This Week in Ministry

The following institutional services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Because the COVID-19 outbreak continues to keep us from safely gathering together, few services are scheduled in area long term care facilities or prisons.  Many congregations are beginning to meet together in person for Worship, being careful to social distance and to follow all CDC guidelines. They also encourage those most at risk to continue to Worship at home and to take advantage of services that are live streamed on Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and other venues.

The following institutional services are arranged for and reported by United Churches of Lycoming County:

Sunday:

Lycoming County Prison, 1:45 and 3:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Williamsport South, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
HCR Manor Care North, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Rose View Center, 2:15 p.m., None scheduled.
Leighton Place, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
Williamsport Home, 3 p.m., None scheduled.
Pre-Release Center, 3:30 p.m., None scheduled.

Services during the week include:

Presbyterian Home, 11 a.m. Thursday, None scheduled.

On the radio:

Radio Services are provided by the following congregations:
8:30 a.m. (Saturday) Jersey Shore Assembly of God, WJSA 96.3 FM.
9 a.m. (Sunday) Community Baptist Church, Montoursville, WJSA 96.3 FM.
9 a.m. (Sunday) Pine Street United Methodist Church, Williamsport, WWPA 1340 AM/101.7 FM., WILQ  HD3

Ecumenical luncheon:

United Churches of Lycoming County’s Wednesday Noon Ecumenical Lunch will be held this Wednesday, October 27th, when Mrs. Rose Ann Wallace, a member of Faxon Kenmar Church, shares with us an “Hour of Art”.  There is no cost to you to connect to this Zoom meeting. To connect go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88609741957. This link will either help you download the app or prompt you to open your app. You are also able to connect by telephone. Call 1-301-715-8592, (toll charges apply) when prompted enter the meeting number, 886-0974-1957 and the passcode is 56076370. For other arrangements contact the UCLC office at 570-322-1110.

Devotion line:

The United Churches telephone devotion line is available 24 hours a day by calling 570-322-5762. These devotions change daily and are hope filled and inspirational. The devotions this week will be provided by Overseer Bernice Coaxum, Keys of the Kingdom, South Williamsport.

Footsteps To Follow

Rest In God Alone

By Pastor Todd Baker
First Baptist Church of Elimsport

Loss can add up after a while. Like all of you, we have experienced various losses to “normal” life these past 19 months, with our kids missing out on a normal senior year in high school, normal 8th grade year, and normal sophomore year in college, along with various interruptions and losses of favorite activities and traditions. Our family also lost two pets this past year. That all gets discouraging after a while and can wear you down. To top it all off, we experienced the major loss of a good family friend of twenty years who died suddenly at age 50, affecting all of us very deeply. Like you, my list could go on and on. Everything around us keeps changing. People, pets, things, and institutions that we thought would always stand firm and “be there” die, change, or go away. We can start to feel that there is nothing we can depend on. It is a very scary feeling.

The Psalmist warns us of this in Psalm 62 where he writes, “Common people are only a vapor; important people, an illusion. Together on a scale, they weigh less than a vapor. Place no trust in oppression or false hope in robbery. If wealth increases, don’t set your heart on it” (Psalm 62:9-10 CSB). That verse may sound unhelpful and depressing until you see what it is contrasting. In the previous verses we read: “Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock. My refuge is in God” (5-7).

You see, King David, who wrote this Psalm, knew a lot about loss. Some losses came in the form of good friends who died. He also had good friends betray him. He lost the great favor and respect he had as king in a particularly dark part of his life. He even lost a child. David spoke from experience when he told us not to put our trust and hope in all the earthly things that may bring us joy right now. Rather, our trust needs to be in the eternal God; we are to “rest in Him alone.”

Think about that word “rest” for a moment. It is the idea of standing still, being quiet, being calm. It goes with the command in verse 8 where we are told to “Trust in Him [God] at all times…He is our refuge.” Be honest with yourself a moment and ask, “Am I trusting God? Is my hope from Him?” I think most of us must admit that we keep looking for hope and peace in other places, other people, other things. We need to look more to God, to read His Word so that we learn and are reminded of truths about Him. Then we need to do what it says in verse 8 of this Psalm: “Pour out your hearts before Him.” Talk to God. Stop for a minute (or, even better, twenty or thirty minutes) and just start talking to Him about all that has you down, what you are struggling with, and what you need. Ask Him to help you have the right perspective, to value the right things, and, most of all, to trust and obey Him. When our hope and trust is in the eternal, sovereign God of the universe, instead of people, things, and circumstances, we will find the peace that right now may seem so elusive.



Faith Matters

Two Prayers

By Ms. Joan Schell
Retired Assistant Professor

Prayer is so important that one of Jesus’ disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:2-4 NIV). It was not enough to watch Jesus pray and just do as He did. Jesus also gave detailed instructions in Matthew 6:5-13. Prayer is important for many reasons; one is that it affects the quality of your life.

Who taught you to pray? How old were you? Does it seem you have always known, or was prayer left out of your childhood? Experts disagree about the number and types of prayer, but two types often taught to children are meal-time blessings and bed-time prayers. If prayer was left out of your childhood or it has been a long time since you prayed, start with these two.

In Matthew 26:26, Jesus gave thanks for their meal. Traditional table blessings today are often simple so that they can easily be recited by everyone in the family. In some families, a person of honor or guest is asked to say grace. Individuals may fold their hands, close their eyes, and bow their heads, or they may hold hands with the people sitting next to them. Some parents keep their eyes open, so they can see what their children are really doing during the prayer.

The prayers you were taught as a child will always be the “right ones” done the “correct way.” One traditional meal blessing is “For that which we are about to receive, God make us truly thankful. Amen.” Another is “God is great, and God is good. Let us thank him for our food. By His blessings (or His hands) we are fed. Thank you, Lord, for our daily bread.” A prayer attributed to John Wesley is “Be present at our table, Lord. Be here and everywhere adored. Thy creatures bless (or These mercies bless), and grant that we may feast in paradise (or fellowship) with Thee.” A prayer attributed to Martin Luther is “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and may our meal by you be blessed.” Before the amen, many people add, “In Jesus’ name we pray.”

Simple prayers may have different versions. Martin Luther’s prayer may also be “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and let these gifts to us be blessed. Our morning joy, our evening rest, and with our daily bread impart, your love and peace to every heart. Bless our loved ones everywhere, and keep them in Thy loving care.” Some people have prayers for special occasions such as birthdays or holidays. Some people say grace when they eat in restaurants. Ask the senior members of your family for the traditional prayers used in the past so that those prayers can be part of the family heritage.

Children can also learn bed-time prayers as part of a soothing routine. These prayers may include a list. An English prayer is “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, look upon a little child. God bless…” and then follows the list of names of parents, siblings, other relatives, friends, teachers, people needing prayer, and even pets. Another prayer is “Now I lay me down to sleep. I ask the Lord my soul to keep. May God guard me through the night and wake me with the morning light (or Angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light).” Some parents add a saying such as “Good night! Good night! See you in the morning light!”

Parents improve the quality of their children’s lives by teaching simple meal-time and bed-time prayers. This is a life-long blessing. As an adult, you can remember or research and learn childhood prayers, providing you with a “foundation built on the rock” (Matthew 7:25). Prayer should be an important part of everyone’s life.