Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service will take place on Tuesday, December 24th at 7:00 PM.  This service of scripture and carols is the perfect way to begin the Christmas holiday and reaffirm the true reason for the season.  Be sure to invite your family and friends!

Memorial Poinsettias

We are currently taking orders for memorial poinsettias.   This year the cost will be $7 per plant.  Our worship and music committee will be arranging the plants and they will be on display the remainder of the Advent season.  The plants may be taken home or given to a shut-in after the Christmas Eve service.

If you wish to order a memorial poinsettia, please stop by the church office and fill out a form, with payment, no later than Sunday, December 15th.  The list of memorials/honorees will be printed in the worship bulletin for the Sunday, December 22nd and the Christmas Eve services.

Bible Study Update

During December the Bible Study group will be meeting on Wednesday, December 11th and Wednesday, December 18th at 9:30 AM.  For the 11th we will be discussing Romans 3:21 through 8:39.  For the 18th we will finish Romans.

Beginning in January we will be challenging ourselves to read the Bible in a year.  We will be using "The Year of the Bible: An Enhanced Guide to Reading Scripture Together" by James E. Davison as our guide.  If you are interested in participating in this please see Reverend Fry to get a copy of the guide book.  We would love to have some new members join us in the new year!

Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign

This holiday season the Mission committee is helping with the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign.  We have signed up to ring the bell and collect donations on three different dates.  This past Saturday a few church members (including the three above!) rang the bell at Tops in Batavia during the afternoon.   We would love for other congregation members to participate.

The remaining times we need help with are:

Friday, December 6th from 2-5 PM at the LeRoy Tops

Wednesday, December 11th from 5-7 PM at the Batavia Walmart

If you are willing to help, please contact Susan Boyle at 704-2495.  You don't have to do the whole time slot, we can split it up among different people.  Thanks for your help!

Book Club News

The book club will be having our Christmas gathering on Tuesday, December 17th at 6 PM at Sunny's Restaurant.  The book we will be discussing is "The Dog Who Danced" by Susan Wilson.  We would like to invite everyone to join us for this evening of fun whether you have read the book or not!  If you would like to attend, RSVP to Susan Boyle at 704-2495 or call the church office at 344-2931.

If there’s been a theme in Justine Meade’s life, it’s loss. Her mother, her home, even her son. The one bright spot in her loss-filled life, the partner she could always count on, was Mack, her grey and black Sheltie – that is, until she is summoned back to her childhood home after more than twenty years away. 
Ed and Alice Parmalee are mourning a loss of their own. Seven years after their daughter was taken from them, they’re living separate lives together. Dancing around each other, and their unspeakable heartbreak, unable to bridge the chasm left between them. When they find a little black and gray dog by the side of the road, they take him in. 
Fiercely loyal, acutely perceptive and guided by a herd dog’s instinct, Mack has a way of bringing out the best in his humans. Whether it’s as Justine’s partner, or just the ebb and flow of a family’s rhythms, it’s as though the little Shetland Sheepdog was born to bring people together. 
Everyone needs Mack.  But to whom does the little dog who danced belong? 

Giving Tree

Through December 15th we will be collecting for the annual Giving Tree.  The funds raised will be used to help area families who are in need this holiday season.  In previous years our congregation has been very generous with support and we hope that you will consider helping once again with this worthy cause.

Donations can be placed in the collection plate in an envelope designated for the Giving Tree or they can be given to Jocelyn Barie (409-1349).

If you are aware of a family who should be considered to receive assistance this holiday season, please contact Jocelyn or a member of the Mission Committee.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Christmas Cantata

EBPC is excited that the choir will once again be doing a Christmas Cantata this year.   The cantata, "The Heart of Christmas", will take place on Sunday, December 22nd during the regular 10:30 AM Worship service.   The choir will be led by Mark Barie and accompanied by Beth Funderburk.  This is a great service to invite your friends and family to so be sure to share the date with them.  For more information contact the church office at 344-2931.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thank You!!

The Christian Education Committee would like to thank the entire congregation for your support of our Annual Holiday Happenings Craft & Vendor show that was held on Saturday, November 9th.  This year was our biggest year yet!  For the first time we had vendors on both floors and we expanded our Chinese Auction to include more than 50 items.  We received many generous donations from our church family for the bake sale, kitchen and Chinese auction.  In addition, many people came out to help the day of the event or to shop with our many vendors.  Thank you for helping to make this our most profitable Holiday Happenings yet!!

Clothing Donations

The Mission Committee has recently begun collecting donations for a community clothing closet.  We are looking for donations of gently used men's, women's & children's clothing.  We are in the process of setting up "Bethany's Closet" in a room downstairs where we will be able to have people from the community who are in need come in to our church and "shop".  Thanks to Roberta & Phil Tracy the room has recently been painted and racks have been put up.  If you know of anyone who could benefit from this service, please contact a member of the Mission Committee--Susan Boyle, Audrey Kellogg, Edna Wenhold, Jocelyn Barie or Roberta Tracy.

Any donations can be left in the Fellowship Hall and the committee will take care of getting them sorted and added to the clothing room.

Thank you for your help!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mid-Week Prayer and Event Updates

A Prayer for Peace Among Nations from the Book of Common Worship
Almighty God, 
guide the nations of the world into ways of justice and truth, 
and establish among them that peace 
which is the fruit of righteousness, 
that they may become the kingdom
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.  

Scripture for Sunday: Luke 15:1-10 

Upcoming Events: 

Sunday Sept 15th: 
10:30am Worship 
     (Children's Sunday School Resumes)  
  4:30-6:30pm Confirmation Retreat at York UPChurch 

Monday Sept 16th   
  6:30pm Personnel Meeting 

Wed. Sept  18th  
  6:30pm Session Meeting 

Sunday Sept  22nd 
10:30am Worship 
     (Choir will be singing) 

Wed Sept  25th  
  10am Mission Meeting 
  11am Worship and Music Meeting 
    7pm Christian Education Meeting 

Sunday Sept 29th  
  10:30am Worship 
     2-4pm Covington UP Church will be showing of the award-winning film The Other Side of Immigration with panel discussion to follow.

Sunday Oct 6th     
  10:30am Worship (World Communion Sunday) 
  11:50 Sharp - 5:30pm Fall Foliage Bus Tour of Letchworth State Park and Lunch at the Big Tree Inn 
     - Bus leaves 11:50am Sharp and will return around 5:30pm 
     - Cost: Adults $22, Children $11, Children under 5 years FREE 
     - Includes Lunch, Transportation, Park Admission, and Gratuities.  
     (If cost is an issue please talk with me and we'll see if we can work something out.) 

God's Peace, Rev. Michael Fry 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mid-Week Prayer and Up-Date from Rev. Fry @ EBPC

Hello All, I hope this finds you doing well. 

I encourage you to take a moment and pray the following prayer and pray for the people and situations on the prayer list from the bulletin and those listed in the e-mail. 

Holy God, 
you alone are worthy of honor and praise. 
Open our eyes to see the world as you see it.  
Give us the wisdom to witness your presence in all people.  
Transform us in love,
grow us in our faith, 
call us to love with a full heart 
and to share you promises with all People.  Amen.  

Please Pray For: 
-  Another person in our congregation.  
-  The people with whom you work.  
-  Children and families as they prepare to begin or return to school. 
-  Christians in Syria and Egypt caught in the middle of violence.  
-  Those in our community who are poor, hungry, sick, and lonely. 

This Sunday: In Worship (@10:30am) we will be celebrating the Lord's Supper. 

Lectionary Readings for this Sunday: (I have been preaching from Luke this Summer). 
-  Jeremiah 2:4-13  
-  Psalm 81:1, 10-16
-  Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16
-  Luke 14:1, 7-14 (verses 2-6 are worth reading as well). 

God's Peace, Rev. Michael Fry.  

Sermon from August 25, 2013

Rev. Michael Fry
Preaching @ East Bethany PC
Aug. 25, 2013

Luke 13:10-17

On Tuesday afternoon Michael Brandon Hill entered an elementary school in Decatur, Georgia with the intent of ending his life and taking everybody with him. 

On that same afternoon Antoinette Tuff sat down to relieve a school secretary and was able to put into practice the Christian values of compassion and mercy to prevent what could have been another tragic school shooting. 

In an interview later that day, Antoinette told a reporter that she felt sorry for the man with the gun who held her hostage. 

When he told her that nobody loved him and that he was going to die today, she told him that she loved him and that he didn’t have to die today – and he didn’t.  Antoinette talked him into turning himself in to the police.  She could see that he was troubled and shared with him about the struggles that she experienced in her own life, causing him to open up to her, saying that he was sick and hadn’t taken his medicine. 

I believe that Michael Brandon Hill did not shoot all those children because of the power of God at work in the life of Antoinette Tuff—she is what I would call a practicing Christian.  She relied on her faith and what she had learned from her pastor about anchoring herself in God and was able to reach out to this hurting young man rather than react in fear.

The daily practice of her Christian faith prepared her for this moment and the same is true for us: what we do here in worship on Sunday morning matters more than we realize because it shapes our values and to a certain extent how we are going to behave—whether we will be able to act as Christ’s hands and feet in a hurting world.

As Christians we are called to live in anticipation of God’s kingdom participating in the healing and restoration of the world that will one day be complete.  The day when there will be no blindness, no loss of hearing, no one broken or disfigured like the woman whom Jesus heals; a world without mental illness, school shootings, and chemical warfare; a time when death will be no more and every tear will be wiped away. 

The people in our gospel lesson today witness a glimpse of the transformative and liberating nature of the Kingdom of God on this Sabbath as Jesus frees this woman, a daughter of Abraham, from her confining posture.  And what better a day than the Sabbath? 

For the first time in eighteen years this woman is able to stand up straight.  Her life has changed from one of pain and her posture now allows her to have a new perspective on the world.  She no longer is bent over, seeing only the ground in front of her a few steps a way.  She no longer has to contort her body to look up at the sky or the person to whom she is speaking.  Now she is able to stand up and look around.  She has been freed and her response is to stand and praise the God who liberated her on the Sabbath.

So often we have a negative view of the Sabbath.  Some people harbor resentment from being forced to go to church as children and being told what can and cannot be done.  Or the messages that they hear in worship do not seem to have a practical “real world” application. 

And in our world and a culture where “what do you do?” is often the first question we ask; where being busy is seen as a badge of honor and time is perhaps the most precious commodity we have, it seems counter productive and even silly to rest even when rest is what our bodies, our minds, and our spirits need the most.

The rest God calls us to take on the Sabbath is meant to be liberating instead of confining.  Our Sabbath doesn’t even have to be Sunday—since I work on Sundays, I take a Sabbath on Mondays.  The point is that we are called to take time to rest and to let God heal our tired lives and prepare us for the week ahead.

Listen to the whole commandment from Deuteronomy, the part that comes after “Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy.”  God says, “You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.  On that day no one is to work – neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country.  Your slaves must rest just as you do.  Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and that I, the LORD your God, rescued you by my great power and strength.  That is why I command you to observe the Sabbath” (5:12-13). 

Part of what observing the Sabbath does is that it creates equality among people because everyone is supposed to get one.  From the greatest to the least everybody gets some time off to rest.  When the people were slaves in Egypt, there was no day off — now freedom has come, liberation has come, and they are called to follow the example of God and observe the Sabbath.

While we have not been literal slaves, often we are so busy that we do not realize how we have become enslaved by our fears and burdened by our desires, distracting us from the God who gives us life. 

Theologian Emilie Townes observes that we are like the woman bent over and unable to see what God is doing in the world and that Jesus invites us to stand up so that we can see, praise God, and participate in the kingdom. 

Part of my job as your pastor is to encourage you in your faith like Antoinette Tuff’s pastor helped her so that you can then be Christ’s hands and feet working for the kingdom, living out the values of compassion, mercy, generosity, and peace.

But I can only do so much.  I can give you a theological framework to work with, I can seek God’s guidance in giving meaningful sermons and good pastoral care but it is up to you to decide what you do with these tools.  After all in the end our community of faith is a volunteer organization. 

It is you who decides to come to worship.  It is you who decides how much time and money you give to the work of God.  And most importantly it is you who decides how you will respond when you are faced with the Michael Brandon Hills of the world. 

As Jesus heals this woman, he reminds us of the liberating nature of the Sabbath freeing us to rest from the burdens that we are carrying, freeing us from the demands of work and commerce, freeing us to worship the Lord who gives us life and grace.  In the end this is a story of mercy, freedom, and healing. 

Jesus has shown us mercy; Jesus has freed us from sin; Jesus has healed our brokenness and shown us the way that leads to life. 

Will we rise, no longer bent by sin, guilt, distraction or fear?  Will we let ourselves be freed to experience the Sabbath and rise up in praise?

Antoinette Tuff’s answer to that question saved her life and the life of 870 children this week.  By the grace of God our answer can change our lives too so that we become part of God’s healing of the world.

People have called Ms. Tuff a hero and yet she says, “I give it all to God, through his grace and mercy.” 

May we go and do likewise.  Amen. 

*                *                *

References that helped shape this sermon.
·       David Lose Article The Law of Love, at Working Preacher web site.  Accessed 8/24/13.                                    
·       Feasting on the Word Commentary: Luke 13:10-17. David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, editors. Year C, Vo. 3. WJK Press: Louisville, 2010.
·       Interview with Antionette Tuff from NPR. Org and ABC News.
·       Sermon Brain Wave Podcast #312 Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost accessed 8/24/13.
·       Working Preacher Commentary on Luke 13:10-17 by Emerson Powery accessed 8/24/13.   

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mens/Boys Fellowship Event--everyone invited!

When:  Sunday, July 14th

(Rain Date July 28)

Where:   Sweetland Pines Golf Course

Par 3,   9 holes  -Sweetland Road, Stafford


Everyone is invited, men, women, boys & girls…Bring a guest!


3 pm Golf…No Greens Fees, Courtesy Men’s fellowship.  Prize for lowest score.  Scramble team closest to flag on #4 also wins a prize.

4:30 pm Sharp! Picnic

Hamburgers, Hots, Rolls & condiments will be provided.  Please bring a dish to pass, beverages and lawn chairs. 

5:00 pm Sharp!        4 people will reminisce about years gone by.

6:00 pm  Sharp!       Michael will show us the right way to make S’mores!!

           (What are Smores, you say?? I know marshmallows are involved!)

**Even if you aren’t a golfer, please join us for the picnic and the activities following the picnic. 

For more information, contact Bob Carlsen at 343-8072.


Clothing Drive

The Mission Committee met recently and have decided to begin an on-going clothing and shoe drive.  We will be setting up boxes in the Fellowship Hall where gently-used clothing and shoes can be donated to help families in need in our area.  If you know of anyone who is in need and could benefit from this, please contact a member of the Mission Committee—Susan Boyle, Audrey Kellogg, Jocelyn Barie, Edna Wenhold, Roberta Tracy and Reverend Mike Fry.  As the boxes get full we will take them to donation centers so that they will get to those in need.  We hope that as you are cleaning out your closets or getting ready for a garage sale you will consider donating to our clothing drive.


Thank you from the Deacons!

The Deacons would like to thank everyone who supported their chicken BBQ held at Clor’s in Batavia on Saturday, June 15th.  Whether you came out to help serve, sold tickets or purchased  dinners, we appreciate it!  Thanks to your support we were able to make profit which will be very useful when helping our church members and members of the local community in need.  Thanks again!


Worship in the Park/Congregational Meeting

Our annual Worship in the Park was held on Sunday, June 9th at the Genesee County Park.  The service was led by Reverend Fry with the children of the congregation participating by reading poems and scripture and singing several songs.  Sharah DeMena presented all of the children with certificates for participating in Sunday School this year.  Following the  service we held our congregational meeting where we reviewed the reports from all of the committees for 2012.  The children enjoyed playing games while the adults were having the meeting.  After the meeting we enjoyed a picnic and a time of fellowship.

If you were unable to attend and would like a copy of the annual report, please see Susan Boyle or stop in the church office.


Mission Committee News This Saturday at 9:00am we are invited to gather at the First Presbyterian Church in Batavia to help with projec...