Moving Forward

      18 Comments on Moving Forward

Dear friends and members of Milford UMC,

i know the memories of Sunday evening are probably still uppermost in our minds, and I sympathize so much with your feelings of grief and loss. It is certainly going to take us all a while to process what has happened, and to let go of the anxiety, sadness and moments of despair that followed in the wake of the fire.

First of all, I want to you all to know that I am deeply committed to help the congregation move forward into a brand new chapter as a congregation, taking with us the memories of the past, and making new memories as we travel together through life. We all know that life is not an even road. There are ups and downs in all our lives, but what makes us resilient is knowing that we travel together, and share a faith that protects and promises.

The Board of Trustees met last night at the Parsonage. As Trustees they are responsible for the physical condition of the building. DS Everett Bassett was also present. We are working on an inventory of the church, on plans for the Food Pantry to be relocated, and on all the arrangements needed to begin our worship on Sunday mornings, at the Cultural Center, which has generously offered us a temporary home until our church is rebuilt. And yes, our church will be rebuilt, and from the blackness of Sunday night, there will come a day when we all stand in the sunlight and look at a new building with happiness and peace in all our hearts.

The response from the community has been overwhelming. The local fire fighters did an outstanding job of coming to our aid, and their solidarity and expertise was undeniable.
Our thanks also to many people who stepped forward with offers of coffee, water, food and blankets.

I have received over 100 emails from other ministers, other congregations, other denominations, total strangers, people who worshipped at Milford in the past, and concerned friends and family members. I am sure we all can recall kind words spoken, sympathetic hugs and offers to help.

The last 48 hours have truly been the worst of times, and the best of times.

I will be sending out my usual Thursday update with more details. We meet with the insurance adjuster hopefully tomorrow morning. At this moment in time, I ask you to be in prayer for the leadership of the church, and for each of the members. We need to ask God’s help for guidance. We need to ask God’s blessing on our future.

I invite each of you, to come on Sunday morning to the service at the Cultural Center, at our usual time of 10 45am. The same musicians that played for our last glorious service, will be there to play for our first service in a new setting. We will be joined by members of at least two other congregations that want to show their support. DS Everett Bassett will be speaking and I will be preaching on ‘the cross of Christ’ and my experience the morning after the fire, when I returned to the Sanctuary to retrieve our altar cross.

It will be an emotional time for us all, but a time to draw together and to remember that we worship a God who is with us during both the bad times and the good times.

Please encourage as many people as you can to come.

I know there are many unanswered questions and concerns we have at this time, but in the coming weeks our plans will take shape, our leaders will step forward, and we will move forwards, together. As the family of God. Faith in action.

Blessings in abundance,
Pastor Sylvia

18 thoughts on “Moving Forward

  1. Thomas Place

    Please accept our sincere sympathies and know here we will be praying for your church and congradtion .Faith in the Lord will pull you thought
    In Gods Love Thomas R Place
    Lay Leader
    Springville First U.M.C.

    1. Rev Sylvia Barrett

      Dear Thomas, it is at times like this, that we truly appreciate being part of the ‘bigger’ picture. We are members of a connectional denomination as United Methodists, and all members of the Body of Christ, called to service in this world. We thank you for your prayers, and send greetings from our congregation to Springville First UMC
      Pastor Sylvia

    2. Rev Sylvia Barrett

      Dear Thomas, thank you so much for your kind words and prayers. It is at times such as this that we truly appreciate being members of a connectional church, as United Methodists. We are also all members of the Body of Christ, called into service as his followers. Warm greetings from our congregation to Springville First UMB
      Pastor Sylvia

  2. Rev. Beth Malone

    To our sisters and brothers in Christ, we are saddened by the news of your fire. As a connectional church, we feel your pain, and pray for strength for you as you travel this road of change. May you feel the presence of God who surrounds you in your time of need. May you be greatly blessed as you come together to worship this Sunday.

    Rev. Beth S. Malone
    Lyndonville UMC
    Niagara Frontier District

    1. Rev Sylvia Barrett

      Our thanks to your church… our sisters and brothers in Christ,
      We are called to give thanks at all times, and this we do, even in the midst of turmoil, because we know that the darkest night is always followed by the dawning of a brand new day.
      Pastor Sylvia

    2. Rev Sylvia Barrett

      Dear Beth, the outpouring of support since the fire, has been truly amazing, as is God’s grace! Thank you so much for reaching out to us, as fellow United Methodists. We ask you to continue praying for us, as we move forward, one small step at a time. We send our greetings to all in the Lyndonville UMC.
      Pastor Sylvia

  3. Carol Jubenville

    Dear Pastor Sylvia an dear saints of the Milton UMC,
    First and foremost I extend my heartfelt sorrow for the loss of your church building. My heart aches for all of you. You are as your mission statement says ” God’s Family…..” You are God’s beloved and I am sure he loves you so. Now, after a period of sorrow, your faith will have another opportunity to be put into action. My prayer is that you grow stronger from out of the ashes you will be raised up.
    Prayers of peace and grace during challenging time,
    Your sister in Christ,
    Rev. Carol Jubenville

    1. Rev Sylvia Barrett

      The ruins of the church have been covered in a blanket of white. Surely a promise that God’s love is a salve for all pain. Thank you so much for reaching out to us at this difficult time.
      Pastor Sylvia

  4. Sharon Boyd

    Dear Pastor Sylvia:

    My heart aches for you and the people of your congregation. While we always say – with our mouths – the church is just a building, in our hearts it is so much more. And it is this heartache from the “so much more” that will take time to heal. Even though we’re more than 3 hours away and I have never met you, I can tell by your letter that you are the kind of leader who is able to partner with our Lord in the healing and rebuilding of Milford UMC. Our congregation is already praying for you and the congregation during this sad and challenging time.

    In His Love,
    Sharon Boyd, Lay Leader
    Zion West Walworth UMC

    1. Rev Sylvia Barrett

      Thank you so much for your warm, compassionate words of healing. Knowing that your congregation is praying for us all is such a comfort. In times of pain, we draw together to feel connected, to feel safe, and to feel loved. We all serve a God of love, and we serve His purpose when we love our neighbor as ourselves.
      Pastor Sylvia

  5. Larry Tabor

    It was sad when mom called to tell me that the church was on fire. The building may be lost, but the memories are not. If I remember correctly, the church was physically built during the depression. A time when many in the area had nothing. The one thing that was certain is that they had both faith, and a huge goal. Today, the congregation will again need both. One, without the other, will not work. When the smoke, dust and snow clears, please create a new dreamers goal. One bigger than you can imagine today. One that will unite the community in a way that we have not seen in a long time. With both faith and a goal we can achieve anything.

    Larry Tabor
    Palisades, NY.

  6. Gwynneth


    Prayers are wonderful, but now it is time for action. There are many of former worshippers who now live very far from Milford, yet, would very much like to donate and help rebuild. Please let us know if there is a GoFundMe page where we can contribute.



    1. Rev Sylvia Barrett

      Dear Gwynneth, thank you so much for your suggestion and kind words. The Mlford UMC Relief Fund is now in operation. Any donations would be gratefully received. Our postal address is Po Box 127 Milford NY 13807
      Pastor Sylvia

  7. Tim Preddice

    The United Methodist Church of Fonda-Fultonville shares the grief of loosing a church to a destructive fire with the folks of the Milford UMC. I humbly share the good wishes, blessings and prayers from the Fonda-Fultonville congregation. These situations are heart wrenching; like loosing a good friend. We know how you feel. As my church moves forward and make decisions for the future of our church we will no doubt learn things that could benefit both of our churches and will pass along this information.
    It sounds like the Milford UMC has already decided to rebuild and I congratulate all of you on this wonderful choice. Fonda-Fultonville UMC is moving more slowly and hopefully will come to the same conclusion once we learn more. May God Bless.
    Tim Preddice
    Council Chair
    Fonda-Fultonville United Methodist Church

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