News for the Church, 10/21/22

Good Afternoon Church!

Today is a glorious fall day– the sort that comes after grey skies and rain. Bright blue skies, a light breeze, and the shimmering sound of maples singing their final glory to God for the year fill the air. I hope you’re enjoying this gift of a day! 

Here’s the news for the week:

The Story of Plastics, a Documentary: Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 3pm- 5:15pm

Join the Canton Sustainability Committee, the League of Women Voters of St. Lawrence County, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension for a showing of the award-winning film The Story of Plastic, followed by a panel discussion with local experts on the topic. The film will review the story of plastic waste in our environment, how we got here, and what can be done moving forward. 

When: 3:00-5:15 PM on October 22, 2022

Where: St. Lawrence University, Griffiths Arts Center Room 123 (Harlan Holliday Lecture Hall). Parking is available in the Vilas Hall parking lot off Ramoda Dr. and University Ave.

Community Supper, Thursday Oct. 27th

If you’d like to help prepare or serve this month’s community meal, please let Sharon Pickard know. Last month we served 65 meals, and this month will likely be the same!

Communion on October 30th

We will be celebrating communion together on Reformation Sunday! 

Prayers for Dear Friends

Quite a few of us are experiencing serious physical troubles at the moment, heading into surgery, or finding ourselves in the hospital. Will you send your prayers, encouraging cards, and positive energy to our beloved friends? 

Vernice Church came through surgery to remove cancer from her colon and the doctors believe that they got it all! She is currently recuperating at a rehab facility in Carthage. Despite this good news, healing is moving slower than expected and Vernice could use some encouraging notes and cards. 

If you’d like to send her one, here’s the address: 

Vernice Church 
1045 West St. Room 110B
Carthage, NY 13619

Helen Brouwer, who is 91, has been in the hospital for both liver and heart problems, and has taken a turn for the worse and is now entering the final stage of “comfort care.” 

If you’d like to send Helen a card, you can send one to her daughter, who will deliver it to Helen. Here’s the address:

Helen Brouwer
1 Chestnut St.
Potsdam, NY 13676

Also, Neil Johnson is heading for surgery in the coming days, Sue Waters just had surgery, and Cyndy Hennessey is recuperating from time in the hospital. Will you hold them in your prayers?

Trillium is Dissolving

Today I have big news to share with you. At the end of this year, Trillium Wellness Center, which currently serves as a stand-alone non-profit in our Community Center, and pays the church rent, will be coming to a close. The pandemic was incredibly difficult on Trillium and resulted in the loss of both teachers and students attending yoga classes. It has also grown increasingly difficult for Trillium to find board members to do the work required of a non-profit entity. As a consequence of all this, Trillium’s board has decided to close itself down as a not-for-profit and offer the church Trillium’s rental revenue, ministry presence, and physical space for use. 

While this is both a sad occasion for those who have been part of Trillium in the past, the end of Trillium as a not-for-profit does not mean the end of wellness endeavors taking place in our building. Session has talked at length with Terry de la Vega, who has been the driving force behind Trillium from its inception, about finding a way forward, and we have an exciting plan to keep the gifts that Trillium offers to the community going in a way that financially benefits the church and lives fully into our church’s mission. 

To understand what this all means, let me explain how things have worked in the past with Trillium:

For the last five and a half years, Trillium has offered yoga classes in their yoga room and hosted the Potsdam campus of North Country Tai Chi in our Community Center on a weekly basis. In addition to this, they have sub-leased four full-time individual office spaces to healing practitioners, and recently, one shared office space for Reiki, spiritual counseling, and a life coach. The full-time practitioners include two massage therapists, a mental health therapist, and a physical therapist. In exchange for running all of these activities in portions of our building, Trillium has paid the church monthly rent. 

Now, here’s the plan for how things will run in the future:

With Trillium closing, we will no longer receive rent from their organization. Instead, the church will receive rent directly from the healing practitioners who rent the five office spaces, as well as from Sean Boutin, who teaches and owns North Country Tai Chi, which uses the Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. As for the yoga room, we are changing the format for how yoga classes are organized in this space. Moving forward, the church will take donations from yoga teachers and others who might request use of that space, and who organize and run their own classes. 

What this means for our church: 

These changes will result in a net gain of at least $4,650 per year for the church in rental income and it will reduce our taxes– because the yoga room can now be taken off the tax rolls as “exclusive rental space.” This is because the church will now be allowed use of the yoga room for church-related activities, in addition to the yoga classes that we will continue to schedule there. Dale and Terry just announced that they will be offering a short meditation session in that space on Sunday mornings at 9:30am right before our worship service begins. Activities such as these will be possible for our congregation in that space moving forward! 

Trillium Wellness Center is coming to an end in the shape and form that it has held for the last 5 1/2 years, but the healing and wholeness that Trillium creates in the community will remain– just in a different form, and under the care of our church. 

I can’t tell you how exciting it is for our church to be able to carry on with Trillium’s legacy of creating wellness in the Potsdam area. Their mission fits into our church’s mission exactly –of bringing Christ’s healing and wholeness to our community. To be able to honor Trillium in this way, live further into our church’s own mission in the world, and increase the church’s financial situation feels like God’s hand at work. 

Learning to Adapt and Change

Friends, if there’s one thing to take from Trillium’s story, it’s this: Life never ends. Even in “endings” life continues on. Yes, it may take on a different shape and form, but what has been will both continue to be in the world, even as it brings about new life, in new ways. Have you ever sung the Gloria Patri at a church somewhere? I used to sing it every week at the Canton Presbyterian Church. The song sings: “As it was in the beginning, it is now and ever shall be, world without end, amen, amen.”

When life shifts and turns, or comes to an end and begins again, we can rest assured that Life continues on– because God continues on. 

Even when our lives come to an end, the Life that we are part of, remains in the world. 

Thanks be to God,
Pastor Katrina