Celebrating 200 years of presbyterians in binghamton 1817

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DO JUSTICE ? LOVE KINDNESS ? WALK HUMBLY WITH GOD

CELEBRATING 200 YEARS OF PRESBYTERIANS IN BINGHAMTON, 1817?2017

Congregational Activity Report June 2017?May 2018

Left to right, top to bottom: Judy Westcott, Cathy Ciganek, Sara Lieberman, and Sally Hunt give a cheer after presenting handbell music in worship. Folks gathered around tables during evening worship on May 7. Aaron Whitney

and Tammie Cummings ham it up while working the Tuesday Community Meal. On Easter, the children braved the chilly weather for an egg hunt on the front lawn. Pastor Becky Kindig and Elder Chris Burger became the Presbytery's Co?Stated Clerks beginning in January. Ann Cobb celebrated a milestone birthday. We opened the time capsules from

the former First and West Presbyterian Churches in November, discovering a treasure trove of interesting items.

Cover image by Rob MacInnis.

Table of Contents LEADERSHIP

Pastor Kimberly P Chastain's report ........................................................ 4 Pastor Rebecca Kindig's report ................................................................ 6 Session roster ......................................................................................... 7 Clerk of Session reports

Session actions ............................................................................... 7 Statistical report ............................................................................. 8 Worship attendance records ............................................................ 9 Minutes of Congregational Meetings ............................................. 10 Deacons Ministry task force report ........................................................ 12 Building Use report ............................................................................... 14

TEAM ACTIVITY REPORTS

Personnel ............................................................................................. 17 Communications ................................................................................... 18 Mission and Outreach ........................................................................... 20 Property ................................................................................................ 24 Spiritual Formation ............................................................................... 26 Worship and Music ................................................................................ 28

Pastor Kimberly Chastain's Report

At the picnic five years ago, I preached for United as its installed pastor for the first time. We had the picnic on the front lawn at 42 Chenango Street, and it was a windy day...

We have come a long way together in these five years. We have grown and changed, built some new things and let some old ones disappear, greeted some new friends and said goodbye to some others. It's hard to remember, sometimes, how fragile and new and precious the young congregation seemed in those early days. The vision was cast, the seeds were planted... what would the harvest be?

This year, we have tasted and seen

some of the "first fruits" of the planting and

dreaming and plain old hard work that has

become part of our community DNA. Our

worship is growing and expanding as we

challenge each other to explore what gifts

we can offer to the glory of God, inviting

people of all ages to take an active role in

planning or decorating or providing music. "Remember when?" Pastor Kimberly leading worship

Our mission teams have become semi-

at the June 2013 church picnic, her first service

autonomous; our spiritual formation team

as installed pastor of UPC.

is active and enthusiastic in bringing

lifelong Christian formation to all. We are fully staffed for the first time since May 2016,

and our Property team has taken on some design and rebuilding projects that will make

our building even more of a welcoming space in years to come.

The mass meeting of the Poor People's Campaign kickoff in October 2017 with keynote speaker Rev. Dr. William Barber

was an unforgettable standing-room-only event.

There are some special moments that have shaped my memory of this year particularly: staff and congregation came together in October to host the New York State kickoff of the Poor People's Campaign and the Labor-Religion Coalition. Our building was full for three days with activists and energy as we listened to Rev. Dr. William J Barber II challenge us to build a better world. The bell choir has found new life and new purpose under the leadership of Philip Hazen Westcott, not only playing traditional-style pieces but experimenting with accompaniment to hymns and bold new arrangements. The 2018 Women's March came here in January to hear speeches, teach and learn from each

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The baptisms of Gabriel Hickey, Clyde Jones, and Jackson Seman on May 20 were a highlight of this year's Pentecost service.

other, and drive away the cold. We watched movies and began to confront the issues of colonialism and white supremacy during the winter months. Our Palm Sunday parade and retelling of Christ's passion was a powerful and important preparation for Easter morning, when the worship was glorious and I was able, for the first and probably the only time in my career, to preach Resurrection on April Fool's Day.

The year has been full of "favorites," but one of those has to be Pentecost Sunday, when we baptized three of the new babies that have come into the life of our congregation this year, with more to come!

We took some risks this year, offering micro-loans to community projects and agencies that we believe in, receiving special offerings for new initiatives, and inviting new groups into partnership with us, because we believe that our future will continue to be shaped by our growth in and for the community in downtown Binghamton, even as our membership remains small and mostly "commuters."

We have been learning about the challenges of being a "cottage congregation in a cathedral building," and one of the challenges we are looking forward to in the year ahead is purely administrative--trying to make our committee and team structure match the work we do. With so many opportunities before us, we want to be sure that the members are cared for, the leadership feels supported, the dreams have a framework that allows them to succeed, and the Holy Spirit is firmly in charge!

The "Time for the Young at Heart" brings together the growing number of children in the congregation and gives them some insight into the sermon and liturgy of the day.

I can't wait to see what the next five years will bring!

Blessings, Pastor Kimberly

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Pastor Becky Kindig's Report

Greetings friends,

What an amazing year we have had together at UPC Binghamton! Our office motto of "it's never boring" has surely continued to be in effect.

As I look through these reports and pictures, I have several thoughts. First, I continue to feel so extremely lucky that God has called and is continuing to call me to work here. Kimberly and I frequently say this to one another. This is an amazing congregation to do ministry in, and you all continue to amaze us at how eagerly and energetically you answer God's call to work in this community. You are a great mix of wisdom and wonder, spontaneity and "decently and in order," laughter and compassion. We have supported each other through many rough patches and sad losses this year which made parts of the year feel long and hard. But we also made room for some new ministry opportunities, some new programs to build us stronger as a congregation, and we continued to be a place of welcome and hospitality for all--which is an exciting and spiritually fulfilling place to be.

Second, I am thankful for the many people

who make up this congregation. Every one of

you works to make this congregation what it is.

From the greetings and hospitality you show

everyone on Sunday mornings, to the people

who share their time and talents on Session

and the Teams, to people who take time,

thought, and compassion to pray, the people

who reach out with phone calls and cards, the

people who cook, decorate, wordsmith,

organize, listen, make music, study, fix, vision,

and dream. You all make UPC Binghamton a place that so many can call home. You all are wonderful and I am thankful for all you do.

In November, we celebrated the 200th anniversary of Presbyterians in Binghamton as well as the 5th anniversary of the founding of UPC.

And third, I am amazed at what we

Congregation members gathered after worship

continue to accomplish to make the world, or at least our corner of it, a better place. We

as time capsules from the former First and West Presbyterian Churches were opened.

continue to nourish ourselves with worship

and spiritual offerings. We educate ourselves on problems in the world and don't try to

hide from hard truths. We mean it when we offer welcome and hospitality even when it

messes things up, makes scheduling harder, demands our time and treasure, and gets

uncomfortable. This is truly a special place.

Please take time to read these reports then thank the people involved for their efforts. And if you don't know about one of the programs, mission partners, or ministries, take some time to ask those involved about it. Be proud of the work that we all do here and let's look to keep UPC Binghamton an amazing place that the presence of God is seen, heard, and felt by all who encounter us.

Grace and Peace, Pastor Becky

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