Tri-County Ministry was organized in 1992, when several area congregations found themselves without a pastor. Informational meetings were held in Cooperstown early in the year, and by August 1, a full staff was in place to serve the one PCUSA congregation and seven ELCA congregations.
Over the years, the face of Tri-County Ministry has changed. At one time, ten congregations were part of the cooperative parish. Currently, seven congregations – one PCUSA and six ELCA – are bonded together in this parish of ministry and mission.
From the beginning, the Tri-County Ministry Council has been based on the senate form of government: each congregation has two representatives to the board. This council meets at least once per quarter or as needed. Each congregation also maintains its own council/session to deal with the local church needs.
TCM has had an intern program in place almost every year since 1994. Interns have come from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley CA, Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg PA, Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus OH, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia SC, and Lutheran Theological Seminary in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Although the parish has not had an intern pastor for the past few years, the parish does hope to be assigned an intern pastor when one is available.
Tri-County Ministry and its seven congregations actively participate in mission, not just with dollars, but with hands and feet. Over the years, mission trips to Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Duluth, and even Mexico have happened. As membership numbers, and especially youth numbers, have declined, these trips have become less possible. But while not physically participating in mission, our churches and members are more than willing to participate in mission with both cash and in-kind donations.
The seven congregations of Tri-County Ministry welcome all people of all communities. “We exist to serve Christ in harmony with our member churches and communities.”