News for the Church, 4/29/22

Good Day to you, Church! 

The wind is breezy today, but the coltsfoot, the sun, and the daffodils are all shining brightly today against a blue sky! I hope you get a chance to step outside and feel the warmth of spring’s energy. Grace abounds all around! 

Here’s the news for the week: 

A Shift in the Batting Rotation for this Sunday

Well friends, I have succumbed to Covid. I’ve been sick for a few days now, and although, thankfully, I’m on the mend, I need to stay home this Sunday. Consequently, Monica Sandreczki, who is contemplating going to seminary at some point in her life, has offered to try her hand at leading worship and preaching the sermon I had already written for this coming Sunday. Will you come out and support her as she dips her toe into the waters of leading worship? It fills me with such joy when people are willing to be part of leading worship! Thank you Monica for meeting our church’s need this week. 

A “Difficult Conversations Lab” 

Last week I told you about an exciting opportunity we have coming up at church– learning how to become better communicators with our spouses, friends, “enemies,” neighbors, and family. It’s an opportunity that might well be the most important ministry-related activity we’ve ever engaged in. 

Raamitha Pillay, a professor at SUNY Canton, has put together what she calls “a conversation lab” to help people practice skills to help navigate thorny and emotionally-charged conversations. 

In this 6-8 week lab we will learn how to: 

• build courageous conversational space and develop trust
• listen and speak with empathy
• foster the art of patience and critical thinking before responding
• reflect before articulating our thoughts and feelings

Dr. Pillay is available to teach us beginning in mid-May to early June, and suggests that an 8-week class will be most effective, but if our summer schedules will not allow us to meet for 8 weeks, she can squeeze the content into 6 weeks. 

If you’re interested in signing up, these labs will meet IN-PERSON at church on a weekly basis. The cost will be $10/session– so either $60 or $80 depending on how long the course runs. (For those who cannot afford the class, sliding scale pricing and/or full scholarships will be available!) 

If you’re interested, I’m requesting that you fill out the survey at the link below to help us to figure out scheduling. So far we’ve only had 2 respondents and I’m wondering if there might be more interest. Here’s the link to the survey:

Also, if you would reply to my email here and let me know that you’re interested, I’d greatly appreciate it! (If you’re interested in the class but can’t meet this summer, I’d like to know that too.) 

Learn How to Sing Like a Professional with PIC, Online, May 10

For any individual who sings in a congregation or a choir, Dr. Colleen Skull, assistant professor of voice at the Crane School of Music, and the students in her Vocal Pedagogy class, have volunteered to provide us with the tools necessary to develop and improve our own singing technique and artistic communication.

Join the Potsdam Interfaith Community online on Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. for this one-hour, interactive program. Topics will include posture, breathing, vocal technique, artistic interpretation and more. Here’s the zoom link:

Rummage Sale Coming Soon!!!

Have you heard the rumor of an upcoming rummage sale? If so, I’m here to confirm it! Beth Grace has offered to organize this important fundraiser in June. The sale will be Saturday, June 18th. We’ll start taking donations for the event the week of June 18th.

Honoring Our Bodies with Rest

This week, while I’ve been laying at home sick in bed, I’ve been thinking about how toxic our American culture of productivity is. We’ve built a world around the idea that “time is money.” We’ve come to believe that we must always be working, working, working…. busy, busy, busy…. doing something “productive!” If we’re not constantly moving, we’ve been taught to feel a sense of worthlessness creeping into our souls. 

Lying in bed, I realized just how far our culture has moved away from honoring and celebrating God’s created order. When we give into the culturally-accepted practice of never letting the grass grow under our feet, we end up disregarding God’s gift of shalom to us here in this life. 

Friends, we were not created by God to be machines– to work, work, work– never taking time to rest and rejuvenate. In God’s great wisdom at the beginning of creation, she knew that even she needed time to rest. To lay low for a while. To nestle into peaceful restoration. 

And God built that into creation for us too! It’s the whole point of having a Sunday in the week! Our day of peace was designed to be a blessing of restfulness– not because there isn’t still more work to be done. (Anyone who’s ever done dishes knows that there’s always more work to be done.) But that’s not the point! 

The point is to set the work down on a regular basis. Not just to restore rest to our weary bones, but to be reminded that God’s got this– that you and I are not responsible to carry 100% of the weight of the world on our backs 100% of the time. In a sense, living into rest is actually a form of faith. It’s choosing to live into the belief that nothing, in all of creation, can ever grow too big or unwieldy for God to take care of, in God’s good timing. 

At the end of God’s work week, in Genesis 1-2, we learn this wise truth about creation: 

“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.”

~Genesis 1:31-2:3

My prayer for all of us this week is that we will intentionally take time to stop our working– not only on our day of Sabbath, but when our bodies need us to slow down. May we have the faith to believe that God will bless us and keep us, even when we’re not able to work. 

Resting in faith this week,
Pastor Katrina