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President's Message - June 2024

Proud – You Bet, and Grateful!

Happy Pride Month as we kick off numerous weekend activities this month with our second annual Elmira Pride Celebration in Wisner Park on Saturday, June 1st. Thanks to our amazing Pride Team, final arrangements and schedules for the stage, art activities, community organizations to table, and of course, food, are ready to go!

The event kicks off at 11 AM with local cheer team, 607 Dance Unity Team, and a welcome from Chemung County legislator, Brent Stermer. Featured solo musicians this year include Andy G.Fagan, Lori Lynn Barrett, Lisa Bloom and Jogo (Jose Gomez). New to the festival is “Transpose” a ten-voice acapella queer singers alliance from Ithaca and a short play “A Stop of the Road to the City” created by Kai DonDero. Returning from last year are “Story Time with Miss Vanessa” and two staged sets of karaoke drag review by eight local queens and kings.

Festival-goers will be invited to remember members of the LGBTQI+ community who lost their lives to hate crimes, AIDS, and suicide, as doves are released in their names. Rev. Gary Brinn will relate how this festival can be a life-saving celebration and why Park Church is committed to bringing it annually to Elmira.

Funding to support artists on stage has been granted by The ARTS of the Southern Finger Lakes. This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrant program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes.

Community Arts of Elmira is also collaborating with interactive art activities, such as Hula Hooping & Interactive Mural with Artist Filomena Jack of Filomena Jack Studio; Face Painting and Glitter Tattoos with Artist Jennifer Sekella of Painted Love Face and Body Painting of the Southern Tier; and a Stained Glass Demonstration by Artist Erica Unterwoman of Aubergine Glass & Jewelry; Beadwork Demonstration by Artist Beth Anderson of Water Bird Arts; and an interactive Community Art Pastel with Artists Dion Brown and Jharmi "Cuba" Leach...all leading up to Community Arts of Elmira Elmira Infinite Canvas - Mural Fest 2024 Saturday, June 22 at the Railroad Avenue Viaduct

along The Elmira Promenade and Elmira Walls.

Food trucks and vendors will line up along the closed section of Main Street between Gray and Church Streets. Early that morning, Elmira Downtown Development will be offering the Chalk It Up children's sidewalk chalking program, preparing for the Elmira Street Painting Festival scheduled for June 8 and 9.

Over thirty community organizations that support the LGBTQI+ community will table at Elmira Pride including religious and political organizations; health, fitness and social services, plus arts, literacy and youth advocacy non-profits.

A new Elmira Pride logo was created with ARTS funds this year by Filomena Jack and will be featured on T-shirts and enamel pins – so you can wear your support!

Elmira Pride Logo June 2024

And let us be upstanding for Jan and Dean Butts.....

As an addendum to the congregational meeting on May 5th, we were able to laud Jan and Dean Butts as “Park Church Exemplars.” Before they take off for another Adirondack summer, we were able to give a standing ovation and round of applause to this couple who have given so much love over so many years to The Park Church community.

They both have served years on Council and have represented Park in the community – Jan at Community Kitchen for over 40 years and Dean with his Boy Scout troop. Jan has also served our members with Caring Tree cards, meals and visits; and Dean continues to keep our financial health in mind as he did when he was our Treasurer. They were also instrumental in establishing the annual Park Church Scholarship in Memory of Robert Lester at the Community Foundation. Dean grew up in the church as his parents were active members and Jan joined with us after her marriage to Dean.


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