival of Sacred Music and Text Set for March 26th

This year’s Festival (sponsored by the Potsdam Interfaith Community) will be in March. Might those of you who like to sing in choirs be interested in singing a song or two for the festival? Let’s talk with Keilor and see what we might be able to come up with in the next couple of months! So far there will be representatives at the festival from Beth El, St. Mary’s, the Methodist Church, the Potsdam Masjid, the Church of Latter Day Saints, the UU Church in Canton, the Christian Scientists, and possibly the Quakers and the Orthodox Church. It’s going to be a great concert!! 

Tree Limbs Down

I was in my office yesterday and, looking out the window onto the church yard, I noticed quite a few tree limbs downed from the Christmas blizzard. Might a couple of you be able and willing to come do some clean up? Bob and Sharon Pickard are in Florida already, so they’re not around to organize this. Might there be a volunteer to gather some folks together? 

Still No Word on the Rock Grant

For those of you who might be waiting on bated breath (like me), we still have not received word on who this year’s recipients are for the grant we applied for. Fingers remained crossed! 

An Exciting Gift to the Church

Last week the church received a monetary gift from a friend of the church that I wanted to share with you. People who don’t even attend our congregation sent us $500 and a thank you note! The note explained that the gift was given as “an expression of our gratitude for your faithful ‘open and affirming’ witness to Jesus Christ and God’s inclusive love.” The note went on to say “We appreciate all you are seeking to accomplish in the greater Potsdam area.” 

If you ever wondered about whether or not it’s the right thing for us to support the LGBTQ community, let us be encouraged by this note. Whether or not we are aware of it, people are watching and listening. They see us throwing open arms of inclusive love. 

Thanks be to God! And to you! And to this gift giver! 

Maybe someday we will get to know the impact we are having on people who have always been told that God hates them. But even if we don’t, let us know in our hearts that we are living in God’s love. Truly– thank you– for being a congregation that seeks love above all else. 

Prayers and Rejoicing for Sabrina Petrie

Sabrina had surgery this week and would love your prayers and cards as she recovers. (I’m sure she wouldn’t turn down a meal or a plate of cookies either, if you felt so inclined.) 

We can be praying for her, but also rejoice with her as well! She was recently accepted into Buffalo’s Master’s Program for Social Work. Sabrina has had a tough couple of years lately, so this news is extra special. 

If you’d like to send a card:

Sabrina Petrie
8 Cedar St. Upper Level
Potsdam, NY 13676

A Word about Grace

As we move into a new year of living, I thought I’d share a special reminder about grace. The Greek word for grace, charis, means ‘gift.’ 

At the heart of our religion is the unending belief in gift giving– gifts given by God to us and gifts we are to share with others and ourselves. But here’s the thing about a gift. By definition, a gift must be received. If you earn it, it is considered a wage. If you win it, it’s a prize. If you qualify for it, it’s a reward. 

Grace is amazing, but it’s also terrifying to accept. Grace also means that we have to decide to believe that we are worthy of receiving such love and consideration. (And who of us actually believes that?) This is the catch with grace. It cannot save, empower, or bless us if we close ourselves off to it. If we refuse to be receptive of wondrous love. 

This week, what would it look like for you to open yourself up to discovering the gifts of love that God sprinkles in our lives? 

Not only big gifts– like the $500 gift someone sent to the church– but the small gifts too. Grace, you see, comes in all shapes and sizes– jokes worth laughing out loud at, hugs, kind words, beautiful music, and yes, grace sometimes even comes disguised as challenging experiences. 

Dear Hearts, may we open ourselves up this week to being receptive of God’s gifts of amazing grace and abundant love! 

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast! 

Ephesians 2:8-9

Stretching My Grace Muscles Too,
Pastor Katrina