Good Afternoon Church!
It’s another unseasonably glorious day outside. Never in my dreams did I imagine I would be sitting out on the back porch in a t-shirt and shorts in November!
I hope that you are soaking up the sunshine with me.
Here’s the news for the week:
Sack Lunch Sunday on Nov. 6
For those coming to worship this Sunday, we will be hosting our first ever Sack Lunch Sunday. Bring a pack lunch with you when you come to church and we’ll eat and visit together following the worship service. If you happen to forget your lunch, or you can’t make one, we’ll have sandwich fixings available for you.
Speak Your Mind! Vote this Tuesday
Are you sick of the political ads inundating us everywhere right now? I know I am! I’m ready to scream, “Go away!!” But we’ve got to hold on for just a few more days. If you haven’t already, please remember to vote this Tuesday. It is both our privilege and our responsibility to help shape and decide the fate of our country, state, and town.
Food Pantry Launch, Sunday Nov. 13
Just another reminder that we’re currently collecting non-perishable food items to stock our emergency food pantry with. If you’re able, would you mind bringing a few things with you this Sunday to add to the tub? Other local congregations are doing the same thing, so that we can have a fully stocked pantry for people in need prior to Thanksgiving.
Men’s and Women’s Lunches, Nov. 16 and 17
If you’d like to attend one of the lunch gatherings at Jake’s on the Water, our men’s and women’s groups will be meeting at 11:30 am on the 16th and then the 17th, respectively. Please let Bob or Sharon Pickard know if you’d like to attend so that they can make a reservation.
Community Supper to Prepare Thanksgiving Meal
If you’d like to join the team of Presbyterians and Episcopalians preparing a free Thanksgiving dinner for local residents, please let Sharon Pickard know! Currently, we are in need of frozen corn, cans of cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, stuffing, pumpkin pies, and/or monetary donations to purchase these items. Sharon will also need a few more people on Thanksgiving Day to help assemble the meals.
Big Week for Projects at the Church!
Almost two dozen people showed up on the church grounds this last week to work on two very important projects! Last Saturday nearly a dozen people came to rake leaves, pull weeds, trim bushes, and put the church grounds to bed for winter. A big thank you goes out to all who volunteered their time and energy!!
Then, last Sunday, nearly a dozen people showed up to help heave our 150 lb. star back up to its home at the top of our church steeple, in order to grace Potsdam’s night sky with our twinkling sign of hope!
Dick and Joanne Partch have been the caretakers of this star for 44 years, and they were on hand once again to lead the efforts. A big thanks to all who came out to help– including Joyce, whose short stature was perfect for giving DJ a chance to rest his burning muscles when the star was suspended in mid-air for long lengths of time! (See the picture below.)
While a larger team stayed on the ground to guide the star into place, Monica Sandreczki and Ben Miller climbed the stairs with Dick all the way to the top of the bell tower in order to do the heavy lifting. Monica, who is a reporter at NCPR, produced this fun audio story of the event.
A big thanks to Monica, Joyce, Ben, Julie, DJ, Jane, Dick and Joanne, and Dave and Christopher Powers!
When You Least Expect It
Most of the time, I think many of us go through life with set expectations about how things work and what people are like, don’t we? I do it all the time. When I go into a store, I expect that workers behind the counter wait for me to come to them in order for me to make my purchases. And when people I don’t know inquire about getting together to discuss something on zoom, I’m always a little leary of what it is they want from me.
This week, however, I found myself in both of the situations mentioned above, and each time something unexpected happened.
A few days ago I was struggling to wheel myself up the ramp at the post office with a package on my lap, when the postal worker inside noticed me. Rather than leave me to my own devices– what the world expects of her– she came all the way outside and offered to push me up the ramp. And then she held the doors open for me. I had been dreading this trip to the post office because I thought I knew what was going to happen when I got there. But I was pleasantly surprised when my expectations didn’t hold true!
And then an Ethiopian man living in Germany, who has seen some of our worship services online, requested to visit with me over the internet. And I’ll be honest with you– I was both leery of what his intentions were and not excited about sharing my time with someone I didn’t know. As we chatted earlier today, however, I learned some of his story, and how, like me, he has had some of his theological views challenged in life, and now feels called by God to live differently than the ways he was taught growing up. He explained to me that he was taught by his church growing up to denounce the LGBTQ community and believed that a woman’s role was to be silent and submissive. Along his life’s journey, however, God has challenged these beliefs. He said it’s been painful to see his own hypocrisy at play in his life, but he now believes in supporting the LGBTQ community and accepts women as his equal– because he believes in his heart that God is calling all people to do those very things. Since his change of heart, he’s volunteered with a group to end female genital mutilation in his country and is currently studying to become a social worker, so that he can go back to Ethiopia and help people who live on the margins, especially those whom the church casts out.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams that today I would meet a theologically like-minded man from Ethiopia who works for the good of women and oppressed minorities, and who would thank our congregation for teaching him more about the Bible and how it reflects on gender and sexuality!
Today I am reminded that the world is not always what I expect it will be. Friends, God is at work everywhere, bringing unexpected grace and love and justice to our world! May we all remember to keep our hearts open when we stumble upon such grace. May we rejoice when we find it. And may we even become that unexpected grace for someone else in the world at a time when they least expect it themselves.
The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you this day!