Pastor’s Blog 

INTRODUCING THE REV. TERRI OFORI

Many of you have already become familiar with the Rev. Terri Ofori and her husband Dr. David Ofori. She filled the pulpit in December and begins her new position as our interim pastor on January 1. At the same time, Dr. Ofori begins as our interim pastoral administrator. To help you get to know both of them better, we introduce you to Reverend Ofori on this page and to Dr. Ofori on page 4.

Prior to accepting the call to serve as Interim Pastor of the United Church of Spring Valley, Reverend Ofori served as the Stated Supply Pastor of the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montclair, N.J. and the Interim Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown, N.Y.

Reverend Ofori began her ministry as a chaplain in higher education when she was appointed the Harvard University Seminarian. She later served as the Director of the Harvard University Memorial Church School. In addition to her service to the church, Reverend Ofori has served the academy as a chaplain at Brown University, Wellesley, Emerson, and Simmons College.

Reverend Ofori is currently the College Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life at Bloomfield College. She also serves as the Chaplain to the Synod Commission of the Synod of the Northeast PC(USA) and the Clergywoman Representative for the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Northeast Coordinating Team.

Reverend Ofori received the Th.M. in Education and Spiritual Formation and a certificate in Transitional Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary, the Master of Divinity from Harvard University, the M.A.T. in Cross Cultural Theology from Columbia International University, and the Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the Mississippi University for Women. Reverend Ofori is a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree in Christian

Spirituality at Fordham University.

Reverend Ofori is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature as well as the National Association of College and University Chaplains. She is an alumna of the U.S. Army War College National Security Seminar Strategic Leadership Development Program and an endorsed VA Chaplain with the Presbyterian Military Personnel and Chaplains Association.

Reverend Ofori is married to Dr. David Ofori, Jr. (past Moderator of the Presbytery of New York City) and together they serve in ministry as cofounders of the P.A.Y.L.A. (Pan African Youth Leadership Academy), a non-profit organization dedicated to providing academic and leadership development skills to at-risk youth.


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EDITOR’S THOUGHTS: THE BEAT GOES ON

As I write this, it is still October and we’ve yet to bid our fond farewells and best wishes to Rev. Rob Williams and to Nora Williams. Rob’s last Sunday before he retires is October 30. We are expecting former members from out of the area to join us that day.

Elizabeth Campbell and Virgil Roberson have graciously offered their home for a reception for Rob & Nora immediately following worship. Food and fun is in store for us.

Not only will we be saying farewell to Rob & Nora but also to Carolyn Giles as she prepares to move to Delaware. It is a sad time for many of us.

The good news is that Rob has done yeoman service in preparing us for this time of uncertainty and next-steps. With hardly skipping a beat, the church keeps a-humming.

We already have a supervisor assigned to us by the Classis of Rockland-Westchester of the Reformed Church in America. He is the Rev. Tom Danney, former pastor of the First Reformed Church of Nyack and the clerk and treasurer of the classis. Tom will be attending the Consistory meetings and guiding the Interim Minister Search Committee toward the hiring of an interim.

The search committee has interviewed two promising candidates to be our interim and has scheduled a second interview with one of them. By December we hope one of them will be in place. This person will be our worship leader, provide pastoral care, handle administrative duties, and help navigate us through this time of possible merger.

In the meantime the search committee is scheduling guest preachers for Sunday services until the interim is hired.

The UCSV-GPC Dialogue Committee has been meeting every Thursday evening to iron out details of a possible merger. Along the way they will give us updates and ask for our input.

Olde Fashioned Christmas is in the works for December 10. Thankfully, Judi Cramer and Gladys Fincher have volunteered to help coordinate this joyous occasion. Germonds Presbyterian Church is looking forward to joining us and will help provide woman and man power to be sure the Christmas tree goes up and there are people to lead the crafts.

Looking ahead at the finances of our church, the Consistory in October met with our financial advisors, Marvin Zektzer and his daughter Carly Zektzer. The Consistory sought their advice on the handling of the portfolio in the event of a merger with Germonds and heard that retaining our building as a mission site was feasible.

The Sunday School children are looking forward to their annual Advent Workshop and are rehearsing for the Christmas Pageant. The youth group meets twice a month with Fred Brown continuing to serve as their advisor.

God will provide, we are taught. Certainly we have been blessed in many ways. Let our hearts be filled with thanksgiving and praise.

Marianne B. Leese  – Crossties Editor


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THANK YOU

Ten years… already? These have been the fastest ten years of my life! How grateful I am for them; how grateful I am for you.

In the fall of 2006, with prompting from your departing pastor Jack Branford, you invited me to do pulpit supply while you looked for an interim minister.

As we moved through the fall, you intimated that you would consider me for that role. I was eager to say yes, at first. But then I realized, I didn’t want to be your interim pastor, I want- ed to be your installed pastor.

I had fallen in love with you; I felt I had found home. So I said no to the idea of serving as interim and asked to be considered for the installed position.

Usually it is against policy to be serving a church while be- ing a candidate for the installed position. But with the blessing of the Classis of Rockland- Westchester, RCA and reframing the role, it was permitted. So I stayed. Your search committee went through its pro- cess. There were a number of candidates considered. Then you chose me, and I’ve been here ever since. I thank God!

How grateful I am: to Jack for introducing me to you; to the Rev. John Vanden Oever, your classis supervisor, who made it possible for me to stay while candidating; to your search committees for seeing the potential for our collaborative relationship and extending the call to serve you; to all of you for the warm, wonderful welcome you gave to Nora and me. I am deeply grateful.

Leaving is not easy for me. I have loved being a pastor for these forty years; I have loved being YOUR pastor these ten years. These have been rich years for us all.

Although our membership has waned, as I view it we have grown deeply. Our service to the community has grown as we became the host and base of operations for Helping Hands, the county’s sole service to the homeless. RIPB, our service to feed the hungry, tripled over these years. Making room for BOCES to teach English to immigrants here was a natural complement to our mission. We celebrated the arrival of some new members, and bid farewell and Godspeed to many long- standing members. We were blessed with significant be- quests that have enabled us to carry on our mission and ministry; and we’ve been good stewards of our resources.

Our building is old, but unlike many churches, we have not deferred maintenance; we’ve put on a new roof, installed a new boiler, new fire alarm system, and security monitoring system. We have worshipped and played and picnicked. We’ve had births and weddings and funerals. We have been family, an extraordinary family— diverse, inclusive, progressive, and faith-filled!

Nora and I have felt a part of your family from the beginning. We will never forget your generous support and compassion: during the summer of 2008 when I underwent surgery, contracted MRSA, and was a long time recovering; and then even more profoundly through- out the long months preceding and following the death of our son. How can we ever thank you enough?

I will be praying for you, and I ask that you pray for us. It is hard to leave, hard to say goodbye. What isn’t hard is to say thank you. I am/we are so very, deeply grateful!


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