"One Messiah" Survey & Community Forum
Dear siblings in Christ,
I write you with historic news regarding the future of our Spirit filled congregation. After one marathon of a meeting, years of discussion, and even while a “once in centuries” Christmas Star rose in the sky this past Monday night, our Congregation Council took the following major actions:
- Unanimously voted to accept a 2021 Membership Report that includes the transfer of all members of Trinity Reformed Church to membership with Messiah Lutheran Church effective December 31st, 2020 at 11:59pm.
- Unanimously voted to hire the Rev. Jonathan Vanderbeck as Messiah's first ever Associate Pastor in a one year transitional role.
- Unanimously voted to hire Trinity staff members Dave Carkner as Messiah's new Parish Caretaker and Sarah Bachorik as Messiah's new Administrative Assistant to help further facilitate our transition. Our wonderful Parish Administrator Rianne Johnson and Parish Sexton Nicole Fatato will remain on staff doing quite the same wonderful work they always have.
- Building off the great work of our Budget & Finance Committee, unanimously voted to recommend a Unified 2021 Annual Budget reflecting the actions above for approval at our Annual Meeting of the Congregation scheduled for Sunday, February 7th, 2021 at 12:00pm.
Due to a number of Reformed Church in America and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America polity issues, this does not technically constitute a “merger” or “consolidation” of our congregations. Trinity Reformed Church will formally close with its members joining Messiah Lutheran Church, but this is still a historical milestone for the wider ecumenical movement of working together as “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” As far as we know, we are one of the first congregations of ELCA Lutheran and former RCA Reformed members in the country.
All across America, from our largest cities to our smallest villages, there are far too many small congregations of similar denominations who have remained divided around the linguistic, ethnic and racial divisions of a century ago and the long forgotten (by most) theological arguments of half a millennia ago. These small congregations of similar denominations have SO many gifts to share in service to Christ reflected in the face of their neighbors, and my gosh, their communities NEED them!
At a time when more of our fellow Americans are suffering from food insecurity than at any time since the Great Depression and more of our neighbors are dying “deaths of despair” from things like suicide, opioid overdose and alcohol related illnesses than at anytime in America’s recorded history, all on top of the need for the largest mass mobilization since the Second World War to vaccinate and rebuild after this year of global pandemic, these small congregations of similar denominations need to work together, especially “for such a time as this.”
In some small way, we believe we are taking a bold step in providing one possible template for that very sense of ecumenical and interfaith collaboration called for in these unprecedented times.
It is our long term vision to reinvent Trinity’s current property into the sort of place a church building often used to serve as, albeit under different names. As an arts and culture incubator, a coworking space, a mental health resource center, an anti-hunger collective, and a workforce housing complex, all wrapped up in one Community Center, we’ll be doing all we can to make sure we’re serving Christ in the face of our neighbors in our wonderful little town of Rotterdam, New York.
Messiah’s current space will remain and become fully accessible as our Worship, Fellowship and Faith Formation Center, where we’ll continue to conduct the vast majority of the life changing ministries we always have and more.
There is still so much to work out, and so many questions that we are sure everyone wants answered (and some we want answered ourselves!) especially in this time when we are physically apart. Many votes, including those on budget, property and bylaws matters are the responsibility of all our members during our 2021 Annual Meeting of the Congregation alone scheduled for Sunday, February 7th, 2021 at 12:00pm.
In order to better inform all of our members before this historic meeting and to answer all questions and concerns, we have scheduled a webcast and recorded forum called "One Messiah: A Community Forum on Our Common Future" on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021 at 6:30pm which you can join on Zoom at
. If you would prefer just to watch, the event will also be broadcast on our website at
and on our Facebook Page at
. If pandemic conditions allow and in line with our New York Forward COVID19 policy, a limited number of individuals without technical capabilities MAY be able to gather in person to participate together on Zoom. If you are someone with limited technical capabilities, please contact me ASAP, as we want your voice included in this important discussion!!!!
In preparation for this discussion, all our members, friends, neighbors and other stakeholders are invited to fill out the brief survey below by Sunday, January 10th, 2021.
Finally we all ought to give thanks for the INCREDIBLE and thoughtful leadership of our Congregation Council, as well Trinity’s Consistory and the Schenectady Classis of the RCA for helping shepherd this project forward during such a complicated year.
For now though friends, especially as we approach the birth of Hope into our midst this Christmas, we celebrate the exciting way God is moving in our midst, as ONE, UNITED Spirit filled congregation grounded in Jesus Christ nourishing our local community in body, mind and soul!
Pastor Dustin Wright
At this moment, how comfortable would you be coming back to a service where everyone wears a mask, there is no group singing, folks are spaced out six feet apart and there is no coffee hour?
Neither Likely nor Unlikely
As the cold weather continues, would you like us to plan some winter-friendly in-person but outdoor gatherings in line with our New York Forward Safety Policy or keep things as they are now?
In-person with restrictions
Keep things as they are for now
How could we better serve you and your family right now during such a unique time?
What questions regarding the unification of our ministries with Trinity Reformed would you like addressed at our "One Messiah" Forum scheduled for Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30p?
Please list your name and the best way to contact you for follow-up.
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