"Imagine What's Possible: With God, All Things Are Possible"
The reality of this theme of the Metro Association Fall meeting was apparent throughout the lively gathering November 12, 2011 hosted by Garden City Community Church and its Senior Pastor, Rev. James Adelman,
and Associate Pastor Rev. Lynn Sullivan.
Rev. Dr. Alvin O. Jackson, pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church, not only inspired us to reclaim the "L" word, but volunteered Park Avenue Christian Church as the site for the 2013 NY Conference Annual Meeting, hosted by the Metro Association. With the background of the Matthew 20:1-16 text of the laborers in the vineyard, Rev. Jackson urged us to be proud of being Liberals with a capital L - persons who know that God is a liberating God; God doesn't love us with justice, God loves us lavishly.
We honored the life of Rev. David Tucker, beloved Registrar for the Metro Association, who not only supported the Ordination and Ministerial Standing Committee, but held the hand of many of those in care/in discernment. "He helped us understand God's time." "He pushed for love." "He had the glow of God." - These were a few the remembrances of Rev. Tucker.
We learned the Search Committee for the New York Conference Minister is proceeding quickly and effectively. They have just submitted the Conference Profile to the Executive Committee and are hoping to have a candidate to present to the June 2012 Conference Annual Meeting in Binghamton.
In our business meeting, led by Metro Board President Rev. Dr. Martha Jacobs, we heard from three of the eleven members of the NY Conference Ministry Team - Rev. Marian Shearer, Associate Conference Minister for Leadership Development; Rev. Jan Powell, Conference Ministry Associate for the Southeast Region; Rev. Freeman Palmer, Associate Conference Minister for Congregational Development. And Rev. Michael Grinnals, Director of Online Learning and Communication, led a workshop on "Using Social Media to Enhance Ministry". Each urged us to contact the Ministry Team member we know best: that person will guide us to helpful resources.
Rev. Noel Vanek, one of the co-chairs of the Ordination and Ministerial Standing Committee, reported this committee is developing a program to support new clergy in their first three years of ministry, is enhancing its check-in with members in discernment, is forming a plan for periodic support consultations with those in ministry, and is preparing itself to be a more active participant in crisis management with association churches.
We passed a balanced budget for 2012 and learned revenue has comfortably exceeded expenses in the first nine months of 2011.
And the 130+ participants from 40 churches even managed to end the business meeting on time - adjourning to two sets of workshops which included:
Better Board Meetings - Led by Rev. Maxwell Grant
Faith-Based Community Organizing - Led by Rev. Michael Ellick & Rev. Tom Martinez
The Functional, Practical and Theological Reasoning of Social Networking and Multi-Media - Led by Rev. Michael Grinnals
New Clergy Program - Facilitated by Rev. Bonnie McDougal-Olson, Rev. Lynn Sullivan & Rev. Jan Powell
Members in Discernment Check-In - Facilitated by Rev. Jan Powell, Rev. Noel Vanek & Rev. Larry Kalajainen.
Sun streamed into the Garden City sanctuary as we gathered for worship, beginning with the organ music of Elmer L. Hammond, Jr. Our own voices filled the sanctuary with hymns, prayers and praise augmented by the vibrant music of the Metropolitan Association Choir and the stirring voice of Rev. Cynthia Jackson.
We remembered clergy who died since our last meeting:
Rev. Garland Walker
Rev. David Tucker
Rev. Henry Veal
Rev. Neville Simmons-Smith
We offered our financial gifts to support the work of the Association and received the sacrament of bread and cup.
"With God, All Things Are Possible". We closed our worship by singing, as we left the sanctuary to follow the guidance over the alter "Go Ye Into All The World":
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' love and righteousness;
I dare not trust this earthly frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
No Metro meeting is complete without food. This meeting was complete! Not only did we enjoy a bounteous lunch, but we also collected food for the food pantry of the Long Island Council of Churches.
Reported by Lucy Werner
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