My apologies for this newsletter being so late in coming to you. Hopefully, everyone has stayed safe and well during this CoVID-19 pandemic. As of today’s, writing we are still in the midst of this unknown disease, however are slowly starting to reopen as of Friday around New York. We find ourselves at home, some unable to go to work, children unable to attend school, unable to go to the store and shop ‘as usual’, and for the first time in history Bethany has had to close our doors. This is a new frontier for all of us. Is social distancing is the new normal? When will or will we ever get back to our normal lives? The old normal has now changed and will probably not come back as we once knew. Our Governor announced closure until May 15, 2020. Now we are in the midst of a tiered restart for activities that were shut down.
For us on council, it is very difficult come Sunday Mornings to get up and not open the doors at Bethany and welcome the congregation into our church. No one ever imagined that this would happen. We will however, at some point be able to get together to worship. At this date we are still unsure when we at Bethany will be able to open the doors. When we do, we will have new guidelines that we will have to follow in consultation with NYS and our Synod. Social distancing in the pews, different ways to have communion (if allowed), taking the offering, greeting people at the door – new ways to be together at church will become the new normal.
Our council has now held two meeting online with MS Teams. Quite a change for a church who less than two years did not use a computer! The meetings went very well and most all members were in attendance (if not with video with audio). We will hold our next few meetings this way on-line.
Hopefully, everyone in our congregation is staying healthy. We need to adhere to the guidelines. Wear mask when in the public, wash hands often, practice social distancing, and educate us and our children for the future.
However, we must have hope and trust in the one up in heaven to bring our Country back together and heal this virus. Life goes on and we will survive this and be stronger. Let us say our prayers each day to help heal this disease that has overtaken the world. Together with everyone working together and the Lord we will come thru this and be stronger.
With that being said, we will remain canceled at Bethany at least though the month of May and hopefully will be able to resume activities for June – future updates to come on this.
The annual Mother’s Day Smorgasbord was cancelled for 2020 and hopefully we will this fall, although maybe in a different syle, be able to hold our Turkey Supper (Rob might get his drive format yet!)
The garage sale scheduled for Memorial Day weekend has now been canceled along with all the parades and community events from all the updates we have seen. Depending on the recovery we might reschedule for later in the summer or fall.
The CPR/First Aid course originally scheduled for March 21 was canceled. We will reschedule later in the fall.
The Ladies Auxiliary has cancelled all their meetings until further notice.
Basically, speaking everything through May at the Church remains on hold except for church council meetings which will be done online and Sunday School which is live every Sunday Morning.
Our food pantry is open to anyone who calls and requests food. We have cancelled all regular scheduled food pantries at the church and will handle any calls for food on a one to one basis. If you know of anyone who needs food call the church phone at 518-868-2868, Leave a Message. Someone monitors the phones each day and returns calls. We are also providing any excess food we have to the larger food drives being held around the County.
We lost two members of our congregation
Pat Mau on Feb. 22, 2020
Charles Tilison on Mar. 21, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with their families.
Pastor of Record
and Bethany’s next steps
We had Pastor Robin Ressler filling in for two months as our Pastor of Record. Her contract ended April 15, and at our church council meeting it was voted unanimous not to renew the contract with her. Synod had forced us to sign a two-month contract and our council decided this was not a good fit for Bethany to achieve our mission. We have asked Pastor Bert Mayne to fill in for the next few months in this capacity and he has agreed to this on-call duty, while we explore other options. By the way, Pastor Mayne has provided us with online sermons for several weeks along with different songs and hymns and he will continue to do so while we are not able to come to church – and probably longer. He is on YouTube and a link is sent out each week with the bulletin and celebrate. (Pastor Mayne is really enjoying this new technology and you can subscribe to his online channel to get all of his updates)
The discussion with Zion/St. Johns, Seward, came to an end as we could not get a commitment on finances nor communication on what they were willing to contribute other than they wanted a shared Pastor for most Sundays.
However, as of June 1, 2020, we will have a new Pastor of Record – Pastor Jeff Silvernail will serve a minimum three-month commitment with Bethany. During the three months he will help us to work with Helderberg Lutheran in Berne on becoming ‘sister churches’ in which he is serving as an Interim Pastor starting in May of this year. Being a sister church means that the two churches may in the future be able to share common needs – such as a minister. There are a few concerns that need to be worked out before this could occur. We will need to discuss potential changing of a Synod conference for at least one church, a time adjustment for both churches for service time. These discussions will start in June with a goal to have these worked out by September 1 and then the option for Pastor Silvernail to becomes Bethany’s Intentional Interim Pastor for a year. It will be during this time that he will work with both churches so that we can join our missions and have a better optional to be able to find a full time called Pastor for both Churches. This will also allow Pastor Silvernail to work with Deacon Jean Guarino who has served as supply on various Sundays with us at Bethany.
As you can see, a lot of details to be worked out. Council likes the idea of sharing services with Helderberg Lutheran and this will be the option we will continue to pursue.
This option was initially explored by both our Councils and proposed to our Synod and our Dean. To date they have been less then helpful in this process but having Pastor Jeff onboard will help guide us through this process.
Sounds like a lot. Yes, it has been quite the experience with extra meetings and now a lot of e-mails going around to council members
Thanks go out to our Council President, Chris and all the members of council who have attended all those extra meetings.
Our council president has lined up supply Pastors thru June 30. Once we start to have church services, we will send an e-mail as to who is scheduled to preach on Sunday. Until this occurs, looks for the weekly emails or updates on our website and Facebook pages for links to these online services.
Bethany’s Facebook Page
At the last meeting council decided to set up a Facebook page. Thanks to Yvonne Keller Baker for doing this for Bethany. It is now up and running at
Cathy Caiazzo also does an excellent job in keeping the church web site current of all of the happenings and that can be accessed here
E-mail and communication to members
We have been using e-mail to notify the congregation of different matters that come before us and it has been a good way to get information to the congregation. We realize that a few of you do not have e-mail and we try to get a paper copy off to you. If we do not have your e-mail address, and you have one, please contact us at the church’s e-mail, so we can update our records. If you are one that we need to mail information we will send out by mail.
Keeping in touch
We need to stay connected to our congregation. Why not pick up the phone and give someone a call. It’s a great way to stay connected to everyone at church. Or if they have email send them a note. Just say Hi how are you doing. Let’s keep in touch while we are apart.
The Sunday School thru the direction of Jillian Hahn and Yvonne Keller Baker are hosting weekly Sunday School thru Zoom. They are also putting this information on our new Facebook Page. Check it out!
Thanks Jillian and Yvonne for keeping our young ones together during this time. On average they have 9 students each Sunday.
In the light of the CoVid-19 virus in our country and having to close the doors of our church for an uncertain period, Bethany will be facing a financial situation. Usually, we receive money every Sunday and it has gotten us thru. Now we do not meet on Sundays and we do not have that weekly income. However, we still have electric, phone, water and fuel among other expenses that still must be paid regardless if we have church opened or closed. Bethany has struggled for years with meeting our budget and we have had our Assets with Fenimore that we could rely on to help us out. Now that the stock market has taken a severe loss, we will not be able to draw on funds from Fenimore. If we do continue using these funds, we will no longer have this savings in reserve. Pulling from Fenimore now would mean in 3 to 5 years we would no longer have any assets in Fenimore. Some members of our congregation during this crisis have sent weekly money, and we appreciate that. This helps with those monthly recurring bills that we need to pay.
If you can send your weekly offering, please mail it to the church address listed above. It would be appreciated.
We are looking into ways to offer making on-line contributions. However, at this time we have not come up with a definite plan. Most places that offer this service, get the money, take their cut(fee) and then send you the money. This is a charge that we would not like to see.
I know that you are asking when will we open up the church doors again? We really do not know. The latest word talking with Pastor Silvernail is it would be a June time frame. As soon as we are able, we will open! We will have the church cleaned before opening (Thanks to Mike Taccone’ s company) We will continue to clean the church after each use following the guidelines in place at that time.
The most important thing to remember during this time is that we are part of Bethany Lutheran Church’s family. Together, we can get thru this crisis. Together we are Strong. God is with us and watching over us.
Stay safe, Stay Healthy and we will see you!
Prayer List May *Baptism date
May 1 Chloe Armstrong
May 2 Our Nurses
May 3 Janet Caiazzo
May 4 Annie Poquette*
May 5 Students
May 6 The World and the Covid 19 virus
May 7 Students
May 8 Mothers
May 9 Shaun Bertok, Chris Lawyer, The Poquettes
May 10 Venus Louise
May 11 Jack Bohl
May 12 Lorri Armstrong*, Kimberlee Hoos
May 13 Hospital Support Staff
May 14 Our Pastors
May 15 Abigail Caiazzo
May 16 Otis and Shirley Lawyer
May 17 Chris Cornwell*
May 18 Teachers
May 19 Linda Aernecke
May 20 Our Congregation
May 21 Margaret Anderson
May 22 Issacc Swindells
May 23 Colleen Porter
May 24 Sue Zehrfuhs*
May 25 The Bertoks
May 26 Government Officials making decisions
May 27 Our First Responders
May 28 Vaccine for Covid 19
May 29 For those who have lost their jobs
May 30 Our Church
May 31 Kathryna Lawyer
Prayer List June *Baptism date
June 1 Jill Attansio*
June 2 Robert Porter
June 3 The economy to recover
June 4 Peace
June 5 Charles and Jeanette Cornwell
June 6 Jane King*
June 7 Essential Workers
June 8 The Lord for watching over us
June 9 Chris Wilkens
June 10 Maven Armstrong
June 11 Barb Liddle, Colleen Porter*
June 12 Liam Overholt*, Jeanette
Cornwell*, Daniel, Dennis, Amy Schuttig*
June 13 Jeanne Hay*, Jim Willaims*
June 14 Connie Tilison*
June 15 The American Flag (Flag Day)
June 16 Otis Lawyer, Bernice Spoor*
June 17 The Aitchisons
June 18 The Platts
June 19 Liliana Lawyer, Steff Zehrfuhs*
June 20 Fathers
June 21 Jobs Restarting
June 22 Our Food Pantry
June 23 Charles Cornwell*
June 24 Our Animals
June 25 Carol Wilber
June 26 Our Choir
June 27 Recovery from Covid 19
June 28 Our Country
June 29 Dorothy Lawyer
June 30 Domenica Taccone*