Presbyterians Today

APR-MAY 2018

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Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay | APRIL/MAY 2018 13 community." Among the lessons learned was that a strong support system was needed for a new pastor with a young family in a new com- munity trying to do a new thing. The presbytery also underestimated the time needed to create "buy-in" and support from the community. "Hopes were high for a quick success, and it was not forthcom- ing," Moseley said, adding that many in the presbytery felt "confounded about the failure to launch." After the newly called pastor left for another call, the search for a part-time pastor languished, as many ministers would not relocate for part-time work that involved the high risks of planting something new, Moseley said. Without a plan or a pastor, the obvious step would have been to close Church on Main. But New Castle Presbytery didn't take the easy way out. Rather, the presby- tery went back to basics, focusing on bringing a community together simply for worship and mission rather than focusing first on orga- nizing a church. "The model of organizing a church with a session and committees and full-time employees was set aside," Moseley said. Church on Main's budget also went from $150,000 to $50,000. Without an installed pastor, there is now a rotating list of speakers, not compensated, who come on Sundays to share their stories of faith. Downstairs in the fellowship room, young and old sit "in the round," Fouss says, where they are encour- aged to interact with the "sermon" and join in on the conversation. One Sunday in February, 17 people gathered to hear the Rev. Dr. Peter Paris, a retired professor of Christian ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary and regular speaker at Church on Main. Moseley said it was a lively conversation. Later that month, in celebration of Black History Month, Church on Main held a concert featuring readings, hymns and other special music recognizing the heritage and struggles of the black community. The budget, while lean, does pay a musician $150 a week, Moseley said. The church also has a facilities manager, who is a retired CEO for a local not-for-profit. Two young teens are employed to clean the building and care for the grounds. Church on Main's stewardship involves four avenues for generating income: gifts and pledges, grants, fundraisers and renting of church space. Currently four groups use the building: a yoga class, a small independent church group, Narcotics Anonymous and the cast and crew of the local community theater. Offering the historical building for special events such as weddings and reunions is next, Moseley said. "Our goal is to become indepen- dent of presbytery support as we become more engaged, invested and committed to the Middletown com- munity," he said. Where will all of this lead for Church on Main? No one knows for sure. All that is certain is that ministry today calls for the willing- ness to try, even if it means failing at first. "There is a need to experiment. There is no one path. Each path is different," Fouss said. For now, though, Church on Main has launched again. And if that doesn't work, they will try, try again. Donna Frischknecht Jackson is interim editor of Presbyterians Today and pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in Salem, New York. SEND FOR OUR FREE INFORMATION KIT & DVD 1011Military Road, P.O. Box 39, Buffalo, NY 14217; Toll Free 1-866-276-3686, e-mail: Visit us at BLENDING ARTISTRY AND CRAFTSMANSHIP SINCE 1946 C O L U M B A R I U M S A Columbarium in the life of the Church preserves a tradition of remembrance. An Armento Columbarium is an affordable alternative that preserves cherished memories and delivers a message of comfort in the knowledge that those that have touched our lives will always remain in the company of family & friends.

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