Midweek Message – 1/11/18

Friends in Faith,

Last Sunday, we heard that the first recorded words of Jesus in the Gospel of John were a question: “What Are You Seeking?” And we learned that, in the Gospel of John, we are challenged to look deeply – beneath the surface. Everyday moments throughout the gospel – and, indeed, throughout our lives – are filled with eternal significance. We also shared communion and tasted eternity in the everyday gifts of bread and juice.

This Sunday, we will explore the story of Jesus turning water into wine in John 2:1-11. As Jesus reveals, the party is just getting started! The story also has some tangible guidance for our church leaders. The text is especially timely because this Sunday we’ll be ordaining and installing new church officers: Amy Martinez (elder), Jennn Partlow (deacon), and Dan Rigney (elder). We will also be installing Gretchen Brokaw (deacon) who was previously ordained in another congregation. We will be blessed by their leadership, as they have many gifts and a clear call to serve. We hope you will read about them below and welcome them to their new ministry on Sunday!


Pastor Ben



Amy Martinez officially became a member of First Presbyterian Church, along with her wife, Regina, on Easter of 2017. She has been leading music in worship for over seven years. Having coordinated the Pints & Prayers events last year, Amy is called to help spread what God is doing here to others in the community. Amy works as branch manager for Visions Federal Credit Union in Mahwah, NJ, and she will bring her organizational and managerial skills to the Session and its Personnel Team. Amy’s singing is filled with the Spirit, and she brings a similar passion for leadership.  

Dan Rigney joined First Presbyterian in October, 2016, though he has been attending quite a bit longer. Dan’s wife, Kat, is our Artist-in-Residence, and his daughter, Penny, is in our Young Disciples program. Dan is a big-picture thinker, brings heart-felt prayer to worship, and has supported the work of the Outreach and Amity Arts teams. He is eager to use his development skills – cultivated at a number of non-profits, but most recently in his new position of General Manager/Development Director at WJFF 90.5fm Radio Catskill in Jeffersonville, NY – to help with the Stewardship Team.



Gretchen Brokaw became a member of FPC on Easter of 2017. Gretchen grew up Presbyterian, but has cultivated an expansive view of God, attending many different communities of faith over the years. Her passion is for worship (having preached, served as liturgist, and offered music on several occasions) and for the care of God’s people (she is a regular part of our home communion crew). She understands the dynamics of faith communities, especially through her work at the Holmes Camp and Conference Center in Holmes, NY. She shares her joy freely, as well as the guitar skills of her husband, Gary.

Jennn Partlow joined FPC in January 2013, along with her husband, Steve, who is an Elder. In addition to helping out in ways too many to mention (e.g. liturgist, childcare, offering-counter, etc.) Jennn has offered her creative gifts, adding depth to worship, retreats, and ministries for children. Speaking of, her children – Levi, Asa, and Clara – are regular participants in the life of the church, and they often accompany their parents as they serve the congregation. Jennn has a heart to care for the children of God in our congregation and in our broader community – whatever their age may be.




Congregational Meeting, Jan 28th – We’ll gather after worship and celebrate our ministry in 2017 and look forward to 2018. *Ministry Team reports are due in the office by Tuesday, January 16th.

Flipped: Fat Tuesday Pancakes & Talent Show, Feb 13th – Back by popular demand. We’ll gather for an evening of fun before Lent begins.

Hudson River U, Mar 17th – A day full of learning with our peers from Hudson River Presbytery.  Classes will include youth ministries, social justice ministries, officer training, and more.  You won’t want to miss it!



Food Donations – This month we are collecting food donations at the sanctuary entrance for:

  • Welcome Table: pancake mix, instant potatoes, tuna fish, canned chicken, and canned beans for chili
  • St. Andrews Food Pantry: hot/cold cereals and Parmalat (shelf-stable milk). The next deadline for donations will be Jan 21st.

Offering Envelopes – If you requested a box of offering envelopes for 2018, they are available at the entrance to the sanctuary.

Per Capita – Hudson River Presbytery has increased our per capita apportionment to $37. This contribution is expected of all congregation members to support the ministry of our denomination at the higher levels. Please submit your contribution, and consider doing so for others who may be unable.



Presbyterians 101 – If you’re interested in learning more about our unique branch of the Christian family tree, becoming a member of the congregation, or just refreshing your memory about who we are and what we believe, this four-session course is for you. It’s also a great way to connect with folks in the congregation – some people take it multiple times! (Meeting times are still being set up, so please contact the office if you’re interested and share days/times that work for you.)



Sunday – 1/14

  • Worship (Sanctuary) – 10am: Ordination & Installation of Officers. Preacher Rev. Ben Larson-Wolbrink. Music led by Amy Martinez & the Worship Band.
  • Food & Fellowship (McKinley Hall) – 11am

Monday – 1/15

  • Spiritual Classics (McKinley Hall) – 12pm: A small-group conversation about life and faith. We are currently exploring Richard Foster’s book: Celebration of Discipline.

Wednesday – 1/17

  • Mars Hill Discussion (McKinley Hall) – 12pm: A small group that has an open and honest discussion about the challenges of the world (Mars Hill is where the Apostle Paul met with the great philosophers in Athens) and the struggles of our lives (or, what we call, the Mess). All are welcome and all is confidential.

Friday – 1/19

  • Welcome Table (McKinley Hall) – 10am: Good food for all. A time to be fed in body and soul.

Saturday – 1/20

  • Welcome Table (McKinley Hall) – 10am

Sunday – 1/21

  • Worship (Sanctuary) – 10am: Preacher Rev. Ben Larson-Wolbrink. Music led by Sally Hitchcock.
  • Food & Fellowship (McKinley Hall) – 11am

The church hosts a number of community and 12-step groups throughout the week. For more information on meeting times call the office at 845-831-5322 or visit our webpage beaconpresbychurch.org

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