Top Ten - August 5

Reminder: We will be observing communion this weekend in all our services. If you will be joining us on-line, please have your communion elements ready! Thanks!

1. Apple Tree This weekend you will see apple trees in the lobbies at North and South. These trees will have apples tags hanging from them and each tag will list the school supplies needed by a child of a particular age. We’d love to have you take a tag, purchase those supplies and return them to either North or Arbor House by Sunday August 21. We’ll then get them over to the Salvation Army which will be distributing the supplies to children who need them. Thank you for participating in the Apple Tree project!

2. Worship Outdoors Mark your calendars for Friday, August 19. That night we are planning to hold an outdoor worship service at our North Campus. This might be a great opportunity to invite a friend to come and see what Northgate is all about.

3. Volunteer Opportunity – Catholic Charities has a program whereby people over 60 who are limited in their ability to leave home are visited on a weekly basis by volunteers who engage in activities and conversation with them. Alternatively, these seniors can receive a call from a volunteer to check in or talk by phone. If you know someone who could benefit from this service, or if you are interested in being a volunteer, you can contact Lisa Wittmeyer at 585-343-0614 x3804 or 716-341-6751.

4. Missions Update Mark Logan, our Director of Operations, will be heading to Rwanda next Monday with his daughter and two Free Methodist pastors. They’ll be visiting several locations where the FM Church has Connected Communities, including ours in Gahanda. While in Gahanda the team will be present for the dedication of a new church building which was made possible due to the generous giving of our congregation, and which will be dedicated to the memory of Mark’s wife, Ruth. Please keep this team in prayer throughout their journey!

Also, we are looking for someone who might like to spend one, two or even three months in one of the locations where we support FM missionaries. Those locations are Japan, Ecuador, Spain, Hungary and Rwanda. If you’d like to know more about this, please contact Pastor Vern at

5. Men’s Campout We have a group of men planning a campout to be held in the woods behind our building at North. This is scheduled for September 2-3. This will be a wonderful time of fellowship and worship and we’d love to see a great group of guys participating. For more information, please contact Pastor John at

6. Grief Share and Divorce Care If you or someone you know has experienced a loss and is walking through the feelings of grief or has experienced a divorce and is coming to terms with that, and would like to know how to handle grief or divorce from a Christian perspective, we have a group for each here at Northgate. New sessions of Grief Share will begin on September 20 at 6pm, meeting at 34 Williams St. in Batavia. And new sessions of Divorce Care will begin on September 24 at 6pm at our North campus building (8160 Bank St. Rd. Batavia). For more information contact Pastor Vern at

7. Meeting for All Interested in Being Part of the “Set Free” Movement Inspired by recent presentations at our church by Free Methodist missionaries Gerry McNamara and Kevin Austin, a Set Free Team has formed at Northgate. This group is considering how to be part of helping people to “live in the direction of freedom" together. If you want to help end human trafficking in our time and in our region, please attend one of the monthly meetings, held on the last Sunday of the month at 12:30p.m. in Meeting Room 2/3, North Campus. For more information, visit and/or email Pastor Marsha

8. Prayer Groups You are invited to join with others to pray for our church and community on Wednesdays at 1 and Sundays at 9:30. The Wednesday Prayer Group prays for one hour in Meeting Room 1 at North Campus and on Sunday people gather in Room 4 for an hour and pray for our services and congregational needs. Everyone is welcome to either or both of these prayer meetings.

9. Would You Be Interested in Taking a Trip? Some people have asked me about the possibility of making an excursion to a couple of places here in the U.S. I’m wondering who else might be interested. One of those trips would be to Sight and Sound in Lancaster, PA. Next year they’ll be putting on “Moses.” If you’ve never seen one of their live shows, I can tell you that they are spectacular.  The other trip would be to see the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter, both located in Kentucky. I have not been to either yet, but people from our church who have tell me they are worth the trip. If you’d be interested in us putting together a group trip to either Sight and Sound or the Creation Museum/Ark Encounter, please let me know. I would be planning these trips to take place in 2023. You can reach me at Thanks!

10. Looking for Small Group Leaders I’m beginning to think about the Fall and one of the things I’d like to begin to plan for is resuming small groups. Connecting with others and helping each other to grow in our faith is an important part of what we are to do as a church body, and a small group is a place that can happen. If you are interested in being part of a small group, or if you are interested in leading a small group, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to help with either of those things. You can reach me at

Two seats still available… I have reserved a table for the All Babies Cherished banquet taking place on Thursday, September 8 at 6pm in Batavia. There will be a nice dinner (no cost) and a speaker, and an opportunity to make a pledge/donation to ABC. I still have two spots left at my table. If you’d like to join me, please let me know! Thanks! (

To learn more about these opportunities, or to suggest an idea for a group or a gathering, or to inquire about reserving space at the church or the pavilion you can always email the office ( or call 343-4011. You can check out our website too (
You Can Count on This – 1 Corinthians 11:2 – I praise you for remembering me in everything and for holding to the traditions just as I passed them on to you. (Read 1 Corinthians 11:1-16)

I like how Paul begins this passage – by thanking the Corinthians for remembering him, which I’m sure includes remembering him in prayer. We ought to be grateful to those who hold us up in prayer! I know I’m grateful to the people of my church who do that for me.

But after saying this Paul moves to a topic that can be confusing to understand. First, he commends the Corinthians for “holding to the traditions”. Traditions can be tricky

things! We value them for anchoring us to things that matter to us, like the traditions that families develop around holidays like Christmas. But traditions can also tie us to things that have lost their meaning. Imagine a child asking the question, “Why do we do this like this?” and the response being, “I don’t know. Because we always have, I guess.” That would indicate that perhaps the tradition is kept but the meaning has been lost.

Well, Paul speaks about a tradition (or “practice”, custom – verse 16) about wearing head coverings in church. We might read this and wonder… should women always be wearing hats in church? Is it wrong for a man to have long hair? Is it wrong for a woman not to have long hair? Should a man never wear a hat? What do we do with this?

In my study on this passage, it was noted that Paul is speaking about a practice that was commonplace in his time, that of women wearing head coverings. This was a sign of modesty, so going without a head covering was immodest. Yet women (and men) were discovering that in Christ they were experiencing new freedoms (like eating foods once considered taboo) and women were enjoying a new status on a par with men. As people were learning to walk in their new freedom and position some were discarding traditions so quickly it was causing angst and disruptions in worship gatherings. Here Paul is encouraging the people of the church to maintain their traditions regarding head coverings and hair length so that the focus can remain on the worship of God. (There’s more to talk about here, like the issues of “headship” and authority and so on, but I’ll have to save those for another day.)

Today, many of the customs around these issues have changed. In most of our churches women do not normally wear hats, e.g., and haven’t for some time. Women and men wear their hair at various lengths. We are not living with the same traditions that Paul was living with in the 1st century. We do still have customs about what is appropriate to wear at church, which we should respect, while also recognizing that customs vary according to the times and according to places. There are churches where women do wear hats regularly. That’s not wrong either – it’s a custom.

The point is we should be respectful of the traditions and customs of the places where we are. We also need to remember that customs do change, and we do not need to hold people to those practices that have died out. This isn’t a moral issue; it’s an issue

of tradition. One writer points out that 100 years ago men regularly wore dark suits to sporting events. If they didn’t dress up, they’d be noticeable. Today, if someone wore a dark suit to a baseball game, that would make them noticeable. That tradition has changed, and we don’t expect people to live by it any longer.

Passages like this require us to think about the message of the passage and think and pray about what it means for us today. We shouldn’t simply skim past it as if it’s meaningless. “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). We may have to spend some time and do some studying to discern what the passage has to say to us, but we can be sure that the time spent will be worthwhile!

When you’re not sure what you can count on in the world around you, know this: You can count on God keeping his word.  So read what God has to say in scripture!  And count on it.
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