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    United Methodists of Upper New YorkLiving the Gospel. Being God's Love.

    news article

    Connecting with Jesus and journey in faith at Massena First UMC

    September 5, 2023 / By Rev. Cori Louden, Pastor and Kathy Perry, Missions, Outreach, and Hospitality Chair

    As the summer ends, the activities at Massena First UMC pick up. Our Missions, Hospitality, and Outreach Team has planned many events and activities to end the summer season and welcome fall while fulfilling our mission to Serve Massena, Connect with Jesus, and Journey in Faith.  

    Our first activity was to continue our Monday night book/Bible group to study a Max Lucado book entitled Life Lessons from Acts: Christ’s Church in the World. We continue to enjoy expanding our knowledge and living out our faith. We have added new members to our group and have welcomed them on this journey. Two individuals are not members of our own congregation but heard about what we were doing and wanted to join. 

    We also started another small group discussion on Tuesday mornings. It is centered around the TV series “The Chosen” and involves watching one episode and then engaging in a discussion about it afterwards. 

    Community meals are also a big part of what we do. Our Thursday night dinners serve approximately 120 meals per week. One of our regular meal guests celebrated their 98th birthday with us this year. In August, we hosted a program put on by the Food Bank in which participants obtained $30 in coupons to use at farmers’ markets and allowed them to eat healthier foods.  

    We also restarted a monthly Fellowship Dinner open to everyone in the congregation and their families. We enjoy trying out restaurants in the area where we can be in fellowship together. In May, the group watched Josh Barkley, our organist, perform at a local restaurant. It was a fun-filled evening of music, food, and friendly conversation. In June, we tried a new restaurant in town called On the Rocks. What a great location with wonderful food and fellowship. In August, we checked out the Gristmill in Massena. 

    Bringing kids into a family-friendly activity is something we are hoping to build on. So, in August, we hosted pizza and miniature golf. 

    Normally, Vacation Bible Study (VBS) at Massena is done through Greater Massena Ministerial Association (GMMA) and is ecumenical. This year that was not possible. So, we decided to do our own. Since it was the first time doing our own VBS, we decided to try a one-day program. The theme was “Jesus to the Rescue” and all the participants really enjoyed the day. 

    Our Summer Carnival on Aug. 26 was free and open to the public. With games, prizes, food, and fun how could it not be a success? Last year was the carnival’s first and we hosted 80 children and adults. This year we had between 300-350 children and adults. Aside from the rain, everyone had a great time. 

    On Aug. 28, we partnered with our local schools and participated in the “Ready 4 School” event at the Massena High School gym. We provided over 10 bags and boxes of school supplies, personal care items, and socks to those who visited our booth. There were over 604 people at this event, more than prior to COVID-19. 

    As we look forward to the fall, we are planning a Back-to-Church event with an old-fashioned ice cream social. We plan to return to Sunday School with an additional class added this year, monthly fellowship lunches after church on the first Sunday of the month, and a fall festival in October. In November, we serve Thanksgiving dinner to our community (last year we served 800 dinners) and in December, we are hosting a Christmas party for those in the community who would like to attend. We have so much to plan and look forward to as we reach out to serve our community. 

    With more than 100,000 members, United Methodists of Upper New York comprises of more than 675 local churches and New Faith Communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our vision is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."