Category Archives: Church

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.

Jesus’ incarnation

by Pastor David Grey

“Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” — Philippians 2:6

The birth of Messiah, born in Bethlehem to the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit, gave mankind a baby like no other — a baby who was both fully God and fully man. Incarnation. Though the word does not appear in scripture, it comes from two Latin words, “in” and “caro” (which means flesh). Together they mean “clothed in flesh.” This is exactly what the passage in Philippians says…that God the Son came in flesh.

C.S. Lewis wrote, “The Incarnation, when God became man, was the central event in the very history of the world…the thing that the whole story has been about.”

How true. From the vantage point of God who created all things; who is king of kings and lord of lords, all of history hinges on this pivotal point of the incarnation. The hinge of history is the time Jesus lived and walked among us in the flesh.

Even our calendar is arranged in acknowledgment. Everything prior to the incarnation is referred to as BC (before Christ) and everything following His birth is known as AD, Anno Domini, the Year of our Lord.

Without the incarnation of God, Himself, the whole story of mankind,  our separation from God and our own inability to ever be restored, has an inconceivably sad ending.

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

Light In The Darkness: December 12, 2012

by Pastor David Grey

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” — Isaiah 9:6.

This is that wonderful time of year when we celebrate the miracle in Bethlehem. The birth of the promised One whose appointment that night was set before the foundations of the earth were even laid down.

Messiah, born to a virgin; born in a stable and laid in a manger in Bethlehem. Ancient prophecies fulfilled. God’s promise kept. It is easy to get so caught up in the cultural traditions of our Christmas season as to be consumed by them…all the social excitement, the purchasing and the preparation.

Oh, I’m sure that most believers give serious thought to the true meaning of our celebration. We are grateful and rejoice that God, Himself came to save us from our sins, to bring forgiveness and salvation.

Many probably even mourn the fact that so many in our society neither know nor care about any of that. For them, the celebration is all about family, parties, giving and getting.  But even among true believers, how many give much thought to the deeper meaning behind the coming of Messiah? Jesus said that He came that we, “might have life and that more abundantly.” (John 10:10). He came not only to save us from the consequences of our sins but from sin’s reign in our lives, here and now. He came that we might be sanctified unto God in this life.

In short, He came that we might live holy lives. That holiness must be God’s own holiness, of course, because it is certain that we have none of our own. His holiness is imparted unto us as we surrender all to Him. Andrew Murray wrote, “There is none holy but God: we have as much of holiness as we have of God.”

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

Blue Christmas service at Fulton’s Prince of Peace Church

A Blue Christmas service will be held Wednesday, Dec. 19 at7 p.m. at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 64 Gillespie Rd., at the intersection with Route 176.

A time for refreshment and friendship will follow.

The service is sponsored by Prince of Peace and its Oswego faith partners, Grace Lutheran Church and the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection. Rev. Richard K. Klafehn is pastor.

“This time together is an opportunity near the darkest and ‘Longest Night’ of the year for those who are feeling blue — and for those who love and care for them, to name their hurts, losses, pains, and anguish, and to give them to the Christ child — and to receive his Christmas peace and promise in a quieter, gentle, loving way,” the pastor said.

“In the holiday season so many people appear so happy with great expectations, but others do not feel the cheer,” the pastor added. “Because of the loss of relationships, job, or health, grieving the recent or impending death of loved ones, or being in the midst of a crisis, they are struggling and feel even sadder, hurting, lonely, and left out. Christmas season can be exceptionally hard, because they have to hide their hurt. This is an opportunity to be honest about these feelings, to come together, and to share the gentle comfort and promise of Christmas.”


Annual craft show and bake sale set for Dec. 8

craft showThe annual craft show and bake sale hosted by St. Joseph’s Church will be held Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Parish Center, which is located across from the YMCA.

Fifty vendors will be at the show. Homemade soup and chili  will be served for lunch as well as home baked goodies for dessert.

Proceeds from this year’s show will again benefit the building repairs.

The show will also feature a bake sale, including homemade breads, rolls and pies, as well as cookies and brownies.

Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soda, and doughnuts will be available when the doors open at 10 a.m. Lunch will be served at 11 a.m. by the choir members manning the kitchen.

Lunch will feature homemade chili, homemade chicken noodle soup and hot dogs. Take out will be available.

Take up your cross daily

by Pastor David Grey

“Jesus said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it’.” — Luke 9:23-25

Jesus said, “Take up your cross daily.” I wonder how many truly know it means? It is obviously important for Jesus said it is something we must do if we are to be counted among His followers.

We know it is a serious matter, for in Matthew 10 Jesus equates loving father or mother, son or daughter more than Him as a failure to take up our cross.

We know that many are confused about the meaning for it is not unusual to hear someone or something being referred to as one’s, “cross to bear.” But that is not what Jesus means.

Your aunt Tillie, your boss or poor health is not your cross to bear.

To understand what Jesus means, we must see what it meant for Him to take up His cross.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, prior to His crucifixion, Jesus cried out, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” That night Jesus faced a test like none he had faced before.

Something in his humanity desperately wanted to avoid the cross…not simply because it was humiliating and excruciatingly painful, but because

He knew the ramification of having the sins of the world laid upon Him who knew no sin.

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