From the Pastor’s Desk
I keep a quart-size Mason jar on my bedroom dresser. Every night, before I go to bed, I stand in front of the jar and I pray. I pick up a glass bead from a bowl, decide on one or more people or things or feelings from the day for which I am most grateful, and I drop the bead into the Mason jar. The bead gives a satisfying clatter sound as it lands on the other beads, or as it bounces against the glass wall of the jar. This brief time of thanksgiving is my final activity of the day before climbing into bed and drifting off to sleep.
Some days, an overflow of thanksgiving feeling flows easily from my heart as I drop the bead into the jar. On other days, I stand there for some time, gripping the bead between my thumb and forefinger, holding it aloft over the wide mouth of the jar while my mind reviews the happenings of the day in search of something, anything, for which I am grateful. Sometimes, the many blessings in my life bring me to tears as I lift them up during this gratitude prayer. Other times, especially when I have had a rough day, I rack my brain and can only come up with something seemingly insignificant, and I am left feeling convicted to notice more blessings the next day.
But every day, I find something for which I am grateful.
An attitude of gratitude has been demonstrated to have physical, emotional, and spiritual health benefits. (Check out this link for a summary of various studies: http://happierhuman.com/the-science-of-gratitude/.) I have found my little gratitude prayer to be an essential part of my day. The warm feeling in my heart that results from this simple ritual is a gift I give myself each day.
The Psalms are chock full of songs of thanksgiving. One of my favorites is Psalm 100:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
What are you grateful for in this moment? Do you have a habit of giving thanks in your daily life?
I invite you to commit yourself to a practice of purposeful gratitude in the upcoming month of November. It does not have to take much time, and it can look very different than my practice of dropping beads into a jar. Perhaps you will enjoy keeping a gratitude journal, or capturing a photo of something that represents your gratitude each day. Maybe you have only enough time in your daily routine to pause and say a quick prayer of thanksgiving. However simple or involved it may be, I do sincerely encourage you to give daily gratitude a try. If any of you would like to have a partner in this enterprise, contact me and we can work together to formulate a gratitude spiritual practice in a group. (Anyone want to share via social media?) I would love to hear feedback; please do let me know how gratitude shapes your life.
Please pray for our Pastor, our Bishop, the NYAC staff and cabinet, our ministry together, each other, our churches, for our nation, our leaders, and our world. Please pray for all those serving in harm’s way who are separated from their loved ones, for those suffering from mental illness, and for those affected by severe weather and loss of loved ones.
“Family Promise” Program who help the homeless
Father, we give all to you…
To Place People on Our Prayer List each week in the Sunday Bulletin:
A simple call to our church office puts a person on our congregational prayer list found in our weekly bulletin. Confidential prayer requests can also be made.
The prayer chain is a vessel for individuals to use to have prayers said for anyone who is in need. All concerns are kept confidential. If you would like to use it, please contact Joan Murray (758-5189), Joan Morrison (758-5375), or Betty Tabor (758-9011). You need only to be as specific as you wish. We want only to be supportive and put in place the POWER OF PRAYER.
On Sunday, November 6th, our service will include a reading of the names of those saints who have died in the past year. We need to assemble the list of those in our congregation who have passed. There will be a sign-up sheet at the church, but please feel free to email the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call (845-758-6283) to provide any names.
MEMORIAL GARDEN COMMITTEE
Memorial stones are now available to ring the base of the tree to remember our church family and loved ones. There is a sample stone in our Lounge area, and they are made locally. The cost of producing the stones is $40 – $50 each.
For more information:
Rand Thomson 758-6280 Lois Chenkus 758-1714 Betty Tabor 758-9011
Report of the Music and Worship Committee ♫♪♫♪♪♪♫
November is chuck full of great Holidays this year. Not only Thanksgiving
and Veteran’s Day, but Christ the King/Thanksgiving Sunday, AND the
beginning of Advent. Advent wreath candle lighting services, Hanging of the Greens and decorating the Sanctuary service, the Holiday Bazaar, and more.
But the choir is secretly planning and rehearsing some great new and old music to help you celebrate all these great Holidays. If you would like to participate and join in the fun and help Praise the Lord through the Music Ministry of your church, then come most any Thursday at 7:00 and join in, or maybe just sit and watch and listen. Pastor Nikki and Keith and the Music Worship Team are planning some super services that you DO NOT want to miss. So, whether you are planning to join the choir for this special time of year, or just come to worship and participate in that way, mark these dates on your calendar and don’t miss them.
OH! And I almost forgot the church BBQ DINNER on Saturday, November 5th!!! Even more time to come and participate. AND the Music Team is planning a Mystery Theater Dinner sometime after January. You DO NOT want to miss that. Watch for more details in coming months about
One last thing. In case you have not noticed, Christmas eve this year is a Saturday night and Christmas is Sunday this year. The music team is seriously contemplating two services Christmas eve and a more informal service on Christmas morning to help celebrate Christ’s birth. Can you tell
I’m excited about the upcoming celebrations during November and December?
Keith A Niver
United Methodist Women………
We were able to complete and are sending out several health kits to the District, along with a few flood buckets arranged by Janice Williams. We now have three of our unit on the District Team. They are: Joan Murray, President; Lois Chenkus, Vice President; and Kristi Colburn, Secretary.
We will be packing homemade cookies at our November meeting. These cookies will be distributed to those in our congregation and our local community who we feel might enjoy the special love and good wishes wrapped up with the cookies, especially during the upcoming holy days of Christmas.
News From the Basement……
The Food Pantry would like to welcome and say thank you to a great group of young adults from Dutchess ARC that have been helping out on Friday afternoons in the pantry. They stock our shelves and help keep the room cleaned up and organized. Next, they are going to visit our Weavers next month. Thank you!
The monthly food bank delivery will be on Tuesday, November 15th – volunteers always welcome.
For Thanksgiving: we are accepting donations of frozen turkeys (10 – 12 pounds). Please bring to the church by Sunday, November 20th. Don’t have time to shop? We’ll do it for you, monetary donations always accepted. For those in need of the ingredients for their holiday meal, our pickup date for food is Tuesday, November 22nd from 1 – 2:30 and 6 – 7 p.m. The Food Pantry will be closed on Sunday November 20th.
Funds were raised for the Food Pantry from two sources in October: at the Red Hook Halloween Chili Cook-Off (organized by Ulster Savings Bank and The Village of Red Hook); also from an Art Supplies Sale held at Equis Art Gallery on West Market Street.
On Saturday, November 5th, Theatre On The Road will donate a portion of the proceeds of their performance of Poe Live at Arts at the Chocolate Factory, 54 Elizabeth Street. A great idea for an evening out after our RHUMC Southern BBQ Dinner!
COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING DINNER
FRIENDS, FAMILY, & FOOD … WITHOUT A FEE!
Enjoy a relaxing, buffet-style Thanksgiving meal…
without the hassles of cooking and cleaning up!
(FOOD PREPARED BY CHEF JOE O’HAN)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24th 12:30 p.m.
RED HOOK FIREHOUSE
Firehouse Lane, Red Hook, New York
RESERVATIONS FOR DINNER ARE ENCOURAGED BY MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21st
CALL HOLY COW: 845-758-5959
TAKEOUTS ARE AVAILABLE — STARTING AT 2 P.M!
RESERVATIONS FOR TAKEOUTS ARE REQUIRED BY NOVEMBER 21st
Red Hook Area Council of Churches Upcoming Events
United Methodist Church Four Hogs Southern BBQ on Saturday, November 5, 5-7 p.m. Take-outs available.
St. Christopher’s Fall Blood Drive (tentatively November 12 (usually 8 a.m. 2 p.m.)
St. Christopher’s Christmas Fair on Saturday November 19, time TBA.
St. John’s Reformed Church Christmas Bazaar on Saturday November 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thanksgiving Prayer Service Wednesday, November 23 at 7 pm, St. Christopher’s Catholic Church
United Methodist Church Holly Day Bazaar on Saturday, December 3, time TBA.
Blue Christmas Worship Service on Wednesday, December 21 at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Reformed Church. Light refreshments to follow.
SOUTHERN BBQ DINNER
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 5th, 2016
5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
In the RHUMC Fellowship Hall
BBQ Beef Brisket, Chicken & Pulled Pork
Potatoes/Baked Beans / Green Salad
Roll & Butter / Dessert / Beverage
$15 Adults / $13 Seniors
$10 – ages 6-12
Age 5 & Under FREE
Prepared & Served by
FOUR HOGS CATERING
Red Hook UMC
4 Church Street, Suite 2
Red Hook, New York 12571
Click here to read the Chimes SUMMER 2016
From the Pastor’s Desk
A New Thing
Isaiah 43:15-21 (NRSV):
I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters, who brings out chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick: Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The wild animals will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself so that they might declare my praise.
This passage from Isaiah is one I go back to again and again, especially when I feel confused, frustrated, or worried about the way things are going in my personal life or in the world around me. It is a powerful vision, provided by the Israelite prophet Isaiah, of the way God works in the present world. In this passage, God informs a people shaken by the Babylonian exile that their core salvation story, the one that they refer to as foundational to their identity as a people, is past history. This is the story of the Exodus, of course, wherein God sent Moses to lead the people out of slavery in Egypt. In that story, the fleeing Israelites encountered a mighty river blocking their path, and God provided a path of dry land right through those waters to safety. The pursuing Egyptian chariots attempted to follow the escaping Israelites through the dry path, but the waters closed upon them and they were defeated. The Israelite people were saved.
But now, God is turning that story on its head. Everything the Israelite people understand about how salvation has happened in the past is no longer valid. God is doing a new thing. Where before God provided a dry path through the waters, now God will provide a life-sustaining rush of water in the dry desert. On top of that, this water will not only nourish the Israelite people, but will also give life to the wild animals that exemplify the enemy. The enemy will not be crushed, but will stand at the side of God’s people drinking up the life God has provided in excess. This is a beautiful vision of God’s Kingdom come.
Based on the words of Isaiah in this passage, “the way things have always been done” is no longer something we should be relying on. We cannot look to the old way of doing things to see an active God. We must shift our gaze to this new thing, to this flipped track of salvation. God is on the move! It is our task to discern where God is making strides and to run alongside!
Whenever I think about the task of perceiving God’s new thing, I am simultaneously filled with excitement and anxiety. Change is never easy. We are creatures of comfort, and change can leave us reeling. But the vision Isaiah provides of this new thing is also very enticing. It gives me a thrill to imagine taking part in God’s new thing. Salvation is at hand. I believe that joining God on the move in this new path will be the most worthwhile endeavor of my life. Won’t you join me in this new venture?
I offer this prayer for our church family: O God on the Move, we hear this vision of Isaiah and acknowledge that you are an active God. Grant us the eyes to perceive your New Thing. Give us willing legs to follow you on this new path. Comfort us as we let go of the old and embrace the new. Show us your saving presence in our own lives, and in the lives of those around us, especially those whom we may consider to be our enemies. Let your Kingdom come and your will be done. Amen.