It is with a heavy—but HOPEFUL—heart that I announce that Allen Pontarelli will be stepping away from United in Christ Ministries (UICM) at the end of this month to pursue his calling as the Pastor of his own Church. Allen has been with our Ministry since we started our journey over twelve years ago. As our Executive Director, Allen has been a champion for so many kids and families in the Black Hills neighborhood. With unwavering faith and absolute resolve, Allen’s direction of our programs and development of our community relationships has helped us to achieve a longevity and success that few could have anticipated.
Over the years, UICM has experienced transformational growth. We have moved from small gatherings in people’s living rooms and Church basements to larger assemblies in the Black Hills Community Center. We have consistently innovated our core programs (God’s Club, Kids Zone, Pathfinders, and The Motion Initiative (TMI)) while improving our mentoring relationships to impact even more kids. We have increased partnerships with area churches, businesses, families, and individuals to help strengthen, support, and serve more and more families in our neighborhood. We have shared in a great many triumphs, achievements, and laughs, while overcoming a number of tragedies, struggles, and tears. In these current and often cynical times, I cannot emphasize enough just how challenging it can be for an Executive Director to develop and lead an inner-city ministry that is both relevant and impactful. But with absolute confidence, I can tell you that there were few things Allen was not able to accomplish. Against impossible odds and with limited resources, Allen utilized every asset and gift that God gave him to be the best Executive Director that he could be. I could spend pages telling you of the countless good Allen has done for our Ministry and this community. Sadly, most of his greatest accomplishments went unacknowledged. That’s the way he wanted it though— ALL done with very little fanfare and very little attention drawn to himself. Allen would be the first to tell you it was never about that. It was always about glorifying God by being the best person he could be and serving sacrificially for the benefit of others. With that spirit of humility, perseverance, and dedication Allen made our team better. He made our Ministry better. He made our community better. He made me better.
To me, Allen’s greatest leadership quality is his ability to see the best in ALL people regardless of their circumstances. It is this unbiased and unconditional love for people that has taught me a great deal about myself and the type of servant leader I wish to be. Thank you, my Brother, for challenging me to be better, for teaching me so much, for being a good friend, and for “fighting the good fight, for finishing the race, and for keeping the faith.”
I know these few remaining days have not been easy for Allen. Twelve years is a long time. I commend my Brother for having the courage to leave the comfort of the Ministry to embrace his calling as a Pastor. Guided by his faith and grounded in the loving support of his wife and two children, Allen now embarks on a new journey…A journey that I am confident will allow him to continue to faithfully serve and impact our community for the better. I delight in the knowledge that Allen’s numerous talents and gifts will morph into a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities…Possibilities and opportunities that will guide and encourage so many others to grow in their relationship with the Lord.
So, how do you adequately recognize someone for twelve years of humble service to something greater than oneself? The truth is you don’t. HOWEVER, as a day of reflection and community celebration, I am asking YOU to join us at 6:00 p.m. on August 31st for our last Wednesday Night Summer Dinner up at Hillcrest Community Church (850 Norwich Avenue, S.W.) to recognize everything Allen has meant to us and to our Ministry. Please join us to thank our Brother and to ask for God’s Blessing and Grace over his new path. And—in his last official act as Executive Director—witness Allen officially “pass the torch” to his new successor and Brother in Christ, Troy Williams.
UICM is a very special Ministry, made so by the kindness, generosity, and service of so many. I am so honored to serve as its Board President. We are truly thankful for the many blessings & accomplishments of our past and we look forward to new beginnings.
Thank YOU & God Bless,
Board President, United In Christ Ministries (UICM)