News for the Church, 4/1/22

Happy April Fool’s Day to you Church! 

Can you believe we made it to April? We did it! We survived another winter. And today the sap is running, the earth is thawing, the birds are singing, and the mud is mudding. Hello Spring! 

Here’s the news for this week: 

Baptism this Sunday

Just a reminder that this will be a special Sunday at church. Terrance Summers is going to be baptized!  Please join us for this important day. 

The Peep Show is Coming! 

For those who don’t know, every year on Palm and Easter Sunday we do a reenactment of Holy Week in the kid sermon with marshmallow peeps and a chocolate bunny.  In the past, I’ve used minimal props, but this year Isaiah and Levi went all out building stage sets.  You’re going to be amazed by Pilate’s palace and the Palestinian home the disciples ate their Passover meal in!  Stay tuned! 

Festival of Sacred Music and Text

The Festival of Sacred Music and Text will take place Sunday, April 10 at 3 p.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 21 Castle Drive in Potsdam. Participants include choirs and readers from a variety of local congregations and campus groups.

Admission to the concert is free and open to the public. A dessert reception will follow. (This is the first time since 2019 that the Festival will be held in person. The past two years the program moved online due to COVID.)

Sponsored by the Potsdam Interfaith Community (PIC), the annual event is an opportunity for congregations to come together from different faith backgrounds to appreciate the individuality of the various religious communities that are found in Potsdam. The mission of the Potsdam Interfaith Community is to celebrate diversity within our community by providing mutual support, encouragement, and education through acts of service and compassion, common witness, and spiritual and intellectual growth.

*Unfortunately, our church does not have an entry in the program this year, but it would be wonderful if some of us would go to support our neighbors and friends from other congregations, as they share their faith. 

Support for Kenyan Students

For a long time, our church has supported high school students in Kenya. For the past several years, owing to a shortage of financial resources, this support continued through the efforts of individual members of our congregation. Now, our church will resume support for the coming year, which allows contributions to again be tax deductible. 

We have supported up to six students in the past, but we currently have two seniors to support this year:

Annicy Kaimuri Gichovi at Njuri High School
David Mututgi Macharia at Tharaka Boys School

The total estimated costs for the coming year are about $750.

$354 of this will go to support Annicy at Njuri HS and the rest will go for David Mututgi. (We are awaiting the final fee estimate and due date from Tharaka, the other school.)  The funds will be wired to each school at the end of April by Dave Wells.

Many have participated in supporting students in Kenya in the past. If you wish to do so, make your contribution to the Potsdam 1st Presbyterian Church and note that it is for the support of our sponsored high school students in Kenya.

Hopefully, in this coming year, new students can be identified for support! 

The Flow of Life

Well, today is a bit of a hard day for me, friends. My daughter Lexi, who is 21, has been living with me for the last year, and it has been a wonderful gift for both of us. Yesterday, however, she moved out — to try living all on her own! (Thankfully for me, she’s only 1/2 block down the road in a tiny cabin, so I still get to see her a lot.)  

And while I am both excited and delighted for her new adventure, my mama’s heart is also grievous and sad. I will miss having her around all the time. 

As a result, I’ve been reflecting on the impermanence of life. Even though we don’t necessarily want it to, life is always changing, isn’t it? Our kids are born, and then they grow up. Our grandchildren are born, and then they grow up. Our parents, older family members, and even our spourses get older each day, and then eventually, they die. In the same manner, friends and neighbors come into our lives, and then they leave again.

It can feel disheartening when people leave us, can’t it? We feel like they should belong to us forever! But here’s the paradox that God made for us: while we do belong to one another, and we are deeply connected to each other– also– we are also separate beings living in our own spheres of influence. And we don’t get to dictate for one another when or how we will come or go.

This can create a feeling of immense “alone-ness” in us sometimes. But here’s the thing to always hold in this mix of the “comings and the goings”: No matter what, all of us belong to God. All the different ways– both coming and going. 

No matter where you go, you will always belong to God.  And no matter where someone you love moves on to, they also belong to God.

It’s still hard to say good-byes when people leave us, but we can rest in the assurance that no matter what, we all still belong to the one who loves, redeems, and sustains us. And in this belonging, we are all still eternally connected to one another.

Last week I gave you a bit of Psalm 139 to read, but it’s so powerful that I’m going to give you more of the same this week.   

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there!
    If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
    night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

~Psalm 139:7-16

Friends, let us never forget that we belong to the God who made us and shaped us; to the God who rests with us and travels with us to the furthest limits of where we reach. For God is everywhere– abiding in all places, times, and things.

In everything, each of us– all of us– belong forevermore to Love,
Pastor Katrina