From the Pastor's Desk - Snow Edition!
Dear Friends in Christ, I hope this finds you safe and staying warm in the midst of all the snow we received overnight! Just a few reminders to pass along regarding schedule changes for the upcoming week: + Our Worship and Planning Meeting (scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 18) has been moved to Saturday morning, Jan. 22 at 10am at Newry, because of the amount of snow that will likely still be in the parking lot tomorrow evening. A huge THANK YOU to Jeff Lingenfelter for clearing off the walks at Newry today in preparation for meetings at the church this week! + Bible Study will be held at 11am this coming Thursday, Jan. 20 (instead of 10am) because of a pastors’ ministerium meeting with Bishop Paula. + Geeseytown Council Meeting will be held Wednesday evening, Jan. 19, at 6:30pm. + And speaking of weather – in the event that we need to cancel worship or our weekly activities because of inclement weather, we will post the closing/delay on the church website, Facebook page, email, and have it listed on WeAreCentralPA.com. If you don’t have access to these sources, please let me know and we will make sure you receive a call or a text. + The snowy weather is also a great time to start thinking about Snow Camp! Camp Sequanota is sponsoring an overnight camp Feb. 25 and 26 for youth in grades 6 through 12. The event will include music, fellowship, food, crafts, fun, and – of course! – sledding. Funds are available to help offset the cost of attendance if needed; registration is open from now until Feb. 13. If you have a youth who may be interested in going or would like more info, please let me know. More info is available on the Sequanota website at https://sequanota.com/events/descriptions/ + Our parish's Women of the ELCA organization is sponsoring a service project to collect toiletry items for Blair County Community Action Agency’s Homeless Backpack Program. Items and monetary donations will be collected until the end of February; items needed include small-size soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, comb, tissues, deodorant, and other travel-size toiletry items. Donations will be used to purchase gift cards for convenience and grocery stores to place in the backpacks. A collection box is located inside the front door of Newry. + Geeseytown is again collecting (for the 18th year!) canned goods and non-perishable food items (such as pasta, noodles, peanut butter, and rice) for the Souper Bowl of Caring, along with cash donations to purchase food. All items donated will be given to local food banks and may be placed on the “uncounted items” table in the Fellowship Hall at Geeseytown. Thanks for your support of those in need in our community! + This past Sunday, new members were installed for Geeseytown Church Council; congratulations to Scott Lantz, Trina Saylor, Beth Williams, and Jenny Wray. A big THANK YOU to Linda Adams, Heidi Bardelang, Sue Barkman, Lisa Filler, and Larry Moore for your service on Council during the last term! + Background checks for volunteers are good for five years; if you are a volunteer within the church (and especially if you have any capacity in working with children or youth), please check to see if it is time to renew yours. Background checks can be completed at no charge to volunteers at the following sites: - PA State Police Criminal History Record (SP164): https://epatch.state.pa.us - Child Abuse History Clearance through the Department of Human Services: https://www.dhs.pa.gov/KeepKidsSafe/Clearances/Pages/PA-Child-Abuse-History-Clearance.aspx + Although it’s still a few months away, the Allegheny Synod’s annual assembly meeting is scheduled for Saturday, June 11 and will be online again this year. Each congregation typically sends two delegates; if you are interested in serving or would like to know more information, please let me know. If you like, we can gather at one congregation and watch the meeting on my laptop and have lunch together. + Last but not least – I personally know way too many people who have contracted Covid over the past few weeks, and you likely do, too. As the numbers keep increasing in our County and hospitals are overwhelmed, I’m asking you to care for one another as Christ calls us to do by wearing a mask in worship and indoor spaces, practicing safe distancing, sanitizing areas that you use, and getting vaccinated/boosted if you are able to do so. Yes, all of us wish that the pandemic would just go away, but it also takes all of us to do our part to protect one another. + Remember that small signs of Jesus at work appear all around us. As we heard yesterday in worship, just like the miracle he performed in Cana, they happen whether or not we acknowledge them and they benefit us even when we might not notice them. Yet it’s a joy to witness these signs and give thanks to the One to whom they point. Hope you have a wonderful week filled with Christ’s love.