Float and hope and dream and trust
"Doing nothing is so underrated." Read that sentence again. Do you find it unexpectedly but profoundly true? When we were young, we wanted to be doing something every minute. The worst thing imaginable was to have "nothing to do." How boring! Then we grew up. Our lives got busy and stressful, jam-packed with worries and responsibilities. Suddenly, the chance to do nothing became a thing we desperately desired -- a dream come true, a luxurious treat.

Sometimes, doing nothing can be revelatory. At our outdoor service last Sunday (pictured below), Rev. Rachel Thompson told us a story about her younger self, when she was obsessed with getting into a specific seminary class. After completing her application, she called the admissions office. She checked again, several times, with no result. She left on a family vacation, but found herself unable to relax and enjoy herself because she was still anxious about getting into that class! Finally, she swam out to the middle of a lake, stretched out, and began to float. Doing nothing.

"Suddenly, everything changed," Rev. Rachel told us. "A feeling of the deepest peace descended upon me, and a deep radiant joy. I felt, I knew that I was floating in the love of God. I experienced being held by God as I floated in that lake. Suddenly, I knew that all was well, that my life was being carried along in God’s great stream, and that there was nothing to worry about." That feeling, she explained, stayed with her, "not knowing what lay ahead. . .but trusting in the journey, nevertheless." Trust in a benevolent reality. Learn to float. Then keep floating, and trust.

This week, let's give ourselves permission to do nothing for a few minutes each day. We can put aside our worries and responsibilities, and focus on our hopes and dreams instead. Remember we are still together, even when we're apart. And the best news is that all of us are loved, all the time.
Our outdoor Sunday services at Mayor's Park continue to be beautiful and safe!
We're staying safe, we wear comfortable clothes, and what a view!
Our Sunday services at Mayor's Park allow us to gather in a location that is lovely AND safe. We are grateful to Rev. Rachel Thompson (above, center) who led our Aug. 23 service, Director of Music Tom McCoy, and everyone who works hard to ensure that our safe outdoor services can happen. And: Thanks to all of our good friends who joined us, in person or online via Zoom! To see more pictures of our outdoor services, visit our Facebook page here.
Reflections by Rev. Joe Gilmore
Rev. Joe will be our guest in the pulpit at our Sunday, Aug. 30 service. He helped found the Midnight Run to aid the homeless in NYC. FPCP partners with this nonprofit, and we asked Rev. Joe to share a few words about how most of us tend to "see" the homeless.

The prevailing image of the homeless poor person -- ragged, unwashed, lugging bags or pushing a cart -- is, as it turns out, a stereotype, but an understandable one, resting on the dramatic images most of us have encountered on city streets. The reality is much more complicated.

The homeless poor who do fit the stereotype are made vulnerable because their appearance dramatically limits access to indoor spaces: to restaurants and their bathrooms, to public, indoor spaces such as atria, to any warm spaces in winter.
Survival, therefore, pushes in the direction of looking as “normal” as possible, a really tough job. Access to showers is extremely limited. There are a few gyms where showers are available, if you can manage to pay for membership. Laundromats are only accessible if you can collect enough coins to pay. Many people find hiding places for their clothing, and if they are lucky, it will not be stolen.

In the old days, lockers were available in Grand Central, Port Authority, and Penn Station, but after a bomb exploded in a locker at La Guardia, all lockers in all stations were removed for security reasons. That was a devastating loss for homeless friends. Luckily, I had access to hundreds of lockers through a generous offer by American Locker Company. I wrote to 300 churches and synagogues in mid-town, asking if they would provide space in their buildings for a few lockers. Two churches responded. Both declined. I had the same poor success in asking for space for one or two washers and driers that people living on the streets could use. These efforts would have helped the homeless who were trying to look as “normal” as possible.

Some people are homeless for part of each month. They have low-paying jobs, which means that at about week three of each month, they can either stay inside, or eat, but not both. They may look as though they are headed for the airport or train station, but they are also struggling to survive. Other people are part of broken families. They have shelter, but only from time to time, when there are periods of relative peace in such families.

I guess the lesson is that appearances tell us very little about the lives we are meeting on the streets. Building relationships that rest on genuine trust takes time, very much time. As always. Then, sometimes, we begin to know the stories. And they begin to know ours. It is the only way.

As a Presbyterian minister, Rev. Joe Gilmore has served churches in NY and NJ including, for 32 years, South Church in Dobbs Ferry. He has always been drawn to the streets to work at justice and compassion. His work in an NYC soup kitchen led him to explore the midnight streets of Manhattan to help the homeless. In the winter of 1983-84, he loaded his VW Beetle with sandwiches, clothing, and blankets, and headed for the city. After 15 months of serving homeless folks two nights a week, he called for help from other churches in Dobbs Ferry. The Midnight Run was born.
Green Team says: "Thanks for the nifty new spigot, Wally!"
For years, the only way to water our big FRONT lawn was a spigot in the BACK of the church. That location required extra hose and extra work! This situation was a bit daunting to the Green Team, as it prepares for an upcoming project to re-landscape our lawn with a pollinator garden and native plants.

Wally Becker quietly talked to the folks over at Downey Energy -- and presto! A new spigot "magically" appeared, right by our front lawn and garden beds to be landscaped.
The magic here is really Wally, who also very quietly donated the funds required to make this labor-saving improvement. "For anyone who
hauled the hose from the back to water the front, this is exciting!" notes Green Team volunteer Cathy Carnevale. "And it’s a sign that more good things are coming." Thank you, Wally, from the Green Team & the FPCP family! (Wally is that masked man at left with the lovely Annie Becker!)
It's a Long Way
By William Stanley Braithewaite

It’s a long way the sea-winds blow
    Over the sea-plains blue,
But longer far has my heart to go
    Before its dreams come true. 
It’s work we must, and love we must,
    And do the best we may,
And take the hope of dreams in trust 
    To keep us day by day. 
It’s a long way the sea-winds blow—
    But somewhere lies a shore—
Thus down the tide of Time shall flow
    My dreams forevermore.

Braithewaite (1878-1962) was a Black poet, literary critic, and editor. This poem was published in 1904 in "Lyrics of Life and Love." (Poets.org: "Black Live Matters Anthology.")
Our Bulletin Board
Try our monthly Book Club! In September, we're reading The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. NPR says this novel is part "paradise lost" and part American fairy tale, about a brother and sister raised by their real-estate obsessed father in an ornate mansion (the "Dutch House") after their mother abandons them. Elise LaRocco leads our discussion on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 7 pm. To join in, email Jean here.
Teens: Join Youth Group! There's a lot going on in this world. Let's talk about it! Join our Youth Group online via Zoom for lively conversations on timely topics, led by Rev. Dr. Doris. Teens generally meet for one hour every other Sunday. All Philipstown teens are welcome to join us -- your family doesn't need to be FPCP members. For more info, and to receive the next Zoom link, email Rev. Dr. Doris.
Kids: Explore big ideas! Sunday School is a great place to explore big ideas. Carolyn, our Youth Ed leader, sends a weekly email to families with stories, activities, and more. Last week we talked about the movie "Princess Bride," when poor Buttercup steps into quicksand. We thought 2020 feels a little like that, but our faith can be a big rock to stand on (see above). Join our e-list! Email Carolyn here.
Find comfort and caring on our Pastor's Porch.
Rev. Dr. Doris Chandler invites one and all to pull up a chair and sit with her on her "virtual porch." This is a great way to share news or concerns, pray together, or just enjoy quality time with the pastor.

To fix your time on the Pastor's Porch, click the photo at the left and send an email to Doris!
In the midst of this worldwide health crisis, we are grateful we can serve our neighbors in need through critical mission programs, including the Food Pantry and Midnight Run

If you feel called to support FPCP's outreach, we warmly welcome your contributions. If you are a member of the FPCP family and can maintain your church giving at this difficult time, we humbly thank you. Online donations can be made right here. Bless you!
Telephone: (845)-265-3220 / Email: 1presbyterian@gmail.com www.presbychurchcoldspring.org