Pastor’s Update

April 18, 2024

‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
Maya Angelou

Friends,

What an incredible experience, on Monday, witnessing the Total Solar Eclipse. As Christians, we often see special meaning in the amazing events of nature, like a solar eclipse. We believe they show us something about God and God’s power over creation. The occurrence of a total solar eclipse presents us with such an opportunity for reflection and contemplation.

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking the face of the sun. This experience can serve as a profound metaphor for the moments in our lives when we experience darkness or uncertainty. Just as the sun is temporarily hidden from view during an eclipse, we may feel as though God’s presence is obscured during times of hardship, doubt, or confusion.

However, even during darkness, there is hope. Just as the sun continues to shine behind the moon during an eclipse, God’s light continues to shine in our lives, even when we cannot see it. The psalmist declares, “Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:12, NIV). This reassures us that God is always present, even when we cannot perceive God.

Moreover, the total solar eclipse reminds us of the cyclical nature of life. The darkness of the eclipse is temporary, giving way to the return of the sun’s light. Similarly, the challenges and trials we face in life are transient, and God promises to bring light and renewal after the darkness. As the prophet Isaiah proclaims, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2, NIV). This speaks to the hope we have in Christ, who is the light of the world (John 8:12), shining brightly in our darkest moments.

Friends, the solar eclipse can serve as a reminder of the awe and wonder of God’s creation. Witnessing the beauty and precision of the celestial bodies in motion can inspire us to marvel at the greatness of our Creator. As the psalmist declares, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1, NIV). In the intricate dance of the sun, moon, and earth during a total eclipse, we see evidence of God’s intricate design and order in the universe.

This coming Sunday is our Native American Ministries Sunday. The Sermon “Empowered by Encounter”  will be based on the Scripture reading from Luke 24: 36b-48. 

The following are the links to the service:
https://youtube.com/live/wCcEmerw-Yk?feature=share
https://www.facebook.com/events/1118424642511817

NAME TAGS
At our strategic meeting we agreed it would be helpful to wear name tags during worship. Sticker name tags will be set out next to the Sunday bulletins. You can choose to have a permanent one in a plastic guard, or to write your name on a removable sticker.

HERE AT ERWIN FIRST

TASTE OF SUMM POSTPONED!
No baskets needed for Auction
Given the recent update we received from the Onondaga Health Authority; we have decided that it’s best to postpone the Taste of SUMM until a later date. We apologize for any inconvenience caused. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO BE A PART OF ERWIN’S COMMUNITY NEIGHBORHOOD!
For years we have participated in the Westcott Nation Cultural Street Fair, proudly marching down Westcott street in the kick-off parade. How about we take the next step in making ourselves known in our community and giving back as we do? Let’s take a new step to becoming a larger part of our neighborhood.

Meeting new neighbors and forming new connections. That’s partly why we’re here.

Please consider joining in on this celebration of our earth and do well for our community. Don’t have to sign-up, just show-up. We can gather as a group (maybe wear our Erwin shirts) and crash the party. They provide the supplies.

RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE – Saturday, April 13, 9am-2pm
NEED DONORS. $10 Gift Card to various merchants

FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE – DROP OFF SUMM RECYCLE CANS & BOTTLES AT ERWIN
For those of you who are collecting o recyclables for the SUMM fundraiser, Erwin is designating two drop-off places in the building.
1. A smaller recycling container is in the narthex area for smaller amounts.
2. For full bags, you may set them in the stairwell off the main floor (parking lot level).
Volunteers at Erwin will periodically take them to the Express Bottle Return Depository.
We welcome volunteers who are willing to take a turn to make that run.

The House of Light Bible Study
Young Adult Bible Study, Dinner & Fellowship -University students and community members explore their Christian faith with perspectives from all around the world. 
Meeting every Friday, 5:30 pm to 7:30pm.
Meet new people. At Erwin First – ground floor in Wesley Space, unless otherwise notified.
We need more volunteers to provide a dinner for the meetings. The sign-up sheet can be found at the Community board-table. Thank you.

ACTIVITIES
Fri.      4/12     Office Closed. (Heila out-of-town for weekend)
Sat.      4/13     Red Cross Blood Drive, 9am – 2pm, Friendship Hall
Sun.     4/14     Native American Ministries Sunday
Mon.    4/15     Office hours: Noon – 5pm
Fri.      4/12     House of Light Group Meeting, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Wesley Space
Fri.      4/19     House of Light Group Meeting, 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Wesley Space
May     5/4       Roast Beef Dinner, 4:30 – 7:30pm, Belleview Heights
Thur    8/22     United Methodist and Friends at the Ballpark
Sat       8/24     SUMM Family Picnic at Willow Bay

IN OUR PRAYERS
Pray for those who mourn the loss of loved ones:
The family of Neva Pilgrim, Marci, and her family and the family of Aston.

Pray for the sick:
Pearl (Alison’s daughter), Heila’s Mother, Rokiah who is recovering from a stroke, Laurena, Dennis, Sarah, Carlette, Anthony, Myrta, Tony, Sylvia, Nancy, Debbie, and for two of our congregants with ailing parents in other parts of the world.

Final year high school and college students:
Ali, Amelia, Asriel, Chrish, and Nawin

Other Concerns:
Mieka’s new job

The Church:
Upper New Conference Staff, Bishop Héctor Burgos, the members of the Cabinet, the upcoming general Conference, and all delegates.

World Concerns:
People in Israel, Gaza, Ukraine, and Sudan. Those who are victims of natural disasters. Pray for humanitarian relief efforts around the world.

Our Country:
All elected officials.

Prayer Requests
A book has been set out on the entry pulpit where we place the service bulletins for you to write your prayer concerns.

SYRACUSE UNITED METHODIST MINISTRIES EVENTS
SUMM WEEKLY ONLINE PRAYER GATHERING:

Join with clergy and members of Syracuse United Methodist Ministries online on
Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
Zoom Link
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86875827407?pwd=dTRsNENoNW1hNGJURG9CVzJvNnJWUT09
Meeting ID: 868 7582 7407
Passcode: 076716

Group Trip to Pennsylvania for the “DANIEL” Production at the SIGHT & SOUND THEATRE   Pastor Andy, the Bellevue Heights & Gethsemane UMCs have planned a trip to see this production in Lancaster, PA.  Departing Tuesday, June 18th and arriving home on Wednesday, June 19th.  
The price is $325, which will include coach fare, the show ticket, hotel (double occupancy), all gratuities, a visit to Bird-in-Hand Farmers Market, breakfast, and Lunch.
(Click for the details). Flyers are also at our community board.

SUMM FUND RAISERS
The Syracuse United Methodist Ministries leadership team consisting of Bellevue Heights, Brown Memorial, Erwin First, Gethsemane, St. Paul’s and University UMC are attempting to raise $12,000 to assist with the ministries. We have planned some fundraising events to help us realize that goal. To date, we have, the Coins for Lent, the Bottle and Can Drive and the Taste of SUMM. See the details for each below.

SUMM Bottle and Can Drive:
The Syracuse United Methodist Ministries (SUMM) has organized a yearlong bottle and can drive. You are encouraged to start saving your bottles and cans. One option for depositing your bottles and cans is at Express Bottle Return at 2312 Erie Blvd. East. Please let them know that you are depositing toward the Syracuse United Methodist Ministries Fundraiser. Proceeds from this are to assist the ministries of SUMM

Roast Beef Dinner (all you can eat)! Fundraiser at Bellevue Heights UMC
Saturday, May 4, 2023. 4:30 – 7:00, or until sold out. $15.  $13 for seniors and $7 for kids.
2112 S. Geddes Street. (315) 475-0011
(click for details)

The RESTART Ministry Needs Casserole Dishes in good condition especially the 13×9 size?
This is something all the families we help need and we run out of them quickly, and please they must be in good condition. Thank you!
Mondays: 1 – 3pm at the RESTART headquarters – to help sort and put away donated items, focusing mostly on linens and kitchen supplies.
Tuesdays – Picking up and delivering donations. 2 different shifts: 12pm – 4:30pm  & 5pm – 6:30 pm
Your help would be so much appreciated!
If interested, call or email Evelyn: 315-857-7634, or edisinger235@gmail.com. THANK YOU!

REMEMBER THE MISSIONS OF BROWN MEMORIAL WHEN YOU SHOP ONLINE FOR EASTER.
Whenever you shop online with iGive.com a certain percentage of what you spend will be donated to the Brown Memorial UMC at no extra cost to you. A little effort can make a large difference. There are over 1800 socially responsible online stores and services related to anything you can think of, including travel services, airlines, hotels, car rentals, health clubs & services like Weightwatchers, medical supplies, technology like Verizon Wireless, DirecTV Stream & Dell Refurbished, name brands like New Balance, and countless retails stores like Scholastic, Disney, Rite Aid, Walmart, Highlights for Children, Kohls & Best Buy. And some on the list have discount coupons. Hoping you’ll give it a try and support the ministries at Brown Memorial UMC as we seek to be a Beacon of Hope on the Westside. Use the link below to learn more or to sign up. Thank you!
https://www.iGive.com/ODDv2WX

BLESSINGS IN A BACK PACK:
Since 2016, our Blessings in a Backpack (BIBP) Bellevue Heights UMC Chapter has ensured that no child attending Delaware Primary School goes hungry on weekends during the school year. Located on Syracuse’s West Side, the need is great at Delaware, where some 90 percent of students live below the poverty line and reside in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. All of the children receive free school breakfast and lunch during the week. Our BIBP program fills the weekend hunger gap. Every Friday, all 444 PreK – 5th grade students leave school with a bag of healthy, “kid-friendly,” ready-to-eat food – typically 2 breakfasts, 2 entrees, and 2 snacks. Fueled by the weekend meals, students return to school on Monday nourished and ready to learn. The children look forward to these meals – made possible by the support of kind and caring people, like you. We need your help. It now costs $3.44 to feed one child for a weekend. That amounts to nearly $60,000 for the current 2023-2024 school year! We are grateful for our dedicated supporters who have joined us on this mission to provide nutritious food so no child goes hungry over the weekend.
Thank you for your kindness with a gift today. Together, we will ensure that Delaware students have the nutrition for success both in and out of school.
Your gift to this ministry is tax deductible.
Bellevue Heights UMC | 2112 S. Geddes Street | Syracuse, NY 13207 | 315-475-0011 |
*Donation forms can also be found on the Erwin community board table with self-addressed envelopes.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES from the Interfaith Community Co-op
Contact Galyn Murphy-Stanley, University United Methodist Church

DISTRICT & CONFERENCE NEWS:

Live sign-up link:  https://forms.office.com/r/5MLiPsEiBL

Join UNY on a trip to Africa University    Registration is open to join Bishop Héctor A. Burgos Núñez on a trip to Africa University (AU) Feb. 12-21, 2025. The focus of the trip is to spend time at the AU campus in Mutare, Zimbabwe to see classes and meet faculty and students (including students who have received scholarships funded by UNYAC). A visit to Victoria Falls and a day long Safari in Botswana are also included in the basic itinerary. A post trip add-on to tour Soweto’s Mandela House Museum and the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, South Africa is available. 
Register here

COMMUNITY NEWS:

WESTCOTT COMMUNITY CENTER FOOD COLLECTION
A designated large bin is located in the sanctuary area.
The WCC has become quite an extraordinary service to our community. They have services for the elderly, basic needs and food, youth, legal, mental health and learning and education. They offer employment services and work training programs. They also collaborate with other community organizations in the city. To take a closer look, check out their website:  https://westcottcc.org/
Thank you to whose who recently donated. WCC collected the donations just today!

Westcott Neighborhood Association actively engages the greater Westcott neighborhood in order to strengthen the quality of life in the community. They seek to enable local residents to collectively enjoy and improve “their” neighborhood.
They will be holding their annual meeting at Erwin First UMC, Sunday, 3/10 3-6pm. All are invited.

To see WNA’s calendar of events or how you can get involved click the link to their website:  https://westcottcc.org/

Have a blessed week!

Online giving is now available through our website

1. Click on this link:
http://erwinfirstchurch.org/giving/

2. Simply follow the instructions.

NOTE: there is a 1% cost for payments from the donor’s bank account and a 2.9% fee added to credit or debit card transactions. The fee is deducted from the donation: (American Express transactions are 3.5% + $0.30).