Lead Article - Oneonta 1st United Cynthia Walton-Leavitt, Pastor
“Nesting” in First United Presbyterian (aka “Red Door”), Oneonta, NY
“Nesting” is a term we use for faith communities that share our building. In late 2008 we heard that the Butternuts (Quaker) Monthly Meeting was looking for a new place. They met at “Red Door” on a trial basis. We shared some history of our respective faith traditions and learned that their worship hour (unprogrammed) is given to shared silence, with each person listening for any message that might come to them through thought and prayer. We discussed their meeting needs, financial contributions, insurance, and potential joint activities. In early 2009 a Memorandum of Understanding was developed and the Butternuts began to call “Red Door” home using shared space.
In 2016 a similar pattern emerged with the Christian Scientists. The congregation decided to sell their church and become a Christian Science Society. After touring “Red Door” we encouraged them to look at other options and to pray about their future. After doing so they returned to discuss use of the Upper Room as dedicated space for both their Reading Room and worship area. Their first service was held on Thanksgiving Day 2016.
In September 2018 the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America from Walton, NY held a Psalm Sing in our sanctuary since many of their members live in Oneonta. They returned in March 2019 anticipating a twice-a-year tradition. RPCNA only uses the Psalms (no hymns) to sing a cappella in beautiful four-part harmony. Their weekly Bible Study meets in the room shared with the Quakers and Serenity Sisters AA group.
In March 2019 the ChurchNtheHood Movement led by the Rev. LaDana Clark held a private meal in our social hall to pray about whether to move their worship time to Sunday afternoons at “Red Door.” Session approved their move this month. We hope to add Matterport Tags to the social hall for ChurchNtheHood in our virtual tour of the building athttp://www.Oneonta3D.com
“Red Door” has become an ecumenical hub. Each of our faith traditions feels powerful blessings from this “nesting.” The spiritual aspect of support and joy during our overlapping worship times strengthens the presence of “church” in our hearts and in the community. We all are grateful for our different gifts to use for the common good that lift up God’s love and grace. We wonder who God may send us next!
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