Good Day to you, Church!
Today is the perfect fall day– full of blue skies, sunshine, and a slight chill in the air. I hope you get the chance to step outside and enjoy it!
We’ve already had our first fire at my house. The hope was to build just a big enough fire to drive out the damp chill. Unfortunately, however, it seems I’ve forgotten how to make a small fire. By the time it was really cranking, it was up to 92 degrees in my house! Oopsies! (It always takes me a fire or two at the beginning of the season to get the hang of it again.)
Here’s the news for the week.
Pastor Katrina Away for 2 Sundays
I’m packing my bag today and heading out with my daughter Lexi to spend a couple of weeks with my mom in Missouri, following the death of my step-dad. We will get to spend time not only with my mom, but with nearly all of my aunts and uncles from New England who are flying in for the funeral, and with my step-brother, brother, sister-in-law and my nieces and nephews who live close by to my mom. I can’t wait to be with my family at this sad time.
That said, I want you to know how much I appreciate all of your kind, supportive letters, emails, texts, and prayers this last week. They’ve meant a lot to me. You are all part of my extended family and I have felt your arms around me!
While I’m gone, here are the details for the next couple of weeks:
10/2: Rev. Shaun Whitehead will be preaching and leading worship.
10/9: Dale Hobson will be preaching and Diamante Maya will be leading worship.
Coffee Hour Instructions
For those of you who have signed up to host coffee hour, Terry de la Vega has made a printable cheat sheet for you!
Burial Service for Marie and Floyd Callahan
For those of you who remember the Callahans, you are invited to a short committal service at Bayside Cemetery of Saturday, Oct. 15th at 2:30pm. Both Floyd and Marie are being buried here in Potsdam, where they lived and raised their children.
Prayers for Vernice Church
Vernice had colon surgery in Syracuse yesterday to treat the colon cancer that has returned to her body. Will you please be in prayer for her in this difficult time? Her sons are doing a great job taking care of her at the moment, but Vernice asks for all the prayers she can get.
The potluck we held a couple Sundays ago was a hit! It gave us a chance to reconnect with one another and it provided the opportunity for new folks to make friends.
Because building relationships are so important to the well-being of our church, Session has decided to have monthly opportunities for fellowship after the Sunday worship service. Every other month we will have a potluck, like we did a few weeks ago. And the in-between months we will have a Sack Lunch Sunday– where you are invited to bring your own lunch with you. On these more casual Sundays we will break out games for those who want to play dominoes, checkers, yahtzee, Uno, Connect 4, or any other game you might want to bring. And if games aren’t your thing, you’re also welcome to just sit and enjoy conversation around the table on Sack Lunch Sundays.
Also! For those who happen to forget their lunch, or can’t make one, we will provide basic sandwich making supplies so that you can participate too!
Our first Sack Lunch Sunday will be Nov. 6th
And our next potluck will be Dec. 4th.
Our Church Needs New Leaders
Friends, this coming year things are going to be changing on Session, and we’re going to need a couple of people to step up as leaders. (For those of you who are new to Presbyterian lingo, “Session” is the funny name we give to the church board– the governing body that oversees the life and mission of the church. “The Session” is what we call the board, and “elders” or “session members” are what we call the people on the board.)
Recently, we’ve had 4 people on Session– Sue Waters, Terry de la Vega, Alicia Newcombe, and Renee Stauffer. At the end of this year, however, Sue Waters will be stepping down as both a Session member and as clerk of Session. Additionally, Alicia Newcombe will also be going off of Session.
This means that we need two people who feel led, to take on a bigger role in our church’s life. Could this be you?
Here’s what members of Session do: once a month we have a meeting to discuss the life of our church and make decisions. Together, we decide things like when to serve communion or hold pot lucks, what ministries we will take on, what to do when the boiler breaks or the roof leaks, and how to address concerns in the congregation. It is our elders who “steer the ship” of our church– both spiritually and physically.
When decisions are made at Session meetings that involve work to be done– like starting new ministries or fixing the building, sometimes elders are the ones who take the lead role in organizing these particular projects. But other times, the work is done by other people.
Here’s what the clerk of Session does: He/she takes notes during the meeting, and keeps those notes organized for the year. The clerk, in essence, is the secretary of the board. This person can be an active Session member, but they don’t have to be. They can also just serve in the role as clerk.
As far as time commitments go, being an elder takes about 3-4 hours of time (on average) a month. And the clerk’s position takes an additional hour of time. The bulk of this time is spent in our monthly Session meeting, but we also chat online on a regular basis, to keep up with the happenings of our church in real time.
I know our congregation is small and many of you have already served as elders on Session in the past. If this is you, you might think, “I’ve already served my time.” That may be the case, but it’s still possible that God might be calling you to this role again, so will you be in prayer about it?
We also have a number of new people in our congregation, which I am very excited about! Thankfully, being new does not discount you from being eligible to serve as an elder, if you feel led to take it on. However, being on Session means making a real commitment to both our church and your own personal faith.
To be an elder, you must not only be a mature Christian but you must be a member of our congregation– which means promising to care for the people in our community, loving Jesus, and agreeing to the tenets of reformed theology (the underpinnings of Presbyterianism).
Being an elder on Session is a special job, and I am grateful that our church does not exclude people from the role. You can be an elder if you are a man or you are a woman; if you are older or you are younger; if you are rich or you are poor. You don’t even need to know how to be an elder before you start, or be knowledgeable about things like roofs or boilers. All you need to have is a heart for God, a sense that God is calling you to the role, and a willingness to serve. The rest you can learn as you go.
And thankfully, because elders lead together, no one person needs to know all of the answers. And no one person takes on all of the responsibility. We work together to find solutions to problems and we share the weight of the load as a team!
Be in prayer about the possibility that God is calling you to serve in this way in the coming year, will you? Our church– literally– cannot function without a Session!
The other leadership role that our congregation desperately needs to fill is that of treasurer. Cynthia Coleman has served in this position faithfully for many years, but it’s getting to the time when she needs to step down. If you are good with numbers and have 1-2 hours a month to share your time, we need you! We currently have 2 assistant treasurers, but need someone willing to hold the reigns.
Here’s what the treasurer does: She/he helps to count the offering that comes in on Sundays, helps keep track of our finances, and signs the checks that our bookkeeper generates. And the treasurer always has helpers. Just like with the Session, the treasurer is not meant to work alone. It’s all about teamwork in this job too!
Also, thankfully, the treasurer is not responsible for making any decisions about what money is spent. That job is for the Session. The treasurer just watches the numbers and makes sure money gets to the places it needs to be so that our church finances run smoothly.
Could this important job be for you? Just like the Sesion, a church cannot operate without a treasurer. Please pray about it, won’t you?
At some point in the coming months I will be offering a membership class– a time for people who might be interested in becoming members to learn about how the Presbyterian tradition fits into the broader scope of Christiainity.
Taking the class does not mean that you must become a member. It just means that you are curious about what Presbyterians believe, and are perhaps considering the idea of becoming a member. If this class is something you are interested in, please email me and let me know! We already have 2 people who would like to take the class, and you are welcome to join them!
In closing, I will leave you with this confounding, lovely thought. (Is fall actually the beginning of the new year?)
While I am away, my heart is with you, and I know that your heart is with me too,