Pastor B.J.’s Update

May 12, 2022

Hi everyone:

We are coming up on Graduation Season. Some of the area Universities and Colleges have already had graduation and SU’s is this Sunday. Graduation has always struck me as one of those nexus points in life. We were invested in learning and getting credentialed and now, we walk across the stage, receive rolled up document, and the next chapter in life begins. Suddenly we are learning to adult. Pray for those who are now in transition and beginning to make their way in the world.

I don’t have any graduations listed for Erwin First folks, but something else comes with graduation season and that is AWARD and Recognition season. One of our families was honored by the SUNY system at the ESF graduation ceremony last Sunday (May 8). Information follows: 

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the most distinguished institution in the nation that focuses on the study of the environment, is pleased to announce Dr. Douglas Johnston, chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture, has been named a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor. This is the highest academic rank in the SUNY system that honors a faculty member’s extraordinary community service.

“We commend Dr. Johnston for his ongoing commitment to community service and elevating the standards of instruction at ESF,” said President Joanie Mahoney. 

Johnston has served as department chair since 2013. During his tenure, he has helped secure resources and support for the department’s students and faculty, including funding for new digital fabrication and landscape visualization labs, bringing four new tenure-track faculty into the department, guiding the department through a complete building renovation, and supporting students and faculty throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rest of the announcement can be found at this link:

Congratulations Doug, a nice send off into your retirement!

Here is what is happening at Erwin First: 

This Sunday we are looking at Acts 11:1-18. The passage is Peter’s report to the Jerusalem Council about God’s inclusive intentions with the human race. God loves the world – all of it. God loves all humans – no exceptions. When we figure out that God expects us to act accordingly . . . we might just become what Jesus intended. All too often churches have devolved into “members only blessing clubs” instead of living out the mission Jesus left us.

Here are the links to this week’s worship:

There is a Westcott St. clean up planned for May 21st for Earth day.

Here is link with information: Anyone want to be a part of an ERWIN FIRST team to help with the clean up?

MORE Neighborhood news and events:

The Westcott Community center needs a volunteer driver. Here is link to further information:


The Westcott Art Trail is June 18. Erwin First has offered to be a “Bathroom Stop” along the trail. We will need some volunteers to monitor and give directions on that Day. Can you help? Contact the church office. Here is a link to the Art Trail information:

CHOIR REHEARSAL Choir reminder
Rehearsal is after our worship service this Sunday and we’ll sing next Sunday (May 22).  It’s not too late to join in.  Contact Pastor Karen at to get the music and a link to a recording.

HOLY LAND 2023 (February 14-24).
A final HOLY LAND INFORMATION meeting will be held on Thursday, May 2 at 6:00 at Bellevue Heights. You can still save $100 if you register by May 14 (it becomes $75 until June 14). An extension to visit Petra and Jordan is also offered.

Brochures are available in the church office or online at the below link:

In our Prayers: is the link to our weekly ZOOM city wide prayer gathering. We meet EVERY Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. and everyone and anyone is welcome!

In our Prayers: Sarah (from Brown Memorial) and family on the death of Sarah’s grandmother; Jennifer’s family in Washington State; Allison is amid pretesting for treatment options; Sandy from Cincinnati; The Millers; people in transition; Graduates from our area colleges and universities; all who are struggling, all who are weary, the people of the Ukraine and a Just end to the war.

SUMM (Syracuse United Methodist Ministries) News
Pastor Jee Hae’s appointment has been changed from Full Time to ¾ time effective July 1, 2022. She will continue her work as part of the city team and as pastor at St. Paul’s UMC, but Hope Korean Church will be closing the end of May 2022. A time to celebrate the ministry of Hope Korean will be scheduled at a later date. Also, Pastor Jee Hae will be joining her husband, Pastor Se Gye, at the parsonage in Jordan, New York where he has been appointed full time beginning July 1.

Coming Soon:
May 16-19 – Pastor BJ on Retreat with his Covenant Group
June 2 – Holy Land Tour Information Meeting 6:00 at Bellevue Heights and via Zoom
June 20 – July 12: Pastors BJ and Karen will be on vacation (we are going to Newfoundland). Guest Preachers:
June 26 – Mr. Quincy
July 3 – Rev. Dr. Beth
July 10 – Rev. David
Mr. Phil of Baldwinsville will be our guest musician June 27, July 3, 10 and 17.

Parting Thought 
I’m taking a “retreat” next week (Monday through Thursday) with my covenant brothers to Camp Aldersgate. 18 years ago, when we made our covenant together, we made a commitment to spending 30 minutes a day in prayer and study; 1 day a month together; and, one week a year on retreat together. Four days, next week, is as close as we’ll get to a week, this year, but it’ll have to do.

We will spend some time in conversation, in prayer, and looking for ways to encourage and support one another.  We’ll sneak in a round (or two) of golf (there is a course conveniently located next to Camp Aldersgate) and generally detach and rest. Over the past two years we have not been able to take this time due to the pandemic, so it will be good to spend some extended time together.

Jesus took time alone. Jesus took time with his inner circle. It is important to renew the soul and strengthen our community ties on a regular basis. What are you planning for the care and feeding of your spiritual life over the next few months?

I’ll see you when the community gathers,
BJ Norrix, lead servant, retreater, missionary

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