First Presbyterian Church            August  2017


Dogs in Worship

I did an outdoor funeral the other day where a wet, smelly, and very friendly golden retriever took part in the service.  Her appearance was a surprise to everyone, as she was just a loose dog that happened to decide to join us on a rainy Monday morning.  Her presence was a blessing though, as the deceased, Elsie (Gilbert) Revier, had always been a dog lover.  I think that dog did as much or more to lift people’s spirits than my eulogy did.  She stuck around until it was time to go to the reception, and then she wandered back to a nearby farmhouse wagging her tail all the way.

We (mostly) joked at the reception that the dog was an angel, or at least divinely inspired to show up.  The word for angel in ancient Greek is angelous, and it literally means “messenger”, which I suppose that the dog was.  The New Testament is full of angel messengers telling people about Jesus’ birth, resurrection, and other good news from heaven.  In the Old Testament, God also uses animals to send a message now and then.  Sometimes those are good messages, such as a donkey that spoke a warning to a prophet named Balaam (Numbers 22:22-35), and sometimes those are bad messages, such as the plague of frogs that Moses sent to afflict Egypt.

When I was a missionary teacher in the Philippines, it was not unusual to see dogs or chickens wander into a church service either.  This was because it was a tropical, developing country where open doors and windows were necessary for staying cool. Usually the animals were shooed out, as they were disruptive, had fleas, etc.  I personally doubt that they were divinely inspired to be there, unlike the golden retriever, but perhaps I am wrong about that.  God does bless us with our pets, for example, and I am sure that everyone has a story or two about that.

We have been working our way through the thirteenth chapter of Matthew the last few Sundays, and the many parables that Jesus tells about the Kingdom of God. One common thread to these parables is the “surprise” factor that many of them have about God’s presence in the world.  It could be a tiny mustard seed that grows into one of the biggest of shrubs, or some yeast that mixes into bread dough and causes it to rise.  The small, seemingly insignificant things of this world are empowered by God to be great and holy.

Now, I am not suggesting that we let everyone’s pets come to church on Sunday, as that could lead to disaster.  My cat would not appreciate it, for example, and she would pee on the sanctuary carpet to let us know that.  While the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, I am also not interested in having another bat show up on Christmas Eve either.  My point is to look for God in unexpected times and places.  The Holy Spirit is alive and well in all of us, and in the Creation in general.  Thanks be to God!


Rev. Walter Stuber
First Presbyterian Church

11988 W. Main St., Wolcott, NY   14590



              August 6th Worship Service


The August 6th worship service will be at the Jack Johnson residence at 8590 Brown Road, on the Lake at the end of Brown Road (off East Port Bay Road), followed by a picnic.  Please bring lawn chairs, table service, and a dish to pass.

-       John Gingerich 

              Food Pantry


Food Wish List:  cereal, jams & jellies, baked beans, canned fruit, juices, mayo, salad dressing.

-       Mary Lou


   Strawberry Festival


Thank you again for all of your hard work.  Our half was $2,419.92.  Rest up; next year is coming fast.  Thank you all again.       

-       Mary Lou 


              Deacons’ Yard Sale


Thanks to everyone who donated items and to those who worked hard.  Our total for the fundraiser was $1,159.00  Nice work everyone.

-       Mary Lou


           Youth News


Several Youth are enjoying camps here and there.  Plans are underway for our campout.


Our checkbook balance was $3,859.80.  We collected $45.60, making our new balance $3,905.40.  Thank you for your support.

-       Mary Lou


          Golf Tournament


The Tournament is set for August 26th.  Thank you to everyone who has sponsored a cart or hole.  If you would like to sponsor one, forms are at Church.  We need teams to play; those forms are also at Church.


Helpers to watch holes are also needed.  If you can help, see Mary Lou Lockwood or Mike Douglass.

-       Mary Lou




            We would like some new faces and new ideas.  Everyone’s input is important.


-       Mary Lou



 Back to School Kits


We’re fast approaching that time of year when kids are getting ready for school.  I’ll be placing a box in the entrance and hoping you will consider contributing toward helping us assemble school kits. 


Many stores are already offering “good deals”.


Items we will need to assemble one kit:


One rounded tip metal scissors

                        One large eraser

                        One box of 24 crayons

                        Three 70 count spiral notebooks OR notebooks totaling 200-210 pages

                        One hand-held pencil sharpener

                        One 12” x 14” to 14” x 17” canvas bag

                        12” ruler

                        6 new pencils with erasers


Any contribution of the listed items will be greatly appreciated.

-       Henrietta


                                                        Looking Ahead


Sunday, July 30 - Thursday, August 3:  Vacation Bible School from 6 p.m.  to 8:15 p.m.


Sunday, August 6:  Worship Service at the Jack Johnson residence (8590 Brown Road, Wolcott).


August 26th:  Golf Tournament


Pig Raffle – tickets will be available soon.