Good afternoon, church!
Well, we’re fully into winter now, aren’t we? We’ve had below zero temps this week and right now the snow is falling outside my window. What do you love about this time of year? Anything? Everything? Does anyone actually enjoy shoveling snow? (I used to, but that was a long time ago.)
Here’s the news for the week:
Trans and Non-Binary Sunday
This coming Sunday is going to be a special one. Not many of us know much about the transgender and non-binary community, so this will be a chance to listen and learn. This particular community is one of the most loathed and despised communities in our entire society, and because of that, it means that we as Christians need to pay special attention to supporting them.
During the worship service I will be preaching about one of the places that non-binary people show up in our Bibles, and after the service Jamey Merkel will be teaching us more extensively about what it’s like to live in the world as a trans person. I know that we have a few guests coming to worship, and others who don’t normally attend our church plan to tune in on-line, so I hope that you will join us too!
This Sunday may really stretch our understanding of the world– mine included. The transgender and non-binary communities ask us to re-consider the stability of things we’ve always thought were unyielding. Because of this, you may find yourself feeling confused, frustrated, and/or uncomfortable, but I want to invite you to practice being comfortable with being uncomfortable.
At the end of the day you may or may not agree with everything that is said, but while we are together, I ask that we do our best job of listening and prayerfully consider what is said. We may not understand (or agree with) being trans or non-binary, but God loves trans and non-binary people as much as God loves us–and for that reason alone, it’s our job to love them too! (Well, that and because they’re pretty amazing people in their own right!)
Returning to Cantors for Singing
Friends, Omicron is now hitting the North Country hard. We’ve had record days of active Covid cases all week long and because of this, Session feels that it’s best to return to no congregational singing for the time being. There are a number of immuno-compromised people in our congregation and the best way that we can show them our love is by doing what we can to keep them safe.
With that said, I’d like to check in with you about our services. Do you feel safe enough coming to church in-person? How do you feel about the idea of returning to fully on-line worship? At least one other Presbyterian church in the area has shifted back to being fully on-line and Session is discussing whether or not it’s prudent for us to do the same at this time. I’d really love your feedback on this. If you have a moment to drop me a line, I’d appreciate it!
Shalom and the Community of Creation
It’s almost here! Starting next Sunday, Jan. 16th, those of us who are interested in joining our brand-new faith-based book group will be gathering together after worship to read and discuss this book written by Rev. Randy Woodley. Those who gather in person will meet in the conference room. If you plan to join us via zoom, please drop me a line so that I can send you a zoom link!
For Jan. 16th you won’t need to have read anything ahead of time. The plan is to read the introduction together the first week, and then read one chapter a week after that.
Annual Congregational Meeting
Our annual congregational meeting will be held after worship on February 6th. More details to follow.
Well dear Hearts, Covid is hitting us hard right now. According to St. Lawrence Public Health, over 11% of the county is experiencing an active case at the moment. That’s a lot of sick people. Thankfully, hospitalizations and deaths seem to be lower with the Omicron variant than with other variants. (Yesterday there were only 19 people hospitalized for Covid, which is 20% of the beds at CPH. This is down from 36% of CPH’s beds being Covid patients, which was the case a few weeks ago.) Because Omicron is so contagious, it’s extra important that we be diligent about mask wearing, social distancing, and getting vaccinated. (If you want to get a booster shot, here’s the link for how to sign up at Kinney Drugs:
Friends, this is a good time to offer an extra prayer for our healthcare workers, frontline workers, teachers, students, and anyone who lives or works in a prison. It’s a stressful time for all of us, but particularly so for these specific groups of people. I went through the drive-thru line at the Taco Bell the other day, and a sign read “We are woefully understaffed at the moment. Our employees are doing their best. Please be kind.”
So here’s my challenge for you today: How can you offer an extra gift of kindness to someone today? If you know a nurse, can you drop them a note and tell them that you’re thinking about them? If you know a teacher, can you send them a virtual hug? When you’re in line at the drive-thru, can you think to look the person in the eye and tell them thank you for their work?
Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus this week, ok?
Holding You in prayer, too,