Category Archives: Church

Good Friday Cross Walk April 18 beginning at Holy Trinity

The annual Good Friday Cross Walk, sponsored by the Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches, will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 18, in the parking lot of Holy Trinity Parish, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton.

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 traveled on his journey within the city of Jerusalem to the place of his crucifixion.

The Cross Walk will conclude about noon at its final destination, First United Church of Fulton, 33 S. Third St.

Everyone who has taken part in the walk will be welcome to a Soup and Bread Luncheon provided by the Board of Deacons of First United Church.

Both the Cross Walk and luncheon are open to the general 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 money for world hunger and local food pantries.

For more information about the Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches and the Good Friday Cross Walk, contact the Council of Churches President, the Rev. David Nethercott, at 592-2707.

Chicken, biscuits on menu for next Salvation Army Guest Chef Dinner

Steve Cook will be cooking the next Salvation Army Guest Chef Dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 1.

He will prepare chicken and biscuits and tossed salad, and desserts and beverages.    The dinner will be at the Salvation Army Citadel, 73 W. Second St., Oswego. Carryout dinners will be available.

Cook was born and raised in Oswego where he grew up in an Italian home. He was always interested in foods and cooking and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, in Montpelier, Vt.

He presently serves as chef at the Oswego County Salvation Army in Oswego and at O’Connor’s Main Street Pub in Fair Haven. He previously was chef at the Raging Rivers Barbecue in Oswego.

The Guest Chef dinners are organized by the Advisory Board and offered to the community to raise funds for support of the services of the Army throughout Oswego County.

Future dinners are scheduled on Tuesdays for June 3 by Vona’s Restaurant; August 5, roast beef, by the Oswego Zonta Club; October 7 by Press Box; and November 4, arrangements pending.

The Oswego County Salvation Army Corps provides fresh-cooked meals in both Fulton and Oswego and many other services are provided to individuals and families in need throughout Oswego County.

Information about The Salvation Army or about serving as a volunteer is available at 343-6491 or at the office at 73 W. Second St., Oswego.

Easter passion through music comes to Fulton April 5

The struggle of light over the shadows as told through the passion of Easter will come alive on stage in music as Fulton Community Theatre presents the return of the rock and roll cantata “Tenebrae.”

The musical work – composed and directed by Michael A. Bolio, and featuring the talents of the Christian rock band The Sent Forth – will play for one performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 5 in the Jubilee Hall of Holy Trinity Parish, 309 Buffalo St., Fulton.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Reservations may be made by calling 598-7840.

Proceeds from the event will go to help support Catholic Charities of Oswego County. Donations of non-perishable food items will also be collected and welcomed at the performance.

“We are happy to be once again dedicating part of our season towards helping Catholic Charities,” Fulton Community Theatre Artistic Director William Edward White said.

“Tenebrae”, which made its world debut as part of the theater’s 2013 season, features 11 original songs linked by dramatic narration and multimedia images, using the religious metaphors of the Light and the Shadowed forces that sought to extinguish it.

Tenebrae, which is Latin for “darkness,” is a long-held tradition in Western Christian churches, and describes a service where candles are slowly extinguished.

For Bolio, a bass guitarist who formed The Sent Forth band in 2007 with drummer Robbie Brown and lead guitarist Al Weaver, “Tenebrae” is a very personal journey. His inspiration comes not only from the original Gospels, but from attending many Tenebrae services around Central New York.

“Although every one of them told the story of The Passion beautifully, I felt there was a calling for a more contemporary approach,” Bolio said.

Joining the men of The Sent Forth on stage for “Tenebrae” will be the vocal talents of Molly Brown, Dawn Weaver, and Brian Pringle in the role of the narrator.

For more information, visit FCT’s website at www.fultoncommunitytheatre.net, or on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/fultoncommunitytheatre.

Long-time Easter tradition April 11 in Fulton

Continuing the 27-year tradition, “Living Stations” will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday, April 11 in the Fulton Education Center Auditorium.

Admission is free.

This dramatization of “The Way of the Cross” is the traditional Catholic prayer of Jesus’ passion as it portrays the final hours leading to His crucifixion, said Susan Tallents, coordinator.

In the “Living Stations,” local youth take on the roles of the various people in the traditional 14 scenes of the Stations of the Cross, Tallents said.

Each scene features a series of readings and meditations and is a visual reminder of Christ’s suffering.

Seth DeLisle will portray Jesus and Lacey Rusaw will portray Mary. Choral works are under the direction of Dolores Walrath.

 

Light in the Darkness

“There is none holy like the Lord, there is none besides thee.” 1 Samuel 2:2

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

God is holy because He is God and not man. His holiness is his essence and it is utterly unique.  It is who He is, what He is and is not determined by anyone or anything else.

His holiness is what he is as God and is what no one else is or ever will be. He alone is infinite, unchanging, eternal. He is in a class by himself.  He is the Alpha and Omega. Everything begins and ends with God.

We can never understand the full significance of anything until we understand its relation to God. This also means that ultimately, everything is about Him. All praise and thanksgiving; all worship, honor and glory are due Him. All.

Unfortunately, because He has been so very gracious to us who have believed; because Has been so wonderfully kind to us, it is easy for us to begin to think and act like everything is about us, but it most certainly is not.

All existence holds its being in Him and the zeal of God burns for the holiness of his great name. (Ezekiel 36:22).  That holiness is manifested dramatically whenever it encounters un-holiness in any form.

As Habakkuk says: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil, and you cannot tolerate wrong.” (1:13).

Furthermore, because He alone is Holy, in the final analysis, all the evil in the world is an offense against Him only. David understood this in a most personal way. He cried out, “against you and you only have I sinned.”

I wrote last week that the holiness of God cannot be described or expressed in words. Rather we understand the holiness of God through its effect upon the unholy.

When the un-holiness of men is confronted with the holiness of God, the result is dramatic. Isaiah, upon seeing the Lord cried out, “Woe unto me. I am undone for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell among a people of unclean lips!”

Even God’s prophet, chosen for his faithfulness and obedience to God, could not stand comfortably in His presence but felt apart. A psychologist would describe his experience as one of personal disintegration.

A person who believes he or she did the right thing to get saved has no awareness of how deeply stained they really are. We must be undone before we can be remade. The Holy Spirit has to awaken us to our sinfulness before we can be summoned to His grace.

I close this week’s column with an illustration. I understand that it is a true account and helps to illustrate the kind of attitude the Lord is looking for as he reaches out to draw a man or woman to him.

KING FREDERICK II, an 18th-century king in Prussia (Germany), was visiting a prison in Berlin when the inmates crowded around him to proclaim their innocence. All, that is, except one man. He sat quietly in the corner, head bowed.

“Frederick walked over to him and said, ‘What are you here for?’”  “Armed robbery, your majesty,’ the man replied. ‘And, are you guilty?’ the king asked. ‘Yes, sir. I deserve this punishment.’

“The king turned to the guard and ordered, ‘Set this guilty man free. I don’t want him corrupting all these other innocent people.’”

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church    

Light in the Darkness

“And they were calling to one another:   “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Isaiah 6:3). 

“Who among the gods is like you, O Lord?   Who is like you — majestic in holiness.”  (Exodus 15:11)

We are told that God’s Holiness is so central to His being that, “Holy is His name.” (Luke 1:49); and, because  we are told to, “be holy for He is holy” (several times in Leviticus and again in 1 Peter 1) it is important that we know what God means when He says that He is Holy.

Now this is not as easy a task as it may seem because God never tells us straight out what He means by His holiness. He can’t.

This is not because of any inability on His part but on ours. Words we would understand simply would do nothing to communicate what it means that God is Holy.

I like the way that A. W. Tozer put it.  “He is holiness Himself… beyond the ability of thought to grasp or word to express.  Language cannot express the holy, so God resorts to association and suggestion. He cannot say it outright because He would have to use words that we don’t know the meaning of, and we would then, of course, take the words He used and translate them downward into our terms.

“If He were to use a word describing His own holiness we could not understand that word as He uttered it. He would have to translate it down into our un-holiness. If He were to tell us how white He is we would translate it into terms of dingy grey.

“So, unable to communicate His holiness in words, God uses association and suggestion… he shows us His holiness by showing how that holiness affects the unholy.”

An illustration of what Tozer means by association and suggestion is seen when Moses comes into the presence of God at the burning bush (Exodus 3).

Moses is told to take off his sandals for he is standing on holy ground. Then, when Moses hears God say, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob” he hid his face, afraid to look at God.

Another illustration is given in the book of Isaiah (chapter 6). The Prophet was given a vision of the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted and when he hears the creatures around that throne crying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory” Isaiah says that he cried out, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips.”

In R.C. Sproul’s, “The Holiness of God,”  the author reaffirms that encountering God’s holy presence is the one thing that reveals to us our own great depravity and need.

“When we understand the character of God, when we grasp something of His holiness, then we begin to understand the radical character of our sin and hopelessness.”

How true. Jonathan Edward’s well known sermon titled, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”  is often credited with beginning of a great spiritual awakening in America. It is unfortunate that both the title and the content lead readers to conclude that Edward’s emphasis was on the terrible flames of hell. On careful consideration, however, one realizes that the message reveals man’s utter sinfulness relative to a holy God.

Understood in this way, it becomes clear the theme of the message is not the fiery pit, but the Holy God who holds us from it, having prepared the way of rescue for those who believe. Edward’s sermon captured the essence of God’s Holiness in stark contrast to our un-holiness.

If we want to understand what it means that God is Holy, we must encounter that holiness first hand. When we do, that tremendous gulf that exists between His character and ours begins to sink in.

Only then do we begin to understand Proverbs  9:10 which tells us that,  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

 

Pastor David M. Grey      

Mt. Pleasant 

United Methodist Church    

Hannibal church celebrates 175 years

The Hannibal United Methodist Church is celebrating the 175th Anniversary.

Under the leadership of David Peckham, the Methodist Church of Hannibal was organized Feb. 26, 1839.

The Certificate of Organization was filed in the Oswego County Clerk’s office March 13, 1839 with 25 charter members.

In 1841 a brick church edifice was erected, which today is the back of the current church building. In 1864, to accommodate the increase in membership,  one third of the church building was removed and a new building was added to the front of the original building.

Over the years, there have been many, many changes and improvements.

An anniversary committee consisting of Wendell Blanchard, Barbara Gifford, Louise Kellogg, Gloria Kempston, Liz George, Judy Tyler, Gloria Simmons and Richard Palen has been formed to work on future activities.

The first event will be a Birthday/Anniversary Celebration to be held March 2 following the 11 a.m. worship service.  All are welcome.

Light In the Darkness

“I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”           Psalm 91:2”  

A number of years ago, I found myself asking whether life was essentially a pleasant journey with the occasional painful trial along the way,  or whether it was more of one long, arduous test with occasional moments of peace. 

I have since come to think that for the young, it often appears more like the former and for those of us who have seen the passing of more years, it seems more the latter.

This was and is in the context of a culture that still knows the remnants of blessing that came with the faith and faithfulness of so many who had gone before us.

In other cultures the perception might be much different.  But in every culture life has its trials; its tests to be endured. The way we approach them either leaves us in a weakened condition or stronger than ever.

One thing is certain, sooner or later everyone who trusts in Christ, will have that trust tested in a significant (and often painful) way. Each of us is a little different in this respect and something thing that severely tests one person is but a hiccup for another.

Even in areas where the test would be severe for any believer, such as the loss of a child, a spouse, a serious accident with permanent consequences, one whose faith is strong may seem to be tested for only a short time while the for another, whose faith is not as strong, may struggle for a long time before coming out the other side.

But one thing of which we can be certain is that our faith will be tested.

Our Lord told His people in Ezekiel  21,  “Testing will surely come.”

There is purpose behind the testing of our faith, of course. God is not a precocious, whimsical God who delights his fancy at our expense and James explains that purpose.

He writes, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (Chapter one)

We all know that in the raising of children, the ultimate goal is for them to reach adulthood as mature individuals prepared to face life’s trials and demands.

It is much the same in our spiritual lives. When we are born again, we are born into a spiritual world to which we had been dead. At that point Paul says, we are babes in Christ.

The Lord’s purpose for that new life is that we grow into mature, right-thinking adults; full of faith and able to trust Him in all areas of thought and life.

It is to this end, James says, that He allows us to be tested, that our endurance may be fully developed, so that we become perfect and complete in Him… needing nothing else.”

Can you say with the psalmist, “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

 

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church