Why is Henry Ward Beecher Wearing a Sash?

Gutzon Borglum’s statue of Henry Ward Beecher is bedazzled this week with a “welcome” sash in celebration of Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims’ announcement of a new Assistant Minister. Al Bunis, a Brooklyn Heights resident and member of the church since 1998, has been named to the newly created position.

Official press release after the jump.

Plymouth Church press release: Brooklyn, July 29, 2010. Plymouth Church, the historic landmark Congregational Church in Brooklyn Heights, is pleased to announce that local resident Al Bunis has been named to the newly created position of Assistant Minister. Bunis, a member of Plymouth since 1998, is a seminarian at New York Theological Seminary, where he is scheduled to receive his Master of Divinity next spring. Over the past year, he has served as Minister in Training at Christ Church, a United Church of Christ congregation in Summit, NJ.

In searching for a new minister, the Plymouth congregation is responding to significant growth in membership. Rev. David C. Fisher, Senior Minister of Plymouth Church, helped lead the search committee “at a critical juncture,” as he describes it. “The church has grown rapidly and needs to restructure our ministry in order to grow in a healthy way. The addition of an Assistant Minister is a large first step, and Al Bunis’s appointment is an exciting beginning to this new chapter.”

The role of Assistant Minister at Plymouth will encompass the development and implementation of the church’s small group ministry and an expanded youth program, including confirmation classes. Bunis will also be active in supporting the assimilation of new members, teaching Adult Education classes and leading public worship. The Plymouth Search Committee was unanimous in selecting him for this multi-dimensional role. As noted in the recent letter that Rev. Fisher and Plymouth Council President Sandra Deming sent to the congregation, “[The committee] was so impressed with Al’s character, passion and potential for ministry at Plymouth, it decided Al is the right person for the job and we should look no further.”

Al and his wife Lynn Bunis live in Brooklyn Heights with their children Alison and Gregory. Alongside his seminary studies, he has had an extensive career in New York-based financial services. An avid tennis player, Bunis also serves on the board of the New York Junior Tennis League.

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  • lori

    Last Sunday was “Kickoff Sunday” at Plymouth Church and I think the Welcome sash on the Beecher statue was to welcome everyone back to begin a new church year. Their welcome back barbecue and picnic was to have been held in the Beecher Garden but, unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and it was held in the gym.

  • http://loscalzo.posterous.com Homer Fink

    The explanation above came directly from the church.

  • T.K. Small

    Are you sure it doesn’t have to do with fashion week?

  • David on Middagh

    It made him feel fabulous!