Saturday, November 22, 2008
Theme – “Working Together: Building Communities of Faith”
United Church of Rockville
430 Morris Avenue
Rockville Centre, NY 11570
Four “sermons” inspired us at the 2008 Fall Meeting of the Metropolitan Association – given by
Regional Conference Minister Michael Caine
Board President Ruby Wilson
Treasurer Harold Chapman
Worship Preacher Henry Simmons
Each underscored the meeting theme “Working Together: Building Communities of Faith.
More than 140 people from 44 churches gathered on Saturday, November 22, 2008 at the Community Church of Rockville Center where we were hosted by Rev. Dr. Robert W. Gunn and his gracious parishioners.
Michael Caine believes our churches are in the best of times and concluded his remarks by saying he is honored that God has called us to work together to reform the church for the transformation of the world. The full text of his report is available here.
Ruby Wilson “bounced” toward the pulpit, leading us in rousing verses of “This Little Light of Mine”. She quoted Genesis 1:1-2 where a “wind from God swept over the waters.” Said Ruby, “Change has come; the Spirit has moved us.” She promised that the Board of Directors would propose for the Annual Meeting a Metro mission statement that can be said with “trumpet clarity”.
Harold Chapman prefaced the Finance Report with the opening words of John 14 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.” He said this is a time of opportunity for our churches – a time in which we can convey our consistent message, touch the lives of people, share with others what God has done for us.
Harold said we need to get out the word about our scholarships – available to second-year college students. Contact the Metro Office at firstname.lastname@example.org for full details and application forms.
He rejoiced that with the sale of the Deer Hill Conference Center, Metro was able to pledge a total of $42,000 to the New York Conference Capital Campaign. The first installment of $25,000 was sent in October 2008; $12,000 will be sent on or before April 2009, and the $5,000 balance before the end of 2009.
He explained that $22,000 of the 2008 Miscellaneous Expense was a settlement for a “trip and fall” at the St. Luke’s Church which is now owned by the Metro Association.
Following additional questions and answers, the budget for 2009 was passed.
Martha Jacobs announced a February 2009 Clergy Retreat to begin Sacred Conversations About Sex.
Martha Gotwals reminded participants of the Association commitment to the New Sanctuary Movement. Additional information about the movement in New York City is available at www.newsanctuarynyc.org/.
Stephanie Bennett urged Metro churches to be a beacon to the youth in their areas. Moderator Robert Everett urged churches to pray that children come to your church. “It worked for us,” he said. “We started with zero; now we have 40.”
“Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord!” trumpeted Elice Higgonbotham as she introduced Ruby Wilson who urged us to use Advent and early January to prepared for the Associations January 19 celebration of Martin Luther King Day. Noting that the King celebration is the day before Inauguration Day, Ruby asked each of us to write a prayer for President-Elect Obama and bring it shower on the January 19 altar. She urged ministers to preach about the American Dream.
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Lynn Sullivan reminded us of the opportunity to learn about legal issues for churches at the December 4 seminar at Garden City Community Church. She also urged any who have not completed their Boundary Training to do so at Grace Congregational Church on January 31.
Michael Caine asked those who are new to the ministry to talk with him about a support group for people new to their ministerial calls.
Alan Bentz-Letts invited those at the meeting to talk with him about the Hospice Care Network of Queens, Nassau and Suffolk.
Peg Mainusch invited us to attend the Metro Annual Meeting to be held Saturday, April 25, 2009 at The Church in the Highlands in White Plains. Theme for the meeting is “The Greening of the Church”.
Deborah Dee Brayton reminded us of the State Youth Event coming up Friday – Sunday, March 6 – 8, 2009, at Watson Homestead. She said there will be a bus from the Metro area to Watson Homestead. For more information about the Homestead, visit www.watsonhomestead.com/.
Moderator Bob Everett closed the business meeting by reminding us of three new faith-sharing opportunities: Services of healing during Lent; a spring or fall mass choir composed of persons from choirs throughout the Metro and Suffolk Associations; a communities of faith prayer quilt.
He concluded with readings from Matthew 6:31-33 (Seek first the Kingdom of God) and Acts 2:37-39 (Repent and be baptized) and then called for Prayers of the People which came from every corner of the Sanctuary.
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Bonnie Miller and Karla McKenzie conducted workshops between the Business Meeting and Worship.
Bonnie introduced Casting Your Nets, the New York Conference program for churches who want to make themselves even more relevant to the issues and people of the Twenty First Century.
Karla revealed “One of the Best Kept Secrets in New York” – the Parish Resource Center. Individuals and churches are invited to use the printed, electronic and human resources, as well as the quiet space of the Resource Center. Subscription fees are low and tailored to the size of the congregation. Learn about the Center at www.parishresourcecenter.org/liwest/index.php.
Metro Executive Administrator Louise Manigault gave the invocation as we gathered to worship in the beautiful sanctuary of the Community Church at Rockville Centre.
A member of the Unity in Praise Liturgical Dance Group from St. Albans Congregational Church deepened our sense of worship, after which Michael Caine led us in passing the peace and making our Statement of Faith.
Other worship leaders were Ruby Wilson, Ming Ng, Melva Victorino and host pastor Robert Gunn.
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Choral selections for worship were sung by members of choirs throughout the Metro Association. Selections included “God Leads Us Along” by Young and Mozart’s “Alleluja”.
The sermon, “Attention Please”, was delivered by Henry T. Simmons, Senior Minister at St. Alban’s Congregational Church. Text for the sermon was Acts 3:1-10, the story of the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the temple.
In this story, the disciples say to the man, “Look at us!” He does, expecting to receive something from them. But the disciples had no silver or gold, but they did have The Word – about their relationship with Jesus Christ. They had good news to share in the worst of times.
Henry reminded us that we, too, have good news to share – about the amazing works of a loving God. We need to say to others, “May we have your attention – because something has caught our attention, and we want to share it with you.
Lunch and Fellowship
Generous members of the Community Church of Rockville Centre served a bountiful lunch which provided the setting for fellowship among the attendees.
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