MAY 2019 EDITION
First United Methodist Church
8210 Buffalo Avenue
Niagara Falls, New York 14304
Celebrating 164 Years in Ministry
1855 – 2019
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 10:00 AM
A Blended Service of Traditional & Contemporary Styles
Holy Communion served
Lori Gondek – CLM
Pastor Sherry Mahar
Pastor Lisa Taylor
Senior Pastor Thomas Kraft
Church Office - 283-3370
Our Sister Church - Pendleton Center UMC Office- 625-8306
From: PASTOR TOM KRAFT
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6
I watched the great cathedral as it burned in Paris. People understandably wept. The destruction of a national, and even inter-national architectural treasure that some 13 million people visited every year. Then someone mentioned it was a church. They also mentioned it needed $42 million dollars in repairs and was held together by bands and old, dried out wood. There is an organization in the USA that has been working on raising the $42 million. Then it dawned on me: if each of the 13 million visitors a year gave $3 when they visited, they would have already raised all the money they needed. Oh, and they also mentioned, not many people in Paris went to church anymore…
It took a lot of years of neglect for Notre Dame to get in the condition that allowed this fire. Slowly, ever so slowly, the symbol of faith become a national monument, and then a museum, then a tourist attraction that wasn’t worth $3 to visit…
Jesus’ words are so clear. Where do we store our treasure? Where do we put our time? And what will it matter at the end of our journey? Eternity is the goal of life. Everything else becomes nothing in comparison. Even a great cathedral, even our wonderful church building, even what we spend most of our time building. Paul tells us, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
I am sad the great cathedral burned. I am even sadder that faith in God, and support for his house had diminished to a value of less than a onetime gift of $3. I am encouraged to know this tragedy has led to gifts of over a billion dollars to rebuild the cathedral. I pray it also turns the hearts of Paris, and the world to the real treasure, our faith in Christ. Which calls us to hold on to Christ, care for others, and live our lives building treasure in eternity where moths, thieves, vermin and even fire cannot destroy what we are building.
From: LORI Gondek, CLM
May brings so many wonderful opportunities to see the growth of flowers, buds on trees, and animals frolicking in the fields. People are walking outside, doing all kinds of outdoor events. It almost feels like you are free, after being locked up in the indoors for 5 to 6 months. Fresh air, open windows hearing the birds, and now comes spring cleaning. Somehow, I don’t mind all the work this entails, because the final product is the enjoyment of Summer. There is something about a new start having a new beginning on life. We all need to be reminded of all the Rich Promises of God.
In the chapter of Ruth in the Bible there was a woman of Moab named Naomi that needed that reminding. Naomi could not see past her suffering. Like many of us, she may have felt as though her tragedies were punishment for her sins. Yet had she known the blessings in store, (that summer was coming) she might not have felt so hopeless. Though she didn't know it, the scent of Summer was in the air. Naomi's life was beginning again, her story still unfolding.
Her husband and sons were killed, she was left alone with daughter-in-laws. God's faithfulness to restore to fullness an empty life is revealed more in this story of Naomi than in any other biblical account. The famine and hunger that drove Naomi and her husband and sons away from Bethlehem are finally replaced with full harvests and bread baked from grain gleaned in the fields. The anguish of losing her husband and sons is replaced with the loving care and concern of her daughter-in-law Ruth, who is "better to [Naomi] than seven sons" (Ruth 4:15). And Naomi's empty mother-arms are filled with the son of Boaz and Ruth. Like Naomi, we may have trouble recognizing God's goodness and his faithfulness at times. But he is still with us no matter the circumstances.
Lori Gondek, CLM
Worship Committee News
It is our hope and prayer that you will join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:00 am because…
May the blessings God gives us each day…
Be the blessings you need most!
Thank you all who ordered our Easter flowers this year which always brightens up the sanctuary and makes it smell wonderful too! We made a profit of $19.00 which was given to the general fund.
Thanks to all who signed up for the Easter vigil. Whether you were here for an hour or just a few minutes, it is our prayer that God touched you in some small way for your participation.
Bless those involved in the Easter egg hunt here at First Church. It is always a huge success and also a sincere thanks to all of those who brought in candy and prizes for the children this year.
Our annual Hymn Sing will take place on Sunday, June 9th during worship. There will be ballots to vote for your favorites starting April 28th and you can vote through Sunday, May 26th. We will be singing the top 10 vote getters so vote early and often.
The Worship Committee
Easter for Christians is not just one day, but rather a 50-day period. The season of Easter, or Eastertide, begins at sunset on the eve of Easter and ends on Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church (see Acts 2).
Easter is also more than just an extended celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. In the early church, Lent was a season for new converts to learn about the faith and prepare for baptism on Easter Sunday. The initial purpose of the 50-day Easter season was to continue the faith formation of new Christians.
Today, this extended season gives us time to rejoice and experience what it means when we say Christ is risen. It’s the season when we remember our baptisms and how through this sacrament we are, according to the liturgy, “incorporated into Christ’s mighty acts of salvation.” As “Easter people,” we also celebrate and ponder the birth of the Church and gifts of the Spirit (Pentecost), and how we are to live as faithful disciples of Christ.
Planning began in 1990 for the 135th anniversary of the church. While the actual celebration was held in October, a great deal of planning preceded the event. The celebration was referred to as the “Homecoming”. The “Homecoming” was held at the Elks Club on 3rd Avenue. A family style dinner was served. A worship service was conducted by Rev. John Beeson, the Buffalo District Superintendent. Former pastors were invited to the dinner. A special historical display was prepared. Music was offered by the choir. A special presentation for the children was given by the clown ministry.
A special quilt was assembled for the occasion. It was hung alongside our older quilt, made to raise funds for the present church back in 1916. This newer quilt contains the names of families who contributed to the “Homecoming” expenses.
Prior to the celebration, the trustees and helpers did a good deal of work. In 1989 the Social Hall was rededicated after major renovations. Air conditioning/Heating were added to the church. New hymnals were purchased through donations. In 1990 insulation in the church building was installed. Marv Stiver, who was the head of the trustees, was inspired to write a letter to the congregation publicly thanking all those who had given so much of their time to the hard work of remodeling. Those thanked were Dave Fleming, Doug Crocker, Dick Lacey, Mark Cramer, Curtis Aubrey, June Jordan, Ken Stoneback, Charlotte Allen, Harry Kester, Jim Spafford, Ray Hilts, Marjorie Hilts, Jack Mercer, Mr. & Mrs. J. Blaine, Frances Schmeck, Bea McMullen, and Mr. & Mrs. Ralph Hepburn.
All in October 1990: Bahama Dick (Lacey) reported that the fall rummage sale netted $1,294.41. The Sunday School held a bake sale on the first Sunday of each month. The Chowder Sale was headed by Margaret Seip. The Adult Drop-In was having a Halloween potluck. Costumes were optional. However, prizes for best costume were given out.
(From FUMC archives)