Category Archives: Church

Cross walk held Good Friday in Fulton

The Rev. David Nethercott, left, pastor of First United Church in Fulton, bows his head in prayer as the Rev. Jerome Amaechi, assistant pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Fulton, offers the opening prayers during the annual Cross Walk on Good Friday in Fulton. More than 35 people participated in the cross walk from Holy Trinity to First United Church and many took turns carrying the cross in remembrance of the day Jesus Christ was cruxified.
The Rev. David Nethercott, left, pastor of First United Church in Fulton, bows his head in prayer as the Rev. Jerome Amaechi, assistant pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Fulton, offers the opening prayers during the annual Cross Walk on Good Friday in Fulton. More than 35 people participated in the cross walk from Holy Trinity to First United Church and many took turns carrying the cross in remembrance of the day Jesus Christ was crucified.

SOS Fest comes to Hannibal July 18, 19 and 20

The fourth annual SOS FEST (Save Our Students) three-day Christian music festival is planned for Rochester Street, Hannibal July 18, 19 and 20.

There will more than 15 bands sure to please all musical tastes. There will also be mission displays, food booths, crafts, art work, merchandise displays, workshops, free waterslides and on site camping.

Tickets are only $10 per day, Sunday free or a full-event pas for $25.

Go to www.itickets.com to obtain tickets.

Churches, youth groups, nonprofit organizations, booster club, Scout troops and more are welcome to have a free booth to raise money and awareness of your cause.

Call  Erik at 564-6133 for details. Space is limited.

Friday will be a night of Christian Rock starting at 6 p.m. with “The 7 Thunders” from Long Island followed by “Silversyde,” a female fronted band from Ohio.

Then Wes Aarum from the Chapel in Buffalo will deliver a powerful message. The night will be closed out with national recording artists “Seventh Day Slumber” from Texas.

Saturday starts with a time of worship at 10 a.m. with Kris Mays from Utica. There will be workshops on disaster relief, women’s issues, men’s groups, youth leader discussion, mission work, etc.

Music will begin at 3 p.m. with “The Sent Forth” from CNY, then “Second Story” from Fulton, “Against The Slate” from Pennsylvania, “Lights Of Day” from Ohio, “Riverside Confession” from Binghamton, “The Life Band” from Rome with Jonnie Nickles, speaker David Hayner, and from Belfast, Ireland, Bluetree will close out the night. (Bluetree wrote and recorded “God Of This City”, the number 1 Christian worship song in 2009!)

On Sunday, worship begins at 10 a.m. with The New Life Band from Herkimer with Hannibal’s own Adam on drums. Tthe message will be from Aaron from Blutree followed by a worship jam session.

At 3 p.m., Hannibal’s Concert in the Park will start with several bands including “The 10th Mountain Division” Army band from fort drum!

Light in the Darkness

“A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:   “Hosanna to the Son of David!  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  Hosanna in the highest!”   Matthew 21:8-9

Chuck Warnoc, a small church pastor and regular contributor to Outreach Magazine, in a message titled, “What Kind of King Did You Expect?,” wrote, “If Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was triumphal on Palm Sunday, what went wrong less than a week later?

Why did the crowds who adored Jesus on Sunday, turn on him by Friday of that week?” Both the title and the questions are thought-provoking.

This is especially so in this day when there are so many different ideas and images of just who Jesus really is. Paul implied early on that there would be those who would proclaim a gospel (s) different from the one revealed by Jesus.

Such a perverted gospels would, come from men emanating from the human heart which God long ago warned is, “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”  (Jeremiah 17:9).

Such were the hearts of many in that crowd who greeted Jesus that day He rode into Jerusalem. It was the day we now call Palm Sunday, remembering the palm fronds and garments they used to pave His way.

They had their own idea who Jesus was and what He had come to do. And they were wrong.

A few days later, when they realized that Jesus was not who they had expected Him to be, many turned on Him and joined the crowds crying out for His crucifixion.

Not that their expectations did not seem reasonable to some degree. Certainly the Jewish people were right in their anticipation that a king would come from the line of David. Years before they had heard the rumors that this king had been born in Bethlehem.

And, after all, what do kings do but protect their people from their enemies?  In their case it was the occupying Roman forces.

What you might not know is that Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem that day was not the only one the people witnessed. Historians tell us that Pontius Pilate had come to Jerusalem that same day. He knew that the Passover Feast celebrated the deliverance of the Jews from their Egyptian oppressors. He was also aware of the rumors that a King and deliverer had been born of the Jews and there were rumors that Jesus was that king.

That, combined with the increased activity among the Zealots and others, caused Pilate to consider Jerusalem be at ‘Code Red’.

So, though his preferred headquarters was in Caesarea-by-the-Sea, he had traveled with a contingent of his finest military to Jerusalem just in case. On that day of two spectacular entries into Jerusalem, Pilate’s was a show of military might and strength while Jesus’ was meant to demonstrate just the opposite.

But back to the problem of the heart. All that threatening display of might and power on Pilate’s part, along with the heightened awareness that God was doing something spectacular caused many to believe that the deliverer, the Son of David, had come to dramatically overthrow the Roman oppressors and that meant the army which had just arrived.

Their desires for freedom and deliverance, fed by fertile imaginations led them to unbiblical expectations. Jesus was coming to show Rome who God’s people were!

Talk about anticipation and excitement! But a few days later they realized their mistake. Yet having made wrong assumptions, they did not blame themselves as they ought to have done, but rather turned on Jesus.

Oh, how he had let them down. He was, in many eyes, a fraud who had gotten their hopes sky high only to dash them to the ground and so,  “Crucify him!!”, they screamed.

What do you do when the Jesus you thought you knew doesn’t do for you as you expected? In your disappointment do you turn away from Him or do you in humility, recognize who it is who was wrong?

The true test of faith and those who prove they have it, are those who remain faithful and obedient even when the Savior disappoints. They recognize that the disappointment resulted not from His lack of love or ability, but from our own desires and expectations that distorted our image of who He is.

Pastor David M. Grey      

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church 

Pinwheels for Prevention of child abuse

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and as part of the “Cherish All Children” ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (Fulton), the Child Advocacy Center has been designated to be the focus for contributions during the month. Art teacher Ben Jerred recruited his students from Volney and Lanigan elementary schools to create these beautifully decorated pinwheels. This “Pinwheel Garden” was planted to help raise awareness to our community of the various types of child abuse and the need for organizations such as he Child Advocacy Center of Fulton and Pulaski and its dedicated staff who work to keep our children safe and happy. Pictured (l to r) are: Dianne Klafehn, Sheri Bush, Margaret Nichols, Brittney Jerred, Alexandra Sorbello, Mary Jerred, and in front, Henry Jerred.

Easter egg hunt Saturday at Holy Trinity

The ninth grade Confirmation students of Holy Trinity Parish’s Faith Formation program are sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt for the children of the community on Saturday, April 19. The hunt starts at Noon at 309 Buffalo Street for children ages 3 - 8. The children are also invited to make special Easter crafts at 11:30 a.m. before the hunt. For more information contact Heidi Buda at 598-2118. Pictured with the Rev. John Canorro are children who attend Holy Trinity Parish.
The ninth grade Confirmation students of Holy Trinity Parish’s Faith Formation program are sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt for the children of the community on Saturday, April 19. The hunt starts at Noon at 309 Buffalo Street for children ages 3 – 8. The children are also invited to make special Easter crafts at 11:30 a.m. before the hunt. For more information contact Heidi Buda at 598-2118. Pictured with the Rev. John Canorro are children who attend Holy Trinity Parish.

Cross Walk, lunch set for April 18

Pictured from left getting ready for the Good Friday Cross Walk are Glenda Abbate, the Rev. David Nethercott, Mary Johnson, Sharon Wheeler, Nancy Allen and Lois Mirabito. Valley News photo by Kelly LeVea
Pictured from left getting ready for the Good Friday Cross Walk are Glenda Abbate, the Rev. David Nethercott, Mary Johnson, Sharon Wheeler, Nancy Allen and Lois Mirabito.
Valley News photo by Kelly LeVea

The annual Good Friday Cross Walk will begin at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 18 in the parking lot of Holy Trinity Parish, Buffalo Street, Fulton.

The cross walk is sponsored by the Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches. Walkers will gather for prayer and the singing of hymns as they take turns carrying a large wooden cross in the downtown section of the city of Fulton.

This annual walk returns to and remembers the “way of the cross” that Jesus Christ traveled on his journey within the city of Jerusalem to the place of his crucifixion.

The cross walk concludes about noon at its final destination, First United Church of Fulton, 33 S. Third St.

Everyone who takes part in the walk can partake of a soup and bread lunch provided by the Board of Deacons of First United Church.

Both the cross walk and the lunch are open to the public. There is no cost for the luncheon.

The Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches is made up of those member congregations who support ecumenical programs, including the annual Michaud Memorial Service and the annual fall season CROP WALK, which raises funds for world hunger, and also for local food pantries.

For further information about the Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches and the Good Friday Cross Walk, call the Council of Churches President, Rev. David Nethercott at 592-2707 or email him at prairieborn@aol.com).

Light in the Darkness

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him”            (Nahum 1:7)  

I read somewhere that the simple affirmation that God is good is a wonderful and marvelous thing to consider.

It is certainly true. Think what an all powerful, all knowing God who is everywhere at once would be like if he was not also good. Perfectly good and unchanging.

Imagine even a god who is good today but might change his mind at any given moment. What a frightful thing to contemplate.

A. W. Tozer believed (and rightly so, I think) that we tend, “by a secret law of the soul” to gravitate toward our mental image of God and that in so doing, over time, we grow to resemble that mental image.

As a result, Mr. Tozer was convinced that what comes to your mind when you think about God is the most important thing about you. Lofty thoughts of God bring us into a more pure worship and careful walk, while low thoughts of God defile us as our deceitful hearts ultimately corrupt that walk.

The bottom line is that you become what you believe about God. Now, that is not to say that this happens apart from the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit but that He works through our thoughts and meditations upon who God is.

If we conclude that God is who He says He is, a good God and that He has our best interests at heart, then we naturally  hold that His Word is true and the necessary guide for all of life. One thing leads to another and another and we are transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of God, the Son.

Make no mistake, the goodness by which God makes possible our reconciliation, and by which He will one day judge the world, doesn’t mean that all will be saved and none lost (Romans 11:22).

To commit sin is always, in one way or another, to refuse the benevolence of God’s will and if we’re lost in eternity, it will be the consequence of having refused that love for so long that time ran out (John 3:16-19).

Some will simply not accept God on His terms, and we’re told that these will experience, “everlasting separation from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

It is not so much that God sends them to eternal punishment as that He allowed them the freedom to choose and they will not have for all of eternity that which they chose while choice was still theirs. God will not force His goodness upon any whose final choice is to refuse it.

But no one needs to reject the truth about God’s goodness. Peter wrote that we can entrust ourselves “to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19).

This truth is far reaching. Whoever truly comes to terms with the unfailing goodness of God will never again treat sin or future concerns in the same way.

A deep, grateful confidence that God is good will win the war against both wickedness and worry.

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

Light in the Darkness

“I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst.” Hosea 11:9

Some may wonder why I am writing so much about the holiness of God? Why is it so important?

Well, it is important because it is nothing less than His holiness that we need. We do not need moral perfection according to any other standard. We need God’s very Holiness within.

We human beings, even (dare I say especially?) Christians, are too often content with a simple standard of morality. Such contentment, even with the highest standard of moral behavior reveals a sad misunderstanding of what God requires.

It blinds us to true holiness and more often than not results in silly standards and behavior. When true holiness as God means it, is confused with morality…  no matter how high that standard of morality… it muddies the waters terribly.

It seems right, but it is so, so wrong. The standard is mistaken for true holiness of life.

Thus ‘holiness’ becomes associated strictly with outward behavior, resulting in prohibitions against things like drinking, dancing, playing cards, chewing tobacco, the use of makeup, attending  movies and a score of other behaviors. When such moral standards are equated with Christianity, thinking saints have questions and are often confused.

I remember well attending a church sponsored night at the roller rink and one of the women who loved to ‘dance’ on roller skates (and boy could she make those skates sing!) asked the question, why is it is OK to dance with wheels on our feet but it is prohibited otherwise?

There was also the standard that Christians did not attend the movies but nearly everyone had a television. What made the big screen sinful but the little screen OK?

Or, and this one that many struggle with, if the drinking of all alcohol is bad why did Jesus turn water into wine? Why does it say that an elder must not be a man who drinks too much? And if all alcohol is bad, why did Paul tell Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake and his chronic illnesses?

Questions which led to confusion and ultimately to guilt-ridden behavior when the believer secretly engaged in those practices they were told were wrong. Why? Because the focus was upon a moral standard or code without understanding that the holiness God requires is nothing less than His holiness operating in our lives.

There is no true holiness in mere morality. Though there may be much that is highly esteemed among men, there is nothing about it that is right in the sight of God. That holiness operating in us results in the best of moral behavior, of course. Do not misunderstand. But it is so very much more.

Joel Scandrett, an associate editor with Intervarsity Press, put it well when he wrote “I believe one crucial ingredient to healing our moral confusion is the recovery of the biblical idea of holiness, which, though it results in private morality is in truth, so much more. (It is) the very life of God in us. Holiness stands at the beginning and centre of God’s call on our lives: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (Lev. 11:44).

Biblical “holiness” carries a strong secondary connotation of moral purity, of course, but moral purity is not, first and foremost, what Scripture is talking about.

Instead, the most basic meaning of the words is to be “set apart” or “dedicated” to God. “I will be your God, and you will be my people,” says Yahweh (Lev. 26:12; Heb. 8:10).

Thus, prior to any consideration of morality, biblical holiness describes a unique relationship that God has established and desires with his people. This relationship has moral ramifications, true enough, but it precedes moral behavior.

Before we are ever called to be good, we are called to be holy. Unless we understand this, we fall into the inevitable trap of reducing holiness to mere morality.

How much more God is asking of us than mere morality! As long as our notions of holiness are limited to doing certain things and not doing other things, we can go through our entire lives obeying the rules (or at least maintaining the appearance of doing so) without dealing with a far more fundamental question: To whom do we give our first love and loyalty?

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ requires nothing less than death to our fallen, egocentric selves in order that we might live in and for him. “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,” says Jesus, “but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:35-36).”

Why study the holiness of God? Because the Christian life is nothing less than His Holiness in us. It is not some imitation of His life or adherence to his perceived standard. It is not simply obedience to some moral code. It is not even doing what Jesus would do.

It is His life,  his holiness within, lived out in us. As the Apostle Paul said, “For me to live is Christ.”

 

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church