This Week’s Announcements

SNAP Benefits reduced at the end of February 2023: At the end of February 2023, the federal government prematurely ended the temporary boost to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, nearly 3 million New Yorkers lost additional benefits as food prices continue to rise. For example, many seniors went from $281 to $23 per month in SNAP benefits.

     For more information about this ongoing crisis, see the NY Health Foundation’s findings HERE (click the DOWNLOAD button for the full report). Help us respond to this news by contacting your representatives in Congress, and by assisting with or donating to our community meal & food pantry programs (contact Kitchen Coordinator Sherry Conklin at or 607-218-2240).

Mental Health & Suicide Awareness: Lessons to learn regarding the Value of Life  Monday, March 13, 7pm at Old Union Hall, Binghamton University. On December 5, 2019, Rabbi Shalom Hammer’s 18-year-old daughter died by suicide. Rabbi Hammer reveals Gila’s story and what led to the tragic end of her life. Together we will learn more about mental health awareness, the importance of removing stigmas, and suicide signs we need to be aware of particularly with regards to young adults. Presentation followed by Q&A session. Program sponsored by: Hillel, the BU Multiracial Resource Center, Newman House, and UPC Binghamton.

     Learn more:

Just Creation Conference: Shalom for Our Common Home — March 16–18 at Columbia Theological Seminary (in person or online). Focused on environmental justice, theologians, scientists, artists, and activists will reflect on how the church moves forward in a time of precipitous climate change. Centering the conference are opening and closing keynote addresses from nationally-known speakers and three plenary sessions. Each plenary session will feature a theologian, a scientist, and an activist who will guide conferees’ reflections on “Earth,” “Air,” and “Water.” Conferees will also have the opportunity to take part in workshops and worship and engage artists and their work.

     Presbyterians for Earth Care ( is thrilled to be sponsoring this exciting conference. PEC Moderator Bruce Gillette will be presenting a workshop titled “Equipping Your Congregation for Creation Care”. See the conference website for more information. Both in-person and virtual conference attendance options are available.

Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter  Thursday, March 30, 7pm, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary’s 2023 Grawemeyer Lecture, on YouTube. Kelly Brown Douglas, dean of Union Theological Seminary’s Episcopal Divinity School in New York City and a canon theologian at Washington Cathedral, is one of the first Black female Episcopal priests in the United States and the first Black person to head an Episcopal Church-affiliated educational institution. Douglas will speak on her award-winning book, Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter. She wrote the book in response to her son asking, “How do we really know God cares when Black people are still getting killed?” and seeing Black Lives Matter protests erupt nationwide after George Floyd’s death. Watch live or pre-register.

Workshop on PC(USA) Polity and Worship service design  Saturday, April 29, 9am–3pm at Bainbridge First Presbyterian Church. Save the date for this workshop, geared for ruling elders but open to anybody. 

     The morning session will cover some of the basics of our governance, with a look at the Book of Order and how it shapes our lives as Presbyterians together. This training will be helpful for anybody who wants to know more about the role and responsibilities of the Session — especially newly elected ruling elders, new Clerks of Session, or those who are considering serving on Session — but will also be a great refresher for anyone involved in guiding the ministry of their congregation.

     The afternoon session will focus on how to design a worship service. It’s being offered as part of the training for people who are considering becoming a Certified Preacher to provide pulpit supply in the presbytery, but it will also be useful for anybody who is involved in planning worship, such as members of Worship Teams/Committees.

     This workshop is being provided by the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley’s Commission on Christian Leadership Formation. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

5 Minutes a Day Bible Reading: We’re invited to join Owego Presbyterians and other friends in our Presbytery in an American Bible Society plan of reading the Bible for 5 minutes each day. Following this simple discipline results in reading through the whole New Testament in one year. Pastors Bruce & Carolyn Gillette are doing a daily email of the reading with links to other translations (including audio), traditional and contemporary hymns inspired by the passage with recordings on YouTube ranging from soloists to cathedral choirs, and related readings, video lectures, and art (classical to contemporary and global). You can contact to be added to the daily email or join the Facebook group to receive the daily posts. People are encouraged to post their comments, questions and/or other resources related to the day’s Bible reading. Seventy people have joined the Facebook group since it started a few weeks ago; more than 75% are not Owego church members, and many of these joined at the invitation of family and friends. There are 75–80 church members who open the dally email with the biblical reading. Participants range in age from college students to older adults in their 80s. This Bible reading project is not meant to be academic and is designed to be simple. The reading takes about 5 minutes a day with the options for additional exploration into the reading and how it has inspired others. We don’t know if the number of daily Bible readers will continue to grow in the coming days or not, but those who are participating are growing in their faith. In the words of a hymn, “Your word is like a lamp, O Lord, and like a light to guide our way; for in this ever-changing world, it bears your promise every day.”

More news from around the Presbytery of Susquehanna Valley can be read at

Ongoing Church Announcements

Morning Prayer: Sundays, 9:30–9:55am. Join us before worship at 9:30 for a time of sharing and praying for the needs of our community — either on Zoom, or in person at the church in our new “Study” (Room 102, next door to the Nursery). After the prayer time, you can stay on Zoom for worship or switch over to the YouTube channel.

Bible Study: Mondays, 12:30pm, in the Study or the Zoom Room. We’re reading from Marcus Borg’s Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written, and everyone is welcome to join us in person or on Zoom. Our general format is to read the introductory material for each section, then read through the Biblical texts and talk about what it meant for early Christians and what it might mean for us today.

Sewing Group: Wednesdays, 10am–1pm. The Sewing Group meets at the church on Wednesdays starting at 10am. At noon, those who can’t join them in person are welcome to “Zoom in” for their lunchtime social hour. Everyone is welcome; bring your lunch and enjoy the company.

Zoom Happy hour: Fridays, 5–6pm. All are invited to bring your own beverage and join the conversation on Friday evenings for this social hour in the Zoom room. It’s a great way to keep in touch while it remains complicated to be together in person.

Music at UPC: Music is an important part of our coming together at United Presbyterian Church. We are excited to make music with every resource that we have, and to use a variety of styles, not all at once but intermingled. What emerges is a vibrant worship service with music that includes everyone who wishes to participate.


     UPC Choir: Wednesdays, 6:30–7:30pm in the Music Room (next to the Chapel). The vocal choir provides music for worship most every Sunday. We welcome new members at any time, and we would love to have your participation. It would be good to have you with us!

     United Ringers handbell choir: Sundays, 11:30am–12:30pm in the Sanctuary. Our handbell choir plays 2–4 octaves of Malmark handbells and handchimes, providing music for worship about once a month. If you’re interested in learning how to play handbells, please inquire. New members are always welcome! No previous experience needed. No auditions to start. If you can count to 4, you can learn to play!


We also invite instrumentalists and vocalists who’d like to share their gifts to talk with any of our music leaders about providing special music for worship — you can call the church office, email, or speak with them in person after worship. All musicians must be fully vaccinated and boosted.

Children in Worship: “Let the little children come to me…” —Matthew 19:14

We hope you know that children are welcome and encouraged to be in worship with you. We truly believe that a community of faith is made up of people of ALL ages. There is a PrayGround space with coloring sheets and quiet toys in the front of the sanctuary to use there or can be taken to another pew, if that suits your family’s needs. Sunday school materials are mailed to our families each week to do together at home.

     There is also a nursery space at the end of the hall at the front of the sanctuary that is open for use with a parent or guardian. It has a changing table, a rocking chair, and some toys appropriate for age two and under. There is a speaker in the room so you can listen to the service. Please let us know if you have questions.