Discovering Dryden: Blue Christmas service provides comfort for Dryden residents

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The Dryden United Methodist Church hosts a variety of events throughout the year. During the Thanksgiving season, it participated in an Ecumenical Service, bringing the Dryden community together in gratitude. On Dec. 1, when Santa visited Dryden for the festivity-packed weekend, it welcomed the community with kids crafts and refreshments. Still, the upcoming Blue Christmas Service is Reverend Pam Carey’s, leader of the Dryden United Methodist Church, favorite and most-looked-forward-to time of year. Carey explained that during the last year of her seminary, she lost several family members and friends. It was during this difficult time in her life that she first attended a Blue Christmas Service. “It was so wonderful that I decided that wherever I served I would do this,” Carey said. “I always cry which gives other people permission to cry. I find it very healing.” Carey found that after giving her first Blue Christmas service, people in the community were asking about it. A tradition was born.


At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 20, at the Dryden United Methodist Church, 9 East Main Street, the Blue Christmas Service will be held. It is designed for people who are not finding joy at Christmas. This could be for many reasons including the loss of loved ones, the loss of jobs, trauma from past holidays, troublesome family dynamics, or even from dealing with feelings of overwhelm and unmet expectations from the endless advertisements and responsibilities that come with the holidays. “There are lots of reasons that people feel they’re alone in this season leading up to Christmas, that they’re not engaged or not feeling the hallmark Christmas joy,” Pastor Carey said. “There’s a lot of sadness around the holidays…These services work to heal.” During the Blue Christmas service, there will be songs, prayer, and scripture to meditate on. There will also be an opportunity to light a candle for the issue or person on one’s heart. The service will be read by several local religious leaders. There will be a reading given by Reverend Pam Carey of Dryden United Methodist Church, Pastor Thomas E. Miller, from the Reach Out for Christ Church in Freeville, and Reverend Timothy Gleason, from the Freeville United Methodist Church, will be speaking as well.
The Blue Christmas Service will be a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together. All are welcome. Feel free to come and express your own burdens and support your neighbors, friends, and loved ones as they come forward with their own.


Dryden Pre-Kindergarten program expansion
As of Dec. 5, 2018, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Dryden Central School District is among the 32 New York State districts that will receive a grant to support the expanding of the district’s universal pre-kindergarten program. Dryden will be awarded $114,624. The purpose of this grant is to promote early education. This grant will help establish a new pre-kindergarten classroom at Dryden Elementary School. “This funding will help level the academic playing field for children in underserved communities and put students on a path toward opportunity and success,” Cuomo stated in a press release on Dec. 7.


The new universal pre-kindergarten classroom at Dryden Elementary School is expected to be operating by Jan. 28. The section will accommodate 18 new pre-k students from the Dryden School District, starting on Feb. 1. “The district is excited to have the funding to expand our UPK program as this has been a growing priority for the district as well as the community,” said Dryden Central School District Superintendent, Joshua Bacigalupi. After news of this grant, Bacigalupi met with Dryden Elementary Principal Dawn Wenzel, Dryden Business Manager Emily Shipe, Cassavant and Freeville Elementary Principal Audrey Ryan, and Dryden Elementary Director of Curriculum and Instruction Cheryl Covell to ensure the new pre-kindergarten program will be in place by the first of February.

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