Experimenting with Partnerships

By Douglas Taylor, Joan Van Becelaere

Partnerships sometimes emerge in strange but exciting ways. The Partnership of the UU congregations in Binghamton NY and Cortland NY is a mix of contrasting sizes, ages and histories. But these contrasts bring strength to the relationship. This video shares the views of the ministers of the two congregations: The Rev. Douglas Taylor at the UU Congregation of Binghamton, NY and the Rev. Kathy Rickey of the UU Church of Courtland.

The very small, historic UU Church of Cortland and the mid-sized UU Congregation of Binghamton, founded in the mid-20th century, are forming a Partnership of shared preaching, teaching, ministry and social justice work. And they are seeking funding from FAITHIFY donors to help them get things off the ground this year.

The Cortland church is over 200 years old. In its long history, the church has hosted great figures like Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, Thomas Starr King, Theodore Parker, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Martin Luther King Jr. The Binghamton church is a thriving mid-sized congregation with a vision of becoming a beacon in the larger community and demonstrating UU values and principles in action. Their mission is to Explore, Encourage and Act.

When the Leadership of the two congregations met in person to start to create their Covenant of Partnership, it was uncertain if they could find common ground to work together. But during discussions, each group developed a deep appreciation of the gifts that the other congregation had to offer. Binghamton was drawn to the historic depth and sense of community rootedness found in the Cortland church. And the Cortland leaders were thrilled by the energy for ministry in the Binghamton congregation and it sense of mission.

Both congregations found they shared a deep call to reach out to their larger communities to share the good news of Unitarian Universalism. And they are now moving forward together in new ways.

And they need help from the larger UU community to help jump start this important new work and realize their joint potential. Please consider giving to their efforts through Faithify - there are only 20 days left in this project, please don't delay!

Rev. Joan Van Becelaere

About the Authors

Joan Van Becelaere

Rev. Joan Van Becelaere is the Executive Director of UU Justice Ohio. She served as a Congregational Life Consultant for the Central East Region from 2007-2018. Previously, Rev. Van Becelaere was Vice President for Student Services at Iliff Theological School in Denver, CO where she also taught...

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