Ray Of Hope Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Inc.
The Church in Central New York founded and consistently fostered by the GLBTQIS community. Now in our 34th Year of Ministry.

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Welcome to Ray of Hope
Church Of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Southern Tier Extension Chapel Page

Updated December 6, 2016
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We own our property at 380 W. First Street in Elmira, NY 14901 

We are the Church in the Southern Tier where everyone is welcome, including persons of all social classes, any kind of family, all races, sexual orientations, and gender expressions.
God welcomes you and so do we.

 

We never held a vote to decide if we would be an INCLUSIVE church for you.

We are not an OPEN AND AFFIRMING church for you.

We are not a RECONCILING CHURCH or

RECONCILING  CONGREGATION for you.

We are not an OPEN MINDED or ACCEPTING or WELCOMING

 church where you can attend as long as you blend in quietly and discretely.

WE  ARE  YOU!

THIS is the church where YOU belong.

Ray Of Hope Church is the church

by us, for us, and made by You.


http://www.rayofhopechurch.com/rainfly.gifCELEBRATING 33 YEARS OF MINISTRY IN CENTRAL NEW YORK

Celebrating Twenty Years in the Southern Tier


 ** ELMIRA SCHEDULE **

Worship on SUNDAY morning 10:30

 Bible Enrichment Sessions Tuesday Nights 6:30 – 8:00 PM

 

We opened our Chapel on June 1, 2003.  This was the first Sunday of Pride Month in 2003.  This is a picture of the front of the building in 2003.
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In 2014 we received a very generous gift and were able to make the monastery and chapel accessible to persons of all abilities.  Here is what the front of the building looks like today with the porch and wheelchair elevator, and two new sets of cement staircases on the front of the exterior.

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In both of these recent pictures (June, 2016) one of the five straight women who started the Southern Tier Extension in 1996, Jane Mc Dermott, is seen in her wheelchair on the new accessible porch.  Jane is 79 years old and still very proud to be a Member of Ray Of Hope Church and one of the foundresses of the Southern Tier Extension.  Pictured with Jane are two of her Personal Assistants – Philip and Logan who worked with her in the Spring of 2016.  Logan Wenzel is also the professional Computer Science major who reformatted our previous version of the web site into the platform we are using now.

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In these two pictures taken in May of 2016 the special outdoor elevator is easily visible.

 

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When you come into the building, use the small door to the far right, seen here.

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380 W. First St. in Elmira is the Parsonage/Rectory/Monastery of the Southern Tier Extension. 
We have a beautiful chapel at the Monastery open to the public for private prayer seven days a week.

This is what the chapel looked like in 2003 when we first opened.

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One of the most beautiful and most memorable features of the chapel is the original painting on the floor of the circular rainbow and the Jerusalem Cross forming a medallion in the center of the room.  This original painting was designed and painted by Pamela Wenck.  Pam practiced drawing the artwork and discovering all the mathematical formulas in the Jerusalem Cross.  Her design is flawless.  We are forever grateful to Pam for her outstanding artwork in this chapel.

 

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Today, 2015 the chapel changes with every season of the Church Year.

This picture is from Holy Week, 2015

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Everyone is welcome to come in and spend time praying in the chapel of the Monastery. There are booklets near the front entrance to help you with your prayer and meditation. You are welcome to bring a book or your Bible and sit and read and pray in the chapel. When the door is unlocked you may come in.

One reason we keep silence in the chapel is Jesus Christ is especially present in the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament, Holy Communion reserved for prayer inside the Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is in the front left corner of the chapel under the picture of Jesus and the open Bible. The Tabernacle can be seen twenty-four hours a day from the street through our beautiful large windows across the front of the parsonage. Often times people who are passing by stop, face the Tabernacle, make the sign of the cross, or stand and close their eyes and pray. It is very moving to see people take a moment out of their day to acknowledge Christ present in our lives and in our world. 

This is a picture of what the Tabernacle area looked like in 2003.
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Here are some pictures of the Tabernacle area today.  Please come in and use the kneelers and offer your prayers.

This is Christmas 2014

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Notice the beautiful pulpit in this picture.  This is the original pulpit from the original St. Mary’s Church in Horseheads, NY when it was on lower Broad Street.  We received this gift in 2014.  It was given to us by Lisa Frost.  Lisa had dedicated the pulpit in thanksgiving and in memory of her parents, Martha and Burton Cummings, and in honor of Aja Lee Merritt who passed away on April 20, 2015 at the age of 23.  Aja is the cousin of Crystal Nye who is a Personal Assistant here with Jane at the monastery and a good friend of our congregation.

 

This is Advent, Week I in 2014

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This picture was taken 6-24-16.  We should also tell you these kneelers were from the former Dominican Monastery in Elmira, NY.  The Sisters who lived there prayed two women at a time 24 hours a day for the 40 years they were in Elmira on these very kneelers.  These are the kneelers that were used for perpetual adoration of Jesus truly present in the Most Holy Blessed Sacrament, the Bread Of Life and the Cup Of Salvation.  We are very honored to have these kneelers and to be reminded of the years of service and devotion they represent.  You can feel in the top pads where these women pressed their elbows and in the bottom pads where their knees pressed into the foam as they prayed for all of us all those years.

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The Tabernacle is marked by the "PX" symbol. The "PX" symbol is a monogram of the Holy Name of Christ which is spelled xpistos in Greek, the original language of the Christian Testament. 
(spelled here with English letters that sound like the Greek letters).

This picture is from 2003
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A red candle burns near  the Tabernacle, mounted to the wall, twenty-four hours a day to remind us of the constant presence of Christ 
who promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age.

This picture is also from 2003
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Here is what the Tabernacle Light of Presence looks like in 2015

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In 2015 Christina Benedict purchased a print of a modern sculpture dating from 1980 by Claude Gruer, depicting Christ giving the first Eucharist.  The original sculpture is on the Main Altar in Saint-Samson cathedral, Brittany, France.  Christina dedicated this print in memory of her Mother, Eva May Mills who passed away this year.  Sometimes during the year you will see this print in the Tabernacle area.

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The Bible is also on display at all times and lit with a light. The Bible can be clearly seen from the street. We display the Bible as our witness that we believe the Word Of God is one of God's greatest gifts to all people. It is only through the reading and meditation on Sacred Scriptures that we can be set free from the myths and lies of racism, sexism, homophobia, gender bias, ageism, misogny (silent prejudice against women), anti-Semitism, and all forms of oppression. We love the Word Of God. Contrary to popular opinion the Bible does not condemn us, but it does set us free from denominational dogmas of those persons who do condemn us.
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When you enter the chapel at the Parsonage you will see an artistic carving reminding us that Jesus was resurrected by God and is seated now at God's right hand making intercession for us. Jesus is now serving the Church as our one and only High Priest, the Chief Shepherd Of Souls. The carving shows him ascending to Paradise, but the Cross and the palms are right behind Him reminding us that our victory and our own resurrections are made possible only by the suffering 
Jesus endured for us.
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The resurrection cross is standing above the holy water font. In this dish is kept holy water (water set apart) to remind us of our baptism. Some people like to touch their fingers into the water and make the sign of the cross to reaffirm their own baptismal promises to be faithful to God until we are all safely in God's Kingdom.

A lamp is often seen at night in our window. It lights up the street in front of the Parsonage. It reminds us to keep our hearts watching and waiting for the return of Christ for His Church. Notice the beautiful rainbow cross colored glass art piece made for us. It often reflects a beautiful rainbow on the wall behind the cross. 

Pictured here in 2003
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This is what the exit door looks like today, 6-24-16


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Above the rainbow cross is the medal of St. Benedict, front and back.  Just over the light switch is print of the painting “Lamb of God” by Nathan Greene.  What is so noticeable in this painting is Jesus is holding a black sheep.  The black sheep is an image LGBTQIS persons are often familiar with.  Here we see Jesus loving the black sheep.  This print was given to the church by Larry Kelly.