“The Spirit”

Byron Presbyterian Church

January – February, 2017


The Basics

*  Sunday Worship begins at 9:45 AM,

*  Sunday School and Christian Education for young children happen during the worship hour.

*  Nursery Care during the worship hour.

*  Contact Pastor Jim Renfrew at 548-2800 or at


Annual Meeting

Sunday, January 29,

following 9:45 AM Worship.

A light meal will be served. 

Please join us!


Here He Comes!

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.  John 1:35-37

Here comes the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world”.  That’s what John says when he sees Jesus coming.  What does it mean?  If Jesus takes away the sin of the world, what exactly is he taking away?  Are you bothered by sin, troubled by sin, hurt by sin?

Sin is when I hurt other people and when I hurt myself.  Sin is when other people hurt me and in doing so hurt themselves.  Sin is all the ways that hurt is done.  It can be done with words.  It can be done with punches, kicks and weapons. Iit can be done with just a look.

Sin can be easily found in lots of other people.  It is also found in you.  But I have noticed that sin especially happens in groups.  I noticed this one afternoon when I drove over to a school in Rochester to pick up kids for a youth group.  My kids weren’t waiting on the corner like usual.  Instead they were in the middle of a huddle across the street from the school.  There was a fight happening in the middle of the huddle.  I managed to pull my kids away, and on the ride to the church we talked about it.  They said that they were not the ones fighting, and that they were only watching.  It was very evident that to me that the fight was happening because there was that crowd encouraging it to happen.  Not one of my kids, I thought, would start fighting another kid on their own, but in that large group something else took over, something we can call sin.

Sin happens when one person takes a poke at another person.  Whenever I get poked, my immediate wish is for that person to be fried by a lightning bolt.  Of course, whenever I’ve poked someone, I hope that God didn’t notice, or if God did notice that God would be quick with forgiveness.  Being honest about sin is pretty hard for most of us, and, mostly, we blame other people for sin.  But let’s admit that sin also happens because of you.

Sin may be the most damaging when I do something that hurts someone I’ve never seen and will never know.  When I buy fuel for my car  I am benefiting from policies that are willing for wars to be fought to protect the sources of the oil.  Who knows how many people are affected every time I fill the tank.  We don’t know their names, we don’t know where they live, and we don’t even know we are doing it, but it may be sin just the same.

What did John say about Jesus?  “Here comes the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world”.  When we think about all of the ways sin happens in the world this becomes an incredible statement, Jesus has the ability and the desire to take away the sin in you, and everyone around you, and the whole world.  How is he going to do that?  Sin is very powerful, so Jesus needs something real powerful to get rid of that sin.  What do you think he uses to get rid of sin?  A super-powered vacuum?  A rough scrub with steel wool?

But look at what John says, “Here comes the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world.”  That’s right!  John calls Jesus a lamb, not a lion, tiger, or monster.  A cute, gentle, cuddly lamb.  And so this sin is going to be taken away not by force, or threat or violence, but by something very different.  Jesus is going to love the sin out of us.  Is it possible?  Can he really do it?  Whether you believe it or not, Jesus is going to try and try, loving us in every way possible.  Loving you on good days, loving you on bad days, loving you when sinners hurt you, loving you when you hurt others, loving the best people, loving the worst people, loving the youngest, loving the oldest, loving those who deserve it, and loving those who don’t deserve it, loving you and loving people you’ll never meet on the other side of the world.

Here he comes!       [Jim Renfrew, Pastor]


Session Notes

The church is beginning to plan for its 200th Anniversary in 2018.  There is a sign –up list for any who are interested in helping coordinate special events and activities for our 200th.  Session recommends that each committee provide a representative when further discussions are held in January about the 200th Anniversary of the Church.

The Nominating Committee has prepared a full slate of people to be elected at the Annual Meeting in January.

All committees and boards are asked to submit their annual reports as soon as possible.

Session canceled its December meeting, due to poor weather.   [Kim Dewey, Clerk]


Byron PC on Facebook


Thanks to the efforts of Nick Quilliam, the Byron Presbyterian Church is now on Facebook!  We’re easy to find, just search for “Byron Presbyterian Church” when you get to Facebook.  You can also find a link to the Facebook page when visiting our website,  Each week on Facebook we will offer previews  of the coming Sunday service, and news about other church activities.


Newsletter Information


The newsletter is usually sent bi-monthly, but sometimes more frequently in the fall.  The deadline for submissions is Sunday, February 19 for the March-April newsletter.  We would prefer to send the newsletter to you as an e-mail attachment.  Please send your e-mail address to the office, at  We will not give out your address to anyone else without your permission.  The newsletter is always posted to the church website,,.  If you miss the Sunday worship service you can see each week’s Sunday bulletin and most sermons on line, too.


Thank You!

We have received many positive comments from our newsletter readers, and we welcome your encouragement.  We invite you to keep our Byron Presbyterian Church newsletter coming to you in months and years to come.  If you are not already a church contributor, your contribution to help cover mailing  and Internet costs would be welcomed.  Checks may be made out to “Byron Presbyterian Church”.  Thank you!
[   ]    YES, I want to help support the cost of the Byron Presbyterian Church newsletter.   I enclose  $___.
[   ]    I prefer to receive the newsletter as an e-mail attachment

[   ]    I prefer to receive the newsletter through the US Mail

Town/City                               State               Zip
Phone                                       E-mail


Note:  we do not circulate or publish e-mail addresses.



The latest projects around the church include fresh repainting of the downstairs “parlor” rooms thanks to Western New York Painting Contractors; wooden divider doors that separate the parlors have been rehung to allow the doors to close properly, Dan Stevens is again volunteering his plowing services during the winter months and lastly, the new front entry doors have arrived and hopefully will be installed during the month of January (weather permitting).

A sign-up list for winter snow and ice removal volunteers has been placed at the back of the sanctuary.  Our thanks to all of those who take a turn.  Some Sundays you get lucky and there’s no snow, but some Sundays …

Trustees have posted on the bulletin board a list of repair and maintenance jobs that would be helpful to the church.  Please consider taking one of them on!  Please speak to any of our trustees for a quick lesson in using the thermostats during the heating season.   [Ron & Robin Glazier, Trustees]


200th Anniversary Approaching    


2018 will mark the 200th Anniversary of the founding of our Byron Presbyterian Church.  We want to begin our preparations now!  We could use your help, by answering the following  questions.  Here is the idea form we have been including in the Sunday bulletin during August and September.  Please place this form in the offering plate or in the church office.  Thank you!

Question #1

What are some activities or themes we could include in the celebration?


Question #2

As we celebrate our first 200 years how can we also be looking forward to the next 100 years?


Question #3

Would you be willing to join with other interested folks in making plans for the 200th? If so, please include your name here:


“Angels We Have Heard on High!”

Thank you to all our devoted choir members. You made the Christmas season special! An extra shout out to Tamara Hillabush-Walker, our soloist for the Christmas Eve service. Thanks also to our organist/pianist Liz Weber and to Rev. Jim Renfrew on the violin. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2017!  [Kim Dewey, Choir Director]  And thanks to our twenty neighborhood Christmas carolers who braved the cold after worship on December 18th.


The Christmas Story

We hope everyone enjoyed the twist on the Christmas pageant! The children were filmed over a 3 week period and interviewed about their version of the Christmas story. Kylie Britt and Lacey Sloat edited the footage into a sweet, entertaining movie. If you weren’t able to be in church that day, let the pastor know and he can give you a chance to view the video.


Back Pack Project

The Backpack Program continues to be a vital part of our community outreach. We have received donations over the past year from many organizations and individuals, the largest being the grant we receive of $2500 from United Way. If you are interested in donating money to the Backpack Program in Genesee County when you designate your funds, please use the following code:  90221 (Genesee County United Way Backpack Fund)

Thanks to all who so generously support this program! While we have gone down in numbers of participants this year, to a current total of 19 children served, it is still an important part of our outreach. We provided home deliveries to 17 children over the summer months as well. I am extremely grateful for Robin Glazier who diligently packs the bags almost every week for me now that she is “retired” from her full time job and Faline Tyler who graciously distributes the bags on a weekly basis to those students in grades 7-12 at Byron-Bergen.  We supplied a family in need (one of our Backpack Program participants) with Christmas needs and wants. There is always joy on their faces when we show up with wrapped gifts!  [Pam Kenward, Mission Committee]



‘Twas the Season for helping, caring and sharing.  Bell-ringers at TOPS in December:  Jane Ezard, Doris Hillabush, Audrey Blount, Connie Swanson, Laura Platt, Jeanie & Jordan Sloat, Michael and Nancy Curran, Chrystal and Kylie Britt, and Robin & Elizabeth Shuknecht.    Jordan set a new record for our church by ringing the bells for four solid hours!   [Chrystal Britt, Deacons]


Sunday School Volunteers Needed


Kylie Britt and Lacey Sloat, students at Brockport, are coordinating Sunday School for the coming year.  They have designed a curriculum from September through May.  Each Sunday’s lesson plan is included in a single shoe box for each teacher volunteer to use.  The box includes a written plan, plus all of the materials needed for crafts and other activities.  They have made Sunday School volunteering no more difficult than finding a pair of shoes to wear from your bedroom closet!  We have now installed shelves in the back hallway to keep the shoe boxes better labeled and organized.

There is a sign-up list at the back of the Sanctuary.  Although our numbers vary from week to week we need to schedule two pairs of teachers to cover two age groups each Sunday.  When you look at the schedule you will see that not every Sunday requires teachers.  We are working in 4-6 week blocks focusing on a single theme.  Volunteers can sign up for the whole block or for single Sundays.

Please contact Lacey or Kylie if you have any questions.  This marks a fresh start in our Christian Education program, made possible by two anonymous gifts to the church.


Sunday School Themes for January and February


The church worship service begins at 9:45 am and Sunday School takes place during the service. We still have a need for Sunday School teachers, if you are interested please check the sign-up list in the back of the sanctuary or contact Kylie Britt at (585)-548-6010, text or call.


Unit 4: Disciples

January: 1/8-1/29

Unit 4 introduces the disciples and students learn about who they are and what they did through 4 exciting lessons. The stories discussed include Loaves and Fishes and Fishers of Men. Week 1 (1/8) is a craft. Week 2 (1/15) is a music theme. Week 3 (1/22) is a craft. Week 4 (1/29) is a baking activity. The church worship service begins at 9:45 am and Sunday School takes place during the service. We may still have a need for Sunday School teachers, if you are interested please check the sign-up list in the back of the sanctuary or contact Kylie Britt at (585)-548-6010, text or call.

Sunday School is still in session! If you would be willing to take a turn at teaching and/or assisting, please sign up at the back of the sanctuary. Each lesson is in a box on the shelf in the hallway behind the sanctuary. Please let us know if you have  questions.


From the Pastor    

Dear Friends,

The Bible readings for worship in January and February have two themes:  the invitation to discipleship, and guidance for disciples who have joined.  All of these stories have an element of unexpected surprise.

Isaiah sets the stage by describing the Messiah as a humble servant, not a mighty warrior – who could have expected that in those times?  It gets us asking ourselves about the kinds of people we look up to?  Are we drawn to the most powerful people, or do we look for other qualities?

In John’s account, the first disciples are not recruited for the skills and talents that they have, but, instead, for the things they have been dreaming about – what business or agency even in the present day recruits like that?  If you had been hired to your job because of your dreams, what would those dreams have been?

Matthew’s stories tell about the method Jesus used to find disciples.  He didn’t put want ads in the newspaper; he just wandered around looking for interesting people.  What would Jesus notice in someone like you; what would he find interesting about you?

Finally, we reach five weeks of “The Sermon on the Mount”, where Jesus lays out the plans for his disciples.  Again, the guidelines he offers have more to do with service to others, not power over others.    Each of Jesus’ teachings begins with the phrase “You have heard it said …”, and then he offers an unexpected shift –  “but I say to you …”.  What are the things we take for granted, the things that provide structure and meaning in our lives, and what is Jesus offering as a very different way of living?  It’s meant to be surprising and unexpected.

Our Sunday worship themes will also be the inspiration for our Sunday School program.

Here he comes!


Many Blessings to you in this New Year!

Jim Renfrew, Pastor


Texts for Preaching

JAN 1    Guest Preacher:  Martha Mitchell, CRE

JAN 8   Isaiah 42:1-9     “Here He Comes!”

JAN 15   John 1:29-42   “Who Are You Looking For?”

JAN 22   Matthew 4:18-22  “As he Walked By”

JAN 29   Matthew 5:1-12   “What Disciples Do”

FEB 5      Matthew 5:13-20  “The Light of the World”

FEB 12    Matthew 5:21-37  “What You Have Heard”

FEB 19    Matthew 5:38-48 “What You’ve Heard, Pt2”

FEB 26    Matthew 6:24-34  “Things to Worry About”


Look for “sermon teasers” on our Facebook page, questions to think about as you prepare for worship each Sunday.

Financial Information


     2017 offering envelopes are now available for all who submitted an “Estimate of Giving” card, and for any other adult or child who might wish a box.  Please speak to Gwen George to obtain a box.  Please note that if you did not submit an Estimate of Giving card, an annual financial statement (useful for tax purposes) can be provided only if you notify the church office during January that you would like us to keep track of your contributions.  Please note that in each box there is an envelope marked “Per Capita”.  Per Capita, set at $30.65, represents each church member’s fair share of the operational expenses of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, Synod of the Northeast, and the Presbyterian Church (USA).  You may put this envelope in the offering plate at any time this year.  The 2016 final Financial Statement and 2017 Budget will be presented at the January 29 Annual Meeting.


Presbytery Leadership Development Day

The Presbytery of Genesee Valley Presents Church Leadership Development Day For New and Experienced Church Leaders, Saturday, February 11, 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM Optional Working Lunch Course 12:15 PM-1:45 PM, at the Perinton Presbyterian Church 6551 Pittsford-Palmyra Road, Fairport, NY 14450  Our church will cover the $5 registration fee if you would like to attend.  Registration deadline is February 6th.  There will be 8 morning courses, plus 9 working lunch courses.  Courses of Interest for Elders, Deacons, Clerks of Session, Treasurers, Trustees, Pastors, CREs, Office Personnel, Christian Educators, Everyone!!

Bring your own brown bag lunch or order a “bagged” lunch for $5.00. LUNCHES MUST BE PRE-ORDERED AND PAID FOR IN ADVANCE; no extra lunches will be available the day of the event. Fully accessible facility CHILDCARE AVAILABLE WITH PRIOR REGISTRATION.  If you would like to go, please speak to Rev. Jim Renfrew.


January Bible Study

Mahatma Gandhi, the non-violent Indian revolutionary, was not a Christian, though he enjoyed finding common themes held by different religious peoples, especially Hindus, Muslims and Christians.  He often urged people of these great faiths to read each other’s sacred texts, rather than take up arms against each other.  His recommendation  to Muslims and Hindus was to read Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in the Gospel of Matthew in order to better understand Christians, and to appreciate some of their core teachings.

At our January 24 Bible Study, with Rev. Renfrew leading, we will look at the opening portion of the Sermon in Matthew 5:1-12, but also survey the rest of the Sermon, up though the end of Chapter 7.  The Sermon has many familiar parts, including the opening “Beatitudes”, and then a series of teachings that follow the formula of “You have heard it said … but I say to you”, in short, contrasting the Christian path with the way the world often operates.

So, bring your Bible, bring a friend, bring your New Year’s resolution to take the Bible more seriously, and let’s see what Jesus has to say about you, our church and the world around us!  It’s a conversation, not a lecture, so all kinds of questions (and answers!) are welcome.

Our Bible Study, with the start of the New Year, is now a twice-monthly experience.  On the second Tuesday of each month we are invited to a Bible Study at the North Bergen Presbyterian Church.  The North Bergen date will also include a book, “The Walk”.  If you are planning to attend please let me know so that the North Bergen folks will have enough books to share.  So remember the pattern, 2nd Tuesday at North Bergen and 4th Tuesday at Byron, at 7 PM.  [Jim Renfrew]


Mobile Pantry Report

During 2016 we hosted four Mobile Pantries with help from our congregation, food supplied from Foodlink, and many participants from the surrounding community coming to partake in needed food supplies. At each event, we provided hot soup or cookies.  Quota Club set up and distributed warm clothing as well. Across the events, we served 355 families, 241 seniors, 530 adults and 522 children.

This coming year, we have decided to step back from hosting the Mobile Pantry. Many other area churches have stepped up to get involved in this program, providing a lot of coverage in the area. We will be reaching out to a neighboring congregation interested in hosting some Food Pantries at their church, with ample opportunity for helpers from our church. [Pam Kenward, Mission Committee]




























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