From Pastor Nick: Weekly thoughts on Worship, Faith, and Life

“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”     –Matthew 5:13-16

This past Sunday we were given an overview of what it means to be Vital through this scripture and how to be that salt and light.  Jesus—we said—has declared these statements as indicative, as a given, as part of who we are as followers of God by God’s doing.  We said that if we are followers of Jesus, we will be salt and light, and that means there is a noticeable difference about us just as salt and light are noticeable when present.  

I reintroduced the Vital Congregations Initiative (VCI) and how we as a church need guidance and direction for our future.  We looked back to the most recent sermon series “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask,” at the questions of “what do you need,” and “where do we go from here?” and said that we need to ask ourselves as the gathered people of First Presbyterian Church of Victor to answer these.  Recall how sometimes the answer to “what do you need?” is a more existential answer about life’s meaning, purpose, and direction.  I mentioned the life force, or what gives us vitality for our own lives, and how that is often multi-faceted. Further we compared that to why we exist as the Church universal, as well as why we exist as the gathered people of FPC Victor.  

VCI will be a journey into those questions.  It is about honest assessment of our strengths as a community and where we need to grow and transform into a more vital congregation.  It will mean asking others what is noticeable about us as a church and coming to terms with any ways we have lost our “saltiness.” Today I want to invite you to do two things: First, is an invitation from me to you to participate as fully as you can in the work we will be doing because in many ways this is the work I was asked to do as Interim Pastor and I need all of your help to do this. Second, please read through these lists to learn about what VCI is and what it is not according to the people who put it together.  

What this is:

The hope is this is the beginning of intentional, authentic relationships between the

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Mission Agency and mid council leaders and pastors to:

• Come together as the people of God

• Pray: re-turn to faithfulness in God

• Inspire openness to the Holy Spirit’s transformation/change

• Honestly assess, discern and act

• Resource, equip and support leaders and pastors

• Practice missional evangelism and faithful discipleship

• Equip vital congregations and develop a praxis of sustainability and ongoing assessment

• Capture congregational stories and develop new measurements of vitality

What this is NOT: 

• A universal program instructing churches and assuring vitality and sustainable life

• Another plan that promises an immediate fix

• A guarantee of revitalization for every congregation

• An attempt for the PC(USA) to tell churches what to do

• An institutional survival guide for membership, numbers and buildings

• An encouragement to tweak, yet remain the same

• A return to glory days gone by, nor a guidebook on calling the young pastor

I love the honesty named in this second list in that it names there are no promises that this will mean vitality, nor is it an attempt to be told what to do, and it especially is not about tweaking some things and remaining the same.  No matter what it is or is not, I believe we will grow.  I believe we will learn, and further I believe we will gain perspective on where we are going and who we are called to be.

Pastor Nick      

Open Church Job Positions

The church is looking to fill two open positions: Choir Director and Nursery Attendant (18+). If you know of someone who may be interested or if you are interested in either position, please reach out to Pastor Nick for additional information. We appreciate any referrals from members of the church! Click on the link below for the job descriptions:

Music Director

Nursery Attendant

“I’ve Been Meaning to Ask…” Study

If you are wondering how you can gain more confidence, be more respectful, and grow in listening to and loving others then this study is for you.  Our sermon and worship series “I’ve Been Meaning to Ask…” has a study element that goes along with it.  Topics include the concept of place and culture, what pain we carry, what most we need, and how we continue to venture through life’s ups and downs.

Here is what to expect: video vignettes from the contributors of the study which go in depth to the questions asked each week, commentary and engagement with scripture, full print artwork to interact with, intimate conversation with others, and personal growth in practicing attentive listening as we answer some of the deep questions offered with the study.  I am eager to dive in with you all to this work, and if you are at all apprehensive take comfort in knowing that anything you want to share you can, and anything you don’t want to share will be respected.  This is truly a study where we all will get out of it what we put in, and I believe it will foster greater trust for all of us.
This is a 4-week study and will follow the sermon series. Pastor Nick will lead the discussions in-person on Thursday nights at 7pm and Sundays after church service and coffee hour. Please feel free to join on either day that is convenient to your schedule.

Dates:

Week 1: September 16, 19 (Where are you from?)

Week 2: September 23, 26 (Where does it hurt?)

Week 3: September 30, October 3 (What do you need?)

Week 4: October 7, 10 (Where do we go from here?)

Peace to you all,

Pastor Nick

Presbytery Fall Family Outing at Stokoe Farms

You and your family are invited to: 

A day of fun, food, and fellowship at Stokoe Farms Pumpkin Patch and Harvest Fest on Saturday, September 25.

Many of us are missing the fellowship of in-person meetings so the PGV Healthier Congregations Team has organized this gathering for presbyters and their families focusing on fellowship, mission and fun. 

Thanks to the generosity of the Stokoe family you can access the grounds and activities without charge anytime from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Be sure to join in the worship service at 11:30 and sandwich buffet meal at 12:15.

This day is open to all Presbytery members and their families. Come for lunch or just for fun but reservations are required for everyone attending. 

Get more details and make your reservations here

Community Dinners are back!

Community Dinners will begin again at church and be held on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Saturdays of the month from 5-6:30 pm starting September 11th! Take-out meals will be available for people who call the church at 585-924-2289, during the Community Dinner time. Dinners will be brought out to your car.

*Please note that per CDC and NYS guidelines, vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks, but if you are unvaccinated we ask you to wear a mask until seated at a table with your dinner. If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please call and we will bring a dinner out to your car. Thank you for your understanding!

Menus for September dinners:

Sept 11th- Macaroni and cheese (Girls Scouts host)

Sept 18th- Chili (St. Patrick’s hosts)

Sept 25th- TBD (Deacons are hosting)

Volunteers Needed!

Would you like to volunteer to help with our Community Dinners? We are looking for (7) volunteers for October 9th and October 23rd, from 3:30-7:30pm. Please follow the link here to sign up! Thank you for your generous support with your time.

Sunday School kick-off with Pancake Breakfast!

Sunday School News 

Welcome back to Sunday school! This year we will have 2 classes;  PreK-2, and 3-5. All classes will be using the Whirl curriculum. All classes will be held at our church, during service. Masks will be required for Sunday school attendance this Fall. 

Date Lesson
September 5th Labor Day weekend NO Sunday School
September 12th What I Did This Summer
September 19th The Unforgiving Servant
September 27th First and Last in the Vineyard

• September 5th– No Sunday School 

• September 6th– Labor Day 

• September 12th– Sunday School Kick Off

Pancake Breakfast

Please join us on Sunday, September 12th at 9am, for Sunday School Kick-off with a pancake breakfast hosted by your Deacons!

To Welcome the Stranger

“To welcome the stranger” is right in line with our values as a Matthew 25 Presbytery and so we are forwarding the opportunity described in the following message for your consideration:

Hello Friends,

Many of you have been asking us: “What can we do to help those who helped our troops, those in crisis, who are trying to flee Afghanistan?” At Catholic Family Center, we provided services to over 22,500 people in 2020. Our mission is to partner with people – especially the vulnerable and those facing poverty – to help them achieve their full human potential. We respect all people based on our belief in the inherent human dignity and worth of clients, colleagues, and community members. We offer hope to everyone regardless of race, religion, sex, age, range of ability, or culture.

CFC and our partners are ready to welcome those Afghan interpreters and others who provided support to the U.S. Armed Forces or at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, as part of the US State Department Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program. Rochester is one of 25 cities in the US to welcome families in this situation, and many of them are grateful to now call Rochester their new home. We are asking for your help as we welcome these families that are facing such loss. We are in desperate need of essentials to help these families get settled here in their new home.  The good news is, there are several ways you can help, including the simple act of checking in on your Afghan neighbors to offer your support, and to keep all affected by this situation in your hearts, and in your prayers.

Donate Items: we are seeking donations of NEW:
• Cleaning sprays/disinfectant wipes
• Laundry Detergents
• Paper towels
• Toilet paper
• Hand soap
• Dish soap
• Baby Diapers of any size
• Baby wipes
• Sponges
• Garbage bags
• Body wash 
• Toothbrushes and toothpaste
• Pillows
• Basmati Rice
• Gift Cards to Price Rite

Donations of new or very gently used items:
*Our guidance for donated used items is “if it is to your standard that you would give it to a friend or family member, isn’t ripped, stained, or fraying, we would be happy to take them.”
• Boxed fans or table fans
• Plates, bowls, cups
• Blankets
• Bedding (pillow cases, fitted and regular sheets-twin, double or queen only)
• Small garbage cans
• Good quality pots & pans
• Hand & bath towels

Please note: we are unable to accept used donations of the following:
• Clothes
• Furniture (Please contact Saint’s Place in Pittsford. We partner with Saint’s Place to provide home furnishings for our Refugee families)

Where to drop off your itemsAll donations can be dropped off to 87 N. Clinton Avenue, Monday-Friday 9am-4:30pm. Our entrance is on Pleasant Street, where you are able to park in the designated parking zone. Upon entering, please let the front desk staff know that you are donating items for Ally Ewing. 

Or, you can donate items via our Amazon WishList!
If you want to support CFC but aren’t able to drop items off, please click HERE to shop our Amazon Wish List. Once you have all items you want to donate in your cart, please select the below shipping address, and all items will come directly to our office so we can deliver to clients.

Your Direct Gift of Support (money)
If you would like to make a monetary donation, please visit HelpCFC.com. There is an option to choose a program “I’m most interested in,” where you will find the option, Refugee Resettlement & Immigration Programs, that will direct your donation specifically towards this effort. Or, you may send your donation to CFC: Catholic Family Center, Attn: Fund Development, 87 North Clinton Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604

Other Fundraising Options
Please see this resource document to learn other ways to support Catholic Family Center year-round. This Fundraising Catalog is a wonderful resource for groups, clubs, teams, offices, or seniors who need to complete a capstone project! Learn more about Refugee Resettlement in RochesterCFC is proud to play a part in helping refugees pursue their dreams. Our Refugee Resettlement programs offer a broad set of services that help refugees make the most of the fresh opportunities available to them in the Rochester community who for more than 100 years have welcomed them with open arms.

Thank you so much for taking the time to learn how you can support our efforts. If you have any questions, please contact Ally Ewing at aewing@cfcrochester.org.  We appreciate your generosity as we support families arriving in Rochester! In gratitude,
Lisa HoytDirector, Refugee and Immigration Services

Family Promise September News

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Weekly thoughts on Worship, Faith, and Life, Vol. 1: week 4, Guest Alfred Appiah

Greeting’s members of the FPCV!

God is good. I am glad to report that I arrived safely at the Columbia Theological Seminary last two weeks. The delta variant of the virus (Covid 19) is spreading very fast across Georgia and its environment. So, I have been spending my days indoors, reading, and preparing for class. I want to thank you all for your prayers and support for my family. 

Today, I would like to share my perspective on the good Samaritan parable. I am currently studying Luke 10:25-37. I call this text the mission of the Church. The parable is very popular that we usually miss some of the critical details that drive it. We have always told the parable from the Samaritan’s perspective and condemn the acts of those who paid no attention to the wounded and beaten man left in his own pool of blood. Indeed, whenever pastors preach this story, they encourage us to take the position of the good Samaritan, to be the hero of our family, Church, and society. But the Samaritan in this parable was the hero because he first felt the pains of this unknown and wounded man lying on the roadside. The Samaritan offered help to the injured man because he asked the question “what if I was the one lying in this pool of blood,” “what if I was the one beaten and robbed,” “it was no fault of this person to have suffered this on the hands of the robbers, he does not deserve this, I must help him.” He offered him help because he felt his pain and put himself in his shoes. That was not the case for the Priest and the Levite. These two people walked away selfishly without thinking about the pains of the wounded man. Probably, they might have said in their mind, “this man was beaten because of his bad deeds.” They did not offer any help because they judged him instead of feeling compassion for him.

As a church, we can only offer help and support to the wounded world only when we feel the pains of the marginalized. When we put ourselves in the shoes of others, we will be moved with compassion and love. We cannot be the good Samaritan when the pain of others is not our pain. We cannot love our neighbors when we judge them. The Church’s mission is to love and care for all, but that can be done when we pay attention to other’s needs, know their struggle, and understand that their pain is ours. So, I took the vaccine not because I want to protect myself but also to protect my neighbors and loved ones. This is what we have been called to do, love and care for others as Christ did for us on the Cross.

Alfred Appiah

Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard Updates

Last year the VFFC was proud to provide 600 Thanksgiving Baskets through the support of the local Victor, Farmington and Canandaigua Communities. The past two years have brought on new challenges and obstacles for every one of us. Please read more of this letter from the food cupboard about changes this year and how you can help here!

The Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard is also in need of volunteers! These positions and their required skills can be found here.

Thank you for your continued generosity and support!

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