2019 Newsletter Schedule
Newsletter Articles due date Distribution date
Spring/Summer 23 Apr. 2019 12 May 2019
Summer/Fall 30 Jul. 2019 11 Aug. 2019
Fall/Winter 29 Oct. 2019 10 Nov.2019
Spring/Summer 23 Apr. 2019 12 May 2019
Food for thought from Pastor Paige:
Busy Busy Busy! Life has a way of rushing right by us. It seems like a blink of an eye, we are in spring, the flowers are blooming, and the trees are finally green! As fast as it comes, it also feels like it took forever for spring to burst forth from our earth.
Waiting is funny like that. It seems like forever when we are in the midst of it, but once it’s here (whatever it is!) time passes so quickly. I think the reason for this feeling is that we are rarely present in the moment that is. I know that it takes me a lot to slow down to enjoy something. There is always something else in front of me! I need to take more time to just enjoy, to soak it in, to breathe deep all the goodness that is before me. How can we take time this Easter season to soak in the light, the love and grace that God offers? As a Church I think we all need to take a deep breath. This breath isn’t for us to be lazy or to do less for God’s kingdom. It isn’t a step back, but a step toward what God is doing. It’s the quieting of all the other stuff whirling around so that we can be present to—and become involved in—what God is doing!
This message is for you, but it’s for me too! We need each other to remind each other to take a breath, to soak it in, to dwell with God in what God is doing so we can do it too! So let’s take a breath, and then get to work!
Getting to know our Pastor!
Pastor Paige Convis and her husband Justan Foster, have been married for almost 3 years. Their anniversary is August 27, 2016.
Right now they have 3 dogs, Mia(7), Leche (6) and Max (1) and one cat, Sunday (10).
She’s from Flushing, Michigan which is a suburb of Flint.
She originally went to Cedarville University, in southwest Ohio. But when people didn’t support the idea of a woman pastor, she left there after a semester. She transferred to Trinity Christian College, in Palos Heights, IL (southwest suburb of Chicago), and graduated in 2012. She doubled majored in Church and Ministry Leadership and Theology.
She graduated from Western Seminary in 2015, and was ordained on October 11, 2015, to the position of Pastoral Resident at First Reformed in Schenectady.
Paige was raised by her grandparents, Rozella and Lester. Her Papa passed away in May of 2015, but Grandma still lives in Flushing.
She has one brother, Andrew, who is 26.
Paige loves musicals (her favorite is Wicked).
Paige likes crafts and all things creative.
Her favorite singer/songwriter is Carrie Newcomer.
She is an all-around church nerd and always up for a theologically/ biblical/church history conversation.
Letter from Pastor Paige:
Grace and Peace to you! It’s my joy to be writing to you as your new Pastor and Teacher. The role of pastor is an important one, which I take seriously. However, there are some ground “rules” that need to be laid down so we can learn and grow together:
1. I am not the boss. God is. Let’s seek God’s face—together!
2. I will love you, even if you mess up. I ask the same from you.
3. We all have responsibility to keep this Church growing and moving.
4. Remember that I, too, am human.
5. My door is always open for talking but call first. The nature of pastoral ministry means I am not always in the office on days I intend to be.
6. Please call my cell phone only if it’s an emergency. Texts and emails are always okay. Call the office phone for non-urgent things that I can attend to when I am in the office next.
7. Tell me when something is going on. I can’t help if I don’t know!
8. Use direct communication. I do not accept anonymous feedback. Please feel free to come to me with feedback that you have! But if I hear it through the grapevine, I won’t listen to it.
I am excited to see what God will do in and through us. We will learn, grow, celebrate, and mourn together. We will walk together through it all, and I am excited and honored to do that with all of you.
If it’s been a while since you have been to worship or connected with us, I want to personally invite you to come to the office. I am usually there Tuesdays and Thursdays or come to worship on Sunday mornings. I would love to meet you!
My love flows deeply for you all. I remember you in prayer often and am looking forward to our years together.
Treats and Chats with Pastor Paige
Let’s get to know each other better! Come to the parsonage sometime this summer for a sweet treat and conversation. Sign up for one of these “Treats and Chats” times this summer.
Tuesday, June 25 11am
Friday, June 28 7pm
Tuesday, July 2 7pm
Thursday, July 11 11am
Friday, July 19 7pm
Regional Synod of Albany News
Pastor Paige became the President of the Regional Synod of Albany on May 6, 2019. She will serve the Regional Synod from May 2019—May 2020.
General Synod 2019
General Synod is June 6-11 at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Pastor Paige is the Regional Synod’s delegate. Please pray for the General Synod, for the Reformed Church in America. Pray that we would treat each other with love, that the conversation and decisions would be pleasing to God and aligned with God’s will for our denomination.
Handicap Accessible Building Task Force
The consistory is looking for individuals who are interested in being a part of the ongoing conversation about how to make our building more accessible to those with different abilities. We are looking for 2-3 people to serve on a Task Force who have the capacity to assess the building’s needs, the best ways to fulfill those needs, write grants and to make phone calls to arrange quotes.
Is this you? Contact Pastor Paige.
What does our community need?
The consistory is asking themselves this question.
What needs do you see in the community to which our church could lend aid?
We would love some voices from the wider church about ways that the church could be meeting the needs of our community. Please share your ideas with a member of consistory and/or Pastor Paige.
Red Tulip awards to all who helped with the reception for Pastor Paige's installation, those who helped set up, prepared food and cleaned up, especially our dish washers, Brian Caverly and Roger LaPorta; also to Ellen Caverly and the Sunday School children for making the lovely centerpieces.
Also, Red Tulip awards to all who helped with our Spring church cleanup:
Ellen Caverly, Pastor Paige Convis & Justin Foster, Steve Devan, Gilles & Ruth Gagnon, Pam Hayden,
Sue Hoffay, Nancy & Jeff Irwin, Sharon Johnson, Nancy & Roger LaPorta, Kate Leahey, Judy Massey,
Ann Marie Merrifield and Theresa & Greg Migirditch.
Sunday School News
The children of our Sunday school wish to thank everyone who supported their Heifer Bake Sale.
The sale took in $400.00 on Palm Sunday. This was our sixth year having a bake sale to support the Heifer Project. At this time the kids have not had time to get together and decide which specific programs to support. We will be able to take advantage of a matching program for at least some of the money, which will increase the overall donation.
Reformed Church Women’s Ministries
We meet once a month, September — June, in our downstairs kitchen. Our May 2019 meeting will be on the third (3rd) Tuesday of the month, 21 May 2019, at one o’clock pm. However, starting in September 2019 we will be meeting on the fourth(4th) Tuesday at one o’clock. This change is so that we are able to start a new ministry: making meals and delivering them to the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless in Albany, NY. Other ministries include our semi-annual Rummage Sale, which provides clothing items at low cost to the community, and supporting our church and congregation where needed. Our June meeting is a dinner and our December meeting is a breakfast, when we have fun together. We take a rest in July and August. All women are welcome. Hope to see you. Love to All, Ann-Marie Merrifield, President
Is Your Church Fun Sized?
By Andy Bossardet April 22, 2019
I am perfectly designed for air travel. At 5’ 7”, I can fit into the overhead storage bin (though I prefer my own seat). It’s led to the endearing(ish) nickname of being “fun sized,” like the kind of candy bar that’s not even one full bite. Still, it beats the nicknames I endured growing up. I was a not-quite-tall-enough-for-sports student in a predominantly tall West Michigan. There’s something to be said for being “fun-sized.” It puts a fun spin on something usually reserved for ridicule.
Small is normal
In that same spirit, I’d like to call for a moratorium on the phrase “small church” to describe a church of fewer than 75, 100, or 150 members. Adding “small” to the name implies that the “small” church is abnormal. It’s not.
A study of U.S. congregations revealed that 42 percent of congregations have fewer than 50 people involved in the life of the church, and two-thirds have fewer than 100 worshipers. In Canada, the numbers tell a similar story: 65 percent have fewer than 150.
I’m not ready to start calling congregations pulling a few dozen faithful “fun sized.” But I’m not far from it, either. Small churches, and their pastors, are worthy of celebration.
The advantages of being small
While larger churches try to get the masses to know each other, smaller churches sometimes have to end the greeting time early because people are passing the peace. And the local gossip. And questions about how your mom’s heart surgery went. The conversations extend past the worship service and into the fellowship hour. (And that’s often a full hour, flowing with questionable coffee and cookies). Churches this size often feel like family, and in a world where transience and isolation plague us, that’s no small thing.
In a so-called small church, you don’t have to hunt for people’s skill sets. When it’s possible to know everyone—at least names and a hobby or two, if not what keeps them up at night—each individual member’s contributions and personality shine through. You can readily identify the best folks to lead the singing. You know the seasoned saint who prays for everyone by name.
Small churches don’t have to compete. They can cooperate. There is something beautiful and selfless about churches banding together. They impose ashes, raise youth, launch service projects, and run scores of other ministries without fighting for top recognition. Partnering not only increases each church’s impact, it also demonstrates to the community that this is what the people of God do—they work together. Jesus prayed for that kind of unity of service.
Take heart, small churches
So here’s to you, the pastor who is also the plumber, electrician, bulletin folder, and one-who-shoos-away-the-bats. Here’s to you, church that has risen and fallen with the neighborhood when it would have been easier to move to easier pastures. Here’s to you, church folk who keep faithfully sowing the seeds of grace. While you may not headline a major conference or land a book deal, we see you and appreciate you.
If you are looking for ways to celebrate your fun-sized church while also faithfully expanding your capacity for ministry, here are a few of my favorite resources:
Small Church Essentials by Karl Vaters
Spiritual Practices for Effective Leadership by Debora Jackson
Appreciative Leadership by Amanda Trosten-Bloom, Diana Whitney, and Kae Rader
Want more encouragement? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
Andy Bossardet is coordinator for equipping thriving congregations for the Reformed Church in America.