Category Archives: Church

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church renews commitment to children

Members of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church just outside Fulton renewed their commitment to the Cherish Our Children prayer ministry on Dec. 8.

Also that day, the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County received a donation from Lutheran Charities of Central New York.

Lutheran Charities of Central New York began 19 years ago as a united fund appeal among Lutherans to support significant local ministries and outreaches.

This year the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County was nominated by Prince of Peace to be included among the beneficiaries and accepted.

The Lutherans donated $300 designated specifically for the Child Advocacy Center and the Lutheran Charity board matched those gifts with a second gift of $300 from undesignated donations, making a total gift of $600.

Cherish Our Children is a national Lutheran ministry of prayer, education, relationship-building, and action to prevent child sexual exploitation.

The heart of this ministry is praying intentionally for children in and outside the congregation. More than 30 members have committed themselves to pray for children, youth, and persons ages birth to 25, by name.

As part of the relationship-building and local action, the congregation has engaged in active partnership support of the Child Advocacy Center, and donates food and other supplies, volunteers, space and prayer for their work.

The Child Advocacy Center provides many professional services and a safe place for an abused child to tell their story and get the help they need.

Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church of Fulton is a participating congregation in the Fulton-Oswego Episcopal-Lutheran Faith Partnership along with Grace Lutheran Church and the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Oswego.

The Rev. Richard Klafehn, and assistant pastor the Rev. Anne Wichelns, share ministerial duties at the three churches.

Prince of Peace Church is located on the corner of Gillespie Road and Route 176 North just outside of Fulton.

Light in the Darkness

 “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”         Galatians 4:4-5

“When the fullness of the time was come – The time which God in his infinite wisdom counted best; in which all his counsels were filled up; the time which his Spirit, by the prophets, had specified; the time to which he intended the Mosaic institutions should extend, and beyond which they should be of no avail.” (Adam Clarke)

The time when the law would be fulfilled by the Second Adam, the Son of God, Himself, had come. In him all its designs and purpose would be fulfilled by His holy life and with his death the whole law might be abolished; the law dying when the Son of God expired upon the cross.

The promise made long ago in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15), would begin its fulfillment. The one who would “crush the head” of the serpent was born of the Holy Spirit to a virgin woman who had found favor in the eyes of God.

She would bear a son without ever having intimately known a man. She would be blessed as no woman before or since, but with that blessing came the doubts and accusations of those who would never believe her story.

The fullness of time, referring to that time when our adoption as sons and daughters would be accomplished. It is an adoption we could no more accomplish on our own than can the natural child adopt him or herself into a family.

We could not obtain such adoption by keeping the law, for the law was given that we might understand our unworthiness and need for a savior. It is an adoption purchased by the sacrifice of Christ and our God-given trust in that sacrifice gives us a place in the heavenly family.

And now, because we are sons and daughters by faith we cry Abba, Father from thankful and joyous hearts! We are joint heirs with Jesus in all that is His.

How amazing is that to contemplate? How awesome is it that because of Him and Him alone, we stand to share in everything that belongs to the perfect Son of God? We are not servants, but sons and daughters of the Most High. What a celebration is ours this Advent Season!

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

The Rev. Anne Wichelns enters ministry

A church full of parishioners, two area bishops and musical performances were  part of the celebration at Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, Oswego, Nov. 21 as the Rev. Anne Wichelns was installed as assistant priest for the Episcopal-Lutheran Faith Partnership of Oswego and Fulton.

Wichelns, who previously worked as an English teacher in the Indian River High School and a facilitator for a school based drug abuse prevention program, is a welcome addition to a faith partnership that includes Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Oswego, Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fulton.

Wichelns, who also shares time with St. Andrew’s Shared Presbyterian/Episcopal Ministry in Evans Mills, is excited about putting her experience in faith partnerships to work.

“As we move forward our challenge is how we live together as a community.  Why do we gather, and what is the benefit of sharing our faith? By sharing our resources and our talents we have full ministry in all churches and we can grow together,” she said. “This is an exciting time.”

One of Wichelns’ duties will be to focus on youth and their families.

“The cultural shift that has taken place over the past few years has lessened the role that the church plays in many people’s lives. Work schedules and children’s activities can make it difficult for young families to be actively involved with their church,” she said.

“I will be reaching out to parishioners of all three churches and discovering ways in which we can better accommodate them and make it possible for them to become more involved with their church.”

The celebration was followed by a reception with light refreshments in the church’s Great Hall.

Church briefs

Fulton First United Methodist Church Men’s Group is featuring a  craft show and antique appraisal from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 30 (today) at the church.

The event will includes a craft show, silent auction, Grampa’s cellar, luncheon and chicken barbecue. The highlight of the event is a professional antiques appraiser who will be offering his services for free.

Anyone who attends will be able to bring in his or her personal antiques and collectibles and have them appraised.

There is no limit to the amount of items a person can have appraised; and those getting items appraised are not required to purchase anything.

The church is handicapped accessible and is located at 1408 State Route. 176 (Curtis Street), across from the Fulton Junior High School.

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The North Volney Methodist Church is sponsoring a Lights of Christmas tree for the upcoming Christmas season.

Lights will be sold for $5 each and can be dedicated to a friend or family member, living or deceased, a service member or anyone you would like to remember at this special time of the year.

The tree will be lit through the Christmas season on the church grounds at the corner of County Routes 4 and 6 in the Town of Volney.

If you would like to remember someone special at this time of the year, send your check for $5 for each name, payable to North Volney UMC along with the list of names to the following address: Beverly Beck, 139 Island Rd., Phoenix, NY 13135.

CYO gets boost from Shineman Foundation

When the Richard S. Shineman Foundation was established, one of its goals was to mirror the deep compassion for community that Mr. Shineman had and improve the quality of life in the counties that it serves.

The CYO program at Catholic Charities of Oswego County proved to be a perfect match for that goal.

For youth in the greater Fulton area, Catholic Charities CYO program is an oasis where they can spend some quality time after school in a friendly environment that encourages positive behavior.

Lauren Pistell, executive director of the Richard Shineman Foundation, said the CYO program provided the foundation with an opportunity to be involved with and enhance a great program.

“Catholic Charities of Oswego County is well known for the many services it provides. When we were considering the type of work we wished to do in our community I recalled speaking with Catholic Charities Executive Director Mary Margaret Pezzella-Pekow and Community Services Program Supervisor, Helen Hoefer.

“I was impressed with their CYO program and the number of youth that it serves in the greater Fulton area,” Pistell said. “As the Shineman Foundation serves all of Oswego County, as well as four other counties in Central New York, the CYO program allowed us to expand our reach beyond just the city of Oswego and become a small part of the good work that Catholic Charities is already doing.”

Established in 2012, the mission of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation is to use its financial resources to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations to enhance the quality of life in Oswego County and Central New York.

“We seek to work with our not-for-profit partners with integrity, honesty, and compassion,” said Pistell.   “We wish to be partners with organizations that we grant and develop a relationship that will last and be mutually beneficial.  We are excited about this grant.  Mary Margaret and Helen were very thoughtful about the grant support they needed.  They were sure it would be the right fit and match our mission and we appreciate that.”

Pistell added that seeing first hand the impact that the Shineman Foundation is having on Oswego County is very rewarding.

“It is a privilege for me to do this job,” she said. “I get to spend my days meeting with organizations such as Catholic Charities that are doing positive work and are dedicated to making good things happen in our community. In today’s world we are often inundated with bad news it is inspiring for me to partner with organizations that are doing that good work If we can play a small role in that we have achieved our goal.”

Hoefer said the grant from the Shineman Foundation would allow the CYO program to host special events for youth and their families and purchase additional games and equipment.

“Our youth look forward to family events such as our Halloween party and our Christmas party,” Hoefer said. “It’s an opportunity for the families to bond and enjoy some time together and meet new friends. Moving forward we will be able to host more of these. We will also be able to increase the variety of games and activities that we offer.”

“The vision of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation is to become a ‘Catalyst for Change,’” added Pistell. “Catholic Charities CYO program provides youth with a fun place to go after school and makes a positive difference in the lives of those children.”

Catholic Charities of Oswego County serves all people in need regardless of their religious affiliation.  Primary funding sources for Catholic Charities of Oswego County’s programs are the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the Diocesan Hope Appeal, the County of Oswego and private donations by individuals and local companies and organizations.

 

Fulton church seeks volunteers for Operation Christmas Child

The Fulton Alliance Church invites the community to participate in their annual Packing Party to fill shoe boxes with gifts for children called Operation Christmas Child at 10 a.m. Nov. 9.

This program is a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse.

“Since 1993, over 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through a simple shoebox gift,” according to the organization.

By packing boxes with gifts, under-privileged children around the world will have the opportunity to receive what may be their first Christmas gift ever.

The church will have a designated area where the boxes will be assembled, filled and completed. Any person of any age is able to volunteer. Participants may bring items to add to the boxes such as school supplies, personal hygiene items, simple toys, hair accessories and non-chocolate candies.

Nothing liquid, breakable or food-related, please.

“Or just come and help with the packing,” says Cathy Rathbun, local chair of the project, “We have a goal to fill 300 boxes that day.”

She said 448 shoe boxes were filled and sent from Fulton Alliance in 2012, including what families filled and those done at the packing party. This will prove to be a rewarding Christmas event for individuals and families alike.

For more information regarding Operation Christmas Child go to samaritanspurse.org or call  the church at 593-6842, ext. 103.  The Fulton Alliance Church is located at 1044 State Route 48,  just south of the city limits.

Light in the Darkness — Doubting Thomas

“One of the disciples, Thomas, was not with the others when Jesus came.  They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”   But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.” John 20:24-25

Doubting Thomas. That is what the church calls him today and, as far back as I could find, it has been so.

Perhaps Adam Clarke, one of the commentators I most respect and often refer to, explains best why Thomas might have responded in this manner and so I share what he said.

He writes, “by absenting himself from the company of the disciples, he lost this precious opportunity of seeing and hearing Christ; and of receiving (at this time) the inestimable blessing of the Holy Ghost. 

Where two or three are assembled in the name of Christ, he is in the midst of them. Christ had said this before: Thomas should have remembered it, and not have forsaken the company of the disciples. (or if he had not forsaken but was absent of necessity, he should have remembered what Jesus said… my words). 

What is the consequence? – His unbelief becomes first of all, utterly unreasonable. Ten of his brethren witnessed that they had seen Christ, but he rejected their testimony. Secondly, his unbelief became obstinate: he was determined not to believe on any evidence that it might please God to give him: he would believe according to his own prejudices, (or sight) or not at all.  

Third. His unbelief became presumptuous and insolent: a view of the person of Christ will not suffice: he will not believe that it is he, unless he can put his finger into the holes made by the nails in his Lord‘s hand, and thrust his hand into the wound made by the spear in his side.

Thomas had lost much good, and gained much evil, and yet was insensible of his state. Behold the consequences of forsaking the assemblies of God‘s people! Jesus comes to the meeting – a disciple is found out of his place, who might have been there; and he is not only not blessed, but his heart becomes hardened and darkened through the deceitfulness of sin. It was through God‘s mere mercy that ever Thomas had another opportunity of being convinced of his error.”

Sound a little harsh? Maybe, but Mr. Clarke makes a serious point.

Thomas did, for some reason, after all, reject the testimony of 10 trusted co-workers in favor of his own uninformed opinion. He did for some reason insist that nothing could make him believe except the criteria he himself established.

I believe this is the lesson we are to gain from this account in the gospel. At the same time, I wonder how many of us would want to be remembered for all time only for a moment of failure?

We should also remember that Thomas was one of the 12 chosen Apostles. History tells us that he was a fearless evangelist, carrying the gospel both to India and China faithfully until his death, which historians also tell us was in India, where he was put to death for preaching the gospel by four soldiers armed with spears

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

Reach Project youth to serve at annual harvest supper

Students in the Reach Project program will be servers at the Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church Annual Harvest Turkey Supper scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 26 at the church.

The family-style supper will include roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, squash, cabbage salad, cranberry sauce, rolls and dessert. Proceeds received will go toward next year’s Reach Project program. The church is located on County Route 45.

The Reach Project youth do community service projects throughout New York state.