Beth Coffman, Editor                                                                                                         February   2020

…..from the Interim Pastor’s desk

From the Interim Pastor

I’m writing on the eve of the Annual Meeting of our congregation, having spent a good many hours over the past few weeks reviewing the state of our union as a people confessing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Reading through the written reports of staff, boards and committees, I am thankful to realize how richly God has blessed Union Church and equipped us for ministry. It is exciting to contemplate all the ways God will be using us for kingdom work in the year ahead. At the same time, we face challenges that will require our collective attention and strength.

If you were present for the Annual Meeting on January 26, you will have heard the report about our 2019 financial results and the budget for the year ahead. (If you missed the meeting, copies of the printed Annual Report are available in the Parish Hall.) In preparing our budget for 2020, the Trustees elected to recommend what is, in effect, a substantial deficit budget rather than cut back on our ministry today in order to bring spending into line with current income. Unless congregational giving increases beyond what the pledges now in hand suggest, we will need to use about $164,000 of Union Church’s limited reserves and endowment to pay our bills this year. That is more than 5.2 percent of all our available savings, at the upper limit of what investment advisors would typically view as a sustainable annual draw. It is also a number likely to draw the attention of potential pastoral candidates as they evaluate the church’s financial status.

There is no need to panic. Union Church is in the midst of a ministerial transition, but I sense the Spirit of God very much at work among us, energizing us, renewing us, challenging us to become what God needs us to be for the tasks ahead. The Trustees’ recommendation to invest in our future is a vote of confidence, not so much in my new interim work among you as in the power of the Spirit to create in us greater faithfulness and growth. I am confident that God has already given us all we need to experience true abundance in our life together. Our task is now to mobilize those gifts in the service of God’s reign. Pray daily for insight into how your own time, talent and treasure can contribute to our common ministry!

Congregational vitality is not about numbers, but statistics can serve to confirm a living community’s substance. Despite the faithful support of many members, total contributions to Union Church have declined more than 34 percent over the past decade. Like many mainstream Protestant churches, the church has also experienced declining average Sunday worship attendance—down about 30 percent since 2010. Now more than ever, we are all challenged to do our part to stem the tide of defections, encourage a reengagement of less active members and rebuild the congregation so that it truly magnifies the Lord in this time and place. In all we say and do in 2020, let us witness to our confidence that God is using this congregation, its faith, its commitment and its many strengths to glorious effect.

See you in church!


Lindley G. DeGarmo

FEBRUARY PREACHING SCHEDULE
Feb. 2 “What Does the Lord Require?” Micah 6:1-8; Matthew 5:1-12
Feb. 9 “Salt and Light” Isaiah 58:1-9a; Matthew 5:13-20
Feb. 16 “The Relational God” Psalm 119:1-8; Matthew 5:21-37
Feb. 23 “A Glimpse of Reality” Exodus 24:12-18; Matthew 17:1-9
FEBRUARY FELLOWSHIP HOUR VOLUNTEERS  
Feb. 2 Lin/Sledge
Feb. 9 Perry
Feb. 16 OPEN
Feb. 23 OPEN

Please consider hosting a future Fellowship Hour.  If you have any questions, please speak to a Deacon.  Thank you!!

CHURCH OFFICERS

At the Annual Meeting the following Officers were elected: 

Deacons:  Sharon Dorzbacher (2nd Term), Karen Garibaldi, Melissa Share (1-year unexpired term), Byron Weaver

Trustees: Ruth DiLorenzo (2nd Term), John Garibaldi, Kim Perry

Clerk of the Congregation:  David Bartholomew

BENEVOLENCE

The Benevolence Committee of the Deacons has called for a special offering to benefit recent disaster victims in Australia and Puerto Rico. Checks to Union Church should be marked “Disaster Relief” and returned to the church office in the enclosed envelope. The proceeds of the offering will be divided equally between Church World Service (for Puerto Rico Earth Quake Response) and Australian Red Cross (for Bushfire Relief and Recovery). Please give generously.

OFFICERS PLANNING SESSION

The Officers/Staff Planning Session will be held on Saturday, February 1 at The Rockefeller Archive Center beginning at 8:45 a.m. 

2019 ANNUAL REPORTS

If you did not receive a copy of the 2019 Annual Report, copies are available in the Parish Hall.

SAVE THE DATES

Lent begins February 26.  We will have an Ash
Wednesday Service at 8:00 PM. 

Sunday, April 26, Mark Morganelli and the Jazz Forum All-Stars will be performing at Union Church as part of the Fine Arts Program. 

THE CHOIR

Our three new section leaders for the choir are now with us and already are providing support for our beloved choir of able, talented, and faithful volunteers.  These three young singers have an impressive history of musical training and experience, and all three of them place choral music high on their list of musical and professional priorities.  They come highly recommended and have met every criterion of the selection process. 

Alto Sabrina van Vliet is a senior Bachelor of Music candidate at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, with extensive prior choral singing at Rutgers University. Strongly recommended to us by the director of choral studies at Purchase, Sabrina has sung a number of major operatic roles, including the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica last season (a performance I had the privilege of hearing), and this spring will perform in Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites.  She describes herself as “a soprano who is a choral alto”!

Tenor Adam Goldstein earned the Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree from the Manhattan School of Music last spring. Already he has undertaken an impressive number of solo roles as well as choral positions in significant masterworks performances. Later in the spring he will be performing in two opera productions in the region. While at Manhattan, Adam sang under the direction of Dr. Kent Tritle, the Organist and Choirmaster of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, conductor of the Oratorio Society of New York, and of Musica Sacra.

Bass Jonathan Mildner was one of our two guest singers on Christmas Eve and quickly endeared himself to the choir, both musically and personally. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College in 2018 and continues vocal study with Rufus Muller.  He performs with the Hudson Valley Music Society and has sung in many large-scale choral/orchestral productions at Bard, under the direction of Leon Botstein.  He is a vocal-arts instructor at the New Windsor Music Academy. Jonathan has recently served as section leader in churches in Rhinebeck and Red Hook. A resident of Pine Bush, he undertakes a considerable commute to be with us, and we are grateful for that.

Do find, greet, and welcome these new members of the Union Church family.

Richard Coffey, Organist and Choir Director

PRAYER REQUESTS

Prayers are requested for Larry Erdman, Barbara Smith, Phoebe Luciano and Emma Thaler.

If you would like to request the prayers of the congregation, please  contact the church office at 914.631.2069 or ldegarmo@comast.net and your requests will be announced during worship services

EMAIL ADDRESSES

If you are not currently receiving emails from Union Church, please consider providing us with your email address.  We do not send an excessive amount of emails but we do   communicate some things by email that we do not send out in print.  It would be up to you if you wish to receive the Tower Chimes in print or only by email.    Please send to the church office at ldegarmo@comcast.net