Good Day to you, Church!
It seems that summer is still hanging on here at the end of August. Are you enjoying these warm sunny days, amidst the downpours? I certainly am. I’m back from vacation this week and so glad to find that I don’t have to pull out long sleeves and pants quite yet.
As for church news– after the summer lull, things are beginning to pick back up in September! Check out the latest—
No Bible Study This Saturday, Aug. 27th
Our weekly Bible study will not be meeting this week, as both Ivette and Diamante are away. We will pick back up with the book of Phillipians next Saturday, September 3rd at 6:30pm.
Dale Hobson to Preach this Sunday
Please come out and support our very own “preacher Dale,” as he takes the pulpit this Sunday. While I am back to work this week, I am extra busy putting our grant application together for the Rock Charitable Grant, and am grateful to not also have to prepare a sermon as well. Thank you Dale!
Free Concert Friday, Sept. 2nd, Sponsored by the Orchestra of Northern NY
Friday, September 2nd at 7pm, you are invited to attend a concert of popular classical music by a string quartet right in our sanctuary! Ken Andrews, Liesl Schoenberger Doty, Scott Woolweaver, and Karen Kaderavek will be providing an evening of beautiful music for all of Potsdam to enjoy. (See the attached flyer below.)
Potsdam Interfaith Community Picnic, Thursday, Sept. 15th
The annual Fall Interfaith Picnic, sponsored by PIC, will be held Thursday, Sept. 15th at 5:30pm at Sandstone Park, 43 Pine St. in Potsdam. Pizza and grilled meat (both halal and kosher) will be served. Attendees are encouraged to bring a vegetarian dish to share. The picnic will also include games and activities for all ages.
PIC is composed of more than 10 religious communities in the Potsdam areas and sponsors this picnic every year to welcome new people to the area. Our church is a big part of PIC and your presence will support the interfaith work that we engage in.
All-Church Potluck Set for Sunday, Sept. 18th
After 2 1/2 years of avoiding eating together because of Covid, I am delighted to announce that we will be fellowshipping together as a church family over food once again! Bring a dish to pass on Sunday the 18th following the worship service, and we will revel in the joy of sharing a meal.
*If you plan to come, we do need volunteers to stay after and help clean up. If you’re willing to jump in and wash a few dishes, please let me know!
Rock Charitable Grant
Dave Wells and I have been busy crafting our church’s application for the Rock Grant, which gives away $100,000 each year to churches, cemeteries, and veteran organizations in St. Lawrence County. We are seeking funds to repair leaking spots in the sanctuary roof, repair slate tiles on the turrets, replace soffitting and molding, construct a heavy-duty gutter system to divert water away from the bell tower doors, and replace the failing bell tower doors. Our application is due on 9/2, and the awardees will be announced at the end of 2022.
This, I Believe
Last week on vacation, I spent time visiting with a dear friend of mine from seminary. My friend Brae is pastor of the UCC Church in Worcester, MA, and while I was visiting her there, we spent hours catching up on our lives. We talked about family, friends, church, and of course, our own personal faith. In our conversations, we took stock of how much we’ve grown in our faith since we started seminary and we laughed at how different we are now, from the people we once were.
While we were chatting, Brae recalled that every year in seminary we were required to write a personal credo. These personal faith statements were meant to keep us aware of our own personal faith journeys– to wrestle with what we really believed and to reflect upon the people we were growing into. Brae noted that as people of faith, God is always calling us into deeper relationship, and the growth we encounter as we live more deeply aligned with God impacts how we see the world and what we believe about God.
As Presbyterians, we say that God is always reforming us, and so today I wonder what “reforms” God has brought you to. Do you ever stop to think about what you believe? Or don’t believe? Maybe your faith is the same as it was 20 years ago, but if you’re engaged in growth, it’s probably going to look differently.
If you have any interest in this spiritual practice, I invite you to take some time and write out a personal credo. Keep it short–no more than a page. And use your own words. It doesn’t have to sound “professional”. Who is Jesus to you today? What does it mean that God is Creator? Who is the Holy Spirit? What does grace mean? What do you believe about heaven and hell? Why might social justice be important (or not) to your faith? What does it mean to walk with God? Where do you see God? What does salvation mean? What is forgiveness? What is love? What exactly do you believe?
There’s no right or wrong answer to any of these questions– if we’re being honest, that is. Faith is something that we share together in community, but each of us understands it in our own way. It’s taken me a long time to come to this, but I believe that since God has created us all as distinct conscious beings, I don’t think our unity must be dependent upon uniformity. So I wonder what you think in your own thoughts.
One thing I love about our Presbyterian faith is that we proclaim that “God alone is Lord of the conscience.” This means that at the end of the day, what you believe in your heart sits between you and God. Your conscience and your faithfulness belong to God first, even while we hold our faith together communally.
So, here it is: If you were going to tell God about what you believe to be true in the world, what would you say?
Wondering about Faith,
p.s. If we all wrote down our credos, would we have the courage to discuss them together some day?