Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas Events at the United Ministry

Community Carols and Readings for Christmas at 7:30 pm on Friday, December 21, at the United Ministry.

A Christmas Eve candlelight communion service will be held at the United Ministry of Aurora on Monday, December 24 at 11 PM. Hymns for the season, prayers, communion, a brief homely and anthems by the choir will celebrate the amazing birth. The Nativity Chapel, housing the holy family, will also be open for viewing before 11 PM. All are welcome to the service at 337 Main Street, Aurora.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

From the Pastor


Every Sunday our worship bulletin contains the invitation: “Please speak to the pastor if you would like to join the church.”  Visitors might find this invitation confusing.  After all, they’ve just done that.  They’ve joined our church, to sit with us and pray and praise and listen with us.  If they have a good experience, they might join us again, either for worship or at some other gathering.  And, since we’re a friendly bunch, we’ve made them welcome. In that sense, they belong.

So what do we mean by saying that we’d be happy to talk to them about joining us?  That refers to membership in our organization.  We’re inviting them, if they haven’t done so already, to make a public declaration that they want to follow Christ, and to be listed on our roll of members.  

If you attended our “New Beginnings” meetings, you know that membership in that sense isn’t what our ministry is focused on.  We’re trying to be a discipleship church, not a membership church.  That means we’re on a mission to bring Jesus to our community, not necessarily to get our community onto our church rolls.

But the fact is, you can't have a discipleship church unless there are disciples.  That means not just names on a list, but people who are committed to growing in faith and walking together in the way of Jesus.  So in addition to making people feel welcome, we try to encourage that kind of commitment.

A Presbyterian Church in New Jersey, according to Presbyterians Today, asks members to sign a covenant that begins, “We are called to membership in a church that supports serious Christian discipleship.”  The covenant includes core spiritual practices such as on-time weekly worship attendance, at least 30 minutes of daily prayer and meditation, sacrificial giving (three percent of income as a minimum goal), and mission service.  At the same time, the church welcomes everyone and encourages full participation, whether people are ready to commit to those practices or not.  

It could be that the reason more people aren't interested in becoming members is that they don't see what difference it makes.  But committing our lives to Jesus and belonging to his people is basic.  It had better make a difference!

Let me repeat:  speak to me if you'd like to join the church.  I mean, really join the church.

Reverend Bob French
(originally printed in the Nov/Dec 2012 UMA Beacon)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Roof Repairs

The guys from Greathouse Construction of Port Byron picked the perfect day to 
replace slate on the roof of the United Ministry.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thanks to all who attended the supper. 
Over $700 was raised for Camp Gregory!
The United Ministry of Aurora
will host a 
Ham and Scalloped Potato Dinner 
to benefit Camp Gregory
Wednesday October 17th from 5-7 PM  

 Adults $8, kids 5-12 $5 and under 5 free. 
Great meal for great price for a wonderful facility in our area.  
Come and bring a friend.  
Take outs are available. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012


This year's CROP Walk raised over $1,800 to feed the hungry
in our area and around the world. 
Thanks to all who donated and participated!

Women and girls carry water home in Geles, an Arab village in Darfur.
Credit: Paul Jeffrey/ACT-Caritas
The 2012 Aurora/Union Springs
CROP Hunger Walk
Sunday, October 14, beginning at 1pm
at the United Ministry of Aurora
To walk or sponsor someone to walk,
see the pastor or Scott Gross.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A Special Message About The Blessing of the Animals


On Sunday, October 7, Episcopal churches throughout the country will once again observe the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi with the Blessing of the Animals. The patron saint of animals believed that the light of God was perfectly reflected in all of nature and nowhere is His essence better revealed than in the unconditional love, companionship and devotion of the pets we hold dear to our hearts. This day then is for creatures - great and small - to receive God's blessing, a blessing they so richly deserve.

To help celebrate this day, we would like to remind all of our Episcopal church customers that we have dog collars and leashes available in red and navy and in all sizes. Branded with the Episcopal shield and made of the highest quality materials, this gear has been a best seller second only to the Top Ten Reasons to be an Episcopalian tee shirt. And remember, all churches qualify for wholesale pricing: namely 50% off our suggested retail prices.   So, to help dress up the event, build community awareness and perhaps do a little fundraising as well, please visit and then give us a call at (866) 937-2772 to place your order. Depending on the size of the order, you may qualify for our consignment program, which is designed to assist churches in their fundraising efforts without the burden of upfront financial commitments.   In any event, we hope you have a great day at your church's Blessing of the Animals.

If you have any questions, please contact us at your leisure:

On Twitter: @EpiscopalMarket

Thank you,

Episcopal Marketplace Staff

Monday, July 30, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ice Cream Social

$700 was raised at the Ice Cream Social on behalf of Daylight House of Auburn.
Thanks to all who participated and donated!
The United Ministry of Aurora invites the community to an Ice Cream Social on Wednesday, August 15 from 5:30-7pm on the church lawn.  Proceeds from the social are designated for donation to Daylight House of Auburn, a transition home for women and children. Admission includes: ice cream, choice of sauces, homemade cakes and beverages. $5 for adults, $3 for kids below age 12 and free under 5. The event will be held indoors in case of rain.  

Monday, July 23, 2012

2012 General Assembly Wrap-Up

The 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) concluded its work almost two weeks ago, on Saturday, July 7.  Bob French, Bert Richardson, Pearl Fischer, Earl Arnold, and Marianne Rhebergen are all safely back home, getting some sleep and decompressing from the intensity that is true of every General Assembly.

This e-newsletter reports on most of the major actions of the Assembly, largely by making use of the Presbyterian News Service articles.  More information on each topic can be found at .  A twelve page "Assembly in Brief" document, formatted for use as a bulletin insert, can be downloaded by clicking here: 2012 Assembly in Brief.

A Call for 'Serious Study and Discernment' re. Christian Marriage

By a vote of 338 to 308, the 220th General Assembly voted to neither re-affirm nor change the denomination's definition of marriage as "a civil contract between a woman and a man."  Instead, after about four hours of debate, the Assembly approved a proposal generated from within the Assembly Committee on Civil Union and Marriage Issues calling for two years of  "serious study and discernment" regarding Christian marriage.

The General Assembly Mission Council's Office of Theology and Worship will prepare and distribute educational resources to all presbyteries and congregations. Presbyteries are instructed to report their responses to the Office of the General Assembly three months before the 221st Assembly (2014).
Commissioners' opinions were varied on the season of study.

For the past two years, presbyteries have been wrapped up in discussions about changes to ordination standards and a new Form of Government, both of which were approved by the 219th General Assembly (2010), said Allen Foster, a teaching elder from Glacier Presbytery. They need this time to focus on studying marriage, he said.

But other commissioners saw the study as a way to delay action. "While we are thrilled with yet another study, it doesn't give any relief to those of us in states where same-sex marriage is legal," said Karen Bartel, a ruling elder from the Presbytery of East Iowa. 

As in committee, the Assembly did not approve several proposed authoritative interpretations that would allow teaching elders to perform same-gender marriages in states where those marriages are legal.

The Assembly also voted down two minority reports-one proposing a four-year season of study and one affirming the definition of marriage as between a woman and a man.

Assembly Opts for 'Positive Investment' rather than 'Divestment' 

After two hours of debate and presentations Thursday night (July 5), the 220th General Assembly, by a vote of 369-290, said no to divestment as part of its position on peace in the Middle East.  The path to the final vote came through the Assembly's adoption of a minority report presented by members of the Committee on Middle East and Peacemaking Issues.

The committee's plan for a "both/and" solution of proposing divestment and positive engagement was derailed when the minority report replaced the main motion by only two votes, 333-331-2. The original motion to be considered was to support the recommendation of the Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee (MRTI) to divest the holdings in Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett-Packard because eight years of engagement with those companies ceased to be productive, according to the Rev. Brian Ellison, chair of MRTI.

Before affirming the text of Item 15-10 as the main motion, commissioners added the following to the document: "The 220th General Assembly instructs the GAMC (General Assembly Mission Council) to create a process to raise funds to invest in the West Bank, and the program will be inaugurated no later than the meeting of the 221st General Assembly." Linda Valentine, executive director of the General Assembly Mission Council, said there would be some cost to create such a process and that "there are some funds available for investment."

Church Growth Committee Recommends Approval of 1001 Movement

After 90 minutes of spirited debate, the Church Growth and Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP) Committee approved a motion that recommends the 220th General Assembly declare a churchwide commitment to ignite a movement that results in the creation of new 1001 worshiping communities in the next ten years.

In approving the motion, commissioners added language seeking the development of workable strategies, collaboration with congregations in growing new communities of faith, and a report on the movement's progress to the 221st General Assembly (2014).

The Assembly's Church Growth and PILP committee also recommended that the 220th General Assembly (2012) direct the General Assembly Mission Council (specifically Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries, Presbyterian Women and Evangelism and Church Growth Ministries) to:
  • train and deploy five regional coaches to collaborate with mid councils and congregations to implement the African American Church Growth Strategy, and
  • hold a national consultation to develop strategies and policies to support racial, ethnic, multicultural and new immigrant church growth in the PC(USA).
No Change to Special Offerings

As late Friday night turned into early Saturday morning, July 7, the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) elected not to change the denomination's four special offerings.

Amending the report of the Mission Coordination Committee, the body resoundingly decided against merging the Peacemaking Offering into a new World Mission offering, potentially to be received on World Communion Sunday. The Assembly called for a status report/check-back when the 221st General Assembly convenes in Detroit in 2014.

As a result, the current formulas and protocols for recipients and distribution remain for the Christmas Joy Offering, the Pentecost Offering, the One Great Hour of Sharing and the Peacemaking Offering, usually received on World Communion Sunday.

Interested in Reading Marianne's Daily Blog Posts from Pittsburgh?

At least once a day until she left the Pittsburgh for a weekend with family in Michigan, Transitional Presbyter Marianne Rhebergen wrote a few paragraphs describing opening worship, deliberations of committees,actions of the plenary assembly, a trip to visit several exciting new church developments sponsored by Pittsburgh Presbytery, and her climb up the Duquesne Incline to view the city from above.

If you missed them the first time round and would like to hear a more personal take on the proceedings, go to 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Migrant Ministry

The first 60 migrant farmworkers have arrived in King Ferry - all adults:  Haitian and African-American mostly.  Used items currently requested include flannel sheets, blankets, bedspreads, and comforters.   Volunteers encouraged to assist on Sunday, July 29, All Saints Parish Welcome Breakfast for farmworkers at parish center in Lansing (an annual event) and Pokeno games every other night at the camp with food prizes for winners. Mid-summer breakfast will be offered by Sacred Heart Parish in Auburn Sunday, September 9th. May need volunteers for ESL classes as well.  Questions and availability to Deb Patrick.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Reverend French is NOT on vacation!

ga220 logoYes, Reverend Bob French is away from the office at a popular vacation time, but don't ask him how his vacation was when he returns. He has been toiling away from morning til night at the Presbyterian General Assembly in Pittsburgh. Sharon French just called in to report that she is feeling well and having a relaxing time and has seen very little of Bob (although I'm sure there is no connection). Here is what has come out of Bob's committee work thus far:

220th GA calls for ‘serious study and discernment’ regarding Christian Marriage

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cayuga Lake Cruise Scheduled

The Hospitality Committee has scheduled a scenic cruise on Cayuga Lake Cruises for Sunday, July 29th at 2 PM. The boat travels up the east shore and returns along the west shore in the southern part of Cayuga Lake.  The cruise boards at 1:30 and leaves sharply at 2 PM from 708 W. Buffalo St., Ithaca and returns at 4 PM.  The boat is handicap accessible and drinks are available.  The price is $10 for seniors (age 60) and $15 for younger adults.   We have reserved 20 places at this point, but they can accommodate more.  It has been suggested that we go for an early dinner afterwards at the Boatyard Grill just around the other side of the lake. A sign-up sheet is on the bulletin board in the social room and please also indicate if you are interested in dinner too.  We need all reservations by Friday, July 13th.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Amphitheather Service

Beginning Sunday, June 10 worship service will be outside in the amphitheater on the north side of the church. Folding chairs will be available, but if you have a favorite lawn chair you would like to bring, by all means do so. You can phone the church after 8am on Sunday to find out if the service will be outside or inside. And all God's creatures may just show up for this outdoor service; just ask Dixie to tell you the baby skunk story from this week. Did anyone take photos of the little guy?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

2012 UMA Directory

The 2012 UMA Directory is printed and ready for UMA community members to pick up in the Social Room. Electronic and large-print versions are available by special request in the office.

Monday, May 21, 2012


Outreach Committee has been told that two of the big problems in Southern Cayuga County are loneliness and lack of transportation. A specific transportation problem is that certain people, if they do not have the $4 fee for the SCAT van service, simply go without...missing medical appointments, shopping trips, visiting friends and more. On the table in the back of the sanctuary a mini SCAT Van sits and its object is to be filled with your change (or folding money) to be used to help solve this problem. For more information on riding, volunteering or donating to the SCAT van, this link will direct you to the Human Services Coalition of Cayuga County website.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Spring Fling

Don't miss the Spring Fling Luncheon and Program on Saturday, May 19th at noon in the Social Room.  Man in the Moon Bakery is catering the luncheon with a choice of two different quiches with salad or a grilled chicken salad, fresh bakery bread, a tasty cookie and beverage for $10.  Please invite a guest to join you and welcome them to the UMA. This is an event for gentlemen and their friends, too!  All reservations must be in by Wed. May 15th to Lisa VanVorce or Ellen Schaffer. Penney Cook will be making a presentation on spring plantings just in time for our own spring gardening.