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February 2024 Newsletter

Hamburg United Methodist Church 116 Union St Hamburg, New York, 14075 (716) 649-8080 Sundays at 10 am

Also Streamed Via Facebook Live & Youtube

Dear Saints,

The Eastern Orthodox tradition has a valuable insight into the nature of Theology. Theology is the love of God and the Love of God. A theologian is one who loves God, and only one who loves God is a theologian. Certainly, there are philosophers who consider the nature of the Divine, who speculate about God, but who do not love God—by this definition they are not truly theologians! However, everyone who hears the story of Jesus, who loves the God who is revealed in those stories, who seeks the presence of God in those people who already know the Lord of life and love, they are theologians, however many or few books they have read, hymns they have sung, sermons they have heard or preached. I hope each of us desires to be a theologian!

This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, February 14. Each year, we begin with a remembrance of our own imperfections, our own sins, our own need for grace, so that we can seek the whole life of God who is perfect, beyond sin, and overflowing with grace. Forty Days each year, we often consider “giving up” or fasting, which are valuable things if they remind us of where our focus ought to be. C.S. Lewis, in The Great Divorce, reflected on the nature of loving God beyond all else, which is the real goal of Lent and its disciplines. As Lewis put it, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’”

Lewis describes a fantasy world where, after death, each individual passes through Judgment based on who he or she puts first, God or oneself. One fully-formed human explains to a teacher the nature of these things, so far as he can understand, having speculated that Heaven and Hell are both states of mind: “Hell is a state of mind—ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind—is, in the end Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly. For all that can be shaken will be shaken and only the unshakable remains.” The educated man could not make sense of Heaven and Hell reaching back, shaping the entirety of the life we live. 

In the course of this short novel, Lewis writes about an artist, a mother, and many others, whose conversations indicate they half understand love, forgiveness, and purpose, but in each case they fail to see their own idolatry. Their good deeds, their human affections, are not shaped by the love of God, but by the love of something else—and in each case they (at best) use God as a means to an end. Lewis is convinced, that fails utterly. “There is but one good: that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him. And the higher and mightier it is in the natural order, the more demoniac it will be if it rebels. It's not out of bad mice or bad fleas you make demons, but out of bad archangels. The false religion of lust is baser than the false religion of mother-love or patriotism or art: but lust is less likely to be made into a religion.” 

While certainly not exhaustive, The Great Divorce offers an illustration of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. “‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things are beneficial. ‘All things are lawful,’ but not all things build up (1 Corinthians 10:23).’” And of course, the “still more excellent way,” laid out in 1 Corinthians 13, and the promise of resurrection life in 1 Corinthians 15, especially verses 50-58. Ours, as the Body of Christ, is to seek to live in the Heavenly even now, out of the Love of God, loving God first and foremost. 

For Lent, I do not know what you should “give up” that is only destructive for you, or from what fast (from something itself good, but which might cloud your view of God’s love), but that is the point. I want to invite you to live a Holy Lent, seeking to put God first, that all your loves, joys, and desires may reflect the Love of God in all you do.

In Christ’s Service, with You,

Pastor David Nicol


February Birthdays

Feb 12

Mrs. Judy Black

476 Buffalo Street #307 Hamburg NY 14075

Feb 14

Mrs. Joyce Cherry

3647 Old Lakeview Rd

Hamburg NY 14075

They would love to hear from you


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:



2024 Equalization Members Needed

Cornerstone and Niagara Frontier Districts are

looking for Equalization Members to represent the districts

at the upcoming Annual Conference.

You must attend all of the Annual Conference Sessions from

Thursday, May 30 through Saturday, June 1, 2024, in person

at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse NY.

**Must be a professing member of one of the District UMCs**

Please click the application below for more details.

2024 EQ_Niagara Frontier Application
Download DOC • 33KB

You will be notified whether or not you are accepted as an equalization member.

Please DO NOT register until you have been notified.

Then you may register on the conference website.

The decision will be based on availability and concern for inclusion and diversity across the district.

All are welcome to attend as a visitor if not a delegate.

Completed Forms may be emailed to

Or mailed to

Cornerstone/Niagara Frontier District,

PO Box 570, Clarence Center, NY 14032

DEADLINE to send to district office Feb. 12th, 2024


Hamburg UMC Missions/Outreach Report - Making a Difference in 2023

Dear Members of Hamburg UMC,

As we reflect on the year gone by, we are filled with gratitude for the generous support and unwavering commitment to our mission and outreach initiatives. Your dedication has made a significant impact on the lives of those in need, both locally and globally.

Financial Support

International Outreach:

  • Zimmermans, missionaries in Nepal (retired mid-year): $1,800

  • Santiago Mission Panama, Cindy Ceballos, missionary: $3,600

  • Burundi Missionary #3022175: $500

  • Zimbabwe Missionaries #13990Z and #13991Z: $500

Local Impact:

  • Seneca Street UMC: $2,000

  • Deanna Finch compensation: $3,500

  • Beechwood Bloucher Foundation: $500

Disaster Relief:

  • UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief): $1,000

  • Blizzard Response special request from Upper New York Conference: $214

  • First UMC of Buffalo special Osterville Blizzard funds: $2,000

  • Cleve-Hill UMC – special Osterville Blizzard funds: $5,000

  • Seneca Street UMC-special Osterville Blizzard funds: $1,000

Special Sundays:

  • World Communion Sunday: $280

  • Student Sunday: $347

  • Human Relations Sunday: $155

  • Native American Ministries Sunday: $467

  • Peace with Justice Sunday: $128

  • UMCOR Sunday (One Great Hour of Sharing): $853

Community Support:

  • Red Bird: $2,000

  • FeedMore of WNY: $2,700

  • Local food pantries (SS P&P, Eden N.Collins, Op.Good Neighbor, Jehovah Jireh, Lake Shore): $1,000

  • S.S. Peter and Paul Outreach Center (extra giving): $100

  • Sparks Food Pantry: $500

  • Buffalo Peace House: $600

  • Churches in Action: $500

  • Family Promise: $500

  • 8 Days of Hope: $1,500

Other Initiatives:

  • Communion Fund (Pastor’s discretionary fund): $575.89

  • Cozy Quilts: $400

  • Warm the Children: $200

  • St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy: $2,000

  • Friends of Night People: $500

  • Miso Community Church-special request from Bishop: $300

Total Disbursements: $37,219.89*

*$2,900 Anonymous Funds Used

*$8,000 Osterville UMC Blizzard Funds Used

Additional Contributions

In addition to the monetary donations, your generosity extended to monthly contributions of food and clothing to our food pantries. Your commitment to helping those in need is truly commendable, and we want to express our deepest gratitude for your continued support.

Our Committee

We extend a heartfelt thank you to the dedicated members of the HUMC Missions/Outreach Committee who worked tirelessly throughout the year. Your passion and commitment have been instrumental in making these initiatives a success. Thank you, Judy Heiler, Caroline Schneggenburger, Dianne Caldwell, Ginger & Leo Jensen, Linda Sutton, Bob Stapf, Carlos Ortiz, Dave & Wendy Spaulding, Sharon Tiballi, Vicki Weixlmann, Jenn Stahl, and Tom Wojciechowski.

As we look forward to the coming year, let us continue to be a beacon of hope and compassion in our community and beyond. Together, we can make a difference.


Hamburg UMC Missions & Outreach

This article is a reformatting of the official report which you can view below

Missions Outreach Annual Report 2023
Download PDF • 241KB


Adult Sunday School

John Meader’s Adult Sunday School class meets each Sunday at 9 a.m. in the

Parlor. Presently, we are using Max Lucado’s book, Help is Here, and the

accompanying DVD to learn more about the Holy Spirit. All are welcome!


Little Lamb Preschool Open House

Join us on February 8th from 6:30 to 7:30 pm for an exclusive opportunity to explore our classrooms and meet our dedicated teachers! Our classes cater to children aged 2-5, fostering a nurturing environment for their early learning journey.

As a special benefit for Hamburg United Methodist Church (HUMC) members, we are offering a tuition discount. It's our way of expressing appreciation for the church community's support.

Mark your calendars for in-house registration, which begins on February 5th and is conducted online. This priority registration period is open to church members, alumni, and currently enrolled families. If you have any questions or are interested in participating in the in-house registration process, please reach out to us at

We look forward to welcoming you and your little ones to our Little Lamb Preschool family!


FUN FUNDRAISER FOR LITTLE LAMB PRESCHOOL Returning your cans and bottles can be an easy way to donate $$ to Little Lamb Pre-School. Just 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 Pre-School.


Book Club will meet on Febuary 22, 2024, at 10:30 am in the Library

We will be discussing "Demon Copperhead" by Barbara Kingsolver

Zoom is available for those who wish to attend virtually. Don't hesitate to get in touch with the church office to receive a link

Questions to Karen Klimecko


Sparks of Hope Recovery Support Center

Supporting Our Homeless Brothers and Sisters

Dear HUMC Family and Friends,

In our commitment to serving the community, Sparks of Hope Recovery Support Center extends its assistance to individuals experiencing homelessness, recognizing that this may be linked to Substance Use Disorder. As we embark on this mission, it is crucial to approach each person with love and understanding, remembering that they are God's children.

Protocol for Assisting Homeless Individuals:

  1. Volunteer Presence: In adherence to our center's protocol, two volunteers must be present at all times when assisting individuals at Sparks.

  2. Christ-Centered Approach: Our primary goal is to see Christ in every person who seeks assistance at Sparks. Let us be Christ for every individual who walks through our doors.

  3. Recognizing Needs: Homeless individuals may display signs of withdrawal or anxiety, often due to hunger. Providing comfort through food and water, such as offering grilled cheese or any nutritious options, is encouraged.

  4. Material Assistance: It is appropriate to offer blankets, jackets, or clothing. However, refrain from offering cash, gift cards, shelter, or transportation unless authorized by the Sparks director or HUMC pastor.

  5. Providing Support: While we may not be able to solve all their problems, we can offer essential support. If the person appears mentally capable of managing their own decisions and safety, consider the following steps:

  • Have them call 2-1-1 for emergency housing.

  • Contact Hamburg Police Departments, who may transport them to an area shelter if agreed upon.

  • The Town of Hamburg PD has a clinician on staff who can assess the individual and their needs, potentially accompanying patrol.

  1. Extreme Weather Protocol: In freezing temperatures without available shelter, contact the Sparks director or HUMC pastor for further instructions on shelter.

  2. Emergency Contacts: If the individual appears incapable of managing their well-being and safety, please contact:

  • Hamburg Village PD at 716.649.4501

  • Town of Hamburg PD Dispatch at 716.648.5111 or 911

  • For other urgent matters, Hamburg Village Hall at 716.649.0200

Together, let us continue to be a beacon of hope and support for those in need, reflecting God's love in our actions.

In Service and Fellowship,

Sparks of Hope Ministry

You can view the official protocol below

Sparks of Hope -Homeless Protocol
Download PDF • 117KB


Imagine No Racism

Six-Session Small Group Study on ZOOM

February 16 - March 22

10:00 am-11:30 am


Lent is a season of introspection and awareness, a great time to reflect on some of the challenging realities of our society. So, if you’re looking for a good Lenten study next month, please think about being part of the next Imagine No Racism class.

The Conference Commission on Religion and Race (CCORR) will offer this a six-session small group study on Zoom, from Feb. 16 through March 22 from 10-11:30 a.m. These highly interactive sessions will be facilitated by CCORR team members the Rev. Holly Strickland and Georgia Whitney. The class limit is 15.

The curriculum is meant as a beginning, a way to launch the ongoing work of addressing, and ultimately, dismantling racism, expanding knowledge, and developing skills for addressing racism in its many current manifestations. It can empower individuals and local churches to discern how God is calling them to apply the new knowledge and skills in their lives and missions. Each 90-minute session includes a strong connection to scripture and prayer and builds on prior sessions.

In six weeks, you’ll gain a shared language and a shared set of learning engagements as a foundation for developing and implementing goals that are meaningful and powerful in your setting.

If you’d like to find out more or register for the class, contact Georgia Whitney at (585) 410-4370 or by email at


Missions/Outreach: Nourishing Hearts, One Donation at a Time

As we embrace the month of February, our Missions/Outreach team is launching a heartfelt initiative to support Operation Good Neighbor, a beacon of hope located in North Evans. Operation Good Neighbor tirelessly works to provide essential food items to those in need, and we are eager to join hands with them in making a positive impact on our community.

Items We're Collecting: During February, we are focusing on collecting key food items that can make a significant difference in the lives of those served by Operation Good Neighbor. Your generous contributions will go a long way in nourishing hearts and ensuring that no one in our community goes hungry.

The following items are especially needed:

  • Pasta (boxed, plain, or flavored)

  • Rice (plain or boxed flavors)

  • Potatoes (boxed or bag)

  • Cereal

  • Oatmeal

  • Canned Mixed Fruit

  • Small serving size Fruit/Applesauce Cups

  • Canned Kidney and Chili Beans

Collection Details: To streamline our collective efforts, we have designated a Collection Basket in the Gathering Space. Your donations, whether big or small, will be gratefully received, and each contribution will bring us one step closer to making a positive impact on the lives of those in need.

How You Can Help:

  1. Donate Generously: As you do your grocery shopping this month, consider picking up an extra item or two from the list above to contribute to our collection.

  2. Spread the Word: Share the news about our February Missions/Outreach initiative with friends, family, and fellow congregation members. Encourage them to join us in making a difference.

  3. Volunteer: If you have some time to spare, consider volunteering with us. Your helping hands will make the process smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Together, let's exemplify the spirit of compassion and community that defines our church family. Your support will not only fill stomachs but also warm hearts. Thank you for being a beacon of love in our community.

In Gratitude and Fellowship, Caroline Schneggenburger - Missions/Outreach Team


Village ENGAGED Clothing Drive

At Hamburg UMC, we're dedicated to supporting a meaningful initiative spearheaded by Village ENGAGED aimed at aiding local families experiencing homelessness in Erie County. Currently, we are assisting approximately 200 individuals, including 80 children, who have found temporary housing in two local hotels. It's important to emphasize that these individuals are all Western New York residents, with some children attending schools in our area while others continue in their "home" schools.

Village ENGAGED has assembled a diverse team equipped with various resources, including social work, legal aid, and spiritual care, to offer comprehensive support to these families. Their mission involves providing essential clothing, and personal care items, engaging in bi-monthly crafting sessions with the children, hosting festive events like Christmas parties, and fulfilling a wish list by gifting items to these families.

Hamburg UMC stands committed to extending our aid, and we invite your participation. Your donations of clean, gently used clothing items will significantly impact these families' lives. Personal care items are always welcomed and appreciated. Designated donation drop-off bins are conveniently located in the coatroom of the Gathering Space.

It's disheartening to note that every 2-3 weeks, these families are required to pack all their belongings, journey downtown to social services for recertification, and then return to the hotel. This continuous cycle underscores the importance of sustained support from caring individuals like you.

Your contributions, no matter the size, can make a world of difference to these families in need.

Let's come together as a community to provide comfort and support during these challenging times.

Village Engaged Short-Term Drive


Coffee Hour Schedule



Church Council


Trustees/ Columbarium


Sarah Circle


Mission Outreach






Prayer Care & Share


Men's Group


Church Council


Trustees/ Columbarium


Sarah Circle



Medical Equipment Lending Closet

Hamburg UMC has a medical equipment lending closet. It is located in Room 18 in the basement. Please check the closet before purchasing wheelchairs, walkers, commodes, crutches, canes, etc. The equipment available constantly changes. If you have medical equipment you are no longer using, you may donate them. We cannot take soft items such as gauze pads, diabetic supplies, incontinence, bandages, etc. For questions, please call Caroline Schneggenburger at 716-289-0541.




The Retired Men’s Fellowship of Hamburg UMC will gather for their monthly lunch on Tuesday, February 20 at 12 Noon at ZJ’s Restaurant in the Hamburg Village Plaza. All retired men are invited. Come and bring a friend for good food and good fellowship.

Dick Caldwell, facilitator


  1. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World – Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life by Joanna Weaver. Like Mary of Bethany, Christian women of today love Jesus and long to sit at his feet and like Martha, they love Jesus and want to serve him…but the demands of a busy world and feelings of weariness, resentment, and inadequacy just won’t leave them alone.  Jesus extends the same invitation to us to choose the “better part”, a life of joyful intimacy with him that flows naturally into service for him.  This unique and insightful book shows you how to deepen your devotion and strengthen your service with less stress and greater joy.

  2. Ransom of Love by Al and Joanna Lacy. Nineteen-year-old Benjamin arrives from South Africa earmarked to be sold into slavery – but is set free by a kindly Christian in Charleston, SC.  Zack Johnson takes him on as a paid servant, and Ben earns the money to go west with Zack’s adventurous son, Dan.  It means that Ben must leave his fiancée, Dorena, a slave on a plantation until he can earn the price of her freedom.  Both Ben and Dan struggle with the harsh elements and a neighbor’s bigotry to forge a new life by faith.  After some time, Ben learns Dorena has been sold.  How can he find a way to obtain her freedom and what is the true cost of a ransom of love?

  3. When the Heart Cries by Cindy Woodsmall. Despite being raised in a traditional Amish family, Hannah desires to marry outside the community.  When Paul proposes, she accepts knowing it will change her life forever.  On the evening of their engagement, tragedy strikes, and all that Hannah has known and believed is destroyed.  She faces the possibility of losing her place in her family, in her community and in the heart of the man she loves.  What decision will she make?

February is a month for reflection on our relationships with others.  Take some time to read one of these books or one of the many other books in our church library.  You may find new insights, hope, joy, and the blessings of Christian love for your heart.


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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