Monthly Newsletter



First United Methodist Church

8210 Buffalo Avenue

Niagara Falls, New York 14304

Celebrating 165 Years in Ministry

1855 – 2020


A Blended Service of Traditional & Contemporary Styles

Holy Communion served

Lori Gondek – CLM

Pastor Sherry Mahar

Pastor Lisa Taylor

Senior Pastor Thomas Kraft

Church Office - 283-3370

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Our Sister Church - Pendleton Center UMC Office - 625-8306

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“In the bleak mid-winter, frosty wind made moan: Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter, Long ago.”

You may recognize that as a hymn from our hymnal. Mid-winter is a bleak, dark, cold, snowy time of year. We find ourselves in February longing for the hope of Spring, and warmth of Summer.

Sometimes our lives feel that way. We toil and struggle and work and feel like we are trapped in darkness and futility. It may be because of a great loss or trauma, or simply the realization that our lives don’t really turn out like Hallmark movies. Like can feel dark.

Isaiah tells us, “the people living in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

The days are actually longer in February than January. The sun has been reborn around the time we celebrate the birth of the Son of God. But our perception is still held by darkness. We can get so caught up in depression and struggle that we struggle to embrace the light that has been offered us. But God calls us out of the darkness.

Peter tells us, “you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who calls you out of the darkness.”

God gives us a choice. The light is coming, we can choose to see it, embrace it, be warmed by it, and transformed by it.

John tells us, “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

We all have struggles, Winters, dark episodes of life. But if we choose the light, and walk in the light, we will have hope like Spring, and God will warm our heart like Summer.

The song tells us God stepped into our Winter, and worked through it. It ends with a choice

“What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a Shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part, Yet what can I give him, Give my heart.”

Give your heart to the light, to joy, to hope and the warmth of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Tom

From: LORI Gondek, CLM

I am so thankful and blessed for all the wonderful get-well cards, phone calls, and texts during the recovery from my surgery. God has truly blessed me with such a wonderful congregation family. I know the prayers are working and miracles have happened because of the faithfulness of your prayers.

My prayer for you is found in Numbers 6:24-26

“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.”

When God’s face shines upon us it is His favor and acceptance. We are His righteousness and God’s love focuses on us. He is delighted with His children and treats us with kindness and goodness.

God’s countenance is the expression on His face when He sees us, it is a permanent smile. God is our protector and our defense. He wants us near Him. The word “delighted” that is used here is descriptive of God drawing us into His bosom where we will be safe. His promise is not only to protect us, but to take care of us. As God watches over us His face shines upon us. We are in Jesus and that is who He sees when He looks at us.

Challenge: To receive His Promises with open arms.

Lori Gondek CLM

Worship Committee News

It is our hope and prayer that you will join us for worship each Sunday morning at 10:00 am because…

May the Christmas season live always in our hearts…

Celebrate the gift of Jesus and share with others

the joy that knowing Him brings…

Join us on Wednesday, February 26th for our Ash Wednesday service. It will be held at 6:30 pm and we will have the distribution of ashes and Holy Communion.

We are still seeking anyone in the congregation who would be interested in serving communion, serve as an usher, or greeter, or be liturgist. If you have thought about serving the church in any of these ways, please see Sherry or Dan Hess.

We are so thankful and blessed that Lori Gondek got a good report from her surgery…the power of prayer is truly special…we look forward to her return to our church family and we wish you a full and speedy recovery!

The Worship Committee

History Corner

The first schoolhouse built with tax money in the LaSalle area was built just off Cayuga Drive in 1844. Ms. Louisa Danforth, a teacher in that schoolhouse, swept the woodchips out of the building and held worship there the following day. Rev. John Cannon presided over that service. Louisa would later marry one Samuel Tompkins, a member of the original Methodist religious society, which established our church. Louisa was influenced by the part-time minister and part-time butcher, Rev. John Cannon. Rev. Cannon served the congregation in Niagara Falls. That congregation was known as the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Niagara Falls which was established in 1815. It later took the name, St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church.

Rev. Cannon became an ordained minister in Yorkshire, England. He and his wife, Margaret and their son, John, lived in the LaSalle area. During the winter months it was difficult to travel down to Niagara Falls for worship. This was the reason that Louisa Danforth felt Cayuga Creek, or as it later became known as the Village of LaSalle, needed a church of its own. After the church was built in 1855, Rev. Cannon would occasionally preach at both churches.

Usually Itinerant preachers, or circuit riders served the preaching, marrying, and baptizing needs of the congregation. It wasn’t until 1874 that the conference assigned a pastor to the Cayuga Creek Methodist Episcopal Church. That pastor was John McEuen.

Rev. John Cannon died at the age of 72 and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

Pastor McEuen served our church from 1874 to 1876. Next came Rev. W. O. Peet. We were his first assignment. He left us one year later in 1877. He was followed by Dr. Albert Osborn. After leaving LaSalle in 1879 Dr. Osborn along with Bishop John Fletcher Hurst founded the American University, a Methodist center of higher learning in Washington, D. C. in 1901.

(From FUMC Archives)

First Facts by E-mail

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Outreach Ministry, The Cold Weather is here !

Joshua Connection Ministries is collecting gently used winter jackets for men, women and children. Also collecting “New” hats and gloves, if you have the passion to support this ministry. These items can be dropped off in our Social hall. Thank you so much for your support! Any questions contact Gidget Meland @