From the Board

From the Board

2023 Reflections and Gratitude, Part 2

Taking time to reflect and appreciate offers a sense of blessing. In this second and final sharing, I will express our communal gratitude to a few more members of the RGCSL community. Please note that we did not intentionally overlook or omit anyone. 

Weekly, we are immersed in the blessings of our Music Ministry. One of Reverend Gil’s greatest intuitions was engaging Susan Clark as our Music Director. Susan and her crew of incredibly talented musicians – Yvette Trujillo, our Choir, Shimon King, John Talan, Victor Padilla, Bob Kermott, and others – enliven our spirit each and every Sunday with their beautiful vocal and instrumental offerings. We are blessed!

As our Minister of Connection, Kamatara Johnson has continued the extraordinary role she has played in terms of interconnection within our community and creating relationships with the local community. Her Sunday messages truly inspire with their delightful humor, personal insight, and practical application. Furthermore, Kamatara played an essential role in connecting Reverend Gil from RGCSL and Reverend Debbie from Unity of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

A huge shoutout to Gilbert Arevalos and his small army of volunteers for our wondrous Bookstore Team. The spectacular array of offerings, the enthusiastic and personalized service, and the modern, updated systems of operation are a tribute to the exceptional nature and commitment of this branch of our ministries.

Finally, we have been so incredibly blessed by the volunteerism, wisdom, and leadership of Chris Duvall in the past year. Chris has headed up our Sacred Celebrations Team, which coordinates planning marriages, funerals, and other special rituals. Chris has also been instrumental in developing the forms and guidelines we will use for any events that will occur within the RGCSL space. Moreover, along with innumerable other contributions, Chris recently hosted a mini retreat for members of the Strategic Vision Team to do calendaring and brainstorming for 2024.

The RGCSL community is immersed in many blessings and contributions that make us the vibrant, welcoming and loving community that we are.

— Mark Ayers, Board President

2023 Reflections and Gratitudes, Part 1

The winding down of one year and the beginning of another is usually a time I use for reflection. What is new for me in 2024 is that I intend to engage in an active practice and expression of appreciation for the blessings that come into my life, which includes the stewardship of the RGCSL community.

Thus, in retrospect, there are a number of individuals who were truly treasures – even heroes and heroines – for RGCSL in 2023, and they deserve acknowledgement for the invaluable contributions they made to bolster, support and inspire our community.

So, in no particular order, here are several difference makers for RGCSL last year:

  • Reverend Martha Quintana and Mason Kressly stepped up in a huge way last winter when our community was in dire financial straits. In solidarity with the community and from their generous hearts, Martha and Mason provided the $5,000 seed money for the matching grant campaign at a time the Center truly needed it. Their intention was to create additional matching grant opportunities, of which there were two. Martha and Mason’s commitment to RGCSL is undeniable, and on a personal note, I want to extend my genuine thanks to Martha for co-celebrating my son’s Celebration of Life by having us chant, “Miklo, presente!” I could palpably feel his presence in our sanctuary.
  • A wheelbarrow of kudos goes to Carmella Herrera for holding down Compassionate Ministries through COVID and our Interim Ministry. While she says she has retired, yet still spends countless hours at the center every week, Carmella recruited two extremely capable individuals to continue the leadership and service of Compassionate Ministries: Susan Solari (who also spearheaded the founding of our lively Women’s Group) and Sue Klump. And so the mission of providing prayer and care to our community continues!
  • Many thanks to Hana Dawson, Douglas Bowe, and Tamara Williams, our three retired Board members, who all served diligently and committedly for either three or four years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are so many contributions on the part of all three for which we have immense gratitude. We will be honoring these three Board members during service on Sunday, January 28th.
  • Since Nancy Bowers became our “Administrative Angel”, the entire ambience of RGCSL has become infinitely more positive and welcoming. Additionally, we continue on a daily basis to gain clarity about our financial status. Anyone who calls or visits RGCSL is greeted by an affirmative, positive, hugging presence.
  • A big shoutout to Liza Kerr for many contributions, but especially for co-chairing the Strategic Vision Team and heading up our FUN Ministry, which resulted in a robust campout at Jack’s Creek in August, and even more well-attended (49 people!) Labor Day Picnic. In addition, Liza headed up our Volunteer Recruitment in September, that generated a myriad of volunteers to coordinate various projects through the end of 2023.

Part 2 will follow next week. We are indeed a rich and abundant community.

Mark Ayers, Board President

Gala News

The final tally of the Holiday Gala, held on Saturday, December 16, is more than $3600!! What a wonderful success on so many levels. 

  • The musical entertainment was divine!
  • The homemade soups, salads, and other food items were scrumptious!
  • The Silent Auction was engaging and highly profitable!
  • The fellowship was warm-hearted and festive. We were delighted to be joined by a strong contingent from Unity Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

Special thanks to our trio of organizers: Hilda Kirshner organized the musical entertainment for the evening and donated generously to the auction. Grace Woods handled so many of the prearrangements, auction pricing, and infusion of spirit. The overall chairperson, Board member Michael McPherson, donated the gift baskets, coordinated the raffle, and provided outstanding leadership. Hats off to Michael, who master-minded the entire event!

Additional thanks go to several other individuals: Sherry Noone and Suzanne Klump donated innumerable hours the week before the event to help with pricing and organizing the auction. Rev. Gil was a great host and emcee, as well as supervising the physical set-up of the Sanctuary and Social Hall. Nancy Bowers gave up her life for several weeks before and after the event to ensure it all flowed smoothly. Rev. Gil proclaimed Nancy “a trooper” for all her hard work.

The Gala is an example of fundraising and fellowship that will take RGCSL to a whole new level! Thank you to anyone who participated in any way to make it happen.