In Touch – February 22, 2014
Posted on February 24, 2014 by under Touché,

Fifteen years ago when Steve Dambra walked into my office I had a sense from the Spirit that this guy was headed into full time, ordained ministry.  Last evening that became a reality.  The Classis of Mid-Hudson gave preliminary approval to Steve Dambra to lead the Beacon Reformed Church and continue at Odyssey on a full time basis.  In church language we are freeing him up from “all worldly avocation.”  That means he is quitting his job at Patterson Dental and working full time for Beacon and Odyssey.  We are all called to full time ministry, that is the vocation for each of us; some of us are blessed enough to be paid so that we do not need to work at a “worldly avocation” for income.


Seven years ago when Mark Mast visited Hopewell we had our first lunch in Beacon and talked about the excitement of having a church in that community.  The Reformed Church of Beacon, established in 1813, celebrated its two-hundredth anniversary this past year.  The town of Beacon is in the midst of an artistic renaissance and has become one of the most exciting Hudson River cities north of New York.  Beacon is a diverse and vibrant community that has great connections south to the city and attracts people from various walks of life.


The Beacon Reformed Church has been struggling to continue in ministry.  Owen Mercer, the last pastor, devoted energy and time to the growth of the congregation.  Since Owen’s death the church has continued with pulpit supply and student preachers.  Classis has provided a supervisor (me), but little has been done in establishing a new vision for how to reach this dynamic and changing community.


Plan for Partnership with Hopewell:


Steve Dambra has been leading the Odyssey church of Hopewell with Pastor Mark Mast. Hopewell has recognized Steve’s gifts for ministry and has been seeking ways that he could focus his energies exclusively in ministry.  We believe that the opportunity at Beacon and the work at Odyssey could present just such freedom for Steve. He could be put in place at Beacon as their leader and devote his full time energies to ministry at Beacon and at Odyssey.  This would start with Steve being the pastor at Beacon as a preaching elder, but would move to a commissioning when classis is ready to approve him as a commissioned pastor.  This ministry would be with the support and partnership of Hopewell through people, resources and prayer.

The plan is for Steve to be in place beginning in Lent and to celebrate Easter with the goal of 100 people in worship from supporting churches in classis and from new people in the Beacon Community.  I will share more with you as this journey unfolds, but this is a great day to celebrate one of our home-grown missionaries who is making an impact for the kingdom of God in Southern Dutchess.  Please pray for Steve in this exciting new journey.

For the Kingdom,