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February 2023 Newsletter

Hamburg United Methodist Church 116 Union St Hamburg, New York, 14075 (716) 649-8080 Worship Livestream: Sundays at 10 am Via Facebook Live & Youtube

Dear Saints,

Christmas has come and gone—and this winter, it has been…different. With a blizzard and lake-effect snow, this year has been unusual, to say the least! After all our preparation and planning, Church and family events were disrupted, and the Buffalo area experienced unique and traumatic things once again. I have heard from friends in the area and members of our congregations that many are glad 2022 is over. Three United Methodist Church buildings in Buffalo sustained significant water damage during the Christmas blizzard, and one parsonage connected to another congregation. Homes sustained substantial damage, and many people died due to the storm, loss of power and heat, and other direct and indirect consequences of this natural disaster. The Upper New York Annual Conference is raising funds and collecting Blizzard Kits in response. I invite you to prayerfully contribute to these ongoing efforts in whatever way God moves you.

The last several years have been unusual in a variety of ways. Between COVID closures, mass shootings, and weather events, our world and region have been directly and indirectly impacted by various challenges. COVID forced us to use technology in new ways to continue to worship together and maintain the bonds of the Christian community. One of the blessings of that was this year’s Christmas Day service! On Christmas morning, Jeannine, Patrick, and I connected from our living rooms, in three separate locations, to Livestream a worship service to celebrate the birth of the Savior! I am grateful that even amidst the cold and snow, we could share the Good News of God’s love for us in Scripture, Song, and Prayer, even if we couldn’t gather in the sanctuary at Hamburg UMC.

I am excited to see what God might do with us in the coming year! We have many opportunities for service to God and the community and even more possibilities as we grow in connection with one another in Hamburg, Versailles, Gowanda, and Four Corners. We can learn from each other how to share the Good News that Jesus came for a world in need of redemption, transformation, and hope. In last month’s newsletter, there was a link to a vision document I shared with our Joint Charge Conference in December—the challenges are many, but the opportunities are even more remarkable to serve a God who loves us too much to leave us alone! That is the true meaning of Christmas: the God who made us came to be with us in Jesus.

As the year begins, I am praying God will bless us and use us to touch the world with divine Grace and Love. I hope you are too!

I continue to be blessed to serve among you. Thank you for who you are and all you do!

In Christ’s Service, with you,

Pastor David Nicol


Announcements from the Office

The office will be putting together an announcement slideshow for the gathering space. Content is accepted weekly and due on Wednesday Morning to the church office.

**Please note for repeating slides, the last Sunday it should be run.

Office hours

Monday- Thursday: 9am-2pm

Friday: 9 am-Noon

Email us!!

Jeannine Vanwey:

Patrick Fitzgerald:

Cristina Glover:


In Remembrance:

Mildred (Mili) I. Lewis – died on December 23, 2022

Dr.Edwin B. Tomaka – died on December 30, 2022

Blessed are those who have gone on to their heavenly resting place.


David and Samantha Edie – November 12, 2022

Brianna and Robert DeGroat – December 10, 2022

Best wishes to them, and may their futures be blessed with love and joy


Plants are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of:

  • James Adkins by Jeanne Adkins

  • Gary Caldwell by Rose, Sarah, and Jessie

  • Our parents and brothers, Russell and Gary Caldwell by Dick and Dianne Caldwell and family

  • Dianne Scheffler by Maytha and Gary Cawthard

  • Willana Harris by Gail Harris and Rev. G. Ewart Morris

  • Our parents by Sandra and Thomas Holden

  • Edith and Lloyd Ellis by Ginger and Leo Jensen

  • Our parents by Diane and David Petrick

  • Loved ones by Amy Rydholm

  • My parents and sisters by Robert Stapf

  • Our parents by Sharon and Anthony Tiballi

  • Ronald Tills by Beth Tills

Plants are given to the Glory of God and in honor of:

  • Our children and grandchildren by Dianne and Dick Caldwell

  • Suzanne Goodridge by Beth Tills

  • Our church staff: Pastor David Nicol, Jeannine VanWey, Cristina Glover, Patrick Fitzgerald, James Flynn, and Sandy Zamito

Plants are given to the Glory of God with gratitude for all of his blessings:

  • Lauren, Mike, Violet, and Ted Fleckenstein

  • Barbara and John Meader

  • Elaine Parisi


The Missions & Outreach Committee will collect food items for Operation Good Neighbor Food Pantry during February. A tote is available Gathering Space for your donations.

Following is a list of requested items.

  • Pasta plain and boxed flavors

  • Rice Plain and boxed flavored (Aldi has $1.14 on box flavored)

  • Potatoes boxed or bag, plain or flavored

  • Cereal

  • Oatmeal

  • Canned mixed fruit

  • small serving size fruit/applesauce cups

  • Canned Kidney, Chili Beans


Join us for Book Club. We meet on the 4th Monday of the month at 10:30 am in the church library. In February, we will be reading The Lincoln Highway by Amy Towles. This is a change because Mad Honey is so hard to get, so we bumped it to March. In April - Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano; May - Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens; June - Horse by Geraldine Brooks; July - The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave.


You are Invited to Join the New Hospitality Committee

One service or mission our church provides when a member dies is to provide a place for the family to gather after the memorial service – to eat, share memories and have time and space to mourn together. The family may desire simply a cookie reception or a more involved luncheon.

Currently, a core group of volunteers leads this effort, and we would like to invite others to join in this rewarding ministry of helping our families during a time of need.

Volunteers make cookies and help serve them with coffee, tea, lemonade, or whatever the family decides. If it is a luncheon, a committee member coordinates with the family their wishes, and then at the family’s expense, the committee orders the food sets up, serves the meal, and cleans up. Our committee will serve if a family wants to make food and bring it to church.


There are steps to coordinating each event and various volunteer opportunities as well. You may decide to help in one or more ways -- perhaps baking cookies, setting up or cleaning up, for example.

1) Coordinating with the family about the reception or luncheon details and specific needs (1-2 people)

2) Order the food and ensure enough supplies are on hand, like paper products, coffee, creamer, etc. (1-2 people)

3) Make cookies (the number of bakers needed depends on the size of the reception)

4) A day before the memorial service: Set up the reception area, ready coffee, and make lemonade (3-4 people)

5) Day of the memorial service:

- Pick up food if needed (1-2 people)

- Kitchen help an hour or so before the funeral service for final set up (3-4 people)

- Servers during the reception; Package any leftover food to be given to the family; Clean up (3-4 people)


We never know when the need will arise for the Hospitality Committee, and not everyone will always be available. But if you join us now, we will call when the need arises to see if you are available. Look for a sign-up form in the pews on which you can indicate how you’d like to help. Hopefully, we’ll end up with many people on our Hospitality Committee! Questions? Call Wendy Spaulding (716-574-8559), Sue Gagne (716-648-3460), or Amy Rydholm (585-429-0038)



The Memorial Committee has been actively working during the past year, receiving donations in memory of several persons who have passed away. The committee has notified the families of the deceased of the gift given and has sent a note of appreciation and acknowledgment to the donor. Informational folders for the Memorial Fund can be found in the sanctuary pews and in the Gathering Space.

Gifts to the Memorial Fund can be designated for a specific use or project or undesignated to be used as needed by the church. Currently, the Memorial Committee has projects for consideration and welcomes any additional ideas from individuals and groups in the church.

Gifts to the Memorial Fund can be made to the church to honor a person(s) for a birthday, anniversary, notable achievement, etc. Also, people planning their estates and wills can include a gift to the church for a designated use or as a memorial.

Memorial Committee: Caroline Schneggenburger (Chair) and Dianne Caldwell, Judy Engberg, Karen McClure, and Barbara Meader



The Retired Men’s Fellowship of Hamburg UMC will have its monthly lunch gathering on Tuesday, February 21, at 12 Noon a ZJ’s Restaurant in the Hamburg Village Plaza. All retired men are invited. Come and bring a friend for food and fellowship.

Dick Caldwell, facilitator



Returning your cans and bottles can be an easy way to donate $$ to Little Lamb Preschool. Take them to Can Bottle Return, 4255 Clark Street in Hamburg (next to the former Vara Cleaners), and designate your refund to Little Lamb. They keep the money on record and periodically send Little Lamb a check. Easy for you…easy for them…and much appreciated by Little Lamb.



  1. How to Listen to God – Discovering the Signs of his Love and Guidance by Doug Hill. It’s staggering when you think about it. God speaks to us all the time. God may send us a message at any hour of the day or night. He might have the comfort to lend, advice to offer, an answer to a decision you’re wrestling with, or even a little humor to lift your spirits. When God speaks, will you hear him? It is so important that we tune our ears and align our hearts to understand the different languages that God uses, so we can tell when God is speaking to us and more clearly understand what he is saying. Chapters in this book focus on how God speaks to us through prayer, the Bible, new experiences, heavenly messengers, other people, and maybe even a children’s story, a neon sign or a jigsaw puzzle.

  2. Holy Humor – Inspirational Wit and Cartoons by Cal and Rose Samra. Holy Humor looks lightheartedly at pastors, church life, marriage, parenthood, holidays, politics, and the Christian walk. It is filled with quotes and quips from early church leaders to contemporary believers such as Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Norman Vincent Peale, ordinary pastors, and church members. Included are amusing stories, one-liners, cartoons, and bloopers that can brighten your day and help you cope with the roller coaster of life.

  3. Under a Wing – Memoir by Reeve Lindbergh. The world knew Charles Lindbergh as a daring aviator, an author, and a controversial isolationist in World War II and knew his wife as an author as well. But Reeve Lindbergh knew them as Father and Mother. The youngest of their five children, she describes what it was like to grow up as a Lindbergh. Her father was stern and strong, inspiring both love and fear. He stressed self-reliance and independence. Her mother was gentler and more accessible as a parent. She encouraged her children to write and to love nature. Reeve’s parents strengthened each other and their children and stressed the importance of family. This book is a heartfelt tribute to an extraordinary family.

During February, the month of love, encourage your love of reading with a book from our church library, and may you experience new insights, hope, and joy.


Join us for a virtual fellowship! This group is a place to share prayer requests, devotions, concerns, joys, and even some humor with your church family. Join the Hamburg UMC Fellowship group on Facebook.


PRAYER CONCERNS? If you would like someone added to our church prayer list, call Barb Meader (648-1273) or email her at, or contact anyone who is a Prayer, Care, and Share member. Daily we lift the concerns that have been shared with us.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 4-7)

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