News for the Church, 3/31/23

Happy Friday to you Church, 

It’s a beautiful spring day today with the promise of warmer, sunny days ahead as we enter into Holy Week. 

Here’s the news for the week: 

Palm Sunday Breakfast Potluck This Sunday!

Let’s arrive at church at 9am this week with egg dishes, potatoes, hot crossed buns, oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, fruit, bacon, and other delicious breakfast items to celebrate Palm Sunday! 

We need someone to come in 8:30, however, to get the coffee brewing and set out tablewear. Dale and Terry have been the ones to do it every time we have a potluck, and this month they need a break. If you’re willing to jump in, please email me back and let me know. Thanks! 

Good Friday Tenebrae Service

Next Friday, April 7th, at 7pm, we will join together in the sanctuary for a very special service of shadow and light to remember Christ’s death on the cross. During a tenebrae service, we tell the story of Holy Week by candle light, with one candle representing each of the disciples and Jesus himself. As the story unfolds, one candle is extinguished at a time, until finally we are left sitting in the dark and then exit in silence. It’s a powerful way to prepare for the coming of Easter. 

This year, I’d love to have some of you take on some of the Scripture readings and the extinguishing of candles. If you plan to attend and would like to participate as a reader, please email me back and let me know and I’ll send you your readings. 

Easter Sunday and Lilies

Easter Sunday we will then celebrate the risen Christ in the sanctuary– after having worshipped in the Center all winter long. 

Some of you have written to request that a lily be purchased for our Easter celebration in the name of a loved one. If you’d also like to be part of this, there’s still time to get your order in! Just write me back and let me know how many lillies you’d like, and for whom they are commemorating. Lillies are $10. 

If you don’t have the money for a lily, however, but would still love to participate, an anonymous donor has purchased extra lilies and invites you to send in a note for your commemoration. The person you are remembering could be a loved one who has died or just someone you care about who lives far away. Then, after Easter you will get to take your lily home (if you want it). 

Lynn Warden’s Memorial Service, April 15th at 4pm

If you’d like to attend the memorial service for Lynn Warden, it’s being held at Garner Funeral Home on Saturday, the 15th. Calling hours will be from 2-4, and the service will follow. 

Festival of Sacred Music and Text

Last Sunday afternoon, a handful of us sat in the pews of the Potsdam Methodist Church along with about 100 other Potsdam folks from St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Beth El Synagogue, the Quaker Friends’ Meeting, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Canton Unitarian Universalist Church, Potsdam’s masjid, and the Christian Science Church. 

We listend to sacred songs from across all of our respecitve traditions, along with the Muslim call to prayer and readings from the Christian Science Church. Never in my life have I had the opportunity to witness something so special– people who normally hold prejudices and biases against one another coming together to share in their celebrations of God. I left with goosebumps! 

A big thanks to Lora and Dick Lunt for representing us in the program, and for those who came to listen in the audience. 

Church Directory

Sue Waters has been working away, getting our new church directory together! We’re just waiting on our snowbirds to return, to include their information, and then we will be rolling out the presses on this directory. And I can’t wait! I often get emails from you asking for how to contact one another, and this new directory is going to solve that need. (Thanks Sue, for your work on this!) 

A Fun Story from Youth Group to Make You Smile

Last week our small youth group met at the Methodist Church to make pizza and celebrate Isaiah Stauffer’s 14th birthday. In the church’s basement kitchen, the kids stumbled upon a machine they’d never seen before: a touch-button telephone with a receiver and the curly cord that connects its to the phone’s base. “Is this a …..telephone?!” one of them asked. “How does it work?” 

While they were looking at the phone, they noticed a 2012 edition of the Yellow Pages sitting next to it. “And what’s this?” they wanted to know. They cracked the book open and found an ad for Sergi’s Pizzeria, with their entire menu and the phone number written in large print at the top of the page. 

I explained that, back in the day, before anyone had a smartphone or Google, this is how people located phone numbers and addresses. The kids looked at us adults with wide, confused eyes. “Seriously?!” they asked. They couldn’t even imagine this strange world we lived in, in the 20th century. 

I then told them a story about the fun of being a kid in the 1990s. “When I was a kid, my best friend Holly and I would sneak the phone in her mom’s room into the closet (because the cord was that long). Then, we’d take this very book, open it up to a random page and call a phone number. If someone answered, we’d sing them Mary Had a Little Lamb, laugh our heads off, and then hang up. “It was called prank calling,” I explained. 

“Can we try that too?” someone asked. 

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t work to prank call people anymore,” Pastor Hattie told them. Because of Caller ID, people would know right away who you are, or where you’re calling from.” 

The kids faces drooped with sadness. “But that sounds like so much fun!” They pouted for a little bit, until I got an idea. I secretly texted my brother, who lives in Illinois, to tell him he was about to receive a prank call, and to play along. 

“Ok guys,” I said. “I’ve got an idea. We can’t prank call a random person, but we can prank Uncle Ben– my brother!” I said. 

It took them six tries before they figured out how to dial out on a touchphone telephone, but eventually the phone rang and my brother picked up the phone. 

Isaiah pretended to be someone interested in small town life in Illinois, and asked this “stranger” all sorts of questions for a good 3 minutes before hanging up. The kids were in stitches“We did it!” they shouted, dancing little happy dances all over the kitchen. 

Five minutes later our phone rang. They stood their with pale faces and round, searching eyes. “What do we do?” they asked in fear. 

“Well, you could answer it.” I suggest. 

Isaiah picked up the received. “Hello?” he said, with a waiver of uncertainty in his voice. 

There was a deep, serious voice on the other end. “Hello, is this the Potsdam Methodist Church, of Postdam, New York?” 

Isaiah looked at us with wide eyes. “Yes, it is,” he replied. 

The voice on the other end continued. “This is the Federal Communications Commission— the FCC. We’ve received a complaint that prank callers have been dialing numbers from this line to the state of Illinois.” 

All the blood drained from the teens faces as fear set in. “Are we in big trouble?” one of them whispered to me. 

Isaiah did his best to sound grown up. (He did just turn 14, you know!) He respectfully answered the man’s questions until, in a flash, he recognized something fishy. 

“Are those kids screaming in the background?” he asked the mystery voice. “Are those the three kids you just told me about on the phone a few minutes ago? This is Uncle Ben, isn’t it?!” 

Everyone burst into fits of laughter. The kids had made their first 20th century prank call, and then experienced being pranked themselves, all in the same night!

May your April Fool’s Day (tomorrow) be filled with such silliiness and laughter, 
Pastor Katrina