This Week in Ministry

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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

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.
Celebration Villa, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Williamsport South, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Valley View Nursing Home, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Embassy of Loyalsock, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
Elmcroft, 2 p.m., None scheduled.
HCR Manor Care North, 2:15 p.m., Evangelist Susan Shuman, New Life Wake Up Ministries, Williamsport.
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 return September 7th!

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 Rev. Ronald Shellhamer, Lutheran pastor.

Footsteps To Follow

Every Day Is A Memorial Day

By Holly Pentz, Pastor’s Wife
Administrative Assistant, New Covenant Assembly, Montgomery

It is Memorial Day this Monday, and, contrary to popular belief, this holiday does not commemorate picnics, swimming pools, and a long weekend. According to Webster, a memorial is “something established to remind people of a person or an event,” in this case the sacrifices made by our soldiers and sailors to make and keep America free.

To remember takes effort. We use bookmarks, day-timers, calendars, and stickie notes. And still the old memory bank often comes up empty. But God remembers everything and wants us to remember some very important things, too.

Throughout the Scriptures, God did amazing and mighty works for His people. After destroying a sinful world in the Great Flood, He sent a rainbow and said, “I will remember my promise to you and to every being, that never again will the floods come and destroy all life” (Genesis 9:16-17). When the Israelites were groaning beneath slavery to the Egyptians, “He heard their cries from heaven, and remembered his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bring their descendants back into the land of Canaan.” When Rachel lamented her barrenness, “God remembered about Rachel’s plight, and answered her prayers by giving her a child” (Genesis 30:22).

But as years passed, there was always the danger that the next generation might forget His powerful works as well as His commandments. So He encouraged His people to remember them in unique ways. “Tie them to your hand to remind you to obey them, and tie them to your forehead between your eyes! Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are sitting at home, when you are out walking, at bedtime, and before breakfast! Write them upon the doors of your houses and upon your gates!” (Deuteronomy 11:18-20).

Most of His admonitions, which we call the Ten Commandments, begin with the word “remember,” as in “Remember the Sabbath as a holy day” and “Remember, you must not make or worship idols.”

And in many of our churches today, you might find a table with this simple word inscribed on its front panel: “Remember.” There the body and blood of our Lord are remembered as having been given for us on a cruel cross to save us from our sins.

Monday, let us remember those who fought and died for our country. As we gather around the pool and/or picnic table, let us take a moment to consider how much their sacrifice has purchased. Surely, there is no greater act than laying one’s life aside for the betterment and freedom of others, as our veterans have done.

But on Tuesday and every day thereafter, let us remember what Jesus said, did, and continues to do. Let us make every day a Memorial Day to Him. “Greater love has no one than this; to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). He considered you and me his friends. The very least we can do is to remember.

 

Faith Matters

Reflections And Renewal

By Mrs. Gail Landers, member of New Covenant United Church of Christ
United Churches of Lycoming County’s Christian Social Concerns Committee

Experts define pilgrimage as “a journey to a sacred place or shrine, a long journey or search.”

A decade ago, a long-awaited journey with my just-graduated seminarian and youngest daughter, now an ordained pastor with the United Church of Christ, welcomed the end of May. It was a retreat to the peace-filled Island of Iona with Oasis Ministries for Spiritual Development. Accessibility was limited via two ferries.

Our life journeys are always in progress, more than one big list. Being off the beaten path in the Sea of Hebrides, due West of Oban, Scotland and the Isle of Mull, sits the three and a half mile long and one mile wide Island of Iona.

It is just half the size of my first week-long island exploration off the coast of Boston: Thompson Island.

There is no need for cairns direction on this sacred ground, full of history. The mixing of Celtic Christianity and Pagan traditions blends from the founding by Saint Columba.

When people asked me what I did there, “Did you stay in a castle?”, I find it difficult to give an understandable answer. When you have your senses heightened through the beauty of nature, new bird songs and sightings, historical memories at your feet, fresh air and late night light; walk around sheep scat bedecked with flowers; view flowers growing through rocks-new life from the old past; freedom to walk off trail (with respect to closing any gates/styles) to roam the land of endless mounds of grass and stones, I had one of the simplest, healthiest, and rewarding pleasures of life: “the walk.”

Robert Reber, managing editor of Illinois Stewardship, refers to “the walk” as “one of life’s most intimate experiences with nature.”

When eyes and hearts are opened to the beauty of nature and our human connection to it, new awakenings occur. Sometimes this is referred to as an “ah ha” moment. The ability to connect is realized. Respect for the colorful embedded stones and labyrinth root the history of Iona, mirrored through the legacy of Columba.

Later this month, I will join another pilgrimage stateside, this time to the Southwest and the Ghost Ranch of New Mexico, two hours from Albuquerque. It was formerly the residence of artist Georgia O’Keefe and is now under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church. My sister will be joining me, along with a small group of other Oasis Ministry travelers.

Like the spiritual gifts of strengthening that the apostle Paul shared with the Romans, we will be hoping for what is not seen and waiting with patience and renewing of minds, “rejoicing in hope and persevering in prayers, extending hospitality to strangers and living peaceably with all” (Romans 12:12-13).

“Sometimes one must travel far to discover what is near” Uri Shulevits, The Treasure.

“Hold on to what is good, even if it is a handful of earth. Hold on to what you believe, even if it is a tree that stands by itself. Hold on to what you must do, even if it is a long way from here. Hold on to your life, even if it is easier to let go. Hold on to my hand, even if someday I will be gone away” Pueblo Prayer.