Mark's Musings

"It's a labor of love." We often use that line when we are doing something that is difficult to achieve or something that is causing us personal imposition, but we know it's important. It's a way of showing love for another in spite of the physical and/or emotional challenge. We are well aware that if we allowed degree of difficulty to dictate acts of kindness, some very important things would never get done.

Labor Day is upon us, a day on which we celebrate the productive sweat of the brow, calloused hands, and creative vision and insight. What Labor Day suggests is that we area people who, at the end of the day, enjoy work. I'm convinced that the notion of a responsible work ethic is not only something engrained in us, taught and modeled by those around us whom we deeply respect, a responsible work ethic is also a part of our DNA. We are healthier human beings when we are busy doing good and productive things. Hard work is as important to our well being as having friends and family, being apart of a community, and eating a good diet.

Christian Discipleship calls for labors of love. Sometimes these labors are difficult, demanding much time and effort as well as personal inconvenience, and we do them not because we want to do them, but rather because, as Christian Disciples, it is the Jesus thing to do. And yet I'm convinced that a Jesus ethic is also part of our DNA. We need to do things as Christian Disciples to be healthy minded, healthy-hearted people. Labors of love are as important to our Christian identity as eating a good diet is to our body. Our lives and the lives of others are more productive when we do good things for one another, when we live with the attitude that Christian labor, sometimes hard and sometimes easy, is simply what we do as God's children.

Happy Labor Day everyone! I've certainly seen endless expressions of "Labors of Love" during my short time at Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church. Do know that I am grateful for all you do.

See you soon,


Bethesda House Day Program

Melissa Zampino the Day Program Supervisor shares with us a synopsis of their day program:The Day Program provides a unique entryway into the Continuum of Care where a wide range of services can be accessed. Services include

  • Drop-In for the homeless and working poor
  • A safe haven social setting for adults with a disabling condition
  • daily community meal
  • referrals to other community agencies
  • storage lockers
  • mailboxes
  • laundry
  • shower
  • telephone
  • fax
  • hygiene kits
  • clothing room
  • client choice food pantry

Several outside facilitators have been recruited to provide on-site expertise in a variety of programs. Bethesda House staff also run programs and workshops along with outside facilitators such as

  • Landlord/Tenant Training
  • Women's/Men's Support Groups
  • Safety Counts
  • HIV testing
  • education
  • Schenectady DOH Flu Vaccine clinics and PPD testing
  • cancer screening
  • health insurance assistance
  • Veteran's Outreach
  • blood pressure clinics
  • nutrition outreach and education

Day Program and Emergency/Essential Services include referrals, consumer choice food pantry, emergency food pantry, clothing room, telephone, mailboxes, laundry, shower, lockers, computer use, daily meal, crisis management, and a safe haven. Individuals from the community are unconditionally welcomed in our Hospitality Center to interact with other guests, access emergency services, or to simply find a safe place to sleep and have their basic needs met.

More next month – Sue Willians

Volunteer Opportunity: Regional Food Bank

On Saturday, October 28th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., there will be a group of EPUMC friends working at the Northeastern Regional Food Bank near Albany Airport. We have been working there as a "top rate" volunteer team for the past five or six years.

We invite you to join us and to invite your friends!

This is a chance to help sort and/or repack donations to the Food Bank from individuals and businesses. You never know what you will be sorting! Make sure to wear shoes that protect your feet (no sandals). All school age children are invited with an adult.

Please sign up at church or contact Trish if you are able to help out. First come, first served!

Future dates will be: Jan. 20 and Mar. 17, 2018. We hope you will consider offering a few hours of your time to help a very worthy organization! Contact Trish Roeser for more information (951-5553 or

SICM Update and Upcoming Events

Thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers from EPUMC who helped to serve lunch to kids in our community through the SICM Summer Meals Program!

On Tuesday, September 5, SICM will hold their Assembly meeting at 7 pm at Mt. Olivet Missionary Baptist Church. All are welcome to attend to learn more about SICM.

On Sunday, September 24th from 1-4 pm, there will be a fundraiser called the "SICM Empty Bowls Project" at The Doubletree Hotel, in Schenectady. $25/pp.

On Sunday, November 5, SICM's annual "Harvest for the Pantry Dinner" fundraiser will take place at First Reformed Church of Scotia. More information will be available soon.

Contact Cheryl Gerstler if you have any questions at

News from Your Church Council

Greetings all as I take a moment to share with you some of the happenings from our last Church Council meeting on August 15th. The meeting was well attended there being 12 of us there with some productive and healthy discussion taking place.

Much of the meeting was dedicated to how we can enhance the communication within EPUMC so that we can all feel more involved and engaged in the activities of the church. Cathy Woodruff has agreed to chair our new Communication Team and will be looking for new ways to assure we are all “in the know” and she may be reaching out to tap the many gifts and talents of those within the congregation that may assist her in this effort.

We agreed that Homecoming Sunday will be resurrected, so look forward to it on Sunday September 10th and there just might be ice cream too! There was consensus that we wanted to again participate in the Union Street Harvest Festival which will take place on Saturday October 7th and we will be looking for some assistance in staffing our booth along with skilled facepainters, etc. In addition look forward to donning costume and again welcoming our neighborhood children as we open our Trunks full of goodies for Trunk or Treat to take place in the parking lot on Halloween.

You will hear more from our various teams as they share activities and plans from their teams’ work over the past few months. As most of you know I enjoy my winters in the south and am away a bit over three months. For that reason I agreed to chair the Council only on a temporary basis and I have been looking for my replacement. It is with great pleasure and confidence in the Council's future that I share that Randy Roeser has agreed to assume the position of Chair of CC. We are all in excellent hands! And remember Church Council meetings are open to all within the congregation. Come join us!

Till next time,

Sue Williams

Membership Care

Name Tags

Wearing our name tags has worked out fine. If you don’t have one or need a new one, let me know or call the office. Our new pastor Mark, said it has been a big help for him.


Some people in our congregation have moved recently and have changed their addresses in the directory. Check in a new printout and up date your copy or pick up a new one. If you have any changes that need to be made to the information in the directory, let me know or call the office.


If you have visited or called on one of our home bound members, share with us so we can keep them in our prayers and remember them. Many of them have done a lot for this church and they shouldn’t be forgotten. Also tell us if there is someone we need to visit.


Come get involved in some of the new (and old) things going on in the church.

Judith Lott

Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee

The Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee—SPPRC is the administrative unit in the local church where staff and congregational interests are integrated to focus on the mission of the church.The objectives of the committee include but are not limited to: Explaining the nature and function of ministry to the congregation and staff; maintaining good relationships between pastor, staff, congregation, community, district superintendent and the connectional United Methodist Church; assessing the ministry of the congregation and staff/pastor-Represent, conferring with the District Superintendent; identifying those who God seems to be calling to be sent out for ordained ministry.

The EPUMC Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee meets together monthly and then additionally if the need arises.

Your 2017–18 SPPRC Committee is: Rev. Ledbetter, Brenda Morrow, Paul Ryan Sr., Marilyn Esmann, Steve Handy, Joanne Veglia, Carolyn Canova, Bob Bour, and Judy Lott.


The Trustees have been busy over the past year and continue to stay busy with work planned out in the future. First, we have new members onboard. President: Carol Haack; Vice President: Bill Gerstler; Secretary: Sue Williams; Treasurer: Robert Bour; Ed Menis; and Dan Shannon.

Welcome experienced and new!

Yes, we have a lot on our plate. As you know, the Trustees oversee the buildings and properties to ensure these assets are kept in good shape and used in the best interest of the church. EPUMC has several properties and here's what's going on at each location:

The Church

Over the past year or so the Trustees have been working to bring the church building up to Schenectady building code. Currently we are working to also obtain an Education-type occupancy code which allows for education / after school programs to take place. To meet these inspections, we've brought up to code our Exit signs, emergency lights, fire detection, flooring in Fellowship Hall, and safety switches in the boiler room as well as the kitchen. Gary Hebert has been instrumental in coordinating all these activities and bringing them to closure.

The use of the building has been an active topic this year. The Trustees re-negotiated a contract with Berkshire Farm when the last contract ran out in January 2017. We are also in negotiations with TSL Adventures, an after school program that is looking to set up shop in our Fellowship Hall and Circle B rooms. We are currently working towards this starting in early September.

Last winter we signed up for snow removal with a local contractor. We are looking into renewing this service and including sidewalk cleaning on Palmer St.

You may have noticed that the grounds of the church are looking awfully neat. We have signed on Jamie Veeder to maintain the grounds and he is doing a great job.

Coming up: we are planning to have the stained glass window in the Eastern Parkway door replaced this fall. Also, the boiler will get a new circulator.

All these initiatives should keep this building safe for years to come.


With Alan retiring in June, the parsonage is now empty. The question has come up: should we sell the parsonage or keep it for the next minister? We are not quick to come to a decision on this; in the meantime, we must maintain the parsonage.

Again, we have Jamie Veeder to thank for keeping the grounds looking good. That goes a long way to make a house look decent and I'm sure the neighbors appreciate this work, too.

A couple painting parties went over to touch up some of the rooms. We've set lights on timers and changed the locks. There is still work to arrange this fall - chimney cleaning (wood burning fireplace) and install a couple hand rails on stairways.

Rental Property

The property on Eastern Parkway directly next to the parking lot is getting a new high-efficiency furnace. It seems the one currently in there is the original and is not efficient with gas. So the unit is being replaced.

Yes, we have been busy this year and the work is not over yet. But I believe we are 'over the hump' and have an excellent group at the helm!

Of course, the Trustees is historically a group of seven. We continue to look for someone to join us who can make decisions, run a work group, and have some fun. Come join us - there is no requirement to wield a hammer or paintbrush! It's a great way to learn all about the church and its buildings.

Communications Report

Hello, fellow parishioners. I am pleased to be coming aboard as your new communications chair. Here’s our first news flash on where we’re at:

Our team now is in organizational mode. As we prepare to get rolling in earnest, we expect to embark on an assessment or “audit” or our church’s communications needs and resources. This will help us to craft a communications plan and set a course for what, how and why we communicate among our members, with our community and with our wider world.

Here’s how you can help. Please start thinking about a couple of broad-but-basic questions:

  1. What sorts of information do you want or need from and about Eastern Parkway UMC?
  2. How do you — or would you — like to receive that information?

One of our next steps will be setting up a mechanism — possibly, a more detailed survey — for gathering your input.

In the meantime, if you have thoughts you would like to share more immediately along this line or if you’d like to be part of our communications team, please don’t hesitate to write me at or via postal mail at 2165 The Plaza, Niskayuna, NY, 12309.

September 2017

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday


OA 6–8 (CB)


ATC 11–1 (FH)




KS 4–6:30 (HR)


AA 8:00 p.m. (HR)



CB 09:30 a.m. (CB)

Clergy 9–12 (HR)


WND 6:00 (FH)

Choir 7:00 (S)


FP 11:30–1


OA 6–8 (CB)


ABS 8–9 (FH)

ADAH 12–3 (FH)


Sock Project

Homecoming Sunday


KS 4–6:30 (HR)


AA 8:00 p.m. (HR)


Primaries 11:15–9:45 (FH)

SPPRC 7:00 p.m. (CR)


WND 6:00 (FH)

Choir 7:00 (S)


FP 11:30–1

Finance 7:00 p.m.

Trustees 7:00 p.m.


OA 6–8 (CB)


ABS 8&ndash9; (FH)

ATC Chili Dinner 4–7

ATC 11–1 (FH)


SICM Collection

ATC 2–4

KS 4–6:30 (HR)


AA 8:00 p.m. (HR)


Church Council 7:00 p.m. (CB)


WND 6:00 (FH)

Choir 7:00 (S)


FP 11:30–1

KS 6–8:30 (HR)


OA 6–8 (CB)


ABS 8–9 (FH)

Tuscan Lodge 7–9 (FH)


Stone Soup Sandwiches

KS 3:30–6:30 (HR)


AA 8:00 p.m. (HR)

Newsletter deadline



WND 6:00 (FH)

Choir 7:00 (S)


FP 11:30–1

ATC Washington Trip


OA 6–7 (CB)


ABS 8–9 (FH)

CB: Circle B Room HR: Hearth Room   AA: Alcoholics Anonymous ATC: Al Tabari Court Girls' Youth Club KS: Kingfisher Sangha WND: Wednesday Night Dinner
CR: Conference Room N: Narthex   ABS: Aerobics BF: Berkshire Farm MT: Music Together
FH: Fellowship Hall S: Sanctuary   ADAH: Eastern Star FP: Farm Produce (Pam Schreiber) OA: Overeaters Anonymous

Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church

Open Hearts — Open Minds — Open Doors

  • Pastor: Rev. Dr. Mark Ledbetter
  • Sunday Worship: 10:00 a.m.
  • Nursery Care: 09:45 a.m. through 12:00 p.m.
  • Nursery Attendant: Sara Semione
  • Music Director: Betsy Lehmann
  • Office Hours: Monday through Thursday, 09:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Sundays of the Month

  1. Communion and Things of My Very Own (TOMVO) collection
  2. Bethesda House Sock Project
  3. SICM collection
  4. Stone Soup Sandwiches (project for Bethesda House)
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