- - - - NEWSLETTER FOR DECEMBER 2008 - - - -    

First Baptist Church

224 Main St. Penn Yan, NY 14527

 (315) 536-9821 e-mail:

Rev. John R. Tharp, Pastor


December worship services


Dec. 7             The Real Christmas Tree

                        Matthew 7:15-30


Dec. 14           What is God Doing in Our World?

                        John 18:28-38


Dec. 21           Church School Presentation


Dec. 24           Cantata


Dec. 28           Shepherd Tracks

                        Luke 2:8-20


Decorating the Sanctuary

Saturday, December 6

9 a.m.


Community Chorus Christmas Concert

Sunday, December 7

3 p.m. in our sanctuary


Children’s Christmas Program

Sunday, December 21

10 a.m. Worship Service


Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Wednesday, December 24

7 p.m.


December birthdays

1 ~ Marge Moulton                            15 ~ Joyce Slocum

1 ~ Peyton Hansen                             17 ~ Paul MacDougall

4 ~ Kyle Miller                                   31 ~ Daryl Johnson

9 ~ Deb Eveland                                 31 ~ Virginia DeLooza



A message from Pastor John




            Malcolm Muggeridge did much of his work in the first half of the 20th century. Having graduated from Cambridge as a rather unremarkable student, he accepted the invitation of a pastor and educator, Rev. W.E.S. Holland, to go to India and teach English. He would write of this experience, “India is a place in which it is impossible to avoid thinking.” Along with his teaching duties, Malcolm wrote articles for the Culcutta Guardian. In one of these he captured a snapshot of two styles of leadership.


            On the road that passed by his house, there was an event that took place each day. A boy, who was physically and mentally challenged in may ways, would drive a flock of geese to the pond at the far end of the village and then return with them later in the day. In Malcolm’s description of this daily event: “He speaks to them in the soft, caressing voice a mother uses to a very little baby. He carries not stick…but only a large leaf, which he waves slowly to and fro. (They stay together) like a band of pilgrims or workers working voluntarily together. He seemed less of a general ordering his troops and more of a conductor orchestrating a dance, each one understanding the other’s movements.


            I realized how successful he was when, one day, another boy was guiding the geese. The other boy was a bouncing, bumptious fellow, who carried a switch and shouted at the geese. As a result the geese spread over the road in a screaming, cackling mob - some getting left behind; some getting run over by a passing motor car; all of them lost and bewildered.


            Perhaps the boy with the special needs would never “write a book or bleat a lecture or drone a sermon or do any of the things we wretched intelligentsia preen ourselves on.” However, this boy had a happiness about him as he used his obvious gift and would probably be content to do so for the rest of his life.

            (Quoted and paraphrased from Malcome Muggeridge: A Life, by Ian Hunter)


            Each person, each pastor, each church leader is gifted with a different style of leadership. Some work better with the geese; some are more suited to leading the charge of the light brigade for some cause; still others do better at healing the wounds of people along the way. In the history of our church there have been a great variety of talents shared by both the lay people and the professional pastors.


            On December 14th, we will receive our offering for the Retired Ministers and Missionaries. It is our opportunity to say “thank you” to those who have served and their spouses for the gifts shared with us in the course of their ministry.

                                                                                          ~ Pastor John



Mary & Martha Circle and Fellowship Class OUT TO LUNCH!

Tuesday, December 9

12 O’clock noon

In the month of December these two women’s groups will

enjoy a luncheon at the Antique Inn. Call Marge Cornell

with your reservations. 536-6607.


Trustees notes


·         Envelopes still left to be delivered will be given out on Sunday at worship. Those that are left after worship will be mailed.

·         We gave permission for the older tables to be used for Christmas for the Needy at the Armory on Dec. 16 until it is finished.

·         There will be a sign up sheet for Bell Ringing for Christmas for the Needy. The Baptist are responsible for December 12 at P&C.

·         It was mentioned that some sort of speaker system is needed in the nursery so that those who have nursery duty on Sunday can still hear the worship service. Someone has offered to pay for the system.

The next Trustees meeting will be held on December 9.



Signs and Wonders

Have you seen those houses where people go all out with their

Christmas decorations? The houses with 10,000 blinking lights,

the giant inflatable Santas, and the loudspeakers blaring Christmas

music… Even God put up just one North Star when Jesus was born.

He didn’t do a meteor shower, a solar eclipse, and a giant volcanic explosion.



Music is such an important part of the holidays. It surrounds us everywhere we go. Shopping, concerts, radio and of course worship services. Here is a preview of what the choir has in store for you during the Advent Season. Please come, enjoy, praise,  or quietly pray. Hear the message in these beautiful songs.


Dec. 7 ~ “Emmanuel Is Coming”

Dec. 14 ~ “We Want to Be Ready”

Dec. 21 ~ “Where Will We See Him?”

Dec. 24 ~ “Cool Night, Quiet Night”

Cantata: “Messiah”

Dec. 28 ~ “Do You Know?”



We extend our sympathy to Mrs. Susan Harding, our Special Interest Home Missionary in Alaska, on the recent death of her husband, The Rev. Mr. Richard Harding.




Congratulations to Clifford LeBarr on his recent effort in the Yates Great Track & Field Team Special Olympics. Held recently in the Rochester Genesse Region, Clifford won a silver medal in the 10 Meter Walk; and a bronze medal in the softball throw. Congratulations Clifford ! ! ! ! !





Dear Friends at First Baptist

It was a privilege to have the ABC/NYS Biennial Meeting held in our midst this year.

Thank you, First Baptist members, by providing assistance in hospitality, transportation,

and history moments during this event, as part of Finger Lakes host responsibilities.

I was pleased at the generous response by the churches of our Association.



Ruth Spencer




                                                            PANCAKE DAY!

                                                   A Starshine Celebration!


Friday, December 5

Pancakes, Sausage, Scrambled Eggs, Juice, Coffee, Tea or Milk

Serving begins at 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and then 4:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

St. Michael’s Church Dining Hall, Liberty Street, Penn Yan

$18  Family      $6  Adult      $ 4  5 - 12 years





Starting the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ending on Christmas Eve, the season of Advent is when we celebrate the coming of Christ into the world as a tiny baby born in Bethlehem. Advent candles are what guide us through these weeks, sharing with us the messages of our salvation in Jesus.


Be Enlightened ! One candle glows the first week of Advent, then two, three and four are lit in the weeks following. As we watch the light of candles glow and grow each week, we are reminded that our souls are being enlightened as well by the message of this season: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1)


Get Ready ! Advent is when we “prepare the way for the Lord” (Mark 1:3). The candles serve as signals to us to brighten things up around our home and our church in preparation for Jesus’ entry into our midst. Putting up Christmas lights outside, decorating a Christmas tree, baking colorful cookies and candy, wrapping presents in pretty paper are all ways for us to say “Welcome!” to Jesus.


Wait and See ! The advent candles provide us with a way to count the weeks until Christmas. They subtly teach us that waiting is a part of the process of God’s unfolding plan. “At just the right time, God sent his Son,” Galatians 4:4 says. Advent helps us remember that we are living in God’s time, not our own.


 Gather Round ! The candles of Advent (most often arranged in the form of a circle) beckon us to gather round to worship and pray, to give thanks and sing, to read God’s Word together and share our experiences. We do this when we come to church on Sunday mornings and when we sit around the dinner table with family and friends. The candles of Advent make us realize how important it is to love one another as God has loved us in Christ, our Lord.




To Brittany Griffin and Tatiana Scheel who received recognition recently

at the 2008 4-H Achievement Award Night. Brittany and Tatiana both

won the Stepping Stone  Award and Brittany also won the Milestone Award

as well as the Kiawanas Fenton Wager Memorial Award. When you see the

girls, be sure to congratulate them ! ! ! !




Out of the Mouths of God’s Kids

A little girl was fascinated by a nativity scene set up in her church.

Asked by her mother, she was able to identify Mary, Joseph,

the shepherds, and the animals in the stable.

“And what’s that?” her mother asked, pointing to the manger.

“Oh, that’s Baby Jesus’ car seat, Mommy!” the little girl said proudly.