top of page

President's Message - May 2024

Have you noticed the beautiful spring flowers all around the church? Memories of past Easter Sundays -- and like those perennials, here comes the Rummage Sale! Thanks due here (by the boxful) to Challiss Wolcott for her hours of dedicated sorting, bagging and readying everything in the rummage basement for our Conga Line on April 28 that follows worship.

Hats off to all of you who have signed up to work the prep and the sale. If you’re new to our church family, come give it a try – it’s fun to do it together and to see our efforts so appreciated by our customers. And then we’ll turn the “remainder” into our summer clothing giveaways on Thursdays in Wisner Park beginning on June 6th.

At our Congregational Meeting on Sunday, May 5th following worship, we’ll ask members to vote in five new Council members. We’ll also be offering our deep appreciation to five outgoing Council members: Linda Couchon, Carol Eberhard, Franc Laux and Barb and Al Preucil. New officers to be elected include: Amanda Arduini, Betty Davis, Joe Fahs, Christina Johnson and Kevin McMahon. Because of all of your willingness to be leaders, our work of “practical Christianity” can continue – seven days a week.

On Saturday, May 18th we’re joining a statewide event celebrating New York’s diverse historic houses of worship called “Sacred Sites Open House.” I have chosen to dress up as Julie Jones Beecher again and offer my short monologue called Mrs. Beecher and Mark Twain four times – once at each half hour from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM. I’m looking for others to welcome visitors into the Sanctuary and the Parlors. Please let me know if you can help. In Wisner Park that day, BOOKFEST will also be happening, so I hope we can attract lots of folks to come inside and see our beautiful facilities.

Elmira Pride Celebration (the second annual - sponsored The Park Church and Southern Finger Lakes Pride) will kick off Pride month on Saturday, June 1st in Wisner Park from 11 AM to 4 PM. See you all there! (Of course there will be a volunteer sign-up sheet for that too!) Hundreds have already liked our Facebook page and we’ll have a Pride banner and coordinated posters as designed by Filomena Jack. This year we received a grant from the ARTS to pay artists like Filomena and those who will perform on the day; plus Community Arts of Elmira Inc. will also be bringing more art activities for all ages. A great team of community partners has been meeting and planning for an even bigger and more inclusive event than our première last year.

During the April Council meeting, we had a discussion about the church’s mission and vision. We are in a vibrant era right now of our long history and are grateful that we have the resources (in funds, folks and facility) to be able not just to survive but to thrive. Much of the credit goes to the excellence and energy that Rev. Gary, our pastor and teacher, has brought us over these past nearly three years. While churches all around us are closing, we are growing. New folks are visiting and then returning. Coffee hours are lengthening and “faith formation” happens in lots of ways – both planned and informal. People affiliate with Park for lots of reasons and each person brings a richness to our diversity and to our value.

Many of you have heard the analogy of “saving people by pulling them out of the river.” And how that’s all well and good, but how about maybe trying to figure out “who’s throwing them in upriver” and to change those circumstances. At Park we’re doing both -- helping with “direct missions” to those in need (including ourselves) and activating new energies in the “upriver understanding” with our social justice ministry and its four focus areas of Climate Justice, Open & Affirming, Racial Justice and Housing Justice.

I hope each of you find yourself interested and/or active in at least one of these aspects of our organization. We have so much to be grateful for and we can work together to be so much more. “Advocacy is the rent you pay for being alive.”

Most Fondly, Jenny


bottom of page