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President's Message - April 2024

Spring is popping up all over! With an early Holy Week behind us, we roll quickly into spring with many exciting projects ahead. The name of the game is collaboration -- remaining a vital place for people to gather, stay connected and work together to move the community forward.

Meaningful Movies starts a three month stretch of collaboration with Community Arts of Elmira for the April 13th screening of Babbo (come meet the producer and local participants who made this film in Elmira); with the Orchestra of the Southern Finger Lakes for a special Thursday screening of Porgy & Bess on May 9th; and with the ARTS of the Southern Finger Lakes for a June 12th première of a number of short folk arts film creations by local documentary film students.

And June 1st Elmira Pride planning is going well, insuring a colorful second annual event in Wisner Park. Thanks to fundraising efforts by Bill Knapp and Tim Christensen, we have money to underwrite event expenses -- in addition to the ARTS grant we received to underwrite performers. Community Arts of Elmira will also assist this year with lots of hand-on art activities for all ages. Looks like we are the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow – as we offer this community gathering of welcome, safety and advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ community and its allies.

We also had a chance to show our advocacy recently by hosting a potluck event – Stand for our Friend, Korbin. As Rev. Gary described it…“amazing holy chaos... 70+ people including a dozen or so kids who came together in support of a local trans child trying to navigate a hostile school system. Thanks to our partner, SOFLX Pride, who sponsored the event.”

We received an inquiry last month from Brian Frey, WSKG’s documentary filmmaker, inquiring if he could come and shoot at the church for a film he’s creating about Elmira’s part in the Underground Railroad. So of course I said yes and offered to tell our story. As part of the interview, he also asked about what our congregation is doing now. So I had a chance to talk about our efforts of being “21st century abolitionists” – and our continuing advocacy for social justice as a congregation – now in the areas of climate justice, racial and housing justice and of course, LGBTQIA+. Citing the actions of our founders in their day, I sketched out how we are using our building and our voices to bring community action for the urgent social justice issues of our time. Brian will be back to do more shooting later this spring and is hoping for a fall release of the documentary.

I hope you can come hear another wonderful music event in our sanctuary on Friday, April 26 with the OSFL Chamber Music Series. Their Principal Strings: the Quartetto Masuno will present a program of the Music of Franz Schubert. There will also be a pre-concert wine tasting offered by Lakewood Vineyards. See the concert event flyer in this issue of Cross Currents. And speaking of lovely sanctuary music – thanks to Charlotte for the March 14th Lenten Community Organ Recital and the luncheon prepared by our Congregational Life volunteers – who were able to collect a nice donation for Chemung County Literacy Volunteers!

Of course, April is also the month we prepare for the May Rummage sale. Please bring in your donations of summer and fall clothing and shoes, in addition to housewares, small appliances, jewelry and toys. You can find jobs and dates to help on the flyer also in this CC edition. Conga Line (Bringing Up The Rummage!) will take place after worship on Sunday, April 28th – and so it begins again!

Please keep up with all the April activities as they will be listed in your Wednesday Weekly email including:

  • Elmira Tenant’s Union meeting, April 3, 6 PM

  • Adult Forum after worship, April 7 with Phil Shippers –Understanding Alzheimers & Dementia

  • Meaningful Movie: Alive Inside, A Story of Music and Memory, April 10 at 7 PM

  • Racial Justice Book Read Discussion with Nita Seaberg, April 11th at 10 AM at the church about How The Word Is Passed by Clint Smith (see flyer to register)

  • Elmira Film Project: Babbo, April 13 at 7 PM

  • Adult Forum after worship, April 14 with Zeke Pierce of CalmUnity Farms

  • Spirit Café - April 19, 6 PM

  • Church Sunday Ham Dinner – April 21 after worship – proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity

  • OSFL Chamber Music Concert, April 26, 7:30 PM Concert w/ wine tasting

  • Rummage sale preparations begin with table set up on April 27!

Busy, busy, busy…..see you soon, Jenny


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