Presbytery Survey

Dear Fellow Presbytery of Genesee Valley Members,

Over the past several months, members of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley leadership have been meeting with leaders from our nearby and neighboring Presbyteries including Western NY, Geneva, Cayuga-Syracuse and Lake Erie. During this time, we have been sharing, dreaming, and sometimes grumbling about the many ways in which our churches and presbyteries have changed over the past several years.

This time has allowed us to see the many commonalities that we share at the Mid-Council level, as well as those shared from church to church. Each of our presbyteries individually as well as collectively is discerning how we can best serve our communities during this time and into the future. We have been gathering smaller groups of committee leaders from across these five presbyteries to collaborate on training, resources sharing and more. In order to engage our entire membership in this collaboration we need to gather some information. The survey (link below) has been designed by members of each presbytery for the purpose of getting information and perspective from across a broad range of our members. The same survey will be shared across these five presbyteries.

We strongly encourage as many people as possible to complete this survey. The survey is very comprehensive, at 37 questions long, so you should plan to set aside 20 minutes to complete it fully.  

To take your survey online, simply visit this web address: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5PresbyteriesSurvey using the web browser you currently prefer (Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge,  Safari, etc.)

We ask that each person take the survey for themselves. We want to hear each person’s unique perspective. If you have multiple survey takers in your household, please close your browser window after one person takes the survey and open an incognito or in-private window for the next person. This will avoid getting a message that the survey has already been completed.  

We want as many people from as many congregations to take this survey (not just one representative per congregation), so as an incentive, we are offering:

  • $250 toward a Session-designated ministry for the congregation with the most surveys returned
  • $150 toward a Session-designated ministry for second place
  • $100 toward a Session-designated ministry for third place

We thank you in advance for sharing your unique perspective with us.
Gratefully,
Lea Kone, PGV Moderator

Upcoming Book Study

Mark your calendars! We want to let you know about an upcoming book study opportunity. Clay Girouard will be leading a 6-week book study of “None Like Him” by Jen Wilkin. The study will be in-person at the church on Thursday evenings from 6:30-8pm, with an option to stay for a brief prayer time after. The study will begin on Thursday, May 5th and conclude on Thursday June 9th. The book can be purchased through multiple online sellers, please purchase your book prior to the first class. Please register by filling in this form or by contacting Courtney in the office at office@victorpres.org. Have questions? Contact Clay Girouard at 585-727-6848

From Pastor Nick: Easter Triduum

Greetings to you members and friends of First Presbyterian in Victor:

I recognize that this year’s Holy Week probably looks and feels a bit different than some of us may be used to.  Our Maundy Thursday dinner hosted by the Deacons is serving a dual role and purpose: first is to celebrate and come together as a community of faith given that it has been awhile since we have had a formal meal together, second is to join the Church universal in singing, praying, and learning again Jesus’ final command on Maundy Thursday to ‘love one another.’  Below is an excerpt from the Presbyterian Mission Agency on these three days we commemorate Jesus’ passion.  Following it is a suggestion for scripture reading and prayer as we immerse ourselves in the Easter Story wherever we may be.

“One of the first annual events of the Christian year, after the celebration of the resurrection on every Lord’s Day, was a commemoration of Christ’s dying and rising at Easter. Over the years, one day was split into three different rituals to remember the Last Supper and New Commandment (Maundy Thursday), the Crucifixion (Good Friday) and the struggle to make meaning of the cross in light of the whole of salvation history (the Great Vigil) — all culminating in Easter at day break.

What was originally one annual service remembering the Lord’s death and resurrection became split into separate services in order to pay closer attention to the significant details of Christ’s death and resurrection. These were considered to be part of one salvific activity of God and thus celebrated as such without a benediction until the end of the service with the Easter announcement that “Christ is risen!”

The Three Days or Triduum (Maundy Thursday at sundown through sundown of Easter) are the most solemn of the church year. The whole church’s participation is encouraged in this time of great significance for all who would be formed in the Christian faith, especially catechumens. The Great Vigil of Easter was the time set aside for the annual baptism of new Christians, coinciding with the eucharistic dawning of God’s reign in the risen Lord Jesus Christ.”

https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/three-days-or-triduum/

Consider reading any or all these stories: 

Matthew 26:26-27:61; Mark 14:32-15:47; Luke 22:47-23:56; John 18:1-19:30 

(*note: where John’s gospel says ‘Jews/Jewish Leaders’ the translation here is problematic and can be seen as antisemitic.  Please be sensitive with yourself and our Jewish brothers and sisters who do not—and whom we should not—identify with Jesus’ crucifixion.) 

As you read ask yourself these questions: 

  • Where is God?  
  • Where would I place myself in this story?  
  • What is being stirred within me (emotionally, spiritually, mentally)?  

Take time to pray, to ask God about the answers you had to these questions and share with others what you found most compelling.

As we prepare to celebrate together Easter morning, take comfort that even when we don’t get it, make mistakes (and we all do), and even when we “fall asleep;” God still loves us, forgives us, and promises us new life through Jesus Christ.

In love and service,

Pastor Nick

Family Promise News & Needs | April 2022

1. In 2021, Family Promise provided Emergency Shelter for 53 people, 4977 bednights, 14,931 meals, average length of stay 97 days, and prevented 102 families from becoming homeless with rental assistance.

2. Family Promise Day of Giving (online) is Thursday April 28, 2022, with all proceeds funding the HUMI Challenge Grant. HUMI is a nonprofit organization working with communities to fund and create programs to help families facing a housing crisis.

3. Bed Race: July 30th volunteer opportunities! Looking for couples volunteers to help organize and run the Bed Race in Canandaigua. Leadership will be provided to help set-up tables, display signs, log in race participants, and run the race. Also, looking for a team of 5 to run the race with a VFPC pre-made bed. Event runs that Saturday morning from approx. 8am-12pm.  See Rich Cromwell for details.

Elder & Deacon Openings

Dear FPCV Congregation,
 
This is a critical time for our church, with dear Pastor Nick being with us in an interim capacity, Covid leading to churches in general getting smaller in size (as families have taken on new family practices) , and most, if not all of us stressed in one capacity or another with the pressure that has only escalated with Covid.  We on the Nominating Committee have volunteered out of a desire to help our church continue in the wonderful capacity of Community and Worship that brought us all here in the first place. We can not begin to express how appreciative we will all be for anyone in the congregation who feels so called or is willing to help all of us  out over this next Session and Deacon period by Volunteering your involvement.
 
Along with Covid and the need for flexibility, there is now an option for meetings to be on-line or a combination of some people at church and others on-line. I know this has made it possible for me to serve, as my work hours make it hard to get down to church.  I don’t want this to sound like too desperate of a plea for help, but we will be very grateful to anyone willing to come aboard. There is a once a month meeting and then projects along the way- committee meetings vary in frequency, but there is no need to feel overcommitted. We can find a way to  make it work; no one needs more stress!
 
There are 6 openings for Deacons, and 5 or 6 openings on Session.
 
Please give prayer, consideration, and perspective to a way of serving as a Deacon or an Elder in a capacity that fits in with  busy schedules, yet keeps us a caring, loving, and supportive congregation. It would be great to hear back from those who can help us out by March 15. Our goal is to get everything wrapped up as soon as possible-ideally before Easter week (as some of us are traveling). Names will be presented at the meeting in early May. Please Contact Martí Mowers at 585-330-0472 to discuss possible interest.
 
Thanks very much, With Blessings and Appreciation,
Marti Mowers, Kelsey Bright, Ruth Dreste,  Clay Girouard , and Steve Mowers
FPCV Nomination Committee

Ash Wednesday Reflection

Ash Wednesday Reflection:

“…you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  -Genesis 3:19

“Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing.

Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…”  -Joel 2:12-13

       In one of my favorite devotionals for Ash Wednesday, the author offers up that perhaps the reminder of Genesis 3 is less about feeling small, shameful, or insignificant, and instead as a reminder that we belong to the earth.  Likewise, I love how the passage from Joel speaks of what we are to rend (rip, tear) and names that it is “our hearts not our clothing.”  I recall a time where Ash Wednesday felt like a day that I was supposed to feel wretched, terrible, good for nothing, and reduced to dust.  It was a time to become low, to repent, to feel extremely sorry and remorseful about sin and the ways I had offended God. 

Yet this devotional invited me to see the return to dust as an invitation to belong.  Added to that, the words from Joel to return to God further shifted my understanding.  It continues to both comfort and encourage me to go deeper, to rend my heart to God, and to recognize God’s attributes as being loving, gracious and merciful.  God is not angry, shameful, and is not calling us to rend our clothes or see ourselves as reduced to the dust we are made from.  The call to put on Ashes for Ash Wednesday can and should be about repentance, and yet sometimes our view of repentance (which comes from putting on sackcloth and ashes which have a mournful spirit to them) keeps us in a spiral of shame and self-loathing rather than move us to a place where we can actually turn back to God and live. 

        So I want to invite you in this time and space, wherever you might be, however you may view Ash Wednesday, to do 3 things:

1.) Read the passages above through the lens of God’s grace and mercy; as God desiring to make things right between us as creation and God as creator.  Consider that “being dust,” might not be a bad descriptor, but a reminder of our limitations, of our connectedness with the earth, and of our reliance on God.

2.) Rend your heart to God.  “…return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning…” In other words, let your heart break for the things you wish to change, should change, or will change about you in the coming weeks.  Consider what might help you and your relationship with God and with others. 

Perhaps if you haven’t fasted for Lent now is a time to consider doing so?  What would be beneficial to fast from? (Consider what thoughts, feelings, habits, or tangible items you have relied on and what might be keeping you from deeper relationships with God or other people? Coffee, chocolate, thinking you need to do everything, feeling angry or sad, feeling animosity towards others etc.)

3.) Come to church to receive the imposition of ashes on March 2 from 9-11am or 1:30-3:30 pm. If that doesn’t work, or you don’t have much desire to participate in that tradition, my invitation is to go connect with nature somehow. 

Play in the dirt (if it’s not frozen), or plant a seed like we did last year, maybe you sit and watch the birds for a while, or you could go for a brisk walk outside and bathe yourself in the nature around you.  Take in the sun if it is shining; after all it has been a long winter and the vitamins and warmth may just rejuvenate your soul.  Remember that you are dust, and feel connected to the world/universe around you.

       As we journey towards Jesus’ passion, and contemplate the events that led to his death and resurrection, we do so mindful that we are loved, forgiven, and invited to join in life giving practices.  We all probably know and remember John 3:16, but my favorite thing to remind people of, especially this time of year, is the verse that follows.  May it bring you comfort and serve as an assurance of God’s forgiveness for you:

“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” -John 3:17

Believe this good news and cherish the peace that comes with knowing you are God’s beloved.

In love and fellowship,

Pastor Nick

Mom Core

Calling all Moms!  Moms play many roles. They have to be experts in just about everything. It’s a lot of pressure.  Are you looking to connect with other moms going through the same season as you?  We are hosting a free 6-week Mom’s group video adventure that will inspire and encourage you as a mom.   This is a relaxed, no preparation opportunity to connect- you just come, watch the video, and discuss with fellow moms.  

Who:  Anyone who could use encouragement in their journey of motherhood

Where: First Presbyterian Church (white church with steeple).  90 Main Street, Victor.  In Person in sanctuary.  Option to have virtual participation as well.

When: 6 weeks on Mondays 6:30-7:30pm starting March 7 in the Activity Room at FPCV.

What: We will be doing Mom Core with Karen Stubbs from Birds on a Wire.

Weekly Topics include:

  • Purpose: Every mom needs purpose in their life.  Karen will answer the question of how we measure success as a mom.
  • Boundaries: Boundaries are needed in every aspect of our lives, with family, friends, in-laws, and even children.  Discover what boundaries are and why they are so important in the life of a mom.
  • Time Management: Every mom struggles to fit everything into their crazy, hectic schedule.  Practical tips will be shared and a new way to view your impossible task of time management.
  • Being a Student of Your Child:  In order to parent effectively you must KNOW your child and what makes them tick.  We will be diving down into personalities and the benefits of truly knowing and understanding your child.
  • Discipline:  Taking a step back and looking at the mind set of discipline and why it is so important in the life of a child.
  • Contentment:  We all struggle with being content and not playing the comparison game.  Learn how to find contentment in whatever season you are in as a mom.

How do I learn more and participate?  Contact/IM Cathy Martz (cemartz33@gmail.com) by March 1.  Let me know which day you would like to attend and if you may need childcare.  

About Birds on a Wire

Birds on a Wire is a ministry that provides Godly, practical advice so you’ll feel celebrated, encouraged and equipped to parent with confidence.

Karen Stubbs, a mother of four grown children, is an advocate for moms because she knows first-hand how difficult it is to raise children. What started as a group of eight moms meeting in Karen’s basement has grown into an international ministry with hundreds of moms all over the world. Birds on a Wire supports moms with events, Bible studies, books, a weekly email newsletter, and podcast.

Birds on a Wire is for all moms. Moms who work out of the house or in the house. Moms who have a newborn to moms who are empty nesters. No matter where you are in the journey of motherhood, Birds on a Wire is here to encourage and equip you.

PGV Congregational Learning Day 2022

Back to Basics

Saturday, March 5, 2022

via Zoom

**REGISTRATION DEADLINE: MONDAY, March 1, 2022**

The 2022 CLD focuses on elder/deacon training and leadership

development with two courses—see descriptions below:

▪ COURSE 1 – Called and Equipped: Training for Elders and Deacons

▪ COURSE 2 – Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory

Courses are designed for:

▪ new elders & deacons

▪ elders & deacons at large

▪ pastors

Courses are FREE—all are encouraged to attend!

Schedule of the day–

▪ 9–9:15 a.m. Welcome & instructions for COURSE 1

▪ 9:15–11:15 – COURSE 1 – Called and Equipped: Training for Elders & Deacons

▪ 11:30 – 12 noon Worship – for registrants attending one or both courses

▪ 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. – COURSE 2 – Canoeing the Mountains: Christian

Leadership in Uncharted Territory

Register HERE

9:15–11:15 COURSE 1

Called and Equipped: Training for Elders & Deacons

Rev. Aaron Neff and Rev. Erin Jacobson, First Presbyterian Church of Pittsford

Join in this interactive seminar to gain practical leadership tools, hone your skills for the ministry to which you have been called, and discover how discernment lies at the heart of Presbyterian leadership. A portion of the course will be spent in groups of elders and deacons focusing on the unique parts of each ministry. New and returning elders and deacons will leave feeling equipped and inspired.

11:30 – 12 noon Worship

Led by the Harvest Neighborhood of Presbyterian Churches and our ecumenical friend, Albion First Baptist Church. Also featuring specially created music by Laurence Tallman, music director at Byron Presbyterian Church.

12:00 – 1:30 p.m. COURSE 2

Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory Elder Susan Orr, Transitional Leader/Stated Clerk, Presbytery of Genesee Valley Although explorers Lewis and Clark were prepared to find a waterway to the Pacific Ocean, instead they found themselves facing the Rocky Mountains. You too may feel that you are leading in a context you were not expecting. If you’re going to scale the mountains of ministry, you need to leave behind the canoe and find new navigational tools. Author Tod Bolsinger brings decades of expertise in guiding churches through uncharted territory to help you reimagine what effective leadership looks like in our rapidly changing world. This course is a broad overview of Bolsinger’s book of the same title and serves as an introduction to a six-part series being offeredPresbytery-wide by Zoom on Wednesday evenings April 20 – May 25.


Lent Book Study Options

As we prepare for the Lenten season: would you like to find a fresh perspective this Lent?  One that allows you to reflect and connect in a new way? Pastor Nick has provided three options for a book study, that would run 6-8 weeks beginning the first week in Lent, the week of 3/6/2022. Below you will find a synopsis of each book for you to consider. Please fill out this form with your preferences of book and days and times that would work best for you: https://forms.gle/d1zsH7KfCY8VaA6w7

Pastor Nick is always willing to lead a weekly Bible Study on a book of the bible.  For Lent if this is something you prefer, please indicate on the form above which Gospel you are most intrigued with to study beginning in Lent (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

From Amazon.com: “Jesus’ final days were full of risk. Every move he made was filled with anticipation, danger, and the potential for great loss or great reward.

Jesus risked his reputation when he entered Jerusalem in a victory parade. He risked his life when he dared to teach in the Temple. His followers risked everything when they left behind their homes, or anointed him with costly perfume. We take risks as we read and re-read these stories, finding new meanings and new challenges.

In Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week, author, professor, and biblical scholar Amy-Jill Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the Passion story. She shows us how the text raises ethical and spiritual questions for the reader, and how we all face risk in our Christian experience.”

From Amazon.com:
“In this devotion for the season of Lent, Jill J. Duffield draws readers’ attention to ten ordinary objects that Jesus would have encountered on his way to Jerusalem: dust, bread, the cross, coins, shoes, oil, coats, towels, thorns, and stones. In each object, readers will find meaning in the biblical account of Jesus’ final days. Each week, readers encounter a new object to consider through Scripture, prayer, and reflection. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, Lent in Plain Sight reminds Christians to open ourselves to the kingdom of God”

From Amazon.com:

Pete and Geri Scazzero developed the Emotionally Healthy (EH) Relationships Course over a 21-year period to directly address core biblical principles to guide you and others into an experience of discipleship that will deeply change your life. In the EH Relationships Course, everyone will learn 8 practical relationship skills to develop mature, loving relationships with others such as: 

  • Stop Mind Reading and Clarify Expectations 
  • Incarnational Listening 
  • Climb the Ladder of Integrity 
  • Clean Fighting 

And since loving others and loving God cannot be separated, each person will also grow in their personal, first-hand relationship with Jesus by incorporating stillness, silence, and Scripture as daily life rhythms.”

Per Capita Sunday, January 23rd

Per Capita:

“What in the world is it and what does it do!?”

Most people are familiar with denominations like ours (PCUSA) having operating expenses and as such requesting churches in the denomination to contribute to help with those costs.  For many in other denominations this may have been called: assessments, dues, or apportionments.  In the PCUSA it is called per capita.  It originates from the Latin, “each person (literally ‘each head’).”  Yet, I want to caution us regarding this myopic understanding of what Per Capita actually is and does.  Yes, it covers expenses, but it also names our commitment to each other and our desire for the work of the church to continue.  This week’s Sermon will be about the many gifts of the body of Christ and how we all rely on each other from 1 Corinthians 12:1-11.  In many ways we cannot be the Presbyterian church in Victor without the PCUSA and our Presbytery’s help and resources. We cannot be the Church of Jesus Christ without everyone’s gifts and resources being shared for the greater good.  We rely on each other in mutual love and respect, not a sense of unhealthy co-dependency.

Here is where your money goes when we pay for our Per Capita.  (This is taken directly from the PCUSA website): 

Per Capita giving makes it possible for:

  • Presbyterians to discern and live out God’s call in their lives
  • Churches to connect with individuals seeking a call to ministry
  • Staff support for General Assembly committees and commissions
  • Management and coordination of General Assembly gatherings
  • Presbytery and synod leaders to gather for training and discernment
  • Counsel and support for churches in crisis (misconduct, legal matters)
  • Presbyteries to address matters of inclusion, participation, and representation at all levels of church leadership and decision-making
  • The denomination to build connections with ecumenical partners around the world
  • Presbyteries and pastors to receive support on immigration issues
  • Presbyterian history to be cataloged, preserved, and utilized by future generations

Please consider making an additional gift with “Per Capita” in the memo line ($35.58 per member).  Our offering this Sunday January 23 is a special Sunday for us to consider giving to Per Capita specifically.  Let us show forth that we appreciate and are committed to this work with our Presbytery, our denomination, and with one another.

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