|4/6/2017 9:00:00 AM|
Parish center to serve
|RENOVATING THE SCERBO CENTER|
BY KATHLEEN LAMANNAAll Saints on the Hudson parish in Mechanicville/Stillwater is committed to using its new parish center to better the greater community.
The parish dedicated its Rev. Joseph Scerbo Ministry Center in October of last year, but it wasn't until recent months that a plan was developed to use the center to its fullest capacity.
Named after Rev. Joseph Scerbo, a Franciscan Friar of the Atonement and native of the parish who passed away in 2015, the center is located in the former Assumption Church.
Renovating the space took about two years, from removing pews to making it accessible for persons with disabilities. A new heating system is now being installed. The old rectory was also taken down, providing extra parking spaces.
The parish formed an ecumenical board to survey the needs of the area so the center can be put to good use. The survey was sent to parishioners of the town's various faith communities, as well as members of the community at large.
"The group named the initiative 'Hands Together Ecumenical Ministries,'" said Rev. Thomas Morrette, pastor of All Saints on the Hudson. "It is hoped that, by mid-summer, programs will be scheduled to address the needs" that have been discovered.
The ministry center hopes to serve senior citizens, families, children, veterans, addicts and more.
Parish manager Gail Moore noted that the center isn't looking to compete with existing services.
"Everybody's time is limited," she said. "If they are able to get blood pressure clinics elsewhere in town, there's no need for us to do it here."
"Pope Francis has asked parishes in the world not to be self-focused, but to be service-minded," Father Morrette told The Evangelist.
One goal is to provide meeting space at the center for 12-step addiction recovery groups. In the parish bulletin, Father Morrette noted that "countless numbers of good people are enslaved by addictions: drugs, alcohol, sex, food, gambling and others."
Father Morrette also noted the various recovery support groups in the area.
"These meetings are confidential and anyone who participates is committed to establishing a safe place for sharing and healing," the pastor continued. "I hope our parishioners will take advantage of this wonderful local resource. When we have finished the new heating system in the Scerbo Center, it is my hope that we can also host some of these meetings here."
Funding for services will come from all of the local faith communities in the Hands Together group, as well as fundraisers put on by the center. In the past, the center has raised money by hosting dinners for the community.
Right now, Hands Together Ecumenical Ministries is trying to match volunteer interests and availability with the needs of the community.
The space is also being used as a parish center.
"The surprise has been the ecumenical enthusiasm and support for the mission," Father Morrette said.
Looking forward, Ms. Moore noted, the parish hopes to install a commercial kitchen at the center, opening up the opportunity to have more community dinners.
"As a community, people have really come together," she said. "All the way around, we have an opportunity to do so much for so many people."
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