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President's Message - April 2023

Happy Spring – Whew, made it through another March – (my least favorite month) - now the season of perseverance is past and we’re heading towards hope and renewal! And I do feel hopeful about our prospects – as a congregation and as a denomination. Our beloved community never ceases to amaze me as I watch you welcome new faces each Sunday. And as we are able to say ”Yes!” to new mission partners in the community who ask to use our facility. We’re a busy church – just as TK Beecher intended when he dreamed up our structure 150 years ago. “A church home,” he called it, a place where we demonstrate “practical Christianity” – and he meant a seven day a week enterprise! Some of you may look upon our building as an expensive and onerous structure to maintain. Yes it is all that -- and it is so much more.

Since the ending of two years of COVID restrictions – we are now welcoming back our community partners like musical rehearsal and performance with Common Time Choral Group and the Cantata Singers. Plus Elmira Little Theatre’s LBGTQ+ Health Fair; Friends of Woodlawn Cemetery annual meeting; Elmira Community Cycle leadership retreat and a June forum sponsored by PHE – People for a Healthy Environment. And our own program of Meaningful Movies is going strong and looks like Spirit Café will be returning as well as a new effort begun with a research group studying local housing injustice.

Plus brand new efforts like Game Night in the Rainbow Room (Tuesdays in Beecher Hall) and planning for the church’s sponsorship of Elmira PRIDE event on June 3rd – are both public manifestations of our open and affirming missional welcome. Have you seen our television advertisements? If we are to remain open and vibrant we have decided to put it out there.......and let folks know that inside this antique building are progressive folks who think differently about LOVE.

As we celebrate this month the historic message of an open tomb, let’s also join hands and enlarge the circle of people who can find safe community here. There are fewer and fewer public places these days where true community can be created. What would you like to help create at Park? Do not resign yourself to fear. What can we do together for our beloved Elmira?

As I relayed during my walking tour on March 19th – “....look out at the statue of Rev. TK Beecher in Wisner Park –- see how he stands with his back to the church and reaches out his hand to his beloved Elmira?” Our mission and our vision has your back, and our building can welcome your efforts – don’t be shy about why you affiliate here – proclaim the Good News!

Your #1 cheerleader, Jenny

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