Category Archives: Church

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

Light In The Darkness: January 2, 2013

by Pastor David Grey

“We know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God…He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.” — 1 John 5:20

Well, our Christmas celebrations are over (for those of us who celebrate Christmas and not ‘happy holidays’ or some other Christ-less substitute).

We have rejoiced once again in the coming of God as a babe born to a virgin. We have remembered the fulfillment of prophecies made and the promises that the Father kept that night so long ago in Bethlehem.

Now, as we enter the new year, it is good to ponder the ramification of those events for us today, for they are most certainly crucial to us all.

The Messiah did not come to earth so that we could have an annual celebration of miracles and angels; of magi and shepherds and deliverance from an evil king.

The Son of God became the Son of Man that we might know the Father’s forgiveness and have eternal life, which John tells us, “is in His Son.” (1 John 5:20). This eternal life is in the Son because as the focus verse of this column says, he, himself is, “eternal life.”

There is no forgiveness of sin and there is no eternal life apart from him. There is no life apart from our being “in Christ.”

Forgiveness and life do not come simply through our knowing about him or even through being a great fan of his. They certainly do not come to those who do not even believe they need a savior.

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

State Street UMC nominated for state and national registers

by Andrew Henderson

State Street United Methodist Church has been recommended for the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

“Our historic resources help establish New York’s distinctive quality, character, and sense of place,” said Rose Harvey, commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Listing these unique landmarks on the State and National Registers of Historic Places is a first step toward preserving, safeguarding and renewing these irreplaceable assets.”

The church included Fulton’s earliest settlers who mostly came here because of the benefits of trade along the Oswego River.

The church originally included the members of First UMC and was organized when the Rev. Isaac Teller of Cortland, a Methodist circuit rider, arrived in Fulton.

At that time, there were only 13 or 14 homes built along the Oswego Falls.

The church was built in 1894 at a cost of $2,500. Erwin R. Redhead, president of Victoria Paper Mill, and Forrest G. Weeks, president of Oswego Falls Pulp & Paper Company, gave a lot of 100’ x 200’ on State Street between Fourth and Park.

They then broke ground and built the chapel, designed by J.H. Seeber an Oswego architect. The work on this chapel, a room finished in Georgia Pine with two class rooms adjoining was done by George J. Emeny.

The opening service was held Sept. 30, 1894 with Rev. Dr. Sawyer, editor of the Northern Christian Advocate, which was printed in Syracuse, preaching the dedication sermon.

Listing these properties on the State and National Registers can assist their owners in revitalizing the structures, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits, according to Harvey.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Local churches plan special Christmas Eve services

by Andrew Henderson

Area churches have planned special Christmas Eve services.

The Fulton Alliance Church will hold its annual Christmas Eve candlelight service at 6 p.m.

There will be singing of Christmas carols, listening to the children’s choir, lighting the Advent wreath, and listening to a special Christmas message from Senior Pastor J. Spurling.   The service ends with the singing of “Silent Night” and lighting the candles throughout the congregation.

The Fulton Alliance Church is located at 1044 N.Y.S. Rte. 48, just south of the Fulton City line.

State St. United Methodist Church will be holding its annual Christmas eve services at 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Also, Wednesday mornings State Street United Methodist Church opens their doors to the homeless.

Coffee, donuts and fellowship are offered from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Christmas Eve worship will be held at 7 p.m. at the First United Church of Fulton, 33 S. Third St., Fulton.

This traditional service of “Lessons, Carols & Candlelight” will include the Christmas story from Scripture, the singing of carols, and candlelight shared in a large circle at the close of the service.

The Chancel Choir, directed by Burton Phillips, will bring the anthem, “Jesu, My Son,” a Chilean lullaby carol translated and arranged by Mary E. Caldwell. Ella Hicks will be the soloist for the carol.

The United Voices Quartet will perform “Jesus, What a Wonderful Child,” a traditional spiritual arranged by Rollo Dilworth. Scripture readers will include Roxanne Seeber, Barbara Hubbard, and Alan De Line.

Children will light the Christ Candle within the Advent Wreath. Burton Phillips will sing “O Holy Night” during the offertory and he will also assist in German for the singing of “Silent Night.” Colleen Ingersoll will serve as the guest organist.

The Christmas Eve service at the Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church will be held at 6 p.m. Mount Pleasant is a country church built in 1870 and is known for the brilliant stained glass windows surrounding the entire sanctuary.

Christmas Eve, the interior lights are dimmed and the windows are back-lit from outside, creating an atmosphere that one little boy described as “like being inside a Christmas ornament.”

The service will feature the congregational singing of many of the hymns and carols of the season as well as music by a number of musicians.

This year, instrumental numbers will be presented by Ron and Nancy Caravan, The Corbett Family (Ginny, Joe and Scott), and the singing trio of Burnetta Bennett, Brooke Dolbear and Ashlee Stupp.

Pastor David Grey will bring a brief meditation and the service will close with the singing of “Silent Night” accompanied by the Corbetts.

This year, an offering will be received for the work of the local chapter of the Salvation Army.

Christmas Eve services at Hannibal Methodist Church will be held at 7 p.m. The Methodist Churches of Granby and Martville will be sharing in this service.

Wayne Kellogg, a professional musician and a native of Hannibal, will be guest organist for the service.

God’s Vision Christian Church in Hannibal will host its candlelight Christmas Eve service and children’s pageant will be  5:30pm Monday. All welcome.

The Christmas Eve service at Southwest Oswego Methodist  Church will held at 6:30 p.m. The candlelight service will include Scripture, carols and special music.

The Minetto United Methodist Church will conduct its annual Christmas Eve Nativity Barn Service at 5 p.m. at the Greco Family Farm, 297 W. Fifth Street Rd.

Attendees are asked to dress warmly; a flashlight will also be useful.

The traditional Candlelight Communion Christmas Eve service will follow at 8 p.m. in the church sanctuary at State Route 48 and County Route 8 in the village of Minetto.

Little Utica United Methodist Church is holding a special candlelight service on Christmas Eve at 8 p.m.

Rev. Betty Morey, Little Utica’s pastor, said she is looking forward to celebrating this joyous holiday.

“Christmas Eve is a wonderful time for families to join together in worship as we remember that Jesus is the reason for the season,” Morey said.

“We will be singing the familiar carols of Christmas and lighting our candles in celebration of the One who is the Light of the World. We invite everyone to join us in our time together.”

Morey is also the pastor at the Warners United Methodist Church and will be leading its Christmas Eve service starting at 6 p.m.

Little Utica United Methodist Church is located on Lamson Road, heading west off Route 48, just past the intersection of Lamson Road and East Mud Lake Road.