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President's Message - June 2023


In the past I’ve heard the caution “Be careful what you wish for...” And I am guilty of wishing for lots of things at The Park Church. As I look around, I see so many things coming to fruition, and I am so grateful.....

Just a few years ago we were wishing for a full time minister, and come July we will celebrate a full two years leadership, overflowing talents, compassion, advocacy and tenacity of Rev. Gary Brinn – Alleluia!

And I remember wishing that community groups used our building more often, epitomizing Thomas K Beecher’s admonition that we practice “practical Christianity” and be a seven-day-a-week church. Well, that’s a check! With Common Time Choral Group rehearsing every Monday evening (now on summer break after their concert last week). And Game Night in the Rainbow Room is happening every Tuesday night (a growing, active manifestation of our Open and Affirming covenant).

Wednesday once a month is Meaningful Movies – closing out this year’s offerings on June 14th with a special showing with Mat Callahan, the producer of the film, Songs of Slavery and Emancipation at 7 PM – an event partnering with the John W. Jones Museum – hearkening back to when Beecher and Jones worked together on Underground Railroad efforts (thankfully no longer do our efforts for more racial justice need to be kept underground).

Every Thursday we are pleased to be able to host a NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meeting. And once a month Spirit Café is back on Friday evenings, breaking through isolation and giving our congregation’s members and others in the community a chance to come together to share spiritual food for body and mind. Check – care for our congregation!

And coming up this month two major Saturday events – Elmira PRIDE on June 3rd and “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be” a PHE speaker event on June 10th (find fliers for both of these events in this Cross Currents edition). Check - Advocacy for Climate Justice!

Plus our Racial Justice Book Group is hosting a Park Church booth again this year at Juneteenth on Saturday, June 17th at Ernie Davis Park (Lake and Fifth Streets, Elmira) proclaiming that we are “Progressively Christian and unfundamentalist”.

Have you seen the rainbow-colored lights that shine up illuminating our Wisner Park facade at nights? (funded by a City grant!) Or found our WENY TV advertisements around the morning news programming?

Who could have dreamed that we’d have come this far (and notice that I didn’t even include surviving through the Covid pandemic) when so many churches around us are closing?

I like that word “tenacity” and I think it reflects well on our vision today and well as our history. I love to see you all on Sundays when we continue to fight complacency and make a joyful noise for truth, compassion and inclusion. And Rev. Gary gives us something to chew on all week long. WOKE? You bet, for 175 years now and counting......thanks for the memories and for the new initiatives!

I am so blessed to be on this journey with you, Jenny


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