Committee on Ministry? We are all working in Ministry.  What is special about this committee?

Once required by the Book of Order, the Committee on Ministry (COM) is now optional component of a presbytery’s life and work.

As “optional” as it may be, the Book of Order does state that:

Each presbytery shall develop and maintain mechanisms and processes to serve as pastor and counselor to teaching elders, ruling elders commissioned to pastoral service, and certified Christian educators of the presbytery, to facilitate the relations between the presbytery and its congregations, teaching elders, ruling elders commissioned to pastoral service, and certified Christian educators, and to settle difficulties on behalf of the presbytery where possible and expedient.  (G.30307)”

That’s pretty important stuff!  A lot of work too.  How are you organized?

Albany Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry is divided into three working groups based on our three mission goals:

  1. Healthy relationships
  2. Missional living
  3. Vital congregations

Healthy Relationships

The Healthy Relationships working group oversees the work of the presbytery and its relationship to and between its member congregations.  In particular, it coordinates the work of:

  • The Triennial Visit team
  • The Pastoral Care team
  • The Response Team (intercedes with congregations struggling in their relationship with the presbytery)
  • Assigning and managing Liaisons and Buddies to our congregations as well as companions to new pastors,
  • Assisting with Healthcare and Board of Pension issues
  • Providing sabbatical guidelines
  • Creating a Mediation Team regarding difficult issues that arise.

Chairs: Sam Jackling, Ruling Elder – First Presbyterian Church, Broadalbin & Shannan Vance-Ocampo (Transitional Presbyter) serves as the staff.

Missional Living       

The Missional Living working group facilitates the work of congregations in transition, such as:

  • Overseeing mission studies
  • Assisting in pastoral searches
  • Congregational coaching
  • Providing exit interviews for pastors leaving the presbytery
  • Facilitating congregational connections within or across geographic boundaries
  • Overseeing COM’s Learning Modules whether they are generated in-house, with CRTC, or with the Synod or General Assembly.

Chairs: Darren Gundrum – Ruling Elder, Trinity Presbyterian Church & Tim Coombs – Teaching Elder, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Scotia serves as the staff.

Vital Congregation

  • The Vital Congregation working group provides oversight for congregations and their pastors. Reviews retired and specialized clergy.
  • Reviews Terms of Call.
  • Provides for Pastoral Mentoring and coordinates with the Early Ministry Institute.
  • Works with Capital Region Theological Center (CRTC) in providing Boundary Awareness Training.
  • It is seeking to develop a Crisis Intervention Team as well as a Viability Team or “Congregational Health Check Up Team.”
  • Lastly, it is the Administrative Commission connection to the COM.

Chairs: Holly Cameron – Teaching Elder, New Scotland Presbyterian Church & Dan Rogers (First United Presbyterian Church, Troy) serves as the staff.

When does the entire COM meet?

The Committee on Ministry meets the first Wednesday of the month from 4:00 to 8:00 PM, though much of its work occurs between meetings.  COM members are often visiting with congregations and pastors to offer support and guidance. Co-chairs are David Bennett (First Presbyterian Church, Ballston Spa) and Laura Rogers (First United Presbyterian Church, Troy)

What is the term of service? How does someone look into serving on this committee?

Members serve a three-year term with a second term optional.  If interested in serving on COM please contact Kevin Dwyer of the Presbytery Nominating Committee. Currently, we are co-chaired by David Bennett and Laura Rogers.

You can always find basic information for each of the Albany Presbytery Committees on our website.

About Rev. Dr. Tim Coombs

Tim Coombs serves as co-pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Scotia, NY with his wife, Rev. Kathleen Gorman-Coombs and leads a New Worshiping Community, Parallels ( He also worked on staff at Albany Presbytery for over a decade. Besides his work for the church, Tim is a storyteller, biker, guitar player, and intern to his cat, Sharpie. You can reach Tim at:

The purpose of the Albany Presbytery Blog is to share information, tell stories, and promote the mission and ministry of the presbytery, synod and beyond. While the breadth of this medium is intentionally broad, it is not a platform for opinion pieces related to business coming before the presbytery unless designed as part of an initiative to provide a diversity of viewpoints at the direction of the presbytery. Exceptions to this policy may be brought to the presbytery officers who will determine appropriateness of submissions.