Church News


Annual Pastor's Report

Harris Hill UMC · Published Dec 7, 2017

From the Pastor's Desk
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The following open letter is Pastor Katie's report to the United Methodist Annual Conference.


In bringing the report of the pastor, I hope to share the wonderful work of the Holy Spirit in this place.
Since last November, the Harris Hill UMC has continued to work on living out the Mission of the UMC in transforming the world by making disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the world. Our vision: Love God, Live Like Jesus and Share the Spirit, allows us to focus on our own personal spiritual growth in Christ and then offers this hope to our neighbors, inviting others in. When we finish worshipping God our work begins, hopefully affecting the lives of others daily.
The leadership of Harris Hill UMC are faith-filled, as all of those serving on SHAPE (Ad Board) and Trustees, have been involved with missions, ministry and or small group. I have shared with nominations that I only want those who are committed to the church through attendance in worship and those who make personal spiritual growth a priority. Growing ‘the church’ can only happen when those who are “the church” seek to be transformed. Leadership needs to be modeled in order to be effective.
Last year we began class meetings which we call Journey groups as we seek to encourage, love and assist one another in spiritual nurturing through covenant groups. One group continues to meet and grow through discussion and personal faith sharing. The other group recently decided to stop as several of the people were unable to attend regularly due to retirement, traveling and sickness. I understand the seasons of any small group or ministry and believe this group was helpful to those who participated and I think that a few of them will find their way into another small group. The depth of sharing has been amazing as trust in one another and trust in God impacts the very heart of each participant.
Small groups are important at this church and I only wish every person would participate. We offer opportunities for folks to come together in long term groups and short term studies. We offer opportunities for men only, during the day, on Sunday morning, and at night. Those who have made this a part of their week are always blessed by the community formed. There are Children’s and Sdult Sunday School as well as small groups that meet throughout the week. Offering all an opportunity to learn, think, discuss and grow.
We continue to care for those inside the congregation as well as those who are no longer able to be in worship on Sunday through visits, Holy Communion, meals, cards and phone calls. We as a church are involved in a prayer shawl ministry and have given away about 150+ shawls in the last three years. It is such a blessing to know that people can participate either though donating money to buy yarn, by knitting or crocheting shawls, or by praying over them as we prepare them to be gifted. We offer a Free Community Carnival each year as a way to welcome the community onto the property where more than 145 kids plus their families attend. We invite them to a one day VBS as well as worship. We support special UM advances throughout the year and continue to give our full support to Shared Ministries.
Our main mission/ministry project is GO! Ministry through UMCOR. Harris Hill is the drop off and verification site for all UMCOR kits for the Niagara Frontier District. I am the District Disaster Coordinator and encourage those in the district to continue to give to UMCOR and to build kits as they are needed urgently at many times of the year. I also participate as a member of the Western NY VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster). Kit building is also a ministry that anyone in a church can participate in and I have spoken to other pastors, UMW’s and to the retired clergy in regards to this ministry.
This ministry is very busy as the need has been tremendous both nationally and internationally. It has taken a few years but other churches now recognize that they can participate all year long collecting at their churches and they can come here to verify and build kits. What a joy it is to see people from Boy Scout troops, schools, and people of every age and ability gathered around tables participating in hands on ministry. At our last gathering, our oldest member was sitting and reading the list to another woman who was gathering items and filling the bucket, while at the next table a 3 year old boy was counting sponges with his mom as they packed together. A small vision of the Kingdom!
This year we became actively involved in a community dinner at Niagara Falls 1st UMC. We have all enjoyed the opportunity to participate in this ministry by purchasing food items, by coming together at the church to cook, and by going to the church to serve dinner once a month. Each person that becomes involved has had a wonderful experience as we build a relationship with those in that community who come to enjoy a meal, fellowship and worship.
We love food and continue in ministry by cooking goulash twice a month for a soup kitchen that reaches out to the homeless and those in need on Buffalo’s lower West side - Friends of Night People. The church supports Hearts for the Homeless, a ministry that drives a camper nightly, directly to where the homeless are living and brings a hot meal, coffee, cookies and a sandwich for the next day. We support Operation Christmas Child, and the Clarence Food Pantry, as well as those engaged in ministry through ERT (Early Response Team) and VIM (Volunteers in Mission) and other missionary organizations.
The Harris Hill community also has a number of fellowship opportunities throughout the year. These offer a time for people to get to know one another in a setting outside of worship. It also allows folks the chance to invite a friend or neighbor to a church event that isn’t overtly “churchy.” In October we had our first church retreat, focused on Sabbath Joy! Those that participated all took away new thoughts of the importance of Sabbath rest, and the impact in might make on every area of our body, mind and spirit.
This year I found myself in need of a renewal leave and took the month of August to refresh and be renewed. I had recognized in myself a tired spirit, and exhaustion in many areas of my life. I began my time with a week training at Ginghamsburg UMC where I gathered with 15 other pastors from all over the country to engage in understanding the need for missional church. What a wonderful week of learning and to be connected to other pastors seeking fresh ideas in church through mission outreach. I then came home for a week with my family and enjoyed spending time with them. I spent a few days on a personal retreat by myself and then spent a few days doing some planning for the year ahead, followed by some time to relax. I was thankful for the time away; to regain new eyes in scripture, to place the importance of prayer and of self-care prominently in my calendar and to keep in mind my self-care with requests of others, and found it helpful to step away from the weekly sermon writing.
HHUMC continues to be in ministry with the AA group that meets seven days a week in our church building. I attend meetings weekly as a way to continue to build relationships and share in God’s love. We have seen several new members and people who are attending church I am humbled to hear the stories and work through the pain that humanity inflicts on one another and on themselves. It is through this ministry that God continues to bring me great hope in transformation by the Holy Spirit. I am blessed that many people in the church have offered great hospitality and love to those who come to church. We have held a breakfast for the AA group and some of our church folks have gone to celebrate the anniversary of another in sobriety. I continue to preach a challenge to others on who Jesus loved and ministered to so ALL hearts would be changed.
This report would not be complete without my personal praise to God. I give God thanks for the staff people I am honored to work with, each of whom extend themselves far beyond a job description, into the work of ministry and into loving people. If it were not for them, my ministry would look much different. I thank God for the leadership teams, people who give extensive amounts of time and talent in leading and organizing the church for Kingdom building. I thank God for the people of this church who have looked to find areas of their lives that could be stretched and allowed the Spirit in. I give thanks to God for those that work hidden behind the scenes to help another, to gift another, to encourage another without any praise or acknowledgement. I thank God for this community of faith that is committed to worship and praise God in this place called Harris Hill UMC. I am thankful for my husband who supports me in ministry and loves me unconditionally. I thank God, for the opportunity to serve in ministry, to be loved and to love the people called Harris Hill UMC, and so much more!
Rev. Katie Zettle

Wreaths and Poinsettias

Harris Hill UMC · Published October 29, 2017

Poinsettias
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Please preorder your Christmas wreaths and poinsettias at the Welcome center by next Sunday, November 5th.


HHUMC Church Conference

Harris Hill UMC · Published October 29, 2017

HHUMC Church Conference

All church members are welcome and encouraged to attend this year's annual Church Conference on Saturday, November 18th at 10:00AM being held at Clarence Center UMC, 9750 Clarence Center Rd.

See the church calendar for all events

Operation Christmas Child Packing Day Update

Harris Hill UMC · Published October 29, 2017

Operation Christmas Child

Continue to shop for small toys, hygiene & gift items for our Shoe Box Ministry: Operation Christmas Child. Bring your gifts to our Shoebox Packing Day on Sunday, November 19th after church. Families are welcome to join us in this fulfilling day as we pack shoeboxes for poor children around the world. What better feeling is there than preparing gifts for children that otherwise might not know Christ or experience Christmas?

Some great ideas for OCC Shoeboxes are: Toy Cars/Trucks/Airplanes, plates/bowls/cups, balls, marbles, jumpropes, band aids, combs, sunglasses, socks, baby dolls, head bands or hair clips, small flashlights with batteries. Please no candy or toothpaste this year.

Monetary donations are accepted for $9 per box shipping expense. Make check out to Harris Hill UMC with “OCC Shipping” in the memo. Thank you!

See the church calendar for all events

All Saints Day

Harris Hill UMC · Published October 29, 2017

All Saints Day
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Please bring, by next Sunday, November 5th, a framed picture of someone who has passed away, who has inspired or helped you grow in your faith journey. These photographs will be used on the altar on November 5th. You can give photos to Pastor Katie or Erin.


Thanksgiving Food Collection

Harris Hill UMC · Published October 29, 2017

Thanksgiving Food Collection
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We Will be collecting food for the Clarence Food Pantry leading up to Thanksgiving week. Please think of the people in our community who are in need as you shop each week.


Operation Christmas Child Packing Day

Harris Hill UMC · Published October 23, 2017

Operation Christmas Child

The Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Packing Day will take place Sunday, November 19th after church. Stay and pack shoeboxes full of Christmas toys for children in developing countries.

See the church calendar for all events

New Thursday Bible Study

Harris Hill UMC · Published September 30, 2017

Unpack a Parable

Thursday Small Group: “Unpack a Parable.” No book necessary, each week stands on its own. All Thursday studies will take place in the Adult Sunday School Room at the church. Sessions listed below:

  • October 5th, 7PM
  • October 12th, 7PM
  • November 2th, 7PM
  • November 9th, 7PM
See the church calendar for all events

New Men's Small Group Study

Matt Wiltrout · Published September 20, 2017

Epic of Eden: Isaiah
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Saturday morning men's group will be starting "The Epic of Eden: Isaiah" Saturday, September 23rd/span>.

Often named “the fifth gospel,” the book of the prophet Isaiah has more to say about Israel’s coming Messiah than any other Old Testament book. This eight-week study explains Israel’s religion and economy, explores the definition and role of the prophets, and helps us to apply the message of this great champion of the faith to our lives today.

All meetings begin at 7:00 Saturday mornings with breakfast at Jon Delong's house followed by a a video which summarizes and further explains the material of the assigned chapter. Contact Jon DeLong if interested in joining the group or attending one of the sessions.


District Day with the Bishop

Harris Hill UMC · Published September 20, 2017

Coffee Hour

HHUMC will be hosting this year’s District Day with the Bishop: A Way Forward Discussion on October 3, 2017. From 1:00PM - 3:00PM there will be a clergy session and from 6:30PM - 8:30PM the bishop will meet with laity. All laity of the church is invited to participate in the evening discussion.


Coffee Hour Hosts

Harris Hill UMC · Published September 20, 2017

Coffee Hour
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Hosts are needed for 2017-2018 Coffee Hours. Please sign up at the Welcome Center.


Flooding From Hurricane Harvey

Rev. Katie Zettle · Published August 29, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Devistation
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With the continued coverage of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, many are asking what they can do to contribute to the relief efforts. Bishop Webb issued a letter last month (included in its entirety at the bottom of this post) indicating how assistance can be given through the United Methodist Church. Summarizing, individuals may:

  1. Pray (suggested prayer below)
  2. Purchase items for and/or build cleaning buckets. Items may be dropped off at the church, 8495 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221
  3. Donate to UMCOR United Methodist Committee On Relief. 100% of donations will go directly to assist in this disaster response

Prayer to Share

Lord of Heaven and Earth, we pray that as the storm rages and the flood waters rise you would allow us also to rise to the challenge of housing the homeless, feeding the hungry, comforting the grieving, and repairing the breach. We pray for those who are isolated and in danger, that you would hear their cries and send help. Give us the wisdom to know when we are called to act or pray or give or wait upon your guidance. And make us vigilant so that no one is left behind and all come to know your grace in the midst of disaster. Amen.

A Letter from Bishop Mark J. Webb: Flooding from Hurricane Harvey

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As you are aware, Hurricane Harvey continues to cause tremendous devastation to the greater Houston area, forcing thousands to evacuate. When the waters subside, many people will return to discover their homes and businesses have been destroyed. Rebuilding will take weeks, months, even years. I know you have been keeping these people in your prayers; I ask you to continue. And I ask you to allow God to make you part of the answer to these prayers.
I have been in conversation with Bishop Scott Jones of the Texas Conference, and have reached out to Bishop Robert Schnase of the Rio Texas Conference assuring them of our prayers and to determine specific ways we can assist in the future, but right now there are two immediate material needs you and your congregation can meet:
1. Invite your congregation to take up a special collection one Sunday in September. Announce to your people which Sunday you will do this and ask them to be especially generous. You may forward these funds to the Conference Office with a single check, made out to Upper New York Conference with FUND # 481 - “2017 Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief” on the memo line.
2. Assemble Cleaning Kits (Flood Buckets) and bring these to [Harris Hill UMC located at 8495 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221]. Click here for instructions.
In the future, Volunteers in Mission (VIM) will also be needed to help with the recovery. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will let us know when teams can be sent.
When I see the images of flooded homes and distraught people, my heart breaks, but I am reminded of God's promise in Isaiah, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you,” (Isaiah 42:3).
God does not abandon, but stands with us in the midst of the wreckage and will enable the people to recover. We are called and privileged to be part of God's presence and work in this. And so, I ask you to offer your prayers, your dollars, and your time.
Grace and peace,
Bishop Mark J. Webb

RETREAT INFORMATION

Harris Hill UMC · Published August 29, 2017

Camp Asbury

Save the dates October 27-28 for a Church-wide family Retreat at Asbury Camp & Retreat Center on Silver Lake. Cost for overnight stay and 3 meals will be $97 for adults; $89 for Youth ages 12-17; $31.50 for kids 4-12: and free for kids under 4. $7.50 extra for linens or you can bring your own. We will begin registration and collecting money in September.


Time and Talent Auction

Harris Hill UMC · Published August 29, 2017

Time and Talent Auction
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Start building, sewing, painting, crafting, and PLANNING your awesome donation for HHUMC’s Time & Talent Auction Saturday, October 14th!! See Erin for more info.


Summer Gospel Reading

Harris Hill UMC · Published August 29, 2017

Summer Gospel Reading
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Pastor Katie is wondering how God has given you new insight in reading one of the Gospels this summer. What new thought, idea or revelation did you have? Please share with her by sending an email or writing something out on paper and leave it in her mailbox in the copy room, with the scripture and your thoughts. Limit it to 2-3, these ideas will be used in an upcoming message in October. No names will be used.


NEW Church News Page

Matt Wiltrout · Published August 29, 2017

Church News
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Hello church family! Welcome to the new Church News page. This page is taking the place of the church newsletter which has been discontinued as of May 2017. Check back for posts about upcoming events, church finances, monthly mission and more. If you have any events you would like posted on this page, contact the church office at hhumc@roadrunner.com.