The Transition Plan adopted by the Presbytery Council called for the creation of several teams to work on various aspects of our transition. The Staff & Structure Team was assigned to present a plan for changes to the Presbytery structure. This Team was composed of the Presbytery Officers and the members of the Council’s Personnel Committee.
The Staff & Structure Team began by investigating some of the staffing patterns and structures being utilized by presbyteries of our size across the denomination. What the Team discovered was that, while there were common challenges, there were no common patterns, either in staffing or structure. This investigation led to a fruitful discussion of the challenges we face as a Presbytery and of the hopes and dreams we have for our Presbytery.
After several additional team meetings, the webinar in May, and a plenary discussion at our Silver Bay meeting, a draft of a structure plan was presented to the Presbytery Council at its June meeting. Several suggested changes were made at this meeting. The Presbytery Officers then followed up with another review of the proposed plan, and further revisions were made. This revised plan is now presented for our review. A webinar will be held on August 31st at 10:00 AM to discuss this plan and receive your feedback. Following the webinar, the Council will finalize a plan to be presented to the Presbytery on October 1st.
This proposed plan seeks to accomplish the following:
- Ensure that the Presbytery meets its responsibilities as outlined in the Form of Government. The new Form of Government eliminated almost all of the required committees and allowed presbyteries to design structures that would enable them to effectively carry out the responsibilities they have as councils of the church. It gives presbyteries the needed flexibility to respond to changing missional needs. Our current structure follows the pattern of the prior Form of Government. This plan proposes changes to this pattern.
- Provide for more efficient handling of regular business. In our various discussions, we heard expressed the desire for a more streamlined way of handling our business. In this plan, some of the proposed committees and the Board of Trustees are given “commission authority,” allowing them to decide matters of regular business and report their actions to the Presbytery. For instance, the proposed plan gives the Board of Trustees the authority to approve sale of property requests made by congregations, allowing those sales to proceed in a timelier manner. We think that this will allow for shorter business meetings overall and more time for discussion of critical issues.
- Help the Presbytery grow as a community of trust and love. Trust was identified by the Council as an important issue for the Presbytery. The Council has engaged in several critical conversations concerning trust in the Presbytery and how it can be improved. There will be meetings in September which will broaden this conversation to the whole Presbytery. One source of mistrust has been the perception that the Presbytery Council sometimes functions as the “presbytery within the Presbytery.” This plan proposes that our current Presbytery Council be replaced by a Committee on Coordination. The main function of this Committee will be to coordinate the proposed three business meetings of Presbytery and not to serve as a “gatekeeper” for Presbytery actions. In addition, our proposed plan calls for two yearly meetings that will focus on worship, fellowship, and education. It is hoped that these meetings will provide a space for growth together as a community of faith.
- Open more opportunities for people to participate in the work of the Presbytery. One of the challenges we face is diversity in leadership. The proposed plan seeks to be open to such diversity. In addition, Presbytery responsibilities have been grouped in new ways to allow for people with needed skills to participate in work they feel called to do. For instance, the work of our current Committee on Ministry is divided between two new committees—the Committee on Teaching Elders & Congregations and the Committee on Development & Mission. This arrangement will allow us to give more time and energy to the support and revitalization of our congregations and to the development of new expressions of corporate witness, including new worshiping communities and ecumenical ministries.
- Carry out the mission of God more effectively in our context. As a presbytery, we have been called and constituted to be partners in Christ’s service. As such, our life together is shaped by the mission of God revealed in Jesus Christ. The purpose of any structure is to provide the means by which we can fulfill our calling. We propose that this plan be reviewed and reformed regularly to the end that together we may serve others with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.
Your comments and suggestions are most welcome. You can find all this information and more under the “Transitional Planning” tab under the Resources Menu from our website.
Here are a few resources to note:
In addition to the Online Feedback Form, you may also send feedback to Kim Deal at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will forward all comments to us. We hope to hear from you in writing or at the upcoming webinar.
Join us on August 31 at 10:00 am to review this proposed new structure:
Webinar Registration Page: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5676220358947897604
Webinar ID: 136-944-875
Your Albany Presbytery Officers:
Jerry McKinney – Moderator
Cara Molyneaux – Vice-Moderator
Dan Rogers – Stated Clerk
Shannan Vance-Ocampo – Transitional Presbyter