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The spirit of Christmas

Tillie’s Touch and St. Matthew’s Church provides food, clothes and toys to families in need

When Dale Johnson was a kid growing up in East Syracuse, he remembers Christmas time was a lot different from what he saw on TV and in the movies. “Christmases were difficult times in my house,” said Johnson, the president of Tillie’s Touch, a not-for-profit which is hosting its second official Adopt-A-Child for Christmas event this year. “I used to watch my mom struggle, my dad was very stingy when it came to giving her money for anything. When it came to Christmas, it was very tough around the house – a lot of fighting and arguing. So I wanted to do something for a child who may be going through the same hardships.”

NSBC presents annual Christmas musical

Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you: a baby changes everything. And no more for an unwed teenage mother carrying the child of God. That’s the message behind the musical the North Syracuse Baptist Church (NSBC) is putting on this year as it annual Christmas pageant. “A Baby Changes Everything” is based on the popular Faith Hill song, which came out in late 2008.

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Large community turnout at prayer vigil service for hospitalized Cazenovia boy

Local 10-year-old continues to improve after falling down a well on Oct. 26

Approximately 200 members of the Cazenovia community attended a prayer service and candlelight vigil last week for Charlie Thompson, the 10-year-old boy who remains in stable but critical condition in Golisano Children’s Hospital after falling down a well on Oct. 26. Family, friends and supporters of Charlie of all ages — including many of his classmates and teachers from Cazenovia Middle School — turned out to the service, which was held at the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia and led by Thompson family friend Rev. Ethan Worthington, Cazenovia regional minister for Eastern Hills Bible Church in Manlius.

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Prayer vigil service tonight for hospitalized Cazenovia boy

Local 10-year-old who fell down a well last week continues to improve

Family, friends and supporters of 10-year-old Charlie Thompson will hold a prayer service and candlelight vigil from 6 to 6:30 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia, located at 27 Albany St.

Production company uses music to bring people closer to each other, God

Social media — sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and LinkedIn — are meant to connect us, to link us to others with similar interests and backgrounds. But too often, it has the opposite effect; people hide behind the technology, losing the personal connection those sites are intended to encourage. Tim Ehrhart of Liverpool wants to change that. That’s why he, along with his father, Mike, and his uncle, Chris, created Beautiful Mess Online, a production company that uses multimedia performances, music and its website to help people “live connected lives.” The faith-based site, Tim Ehrhart said, aims to “share a message that connects people to the important things in their lives.”

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Local youth learn about violent history in El Salvador on pilgrimage

Six local girls share their stories after visiting memorials to genocide victims in El Salvador on an Episcopal church youth pilgrimage.

Zogg building on the block

The congregation of the Liverpool Community Church, which has occupied the historic Zogg building for 10 years, has decided to sell the property. The 85-year-old brick building stands at 800 Fourth St. in the village of Liverpool. Originally constructed in 1928 to become home to the junior and senior high schools, the structure’s adjacent ball fields stretch two blocks north to Sixth Street. The entire property is bounded by Birch, Fourth, Hickory and Sixth streets in the center of the village.

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Methodist Church receiving new roof, raising renovation funds

The First United Methodist Church of Cazenovia is in the process of receiving a new roof, along with some necessary — although unexpected — building renovations along the way. The problem, however, is that the church congregation needs some assistance to pay for the cost of the work to the 141-year-old building.

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Caz school district, Erieville Fire Department receive community grants

CORE Federal Credit Union recently accepted grant requests for its Community Grant Program from not-for-profit and community organizations located in or serving Madison County. Among the awardees were the Cazenovia Central School District and the Erieville Fire Department.

Cazenovia United Methodist Church yard sale July 5 and 6

CORRECTION to Cazenovia United Methodist Church ad on page 16 of last week's Cazenovia Republican: The yard sale will be form 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Not your average ordinaries

East Syracuse church performs traditional Gregorian chant with a twist

Jared Shepard isn’t afraid to go against the norm. When he was hired as the Minster of Music and Organist at St. Matthew’s Church in East Syracuse two years ago, he was already experienced as a classical musician, having studied with pupils of legendary Juilliard pianists Irwin Freundlich and Eduard Steuermann. Though his experience in sacred music was limited, in the two years he’s been developing the music program, he has successfully made St. Matthews different from nearly all other churches in Central New York by performing Gregorian chant: a type of music that was once a staple in the Catholic Church, but is now rarely performed.

Cicero UMC takes on community projects

One Sunday every year, Cicero United Methodist Church takes a break from traditional services and sermons and instead encourages parishioners to go out into the Cicero community and make a difference. “It’s something that the United Methodist Church nationally started to remind us that sometimes we need to worship with our hands,” said Rev. Rebecca Laird, associate pastor at the church. “It’s not just about coming to a building and being here on Sunday morning and worshipping that way. It’s about more than that. It’s about taking the love that we get from that and going out into our community and using it to better our community and taking God’s grace and sharing it with anyone that we meet.” The church held its fourth Be the Church Sunday June 2, conducting a variety of projects from packing goodie bags for the Military Appreciation Room at the airport to making lap robes for patients at Van Duyn Home Hospital to baking banana bread for the homeless to doing home renovations and garden projects for a Sudanese family on Syracuse’s North side.

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St. James in Skaneateles holds Day of Community Service

On May 19, the day of Pentecost, St. James Episcopal church in Skaneateles church held only one mass, an abbreviated 9 a.m. service, and then sent out more than 100 people clad in matching red T-shirts to participate in various community service projects.

Pray for America on May 2

The 62nd Annual National Day of Prayer will take place Thursday, May 2. Millions will unite in prayer at thousands of events from coast to coast. In honor of this day, the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia, 27 Albany St., will be open for prayer and quiet meditation from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2.

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Walking a mile in their shoes

Skaneateles youth participate in 30-hour juice fast, raise money for South Sudan

About 50 local youth participated in a 30-hour juice fast last week to raise money and awareness for poor living conditions and poverty abroad.