“My first visit to Gilford Community Church was so vastly different from any other church I have attended,” noted Pate, who joined more than 20 years ago when her son was young. “It gave us both a sense of community and belonging.”
Reflecting on more than 20 years at GCC, Pate said she still feels the same way every time she steps into the building. “I will never be able to pay back to the church, the congregation, and Michael even a fraction of what it has given me,” she said. “I am grateful that I am able to help on the Diaconate and take part in the Sunday service.”
According to Sue Allen, GCC Council Chair, Pate’s commitment extends well beyond their Sunday services. “She also serves as secretary for our Church Council meetings as well as for the Faith Proposal and Annual meetings,” she explained. “Stacey is always willing to go above and beyond by volunteering to serve as the secretary for the Gilford Got Lunch Program, which is sponsored by the church.”
Describing him as “a quiet individual,” Allen said Fleck has always made a difference “behind the scenes.” “As a member of the Diaconate Committee, Joe has covered the video taping for our church services since COVID changed the way we worship,” she said. “His contribution and commitment has allowed our congregation to watch our services from the comfort of their homes and always be part of our church family.”
According to Fleck, the pandemic highlighted the “big part” GCC played in his life and those of other GCC members. “Running the video each week was a small way for me to give back to the church and community that has given so much to me and my family,” he said.
Regarding the contributions of Ross, Allen cited his leadership on GCC’s Facilities Committee, which oversaw a recently completed multi-phase Clean Energy project that included the installation of ultra-violet air filters and solar panels. She said he has also ensured the campus can be safely traversed in the winter.
“You would often see Eston salting and shoveling on campus at all hours of the day, making sure that our driveway and walkways were safe for our visitors,” she noted. “He has worked countless hours checking on our facility and is owed a debt of gratitude for the difference he has quietly made.”
While expressing appreciation for the recognition, Ross said there are many members who volunteer much more of their time and resources. “They bring with them experience and expertise in areas that can really make an impact in our church and in our community,” he said.
Ross said he particularly appreciates GCC’s focus on philanthropy. “It is a great feeling for me to be a part of a group that has chosen to help out local organizations that provide aid and relief for so many in our surrounding neighborhoods,” he added.
According to Pastor Michael Graham, it is this outward gaze that defines the vision of GCC. “We are part of this community and care deeply about our neighbors, our community, and this planet,” he said. “I’m so thankful to serve alongside our members to make a meaningful difference. We act locally and think globally.”
Located in Gilford, NH, GCC is an inclusive, open community with a broadly ecumenical spirit that welcomes people from all denominational and cultural backgrounds. Viewable live on YouTube, services take place at 10 a.m. on Sundays at 19 Potter Hill Rd., Gilford, NH.