Category Archives: Church

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.

 

Light in the Darkness: Peter the Rock

“When the servant girl saw Peter standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!”

But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”  And immediately the rooster crowed the second time.

Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.”   Mark 14:69-72

Probably no man ever wept more agonizing tears than Peter did that night. To be the Lord’s lead disciple, chosen to be an Apostle yet deny the very one he, himself had first declared to be, “The Messiah, the Son of the Living God” must have been unbearable.

It had been so for Judas.  We are told that Judas, “Repented himself” and tried to give back the money he had taken for betraying Jesus.

Judas had betrayed Christ to his enemies and Peter’s betrayal that same night was just as deep. Their sins are essentially the same, and Judas was in such anguish that he went out and hanged himself.  Judas felt that his sin was unforgiveable.

But what we now know of the Lord’s love we know that no one is beyond forgiveness. Even those you and I might think should be, like Hitler, for instance, would be forgiven if they but turn to Him in repentance.

In taking his own life, Judas put himself beyond the reach of that forgiveness.  Peter, on the other hand, though he wept bitterly lived with his guilt and shame until the day Jesus came to him and offered forgiveness.

Early one morning, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. Three times Peter answered that he did. Without getting into the different words for love that each of them used, let me simply say that through the process, Peter’s heart must have been deeply touched for the Lord’s forgiveness is plain to see.

In light of Peter’s affirmation of love, our Lord instructs him to feed and care for His lambs and sheep. Peter is forgiven.

Is there anything more wonderful than the knowledge that Jesus stands ready and willing to forgive the most ugly sin if the sinner will but turn to him in repentance and receive it?

Pastor David M. Grey

Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church

First United Church of Fulton celebrates 16 years

First United Church of Fulton, 33 South Third Street, Fulton will celebrate 16 years of united and uniting congregational life Sunday, Oct. 6.

Oct. 6 also marks the 16th anniversary of the Rev. David Nethercott’s  ministry in Fulton.

Nethercott will offer the sermon.  Communion will be shared, as is the custom, on the first Sunday of the month.

The peace offering for worldwide mission will also be received.

Following the service a birthday cake will be served to everyone in the fellowship time.  Everyone is welcome.

At 10 a.m. Oct. 12, David Mirabito who is with MetLife Financial

Services, will meet with older adults to discuss “Mistakes to Avoid: Financial Advice for Older Adults.”

Refreshments will be served.  This informal dialogue is offered by the Open Doors Neighborhood Center, an arm of First United Church dedicated to serving the needs

of the larger Fulton community.

First United Church is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA and the Presbyterian

Church (USA).  The congregation is active in the greater Fulton community through the Greater Fulton Area Council of Christian Churches.

The facility offers hearing assistance and is accessible to those who are physically handicapped.

For more information, contact the Rev. David Nethercott at First United Church at 592-2707 or prairieborn@aol.com

Three bands on nationwide tour perform Oct. 6 in Fulton

National recording artists, “Seventh Day Slumber”, “Manic Drive” and “Submission Red” along with speaker Joseph Rojas will all be playing a concert at the Lakeview Manor at 723 West Broadway in Fulton, at 6 p.m. Oct. 6.

The bands are on a nationwide tour called The Small Town America Tour, raising money for an organization called “The Child Fund.”

All ages will enjoy this night of modern Christian music in various styles, rock, pop and power worship. This will be a powerful night as Joseph Rojas will share his personal testimony which is sure to touch many who attend.

Churches and youth groups are encouraged to attend and invite others to attend as well.

Tickets are available at www.itickets.com or at the door. Group rates are available. Details can be found at www.cabin3ministries.org

Faith United Church in Oswego unveils murals

By Ashley M. Casey

Instead of the usual processional out into the lobby for coffee, members of the flock of Faith United Church in Oswego filed into the children’s Sunday school wing to celebrate eight murals painted by a churchgoer.

The Rev. Roger Martin led a prayer to bless the rich paintings that depicted various scenes in the life of Jesus.

“We ask your blessing, O Lord, on these images of stories we have known for years and yet now perceive in new ways,” the congregation read. “May they stir our minds, both young and old, to see your Words in a new light.”

Barb Sheldon of Oswego, who has taught art at Mexico High School for 28 years, painted the murals over a period of about eight years. Students in Faith United’s Sunday school assisted in painting the doors and lettering the titles and Bible verses. Her husband, Craig, worked on the borders of the murals.

“One Sunday, people were talking about gifts they could give to the church,” Sheldon recalled of the project’s origins. She said that the original concept was to guide Sunday school students in creating the murals so they could better understand Bible stories, but it evolved into something more for her.

Sheldon said that she and her husband, Craig, adopted two daughters from China: Hannah, now 14, and Libby, now 10. After the passing of her own parents, Sheldon reflected on the legacy she wanted to leave her own daughters.

“I just thought about (my mother) and what she’d taught me. Even though she wasn’t around, she was there,” Sheldon said. “I wanted to leave it to Hannah and Libby.”

The other children of the congregation were on Sheldon’s mind too. Ever the perfectionist, she had to set aside her ideas about continually tweaking the murals.

“When I look at these walls, I see it’s for the kids. I see things I want to change, but I let it go,” she said. “It is for God and it’s not about me.”

Sheldon sought the advice of pastor Martin and other church members on which verses to depict.

“The first one she did was the manger scene, which is traditional,” Martin said. He said his favorite was “Stilling the Storm,” the smallest of the murals.

“It’s on its own little side of the door by itself. It’s a wonderful place to get kids to focus in on,” he said.

Martin called the process of watching Sheldon’s work interesting.

“Oftentimes, Barb will be in worship and all of a sudden she’ll just sneak out (to paint),” he said. “It’s wonderful to behold.”

Both Martin and Sheldon recounted the story that Pat Sivers, a petite churchgoer, requested the story of Jesus visiting Zaccheus, a similarly diminutive person. Sheldon included a small goldfinch in her painting to represent Sivers.

Sheldon said her favorite mural is the one that depicts Jesus’ baptism.

“It’s all from here,” she said, tapping her head. She said the other murals were inspired in part by depictions from other artists. “I didn’t take bits from things I’d seen. I like how he’s reflected in the water.”

She included a basket of fish and a basket of bread in this painting as an allusion to Jesus’ other stories. “I put those things there so they could share with the kids and teach them how Jesus provides,” she said.

As for future murals, Sheldon is taking a break. She and the children are currently working on a depiction of Noah’s ark for one of the classrooms, but she has slowed work on that because she wanted to take a different direction with it.

“At this point, she really needs to have an opportunity to stop for a bit, take a step back and have a look-see,” Martin said. He expressed a desire for more murals in the future, however. “Our Sunday school is beginning to grow. I’m hoping that someone will say, ‘Barb, we need a picture of this to reinforce this idea.’”

As for Sheldon, she said she is grateful that her faith has helped her throughout the hardships in her life. She hopes her paintings inspires the same in those who see them.

“They’re not the Sistine Chapel, but hopefully somebody can learn from them.”

Faith United Church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of the United States of America and the United Church of Christ. It is located at 12 Mark Fitzgibbons Drive in Oswego. For more information, visit faithunitedoswego.com.

List of murals:

Manger – Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus in the Temple – Luke 2:41-50

Baptism – Luke 3:21-22

Stilling the Storm – Matthew 8:23-27

Good Shepherd – Luke 15:3-7

We Are Blessed, a silhouette of Jesus

Zaccheus and Jesus – Luke 19:1-10

The Names of God