News for the Church, 4/12/24

Greetings Church! 

I’m back from vacation, and while I’m sad to no longer be sitting on the beach, I’m overjoyed by the sounds and sights of spring in the North Country. So many migratory birds are either back for the summer or are flying through right now. The woods out behind my house are bursting with song! 

Here’s the news for the week: 

Sunday is a Big Day for Us! 

Second Chance Scholars will be with Us During Worship

Brandon Rodriguez will be with us during worship to share his story and fill us in on Second Chance Scholars– the non-profit he founded to help other previously-incarcerated men finish their college degrees at SUNY Potsdam, which they started while in prison. During the service, we will be taking a free will offering for Second Chance Scholars. If you’d like to contribute, please write your checks out directly to Second Chance Scholars or place your money in a cash envelope, which can be found in the pocket on the back of the seat in front of you during the service. 

Festival of Sacred Music and Text at 3pm on Sunday 

This Sunday afternoon, you’ll then want to come back to church to listen to a free concert of amazing music. Six different congregations in Potsdam will be coming together to share sounds of our various faith traditions. Following the concert, we will then host a Faith Fair. These same congregations have been invited to showcase their religious beliefs, congregational life, and ministry activities at tables set up in the Community Center. Refreshments will be served.

It’s not often that we get a chance to listen to the music of people from differing faith traditions. This is a chance to offer our respect and encouragement to our neighbors and friends of varying faiths. 

Earth Day Service Set for April 21

The following Sunday I will be offering a special sermon to celebrate Earth Day and to reflect on our godly call to Earth care. 

Community Friendship Volunteer Program Meeting during Coffee Hour on April 21

During coffee hour next Sunday, Meghan Conklin from CP of the North Country will be joining us to tell us about a new volunteer program that gives regular citizens the chance to visit with elderly residents who are shut in and need companionship. If you’d like to learn more about this program, please sit with Meghan during coffee hour on the 21st. 

Still Working on the Sound Issues in the Sanctuary 

Those of you who use hearing aids are likely aware of the echoing that now exists in the sanctuary as a result of our new hardwood floor. I just wanted to let you know that Session is working on this issue. We asked Ron to hang our quilted wall hangings at the back of the sanctuary to absorb sound, Renee Stauffer is experimenting with felted covers for the music stands I preach from, we’re looking into a better sound system, and we’re researching sound proofing panels to possibly attach to the metal covers that protect our heaters (which surround the outer walls of the sanctuary). Additionally, once we decide on the best configuration for our seating, we will purchase floor runners to lay down. All of these efforts and ideas take time in bringing to life however, and I appreciate your patience with this project. 

 In the meantime, if you struggle with the sound, you might want to try sitting more in the middle. You might find that being surrounded by people buffers the echoing some. Additionally, I’d really appreciate any feedback you might have to offer on this issue. If you notice that the sound is better or worse than it previously was, please let either me or an elder know! Or, if you have any helpful ideas, I’d love to hear. 

Still Working on the Pews

I also wanted to make sure you know that we’re still working on bringing the pews back into the mix for seating. Our carpenter recently had surgery on his hand and has been in recovery since. He did manage to experiment with a new idea however, to make our pews free-standing. He made a proto-type, which we need to test out. I know that many of us love our new chairs– they’re much more comfortable to sit in than the pews! But others of us still love to sit in pews. If this is you, please know that we haven’t forgotten about you. This process is just taking time. 

Also– if you enjoy sitting in the new chairs, but your feet don’t touch the ground and it drives you crazy, will you let me or an elder know? We might be able to construct little boxes for you to rest your feet on. 

Seating Arrangement

One final note about the sanctuary: In a week or two, I’d like to reconfigure the arrangement of our chairs. We’re experimenting with what the best layout will be for our seating, and the only way to do that is to try different arrangements. Can you be a researcher with me? Please pay attention to what you like and dislike about the different layouts we try and either let me or an elder know what your thoughts are. Your input is important!

Andre Needs a New Bike

Our friend Andre, the young man finishing his senior year in high school who has been homeless again, found himself in yet another crisis this week. His bicycle got stolen! If any of you have an extra bicycle that he can either keep or borrow, it would be a big help. He works at JReck Subs and needs a way to get around easily. 

Calling All Artists for Pastor Katrina’s Installation Service

Friends, I have been putting off something important since I came to be your pastor. I was called to be the installed minister at our church more than 4 years ago, but because of the pandemic and my health situation, I haven’t been ready or able to put together an installation service together to make it official. But now I’m ready, and Session and I decided on a date for this service– June 29th! 

To celebrate both my installation and our newly renovated sanctuary, I’m wondering if you’d be willing to help us decorate the sanctuary for 6-8 weeks this summer. Can we put on an art exhibit in the sanctuary, featuring our congregation’s creativity? 

If you paint, knit, or do floral design; if you write poems, or music, or quilt; if you are a photographer, or do embroidery; if you cook or do theater or dance– might you consider adding something to our display? It could either be a physical object you’ve made, or something that represents your creative pursuits. (For instance, if you’re a baker or a dancer, you could take a picture of your bread, or you yourself in the midst of a dance routine. Or if you’re a composer, we could display your score.) 

I would love to hang things from the back walls in the sanctuary and set up display tables in the back of the sanctuary and in the narthex that celebrate the creative talents that God has given us. It would be both a form of worship– giving thanks to God for our talents– and a way to celebrate how far our congregation has come in the last few years. 

We won’t start this project until June, but I wanted to drop the seed and get you thinking. If we all participate, our sanctuary will come to life in amazing ways! 

Giving thanks to God for the beauty of creation and imagination,
Pastor Katrina