The right train, at the right time . . .
The train conductor rattles off all the stops we will make. My heart lurches.
I'm pretty sure that I'm on the wrong train. Worse yet, I'm pretty sure I'm on the wrong express, hurtling 200 miles an hour through the night towards points unknown, possibly countries unknown. Panic flutters in my throat. I have the wrong ticket, the wrong currency, the wrong visa. I don't speak the language. And, in this pre-cellular era, I can't even call the friend waiting for me in a faraway city that I'm pretty sure lies in the opposite direction of the one I'm currently rocketing toward.

I sweat. I fidget. I whine a little under my breath. I can't believe I've made such a terrible mistake. I plan! I research! I make reservations! I create itineraries and sub-itineraries! I work so hard to make every trip perfect! The only other person in my train compartment is a beautifully dressed and slightly exotic woman in her seventh or eighth decade. She looks at me and lifts an eyebrow quizzically. I try to explain my predicament, and I finish with a dramatic wail: "What can I do?" She smiles a little and shrugs: "It is simple, dear. You either get off the train, or you stay on."

And of course she was right. I stayed on the train. When I got out, I was indeed in the wrong city, which wasn't wrong at all -- it just wasn't what I had planned. In fact, it proved to be a fascinating if more challenging place to visit. I learned things about its history and language and people. More important, I learned things about myself. I learned that I could let go of plans, and lists, and research, and itineraries. I learned that I could make mistakes, I could be imperfect, I could improvise, and still have fun. Maybe more fun, in fact. Because instead of racing from one historic site or museum to another, busily checking things off my list, I was wandering. Breathing. Thinking. Listening. I didn't know this term then, but I was fully present. And happy.

This month, the poet Louise Glück (born in NY) won the Nobel Prize in Literature. One of her poems reminded me of that panicky night long ago on the express train:

When the train stops, the woman said, you must get on it.
But how will I know, the child asked, if it is the right train?
It will be the right train, said the woman, because it is the right time.

Most of us try to be on the right train at the right time. We make plans and have to-do lists. But then life happens, and our best-laid plans can fly out the window. We're learning a lot about that during the pandemic. This week, let's be kind to ourselves when mistakes happen, when plans go awry, when we get on the wrong train -- and consider what we're learning from the experience. Remember we are still together, even when we're apart. And the best news is that all of us are loved, all the time.

-- MZ Smith, Community News editor
The economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will cause homelessness in NYC and across the U.S. to increase by 45%, according to a study just released by Columbia University. This means that 800,000+ Americans could be living on the streets in 2020-2021.
We're making our next Midnight Run to aid the homeless in NYC on Saturday, Oct. 31. If you would like to donate food, click the picture at left to sign up! We also need these cold-weather supplies, new or lightly used: coats, jackets, sweatshirts, blankets, and sleeping bags. We cannot take other clothes or items at this time. Thank you!

Drop off your donations at our church on Friday, Oct. 30 from 11:30am - 12:30pm. OR: Email Ron at to make other arrangements!

We are grateful to FPCP member Ron Sopyla for coordinating these trips, and to everyone in town who supports this important outreach. Together, we're taking food and critical supplies directly to people who are in the greatest need.
Join our Sunday, Oct. 25 worship service via ZOOM!

Although our fall weather and leaves are gorgeous, the mornings can be cool, so our worship service this Sunday will be online via Zoom.

We welcome Rev. David Harkness to our virtual pulpit this Sunday. Tom McCoy, our Director of Music, will be at the piano. Barry Llewellyn is worship leader. To download the bulletin, just click the picture at the right!

For more info about our online Sunday services, click here!
To receive a link & password for our online service this Sunday: Email us at: To get weekly service info: Fill out the handy contact form on our website at:
Tips from our Green Team: Go green when handling your autumn leaves!

We all love those gorgeous red, orange, and gold leaves when we gaze across our Hudson Valley landscapes. However, we also know that when those lovely leaves pile up in our own backyards, it can be quite a job to handle them!

Here are some green tips to consider regarding removing and/or using your fallen leaves, provided by our friends at the NY League of Conservation Voters.

1) Use fallen leaves to make compost. Compost enriches the nutrient content of garden soil and flower beds, and allows you to re-use food scraps and other organic items that would otherwise go to waste.

2) Greener tools reduce emissions. Opt for old-fashioned raking if you can; it's good exercise for the whole family! Or: Use an electric/battery-powered leaf blower or lawn mower to reduce emissions. If you do use a gasoline-powered leaf-blower, keep it well-maintained to minimize the amount of pollutants it emits.

3) Mulch-mowing. Using your mower to mulch leaves instead of using a leaf-blower will decrease noise and greenhouse gas production. Mulch-mowing also enhances the health of your yard by creating valuable compost, which enriches topsoil. And: Mulch-mowing also avoids spreading dust and contaminants into the air.

4) Protect gardens and flower beds. Rake fallen leaves into your garden beds to provide a protective layer for roots and pollinators during the winter. You can shred the leaves into small pieces or, even better, don’t shred them, just leave them as-is to break down naturally on your flower beds or vegetable gardens this winter.

5) Make art! Preserve fall leaves using a time-honored process: leaf-pressing. Pressed and preserved leaves are a wonderful way for the whole family to decorate mantles, create centerpieces, and more!
CS Lions: Free Shredding Event Helps You Fight Identity Theft!
Cold Spring Lions Club hosts its annual FREE Shredder Day this Saturday, Oct. 24, 9 am - noon in the parking lot at The Nest Child Care, 44 Chestnut St., Cold Spring.

An onsite bonded and certified commercial shredder will shred confidential personal and business documents, files, and old tax returns for free, but donations are very welcome this year to help the Lions defray the costs.
Free shredding is an important community service by our local Lions Club members. Medical records, financial statements, bills, and other sensitive paper documents can lead to identity theft and other problems if we don't dispose of them carefully.

Bring as much paper as you want this Saturday, but remove all paper clips and binders before you come. To meet NYS safety requirements, put all materials in the trunk of your vehicle. Lions Club volunteers will give you specific directions once you enter the parking lot. Please do not exit your vehicle. You will be asked to open your trunk, and Lions volunteers will empty your boxes and bags of paper into the shredder. Empty containers will be returned to your trunk. Please wear your masks, and remember to practice social distancing per state guidelines. Thank you, Lions!
Our Bulletin Board
Join FPCP's fun and fabulous Book Club! Our Book Club is reading the novel Forever by Pete Hamill. This bestseller is an epic and magical tale about a man who arrives in New York in 1740 and remains ... forever. Cormac O'Connor will be immortal as long as he never leaves Manhattan. Through his eyes, we watch New York City grow from a tiny settlement in the wilderness to today's thriving metropolis. We'll discuss Forever on Tuesday, Nov. 17. For more info, email Bev Taylor here.
Kids: Explore big ideas! Sunday School now happens at home each week. Carolyn, our Youth Ed leader, sends families a weekly email with stories, activities, and ideas. Last week, one story was about the Pharisees trying to put one over on Jesus -- but Jesus kept his cool. We realized that people sometimes try to get a rise out of us, too, by teasing or "pushing our buttons." We also did a fun "spot-the-difference" Pharisee puzzle. (See above!) Join our e-list! Email Carolyn here.
A reminder regarding the departure of Rev. Dr. Doris Chandler on Oct. 24
The Hudson River Presbytery's policy regarding a pastor's departure is as follows:

"When a pastor resigns from a pastorate. . . that minister shall no longer perform pastoral functions such as weddings, baptisms, funerals, hospital visitation, or counseling. Active or inactive church members should not request a former pastor to perform such pastoral duties. If requested, the pastor should tactfully decline. On occasion, the pastor or moderator may, with the approval of the session/council, invite the former pastor to perform such duties."

Thank you for your attention to this HRP policy. In the coming weeks, we'll update you here in the Community News about the search for our next pastor!
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. To make an online donation, click the image at the left, or right here. Bless you!
Telephone: (845)-265-3220 / Email: