Southern Valley Cooperative Parish

Churches of the Southern Valley Cooperative Parish

Select a church to visit their site…

New Paltz UMC

Sundays 9:45am
In-Person, Zoom, FB Live
1 Grove Street
New Paltz, NY 12561
(845) 255-5210

Parish Events

Parish News

Linda Mellor
March 2023

At the February 16th meeting of the Southern Valley Cooperative Parish Council, the main focus of the discussion was “How are we doing as a Cooperative Parish?  Are we moving too fast, too slow?  Is this what you had hoped and dreamed of?”  The responses to these questions from those in attendance were widely varied.  To summarize, it was felt that the Parish Council members are getting to know each other, but our church members are not; wanted a stronger focus on Mission and Ministry – the current severe housing crisis in Ulster County was lifted as a need to address; would like Parish-wide worship.

What are your responses to how our Parish is doing?  What can we pass along for you?

At the March 16th meeting, we reviewed the status of our current Parish-wide initiatives:

Ministry of the Needle:  Led by Margaret Howe, meeting monthly via Zoom, focuses on creating hand-crafted items with a ministry purpose.  We are currently working on our own projects, but have discussed ministries that we might want to do together.   Next gathering is Thursday, March 30th at 7pm.

H.E.A.R.T.S. Ministry:  Led by Eileen Daunt, meeting Fridays, 10am-2pm in Modena, supports those struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their care-givers.  Karen Seyfert from our church also volunteers and would love to share more with you on this vital ministry.  Do you know of anyone that might like to be a participant of this group?

Men’s Breakfast:  Led by George Hart, meeting monthly at the Highland Diner, provides a time of fellowship and sharing among men in our Parish. The next get-together will be Saturday, March 25th at the Gateway Diner in Highland. 

Support for Refugee Families:  Laura Corbett is working with Plutarch for Refugees to support two families from Afghanistan that are settling in the New Paltz area.  These are the families we supported with our Angel Tree gifts.  Current needs are for financial donations.

Bell Choir:  Stephanie Parsons has been trying to gather information on what bells are available across our Parish and possible interest.

Fellowship Gathering:  Pam Pardee is looking into dates and possible venues for a Parish-wide picnic and fellowship gathering.  Schedules over the next couple of months are VERY busy for folks.  Thinking about something this summer.

Parish Worship:  Pastor Grace is forming a planning group with at least one member from each Parish congregation to create a Parish-wide worship service, possibly something on a summer weeknight.

Ulster Habitat:  In response to last month’s discussion regarding a larger, more encompassing ministry project supported by our entire Parish, George Hart will reach out to Ulster County Habitat to explore ideas.

Alternate Forms of Income:  Just as we are envisioning and investigating ways in which we can reach out in ministry that are financially viable and sustainable, the Parish also would like to do the same.  Currently we are working on gathering information on all the physical assets (buildings, spaces, etc) across the Parish.

The work of the Parish needs to extend beyond the council.  Are you interested in working with any of these projects?  Or have other ideas for our Parish?  Reach out to our current Council attendees:  Pastor Grace, Margaret Howe, Jane Ruback, Karen Seyfert, Stephanie Parsons, or Linda Mellor.

Southern Valley Cooperative Parish on Social Media


Follow posts and happenings on the
Southern Valley Cooperative Parish
Facebook Page


View and subscribe to the
Southern Valley Cooperative Parish
YouTube Channel

Pastors of the Southern Valley Cooperative Parish

Zintack Albert Hahn

Parish Coordinator

Serving: Milton-Marlboro UMC; Memorial UMC, Modena; First UMC of Highland

Limina Grace Harmon

Serving: New Paltz UMC; First UMC of Highland

Gail Erdie

Serving: Lloyd UMC; Town of Esopus UMC; First UMC of Highland

George A. Hart

Serving: Plutarch UMC; First UMC of Highland

Pastor Interviews

Our pastors were asked to respond to a series of questions. Get to know them better through these short videos:

What is a Cooperative Parish?

Local churches, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, may enhance their witness to one another and to the world by showing forth the love of Jesus Christ through forms of mutual cooperation.

Paragraph 206 of the 2016 Book of Discipline

A cooperative ministry is when groups of people representing two or more churches share their ministries to meet the needs of the community.

A cooperative parish is an ongoing structured way to employ cooperative ministries between churches within a defined region.

The cooperative parish will have a Parish Council with clergy and laity from each church in the cooperative parish to discuss, plan and make decisions regarding mission and
ministry through the cooperative parish. There are several forms of cooperative parishes. We are engaged in a Multiple Charge Parish where every church in the Cooperative Parish maintains their local church identity and participates in the Cooperative Parish Council for shared mission and ministry. In a Multiple Charge Parish, clergy are appointed to the Cooperative Parish and assigned to a local church(es) and their communities.

The Cooperative Parish provides the opportunity for all churches
to engage in ministry together that which they cannot do alone.

Many churches do not have the people or resources to organize a church missions event, confirmation retreat or regular outreach activities on their own. However, these mission and ministry opportunities are possible in a cooperative parish. Cooperative Parishes also offer the laity to have access to different and new ministry opportunities, experience the gifts and leadership of other clergy and laity across the parish, and use their gifts and calling in new contexts and settings across the parish. Through cooperative Parishes, the laity can be empowered and equipped to live into their unique ministries.

Cooperative Parishes are a Wesleyan model of our connection to expand our church’s ministry to the communities, using our churches and our parish ministries as the center of transformative possibility to all the people in the parish.

Southern Valley Cooperative Parish Council

Albert Hahn, Milton-Marlboro, ModenaLimina Grace Harmon, New PaltzGeorge Hart, Plutarch, HighlandGail Erdie, Lloyd, EsopusLaura Corbett, Plutarch
Eileen Daunt, ModenaDeb Dressel, PlutarchKaren Garner, EsopusJohn Hopper, Milton-MarlboroMargaret Howe, New Paltz
Ed Mackey, Milton-MarlboroLinda Mellor, New PaltzLinda Mesuda, PlutarchPam Pardee, LloydStephanie Parsons, New Paltz
Jane Ruback, New PaltzKaren Seyfert, New PaltzSuzanne Smith-Ramos, Milton-MarlboroBarbara Terpening, ModenaJoseph Watson, Modena
David Winters, Milton-Marlboro

A Parish Council is a body of active clergy appointed to the churches and charges in the Cooperative Parish and lay persons from each church and charge in a Cooperative Parish. The role of the Parish Council is critical to the life of the Cooperative Parish. Through the building of relationships, discovery and mutual sharing of gifts, expertise and skills, the Parish Council envisions, directs and implements the mission and ministry of the Cooperative Parish to meet the needs of all people in the communities of the Cooperative Parish and invites all people into a relationship with Jesus Christ through the Gospel message of hope, love and grace. The Parish Council will align the Cooperative Parish with the Mission, Vision and Core Values of the New York Annual Conference.


From the New York Annual Conference web site:

NYAC Cooperative Parishes: One Body, One Spirit, One Hope (Narrative)
Learn why Cooperative Parishes are a new model of ministry for your church, your community and the New York Annual Conference.

Cooperative Parish FAQs
Read answers to some of the frequently asked questions received about Cooperative Parishes.

Cooperative Parish Roles and Responsibilities
Learn about the different roles and responsibilities in the Cooperative Parish.

Responsibilities of Lay Members on Cooperative Parish Councils
Understand the responsibilities of the Lay Member to Parish Council.

NYAC Cooperative Parishes: One Body, One Spirit, One Hope (Bulletin Insert)
Use this bulletin insert to share about Cooperative Parishes with the congregation.

NYAC Cooperative Parishes: Restoring and Resetting for the Journey…
Use this PowerPoint Presentation to share how Cooperative Parishes are a process of resetting and aligning churches for mission and ministry.