February 7, 2013

Psalm 99
Deuteronomy 9:1-5
Acts 3:11-16

The Rev. Gary Ferner is the first to admit that there is nothing uniquely extraordinary about Fairmount Community Church UCC. The Syracuse, NY church doesn't have a large membership, it doesn't have a whole lot of money, and it's not based in a progressive metropolis. But what the church does have, that others don't, is a spirit that calls an unusual number of members to serve the church in an official capacity. "We are just a basic, average Central New York church, but someone has fed these folks," said Ferner. "Despite our normal conflicts with our open and affirming stance, building issues, money issues, the fact that we keep sending people into authorized ministry is a real blessing." Fairmont UCC has about 200 members, 60 who attend worship regularly. But in the past 20 years, five individuals have been ordained or licensed, with even more on the verge of doing so. While the number may not seem extraordinarily high, Ferner notes that in his nearly 20-year career as a pastor at multiple UCC churches, he previously had never had a member become authorized. Ferner credits much of this to the leadership of the Rev. P.V. George, who served Fairmount from the 1960s until the 1990s and is the current pastor emeritus. George, who came to the United States from India to serve in ministry, set a tone that has been carried on 20 years later.


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