NEWS - All of Us


Sunday Worship - 10AM, Wednesday Praise & Prayer @ 7 pm.

Current Circuit Rider - 10/17/2021

FALL 2021

Ministry Shares - What are they?

As a United Methodist congregation, Liverpool First United Methodist Church is “connected” to other United Methodist congregations worldwide.  One of the ways we support this network of churches is by making monthly Shared Ministry payments.  In past times these were known as Apportionments.  These payments are currently set at 14% of the prior year’s annual income, and for 2021 we are assessed $51,084, and that expense is a part of our operating budget funded by your offerings.  One of the decisions made when we became the beneficiary of the April 2020 PPP loan (which became a grant) was to pay 100% of our Shared Ministry obligations faithfully, and we have done that since June 2020. The funds that LFUMC and other UMC (Ministry Shares cont.) churches furnish are used in a wide variety of ways. A few that you may not be aware of are: 

• Disaster Response teams are formed to address relief efforts for natural and human-made disasters.  In recent years floods, hurricanes, forest fires, and earthquakes have been frequent needs. The flooding in New York’s southern tier in August and the recent Haiti earthquake are relevant examples.

• Africa University is the first and only fully accredited institution of higher learning established on the African continent by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church in 1988. Africa University has shaped the lives of thousands of young people all over the continent of Africa by equipping them with the knowledge to alleviate poverty, build peace, increase stability, and drive development.  Most of the graduates return to their home country to make a difference.

• VIM (Volunteer in Mission) teams construct and renew mission facilities in the US and internationally.  Examples of these efforts are teaching at schools, conducting medical clinics, holding children’s Bible school, and volunteering at the Mission Central HUB, located at the Upper New York Conference headquarters on Henry Clay Blvd in Liverpool.

• Following the Civil War, the former Methodist Episcopal Church organized the Freedmen’s Aid Society to help educate African Americans who could not read or write. In 1972, The United Methodist Church established the Black College Fund to provide reliable support for UM-related, historically Black colleges and offer a chance to everyone with a dream and a commitment to excel, regardless of race, class, gender, or ethnic heritage. Unfortunately, many of these students, often the first in their family to go to college, would fall through the cracks and never earn a college degree, even though they have the intellectual capacity to do so. As a result, the United Methodist Church supports the most significant number of fully accredited, historically Black colleges and universities in the United States.

The next time you make an offering to “Budget,” remember that some of your dollars are going to these. And many other essential needs, all in the name of Jesus Christ. 

Thank you all for your generosity.

UNYUMC description of Ministry Shares: 

Dunstone Memorial

Larry Dunstone’s memorial service will be Saturday, October 2 at 11:00 am

Robert Lawrence Dunstone “Larry” passed away Saturday, March 7, 2020. He was born November 6, 1943, to Helen and Robert Aiken in Potsdam, NY. Larry graduated in 1962 from Potsdam High School and in 1966 from Syracuse University. Larry was drafted in 1966 into the US Army and served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968. Larry married “Meribeth Sue “Becky” DeGraw on November 23, 1968. Larry is survived by his wife, Becky; daughter Robin (Peter) Godshalk; sons, Robert Scott (Erin) Dunstone and David Thomas Dunstone; sister, Jayne (Henry) Enochas and five loving grandchildren, Peter, Kaylyn, Madelyn, Emma, and Benjamin. 

From the Pastor's Desk

God is up to something. 

Maybe, as one Gospel hymn suggests, “God is trying to tell you something.” How many of us have wondered, “What on earth is going on?!” I suspect all of us at one point or another this past year have said something to that effect.

So what is going on? Well, quite frankly, years of change – previously restricted and tied down – are letting loose. A hurricane of activity, fueled by many personal and corporate reevaluations, has released itself. Many, many individuals have taken stock of what is meaningful and purposeful in their lives during this year and a half of the pandemic. In the midst of taking stock, some have found themselves desiring a fresh focus, a new horizon. How many, trapped day by day in the same home office, have developed such a taste for something else that they have thrown caution to the wind and run out their front door!

The Lord’s movement can be seen in such new growth and inspiration. This does not mean that the Lord abandons what stays the same. Rather, the God of life, light, and love prefers movement and growth over stagnation and inactivity. The time is now. The window of opportunity has opened. 

We look around our church and may feel a little unsure. We may notice people coming and going as they try to understand what is changing at LFUMC. The swirling around may feel chaotic and uncomfortable. Yet, there is life in all this chaos and these are all birth pains and labors of renewal.

Let me say this to alleviate any nervousness, ‘Whatever change has and will occur at LFUMC is all the Lord’s doing.’ The Lord’s tugging at some - inspiring them to venture into the unknown. The same Spirit has put me and my family here. We could try to resist the Lord’s prompting, but I think it’s healthy to say, ‘We didn’t ask for change, we surrendered to it.’ The same Spirit of change is working within your life as well – not so that you may be made uncomfortable, but that you may experience something new … something which will inspire you to grow in new ways.

I ask for your prayers for myself, my family, and for LFUMC. It is not easy feeling like a stranger in a strange land (why you may even feel that way yourself sitting in a church that seems different than before). As I stretch myself to meet the needs of each of you and of Christ’s church, local and universal, I ask that you reach out in new ways to comfort one another and to be welcoming to new people and new situations. Please, take hold of a paintbrush, pick up some trash, swing a hammer, volunteer for a new job, smile lovingly at a neighbor, and join in the tasks we have before us.

Remember that the Lord is with us all as we pass through each and every storm, each and every fog bank. Even when we cannot clearly see what is on the road ahead, we can take comfort in God’s ever-present love. When all the dust settles, we will find ourselves just as we have been all along – securely in the loving arms of Jesus.  Soli Deo Gloria!

Financial News 

by Marshall Baily

Thank God for our PPP Loan! 

   We closed our church in mid-March 2020 when Covid 19 shut down most of traditional life as we had come to know it.  One of many consequences was a decrease in offering income when our members could no longer attend Sunday worship services.  We also lost income from outside groups who used our building.  Fortunately, as time passed, our members realized the church closure was not a short-term, temporary phase and began mailing in offerings or shifted to using online donations. As a result, the income stream picked up but is still way below normal giving levels and has remained so.

   When the federal government realized the seriousness of the Covid issue, one of the measures quickly enacted by Congress was the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). A principal aspect of this legislation was the Payroll Protection Program (PPP).  To avoid massive unemployment, PPP furnished financial support to US businesses and nonprofits who were willing to retain all of their employees, despite their inability to work due to shutdowns and closures. This goal aligned perfectly with the decision reached early by our church leadership, who wanted to keep clergy and staff on the payroll as long as financially possible.

   Specifically, the PPP terms provided eight weeks of payroll expenses plus an additional 25% of that amount which could be used for utilities and mortgage interest payments.  Our loan totaled $56,093 and was obtained through Key Bank in April 2020.  The real benefit of this program was that the loan would be forgiven if the church retained all of its employees for the eight weeks following the loan disbursement.  We did better than that; we maintained full employment through mid-July 2020, and our loan has now been forgiven.

     The PPP loan gave us a financial “cushion” that has allowed us to proceed with church operations and ministries.  However, despite scaling back expenses, primarily through staff reductions, we still face monthly deficits that eventually deplete that cushion. Therefore, we need two things to survive; (1) prayerful discernment by all our members of their time, talents, and treasure gifts to the church, and  (2) the recruitment of new disciples of Christ that will enlarge and enrich this congregation.  Many thanks to our faithful members who have continued to support our church with their gifts and prayers.

Trustee News

by Susan Slenker, Chair

Thanks to all members for your consideration as the Trustees complete the necessary work.  First, the church’s exterior has been power washed and fully repainted for the first time in years. There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to uplift everyone’s spirits.  Second, beginning in July, Liverpool and CNY have been hit with historic rainfall.  Hydrostatic pressure under the slab pushed water up into several downstairs rooms.  The rain happened three times this summer under 19 inches of rainfall! Third, we found that the main storm drain in the front of the building was clogged with tree roots, compounding the problem.  All parts of this situation are in the process of remediation.  New flooring will be going down in all affected rooms by the end of September.  We hope this will be the end of water problems for many years.  The Trustees have been able to pay for all this work – one planned and one emergency - through Endowment funds we can tap with Administrative Board approval. We are expecting a small insurance settlement through our group insurance policy.  

Third, many routine repairs and upkeep continue with the help of several volunteers who generously give their time every week.  Four, our system of preventative maintenance of major building systems each quarter keeps many running well.  This work and others have been paid through the Bardes Trust monthly return.  

The biggest news is that we were allowed to apply for a “Main Street Revitalization” grant for commercial properties like our Office Building.  The Trustees quickly accepted this opportunity and put together a proposal for the Village of Liverpool.  Once the bids are all considered by the Village and County planning agencies, we will know we are winners.  This grant will fund the re-siding, new windows, and repairs to the front of the Office Building.  Would you please pray for insight by those in charge of the review?

Now that some re-opening is happening.  If you have TIME, you would like to donate to the church; many opportunities range from light dusting in rooms, helping with office mailings, and helping with minor repairs. “Many hands make light work.” Some ministries have continued throughout the pandemic and need volunteers again, especially Caregivers and the Quilt Ministry.  Email Elizabeth or Sue Slenker or see us in church.  The most significant need coming this fall will be people to help with revitalizing the program.  Watch for those opportunities and prayerfully consider where you can help out.

Treasurer Update

By Marshall Bailey

Hello, Church Family!  I hope you all enjoyed your summer and were able to enjoy the beauty that God has provided for us in New York State - and beyond!

We wanted to take a moment to explain how LFUMC is doing financially.  First, we want to acknowledge all of you who have contributed as regularly as you have been able over the past 18 months of COVID.  The pandemic shut down church as we know it.  With it, so did giving.  Of course, expenses declined as events and projects came to a standstill.  Over the 18 months so far, we have also had staff reductions for various reasons.  All of these reductions helped somewhat balance the decline in giving.  Despite these reductions, we still are spending more than we are taking in each month, a situation that anyone managing the books knows is unsustainable.  

What we’ve done to cope:  We applied for and received a federal Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan from the Small Business Administration, which paid salaries, utilities, and the mortgage for (only) 2 months.  With the consent of the Administrative Council and because of the constant changes from month to month, we did not establish a full-year financial plan at the start of our fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2021. However, we have created a plan for the first half-year, from July 1 to December 31.  This made responding to the shifting COVID giving patterns easier to respond to.  We also made the decision to maintain as much as possible our Shared Ministries support for the UNYUM Conference.  Our share to Conference does many things for LFUMC, among which is support our group insurance coverage for all our properties.  

The bad news:  We predict, based on current giving trends and expenditures, that our expenses will exceed our income by about $30,000 for the period of July 2021-December 2021.  Additionally, as we continue to open up again, we plan to increase our expenditures in support of programs, events, discipleship, and other expenses that support our mission as a church. Because of the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) funds, we can survive this, but not for very long.

Salaries, utilities, and the mortgage must be paid regardless.

Although this may sound like a bleak forecast, we want to be honest and transparent with all of you.  We are prayerful and hopeful that as we make our way out of the pandemic, attendance and financial support for our church will also return.  Revitalization was voted on overwhelmingly in March 2020.  It is now moving forward rapidly as reported on August 15th.   

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.  We are now in our 201st year as we follow our mission of “Loving all for Jesus, Serving all for God.”  Thank you for your continued and anticipated support.

Outreach & Missions 

by Eric Holmes, Chair

As Outreach chairman, I was looking for a good description of what Outreach should share with the congregation. I found the following from the St John’s Episcopal Church of Decatur, Alabama’s website when I was looking for a way to describe Outreach. I have substituted Liverpool First for St John’s to see what it would look like. I think it captures a view of what Outreach should look like in Alabama and Central New York.

“What is Outreach?

At Liverpool First, we believe that God is calling us to make a difference in the world. Therefore, every time we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we restate our commitment to helping God’s reign be established “on earth as it is in heaven.” Outreach is a word we use to summarize everything we do to help God’s kingdom become a reality here on earth. It is food for the hungry. It is clean water for the thirsty. It is clothing for the naked. It is a shelter for the homeless. It is freedom for the oppressed. It is dignity for the oppressed. In other words, Outreach is everything that Jesus is calling us to do.

Outreach is more than just a buzzword; it is a way of being Christian. Outreach is more than a collection of service projects; it is an orientation to the world. Jesus told his followers to go out and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19-20), and we believe that he was speaking to us as well. Everything we do as a church is about transforming lives. “In-reach” is how we take care of those who call Liverpool First their church home. “Outreach” is how we take care of everyone else. Ultimately, however, we believe that there should be no distinction between the two. We are the Body of Christ, and we have work to do!”

This Fall, we will have the opportunity for Outreach to prepare food for the Samaritan Center, walk the Crop Walk, helping with the Winter Clothing Giveaway, and donate for Thanksgiving Dinners for the needy. Please consider making Outreach part of your plans.

Senior News 

-by Sarah Bieling, Senior Ministries:    

Mission: to provide fun & fellowship to those in our congregation that are 55 years and older employed or retired as well as reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the community.

On Saturday, August 14th, 50 Seniors enjoyed a fabulous luncheon cruise on a fantastic boat.  We will be repeating this trip in 2022, so watch for the date.  This cruise is a trip you won’t want to miss!

On Saturday, August 27th, we had 29 going to the Finger Lakes, visiting the NYS Welcoming Center, The Windmill, and the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport.  A final stop at the Crooked Lake Ice Cream put the final touch on another beautiful day.

On Friday, September 17th, we will be heading to Pittsford for a luncheon cruise on the Sam Patch on the Erie Canal.  This trip has been sold out for months.

We still have seats available on the following trip:

Motor Coach to Chittenango & Cazenovia - Friday, October 8th - $80.00 per person

Arrive @ LFUMC @ 9:15 am and depart @ 9:30 am. Arrive @ "The Wild - Zoo @ 10 am  for a self guided tour. Departing @ 11:30 and arriving @ The Linklean House for lunch @ noon - 1:30 pm

Please select one of the following:

  • Chicken Marsala - pan-seared chicken breast with mushroom Marsala wine sauce, served with rice pilaf & Vegetables,
  • Petite Filet Mignon with Bordelaise sauce, served with mashed potatoes & Vegetables
  • Sesame Salmon - pan-seared and encrusted served with Asian Vegetables and rice pilaf.

All entrees are accompanied by a small house salad, popovers, iced tea, lemonade, hot tea, coffee, and Apple Crisp.

Departing restaurant @ 1:30 and arriving @ Johnny Appleseed @ 1:45 pm for shopping until 3:45 pm. Returning to LFUMC around 4:30 pm.

Your check received is your reservation.  Make checks payable to LFUMC Senior Ministries and mail to: Sarah Bieling  2 Cty Rte 10, Pennellville 13132.  You must include your phone number, meal choice (or chicken will be ordered) and who you would like to sit with on the bus, and if you have a row preference.  The maximum number attending with be 35 to allow for social distancing. The prices are also higher because of this.  All reservations must be received by 9/30.

Olive Branch Programs

All church women are invited to attend the Olive Branch programs held once a month on Monday evenings. Appetizers are served from 5:30-6 pm. A light meal is provided or catered and served at 6-7 pm, with the program following from 7:15- 8:15 pm. The cost for dinner is $5. Make reservations by notifying Donna Auyer (315-451-7359 or by 5 pm the Thursday before the meeting, so the preparers have time to shop and cook. We will be following all CDC rules.

September 27 Woven and Spun

This program on prayer and dancing is a sacred form of dance used to worship and praise God by combining sign language with simple movements to portray a story through songs. Woven and Spun is a group under the leadership of Linda Underwood. Linda has been leading workshops in the Eastern United States and bringing sacred dance to worship services in the area churches since 1997. The group also leads worship in coffee houses. Woven and Spun are made up of 4 or more dancers and 3-5 musicians worshipping together for over 20 years. The purpose of their ministry is to share the talents and gifts that they have been blessed with.


Anita Letgeig, Director of Donor Relations of the Salvation Army, will note how current offerings had expanded the services since its beginnings half a century ago—ranging from early education for children. To programs for runaway and homeless teens. Empowering women while providing them food, shelter, and clothing, emergency shelters, residences for homeless. Hot meals five days a week for vulnerable seniors and those with food insecurity. And immediate program changes to address issues with the Pandemic.

November 15 Impact of COVID-19 on our Community

Donna Misener White, MS, RN, will be presenting on the COVID-19 Pandemic and the impact on the elderly population in our community. At the start of the Pandemic, she was Director of Strategic Operations for Loretto’s PACE Program. Still, in March 2021, she took on the role of Director of Disease Control for Onondaga County. She will briefly discuss both her positions and how she handles the stress and emotional impacts on her patients, staff, and her own family. Donna will briefly discuss the current situation and what she is most optimistic about going forward.

December 6 Christmas Concert open to Congregation and Community. This is being planned.

Christian Ed News

Children’s Church this fall. Worship will begin as usual in the Sanctuary at 10 am. After the Children’s Moment, Children’s Church Leaders will offer to take children 5 to 10 years old to a classroom and participate in a children’s service. The children will be returned to the Sanctuary for the end of service (communion, song, or baptism).

We are in need of Children’s Church Volunteers! 

Volunteers needed to form and run Kid’s church during the second half of Sunday Worship! Teams of two are required.  All lessons and materials provided. We will need two (non-married) volunteers for about half an hour during each service. Multiple teams are preferred. October 3 is the target start date. 

If you are interested please contact Pastor Ray or Church Office.

email church office

Job Openings

The church has 2 open positions. Both are part-time, about 20 hours/week, compensation in the range of $15/hour to $20/hour. Working hours are typically from 9 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday with some flexibility as to schedule. There are no supplementary benefits other than vacation associated with these positions.

Ambassador Position - This position serves as the “face of the church” to both our Congregation and the community. This individual will answer the phone, take messages, forward information to groups within the church, coordinate with other church employees, committees, and groups within the church to ensure successful completion of projects. Computer skills in the areas of e-mail, Word, Excel, and desktop publishing are required. This person coordinates requests for use of church facilities through the church calendar, takes direction from the Pastor on special tasks and assignments; and responds to requests from members of the Congregation for information, copies of documents, address changes, etc. 

Financial Position – This position is responsible for tracking bills from receipt to payment, and reconciling payment requests with bank and credit card statements. This position audits the weekly reports of contributions and deposits for accuracy. Software such as Word and Excel are used to prepare and report summary financial information within the Church, including quarterly reports of member contributions. As requested, this person will order supplies and other items for the Church.

Any member of the Congregation who might be interested in discussing or applying for either position is encouraged to contact any member of the Staff/Parish Relations Committee or Pastor Ray.