Council of Churches

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The beginning of organized cooperation that grew into the Pine Plains Council of Churches began in the mid 1960’s with the four local churches (Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic) working on an annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) program for area youth. By the mid-1980s, the name Council of Churches was adopted in the hope that the committee would always be comprised of more than clergy and would be truly representative of the whole worshipping community.

As time went by, the original program expanded to include ecumenical worship services, Bible study, baccalaureate services, the food pantry, as well as VBS.  Names and faces have changed over the years but the enthusiasm and foresight of that original group has continued to inspire to the benefit of countless numbers of Pine Plains residents.

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Episcopal Charities is the outreach arm of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. The organization supports parish-based outreach programs providing assistance and opportunities to children and adults in need. For more information, please visit episcopalcharities-newyork.org

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The Community Food Locker

The Council of Churches sponsors the Food Locker.  It is located in the basement of the Methodist Church on Church Street.  It is staffed entirely by volunteers, and food is distributed on the second Saturday of each month.  Anybody living within the Pine Plains school district is eligible to go to the food locker. Everyone who comes is served, and if they belong to another district, they are redirected for the following month’s distribution.  On a monthly basis, the Food Locker serves 25 to 30 families, which is equal to about 40 adults and between 50 and 75 children.

Some of the food distributed comes from monthly state supplies.  All the churches donate some staples and toiletries, and the local farms supply fresh vegetables in season, milk and meat.  

Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets are filled and distributed to the families who come to the Food Locker. The Food Locker is never closed because the manager, Pat Nanetti (518-398-7692), is always available to help in an emergency.

The concept of the Food Locker originated in the 1980's when Harry Wheeler, the local conservation officer, took excess deer meat to the Methodist church.  George Tenore, a member of that church, administered the distribution.  Mr. Tenore also distributed vouchers to the needy for drug store and grocery store supplies.  The Food Locker replaced the voucher system and its first manager was Joan Manferdelli, a member of Regeneration.

For more information on the food locker contact Penny Wheeler at pennyathome2@yahoo.com : or (518) 398-6312.

The Rural and Migrant Ministry

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The Rural and Migrant Ministry (RMM) is an integral part of the mission of the Diocese of New York.  RMM was created in 1981 in a unique covenant with four other Protestant denominations. RMM was approved at the Diocesan Convention that year to be a ministry of empowerment and advocacy within the rural areas of the Diocese.

Today, RMM is a multi-faith, state wide organization that works for the creation of a just, rural New York State through the following:  nurturing leadership, standing with the farmworkers and rural laborers, and changing unjust systems and structures.

Regeneration supports this Ministry by donating each Christmas to an RMM fund located here in the northeastern part of the Diocese. Toys and gifts are purchased and sold in the RMM store at reduced prices to enable families to buy Christmas gifts for each other.

Regeneration donates to the RMM camp scholarship that sends children of migrant and rural workers to summer camp.

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The Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), affiliated with the Episcopal Church, is the largest, most comprehensive mariners’ service agency in North America. The Christmas-at-Sea program provides hand knitted scarves, hats and sweaters to mariners. Regeneration parishioners have been involved for over 60 years in sending hand knitted items to SCI.  For more information, please visit seamenschurch.org

Scholarship Program

Each year Regeneration gives a scholarship to a graduating senior at Stissing Mountain Jr. Sr. High school.  This program began many years ago to honor a friend of Regeneration, Louis Ross, and the scholarship was given in his name. Today Regeneration gives two scholarships: one to a student who plans to enter a nursing program and the other to a student who will be the first in his or her family to attend college.

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Performance Space

Regeneration has played host to performing student artists and musicians, ranging from quartets to brass Christmas ensembles.   Last year, the Florestan String Quartet of Bard College visited and treated the audience to Schubert, Rossini and Shostakovich. In support of student artists and musicians from the Hudson Valley area, the church provides its sanctuary as a venue and offers post-concert receptions.  Regeneration also offers an appreciative and discerning audience through word of mouth advertising. For more information, please contact Fred Cartier at 845-758-1884 or Mack Caldwell at 347-633-3115.