Category Archives: Church


Tri-County Singers to perform at local churches

Pictured is a recent rehearsal at the West Baptist Church in Oswego, with Michelle Pawlenko directing.
Pictured is a recent rehearsal at the West Baptist Church in Oswego, with Michelle Pawlenko directing.

The Tri-County Singers will be presenting “Upon This Rock” by Pepper Choplin at various local churches during this Easter season.

This cantata is a touching presentation of the Easter experience through the eyes of Peter. The combination of narration and music tell a story of doubt, passion, failure, forgiveness and faith through the use of both new and traditional Easter melodies.

The Cantata is presented free of charge, although an offering will be taken to defray costs of music and supplies.

The group is led by director Michelle Pawlenko, with her mother Terry Pawlenko assisting and accompanying on the piano.

Soloists this season include Dave Eamer, Michelle Canfield, Mike Pawlenko and Lonny Drake.

Performances are scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hannibal Methodist Church; Sunday, March 17 at 2 p.m. at West Baptist Church in Oswego; Saturday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at Sterling Valley Community Church; and Sunday, March 24 at 2 p.m. at Red Creek Westbury UMC.

The entire performance is just under an hour in length. The Tri-County Singers is a variable collection of over two dozen Christian musicians from Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne counties.

Light In The Darkness: March 6, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“It was by faith that Noah built a large boat to save his family from the flood. He obeyed God, who warned him about things that had never happened before. By his faith Noah condemned the rest of the world, and he received the righteousness that comes by faith.” — Hebrews 11:7

Noah believed God when he was told of things that had never happened before and then did everything exactly as God instructed him. He chose to trust God rather than his experience.

He believed God even though it could not be confirmed by anything that he could see around him. He did not permit his own reason or intellect to trump what God had said. He simply believed and obeyed.

As a result, he, “received the righteousness that comes by faith.” Noah is an example of how any of us are declared righteous by God today. It is never by the works that we do. Though it may seem a fine line, Noah was not  declared righteous because he built the ark.

He was declared righteous because he believed God had said to him and building the ark was simply the natural expression of that belief.

Noah is an example of what James tells us in the New Testament when he says that faith and works cannot be separated.

Had Noah claimed to believe God but gone about his normal life without ever building an ark, he would have shown that he did not truly believe.

It is the same for us today.  True faith is demonstrated by the way we live. The one who has faith will “walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6).

Our obedience to what we hear from heaven proves that we truly believe and is the faith that leads to God’s declaring us righteousness.

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  (I John 2:2-4).

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Anti-bullying event at First United Church

Saturday, March 2, starting at 5 p.m. with a light supper, First United Church of Fulton, 33 S. Third St.,, Fulton, will host a recently released movie on the issue of bullying.

Following the movie, a discussion will be held, concluding by 8 p.m. Featured guests will include Bill Lynch, superintendant of Fulton schools, and other administrators who will be able to speak about “Dignity for All Students,” an active effort to keep schools safe for all children and youth.

Fulton Mayor Ron Woodward is also expected to attend along with other community representatives.

Copyright restrictions do not allow First United to publicize the title of the movie or the leading characters. Here, however, is a brief description from columnist Bob Mondello: “(This movie) is a wrenching, potentially transformative look at an epidemic of adolescent cruelty and adult paralysis in the nation’s public schools. (It) weaves together five different stories from different parts of America’s heartland. Two are about the grieving families of boys who’ve committed suicide – a 17 year-old in Georgia, and an 11 year-old in Oklahoma City. The rest are profiles of kids still toughing it out – a Mississippi teenager who has been jailed after pulling a gun on the kids who made her life a living hell, a lesbian high-schooler who is tormented not just by other students but by a teacher as well.”

There is no charge for the evening; donations for the meal will be accepted. Those attending are asked to RSVP by e-mailing or calling 592-2707 by Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Child care will be provided upon request. Parents are advised that this unrated film may not be suitable for children.

Light In The Darkness: January 30, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.” — 2 Kings 18:5-7

In America today, there is a woeful shortage of exemplary leaders. The few excellent leaders are often rendered ineffective both by a media, which either ignores or demonizes them, and by the majority of leaders who are anything but models of faith and virtue.

From time to time, we see someone who appears to be above the mire of the new normal but then they too disappoint us, proving themselves to be no more worthy of our trust than the others. Sometimes we have placed our hope in them because we did not know what to look for in the first place. We thought them to be a cut above simply because they appeared righteous by comparison to the others.

Now, a man can be a decent civil leader (relatively speaking) without being a man of faith. If he leads according to the basic precepts of God’s Word and according to the just laws of the land, he may be a good leader even if he is not himself a man of true faith. We have had such leaders in the past and in times like these often find ourselves yearning for another.

The ideal leader, however, the one who brings great blessing upon the land and its people, is the leader like the one described in this passage in Second Kings, Hezekiah, king of Judah. Such a leader is one who trusts the Lord. He leans upon and has confidence in the God of the Bible, confident that His ways are best in every situation.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Light In The Darkness: January 23, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“It is an abomination [to God and men] for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established and made secure by righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation).” — Proverbs 16:12

The word “kings” as used in this passage refers in principle to all leaders of states and nations regardless of the actual title.  “Throne,” of course, refers to the position held by the one in governing authority. The phrase “commit wickedness” refers both to their personal immoral behavior and to the immoral behavior in governing.

Thus, when leaders behave and exercise their power in evil ways and for evil purposes it is an abomination to the Lord. Webster defines abomination as: “extreme disgust and hatred.” This is not something any thinking man would want to arouse in the all powerful God who is, Himself, the ruler over nations. Yet they do.

I am angry at decisions our government leaders have made in the past few years. This is especially true of the actions taken this week in both Albany and Washington. Having said that, I want to make it clear that it is not my purpose to focus upon my personal convictions regarding gun control or any other specific issue.

I want to focus upon something much greater. It is the underlying attitude of today’s  leaders that effects every one of us regardless of the position you take on any issue. The underlying attitude I refer to is their utter disregard for established polity and law.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Light In The Darkness: January 16, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord’s death until He comes [again].” — 1 Corinthians 11:26 AMP

We come to the Lord’s Table to remember His death, the magnitude of its cost, and the reason He did it. At the same time, we must remember that His purpose was not simply to purchase a ticket out of hell for everyone who wants one. He came to provide life for those who would “hunger and thirst after righteousness.”

He died that those who believe might “have life and have it more abundantly.” Sadly, it would seem, many of us fail to experience that abundant life. This is not my personal observation, alone.

In his book, “The Ministry of Intercession: A Plea for More Prayer,” Andrew Murray wrote that “the great danger is living under the law and serving God in the strength of the flesh. With the great majority of Christians it appears to be the state in which they remain all their lives.  They do not know that all failure (to live a Godly life) can have but one cause: men seek to do themselves what grace alone can do in them… what grace most certainly will do.”

In other words, Rev. Murray is saying that many attempt to live the Christian life in our own strength rather than by walking in the Spirit. They do this  because they have not truly believed that one absolutely cannot live the Christian life apart from Him.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Light In The Darkness: January 9, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer” — 1 Timothy 2:8

I had a discussion recently with a good friend regarding the focus of believers at such a day as this. His focus was on the need for believers to be more involved in our governmental processes (at all levels).

I took the position that the greatest need is for believers to humble ourselves in repentance and prayer. A short time later the matter became more clear to me than ever before. I would like to share it with you.

A believer’s involvement in the social/political processes is no substitute for prayer. It could be argued, I suppose, that neither is prayer a substitute for involvement. However, it has been my observation (and conviction that I believe is supported in scripture) that humility and prayer before Almighty God is the prerequisite or foundation for any of our efforts to be effective. I have also noticed that working at most anything is easier than devoting oneself to consistent, devoted times of serious prayer; it being one of the most difficult tasks we will ever undertake.

Thus, I believe that we are far more inclined to work without praying than we are to pray without working and that is what I believe we have done far too often.

We can work without ever confronting those things in our lives that prevent God from blessing our efforts. In other words, we can work and labor without ever humbling ourselves before God and having our vessels cleaned.

Few can pray for very long without hearing the Spirit confronting things in our lives that need to change. And so, we work because it is easier than serious humility and prayer.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

First Methodist Church

First Methodist Churchby Jerry Hogan Kasperek

Who remembers the First Methodist Church that once stood on the corner of North Fourth and Oneida streets? It’s where OCO, in its handsome new building, has been doing business for the past several years.

The First Methodist Church was a strong, beautiful and artful structure, dating back into the early 1900s or maybe even before that.

In its day, it was an architectural dream of what a church should look like. With its red bricks, shingled roof, tall towers and stained glass windows, it was a familiar sight and similar to many of our other old churches still with us today.

Think of the churches lined up on South Third Street. Start from Oneida Street and head south and the first one on your left is the old Presbyterian Church that is now known as the First United Church. Next, and on your right, is the no-longer-in-use Baptist Church, which merged with the Presbyterians some time ago.

Continuing onward a block or two, you will find the venerable old Immaculate Conception Church, now combined with the other two, closed-up Catholic churches in Fulton and renamed “Holy Trinity” — the one and only remaining Catholic Church in our fair city.

Another church worthy of taking a good look at is the State Street Methodist Church still in use on South Fourth Street. And don’t forget the Congregational Church, with its big, circular window, a hometown landmark, that used to be on the corner of West First and Broadway. It was a sad day when it was taken down with the wrecking ball not too many years ago.

Now, if your memory stretches back to 1961, you will recall that awful fire that reduced the First Methodist Church to ashes that summer. This information I gathered from Gail and Vern Drohan because I knew they were members there a long time ago, when Reverend Stewart was their minister.

The church could accommodate a very large congregation and many prominent community members belonged. The Sealright Company was well represented. There was the Frank Ash family, the Harry Gray’s, the Walter Mitchell’s, and the Clark’s.

From the business and medical communities came the Sherm Drohan’s and Dr. Eugene Anthony and family. (Just about every body in town went to Dr. Anthony’s, God rest his soul, at some time or other to get their eyes examined to see if they needed glasses! I got my first prescription for bifocals there.)

Remember, if you will, it was the heyday of local doctors, dentists and lawyers, and of business and industry, when mangers, directors, CEOs, owners and operators lived among us in Little Old Fulton and took part in church, social, political and community events.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397