10/15/2020: A Plan for the Weeks Ahead

Dear LAC family:
While we celebrate with Rev. Clémot the joyful news of her installed call to a church in Chatham, we now face the challenge of becoming a church without a Pastor at month’s end. It is always hard to say goodbye to our pastoral leaders, but harder still to face a hiatus between pastors. Nevertheless, we will manage. After consulting with Presbytery leadership and other pastors, we have developed a plan to ensure the smooth continuation of our worship services and mission outreach over the weeks ahead.
We also have spoken with our Pastor Nominating Committee leaders and expect that we will have a nominee for Sr. Pastor named by year end or soon thereafter. Thus, our transitional plan can be very short term.
We present to you here an outline of what to expect at LAC in this time of transition.
Worship. Our worship and music committee has organized a worship schedule for the weeks ahead. It will rely on a combination of professional clergy leadership and congregant-led worship. As from November 1, we will rely on our current expertise in on-line worship video production. This will allow for broader participation from congregants and preachers located in more distant locations. Although Session approval for this approach and these preachers remains pending, we anticipate implementing the following schedule:
  • November 1 will be an All Saints Day service led by neighboring Presbyterian pastors Rev. Dan Love and Rev. John Miller who will record sermon and sacrament in our sanctuary in advance.
  • November 8th and 15th worship will be led by the Stewardship Committee and the Church & Society Committee, respectively.
  • We are thrilled to share the exciting news that our friend and missionary Rev. Jed Koball will preach for us, recording from Peru, for the beginning of Advent Season and Christmas.
  • In mid-December, Douglas Kostner will direct a guest artist in an exciting, new liturgical dance worship service, and will conclude Advent with the traditional Service of Lessons and Carols.
  • Our Christmas Eve service will be led by our guest preacher Rev. Jed Koball. He is honored to be invited back to LAC remotely! And a Christmas Pageant opportunity is being offered for interested families under the leadership of Ekama Eni.
  • Finally, we anticipate having long term pulpit supply in January until our new Pastor joins us.
Pastoral Care. We are grateful to Moderator Becky Gray for her leadership of the Deacon board, and for the compassionate care ministry led by Deacons Liz Nabholz and Suzy Huang. They will continue to provide outreach and conversation with home-bound congregants and those in need of pastoral care. We note that Stephanie Piccone has resumed coordinating our outreach ministry with flower and plant deliveries as gestures of friendship with our members. The deacons are planning a virtual community dinner for November 23rd – invitations coming soon! The deacons will also be launching a new intergenerational buddy program led by LAC youth member Mila Kinnear. They will join in the Food Drive for Kindness Kick-off at Ellen’s final Sunday after worship on October 25th.
Mission Outreach. Thanks to the ongoing leadership of Kim Larsen in the Church & Society Committee, Jim Hanley with Midnight Run, and other outreach initiatives by Sasha Nahr, Meg Kaufer, and Caitlyn Carpenter, the LAC missional ministries continue unabated. We encourage these groups to invite more congregants to assist in service work by writing occasional “Mid-Week Message” e-blasts on a rotating basis by committee, board, or activity. The Mid-Week Message is produced and broadcast by our communications coordinator, Marranda Major, but its content will come from congregants like you.
The LAC Preschool. Our preschool is thriving despite the need to reduce classroom size and implement strenuous safety measures. Interim Preschool Director Kristin DeFelice has done an outstanding job guiding the preschool through the complicated pandemic territory safely. The Trustees, pursuant to our church by-laws, are responsible for the Preschool oversight and they will communicate more closely with Kristin to ensure she has adequate support and resources. Alexandra Belluzzi, who has been on medical leave since January, is doing well although her treatments continue. She intends to resume her position as Director of the Preschool on January 1, 2021.
Staff Leadership. We are blessed to have a wonderful staff at LAC, both highly competent and self-sufficient. They appreciate having support and encouragement and our Personnel Committee has agreed to be present for them. Each Personnel Committee member has adopted a staff member to shepherd and will be checking in on a regular basis. Our staff members are: Douglas Kostner, Director of Music, Kristin DeFelice, Interim Director of Preschool, Gloria Haq, Bookkeeper, Marranda Major, Church Secretary and Communications Coordinator, and Ekama Eni, Interim Director of Youth and Family Ministries. We are happy that Sarah Haq has extended her contract as Administrative Assistant to the Preschool and LAC for the remainder of the program year.
Grateful to God. With this oversight and program plan in place, we feel confident that LAC will continue to offer meaningful worship, caring connections, and life-giving support to our friends and neighbors. Please be supportive of our staff and church officers as we take on these additional responsibilities over the weeks ahead. We trust in God’s grace and love, and all the church family, that this transitional time will go well and help us grow closer.
Faithfully yours,
Leah Griggs-Pauly and Clark Morehouse, Co-Clerks of Session
Rev. Dr. Ellen Clark Clémot, Interim Pastor/Head of Staff
Save the Date!
October 25th: Ellen’s Farewell Sunday: After worship on October 25th, Rev. Clémot will be outside the church at 60 Forest Park Avenue to wave goodbye. In lieu of a giving her a “purse” cash gift for her departure, Ellen has asked for everyone to make a pledge to LAC and to bring a can or box of non-perishable food to church on October 25th from 10:45am to 11:45am for our HOPE food pantry as you swing by to say goodbye. She will have socially distanced food collection bins available for your donations and asks that everyone wear a mask. If you would like more information or would like to help organize this event, please contact Chris Templeman at Christian.A.Templeman@morganstanley.com  or Clark Morehouse at cmorehouse12@gmail.com. If you prefer to have Rev. Clémot contact you by phone to say goodbye, please email her at eclemot@lacny.org.

LAC Preschool Food Collection for Kindness:  In conjunction with the Farewell Food drop off for Rev. Clémot on October 25th, Interim Preschool Director Kristin DeFelice will be organizing a Preschool Food Collection for Kindness to continue through November. The deacons will be coordinating these joint food drives from LAC to alleviate hunger and food insecurity for our immediate neighbors. For more information, please contact Kristin DeFelice at PreschoolDirector@lacny.org or Deacon Moderator Becky Gray at bmarlis@yahoo.com.