This past Sunday, I attended the Installation Service of Pastor Stacey Duensing at the Warwick Reformed Church. It was a wonderful celebration of welcoming a new pastor and newest member of our spiritual community. Pastor Duensing is the first woman to serve as pastor of the Warwick Reformed Church. Pastor Duensing hails from the farmlands of Nebraska and most recently performed ministry service in Queens, NY. The number of times we have met, I’ve been impressed by her energy and sense of mission but also her happiness to find Warwick as her new home. Pastor Duensing is also an outdoors enthusiast so I’m glad she landed in the Hudson Valley and the Warwick Valley that has so much beauty and natural splendor.
So, a warm Warwick welcome to Pastor Stacey. A perfect fit not only for the Reformed Church Community but for all of Warwick. We hope you too will find what we have found here – solace in nature that surrounds us and the strength and beauty of the human spirit that makes us a community.
I recently received news that Father James Irwin from Christ Church will be leaving to join a new parish in Bridgehampton, N.Y. Father Jim has been a dynamic leader for his church – it was under his care, guidance and fundraising skills that the small cramped and dated parish building was expanded and renovated to be more architecturally sensitive to the Historic Church and neighborhood and also large enough for growing programs. Father Jim was responsible for many positive changes including a Community Breakfast Program which started out monthly but is now weekly due to increased need – this program is sponsored by Glenn and Susan Dickes. The Breakfast Program has had a positive impact on our Hispanic neighbors as well as many needing a healthy breakfast. He increased hours of the beloved Thrift Shop and the shop has become more polished and successful under his watch. Christ Church has always had a strong musical ministry – the talented choir as well as the Jubilate Children’s Choir, have all flourished under Father Jim. The yearly musical Cabaret fundraiser is now famous and an anticipated event. Father was truly a man with vision which he moved forward using humor and grace – and yes, it’s good to be spiritually connected when it comes to the Department of Grace! Most importantly, he was here to work with and to help a community. So, Father, you will be missed but you have left a legacy of good acts and remarkable achievements and we are grateful. Thank you!
A door is open and as someone leaves another enters. There is always an open door to our Valley – there will always be tearful farewells as well as joyful returns and new beginnings. The men and women who comprise the leadership of our spiritual community are key participants in creating a strong and engaged community in and outside their churches and we are grateful for their efforts.
Village Hall is collecting new unwrapped toys for Santa’s Toy Box through Mon., Dec. 23 to benefit the annual toy drive for the children of Orange County. For information please contact the Orange County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation at 615-3831.
The next Village Board meeting will take place Mon., Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Village Hall, 77 Main Street.
The above column, written by Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard, has been published in the Dec. 11 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch.