How Did We Come to Dislike Snow?
February 3, 2021 “What happens here doesn’t stay here…”
Pastor Timothy Hogan-Palazzo
Dear Church Family,
Are you a ‘first responder?’ No, not the kind that responds to emergency calls. I’m talking about the kind that says the first thing that comes to your mind when you respond to someone or to an event. You know like, “I hate snow” or “that groundhog, someone needs to shoot him!” And then you go on to say things like, “I remember when we had snows like this as a kid,” and you tell wonderful stories about memories of canceled classes and what you and your friends or family did, or you talk about how you and your family got to go sledding for days. And let’s just admit it, when Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, you immediately respond with “someone shoot him” and then go on to say what winters used to be like when you were a child, including some beautiful late March and early April snows, something we don’t too often see around here anymore.
So, here we are, February 3, 2021. We have received between 20 to 24” of snow around the area. Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday, and the prediction, yes, you guessed it, has more winter weather forecasted with colder temperatures (near normal, forecasters said) and more snow too. And I, of course, hear echoes of “I can’t wait for Summer,” “this is ridiculous,” “give me sun, sand and ocean!” I haven’t checked lately. However, as of last summer, I don’t think we have a lot of ocean in Central Pennsylvania, but hey, we have to say something contrary, we have to be a first responder. Our friends will think we are crazy if we don’t grouse and agree with them.
Now, before any of you think I’m making fun of people for responding to the beautiful weather we are having, I am not. However, I am using response to make a point today. How often do we respond immediately without thinking through what we are about to say? Do we blurt it out, write it quickly on Facebook or post it to Twitter before anyone else does, so the world will know what we are thinking? Or do we pause, breathe and respond more meaningfully. With the responses to the snow and cold weather closer to normal what winters used to be, that’s one thing and, by the way, don’t tell someone you don’t agree with them on the weather, or you will get a lecture. However, when it comes to responding to everyday events, I must wonder, how often do we pause, breath and begin to think about our response? Furthermore, how often do we think it through using our faith belief as a lens?
This past week, I was asked a question about our embedded responses versus our deliberative responses. Do we respond from a place of embedded thought processes? You know, like I have been conditioned so I know how to respond when I don’t agree with someone. Or, I know lots of people think snow is bad, so I’m going to complain immediately about the snow. Or, do we pause and think this snow reminds me of some great memories. I remember when we had so much snow as a kid and it lasted or kept coming from before Thanksgiving until late February or early March? (Sometimes it snowed on Halloween, you think you have problems now?).
My point is, how are we conditioned to respond? Do we feel like we live in a game show and think, the first answer gets the reward? Or do we pause and think about our responses? The question I was asked this week was specifically about our faith and our responses from a place of faith. I have to think that sometimes our immediate responses are embedded by the world around us and not so much by our deliberative responses from a place of deep faith. Before we respond or even after, do we ever think about why do or did I respond that way?
We have all kinds of examples of Jesus being more deliberative in his responses than some embedded reaction. Jesus often took time away to think and pray and explore his own mind. Do we? Do we stop, think and pray or are we forever pulling from our immediate embedded responses we want others to hear us say? Do we ever question what we believe so we can dig deeper? Oh, I know some will likely say, well it’s who I am. Yet Jesus taught that we are continually maturing in our faith and Paul writes of it often in his letters to the churches. I love this one from I Cor. 14:20 “Brothers (and Sisters), do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.”
Mature thinkers, I believe, continually question their beliefs and answers to grow the roots of their faith deeper. Don’t swallow what the world says, or what your friends or the media you allow to influence you has to say. Be mature in your thinking. Pray about your words and responses. Sit with your thoughts. Ask yourself, could I be misunderstanding something? Could there be another side to this story? What does my faith lead me to believe, and where does that faith belief come from?
Ok, so yes, I used snow and winter responses to influence this week’s writing, and I do love it (quite a lot, actually). And before you ask - yes, I thought about that. In fact, my faith tells me that God’s grace is much like snow. It blankets and covers everything. I just try not to make a big deal out of it, out of respect for my warm weather-loving friends. But I do think there is something to consider about all of us trying to be a first responder. I do have to wonder if our first response is truly our last, or are we taking time to explore our faith, dig a little deeper and respond to everyday aspects of our life? Of course, only you can answer that.
For now…lace up the boots, put on a parka and get ready for more snow.
In our daily prayers…
You are invited to join your faith family in prayer as we lift up:
· Greyson Greenawalt
· All Front-line Health Care and Essential Workers
· Katy Mahon
· Mina Hoover, returned to GMC Danville
· Continued prayers for Clarence Snider for healing
· George Cartin, medical concerns · The Hook Family · Jo Beatty (Sharon Klose’s mother), medical concerns · Julie Saville and friends at Milton Developmental Center, healing from Covid-19 · The many who are suffering from the COVID virus, as well as all those caring for them at home and in hospitals and nursing facilities
Ways to Stay Connected:
Parking Lot Pick-Up Pancakes To-Go: Shrove Tuesday Celebration!
Even though we can’t gather for a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, perhaps we can join in a Parking Lot Pick-Up Pancakes-To-Go Shrove Tuesday Celebration! (Say that three times fast.)
As we prepare for Lent, your Mission Team’s leaders are considering ways to help pay for the Summer Mission Trip. They suggested providing pancakes for dinner pick-up in the parking lot on Shrove Tuesday. This event will allow for us to not only offer pancakes, but to send Ashes home with you for our LIVE Stream Ash Wednesday Service and provide you with a Lenten Devotional as well.
Shrove Tuesday is February 16 this year, so watch for upcoming information about pancakes and ashes and Lent! (proceeds benefit our Summer Mission Trip – see “Mission News” below)
The Christmas Pageant was such a success and enjoyed by so many (participants and viewers alike) that we are exploring an Easter Pageant as well. Watch for news coming out about how you can participate. Thespians be on the ready!
It’s the “Saint Paul’s Got Talent – Talent Show”
Season 2 – the Virtual Edition!!
Featuring Saint Paul’s Family and Friends!
Time to tune up the instruments, warm up the singing voice, dust off the dance shoes, or whatever else you may need! Since we had such a great time last year at the talent show, we decided we are not going to let anything stand in the way of doing it again! BUT…as with everything else this year...it’s going to be a little different! It’s all going to be Virtual…or online…or not live! AND…we will all be able to enjoy, and still feel a sense of connection as we share our talents and abilities…and have a great time doing it!
So…what do you have to do? Record yourself (If you use your phone, please do it in “landscape” mode) doing whatever it is you’re good at! Whether it be singing, dancing, playing an instrument, reading poetry, performing a monologue or a scene…whatever your talent is…share it by recording it. (Or better yet, have someone record you!)
ALL SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE TO RUSS WYNN BY FEBRUARY 27TH!
Email Russ at: email@example.com Just put the subject as “SPUCC Talent Show 2021”
Please make sure to introduce yourself and your talent at the beginning of your recording!
So…like I said, this will be a little different than last year, but it does actually afford some other opportunities that we would not have if we were doing a live performance! (Like – ANYONE can participate…wherever you are!! Be creative! If we have a nice day, perform outside! The possibilities, and talents, could be endless!!)
Crystal and I will make ourselves available for any accompanying, but please PLAN IN ADVANCE!! No last-minute accompaniments, please! Just contact Crystal or myself to schedule time.
If you have any further questions, contact Russ @ (570)490-5897. Texting would be great! Maybe we can even get a take and make dinner to go so we don’t miss out on the great spaghetti dinner either!
Hope to hear and see many of you VERY SOON!
2020 Financial News and Giving Statements
Your 2020 Giving Statements are ready! This year, your giving statements are attached to copies of the 2020 Budget review and the 2021 Budget, as well. In the absence of an in-person gathering for an all-congregational annual review, Administrative Assistant and Bookkeeper Donna Spear has prepared full packets of all financials for members and friends of Saint Paul’s. You may call or stop by and ring the bell at the church office to pick up your packet. As soon as it is safe, we will deliver more of them as well. Please call 570.568.1433 for more information or to request delivery.
***Christian Education News***
Home Brew Wednesdays
Each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., grab your favorite beverage and join us via Zoom! We gather for our theological book discussion, share a few laughs, pray together, all from the comfort of our homes. Add us to your Wednesday evening calendar! What a great way to spend the winter weeks together!
Our current book for discussion is: “You Are Never Alone: Trust in the Miracle of God’s Presence and Power”by Max Lucado. This book takes us through the Gospel of John and the miracles he recorded, asking some life-searching questions.
If you would like a hard copy of the book, please reach out to Donna in the church office (570) 568-1433 or you may find the book electronically on Amazon Kindle as well. Join us on Zoom, Meeting ID: 5705681433; Passcode: 0501. This week we discuss where God is in the ‘stuckness’ of our lives?
Sundays with David and Friends
There’s a great option for adult Sunday School on Sunday mornings at 9:15 a.m. led by David Reid. Each season, the group gathers via Zoom, and in this season, we are studying the Psalms. All are welcome. If you know nothing of the Bible or are a Bible guru, your voice and presence are welcome. Look for the group on Zoom. Meeting ID: 5705681433; Passcode 0501.
Monday Morning Preacher
Every Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. we have a Bible Study group open to all. We gather, read anew Sunday’s texts and enter into a discussion about the text from the first thing that comes to mind when we hear it anew to questioning and digging a little deeper. If you would like to participate in this group, all are welcome and all you have to do is bring your Bible or access to an online Bible and join in on Zoom. Meeting code: 570 568 1433 with passcode: 0501.
“Take Me Home Country Roads”
Take Me Home Country Roads…to a place where we are planning our 2021 Summer Mission Trip! We will depart, Sunday, June 6, following worship and return Saturday, June 12. We will spend a week in the mountains and hills around Pipestem, West Virginia, helping our neighbors there. We’ll stay in cabins, possibly have our own chef along for some great food, if history repeats. We will be offered several cultural adventures around the area after each day’s work.
We are excited to be able to offer this great opportunity for our church family! Schedule your vacation time now and plan to join us June 6 to June 12, 2021! There will be something to do for everyone! Oh, and we have some great experienced Mission Trip leaders going with us too!
Watch for news from our Mission Team coming out next week.
Fresh Express - Two Monthly Distributions Continue!
Fresh Express, our local food distribution program in conjunction with the Central Penn Food Bank, continues into 2021 on the second and fourth Thursdays monthly. The program is currently distributing grocery boxes of mixed perishable and non-perishable food items to between 115 and 120 families each distribution. Extra or left-over items are being distributed to organizations in need in our area as well. Should you wish more information about this program, contact General Al Henry, Earl Fisher or Beth Vincent!
“Reach out & touch…let the smile of God touch through you.” (as the old hymn goes)
No, really. Reach out and touch someone. Yes, for years I worked for a telecommunications company and their advertising slogan then was, “Reach out and Touch…” I am attempting to stay in touch with everyone I can. However, if you have not heard from me in a while, I would love to hear from you. So pick up your phone and give me a call, drop me an email or card and just say hi. This time, while we have been at this now more than nine months, doesn’t seem to get easier. I continue to miss you in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings, hearing you laugh and share stories in the Fellowship Hall, getting to be gathered around the tables in the Fellowship Hall packed in for a meal…wherever it is, I miss you and I know we all miss one another. So, don’t hesitate to reach out, not just to me, but one another. A phone call, a card, an email or note, especially during these long days of winter reaching out will certainly be welcome.
All too often I hear, “well I don’t want to be a bother…” or “they may be busy…” or “I’m not sure they would want to hear from me.” Just reach out, let them know you miss them, you are thinking of them or just to say hello. If you are thinking of others, I’m pretty sure they are thinking of you. If you need a number or an address and don’t have it, call the church office, let us help you stay connected.
Coffee, Tea, AND Chocolate…
Order your Fair-Trade Equal Exchange products from Fair-Trade Famers to benefit Saint Paul’s Missions. You may learn more about the products, order and pay online via the web site: www.spuccwm.org or contact the church office.
Products are: Mind, Body and Soul Ground Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Colombian Whole Bean Coffee, Regular, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Ground, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Decaf, Whole Bean, 12 ounce, $10 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Regular, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; Fellowship Blend, Decaf, 16 ounce, $12 per bag; French Roast K-Cups, Regular, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Unwind K-Cups, Decaf, 12 pods per box, $10 per box; Black Tea, 20 bags per box $5 per box; Decaf English Breakfast Tea, 20 bags per box, $5 per box; Very Dark Chocolate (71%), $4 per bar; Milk Chocolate (43%), $4 per bar.
Connecting Members to Ministry:
New Year, New System, New Ways to Stay Connected!
With 2021, Saint Paul’s is transitioning to a new, comprehensive system for church records, financials, directory, electronic giving, payroll and accounting. The new system, called CDM+ (Church Data Management), allows for us to combine five different systems into one concise database and save money, too. Additionally, the new system allows us to create and save a database of members, friends, births, weddings, baptisms, death records and special events as well as communicate better within ministry teams.
Donna has successfully transitioned our accounting and payroll systems to CDM+ and is in the process of testing our new Directory and Online giving platforms. For a brief period, you’ll find our online directory is unavailable. If you need an address or phone number in the meantime, please contact the church office. If you use electronic giving, please continue with EasyTithe until you are notified otherwise.
We appreciate your patience as we get all the parts of our new system tested and up and running. We would also ask, as Donna reaches out, that you please help move the process along as she gets the system updated and ready for full rollout, by adding your own data and exploring the system further.
As a special note, test groups are currently exploring, asking questions and updates are being made. There are multiple privacy settings in the system to protect you and your personal information. While the directory links fully to your individual profile, no one can see your financial information except for you and our bookkeeper and you do have to have a log in to get in to the system so no one can even see the directory without our permission and their log-in information.
We look forward to sharing more about the new system with you soon.
Upcoming Events and Celebrations
Wed., Feb. 3 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
6:30 p.m. Home Brew Theology via Zoom
Thur., Feb. 4 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
Fri., Feb. 5 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Church Office Open
Sun., Feb. 7 Happy Birthday Nora Lynch
Happy Birthday Geri Neese
9:15 a.m. Adult Sunday School
10:30 a.m. Worship LIVE (https://tinyurl.com/ran9suv ) / or YouTube
Mon., Feb. 8 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Church Office Open
10:30 a.m. Monday Morning Preacher Bible Study
Tues., Feb. 9 Makaila Huff
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Church Office Open