For this congregation, February brings the time of the annual meeting.  This is the time when some new people will be elected to Boards and Committees, new names will start showing up as you hear of up-coming events or studies or many of the other things that happen in churches in a new year.  Some familiar names will not be heard as often as those people step away from previous responsibilities.  All this becomes new, different, and it means CHANGE.  Oh no, not change! 

YES, change happens, and it will be just fine. One thing I learn when it is time for me to start an exercise routine – I have to be flexible.  And you need to be flexible as well.  New ideas will grow out of new members on board and committees.  New events could become a part of the normal instead of being upsetting when we are all flexible. 

I would like to think that each board and committee of First Baptist Church in Penn Yan will absolutely try something new and different and challenging to the status quo in 2019 because we are flexible.  God was flexible when people failed to do what they were asked to do.  God sent that radical young man to come among the people and preach challenging sermons to those who wanted everything to remain the same.  And when those folks rebelled against that new young preacher/teacher/healer, he simply broadened his ministries to include new people who were open to the new, the different, and life started to change across the countryside. 

Be daring, let’s do something in a new or different way, and see what might bring some new life, new energy to our worship, our programs, our way of serving this community.  Find a new seat in the sanctuary that will bring everyone closer together so it will look more like the gathering of family/friends on Sunday morning.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I offered you a fresh look at your church covenant.  Do you remember anything I said?  Have you tried to find one little thing you might do to bring new life and energy to your covenant? 

We have some people facing difficult health decisions, or a need for new methods of care.  How might you be of help to another?  Do we need to establish an up-to-date prayer list, based on both phone calls and emails so we might learn more quickly of prayer needs instead of waiting until the next Sunday?  Do we need more times of good fellowship, when we can gather around a potluck meal with no business meeting, no big agenda, just getting together with our church family?  Do we need more emphasis and more shared information of the work of various boards or committees?  

I have some ideas, but I will not just dump those on you. We need to make some of these decisions together, not just a bunch of lone rangers out there, wanting to do their own thing with no connection to the ministries as outlined in the life of this congregation.  We need to be looking for ways to broaden our impact in this community.  

What will YOU do in 2019 to energize our love for our Creator God?


Pastor Kathy


God of Love, whose love best was illustrated long ago in the way Jesus of Nazareth loved you and those with whom he shared life, we pause in your loving presence to reaffirm that you are our God and we are your people, to be reminded that you are like an ideal loving parent, and to reassess our lives in the light of your love. Thank you for loving and caring for and about us. Forgive us for the times when we have failed to love you and others as we know we should. We confess that too often we take you for granted and forget that there are some rules and regulations by which you would have us live   Too often we think that if we do not like someone we are excused from loving that person.  Too often we view others as objects and not persons, thus demeaning and dehumanizing them. O God, on this day associated with love, make us better lovers of you and one another. Help us to notice, help us to care, help us to be available to any person in need. For in loving others we love you, in serving others we serve you, in ministering to others we find our lives strengthened and enriched. Amen.

            In the Month of February…


10th – Sheryl Robbins

13th – Marisole Dalglish

22nd – Sue Willson

24th – Leon Stiles

26th – Cindy Ovens


Coffee Hour Hosts: Board of Missions



     After Worship — in the Church Library


                                         February 17 – Video:  “The Gates of Jerusalem”

(We hope to have two additional “Gates of Jerusalem” videos and the “Revelation” Study in March)

Annual Meeting of First Baptist Church of Penn Yan

Sunday, February 10th (Snow date will be Feb. 17th)

Immediately following the morning worship service, we will move into the Great Room for our meeting and then, we will sit down to a warm meal together. Please bring your favorite dish-to-share and bring your own place settings. Come hear what is taking place in your church. We can’t wait to gather together with you! 

White Cross Requests                                                                                           

Our “Needs” list has been sent to us for 2019. 

We have been asked to provide following clothing items for boys – any sizes:

6 pairs of jeans 8 T-shirts

8 pairs of socks 8 underwear

8 sweatpants 8 sweatshirts

Your contributions can go into the “Sesame Street” blue box which is located in the Sanctuary. Our collection will go until the end of March. If you want to help but are unable to shop, your $$ contributions are also welcome.
All items collected will be delivered to Cameron Community Ministries in Rochester.

When you drop off your contributions, you get to remove the corresponding piece of clothing from the display board. This helps us keep track of what we need to complete our goal.

Thank you for your help and support, it is greatly appreciated.

The Pastor and The Spoon


The pastor had dinner at the home of a couple in his church. After he left, the wife                  

said to her husband, “I think he stole our spoon!” This bothered her for a whole year. 

A year later, the couple had the pastor for dinner again. Unable to resist, the wife asked,

“Did you steal our spoon last year?” To which the pastor replied, “No, I put it inside your Bible.” 


CANCELLED STAMPS will help our wounded veterans: 

      Recycle the stamps from your own mail to “brighten someone’s day!”   

Stamps for the Wounded is a Lion’s Club activity out of Virginia. The stamps are used for “hobby therapy” for wounded veterans in more than 130 Veteran’s Administration hospitals. It has been in operation since 1942.   Many wounded veterans find great enjoyment in stamp collecting. Thanks to the Lions’ Club and to many devoted volunteers, this postage stamp program gives these hospital or wheelchair-bound vets something to do, and something to look forward to.  Trading duplicates also connects them with other collectors.  Stamps for the Wounded accepts any U.S. or foreign stamps that are not torn or damaged.  Leave about a 1/2 inch border of envelope around the perforations of the stamp.  Do not remove the stamp from the envelope it is glued to.  The veterans prefer to do that themselves. It’s part of their fun.  They also accept any stamp collecting supplies, albums, catalogues later than 2000, and cash donations.

This is such a simple and easy way to give back to the servicemen and women who have given so much.  Just put the stamps in the box outside the Great Room and Stan and Cindy Ovens will send them on their way.


  Cindy Ovens delivers these to the Penn Yan Board of Education for use throughout our local schools. Just about all Generals Mills related products have these little “Box Tops”.  Look for them also on “Hanes” apparel, “Betty Crocker” products, “General Mills” cereals, “Green Giant” fruits and vegetables, “Ziplock” brand bags and containers, “Pillsbury”, “Old El Paso” and “Tontino’s” frozen items, as well as “Yoplait” yogurt products and “Avery” labels.  Please put these into the collection box outside the Great Room.

We’re sad to report that there is no longer any donation program for Campbell’s Labels.


The Food Bank and Back-pack Programs are looking for volunteers.  The Once Again Shoppe and The Living Well are always looking for helpers, as is our Penn Yan Public Library.

You can knit or crochet squares for Lap Robes (See Cheryl Stewart for information and Kathie Lawrence if you need yarn for this project).

News from the Board of Christian Education

In May we are planning a Chicken BBQ on the 11th. It will be prepared by Gale-Wyn of Canandaigua. We so appreciate the support that our church and community gave us last year. What a success! Thank you.

Vacation Bible School this year will use Group’s ROAR. 

Sharing the theme that Life is Wild. God is Good. The goal of offering Vacation Bible School is to help make Jesus real to kids using Bible reinforcement and life application. There is much to do in preparation and we would appreciate you keeping the Christian Ed team in your prayers. 

Adult Sunday School continues its work with the study of the Bible and is led by Don Lawrence. There is a video planned for February and a study of Revelations in March. You are welcome to drop in at any time to join them. 

News from Vick and Pathfinder Camp Ministries 

Dear Friends of Camping, 

In 2018, we served over 281 children, 30 special needs adults, and 443 people who were part of groups and family campers. Each week over the summer we had people come to a new and living relationship with Christ. Staff matured and grew in their faith. People shared first-hand from missionaries and pastors their reflections on serving on the front lines of ministry. We provided scholarships for 50 individuals, totaling around $14,000. This does not include money that churches provided to assist their own campers.


One young lady came to camp this summer. She had decided she did not believe in God anymore. She was also entering into a depression, as is common for many teens today, and had pretty much lost hope in everything. During the week, she participated in all the activities and was polite in Bible studies and devo-tional times. She asked several hard, but very typical, questions every day and each evening. At first, her questions were meant to trip up the pastor and the staff. By Wednesday, the intent of her questions be-came much more genuine. The relationships she was making with the other campers and especially one of the ladies on staff, were genuine, non-condemning, non-judgmental, and allowed her to really explore her own life. By Friday, she made a commitment to follow Christ. Her demeanor changed, and even though she knew she was returning to a secular, almost hostile world, she had regained hope. While she still had very hard questions that had not yet been answered, she believed there was a God who loved her and would meet her in her doubt. 

This story repeats itself over and over. God meets people at camp. The Holy Spirit changes lives through camp ministry. We are in the business of introducing people to Christ. We build leaders for the church today! We offer hope to the hopeless through the message of God’s love and redemption. 

―Your fellow servant in Christ, John R. Buskey, CEO

From the Trustee’s Corner

We are still working to implement suggestions from the Sheriff’s Department regarding Active Shooter concerns. Primarily we are looking at the main entrance on the south side. One thing we can do is to make sure the doors are locked securely after our after-hours activities.

The Trustees are asking the congregation if anyone is interested in updating the church website. This involves forwarding information on to the layout person. Let the Trustees know. Bill Decker, Chair.

Pledges are down and the proposed budget will likely have a deficit of $17,000. Please pray and consider revising your pledge card for local expenses.

FROM OUR MISIONARIES, THE MCCURDY’S:    God’s Provision Amidst Trials!

For the month of October, Peter was traveling throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia visiting donors and churches.  It was a tough six-week trip.  God had a plan through all of it. Peter was blessed to spend time with Sharron and Dave Sedziol in the Columbus Ohio Area and at Parchment Valley in West Virginia. 

Peter also had some personal goals to accomplish during the last few weeks in the states.  He really wanted to replace some steps and finish building out a room in the house we own in PA. The steps were not safe, and his parents watch our house, and he did not want them to fall down the steps nor have the steps break on them.  He has never built steps before but he figured out what was needed, bought the wood, and accomplished it without any problems or injuries. 

While Peter was busy with all of the above, Sarah was in Costa Rica with the children. It was a tough 6 weeks for her as she juggled the home, schooling and ministry responsibilities alone, however she also saw God provide. God provided the needed encouragement, answers to prayer, strength, & moments of joy just when she needed them. Sarah welcomed Stan Slade, fellow IM colleague, to Costa Rica. Stan spent 4 days ministering to the pastors and the church leaders. He taught on church leadership within the current changing culture. It was well received and started a good conversation amongst the pastors and leaders that we are working with. Within two weeks of Stan’s visit, the leadership team of the pastors had organized the first of multiple discussion panels to discuss the relevant topics of and the state of the evangelical church in Costa Rica to help fulfill their pastoral/ministerial work. Join us in continuing to pray for the pastors and the churches that we work with.

When Peter returned to Costa Rica, his body decided it needed some attention, his blood pressure dropped, multiple migraine episodes occurred, and he started feeling very dizzy all the time. After spending three days in the hospital, before Thanksgiving, the doctors found that he suffers from chronic migraines, a low blood pressure syndrome, and a benign arrhythmia. The blessing came in that he now has the correct medication and preventative medication for the migraines. He is finally beginning to feel like himself and slowly beginning to have more good days than bad days. God heals and provides even when we are not expecting it. For Peter, the help with the migraines is something he has needed for years but never got a good answer or direction from doctors. Now, he has a neurologist that he is seeing, and the treatment plan seems to be helping but there is still more improvement we are praying we will see in the coming months as the neurologist told us to expect a couple months before having significantly fewer migraine episodes. Join us in praying for continued healing for Peter and his health.

Last week, we (as a family) were able to celebrate Christmas with the leaders of the Federation of Baptists.  We cooked them a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings, as per their request. The food and fellowship were enjoyed by all. They surprised us with an office in the newly remodeled offices. It was exciting for us to be included and now in the same section of the building as everyone else. God continues to bless and guide our steps as we seek to serve in obedience to God’s calling. 


Love in Christ,

Sarah & Peter McCurdy

Global Servants with International Ministries to Costa Rica


First Baptist Church of Penn Yan

224 Main Street

Penn Yan, NY 14527


Our Mission is to Create a Caring Community to Honor and Serve God.


First Baptist Church * Founded in 1830 Church Staff

Phone: 315-536-9821                                                                   Interim Pastor: Kathy Brown

Office Hours: Tues–Fri 9 am to Noon Organist: Tyler Hayford

E-Mail:                           Choir Director: Barbara Stewart

Website:             Secretary: Peggy S. Smart

                                        Accountant: Jan Hafner

Our Schedule Church Officers

Sunday Worship – 10 am Moderator: Cheryl Stewart

Sunday School for All Ages – 11 am Vice-Moderator: Sheryl Robbins

Church Clerk: Mary Watkins

Treasurer: Stan Ovens/Mary Watkins

Financial Officer: Diane DeLooza

Christian Education: Suzanne Willson 

                                                                                                          Missions: Don Lawrence

                                                                                                          Diaconate: Trevor Conrad

Trustees: Bill Decker

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