Hello to you, dear Hearts!
It’s currently -21F at my house (counting windchill), but I’m sitting snug as a bug in a rug by my wood stove, soaking up the sunbeams that are pouring in through the window.
Are you warm enough today? If you’re struggling with heat, please let me know. Seriously. Please let me know.
Here’s the news for the week:
ONNY Concert Saturday Night!
The Orchestra of Northern New York is hosting a Winter Serenade concert tomorrow evening at St. Mary’s Church in Canton at 7:30pm. If you’re willing to brave the cold, it will be a lovely evening of music.
Potluck and Congregational Meeting on Sunday
What delectable things will we have to eat on Sunday? You always manage to bring the most delicious food to our potlucks. I can’t wait to see what we have this time!
If you have time between now and then, I encourage you to read through both the congregational report and the financial documents I sent out earlier this week. We will be voting on my terms of call for 2023 and the budget for the year.
Game Night at Church Feb. 23rd
Our church will be hosting this year’s PIC Game Night, being held in the Center on Thursday, Feb. 23rd from 5:30-7:30pm. Folks from the 9 different congregations that participate in the Potsdam Interfaith Community are invited to attend. We will be ordering pizza and have a variety of games to play. You are welcome to come, to bring your own games to play, and to bring any other vegetarian appetizers or desserts that you’d like to contribute to the evening. It’s going to be a fun night!
Lydia Stauffer’s Newest Flick!
If you didn’t know it already, Lydia Stauffer has been making short, black and white films set in the 1940s with her friends for a couple of years now.
Their first film was called The Jewel of Venice, and our church’s sanctuary is featured in the film. The 26-minute film tells the story of “a discontented journalist looking to break free of her impecunious circumstances, who seizes her opportunity when she’s assigned to interview a fabulously wealthy fashion designer who owns an incredibly valuable necklace. She teams up with a shady crook and a skilled jeweler, and the dubious trio of thieves hatch a plan to appropriate and sell the pricey pendant.”
Here’s the link to the film on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKa8ntDDCm8
That should entice you to watch the trailer for their newest production coming out next week, called A Date with Deception. It’s “a tale of treachery, brimming with bitterness… and that date with deception!” If you like a good old fashioned drama, this is for you! (Our sanctuary is also featured in this one too!)
YouTube Link for the Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EspI8oRv6Bw
Way to go Lydia, Sarah, and the rest of the crew!!!!
Racism and Brutality in America
This last week was another grievous one for both Black Americans and for our nation as a whole. The funeral for Tyre Nichols was held yesterday– the Black man who was fatally beaten to death by Memphis police after being pulled over for a traffic violation.
Friends, the Black community deals with trauma after trauma, while we continue to allow racism and brutality to rule our cultural values and national policies. I don’t have any easy answers for how to respond to the situation, but we have to put effort into changing our culture. Do you have any ideas of what we as a church can do locally to speak out? I’d really love to hear your thoughts. Where do we go from here?
God calls us to acts of love, and this includes standing up for justice in our country. But here’s the thing– standing for justice makes us terribly uncomfortable, doesn’t it? Offering acts of charity to others often makes us feel warm and fuzzy in the world, but standing up for social justice means that we are challenging the way things are done, and this invites us into the realm of social conflict– something we typically desire to avoid at all costs! But this work is too important. People’s well-being is are at stake.
If we’re going to be faithful to God’s desires for us as Christians, we have got to learn to become comfortable with being uncomfortable– because fighting for social justice is what love looks like in the public realm.
Last Sunday Jeff Mitchell preached on Micah 6:8, a powerful scripture verse that reminds us that God calls us to do this hard work in our faith– of standing for justice in the face of discomfort. Let us continue to spend a little time with this verse this week, shall we?
“With what shall I come before the Lord~Micah 6:6-8
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O mortal, what is good,
and what does the Lord require of you–
but to do justice and to love kindness
and to walk humbly with your God.
May we prayerfully consider what justice work God might be calling us to,