It might not sound like such a revelation to offer a movie night, but Ogdensburg has no movie theater. The small city used to be a thriving port, but the economy tanked nearly a decade ago. Now there is poverty, isolation, and a constant flow of drugs over the Canadian border putting the town at risk of addiction and opening it to the destructive forces that loneliness and anger and a sense of abandonment can unleash.
PIM, one of the 1,001 Worshiping Communities and partially funded by the Synod’s Innovation Fund is a ministry of many love stories like this one. The stories of people who come and go, caught up in a system that ignores their humanity. PIM calls them into community with Christ, so that even as they move from detention centers to holding cells to prisons, they know that they are not alone.
My wife and I minister to a growing community with many immigrants who are coming to Long Island. One young woman we met told us that she was paying $400 for a trip to the Human Resources Office in Manhattan to seek political asylum. Multiple trips at $400 for refugees fleeing persecution! These are not wealthy people. So, we were able to step in and help with transportation and providing a safe community for this young woman, who was also expecting a child. Then in September, when the child was coming, my wife Miriam accompanied the young woman to the hospital. She was there for the delivery of the child—a moment that is like none other.
Turns out, God is doing a new thing. Of course, Isaiah, one of our favorite Advent voices, told us to look and see the new thing God is doing, but I never dreamed I would find myself in the middle of one of those new things. Would you join me in doing the new thing that the Synod is igniting through a contribution to the Innovation Fund?
As we move into a changed political environment the community of the Synod of the Northeast shares in the deep grief and fear that many within our community and throughout our nation are now experiencing. This concern is not one that is partisan nor focused upon a particular elected person. It is a concern based in what is seeming to be a social movement of polarization. While we may have differing positions on some issues, we find a powerful consensus upon the Gospel values that form our Christian witness. We stand in whole hearted solidarity with those who have been marginalized in the past and for whom the current political environment offers only a greater threat of hatred, violence and further marginalization.
This was the first assembly to be held under the Synod’s New Way Forward, which was adopted at our 2014 Assembly. Using the foundational values of blue skies and unencumbered spaces, the Assembly flowed back and forth between sharing stories and information from across the Synod and governance work. The sharing included Minutes for Mission from emerging leaders, an emerging Gospel community within Albany Presbytery – Underwood Park CrossFit, and another within Long Island Presbytery – Ministerio Hispano en Los Moriches, the Pre-Assembly Event on Race facilitated by Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training, the Working Group on Race, Presbyterian Women, the Hispanic Caucus, the Newark Administrative Commission, and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.
The Synod Commission, in its September meeting, approved the formation of two new networks: The Immigration Action Network and the New Beginnings Network.