Pastor's Messages during Covid 19

 


message from pastor

 Worship Service

May 24, 2020

 

 

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Worship Service 

May 17, 2020

 

 

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Happy Mother's Day

 

Worship Service

May 10, 2020

 

 

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Worship Service 

May 3, 2020

 



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Worship Service

April 26, 2020



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April 24, 2020


Hello everyone,

 

In today's Star Gazette, there is an article saying that County Executive Moss is allowing drive-in worship.  I know some of you will be wondering about that.  The answer is "not for now." 

 

The directive from the District and Upper New York Conference is that "United Methodist Churches are continuing to follow Governor Cuomo's mandates to not do this.  Thank you for your cooperation."  If you have any questions, I can forward them to the District Superintendent.  

 

I'm hoping that as the weather improves and the pandemic curve flattens that "Drive In Worship" or Worship in the sanctuary with social distancing may become feasible.  Our worship on line will continue; we are learning and trying new things each week; and as the number of followers on each platform grows we are able to access more features on those platforms.  Your clicking onto them helps, as I understand it. 

 

Take care, stay well, Should you need me, my Email is rkouterick@gmail.com and my mobile number is 315-447- 3319. 

 

Grace and Peace,  

Pastor Rhonda


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Worship Service

 

2nd Sunday of Easter

 

April 19, 2020


 

EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 12, 2020

 

 

PALM SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2020

 

 

March 31, 2020


Just like you are doing at home, we at First United Methodist are figuring things out day by day. We're doing our best to be flexible and find new ways to worship without being in the sanctuary.

We are planning to live stream via Facebook on Sunday Morning April 5 at 9:30 am. Our Facebook page is Horseheads United Methodist Church.  We will also post the service. 


Our Administrative Assistant, Sandy Crane is in the office each morning 739-1943 and I can be reached anytime at 315-447-3319.


Continue to reach out to each other, and to hold one another in prayer.


Grace and Peace,
Pastor Rhonda

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Sunday Message



March 29, 2020

The Fifth Sunday in Lent 


The Raising of Lazarus – John 11:1-45

            Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha was taken ill; we don’t know what the illness was, but in that day a fever, any fever, was a serious matter. Mary and Martha sent a message to their friend, Jesus, asking for his help. For reasons of his own, Jesus didn’t hurry.

            By the time he and the Disciples arrive, Mary and Martha are grieving; Lazarus has been dead 4 days. Because the family is well-known both in their village of Bethany and in Jerusalem, two miles away, a great many people have gathered to console and grieve with Mary and Martha. Some, I’m sure had come for more political reasons. It’s of note that as the sisters greet Jesus, they each remind him, perhaps even reproachfully, saying, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”  John 11:21, 32 NRSV

            This unexpected death has been turned their world upside down – all their routines, expectations, relationships thrown completely out of kilter. Imagine the crowd – dear friends, relatives, local officials, curiosity seekers – milling about, murmuring, some watching to see what would transpire between Jesus and these two heart-broken women. Would they have words? Would they reject Jesus? All their normal routines were on hold, life had come to a standstill. What would happen, now?

            Over the past three weeks or so, many of us have experienced major disruption in our lives. The pandemic has turned our routines upside down. The specter of death has us worried. Social distancing has disrupted our routines, our relationships, our expectations. We wonder, will we catch it? Will we survive? Will I be able to buy the food and supplies I need? What about my retirement fund? What might happen next? Uncertainty holds us firmly in its grip.

            And while watching the news can add to the stress, the information helps as does knowing others are experiencing like feelings and seeking ways to adjust and thrive.         One of the morning newscasters spoke of a worst case scenario – “a friend sequestered at home sitting idly on the sofa in jammies all day, drinking cocktails in the morning, and wondering what day it was.” While the friend was not sick, with the routine required by getting up and going to work gone, the friend was floundering.

            While we may not find ourselves in such a dire state, the things which provide a framework for our lives have likely changed – going to work or school, meeting for coffee, volunteer activities, shopping, sports practice and games, to name a few.

            When those regular things, whatever they are, are not present we feel adrift. It can take a few days of drifting to discern the importance of having things which normally order our lives. We can begin to remedy that pervasive anxiety by ordering our lives with a new framework; with routine things not subject to the ups and downs of the world. Taking a walk each day at a specified time, setting aside the first fifteen minutes of the day to begin with quietly praising God for a fresh, new day and asking a blessing on family members, determining that one meal will be at the table with other family members, and other ‘order of the day’ activities are examples of ways we can proactively take hold of the tiller and order each day in ways untouched by changing work schedules or quarantines. It is heartening to hear of the many people sharing music to connect; especially in Italy, where they led the way by going to their apartment balconies at the same time each day and singing and playing. What are the ways you are finding to build a framework of community and abundant daily living? Today’s technology offers us convenient ways to routinely reach out to others, especially those who are alone. Who knows the impact your text, call, email, facetime or snail-mail note will make. Through thought and prayer and sharing, we will find our way and ways to help one another weather this storm of uncertainty. We’ll not only keep our boats afloat, but set a course which enables us to ‘thrive not merely survive.’  

            In the second half of this scripture Jesus raises Lazarus from death. As he calls Lazarus from the tomb, we see for ourselves that the Messiah has power over life and death; and we know that what Jesus has taught is true, God has a Plan Eternal for us. Lazarus comes out, is unbound and let go; “Many of the Jews therefore who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.” v.45

            It’s a preference of mine to always have a Plan B, and sometimes a C and a D just in case. Perhaps it’s yours, too. Knowing there is more than one way, a fallback position, an alternative route, and another option are ways of gaining confidence, having the assurance to step out in faith in the first place.

not sick, with the routine required by getting up and going to work gone, the friend was floundering.

            While we may not find ourselves in such a dire state, the things which provide a framework for our lives have likely changed – going to work or school, meeting for coffee, volunteer activities, shopping, sports practice and games, to name a few.

            When those regular things, whatever they are, are not present we feel adrift. It can take a few days of drifting to discern the importance of having things which normally order our lives. We can begin to remedy that pervasive anxiety by ordering our lives with a new framework; with routine things not subject to the ups and downs of the world. Taking a walk each day at a specified time, setting aside the first fifteen minutes of the day to begin with quietly praising God for a fresh, new day and asking a blessing on family members, determining that one meal will be at the table with other family members, and other ‘order of the day’ activities are examples of ways we can proactively take hold of the tiller and order each day in ways untouched by changing work schedules or quarantines. It is heartening to hear of the many people sharing music to connect; especially in Italy, where they led the way by going to their apartment balconies at the same time each day and singing and playing. What are the ways you are finding to build a framework of community and abundant daily living? Today’s technology offers us convenient ways to routinely reach out to others, especially those who are alone. Who knows the impact your text, call, email, facetime or snail-mail note will make. Through thought and prayer and sharing, we will find our way and ways to help one another weather this storm of uncertainty. We’ll not only keep our boats afloat, but set a course which enables us to ‘thrive not merely survive.’  

            In the second half of this scripture Jesus raises Lazarus from death. As he calls Lazarus from the tomb, we see for ourselves that the Messiah has power over life and death; and we know that what Jesus has taught is true, God has a Plan Eternal for us. Lazarus comes out, is unbound and let go; “Many of the Jews therefore who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.” v.45

            It’s a preference of mine to always have a Plan B, and sometimes a C and a D just in case. Perhaps it’s yours, too. Knowing there is more than one way, a fallback position, an alternative route, and another option are ways of gaining confidence, having the assurance to step out in faith in the first place.

            Because we have seen what Jesus can do and believe in him, we know that God has a Plan E, if you will. Trusting that ‘in him we live and move and have our being’ we have the confidence and assurance we need to live boldly, joyfully, and compassionately, undaunted by senseless worry. As believers, we know that if all else fails – God has our back; we are covered; Plan Eternal means we need not fear, we are held in God’s love now and eternally.

            Just as Mary and Martha and all of Lazarus’ friends gathered to support one another and be a help in a time of great anxiety and grief, we also can find innovative ways to accomplish the same in this virus pandemic. We can be calm and carry on.

            And so receive the blessing of these words from John’s Gospel,

            And be released from worry and fear;

            Let God’s love, joy, and peace fill your hearts;

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him,

“I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.

Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live,

and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this?”

She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah,

the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”    

John 11:23-27 NRSV


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Sunday Message


March 22, 2020


Thoughts for the day


So I said to myself, “What can I possibly say?” Then I read the scriptures suggested for this week. The first verse of the Old Testament reading 1 Samuel 16:1-13 grabbed my attention; “How long will you go on grieving ….?”


            Indeed things have changed and we need to move forward; let go of ‘how it should be’ and figure out how it needs to be for now to stay well.  


The passage is about how the Lord chose David, from his seven older brothers to be King, after Saul. Samuel thinks he knows which brother will be chosen, but the Lord says, “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as man judges. Man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” v.7


            I’m so relieved that our Lord sees to the heart of things and also opens our   eyes, as well. Of course, it’s always challenging not to judge by appearance     and to look deeper. The words of the gospel hymn #454 come to mind.           “Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me; … Open my ears, that I may hear voices of truth thou sendest clear; & while the wave-notes fall on my ear everything false will disappear.”


Moving to the Epistle, we hear Paul speaking in Ephesians 5:8-14; reminding us “For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light—for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.” v.8-9


            We are God’s dear children, in Christ we have moved from the darkness of   worry and dread to the light of abundant living. We can rest in that fact    even when we are feeling challenged, worried, or afraid in these days. We     are a people called to hope, and wonderfully blessed; knowing “how    very    great is God’s power at work in us who believe” we can go about our daily lives in confidence. Ephesians 1:19 TEV


Keeping you and the congregation in prayer; asking that you do the same. Looking forward to being in worship together again soon.

In a spirit of grace and peace,   Pastor Rhonda 

 

 ephes 1 19

 

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heart green smallMarch 17, 2020



Dear Members and Friends of Horseheads First United Methodist Church,


            My hope is that, this letter finds you well and flourishing as we all navigate through these uncharted waters. My prayer for you is that, you will turn to your faith and rely on the strong foundation you have in the love of God to support you each day.   We all are feeling the stress of disrupted routines, of needing to rethink how to accomplish daily activities, so much feels up in the air –

And yet, God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God’s strong eagle wings will continue to bear us up; know that you are held in God’s care each day.

            By now, you probably know that worship services, all programs, meetings and activities at the church are cancelled until further notice. We pray that it will be safe to meet by Easter but if not, we will celebrate Easter when we are back together again.

            Our Custodians are busy doing deep cleaning necessary to ensure the sanitation of the physical plant. Our Church office will be staffed most days from 9 to 12 to take any calls, and of course, you may leave a message 739-1943.

We will do our best to stay in touch, mainly by using E-mail and the newsletter.

Each day we will try to post an uplifting word as a reminder of God’s enduring care. We will post updates on Facebook at Horseheads United Methodist Church, and our Webpage www.hhdsumc.org  

Holding you up in prayer, asking that you keep the church fellowship in yours,

            Pastor Rhonda


“You have seen what I did …,

and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.

Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant,

you shall be my treasured possession….”

Exodus 19:4-5a NRSV


eagles wings 

***** 


Sunday, March 15, 2020


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