Hand-painted rocks and supportive messages are being delivered to FPCP students and families this week, thanks to Carolyn Llewellyn, Bev Taylor, and Bev's grandkids!
My rock and my fortress. . .
Are you like me? Do you just love exploring giant piles of amazing rocks? In our family, we have a running joke that every holiday trip has to include at least at least one huge heap of stones: an imposing fort or historic castle, a ruined abbey or ancient temple, an enigmatic cave or cliff dwelling, the Pyramids or the Colosseum, petroglyphs or monoliths . . . you get the picture. (And if you don't, I've got 30 years of family photos to show you, with an astonishing number of rock piles featured!)

I love the history and mystery of stones, and the way they allow us to time-travel. Hold a stone in your hand and consider how many millions of years it took for this rock to form, and all the people and creatures it encountered before it found you. Or feast your eyes on our Hudson Highlands, with bedrock that's a billion years old and beloved hills shaped by the glaciers that cut through our valley 15,000 years ago.

Stones speak to us across the ages in a quiet language of steadfastness and stability. How different is the chattering whirlwind of our day-to-day lives: "Do this! Plan that! Now hope, wish, and worry about everything else!" This year, our worries are so great that we seem to be in a constant state of unease, notes the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan: "Everyone wants a feeling of safety. But no one is certain where safety is." When we look to national leadership for a safe path forward, she adds, all too often we find that "it’s not solid ground, it’s more shifting sand."

Rocks are a safe place to stand and take shelter. Rocks outlast our worries and our cares. Rocks hold history and bear witness to our stories. Rocks help us understand what forever is. Surely this is why the psalmist sings, "The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. . ."

In the photo above, you see the lovely, cheerful, hand-painted rocks that are being safely delivered this week to students and families in our FPCP community, along with that Psalm 18:2 verse and an important message that is true for ALL of us: "God loves you and protects you. Your church family loves you, too. . . May this rock remind you of God's love for you and your church community."

This week, let's reflect on this psalm and remember that we are loved and protected, always. Maybe we can send messages of support and gratitude to essential workers; they, too, are "rocks" who strive to protect us. Remember we are still together, even when we're apart. And the best news is that all of us are loved, all the time.
Communion is served safely at our beautiful outdoor service in Mayor's Park.
We continue to enjoy our beautiful outdoor services on Sundays!
On Sunday, Sept. 6, the Rev. Dr. Doris Chandler invited us to join together in a safe communion service with pre-packaged elements, or "BYOB" elements that we provided ourselves. We were very grateful to resume our tradition of taking communion on the first Sunday of the month! Many thanks to everyone who attended in person or via Zoom. For more info about our outdoor + online services, join our e-list! It's easy -- just fill out the handy form on our website at www.presbychurchcoldspring.org! To see more pictures, just click the image above & visit our Facebook page!
Help us help people who are experiencing homelessness in New York City.

We are planning a Midnight Run on Saturday, Sept. 26 to to take food, clothing, toiletries, and other critical supplies to people experiencing homelessness in NYC. Longtime FPCP member and volunteer Ron Sopyla is coordinating this mission trip. Ron has been making solo runs to distribute food and supplies to the homeless. But, says Ron, "the number of homeless people has grown." Please help if you can!

Sign up to donate food and supplies. We would be grateful for sliced turkey and ham, clementines, juice boxes, and other items that we assemble into lunch bags for the homeless and hungry. Ron has created an online sign-up sheet through "Sign-Up Genius" which you can access by clicking here. Please drop off your donations on Friday, Sept. 25 between 10:30 and 11:30 am at our church at 10 Academy Street. If that day and time doesn't work for you, no worries! You can email Ron at rsopyla@verizon.net and he will make other arrangements with you. Thanks!
Be a volunteer driver. Ron is asking for two additional drivers to join him on the Midnight Run this month. One driver can pack enough provisions to feed about 25 people, Ron notes. We also distribute toiletry kits with underwear, socks, soap, and other personal hygiene articles. If a third driver volunteers, we will be able to also transport a supply of warm clothing, hats, blankets, and sheets, Ron says. Those supplies are becoming very important as temperatures on the street grow colder.

For more information, to make a donation, or to volunteer, please click on the photo and links above, and/or send an email to Ron Sopyla. Thank you!
Our fine furry friends...
Periodically we celebrate our furry, fuzzy, and feathered friends by featuring photos of our pets or local wildlife. Rachel Thompson recently caught this fine fellow in the act of raiding her hummingbird feeder for a sweet treat! Rachel says she moved the feeder to stop future raids. We like this shot because it looks like the Buddha is laughing at this wily thief. Email your animal pictures to us! Just click on the photo at left.
Tips from the FPCP Green Team: How to "Green" Your Way Back to School!

This week, our Green Team shares some green back-to-school ideas from our friends at NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and other green groups!

  • Reuse notebooks, folders, and other schools supplies from last year if you can.
  • Reuse your backpack from last year.
  • Try to use both sides of paper.
  • See if you can safely buy used textbooks, or purchase digital versions online.
  • Pack lunch with reusable containers to reduce waste.
  • Say "no" to plastic utensils, straws, and condiment packets whenever possible!
  • Say "yes" to eco-friendly school and lunch supplies whenever you can!
  • Remember to fill up your reusable water bottle!
  • Turn off and unplug laptops, printers, chargers, and other devices when not in use, to help conserve energy!
  • Headed to campus? Why not walk or bike? (Safely!)
  • Join or form a (virtual/safe) sustainability club to keep sharing green ideas!
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 read the Golden Rule and talked about why it's so important to practice being kind to others all of the time -- even when we're feeling frustrated or angry. (Maybe especially then!) 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. To make an online donation, click the image at the left, or right here. Bless you!
Telephone: (845)-265-3220 / Email: 1presbyterian@gmail.com www.presbychurchcoldspring.org